BANGKOK MARKETS AND WAT PHO

Do you know how both nervous and excited I was to meet my tour buddies for the first time? You never really know if you are going to mesh with the group but I have to tell you, we all hit it off immediately from the moment we said our first hellos. I was thrilled!...
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BRUSSELS – A DRIZZLY DAY AT GRAND PLACE

Charm 'n Bruges is an aptly-named bed and breakfast inn. I loved to wander through the courtyard and the breakfast room to see the beautiful vignettes. The jars of Côte d'Or were milk and dark chocolate spreads. The jams were outstanding. Thank goodness this was a...
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VAUGHANTOWN – MAKING NEW FRIENDS IN SPAIN

I rushed back to my hotel from Madrid Centre to freshen up for the first event of what I knew would be a week of fun. Let me give you some background information first.... I met a lovely couple at a travel show in February of 2014. They told me that they had recently...
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DRENCHED IN FLORENCE

As I was packing my luggage for my train ride to Florence the following morning, I checked my train ticket, only to discover that my train wasn't leaving until 9:20 a.m.! I had told everyone that I wasn't going to see them for breakfast because I thought my train was...
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A DAY TRIP TO DELFT

I woke up before sunrise in Amsterdam, many hours before my 10:00 a.m. tour of the Anne Frank house. I wanted to spend as much time as I could exploring the city because I was leaving by train to Delft after the tour.  I hadn't even left yet and I was already...
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BRUGES – DISCOVERING HIDDEN TREASURES

Can we please start this blog off properly by posting something so decadent that it might only be found in Belgium? And, no, I didn't, buy these, but only because there was no room in my luggage! ;) I should have checked the price of these, for curiosity sake only!...
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VENICE – GETTING LOST BY CHOICE

I thought I had my day all planned out knowing that I was going to explore Venice. I was looking forward to getting an early start after coming down from yesterday's high. The two sisters, Sue, and Kathy, were going to St. Mark's Basilica in the morning and I begged...
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TUSCANY – SIENA, SAN GIMIGNANO, AND PISA

I woke up fat(ter) and happy the following morning after my scrumptious dinner with Marco, Rosanna, and their family. But this was a new day, and an early one to boot, because I had a twelve-hour day tour planned through Tuscany! Marco knew I had to be at the train...
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BANGKOK – DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKET

Monic, our private tour guide, arrived at our hotel with a driver before 7:00 a.m. to take Carolyn, Efren, and me on a tour of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Old Bangkok, and Chinatown. Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak is about a 1-1/2 hour drive, but the time flew by...
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MUNICH – CONTRASTING OKTOBERFEST WITH DACHAU

I wanted to love Munich. Really! But perhaps it was due to a time constraint that I didn't see this lovely city as thoroughly as I should have that caused me to love it less than the other wondrous cities that I had just visited on this trip. Could I have slaughtered...
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THE COBBLED TOWN OF BEAUNE

I messed up...I thought we were on to Switzerland next, but we were heading to Beaune, France! First of all, I want to say something. When I began planning this trip, I was most hesitant about visiting Paris because of all of the negative comments from EVERYBODY about...
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VENICE – WEAVING MY WAY THROUGH THE CANALS

Venice is such a beautiful maze of a city (and I'm not exaggerating the word "maze"). Honestly, two nights there was not enough time for me to explore the city although, considering how lost we all constantly were, perhaps we did see the entire town and we just didn't...
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FLORENCE – MY PERFECT MEAL

When I had arrived back at the house at approximately 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., I was expecting to find Rosanna preparing dinner like the guy I photographed from a restaurant kitchen window while I was heading back to Rosanna and Marco's home. I arrived to discover that the...
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HIKING FROM LAUTERBRUNNEN TO GRINDELWALD

One of the things we had all experienced since arriving in Paris, and perhaps those of us who had arrived several days before, was rain. Every. Single. Day. At first, I thought it was charming but, geez, after a while, let up already! By the time I had arrived in...
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VERSAILLES – THE CHATEAU AND MARIE ANTOINETTE’S HAMLET

I set out very early with Sue and Kathy, two sisters from the tour, to Versailles. We were a little intimidated by the Metro and Rer C train, but together we made it easily to Versailles with the other early birds. I could tell that it was going to be a wonderful day...
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BANGKOK – THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS

I arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport early in the morning. I was thankful to be wide awake after an 18-hour flight because I wanted to explore Bangkok during the day and I had paid for a tour that evening. I wasn't thrilled, however, when I was approached by an...
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MADRID – THE CENTRAL DISTRICT AND ALMUDENA CATHEDRAL

After lunch at La Buha, I only had a few hours to see what I could of Madrid on foot because I was attending an event that evening.  I decided to return to Catedral de la Almudena, or Almudena Cathedral, which is located directly across from the Royal Palace of...
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ZARAGOZA – A STUDY OF CONTRASTS

After my fun last evening eating dinner in Madrid with several of my VaughanTown friends, I headed out to the Madrid Atocha train station early the next morning with my buddy, Pat (from VaughanTown) to catch separate trains. I was on my way to Zaragoza! I must say...
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BARCELONA – SAGRADA FAMILIA AND FLAMENCO

I woke up before sunrise in Barcelona because I had reserved the earliest time slot to tour Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. You'll be happy to know that there is no need to wake up that early to stand in line for the earliest reservation. I quickly discovered that as soon as...
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DISCOVERING MADRID

You know you're going to have a wonderful trip when you discover a double rainbow outside of your airplane window. The flights from Los Angeles to Madrid were relatively uneventful, save for the thunder and lightning rainstorm at Dulles, which delayed our flight due...
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