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One 22″ suitcase, a duffel bag, and a backpack for 32 days

On previous trips we have taken a couple of suitcases each, one large and one medium, plus a backpack each and a carry on duffel.  It was difficult to manage them between the two of us without help. We were ready for every contingency but, there was never enough room to store the bags in the rooms and we were constantly packing and unpacking every bag to find something. We always had much more than what we

Suitcase, Duffel, Backpack

Suitcase, Duffel, Backpack

needed and we would come home with a suitcase full of clothes and things that were unused.

This time I decided to cut way back (and the cruises we were taking made it a necessity). I wanted to simplify our travels and be kinder to the environment. My challenge was one 22″ wheeled suitcase, one duffel bag and one backpack total for both of us! As I started working on my packing list I was finding myself adding a bit more here and there until I realized I would need another suitcase if I kept adding. Extras weren’t an option because the boats wouldn’t have much storage room and hauling our bags on and off the trains in Germany would be easier if we had less. And I was on a mission!!!

I consulted several internet travel sites and spent time revising Tilley and Rick Steves packing lists to suit our needs. It was very difficult to not throw in that extra shirt or extra pair of slacks but once I started filling the suitcases I BECAME MORE DETERMINED TO MAKE IT WORK. I packed and repacked and repacked again until I could get it all in, take it out and get it back in the same

ExtraPocket Duffel

ExtraPocket Duffel

space. (I also threw in a small ‘pocket’ duffel bag in case I ran into problems or needed a souvenir bag.)

 

 

Our Packing List:

  • five tops,
  • two bottoms,
  • five sets of underwear,
  • two pair of shoes,
  • sweater,
  • jacket,
  • toiletries,
  • vitamins,
  • two cameras,
  • computer,
  • playing cards,
  • tour books,
  • rain jackets,
  • umbrella,
  • scarf,
  • gloves,
  • a box of Lara Bars,
  • tea,
  • decaf coffee,
  • travel clock,
  • flashlight,
  • emergency meds and bandaids,
  • laundry line and soap.

The toiletries bag alone took up almost half the suitcase! But, i made it work.

The size of our cabins were 90 sq.ft. and 120 sq.ft.  My closet at home is almost as big! There was one small closet for our clothes and our bags, two small single bunk sized beds (or smaller!) a little table, one chair and the room was FULL! So it was a very good move to have limited our bags or we wouldn’t have been able to move in the small space.

Next time I will travel with about the same, although I may need a dress and a suit jacket which will take up some extra space. It was very convenient to only have a small bag each and the backpack. We could move quickly when we needed to, lifting the bags on and off the trains was easily done and storage was never a problem. We still came home with a couple of items we didn’t use and next time they will be left behind leaving room for and extra shirt or blouse.

Hotels.com Beach Destinations

Look forward to weekly inspiration in the form of an e-mail recipe from Anne’s Oceanfront Hideaway’s Four Star Bed and Breakfast. Delightful treats, special diet recipes and breakfast favourites will hit your inbox every Monday. And, when you sign up for this e-mail you’ll receive a fantastic brunch planner!

Relive the Salt Spring Bed and Breakfast experience at home with this creative and inspired brunch planner from Breakfast with the Broads.

Inside your brunch planner you’ll find:

  • Tips for setting the mood for your brunch,
  • Fantastic Ideas for your theme,
  • Two four-course menus complete with shopping list and recipes,
  • Tips for prepping your meal ahead of time so you can enjoy the brunch as much as your guests,
  • Special table setting tips from Anne’s.

You’ll get all of this, when you sign up to get the weekly recipes from Breakfast with the Broads.

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Thanks for joining us for brunch!!

Bacon and eggs are usually part of any classic breakfast. Most people just can’t say no to a good bacon and egg breakfast. In this twist, you can delight your guests with a yummy twist on the breakfast classic by adding a few extra ingredients and baking it in a pie crust. YUMMY. Makes 6-8 pieces of pie.
What you’ll need:
  • 5 bacon strips, cooked and crispy
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup creamy goat cheese
  • 1 frozen pie crust
  • 4 eggs + 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 cherry tomatoes cut in half
What you do:
  1. Preheat oven to 325oF.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, fry onions with a tablespoon of butter. Cook onions until they are clear and soft.
  3. Turn off heat. Add goat cheese to pan with onions and stir until well mixed.
  4. Scrape mixture from pan into the bottom of the pie crust.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with milk. Once mixed, add dijon and salt and mix together.
  6. Pour egg mixture over the goat cheese and onions in the pie crust.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until mixture is loose on the top but getting firm around the edges. (You might want to cook it on a cookie sheet as my pie spilled over the edges a bit when I added the tomatoes in the next step).
  8. Break bacon into medium to small pieces and sprinkle over top of the egg mixture. Add tomatoes and distribute evenly around the pie.
  9. Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes.
  10. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
  11. Sprinkle with chives (optional) and serve with toast.
Chopping the Onions

Chopping the Onions

Frying the Onions with the Goat Cheese

Frying the Onions with the Goat Cheese

Part One of Baking in the Oven

Part One of Baking in the Oven

Bacon and Eggs in a Pie - YUMMY

Bacon and Eggs in a Pie - YUMMY

Bram waiting patiently...hoping for just a little sliver.

Bram waiting patiently...hoping for just a little sliver.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plan a fantastic four course brunch using the FREE Breakfast with the Broads Brunch Planner. It comes complete with theme ideas, menu plans, shopping lists and recipes.

Get your Brunch Planner and Weekly Recipes by e-mail at the Breakfast with the Broads website.

The privilege of re-acquainting ourselves with guests that stayed with us nine years ago happened recently.   All of us are near retirement age and wondering what to do about it, when to take the next step, and where to let the foot fall. It is uncharted territory for those that are used to working full time, especially if nine to five has never been a part of the time equation.

Retirement means more trips to Hawaii

Retirement was just dreams of Hawaii

Heading towards retirement has always been a ‘when we retire we will….’ type of plan for us.  Nothing was written down or spelled out.

Retirement plans were just dreams of what we wanted to do when we retired.

Part of it was that invincibility of youth that growing old is, well, for older people.  We have been working for the day when we had the freedom to come and go and not have to get up and ‘go to work’ but what exactly does that mean? When does that day come and are we really prepared?

Do you just quit one life and move onto the next?  Is there a transition that helps you work into that next phase? Or do you just stop everything you have done for the past thirty or forty years because you have retired?

Hopefully the services of a great accountant and financial planner help the transition to retirement. You know, to make sure that we can keep a roof over our head, food on the table and gas in the car (for as long as ‘they’ will let me drive!) with some left over for a bit of travel and fun.

Hawaii in February 2008 - We are starting to travel now... why wait for retirement?

Hawaii in February 2008 - We are starting to travel now... why wait for retirement?

But what about the emotional side of retirement?  We need purpose, a reason to get up in the morning, something interesting and challenging to occupy our days. What if you don’t have hobbies, pets, or  a variety of interests?  Mr. C said it best “I’ve worked all my life and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have work.”

Maybe I should take Art lessons from Janet Cameron?

Maybe I should take Art lessons from Janet Cameron?

Over the years I’ve thought workaholics will not be happy if they are not working.  If you take away their present work they will create other work and become equally involved and stressed. They are self generators. For some that would be digging lakes, laying sod, and any other physical projects to keep busy. For others mental exercises such as writing a book, or becoming involved in say humanitarian efforts. The problem seems to be deciding on the degree of involvement.

Or, I will enjoy breakfast with Rick on the deck instead of serving our guests breakfast there!
Or, I will enjoy breakfast with Rick on the deck instead of serving our guests breakfast there!

I am mentally capable of learning something new and perhaps physically too. I would guess the need lies in finding the desire to make the change from what we know to something that we do not. Will it take a life altering trauma to make us stop the fast train and switch tracks?  I do not have the answer, but I do have many questions.  I think I will take my old dog for a walk and contemplate further.

Do we retire or keep working?

Retirement means more walks with the dog

Julie’s Note: This is my dog Bram shown beside Chewy, Mom and Dad’s dog. This was actually taken a year ago this weekend.

Mom and Dad should return from their travels on Tuesday…just in time for the Canadian Federal Election.

I’m going to make a bacon and egg pie this weekend and will be sending it out to our Recipe of the Week subscribers. If you want to get the delicious recipe please sign up for the free newsletter. You’ll also get this fantastic Brunch Planner that Mom and I put together… it’s complete with a 4 course menu, shopping list and of course recipes. Perfect if you’re hosting family or friends this Canadian Thanksgiving Long Weekend!!

It’s almost comical that I am trying to make these recipes and photograph the steps. First of all, I’m a good cook but I lack attention to detail in the kitchen. I don’t measure most things, and I tend to make a massive mess. Second of all, my camera is not user friendly and I take bad photos. But, the good news is, these cookies were a big hit. I packaged a dozen up and gave them to my friend Leah for her birthday and she wrote to say they were “DEEEE-LISH”, and Dave, my husband, has been happily devouring the others. So – don’t let my bad photos deter you. These are great cookies to make. Let me know how they go for you!

(Makes 4 dozen cookies…or 2.5 dozen large cookies as was the case when I made them)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Molasses
  • 4 Cups unbleached flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon cloves
The ingredients...

The ingredients...

Ok now WITH the sugar...

Ok now WITH the sugar...

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350oF.
2. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy.
3. Add the eggs, vegetable oil, and molasses. Mix together well.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together, mixing well.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour.
6. Dough should now be fairly stiff.
7. Shape into small 1 inch sized balls, and dip in sugar.

hmm...larger than an inch...

hmm...larger than an inch...

8. Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
9. Bake for 8 – 9 minutes.
10. Enjoy!

All shapes, all sizes, all tasty!

All shapes, all sizes, all tasty!

Get more amazing recipes, and a fantastic brunch planner (complete with tips, menus, shopping lists and recipes for hosting a fantastic brunch), at Breakfast with the Broads Cookbook website.

Note from Julie: Sorry! I was really slow posting this one for my Mom as I was in Calgary last week. So… this is a week old… but better late than never.

Well here we are on the Dnieper River in the Ukraine. It seems like we have been gone for weeks when in fact it has been only a couple of days. We arrived at the airport at 1:30pm and left Vancouver at 4 pm on Sept. 13th. We arrived in Kiev at 11:30 pm on September 14th. Customs was slow, so the cruise line pick up left without us. We couldn’t find a telephone and couldn’t find anyone who speak enough English to help us out right away. Eventually, thanks to a couple of helpful taxi cab operators, we were able to phone the ship and find out that we indeed had been left behind. Once it was sorted out and we arrived at the ship it was 3:30 am on the 15th. A very long trip just to get our travels started…

Construction Everywhere in the Ukraine

Construction Everywhere in the Ukraine

4 hours later we were up for breakfast and a city tour of Kiev, a 1,500 year old city and one of the oldest in Europe. There are many cranes and signs of repair, growth and progress but they have a very long way to go. The tour of the Monastery of the Caves where hermit monks lived from the 11th century was very interesting. There are over eighty buildings and monuments on the sight. For many years the monks lived in a labyrinth of caves in the mountain then later used them as a burial ground for the monastery monks. We walked through the tunnels with our beeswax candles for light, being careful not to hit our heads. With ceilings never higher than six feet high, and barely enough room for one person to pass through width ways, we all came out of the caves covered with white limestone dust on our sleeves from rubbing the walls as we walked through.

Wish I could tell you more, but it’s foggy. We got back to the ship at noon, slept until dinner. We ate, then returned to our cabin and slept until 3 am then 4 am then 5 am and at 6 am we got up feeling pretty good. By noon we were heading back to our room for a nap, which lasted until dinner!

Kiev old to new buildings

Kiev old to new buildings

By the next day, when we were cruising down the river, we started to recover. We met some fellow passengers, played some cards and caught some more  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s. Amazingly we met a couple from Deep Cove, another from Horseshoe Bay and of course our friends from Victoria so British Columbia, Canada was well represented on the ship.

September 17th. Dawn brought us to Zaporozhye (which means ‘beyond the rapids’) the ancestral home of the Cossacks of 1770. The Cossacks learned to navigate the deadly rapids of the Dnieper river and would take travelers through for a fee. They were a brotherhood of men whose wives and children lived outside the walls of the men’s fort. A ‘guns for hire’ group feared by many, they were serfs that came from many surrounding areas. We enjoyed the Cossack Museum, some of their folk music, and a performance of horsemanship. Then we tried a little vodka (well I did, Rick is a teetotaler), rice and meat. Watch the Vodka it is VERY potent stuff, especially on an empty stomach!!

zaporozhye-kherson-cossack-demonstration

zaporozhye-kherson-cossack-demonstration

September 18th we arrived in Kherson where most of the boat boarded a smaller boat and headed to Fisherman’s Village for an afternoon of traveling to a small fishing village and market. We skipped it, and had a wonderful nap. We are still waking up at 3 am thinking it is time to get up, but we’re almost adjusted. But, we like naps.

Sevestopol secret Russian sub base

Sevestopol secret Russian sub base

We left Kherson at dinner time, heading south towards the Black Sea and Sevestopol. Before dark, we were stopped in our tracks, along with several freighters, as there was a cyclone ahead. Our ship is a flat bottom boat and can only handle two meter seas so we expected to be held longer than the freighters. The cyclone passed by morning but a couple of others were forming, so we spent the day anchored in a quiet sheltered spot on the delta where we would remain calm and safe. We had some terrific lectures by our guides on the history, the politics, and the icons of the church as well as a lesson on a few basic words and the 33 letter alphabet. The lectures, a couple of card games, a nap, three meals and it was time for bed and there was an announcement just before dark that we were able to proceed from the delta into the Black Sea.

Although we had lost a day, we still managed to fit in all of the included tours and the optional tours in Sevestopol. In Sevestopol our dear friend Dave had an Appendicitis attack. The ship carried on leaving Dave and Joan behind while he had his appendix removed. Without internet or a world phone to keep in touch we felt pretty helpless, so we can only imagine how they felt. They were stuck in a city where the main docks are still leased to the Russian Navy, complete with submarines, and the hospital staff can’t or won’t speak English, and cats prowl the corridors of the hospital with kittens in tow. Joan had to buy the drugs and bandages at the local pharmacy before they would perform the operation on Dave. When we left her behind her main worry was that of secondary infection. Hopefully that does not become an issue as he recovers enough to fly home. We were fortunate to have one of the staff at reception call the hospital a couple of times to find out how he was progressing. Although we have been unable to contact Joan and Dave personally reports are that he is up and about and they maybe heading home on Saturday.

My impression of the Ukraine is one of confusion. Many of the people seem to be very pro Russia while others are gritting their teeth in fear of a return to communism. They have been seventeen years rebuilding what was returned to them after Communist rule. Many beautiful buildings that were used for other purposes or left in ruin are being rebuilt, renovated and returned to their former grandeur. Only 11% of the people earn enough money to drive a car or go on a holiday. Of that, 3% are considered wealthy so the other 8% are the middle class although considered to be more of an upper class with so much poverty throughout the country. The other 89% are working poor trying to make the day to day ends meet somewhere close to the middle many by having up to three jobs.

Tax on income is 15% which most find tolerable after the previous 40%, but it is not enough to rebuild all that needs to be rebuilt.

While in Sevastopol we went on a tour of the secret Russian Submarine base. It was interesting to see how they bored so deeply into the mountain and just how well hidden it was. It is a vast complex and we only saw a small part that has been restored as a museum.

Another fascinating museum of war in Sevastopol is the Panorama, voted best war panorama in the world. It was originally done by F.A.Rubaud. All but 84 sections were destroyed by fire during the war. These sections are kept in the archives. The new panorama was done by several artists that worked together to re-create the likeness of the original. It is the 1854-55 siege of Sevastopol from points around the hill including the French, English, and Russian troops.

My next next favorite was Yalta a more southerly city of the Criamean Peninsula. This city is under a major building boom. I think it is the summer playground for many of the wealthy Ukrainians and Russians as it has a reasonably temperate climate, lots of sand and of course the Black Sea.

Yalta Playground to the Wealthy

Yalta Playground to the Wealthy

Cathedral in Yalta

Cathedral in Yalta


My favorite is Odessa.
I would have liked to spend a few more days in this city. There is some form of reconstruction on almost every street in this city and the results are beautiful. New parging, new paint, major upgrading, pedestrian friendly walkways, parks, memorials, great views, good climate and proud citizens has made this city my number one in the Ukraine.

We managed to go to the Opera House for Le Traviata on our last night before leaving the ship. They spent ten years renovating and upgrading the Opera House and it is truly breathtaking with all of its guild and heavy draping. The acoustics are so good you can hear a sigh on stage, or cell phones ringing in the audience. One lady even answered it and whispered but we could hear her!

Well the cruise is done and we headed out at 5:20 am on to our next adventure making our way to Frankfurt…

Have you ever seen the t.v. ad where the lady is sitting at her computer in her rabbit slippers and her housecoat carrying on her office work from home? Rick and I have commented on several occasions that it is a good thing she doesn’t have a webcam.

Your Webcam is Watching

Your Webcam is Watching

We bought a webcam years ago so we could see our daughter when she lived in Toronto. Of course at that time we were on dial up so it was like watching one of the mechanical robots in slow motion, but it was comforting to be able to actually see how she was doing and watch the antics of her “furkid” Bram.

As time and technology advance rapidly, we’ve now got ourselves a small computer called ASUS. It is a perfect travelling companion as it is compact, only about 7 1/2”, runs on XP and weighs less than 2 pounds. It doesn’t have a DVD but it does have 3 USB ports and a webcam. And before we left Canada, our friends Ralph and Lynn introduced us to Skype for a very cheap way to stay in touch with friends and family. So with our tiny laptop, webcam and newly downloaded skype program we were ready to stay in touch while on the road.

After a couple of weeks on the road, I called my Mom. She doesn’t have Skype so I phoned from the computer to her telephone. I had just finished a nice long hot soak in the tub to help fight off the start of a cold before I called. When I got out, I put on a housecoat but found the heavy terry to be really hot so I slipped out of the top. I chatted with my mom with the robe around my waist. I had just hung up from mom when a call came in from Ralph and Lynn which I immediately answered. I could see them on my computer and immediately hit video on so we could chat while seeing each other…………. Rick calmly asked who I was talking to then started laughing. It was at that point I realized what I had done! I was sitting in front of the webcam chatting away topless without even realizing it!

I believe my one saving grace was the slant of the computer screen was such that not all of me was visible. I quickly ducked down and put the housecoat back on, but I was caught and knew it. By the time I was covered the three of them were enjoying a huge laugh over the ordeal.

I asked that we keep this quiet and the comment I heard was “not a chance in hell” so I decided to share my experience with you in hopes that you will have a good laugh! I’ve sent Julie some pictures and another post about our travels which I am sure she will post soon!

I’m not offering any shows, but if you want to say hello while we’re on the road our Skype is: rickbroad

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