Why I Always Take A Window Seat

It’s kind of a pain to sit in the window seat during an international flight.

There are pros and cons to having an aisle seat, the most important being that you don’t have to wake up your seatmate or crawl over someone to get up to use the necessary. The negative, of course, of the aisle seat is that one is constantly being bumped all night — by other passengers and by the well-meaning flight attendants.

The window seat, on the other hand, has a little more room. It also tends to be cold and unless you’ve got your pillow configuration just right, it can be difficult to actually sleep. And then there’s the noise of the engines…

But if I didn’t sit in the window seat during all these years of flying, I would have missed many beautiful sights. There’s something magical about looking out the window while landing and imagining the new place you are about to encounter. That was the case this year as I encountered Nice through the window of the airplane.

Aerial view of a neighborhood in Nice, France.

The perfectly manicured and planned neighborhood. The foothills coming practically up next to the water. The majestic mountains in the background. And to think I would have missed this if I had been sitting in the aisle seat.

Of course, I owe it all to my traveling partner of thirty-some years. He lets me have the window and I love him for it.


Sunset at JFK

Welcome back! Well, maybe you were already here, but I wasn’t.

We just returned from a two-week trip to France and I’ve been busy renegotiating life in the Windy City. Life does go on, doesn’t it, after one returns from a highly anticipated vacation?

I’ve been writing about our trip in detail on a vacation blog, France Frolic 2013, which is linked up in my sidebar. If you want all France, all the time, go there for the goods on our trip.

Meanwhile, over here on Got My Reservations, I’m going to be showcasing some photos from the trip that don’t really fit into the travelogue concept. This photo was taken with my point and shoot out the window as I saw our plane silhouetted against the fading sun.


As for me, it’s welcome to Reality 101 and I REALLY need to get to the gym!

What to Wear Wednesday: Travel Edition — On the Plane

I’ve been struggling with the dilemma of packing light for most of my life.

And yes, I know that should actually be lightly, the adverb rather than the adjective. I am being colloquial. 🙂

I’ve been following a fabulous blogger at Fifty Not Frumpy, and she posts inspiring outfits every day.  Since I’m a visual learner — I’ll bet that doesn’t come as any surprise to you — I decided to create some collections of my own to help me pack. If you click into the collection, you will be directed to my page at Polyvore, where you can find specifics about each of the items in the collection.

Travel Edition: On the Plane

Each piece in this collection will be used later in your travel, but will also be comfortable on the plane. Since overseas travel often requires me to arrive in the morning, I don’t want to look like I’m wearing my pajamas when I get to my hotel.  This collection of knits will travel well and will look fresh until you have time to change your clothes.

 Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain


Our World Tuesday: Salzburg’s Mirabell Palace and Gardens

Travel plus movies. Fun and funner.

As soon as we planned our trip to Austria, I knew I wanted to take the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg. Yes, I was the subject of ridicule among my friends, and Music Man barely tolerated the idea. But how could I go to Austria without seeing where Julie Andrews made cinematic history?

Today’s photo tour takes us to the Mirabell Palace and Gardens where some of the Do Re Mi sequences were filmed.

Remember these steps? I was there, too.

Remember when the children run around the garden and mimic the attitudes of the dwarves? You can do that too!

The Dwarf Garden has a bunch of interesting creatures made of white marble and they date back to the time of Archbishop Franz Anton Harrach in the early 1700s. I think I took photos of every darn dwarf — I knew I would use them someday and here we are.

We also went to Schloss Hellbrunn where the gazebo in which Liesl and Rolf sing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” has been moved to protect it from trespassers. The interior shots were actually done on a set in Hollywood, but you can get your picture taken from the outside, as I did on a rainy day.

I enjoy seeing the movie locations when I am touring; it makes the fake world of movies seem a little bit more real. If you’re going to Salzburg, don’t let anyone talk you out of the Sound of Music tour. You’ll love it!

I’m linked up today with Our World Tuesday. Please stop by to see the travel stories of other bloggers and share the comment love!


The Sunday Review: The Greater Journey — Americans in Paris

After choosing this book for our Book Club, I had high expectations. David McCullough is a wonderful storyteller and has a knack for turning even the driest factoids into a compelling story. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris is no exception to this writing style.

While listening to The Greater Journey in the car, I kept thinking back on the photos I took from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in 2010. Sometimes people skip going up into the Arc (an easy climb and short lines) and choose the Eiffel Tower instead, but I found the view from the top of the Arc to be breathtaking.

McCullough has chosen a representative group of Americans who went to Paris between 1830 and 1900, where their experiences helped to make them better statesmen, artists, musicians, and writers. He sets their very personal and sometimes mundane lives on the stage that was Paris in the 19th century, a turbulent and fascinating city.

As McCullough says in his author interview on youtube.com, Americans in Paris is a kind of guidebook to Paris and the history of Americans in the City of Light. It’s an accessible and intimate look at a different set of American roots.

The audiobook on The Greater Journey is voiced by Edward Herrman and is easy to listen to, but I also ended up buying a book as there were many photos and references I wanted to come back to. I’m struggling with whether to keep this one in my library or to pass it on to Paris-loving friends!



If you are interested in getting out of your reading chair and actually visiting the City of Light, please feel free to contact me to help you with your travel plans.

Travel Diary: Vienna 2003

I just sent in my passport for renewal. I can’t believe it’s been ten years.

I got a new passport photo taken, of course. My contact lenses are long gone, replaced by my sassy hipster frames or my sparkly dress-up glasses. My hair’s still brown, albeit a little redder and a lot shorter because it’s easier to care for. I’m working on getting my weight down, but let’s just say my sturdy German girl frame fit right in among the Austrians — and I had a lot of layers on under that coat because it was March and it was cold in Austria.

We visited a family friend who was studying in Vienna while we were there.

The world was a lot different in 2003.

The United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland had joined with the United States to invade Iraq just before we were scheduled to visit in March 2003 during my spring break. The rest of the world was not as supportive and we were warned not to take any clothing displaying American flags or blatant patriotic sayings. We were supposed to blend in. Apparently the Viennese were not happy with our choice, as we found out with this display on a museum plaza. I think we were successful at blending in, as we were sometimes asked for directions by other tourists…

Both of my children had been to Europe three times by the time I actually got there myself.

For a woman who had visited almost every state in the Union, as well as Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Canada, I was woefully under-traveled when it came to Europe. As a small-town girl from Ohio with a modest upbringing by my educator parents, I didn’t get to take the school trip with the band. There wasn’t one. I didn’t do junior year abroad, although some people at Miami University were able to study abroad at the University Center in Luxembourg. Not me. I needed to get my degree finished so that I could get on with life and my parents could not have afforded it anyway.

That first trip through Heathrow was a revelation. The center lounge with rows and rows of armchairs where travelers of every persuasion melded together in a huge melting pot was amazing to me. Going from shop to shop, comparing magazines, books, travel items, and even candy, took the sting out of our long layover. I was actually waiting to change planes in London, England!

Our visit to Vienna was the beginning of a travel odyssey that I hope we will continue for many years.

As I walked up to the post office today, I was thinking that in another ten years, I’ll be ten years older, too. We’ll still be traveling, unless something dreadful happens to us, but we will be different travelers by then. We probably won’t stride into the Vienna train station, confident that we can drag our own bags onto public transportation and get to the airport. We’ll probably take more cruises and do less driving.

But we’ll still be traveling.

A Viking River Cruise will someday take us back to Vienna; there are five cruises for us to choose from. We could even go during the Christmas markets in December.

The charming Hotel Beethoven is still alive and well and helping tourists to learn about Vienna. They still offer a comprehensive breakfast buffet and small-hotel ambiance and service.

Some things change and some things don’t.

I’m sure Vienna isn’t the city that we visited ten years ago; most likely, it is a better city. Globalization has changed the way we eat — I’m sure there are even more interesting restaurants to try. The fabulous museums are probably even more fabulous, as curatorial processes and styles have grown along with the advancement of digital imaging and modern historical preservation techniques.

Yet, I imagine that much about Vienna is the same. I’m sure that people still honor crosswalks and are polite. The Viennese probably still speak enough English to be helpful to tourists (unlike us who only know how to use cognates to read signs). The vitality of this centuries-old city is most likely still there, waiting to be discovered by another visitor.

When are you going to Vienna?

Contact me at jennie@gotmyreservations dot com if you would like me to help you plan a trip to this marvelous city!


Tablescape Thursday: A Nice Italian Red

The phrase “setting the table” has different meanings for different people.

When my kids were little, it was their job to set the table. Needless to say, it wasn’t this formal for everyday. It still isn’t in our house for our empty nest meals.

For me, setting the table means to create a tablescape with my collection of tableware.

I love having my table set with a pretty seasonal display, so that if I have unexpected visitors, the dining room always looks nice. I also enjoy setting a pretty table when we have dinner guests. I’ve always told my friends that setting my table is a pleasurable hobby for me, and I’m just as comfortable in their houses with paper plates. No pressure, folks.

Setting a pretty table is just part of me, and I’m not ashamed of my little secret.

Especially now that I know there’s a whole subculture of people who like to set their tables for fun and then put the photos on their blogs. I’m linking up with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday; please be sure to click in and enjoy all the beautiful inspiration to be found among the bloggers’ links! I’ve spent way too much happy time looking at tablescapes from bloggers’ archives, especially the amazingly talented Alycia Nichols (this one is going to make Music Man VERY nervous).

This tablescape started with this Pinterest photo from 2011.

Image via Pinterest; original source unknown

Once I figured out where to find fake lemons and limes (the dollar store), I couldn’t resist making the display, even though it was after Christmas. Next time I’ll try layering the pieces, but this worked (except for the red glitter all over the kitchen).

What’s not to like?

So, today’s my inaugural entry into the tablescape world. I wasn’t quite ready to give up the last of my Christmas decorations, and I’m showing my last hurrah before I bow to the Christmas decoration police. And since I see Italy in my table setting, my linens, and my colors, this tablescape had to have an Italian theme.

We probably all could do with a nice Italian red in our lives.

 Buon Viaggio!

Enhanced by Zemanta

York Minster — A Cathedral for the Ages

London. Check. Canterbury. Check. Brighton. Check. Dover. Check.

You might even have made the pilgrimage to Liverpool to visit the stomping grounds of The Beatles. You’re pretty well traveled.

But have you been to York in North Central England?

Accessible by express trains directly from Manchester Airport, York’s 2000 years of history and outstanding architecture make it a world-class attraction. At its center lies York Minster, the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. A church has stood on the site since 627 A.D. and the current structure was begun in about 1230 and completed in 1472.

The York Minster is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM for sightseeing and runs a full schedule of services as well as providing guided tours for guests. A combined ticket (ÂŁ14 today) will give the adult visitor entry to the Minster and Tower. The trip up to the top of the central Tower allows the visitor a panoramic view of the historic city of York and the beautiful Yorkshire countryside beyond the city center. Just remember that it’s 275 steps and 230 feet up to an open-air platform and the visitor must agree to the restrictions before climbing the Tower.

If you can handle this…

… you’ll be able to see this.


Are you ready to make your own pilgimage to York Minster?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...