What's a travel writer to scribble about when not traipsing the globe? - A pink sneaker dilemma

There comes a time in every travel writer’s life when a scheduled trip is not looming anywhere on the horizon, the digital archives from previous excursions have all been tapped out and inspiration has flown the coup, choosing instead to take up residence in far more interesting and fascinating glossy picture books of the National Geographic kind.  And so dear reader, all that is left for this week’s blog post is a huge blank page staring me in the face and a dumb-founded keyboard perplexed by the frozen stance of my once dancing fingers no longer excitedly clacking away, anxious to weave the storyline’s next adventure.

I therefore have to post the question that has been plaguing me ever since I started this blog a year and a half ago.  Ever wonder what a travel writer scribbles about when there is nothing to share, report or recount?  Surely one cannot be on the road or be jetting off in search of adventure 24/7?  What about having to eek out that living in a 9 to 5 workday, furiously scrimping and saving each hard-earned cent for the luxury of a couple of weeks annual vacation?  Surely not everyone is hopping on planes, trains or automobiles in pursuit of the next great excursion?  Airport lounges and over-booked hotel rooms would indeed be cramped beyond belief, as surely not every single travel blogger or writer is hoofing it along cobblestoned pathways or motorways, en route to yet to be discovered lands?  Or, are they?  And I inadvertently got left behind?

Globe-trotting around the globe - vino and camera in hand!

Or better yet, perhaps I’m just one of the denizens of curious globe trotters who are biding their time at home, languishing with a glass of vino in one hand and picturesque travel magazine in the other, daydreaming, plotting and planning the next far-away expedition?  Yes then, that must be it.  I’m just one of the multitudes of would-be journeyers who are frantically scouring the web for that bargain of a lifetime – whether determined to score that steal of a deal for first class seating on a jumbo jet, my penny pinching ways stretched to limits of near improbability, praying for that last-minute invitation from the Sheik or the Queen to bunk and hunker down at one of their grandiose residences.  Yes then, that must be it.  The invite surely has been posted, and is now snaking it’s way via camel across the barren desert, en route by plane, train and automobile to my humble abode.  Could be a longer than usual anticipated wait.

sand dunes in Dubai - photo courtesy of Maradzidra

The regal camels of Dubai - photo courtesy of Maradzidra

La dolce vita - vino and picturesque travel books beckon and invite 

Foreign lands beckon and invite, welcoming visitors from far and wide, inquisitive guests eager to immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures that oftentimes appear to be so dramatically different from our own, yet are remarkably similar at the same time.  And that, dear reader, is the primary reason as to why I relish the opportunity of traipsing across the planet, discovering that no matter how many miles I wander away from home, I am home no matter where on the globe my pink-sneakered footsteps happen to find themselves.

Jetting around the globe - photo courtesy of Maradzidra

Come traipse along with me as I wander the globe in search of both the familiar as well as the unfamiliar, discovering far-away places in my never-ending quest for precious memories forever encapsulated in time.    

Next week – where to next?? Stay tuned for more pink-sneaker adventures!!

Pink Sneakers on the Go pizza, paella and vino culinary tour

Searching the digital archives for snapshots of memories to add to this week’s blog post, it dawned on me that not only do I delight in scampering about the globe, discovering foreign lands and cultures, I am just as curious about sampling the cuisine of these far-flung places.  Whether savouring a fresh out of the oven butter infused croissant whilst meandering along the banks of the Seine at the wee hours of the morn or being waited upon in Barcelona by waiters of the charmingly suave kind, a wanderer requires sustenance of either the meat, carbohydrate or sugar sweetened kind.  It goes without saying that all of it, of course, must be washed down with vino from any one of the white or red tetra pack or bottled grape producing regions of anywhere, my tastes neither picky nor discriminating when indulging in seductively soothing libations for the mind kind.

Got this Spanish Red on SALE  in London- yet another reason to indulge!

And so, this week’s blog post is dedicated to the appreciation of both foodstuffs, markets, wines and intoxicatingly satisfying nourishment that feeds both one’s soul and lines one’s tummy.  Whether your tastes range from either the quick grab fast food, take out, grub, canteen or five star carte du jour menu sort, come graze along with me as we feast on culinary delicacies of the not so discriminating kind…

When in Barcelona, you must eat paella and paella and more paella.

Indulging in black squid paella in Madrid -It's actually quite yummy!!

When in Paris, you must indulge in les croissants et les petits gateaux. 

When in Bruges, you must sample some of the local brew.

When in London, fish and chips or sky-high hamburgers are the way to go.

When in Italia, why not take a bite out of the local pizza, which is a masterpiece creation all it’s own.  Come celebrate where food is art.  And, must I add, delicious!

Pizza as a work of art - A feast for both the eyes and the tummy!

When in Versailles, stop by the local market and pick up an apple or two for the Queen.

When stuffed to the gills, Pink Sneakers on the Go highly recommends either walking, trudging or galloping back to your hotel.  That, and schlepping burdensome over-stuffed luggage for miles on end works wonders for whittling that waistline and burning off those oh so delicious and decadent calorie laden gastronomic delights.

Come stuff your face as you gallivant around Europe, sampling local delicacies, chocolates, moule et frites, coq au vin – and, on that note, santé!!

Next week – what next?  Stay tuned for more Pink Sneaker adventures!!

Where art and the riverbank converge at Les Berges de Seine

Now that I had successfully outrun the horses, what else could I check off my Parisian “not to be missed” pink sneaker adventure list?  After all, the most memorable of vacations are those that don’t go quite according to plan or that veer off the rails, as if seeking adventures of their own, quite oblivious to the meticulously laid plans that were supposed to go off without a glitch of a hitch. 


And that is how I inadvertently stumbled upon a cornucopia of not quite death defying, as that would be an exaggeration of the monumental degree kind, but nonetheless intriguing, activities of the not so quite far-fetched kind.  Meandering along the banks of the Seine on a leisurely summer afternoon led me to discover a playful side of the City of Lights, an easy breezy summertime easy joie de vivre encapsulated within the outdoor playground of Les Berges de Seine.  Officially inaugurated to the public in June 2013, Les Berges offers a little bit of something for everyone, whether young or old.  Youngsters can delight in scampering about the teepees and climbing walls, merrily hop-scotching their way along the waterfront whilst their parents luxuriate in contended bliss and languish the afternoon away in one of the numerous bistros and cafés overlooking the Seine.

Not one to brave the sheer impossibility of delicately balancing on a tight-rope, my pink sneaker clad tootsies recoiling at the improbability of such a feat, I could only gawk in disbelief and delight at the fortitude and resilience of the limber gymnasts as they performed their cirque du soleil like mesmerizing jumps and leaps.  Not one to push my luck as well as the limits of middle-aged flexibility, as the likelihood of breaking a few bones would definitely hamper my ability to scamper around the cobble-stoned rues and avenues and increase my chances of having to spend a fair length of time in le French hospital being tended to by les suave and charmingly handsome medics (a la Grey’s Anatomy kind), would be a fate…. Hold on a minute here, on second thought, where is that trampoline?

An urban landscape project that has successfully intertwined 2.3 kilometers of riverbank with pedestrian friendly promenades, les Berges de Seine offers a multitude of activities that range from anything to everything.  Out-door fitness buffs can skate, blade or cycle while the arts and crafts inclined are able to hone their skills in any of the denizens of on the spot workshops offered throughout the year.  Stretching from le Museé d’Orsay to Pont de l’Alma, les Berges combines the best of street art, outdoor festivals and open-air green spaces, where both performers and spectators converge in appreciation of the joie de vivre that is the City of Lights.

Come promenade, roller-blade or cartwheel your way along the riverbanks of the Seine as you discover yet another element of surprise in the ever-changing Parisian landscape.  Come stroll along les Berges de Seine….

Next week – what next????? Stay tuned for more pink-sneaker adventures!!

Galloping, traipsing and trudging along the Parisian rues and avenues - Part 2

Having now giddily galloped along the Parisian rues and avenues cavorting with the resplendent gendarmes on their regal stallions, I was all tuckered out, in dire need of a nap and some much needed shut-eye – but first, my pink sneaker clad feet had to hoof, or should I say, ever so laboriously, trudge back home to my new digs on the banks of le Rive Gauche.  I would love to scribble that yet another adventure eagerly waited in the wings, as if mischievously bidding its time for an opportune moment to haphazardly strike, veering me once again off rail and catapulting me into a larger than life drama of unbelievable story-telling proportions.

But alas, this was clearly not meant to be, as the day’s events had been monumental enough, offering me a chance to revel with young and old in one of the most significant of French celebrations, as well as teaching quite the valuable lesson of not to foolhardily wander about garrisoned boulevards and blocked laneways on national holidays - that is - unless you enjoy ambling along in clue-less confusion for miles on end.

Where is everyone?  Did I miss something?

My raw and bleeding tootsies were in quite the lethargic state indeed, having spent the morning sprinting from the summit of the white washed spires of Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre down to Les Champs-Elysées, onwards to the banks of the Seine and were now in full-on hobble mode, dragging one pink sneaker dejectedly behind the other in a gruelling traipse to my new home away from home.  

At least I'm not the only one trudging along the rues and avenues

Why so dog-tired and bedraggled?  After all, I was the hands-down champion of meandering, strolling, marching and promenading, oftentimes with burdensome luggage in tow, so a couple of extra kilometers tacked on to the route home should have been a piece of cake and a walk in the park or so you’d think.

My near comatose cobweb eyed state was clearly due to the fact that I had barely slept a wink the previous night, sequestered like a mad woman in a corner of my claustrophobic apartment, frantically scouring the web for suitable accommodation.  With the Kid’s European holiday approaching an end, I would now be forced to face my fears alone in this light-less shoebox, visions of being trapped in the confining hallways with no way out, too over-whelming to bear.  So what if I was skipping out barely four days into a week long lease, as the fee had been handed over to the rental agent long ago - I was nonetheless more than willing to sacrifice a couple of Euro rather than spend one more second in le dreaded space. 

So, as Miss Niece dozed, visions of jetting home across the pond dancing in her head, her slightly cuckoo Auntie hunkered up for the night, vino in one hand, laptop in the other, on a determined mission like no other.  What were the chances of securing that gem of a find on such short notice?  My yards long check list included the must-have necessities of a floor to ceiling length picture window, a light and airy non-confining space, and most importantly, be bargain basement affordable.  Long past the witching hour and somewhere around the wee hours of the morn, with the pinkish rays of dawn welcoming a bright new day, my bleary eyed persistence struck virtual gold, confirming my reservation at Hotel Vendome St. Germain on the banks of le Rive Gauche.

Traipsing along the Seine en route to le fabulous hotel               

Time to wake the Kid, pack up our bags and head out, first to my new digs to drop off my luggage and then off to the airport.  Rubbing my weary and drooping eyes, my sleep deprived mind rationalized that I’ll be back in no time, curled up snug as a bug in a rug, contentedly snoozing the morning away.

Little did I know then what adventures lay ahead.

Come rent apartments in claustrophobic spaces, and jump ship half way through the duration of the lease and fork out even more hard-earned Euros on new accommodation in a part of town you’ve not previously stayed in…come gallop along the boulevards with the best of the rest….

Next week – what next?  Yikes!!  There’s more?  Stay tuned!!