The hills are alive with the sound of music...detour via Vienna en route to Stuttgart.

For a change of pace, I’m going to veer off track, jump right in the middle of the storyline and fast-forward to my unplanned journey through the Black Forest.  How did I unexpectedly end up on a train barrelling through a 20-kilometre long tunnel in the Alps heading west towards Austria, when I was supposed to be travelling south to Stuttgart?  Was this a last-minute invitation to hang out with the ghosts of Beethoven and Mozart?  An inconveniently placed detour where the only option available was to travel via Vienna in the hope of catching a flight to Stuttgart? 

And where is my boat??

On the wrong train to who knows where....

Nope.  Nada.  None of the above.  Not even close. 

When initially planning my overseas excursion, the plan was simple.  Fly to Amsterdam.  Take a train to postcard perfect Boppard.  Rest, relax and re-charge for two days.  Continue onwards to Esslingen via Koblenz.  Transfer trains at Stuttgart and arrive in Esslingen around 1:30pm.  Thirty minutes later I would be all settled in, with oodles of time left over to meander and explore.  Or, so I thought.  If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years spent traipsing around the globe, is that nothing is set in stone and well-laid plans rarely go “according to plan”.  And, if you’re cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora, derailments and roadblocks are all just part of the course.

Believe it or not, I’m not a planner.  I prefer to go with the flow and see where the road leads me.  My philosophy is that I will eventually arrive where I need to be and that I will get there at some point.  Travel Bud, on the other hand, has quite the opposing view on globetrotting and rarely ventures out without a binder chock-full of colour-coded charts and maps.  Every single detail is meticulously accounted for, leaving marginal room for error.  Planes, trains and hotels are booked months in advance and the itinerary is crammed with endless excursions and activities.  I, on the other hand, have only a vague clue as to what I’ll do once I arrive at my destination.  One would think that it would be the other way around, as there are a ton of restrictions that need to be adhered to when travelling with me.  The “Pink Sneaker No Go” zone is one for the record books.  Steer clear of tunnels, be wary of bridges, avoid elevators, and at all costs stay away from crowds.  And, that’s just the condensed version.

Yikes!! En route to Stuttgart, Germany but I packed the London books instead!

So, where was I headed with this train of thought?  Oh, yes, I was scribbling about accidentally embarking on the wrong caboose.

Our train was scheduled to depart the station at 10:17am and arrive in Esslingen at 12:35pm.  A short 2-hour journey.  Easy peasy. Or, so I thought.  After all, what could go wrong?  We had checked out of our hotel at the crack of dawn, schlepped our suitcases up and down denizens of stairs and arrived at Track #04 with plenty of time to spare.  We had even triple-checked the departure time at the information kiosk where we were informed that our train was running a few minutes late and would arrive at the station anywhere between 10:17am and 10:20am.  European trains are notoriously punctual and so when said train pulled into the station at precisely 10:17am, I didn’t give it a second thought and scampered into the carriage likety-split.  After all, hoisting cumbersome luggage up those 3 steel steps is quite the challenging task, one that involves a combo of skills – lightening fast speed, Popeye-esque muscle mass and sheer dumb luck.  The goal being of course, not to inadvertently tumble back onto the platform, break one’s back and risk getting whacked on the head with cascading luggage.  So, when Travel Bud suggested that perhaps we should double-check the train car number just to be 100% certain (we needed to be on Intercity #119 going to Stuttgart), I hastily blurted, “Like, seriously?  Just hurry on up and load your luggage quick.  I found a great spot for the baggage and I snagged awesome seats!  Hurry, quick!”  Yep.  All to avoid having to haul my bags out from the overhead rack, down those 3 dratted steps back to the platform and wait for the next train.  There was no way in hell that I was going to lug and schlepp all over again so, I logically deduced that the carriage that I was in was the correct one, as after all, the train had pulled into the station at its originally scheduled time.

My over-zealous quest to hastily load my bags, parcels and backpacks onto the wrong caboose inadvertently led us to being trapped on a speeding bullet en route to the land of apfelstrudel and Schubert.  Yep.  The hills were alive with the sound of music.  A far from melodic arrangement of incomprehensible screeching and wailing – a chorus of yowls, howls, snivels and sobs – a pink sneaker musical debut of the entirely unexpected kind.


Now what?

Note to self:  Next time, pack light.

Next blog:  Soon!  Due to my never-ending technological issues, I’m a tad behind with my posts, so I’m planning on catching up and posting at least one or two more before the end of this year (2017, not 2020!).

That is, unless those gremlins of computer meltdowns manage to trip me up yet again….

And here we go…Glitch No. 1 is right on schedule – I'm unable to download pictures of this trip and so I've had no choice but to post pics of previous sojourns - hopefully I’ll be back on track and able to figure out the issue and add the pictures soon.  Yikes!!  Stay tuned!

The pink-sneaker adventures continue....and, hey, does a travel blog really need to have pictures??

Back to the business of pedalling A and Z

To the basics.
On the road again.
Or, was that back on track?
Back to the business of pedalling A and Z and hanging out with 26 of my dearest friends.
But we’ve been estranged for the past little while.

So, should I just weave you a tale or come clean and dish out the truth?

A wee bit of storytelling of epic proportions would be right up my alley but the cold, hard facts of reality scream to be heard.

Not like I dropped off the edge of the earth.  A tad challenging, considering it’s round, not flat.

Was I snug as a bug on a chaise lounge, gorging on bonbons and vino, binging on endless reruns of The Housewives of Beverly Hills?  You’re kidding, right?
At least about the bonbons.

Did my pink sneaker clad tootsies instead find themselves out on a limb, kilometres away from home, scaling Mount Kilimanjaro or dancing up a storm at Marie-Antoinette’s decadently opulent digs in Versailles?  More like stuck in the mud in a rut not far from a hut.

Alas, dear reader, none of the above.  Nothing even remotely close to emulating the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous whilst sipping champers on a beach in Capri.  And you can forget about that lunch date with the Queen.  Gulp.  Better get it over with.  Weaving tall tales of pirates and ships better suits my fancy as opposed to spilling the beans and ‘fessing up to the bitter truth.

Ahhhh....Capri.  And, where's my yacht?

Need I say more?  And on that note...

Here goes nothing.

And, pray tell, just exactly what have I been doing these slothful couple of months?

Absolutely nothing.

Just gorging on bonbons and vino, binging on endless reruns of The Housewives of Beverly Hills.

And there you have it.  Unproductivity at its finest.

And, on that note, might as well top up the bubbly.  Hic.

Back on track.  Next post in two weeks!  Sometime the weekend of Oct 21st/22nd.

Catch up with Pink Sneakers on the Go on the road to Esslingen via routes unknown and tunnels galore!

Stop the presses!!

Spinning stories and weaving webs are somewhat of a specialty of mine.  After all, dear reader, why bore you to tears with tales of the mundane, when I can regale you instead with travel Miss-adventures of the Nora Pink Sneaker inspired kind?

Schlepping suitcases up and down denizens of stairs are a favourite activity of mine, which ties for first place with aimless wandering for miles on end, lost and directionless in foreign cities on the other side of the globe.  A close second and runner-up is one that involves racing the clock, narrowly missing my scheduled flight and least but not last, hopping on the wrong train. 

You might often wonder why I don’t post nearly enough travel photos, as, after all, I am a travel blogger and posting pictures is what travel bloggers are supposed to do.  Key word – supposed to do.  But that involves talent and skill and most importantly, knowing how to properly use a camera – a complicated task involving timing, dexterity and having read and understood directions that are spelled out in hundreds of incomprehensible languages.  And even then, they’re Greek to me.  And, so on I fumble…

It's all Greek to me!

Heck, it could be worse.  I could be a Vlogger and have absolutely no video content to share with you.  Now, that would be a whole other kettle of fish.  Might as well stick to what I do best, scribbling and stumbling my way around the world, sharing words of wisdom on how not to follow in the footsteps of you know who.

Due to circumstances beyond my control (and no, my laptop was not on the fritz, I didn’t have writer’s block and I hadn’t run away to join the circus – at least not yet), I literally fell of the map into the deep, dark rabbit hole of unproductivity.  So, I’m a tad embarrassed to have to confess the cold, hard truth.  And really, what type of pathetically made up excuse could I possibly come up with yet again, this time around?  After all, haven’t I utilized a whole pile of them lately?  What else was left?

Unproductivity at its finest.  Nap time!

This one is entirely plausible and somewhat believable.  And I’m 99.9% certain that it’s happened to you, at some point in your life.  And, if not, then you’re a genius and not technologically challenged, unlike you know who

Yep.  You guessed it!

I couldn’t access my account because I had inadvertently forgotten my password for Word Press.  Three strikes and you’re out!   Hold the presses!  Hey, wait a minute… I’m with Blogger!

Ta da!  Issue resolved! 

I’m now back on track and will resume regular postings every other week – weekend, that is.

New dates!  New times!  New content!  New look!  (Coming soon – or just as soon as The Kid formats the revamped website, which of course involves a hell of a lot of pleading and a ton of bribery courtesy of her cuckoo ‘ol Auntie Nora.)

Stay tuned for the updated website coming soon!

Catch up with your bi-weekly fix of Nora Miss Pink Sneakers on the Go.

Next post:  The weekend of Oct 7th/8th.

A piano in the park and a cha-cha-cha with the chickadees and chipmunks in Gananoque

No road trip is complete without inadvertently stumbling across the odd and the unusual or even the downright strange.  After all, one is almost guaranteed to come across – but, only if you keep your eyes wide open! – something that is so outrageous and out of place, you will end up doing a double-take, as well as give your head a disbelieving shake.

Quirky, quacky and downright wacky was the theme of the day as we trundled along in our spiffy new jalopy along routes unknown toward paths yet undiscovered.  On the road to somewhere but not really anywhere and who actually knows to exactly where, on a Pink Sneaker quest to track down the Runaways, who had buggered off to parts unknown on an impromptu adventure all of their own.

First stop was Gananoque (population 5,194, to be exact) where pianos in the park were apparently the norm.  Say what?  Or, was that, hear what?  A symphony, of course.  Classical melodies permeated the air, Chopin and Mozart were alive and well and my pink sneaker clad feet found themselves itching to waltz the afternoon away, not at a fancy Viennese ball, but right here and now, outdoors, in the park.  Even autumn was eager to put on a show and shake, rattle and roll, merlot hued leaves twirling and swirling in a frenzied dance to whistling October winds.

After all, what else is a cuckoo ol’ Auntie to do if she happens to inadvertently stumble across a piano in the park?  Wait for an invitation to the ball?  Might as well lace up her beat up old sneakers and Cha-Cha-Cha the night away with the chipmunks, chickadees and squirrels.

Gananoque is an aboriginal name and translates to “the town on two rivers”.  The Gateway to the 1,000 Islands and the St. Lawrence River, this charming eastern Ontario hamlet offers old-fashioned elegance and more than enough activities to check off your bucket list.  Whether building sandcastles on the beach or hiking and cycling along picturesque trails, the options are endless and the memories beyond priceless.  Whatever your interest, Gananoque has something for both the old and young at heart. 

Love the outdoors?  Sailing, kayaking and helicoptering adventures await. 

Love culture, art and the finer things in life?  Antiques, teashops, book nooks and galleries beckon.  No further need to elaborate!

Love classical music?  Just hang out in the park and listen to the piano man play.

Just another day in the life of enchanting Gananoque…

Come play in the park and boogie with the best of them, where a piano is the star attraction, beckoning visitors from far and wide to chill and listen to the sound of music.  Had Sidekick Oz and I not been on a mission to track down the Runaways, we never would have ventured far from home and found ourselves in the quaintest of towns by the St. Lawrence River – out on a lark to hunt down the wayward trio, our sojourn en route to Quebec City instead led us to a piano in the park.

Next blog – In 4 weeks!  Wednesday, May 10th!!

Stay tuned for the continuation of the adventures of cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora and Travel Bud Oz.  So, do we ever catch up with Inspiration, Creativity and Imagination?  Only one way to find out – Catch up in four weeks!

Addendum:  Yikes!!  Has it been almost four months since I've published a post?  My apologies, dear readers, for not having scribbled or posted anything since April.  The excuses, there are many, and some have been due to circumstances beyond my control, but life and work obligations kept me off the writing track.  I'm back now and will publish the next post within the next couple of days (sometime within the week of September 24th).