Top 30 places to travel, according to whom?… Where do we recommend when asked?…

Tom’s burger and fries at Donde Bocha Antogeria in Atenas. I ate the little side cup of guacamole.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

This morning’s visitor, a large centipede. It doesn’t appear to be venomous. Tom scooped it up and put it outdoors in the garden.

After posting our story on September 25th, about the top 20 most dangerous countries in the world to vacation, (click here for our story) we received a few email messages inquiring on the more positive side; what do we consider the top countries in the world to visit?

Such an article was recently posted online by US News & World Report listing the following 30 best places in the world to visit. They used the following to compile this list:  “…U.S. News (click here for their article) used expert opinions, user votes, and current trends to compile this list.” 

Charlie ordered this plate of beef nachos. There was a bottom layer of tortilla chips. I could have had this without the chips and dressing which would have been meat and lettuce which wasn’t very appealing to me.

Their list follows below (those marked in red indicate those we’ve visited and/or lived in these locations during our past almost five years of world travels): 

  1. Rome 
  2. Sydney
  3. Porto (Portugal)
  4. London
  5. Paris
  6. New York City
  7. Florence
  8. Prague
  9. Barcelona
  10. Dubai
  11. Amalfi Coast
  12. Santorini
  13. Oahu, Hawaii
  14. Grand Canyon
  15. Bali
  16. Serengeti National Park
  17. Vancouver
  18. Breckenridge
  19. Phuket
  20. San Sebastian
  21. Tahiti
  22. Yosemite
  23. Costa Rica
  24. The British Virgin Islands
  25. Park City, Utah
  26. Great Barrier Reef
  27. Machu Picchu
  28. Banff
  29. Jackson Hole
  30. St. Lucia

People we meet and our readers often ask our opinions on favorite places to visit in the world based on our travels thus far. We’ve even had an opportunity to speak to some of our readers on Skype when they are contemplating a vacation/holiday and aren’t sure where to go. We would like feedback from us on the topic.

This is a tough question to answer. It’s comparable to asking a person what books they prefer to read, their favorite movies and which foods they prefer to eat. It’s highly subjective. 

Our personal preferences for choosing travel locations and bookings are varied based on affordability, personal interests, and long-held beliefs and desires to see certain parts of the world.

This is the outdoor restaurant, Donde Bocha Antogeria, we visited with neighbor Charlie for lunch.

Also, there’s a vast difference in staying in a hotel or resort for a two-week vacation as opposed to “living” in a country for an extended period. Even if the property is exceptional, living as if we were locals is entirely different from tourists’ attention and amenities at a hotel or resort.

We’re basically “on our own,” fending for ourselves for transportation, meals, and entertainment.  In a resort or hotel, a typically readily available concierge or front desk staff usually takes care of everything, if one so chooses.

Tom liked Imperial beer made in Costa Rica.

During a one or two-week vacation in a country, the traveler’s perspective may be entirely different from what we experience over three months. Their goal is generally to pack in as many tours, shopping and dining experiences as possible. 

Often tourists bring along an extra empty piece of luggage to contain their purchases. We often see this on cruises where many focus their attention on shopping and dining at each port of call.  This surely must be fun for those who find it enhances their experiences.

For us, such an objective is far removed from our reality. Although we may wander through shopping areas in certain ports of call, we rarely make any purchases more for photo ops and sharing the experience with our readers than to purchase anything. 

After lunch, when Charlie took off to shop, we visited the Central Market in downtown Atenas.

As for dining out during ports of call or in countries in which we’re living, it’s a two-pronged consideration; one, frequent dining out is costly and two, most mid-range restaurants can’t accommodate my way of eating. 

People often ask how we can possibly enjoy ourselves without dining and shopping in many countries. Here again, our objectives aren’t the same as most travelers.  

One of our major interests is in shopping for quality food to create healthful and suitable homemade meals at our temporary home utilizing the flavor and availability of locally grown produce and sources of protein. In essence, this has become a hobby for us as we’ve traveled the world. 

Inside the Central Market, there are many casual dining spots.

Although we’ve dined out regularly in many countries s we will upcoming in Buenos Aires where we’ll be living in a hotel for a month and then beginning February in South Africa; we’ll dine out frequently since most of the food is organic and centers around delicious roasted meats and vegetables.

Here in Costa Rica, dining out isn’t a priority when most meals include tremendous amounts of starch. Believe me, if I didn’t have to eat as I do for health, I’d be all over the tortillas and flour/corn-based products.  Tom, a picky eater, doesn’t care much for ethnic foods, tortillas or even guacamole.

Recently as shown in today’s photos, we went to lunch with our neighbor Charlie who lives a few doors from us. We visited a traditional Costa Rica restaurant in Atenas. After carefully perusing the menu, the only items I could eat was the guacamole with nothing to dip into it and the pico de gallo, not necessarily meal worthy. 

Produce is for sale all week in this market as opposed to the Friday Feria Market where we prefer to make our selections.  It appeared many items were imported.

I didn’t order a thing except for a glass of water, especially when the language barrier prevented me from inquiring if their kitchen is technically “gluten-free” meaning separate prep and cooking areas free from any contamination from grains, starches, and sugar. That’s not possible here in Costa Rica unless one is dining at a pricey high-end establishment of which there are none in Atenas.

Surely in San Jose, a 40-minute drive, there are possibilities but it just hasn’t been worth making the long drive to eat an overpriced meal. When we head to Managua, Nicaragua in 28 days, we’ll dine in upscale restaurants and hotels which can usually accommodate my requirements.

Thus, it’s easy to see how our preferences for “where are the best places in the world to travel,” are considerably different from that which the average traveler may find appealing. None the less, it’s fascinating to hear about the preferences of others.

A larger produce seller in the Central Market.

We’re always happy to share our perceptions of top places to visit in the world but encourage those inquiring that our preferences may vary considerably from that which appeals to them.

Most of us prefer a location of beauty, great scenery, good weather and reasonable prices with interesting culture and possibly wildlife. Many have virtually no interest in wildlife which has greatly influenced our choices.

That’s it for today, folks! Have a fabulous weekend wherever you may be!

Photo from one year ago today, September 30, 2016:

Tom spotted this local woman carrying straw on her head moments after we returned to Sumbersari after the five-day visa extension process in Lovina Bali. It felt good to be back “home” for the final leg of our stay in Indonesia. Click here for more details.

Part 2…Churches as a integral part of sightseeing throughout the world…

Here’s a video we posted from our veranda in Boveglio Tuscany, Italy, of the church bells
ringing across the way at the SS. Jacopo e Ginese Catholic church.   See our link here.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

This morning’s view from the veranda at 5:30 am.

It’s interesting to watch our readership ebb and flow depending on the topics we cover in a particular day’s story and photos. Yesterday’s church story and photos showed a sharp decline in hits which surprised us.

But, true to our word, we’re completing Part 2 today with photos of other breathtaking and historical churches we’ve seen throughout the world. With too many such church photos to post in only two days, we’ll end this segment and move along tomorrow to another story with new images.

A scene on the interior of the S. Maria Assunta Catholic Church in Benabbio, Italy, in June 2103. See our link here.

However, we share another batch of church photos from our world travels over these past years for our historical and quaint building enthusiasts. Based on the number of passengers we’ve observed attending historical buildings tours on cruises, there are more historical building enthusiasts than we can imagine.

Undoubtedly, there comes the point for those who frequently travel, that the lure of historical buildings eventually wafts away, and they become more attracted to other tourist attractions. 

Gerry, Nicole, and Tom outside a quaint little church n Mykonos, Greece, in June 2013.  See our link here.

A few years ago, we thought we’d reached such a plateau. Still, now after considerable time away from countries known for their hundreds of years of history with architectural acumen, our interest is renewed. Once again, we’re finding churches and old buildings of great interest. 

Many of these photos were taken a few years ago since we’ve spent less time in countries specifically known for their historical buildings during the past two years. Of course, we’ve lived on many islands with outstanding temples and palaces, but most of these were found in Europe.

Busy preparations surrounded the Igreja De Campanario church in Campanario Madeira on July 2014 as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday’s religious festivities. See our link here.

Sometime in the next several years, we plan to return to Europe. Although we visited and lived in a few of Europe’s countries, one could spend a lifetime exploring all the treasures found in European countries. We’ve traveled very little in eastern and central Europe and not at all in Scandinavia.  We look forward to seeing more in the future.

The world is a vast place. At times, we meet people who start rattling off places they’ve traveled, including many we’ve yet to see. But, living this life isn’t a marathon. 

Here we are wearing saris standing at the foot of the steps at the Pulaki Temple (Monkey Temple) in Singaraja Bali in May 2016. See our link here. 

We don’t have any particular time frames in mind to accomplish a specific goal of what we’ll see in the future. For us, such an objective would diminish the sense of freedom we feel in our singular aim to “do it our way,” not by some preconceived notion of “how” one “should” travel the world.

Of course, we always have some locations booked well into the future. However, with added experience, we’ve found we don’t need to book two years in advance at this place and time. We did so in the beginning, more out of a desire to feel “secure” in knowing where we’d be in the future. 

St. Mary Cathedral in New Plymouth, New Zealand, on its last day before being closed permanently due to its lack of safety during earthquakes. See our link here.

Now, all these years later, we’re confident enough to “wing it” from time to time. At this point, we have no idea where we’ll be living in Marloth Park in 4½ months and feel confident we won’t be living in a tent in the bush. 

Wisdom and peace of mind come from experience. We still have so much to learn and will never reach a point in our world travels where we feel or assume we know how to do it all. It’s a fluid experience that continues to grow and change along with the changes that occur wherever we may travel. 

The Wai’oli hui’ai Church in Hanalei Kauai, Hawaii, which the congregation built in 1841. See our link here.

There’s nothing static about world travel. The risks fluctuate. Our response to experiences changes. Conditions in countries can change in a moment. Our interests can change “on a dime.” 

However, we know that our desire and passion for continuing on this journey hasn’t changed, our desire and passion for living this life together haven’t changed and, our desire and passion for sharing it all with you haven’t changed.

St. Mere Eglise Church with the Paratrooper Memorial in Normandy, France, appears on the left of the church in this photo.  See our link here.

Be well.  Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2016:

Tom and I both ordered the surf and turf platter at Puri Bagus in Lovina Bali.  He gave me his prawns, squid, and veggies while I passed him my fries, flatbread, and onion rings, requested on a separate plate. The steak was a tenderloin, cooked to perfection and the most tender we’d had in a long while.  For more food photos, please click here.

Part 1…Churches are a integral part of sightseeing throughout the world…

San Rafael Archangel Parish is located in Atenas, the center of town, across from the park.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A few workers stopped by to help Ulysses with a landscaping project.

As we’ve traveled the world over these past years, we inevitably continue to visit one church after another. It isn’t very likely to tour cities, towns, and villages without stopping to revel in the architecture and ambiance of churches of many denominations.

The Parochial school at the church.

Often churches are the only remaining historic buildings in many locations ravaged by wars and uprisings throughout the millennium, leaving this element of history one can hardly ignore.

Several parishioners were praying when we entered the church in Atenas.

Even those of a variety of faiths or no faith whatsoever can find themselves entranced by the beauty and significance of these historical buildings, especially when involved in a specific tour when traveling in a group, on one’s own, or as part of a tour during a port of call while cruising. 

Long view of the altar at San Rafael in Atenas Costa Rica.

We can’t say that any particular church we’ve visited had more of an impact on us than others throughout the world. We loved Sagrada Familia in Barcelona in May 2013 and its incredible history under construction for the past 100 years. See the photo below, along with our link here.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, has been under construction for the past 100+ years.
Then again, we were equally excited to see the church in Bampton, England, in August 2014, where the church scenes in Downton Abbey were filmed. 
Having loved the British TV series, it was quite a thrill to see the church where Mary and Matthew were married and eventually where he was buried in the church cemetery. See the photo below, along with our link here.
This is St. Mary’s church in Bampton, known as Church of St. Michael of All Angels, as shown in the TV series Downton Abbey, where Mary married Matthew, Edith was jilted at the altar, Matthew was buried.

Another unique religious structure, The White Mosque in Dubai in May 2013, left us breathless over its beauty and luxury. Here’s our link, including photos of us wearing the required clothing to enter, the thobe for Tom, and the abaya for me.

As we approached Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It was challenging to get a full shot of the mosque’s enormity based on its size and location. The link above will depict its entire range.

The opportunity to visit these churches and more, which we’ll continue in tomorrow’s post with links and photos, definitely has left us reeling over the powerful significance and purpose for the people of most countries. 

In other countries other than Costa Rica, we’ve never seen these glass coffins with Jesus. So we assume the representation in this manner is cultural.

At times, while chatting with cruise passengers, we may jokingly say, “If we never tour another church, we’ll have seen enough to last a lifetime.” But, we say this knowing full-well that day will never come. 

Beautiful wood ceilings in San Rafael in Atenas.

As we continue on our travels, we find ourselves drawn to these structures, not only as a tourist “attraction” and their often architectural beauty but for the powerful purpose they possess in the lives of the local people, which in many ways has shaped their lives and over time, ours as well.

Close view of the altar.

Please check back tomorrow for more churches we’ve explored in our travels, each with a remarkable story of its own and as an integral part of our ongoing world travels.

A crucifix on the grounds of San Rafael in Atenas.

Have a beautiful day, dear readers/friends!

Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2016:

Traditional Hindu/Balinese decorations were used in creating the ambiance for dining on the cabana at the resort in Bali. For more details, please click here.

Visiting another town in Costa Rica…Naranjo…Chatting with friends on Skype…

 Basilica Nuestra Senora de las Piedade is one of the most beautiful Catholic temples in Costa Rica, unique in its Renaissance style, was built between 1924 and 1928.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Colorful flowers are blooming throughout the villa’s grounds.  Ulysses takes excellent care to ensure everything is perfectly groomed.

Naranjo is the capital city of the canton of Naranjo in the province of Alajuela in Costa Rica. It is also the name of the district that includes the city. The district of Naranjo covers an area of 25.75 km² and has a population of 19,760.

We visited Naranjo last week when we had the rental car hoping to see this well-known Catholic church. Unfortunately, upon arrival, we discovered the church was temporarily closed due to renovation. So instead, we wandered around the center of town and the local park, observing yet another community filled with friendly people.

Many towns in Costa Rica have Central Parks such as this in Naranjo.

From this site
“The town of Naranjo, settled in 1830, was originally known as “Los Naranjos” (the Orange Groves) due to the abundance of orange trees in the surrounding area. Although the name has been shortened and the amount of orange trees lessened, this city of 35,000 has remained an important agricultural hub for Costa Rica.

Set at the base of the Espírito Santo Hills in Costa Rica’s gorgeous Central Valley, the area surrounding the town is stippled with farms growing all kinds of crops– plantains, corn, tapioca, coffee, rice, beans, sugar cane, tobacco, and beef, to name a few.

On a recent road trip, we visited the town of Naranjo to see this church, the Basilica de Naranjo.

The coffee plantations are perhaps the best represented, and plantation tours are becoming increasingly popular among tourists. This fertile area is drained by the Grande Colorado, Molino, Barranca, and El Espino rivers, and, at an elevation of 3,398 feet (1,036 meters), the temperature is a consistently cool 68° F (20° C).

Each year a large festival honoring of the Virgin de Lourdes brings in visitors from all over the country to Naranjo. Additionally, there is an attractive baroque-style church in town that is worth checking out.
Many local citizens travel on foot to get to around town when cars are expensive and bus service is limited.
CIn the Alajuela province’s capitalcity of the canton Naranjo  Naranjo is 27 miles (44 km) from San José. The town of Sarchí, renowned for its abundance of fine handicrafts, is 3 miles (5 km) west. The road north leads to Ciudad Quesada and the Northern Lowlands, and is one of the country’s most picturesque drives. Other popular destinations, including Monteverde, Arenal, and Guanacaste, can be reached from here as well.”
The warmth and friendliness of the people of Costa Rica are evident wherever we may travel. They often smile when walking past us and many often say, “hola or Buenos Dias”. 
Interesting architecture.
There’s no doubt in our minds that in many countries locals can determine that we’re Americans. I’m not sure if there’s an “American look” but we must have it since even before we speak, it’s often presumed. 
Speaking of friendliness, after spending nine weeks in the USA this past summer and after seeing many of my girlfriends, I couldn’t go back to our lives of world travel without staying more closely in touch.
The clock is the correct time.

In these past two months since we left the US,  I’ve had the opportunity to speak with four of my long-time girlfriends on Skype.  No words can express how enjoyable this has been. Yesterday, I talked to my dear friend Colleen, who worked for me 35 years ago in real estate.

We’ve stayed in close touch by email and Facebook these past years. In 2013, while on a cruise in the Caribbean, I visited her in person when she lived on the island of St. Thomas for many years. 
The municipal building is located across the street from Central Park in Naranjo.
I was always impressed how she’d left her life in Minnesota behind to live on the exotic island for decades, never knowing at the time, that we’d do something similar. Over those many years, we easily stayed in touch by phone and later by email. 
We’d hope to see the interior of the church but it was closed due to renovations. So instead, mass is held outdoors on the grounds of the basilica.
However, we hadn’t talked since we visited St. Thomas on April 17, 2013, when St. Thomas was a planned port of call during the cruise. Click here for our post from that date. She’s since moved to Florida. 
We talked about the many hurricanes she experienced over the years in St. Thomas and the worry and concern she shared with other Floridians over the recent devastating hurricanes. Fortunately, her current home weathered the storm well and all is fine and good for her.
This historic outdoor altar is where church services are held while the church is under construction.
Tom walked with me to the center of town where Colleen and I planned to meet and went back to the ship on his own. Later in the day, he met me at a nearby fountain and walked back to the boat.  It was beautiful to see her then and equally excellent to chat on the phone yesterday.
Typical roadside scene.

We promised to stay in touch by phone in the future providing we have a good enough Wi-Fi signal.  Recently, with other friends I’ve done the same, spending time every so often chatting on Skype or now, Facebook’s own free voice chat module. 

My sister Susan and I have been talking every week, Julie less often and other family members as their schedules allow. But, in today’s world, we’ve found talking on the phone is less of a priority to younger generations when social media and texting play such a more significant role. 

Cattle near the road on a small farm.
Today, we’re staying in. We haven’t been able to use the pool for many days due to heavy thunderstorms with lots of lightning throughout most of the day. Of course, it’s still the rainy season (aka green season) which continues from May to November but we’re making the best of it, never letting the rainy days get us down. 
We’re content. We hope you are too!

Photo from one year ago today, September 27, 2016:

We lounged in this (one of many) cabanas overlooking the sea at Puri Bagus Lovina, in Bali with iced tea in hand and books to read on our phones as we continued the five-day process at the nearby immigration office to extend our visas.  For more details, please click here.

Busy days, lazy nights…Simple life in Costa Rica, using all of our senses…

Rapids in the Rio Grande River. We’d have stopped for a video or better shot, but there was no shoulder at any point on the single-lane bridge, and other vehicles were waiting to cross.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Another fire right before our eyes in the valley.  We have no idea what they’re burning.

It’s rather stunning that each day, especially on the days I’m busy cooking for a few days, I can quickly get in 10,000 steps on my FitBit. When I consider the fact, I am sitting for quite some time preparing each day’s post and mostly sitting after dinner when we watch our shows, for the remainder of the day, I’m moving about this large house like a person on a mission.

Chickens and roosters on the rocks in Roca Verde

Purposely, I create opportunities to walk more often to maintain some level of fitness. Yes, I’d love to be walking on the road each day, but as mentioned in a few past posts, the road is outrageously steep and challenging to navigate based on the villa’s location. It’s just not fun for us.

Winding roads as we make our way down the mountain.

We’ve heard that a few neighbors navigate these roads, and we wish them well and commend them for doing so. But, the few people we’ve seen walking the hill don’t appear to be any more fit than the rest of us.

One lane bridge over the Rio Grande River.

Instead, we stay active when staying in, swimming in the pool on sunny mornings and walking as much as possible when sightseeing. I’m hoping today would be a pool day. Unfortunately, as I complete today’s post at almost 11:00 am, the sky fills with dark, ominous-looking clouds.

A turtle pair is sitting on a mossy grass ledge in the pond.

Yesterday afternoon Ulysses, our living-on-the-premises gardener, stopped by to tell us that we could hear the sounds of monkeys. All along, we thought those sounds were dogs howling nearby.  However, when the sounds continued for hours, we often wondered.

Suddenly, as is typical here in the rainy Central Valley, the clouds quickly roll in.

As Ulysses spoke, I didn’t know the Spanish word for a monkey called “mono” (mow-no). But, I was able to determine he was telling us to listen to certain sounds. Then, he made the universal gesture for monkeys. Can you guess what that is?  Yep, it’s the “scratching on the sides of one’s torso” and making an “O” with one’s mouth while breathing in and out, heavily and noisily. 

On occasion, we encounter a horse farm or…a farm with horses.

We laughed and praised Ulysses for being so conveniently adept in his description. So now our ears are tuned to those sounds, added to the roosters, the mooing cows and bulls, the endless array of birds, and the occasional drum beats, which are commonly heard in this area as kids practice local school.

We stopped at a roadside market but didn’t find anything that works for us.  Too much sugar and flour.

As avid amateur photographers, we often get caught up in the visual aspects of our surroundings when there’s so much more. I think in terms of Tom’s blind brother Jerome who “reads” our posts daily on his talking computer, and how much videos with sound must mean to him. 

Koi pond in Zarcera filled with turtles and fish.

Each day Tom edits the post removing all the photos sending them to Jerome by email. Tom never misses a day. It means so much to us that Jerry can travel along with us vicariously enjoying the simple nuances of our day-to-day activities, whether they’re significant or not. 

The reasonably priced items are typical Costa Rica snacks.

When the circumstances are right, taking a video while we talk and it must mean so much more to Jerry. I will make a point of doing more videos in the future, but here in Atenas, there are fewer opportunities for videos than there will be in upcoming months…Antarctica and then Africa.

Tom is always on the prowl for something sweet for a treat but rarely finds anything that appeals to him.

In our upcoming 30-night back-to-back cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires, embarking in 58 days, we’ll be going through the Panama Canal again. Surprisingly, we’re as excited to do this another time as we’d been in the past.

Koi ponds are popular in many parts of the world.

We’ll be thrilled to see the newly built additional locks being built during our first time on a cruise on January 4, 2013. At that point, we were less experienced in taking photos and videos. This time, we’re certainly looking forward to doing so with a bit more ability.

These sleeves of cashews were especially appealing to us. However, I don’t eat cashews since they are higher in carbs and sugar than almonds, walnuts, and pecans.

Ah, the thrills that lie ahead of us somehow make the quiet times in Atenas Costa Rica all the more meaningful and peaceful. As we soon enter into our sixth year of world travel, it almost feels as if we’re beginning again by joyfully retracing our steps to a few favorite locations.

Costa Rica’s markets always seem to have an abundance of gorgeous local flowers for sale at great prices.

Today, we’re making another great meal, Low Carb Cheesy Corned Beef and Cabbage Casserole with enough for two night’s dinner with an additional pan to freeze for future meals. You know the drill, want the recipe? Email me…

May your day stimulate your senses and bring you joy!

Photo from one year ago today, September 26, 2016:

Grounds near our villa in Lovina Bali, where we stayed for four nights during the lengthy process of extending our visas. It turned out to be a delightful experience after all. For more details and photos, please click here.

Interesting article on the most dangerous countries in the world… How many have we visited?

A turtle we spotted in a pond in Zarcera, Costa Rica.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Bottlebrush flowers blooming in the yard.

Business Insider online magazine/newspaper published an article this past June listing the 20 most dangerous countries for tourists in the world. I hadn’t stumbled across this story until this morning while reading the news on my phone when I awakened way too early to get up.

Information of this type is of considerable interest to us, and I was surprised we missed this particular article. Both of us are often on the lookout for information related to travel.

In May 2013, this boat came alongside our ship in the Gulf of Aden when two mercenaries boarded the vessel with “black boxes” and stayed on board for three days and nights protecting our ship from pirates. Here’s the link to that story with more photos.

Here’s the list of Business Insider 20 most dangerous countries from the least dangerous (#20) to the most dangerous (#1). We’ve been to those marked in red. More details may be found in the actual article listed here.
20.  The Republic of Congo
19.  Thailand (6 weeks)
18.  Jamaica
17.  South Africa (3 months)
16.  Guatemala
15.  Chad
14.  Bangladesh
13.  Mali
12.  Lebanon
11. the Philippines
10.  Ukraine
 9.   Honduras (cruise tour)
 8.   Kenya (3 months)
 7.   Egypt (cruise tour)
 6.   Venezuela
 5.   Nigeria
 4.   Pakistan
 3.   El Salvador
 2.   Yemen
 1.   Columbia (cruise tour)

The chaos in the streets in Egypt was comparable to what we’ve seen in movies. Often these types of areas are targets of attacks.

Although cruise tours may seem safer, and in many ways, they may be, we’ve often read stories of cruise passengers under attack at shopping centers, restaurants, public transportation, and on tour buses. 

As for the above listed six out of 20 which we visited and lived in, there is only one, South Africa, which we’ll visit (in this case a second time), where we’ll be living for many months beginning in February 2018. 

Not all areas of South Africa and these other countries are dangerous. Many remote locations have lower incidences of crime and terrorism. But, most tourists, generally staying only a short period, tend to prefer to visit the larger cities, where most crimes occur.

The stone wall at the property in Kenya not only inspired the goats to stop by to say hello but had broken bottle glass set into the mortar at the top of the wall to keep intruders out.  Here’s the link for this photo.

With primarily non-English speaking news on TV where we’ve lived over these past years, we can easily miss such an article as the above. However, whenever we begin research for future travels, we first investigate the political climate and crime rates and search the US Department of State Travel warnings.

Many of our readers have contacted us stating that they are in the process of changing their lives to travel the world and often ask us for advice and suggestions, which we’re always happy to provide. 

In many ways, our site is intended to be of assistance to both short and long-term travelers and those who’ve traveled in the past and dream of traveling in the future. 

Then, of course, we have those loyal readers who don’t necessarily care about traveling but enjoy seeing our photos and reading about what life is like “living in the world.” (We appreciate all of you, regardless of your motivation to visit us here).

We can’t stress more the importance of doing your research for those travelers considering future travel. And, as we all so well know, there isn’t any country in the world that is entirely safe, including our homeland, wherever that may be.

If seeing the Pyramids in Egypt is on your “bucket list,” you may decide to trade that dream for another, safer location. When we visited the Pyramids in 2013, even then, it was listed as unsafe and has become more so over the years. Without a doubt, we realized the risk when booking the cruise, which was further confirmed when we had a security guard on our bus with an Uzi in a holster beneath his black Hugo Boss suit coat.

Mohamed, our security guard, stayed with us the entire time we toured the pyramids. Here’s the link to that story with more photos.

Once we arrived at the pyramids, we felt fortunate when the above security guard, Mohamed, had taken a liking to us and suggested we stay close to him during the trek to the pyramids and back. 

We’d heard stories of horrifying tourist experiences at the pyramids but felt safer going on the cruise ship’s arranged tour, which many cruise passengers have experienced. Although, as mentioned above, these tours still may pose a serious risk.  

It was scorching and dusty. We wore our breathable and insect-resistant Africa clothing during this tour and others.  Here’s the link to this photo.

Please be careful when arranging private tours through local tour companies in any of the above countries. Reading reviews and doing extensive research is a must. Failure to do so may greatly increase the likelihood of danger, with many unscrupulous operators taking advantage of tourists.

We continue to strive to be safe and realize that we’ve taken certain risks in some cases. As the world becomes more and more dangerous, we’re seriously thinking twice before planning to visit many countries throughout the world. 

Our continuing goal to stay in more remote locations continues to provide us with a layer of safety that generally provides us with peace of mind. Only you can decide how much you’re willing to risk your safety to “step outside the box” in your world travels.

In each of our lives, wherever we may live or visit, we all have the opportunity to reach for our interpretation of “stepping outside the box,” whether it’s reading a book of a genre we’re never tried, tasting a new food we’ve previously avoided or in making the first step to meet someone new.

May your day present you with opportunities to try something new!

Photo from one year ago, September 25, 2016:

Private outdoor massage area at neighbor’s Piia and Thomas’ home in Sumbersari Bali, often used when a massage therapist visits the house several times a week. For more photos of this beautiful home, please click here.

How much do we pay for health insurance?… Technology issues… Patience prevails…

Elephant topiary on the church’s grounds.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

We can’t take our eyes off these adorable tiny birds.
Early this morning, we were sighting of a hummingbird partaking of our sugar water.

Regardless of how far away we may travel from the US, there’s no escaping the responsibility of paperwork required for life in general and more related to our lifestyle of world travel.

With Tom’s 65th birthday fast approaching on December 23rd, it was time for him to waive Part B Medicare, which would result in an automatic deduction from Railroad Retirement for his monthly pension income if he didn’t handle it on time.

Pretty ceiling and chandeliers in the church.

Medicare doesn’t pay for medical care outside of the US (with a few exceptions, here and there) long ago; we purchased  “major medical” international insurance coverage through Healthcare International in the UK.

No more expensive annually than paying the required amount for Part B Medicare and a supplement, our plan doesn’t cover doctor visits. So in the past almost five years, we’ve spent very little for the few doctor office visits we’ve made, the most for physical exams and tests we had over two years ago in Trinity Beach, Australia.

Shrine on the grounds of Iglesia Catolica de Zarcero church in Zarcero Costa Rica.

In total, over this extended period, including the comprehensive exams in Australia for both of us, we haven’t spent more than US $2000 (CRC 1,150,510), averaging at US $400 (CRC 230,102) per year.

Our annual insurance payment to Healthcare International is US $4,000 (CRC 2,301,020) plus the average US $400 (CRC 230,102) for doctor visits, totals US $4400 (CRC 2,531,122) per year.

Faces in the shrubs.  Amazing.

The required payments for Medicare Part B plus a supplement plan, plus all the necessary co-pays, would ultimately be much higher than what we’re paying annually. But, of course, we hardly ever go to a doctor, reserving those for situations where we feel we have no alternative. Thus, it’s difficult to compare “apples to apples.”

As a result, Tom won’t be signing up for Medicare Part B, which required he contact Railroad Retirement (as opposed to Social Security) since he worked for the railroad for over 42 years.  Instead, Railroad retirement (and Medicare) require that the potential recipient complete a form requesting to waive Part B.  I’d done this almost five years ago when I was approaching 65.

More faces.

A few weeks ago, Tom called Railroad Retirement and requested the necessary documentation to sign to waive this option. Unfortunately, it took several weeks to arrive at our mailing service in Nevada, Maillink Plus.

When we receive snail mail at the mailing service, we’re sent an email message that snail mail has arrived. So we log into our account at their site and see who sent the mail but not its specific contents. At that point, we can request the mail be scanned at US $2 (CRC 1151) per page.

This spot may be used for weddings and other celebratory occasions.

Of course, receiving mail from governmental agencies may result in the necessity of having many pages scanned to get to the page(s) were looking for, as was the case here. 

Once the document is scanned (always within hours except for Sundays), we can view or print the copy (if we have access to a printer), which we do here in Costa Rica in this fine villa. Since the document required completion with a signature, printing it was a necessity. We also needed to print the cover letter, which included coding and secure ID numbers. Thus, we ended up with two pages to print.

Not every topiary was indicative of a specific animal or item but, it is still interesting.

Once Tom completed the form, the next step was to get the two pages back to Railroad Retirement. Unfortunately, they don’t accept email for such conditions. That means we’d have to pay for a taxi to go to a post office, pay the postage to the US and also plan it could take upwards of a month to arrive.

But not for us! Our mailing service will handle that for about another US $2 (CRC 1151), preparing an envelope with our return address and a stamp. Then, all we’d have to do is scan the two pages and email both of them to the mailing service. 

Colorful stonework on a wall near the entrance to the church.

This morning I printed the two pages, after which Tom filled out the form, handing them back to me to scan and email. Sound easy, eh? Not so much. For some goofy reason, the software I’d downloaded for the new Brother Scanner we’d purchased from Amazon and received while in Nevada wasn’t working.

The application I needed and had used extensively when I’d done tons of scanning while in Nevada had somehow disappeared from my laptop, nor could we find the actual installation disk I’d used at the time to install it. 

Rainy day view from the church entrance to the topiary.

Sure, I could go online to Brother and install what I needed to complete the process, but I was bound and determined to figure out a solution to avoid doing this. Furthermore, I’d yet to start today’s post and didn’t want to spend an hour fooling around with an install.

Patience was not high on my priority list, but a determination was often the case. After about an hour, I figured out a workaround and got the documents to scan and into my email. Finally, I prepared the email message to Maillink, which they’ll receive and process tomorrow (Monday), confirming that the task has been completed.

Painting of Jesus in the interior of the church.

Today, while Tom watches the Minnesota Vikings game, I’ll work on installing the software if we have a good enough signal for streaming the game and performing a download. We shall see.

Have a wonderful Sunday or Monday wherever you may be in the world.

Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2016:

In Sumbersari Bali, we met neighbors who invited us for a visit. This is their infinity pool. For more photos of their lovely property, please click here.

The realities of daily photo sharing…A reminder of the USA in Alajuela Costa Rica…

Much of the produce at the Central Market in Atenas appears to be imported when it’s perfectly shaped and mostly clean. At the feria, the Friday Atenas Farmer’s Market, the produce seems to have been “just picked” with excess leaves and insects still on them. That’s the produce we prefer to buy.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

The gnarly trunk of a tree in the yard.

In a perfect world, we ‘d have new and exciting photos for each day’s post. But, in the “real” world that’s simply not possible for us. If we only posted once a week or once a month, it would be easy. 

Our commitment and desire to post daily make this type of objective ridiculous. We’d have to be out sightseeing every day to accomplish such a feat. And like many others, we embrace a pleasant day to day life, it just happens to be in different countries every few months or more frequently during specific periods.

Produce shop in the Central Market.

When locals encourage us to see “this and that” in their country, we smile and say we look forward to seeing many of their homeland’s unique features. We often say, “We are enjoying “living” in your country and relishing its customs, culture, and way of life, although it doesn’t necessarily mean we go sightseeing all the time.

As you live in your homeland, do you go sightseeing all the time…or ever, for that matter? I can’t recall the last time we went sightseeing in Minnesota where collectively we both spent most of our lives (Tom a native; me a transplant in my early 20’s). 

Various meats are hanging in the refrigerated window. In many countries, we’ve seen meat hanging in the window without any type of refrigeration.

Sure, a Minnesotan might take out-of-state visitors to see the Mall of America or Minnehaha Falls. But, once the visitors are gone, it’s back to the usual activities of everyday life.

For us, there are specific sites we’re anxious to see while taking photos to share—some much more than others. But, more so, it’s the serendipitous situations we encounter along the way that provide us with the most excitement and intrigue; the people, the wildlife, and jaw-dropping scenery and vegetation.

 There are a few butcher shops located in the Central Market.

A few days ago, having the rental car, we’d considered driving to the beach. However, with stormy days predicted for each of the five days we had the car, it made no sense to go for four hours (round trip) to get to a beach. 

How many photos of white sand beaches have been posted here over these past five years? Most likely well into the hundreds. Spending more time living in beach towns than anywhere else in the world, one sandy beach photo is not unlike another to our readers.

Costa Rica is getting ready for Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, and we love beach scenes. But, I also love living near a beach or on an oceanfront property as we have on many occasions, comparable to our time in Bali (four months total) living on the coast in a gorgeous villa such as here in Atenas.

Although Atenas doesn’t have ocean views we’re totally content with the lush views of the Central Valley, the rapidly changing weather conditions, the birds, the sounds of barnyard animals and the easy lifestyle.

In the center of “downtown” Atenas, another farmers-type market is open during the week and Saturdays. Again, there are shops, restaurants, and plenty of produce. We walked through the entire mart but didn’t purchase a thing.

Besides living in a gorgeous home with every possible needed or desired amenity, it is exceedingly comfortable to stay in on the days we don’t have transportation nor a desire to get out. But, isn’t that like all of us? 

Of course, we all know people who are constantly on the go, planning every moment of their day and evening when they’re not working or engaged in obligatory tasks. I often wonder if those people are running from quiet time and their headspace. But I could be wrong.

A discount store in the Atenas village.

We find those quiet times enriching, refueling us for our next out-and-about adventure, sightseeing tour, or drive to the countryside. For us, it’s about balancing our lives with that which we love to do at any given time, whether it’s a lazy afternoon rest on the veranda, a conversation laden hour in the pool, a tour of a popular venue, or watching another episode of Mad Men in the evening.

It all matters.  With so much on the horizon, we’re finding the slow lazy lifestyle in Costa Rica rather appealing. Two months from today, we’ll be boarding the Celebrity Infinity for yet another 30-night cruise which will be the beginning of a year of considerable excitement and photo ops.

As we entered the PriceSmart store, it reminded us of shopping in Costco in our old lives.

Please bear with us as we present the photos we have on hand at any given moment. Many will consist of the continuation of tours we’ve done while here which we may have already presented in part, yet to be posted thus far. They may be out of any particular order and may not match the story of the day. Plus, some days the “Sightings from the Veranda” are limited.  We make every effort to find something new and different, but that’s not always possible.

Yesterday, we drove to the town of Alajuela to find the PriceSmart store (there are six in Costa Rica), surprisingly owned by Costco. We didn’t realize we’d have to purchase a membership to shop, but we didn’t hesitate to spend the US $35 (CRC 20,133.46) when we saw how many items we wanted to buy.

Wow!  Christmas decorations were already on display in PriceSmart.

Although most Spanish labels and all pricing were in Costa Rica colones, we managed pretty well.  Mostly, we were able to find cuts of meat and cheeses we hadn’t been able to find in Atenas. We spent US $395 (CRC 227,226) with enough protein to last several weeks. Luckily, the freezer is large enough to accommodate all of our purchases.

Most of all, it felt especially fun for us to be in basically what appeared to be a Costco store, here in Costa Rica.  The Kirkland marked packages of items brought back memories of our Costco store in Eden Prairie Minnesota where we often shopped. It was pretty enjoyable.

Goodness folks!  It’s still only September!

We scurried about when we returned to the villa bringing in all the items, many that didn’t fit into our yellow Costco bag or our Africa bag we carry with us throughout the world.  I put everything away while Tom hauled it in from the car. Isabel was still cleaning the house, so we hurried and put the perishables away, allowing her space to finish her work.

Tonight, we’re making one of our favorite meals, unwich (bread-less Subway-type) sandwiches, with a side of coleslaw and cooked vegetables. We haven’t had these since we made them at Richard’s home in Henderson Nevada in July. He enjoyed them as much as we always have. Also, Pricesmart had the gluten/sugar-free Boarshead meats and Provolone cheese, something we’d never find in Atenas.

Today, at noon we’ll head to the cafe at Supermercado Coopeatenas to return the car, grab a few items inside the market and return by taxi. No doubt it will be another good day.

May your day be good as well!

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2016:

Sunset reddened clouds are reflecting in our pool in Sumbersari Bali.  For more photos, please click here.

A must share recipe after many inquiries…Non-foodies, please bear with us…New readers, why do we eat this way?

The repeat photo is shown in yesterday’s post. After many inquiries, more details and the recipe is included here today. Food is a big part of our world travels, as we’re sure it is for most of you when traveling, whether homemade or dining in restaurants. We tripled the recipe below to result in four meals, freezing part of it.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica

This is a Social Flycatcher, a different species from that which we presented in earlier posts. Thanks to new friend and neighbor Charlie, he named this species for us. Thanks, Charlie!

Many moons ago, Tom suggested I stop frequently mentioning food in our posts. But, based on my special diet, which has enabled me to be well enough to travel the world for this past almost five years, it’s somewhat difficult to stay mum on the topic.  

When I wrote about Tom’s comments, many readers immediately wrote to say it was fine to mention food, recipes, and meals. They wanted to see what we were eating. And, let’s face it, food is a part of our daily lives in one way or another.

Many of our readers continue to inquire about recipes we mention in posts when something sounds appealing to their tastes and desires. Such was the case and motivation for today’s post when we posted a photo of a meal we made on Wednesday with a photo we posted yesterday.

I often suggest readers contact me by email, and I’ll send them the recipe. In this particular case, we had dozens of inquiries which led us to decide we needed to post the recipe and photos once again and update the reasons for this way of eating with those who may not be aware, having started reading our posts since the last time we posted this information.

We continue to be looking for new and taste-tempting recipes that fulfill our mutual desire for good food, healthy and rich in taste and nutrients. It’s a constant challenge when we strive for variety to introduce new local foods we may encounter along the way. 

For our new readers, let me reiterate what the diet consists of on a simple basis:

  • Grain free
  • Sugar-free (no fruit except avocado and tomato)), no agave, no honey, etc.
  • Starch free – no potatoes of any type, no corn, no beans, no rice, no quinoa (or other gluten-free grains)
  • High fat
  • Moderate protein
  • Low carb – from 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates per day

What is allowed on this way of eating:

  • Grass-fed meat, free-range chicken and eggs, and wild-caught fish (avoid farmed fish) when available
  • Butter, full-fat cream, hard natural cheeses, cream cheese in blocks, full-fat sour cream, and other full-fat dairy products in moderation (if you tolerate dairy)
  • Olive oil, coconut oil (unrefined, organic, high quality)
  • Nuts (in moderation), except cashews (high sugar), peanuts (not a nut but a bean), and nut flours, including almond flour, coconut flour, ground flaxseed, etc.
  • Vegetables, non-starchy (no corn, no potatoes), mostly green – unlimited quantities (easy on carrots and beets that contain a lot of natural sugar);  celery, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, lettuce, kale, etc.

By following this strict eating method, I became totally pain-free after three months of eating this way, from a chronic spinal condition from which I suffered for decades. Since beginning this way of eating, the condition is held at bay, and we can continue to travel the world, albeit with caution to avoid injuring my spine.

Although I still have the condition, I experience no pain due to a lack of inflammation in my spine. This diet doesn’t make me (or anyone) exempt from other painful situations, conditions, or pain of injuries, such as in Bali in 2016 when I injured my back in the pool, bumping into a stone wall. It took five months to heal. But, for me, it works for this heredity condition. It may or may not work for you.

My elder sister (four years) has by lying in bed 24/7 for 12 years with the same condition. Lying in bed, unable to cook has made it impossible for her to eat this way of eating easily. It breaks my heart to know she’s in pain, but she has an amazing spirit and positive attitude. When we were in Las Vegas in July, I spent considerable time with her, staying in close touch since we left.

Following this way of eating isn’t easy. But, for me, the fear of pain keeps me on track. In the past six years since I began this diet, I haven’t put one morsel of food not included in this way of eating in my mouth…not a cookie, cracker, candy, taste of a dessert, ice cream, or french fry…not a bite.

Not everyone is motivated enough to do this. But as time goes on, more and more people have come to understand that the bill of goods sold to us by the government is not producing a world of healthy people. I won’t get into this.

Over these past years of eating this way, I’ve continually searched online for new main dish recipes.  I used to make low-carb desserts but gave up eating after dinner when none were worth the effort. I’ve rid myself of my sweet tooth, although I still have voyeuristic tendencies when walking past a bakery.

Generally, Tom follows me on this way of eating although lately he’s been eating fruit and he hasn’t suffered any ill effects, no weight gain, no illness. Everyone’s body is different. We all react differently to foods and substances in our environment. One must choose what works for them.

We took this photo before basting the “bakes” with egg white and parmesan cheese before baking. Then, we made them and placed them in the refrigerator, adding the egg white and parmesan before placing them in the oven.

Since we began posting in March 2012 and discussing this way of eating, many of our readers have inquired about how to commence on this eating this way. In each case, I suggested they read some books on the topic, which will lead them in the right direction. I am happy to send each reader inquiring a book list I put together that helped me on this path. 

Upon reading a book or two, they can decide along with their medical professional if this way of eating is suitable for them. This is not a “hit and miss” process. It’s a lifetime commitment to changing one’s diet. For most health will return, the weight will be lost, blood sugar will stabilize (work with a doctor on this), energy will increase, and more positive effects will become evident.

Anyway, after all the email inquires for yesterday’s mentioned recipe, here it is. Please keep in mind that we always make huge portions last for three or four meals, freezing part of each recipe for those days we don’t want to cook. 

This recipe is enough for two to three servings or more based on the preferred portion size. We liked it so much we each ate one of these huge portions per dinner. 

However, we only eat once a day (less Tom’s fruit in the morning) and may enjoy a little larger portion for our evening meal than others who eat three times a day plus snacks. (Our way of eating reduces appetite so much that it is the primary reason we only eat one meal a day). 

We don’t eat when we’re not hungry but, 24 hours (intermittent fasting) after my last meal, I’m always looking forward to dinner. Once dinner is over, I don’t put another morsel in my mouth. Tom may have a few pieces of hard natural cheese, such as a quality cheddar which we always keep on hand in case hunger pops up during the day.

Here’s the recipe, renamed after I found it online and after I’d made several changes to it to enhance its flavor, which proved worthwhile:

Jess’s Low Carb Chicken Bake – Grain Free
Prep time, 1 hour. Cook time, 40 minutes
It may be fully prepared in the morning, refrigerated, and cooked later for dinner
Yields 3 or 4 chicken bakes, based on size preference
Dough Ingredients
·   8 oz. shredded mozzarella
·   3 oz. cream cheese
·   1 egg (the dough mixes easier if it is room temperature)
·   1/3 cup almond flour
·   1/3 cup coconut flour

·   1/3 cup ground golden flaxseeds

Filling Ingredients:
·    2 cups chicken, shredded or cubed (for easy prep, use already cooked roasted chickens)
·    1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
·    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
·    1/4 cup bacon crumbles
·    3 T sour cream
·    3 T mayo
·    1 tsp garlic powder
·    1 tsp salt
Topping Ingredients
½ egg beaten white
Parmesan cheese, grated
1.  Preheat oven to 350F, 178C.
2.  Put mozzarella cheese and 2 ounces of the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for one minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds. Stir. At this point, all the cheese should be melted. Microwave 30 more seconds until uniform and gloopy (it should look like cheese fondue at this point). Mix in the egg and baking mix. You will need to dump it onto wax paper and knead it by hand to incorporate the ingredients thoroughly, or you can do this in a food processor with the dough blade.
3.  Press or roll into a large rectangle on a piece of parchment paper. It helps to use wet hands or cover the top with the second piece of parchment. Cut the dough into 3 or 4 rectangles.
4.  Combine all the ingredients for the filling. Divide the filling between them. Gently pull the sides up and around the filling pressing the seams together to stay closed. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle with the parmesan.
5.  Bake on a pizza stone or baking sheet covered in nonstick foil or parchment paper for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.
Happy dining!
Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2016:
Sunset from the veranda in Bali.  For more photos, please click here.

Colorful Costa Rica depicted in a village church… Check out what we made for dinner!

The church’s attendant encouraged us to reach high above a window to capture this beautiful scene in the yard at Iglesia de Catholica Zarcero.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

We smelled smoke to discover this fire not far from us, as shown from the veranda.

It’s Thursday morning in Atenas, Costa Rica. The sun is shining but based on the mountains’ cloud perimeter, it won’t be for long. The birds sing in their usual manner, a cacophony of varying sounds from a high-pitched chirp to a low roar.

Tom continuously checks out every nook and cranny to ensure we don’t miss a thing.
What appears to be smoke to the right in the photo are clouds. Unfortunately, it rained the entire time we visited Iglesia Catolica de Zarcero and the topiary garden.

One of many cows (or bulls) moos loudly throughout the day. They are doing so with gusto this morning. Now that the day has dawned, only an occasional rooster’s crow permeates the air. Only a few hours ago, their sounds dominated the plethora of sounds.

We’ve seen many churches in our travels, but we’re always intrigued with yet another, as was the case in seeing Iglesia Catolica de Zarcero in Zarcero, Costa Rica.
The hummingbird feeder we’ve kept fully supplied with homemade sugar water is surrounded by a half dozen of these tiny fluttering creatures aggressively taking turns for a beak full of the syrupy liquid.
Beautiful fresco in the church’s ceiling.
They chirp during this process, either from sheer happiness or with a sense of determination in keeping the others away. They don’t seem to like sharing, with only two in a pair ever sipping simultaneously. Yet, we can’t seem to keep our eyes off of them during the many hours we spend each day outdoors.
Although it was raining with a heavy cloud cover, the light reflected in this shot.

Tonight’s dinner is already made when yesterday I worked tirelessly to create a new item, a knockoff and revised (by me) recipe for Costco’s Low Carb Chicken Bake. If you’d like the recipe, please email me or comment here.  Here’s a photo of the finished product after baking. It was amazing!

Oh, my. These low-carb almond flour, coconut flour, and ground flaxseed pastries stuffed with a creamy, cheesy chicken and bacon filling were “to die for!” See me for the recipe.
We froze enough for dinner for the night we return from Nicaragua in about five and a half weeks.  We like planning for such occasions. It’s not as if we can call for carry-out or pop into our favorite restaurant for dinner.
Churches in various countries offer their unique design commensurate with the local culture.
Speaking of restaurants, today we’re going to lunch with our neighbor Charlie who lives down the steep road about four houses. We met at an Atenas group on Facebook. It will be fun to visit with a neighbor and try one of Atenas’ local restaurants at long last. 
Few of the pillars and design consisted of solid wood, but the plan was rich and appealing.

I doubt there will be anything I can eat when so much of the local foods include sugar, starch, and grains. But, it’s the get-together holding the significance, not the food, although I will try to find something suitable.

We can easily imagine the workers, decades ago, giving this structure their attention to detail and love.
Tomorrow, in the morning, we plan to go to the Friday Atenas Farmers Market to pick up more veggies to last through next week. Afterward, we’re off on the road again, taking advantage of having the rental car and hoping (weather providing) to head to the beach.
A side chapel/altar within the walls of the church.
Since we’ll be gone in the early morning, tomorrow’s post will be available approximately eight hours later than usual unless I get ambitious tonight and prepare it to post it before we take off. We shall see.
More fresh flowers at the base of this crucifix.
Fresh flowers.
On a rare occasion, my desire for a leisurely day supersedes my determination to have each day’s post become available at a predictable time. It’s never a case of becoming tired of doing it. That hasn’t happened. Nor will it ever happen based on what I can ascertain thus far. There’s still so much to share going forward.
Representation of Jesus after His death.
Have a stress-free and easy day!    
Photo from one year ago today, September 21, 2016:
In Bali, the main pipe for the water heater broke on the roof, pouring water into the house. None of our belongings were damaged, although the owner’s digital equipment was destroyed, including a flat-screen TV. For more details, please click here.