Day 2 in Scotland…Sightseeing and sail away tomorrow…

Tom’s Sunday Roast of roast pork loin, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, carrots, and au jus. He said it was delicious.

We haven’t gone sightseeing since we arrived in Scotland less than 48 hours ago. We got caught up on sleep, including a few naps, and feel great. Tomorrow our trusty Uber driver Mo will pick us up in the morning, and we will go sightseeing in Edinburgh until our scheduled time to board the ship at 1:30 pm at the port of Leith.

I had asked for the dressing on the side, so they took my plate away and returned with the plain prawns with the sauce on the side.

Since our hotel is over an hour from Edinburgh, it made sense to go sightseeing this way. Plus, the round trip cost to the hotel using an Uber is over US $260 with tips. This way, if we go sightseeing before boarding the ship, we save hundreds of dollars and hours of driving time.

Sure, we could have booked a hotel in Edinburgh, but we hadn’t budgeted over $1500 for the waiting time before the cruise, which was very expensive. Living this life on a budget has limitations, and we must make practical decisions along the way.

I gave Tom my chips, but he didn’t have room for them after eating Sunday Roast.

Always booking our preferred balcony cabins with perks on both cruises (as always) was more important to us. Besides, after almost 11 years of world travel, we have seen more historic castles and buildings than we ever imagined possible, especially in The UK and Europe.

But tomorrow, we’ll see the highlight with Mo driving us through Edinburgh. We will post those photos on the first few days of the cruise and then start posting cruise photos from there on.

Horizons restaurant in the Bay Hotel.

At the end of the first cruise, 16 days later, we will fly from Amsterdam to Reykjavik, Iceland, to embark on the next two weeks’ cruise with one overnight stay required. We’d already done an extensive tour in Reykjavik several years ago, thus we won’t be sightseeing there. A month from now, we’ll be disembarking in Boston, where we will stay one night to see my cousin, Phyllis.

Then we fly to Nevada for nine nights and then to Minnesota for one month before leaving for Ecuador. It’s just the right amount of being busy for us, especially having fun times with family members and friends in both locations.

An antique double-decker bus in Burntisland.

I have managed to keep my computer running on its battery reserve by not using it much to prepare the post, instead doing most of it on my phone. If I observe it carefully, I can get through today.

But tomorrow, I won’t post until after we get on the ship, and I can charge it for a while. It only takes about an hour to fully charge it. That will give us plenty of time to get unpacked and settled.

The side of the double-decker bus.

So, hang tight, dear readers. We will have plenty of photos coming up in the next few days and after that.

Today is rainy and overcast, which is not unusual for Scotland. We’re actually glad we don’t have plans today. But tomorrow, rain or shine, we’ll be on the move. It’s exciting, and also we are enjoying our time at this lovely hotel and simply being together.

Sign on the side of the historic double-decker bus.

Still…no headache, no face pain. Thrilled beyond belief!!!

Be well!

Photo from ten years ago today, July 31, 2013:

The opposite side of the archway in a historic building in Lucca, Tuscany, above as we entered the Piazza Napoleone square that housed government offices in these unique structures. For more photos, please click here.

We made it to Scotland!…A few issues but we’re good!!!…

Please keep in mind this was us after no sleep since Thursday night. We were feeling a bit raggedy, but overall, OK. I couldn’t open my eyes wide enough for the photo, as shown.

Today’s photos were taken Yesterday at The Bay Hotel in Burntisland, Scotland, where we are staying until Tuesday morning.

It’s summer here, and the flowers bloom in the cool weather.

We didn’t care when booking the Bay Hotel in the suburb of Burntisland about how far it was from the airport. Instead, we focused on availability and pricing, which were tricky, with several festivals occurring while we were here. We didn’t want to spend $400 a night for a hotel, so as we often do, we booked a package for air and hotel through Expedia, which saved us about $1200.

The view of the ocean from the hotel veranda.

Yes, it was far from the airport, but the drive was pleasant, with lovely scenery along the way and our friendly Uber driver. The flight from Orlando was a little over seven hours, and compared to our often 17-hour flight from Joburg to the US, it was a breeze. Tom slept for about an hour. I dozed for 20 minutes.

Lovely view of the sea at low tide.

We surprised ourselves and felt fine, rolling into the local time once we arrived and having dinner around 6 pm. We managed to stay awake until 10:30 last night, and both slept until around 7:00 am. We feel fine today, getting up in time for our 8:30 breakfast reservation.

Cruise ships at a distance. That’s where we’ll go to board the ship on Tuesday.

It was fun seeing the setup for last night’s wedding, inspiring us to take photos which we have included today. The Master of Ceremonies encouraged us to take photos of the setup. He was so proud of their handiwork, and we enjoyed it with him when he showed us everything before the guests arrived.

This is the “LOVE” sign we stood before for the main photo.

Last night in bed, we could hear the vibration from the music from the wedding, but we didn’t mind a bit. We were pretty tired, and it didn’t matter. The main problem we are experiencing now is the fact that Tom packed all the converters and adapters in the extra suitcase we shipped to Minnesota. They were needed here. Now we can’t charge our laptops.

Wedding cake…very pretty!

My battery will run out by tomorrow. Although I am writing the post on my phone now, it’s nearly impossible to load photos for the post using my phone. So we will have another post tomorrow but won’t write again until after we get settled on the ship on Tuesday afternoon. So you will see a late post that day.

The tables were set up so beautifully for the wedding at the hotel.

Also the WiFi is also very tricky here. We are only allowed two devices at a time, and it takes 10 to 15 minutes to get back online each time. That’s frustrating. We won’t be streaming at night here because we lack the ability to plug in our laptop. Tom can recharge his laptop with the low voltage plugs we have. But mine won’t work that way. Once my battery runs out, that’s it. I can’t use Tom’s laptop to do the posts since his keyboard is much smaller than mine, and I can’t type on it.

What a lovely setting for a wedding!

My head has been a lot better since we left Florida. It’s not 100%, but it’s 75%, and I am hopeful it was due to allergy inflammation in both South Africa and Florida, where pollen count was through the roof, especially ragweed, which is my worst allergy. I am very hopeful.

The food in the hotel’s gorgeous restaurant is fantastic here. Most likely, we will have all of our meals here. Breakfast is included, and we only have two dinners left.

Gorgeous wedding flowers.

Today is High Tea at 3:30, and dinner won’t be served until 7:30, so we will wait until then to eat, which is fine. We don’t do High Tea since we don’t eat all those sweet treats. And if we could, we’d be too full for dinner later. I don’t know how people do both.

That’s it for today, folks. Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 30. 2013:

In the pouring rain, we drove around the walled city of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy, looking for a parking spot. For more photos, please click here.

We’re on the move!!!…Final expenses for 89 days living in The Villages, Florida!!!…

As I walked through the gardens, the bees swarmed around me.

Note: Today”s photos are from a post on this date in 2013, while we lived in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, for three months in a 300-year-old stone house. For more, please click here.

We’re packed! All we have left to do is fold and pack the few items in the laundry when dry, the digital equipment, and the zillions of cords, adapters, and chargers. We had a lot of stuff here after this extended stay in the US, but we managed to eat almost all the food we’d purchased except for a few items left for the housekeeper.

The honey bees love the lavender, still in its full glory.

We tidied the house but didn’t clean since a final cleaning is included in our rent, which is always the case. As requested, we removed the bedding and placed it in the basket in the laundry room. We put back everything we’d moved to accommodate our needs. We didn’t break a thing, not a glass or plate, although we’d paid for the required breakage insurance policy along with the rent.

Now, between writing here and posting photos, I am making breakfast using ten eggs and one pound of bacon we had left, which we’ll eat in part soon, and save the rest for snacking later in the day. Most likely, we won’t have dinner at the airport until around 8:00 pm when we get checked in and go through immigration and security.

We always feel relaxed once we get through the check-in process and get close to our gate. Lately, we’ve seen horrific queues at airports in the US, with many cancellations and flight changes. We’re hoping this is less likely to occur with an international flight, but one never knows. Fortunately, our ship doesn’t sail until August 1, so we should make it despite delays.

The shade of the overhanging vines creates a pleasant patio area in the garden.

We just finished the huge breakfast, and finally, I can sit here and finish today’s post. In about 24 hours, we’ll be in Scotland and hope to upload at least a short post confirming we have arrived and are at our hotel. Hopefully, they will allow us an early check-in, a VIP status feature on Expedia, where we arranged the booking.

Last night, we both slept well, which is unusual for us. We usually don’t sleep well the night before we depart a location. But, magically, last night, we both slept through the night, feeling alert and awake today. I can’t say we’ll feel so good tomorrow morning after being awake most of the night on the plane, but we’ll undoubtedly be relieved the long journey is over, and we can recuperate and catch up after the next good night’s sleep.

How do we feel about leaving? No doubt, we’ve enjoyed the ease of living in The Villages with so little required of us other than to shop for and cook our meals five nights a week, do a little cleaning, take care of financial matters and future bookings, and prepare and upload a new post each day.

A good soaking rain would bring all of the vegetation back to life. It rains a few times a week but not enough during the summer heat in the 90s each of the past several days.

As our long-term readers know, quiet times like this made writing new posts challenging, but somehow we all got through it; me writing it and YOU reading it. We thank all of you for your readership and dedication! Hopefully, soon, we’ll have new photos and stories to share.

This will be our first time on an Azamara cruise. Tom has been communicating back and forth with their customer service department to ensure they provide us with credit for priority points for all the cruises we had booked with them that THEY CANCELED. It was a total of seven cruises!

After several email messages and some prodding from Tom, finally, yesterday, they confirmed they are giving us the full credit in rewards points for those canceled cruises.

We often post expenses for the time we spent in a location. For expediency, I am listing our major costs, taken directly from our spreadsheet since we arrived here three months ago:

  • Rent:              $9,072
  • Groceries:      $2,926
  • Dining Out:     $2,106
  • Fuel:               $     33
  • Total  $14,137*
  • Cost per day: (89 days) $159
  • Cost per month (average): $4,836
  • *These expenses do not include personal product purchases we made while here.

We are pleasantly surprised by how affordable it was to live here, even with us going out twice a week for dinner (Including drinks, taxes, and tips).

Well, folks, off we go. Keep an eye out for us sometime in the next 36 hours or so. If we’re too tired to write, we upload a short post, letting you know we’ve safely arrived.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 28, 2013:

With the midsummer heat, few flowers remain in the gardens. For more photos, please click here.

One day and counting…Packing is almost done…

A Great White Heron stood in the water at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.

Note: Today’s photos are from a post on this date in 2018. For the post, please click here.

As of now, noon on Thursday, and we have a good handle on the packing. I just finished folding Tom’s shirts into a neat stack he’s putting into his suitcase. He is currently in the bedroom packing his clothes, shoes, and miscellaneous items.

Tomorrow morning after I do our last load of laundry, we’ll add the remaining items, including the clothes we are wearing now. By early afternoon, we should be completely packed and ready to go for the arrival of the shuttle company between 5:05 and 5:50 pm.

This was our friend Tusker. He was the sweetest guy who visits several times daily, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm). He was so comfortable that he often took a short nap.

Once we get settled at the airport, we’ll have dinner at one of the restaurants (not fast food) and relax until our red-eye boards around 9:30 pm for our 10:30 pm flight. I checked online, and Virgin Airlines has a slew of movies we haven’t seen, with few repeats from United and Delta, on which we’ve flown several times in the past few years.

Most likely, neither of us will sleep much on the flight, so we’ll spend most of the time playing games on our phones and watching movies, hopefully dozing occasionally.

We never tire of seeing these wondrous animals in Kruger and Marloth Parks.

This morning I made breakfast and got everything ready for tonight’s dinner of burgers, salad, and rice for Tom. We cooked bacon to top the burgers and sliced red onion. Tom will cook the burgers on the grill, and we’ll enjoy our final evening in this lovely property.

Last night, I received a message from the hotel in Edinburgh asking for payment. We had booked the reservation through Expedia on the premise that we’d pay for the hotel after we arrived. We’d never had this happen when the booking stated, “Pay at the hotel.” We didn’t want to spend time or effort disputing this, so I went ahead and paid for it.

A bloat of hippos at Sunset Dam.

I suppose they may have had a lot of cancellations in the past, especially during the pandemic and after, that prompted them to require this advance payment. They even stated in the email that they’d cancel our reservation if we didn’t pay now. Weird. But many things have been different since the pandemic, as we’ve witnessed repeatedly.

Tonight, Tom will check us in for our flight once we reach the 24 hours before. Apparently, Virgin Airlines doesn’t require prepayment for excess luggage until we check in at the airport, nor do they increase the fees if doing so at the airport. That’s one less thing to do now.

Crocs on the bank of Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.

What do we have left to do? We’ll have to pack the toiletries we’ll be using in the morning while getting ready; Pack my pillow and a few items from the laundry we’ll do in the morning; Tidy up around the house, take the bedding off the bed, and toss towels in the laundry basket, and pack the cords (including the HDMI), chargers, and adapters from various spots in the house.

A few days ago, I signed up for travel insurance for both of us through United Health Care’s SafeTrip for a policy only lasting until we return to the US on August 31. The insurance doesn’t cover us while we’re in the US. We’re on our own until we leave again around October 12.

We’ll be back with one more post for tomorrow, and then, you may not hear from us until we arrive in Scotland on July 29th or 30th. Once we arrive, sleep will be most important, and getting ourselves into a regular schedule. Once we do so,  we’ll post right away.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 27, 2013:

Lisa, the owner. stapled most of the edges of this “mosquito” netting as screens for the windows. This kitchen window attracted many flies and bees, with frequent cooking going on each day. We will monitor it to ensure no gaps leave an opening for insects to enter. We removed the Ziplock bag to keep flies at bay, moving it to another screen-less window we often keep open. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting…How’s my head?…Last trip to the store…

This giraffe was having a “bad hair day!” The hair on the female giraffe’s ossicones is usually short and straight up. From this post

Today’s photos are from a post on this date in 2018. Please click here for the story.

With only a few hours until my pedicure appointment, I’m debating whether to get back to packing or do as much of today’s post as possible before we head out the door. My inclination is to work on this post so that when we return, I can focus entirely on packing.

Cape buffaloes on the Sabie River in Kruger.

I’ve organized but haven’t started loading items into my single clothing suitcase. I’ve packed most of the supplies into the big yellow bag that will contain my Tempur-Pedic pillow, our shoes, hoodies, and various jackets, which we’ll undoubtedly need in the cold weather we’ll surely experience in Norway, Greenland, and Iceland and other ports of call along the way on the upcoming two cruises.

Mom and baby hippos on the bank of the Sabie River.

My primary focus this past few weeks has been doing everything possible to reduce my left forehead and face pain. Regardless of whether it is an inflamed nerve, trigeminal neuralgia, or occipital neuralgia, the home care for these conditions is very similar.

A dazzle of zebras hanging out near the road in Kruger.

My small heating pad arrived, and it’s been helpful. Four or five times a day, I focus the heat on my cheek and then on my forehead. It seems I get the most improvement with the heat on my cheek which leads me to believe it might be trigeminal neuralgia, not occipital neuralgia, or in the worst case, a combination of both conditions, precipitated by my awful bout with Omicrom in April 2022.

The pain began on the day I tested positive for Covid-19, and it never went away except for short periods when I took Prednisone or a few days here and there for no apparent reason.

A crocodile was lounging on the bank of Sunset Dam.

Sometimes, I think the pain is sinus-related, but beginning last week, I noticed improvement when I started using a prescription steroid nasal spray Doc Theo gave me months ago, which hadn’t helped at the time. I still do the sinus rinse treatment twice daily, but now I add the nasal spray after that, and I am experiencing some relief.

On top of that, I have been doing several head and neck acupressure procedures at least twice a day, never missing a day. I am better between all of these processes, the heat, the meds, and the acupressure. The trick will be to take the time on the cruises to continue all of this. I won’t have any problem doing the acupressure treatments since I do it first thing in the morning and before bed.

Yellow-billed storks and other birds are not easily identifiable due to the distance when taking this photo across the lake at Sunset Dam.

During the day, I can always return to the cabin for 15 minutes a few times daily to use the heating pad. Hopefully, it will continue on this path of improvement. I can’t tell you how much better I feel when my head and face don’t hurt for periods. I am like a new person. As I am sitting here right now, typing on my laptop, I don’t have any pain.

With a thick pillow under my laptop, I don’t have to look down or have my head in an uncomfortable position. Good posture and avoiding bending over to use my laptop or phone also help significantly.

Several giraffes were attempting to drink at the Vurhami Dam.

Soon, we’ll head out the door. Tom will drop me off at the nail salon, run errands, and pick me up when I’m done. After that, we’ll head to the Publix market for a few items since we found we need meat of some sort for one more night, or we’d have to dine out. Being preoccupied with getting ready to go, neither of us feels like going to dinner.

We surmised this elephant might have been ancient because of its size and bright white tusks. Scientists can better gauge the age of an elephant by its teeth, as described on this site.

Two more days? It’s hard to believe. The three months here passed quickly, and we’re ready to be on the move again.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 26, 2013:

Santina cleaned our house this morning, bringing this fabulous plate of “torte” she’d made. How thoughtful she is! With the pie crusts made with flour,  I won’t be able to taste them, but Tom will try all three of these. There’s no doubt they are delicious. I will savor them via my eyes, otherwise known as being a “food voyeur.” For more, please click here.

Three days and counting…Getting things done…

Locals were walking on the steep roads during the procession last night. The woman on the far left in navy blue is our own, Santina, our precious cleaning lady.

Note: Today’s photos are from this date in 2013 while living in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. For more details, please click here.

It is so busy around here. This morning we finished your order to have the suitcase shipped to the hotel in Minnesota, waiting for us when we arrive on September 9. I contacted the hotel’s general manager that the briefcase will arrive in a few days, asking him to store it for us until we arrive. I also included a photo of the bag with the message.

As we stood on the road outside our house, the procession stopped for a few minutes for prayer. There’s Santina again in navy blue. Notice the heels on her shoes!

Then, we headed to the postal station, but three items I ordered from Amazon weren’t in the mailbox, nor was anyone at the postal station, so I could inquire if they had the packages. Now, we’ll have to return later on Wednesday or Thursday. There’s a huge rainstorm occurring right now with lots of wind, thunder, and lightning. We’re not going out in the golf cart in this weather.

Tomorrow is my much-needed pedicure appointment at 11 00 am. While I’m busy with that, Tom will fill up the tank on the golf cart at Walmart and buy a dozen eggs to get us through the remainder of the week.

This patio is where we suntan a few times a week. These impatiens attract the bees, as do most flowering plants requiring us to pay special attention during our hour in the sun, quite close to the planters.

Once back at the house, I’ll finish the post, upload it, and then return to packing. We already arranged transportation through Groome from The Villages to the Orlando International Airport, which picks up for the international flight at 5:50 pm for our 10:30 pm international flight. It’s over an hour-long drive, especially with rush hour traffic at that time of day.

We’ve gone through all our remaining food, and we need one more dinner to wipe out everything we have. Thus, after my pedicure tomorrow, we’ll stop at the Mexican restaurant in Colony Plaza and order food for tomorrow night’s dinner.

The second of the two planters. As you can see, the giant leaves belong to the zucchini. We’ll see more zucchini over the remaining summer as well as the abundant herbs we’ve been using.

For Thursday evening, we have frozen burger patties for Tom with bacon, cheese, onion, and canned tuna for me, which I’ll make into tuna salad using the remaining eggs, onions, and celery, using sour cream for the salad dressing. This will be the best we’ve ever used up our remaining food. In the past, we were happy to leave food for the household staff but with no household staff here, there was no one to leave it with.

Speaking of household staff, yesterday I got a wonderful message from one of our housemen in Marloth Park, Vusi. When we left, I had reformatted my old laptop, which worked well except for one key on the keyboard. I cleaned the exterior, screen, and keyboard so it looked brand new. Vusi was thrilled, hugging me several times, saying, “Oh, thank you, Madam.”

A zucchini that grew in the garden box on the patio.

Thus, yesterday when checking my email, there was a sweet message from Vusi that warmed my heart. He wrote:

“Morning, madam, hope everything is good there, I just wanted to say we (the animal, us) miss you, have a great day🍹🙏may God bless you

And thanks for the laptop. It’s still working good. I really appreciate 🙏Vusi.”
Immediately, I wrote back to Vusi, thanking him for his thoughtful message and how much we’re looking forward to seeing him in less than 11 months from now. We have so much to look forward to.
That’s it for today, folks. We have lots to do and look forward to being on our way soon.
Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 25, 2013:

Here’s a Ziplock bag half-filled with water and a few Euros to ward off house flies. See the story for the results of using these well-placed bags over the past 48 hours. (BTW, it didn’t work). For more photos, please click here.

Four days and counting…Packing has begun…

We took this photo on Volstruis Street. The word volstruis means ostrich in Afrikaans. Sadly, in the past year, the lions killed all the ostriches in Marloth Park. For this post, please click here.

Note; Today’s photos are from a post on this date in 2018. For the story, please click here.

It’s been a long and enjoyable three months living in The Villages in Florida, but we are ready to move on. We never had a chance to look at any real estate for sale when neither of the agents we contacted returned our calls. They must be so busy they didn’t have time to deal with our curiosity.

Not only do they gravitate toward the river for food but also for water, where they drink, play, and swim.

We would have liked to peruse a few houses, but we had to let that option waft away with only the golf cart and the new construction very far from here. Besides, after three months here, we’ve decided we have no interest in ever living here permanently when and if this time comes that we must settle somewhere.

The summer weather is unbearable, and with the small backyards and gardens, there’s little chance or desire to be outdoors, which we’ve missed. It’s just not for us with the lack of wildlife and nature, although the scenery is quite lovely driving through the vast retirement community.

I am not a photographer by nature, but hopefully, over time, I will improve. Photo from 2018.

We loved seeing so many of our friends here, but we can and most likely will return to Florida for a visit sometime in the future and see them all again if it works out. We like that it’s an income-tax-free state, like Nevada, our state of residency, but that would never inspire us to live here.

We weren’t here during the busy winter season when many residents told us they couldn’t get a place to park when visiting any of the town squares for dinner, let alone getting a reservation for a meal. They said the traffic on the roads and golf cart paths is indescribable during winter when tourists and property owners return from colder climates for the excellent weather.

The green grasses along the river are pleasing to the elephants.

That’s not for us. We’re happier living in remote areas, away from crowds, long queues and traffic. Looking back at our almost 11 years of world travel, most of it was spent in remote locations.

You may ask, “Why would we enjoy cruising with the crowds on the various ships?”

The answer is simple. Sailing on a large ship with 500 to 2000 passengers doesn’t feel crowded to us. We can freely wander about the ship, find places to relax and socialize in the various areas and venues and really feel like we are in a small town. Plus, socialization on a cruise ship is ten times easier than it’s been while out and about here in The Villages.

Wildebeest Willie and a friend, along with some warthogs, at night.

We thought it would be more social, but we found many residents have their own little “cliqies” and don’t easily include “newbies” in the conversation. However, I must add we did meet several wonderfully friendly and interesting people while out and about in the town squares on several occasions.

I suppose my problem is comparing everywhere we go to Marloth Park, where strangers smile and stop to chat while at the market, the pharmacy, and then again…our favorite place, Jabula, “where everyone knows your name.” (Remember that line from the TV series, “Cheers?”

Trying out a few of the camera techniques I learned from our friend Ken, I still see that I have a long way to go.

Now, I must wrap this up and get to packing my stuff for the bag we’re shipping to the hotel in Minnesota, where we’ll arrive in less than seven weeks after the two cruises, one day in Boston with my cousin and the nine-day visit to Henderson, Nevada, to see Richard and renew our driver’s license. We’re looking forward to it all.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 24, 2013:

This was one of the many photos we took on the beach in Belize. As we’ve traveled, we’ve found that each beach has its breathtaking beauty, memorable in its way. For more, please click here.

Five days and counting…A food favorite once again…What?…Ironing clothes?…

Making the layers of the bread-free subway sandwich while in Italy in 2013. More details are below in other photos

Note: Today’s photos are from a post on this date in 2013. Please click here.

Yes, I know. We’ve written about these bread-free sandwiches, over and over again, which we call an “unwhich,” as they do at Jimmy John’s restaurants in the US. But here we are, bringing it up again today with preparation instructions in photos with captions. We frequently have new readers and thought they might enjoy seeing the photos. Sorry about that to our long-term readers.

Slice fresh tomatoes, purple (or yellow) onions, and washed and dried romaine lettuce as you prepare the sandwich.

It came up again when I researched the “ten-year-ago photo” at the end of today’s post. Lacking any new photos, I decided to post the details of how to make these bread-free sandwiches based on our positive feedback over the years. Most countries have bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, mayo, and deli meat of one sort or another.

This sliced Emmental cheese or sliced Provolone cheese seems to add more flavor to the sandwich. Try to avoid using overly processed American or cheddar cheese. Italy has no orange-colored cheddar cheese due to the dyes used to color it. That’s impressive!

However, during our most recent 2½ years in South Africa, we never found full-leaf romaine lettuce, only small pieces of the lettuce in ready-to-use bags. Instead, we used head lettuce, carefully removing, washing, and drying the large exterior leaves to make the sandwiches. That worked ok for us.

Place the meats on a plate in preparation for assembling the sandwich. This mayonnaise is the best mayo we’ve ever used, with no chemicals and few ingredients.

As for deli meats which may not be available in some countries, we used thinly sliced, cooked chicken breasts and sliced cooked roast beef without a bone. In some countries, the ingredients in deli meat may be less than desirable for the health conscience, so it was essential for us to read all the ingredients when buying deli meats, even in the US.

Italy has the best bacon we’ve had anywhere in the world.

Although there isn’t a nearby Costco store with excellent quality deli meat without fillers, wheat, or gluten, we could purchase quality deli meats from Kroger delivery. As a result, when we made these “unwiches” last week, we were pleased with the quality of the ingredients. But, we do not buy highly processed meats such as Oscar Meyer, etc., often sold at low prices with dozens of ingredients on the label.

Place the turkey or chicken slices atop the lettuce, and cover with tomatoes, onion, bacon, and mayo. Then add other preferred meats and cheeses.

It has been a busy day so far today. As I write here, it’s almost 2:00 pm, and I’ve been running around the house doing more laundry and ironing some of Tom’s shirts. Most of his short sleeve button-up shirts are wash and wear, but he has three Tommy Hilfiger shirts that require ironing, regardless of how I washed and dried them.

Tom set up the iron and ironing board from the laundry room, and I proceeded to iron and attempt to neatly fold the three shirts, placing each shirt in a large Ziplock bag. Hopefully, they’ll stay wrinkle-free after being packed for the cruises. As for the remainder of his shirts, which are pretty much wrinkle-free, I will neatly fold them without too much fuss, and then he’ll do the rest of his packing.

Place the cheese atop the tomatoes, adding the mayonnaise using a spatula or wide knife.

I hadn’t ironed anything in years and wasn’t as good at it as I once was. While I was at it, I ironed one of my shirts which I set aside for when we’re at the upcoming hotel in Edinburgh or on the cruise, and hopefully, they’ll have one of those little sewing kits.

One of my favorites; it has a hole in the side seam. I had one of those little sewing kits, but it didn’t have the right thread color to make the repair. I am not much of a seamstress and never have been. Occasionally, I’ve repaired a few of our clothing items. Last month, Tom lost a button on his favorite shorts. After finding it, he asked if I could sew it back on. I did, and it’s holding so far.

Ham slices in Italy are different than deli ham slices in other countries, fattier, have no nitrates, and are less flavorful than ham slices in the US. In our sandwiches, we don’t use Italian salami. It was too fatty for our taste buds and greasy on the tongue. One can add or delete any items in this sandwich. But the most important for maximum flavor is bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise. Sliced roast beef also works well when available. We would have purchased it yesterday, but it was US $42 a pound, so we were content with the ham and sliced chicken.

It sounds as if we have very distinct gender roles in our lives. But, we both decided long ago we’ll each perform tasks we find we have the most ability and experience. I cook. Tom does the dishes. Tom does all the heavy lifting, and I do the laundry. Neither of us feels the tasks aren’t divided equitably, nor do we hesitate to ask if we need help with one of our regular tasks.

Also, today, I cooked and diced a huge bag of frozen chicken breasts and diced onions and celery for tomorrow’s dinner of chicken salad, to which we’ll add a big mixed greens salad on the side. Soon the boiled eggs will be cooled enough, and Tom will peel all the eggs, which he always does to help. Tomorrow, I’ll make the dressings for both salads, tossing them right before dinner, and we’ll be good to go for the next few nights.

Cover everything with large romaine lettuce leaves and wrap tightly with parchment paper. We have been wrapping the sandwiches in heavy-duty tin foil, which seems easier to handle and stay together while eating.

Tomorrow, the packing begins, so we can ship the extra bag to Minnesota. We’ll have plenty of clothes and supplies for when we leave Minnesota and head to South America in October. All is good.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 23, 2013:

The final product is tightly wrapped, ready to chill and enjoy with a side salad and steamed vegetables. For more, please click here.

Six days and counting…Ordering food delivered by Grubhub…

Difficult to distinguish in this distant photo…two male lions were sleeping.

Note: Today’s photos are from Marloth Park on this date in 2018. Please see the link here.

Last night, after a pleasant dinner at Cody’s, we headed back home and discussed that it was our last night dining out in The Villages. Instead, we’d order takeaway Chinese food for tonight and tomorrow and then cook our remaining food in the freezer Monday through Thursday.

This morning, I perused Grubhub for options that work for us. As most of us know, delivery food can be sketchy at best, especially when ordering from restaurants we don’t know. In The Villages, our best bet has been ordering Asian food, but we’ve been frustrated with the prices through Grubhub.

When we ordered Asian food through Grubhub for two nights, the cost was around $100. Considering it’s less than what we’d pay to dine out for two nights, we went ahead and placed our orders on three or four occasions, never disappointed with the food, only the cost, which seemed high to us.

This morning, I decided to compare costs if we ordered from the  China Gourmet Asian Restaurant in Colony Plaza, which supposedly has equally good food as Sunrise Asian, which we can’t get to by golf cart. But it’s about 10 minutes to Colony Plaza by golf cart.

Tom spotted this lion napping across the Crocodile River as we peered through the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

We placed our usual order for enough food for both nights, and the total bill was $55 (after a $5 coupon offered by the restaurant) instead of the usual $100 we’ve paid in the past. Grubhub charges a service fee as shown below:

Grubhub Order Sunrise Asian (no delivery fee due to a one-year coupon we received).

Delivery fee $0.00
Service fee $8.95
Tax $6.27
Driver tip $10.00
Total $114.74
China Gourmet pickup order 
Same items ordered as Grubhub order
TOTAL $55.00

Good grief. We should have checked this out earlier and saved over $200 based on several prior delivery orders through Grubhub. The ordering process wasn’t quite as easy at China Gourmet, and Tom will go pick up the food soon, but it’s certainly worth saving $59.74 to drive the cart for about 20 minutes round trip. It will make us think twice about placing online orders through Grubhub and other such services, especially when we are in the US, where prices are higher.

When we were stuck in two hotels for two weeks, one in Southampton and another in Gatwick, England when we had Covid-19 in 2022, we had no choice but to order through Grubhub and Ubereats. The prices were high there, but the food was good, considering what we could eat while sick.

Today, I am washing all of Tom’s shirts since many have been sitting in a closet for a long time, even as far back as when we were in South Africa. He wears a favorite few repeatedly, leaving the others gathering dust in the closet. Hopefully, they’ll come out of the dryer without wrinkles, but I’ll use the wrinkle-free setting and see how that goes. I’ll only dry three shirts at a time to see how it goes, folding them neatly when done so they’ll be ready for his suitcase.

A female bushbuck was preparing to take a drink from the cement pond.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Thank you for your continued support and readership!

Be well

Photo from ten years ago today, July 22, 2013:

There was no photo posted on this date in 2013. For the story about getting stung by a potentially dangerous flying insect, please click here.

Seven days and counting…

Sports cars drove through the winding and narrow roads of Bovegio, Tuscany, Italy. This is an MG, year and model unknown.

Today’s photos are from a post on this date in 2013. For more, please click here.

It’s noon on Friday. We just finished a nice breakfast of bacon and eggs and will dine out tonight at Brownwood Paddock Square. We plan to arrive after 5:00 pm when the outdoor karaoke has ended, and most likely, we’ll be able to get two seats at the bar. As usual, we’ll stay about an hour and then head to Cody’s Original Roadhouse for yet another hopefully good dinner.

A Porsche, year and model unknown.

This will be our last Friday night out in The Villages since we arrived almost three months ago. We accomplished what we came here for…renewing our ten-year passports and, in the process, seeing several of our friends who live in Florida. We didn’t have an opportunity to see all of our “snowbird” friends who come to Florida in the winter to escape the cold weather up north.

By the time we arrived at the end of April, some of our friends had already left for cooler climates during the summer months. Once we’re in Minnesota for a month in September and part of October, we’re hoping to see some of those friends, those who may not have left yet for the upcoming winter.

Another Porsche, year and model unknown.

This will be our most extended stay in Minnesota since we began our travels in 2012 which will give us lots of valuable time with our family, including our grown kids and grandkids. Plus, Tom has many family members in Minnesota, including. His sisters spend the summer and early fall in Minnesota before they head to Arizona for the winter to get away from Minnesota, the frozen tundra.

Today is easy with two loads of laundry washing and drying and with little else to do. Soon the Salvation Army will pick up my eight pounds of clothes. After sending Tom’s suits and my dresses yesterday, we’ve lightened our load by about 14 pounds, 6.35 kg.

This is a Mercedes, year and model unknown.

When we begin packing on Monday, we’ll have a better idea of our baggage weight and can make any adjustments we may need before departure. We’ve added some new items while we’ve been here, but nothing of any substantial weight. The heaviest was my white jeans for “white night” on the Azamara cruise, coming up first.

On the Azamara cruise, guests can use laundry facilities for a fee. On the next cruise, Celebrity, we have a high enough rating for their Captain’s Club to each get one complimentary bag of laundry and two dry-cleaned items, and one pressed item each.

This morning, I tried something new for my head, a freezer hot and cold pack. I’d tried cold, and it helped, but nowhere near as much as the heat helped. As a result, I ordered a neck and head heating pad from Amazon that heats using a UBS plug. Thus, I can use it on the plane and in our hotels and cabins without needing a microwave to heat the gel packet. Also, it will work plugged into my portable charger.

This must be a Triumph.

I’m continuing to do acupressure exercises and particular movements to improve the condition, which is about 50% better than weeks ago. I hope the improvements will continue over time.

That’s it for today, folks.

Be well.

..Photo from ten years ago today, July 21, 2013:

Is this an MG? Year? Notice, at a distance, the red Ferrari or Lamborghini. A car show, per se, driving through the winding roads of Boveglio. For more, please click here.