Monday, 31 August 2009

Phyllis Ann, Mattituck

Unlike Stonington and Greenport, the commercial fishing fleet in Mattituck consists mostly of smaller, independent, fishing and lobster boats. Difficult to see from land, this fleet is only fully visible from a boat as you make your way along Mattituck Creek. In this photo, the crew of the Phyllis Ann unloads her lobster pots on an August afternoon.


West Down

We went for our traditional end of summer holidays jaunt today. I have to go back to work tomorrow even if the kids don't. We were looking forward to a nice picnic/BBQ out on Exmoor, next to a river we could have a paddle in, etc. But the weather had other ideas. So we went for a walk across the hills over West Down, a tiny village just outside of Braunton, off the A361 - not to be confused with East Down (which my friend and I nearly did - good job our husbands were driving!)

We were trying out my new guide book 'Pub Walks on Exmoor' and have come to the conclusion that its a rubbish book. Everywhere was very muddy. My friends tried the North Molton walk the other day and discovered the same thing. Now I know the book cannot be held responsible for the weather, but I am sure there are places with pubs on Exmoor which are not quite so muddy. Also, it's instructions are not very easy to follow and the map looks like it could have been drawn by a three year old. It's not nearly as straightforward as the Jarrold books. And I am not just saying this because we got lost before we even left the village! A tip for anyone trying the walk with the same book we had: when it says path by the church it actually means path by the little chapple on the other side of the road to the church.

Still we all had some good healthy fresh air and exercise. And walking across the middle of a field with a big brown bull staring you down is probably one of those childhood not-to-be-missed experiences every child should have.

We made it back to the pub in time to order lunch. The meal was very nice, and the chips were gorgeous - just what you need after being so healthy!

Forest walking

Autumn is definitely in the air, and the best place for walking in autumn is probably one of the beautiful forests of Brittany. From the Forest of Foug�res in the east to the Forest of Cranou in the west, there are many options to choose from. In most places you can keep to well-made paths, but there are also tiny unmarked tracks and steeper gradients for the more adventurous.
A recommendation: why not try a day out in the Foret de Paimpont, otherwise known as Broceliande, fabled forest of Arthurian legend (allegedly). Here there are more than twenty circuits, from a simple one hour stroll starting from the ancient abbey by the lake in Paimpont, to a more demanding 8kms in the ominously named Valley of No Return, leaving from the village of Tr�horenteuc. You can also see Merlin's tomb and the Fountain of Youth, and the strangely named megalith, Le Tombeau des Anglais.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Vacation In A Hotel In The Mill

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My friend from Czech Republic turned back from the 2-week vacation they passed in a mill. She sent me these photos and told with great delight about it. A young couple of owners decided to live in the way the millers lived some centuries ago.

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Probably they found the only right possibility to manage the property and are young enough to have great wish to play else.
Somebody said that the best teacher etc is that who is younger than 40 years because has the desire to play. Maybe it is not completely right, I think. But...

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This couple offers not only many things to do to their guests. They live in a splendid place as you see.
They offer great in all senses plates to eat too.

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They, the owners, wear their "special" clothes not only to work with the guests during the day. Even in the morning they had clothes of the epoque.

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My friend has a 10 years old son and they were very happy when the owners offered a "strange" game to the children. They,children, had to look for a treasure in the night and found a "water spirit" under the bridge that asked them to give him a piece of cake.

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If you want to look at their site search for "Martinsk� ml�n". I could not open the site unfortunatelly. Maybe I'll add the address next days when my PC has more wish to collaborate.


We had a family meal here last night, to celebrate daughter no.1's exam results. It's the first time we've taken the children but me and my husband have been here lots before. It's got a great selection of pasta dishes and they always have lovely specials too. There is no children's menu but all the adult meals come in small people sizes too. It's always crowded so if you're thinking of giving it a try I advise booking. One of my favourite restaurants and cheaper than Prezzo.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Empty Barges

Unknown tugboat and barges, south of Stratford, August 2009

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tractor and Trailer Rides

Run by the National Trust out of Mortehoe Heritage Centre every Tuesday and Wednesday in the Summer seasons, these tractor rides last about an hour and are a fun way to see some stunning scenery off the beaten track. The ride we took today was down some very narrow, leafy lanes and had the odd pedestrian throwing themselves into the hedges to avoid being squat by the tractor, although it was travelling at a sedentary pace. We went down to the Bull Point lighthouse, where people without huge blisters on thier heels were given the option to walk down past the lighthouse. I rested my blisters (from yesterday) and took the tractor back to the road, where it picked up the others. At the back of the trailer a guide told us local tit-bits of information - my only complaint was that he was a bit quiet, so if you're interested in hearing what he has to say as well as taking in the views, sit near the back of the trailer.

Bicentennial Veterans Park

This is a small, city park located just east of the Throgs Neck Expressway in the Bronx. The park does not really have a lot to offer, but it does provide a nice view to the east. The land beyond the moored boats is City Island, while the land in the far distance to the right is Kings Point, Long Island. The neighborhood of Edgewater can be seen in the top photo, on the right side. Bicentennial Veterans Park is sometimes referred to as Weirs Creek.

Recreation Map
Bridge And Tunnel Club: Bicentennial Veterans Park (photos)

Friday, 21 August 2009

My Stamp Collection

Today I had to take a Bureaucracy Day. When you live in Latin America�or Germany�you occasionally have to set aside these days to do tedious paperwork and run around town trying to obtain documents, signatures, and various stamps of the rubber, postage, and embossed varieties.

Today�s Bureaucracy Day was related to my birth certificate. In my naturalization process, I need to have this document up to Costa Rica�s strict bureaucratic standards, and a simple document issued in 1980 by Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins with Baby Sitzman�s footprints just won�t cut it; neither will the fact that IF I am here now, talking to you and attempting to be naturalized, then it mean that I must have been born� so why all the fuss about the who�s, where�s, when�s, why�s, and how�s?

If you ever try to get either Permanent Resident or Citizen status in this country, you need to get all your documents�anywhere from 4 to 12 documents, depending on the circumstances--certified. A few times, by a few different people. Here�s an example, detailing how to do get your birth certificate up to bureaucratic speed:

First, you�ll need an official birth certificate. To do that, you may need to sign a lot of Power of Attorney documents so that your mom can request a copy of the birth certificate (Thanks, Ma!). Then, either you (or your mom) will have to send or take that birth certificate to the Secretary of State of the Great State of Colorado (if you were born in Colorado, like me). There, the secretary of state (or a machine that can copy his signature) will fill out a piece of paper stating that the signature on your birth certificate (that of one �Ronald S. Hyman�) was authentic and that Mr. Hyman was the duly appointed State Registrar of the State of Colorado at the time he signed the document. They�ll also put on a nice embossed stamp with the Great Seal of the State of Colorado. Then, you (or, again, your mom�thanks, Ma!) will have to get the birth certificate and the certification sent to the Consulate of Costa Rica in Houston, Texas. There, Consul Dania L Garcia Diaz will partially fill out another form stating that Bernie Buescher was actually the Secretary of State of Colorado, and that his certification of your birth certificate was authentic. Wait, did I say �partially fill out�? Yes, I did. Because then after that document gets sent back to you (or your mom), you (or your mom) has to get that document to Costa Rica. That honor fell to our dear friends Dustin and Sam when they visited us, schlepped document in hand. The next step is pretty simple. That partially filled out form from the Consulate in Houston needs to be taken to the Foreign Relations Ministry Consular Services Department in San Jos� to be authenticated. There, Eduardo Cubero Barrantes will testify that �the preceding signature, the one of the Consul of Costa Rica in Houston, is authentic.� Yep, Se�or Barrantes will authenticate the authentication of a certification of a certificate of my birth. Notice the usage of the future tense, with �will� in that last sentence. Because first you have to go to the Banco de Costa Rica and deposit 625 colones (approximately $1.10) for the legal �timbres,� which were basically like little postage stamps, but which have since been eliminated due to corruption and overcharging by people who would hoard stamps when the authorities would run out. So now, the deposit is just a 45-minute wait in line at the bank away.

At this point, you may be thinking, "Can't we just trust each other, and maybe use the honor system?" How charmingly silly of you. If we used the honor system, then how would the Republic of Costa Rica know that you weren't associated with Al Qaeda or --even worse!-- Nicaragua? Why are you complaining about this process, if you've got nothing to hide? You're not some sort of criminal or terrorist or foreigner, are you??

So when you get the receipt from the bank, take that and the little packet of authentications back to the Foreign Relations Whatever Place. They�ll glue the bank receipt to the back of the authentication, and put three nice stamps on it (also, make sure the bank teller puts a stamp on the receipt, or else it will not be accepted). Finally, you�re ready, and all that�s left for you to do is get the document translated into Spanish by a translator who�s certified by that Foreign Relations place. They have a list of a couple hundred of translators, but with addresses in Costa Rica being relatively vague or nonexistent, you may want to ask the lady at the information desk for advice. She�ll tell you that 200 meters south of the Parque Espa�a (which itself is 100 meters south of the Foreign Relations building), there�s a guy who can do the translation. This is true, but when you go 200 meters south of the park, there�ll be no sign of this translator's office, nor of the �Edificio Borges,� which is the name of the building where his office supposedly is. You�ll have to ask a pair of police officers loitering on the corner, and they�ll point you another 100 meters (one block) to the south. There you�ll have to ask a crazy old lady looking out the bars of her window, a guy in a staircase, and another guy in the furniture store, and they�ll all have no idea what the fuck you�re talking about, an Edificio Borges? So, you�ll have to double back 100 meters, try not to make eye contact with the cops who gave you bad directions, and then call the office. Obviously, it�s about noon and there�s approximately 1,200 buses in that intersection, so you�ll have to slip into a church to try to make the call, but there�s no reception there. The secretary at the translator�s office will complain that she can�t hear you and then pass you to another guy, who�ll say he�s looking out the window at two police officers; do you see them? Sure, you�ll say, and then you�ll have to go wait near the cops and the guy will come meet you there (and a guy on a yellow moped will eat shit when he ditches his bike, after running a red light and nearly plowing into a girl, Thank God she�s OK, what a freakin' dickhead on his yellow moped anyhow, am I right?). Finally, the guy from the office will find you, take you up to the office, and then the translator will translate your document for a relatively low fee of $20 (plus another 15 colones for three more timbres�what?? that about 6 cents, or is my math off?). Signed, sealed, delivered! Or, more accurately, �signed, sealed, sealed, stamped, stamped, stamped, stapled, and delivered�! You�re set!

Now, be on your way, young man! Your birth certificate has been deemed appropriate by just about everyone except the taxi driver who�ll take you to the bus station or the drunk homeless guy who�ll try to open your door at the curb to �earn a tip.� Your birth certificate has been baptized in stamp ink and sponge water used for moistening stamps; it�s been converted from a mere document to a sort of booklet, una novela de autenticacion, if you will. You can now go home and rest assured that you are successful, and that you�ve got one document gathered, and only about five more to go.

Castle Hill Gardens

Castle Hill Gardens is located in Filleigh, in between Barnstaple and South Molton off the A361. This weekend they are hosting the English National Sheep Dog Trials and Devon Country Fayre. The house is owned by the Fortescue family and they open the gardens to the public from March to September each year. There are pretty gardens to walk through and a riverside walk. We had a quick look at the gardens today at the end of our visit round the other events, then it started pelting down with rain so we decided to forego the Hockings ice cream (that's how bad it was) and come home.

The Sheep Dog Trials were interesing. It was like watching "Babe" without the pig. But the kids weren't impressed. They liked the dog agility event in the main arena. Then they liked the bits that involved me spend huge amounts of money: the swingboats, archery, and buying homemade fudge from the food tent.

Normal prices for entry into the gardens is �4 for adults and FREE for children under 14!! So probably worth going on a sunny day with a picnic. On a sunny day you also won't have to worry about driving your car through a quagmire to get out. I was a bit worried when the wheels slid from under me that they might have to get a tractor to pull me out.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Hot walk!

On Tuesday, forty people and six dogs enjoyed some warm walking by the Nantes-Brest canal and along a Green Way just south of Carhaix. Thanks to Lesley for the photo, and to Julia, whose cakes were universally proclaimed as scrummy.

Oyster Boat Columbia

Oyster boat Columbia, entering Bridgeport Harbor, August 2009
CT HISTORY ONLINE: Oyster Boat Photos

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Coming To America

Just a quick note to let you all know that Angela and I will be going to Colorado this next week. We'll get in on Saturday the 22nd at noon and leave on the following Thursday evening. We're already pretty booked up on the weekend, but if you have a bit of free time during the week and want to try to meet up, send me an email or give us a call at my folks' house.
Hope to see some of you soon!

St. Andrew In Amalfi


The Cathedral of Amalfi is built over the crypt with the relics of St.Andrew. I don't want to tell you the story of this Apostel, you can read it in Wikipedia. The only thing I want write here:

Cardinal Pedro born in Amalfi took the relics there in 1208 from Constantinople. They ar in this crypt behind the grating you see on the photo.




Read interesting articles about many different things all over the world in my other blogs:
General "Diary"
about Animals
about semiprecious stones
money making articles
Yungdrung Bon Blog

Monday, 17 August 2009

Where To Buy New, Used Cars And Vans

It is difficult to find something in the infinity of the informations in internet. That is why I like special sites, a sort of summaries, devided in all possible categories like Perrys pages dedicated to the right for you Peugeot Dealer search. The great dealership's number, the best deals on new cars and a large stock of used cars that you can see listed directly online, all this make Perrys one of the most important franchised Peugeot retailers in UK. And the company is authorized and regulated by Financial Services Authority, the peculiarity that is not the last to know when you look for something in internet.

Pages dedicated to Peugeot cars are easy to navigate because the information is clear and essential. Than you can pass to the specialpages dedicated to this or that model like Peugeot 308 for example where you will find descriptions of the modifications and the best deals available today. It's clear that the stock is constantly renewed, so you wwill find different offers every time you visit the site. Imagine that you can save till about �5,000 if you buy this car today! Not so bad if we think about the difficult times we live now. Is it bad or good but it is unpossible to live without a car and so we have to look for the good deals for us.

Buy the way, if you look for a small car, you have to consider Peugeot 107, the car of Peugeot-Citroen-Toyota project, that was face-lifted and renewed for better efficiency and fuel economy. These are the good news about it. Sincerely, as a woman that is interested in a small car for the narrow streets and cronical absence of the parking places in the towns, I did not like the very first variant of this car because of it's not very great look. Even if you are limited by such thoughts you can find now the new model in Perrys and if you do it today you can save up to �1100!

Walk tomorrow - Tues 18th August

We have a walk tomorrow near Carhaix, starting from the Pont Daoulas (3kms south of Carhaix, direction Motreff) on the Nantes-Brest canal at 2.30. About 8kms of towpath, old railway track and quiet roads. All welcome.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Mother's Day, Costa Rican Style

Yesterday was Mother's Day here in Costa Rica. It's always August 15th, which probably does wonders for having children remember it, as opposed to having it on a random Sunday in May or so (and the fact that it's a national holiday probably helps, as well). So, last night we went to Angela's parents' house to celebrate. Here's her mother, Cecilia:

Last weekend, Angela and I took her mother and her sister / godmother Antonieta to the Termales del Bosque hot springs, one of our favorite tourist spots. I wish I had remembered to bring some pictures of that excursion with me to the internet caf� today, but I didn't so I'll have to put them up another day. Needless to say, it was a fun time, and they seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.

The Man Table on Mother's Day. Quite similar to the Man Table on Father's Day, actually, only perhaps with a few people sitting in different chairs. For these holidays, the guys tend to congregate around a case of beer and some jaibols, which is just the Spanish spelling of "highball"... the Costa Rican version is whiskey with Ginger Ale.
In the meantime, the women sit in the kitchen and talk, while the assorted kids and grandkids roam the house, free-range style. It's a pretty fun and noisy enterprise!

Finally, we took a lot of family pictures near the end of the evening when the guys were all nice and buzzed. I won't put up all the families 'cause I've been at this internet caf� for five hours and NEED to get outta here, but here's the "family picture" of me and Angela, with a computer simulation of what our adorable children may look like in the future.

So, to all you mothers out there, including people who'd be called la pura madre, Happy Mother's Day!

Mount Misery Cove

Years ago I used to keep a list of place-names along the coast that sounded very downbeat; Cape Disappointment, Dismal Swamp, Desolation Sound, etc. Those names intrigued me and I often wondered what the history was behind them. They also most likely created a public relations problem for the local chamber of commerce. I seem to recall a more juvenile list I kept as well, that included places like Intercourse PA, Maggies Nipples WY, and Hooker OK (those ought to bring some interesting Google hits). One local name I had on that first list was Mount Misery Cove, just east of Port Jefferson.
Mount Misery Cove and the surrounding land is referred to on some maps as McAllister County Park, although I have never heard anyone use that name. It is also called Pirates Cove occasionally.This seems to be a recent phenomenon that I have only become aware of in the past few years. The whole fascination with pirates and buried treasure really bores me. There were never any pirates in Mt Misery Cove; the cove was created in the 20th century by companies that excavated the sand at the base of the bluffs.
We recently dropped anchor in Mount Misery Cove on a late afternoon under overcast skies, with some lightning flashes on the western horizon. The thunderstorms never reached us, but the next morning brought easterly 20 knot winds. Strong winds out of the east often create the roughest conditions on Long Island Sound. Waves roll in from the open ocean and fail to diminish as they make their way down the Sound. There is a lot of open water in an east-west direction. The surrounding bluffs fortunately protected the cove from the full force of the winds. It was a comfortable anchorage.
I rowed ashore around 8 AM and walked much of the park's northern portion. A light rain combined with the high winds was much more apparent along this exposed strip of land. I made my way along the ridge of the bluffs which provided a fantastic view despite the foggy skies. West of me was the Port Jefferson Ferry passing the breakwaters of the harbor. To the north and east was the Sound which looked like the North Atlantic with waves crashing on the beach below. I could hear the roar of the surf, a rare feature for these waters in August. South of me was the anchorage, all quite and calm. No pirates, no misery.
Wikipedia: Belle Terre

Abbadia St.Michel

I began to write about the most interesting castels of France in my previous posts. The Types Of Castels is one of those posts.

This is an island, Mont Saint-Michel, with the benedictine abbey built before X century, and is one of the most frequented places of Normandy, France because is interesting for it's high and low tides. The photo you see is from Wikipedia and you will find many others there.

I could not find the information if this abbey is on the way of pilgrimage. I wrote that there are different very important and the most interesting cathedrals on the pilgrimage way from North Europe to Palestina. It could be interesting to make the full list of these places one day...

Ferragosto -The National Feast In Italy

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It is a very special period in Italy. Some days when everybody who can goes to the sea.

Persons leave everybody and everything that canot come together and go out for a vacation. 2 years ago I remember the old persons left alone in the cities died like flys because there was no one shop, drugstore or bar open for about a week in the towns and cities. In our region, there is a law after that year that the essential drugstores, bars and shops have to close one after other in the way that at least one is open.

Normally these are the hottest days of the summer. Yesterday we noticed 40�C when we were on our way home. It is very hard period. Even those persons that like to stay all day long under the sun can not stand it. Specially after 13:00 there is nobody off the house. In the "normal" days this street on the photo is full of cars that go to the expressway...

Ferragosto 2009

We were sure that all the population will pass this day on the beach and decided to go in one of the commercial centers to buy some things we needed urgently. We were surprized to find many cars just at 9 in the morning.

Ferragosto 2009

An hour later the commercial center was full of persons. The other surprizing thing for us was that we could not find summer clothes! All the shops changed the items for winter clothes! Incredible. Specilally if you think that it will be more or less warm weather till November here.

Anomalous year. From all points of view.

Dreaming About Myrtle Beach

We wanted to go to the ocean in this vacation and my husband looked for the Myrtle Beach Accomodation because his friend told him much about this place. After some days dedicated to research and study of the offers we decided to book a room in "The Horizon at 77th", a newly opened hotel in a tranquil but central part of the Myrtle Beach. It is clear that we looked first of all for affordable rates and were very content to find really special solution.

All Myrtle Beach Accomodations provide good ocean view here and every condominium has over-sized balcony. So we will have our breackfast there, we dreamed, and than we will go down to the ocean and walk and run on the beach and the waves will touch our feet. And than late in the night we will go to bed listening to the voices of the ocean. My God, what can be more relaxing as this! We looked at the numerous photos of the sunrises and sunsets posted in the site of our hotel and could not think more other than about this vacation.

Myrtle Beach Hotels have an other peculiarity: they are situated in a place where is possible to assist infinite important events of cultural life. We discovered that we can book tickets directly online from the site of "The Horizon at 77th" and we booked a package of golf courses too. Now we have every day of our vacation full of events. Will we have time to sit on our balcony and enjoy the voice of the ocean?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Best walk in Brittany?

BWs is often asked - what is the best walk in Brittany? I've covered more than 5000kms here, and still retain a personal top spot for the 10km circuit at the Chateau de Tonquedec for many reasons: but the most characteristic route including all that one instantly associates with Brittany must be the GR34 coastal path between Camaret and Morgat (c40kms). Here you have superb coastal views, ranging cliffs, vast beaches, harbours, megaliths, monuments, ancient and 20th century fortifications, notable geological features, varied flora and fauna, wilderness and pretty ports with excellent restaurants to start and finish. A gite d'�tape at St-Hernot provides for an overnight stay, with a good meal and packed lunch provided if necessary. So, off you go.

Dering Harbor

Dering Harbor, Shelter Island, July 2009