A Travellerspoint blog

Savannah, DoubleTree Hotel

overcast 34 °F
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January 10 -13, 2011.
Savannah GA, USA
We arrived late, on a very cold afternoon at the DoubleTree Hotel, located in the Historic district of Savannah, GA. The city bus from the airport dropped us off almost at the front door: no need to look at the map! We were greeted at the front desk by a smiling friendly receptionist, and checked in quickly, with a warm chocolate chip cookie to boot. The hotel is located right across from the Savannah River, and on the edge of the historic district, but since the district can be covered quite easily by foot, this was not a problem for us.
Our room was on the 5th floor, the top floor. For $5 extra we had an excellent view of the river, it was an awesome view. The room was good size, possibly large, as there was plenty of space to hang our clothes, jackets, and store or electrical gear. The bed was awesome, I truly hope we find a better one on our trip, but don’t expect to. It was a king size, with mattress comforter, 6 large soft pillows, multiple light comforters. The bed was large, quiet, soft but firm and warm. What more could we need? There were multiple outlets for our iPhones, pods and laptop. Being on the 5th floor, street noise was not an issue, and didn’t hear a peep from our neighbors.
The bath was large, with plenty of hot water, strong water pressure and space to run our clothesline.
The hotel had a restaurant, which we didn’t use, but had a lounge with a fireplace that we used whenever we came in from the cold. It was an excellent place for our needs; the rate was very reasonable, right around $100/night. We walked around during the day through the many squares, and out to dinner at night: we did not feel uncomfortable within the historic district. I believe there was a charge for Wifi access, but this not a problem, as coffee shops and restaurants in the area provided free access.
We left early, 6AM, taking a taxi to the train station, located about 4-5 miles away, outside of town: too early for public transportation.
We would definitely return to the DoubleTree, during a warmer season, if for no other reason than to sleep in the bed.

Posted by bradanddeb 01:01 Archived in USA Tagged lodging Comments (0)

What to Pack?: #2

How come my back still hurts?

overcast 42 °F
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Feb.15, 2011
I thought we had the packing down when we left Hawaii, 'course I thought that before we arrived in Hawaii, when we arrived with backpacks and cardboard boxes. After viewing our contents, we cut down on the extraneous items: extra clothes and miscellaneous items. We left for the mainland feeling pretty good about ourselves;by the time we arrived in Orange City, those bags with wheels were looking pretty attractive. What is going on here?
That was when reality hit us in the face and back: we still had too many items we could not live without. Serious cutbacks were coming.
I decided two pair of shoes was one pair too many; a long-sleeve top would stay; thick socks were not needed. I was beginning to feel a bit naked looking at the wardrobe.
Looking at the other items: the mac external speakers would go (we had earlier switched out our macbook for an airmac), a lighter and smaller camera was purchased, extra books were removed: one book each; first aid was trimmed; lotions etc were cut.
At this point, my pack was weighing in around 21-23 pounds (5-6 pounds too much), demonstrating the problem was not with clothes, but with the electrical items.
The Airbook is light, but the power-chords and electrical adapter weigh more. With two iPhones and camera: chords, adapters plugs are needed. I think the external drive will have to be sent back.
Shipping is going to be expensive :-(

When we traveled before, it was out and back. SF to Hawaii, or SF to Paris, or SF to NYC. Pretty simple stuff, plan for a week or two of clothes, etc. Packing and planning for RTW is another story and another blog.

Posted by bradanddeb 02:01 Archived in Italy Tagged packing planning Comments (0)

Philly: Shut Down


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Philadelphia, PA
January 27, 2011

From Washington, DC we detoured up the East Coast to Philadelphia for one reason: to see the priceless collection of post-impressionist art at the Barnes Foundation before it was closed forever and the art dispersed and re-located from its original setting and manner of display. We had one day; not the right day as it turned out. Heading up the coast by train in the early morning of January 27, Brad received an e-mail from the Barnes that it was not opening today due to weather. Now, this seemed odd to us California folks--it's snow for gosh sakes--aren't East Coast cities prepared for this? Apparently not 16" in one night. It wasn't just the Barnes, Philly was shut down.

We arrived to a "winter wonderland" of snow and a city that, for the most part, was closed. A few hotels and restaurants were open, but most everything else closed, roads weren't cleared, sidewalks, if they were cleared, were by the merchants shoveling the section of walkway outside of their door. No buses, few cars. We walked about a half mile through snowy, empty roads from the metro to our B&B (thankfully open, with a cozy fire going in the sitting room). The Barnes and pretty much everything else was hunkered down. So we just walked around this snowy, beautiful, shut-down city for the day.

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The walk from the downtown metro station

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Welcome to our B&B!

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Follow me! Any reception here?

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Let's take a walk in the park

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I found Ben's grave

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Robbie makes Brad a Philly Cheesesteak

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Four lanes, no traffic

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Even alternate transportation won't get you where you want to go today

So, we had a good day trekking through Philly. Tomorrow up to JFK and cross the pond to Lisbon. If things go according to plan, we won't be back in the U.S. until Nov. 2011. Chao America, see you next winter!

Posted by bradanddeb 15:22 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Why I ♥ the National Gallery of Art

Jan. 22-26, 2011
Washington, DC

I admit it: I love Washington, DC. Great city--so much to do, and for the most part it's free. History, politics, art, culture, artifacts, diversity, clean, great metro, good food . . . did I mention that almost everything is free?

Did you know that we have a National Gallery of Art? We do, with some of the best art in the world, owned by the American people! So, my favorite of all of DC is the National Gallery of Art. Here are some of my reasons:

1. The architecture of the West Building is beautiful. It's grand, in marble, with high-ceilinged galleries, wide staircases with siderails so smooth and cool to the touch, space and volume to relish each work of art. The rotunda in the West Building is encircled with green marble pillars, plants and flowers around the fountain, and Winged Mercury alighting from its pedestal.

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West Building Rotunda

2. For more than four years now, the NGA has used a Degas painting on the sign in the front of the building. Now, I'm biased because Degas is my favorite artist. But, the curators can choose from thousands of artists. Moreover, they could change the sign every year, or more frequently. But they have used Degas out front for four years running--nice!

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Degas painting in front of the National Gallery of Art, since 2007!

3. Photography is allowed. That's pretty rare in museums. In one room at the NGA, I confirmed with the guard, "May I take a picture?" He said, "No." Hmm. I knew it was allowed, so I paused a bit looking at him, and he said, "You may take a photograph, but the pictures have to stay here." ☺

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Deb viewing Degas painting of his friend painter Mary Cassatt at the Louvre

4. There is something for everyone at the NGA!

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Brad appreciating sculpture

5. It's an easy way to learn about classical myths. Venus had a premonition of the death of her lover Adonis. She tries to stop him, but he leaves her to go hunt, and is killed by a boar. Some say the story is a metaphor that the draw of worldly affairs is stronger than that of love. What do you think?

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Venus and Adonis

6. The art is so absolutely beautiful I can't take my eyes away from it.

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7. There are paintings of dogs. (This one is for you, Soquel.)

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8. And of bathing . . . (I know I may be a bit weird here. Bathing is a common theme in art--in part because it was a way for artists to portray nude women and because bathing has spiritual connotations as well as being a universal, common activity. So, interestingly (to me), there are artistic renderings of bathing from pretty much every civilization, culture, religion, etc.

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9. A painting will amaze us, as this one did by Andrew Wyeth. A simple window, a brown palette. How did he paint that light curtain, so real we could feel the breeze and want to gaze out all afternoon?

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10. According to some experts, the NGA has the most beautiful painting ever painted. It's by Raphael. Here it is; what do you think?

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Madonna and Child, by Raphael and section close up

11. A door at the end of the West Wing leads, unexpectedly, to a hidden oasis: an arboretum of fountains, plants, and lounge chairs. On to the East Building--modern art!

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12. Color, shapes, and wild imagination . . .

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13. And when the NGA closed for the day, it was snowing!

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Deb bundled up for the walk home.

Posted by bradanddeb 14:30 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The National Portrait Gallery

More Fun Than You Might Expect

January 22-26, 2010
Washington, DC

The National Portrait Gallery stays open two hours later than the other museums. So we would go there at the end of the day, before heading up the hill to our B&B on Logan Circle. You are probably thinking--the Portrait Gallery? Lots of head shots of old guys in wigs. And you're right, there are a LOT of those from the 18-19th centuries . . . on the first floor. But, surprises await on the second and third floors--contemporary portraits, sculptures, paintings, and electronic and video art. Don't ask me why these are in the portrait gallery . . . but we were sooooo glad they were.

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Civics 101 via Route 66

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Ancient Woman . . . Modern Woman

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Is it wrong to crush on a Founding Father?

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The Brad Whisperer

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Which one is Oahu?

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"This would look nice in the yard."

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Who is this SF detective writer?

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Hum baby, now THAT"S a portrait!

Posted by bradanddeb 14:05 Comments (1)

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