Category Archives: Itinerary

Takeoff 🛫


➡️In a zig, ↘️a zag, and then ⬆️a zog, this will start out as one trip, turn, and end as another.

Of course, this complicates packing.

Winter in the Netherlands


In Amsterdam, I’ll continue exploring my western ancestry, looking through the windows that open in art, music and history.  I hope to compare what Beethoven says about exquisite beauty to what Shostakovich says about the power of finding beauty amid the ugly.   And I expect I will learn more about beauty, ugliness and their intersection through the mature insights of the young Anne Frank.  I’ll also explore the Dutch Golden Age, and intend to gaze in awe at Rembrandt’s “Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq,” – the “Night Watch” – and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid“, and then I’ll die in front of the most stunning still lifes ever painted.

Puffy coat, boots, gloves, scarf, dresses, tights, fancy shoes, jeans, sweater.

Next I’ll head south.

Spring in a former Dutch Colony


In Cape Town, South Africa, where spring will just be easing into summer, I’ll witness the birthplace of a nation that sprang from the Dutch Golden Age when farmers from the Netherlands colonized to supply fresh produce to the ships of the Dutch East Indies Company on its marine silk road.  We’ll hang out on the V & A waterfront, gondola up Table Mountain, and take a couple of day trips to the Cape of Good Hope for, among other things, penguin viewing, and to Cape Winelands for, obviously, wine tasting.  And again, here in Cape Town, I will be shown how to counter the ugly with beauty and humanity through the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela.

Rain Jacket, umbrella, cardigan, shirts, black jeans, runners.

Summer in the Southern African Desert – Namibia & Botswana & Victoria Falls


From Cape Town, we’ll be flying a couple of hours north to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.  After Windhoek, no cathedrals, concert halls or art museums.  We won’t be seeing the world through filters, it will be nature, unplugged.   Animals in their habitat – striped, spotted, long-necked, maned, trunked.  Animals I never imagined I would see in “person.”  Nature will also have stories to tell about beauty and ugliness that I will have to interpret for myself.  This is a vast country with only about 2 million inhabitants.  We’ll spend the better part of three weeks here before heading east through Botswana to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls.  Namibia is a place described as a good entry point for a first trip to Africa and a great place for families.  Africa, for babies.  I’ll take it!

Binoculars, hiking boots, fleece, hat, linen pants, linen shirts, cotton tees, tanks, shorts, sandals.

Once again, I’m off.  Ga Verder!  Gon Voort!



Luggage:  26″ – 88 L, when expanded – hey, not bad packing!






The 3 Babushkas Stroganoff Tasting Grand Russian Tour Society

Promise, last post before I take off in a week.  Thought you might like to meet the 3 Babushkas before we go. We are 3 friends with a lot in common. We met in our local hiking club and in addition to hiking we are all film buffs and above all else, love to eat!



Me, you know, but if I may, a few salient points. Ever since I read Anna Karenina at age 18, I have wanted to visit Russia. A few years later I learned of one of the world’s most priceless art collections at The Hermitage Museum in The Winter Palace in St Petersburg, and St. Petersburg jumped to the top of my travel wish list. A few years later this was cemented when I saw Russian Ark, a film spanning 3 centuries of Russian history filmed in a single 95-minute shot in The Winter Palace using 4500 actors.

Steven Spielberg calls it one of his favourite films.

I am an obsessive planner and organizer (my suitcase is pretty much packed), a tennis (spectator) freak, and an opera fan. I just bought a new camera (Canon Powershot SX50) for this trip. I am leaving on September 8th and will unite with the BBs in St. Petersburg on September 9th.



Shirley has a great sense of humour and writes the funniest emails. She loves travel and her travels have included China, Paris, and salmon fishing off Haida Gwaii. She has a heart of gold and volunteers at the Cancer Society and is on the board of the very active Telus Volunteers association. She is an avid tennis fan and a very good tennis player herself. She just bought a new camera for this trip. She left Victoria today for Helsinki for a week including a side trip to Talinn (see Route Map). She started packing yesterday. She will take the train from Helsinki, arriving in St. Petersburg on September 9th.



Willie is our Wanderer. “Not all those who wander are lost” (Lord of the Rings). She has lived in the arctic, in the Australian outback, and been from Antarctica to Timbuktu. She was head nurse on cruise ships for 9 years, but she had never done the famed Trans-Siberian Railway. When I said St. Petersburg was my dream destination she said she would go again in a heartbeat. The seed germinated shortly thereafter when Shirley said, “I’m in!” “We’d better start booking hotels, concerts and tours,” I said. Willie turned to me with a wry smile and said, “I have never booked a hotel in advance in my life.” Hmmmmm. Willie also has a wicked wit, and if we get exiled to Siberia, blame her. It will be her fault. She is a “hobby” photographer whose work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. As a nurse, and after retirement, her entire life has been in service to others.

Willie left for Tokyo at the beginning of August. She toured Tokyo and parts of Japan, then took a 2-day ferry to Vladivostok where she and her tour picked up the train. It is the longest railway in the world, at 9,298 kms. Willie will briefly tour St. Petersburg and Moscow with her tour, and then she will meet us in St. Petersburg on September 9th. And we do have a hotel booked; in fact, Willie was the one who found it, merely steps from The Winter Palace.

The inaugural planning meeting of the 3 Babushkas Stroganoff Tasting Grand Russian Tour Society began, of course, with dinner.


PS – While crossing Siberia, Willie found our Honourary 4th Babushka, pictured below.


Time, time, time

Hi, hope you enjoy my new blog. On a learning curve. Taking off in a week and a half for the next phase of my plan. It is time to do #1 on my list. More on that to follow.  First,

The Set-up

My travels began with Time.
Time, the most constant, loyal and unfailing companion.
Why does it feel so elusive?

It was time for a plan of action:

1. Stay in the moment, for god’s sake.
2. Tweak lifestyle to implement plan.
3. Make a list.
4. Take action!

Thus in 2010, my adventure began.

Places I have visited, much have I learned.








Paris (and the Normandy Coast)




Italy (Sorrento, Rome, Florence, Italy)