Textiles, travel and Teaching
Yesterday was sort of a free day. I did work early, but took time off to relax a little.

My Translator/assistant suggested that I visit the area of Colmar and I figured I needed to ignore the fact that I am driving a manual car and that the city was accessed across the mountains with turns like the devils elbow.

GPS primed I took off. Up the hills, round the bends and each turn bought forth amazing scenery.

The problem is there is no place to stop and take photos.
I only managed to make one stop.

It doesn't capture the uniqueness of this countryside, but I will say that as I stepped out of the car the air was crystal clear only punctuated by the sounds of cow bells. I almost felt like Heidi. I almost felt like yodeling but I refrained.
It only took an hour and a half and the GPS didn't really prepare me for the twists and turns prior to the trip. I found out en route!
However, it was a wonderful experience. I drove past small villages, fields of corn and rows the most amazing vistas of grape vines.
For a foreigner who doesn't speak French I thought it was going to be difficult to find a park, but I recognized the big blue 'P' and found a park quite quickly.
I feel so clever when I achieve something that pushes me to the limit. "Well done Pammie"
First stop was Unter Linden Musee - Colmar.
The museum is renowned for its collection of paintings and sculptures from the middle ages and the Renaissance.

Right now the museum is undergoing renovations so I didn't get to view many of the paintings but the plans shown will make it a destination for the artistic.
You walk on cobblestone streets, goodness knows how long they have been there. 
Look up and the buildings appear to lear out of their foundations over hanging the road and beckoning you to investigate further
It was lunch time and I decided to choose a restaurant, which one? I was spoiled for choice. There was a group playing music outside of one and that influenced my decision.
Sitting there in the sun in the presence of a magnificent Cathedral, French voices playing into the air. The music of talented musicians and the clink of glasses as the patrons enjoyed their meal and the passing parade of people and dogs.
It was almost too much to bare, but I did it with flare.
That's about as much as I can write this morning, I will finish this afternoon but right now I have a class to prepare for.
I was on the 'go' for almost 24 hours yesterday. I'm not whining, but it takes its toll on the senses.
I left Dubai early in the morning, it was almost 30 degrees and I was able to have a really nice breakfast in the sumptuous club in the airport.
We flew over Cairo, Italy, the deserts of Africa and the suez canal.
I had amazing views and of course I documented it all.
That part of the trip was rather lovely but the next 10 hours were a bit of  a strain.
Long delays, long lines, very hot, no aircon and no where to sit.
Almost in Nice France
I woke to a misty morning and I admit to being a little nervous about driving. I've driven here before but I never feel real confident.
Back to the airport and pick up the car and like most of the hire cars its manual. OK, I used a manual for years but to hop in one and drive in a foreign country it's a bit nerve racking.

I managed to get though the exit gates but I had to go up a hill…… Eeek I jerked and stopped and rolled back and there was smoke coming out of the engine. Oooooh. But I finally made it up the hill and out onto the freeway.
I had also discovered that I had no idea how to reverse. I tried everything. Look for a button, follow the directions. Nup, I reckon they gave me a dud and I have to drive forward for 9 days.
So Pamela, if you have to park, go where you don't have to reverse.
My GPS is amazing, I actually use my mini IPad, It tells me everything. Speed limit, each corner coming up and of course its bigger than the normal GPS and I can see it with a flash of the eye.(well sort of)
It guided me to my hotel which was about 90 kms from Strasbourg. I passed the most amazing scenery and once off the freeway I found myself in high rolling mountains. At one stage I stopped in a small layover under the shade of a tree and got out of the car to take a deep breath.
Even though I didn't know how to activate reverse, I continued on to the town Ban de Laveline and the hotel Auberge Lorraine I was aware it was  small with just 8 rooms but its very famous for its restaurant because it has a Michelin chef.
I had high expectations.
Part of the drive was through a huge, and I mean huge tunnel, probably about 5 kms long. As I came out into the light I found I had to pay a toll.
I can't read French, but I could understand the  little slot things to put your money in.
But how much?
I put 2 euro into the money slot.... No, that wasn't enough, I couldn't find my visa card in my haste. (there was no one behind me fortunately) So I put in 10 euro, surely that was enough and it gave me 4 Euro change. 
That little episode finished I traveled on to my small town. 
I found the hotel and parked (Oh no, I could only park in a position that I had to reverse from)
I was dying to find a restroom, thank goodness I was at the hotel.
By this time it was 12.30 lunch time. 
The hotel was closed.
The only thing was to walk through the town to find a rest room.
Everything was closed, there appears to be about 4 shops, the doors firmly shut, it was hot and I thought OK, I will go to the church and maybe find a restroom there.
Nope, that was shut too.
Back in the car park I approached some people who appeared to be going into the restaurant at the hotel.
They don't speak English... but I grabbed the man, asked him to follow me and pointed at the revers sign on the gear stick.
Ah. you have to lift a funny little cover up and it engages reverse. Lots of thank you's in my strange french and lots of laughing and they left.
I decided to turn on my Aussie phone and attempt to ring the hotel.
Mr Telstra, tells me it is going to cost a fortune. Ding, ding, ding, message after message. Thank you.
But I did manage to locate Audrey, the owner of the hotel and she came down, unlocked the door and after an animated conversation I was in my room.
No Elevator of course but we got the clothes case up the stairs.
The room is quaint and looks over the fields and hills surrounding the town.
I really needed a coffee. I did carry the small bottle of something alcoholic that I was given in the previous hotel, but I decided to wait and drive to find a coffee.
I set up the computer and it took me several hours to configure the internet.
I was frustrating, but I managed it. 
My instructions for the net were in French so I translated it and finally made my way through the intricacies.

3:00 pm and I decided to walk out.It was warm, sunny and delightfully fresh.

Wow the small general store a few hundred feet away was open and I bought a pastry and a cake to take back to my room.

Still No coffee.

I figured I knew how to reverse the car and I would visit the town some 11 kms away where the quilt show is being held.

I walked on  the old cobblestone streets, past interesting doors that held mystery behind them.
Eyes of passers by were averted so I greeted everyone with an Aussie smile and I got a lot of surprised responses.

I found coffee. It was hot, strong and sweet.

Finally I had found my place. I'm comfortable and I know how to reverse the car.
I walked 7 miles, ate a little too much, and now its almost 8:00 pm and I'm ready for bed.
It's actually 2.30 am at home so it's no wonder I'm tired.

I'm off to France tomorrow.

Today I concentrated on making the extraordinary out of the ordinary.

It was 40 degrees and a little too hot to walk in the desert so I walked in a small desert and got sand in my sandals and then relaxed in the cool in the Dubai Mall.
I love capturing images of the windows and making something special out of them.
I was only using my small camera. However, I know its limitations and its plusses.
I'm still able to capture the moment. I love the photo of the men at the table. The red table is such a contrast to their dishdasha (white garments) Then again, the textured floor is wonderful against that round seat. Two men sitting one in western clothing the other in Middle Eastern. But there is little difference, both are on their phones.
Then there are the decorations.... millions of paper butterflies hanging from the ceiling.They take your breath away with their beauty. They sway gently in the breeze, ever moving,making it a magical place to be.
Then off to the train station. I went in the Women only carriage. What a fabulous idea.
I shot a lot of video today too but that has to wait.
Taking photos inspires me to be more creative. Its an absolute delight
I enjoy the window displays in shopping malls and this one just took my fancy today.
Of course I love the colors, but I really like the image too.


 Travel is a means of getting from one place to another. 

It might be a car ride. 
Then again it could be a boat, ship or plane. 

This gal has ridden on a donkey through the mountains up a very steep path. Well, it was supposed to be a path, any semblance disappeared after the first half mile.

My least favorite was a  very uncomfortable camel in the desert. I lurched from side to side like a drunk. I kept asking him to stop but he didn't speak English only Arabic. Horses and I don't work well together  either  somehow my legs just don't fit around his girth. When I get off, I crash to the ground through lack of circulation in the legs. Its not a pretty sight.

So give me a great big jumbo jet and I'm happy. In the middle of the night last night I was beginning to wonder about my affinity with planes. At one stage it appeared to drop out of the sky and we continued to bump around for about an hour or so. I love being on a ship as it rolls from side to side I reckon I have a chance if it's going to sink I'll grab a nice life boat, but the plane is different I think you just fall to the ground, no life boat just a big wing to slide out onto and I don't swim.

I obviously made it, because I'm writing!!!

On a serious note when I'm in the midst of something like that and its dark and I'm powerless. I wonder about the wisdom  of my ways.

How is it that Quilting or its fancy name 'Textile Art' can give me so many amazing experiences.

Today my invitation arrived from the US Embassy in Rome on behalf of the UN.
Its just one more of those experiences.
It matches many others and counteracts the desperation of stolen quilts the missing luggage and being mugged in South Africa! 
Put it all into perspective. Its pretty darned amazing.

The coffee is dark and sweet and it rolls down the back of my throat like a wave of happiness.

I’ll ignore the chocolate the hostess placed beside it on the table. It sits there looking inviting but no, it's not needed at 4.00 am in the morning.

It's dark in  the cabin with just the sounds of the plane  flushing through my ears but by the magic of technology I have an entire orchestra in my head, playing there just for me.

It’s a shock to the system to eat  a full meal at 1.00 am as we did last night and  to be honest I only nibbled around the edges. 
I did manage to sleep 6 straight hours.

Breakfast is about to arrive and I will do better this time around.

I wonder if I do it the wrong way. The ladies in the booth near me indulged in a lot of red wine for their meal, indeed one lady downed 6 glasses and 3 small boxes of chocolate… I wonder how she feels this morning?

I don’t normally count, but when the event is happening next to you its hard to ignore the red liquid as it flows past you.

I’m a seasoned traveler. 

However at my own (I call it mine because I live there) airport I met the most amazing security ‘person’

Having already gone through the main security, I had to then go through International Security.
I put my bags on the belt and proceeded to take out my computer. 
“Any liquid or gels” was the familiar banter from the security assistant. 
I was taking the computer out of my bag and about to reply when he very loudly stated 
“No not computers, I said liquid or gels’ leave your computer in the bag. 
I told him I didn't have any of those things in my bag was in the process of putting  my computer back”

He stopped with his hands on his hips and holding up the luggage belt 
He said. “Can’t you even look at me when you answer’? I was astounded.
I walked past the scanner with my eyes fixed intently on his and continued to do so for the next 20 seconds.
A I picked up my luggage then he made derogatory comments to the passengers behind me…. Yes I will make a report, I found his behavior really embarrassing.

This was written on a two day travel jaunt to get to my destination.

Who knows:-

I write, waiting at the gate to get on a plane. There are a number of  Soldiers sitting quietly, and they appear to be reflective rather than animated. I love the way people approach them and simply say "Thank you"

On a plane, upgraded to first class, it affords me more space to type, a pleasure and relaxed.

Yet another flight and  out of the handbag I produce my iPad. I work in silence, because I need the earphones to drown out the sound of the lady next to me chewing gum. Shes agitated and makes unusual movements for the full two hours, what's she on?

Off the plane and laden with luggage, I wait for the Hilton shuttle. "15 minutes Maam"

At the mall of America in Ruby Tuesdays tucking into turkey and salad.

People walk by, laden with bags, talking to friends, interacting with children. I love watching and I smile to myself.

Waiting for the shuttle to take me back to the hotel after one heck of a day, Shuttle, plane, plane, shuttle, shopping, ...Hotel shuttles pull up with regularity. people with bags a plenty wait in good spirits.

Quietly in the hotel room. Peace, privacy, cool and good music.

Breakfast in the hotel, I read the paper first. Then write.

Waiting for the shuttle to take me to the next shuttle !!!!!!!

Grab a coffee at Starbucks, at the airport, there is a free table, people are arriving picking up luggage and the throng seems to be constantly moving. I write amongst the movement.

Now in the shuttle and a two hour trip to meet my friend. loud country music,  with new earphones to replace the ones I lost.......I don't have to share the phone conversation of my fellow travellers.

Two full chapters of my book. My imagination, my pleasure, my gift to the Grandies. The characters come alive..

Creative writing and quilting.

My joy, my recreation, my passion.

Textures and colours of Mexico, No 2.

Visit Mexico with me. Oh, the sounds, the colours, the people and the food..


Images in Mexico.

I made the video a while ago. 
This is the first time its been shown on this my  travel blog.
You can travel with me in March 2015 and share in these amazing experiences. 
When I was in Alamogordo NM recently,  I was told of an exhibition of Quilts in Ruidoso.
So of course I needed to go and see for myself and it was absolutely wonderful.
I loved the sign on the door. "You are most welcome to take photos and share"
So share I am, now that I have time.

Beyond Tradition   at Hubbard Museum of the American West

Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico
through September 3, 2014  

This quilt was made by Betty Busby take a look at her web page... Her art is Amazing. 
As are these amazing  stand alone pieces.
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