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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

Five Distilled Travel Tidbits From Around the World – November 2017


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Photo Credit: Daily Mail UK

  1. Have you heard recent stories about people who live in cruise ships?

    They’re cute stories about seemingly eccentric singles who decide they should set up camp right there in a stateroom — and stay forever. Well, Fort Lauderdale’s ROW Management LTD. took the concept one giant step further. The World, is their 644-foot, 16-level ship with 165 apartments. “Residents travel for as long as they desire, spending an average of three to four months on board every year,” says the company’s website. Yes, you purchase an apartment and also become part owner of the ship itself. As you can imagine, the cost is high. Potential buyers must have at least 10 million in assets, and the apartments range from 2 million for a studio to 16 million for a three-bedroom residence. 



2. My son says the hiking near his Seattle home is a “Silent Forest.”

Conrad and I agreed when we experienced the silent hike for ourselves. We think it’s because ferns grow 4 feet tall and moss hangs from tree limbs like beards. I dubbed it the “Old Man Moss.” The Sitka pines are so tall and thick that the whole place feels impenetrable. It’s moody, dark, and gorgeous. And silent.

So recently when I read an article about the sounds of silence in Washington State’s Olympic National Forest, I knew my son must be on to something. Others have noticed the phenomenon, too. Have you experienced it?

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My son Matt, and Conrad waiting ahead.

This was one of the few clearings. The sun shone through enough for me to get a good shot of the Old Man Moss.


The artist Santi Moix in front of his work. Photo credit: Juanma Ramos

3. The tiny Catalan village of Pallars Subirà, situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees, population 16, has something special to show the world.

Artist Santi Moix, who used to visit the village as a child, was recently asked by the government and bishop if he would undertake a complete interior work of frescos for the local church. Not a religious man, Moix was reluctant but finally accepted the challenge as long as he was given complete artistic freedom. The results, just reopened June 2017, are stunning. Yet another reason to go back to Spain, methinks.

Completed frescos adorn the 1,100-year-old Romanesque church. Photo credit: Ricardo Labougle


4. While house sitting in France last year, Conrad and I came upon the medium-sized city of Herisson in the Auvergne Region. Most shops, restaurants, hotels, and homes were closed up, boarded up, or shut down, leaving the place a ghost town — despite the fact the place was a veritable fairy tale village. One hold-out boulangerie welcomed us in to purchase the day’s last two baguettes. Everything else was ferme.

After some research, I found that many traditional rural French villages have been losing the soul of their town centers since 2001, when malls took over the outskirts.

Businesses and population fled the villages for the first time in centuries, leaving classically picturesque places in ruins. I took the photo below as we walked Herisson, a veritable ghost town. Have you experienced empty French villages?

Fun fact: Herisson means hedgehog.

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Fairy Tale Herisson



5. Want a dining experience to remember in Madrid?

Try the Opera Brunch at the Westin Palace Hotel. Every Sunday in the elegant stained-glass-ceilinged restaurant, the buffet brunch is enjoyed while opera singers mingle amongst tables. The food–chosen from six massive displays of ultra-fresh seafood, meats, (including suckling pig and roast beef), beautifully-crafted pintxos, rows and rows of hot dishes, and amazing desserts–can be washed down with bottles of endless cava, served from your tableside silver ice bucket.

Conrad and I splurged with this incredible afternoon for our anniversary. Have you gone to the Opera Brunch?

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La Rotunda restaurant in the Westin Palace Hotel, Madrid

The opera singers mingled amongst the tables.

Endless seafood at the Opera Brunch



House Sitting TravelWishing you safe and happy travels



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6 Responses to “Five Distilled Travel Tidbits From Around the World – November 2017”

  1. Hi Josie! Those are some memorable travel moments! I really love the frescoes in that 1100-year-old church!
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..bean-to-bar chocolate in MontrealMy Profile

    November 12, 2017 at 11:19 pm Reply
  2. What a fun post! Travel tidbits that are seemingly random, but all interesting and noteworthy. I’m not sure I’d want to be sung to by opera singers over brunch; wouldn’t it get loud?

    November 13, 2017 at 1:27 pm Reply
    • Haha Rachel,
      The opera singers’ voices were gorgeous in the large, domed restaurant — and not too loud.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      November 14, 2017 at 7:02 am Reply
  3. Thanks for sharing these travel tidbits. I especially found it interesting that they cities in Europe are experiencing the same urban abandonment as we have in the United States.
    Jeff & Crystal Bryant recently posted..Break Time At Aquarius TaqueriaMy Profile

    November 14, 2017 at 1:49 pm Reply
  4. Thanks for this “tapas” serving of your travels. Interesting tidbits.
    Best, Irene

    November 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm Reply
  5. These are fantastic tidbits. I’d love the Opera Brunch. The fairy tale ghost towns would be picturesque but also a bit eerie, I think.

    November 14, 2017 at 4:10 pm Reply

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