This story is about creativity, cooperation, openness and risk-taking.

The door was open, so I looked inside.

Romain greeted me with a broad, friendly smile. I asked, “Do you speak English?” Out came a resounding “YES!” And so our happenstance encounter evolved into a conversation and tour. (more…)

Over the next several posts you may notice a French theme laced throughout our stories, for good reason. Our plan to “get out of Dodge” (see the previous story called “Taken for Granite,”) landed us in the beautiful city of Lyon, France, which is the heart of the southwest region of the Rhone Alps. For sure, each day brings a new experience. Add being a stranger in a new town, and you’re pretty much assured of stories everywhere you turn. The tough part is choosing which ones to write about. Last weekend, the magic transpired in a delightful neighborhood park called Place Sathonay. (more…)

Illusion is a distortion of the senses.

The brain picks up visual cues that are recognizable, instantly fitting them into familiar patterns. In a flash, it issues a report about what’s going on. The brain fills in the blanks. Normally, we “believe” what we see. However, sometimes we’re reminded that our brain isn’t infallable and that our perceptions aren’t necessarily reality. In fact, we can have an “ah-ha!” moment when we realize that what we see is an illusion. (more…)

Every once in a while we run across an absolute gem—something completely unexpected that makes us breathe a collective, “Ahhhh!”

In early June we encountered such a gem: a lovely bed and breakfast in Ronchamp, called La Maison D’hôtes du Parc.

By now we are pretty capable travelers, having stayed in a range of places. Sure there’s been an occasional dive—some place, somewhere in the middle of nowhere with only a hope to sleep through the night. But generally, we find places that are worth a return visit. And some, warrant and guarantee many happy returns. (more…)

Why would anyone voluntarily leave Italy? Good question. But, that’s another story for another time. So . . . given that we wanted to “get out of Dodge,” we asked ourselves one simple question, “How can we most quickly and easily leave, yet still enjoy rolling hillsides of enchantment and inspiration, all the while, eating incomparable pastries, local cuisine and of course, a refreshing gelato now and again?”  The answer was obvious: Corsica. (more…)

Duct tape. The miracle material was invented in 1942.

Since then, it has been acclaimed as the perfect solution to fix just about anything, from a broken pipe to aircraft. More recently, its versatility has brought it to the forefront of fashion design, bizarre costumes, competitions, and even sitcoms. We thought we’d seen it all with the complete construction of a sailboat and the functional cannon, but we were wrong. There was more questionable “creativity” in store for that ever-popular item we either call duct tape, or duck tape—you choose. (more…)

A mad dash between trains: the one from Lure, France arrived 30 minutes late. 5:45 pm, and the one to Vernon was scheduled to depart in 7 minutes.

We raced to the ticket machine. It was less than agreeable. In fact, it refused to issue the tickets that we’d selected. So we just ran for the train. We’d buy tickets on board, paying a premium for the privilege, no doubt. (more…)