Summer Ends

It’s not really the end of the summer (thankfully!), but I’m sharing this poem because I wrote it around he the same time as the writerly musing I just posted on Monday.

I wrote these two pieces at the very end of a wonderful summer, as the days grew shorter and cool weather approached, but I’m posting them now (in the spring of 2020) because it seemed appropriate in light of the COVID pandemic.

Because all seasons, no matter how good or bad, do come to an end.


Lovers, brothers
Movers, shakers
Authors, singers
Movie-makers
Crissing, crossing
Even lines
Waters breach
The sands of time
Hope is lost
Lost is found
Seasons shake
The shaky ground
Calming tides
That come again
People change
And summer ends

butterfly

written August 28, 2012
as the seasons of life (and of my life)
began to shift

I Taste Spring

I miss traveling. I miss the rush of the airport, the excitement of getting my passport stamped, of exploring new places and reacquainting myself with old haunts.

Most of all, I miss the beautiful, wonderful people in those countries. I miss them a lot.

When I came across this writerly musing of mine, I decided to share it. Because even though I wrote it while standing on the cusp of autumn, and even though it’s about one specific country I longed to see again (Croatia), it was inspired by my heart to travel during a time, a season, when I simply couldn’t. Just like now.

I taste spring.

Weird, isn’t it? Being that fall is right around the corner? Maybe it’s the humidity, kissing my skin as a cool breeze rustles my hair. Maybe it’s this milky-looking sky with its soft gray clouds that whisper promises of rain to come.

Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just want it to be spring so badly that my imagination has overloaded my senses and tricked me into believing I’m in a different season. Because that’s what I want more than anything: for it to be May, for my bag to be packed, and for my heart to be pounding to the roar of a jet engine.

My tongue is thick with the sweet tang of travel. I long for the anticipation of departure…and arrival. I crave the rush I’ll get when I behold the Adriatic Sea with my own eyes, rather than through a computer screen. I ache to experience – to feel – the buzz of Diocletian’s Palace while I dance to the melody of Slavic voices around me.

I taste spring. I’m hungry for it, and it’s not coming fast enough.

Highlights from Paris (VIDEO)

Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. I spend less when I’m in Paris than I do at home by following these simple tips.

Money-Saving Tips

  • Shopping at local markets
  • Traveling during the off-peak seasons (we usually go to Paris in the fall)
  • Eating in instead of dining out
  • Using money-saving apps like THE FORK when I do eat out
  • Buying wine at the grocery store and having a glass with meals in (water with meals out)
  • Splitting a larger plate with my husband
  • Staying in arrondissements that aren’t heavily touristed (I love the 13th in the southern part of the city – lots of locals, hardly any tourists)
  • Taking advantage of public transportation
  • Walking whenever and wherever I can – this is good for my pocketbook and my waistline 😉
  • Go to museums that are a free, or go the first Sunday of the month when many are free
  • Download a street art map online and walk around, searching for the artwork by famous street artists like Banksy and Invader
  • Don’t rent a car IF you can keep from it (some places outside the city require it). Gas can be expensive in other countries. In Paris, petrol was about 1.60 euros per LITER (there are about 4.5 liters in one gallon)
  • Here are a few of my favorite supermarkets in Paris: Carrefour, Franprix, Monoprix, Auchan.
  • In Romania: Mega Image, Carrefour, Profi

 

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This spread cost about 20 euros at Franprix and lasted my husband and I for two meals: salad, cold cuts, dehydrated meat, dessert, chocolates, and two bottles of wine.

Here’s how I save money on the big stuff (flights, accommodations, transportation)….

Getting there

I love traveling on miles. My husband and I are Skymiles members, and we use our miles whenever we can. We also have the Delta American Express credit card, which gives us tons of benefits (discounted entry to Delta lounges, free checked bags, extra miles on all purchases, priority boarding, etc.).

Tip: If you have extra Skymiles to spare, you can use them for premium drinks in Delta lounges.

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I’ve found flights to CDG (Charles De Gaulle) from JFK (New York City) for under $300 or about 22,000 miles. Out of EWR (Newark) – around $400 or 38,000.

Accommodations

We love staying with locals in Airbnbs. You can also save money by using miles to book hotels – 10,000 miles from American Airlines got us one night at a boutique hotel in Montmarte, Paris. We also used points from our Bank of America travel card to pay for our Airbnb, so our accommodations.

Tip: Always check reviews on Airbnbs. Nothing is a guarantee, but Superhosts have the title because they have an excellent reputation and lots of positive reviews. We’ve had some fantastic experiences and have met some wonderful people by staying in Airbnbs.

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View from our Airbnb in Gentilly in the 13th

Transportation

Occasionally, we take cabs when traveling overseas. This is much more doable in Romania, where the exchange rate is better, although you still get the occasional cabbie who tries to overcharge. We prefer Uber if and when we can, if we do have to take a cab.

Tip: Lyft doesn’t operate everywhere Uber does. Be sure to check ahead of time if you’re expecting to take Lyft.

We love taking the Metro and RER in Paris, which is a lot less expensive than cabs. There’s a tram that goes around the outside of the city, and it’s easy to navigate. There are also buses, including buses that will take you direct to Orly and CDG airports.

Tip: These airport buses are cheaper than taking the Metro and RER (the airports are pretty far away from the city, especially Charles De Gaulle), but the buses take a little longer (expect 60-90 minute transit time).

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Metro Station on the Right Bank

Here’s a video with highlights from our last two trips. Enjoy!