<![CDATA[Ageless GlobeTravels - Travel Style & Stuff]]>Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:55:04 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Speaking of Irish Whiskey..........]]>Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:56:18 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/speaking-of-irish-whiskey
Speaking of Irish Whiskey…….

Every time we patronized a pub in Ireland, Jim asked his two favorite questions: What are best Irish whiskeys in Ireland?  What is your favorite Whiskey?  After two weeks of inquiry, we felt confident about selecting a few to take home with us. 

The plan was to only purchase whiskeys we couldn’t buy in the U.S.  From what we had been told, The Celtic Whiskey Shop was the place to go for every whiskey imaginable, so we headed out to Dawson Street to explore this highly recommended store.

Needless to say, we found Powers 13, Teachers Tears, Green Spot and a couple others that had been recommended to us and Jim was like a kid in a candy store.  I had to put my foot down at the 2,000 euro bottle of Whiskey.  I remain convinced that no bottle of Whiskey is worth that much.  But it was pretty fun to marvel at it while we sipped some less expensive samples! 

I have to say, Jim still talks about this place, so if you have chance, stop by and visit your dream whiskey!  

<![CDATA[In A Sunburned Country: My favorite book about Australia]]>Fri, 19 Jul 2013 15:46:56 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/in-a-sunburned-country-my-favorite-book-about-australiaPicture this.  We just beginning our long flight to Australia.  My husband and I are sitting on the plane Jim dozing, me reading.  Laughter begins to boil up inside me and I struggle to suppress my chuckles until they burst forth startling my husband awake. 

What caused this hilarious eruption?  In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson.  This is absolutely the best book I have ever read about Australia.  It's extremely witty while relating incredible first person experiences and the amazing facts and observations about the history and contemporary culture of Australia.

So we spent the next several hours that way, with me nudging Jim to listen every few minutes, and reading whatever I found incredibly interesting or just plain funny out loud to him.  And for once he didn't mind.  It's that kind of book.  This is the kind of book you want to hand down to family members, recommend to friends and keep in your library forever!

<![CDATA[Even if You Are Not a Wine Collector: Bring Home a Few of Your Favorite Vintages!]]>Mon, 17 Jun 2013 21:52:59 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/even-if-you-are-not-a-wine-collector-bring-home-a-few-of-your-favorite-vintagesOne of my favorite parts of traveling abroad is bringing back interesting wine, but Jim and I rarely order a whole case for delivery back in the states.  Instead, we pick up a variety of wines limiting ourselves to a half dozen bottles total.  We divide these among our suitcases for the trip back home.
Over the years, through trial and error, we have perfected our wine toting procedure.  We had pretty much done all the wrong things before getting to this point of course.

Here are things you DON’T want to do……

                <Don’t bring put any wine or liquor into your carry-on bag.  It will be confiscated at
                    < Don’t wrap the bottle in newspaper or use the divided cardboard boxes.  These                         do NOT provide enough padding to keep glass from breaking and will get black                             all over your clothes.

Here is what you DO want to do…..

                <Line your suitcases with a few pieces of bubble wrap before you pack to leave
                        on your trip for use in wrapping bottles later.
                <Be sure to include a roll of masking tape in your suitcase also so that you can
                            secure the bubble wrap.
                <After you have wrapped your bottle in bubble wrap, be sure to pack it along the
                        most protected part of your bag cushioned by lots of clothes.
               <Be sure to check out the import limits for alcohol for your country of origin.  It
                            would be a shame to have to gift your fine wine/liquor to some customs agent.

Now that you know how to get your wine safely back, let me tell you about a few of the great wines we have brought back with us! 

During our drive through the Loire Valley we bought several wonderful wines:

We bought these during a wonderful tour of the Cave du Pays de Bourgueil:
Domaine Guion 2010 – Bourgueil
Domaine Des Mailloches 2011 – Bourgueil

These wines come from vineyards planted only Cabernet Franc.  Like other wine regions in the Saumur region, Bourgueil has mostly a continental climate with some maritime influences that are more evident the further west you go. It is situated on the right-bank of the Loire River and is based on three types of soil: sand, gravel, clay and limestone which gives rise to wines that are generous and distinguished.

As mentioned above, the Domaine Guion wine is 100% Cabernet Franc but it particularly also has had some oak treatment. This is a fine, savory wine with lovely tannins and good length on the palate. There is a streak of acidity running through this wine that will ensure that it will last for many, many years.

We bought this delicious wine while touring the Chateau de Cheverny
Cheverny Controlee – Marquis de Vibraye 2011

Cheverny and Cour Cheverny have produced wonderful red and white and rose wines for many centuries but it is only since 1993 they have received their own appellation. The appellation regulations dictate Sauvignon-dominated whites (the grape must account for 60-85% of the blend), blended with Chardonnay, Menu Pineau (a little-known cousin of Chenin Blanc), and Chenin itself.  This white wine has a citrus finish and is light and refreshing.

We tasted and bought this at Cave de Montpaisir.
Domain du Raifault  2008 Chinon

The nose is very fresh, with shades of peppermint, blackcurrant and violet. The palate is light despite sustained extraction of tannins. This vineyard is located on the land of Véron, characterized by the presence of light and sandy alluvium soil.  While we really enjoyed the wine, we didn't like it as much as the Bourgueil wines.

This one we tasted at a wine shop called Cave Voltaire in Chinon and fell in love.
Cuvee Danae 2008 Chinon

This wine is produced from an organically farmed vineyard (Cabernet franc grapes only) on the appellation Chinon.  The vineyard is naturally protected and fed with home-made compost, and biodynamic herbal infusion. In autumn, grapes are always picked by hand. In the winery, the fermentation is natural and they don’t add yeast or chemical products. Maturing is adapted to the different soils. This wine is produced from Clayey and flint soils on the top of the hillside, with the taste of « terroir ».

Made from older vines, it possesses more concentration, a denser purple color, and more blueberry and black raspberry fruit notes intermixed with notions of flowers. This wine was full-bodied and loaded for a Cabernet Franc from Chinon.  We were told that 2008 turned out to be a wonderful vintage after a worried start weather-wise.

During our visit to Dubrovnik in Croatia, we bought this amazing local Croatian wine produced by famous the famous owner/vintner of Grgich Hills winery in Napa, California.
Grgic – plavac Mali – Vrhunsko Vino Suho 2007

The fame of Miljenko Mike Grgic began in 1976 when he was the chief enologist in Chateau Montelen winery in Calistoga, Napa Valley. This master made a Chardonnay that, to the great surprise of the entire winemaking world, beat all French Chardonnays at the blind tasting in Paris.

In mid 1990’s Grgic, renewed the plantation of Plavac mali on Peljesac. This is an amazing wine from the Croatian star grape Plavac Mali, a cross between Dobricic and Crljenak (Primitivo/Zinfandel) both of which do not exist as wine grapes anymore commercially.

This wine has a dark, deep ruby color with a purple shade and high sediments. It has a pronounced nose, very rich and layered, and has ripe black cherry notes accompanied by sweet spices and blackpepper.  It is full and tannic but rich in fruit on the mid palate with good acidity.

We picked up these two wines in Budapest Hungary
Grof Buttler – Egri Bikaver 2004

Bull's Blood, or Bikaver, flows through the veins of the Eger wine region in north-eastern Hungary. It is also known as Bikaver Egri.  It is Hungary's most famous wine, an historic red wine made since the 13th century that rose to international fame and fortune in the 1970s.

The red blend is made up of Kadarka, Blauburger, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Kekmedoc, Zweigelt and Pinot Noire grapes.  All of these varietals are supposed to be in each blend, but no more than 50% of any grape may be used.

Ruby red in color, it smells of blueberry, blackberry, plums, truffles, leather, black pepper and cinnamon notes. This wine has a dry, lively, and robust-bodied taste.

Malatinszey Villany,  2000

Csaba Malatinszey is the son of a nobleman, and his family had owned vineyards before World War II but, like so many, lost everything to the state. He started his career working in a restaurant in Budapest and became Hungary's first qualified sommelier, then opened its first specialist wine shop in 1993.

Attracted to Villány for its potential for reds, he bought his first vineyards in 1997. Malatinszky's winemaking is notable for his fanatical attention to detail, even selecting his own yeast strains.

This wine maker has become famous for his Cabernet Franc vintages, but we got a hold of a Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinto Noire blend which was harmonious, balanced and complex which we thoroughly enjoyed.
We hope you get a chance to bring home a few of your favorites too!
<![CDATA[Secure your totes with a Briggs & Riley Carry-on & Travelon Bag Bungee]]>Thu, 18 Apr 2013 18:20:24 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/secure-your-totes-with-a-briggs-riley-carry-on-travelon-bag-bungeeHave you ever had the annoying problem where you carry-on bag keeps sliding around or even off your larger bag as you try to maneuver through the airport! It is my pet peeve, and I’m so happy to report the problem is solved.

Briggs & Riley has impressed me again! I just received my latest order, the Carry-all Tote which is part of the Transcend series of luggage. It is a stylish 13” x 21” carry-on and the best part is the flap in the back which secures the carry-on to the pull bar of my bag. Just slide the carry-on down the pull bar and voila! It is securely fastened to the large bag.

Now my husband decided to go with last year’s carry on which doesn’t have this wonderful flap, but he can still roll his bags around without the slip/sliding problem of the past. He bought the well-priced Travelon “Bag Bungee” which secures your carry-on with a hardy, clip-on, bungee-like system that is stylish and well made. The best part of the “Bag Bungee” is that you can also secure your umbrella, jacket and anything else you might be toting along with you!

I took the more expensive route, (but I am a female after all!) and Jim took the cheap route, but we are both really happy with our choices. Now we can both travel through the airport without the hassle of slip/sliding carry-on bags perched precariously on top of a roller bag!
<![CDATA[Ready Set Charge!  My Favorite Converters & Adaptors]]>Wed, 09 Jan 2013 18:29:55 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/ready-set-charge-my-favorite-converters-adaptorsReady Set CHARGE!  Not all international converters are equal.......

Jim and I have gone through a variety of chargers over the years and what we have learned is SIMPLE IS BETTER.

We have bought fancy sleek chargers made specifically for digital equipment that turned out to be dead weight in our luggage because they were pretty much useless.  We bought fancy voltage converters that weighed much too much for something so small and were too complicated to bother with after a long day of touring.

So....... Jim and I have whittled our charger needs down to a convenient but optimal minimum.  Here are our recommendations.

1.    DON'T BRING YOUR HAIR DRYER!!!  Most moderately priced hotels offer them in the bathrooms.  If you are staying on the cheap, wear a hat or a pony tail (for us long haired ladies).  You really don't want to haul around a large thousands watt converter.

2.    WE ALWAYS TAKE 2 SMALL CONVERTERS.  Marital (or Companion) bliss requires that you do not share a converter.  Arguments over charging time can ruin a vacation! 

These can be used to charge nooks, tablets, camera batteries, phones and other small items.  Make sure to check the voltage needs on your electronic devices, because the small converters (at least the ones we use) are usually around 50 volts.  Again, you don't need to make these super-fancy complicated converters with buttons and dials.  You won't want to spend time figuring them out.

With all the devices couples carry these days, you absolutely need at least 2 converters.  That way you can rotate charging. (ie.  Charge nooks and kindles during the day while you are gone and phones over-night). 

BEWARE!   You can only charge during the day if your room electricity stays on when you are gone.  Some hotels turn the sockets off with the lights while you are out during the day.  I have arrived back at the room a time or two only to find that my laptop wasn't charging all day as I had thought.

We have an ancient JENSEN converter that is light weight which we love.  It has traveled with us for years.  Unfortunately you will have a hard time finding these super light small converters any more because most if not all of the manufacturers have upgraded to the heavier version.  We also like the lightest model of the DYNEX converter.  Often, the heavier converters need to be propped up (I use my hand luggage) since they tend to slide out of the sockets otherwise, so be prepared for this.  Someone really needs to fix this problem!

3.    ANOTHER EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER.  Bring at least 4 adapters per couple (two each).  You know.... those little pronged plug adapters that adapt to your two pronged U.S. plug to the outlet of whatever country you are in.

The trick to these adapters is to remember that most of the sockets in other countries are mysteriously recessed into deep holes.  Even if you have the correct prongs, if you can't reach the sockets deep inside the recess, you converter is useless (I write from experience here because I lugged around a dead laptop for days because I couldn't reach the darn socket!)  So be sure to bring the round or square adapters that fit into these strange holes.  (SEE PICS).

4.    LAPTOPS.  Fortunately, laptops come with their own converters, so all you need are the above adapter for the plug.

5.    ONE LAST RECOMMENDATION.  Bring at least one set of converters/adapters in your carry-on luggage, just in case your checked bags go for a tour of their own! 

<![CDATA[Purse-Hangers: Tiny Hook - Great Convenience]]>Sat, 22 Dec 2012 17:40:09 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/purse-hangers-tiny-hook-great-convenience A Simple Thing - Great Convenience.  How did we ever live without purse-hangers?

This little do-dad is one of my favorite new travel musts haves, whether you are just traveling out for the night or to another continent. 

My friend Kayla introduced me to this simple little treasure.  It can be as decorative as you wish.  Hers is very classic and simple.  My purse-hanger is a sparkly margarita glass!  The one I just bought as a gift for someone is a tiny bouquet of colorful enamel flowers.  There is a style for everyone.

Most importantly, these hangers help reduce or prevent the typical abuse a purse suffers when traveling.  How many times have you set your purse under a table on the dirty cement or worse on a rainy day, on wet muddy cement?  We all know that we can’t hang them on the back of the chair unless you want to invite theft and purse-snatching.  So…….. If we happen to love our purse, we hold it awkwardly in our lap or hang it on our knee.  In the past, by the end of our trip, my beautiful handbag was usually, stained, scraped, crumpled and in no way resembled what I started out with, but now with my purse-hanger, I can keep my bag looking stylish and clean all through the trip.

Travel can be hard enough without constantly dealing with awkward purse contortions.  I just hang my purse on its hanger, right next to my hand whenever I’m at a bar or seated at a restaurant table.  Of course, I always hang it on the side away from any potential access points (ie. don't hang it on the street side of a café table in Paris).    Just because you have this great convenient hanger, don’t give up on your general purse security!         

I personally bought my purse-hanger at Stein-Mart and it was around $10.00, but there are lots of internet sites which sell a huge selection of purse-hangers.  Just type in “Purse Hangers” and you will find a long list of vendors.  

Don’t leave home without this tiny hook that provides HUGE convenience!  

<![CDATA[Protect Your Credit with a Stewart/Stand Wallet]]>Fri, 07 Dec 2012 16:20:00 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/protect-your-credit-with-a-stewartstand-walletby Jim Taylor

I recently purchased my second stainless steel wallet (Stewart/Stand Tri-Fold) after my first one started showing signs of wear and tear after two years of constant use.  The reason that I initially purchased this type of wallet and continue to use it is that there have been a number of warnings during the past couple of years that the information imbedded within credit cards can be harvested from those cards without your knowledge and without the cards ever leaving your wallet.  Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology is used throughout the credit card industry to allow authorized electronic scanners to scan your card to enable purchases, cash withdrawals, etc.  However the equipment used to scan these cards can be easily obtained by unscrupulous individuals intent on stealing information from your cards in an attempt to illegally benefit from the use of that information.  In 2011 a security expert, accompanied by a news reporter, took a portable scanner costing less than $100.00 and a laptop computer onto Beale Street in Memphis and over a course of an hour skimmed the credit card information from five people by merely passing the scanner near the pockets of these city strollers.

In most cases newer cards contain only the credit card number and expiration date and do not have information pertaining to your name or personal identification number (PIN).  However, I don’t want any information pertaining to my credit cards being out there for anyone to pick-up so I’ll keep using my RFID proof wallet.  The wallet cost me $69.00 and while doing what a wallet is supposed to do such as keeping all my cards, cash and identification in a handy place it also provides me with a little peace of mind.
<![CDATA[Love our Briggs and Riley Luggage!!!!]]>Fri, 09 Nov 2012 17:12:17 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/love-our-briggs-and-riley-luggageWell, just to follow up on our review of the Briggs & Riley luggage we recently purchased.....

We love them!   My "Transcend" bag with 4 wheels is well balanced and was super easy to move throughout the airport, garages and hotels we visited.  The luggage is also very light weight, so it was easy for me to lift up steps and curbs. 

Jim really likes his "Baseline CX" bag also because is is slightly larger, but he also would prefer 4 wheels to the 2 on his bag.  Other than that small difference though, the Briggs and Riley bags functioned perfectly.  

Love Love Love them!   

p.s.   We don't really love our smaller Samsonite bag.....    It is not very well balanced and when full it falls over.
Also, the wheels are not optimally placed, so they tend to catch and twist and be a pain to push or pull around. 

<![CDATA[Love to Read About "La Bonne Vie Francaise"]]>Sat, 01 Sep 2012 19:22:14 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/love-to-read-about-la-bonne-vie-francaise1     

I love to read about Europe whether it's the history, culture, tales from ex-pats or just fiction, particularly when we are about to launch upon a trip.  My current favorite is Paris to the Past by Ina Caro since we are soon to head off to France.  The book takes the reader on twenty-five train trips that depart from Paris.  These trips explore seven hundred years of French history through it's architecture while also taking in museums and restaurants and providing practical suggestions for the traveler.  The book is enchanting!

Over the years I have accumulated a substantial library of my favorites and I would like to recommend a few here.

Paris to the Past by Ina Caro
Almost French by Sarah Turnbull
C'est la Vie by Suzy Gershman
A Town Like Paris by Bryce Corbett
On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis
Words in a French Life by Kristin Espinasse
From Here, You Can't See Paris by Michael S. Sanders
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach
The Feasting Season by Nancy Coons
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
France a Love Story edited by Camille Cusamano
A Traveler's History of Paris by Robert Cole
Guide to Impressionist Paris by Patty Lurie

<![CDATA[I love Style! Jim loves Function! Our View on Luggage........]]>Mon, 13 Aug 2012 16:34:41 GMThttp://ssmeder.com/travel-style--stuff/first-postI love Style!  Jim loves Function!

Jim and I have finally worked out the best luggage configuration for us.  Since we aren’t independently wealthy, we have tried many brands of mid-range luggage over the years in every size imaginable.  Here’s what we have decided works for us for the last few years.

1.       First of all, we stepped it up to save in the long run.  One 24”-27” roller bag each made by a top notch company, fully warranted and in a color that won’t show all the travel dirt you pick up along the way.  We try not to go TOO big because really large bags are a pain to drag around.  We check these bags.

2.       One small roller bag from a medium rated luggage company that we share and take on the plane as carry-on luggage.  This is where we carry our laptops, I-Pads, cameras etc., one change of clothes “just in case”.  You never know when you might have your flight cancelled or delayed and have to spend the night!   Also, we have had our luggage lost before, and had to purchase all new clothes before boarding for a cruise (more on that in another article!)

3.       I’m not a matchy matchy person, so rather than carrying a matching carry-on bag, I always try to find a stylish fun tote to carry onto the plane where I keep my nook, a backup paperback or magazine (you can’t always trust your electronic readers!) , water bottle which I pick up after security and any other things I think I will need on the plane!   The tote should also be big enough to fit your laptop and camera in case you have to check the small carry-on.  This can happen on small regional flight and you wouldn’t want to have your laptop or I-Pad out of your sight!

Our favorite higher-end luggage which we both currently use is made by Briggs & Riley.  Their luggage, while being well made, durable and has a terrific warrantee ( every bag is guaranteed for life!), it is not ridiculously expensive.  Jim and I watch for sales online and at luggage stores near us and have been able to pick up our large bags at reduced prices.  We expect them to last for many more years, so we consider their cost a deal. 

Jim’s large expandable suitcase is called the “Baseline CX” and has an interior mechanism that allows you to expand the suitcase by pulling it up on each side.  It compresses in the same manner.  He can really get a lot of additional room inside his luggage when he needs it!  It lists for about $500 dollars, but as I mentioned above, if you keep an eye out for sales, you can get it at a much reduced price.We bought Jim’s luggage last year and we loved it so much that we bought another piece this year for me. 

My 24” large zipper expandable suitcase is from the new “Transcend” line of luggage.  It’s extra light-weight which works great for me because lifting luggage has always been a challenge when I’m traveling alone and has spinner wheels for really efficient maneuvering.  It lists for $399 dollars. 

Our small carry-on bag is a mid-range Samsonite.  It’s from the “Seaview” line and also has spinner wheels.  The luggage has a 10 year limited warrantee and lots of pockets for packing organization.  It runs around $160 dollars, but we found ours at TJ-Max for only $79.99.  At this price, we won’t feel bad if we want to buy something different next year!  

We are heading out to France soon, so we’ll be able to drive-test my new Briggs & Riley luggage and  of course Jim will use his again.  I hope to be able to continue to give it great reviews and can’t wait to get back you on my spinner bag.  I’ve never had one of those before!!  
Read our review of this luggage after we used it!     OUR REVIEW!