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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Two Old Friends Visit France and This is our Itinerary for 6 days in Loire Valley

When you visit the Loire Valley, it's not hard to see why, once upon a time, French royalty decided to live here instead of in Paris.  The rolling countryside and fertile farmland — ideal for making cheeses, and growing grapes for Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé — provides a perfect backdrop for castles, quaint villages and friendly locals. 


Two Old Friends Visit France and This is our Itinerary for 6 days in Loire Valley

Along the Loire River Valley, the beautiful French countryside is studded with châteaux. Home-basing near Chambord at an amazing Airbnb, we visited five unique castles: elegant Chenonceau, massive Chambord, stately Cheverny, historic Chaumont and the beautiful Château Royal d'Amboise. Along the way, we toured Leonardo’s home, fed hunting dogs, enjoyed the local cuisine, and watched the red deer stags before heading back toward Paris to visit Versailles and stay at a luxury hotel. This was an easy itinerary for two high-school girlfriends to tackle in 7 days with plenty of rest time worked in.  

Note: This itinerary requires a car rental which we rented via Costcotravel.com at Alamo.  

Day 1 Travel Day -- Paris CDG to Tours, France and onto Huisseau-sur-Cosson


Two Old Friends Visit France and This is our Itinerary for 6 days in Loire Valley


This we left as a travel day and get settled at our Airbnb and thankfully we planned it that way because the day consisted of many delays.



To get from Paris to the Loire Valley can take a few hours. See our review of Flagship Business class JFK to CDG and what we learned about ourselves in a Paris Train Station for specific tips.  We picked up our car in Tours, France at the St-Pierre-des-Corps train station at Alamo.  We opted for a manual transmission and we recommend as small a car as will hold your luggage and passengers, because roads in the French countryside are narrow and parking spaces are small!



We checked into our Airbnb at the Chateaux des Grotteaux, our base of operations for the next 5 days and went to the grocery store for necessities and to learn the immediate surrounding area.


Review of American Airlines 777-200 07/16 revision Flagship Business Class New York JFK to CDG Paris

Not all American Airlines premium cabins experiences are created equally.  If you’re looking for a top-notch seat, you’ll want to stick to business and first class on American Airlines Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft.  


Here we review the 777-200 Flagship Business Seat from JFK to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), also known as Roissy Airport.  Always remember that American Airlines is known for their expensive Europe business class product.  However, booking a separate ticket out of JFK is frequently your best option for a reasonable price.  To accomplish booking an international trip with separate tickets smoothly, we recommend taking a carry on only. Your Flagship Business experience starts at the airport...


1. Flagship Lounge


The 6 hour layover (because of limited number of flights from hub in Charlotte? Really?) went by quickly. Look at our review of the Flagship lounge here. You are only eligible to enter the Flagship lounge if you are flying international business or first class. The only restricted part of the flagship lounge is the dining area where only first class passengers on a three class service plane.



2. Boarding


Efficient and plane was actually fully boarded long before doors closing. Flight attendant greeted me immediately by name and offered sparkling wine or other refreshment. I asked for an additional pillow which I was assured several times was being looked for but never provided.

Things We Learned about Ourselves in A Paris Train Station

Sometimes the convenience of what some perceive as luxury is the pleasure that makes a journey healthy and meaningful.


Recently we were inspired by our love of history, wine architecture and the countryside to plan an adventure to the Loire Valley. We belong to many online collaborative travel groups, some of which reinforce several things that may influence your preferred travel modes: carbon footprint, convenience, luxury, time, or cost just to name a few.



There are limited ways to get to and through the Loire Valley. Renting a car is an easy method to get around but the thought of renting a car at CDG gives one palpitations. However renting a car in the Loire valley isn't very difficult. We chose to rent in Tours. As suggested by our Airbnb host, there is a high speed train from CDG to Tours (and back). FYI the train station at CDG is easy and of course the regional train stations such as St Pierre des Corps are simple to use.

Important points about the TGV train


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Review of the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace at Versailles Near Paris France

With history, comfort, luxury, service and fine dining, the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace is "better than Paris" and provides a peaceful oasis to get away from the crowds of Versailles.


1. Location

For visiting the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, there can't be a better location. Of course getting to Versailles is not simple (especially from the Loire Valley) bit for comfort, ease, security and peace of mind, we recommend car service or taxi. The main ticket entrance is located about a 10 minute walk over cobble stoned street or you can enter via the Trianon entrance to the Versailles gardens literally right outside the entrance to the hotel. Either way, to enter the palace itself, a 10 minute walk is required. If you plan to visit just the gardens, the hotel is perfect. You should be able to walk around some gardens without an entry ticket but we didn't look at the limits of how much area you would be able to explore.




Monday, October 14, 2019

You Can Fight Insomnia, Hot Flashes and Jet Lag like a Pro with OOLER from Chili Technology! We are both Customers and Advocates!

Many of us assume that if we spend eight hours in bed, we are meeting our daily needs for rest and rejuvenation. What we fail to take into account, is that the number of times we wake up throughout the night, or the minutes we spend tossing and turning under the covers, can seriously cut down on both the quantity and quality of our sleep. 


You Can Fight Insomnia, Hot Flashes and Jet Lag like a Pro with OOLER from Chili Technology!  We are both Customers and Advocates!

SAVE BIG!  Look for important coupon codes below!!!!


Are you already suffering from interrupted sleep???


Interrupted sleep is when our sleep is studded with prolonged periods of waking up throughout the night, usually at least four times over the course of eight hours. This condition can be caused by a sudden shift in routine (for example, a new baby in the house), travel, unexpected noises (such as a party at your neighbor’s house or a partner’s snoring), bathroom trips, menopause or other health issues or racing thoughts.

Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional. The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice.


Experiencing interrupted sleep can have negative consequences on our overall health. During the night, your body progresses through different stages of sleep. If one stage is interrupted, your body has to reset and start going through the stages again, meaning you may never get to the deep, restorative sleep that occurs during later stages.

Even just one night of interrupted sleep can negatively affect your mood and cause you to experience a decline in attention span. Interrupted sleep can slow your reaction speed and make it harder to learn or remember things. It can also lead to a buildup of amyloid proteins in the body, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

You may wonder what does all of this have to do with travel?


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Indulge Yourself in Desert Luxury at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage Hotel and Spa near Coachella and Palm Springs California

With Service second to none this the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage is the ultimate in luxury and relaxation and you may discover that you don't want to leave!


Located on a 650 foot bluff overlooking legendary Palm Springs and the picturesque Coachella Valley, the hotel is built with elements of of wood, fire and stone to reflect the natural elements of surrounding mountains and valleys all the while paying homage to the celebrities from old Hollywood.



1. Location


This location is outstanding to visit as your destination because the palm springs airport is serviced by multiple major airlines. If you are traveling to las Angeles, San Diego or elsewhere in Southern California, it is a short drive over some beautiful landscapes. For example from San Diego we crossed the San Bernardino mountains which were spectacular. Other destinations nearby include Coachella families for its festival, and Joshua tree national park, a destination for campers, hikers, photographers, star gazers and climbers. There are plenty of other activities nearby with frequent concerts, live stage productions, festivals, opera, symphony and museums. Nearby is Southern California’s ultimate tennis center, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home to the BNP Paribas Open, one of the premier  professional tournaments in the world, which takes place annually in March.


2. Check-in


We were greeted with superb service at the valet. Immediately the level of service is clear as staff stumble over themselves to assist. We were greeted as gold Bonvoy members and as having booked with American Express fine hotels & resorts. Champagne was offered immediately and we received a very thorough orientation to the resort including our included benefits, upgrades and amenities. This is one of the most thorough welcomes we have ever received.


Friday, October 11, 2019

PLEASE SHARE to Remember The Day that Made America Stronger with 9/11 Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik

We all remember where we were on September 11, 2001, the Pearl Harbor of the Modern Generation.  


Driving and walking around the 9/11 memorial with former NYPD Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, we knew we would hear a genuine perspective by someone who would not retreat into clichés. Nearly 20 years later, Kerik's emotions are very much on the surface, as they remain for many Americans.


Remembering The Day that Made America Stronger with 9/11 Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik


On the clear, sunny morning of September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes, and in a coordinated attack that transformed the planes into weapons, intentionally flew two of the planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Learning of the other hijackings through telephone calls, passengers and crew on the fourth plane, now headed toward the nation’s capital, tried to breach the cockpit to thwart another horrific attack. In response, the hijacker pilot crashed the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Nearly 3,000 innocent people were killed that day, the single largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest, single loss of rescue personnel in American history. Over 400 first responders perished while performing their sworn duty: firefighters, members of the NYPD and PAPD, and other rescue workers.

Bernard Kerik, now retired from the New York City Police Department, is one of the most decorated police commissioners in NYPD history and was the commissioner during the September 11, 2001 attack.

In this video, Commissioner Kerik remembers that day.




Saturday, October 5, 2019

Review of Carte Hotel: San Diego’s Newest Boutique Hotel

San Diego’s vibrant Little Italy neighborhood is a constantly evolving place that in recent years has seen an endless stream of exciting new restaurant openings, neighborhood improvement projects and the launch of trendy retail and residential spaces.


The latest new name in the thriving neighborhood is Carte Hotel. The 246-room property, a Curio Collection by Hilton, development, is located in a stylish, airy and sunlight-filled 16-story building on the corner of W. Ash and State streets. What does the name mean? Passport and we agree that this is a passport to explore a vibrant and exciting city!

Review of Carte Hotel:  San Diego’s Newest Boutique Hotel

1. Location


The location is outstanding to explore all that downtown San Diego has to offer. A short walk away is the trendy area of Little Italy with farmers markets, restaurants, breweries, wine bars and more. In addition the Embarcadero waterfront is just a few blocks away and many rooms offer views of the waterfront. The Embarcadero is full of opportunities to enjoy the water or take in a museum like the USS Midway, take off on a whale watching tour or just stroll. The amazing Balboa Park with museums and the famous San Diego Zoo is a 2 mile walk or a quick Uber and a great way to spend an afternoon. The gas lamp district famous for its nightlife is about a 1 mile walk or easy Uber ride. Options to getting there are flying to nearby San Diego airport, driving (parking is ?$50 per day and only valet is available) or train because the Santa Fe train station is only a couple of blocks away. A feature of curio hotels is destination Tesla charging and Carte has four Tesla chargers.