Details, Details, Details!

Over the dark and cold winter months I’ve been keeping cozy & warm while reading and researching the sights and attractions my travelings friends and I hope to see and experience during our upcoming trip. All along the route are many wonderful sights to explore and enjoy!  We don’t want to miss anything because we don’t know about it or that it is there, so I’ve been pouring through guidebooks and reference material. It has whetted my appetite for what lies just around each corner along a fabulous route.

Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, I am not going to be able to travel for 4 months as I had originally planned. However, I am extremely grateful that at least I’ll be able to visit for 5 fabulous weeks in France – 2 weeks in Paris, 2 weeks on the southern coast along the Cote d’Azur (the French Riviera) and another week or so traveling back to Paris via the Dordogne and Bordeaux regions. My portion of the trip will be capped off with a visit to the Loire Valley for a few days with all its fine chateaus!

My friends, Jack and Debbie, will still be able to make the whole trip as planned however. They will take the entire 90-day loop.  Since there will be a lot of terrain to cover on this trip and also due to its duration, there’s a lot of data and knowledge to gather and store for handy reference at a later time!

As I gather each tidbit I have added icons to the travel maps I created.  There are three separate maps: the main map entitled “90-day Holiday” and two additional specialized city maps;  “Paris” and “Amsterdam.”

It takes quite a bit of time to research the information to have handy while traveling. Each icon usually often contains quite a bit of useful information which has been typed into the description section. It takes quite a bit of time to record and can be time consuming; but I have found it is oh-so-worth-it in the long run.  Besides, its been winter and since I’m pretty much forced to be inside most of the time anyway here in Oregon, it’s been a good project to pass the long dark days with. It should prove most useful later because the information needed will be at our fingertips. Important information such as addresses, phone numbers, booking/confirmation numbers, guidebook references, and general information on many topics.

I don’t want to lose track of various tidbits as I find them while researching but also don’t wish to carry a lot of heavy paperwork in my luggage either. We also don’t want the hassle of trying to look it up or have to find it again which can waste precious time on the road. Who wants their heads in a book trying to find the info you want when you can be looking out of the window at the scenery or exploring an exciting historic site or tasting the many wonderful culinary delights?

Various icons are placed on my maps for various types of information we want to capture such as the places we will be staying, the attractions and sights we want to visit and the towns and villages where ancestors hailed from.

(Click on the picture below it should open up a new enlarged version of it in a separate window for easier viewing.) Notice the Legend on the left and various types of icons I have used (i.e.; Crosses for churches, Splats for points of interests, Cars for driving routes, Hearts for ancestors, etc.)

120 map2

The map above shows the whole route Jack and Debbie will be taking. Italy doesn’t have any icons of sights to see yet; not because there aren’t any, but because I still have quite a bit of research to do for that neck of the woods. I will continue to work on this map and there will be icons for the sites to visit before we leave.

The next part of the map I want to share with you is the Loire Valley. On the “90-day map,” the Loire Valley is located just south and west of Paris. Below is a close-up of the various icons I have placed within the chateaux laden Loire Valley where we will be staying for a few days. You can see where each of the chateaux are located along with some restaurants I thought were very intriguing prospects and other sights we hope to enjoy.

loire valley

Here’s another shot of one of the icons when it is open so you can see the type of information entered into the description sections.  This one provides details about a restaurant and a mushroom growing cave! Yum! Don’t want to miss visiting that place or forgetting about wanting to paddle a canoe along the river, gliding under and through one or two of the famous chateaux.  Talk about good, clean fun!

le saut aux Loups


The last example below shows the type of information regarding one of my ancestral great-grandparents that will be handy to know and have access to during my travels!

count of blois

I have also been spending quite a bit of time working on a map dedicated just for Paris. I have gathered and captured a ton of information for that two-week section of the trip. There is a LOT to see and do in that beautiful city of light!

Below is a screenshot of the Paris map.  Notice in the Legend on the left the dates added to the titles of the icons for the various sights we hope to see and enjoy. Scheduling a particular day for each helped to create a rough itinerary for us to follow.  A little pre-planning also allowed me to purchase some tickets for particular days in advance that are difficult to get, if at all, if we waited until we got there. The Eiffel Tower is a good example. There are other money-saving strategies to take advantage of while visiting as well, such as purchasing a 2-day Paris Museum Pass and setting aside two consecutive days to focus on visiting major museum sites.

Preliminary planning is somewhat necessary in order to see and do everything we desire. Having a rough itinerary to follow will make life easier for us.  It’s still flexible enough however for wiggle room and we certainly don’t have every single day planned nor every single minute of every day jammed packed. It’s an easy going schedule with plenty of time for cafe sitting, coffee sipping, crepe eating and people watching built in!


I laid out and marked the various stops on each of the walking tours which Rick Steve’s offers for various neighborhoods in the city.  Here’s a shot which shows where one of the walks, the “Historic Paris Walk,” will take us when we follow it.  Mapping it out gives me a nice visual to look at – the part of the city we will cover as we follow his tour. Rick Steve’s also offers free audio podcasts to download and listen to with our earphones as we walk along the designated route which will be extremely helpful and informative!

historic paris walk

The screenshot below displays all of the various walks around the city we hope to follow and which neighborhood each one covers. It should be a wonderful way to experience the city. Each walk is at about 3 or 4 hours long and have some major sights to visit included, such as a museum, along its route that if visited, will tack on another hour or two to the walk.

champs walk

left bank walk

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the maps and learning about how I’ve captured handy reference information for the places we want to know about and remember to visit. Perhaps it will prove useful to you when you plan your next adventure.

Our departure date is rapidly approaching.  We will board an airplane in 23 days bound for Charles de Gaulle airport!  I’m really beginning to feel the excitement and anticipation of having a really fun time traveling with my wonderful friends!

It is my hope to write another blog entry before I leave. I’d like to share with you some tips on packing for ease and comfort and sharing with you the types of things I think are helpful, useful and necessary.

When I begin my trip, it is my sincere desire to post entries on this site on a regular basis as I travel. Hopefully it will be a daily post. I enjoy sharing my discoveries and the sights I’ve seen each and everyday with all of you. If you don’t want to miss any of the posts on this blog, you might consider “following” it.  If you do so, an email will be sent directly to your inbox and you’ll be able to read them and follow along the adventure as it unfurls.

Or if you just want when I post a new entry it also sends a notification to Facebook and you can follow the link from there. I love sharing my adventures and in return I thoroughly enjoy receiving your comments and getting feedback on the type of information and sights I share.  Another benefit for me is that when you participate and provide feedback it helps  me stay connected with you and a tie to home!  Thank you!  I am grateful for the opportunity to share the fun with my friends and family.  Lucky me – it also serves as a journal for me of my travels – one that I can access and fondly relive over and over again whenever I desire.  And that’s what its all about – making memories!

Until the next time…..