TRAVEL with pat and lew

Archive for the ‘… 2013’ Category

* Paris … September 2013 … better late than never

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 24, 2014

Last summer, I faithfully posted our trips to our travel blog, until the last month. So now, as we get ready for our 2014 travels, here is an overview of that wonderful time in Paris.

rose & mike

We had company before we even got into our apartment. Rose and Mike, our British neighbors for 7 years in Collioure, were in Paris and we shared a meal and great conversation.

Paris apt & Adrian

Now we’re in A Vieux Paris – old Paris – one of Adrian Leeds’ great apartments, this one perfectly located in the Marais just a half block from the St. Paul Metro. That’s Adrian with Pat.

nijole and suzanne

We still haven’t unpacked but we go down to the corner for a crepe. Walking by is Pat’s friend Suzanne from New York who now works in London. Of course we invite her for drinks. And we also connect with our friends Rawy and Nijole from Key West who also live in Paris. Our month in Paris is off to a great start.

bling ring

We like to go to the movies, and Paris has lots of English-language movies. But we had trouble finding this one. Yes, it was in that building, which is indeed the Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées. The movie was better than you might think. Not much company though.

cafe at cafe hugo

Until this day, Pat had never had a cup of coffee. Never! Not one! But she had decided a woman in Paris had to be able to go into a cafe and order. She prepared carefully for this moment. It had to be a cafe creme. It had to be at Cafe Hugo on the Place des Vosges. So here it is, preserved for posterity. Oh, you were curious? She enjoyed it and has indulged again a few times since.

pat out window

Pat ran 3 mornings each week in Paris. Here she is beginning her run, as seen from our apartment window.

guernica

Earlier in the summer we were in Madrid and saw Picasso’s incredible Guernica. Now we were in Paris climbing up to the atelier where he painted it at rue des Grand Augustins, #7.

Rawy,Nijole,Polidor,Lux gardens

We hook up again with our friends Rawy and Nijole, first for lunch at the magnificent authentic Polidor, and then to Luxembourg Gardens where of course there is a band to play for us. Isn’t Paris fun?

can you tell it's Paris

Can you tell it’s Paris?

CDG

 Does this help?

love locks

There are rumors that the “love locks” are going to be removed. We hope not.

Rivian & Hans

Our friends Rivian and Hans were in Paris at the same time we were, and we got together at Sorza, one of our favorite restaurants on Ile St. Louis

Fran & valerie

One of the great things about Paris is that people come there, people you know. Here are Fran and Valerie. Fran is one of Pat’s brother’s best friends from way back in first grade in Yeadon.

pat & lew walking

I think Fran took this one.

paris at night

Paris at night

with Jordan & Janet

Some time during the month we had a delightful evening with my nephew Jordan and his wife Janet. Dinner in one of our favorite Paris streets (rue Guisarde in the 6th arr.), followed by a walk in the rain along Blvd. Saint-Germain and a taste of absinthe. But first we had a tour of the houseboat which was the weekend home to Jordan and Janet in Paris.

Sarkozy

We took an afternoon trip to the beautiful Parc Monceau off Blvd. Courcelles, one of Pat’s terrific list of “stuff” she puts together for all of our trips. But even Pat could not have expected to see France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy come running by. But there he was, with two security guards, and pleased as he could be to offer a cheery wave and allow photographs. After he passed me, Pat hollered “lookin’ good” and he said thank you.

Philippe

We accidentally met Philippe at a coffee shop, and he invited us to see him perform at a comedy club not far from our apartment. Last night was the show. Even without understanding a word (it was all in French) we thoroughly enjoyed the performance, which ended with the whole audience and the cast dancing together in the street. Paris is a wonderful place.

Cafe Favorite

Here I am at one of our favorite cafes, called La Favorite, a few steps from our apartment, having morning coffee and croissant, working on my novel.

Brian et al

It’s always great to visit with friends from Key West in Paris. Here we are having lunch and conversation with (l to r) Stan, Brian, Judy, and Susie. After lunch, in the courtyard of the Jewish museum next to the statue of Captain Alfred Dreyfus.

Buddha

Now on display in a gallery in the Place des Vosges. For 37,000 euros it can be yours.

Train bleu

One of Paris’ most spectacular restaurants in Le Train Bleu, located in the Gare de Lyon train station … a toast to a terrific month, almost complete.

apartment in & out

Only a few more mornings in our Paris apartment … enjoying a quiet breakfast and a special view from our window.

best sight in Paris The best sight in Paris. Patricia triumphant. Met her goal.

 

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* August in Nice … so wonderful we booked it again for 2014

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 17, 2013

DSCN1866-wide angle sunrise

Our transfer from Villefranche to Nice was the easiest we have ever had. Our pre-arranged taxi arrived precisely at 10:00 am as scheduled and 20 minutes later we were dropped off at the Promenade de Englaise. Here’s a photo of the view from our apartment. I think Pat gets an A+ for this one.

Nice-view from apt

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… same view a few minutes before dawn

just before dawn

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We’re settling in very comfortably in our 2nd (of 4) week in Nice. I worked all morning, wrote drafts of two scenes I am really excited about. Pat ran 4 miles. Our afternoon trip involved a local bus, several successful errands, a late lunch at an outdoor cafe, and a Velo bike ride home. OK!

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Lew &-velo cards
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Sunday morning … a visit to the outdoor market in Nice’s Old Town. Biking 14 minutes each way – no charge for the 1st half hour … Cherries and flowers, petit dejeuner … We’re working on our travel plans for 2014, including perhaps a return to Nice.

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sunday morning market

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After we bought a small bouquet of flowers, the lovely flower lady gave Pat a rose, carefully removing all the thorns first.

flowers in Nice

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We found a wonderful small street (rue de l’Abbaye) in Nice’s Old Town, lined with one picturesque outdoor restaurant after another. We chose Le Tire Bouchon; my duck and Pat’s lasagne aubergine were both superb. On the way, we met a friendly mime.

mime-cropped

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Pat went swimming this morning in the Mediterranean. She says the water was wonderful but the rocks were a travail. She’s out now looking to buy better beach shoes.

pat swimming

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Is any comment really needed?

moon over Med in Nice

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There is of course much beauty in France. There are also many sad reminders. Many.

sad reminders

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We were treated to a fantastic lunch at the home of our new friends Trevor and Julia. This followed a wonderful tour (led by Trevor) of Vence and St. Paul de Vence.

lunch in nice-cropped

pat & lew in Vence

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A side trip to Cannes is a short train ride away. There are lamborghinis and yachts, but as far as I’m concerned, the best sight in Cannes was the lady who accompanied me there.

Cannes composite

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Another side trip by bus to Cagnes-sur-mer, to see the house where Renoir lived, painted and died. We had just seen the movie (click >>> Renoir), which is set at this home. We recommend it highly.

In addition to the Renoir home, I had the best hamburger I’ve ever had in France, with the help of a man from the next table who explained in French (to the waitress) what “medium-well” means.

cagnes-renoir

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sky at dusk

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Two kinds of fireworks on our balcony in Nice.

2 kinds of fireworks

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Pat swam this afternoon in bright sunshine … 15 minutes later, the skies darkened, rains came, and it was cool enough to get the long-sleeve shirt out of the suitcase for the first time this summer. NOTE: another 15 minutes and the sun was back.

pat on balcony

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Thank you for the LIBERATION OF NICE … Aug 28, 1944 … After hear Stars and Stripes playing outside, Pat looked out from our balcony and saw a long line of jeeps with American flags. We went down and watched the procession head off along the Promenade. It appeared to be French people in the jeeps, in American uniforms, waving American flags.

A sign on one jeep said “we will never forget.”

I am reminded of a young man we met in Normandy who said the same thing, adding appreciatively “you gave us our country back.” All in all, very moving.

jeeps in Nice

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The thanks to Americans for liberation of Nice continues. While sitting on the balcony, having our nightly aperitif (it may be 11am in the States, but it is 5 o’clock in France!) American WWII planes flew overhead.

Then the jeeps came again, filled with French women dressed in the 1940’s clothes and bright red lipstick, “soldiers” all wearing American uniforms, and all the jeeps sporting American flags.

US WWII plane

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Pat’s last swim in the Med this year …

pat's last swim

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* a magnificent week in Villefranche

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 14, 2013

Our objective for this week in Villefranche was to find a spectacular view and relax after the fairly hectic first month of our summer travel. This was the view Pat found and we are carrying out our plan.

reading with a view

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I have been a member of Goodreads

– (sort of a Facebook for readers … http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2950260.Lewis_M_Weinstein) –

for several years, and I truly enjoy reading and often discussing the reviews of my GR friends, which gives me a fine literary conversation each morning before I begin my own writing.

When I saw that one of my GR friends lived near Nice, I contacted him. The result was this delightful harbor side lunch with Trevor and Julia on our first full day in Villefranche and a visit with them in their home 3 weeks later (See Nice post).

DSCN1328-lunch at harbor-Trevor & Julia (2)

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I could have taken hundreds of photos like these (Actually I think I did). Every change of the sun or the clouds produced another spectacular vision. This one was taken soon after a short downpour.

view from balcony after rain

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I have never seen more vibrant photos than those produced by the Indian photographer Roger Bella who had an exhibit in Villefranche in a small building along the path we took from our apartment down to the sea. All of these photos are taken in the village where he lives.

See more of Bella’s stunning photographs at …  http://photo.net/photos/Bienvenus_chez_moi

3 photos from India

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We saw fireworks over the harbor almost every night from our balcony. Apparently they are scheduled for view by those on the cruise ships which sail in and out every day.

DSCN1321-fireworks 2

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We walked along the beach road to Cap-Ferrat, the site of magnificent mansions for a century, and still the playground of the very rich. On the way back, the road was blocked by the police (fallen trees?) and we had to climb to one of the higher roads. This turned out to be quite fortuitous, since we soon realized we were looking across the bay from exactly the viewpoint of Cary Grant and Deborah Carr in “An Affair to Remember.” We looked to our right and there was a road which we choose to believe led up to Janou’s villa.

along the beach

view from Yanou's home

Later that night, we watched the movie on our balcony, looking across at the same view shown in the movie.

view from Janou's villa-then & now

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One of Villefranche’s major attractions is the Chapelle Saint-Pierre, dating from the sixteenth century. Used as a storeroom for local fishermen’s nets and equipment for most of the 19th and early part of the 20th century, it was restored in 1957 with Jean Cocteau adding murals depicting the life of the saint and of local fishermen.

cocteau at St. Pierre 3

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Of many beautiful views of Villefranche, here are just a few …

Villefranche composite

And last, since this is our scrapbook, the living space in our beautiful apartment …

villefranche living space

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* finding my novel “Hereje” (“The Heretic” in Spanish) in a book store in Madrid was a thrilling experience

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 30, 2013

post updated 9/6/13 …

My first novel, The Heretic, was published in Spanish last year. Shortly after arriving in Madrid, we passed a bookstore.  I cannot tell you what a thrill it was to find a copy, which I promptly autographed.

Hereje in Madrid

purchase * THE HERETIC at amazon.

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Madrid is a beautiful city. Our hotel, the Catalonia Las Cortes, was elegant and comfortable, and perfectly located. As we do in all cities, we walked and soaked up the sights. The ambiance of outdoor eating, and the good but inexpensive food, was a great combination.

images in Madrid

We went to see Guernica, and to the Prada. No photos allowed at either, so here is a photo I took on our last trip to Madrid, when I am sure it was permitted. It is absolutely stunning to stand near this painting.

guernica

The first portion of our trip, and our new travel program – New York, Maine, Martha’s Vineyard, Falmouth, Boston and Madrid – was complete. Now to France for August and September.

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* a quick visit to Boston

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 30, 2013

From Falmouth, we took a bus to Boston, our last U.S. layover before heading to Europe. Boston is a great city, and two nights were hardly enough, but we made the most of it. We had a chance to spend time with Ed Demore, another Key West friend, and with Pat’s niece, the beautiful Bridget. Two nights, two great dinners in the North End.

Ed & Brigitte

We ate with Ed in an Italian restaurant. Our mouths dropped when we saw the painting on the wall, the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and, off to the right, the apartment we stayed in when last in Florence in 2011.. The photo below is the same view.

Florence in Boston

The big news in Boston was the trial of Whitey Bulger for 29 murders and other assorted crimes. As a former criminal defense attorney, Pat couldn’t stay away from the courthouse. We couldn’t get in to the actual trial (only a few seats for the public, get in line at 3:00 am), but were a few courtrooms away watching a live video feed of the testimony of Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. Even for me, it was fascinating. Whitey has since been found guilty on many of the charges and is awaiting sentencing.

Whitey's courthouse

On our second morning in Boston, we packed, left the bags in our hotel, and took a great walk through Faneuil Hall, the Boston Common and out onto Beacon Street. Billy Rodgers shoes are still there, but alas his store is gone. Along the way, I was interviewed about Anthony Weiner and his bizarre campaign for Mayor of New York. The finish line of the Boston Marathon, a scene of devastation not too long ago, brought reflection, sadness, and anger. We had lunch, and as you can plainly see, began our diets.

in Boston

We grabbed a cab back to the hotel, picked up our bags, and continued to Logan. Hence to Madrid.

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* across the sound to Falmouth on Cape Cod

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 30, 2013

We left Martha’s Vineyard from the Edgartown pier on a ferry that carried us across the sound to Cape Cod, where we were met by our Key West friend George Fontana holding a cardboard sign proclaiming “LIMO.” After we finished laughing, George took us to the summer house he shares with John Andola. Also visiting were Jim and Cathy Stentzel, also from Key West. Almost immediately we were on the water again, this time on “Grumpy Old Men,” where John served lunch and we took a swim.

boats & water

The guy in the picture above is crabbing or something – while smoking his cigar. Went down, came up, never missed a puff.

John and George were terrific hosts. The conversation was delightful.  It was great to be with Jim and Cathy. Six of us from Key West enjoying Cape Cod! And the food on their back deck overlooking the water was just great.

with our hosts

Falmouth is a place of great beauty. Here are two photos that capture just a smidgen of what there is to see.

beautiful Falmouth

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* Martha’s Vineyard … 1st time since 2005

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 2, 2013

DSCN1103-10 present

this photo wasn’t taken until nearly the end of the week, but it just has to come first

For many years, we vacationed with our children for one week each summer on Martha’s Vineyard. But then they all got older, got married, had children, and there was no house big enough, nor did they all have the time or the inclination, amidst conflicting demands, to come. Also, of course, we had purchased our apartment in Collioure, France, and that pretty much took us out of the U.S. picture in summer-time. So our last time on the Vineyard was 2005. Although only three of our six children could come this year, we were still hoping for a glorious week. We would miss the others, but we understood why they weren’t here.

DSCN0950-Cape Air-mod

our Cape Air plane

From Portland, we drove to Boston’s Logan airport and caught a tiny Cape Air flight to the Vineyard – the kind of flight where they ask how much you and your carry-on luggage weigh before you get on the plane. The pilot looked as if he might be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah that night. But he flew a perfect flight. We just missed seeing Fareed Zakaria who we were told landed on the plane just before us.

Two of Pat’s group had arrived earlier and they met us at the airport. By that time, the cleaners were finished and we could occupy our rental house. Later that afternoon, my son and his family arrived. They had rented another house, less than a half mile away. On the first night, Kevin & Dawn and Kerry & Susan were all exhausted from their long overnight drive to Wood’s Hole. So Pat and I took some of the food we had just purchased and went to the other house to see Jon, Stacie, Evan & Natalia. Jon cooked the hamburgers and we enjoyed our first visit with them in several months.

DSCN0971-pat at edgartown harbor

Pat at Edgartown harbor

The next morning (Sunday) Pat and I rode into Edgartown on Kerry and Susan’s bikes (about 20 minutes). It looked very much the same as we remembered. We had lunch at Flowers, bought a NYT at the Paper Store, and biked back. That night, dinner was at our house, with Kerry & Susan cooking. This continued the long-standing tradition of one couple taking each dinner – preparation and cleanup – that had evolved over the many years of MV visits. Jon and Stacie brought the kids, and we happily gave up the idea of a quiet repose. Pasta and shrimp. Lots of conversation. Lots of laughs. Later in the week, Dawn & Kevin cooked twice and Jon & I shared a night.

MV 1st nite composite

This was a wonderful house. Plenty of space, indoors and out, everything you would need. And a bonus. After we rented, the owner put in a/c. How delightful in a week that was often 90 degrees.

The week went much quicker than we knew. Everybody was busy. 30 mile bike rides. 3 mile runs. Trips to the beach. Pat and I took the grandkids one night and the next morning to give their parents a “sleep-in.” We went for a great walk, met a lady who had lived on island for almost 90 years, saw chickens and horses. We also played catch, soccer and kickball (where are the photos for that?). Jon and I had time for a quiet lunch. Pat, Kerry and Kevin for a rigorous run. There was so much physical activity that Dawn said she felt like she was at a “fat camp.”

MV composite #2

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MV composite #3

One night we watched Jaws, in preparation for a Jaws walking tour in Edgartown the next day. (Check out Mike at Amity Tours. He did a great job, showing scenes from the movie on his iPad as we stood at the locations.) We learned many fascinating details. MV got the film, instead of Nantucket, due to a foggy morning when the site-selection person’s ferry to Nantucket was cancelled. Speilberg was such a perfectionist he took 4 days to shoot the opening scene planned for 4 hours. The mechanical shark got fouled up in the salt water. The film crew was supposed to be gone by July 4, but didn’t finish until September. One scene was shot outside the Old Victorian Inn where Pat and I spent our honeymoon in 1984.

jaws composite

Pat took the opportunity to teach the grandkids important new skills …

MV composite #4

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Did you notice all the shirts with the black dogs on them? This is a continuation of a family tradition started many years ago. The shirts are from the Black Dog, first a restaurant in Vineyard Haven and now a nationwide mail-order retail merchant. The shirts have the years on the back, and we have, among us, quite a collection.

from the rear

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Here are photos from 2005. We’re all 8 years younger, and some of us are just a tad thinner. Also, Josh, Steph and Blake are with us. This year, Blake was too busy helping his team win one baseball tournament after another …

MV 2005

the Weinstein group in 2005

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DSCN1126-Lenny's + Lew-mod

the Lenny group (and me) in 2013

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pat & lew kisses

some things never change

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Finally, our week was over, and as dusk settled in, it was time to pack up and move on. Next stop, Falmouth with our Key West friends.

dusk at MV

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* Maine … one week each in Camden & Portland

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 31, 2013

We finally got our car from Hertz in Boston and set off north to Maine. Our purpose for our two weeks in Maine was to find a place where we might, in a later year, stay for a month or more. Spoiler alert … although we found things to enjoy in both cities, we agreed that one week was enough for either.

Our travel day had begun with a 6:00 am taxi to Penn Station in New York, then a 4 hour train ride to Boston, and finally a confrontation with Hertz regarding their non-existent South Station office. Already tired and aggravated, we set off on the 200 mile drive from Boston to Camden, Maine.

ben & jerry's

Leaving Massachusetts and passing through a little corner of New Hampshire, we came into Maine and passed Portland. It was time to take a break. The signs said Freeport was up ahead. We had been there years before. LL Bean-land. Only a few miles off the interstate. And what a break it was.

We have no photos. Blame Ben or Jerry.

We each got double decker cones with caramel and were innocently slurping away when we looked at each other – covered with drippings, too sloppy to hold a camera. Laughing at each other like two 3 year olds. Perhaps this happens often, since there was a washroom readily available. We cleaned up and continued to Camden.

Camden, ME

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DSCN0710-Camden tall ships

Tall ships in Camden harbor

Camden ME is a delightful town located on a picturesque harbor in Penobscot Bay. We had been here before, many years ago on one of our first trips together and more recently for two different windjammer voyages on the tall ships which are based here.

Our rental apartment was a 5 minute walk from the harbor, restaurants and shops. And it is a beautiful place, spotless and convenient. Whenever we needed something, it seemed to be just at hand. If you visit Camden, you couldn’t do better than …

Marigold Cottage at http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p188200.

a place to read

Our main need, wherever we go, is a comfortable, beautiful place to read (and for me, to write). So need #1 was quite well satisfied, especially when we found the NYT at the local supermarket.

The WIFI, another crucial requirement for us, worked perfectly. The only negative was the TV. It worked fine, but the only baseball games it received were the Red Sox.

A sunset sail is a high priority in Camden. And the ship to take was the Appledore, which had just relocated from Key West, where it spends the winter. We met the crew, signed up, and enjoyed a sail in quite cool weather.

camden sunset sail

The other principal attraction of Maine is the lobster. Both in Camden and the next week in Portland, we took every opportunity to indulge.

DSCN0816-pat's lobster

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Portland, ME

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The ride from Camden to Portland was uneventful, except for the fact that the a/c conked out on a 90 degree day. Our first stop in Portland was the Maine Mall. Pat needed to sign in for the next day’s Color Run, and we made our obligatory visit to the local Apple store, this time to learn how to do some things on Pat’s new iPod touch. With both tasks accomplished, we found a restaurant and, during lunch, called Hertz to arrange for a car swap at the Portland airport. This went smoothly, and we headed to our apartment on Portland’s Eastern Promenade, about a mile from downtown.

The apartment, part of a really upscale condo group which we think serves mainly corporate clients, was spectacular, including the view of the water from our small terrace. Portland Maine Rentals … http://portlandmainerentals.com/218eastern1.html

DSCN0819-5 o'clock in Portland

wine & cheese on the terrace

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Color Run

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The next day was the Color Run. Thousands of runners do an untimed 5k run while being pelted with colors from cannons and bags and who knows what else. Can’t explain. Just look at the photos …

color run composite

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Edward the watchmaker

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One morning Pat’s watch stopped. It was a new battery in her favorite Mickey Mouse Seiko watch, a gift from her son Christopher in honor of her graduation from law school. So it’s important. She called several jewelers from the Portland Yellow Pages. One said he didn’t work on Seikos. Another said he didn’t have any batteries. Then there was Edward.

“Come right over! Do you know where I am?”

“I have your address.”

“But you won’t find me. It’s hidden. Do you know where they have the fireworks?”

“Yes.”

“It’s not there. Go to Washington Street. Look for a yellow sign on a red building. Or maybe it’s a red sign on a yellow building. But you’ll see it. If you get lost, call me.

So … we found Edward, actually quite easily. There was another customer being serviced. We looked around the shop. It seemed as if every job Edward had worked on for the past several decades was still displayed on some counter or shelf.

“Are you the one who called me?”

“Yes.”

To the other customer, “You wait. I need to serve this lady first.”

He looked at the watch. “It’s not the battery. Whoever put the battery in knocked off the connection. They tried glue but it didn’t work. You’re lucky you came to a real watchmaker this time. There aren’t many watchmakers left. But I can’t fix it right away. Can you come back tomorrow?”

As we were leaving, I saw a display of watchbands. I needed a watchband. “Can I see those?”

“No, you can’t have those. They’re antiques.”

The following day, we returned. The watch was ready. Edward proceeded in great detail to explain what the problem had been and what he had done to solve it. He drew a diagram and gave us detailed instructions to use the next time the battery needed to be changed.

“Are you going to come back to change the battery here?”

“No, we don’t live here.”

“You can’t fly back?”

Maybe we should. It’s worth a trip to Portland just to have Edward fix your watch.

edward the watchmaker

Edward the watchmaker

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the MOMA in Portland

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A selection of the William S. Paley collection from the MOMA was at the Portland Museum of Art while we were in Portland. Lucky us.

portland art museum composite

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* getting from New York to Maine … problems with Delta and Hertz

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 29, 2013

From New York we went to Maine, but getting there did not go as we had planned.

delta logo

We had booked an early Saturday morning flight from LaGuardia to Portland, ME. On Friday, I got an email from Delta, saying they had cancelled our flight and were re-booking us from LaGuardia to Detroit to Portland … on Sunday!

I called Delta and also Expedia, through whom we had made the reservation. Why was the flight cancelled, I asked, when 3 other flights from LaGuardia to Portland later on Saturday were still scheduled to go? Weather we were told. The whole east coast was a mess. New York airports were closed down.

This seemed strange to us, since we were actually in Manhattan and the weather was fine. I think Delta was not truthful, probably because weather-related delays do not obligate them to make refunds.

Of course Delta would not pay for the extra hotel night in New York. Amtrak was the alternative. We booked a Saturday morning train from New York to Boston, and changed the Hertz pickup from Portland to Boston. I cancelled the Delta flight and demanded a refund, which was at first refused. After some “additional discussion” Delta changed their mind and within two days had processed a full refund. I can’t be sure, but I think the fact we had booked through Expedia created some additional leverage.

The train ride to Boston was pleasant and uneventful.

hertz

We arrived at South Station Boston, where we had booked with Hertz to pick up our car. But there is no Hertz office at South Station. No car. No sign. No instructions. I spent 30 frustrating minutes on the phone – mostly on hold – before finally hearing an automated message that we had to take a taxi to another Hertz location in Boston, reimbursable up to $10.00.

The counter person at Hertz Park Place location was sympathetic and cheerful. She said they had not had a South Station office for a long time, and the branch manager was supposed to have changed the web site and put some kind of signage/instructions at South Station.

The branch manager was first “too busy to see us” and then unapologetic and brusque and full of “attitude” when she finally deigned to appear. She told me that my reservation said we would have to taxi to an other location, an assertion that turned out not to be true. Then she turned her back and walked into her office.

My subsequent conversations with Hertz customer service were intended to get that arrogant lady with attitude fired, or at least disciplined. I have no idea if I succeeded. I did receive several emails from a Hertz customer service representative, who had gone to the web site and confirmed that reservations could still be made for pickup at South Station. (NOTE: it has since been changed.)

Later, the rental car lost a/c and we had to make an exchange in the Portland airport. The attendant there was most helpful and went out of his way to get us a suitable replacement in record time.

Hertz is not a bad company, but they should really deal with that “bad apple” in Boston.

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* a different kind of summer – first stop New York City

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 28, 2013

Since we sold our apartment in Collioure, this summer represents the first version of Plan C. Our intent is to go to fewer places and stay longer than we did when we were doing home exchanges from our Collioure base. However, the first month or so of Plan C (from late June to early August) turned out to be a series of short visits – to NYC, Camden & Portland ME, Martha’s Vineyard, Falmouth MA, Boston, Madrid and Villefranche.

New York City was our first stop. We flew from Key West to Miami to LaGuardia, and then to our favorite NYC hotel, the Milburn on W. 76th St near Broadway. There were three main activities: a Merms Pizza night, 3 New York Yankees games, and a visit from Pat’s kids Chris & Becky and Kevin, with her grandson Sean.

“Merms” is an abbreviation for Mercury Masters, the running club of women over 50 who run marathons that was a major part of Pat’s life during our 14 years in New York. Whenever Pat appears, a group of wonderful ladies in great shape gathers at Dean’s on the West Side for pizza and conversation. And they let me attend.

pizza night

Not by coincidence, the Yankees played three times during our stay in NY. I went first with our friend Dan, the owner of Rosa Mexicana, then with a college friend from Princeton I’ve seen only once in the past 50+ years, then with my son Josh and grandson Blake.

at Yankee Stadium

We met Pat’s sons Chris & Kevin, with Becky & Sean, at Penn Station, and the day included Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, and lunch at NY’s new hot burger joint called Shakeshack.

Lennys in NY

New York is a photographer’s paradise. There’s something interesting and beautiful wherever you look. Here are three scenes that caught my eye … Central Park seen from Central Park South, a cityscape from inside the lobby of the Time Warner building, and a typical New York collection of water towers viewed from our hotel room.

3 views of NYC

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Next … Maine and some aggravation getting there.

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* Getting ready to leave Key West … some memories

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 21, 2013

We’ve been in Key West since October (almost 9 months) which is the longest consecutive time we’ve ever spent here. It has been wonderful, but we’re ready for some travel, and we have an exciting summer planned.

Before leaving, however, I put together a selection of photos to remember what we’ve been up to. The photos are in no particular order, nor are they a complete record.

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KW #1

KW #4***

KW #2

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KW #3

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