The Countdown Has Begun!

It’s hard to believe my next big adventure is only about a week away!  I have been dreaming of this beautiful Spring trip for months.  I’ll be visiting 10 European countries in just two & a half weeks.  I’ve been excitedly researching every location on the itinerary.  Sunning on Italian beaches & hiking through the Alps are just a couple of the places my mind has been wandering.  However, the more I check the weather forecast, the more I am awakened to the fact that most of the trip may be colder than this Florida weather I’m used to.  My time in the Alps may end up looking more like something out of my winter wonderland series than a traditional Spring scene.  Instead of being disappointed that the trip may not meet my initial expectations, I am excited to see what adventure comes out of the unexpected.

Montana Winter Wonderland Giant Springs

In Full Planning Mode

Wow!  I’ve been so busy planning my next big trip that I haven’t written in a while!  The plans are coming along, but there is still a lot to do.  This will be my most ambitious trip yet!  I plan to visit 10 countries in two and a half weeks.  Most of the trip will be new places/experiences for me.

I know for many of you this is no big deal, but one of the new experiences will be packing light.  I’ve always been one to travel with a checked bag that weighed 49.9 lbs as well as a carry on.  This time I plan to only bring a carry on and personal item.  The idea of dragging 80 lbs of luggage everywhere I go scares me more than not having something to wear.  I look forward to the challenge and promise I will not post “How to Pack 97 Outfits in Your Carry-On.”  I’ve been looking for tips & tricks online and some of them are just ridiculous.  I’m sorry, but adding earrings does not count as a whole new outfit!  haha

Another adventure I am tackling on this trip is how to make the most of my 16 hour layover in London.  I had to make an overnight layover somewhere on my way back and I’m so happy I could find one someplace fun!  I went to London a few years ago, but it was a very, very quick trip.  I’m not sure what I want to see or do yet, but I’m leaning toward the London Eye.  I imagine it’s beautiful at night!  What would you do if you only had a few hours in London?

London Eye

Back to Europe

I didn’t make it out of town this weekend, but I did start some serious planning on my next big trip.  The details are still fluid, but the plan is to go back to Europe in May.  As of now we are planning to go to Germany, maybe Paris, Switzerland, Austria, & on a Mediterranean cruise.  The itinerary is always subject to change, but I do know Germany and Italy will definitely be on this trip.

This will be my third time to Germany.  Every trip is a little different, but my favorite place hasn’t changed.  I love the little town Cochem along the Mosel River.  It’s simple, authentic, and has one of my favorite castles.

As you come over the hill and drop into the village, the first thing you notice is the castle floating above the town.

Cochem Castle GermanyWe drove down into the heart of the village and found a place to park along the river.  After leisurely making our way through the meandering streets, stopping in several of the shops, we started our climb up the hill to the castle.

Cochem Castle on Mosel River, Germany

The trek up the hill did not go unrewarded.  We had a wonderful tour and the views were breathtaking.  I kept seeing this same sculpture throughout the castle and finally had to ask what it was.  In all my sophistication, I thought it looked like Kermit the Frog, but knew that couldn’t be the case.  It turns out it was just a short knight in full armor.

Mosel River, Cochem Germany

On another trip I enjoyed the river cruise.  It runs several times a day and gives you a different perspective of the area.Mosel River, Cochem GermanyI’m not sure if I will make it to Cochem on this trip, but it will always be one of my favorite German towns.

Beach Day!

How perfect!  Yesterday morning I posted about wanting to go to the beach before all the spring breakers arrived, and by early afternoon I was hanging out at Panama City Beach, FL with a friend.  When we got there, the … Continue reading

Sneak Peek at Florida Caverns Park

I love those days where I can set out with no agenda.  I took a quick trip to Alabama last weekend and on the way home I noticed a sign for Florida Caverns State Park.  I quickly got in the … Continue reading

Chasing The Sun

Yesterday, a friend and I set off for an adventure day.  We love to get in the car with no agenda and no idea where we are going.  It always turns into a day full of surprises and adventure (see our last adventure day).  Well, somehow our adventure led us to a favorite shopping spot in a nearby town and the movie theater where we saw Frozen.  We had a blast & it was exactly what we both needed, but I don’t think you care to hear about how much I liked the movie Frozen. 🙂  Instead lets talk about one of my favorite adventure days last summer.

During July (and the whole summer really) there had been a tremendous amount of rain & flooding here in Florida.  One Saturday morning when I woke up I just couldn’t take another day of the waterworks.  I woke a friend up, we got in the car, checked the weather radar and drove east to find the sun!  We drove along the coast with the storm clouds in the rearview mirror as we tried to outrun them.  We ducked into a deserted beach resort where we stopped the car to talk to some guy wearing a shirt from her hometown, but we chickened out.  We blew right through the next little town, Port St Joe, because it was still quite ugly there.

Next stop was Cape San Blas and the weather wasn’t bad.  We came across a thrift shop with 2 surf boards outside and imagined ourselves spending the afternoon learning to surf.  When we inquired about them, the lady sent us to ask a woman at the café down the street.   We walked in the tiny shack and were greeted by a guy shucking oysters.  Not 15 feet down from him we saw a guy serving ice cream!  I just imagined all the ice cream flavors smelling & tasting like oysters!  We talked to the lady and bummer, the surf boards were not for sale.

We decided to keep moving and found an incredible boulder wall along the water so of course we had to stop and climb it in our dresses and bare feet!  We took a bunch of Little Mermaid inspired pictures since some little girls think I’m the real life Ariel.  We got back in the car and back on the road just minutes before the rain caught up with us again.

rock wall

Waving to my mermaid family while trying not to laugh

Waving to my mermaid family while trying not to laugh

We arrived at Apalachicola and searched for a place to have lunch.  We sat down at a cute little restaurant on main street & the rain really started coming down.  No one had even come to greet us yet, so we gave each other a quick look and decided to get back on the road in search of the sun.  We did pop in to the coffee/chocolate shop a couple of doors down first though to get something to sustain us.  We got 2 iced coffees and 2 walnut brownies to go and hurried back to the car.  We were driving along in the rain trying to figure out why the brownies tasted kind of funny.  We didn’t care too much because that was pretty much all we had eaten that day and by that time it was 12:30 or 1.  Then it hit me!  There was alcohol in those brownies!  The actual alcohol was cooked out of course but we laughed so hard because after that point all we could taste was the alcohol!

We got a glimmer of hope not long after when we could see clouds breaking ahead of us!  Unfortunately the road turned north and we started worrying we would lose our lead on the storm that was biting at our heels.  The next little town made us forget all about our race with the storm.  It was barely a speck on the map, but we kept seeing all these beautiful signs for an aquarium and of course we were intrigued.  We were just about out of town when we noticed sign for a hotel at the strip mall.  You know we had to get a closer look so we whipped into the last entrance of the parking lot and there on the front door of the shopping center hotel was a pirate flag!  After seeing that we had to go check out this aquarium.  I made a joke that it was probably just a couple of fish tanks in someone’s house.  Well, we found the aquarium and sure enough it was in a house!  Our giggles were uncontrollable at that point!  We left town & took the next road north so that we could begin to loop around home.

We came across some signs for Wakulla Springs and thought why not, we’ve heard good things about it.  So there we were at Wakulla Springs in our beach dresses catching glimpses of the sun while admiring the springs.  The moment was interrupted when some old guy called us out, “You girls aren’t going swimming are you … all dressed up with your makeup on?”  We did our best to contain the giggles as we pushed past him back toward the car.  As we were walking we noticed a trailhead and again thought why not.  Off we went into the woods for a quick hike in our dresses and flip-flops.

Wakulla Springs

Trail at Wakulla Springs

By the time we got back to the car we were starving so we headed to Tallahassee for dinner and then home.  Before leaving town we got coffee at my friend’s shop Eternal Grounds, and then followed the sunset all the way home.  We literally chased the sun all day and were so excited the next morning when we discovered that the sun decided to stay.

On To The Next Adventure

On To The Next Adventure

Possibilities

This is the time of year that many of us make goals and charge forward into the new year with hope and the belief things can change.  I truly believe 2014 is going to be our best year yet, a year of open doors.  So what fun and exciting things do I have planned for A Heart Of Adventure this year?  I don’t completely know yet and I’m excited about that.  Some of my favorite adventures have been the unplanned ones, like my polar bear plunge!  You just have to be willing to seize opportunities when they arise.

This morning I seized one such opportunity on my way to work.  There in front of me was one of the most gorgeous sunrises I’ve ever experienced.  I could have thought wow that was pretty and kept driving, but I chose to get out and enjoy it for a while (luckily I was running early & had time to do so).

Don’t worry, I do have two major trips already in the works for this year.  The first one, which I’m super excited about is Israel!  This will be my first trip to that region and I can’t wait!  It’s still a couple months away so I don’t have it all planned out yet.  If any of you have been there and have must do, must see suggestions please let me know!  The second trip shouldn’t be a surprise to you who have been reading my blog for any length of time.  Of course we are going back to Montana.  I don’t know the details on that trip either, but I always have my Montana wish list of activities to choose from.  I also have a long list of possibilities for other destinations and adventures.  Where would you like to see me go/do this year?

Island of Adventure

As promised in my post yesterday, let’s go check out that island below the falls Meriwether Lewis was talking about!  Although I didn’t see his eagle, it was an incredible sight with beautiful surprises around each corner! Be sure to … Continue reading

Black Eagle Falls

I arrived at another cataract of 26 feet. … below this fall at a little distance a beatifull little Island well timbered is situated about the middle of the river. In this Island on a Cottonwood tree an eagle has placed her nest; a more inaccessible spot I believe she could not have found; for neither man nor beast dare pass those gulphs which separate her little domain from the shores. The water is also broken in such manner as it descends over this pitch that the mist or sprey rises to a considerable hight. This fall is certainly much the greatest I ever behald except those two which I have mentioned below. It is incomparably a geater cataract and a more noble interesting object than the celibrated falls of Potomac or Soolkiln. – Meriwether Lewis, June 14, 1805

These falls were later named Black Eagle Falls for the eagle Lewis wrote about.  They are the first in a series of five water falls that make up the Great Falls of the Missouri River.  Tomorrow I will take you down onto the island Lewis writes about so we can get a closer look of the falls and those trees.  Be sure to check out all the posts in this Winter Wonderland series!

Black Eagle Falls/Dam

Black Eagle Falls/Dam