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Wild Writing Women Magazine | Taking Flight

Wild Taking Flight

The Wild Writing Women provide first-time travelers
Writing with all you need to know to spread your wings and fly.

A Message From Our E.D.
(Editorial Dominatrix)

The First Time I Saw Paris
by Georgia Hesse
Georgia, the ingenue, absorbs the
lessons of Paris

Mardi Gras Madness

by Cathleen Miller
Wide-eyed wonder in the wicked city

Riding the Rails in Europe

by Jacqueline Harmon Butler
Jacqueline’s childhood love affair
with trains continues

The Coptic Priest

by Lisa Alpine
Lisa journeys to the Promised Land

Heading Towards the Sun

by Carla King
Trading a husband for freedom in
the South of France

Getaways Miller To Go Food Flirt Gear

Lisa savors the Côte Cathy outlines the Jacqueline on dining Carla tells you how to
d'Azur hidden dangers of alone plug in to Europe
travel (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:22 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Taking Flight

Travel Tips R&R: Reports & Reviews

For a well-connected journey Reports

Ten Tips for Maiden Voyages Ft. Mason

Ten Tips for Perfect Packing Reviews

Ten Tips for Staying Safe on the Road Boonville Hotel

Petite Soleil
I Wouldn't Leave Home Without... Regency Hotel
Carter House Hotel
Tripping without Jet Lag Do & Co Albertina Restaurant
Divertissement: Flight 001

Money Matters

On the Horizon Gallery: Memories from our

Salons Snapshots from our first trips

What Goes Around

McDonald’s Is My Kinda Place by Suzanne LaFetra

Suzanne tells us why she passes through those golden arches, even in China.

Global Fusion by Lyn Bishop

Lyn Bishop strikes out on a trip to understand the world and reports back for those of us stuck
at home.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:22 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Taking Flight

Taking Flight
Writing Letter from the E.D.
Women TM by Cathleen Miller

The notion for our “Taking Flight” issue began in

our public appearances around the country. After
we would read from Stories of World Travel, or tell
tales of our journeys, women would invariably say:
“I wish I had the nerve to do what you
travel the world.” This made me realize that there
are a lot of you out there who are longing to travel
—as I once was—but just don’t know how to take
that first step to make it happen. This edition is
dedicated to helping you begin your exploration.

The Wild Writing Women believe so strongly in the power of travel to educate and enlighten that we
even addressed it in our mission statement. Our goal is to “encourage the positive aspects of travel,
and to empower women in general.” Having the courage to hit the road—with companions or alone—
is empowering. It frees you to pursue your own destiny, to take an active role in creating your own
history. Travel opens the door to your cage.

We are not the first people to come up with this idea. While so much fear and suspicion sadly keeps
many Americans at home today (and granted this is probably not the best time to take the Girl Scout
Troop on the Baghdad field trip) some of our best minds have created public institutions to encourage
us to venture beyond our own borders and investigate other cultures.

For example, J. William Fulbright, a young man from Arkansas, traveled to Oxford as a Rhodes
Scholar. After witnessing the devastation of World War II, Senator Fulbright introduced legislation to
create the Fulbright Scholarships. He believed if large numbers of people lived and studied in other
countries, “they might develop a capacity for empathy, a distaste for killing other men, and an
inclination for peace." (Maybe more people need to learn this lesson; George W. Bush had never used
his passport until he became president of the United States.) In 1961 President John Kennedy created
the Peace Corps to create world peace and friendships. His hope was that U.S. volunteers serving
abroad would learn a respect for other cultures and simultaneously their tenure would promote a
better understanding of Americans.

But far beyond any political or social agenda is the pure joy available to travelers witnessing the
beauty and majesty that we’ve only read about in books. And meeting people from foreign climes can
offer you warm memories and lasting friendships. When you experience the world firsthand it (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:29 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Taking Flight

becomes part of you, and travel abroad should be as much a part of every person’s education as
formal schooling. In “Taking Flight” we’ve provided you with some of our early adventures, recent
adventures, and guidelines for how to have an adventure of your own.

Many thanks to talented web designer Susan Brkich for helping us to create this new issue. We met
up with Jacqueline’s old friend Susan in Paris last year when the WWW were visiting the City of Light
en masse. She went to dinner with us after our reading at Shakespeare and Company and through
the magic of the Internet has worked with us on this issue from New York. The world does indeed
keep getting smaller. See more of Susan’s work at

Don’t forget to write when you get home from your trip and let us know how it went, or give us
feedback on the magazine. You can reach me at

For all the Wild Writing Women, I wish you bon voyage and bon chance!

Cathleen Miller
WWW Editorial Dominatrix

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:29 PM]

The First Time I Saw Paris by Georgia Hesse

Taking Flight
Writing The First Time I Saw Paris
Women TM by Georgia Hesse

The first French bed I slept in was at the Fondation des États-Unis within the 100-
acre residential campus of the University of Paris. It was not the Paris of the Left
Bank, neither of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre nor of Janet Flanner
(the New Yorker's peerless columnist Genêt), certainly not of Colette. Below my
window, traffic thundered along the wide Boulevard Jourdain, along which 5,000+
fellow students grazed, searching for a sense of the city. Even that amorous American Benjamin
Franklin would have been hard-pressed to uncover a sniff of romance amid such busy sterility.

But we young had come to study. I took a course at the Sorbonne called Introduction to French Life.
One glorious day I escaped the class walk through the Tuileries Gardens, kicked a chestnut into the
air, and took a daringly expensive glass of wine at Ruc-Univers (now just the Ruc), a café across from
the Comédie Française on what was then Place du Théâtre Français. (Today it's Place André Malraux,
where I have performed that ritual of freedom for more than 40 years.)

In the smaller streets of our campus' quartier, cobbled and dark, we discovered a tiny zinc bar where
a wiry small waitress sang out salade de to-MA-tuh! and slapped down brimming bowls of tasty
tomato soup. Once after dinner we walked “up” Jourdain and I stuck in my thumb, pulled out a plum,
and fell in love with a tarte mirabelle.

Across Jourdain from the Cité Universitaire lay Montsouris, an 1870s quarry transformed into
parkland, today a cherished 50-acre greensward. (An engineer of the project committed suicide on
opening day in 1878 when his artificial lake suddenly went dry.) I did not visit the Parc Montsouris; I
did not know then that Georges Braque had occupied a studio nearby in the street named for him.

Besides, my new friend Julia had gone to Montsouris with a boyfriend and had not liked her untoward
experience there.

The Paris that mattered took some getting to. I descended into the Métro at station Cité Universitaire
bound for Denfert-Rochereau (where in the Catacombs rest several million skeletons, skulls, and
crossed tibias) and beyond to St-Michel, the center of the students' universe. (In St-Michel the
bookstores grow/Between the cafés, row on row.)

Summer reached Paris in September. Uncomfortably warm, I wore my black turtleneck sweater
anyway and tried to brood, world-worn, at some sidewalk café. I wanted to smoke, slowly, a Gaulois
but was afraid of choking; you can't brood importantly while choking. A crise had settled down in
Suez and the untidy Algerian war worried on. In an unimportant café, I ordered the poison of the day.
(Having confused poison with fish, poisson, I left in humiliation before it arrived.) (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:30 PM]

The First Time I Saw Paris by Georgia Hesse

Insurrection in Morocco, Maurice Utrillo's death from pneumonia, squabbles within the Radical
Socialist leadership: These were shadows. I strolled beneath the arches of the Rue de Rivoli and
stepped, shaking, into the majestic Hôtel Meurice. I wiggled my fingers in the fine fountains of the
Place du Théâtre-Français, fell into a kaleidoscope of stained glass in Ste-Chapelle, and shivered at
the naughtiness of a night in Pigalle: “Deux à la Fois? Pourquoi Pas?” (“Two at Once? Why Not?”).
Uncertain what it meant, I did know better than to ask.

One late afternoon, golden with St. Martin's summer, I almost fainted at St-Germain-des-Prés
because even within its modest confines there is too much to know. To soothe my soul, I bought a
black béret.

I had been sent to France not to prance about Paris but to study science politique and the notion of
Europe (then called the Common Market) at the University of Strasbourg in Alsace. Inevitably, the
time came to take the train to what I considered a provincial backwater. (We Parisiennes are such

Looking back, I see a naïve schoolgirl standing along Boulevard Jourdain and waving for a taxi to take
her and her steamer trunk (the size of a Citroën) to the railway station. She waits and waves, waits
and waves, misses her escort and assigned train.

Somehow (the details are long forgotten), she arrives in early evening in Strasbourg, alone, with no
notion of where to go, of where to stay. It is, of course, a Friday; there is no possibility of help until
Monday morning.

To my amazement, the girl checks her trunk at the station's consigne and walks directly across the
street to the fanciest hotel available (the Terminus-Gruber, it was), checks in, and orders an
extravagant bowl of fraises du bois (wild strawberries).

Georgia Hesse is widely admired as the founder of the San Francisco Examiner's travel section, where
she served as travel editor for 19 years. She is now a full-time freelance travel writer and
photographer who has received many awards, including the Ordre du Merite from the French
government in 1982. She teaches writing and frequently appears on local radio.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:30 PM]

Mardi Gras Madness by Cathleen Miller

Wild Taking Flight

Women TM Mardi Gras Madness
by Cathleen Miller

Traveling was easier back when we were in college, in

part, I think, because our standards were so low. I mean,
when you live in a pig sty, who can get haughty about the
omission of that paper seal on the toilet seat signifying the
toilet is fit to drink from? And when you live on a daily diet
of tuna fish, popcorn, and peanut butter, your restaurant
requirements are more relaxed.

Travel opportunities were more accessible, too. If you had

an opportunity to go to Fort Lauderdale for spring break,
but couldn't get off work, well, good riddance to your dish-
washing job at Polly's Pancake House. All of these facts
were in evidence on our trip to Mardi Gras when I was a college sophomore back at SEMO, Southeast
Missouri State.

My friend Jim Valero, seasoned Mardi Gras veteran and general bon vivant, announced he would be leading
an expedition to the festivities. I immediately signed up, remembering the buzz that had spread across
campus the year before when seemingly everyone except me had made the journey. I, like most of my fellow
coeds, had seen very little of the world (or of the nation for that matter), and I was itching to expand my
nineteen-year-old consciousness. One of the world's largest parties seemed like a good place to start. Two
days later I was on my way, with $40 in my pocket, and my trip agenda: to get a Tulane University t-shirt
and eat red beans and rice.

Valero picked me up (we called everybody by their last names in college because we were tough), then we
drove around town gathering the other members of our entourage. In the process we acquired two last
minute additions. They spontaneously threw some jeans into a backpack and followed their roommates out to
the car, loathe to be left behind. At 8:00 p.m. Valero left town to begin the 800-mile journey; his now
burgeoning Chevy Impala carried a dangerous cargo of six wild women and a case of Budweiser.

Just before dawn we crept into the French Quarter, and the exotic surroundings bulged our sleep-swollen
eyes. The eerie pre-dawn light intensified the surreal feeling of waking up in this strange place. We bounced
slowly down the deserted cobblestone streets with Valero pointing out landmarks. A lone woman wearing a
sequined gown stood on the corner in the pale yellow circle of a street lamp. I wondered aloud why she was
just standing there by herself at this hour, wearing her pretty party dress. "Do you mean that prostitute?"
Valero asked, his voice rising. We were suddenly alert to the prospect of laying eyes on a real prostitute, and
all six passengers thronged over to the driver's side, threatening to tip over the Impala. "And that's not a
woman, that's a man."

"Oh, my god!!" we shrieked. The car was suddenly clamoring like the inside of a crowded magpie's cage. "Oh,
it's not true! You're making it up! Ooohh, how creepy." Upon learning this news, I vowed that my trip would (1 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:32 PM]

Mardi Gras Madness by Cathleen Miller

be uneventful, because I wasn't getting out of the car.

However, I soon broke this vow, and within hours was neck deep in the throng of celebrants pushing and
shoving to catch the beads tossed from the Mardi Gras floats by royalty. We drank Hurricanes and I ate my
red beans and rice. That evening things were going exceedingly well, when one of my comrades,
Schafleutzel, bounded up bringing another stroke of good luck. "I've found us a place to stay!" We all

This was indeed happy news, since it was about 9 p.m. and we of course had no money for a hotel room,
even if cold cash could have bought lodging. Ah, but love could buy what money could not. A gallant young
man, enamored with our lovely Schafleutzel, had offered us a room in his apartment, which was conveniently
located over the Takee-Outee next door to Pat O'Brien's. Whether Schafleutzel had confided the existence of
her six accomplices before this deal was struck was never clear. Nevertheless, at four in the morning we
trooped up for a good night's sleep.

We went into the courtyard, and in appropriate parade formation, all eight of us climbed the long, sweeping
wrought-iron staircase of the two-hundred-year-old French building. Our good Samaritan opened the door to
his apartment and we entered to yet another Mardi Gras feast for the eyes. The elegant tall-ceilinged parlor
was ghostly—white sheets draped the furniture in the darkened room, as if the occupants had gone away.
The only light came from a candelabra which illuminated two lovers embracing upon a leopard-skin settee.
The handsome young man in his twenties was a friend of our host. His naked, muscular torso gleamed in the
candlelight, and even though we had interrupted him at an inopportune moment, he seemed happy to see
us. It was the object of his affection which raised the hair on the back of my neck. The woman glaring at us
wore a plunging black negligee decorated with a single red rosebud at her bosom. With course, gray hair
streaming down to her waist, framing her wrinkled, seventy-year-old face, she looked exactly like a lascivious
Halloween witch.

We quietly followed our host into a dark bedroom, empty except for a twin bed sans sheets. We tossed the
mattress on the floor next to the box springs and all eight of us piled on. While I was lying there amongst the
tangle of 32 arms and legs, trying to decide if I dare go to sleep with the Halloween Witch in the next room, a
small puppy wandered in and began to insert his needle-like teeth into the hapless flesh of my outstretched
leg. Unsure of which arm was mine, I dared not try to swat him. Our luxurious respite was to be brief,
however. At 7 a.m. Halloween barged in and ordered everybody out.

Back out on the street again, and definitely the worse for wear, we stumbled along trying to formulate a plan.
The revelers were still going and the sight of six unattached females stirred their primal interest. Our group
began to pick up quite a following as we made our way down the street. One extremely filthy man—who
looked as if he'd just escaped from a Turkish prison—ran up and handed me a driver's license. On the license
was the photo of a clean-shaven preppie. "Thish is meeeee!!" he bleated. "Just four days ago I was a normal
college student in New Hampshire!! Now look at me!! It's Mardi Grash, Mardi Grash done this to me." We all
nodded in understanding, and headed to the Salvation Army for a shower.

Upon arrival, we inquired about using their shower facilities, and were told to have a seat and wait. Soon a
matronly woman with home-permanent-fried hair came over and began shouting at us, in what I thought
was a most un-Christian-like way. "This Mardi Gras nonsense can just go it!" she yelled, apparently put out
by the increased demand on her hospitality. We all sat meekly in our supremely hung-over fog, but
somewhere under the stupor I felt like a fool, thinking if my family could see me now, my grandmother would (2 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:32 PM]

Mardi Gras Madness by Cathleen Miller

expire with shame.

"Jeez, what's her problem..." I muttered to Schwartz.

"Huh, is she talking to us?"

Self-consciously we all stripped down to wash in the group shower, and one of the shelter's permanent
female residents pulled up a chair to watch the free performance.

In the afternoon, we shuffled through the Quarter like zombies. We shopped at the voodoo store, and I saw
my first dildo in the window of a sex shop. I stared at the long pink object for quite some time, till I finally
asked my friends what it was. "What does it look like, Miller?" I blushed while everyone else had a good

The educational tour of the New Orleans area continued, when we all maximized our quarters by crowding all
seven of us into a booth at an x-rated movie theater. It quickly got too hot for me (what with all the people
crammed into such a tight space) so I said I'd wait outside. As I stood in front of the porn palace, a group of
frat boys gathered across the street to hoot catcalls at me, and I wondered what the hell was taking my
friends so long.

Finally exhausted from carrying the weight of several pounds of Mardi Gras beads around our necks, we
looked for a place to sit down. For some reason, sitting on the curb was illegal, and we saw the paddy
wagons full of folks who had made the mistake of ignoring this suggestion. It appeared we were destined to
roam the streets like the living dead until we dropped. Instead, the assembled brain trust opted for a bold
plan. Our funds were dwindling fast, but we bluffed our way into the Unisex Male and Female Exotic Dancers
Club without paying the cover charge. Once inside, we noticed our waiter stood out from the rest of the staff.
With his g-string uniform, he sported a pair of black wing-tips and black socks. He asked us if we wanted a
drink and when we pitifully whined we couldn't afford one, he confided: "I know what you mean. I go to
school in Ann Arbor and I just came down for Mardi Gras. I spent all my money and had to take this job so I
could earn enough to get back home."

Within minutes he was gyrating on top of our table, while we young ladies squirmed in our seats, trying to
look everywhere except straight ahead. To make matters worse, a dumpy guy in a SEMO college sweatshirt
sat down next to my roommate and while wiping the steam from her glasses said, "I bet you don't recognize
me, but I'm in your history class at school.

The night ground on, and having no place to stay, we wandered the streets until dawn the following morning.
After a quick vote, we decided we should leave for home before we wound up dancing on table tops—or at
long last relaxing in one of the paddy wagons. All seven of us piled into the Impala and began to inch out of
the French Quarter for the first time in days. Stopped at a red light, the car full of young, laughing females
caught the attention of another early-morning party animal. He came over, stuck his head into the car
window and whistled a low note as he gazed at the six women. Stupefied, he said to Valero, "Look at this . . .
no wonder I haven't been able to meet a single woman since I got here! You've got 'em all. Buddy, I gotta
ashk yuh, what IS your secret?" (3 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:32 PM]

Riding the Rails in Europe by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Wild Taking Flight

Women TM Riding the Rails in Europe
by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

On my first trip to Europe many years ago, my sister Patty and

I traveled around Ireland, England, Scotland, France and
Switzerland via our Eurail Passes. I found standing in front of
the big departure boards in the train stations thrilling.
Something captivated me about those clicking sounds, and
then new trains to magical places would appear with track and
departure time. Knowing that I could board any one of those
trains was a huge temptation. I still love that clicking sound. To
me it sounds like adventure.

I have loved trains since I was a child. They have always represented romance, mystery and excitement to
me, and I sought out songs, movies and books that featured rail travel. Somehow the magic of romantic
reunions and sad departures have always gotten to me, such as the last scene from the movie Summertime,
when a tearful Katherine Hepburn was on board a train leaving Venice and Rossano Brazzi was running along
the quay waving a beautiful white gardenia after her. Then there is the scene in Casablanca, where Humphry
Bogart is supposed to meet Ingrid Bergman at the Gare d’Lyon. They were fleeing the Nazis, bound for
Morocco. A colleague gives him a note in which Ingrid says that due to unforeseen circumstances, she cannot
meet him after all. A very dejected Humphry boards the train without her. In another film classic, Some Like
it Hot, a bouncy Marilyn Monroe joins the other members of an all-girl band for a slumber party on the
sleeper train. This entourage includes Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis masquerading as women. And of course
we can't forget Agatha Christi’s fabulous Murder on the Orient Express. My list goes on and on...

Over the years, before the high speed trains, I found it convenient to take sleeper trains between cities: Paris
to Marseille, Nice to Venice, Vienna back to Paris (via a train called the Rosen Cavalier). I loved waking up at
border crossings, listening to the sounds of the guards talking, now in French and then in Italian or German.
It is no surprise that for my latest excursion I found the idea of riding the rails between France, Switzerland
and Austria enticing, and I planned to try out Rail Europe’s newest two-country rail passes, France-
Switzerland and Switzerland-Austria. My itinerary, which I planned in advance, took me from Dijon, France,
to Montreux, then from Luzern, Switzerland, to Salzburg and Vienna, Austria.

My first train of the trip was a shiny TGV that zoomed from the Gare d’Lyon in Paris down to Dijon in just one
and a half hours. In Dijon I took the Owl’s Walking Tour around the old city. I was amused by a small owl
icon sculpted into the corner of a building near Notre Dame; its image almost completely rubbed smooth by
the many hands that had touched it. Legend has it that the owl is a good luck charm for those who rub it with
their left hand, (the hand close to the heart), and make a wish. Following the instructions, I gave the little
owl a rub and made my wish.

The trip from Dijon to Montreux, Switzerland, with a change of trains in Lusanne, took just over five hours. (1 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:35 PM]

Riding the Rails in Europe by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

The tracks wound through green pastures dotted with herds of honey-colored cows and meadows covered
with wild flowers, then maneuvered through the snow-covered Alpine pass.

Montreux is home of the fabulous international jazz festival and is situated right on Lake Geneva. A
promenade follows the lakeside connecting a string of small towns and it’s ideal for walking or biking. Bike
rental shops are readily available near the train station. This region is sometimes referred to as the Swiss
Riviera and the scenery is dazzling. The distance between the towns is short, usually around a mile or so and
the entire trail from Vevey-Montreux to Lutry is only 20 miles.

The train arrived in Luzern right in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. It was brutal but I hunkered down
and tramped across the bridge from the station to the sumptuous Schweizerholf Hotel, which is one of the
best in the city. As I approached the elegant reception area I looked more like a drowned rat instead of a
sophisticated international traveler. The staff was understanding and gracious as I stood dripping helplessly
at the front desk.

Luzern and the surrounding area are perfect for walking. It’s also possible to do more adventurous trips like
taking the cogwheel train to the top of nearby Mt. Pilatus. I chose to follow in the footsteps of the legendary
local hero, William Tell and visited his birthplace in Brunnen and a small museum filled with memorabilia of
vintage bows and arrows.

Next, I boarded a line that travels through the Alps separating Switzerland and Austria. The best part of train
travel is looking out the window at the passing scenery. Instead of flying high overhead, one can actually see
the individual trees and sometimes spot wild animals in the woods. The train chugged up and over mountain
passes, giving me ample opportunity to enjoy the fact that I was safe and warm inside the luxurious coach
and not tramping through the snowy landscape just outside the windows. I ate lunch on board, entertained
by a waiter who flirted and flittered around making sure my food was just right and that I had everything I
wanted. He served the dessert with a flourish and I devoured the luscious, lighter-than-air lemon and
whipped cream cake

Salzburg has always been one of my favorite cities. I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s because it seems like a
fairytale place, what with folks wearing those traditional Tracht outfits. I’ve often imagined me living there,
wearing a complete dirndl costume and carrying a large basket as I went about my shopping; this fantasy
probably explains why a few Austrian garments have found their way into my suitcases over the years,
including two Tyrolean hats decorated with huge feathers. On this trip I enjoyed a special Mozart dinner
concert at St. Peter’s Restaurant located in an old abbey.

The next city on my journey, Vienna, was to be the final rail connection. The scenery had changed completely
from the craggy, snow-covered Alps to a countryside in full bloom with wild flowers and green with grain. I
had chosen my hotel carefully and once again it was located right on the pedestrian-only streets in the old
part of town. I hurried out for an afternoon walk and headed immediately for the Hotel Sacher for tea and—
you guessed it—a slice of heavenly Sacher Torte. As the rich, dense chocolate slid down my throat I smiled
and breathed a deep sigh. Ah, Vienna, city of my dreams...

That night I dined at Do & Co Albertina, the new hotter than hot local favorite. My dinner included an
incredibly tasty sautéed goose liver followed by a deliciously crunchy Viener Schnitzel. This is one of my
favorite dishes and I savored every bite. (See more about Do & Co under Reports & Reviews.) (2 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:35 PM]

Riding the Rails in Europe by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

The next morning I toured the old city on foot and while at the Hofburg Palace, I caught a few minutes of a
Lipizzaner horse practice session. I love those magnificent white horses and thrilled to the sight of their high-
stepping dancing. Later on I found a little café down an alleyway in the pedestrian section of the city, simply
named “Solé.” I dined on huge pale white asparagus with a tangy lemon/cream sauce, accented with thin
slices of Proscuitto. I felt like I was in heaven. Surely white asparagus must be the food of the goddesses.

The last city on my journey was Paris. Yes, I saved the very best for last. I arrived late in the day and
hurriedly showered and changed, then ran down to the hotel restaurant for dinner. The Hotel du Louvre is
located right smack dab in the middle of the Louvre Museum complex and my room looked out onto the
courtyard of the Comédie Française. It had been a long trip and I was a bit tired as I sat sipping a tall cool
glass of champagne out on the terrace of the restaurant. The food was exquisite and I indulged myself with a
starter of marrowbones. I know many of you are saying “yuck!” right now, but this is a dish I love and
seldom ever get the chance to eat. The marrow was divinely slippery and smooth.

Much later, I strolled down to the Seine River. The Eiffel Tower was doing her nightly on-the-hour twinkling
light show, and the air was perfumed with flowering chestnut trees. Tears came to my eyes as I looked
around. “Ah Paris, how could any city be more beautiful than you?”

Somewhere in the distance I thought I heard the whistle of a train and wondered if it was the Orient Express
hurrying through the night towards morning and Venice. I could almost hear the clicking of the departures
board announcing its alluring exodus.


Train travel has become more popular in recent years. Many travelers love the idea of not having to rent a
car and drive (especially in light of runaway gas prices) or deal with the increased security of airports. The
rail trips between destinations can be an adventure too—meeting new people, enjoying a picnic lunch on
board. The leisurely journey provides a chance to doze or read a book. On overnight trips sleeping
arrangements can be made. Costs for accommodations vary with class of service.

Rail Europe’s newest two-country rail passes, France-Switzerland and Switzerland-Austria provide a great,
economical way to travel. Each pass is good for four days of first class train travel within a two-month period
of time. Up to six extra days of rail travel can be added at an additional fee. And for me, the best part is
everything can be booked ahead via the Internet or with your travel agent. It is also possible to contact the
tourist offices of the towns you are planning to visit via the Internet for information about local sights, events
and city maps.

One of the main benefits of traveling by train in Europe is you arrive and depart from the center of the cities.
Most of the stations either already have or are installing escalators and/or elevators; however in some of the
older small cities there are stairs or ramps leading down to tunnels under the tracks and back up the other
side. Porters are a thing of the past, so pack light and be prepared to go it alone. Make sure your suitcase is
sturdy with a good set of wheels to withstand impact, clunking up and down the stairs and on and off trains.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: (3 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:35 PM]

Riding the Rails in Europe by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Rail Europe Vienna Tourist Board

1-888-438-RAIL Albertinaplaz

Montreux-Vevey Tourism Salzburg Tourist Office

Rue du Théâre 5 Auerspergstraße 6

Dijon Paris Tourist Office

Office of Tourisme Bureau d'Accueil Central
Place Darcy 127 av. des Champs Elysées 75008 PARIS

Luzern tourism
Zentralstrassse 5

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (4 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:35 PM]

The Coptic Priest by Lisa Alpine

Wild Taking Flight

Women TM The Coptic Priest
by Lisa Alpine

While slaving away at a waitress job in Switzerland in 1973, I read Exodus

by Leon Uris. The book ignited in me an overwhelming desire to go to
Israel, so I saved my money and flew to Tel Aviv. Did I pay attention to
the fact they had just been at war? No. Did I consider the impact of the
recent terrorist massacre of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich? No. Did I
worry when I arrived in Tel Aviv in the middle of the night and slept on the
linoleum floor at the airport under bullet holes on the wall above my head
that had been made within the last two weeks? No.

I was blissfully ignorant and heading for the Promised Land. Nineteen is a great age to travel, and 1973 was
a great time to travel. You could sleep wherever you parked yourself—nowadays you can't even put your
handbag down on the floor at the airports without its being surrounded with automatic weapons.

As the warm, caramel-colored Middle Eastern sun rose and bathed Israel in morning light, I hitchhiked to
Jerusalem. I stayed at the Methodist hostel in the Old City and spent weeks wandering the alleyways,
befriending Palestinian children, old Jewish guards and Hassidic women at the hamams (public steam baths).

I wanted to explore the rest of the country and chose Jericho on the West Bank in the Jordan Valley as my
first stop. It is considered by many to be both the oldest city in the world (dating from 7,000 BC) and the
lowest city on earth (250 meters below sea level). I hitched a ride south with an Israeli in a noisy tin can of a
car. He was horrified that I wanted to go to Jericho and adamantly refused to drive me from the highway into
town. He said the Palestinians would rape, pillage, and steal from me and I would never make it out of there

Well, I thought he was a bit over the top so had him drop me off at the junction and I walked into the town
of Jericho anyway. I bought plump dates and succulent oranges and sat on a bench in the plaza watching
dilapidated produce trucks clunk by and short dark women in black dresses zigzag across the plaza, stopping
to talk to one another. Jericho was bathed in amber light and warm sun. I felt good there on that bench.

I found a guesthouse and rented a room. Then I went for a walk—still no raping or other unpleasantness. I
walked to the end of a dusty road that led to a tall, mud-brick wall worn down by eons of wind and history.
The air caressed my skin—there was a luscious, divine scent borne on the whispering silken winds. The wall
surrounded an orange grove and the trees were in full waxy white bloom. The hum of many bees called me (1 of 3) [1/2/10 12:52:37 PM]

The Coptic Priest by Lisa Alpine

over the wall. I scaled it, dropped down onto the blossom-covered ground and wandered amid the aisles of
trees. The drone of bees pulled me into a hypnotic state. I lay down and took a nap.

When I awoke, a dark skinned man sat directly in front of me, staring. He wore the traditional scarf, white
and black like Arafat's, on his head and his eyes were bloodshot. He was squatting, arms crossed over his
knees. He just stared. I was startled but felt calm. He was calm. He spoke in soft, guttural Arabic, lit up a big
newspaper-wrapped spliff and offered it to me. I didn't smoke pot and shook my head. He puffed away and
conversed. I have no idea what he said but understood he was the orchard guardian. He left me there and I
daydreamed as the hills wavered in the heat. It was a timeless, peaceful place.

This became my daily pattern. I wandered the dirt roads leading out of town to the encircling orchard walls of
times gone by. I could smell the ancientness, sense the spirits of long dead residents' robes brushing by me,
feel the splendor of great cities bordering the Jordan River. I was a captive of my imagination and I couldn't
get enough of that orange blossom smell.

One day, as I peeked through a gate keyhole in wonder at a particularly fragrant orchard, a man peeked
back. The gate opened and there stood the tallest man in Jericho with the biggest ears! He smiled at me and
spoke French. Finally, someone I could talk to.

With a grand, sweeping arm gesture, he invited me into his garden. The black robe he wore was frayed and
dusty around the edges as it dragged on the ground after him. His orange grove had a unique feature—in the
center was an ornate white-washed church. I had been befriended by a Coptic priest and this was his

We sat in the shade, drinking mint tea, discussing worldly affairs. Born in Egypt, where Coptic Christianity
originated, he'd had many exploits that led him through the Sinai to Israel. His ears waggled as he talked.
Suddenly, rocks hit the ground around us, disturbing the harmony of our garden idyll. They were thrown by
little boys on the other side of the wall who were walking home from school. They tormented the priest
because he wouldn't let them play in the grove. He scurried out the gate and chased them down the road,
cursing them, his robes stirring up great billowing clouds of bone-dry dust.

This turned out to be a daily occurrence during our visits when I found myself in his garden listening to
stories of his very long life.

On Sunday, I dressed up and went to church. I knocked on the wooden gate. The Coptic priest was splendidly
attired in a clean robe. Massive ornate silver crosses hung around his neck. This was topped off with a tall,
pointed stiff hat. He ceremoniously led me inside the church. Dark and small, musty and mysterious;
paintings of gilded saints loomed on the walls over the altar.

There was one other person inside, a wizened old lady in black kneeling and praying. Audibly. My friend
commenced the service by lighting a gigantic copper incense burner that he swung around and around. As it
built up momentum, he circumnambulated the miniature room. Billows of intensely pungent copal fumes
filled the church in no time. It became so thick, I couldn't see my hand. The clouds of sickly sweet smoke
wrapped around like a boa constrictor and choked me. Through the haze I heard him chanting in a very
dominant voice, but he refused to put down the incense burner. I was dying from smoke inhalation but felt
obligated to stick it out and support him as part of his congregation of two—perhaps the only Christians in a
sea of Muslims who would tolerate his penchant for ancient, murky rituals. (2 of 3) [1/2/10 12:52:37 PM]

The Coptic Priest by Lisa Alpine

Two weeks passed, and another church service. I was becoming a fixture in Jericho. The women in town also
befriended me on my daily meandering through the market and plaza. I became an object of lunch invitations
and unintentionally initiated a town-wide competition to see who could make the most delectable Ma'aluba --
a greasy lamb and rice dish that was not delectable at all since I was a vegetarian. However, I could not
refuse their hospitality, so I had to lunch many times a day in order to not hurt these abundantly wide
women's feelings. They wanted to fatten me up and marry me off to one of their sons who, luckily for me,
were all off studying at the university.

As if part of the conspiracy, the Coptic priest was always plying me with drippy, syrupy sweets and tree-
plucked oranges. In spite of this fact, we became good friends. I trusted him and he never took advantage of
me. In fact, no one did.

I felt protected and watched over in Jericho. What more could one ask as a guest in someone's country? I
was not a woman to exploit, a pocket to rob, or an American to hate. I was just the blonde traveler from
California sitting on a park bench eating dates. The sweet, moist, nutritious dates that have grown for
millennia in the oldest town on this earth.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 12:52:37 PM]

Heading Towards the Sun by Carla King

Wild Taking Flight

Women TM Heading Towards the Sun
by Carla King

I spent the first two weeks of the trip suffering in one of the most beautiful
places in the world. I wanted to go home but my pride wouldn’t let me, nor
would it let me hunker down in a first-class hotel on the Riviera looking like
a bimbo waiting out a divorce. So I got on the motorcycle each day and
rode to the places I’d planned to visit with my husband – the casinos of
Monte Carlo, the Roman ruins of Arles, the medieval village of Carcassone.
In the evenings I set up my tent alone in a campground filled with families
and tourists from other parts of Europe, cooked a quick dinner over my
camp stove and washed it down with wine. As soon as it was dark I was
asleep, ready to get up at the crack of dawn for another day of riding.

Each night I studied my maps with obsession and talked to no one, rebuffing the relaxed, multi-national,
campground camaraderie. Each day I kept strictly to the routes I had planned. That was easy; the problem
was how to eat. An inexperienced traveler, I was too embarrassed to dine alone in restaurants. At least
breakfast I could handle; cafés served good strong coffee with croissants and the cigarette-smoking
customers were buried in their newspapers. But for my other meals I stopped at small-town marketplaces –
no difficult task in France – to buy supplies for sandwiches and foods to cook on my camp stove that night.
For lunch I’d find a picturesque spot to fix myself a sandwich that I still make today whenever I want to think
of France: I’d split a freshly baked baguette with my Swiss Army knife, spread it thickly with triple-crème
Brie on one side and Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread on the other. I’d slice a handful of fresh strawberries
and press them into the Nutella. I’d also discovered Orangina, the sparkly orange soda I admired as much for
its nubby round bottle as its fresh bubbly taste. I remember those meals today as my most decadent ever.

At the end of the second week I made my last call home. Since I’d arrived in France, our phone conversations
had all been difficult; they felt forced and unnecessary. After all what was there to say? My husband had
given priority to his job, seeming to hold to the opinion that his corporation couldn’t possibly survive without
the daily presence of a middle manager in engineering. Our trip had been planned months in advance, but a
major project had slipped and he felt obligated to see it through. Admirable, but I thought he should feel
even more obligated to see through a vacation he’d planned with his wife. Maybe I could have been more
understanding if this vacation hadn’t been delayed for three years. The only trip we’d taken in our four-year
marriage was our honeymoon in Jamaica. We fought about it every day for a week and then, in a huff, I said
I was going with or without him. I booked my flight, handed him a note with the travel itinerary, and left it
up to him whether to join me or not. He drove me to the airport, but I boarded alone.

By week two of the journey I was still continuing on our planned route. This week I would be skirting the
Pyrenees, riding west toward the Atlantic Ocean. The smooth black asphalt road wound through small villages
and farms, past fields dotted with yellow flowers where black and white dairy cows grazed. It seemed just my
luck that dark clouds were gathered in the direction I was headed, and I resigned myself to weather that
matched my mood. However, to the north the sun shone and the sky was blue. When a split appeared in the
road I surprised myself by veering off, heading into the sunny blue sky. My heart raced as I took an ever- (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:39 PM]

Heading Towards the Sun by Carla King

narrowing path up a mountain, which dead-ended at an outcropping of rocks and a medieval village.

I thumped across a wooden bridge lowered over the moat and rode under the wide, arched doorway to find
that the ancient village had been invaded by a traveling carnival, with festivities in full swing. Children lined
up for carousel rides and gathered around a puppet stage in the village square. I parked the bike and walked
through town, anonymous amongst the clowns and the music. After buying a cone of pink cotton candy, I
strolled down some rough-hewn stairs into a quiet part of town; the thoroughfare stopped abruptly at a wide
public balcony with views of the surrounding countryside. I gazed out on the hills and fields toward another
mountain far away that looked like it might have a village like this one built on top of it. I had no idea where
I was, and suddenly I didn’t care. Rain was falling to the west, but here it was cloudless and sunny. When I
got back to the bike I took my carefully marked maps from the tank bag and tucked them deep into my pack,
headed back down the mountain, and turned up the road that led to a clear blue sky.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:39 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

No. 5

Lisa Alpine's Getaways

Braving the Côte d'Azur

by Lisa Alpine

Traveling leaves you speechless and then makes a tale teller

out of you. --James Rumford.

Last summer in France, for the first time ever, I declared myself an American. In the outdoor
markets, at the cafés, at the hotel reception desks, I'd boldly blurt, "Yes, I'm an American
traveling in your country, even though my president said I shouldn't (remember Freedom
fries?). I am not the politics of my country. I love France and always have since my first trip
here thirty-three years ago."

I freely admitted my citizenship, though at the time maybe I

should have nodded affirmatively when they asked their
usual, "Are you Dutch, German, Norwegian?" (1 of 9) [1/2/10 12:52:45 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

Okay, maybe the Marseille Marché aux Puces (flea market) was not the place to announce this
detail. Maybe that's why my friend, Carla King, kicked me in the shins as the Arab produce
vendor handed us the Anjou pears and announced in a loud guttural voice, "Americans
Americans. Clinton Clinton. Monica Monica," wagging a wild, pointing finger at us in the solely
Arabic crowd gathered around the ripe fruits and vegetables.

Yikes! My confession of being an American had backfired a bit... but we got out of there in one
piece and had an idyllic picnic by the sea at the mouth of the port watching ferries from
Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Cyprus pass into the narrow harbor mouth.

In fact, we had a fabulously lovely trip to the south of France despite America's rabid politics. A
time of picnics and sipping rose-tinted kir royals on stone terraces, watching the sun slide into
the shimmering, copper waters of the Mediterranean.

I want to share with you what I discovered: a map for the perfect French summer vacation,
which, of course, started with four days in Paris. My traveling posse then flew to Marseille to
meet the woman who instigated this holiday and brought the Wild Writing Women (my writing
group) across the Atlantic to vacation in a villa.

Oh, twist my arm....

It was Maureen Wheeler's fault. She is an honorary Wild Writing Woman who lives in Australia
and publishes the Lonely Planet Guidebooks. She rented a villa last June in Gaou Benat on the
Côte d'Azur and invited us to join her.

In Marseille, we waited at the airport for Maureen, whose flight from London had arrived before
ours. We waited and waited. Puzzled. Then, a sleek, silver Mercedes stopped at the curb, a
chauffeur stepped out, opened the passenger door and voila! Maureen appeared from its plush

She had been kidnapped, unintentionally, by a handsome French chauffeur. The story had us in
stitches as we drove two hours south to the villa. She had been greeted at the baggage claim
by a man in a jaunty cap holding a sign for Mrs. Wheeler. He gathered up her bags and off
they went in the Mercedes. Maureen was impressed that we had sent a limo for her. What nice
friends, she thought. Then she proceeded to talk with the driver.

"My friends went ahead to the villa?" He waved his hand vaguely, yes. A bit farther down the
freeway he informed her, "Don't worry, Mrs. Green is holding lunch for you."

"Who is Mrs. Green? I don't know a Mrs. Green!" (2 of 9) [1/2/10 12:52:45 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

They returned to the airport to find us standing on the curb looking bewildered. There was also
a short, Texan woman with the same look on her face -- the other Mrs. Wheeler.

Maureen looked disappointed as we loaded her luggage into

the rental car but soon we were twisting and turning around
the seductive curves of the French coastline.

Our villa was in a private gated community on a hill near the beach town of Le Lavandou,
between Toulon and St. Tropez.

Not one, but two, houses wrapped around a stone-paved terrace with a huge, blue swimming
pool at the edge of a cliff overlooking the bay. We spent most of our time there, eating every
meal outside, sitting long into the night, drinking wine, talking, and listening to Jacqueline's
new Julien Clerc CD, "Studio." The air was balmy and the moon glittered through the cypresses
leaving a shimmering track on the sea's surface all the way to Algiers.

In the mornings, several of us would throw on bathing suits

just as the sun winked over the sea's lip, and hike down the
pieton - hiking trail - among acacia and oak forests for a
swim in the brisk crystalline waters.

Villas are expensive but can house six to eight people. And we could cook, which appealed to
the foodie in all of us who found the farmers markets irresistible. (3 of 9) [1/2/10 12:52:45 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

Our first excursion was to nearby Bourmes les Mimosa, named for the 500 species of mimosa
(acacia plants) that grow there. On Wednesday morning the market was hopping in this 12th
century medieval village carved into the flanks of the Massif des Maures, with a view of the
azure Mediterranean. Bourmes is known throughout France as one of the great villages fleurie,
or flower villagesit won the "Grand Prix du Fleurissement" award in 2000. Its cobblestone
streets carve webs into the hillside, hemmed in under arbors of rampant, burgundy
bougainvillea and fragrant honeysuckle. Fiesta-hued lantana edged the sidewalks and the
flaming red beak-like flowers of Toucan trees carpeted the pavement.

We spent a small fortune on foodstuffspaella crowned with

mussels and shrimp, runny goat cheeses, plush melons,
rosemary roasted chickens, lavender breads. Too exhausted
to carry our overly laden baskets any further, we
recuperated over lunch at Lou Portaou Restaurant in the
ancient shaded archways at 1 Coubert des Poètes.

Other excursions included nightly strolls on the promenade in Le Lavandou where summer
evenings centered around the pétanque court (bocce ball). All ages were out to play, to watch,
and to be watched. The young bucks rolled up their shirt sleeves revealing defined biceps, with
cigarettes dangling from pouty lips, and the community all offered advice on the next strategic
maneuver. They had even set up folding tables laid with cloths for their own makeshift bars,
mixing drinks under the plane trees.

It was there, on a bench, that we were told the town was not named for the surrounding
lavender fields (le lavande), as we had so romantically assumed, but was literally le lavandou,
"the wash house." This is where people had done their laundry long ago.

One morning, during my early morning swim in the sea, I

met a nice man floating on a rubber raft with his grandson.
He generously revealed the name of their favorite beach,
while I pretended not to notice they were both stark naked,
except for shoes. (4 of 9) [1/2/10 12:52:45 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

Through a tunnel, on the other side of Le Lavandou, is Plage de Saint-Clair, the penultimate
beach of bleached fine sand skewered with sunny yellow and blue umbrellas, with pristine
aquamarine water lapping at its scalloped edges and mountains rising from behind like a
surreal Magritte painting. We rented beach chairs, pulled out our Dan Brown novels, ordered
lemonades from the cabana boy, took off our bathing suit tops and applied sunscreen to our
alabaster northern skin.

The beach was littered with trim French folk sporting mahogany tans. We grumbled among
ourselves, "Haven't they heard of skin cancer? Why do they get to eat all the fatty food, drink
wine, sunbathe naked in public, stay skinny, AND get super tan?"

That is partly what makes Southern France a fun vacation: become one of them and lose the
puritanical rules.

On another Robin's egg blue day we boarded the La

Croisière Bleue ferry for Port-Cros, a delightfully
undeveloped island in the Iles d'Hyere chain just a twenty-
five-minute boat ride from Le Lavandou. It is the smallest
national park in France and its only marine preserve, with a
population of only forty-eight inhabitants, no cars at all and
just a few auberges and cafes. (5 of 9) [1/2/10 12:52:45 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

We had bought cheap snorkel gear in Le Lavandou in anticipation of exploring a much touted
underwater marine trail. To get there we hiked a narrow track that snaked over the mountain,
above the cliffs overlooking the bay. Fragrant, heady scents of lavender, sage, pine needles,
and rosemary all blended in the baking sun. Carla said she felt like "a leg of lamb in the oven
with herbes de Provence."

The footpath descended to a small beach dotted with a few

other snorkelers. Curious fish followed as we glided over
emerald green meadows of swaying sea grass, spying hide-
and-go seek octopus trying to blend in with the speckled
grass blades. We picnicked on the beach our salty lips
flavoring the sandwiches. Butterflies landed on the edges of
our bread crusts and we had to be careful not to bite into
them as they flapped like handkerchiefs in our faces while
trying to take nibbles, too.


After a week on the Côte d'Azur it was on to Marseille, the

polar opposite of our villa experience. Hot and humid, with
throngs of multiethnic residents crowding its noisy
boulevards, we spent these last three days of our vacation
shopping and eating. We stayed on the harbor's edge in the
Vieux Port at the Hotel Alizé, which was blessedly air-
conditioned and fairly quiet with double-paned windows that
sheltered us from the constant traffic and the cries of the

Marseille is the second largest port in Europe behind Rotterdam, and ships have docked in the
Vieux Port for at least twenty-six centuries. It's a fisherman's town and the fish market was
directly across the street.

We got an eyeful of writhing eels, glassy-eyed red mullet,

chewy yellow violets, a sort of sea urchin that comes in a
spiny, deep violet-colored shell. We enjoyed all of these
delicacies during prolonged evening meals at outdoor
restaurants in Marseilles and in the Vieux Port at Valon.
Over chilled bottles of Sancerre, we sampled, tasted, and
debated topics such as the difference between bourrides,
bouillabaisse and soupe de poisson. (6 of 9) [1/2/10 12:52:45 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

The new high-speed train from Paris to Marseille has made it easy for young chic Parisians to
come here for the weekend and get a touch of the sunny south. The bohemian Cours Julien is
the hippest area for fashion boutiques and restaurants. While the shops were closed, we chose
nearby Café Petite Montmartre at random, and dined on artfully displayed salads topped with
goat cheese, chicken livers, ratatouille and other delectables.

I found my take-home gifts there, too. Marseille was once the soap factory capitol of France,
but now there are only three of these establishments left. We visited Savonnerie Marseillaise
de La Licorne and left with a suitcase load of soap for less than $2 a bar. (Here in Marin the
same soap costs $10.) These olive oil-based bars are hand-pressed in a machine that's over
100 years old and they're made from natural ingredients in a parade of scents: honey,
lavender, mimosa, muguet, orange flowers, rose, and green tea.

That is why Carla and I took a taxi to the Marché aux Puces on Sunday before we flew home.
We needed extra carry-on luggage for our soap investment. What better place to find cheap
but durable bags than the outdoor market? The taxi dropped us off and a swarm of shoppers
swept us through the gates and into a maze of vendors, mostly from Africa and the Middle
East. Our blondness stood out as much as if we were visiting the souk in Cairo. Same sounds,
same smells, same merchandise, same friendly peopleeven though we were the awkward
Americans traveling in their country during a tumultuous era.


Car rental in Europe:

Kemwel Holiday Autos
Tel: 800-678-0678

For details on renting a villa in France refer to Jacqueline Harmon Butler's article Living in
Europe, a month at a time .

Hotel on Plage St. Clair:

Roc Hotel
Plage Saint-Clair (7 of 9) [1/2/10 12:52:45 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Getaways by Lisa Alpine

83980 Le Lavandou, France

Tel: 04-94-01-33-66
Rates: €98 - €172

La Croisière Bleue ferry to Port-Cros from Le Lavandou

Tel: 04-94-71-01-02
Cost round trip: €17

Website with information about Port-Cros:

Bourmes les Mimosas Office of Tourism

Tel: 04-94-01-38-38

Lou Portaou Restaurant

1 Coubert des Poètes
Bourmes les Mimosa
Tel: 04-94-64-86-37

Hotel Alize
35, quai de Belges
13001 Marseille
Tel: 44-91-33-66-97
Rates: €58 - €98

Savonnerie Marseillaise de La Licorne

Cours Julien district
Tel: 04-96-12-00-91 (8 of 9) [1/2/10 12:52:45 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Cathleen Miller's Miller To Go

No. 5

Cathleen Miller's Miller To Go

The Hidden Dangers of Travel

Our government has warned us Americans

about the dangers of travel abroad. Under
the heading “Worldwide Caution,” their web
site advises: “The Department of State is
deeply concerned about the heightened
threat of terrorist attacks against U.S.
citizens and interests abroad. ” However,
they’re not telling you the half of it. There
are so many hidden dangers awaiting
travelers that one wonders why anyone
would be fool enough to put a toe over the
Cathy and Kerby foil an attempt at border. For instance, I was the victim of
many savage acts during my recent seven-
alcoholic poisoning in Munich.
month tour of Europe.

Just look at what happened to me in Florence. I bought hair color in a seemingly innocent
shop. Yes, the shade might have been a little brighter than I normally used, but it had a
picture of a perfectly normal brunette on the package. Nowhere was the word “purple”
mentioned. Or so I thought, as all verbiage was in Italian. I carefully followed the instructions
to the letter, with them in one hand, an Italian dictionary in the other, the applicator bottle in a
third. My transformation from happy-go-lucky American tourist to confused-headscarf-wearing
victim, was just another example of how overseas cells have targeted English speakers.
Fortunately, the struggle to re-format my identity as a plummette ended after six weeks—the
time it took for the color to wash out.

Several attempts on our lives were made by foreign nationals who plotted to founder us. The
first incident occurred in Paris, the night our friend Benny arrived in town. Having already been
in Paris for a month, my husband, Kerby, and I took him out to a purportedly upscale seafood
restaurant and showed off our command of the language by ordering in French. We selected a
dozen oysters to start the meal. Shortly I pointed at our garçon struggling under the weight of
a platter the size of a spare tire. “I wonder who ordered that!” I laughed. To our horror we
watched him hobble towards us and heave the tray onto our table. (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:49 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Cathleen Miller's Miller To Go

“Voila!” the waiter said in relief now that he could stand upright again. The three of us stared
at 60 oysters. What else could we do? We grabbed a fork and started eating.

Another, more dangerous, foundering attempt occurred in Italy. There we were “befriended” by
Carlo and Paoletta, long-time acquaintances of Wild Writing Woman, Pamela Michael. This
couple gave the appearance of kind strangers and invited us to their family’s home for dinner.
There they forced several courses upon us, beginning with some Piemontese version of the
deviled egg and ending with the grandmother’s plum tart. The arrival of each dish was
accompanied by a threat we didn’t understand, one word shouted over and over in Italian:
“Mangia! Mangia!” We barely escaped with our lives, having to recuperate for several days
before we were able to board a train.

In Munich some of the locals tried to get us drunk, no doubt plotting to take advantage of us.
Upon learning that we were from California, they repeatedly bought us enormous beers to
celebrate that Arnold Schwarzenegger had become Die Goovenator that day. Mug after mug
arrived at the table as we looked on helplessly. Luckily our advance training in this category
staved off any real threat.

Kerby and I encountered similar suspicious behavior in Ireland. Minding our own business, we
were walking down the street in Dingle when we heard Celtic music emanating from a shoe
repair shop called Dick Mack’s. As any concerned person would do, we entered to investigate.
Imagine our shock when we discovered this establishment not only mended boots and saddles,
but also housed a thriving pub. Within fifteen minutes we found ourselves in the midst of a
riotous celebration lead by one Vin Pender. He invited us to his birthday party at another public
house, where we were served Irish stew and further attempts were made to drown us in ale.

Yes, my friends, there are many dangers to traveling, and probably the biggest one is that
after the trip is over you may not want to come home.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:49 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Food Flirt by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

No. 5

Jaqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

"Table for one, please, garçon"

For some women, (and maybe some men too)

walking into a nice restaurant alone is daunting.
Many choose to either eat in a small café with a
good book or order up room service and watch TV.
But just because you are alone doesn't mean you
have to pass up the fun and excitement of dining in
a famous or highly-rated restaurant. When I'm
traveling solo my dinner is usually my evening's
entertainment. After a full day of sightseeing, I
return to my room and take a nap, then bathe and
dress for the evening. I've found that feeling
refreshed and well-dressed gives me the
confidence to dine alone and feel at ease in foreign

If I don't have a particular restaurant in mind, I will choose a lively neighborhood of the city
and wander the streets checking out the dining establishments. I look at the posted menus to
examine the prices and see if the food seems tempting. Next I will watch who is going in and
coming out of the place, and maybe even take a quick peek inside to see if it is inviting.
Sometimes I wind up circling back to one of the places I considered on the first pass. And
sometimes I'm simply charmed into a restaurant immediately.

In all my dining experiences in Europe, I have never, ever been treated badly just because I
was dining solo. The maïtre d's usually always seat me in the center of the dining room, never
hidden away in a back corner by the service area. By putting me in the middle of the action
they are assured I will be taken care of and entertained by the goings-on around me.

The tables in Europe are traditionally very close together. This makes striking up a
conversation with one's neighbors easy, and I've met some interesting people this way. One
time in Venice I met the owner of a glass-blowing shop, and at his encouragement, visited the (1 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:51 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Food Flirt by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

shop the next day. I wound up buying a beautiful hand-blown, made-to-order chandelier for
my dressing room at a vastly reduced price. On a trip to France, I was eating alone at a terrace
café in a small town on the Riviera, and heard American voices. I turned around and saw two
women whom I recognized as staying at my hotel. We started talking and wandered along the
quay to a small bar for a drink. We were laughing and talking so much I didn't even see the
cute Frenchman sitting nearby until he sent a beautiful red rose over to our table for me. Oh la

On another trip, I was in Florence and chose a restaurant that was something of a popular
singles destination. I was sure some really handsome Italian man would be seated somewhere
within flirting distance. You can imagine my dismay when the maistro seated a young couple
and their toddler son right next to me. I was very disappointed in my bad luck, but I realized I
had a choice: I could either be all pissy about the situation or make the best of it and be
friendly. Well, I found that being friendly was definitely more fun and the little boy, Carlo, and
I hit it off right away. We spent a delightful meal teaching each other the words for things in
both English and Italian. His parents were thankful that their son wasn't making a scene in the
restaurant and I was totally captivated by Carlo's pronunciation of English words.

On another journey to Paris, I went to a brand new Italian restaurant that was a block or two
from my hotel. The concierge had told me that the very charming Italian man who owned the
restaurant was staying at the hotel during the first weeks of the opening and that the
restaurant was a big hit. Naturally "charming Italian man" had a certain appeal to me, and so I
headed over to check things out.

I was greeted at the door by a man I figured was the owner; he certainly filled the description.
I presented him with the card from the hotel and he broke into a beautiful smile; he led me to
a table along the banquette with a perfect view of the entire room. All during my meal he was
in constant attendance making sure my waiter was taking good care of me. As I sat enjoying
my delicious meal, the restaurant began to fill up. Sitting right next to me was a young couple
from Minneapolis who were on their honeymoon. Next to them was a table of five beautiful
Japanese women. Somehow we all began talking with one another and my dining-alone
experience turned into a party with everyone talking at once and sharing travel stories. The
Japanese women didn't speak much English and were very shy, but by the time our meal was
over they were chattering away like we had been friends for years.

Now, I know some of you might be clucking you tongue and thinking that you would never
speak to strangers. After all, our mothers told us never to do that, right? But it seems to me
our mothers meant something else—maybe "strange people." Suspicious people or threatening
people. At least that's my dividing line, and I always talk to strangers, especially when dining
alone. (2 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:51 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Food Flirt by Jacqueline Harmon Butler


1. Be sure to doll yourself up a bit for the evening. Wear fun or funky jewelry. Brighten up your
travel dress or T-shirt and skirt with a colorful scarf or shawl. Put on some perfume and out
you go.

2. Don't even be tempted to bring a book with you. It is absolutely not allowed to bury your
nose in a book while dining, not even a guidebook.

3. Choose your restaurant carefully. Is the price right? The menu appetizing? The decor
inviting? Are there other diners inside?

4. Be open and friendly. The owner and wait-staff want you to have a good experience. Rely on
them to help you with the menu choices. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Make notes in your
journal about dishes you particularly liked.

5. Take your time and savor every mouthful. Restaurants in Europe traditionally have only one
seating per night. That means the table is yours for the whole evening. No need to rush.

6. Engage your neighboring diners in conversation. Sometimes I wait till the end of a meal; it
seems people are more relaxed after they've eaten and more open to speaking with their
neighbors. Be open and friendly. Use your "woman's intuition" about people. If they seem fine
they probably are. If not, then you don't have to talk with them. If you don't share a common
language, smiles and sign language often work like magic in sharing a dining experience.

7. When you have finished your meal and want to pay your bill, catch your waiter's eye and
either nod or discreetly pantomime writing something on your hand. That is the usual signal for
him to bring the bill. Never, ever, snap your fingers at a waiter and call out "garçon." That is
the highest of insults.

8. In Europe, by law, all prices on menus must include the service (tip), but if you've enjoyed
good service, leave another 5% or so on the table.

9. As you leave the restaurant, tell the maïtre d' that you've enjoyed your time there and be
sure to pick up a card with the restaurant information on it. I usually tuck these cards into an
envelope I paste in the back of my journal.

10. Enjoy your walk back to the hotel. (3 of 4) [1/2/10 12:52:51 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Gear by Carla King

No. 5

Carla Kings's Gear & Gadgets

xxPlug In to Europe

Are you planning on taking your hair drier to Europe? Your computer? Your digital camera and
battery charger? No...those aren't gremlins in your electronics, they're volts and watts, and
they need to be understood. Before you go you’ll need to know what voltage your appliances
require, how much wattage they draw, and which plug adapters to buy BEFORE you leave.
Here’s a primer.

Wall Plug Adapters

Plug adapters allow you to plug in your two- or three-pronged American-style

appliances into the various types of wall plugs found in Europe. You won’t
believe what shapes and sizes they come in. Some countries even have two
different types of wall plugs, because they’re converting from an old to a new
style, but slowly.

Make sure to buy enough plug adapters for all of the appliances you’re bringing, from your
computer to your hair drier to the battery charger for your camera. And don’t wait until you get
there, they usually don’t sell adapters for American appliances anywhere but in America.

Here’s a note about that pesky third round prong on some of your
appliance cords: The “ground” prong is there to make sure that your
appliance doesn’t get ruined in the remote chance that the connection to
the positive or negative prong is damaged. You can bypass it using the
three-to-two prong adapter available at most hardware stores.

What is Voltage and Why Should You Care?

Voltage is a measure of the energy it takes to move an electrical charge from one point (the
wall plug) to another (your hair drier). The difference in the amount of electric charge is
measured in volts. In America, electric companies supply a current flow to wall plugs at about
120V. In Europe, the current moves at about twice that rate. As you might imagine, a 240V
current will literally blow your 120V appliance away. (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:53 PM]

Wild Writing Women Magazine | Gear by Carla King

Travel versions of appliances, such as travel hairdryers, have a switch that lets you choose
between 120V and 240V. Most laptop computers, video cameras, and battery chargers are
made for both voltages, and will automatically detect and adjust the voltage. You’ll usually find
the voltage capacity of the appliance on the back of the device, stamped into the plastic.

Consider Transforming

If your appliance doesn’t switch between 120 and 240V and you really
really want to take it with you, consider a transformer. If you’re going
to plug a 120V appliance into a 240V wall plug, you’ll need a “step-
down transformer,” unless you want to blow up your hairdryer.
Conversely, a 120V wall plug powering an appliance built to run on
240V is going to need a boost from a “step-up transformer.”

You can buy transformers to handle various wattages. In general, the higher the wattage the
device can handle, the higher the price tag. You can buy transformers that can both step-up
and step-down, which are even more expensive. They’re rather heavy boxes to lug along on a
trip, but worthwhile if you’re staying in Europe for an extended period of time. What you do is
plug the transformer (it looks like a box with a wall plug in it) into the wall (using your plug
adapter) and plug your appliance into the transformer. But take a look at the wattage capacity
first. You shouldn’t plug in a device that requires more wattage than the transformer can
transform, or… poof!


All adapters and devices mentioned in this primer can be ordered online at TeleAdapt, a
company who has been in the business longer than anyone. They have a huge online catalog,
and offer 24x7 phone support around the world, and I know firsthand that they have excellent
customer service.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:53 PM]

Setting Sail Solo: Ten Tips for Maiden Voyages by Cathleen Miller

Taking Flight

Setting Sail Solo
Writing Ten Tips for Maiden Voyages
Women TM by Cathleen Miller

My intrepid fellow Wild Writing Women may not understand that you're burning to hit the road, but
afraid to open the garden gate. However, I do. That's why I volunteered to write this advice to would-
be travelers, those of you who have always dreamed of far-flung adventures, but have never had the
nerve to leave home. I never left the U.S. until I was 30 and had divorced Dos (Husband No. 2). I had
waited for years for a traveling companion, someone to show me the ropes, but no one materialized.
My first advice to you is the same I learned the hard way: don't wait another year for your cousin to
get time off work. Go it alone.

When we do readings and events, we hear the same question over and over from women in the
audience: “I would love to do what you do, travel the world, but...” There are a number of reasons
that prevent us from fulfilling our dreams, but if one of your fantasies is to travel, here's how to make
it happen:

1. Choose a destination where you speak the language. I know my fellow W's are rolling their eyes
right now, but let's face it: being able to communicate in a foreign country greatly eases the anxiety.
If that's your stumbling block to travel, then let's remove it. Even if you're embarrassingly
monolingual like moi, an English speaker can journey to exotic climes from the North Pole to the
Australian Outback. But if your dream is to explore China, then you best learn some basics of the

2. Sit down with your calendar and decide when you can take a week, a month, or a year off, and
write in ink: Gone Travelin'. Then refuse to make any other commitments during that time.

3. Start a savings account exclusively for your trip and label it: Italy! Tahiti! or whatever location has
always tempted you. Collect your change in a piggybank, cash in your burgeoning recycling collection,
give those size 4's to the consignment shop, host a garage sale, deposit your income tax refund, take
a side job, or sell those Enron stocks. Funnel all these resources into a fund for your trip.

4. Think about what type of journey you want to have. Do you love art? Then maybe a tour of London
museums is for you. Have you always wanted to research your Irish ancestry? Organize a trip to the
Emerald Isle to track down your kin. Are you a bit charred around the edges from working 24/7?
Consider a leisurely cruise of the Caribbean. Are you someone who hates sitting still? Take a hike in
the Canadian Rockies, or Italy's well-traveled Cinque Terre. But be honest about your expectations
and limitations.

5. Get your passport and see if you need a visa for the region you're visiting. Allow several months for (1 of 3) [1/2/10 12:52:54 PM]

Setting Sail Solo: Ten Tips for Maiden Voyages by Cathleen Miller

these activities unless you enjoy stress and rush charges. (To learn more about obtaining a US
passport, visit

6. Buy your plane ticket as soon as you decide on a location and schedule. This, more than any other
act, will ensure that you'll actually be taking a trip. In spite of all the hype over discount web fares,
some of the best deals (and easiest to purchase) are still to be found in your Sunday paper's travel
section, those little ads offering flights around the world. Plus you can speak to a real person and ask

7. Do your homework. Buy a couple of guidebooks for the region and find out all you can. Choosing
good lodging is a critically important decision and worth researching. I consult my guidebook and
check the customer comments at (You can also check out our R&R hotel
reviews for honest recommendations.) Read the literature of your destination--history, novels, and
memoirs. Before my first trip to Paris I read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast which enhanced my
experience immeasurably. Travelers' Tales publishes a terrific series of anthologies, each dedicated to
a specific region; these narratives with their multi-faceted view of “place” are more telling than hard

8. Book your hotel, train, rental car, dinner, theater or museum reservations from home. You may
need to juggle things once you get there, but that will be minimal work compared to dealing with all
these time-consuming issues in a foreign country. You can purchase almost everything on the
Internet now and pay for it in advance, frequently with cheaper rates than you'd shell out abroad. And
best of all, you can transact your business in your native tongue. I always ask my hotel to send a car
to pick me up at the airport after an international flight; the price is frequently cheaper than a taxi
and I am always grateful to have the chauffeur guide me safely back to my lodging where I can
recoup before dealing with a strange city.

9. Use a calendar for planning your trip day by day. Be aware of issues like local holidays, Sunday
closings, museum schedules, daylight savings time (which happens on different dates in different
countries), and crossing international datelines. (You won't be the first chagrined traveler whose flight
left SFO on a Friday and was shocked to learn they landed in Frankfurt on Saturday.) Avoid covering
too much territory during a short stay, and remember that every day you spend traveling is a day you
won't get much sightseeing done. Resist the tendency to overbook activities—remember this is a
vacation!—and schedule some free time to explore whatever strikes your fancy.

10. Read our tips in this issue, advice on money matters, packing, safety and dining alone. Don't take
anything you can't afford to lose, no sacks of cash, jewels, or family heirlooms. The last thing you
want is to spend your trip worrying about possessions, or make yourself a target for thieves. Instead
you want to focus on actually Being There and open yourself up to the high that has produced so
many travel addicts. Bon voyage!

___________________________________________ (2 of 3) [1/2/10 12:52:54 PM]

10 Tips for Perfect Packing by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Taking Flight
Writing 10 Tips for Perfect Packingby Jacqueline Harmon Butler
Women TM

There was a time when seven pieces of matched

luggage, stuffed full with sport, daytime and
evening ware, plus jewels, furs, hats and
accessories, were necessary when traveling. Of
course there were ladies’ maids, porters and
bellmen to help transport this array of goods.

For the most part those days are gone forever. Not many of us have ladies’ maids and porters are few
and far between. There are still bellmen at better hotels, but I have found that it is often me who
transports my bags to my room.

Hence, packing light and as small as possible is not only smart, it is also a lot easier to navigate
airports, train stations, and hotels, not to mention those tiny rental cars in foreign countries.

Here’s my advice on packing for today’s tote-it-yourself voyager:

1. Buy a sturdy, soft-sided, expandable suitcase sized between 22 and 26 inches with a pullout handle
and wheels. Be sure to put an ID tag on it and your name and address inside.

2. Keep your clothing color-coordinated with interchangeable tops and bottoms, with as few of each
as possible.

3. Limit underwear and socks to five changes. You can do hand washing of small items in your hotel

4. Choose wrinkle-resistant fabrics and roll garments before placing in suitcase.

5. Use sides of suitcase to place smaller items and shoes.

6. Limit your shoes to three pairs. One pair of sturdy walking shoes, an alternate walking shoe and
one pair of sensible shoes for dress-up. (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:56 PM]

10 Tips for Perfect Packing by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

7. Use Ziploc plastic bags in all sizes to hold smaller items and messy stuff like shampoo. Take a few
extras to hold dirty laundry and odd items gathered along the way.

8. If hair drier and/or electric razor are necessary, be sure they convert to 220 volts, and take proper
plugs for electrical outlets in your destination countries.

9. Take a “day bag” large enough to hold your wallet, camera, journal, pens, guide book, map,
sunglasses, water bottle and various small items used during the day (lipstick or balm, breath mints,
sunscreen, pills, etc.). Additions might include a folding umbrella, rain parka, sweater, shawl, or hat.

10. Take a small, battery-powered alarm clock.

Click here for Jacqueline’s road-tested packing list for summer trips.


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:56 PM]

Ten Tips for Staying Safe on the Road by Carla King and Lisa Alpine

Taking Flight
Writing 10 Tips for Staying Safe on the Road
Women TM by Carla King and Lisa Alpine

Travel is so incredibly rewarding that it's a shame that fear for personal safety is the #1 reason
women don't travel as much as they want to. Most people are proud to show travelers the beautiful
side of their country, but we all know there are exceptions. Here are our ten best tips for avoiding or
diffusing potentially dangerous situations. Armed with this knowledge and some simple, inexpensive
tools, you'll have a wonderful trip!

1. If a man is bugging you, look to a local mama for help. Whether you’re in Dallas or Dakar, Finland
or Florence, grab the nearest old lady and point to the guy. She’ll understand, give him hell, and
that’ll be that.

2. Use your intuition. Even if you can talk yourself out of it because it’s “only a dumb feeling,” pay
attention. You may never know what you got out of, but if you didn’t, you’d be sorry you didn’t listen
to yourself.

3. Don't try to change the attitudes of an entire civilization. Study the culture and respect local
customs. In some countries they couldn’t care less if you walk around town topless, but if you show a
little knee, you’re dust. In others, show all the leg you want, but no cleavage, no shoulders. In others,
well...wear a burqua.

4. Buy a combo cable lock and motion sensor like the DEFCON 1 Ultra Notebook Computer Cable Lock
and Motion Sensor. A retractable cable attaches to your computer or loops around your purse or
camera. You can also hang it on your hotel room door, turn the motion sensor on and if the door
opens, it shrieks—and LOUD! You can also use it as a personal alarm system if you feel like you’re in
danger. When in doubt, use it. Embarrassment is a benign consequence.

5. Don't carry a purse over your shoulder where it can easily be grabbed. Carry your valuables in a
fanny pack UNDER your shirt facing frontward, and when you pull out money to pay for items, plan
ahead of time what you think you will be spending in that situation. Then have that amount of money
more accessible and not with your passport, credit card and other valuables. Thumbing through wads
of cash in a crowded street market or bus station is not a good idea and makes you an easy mark.

6. If you're traveling in developing countries, ask your doctor or clinic to provide you with a travel kit
that includes hypodermic needles and other items other emergencies that might come up. (For
example, cholera shots are required at some borders in Africa if there’s been a recent outbreak.) You
may also want to obtain an antibiotic for respiratory problems and an antibiotic for infections, malaria
tablets and instructions on what to do if you actually get malaria, and miscellaneous other
medications and instructions tailored to your needs and the specific threats of a country. The Lonely
Planet guidebooks all have a section on health that specifies dangers of that region, and the Internet (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:57 PM]

Ten Tips for Staying Safe on the Road by Carla King and Lisa Alpine

is always a good resource.

7. When you walk down the street, carry your head high and hold your posture straight, keep your
arms relaxed and don't avoid eye contact. In the body language of any culture, this physical attitude
sends a clear message that you are not a victim.

8. Before you go, learn at least some basic words in the native language. This will endear you to the
locals—even if your communications are garbled and childlike—and can help you work your way out of
a jam.

9. Relax. Most cultures are xenophobic. The people on one side of the border will often try to convince
you that the people on the other side of the border are evil barbarians. Use your common sense and
good judgment.

10. Ask. People love helping others. They just don’t have enough opportunity to do it.


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:52:57 PM]

I Wouldn't Leave Home Without...The Travel Pros Tell Us What They Take With Them

Taking Flight

Wild I Wouldn't Leave Home Without...

Writing The Travel Pros Tell Us What They Take With Them
Women TM

I always take a sarong; I've used it for a towel, a beach wrap, a dressing gown, a cover to change
under, a baby carrier, protection from the sun while wandering around a ruin, a head cover for
entering a mosque, a shawl when I was cold, a cover for the bed in cheap hotels which often don't
give you one, or theirs is too grotty to use.
Maureen Wheeler
Publisher, Lonely Planet

These days my one splurge from my draconian go-light regime is my iPod. The size of a deck of cards,
it holds all the music I own—roughly 400 CDs. I spend a lot of time alone on the road, and music
keeps me company. Whether it's zoning out to Kitaro on an overnight flight or listening to Mozart with
my morning coffee or being serenaded by Bruddah IZ on the lanai of a Molokai hotel room, my music
sets the mood. The problem is that I've also got to pack the recharger, and I also pack along a really
cool set of portable speakers by Sony, which fold down to the size of two stacked CD covers. But
they've also got to have their power cord, too. So the whole package is somewhat larger than the
iPod itself.
John Flinn
Travel Editor, San Francisco Chronicle

It used to be my money belt—no, not the kind that holds your passport and goes under your clothing,
but an actual leather belt that has a zipper in it so you can stash folded currency in it for
emergencies. I still take that, with a few $100 bills and a bunch of singles for tips and bribes zipped
in, but the most important thing for me now is a photograph of my wife and two daughters. Nothing's
more important to me than being reminded of those three sweet souls back home.
Larry Habegger
Publisher, Travelers’ Tales

I always take a tiny battery-powered alarm clock with large glow in the dark numbers on it. That way
I never have to rely on a hotel switchboard to give me a wake-up call. And to predict the unexpected,
I always pack a tiny Tarot card deck.
Jacqueline Harmon Butler
Wild Writing Woman

I always, always, always leave on a trip with a novel or other piece of literature (memoir!) about the
place I'm going to. When I went to Provençe, it was Marcel Pagnol's memoir. When I went to the San
Juan Islands it was Snow Falling on Cedars. Right now I'm in Hawaii, and it's Shark Dialogues. These (1 of 3) [1/2/10 12:52:58 PM]

I Wouldn't Leave Home Without...The Travel Pros Tell Us What They Take With Them

books help me be more richly in the spirit of a place. Also, I always travel with small trinkets from my
home, Hawaii, to give to people who are exceptionally kind to me on the road. Packages of
macadamia nuts are flat and relatively light and a wonderful hors d'oeuvres for a host in any country.
They were a big hit in Tuscany.
Constance Hale
Travel Writer

I like to tuck two $100 bills away. When I run into a situation that is beyond my financial comfort
zone, I pull out and spend the first one. And somewhere along the line, I find someone who is kind to
me, or who needs it more than I do, or whose day I simply feel like making (because this always
makes my own day, too) and I give the second one to them. On a different note: I also always take
Brad Newsham
Founder of Backpack Nation

The Targus DEFCON 1 Ultra Notebook Computer Cable Lock and Motion Sensor is the one little travel
device I never leave home without. This lightweight and unobtrusive device holds a retractable
stainless steel cable with a motion sensor that gives a 95-decibel shriek when disturbed. Lock it to the
security key in your laptop and loop the retractable cable around a table leg, a luggage cart...
anywhere. I hang it on my hotel room door or hook it on my tent zipper then set the motion sensor
and sleep in peace. The cable is long enough to be looped around anything—your camera strap,
purse, backpack, and luggage. Even the stealthiest of thieves don’t have a chance. And best of all it’s
priced under $50.
Carla King
Wild Writing Woman

You never know what sorts of biting critters you'll encounter abroad. I once got into a nasty swarm of
mosquitoes in Trinidad; the welts ended up itching for more than two months. Since that experience,
I don't leave home without something to stop bug bites from itching. I find aspirin works better than
the topical treatments, but generally take both. My current favorite topical (recommended by my
pharmacist) is a product appropriately named “Itch-X,” which claims to “stop itching instantly” and
actually works darned well. But my number one essential item when traveling is family photos.
Lightweight and easy to pack, they’re a great way to begin communicating with others when you
don't share a common language. And, when you do speak the same language, family is one of the
things people often ask about. Photos are also good for moderating the occasional spell of
homesickness. Finally, when the leeches and bug bites get too bad, I have only to glance at the family
member I affectionately think of as “Fang,” as a reminder to count my blessings.
Laurie McAndish King
Travel Writer

I take along a sarong (which can be used as a towel, a sheet, or an item of clothing) and a small role
of duct tape. Also a headlamp flashlight—hands free is key.
Amanda Jones
Travel Photographer (2 of 3) [1/2/10 12:52:58 PM]

I Wouldn't Leave Home Without...The Travel Pros Tell Us What They Take With Them

I bought a flat metal tin of Nivea Creme at the ubiquitous Boots in London; this version was so much
more satisfying and indestructible than the usual plastic containers found in the States (although
since I have seen tiny tins at Long’s Drugs). I slip it into a pocket of my suitcase and don’t have to
worry about the stuff squirting all over my undies like plastic bottles. Nivea is the perfect travel
product as it can be used as a hand cream, moisturizer, eye makeup remover, and cuticle cream.
Nothing is more blissful after a day of sightseeing than a long bath, then massaging my tired tootsies
with Nivea. But if all that weren’t enough, I cracked up when I went into a leather shop in Florence
and discovered the staff massaging Nivea into the leather jackets. “After all, it’s skin,” they explained.
Since this discovery I use it on the road as a shoe polish, folding up some tissue and rubbing it into
my loafers.
Cathleen Miller
Wild Writing Woman

I chafe easily, especially when traveling when I often spend days on end walking. Just recently I’ve
discovered a terrific product that does what talc, lotions and other skin ointments never seemed to do
effectively — actually prevent skin damage. It’s called Body Glide, and it’s used by marathon runners,
Navy Seals, cyclists and others for whom chafing can be a major problem. Body Glide comes in a stick
deodorant-type applicator and you can use it anywhere you might chafe or blister — feet, thighs,
under bra straps, etc. It stays on even in hot, muggy weather (and underwater) and creates a non-
greasy kind of waxy barrier on your skin. This is one of those products that you’ll never be without,
once you’ve tried it.
Pamela Michael
Wild Writing Woman


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 12:52:58 PM]

Tripping Without Jet Lag by Lisa Alpine

Taking Flight
Writing Tripping Without Jet Lag
Women TM by Lisa Alpine

“I don't believe in jet lag, so I don't get it.”

- Carla King, travel writer

Well, Carla, that ain't so for me. I find it sneaks up on me a few days after I have arrived. Suddenly I
can't think straight. Is it the onset of early menopause, I wonder? Nope, just my body catching up
with my location. It always feels like lost luggage to me. You check yourself onto the plane, but when
you get to your destination, some part of you gets left behind and has to find you later at the hotel in
order for your brain to function again. That's my experience.

So wanting to have a Carla-type experience, I queried other world travelers and researched tips on
preventing jet lag.

Marybeth Bond, travel author of A Woman's World and Gutsy Women offered this suggestion: "On
numerous international trips homeopathic 'flower pills' have helped minimize jet lag for me, as well as
for my children. I take the chewable plant-based 'No Jet-Lag' tablets before and during the flight.
They contain leopard's bane, daisy, and wild chamomile as active ingredients. They're available at
local health food stores, travel stores, Trader Joe's and Book Passage."

"I have a special meditation I do that puts me in what I call my 'humming bird at rest mode' — in
which all my systems slow way down." This is contributed by Jacqueline Harmon Butler, a romance
writer who travels to Europe frequently in search of...romance.

Wild Writing Woman Pamela Michael advises: “No matter what time of day or night you arrive at your
destination, go to bed at the appropriate time of night in your new location. Even if you get in at 2 or
3am after a 14-hour flight, drink coffee, do whatever you have to do, but stay up until 9 or 10pm
local time before you go to bed. Somehow this fools your internal clock and you’ll wake up lag-free.”

Cathy Miller, another travel writer says, "For me, avoiding jet lag requires that most grave of all
sacrifices: not drinking alcohol on the plane. If I do load up on those little bottles of gin, when I get
off the plane, my feet and ankles are swollen. Then I'm hobbling around like an arthritic gnome trying
to see the sights. Drinking lots of water also helps avoid the dehydration that happens during jet

I don't follow Cathy's rule as I like to celebrate the beginning of a trip with a glass of champagne.
Only one. Then, on my bubbly high, I gloat at the fact that I am flying into an adventure.

"Jet lag is nature's way of making you look like your passport photo." (1 of 3) [1/2/10 12:53:00 PM]

Tripping Without Jet Lag by Lisa Alpine

- Linda Perret

So what causes this discomfort called jet lag? This inconvenient condition occurs when our body's
natural daily (circadian) rhythm becomes disoriented. We have many internal biological "clocks." The
ones that pertain to a 24-hour period are referred to as circadian cycles. The most familiar of these
cycles is the sleep/awake cycle. Light and darkness (our diurnal cycle) trigger the sleep/awake cycle.
Our bodies are accustomed to night descending at a certain time each day. In fact, the hormone
Melatonin is produced in the dark while we sleep and fades at daylight; bright light turns off the
hormone. This hormone is secreted from the pineal gland, which is called the timekeeper of the brain,
and helps govern the sleep-wake cycle.

Any shift from our regular cycle (i.e. traveling quickly across time zones) requires a resetting of your
biological clock, much like turning your watch forward or backward.

It can take as long as one day to adjust for each time zone you cross. It is not the length of your
flight that will determine how much jet lag you might experience but how many time zones you have
gone through. And for some reason, jet lag seems to be worse flying eastward. Traveling north to
south within the same time zone, on the other hand, produces no adjustment.


- Drink quality water before, during and after your flight. Bring your own water bottle and keep filling
it up. It is important to drink at least 8-12 ounces of water every hour. An added bonus of keeping
your body well-hydrated is that it helps you stay well. Dry membranes are more susceptible to

- To minimize dehydration of the skin, apply lotion to as much of your body as possible. I cleanse and
moisturize my face at least once during long flights. I also use Burt's Chamomile Complexion Mist
every hour. The flowery smell helps me recover from the pervasive stale food smell of in-flight food.

- Use earphones to listen to your choice of music or earplugs to reduce fatigue from cabin noise.

- Use an inflatable neck pillow.

- It is mandatory to walk and/or perform isometric exercises to increase circulation. I find a place to
stand and stretch. At first, I am very self-conscious, but it feels so good I do it anyway. I met an 86-
year-old woman on a flight to Turkey, who spends a good portion of the flight doing laps around the
cabin. At that age, she doesn't care what the other passengers think about her using the aisles for a

- When you're at the airport, forget those moving sidewalks. Instead, walk to your plane, walk during
layovers, walk when your plane is delayed. In addition to helping you adjust to in-flight stagnation, it
also helps time fly. I have discovered many interesting areas in the airport by walking all over the
place exploring until my plane leaves. The Dallas airport has a massage business; most airports have (2 of 3) [1/2/10 12:53:00 PM]

Tripping Without Jet Lag by Lisa Alpine

a “meditation” or “spiritual” quiet room.

- At your destination, walk barefoot on the ground, if possible, and/or swim in the ocean or soak in an
Epsom salts bath. This will help ground your electromagnetic system. Also, as soon as possible, stand
in direct sunlight for 10-20 minutes without sunglasses.

- Massaging your head, neck and ears will relieve tension from the changes in cabin pressure.

- If you are flying from the West Coast to the East Coast, adjust your sleep time before you leave on
your trip. For example, if your normal bedtime is midnight, then three nights before you travel go to
sleep at 11 p.m. Two days before you travel, retire at 10 p.m. And the night before your trip, go to
sleep at 9 p.m. (which is midnight on the East Coast).

- For international travel, seasoned passengers either book overnight flights when heading east, so
they can sleep most of the flight, or flights that arrive at night, so they can go to bed at their
destination. (Take an eye mask to enhance sleep on the plane and at your destination.)

- Researchers have found that certain vitamins are depleted in a plane's unnatural atmosphere which
could be another contributor to jet lag. To counteract this, one book recommends taking vitamin B12
two weeks before and one week after a flight. Still another source suggests doses of time-released
vitamin C (1,000 milligrams) starting the day before departure and stopping a day after the return
home. In addition, potassium can be drained from the body by lack of activity. Counteract this
deficiency by drinking orange juice or eating a banana.

- Protein rich meals stimulate wakefulness and high carbohydrate meals promote sleep. Once you
arrive at your destination, drink caffeine beverages to help you stay awake until bedtime and/or to
help you wake up in the morning. Eat high-fiber foods to fight constipation and avoid fatty foods
which contribute to your sluggishness.

- Don't eat anything on a flight. I figure the body is already stressed by a plane's hostile atmosphere
and eating just adds one more thing for it to deal with. Plus, I do not consider what they serve on
planes food. If the flight is a long one—over six hours—I bring nutritious snacks. This may include
fruit, nuts, cheese, or smoked salmon. I focus on foods that are high in protein and fiber, not refined
or salty or laden with sugar. An almond butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread is not very
sexy but it keeps you going and doesn't give you a food “hangover”.


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (3 of 3) [1/2/10 12:53:00 PM]

Money Matters by Jacqueline Harmon Butler and Cathleen Miller

Taking Flight
Writing Money Matters
Women TM by Jacqueline Harmon Butler and Cathleen Miller

For smooth spending abroad, here are some dollars and sense items to consider before you leave

When planning your trip, visit a currency exchange bureau to get $100 worth of currency for the
countries you're visiting. That way you won't have to worry about how to pay for the bus or taxi when
you arrive at your destination.

ATM's are readily available in most countries, easy to use, and offer excellent exchange rates superior
to banks or hotels. Traveler's checks are almost a thing of the past. Make sure to find out what fees
your bank charges for an ATM withdrawal overseas.

Use a major credit card or debit card whenever possible, because the exchange rate is usually better,
and you will have a record of what you spent and where. However, be aware that credit card services
in other parts of the world do not always check credit limits before approving a charge, like
businesses do in the U.S. Keep an eye on your balance so you don't come home to a hornet's nest of
penalty fees.

Always keep some cash on hand, as you may not find ATM's or banks readily available when you need
them. Hide away some bills in your suitcase. Don't carry all your money and credit cards in one place
in case that bag is lost or stolen.

Pack a list of your credit card numbers, and the phone numbers to report a missing card (remember
that most 800 numbers don't work abroad and get the direct line). And better yet, follow Lisa's tip
from The Grand Tour issue, and email yourself this info with a scanned copy of your passport. Then
you can go to any Internet café and retrieve your missing data.


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© [1/2/10 12:53:00 PM]

A Weekend in San Francisco by Sandra Matthews

Taking Flight

Wild A Weekend in San Francisco:

Writing A Hostel, a Conference, and a Group of Wild Writing Women
Women TM
by Sandra Matthews

[Editor's Note: We very much enjoyed reading what our 2nd Annual Wild Writing Women
Weekend Workshop was like from a student’s perspective. We thought you would too!]

“Go to the top of the hill and turn left. You can’t
miss it.” I climbed out of the cart and paid the
young man—a college student earning extra money
by bicycling people around Fisherman’s Wharf in
San Francisco. Salty, damp air filled my lungs as I
climbed the hill leading to the hostel located at
Upper Fort Mason, a building that was once an old
Army post that sits right on the bay. My shoulder
ached as the strap of my bag wore away at my
collar bone. The intrigue of not knowing what lay
ahead was all consuming.

“I see here that you’ve never stayed at a hostel before,” the clerk announced to me in a slow,
carefree voice as I checked in. Turning to the half-dozen or so people behind her the clerk said, “Hey,
everybody. This is Sandra. She’s never stayed at a hostel before!” I nodded as everyone greeted me
while they ate rice out of Chinese food carry-out boxes. I began to wonder why this fact was worthy
of such attention. The clerk took faded pastel linens off the shelf. “Down the stairs and to the right,”
she said handing me sheets and a towel. I felt a slight bit of progress towards feeling somewhat at

The room had seven beds—four sets of twin-size bunks plus one. There was barely room to walk
between them. The storage space was under the beds. The bathroom was a short walk down the hall—
three stalls and a shower with a small dressing area. There were three sinks and mirrors along one

Back in the room, I lay down exhausted from the adventure of finding the place. Unanswered
questions flowed through my head as I realized the intrigue of where I was—in San Francisco (a place
I had never been before) staying in a hostel (which everyone now knew I’d never done before)
waiting eagerly to attend a weekend writing conference. (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:03 PM]

A Weekend in San Francisco by Sandra Matthews

My nap turned into bedtime. I realized as I lay dozing that people from possibly all over the world
would be lying in beds next to me when I awoke. Nevertheless, exhausted, I fell asleep. Sounds of
ruffling through stuff woke me at some point. I saw an outstretched hand and heard, “I’m Azalea.” I
looked up into a kind, older face with tresses of gray hair bouncing about as she prepared her things
for the night. I wished I could be more alert but fell back asleep pondering what a relief to know a
lovely, flower of a person was lying in the next bunk. Sounds permeated the night: footsteps,
laughter; people whispering, rummaging; pipes groaning, popping from the steam heat. This
experience was absolutely more unique than I had ever imagined.

The weekend became a whirlwind of hiking up and down the hill from Upper Fort Mason to the
conference being held at Lower Fort Mason (a compound of buildings with a view of the Golden Gate
Bridge), exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, cruising around Alcatraz, meeting people from places such as
Hawaii, Oregon, Italy. The highlight, of course, was meeting the “Wild Writing Women”—a funny,
adventurous, smart cadre of women who travel the world, publish their writings, and—most
importantly—model alternatives to bogging down at the middle-age stage of life.

Memories of the weekend shall remain with me for a long time: the hostel with people brought
together from all over the world with the common bond of being a weary traveler; visions of Azalea
flitting about, doing yoga handstands, offering a friendly face, kind words, hugs; sounds of pipes
groaning, bringing warmth on chilly January nights; the taste of hot coffee and croissants from the
coffee shop upstairs that offers a superior vantage point for viewing the Golden Gate Bridge; most of
all, assembling with vibrant and creative writers and leaving with a desire to try something exciting,
new, and different. So here I go—out into the world with a notebook, pen, and guidelines from the
Wild Writing Women, a sense of wonder, and knowledge that friends await me at the next hostel.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:03 PM]

The Boonville Hotel by Lisa Alpine

Taking Flight

Wild A Stagecoach Stop in Anderson Valley

Writing The Boonville Hotel, Boonville, California
Women TM
by Lisa Alpine

The feeling of being transported to an earlier and slower paced era in California’s
history awoke as we walked up the creaky wooden plank steps of the Boonville
Hotel in the Anderson Valley and entered the classic hotel, originally built in 1862
as an elegant stagecoach overnight for travelers heading to the towns of
Mendocino and Fort Bragg. The interior was invitingly done in warm hues of mustard and lime and
persimmon with large windows overlooking gardens of arbored vines framing flower and herb beds.
France?… Italy?… Boonville?

Owner/chef Johnny Schmitt’s greeting, “Would you like lunch outside?” made me wonder if he could
read my mind. I was ravenous.

“Would you fill this bowl with purple basil for the pasta?” Johnny asked, “it’s behind the hotel on the
right side of the garden.”

So instead of unpacking my suitcase, I walked through French doors toward walls of green beans,
hedges of basil, sprawling zucchini tendrils, and towering tomato vines. Around my head swarmed
bumblebees and darting hummingbirds.

Not a bad way to find myself in the wine country! California now has several “Wine Countries,” with
the Anderson Valley being the country cousin of Napa and Sonoma, but all the more delightful to me
as the conga line of tourists on the weekends is missing.

Then it was time to enjoy the quiet of the cottage, finally unpack, and get in the gigantic hand-
sculpted bathtub. My friend Delisa, who resembles a six-foot-tall Amazon goddess, exclaimed, “Even I
fit in the tub!” And it was comfortable. Johnny said he spent quite awhile molding the right reclining
angle in the tub by getting in it while the mud was still drying and laying against the clammy surface.
Not many hotel owners go to those extremes to get it right. Johnny has decorated the hotel with a
selective eye for clean creative lines softened by warm Mediterranean colors. Sprays of unusual
flowers counterpoint the careful use of recycled industrial accents. No lacy doilies here!

The Boonville Hotel

Highway 128
Boonville, CA (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:04 PM]

The Boonville Hotel by Lisa Alpine

(707) 895-2210
(Three hour drive north from San Francisco)

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:04 PM]

A Taste of Provence on the California Coast by Carla King

Taking Flight

Wild A Taste of Provence on the

Writing California Coast
Women TM Petit Soleil Bed & Breakfast, San Luis Obispo, California
by Carla King

In San Luis Obispo I was unexpectedly treated to a

taste of the south of France. Just five blocks from
downtown, the Petit Soleil Bed & Breakfast is a self-
contained pocket of southern French hospitality
from its Provencal bleu tablecloths to its vine-
covered patio. Their 15 rooms vary wildly in size
and décor though all have a southern French Photo of B&B dining room
flavor. My room, Le Couchon, was small but
comfortable with a shuttered window that looked
out upon their patio. Whimsically decorated in a
pig motif (hence “le couchon”), it rated just shy of
too cute. To complete the ambiance, a radio-CD
player was pre-loaded with Petit Soleil’s mix of
French classics.

Soon after my arrival, the B&B began their evening wine tasting. They offered a local red, which I
passed up because they were also serving one of my favorite appellations, a white Rhone, vintage
2002 Georges DeBoeuf. Home-cooked aperetifs were offered, including almonds toasted with a sweet-
spicy mixture with chili peppers and fennel seeds that everyone was yumming up with unabashed

The next morning I roused myself from a divine rest in the plush bed for a nice cup of coffee only to
be disappointed that it was much too weak. They made up for it, however, in the quality and quantity
of food. I chose a baked omelet dish filled with a southwestern combination of salsa and cheese, and
heard others praise the feta and spinach combination, but couldn’t make myself regret the choice.
Neither could I fully appreciate offerings on a sideboard absolutely groaning under an abundance of
homemade scones, cakes, and breads, plus the usual eggs, fresh fruits, cereals, and juices.
Customers beg recipes and they gladly oblige. In fact, their cookbook will be available by the end of
2004. I’m likely to buy it. Click here for a sample recipe.

Petit Soleil Bed & Breakfast

1473 Monterey Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 549-0321 (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:05 PM]

A Taste of Provence on the California Coast by Carla King

(800) 676-1588

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:05 PM]

Bad Plumbing, Disco Music, and Attitude at No Additional Cost by Cathleen Miller

Taking Flight

Wild Bad Plumbing, Disco Music, and Attitude at No

Writing Additional Cost
Women TM The Regency Hotel, London
by Cathleen Miller

I booked my six-night stay at the Regency on the Internet and questioned the bargain price for one of
London’s poshest neighborhoods. However, familiar with lovely South Kensington, I decided to give it
a try.

Upon checking in I explained I was a journalist and needed a quiet place to work. I was given a small,
uncomfortable room. Ah ha, I thought, thus the bargain price. But I learned that there was more than
aesthetics at play here. The plumbing in my room featured some sort of pump that sounded like a jet
plane taking off each time the water came on. In the middle of the night I learned that my neighbors’
room enjoyed a similar convenience.

The next morning I requested a new room. The surly, apathetic desk clerk said they had no other
vacancies in that price range; begrudgingly, she finally consented to give me a junior suite at a price
of £80/night. But while large and beautifully appointed, even this room proved not to be such an
excellent deal. Since I had a terrible cold and the weather was typical London rain, I had looked
forward to eating at the hotel and retiring early. However, every night the hotel restaurant—one floor
below me—was booked for private Christmas parties and closed to hotel guests. When I asked the
desk clerk what I should do as I wasn't feeling well, she helpfully advised that I could go out to eat.

Upon asking this same question the next night I was informed that I could order room service or eat
in the lobby. After dinner in my room I lay awake listening to the booming disco beat from the
Christmas gala, feeling like I was back in the womb.

The final insult was yet to come, however. Checking out, the same clerk who had moved me to the
suite informed me that my room charges would be £320 ($563) IN ADDITION to the $1000 my credit
card had already been charged from the Internet booking. Our heated argument was cut short by the
fact that the driver was waiting to take me to the airport—probably the only thing that saved me from
being carted off by the Bobbies.

Regency Hotel
100 Queen’s Gate
South Kensington
London SW7 5AQ
44/ (0) 20 7373 7878 (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:06 PM]

Bad Plumbing, Disco Music, and Attitude at No Additional Cost by Cathleen Miller

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:06 PM]

Carter House by Lisa Alpine

Taking Flight

Redwoods and Humboldt Fog
Writing Carter House, Eureka, California
Women TM by Lisa Alpine

Darkness crept through the giant redwoods and a chill blanketed us so we headed to our destination—
the Carter House in Eureka.

We were welcomed with glasses of crisp Spanish wine served by an Italian waiter as we, damp and
lichen-covered from our various hikes, entered the fire-lit lobby. Within 15 minutes we were paddling
about in the giant Jacuzzi tub in the center of our suite. Wine and wild mushroom appetizers were
perched on the tub rim as we splashed about like happy otters on holiday.

I donned my silk and pearls—casually combined with my jeans—and we walked downstairs to dinner
at 301 Restaurant. We boldly ventured into the Discovery Menu accompanied by a flight of wines.
From the six-course menu I chose oysters on the half shell, Dungeness crab & prosciutto, pumpkin
ravioli, vodka sorbet, roast sablefish and buckwheat crepes with cream and braised apples.

The service was first-class. The staff almost bowed when they set each plate before us and they all
had fabulously affected foreign accents. French, British, Italian. I kept scratching my head…how do
you get a French waiter to relocate to Eureka? It’s the Carter House reputation that draws them and
the quaint, refreshing quality of a northern California seaport town.

Proprietor Mark Carter is a perfectionist. He was born in Eureka and built this Four Diamond 20-room
hotel and the other authentic Victorian cottages which are part of his hospitality compound that
almost encompasses a city block. He designed the restaurant and the menus and has developed a
wine cellar worthy of many a Wine Spectator Grand Award.

The next morning, over steaming mugs of French roast, Mark offered us tastes of aged triple-cream
Saint-Andre from France or a local Humboldt Fog goat cheese with a covering of ash. After all this
indulgence, it was definitely time to go for another hike at one of the many state parks nearby.

Carter House
301 L Street
Eureka, CA 95501
(800) 404-1390 (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:07 PM]

DO & CO Albertina by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Taking Flight

Wild This Hotter Than Hot Restaurant is the Place to

See and be Seen in Vienna
Writing DO & CO Albertina, Vienna, Austria
Women TM
by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Locating Do & Co Albertina was a bit of a challenge. This

hot spot has no signage and with no posted menu
anywhere in sight, I was reminded of the insider
restaurants in New York that you have to know about to

Part of a larger chain of restaurants, Do & Co Albertina doesn’t have to worry about attracting
passersby, as it’s the star of the moment in Viennese restaurant circles. The dining room seats 60
(more on the terrace in warm weather) and is decorated in soft earth tones and accented with large
reproductions of portraits by Egon Schiele, the Austrian Expressionist. Looking around the
sophisticated décor of the room, I thought it would be a perfect place to relax after a day of
sightseeing and art overload.

Taking my own advice, I enjoyed a Kir Royal while considering my dinner choices from the fairly
eclectic menu. I chose a goose liver dish for my starter, which featured a delicious, melt-in-your-
mouth combination of sautéed liver over a pineapple carpaccio. A dense port wine sauce accented the

For the main course, I chose the classic Wiener Schnitzel, which is one of my favorite dishes. The veal
cutlets were perfectly prepared with a crunchy outer crust and succulent veal inside. A side dish of
traditional potato salad was the perfect accessory. (For Wiener Schnitzel lovers, here’s an old
treasured recipe from a friend’s grandmother.)

The beverage list contained a good selection of European wines and I chose a local Austrian Riesling.
It tasted fresh, with hints of wild grass and honey.

Desert is not to be missed in Vienna and I enjoyed chocolate soufflé with a warm, rich chocolate
sauce, accompanied by a scoop of lemongrass parfait with fresh strawberries artfully arranged around (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:08 PM]

DO & CO Albertina by Jacqueline Harmon Butler

the plate. It was sinfully delicious!

DO & CO Albertina
Albertinaplatz 1
1010 Wien
Tel: 532 96 69
Fax: 532 96 69 500

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:08 PM]

The Place to Stock Up on Travel Goodies: Flight 001 by Cathleen Miller

Taking Flight

Wild The Place to Stock Up on Travel Goodies

Flight 001
Writing San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles
Women TM
by Cathleen Miller

Although Flight 001 has stores in three cities, I’ve only visited the San Francisco site
which is located in hip Hayes Valley, the Bay Area’s answer to Soho. This compact
emporium looks like the inside of a plane, which is appropriate as it sells everything for
the globetrotter, from major items like luggage and a portable DVD player ($350) to
minutiae like tiny travel-sized toothpaste and earplugs. Other fun and funky finds include
florescent-hued rubber luggage tags, travel wallets decorated with Chinese characters, and an
emergency ration tin housing survival basics like a whistle and fish hooks—for those really hairy
detours off the map. Flight 001 also offers other standard supplies like guidebooks, compasses, and
travel alarms.

I was endeared to this shop before I ever set foot in it, because some friends of mine had bought me
a slough of items for my Grande Tour of Europe as bon voyage gifts. I admit that at the time I sighed
inwardly and thought, “geez, more stuff to pack!” However, this trepidation switched to admiration
once I was abroad and learned how handy these items were, e.g. the herbal antiseptic wipes were
invaluable when picnicking on the train (and in those scary restroom situations). The Aromapharmacy
candle, which comes in a glass bottle with a screw-on lid resembling a prescription drug bottle,
provided mood lighting and welcome fragrance in bland hotel rooms. And the small Evian mister may
have literally saved my life during the record-breaking Paris heat wave, when I sat in front of a fan
dousing myself with cooling spray. Sometimes it’s the tiniest things you take along that can make the
biggest difference in your comfort and enjoyment of the trip.

Flight 001
525 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 487-1001

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© [1/2/10 12:53:09 PM]

McDonald's Is My Kind of Place by Suzanne LaFetra

Wild Taking Flight

Women TM McDonald's Is My Kind of Place
by Suzanne LaFetra

Yeah, I know, I know, nearly three-quarters of the countries on earth are marred by
McDonald’s golden arches, and today you can catch a whiff of secret sauce even as you’re
careening through Guatemala City or schlepping through a Saigon suburb. I don’t care for this
corporate colonialism either, but I confess, I’ve been to Micky Dees in more than a dozen
countries. It’s not that I’m wild about their chow (although there have been times when a few
French fries sounded a hell of a lot better than the goat broth I had been offered for
breakfast). I never push through those thick glass doors to get my mitts on a Fillet O’ Fish.
Nope, I love McDonalds for its bathrooms.

That clean white tile, those big rolls of toilet paper, the running water. It’s all good, especially
when the rest of the country is wiping with newsprint and pissing down a muddy hole. Near
the Great Wall, I’d scored a bag of the most delicious peaches on earth, and for three days
had eaten nothing but those fuzzy, juicy orbs. Walking across the concrete expanse of
Tiananmen Square, my stomach started to seize up. I sped up, and trotted through the hot,
gritty streets of Beijing, searching for a place to relieve myself. I turned a corner and was
pleased as punch when I spotted the fast food giant.

I whizzed into the familiar smelling, air-conditioned restaurant, and zipped past the counter,
straight to the bathroom. I can’t say I am thrilled with the idea that a Big Mac in Prague tastes
identical to its beefy twin in Des Moines, but the john is one place where all that uniformity is
positively delicious. Sure, some have hand dryers, others use that icky sandy powdered soap,
but all of them have little stalls with little doors on them. All except the McDonald’s in Beijing.

I pushed through the door to the restroom, and saw a row of shoulder height walls and small
holes in the floor. No toilets. No doors. Not even some fake footprints around the hole to clue
you in on which way to face. No other people in there. Just me and my churning American

I quickly backed out. Maybe that was the men’s room I hoped. Just as I was about to head
into the other room with squiggly Mandarin letters on the door, a large black-haired
gentleman exited, still tucking in his shirt.

Back I slunk to the room of holes and no doors. I entered the farthest stall, and saw that it (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:12 PM]

McDonald's Is My Kind of Place by Suzanne LaFetra

had bits of paper and other gunk stuck to the floor. The next closest was a bit cleaner, so in I
went. I searched again for a hint as to how to position myself. How was a foreigner to know
which side of one’s body was considered more offensive than the other? Did the Chinese Big
Mac eaters want to see a full moon, or my relieved American face? I unbuckled my jeans,
faced the wall, and squatted down. It seemed relatively natural, after all the times I’d seen my
California homies peeing against the side of a building.

I did my business, grabbed some TP from one of those large, luxurious American paper
dispensers, and then zipped up. As I walked down the aisle toward the door, I realized that
several women had come in. I quietly moved along, hoping that no one would notice me, their
backs all turned. I passed the first occupied stall expecting to see a backside-- uh oh, she was
looking right at me. What’s the protocol? Of course, you don’t stop and nod and greet each
squatter. I just kept going, then stopped to wash my hands, listening to the two forward-
facing customers who had begun to chatter and giggle as I passed.

Safely out of the bathroom, I started to laugh too. Another vignette in the hefty volume
entitled Making An Ass Of Oneself In A Foreign Country. I headed toward the glass doors, back
into the river of bicycles and smog and the dusty Chinese morning to explore the forbidden
city. But instead I stopped, lured by the familiarity and the air conditioning, the gleaming
Formica and smells of sizzling meat. I started in on my burger and watched Beijing rush by. It
tasted exactly the way I knew it would—just like the billions and billions that have gone down
toilets the world over.

Suzanne LaFetra isn’t much of a Big Mac eater these days, but she can occasionally be found
ducking into a McDonald’s while globetrotting. She has studied with the Wild Writing Women,
and is a freelance writer in Berkeley. Her essays have appeared in the SanFrancisco Chronicle,
Solano Magazine, and in the forthcoming Travelers’ Tales collection Whose Panties Are These?


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:12 PM]

Global Fusion by Lyn Bishop

Wild Taking Flight

Women TM

Global Fusion
by Lyn Bishop & Taro Tsuzuki

Silicon Valley digital artist Lyn Bishop and Japanese journalist Taro Tsuzuki are on a year-long
journey they’ve dubbed “Global Fusion,” an expedition that explores the world’s attitudes,
values, and behaviors in relationship to cultural identity. WWW fans will already be familiar
with Lyn’s work, as she created the stunning cover of Wild Writing Women: Stories of World
Travel, and she’s taught workshops at our last two annual conferences at Fort Mason.

Lyn and Taro are in Europe now, blogging regularly. They’ll also share their experiences in a
beautifully-designed bi-monthly electronic journal (for pay, and worth every PayPal penny)
packed with essays, interviews, photography, and visual art created in real time, on-the-road
reporting. We look forward to seeing the world through their eyes, and finding out what
they’ve learned. Join them at


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© [1/2/10 12:53:14 PM]

Wild Writing Women: Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

Food Flirt
Jacqueline Harmon Butler

Rendezvous in France with the Wild Writing Women...

Schmoozing with the maitre d' at Au Pied du Cochon

(Carla, Cathy, Alison, Jacqueline, Lisa)

Our rendezvous spot in Paris was the Café Buci, right in the middle of the Saint Germain des
Prés area and near our hotels. At 7 p.m. each evening, we would meet there for a glass of wine
or a Kir Royal, before venturing out into the night to find dinner. Six of Les Femmes Ecrivains
Sauvages (Wild Writing Women)—Carla, Lisa, Alison, Cathy, Pam and I, were in Paris for a few
days before heading south to the Côte d’Azur. We stuffed as much as possible into every
moment, racing around the city having fun.

We had been invited to do a Wild Writing Women Literary

Salon at Shakespeare and Company. For those of you who
have been there, I don’t have to remind you how dusty and
funky the place is. We stopped by on the morning of our
event and met the old coot, 93-year-old George Whitman,
who owns the store. He was a riot. He said our Stories of
World Travel book cover was ugly and it would never sell.
When we told him of our anthology’s success and the award
we had won, he just sniffed and held up one of his books, (1 of 6) [1/2/10 12:53:21 PM]

Wild Writing Women: Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

saying, “Now, that’s a beautiful cover.” We all agreed

privately that it was a really hideous cover with a jumble of
images, but didn’t dare say that to him. He allowed us to put
up a hastily made sign announcing our event and shooed us
from the store. As it was late morning and our event wasn’t
until evening, Pam, Lisa, Carla and I spent the afternoon
drifting around the city.

That evening we all met at the Buci before walking over to Shakespeare and Company. Our
salon was fun and several friends from San Francisco were there, along with an interesting
American woman who lives in Bangladesh. We were in high gear and had a great time laughing
and talking with our guests. The room where our salon was held is up a dusty, creaky, and
frankly dangerous staircase, then down a tiny hallway crowded with stacks of books that aren’t
for sale. The space was in the front of the building with a huge window looking out over the
Seine and Notre Dame. It was one of those warm, sultry Paris nights and we couldn’t stop
smiling as we read from our stories.

From there we went to dinner at one of my favorite places,

Au Pied du Cochon. I showed the maître d' my story
mentioning the restaurant in our book. He was impressed
and took us upstairs into a beautifully decorated room
festooned in the Belle Époque style. The walls were covered
in mirrors, fat cupids and cornucopias filled overflowing
withplump, ripe fruits. Even the light fixtures were all swirls
and dripping in frosted glass. We all crowded around a big
table as several waiters appeared with icy glasses of Kir
Royale compliments of our maître d'.

We ordered dozens of chilled oysters, succulent garlic butter

infused escargot, followed by giant bowls of crusty cheese-
covered onion soup gratinée. We drank copious amounts of
delicious Provençal rosé wines, toasting each other, the
missing Wild Writing Women, life, love and of course, Paris. Oh my! Everything was fabulous.

Parisian culinary distractions were not limited to one evening. The next night, I dined with
some dear old friends at Le Train Bleu inside the Gare de Lyon. The restaurant originally
opened in 1901 also decorated in the Belle Époque style. It has always been a wonderful place
for the elite society to have a meal before boarding a train bound for Italy, Germany or other
distant places. I dined on goose liver paté and duck breast with an orange sauce. But my
favorite was the cheese cart, which offered an unbelievable assortment of fromage from all
parts of France. Naturally I wanted a small taste of every one of them, but was persuaded to
limit myself to tiny bits of seven or eight of the selections. Since there are over 500 cheeses in
France, it's no wonder the 18th-century French writer Brillart-Savarin, declared that "a meal (2 of 6) [1/2/10 12:53:21 PM]

Wild Writing Women: Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye." Yes, I was in gastronomic heaven
as I sampled my way through the assortment. My new favorite was Epoisses, made from cow’s
milk and washed in Marc as it matures. The cheese has a robust, woody aroma and a strong
tangy, flavor with a smooth soft texture that literally melted in my mouth.

As Pam and Cathy were driving to the south of France,

they left early Friday; the rest of us crowded what we
could into our last day in Paris. That evening some of
us met at the Buci. From there we went to another
favorite restaurant of mine, the 158-year-old Polidor.
We dined on duck liver terrine, then fresh spinach
salad dressed with fragrant walnut oil, followed by
succulent chicken and steak dishes.

Our time in Paris wasn’t nearly long enough, but then

it is never long enough to suit me.

The flight down to Marseille was short; at the airport

we picked up the rental cars—Renault diesel station
wagons, air-conditioned and fun to drive. We had
made arrangements to meet our friend Maureen Wheeler’s flight a little while later. We were
all going to stay for a week at a seaside villa Marueen had rented. But we learned she had had
quite an adventure before even meeting us at the airport. When she got off her plane she was
informed that her bag was still in England but would be sent over in a few hours and delivered
to the villa in Gaou Benat where we were staying (it took almost two full days to arrive). From
there she went into the waiting area and saw a handsome young man with a sign saying “Mrs.
Wheeler.” Thinking that we had changed plans and sent someone to collect her, she followed
him out to a fancy Mercedes Benz. It wasn’t until the guy was out of the parking lot and almost
onto the highway that Maureen realized she wasn’t the Mrs. Wheeler he was waiting for. They
hurried back to the airport where the other Mrs. Wheeler, a small Texan woman, was waiting,
along with Alison and me. It was just one of those quirky things that happen sometimes, but
we were all glad to finally have the right Mrs. Wheeler with us.

Our villa was in a private gated community on

a hill overlooking the sea near the beach town
of Le Lavandou, between Toulon and St.
Tropez. There were actually two houses on the
property and Maureen had rented both of
them so we would have enough beds for
everyone to have their own. All the rooms in
both houses had beautiful views. The houses
wrapped around a big stone-paved terrace
with a huge blue swimming pool at the edge of (3 of 6) [1/2/10 12:53:21 PM]

Wild Writing Women: Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

a cliff overlooking the sea. The entire

development was new and the houses had
fully equipped kitchens with up-to-the-minute
appliances, with all the instructions written in French. It was quite a challenge to figure some
of them out. We never did use the houses except for cooking and sleeping. We spent most of
our time and ate every meal outside on the big terrace. We cooked dinners at home several
evenings and sat long into the night drinking wine, talking, and listening to the new Julien
Clerc CD, “Studio.” The air was warm and the stars bright with the lights of the neighboring
small towns reflected on the sea.

On Sunday we visited Bormes les Mimosas for a town celebration and lunch with friends of
Alison's. The village was charming, filled with sunshine and flowers. We liked it so much we
returned during the week for their street market and later for dinner at a beautiful old
restaurant, Lou Portaou.

Le Lavendou was a delightful little beach town, small, quaint, with cute shops, sidewalk cafés
and a big sandy beach. We ate dinner in town a couple of nights and decided we would like to
return sometime.

There wasn't enough time to see and do everything in

only one week, so we surrendered and spent most of
our time swimming in the sea or the pool and just
relaxing. I felt all my tension and stress melting away
as I lay in the sun, toes digging into the warm sand.
Swimming in the sea was magical—the water warm,
clear and blue, blue, blue. It was paradise for me, for
all of us, really.

We went up to Marseille for the last three days of our

trip. I was excited to see my dear old friends, the
Enyier family, and the other WWW’s (down to Carla,
Lisa, Alison and Maureen—Pam and Cathy left the
villa and headed for Italy) were happy to get a look at
the old city. It was incredibly hot and humid and we
were grateful that our hotel rooms, with views of the
Vieux Port, were air-conditioned.

My friends, Michele and Elisabeth, took us to a

restaurant just outside the Vieux Port at Valon, an almost hidden tiny port. It was like a small
village within the bigger town. We ate delicious fresh seafood, including violets, which are a
sort of sea urchin that comes in a spiny deep violet-colored shell. You scoop out the butter
yellow flesh with your thumb and pop it into your mouth. They tasted sweet and of the sea. (4 of 6) [1/2/10 12:53:21 PM]

Wild Writing Women: Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

On my actual birthday, the

Enyier's took me to the tiny
village of Le Rove, just west
of Marseille for lunch. It
was a perfect setting
overlooking the little bay of
Calanque de Niolen. Then,
we met the other WWW's
(down to Carla, Lisa and
Alison - Maureen left that
morning) and headed out on Michel's sailboat, sailing beside the islands just outside the Vieux
Port of Marseille. The sun was bright and the sea was a deep azure blue. We dropped anchor in
a small bay by Ile de Planier, just beyond the Chateau d'If, and lazed away the afternoon.
Elisabeth had prepared a delicious tabouli salad and an eggplant tart that everyone wanted the
recipe for. We drank wine and talked and drank more wine and talked some more. The sun set
in a golden glow and the sky turned to rich cobalt then to indigo. The stars seemed so close you
could touch them. Reluctantly we weighed anchor and headed back to port.

I had never been at the helm of a sailboat before and asked if I could. Of course Michel said yes
and I took the tiller in hand. Wht an incredible thrill that was for me. I felt like Jacqueline,
Quen of the Sea--strong, powerful, and incredibly beautiful withthe wind in my hair and the
scent of the sea in my nose. Oh yes, it was one of "those" moments. It was the perfect birthday

Monday was spent wandering around the town, each of us in a different direction. I went up to
the highest part of Le Panier, in the oldest section of Marseille. I was sweating and panting but
determined to get up there. I wanted to see the recently restored Place des Moulins. In earlier
times there were several windmills crowning this hill. Today, the windmills are gone and the
square is surrounded by new housing mixed with old, and lined with lovely old plane trees.

I rewarded myself with a very tasty chèvre chaude salad in a tiny restaurant along the way. It
was a simple salad really, sliced tomatoes topped with greens then four croutons with the
melted goat cheese on top. But somehow, that salad was just about the most wonderful one I've
ever eaten. Can’t tell you just why... maybe it was the cheese... four big hunks of melty, warm
cheese—reaffirming my opinion that France has the best cheeses! I enjoyed a glass of
Provençal rosé and ended my lunch with a scoop of citron sorbet.

Our last night, Carla, Lisa, Alison and I went out for
bouillabaisse. I have been searching for the perfect
bouillabaisse for years without success. There is no
real recipe for this dish. It’s a verbal tradition passed
down from generations of Marseille fishermen. Not
merely a soup, it is a dinner for a ceremonial occasion, (5 of 6) [1/2/10 12:53:21 PM]

Wild Writing Women: Jacqueline Harmon Butler's Food Flirt

a ritual feast. The basic idea is that you first make a

broth by boiling whatever fish carcasses you can
obtain, in water, with a few seasonings. Then you
prepare the main soup with tomatoes, onions, garlic,
potatoes and various local fish, then add the broth to
it. The soup is served with rouille, a garlic mayonnaise,
which is spread on little toasts of French bread,
shredded Gruyere cheese is sprinkled on top and then
the toasts placed in the soup bowls, and the soup is
ladled over it.

We chose our restaurant with great care, checking the

menus for the types of fish available and talking with
different waiters lurking outside the restaurants along the Rue Neuve Saint Catherine. But
alas, the bouillabaisse wasn't as spectacular as we had anticipated. The fish used to make it
were full of bones and the soup itself almost tasteless. Even the rouille was flat. So, my search
for the perfect bouillabaisse continues.

As we wandered along the Vieux Port quay on our way back to the hotel, the full moon was
hanging over the hill crowned by the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. The sight was
incredibly beautiful and everything seemed to be bathed in a magical glow. We all agreed that
Marseille was quite a town and that we would be back to explore more of her enchantments
another day.

See our photo gallery of Paris, Le Lavandou, Bormes les Mimosas, and Marseille.

Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (6 of 6) [1/2/10 12:53:21 PM]

Jacqueline gives us her road-tested packing list for warm-weather trips

Taking Flight
Writing Jacqueline gives us her road-tested packing list
Women TM for warm-weather trips

Take one suitcase with a good set of wheels and one carry-on tote bag. Keep it as light
as you can.

Be sure to put your PASSPORT, DRIVER’S LICENSE, TICKETS, address of your hotel, and
itinerary into your handbag.

Important gear:

Hair Dryer (be certain it converts to 220 volts)

Ziploc plastic bags in all sizes (perfect to store things)
Tiny sewing kit
Swiss Army knife with corkscrew
Travel Alarm
Shower cap or hair clip
Wash cloth (in a Ziploc plastic bag)
Hand mirror
Small manicure set, polish, remover, tweezers, scissors
Travel info, maps, lists, etc.

Not necessary but nice:

Inflatable neck pillow (ideal for long flights)

Scented votive candles in holders and matches
Battery operated book light (can be used as a flashlight in case of power outage)
Laptop computer with adapters and plugs
Walkman with external speakers, extra batteries and cassettes or CDs
Paperback books (after reading, I leave them at the hotel for the next English-reading visitor)

Pack in your carry-on bag:

Address book
Travel diary/notebook
Business cards
Pocket calculator
Camera and plenty of film OR a digital camera with plenty of memory (1 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:22 PM]

Jacqueline gives us her road-tested packing list for warm-weather trips

Batteries and/or battery chargers that work with 220 volts

Plug adapters for your destination
Eyeglasses, sunglasses, contact lenses and supplies
Cosmetics, cleansers, shampoo, deodorant
Toothbrush, paste and floss
Hair brush, comb, and other hair accessories
Drugs: prescriptions, vitamins, aspirin, anti-acid, diarrhea remedies, etc.

Pack in your suitcase:

2 pairs of casual pants

1 pair dress pants
2 skirts
1 pair shorts
1 lightweight jacket
folding umbrella
5 sets panties, bras, socks
5 t-shirts
2 sweaters or blouses
1 dress that can go for day or evening
1 bathing suit and pareo (large scarf)
1 sun hat
1 shawl or large scarf
fun jewelry
3 pairs of shoes: walking, dress and sandal (all proven comfortable)
1 large tote bag for day use
1 all-purpose bag for day or evening with a good strap and closure
Travel wallet (big enough for foreign currency, with a place for credit cards and coin section)
Wallet on a string security pouch that hangs around your neck and under your clothes
Large envelope (for financial data, receipts, and miscellaneous papers collected along the way)

Stash these items in a separate place in case your purse is lost or stolen:

Photocopy of passport (makes getting a duplicate easier)

Bank names, phone numbers and account numbers for the credit cards you are carrying
Small amount of cash and a different credit card

Bon voyage!


Wild Writing Women® is a registered trademark of the Wild Writing Women, LLC. Copyright 2003-2008© (2 of 2) [1/2/10 12:53:22 PM]

Zucchini & Chevre Quiche Recipe


1 Pillsbury Pie Crust (red box)

1 zucchini

1/2 log herbed chevre

2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or a combo of Jack and Cheddar)

5 eggs

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

preheat oven to 350°

Line a pie plate with the Pillsbury crust and score it all around the edges and
center of crust to prevent shrinkage while baking. Bake crust for 10 minutes.

Thinly slice zucchini. Line the slightly baked crust with the zucchini slices,
then top with chunks of the chevre. Cover with the shredded cheeses (the pie
place will be almost full). Whisk together the eggs and cream and season
with salt and pepper. Pour custard mixture over cheese - the pie plate will be
full. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes.

close window [1/2/10 12:53:23 PM]

Grandmother Hagg's Wiener Schnitzel

Grandmother Hagg’s Wiener Schnitzel

For the traditional Wiener Schnitzel, the Viennese normally use veal, and lard
to fry it. But you can also use pork, chicken or turkey and oil to fry it. It will
taste just as delicious either way!

Recipe for four people:

four scallops of veal, 120 grams each

for the breading: flour, 2 eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, oil or lard for frying

Pound the meat thin and cut the fringes carefully. Salt lightly, bread them
and put them in a saucepan and fry both sides of them in hot fat. There
should be enough fat in the saucepan so that the schnitzel float in the
saucepan and do not touch the bottom.

For the breading: Prepare three plates: Put flour on one, two eggs that have
been whisked on a second, and breadcrumbs on a third. Cover the meat first
in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs.

close window [1/2/10 12:53:23 PM]

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