Category Archives: Transportation

From OMG to OILS!

May I just say — the roller coaster nature of life some days/weeks/months lately is adding to my quotient of grey hair. And smoothing out to much milder dips and swoops would be rather nice.

Two days ago, I discovered that thousands of dollars had disappeared into thin air — out of our bank account in a scheduled transfer — but then missing from the destination bank. Minor panic and some genuine anxiety set in. It wasn’t until last night when I could call across the world at 10 PM to that bank that was just opening at 9 AM in Australia that I discovered what had transpired. Apparently quite a lot of people were left feeling just an anxious as me when their own transactions also disappeared into thin air.

My personal explanation to my husband’s parents this morning? “The bank farted!”

There must have been some sort of security situation for the bank to completely lock down bank transfers — but five days later — the money was all back in our accounts and we had to REPEAT the original transactions. Can you imagine how many people were inconvenienced who were buying houses or businesses or cars or doing something much more complicated than our own personal banking? Still, it’s an uneasy sensation to not know what the heck is going on with your OWN money. A serious OMG moment.

Then today, a friend in France sent me an update from Brittany Ferries about an issue that might affect our own sailing in a few days. Under the ‘you couldn’t make this up if you tried’ category — the harbour in Portsmouth had been SHUT because an unexploded World War II bomb had been discovered this morning!

“Portsmouth to Caen/Ouistreham – Caen/Ouistreham to Portsmouth
16/11/2016 – We’re sorry to inform you that your sailing from Caen/Ouistreham to Portsmouth this afternoon at 16:30 has been cancelled. An unexploded bomb has been found in Portsmouth which has resulted in the harbour being indefinitely closed and your ship is therefore unable to arrive or depart from the port. The Royal Navy are currently in the process of dealing with the situation. Please call us on +44(0)1752 648637 for advice and to discuss alternatives. Once again, we’re very sorry for this inconvenience and we thank you for your understanding.”

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I called Brittany Ferries for an update as instructed on their website — the Royal Navy has snagged the bomb and are going to haul it out of the harbour late this afternoon to detonate it. They said that yes, there would be a backlog of departures and arrivals that lasted into tomorrow, but they fully expect everything to be fine within 24 hours and weekend sailings should be normal. Whew! #europeanhistoryneverreallydisappears

What put me in a ‘Happy Space’ today was having a ramble through a huge homewares store after lunch and discovering a substantial art department! The ranges of paints made me say, ‘Oooooo!’ out loud and the woman who walked by at the end of the aisle had a wee giggle at me.

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You just never know when you wake up lately — you never know… but there is ALWAYS an opportunity for another espresso — right?

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Coast To Coast By Rail on Amtrak in the USA

One of the most enjoyable long train journeys that we’ve ever made was on an Amtrak service in the USA. We began in Cincinnati, Ohio and travelled in comfort for several days in our reserved sleeping car, enjoying excellent meals in the dining car each day (included in the cost of our tiny but cozy private compartment). As we watched the upper part of the USA roll by outside our windows, we laughed at how incredible FLAT the landscape was across the midwest.

Yes, it takes you longer to get from point to point when you substitute train travel for plane travel. But the pace of travel is slow, deliberate, and relaxed and you are not confined to sitting in a cramped seat stacked row after row inside a metal tube. There is something quite delightful about being able to walk for awhile, traverse the length of the train and back at meal times, eat very pleasant full meals or have a quick snack from a bistro car.

Enjoy this mini-look at a few cross country highlights.

 

A comfortable Amtrak sleeper car at a rest stop in Montana.

A comfortable Amtrak sleeper car at a rest stop in Montana.


 
With bright blue skies and open fields beyond, these grain silos with rail lines in the foreground represent the movement of food products across the USA.

With bright blue skies and open fields beyond, these grain silos with rail lines in the foreground represent the movement of food products across the USA.


 
Interior of the beautiful railway station in Portland, Oregon. Shown is a long line of people waiting for their boarding passes -- a line we didn't have to get into because we were pre-assigned by purchasing sleeper car tickets.

Interior of the beautiful railway station in Portland, Oregon. Shown is a long line of people waiting for their boarding passes — a line we didn’t have to get into because we were pre-assigned by purchasing sleeper car tickets.


 
Bistro car on the Amtrak rail service.

Bistro car on the Amtrak rail service.


 
How appropriate is that sign on the tower above the Portland rail station!

How appropriate is that sign on the tower above the Portland rail station!


 
Deborah leaning out of her sleeping car on the way to the West Coast of the USA.

Deborah leaning out of her sleeping car on the way to the West Coast of the USA.


 

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
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An Art Deco Beauty In Cincinnati, Ohio

 
Another happy announcement! Here’s my latest book — Midnight In The Station — and you can find it by clicking on the title to the left.

Again, this book, like the others, is available in iPad ebook, softcover, hardcover, and downloadable PDF file for any electronic device or computer.

This was a midnight visit to the Union Station in Cincinnati, Ohio and it’s truly one of the loveliest Art Deco buildings I have ever been in. It’s a tribute to that city that it has been restored so beautifully and, in addition to the Amtrak service that still operates several days a week, it also houses several museums.

I have created a new widget on the right sidebar for Ebooks and Print Books. Just click on that link and it will take you straight to the online store! All books may be purchased by either credit card or PayPal.

Enjoy!

 
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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
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Blue On Blue in Melbourne, Australia

The thin blue light of a cold and wintery day matches the tonality of these blue Yarra Trams on Swanston Street right in the heart of the CBD (Central Business District) in Melbourne, Australia.

 

Blue trams in Melbourne, Australia on a cold winter day

Blue trams in Melbourne, Australia on a cold winter day


 

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
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Stacked Up On Swanston in Melbourne, Australia

Photo of the day…

Stacked up trams on Swanston Street in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. I had just gotten off of one of these and when I turned around I noticed how many different lines run down Swanston Street and then branch off to different locations. This is one of the coolest things about resettling here — being able to get around with NO car if I choose that option!

 

A row of trams in Melbourne, Australia waiting for passengers to jump on and off

A row of trams in Melbourne, Australia waiting for passengers to jump on and off


 

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
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Moving Masses At Melbourne Central

Decided to take a break from unpacking boxes and listing things on Ebay today. First stop — the tram stop RIGHT outside our front door!

 

Blue tram travelling down St. Kilda Road

Blue tram travelling down St. Kilda Road


 

Down to the shopping precincts on Bourke Street Mall and Melbourne Central to try on clothes amongst the (literally!) thousands of other people milling around. Mixed success, but after living in rural France, Melbourne can be a bit of a jolt to the senses when there are so MANY people swirling around!

 

Moving masses of people at Melbourne Central shopping centre

Moving masses of people at Melbourne Central shopping centre


 

More soon!

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
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Re-Settling Into Australia: Stage One — New Wheels!

My posts have been a bit thin lately because we were recovering from jet lag at the beach in Sydney, then driving from Sydney to Melbourne over a 2 day period, and now we are in the beginning stages of settling into life in Australia again.

Stage One — New Wheels. We purchased Mark’s preferred vehicle today — a Volkswagon Transporter T5. As we took the test drive, I was slightly nervous because it felt simply HUGE after the much smaller Ford Transit Connect that we had enjoyed so much in Europe. Ah well — I’ll cope. And he’ll be the one driving it 99% of the time. I’d prefer to walk, take a tram, or (perhaps!) even buy a new bike and start wheeling around whatever neighbourhood we settle into with my lovely French wicker basket on the front handlebars.
 
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Now isn’t this the most thrilling post you have ever read from me? (smirk!)

Back soon with some travel pics and articles later in the week — really!

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.