Hello world – meet Oilibhear (Ollie) the newest staff member at GetAway Travel!
This year on Black Friday we picked up a new puppy. No he was not an impulse buy – we’ve actually been planning his arrival before conception occurred!
Ollie’s about 11 weeks old now and is a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. The Wheaten breed originated from Ireland, hence the Irish name of Oilibhear. He has a nice bed and plenty of toys in the office and he enjoys chewing all of them (toys, bed, office desks, chairs, etc. – you know he’s a typical puppy). If we’re on the phone with you and all of the sudden we shout the word “NO”, please don’t take offense. That’s just our encouragement for Ollie not to use the office as a restroom! He is still in training so let’s just call it an unpaid intern position – although he constantly pays us with plenty of kisses!
While OIlie does not yet collect a salary, he does receive many perks such as free meals, fresh water, a huge yard, all the toys a pup could want and very generous health care benefits.
Ollie came to us from the same “staffing agency” that brought us both Fergus and Feena, which while they are no longer with us still occupy gargantuan spaces in our hearts. Here’s a link to Ollie’s breeder on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/vanbeardwheatens where you can also find updates on Ollies’ 3 sisters and 2 brothers all of which seem to be living the highlife.
So Ollie – welcome to GetAway Travel. We think you have a very bright future ahead of you. Please be aware that during your initial intern assignment that performance appraisals occur on a very frequent basis. Positive reviews will noted with the words – “Good Boy”. Negative reviews will typically begin with the word “No” followed by explicit words explaining what you may did wrong. Regardless though we promise to always love and cherish you as a valued member of the agency.
This happens every time we GetAway. We take a ton of pictures while we’re travelling and then after we get home we struggle to find time to sort through them, find the best ones and share. So for today’s post we just grabbed some random ones from our recent Paris to Normandy river cruise that we hope you’ll enjoy. So, well…enjoy away!
This was our third time to Versailles, but our very first to see the Queen’s hamlet. It’s a beautiful setting and makes for a great day of touring. You can read more about it here –The Queens Hamlet
I think you can tell we love River Cruising. But it’s not just us (although we are pictured above), our friends and clients love it too. The Joie de Vivre was an amazing home for 7 days.
Yup it’s just a picture of cheese in France. Call us guilty – we are from Wisconsin and we love cheese enough to take pictures of it.
Artwork as seen through a store window in Honfleur, France. This gorilla looks to need a glass of single malt scotch to go with his cigar. We didn’t buy this painting as we don’t know where we’d hang this in our house, however if you have a place for it – a trip to Honfleur might be just the thing you need.
Speaking of Honfleur – here it is. It’s a gorgeous town to visit.
The American cemetery in Normandy is a humbling beautiful place to visit. Words cannot express the gratitude.
This is a view down a stretch of Omaha beach. The coast line is rugged and looks much the same as it did in 1944
Sainte-Mère-Église is now famous for a true incident portrayed in the movie The Longest Day. The incident on D-Day involved paratrooper John Steele whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church, and could only observe the fighting going on below. He hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. Steele later escaped from the Germans and rejoined his division when US troops attacked the village. Look closely and you’ll see a mannequin with a parachute hanging from the church tower today
Water lillies and France – must be the home of Monet. Some of Monet’s most famous paintings are of his garden at Giverny.
Random visit to a pop-up market behind the exclusive Domaine Les Crayères hotel in Reims. Yes we’re in the heart of Champagne and this is a craft beer tent. It was a very happy moment for Paul!
There is a lot of limestone in the soils of Champagne. Our Wine expert is showing us the ancient sea creature shells embedded in the stone on the Reims Cathedral. He explained the calcium in the limestone is present in the wine and now that we’ve been drinking Champagne, there is a bit of the region of Champagne in all of us.
You should definitely go for the night time light show at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims. But during the day you get better close up shots of the statues and this one is missing the top of his head. Perhaps his hat blew off in a strong wind.
Speaking of hats, this one looked great on Pierre, but we don’t think he actually brought it home.
Sitting outside in Hautvillers, France for a wine and food tasting. That’s a lot of glasses! It was all so we could taste some of the individual varietals that go into Champagne. Hautvillers itself is famous for the Abbey of St. Peter which existed here until the French Revolution. The Abbey was the home of Dom Perignon, a rather famous Benedictine monk whose work in wine-making helped to develop champagne. Perhaps you’ve heard of him?
Speaking of Champagne how about a place called Billecart-Salmon? They create fantastic wine and it was a great Champagne house to visit. We discovered that in his college years, our host (center of photo above) spent a year in Milwaukee. You can imagine we quickly bonded over that. Yes it is a small world!
Hmm….you may be wondering…yes it is a foosball table – perhaps the best one ever. We discovered this one at Ruinart. Come for the bubbles and stay for the foosball!
Well that’s just a sample of some of our activities and the sites we visited. These pictures don’t even include our cooking class in Reims – you can see that on youtube here. Champagne is a quick train trip outside of Paris. While it was not part of the river cruise – we went there for a few days first prior to the 7 days on the river Seine. If we can help make your France (or any other location) travel dreams come true – please give us a call or drop us a note.
Please join us for an exclusive on-line River Cruise Night with Avalon Waterways
Presented by Nancy Baumann & Sharon Pendergast – Avalon Waterways
Tuesday, November 12, 2019 | 7:00 PM CST
If you want to see the world, cruise down its legendary rivers. If you want to see more of the world, look no further than Avalon Waterways. Their ships feature one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites with the widest opening windows in river cruising, open-air balconies, and beds facing the incredible views.
Beyond the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows is a world waiting to be explored—your way. Whether you want to enjoy a guided walking tour of one of Europe’s great cities, join a cooking class or paddle a canoe, their Avalon Choice selections of Classic, Discovery and Active excursions offer a wide range of possibilities. When you prefer to explore on your own, they can help you with all the recommendations, information and gear you need. And when it’s time to refuel, your dining options on board are as wide open as your views.
The Hameau de la Reine is a rustic retreat built for Marie Antionette in 1783 within the park which includes the Palace of Versailles. It served as a private leisure and meeting place for the queen and her closest friends. In a couple of weeks that will include us as we visit as part of an excursion on our Paris to Normandy River Cruise aboard the S.S Joie de Vivre.
Including the queen’s house there are a total of 10 cottages. The site was abandoned after the French Revolution and would be completely lost if not for later restoration efforts. Napoleon ordered a full restoration between 1810 and 1812, which unfortunately included tearing down some of the most dilapidated structures including the barn and the working dairy. A second restoration campaign funded by John Rockefeller in 1930’s saved the hamlet from certain ruin. Part of the hamlet was restored once again in the late 20th century, with some buildings including the windmill restored to their original look. The farm itself almost totally disappeared over the course of the 20th century but was reconstructed in 2006. It’s now home to a variety of animals.
We are really looking forward to our upcoming visit. While the cruise is sold out you can still follow along on our Facebook page – we hope to see you there -https://www.facebook.com/getawaytravelllc/
Assisi is a hill town in central Italy, but it is not in Tuscany – it is in the Province of Perugia in the Umbria region. A visit to the Medieval town of Assisiis essential; a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its represents “a series of masterpieces of man‘s creative spirit.” The town revolves around its most renowned citizen, St. Francis, Patron Saint of Italy: from the Basilica, which is dedicated to the Saint and contains his tomb, to the hermitage (Eremo delle Carceri), a few kilometers outside the town walls, where St. Francis used to retreat in prayer.
Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. Born in Italy circa 1182, Saint Francis of Assisi was renowned for drinking and partying in his youth. After fighting in a battle between Assisi and Perugia, Francis was captured and imprisoned for ransom. He spent nearly a year in prison — awaiting his father’s payment — and, according to legend, began receiving visions from God.
After his release from prison, Francis heard the voice of Christ, who told him to repair the Christian Church and live a life of poverty. Consequently, he abandoned his life of luxury and became a devotee of the faith, his reputation spreading all over the Christian world.
Fakarava is a 6 square mile atoll in the Tuamotu island chain – part of the Islands of Tahiti. It is the second largest atoll in French Polynesia with a population of around 800.
What’s an atoll?
Atolls are ring-shaped coral reefs that encircle a lagoon either partially or completely. They often sit atop the rim of an extinct volcano. The lagoon forms over the caldera while the higher rim remains above water. The largest concentration of atolls are in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
So why go to Fakarava?
It’s a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. The land and underwater life are rare and protected and the environment is pristine.
It’s as stunning underwater as it is above. Divinely warm water requiring only simple snorkel gear. Discover fluorescent coral, huge coral heads, schools of fish by the thousands and “walls” of sharks. Yes walls of sharks
So – how do you get to Fakarava?
Here is one great option. Hop on a flight from mainland US so you arrive in Papeete Tahiti by early morning of Saturday April 4, 2020. Transfer to the cruise pier and check into your amazing balcony cabin on board the luxurious Oceania Regatta. Ahead of time you’ll have already made your Free OLife Choice – free beverage package, free excursions or free shipboard credit. Along with free WiFi and the Finest Cuisine at Sea you’ll be ready for a rewarding trip through Paradise as we cruise the Tahitian islands for the next 10 days. Fakarava is just one of 7 island/atoll stops, including overnight in Bora Bora.
We are very excited to be hosting a web only session on Discovering the Galapagos Islands with Celebrity Cruises. An all-inclusive cruise to the Galapagos Islands is infinitely different than other voyages. Smaller, more intimate, a gathering of people all bound by a fascination with exploration and ecology. All with renowned Celebrity service at every turn. Celebrity Galapagos sailings prove that you can visit the most ancient places on earth wrapped in modern luxury.
Fjordland National Park in New Zealand is a truly magnificent place to go. On our recent cruise we were favored with fantastic weather outside, but inside Sue Adams was a bit under the weather so some of the viewing was done just from our stateroom balcony. As we were passing by another stunning waterfall, some dolphins just happened to swim by and put on a show for us. Wow! #love2getaway
You know, some people still wonder…Do I really need to have a balcony cabin? uh, yes you do!
This post is not about travel. It’s not even about activities to do when travelling. It’s sort of about a travel tip, but not completely.
Sue has been on an AIP diet for almost a year now. It has many challenges as it is highly restrictive. For example: no grains, no legumes, no dairy, no processed foods, no nuts or seeds, no nightshade vegetables, no refined sugars. The diet is used to help heal the gut to reduce inflammation caused by auto-immune conditions.
The diet is not all about “no” though. Examples of foods we regularly consume in our house are: grain fed beef, organic chicken, wild (not farmed) seafood, coconut products, olive oil, vinegar, many fresh organic fruits and vegetables (with the exception of nightshades), herbs and uncured bacon. We’ve gone from a typical midwest US diet to routinely making items such as our own bone broth, mayonnaise (we recently added eggs back in to the diet) and snacks. We still have an occasional Friday Fish Fry – but it is all AIP compliant. That may need to be the subject of a different post!
First off – What exactly is AIP?
(from healthline.com) The autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet is … food-based approach to eliminating unwanted inflammation in a person’s body. It’s a diet that’s thought to help heal your gut to reduce inflammation created by autoimmune conditions.
Why post this here?
Well we make these special chips for ourselves which travel well and make for a great snack when out with friends at some of our favorite wine bars (also added back in). They are crunchy, salty, AIP compliant and quite delicious. They are not difficult to make, but might take a little practice to perfect.
In addition you will need parchment paper, rolling-pin, pastry blender, measuring cups and of course an oven.
As these are so good we will make a double batch!
Preheat oven to 350F
Measure 2 Cups of Arrowroot powder and put in mixing bowl. Arrowroot is ground extremely fine so be aware a cloud may rise up if you just dump this in.
Add about 1/2 teaspoon of Baking soda into the bowl.
Melt 1/2 cup of the Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil. Unrefined is solid at room temperature. Do not use refined liquid coconut oil.
Coconut Oil – 1/2 cup melted in microwave
Hand mix these ingredients together with your pastry blender.
Mixture after adding coconut oil
Cutting in Coconut oil into the dry ingredients
Add 1/2 cup + ~ 2 tbsp of cold tap water. Mix well – the material will stick together extremely well after adding the water. Too little water and it is hard to work with – too much water and it will look like quicksand.
Mix after adding water and it will be quite sticky/oily – this is a good thing
Form 2 even sized balls of dough by hand. They should stick nice when pressed together. This is not regular bread dough though, kneading is not necessary and they do not form a sticky gluteny blob.
Lay out some parchment paper about the same size or a bit larger than your cookie sheets. Put 1 ball in the middle of the parchment paper
You can see the oily look which occurs after adding the water. This is exactly what you want.
Lay a second piece of parchment paper over the first and press the ball flat with your hand.
With the dough in between our 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll it out to about the size of your cookie sheet. I generally roll it to the short ends first and then work it towards the long ends to finish. You may find you need to use the rolling-pin as a squeegee to get the dough to size and a somewhat uniform thickness.
Here’s what it looks like after being all rolled out
Place the whole thing on your cookie sheet – and then gently pull away the top piece of parchment. The bottom stays in place during the cooking process. DO not try to take the dough off the bottom parchment as it will not stay together until it is cooked
Top piece of parchment removed. Nice sheen on dough – this will disappear quickly if you let it sit – so salt it immediately
Sprinkle Kosher Salt across the dough to taste. You could also add other herbs if you wish at this point such as rosemary or thyme. Let us know if you do and how you liked it. No matter what – with just salt, the final taste will be excellent
close up with salt added before putting in oven
Here is the oven arrangement we commonly use. As we seem to frequently multi-task, some delicious uncured bacon is cooking on the middle shelf. We place the Arrowroot chips on the top and bottom. The bottom one will finish first and when it does, move the top one to the bottom shelf if it needs more time.
How long does it take to cook? This is up to you – cook it until it browns – maybe 10 minutes, maybe longer. We’ve never really exactly timed this part.
Why the bottom shelf? You will get nicer browning this way if your oven heat source is on the bottom. “Brown food tastes good”
Finished product after removing from oven – nicely browned
2nd one made at the same time – some may say it’s a little burnt – but really those are quite tasty parts. With a little experimentation you’ll figure out how you like it best.
Once you remove from the oven, let it sit until cooled and then break it by hand into whatever sizes you like. It is crunchy. It is salty. It is AIP compliant and very satisfying. The closest flavor it brings to our mind is corn chips, but actually much better.
Sue eats it plain or dips it into Organic black olive Tapenade.
Lot’s of our friends and customers have asked for the recipe and instructions – so here it finally is. If you think more clarity is needed or something is missing – please leave a comment and we will update.
If you are also on an AIP diet it can be quite a challenge when travelling – believe us we know. These Arrowroot chips travel well but you will need to put them in a hard sided plastic container so they don’t break during your trip. We have lots of first hand experience on what vacations and locations are easier for AIP compliance than others – so if you need help with this, just give us a call. 262.538.2140
Only an hour from Florence by train, Pisa should be high on your list of sights to see in Italy. The most iconic structure to see is Torre Pendente or the Leaning Tower, which was conceived as the bell tower for the splendid Duomo di Pisa (or Pisa Cathedral). Shortly after construction began in 1173, the tower started to lean due to the soft ground on which it was being built. Tower construction occurred in 3 phases over a period of 199 years.
the tower and the duomo
Galileo Galilei is said to have dropped two cannonballs of different masses from the tower to demonstrate that their speed of descent was independent of their mass. It’s not known if this is completely true or not – but it does make a good story and demonstrates an important property of physics
Looking down into the top of the tower
During World War II, the Allies suspected that the Germans were using the tower as an observation post. A U.S. Army sergeant sent to confirm the presence of German troops in the tower was impressed by the beauty of the cathedral and its campanile, and thus refrained from ordering an artillery strike, sparing it from destruction. (you can read an account of this story here)
the stunning baptistry
Numerous efforts were made to stabilize the tower and it was closed for a long time for safety reasons. In 2008 it was reported by engineers that it stopped moving for the first time in 800 years and that it should remain stable for at least another 200 years.
inside the church
There is so much to see and do in this area of Italy – We can help plan the perfect GetAway for you – just call!