Laura Sholtz


Laura Sholtz


Former TravelPod Member: laura421

Joined: December 21st, 2011

From: lives in Thailand
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Europe » Portugal » Central » Coimbra June 11th 2019

How quickly the busy days rush by! We've been travelling in Portugal for a week, and now there are only a few days left on this trip. Porto is a lovely, hilly city; built on both sides of the equally lovely Douro River. On our first evening here we took a short river cruise, enjoying, of course, a glass of port as we travelled. I always thought I did not like port as it is too sweet, but after trying it a few times, with one tasting at the Ferreira Port Cellar (reputedly one of the most beautiful), I find that I can enjoy a good tawny or ruby or white, branco, as the Portuguese call it. We learn so many interesting things when we travel! One morning we had time to explore on our own; ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa June 6th 2019

Most of our group left Ireland yesterday, most heading home, but a few of us were venturing on to new places, continuing our travels. I flew on TAP from Dublin to Lisbon, a two and a half hour flight that ended up taking much of the day. Hurry up and wait, as the saying goes; I waited a lot on Wednesday, first at the airport (of course), then longer because the plane arrived late, then more waiting on the runway since we had lost our slots in the flight patterns for both cities, and then, finally, the last waiting of the day for the Trafalgar transfer to our hotel. It could have gone much more smoothly, but at least I made it here at last. The first good thing about this "Best of Portugal" trip was ... read more

Europe » Ireland » County Cork June 3rd 2019

By Monday, June 3 we had travelled from Connemara to the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry to Killarney. This was a great tour! We were definitely seeing all of Ireland's highlights as the trip had advertised. The weather was variable; luckily we had another sunny morning at the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, but rain and fog continued to pursue and finally enclose us like clockwork at least every afternoon. Killarney was my favorite city in Ireland. Our hotel, the Killarney Towers Hotel, was right in the middle of town, jammed in among pubs, shops and restaurants, offering us the freedom to walk around in that city whenever we wanted, daytime or night; everything was right there close at hand. Diagonally across the street from our hotel was a chocolate shop with a most ... read more

Europe » Ireland June 2nd 2019

By the time I get home after a trip and try to piece together all my writings into a somewhat cohesive order, the dates when I wrote about a place do not usually match up with when we did whatever the experience was, but that is the way it goes when a trip is good and we are busy; there usually is not much down time each day to write. So I focus on the highlights, and what I remember most about a place, people, or a country. My travel blog does not even come close to listing nearly everything we do, but that is not its purpose. Instead it offers readers a view of how I see the country I'm currently in, a glimpse into my thoughts and feelings about places and people, plus some ... read more

Europe » Ireland » County Galway May 31st 2019

On the last day of May the gusting wind blew so hard it pushed the heavy rain to pour sideways and down drenching everything and everybody. But we were on our way to Connemara, to visit Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine community welcoming visitors for almost one hundred years, since 1920. We could have wished for a more pleasant day, clear, or even with scattered showers, but our luck had run out. Umbrellas were almost no use, many turning inside out with the wind, but most of us had raincoats or at least coats that were somewhat water-resistant. Expecting less than beautiful weather in Ireland I had come prepared, wearing ankle boots and a good warm coat. My umbrella lasted a bit, so that was somewhat helpful too. What we could see of the Abbey through the ... read more

Europe » Ireland May 28th 2019

Besides hearing first-hand and learning something about "the Troubles" and what it was like to live in either Ireland during those very recent thirty years, this Trafalgar tour has visited many interesting places. Belfast was Belfast, still emerging as a modern city beginning to welcome visitors. The hotel where we stayed (the Park Inn, part of the Radisson group and therefore expected to be quite good) had lots of little problems, from having no extra blankets even though the heat was turned off (I find that with temperatures in the 40s and 50s F it is much more pleasant to have heat in the rooms when we return from a chilly and wet outdoors, or after showering), to several rooms losing electricity the morning we left. (I am happy I was not in one of those ... read more

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin May 26th 2019

Flying to Europe from the East coast is so easy! Flight time is less than six hours, and it can be a direct flight; no long layovers wasting time walking through airports just waiting for the second or third flight to board. One stop when you're at the airport and that's it. Much less stress, and the likelihood of seeing your luggage again is infinitely increased. This must be part of the reason why more people from our part of the world don't visit Asia, or Africa, or China. Long air travel can be nerve-wracking. But going from BOS to DUB was simple, even somewhat enjoyable. My flight left Saturday night and arrived in Dublin early-ish this morning. I even slept a bit on the plane, always a pleasant surprise. My seatmates were quite peacefully friendly; ... read more

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan April 2nd 2019

Everyone with whom I spoke said how lovely Almaty is. It is pretty, and has many parks throughout, but it is also a rapidly growing modern city complete with traffic jams morning and evening. It seems many people want to live there; there is a feeling of freedom and laissez-faire. No visa is needed to enter Kazakhstan, which was refreshing especially after the difficulty of even getting a visa to Turkmenistan, and also after our trials trying to get our whole group into Uzbekistan. Except for the long delay at the Tashkent airport (no reason given), we simply walked into Almaty after deboarding the plane, and met our van and newest local guide. One of the reasons I enjoy being here so much is our lovely young guide, Dina, who is effervescent and funny, who, on ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Samarkand March 30th 2019

It is already our last day in Samarkand. I was hoping to step into a desert scene, complete with camel caravans, colorfully wrapped traders, and a bustling marketplace. We found two out of three. Mostly what Samarkand is today is a large and vibrantly modern city. The population in these cities in Uzbekistan is slowly growing; as it was in Turkmenistan, new construction is everywhere. So many cars, fine restaurants, young students, beautiful city parks with fresh green grass and flowering trees can be seen, but also old blocklike USSR buildings dot the streets; all this is Samarkand today. But one can also see domes, mosques, tombs, mausoleums and minarets in Samarkand; it is an ancient city that, like Bukhara, was totally destroyed by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, and rebuilt to become the capital ... read more

Asia » Uzbekistan » Bukhara March 28th 2019

Yesterday we rode our second bullet train, this time from Bukhara to legendary Samarkand. One and a half hours on the train was far preferable to six hours riding in a bus (which is what our luggage did). We passed from desert to fertile lands, seeing acres of fruit trees recently planted and starting to grow. One of the nicest surprises I have found in this part of the world is a blossoming springtime. Expecting mostly desert and seeing flowering apple and cherry trees is an unforeseen delight. But we are still in the northern hemisphere, so spring should have been expected; I had just forgotten about it living in early springtime's frozen white country of northern Maine where we won't find blossoms until May. Seeing a lovely spring here now is a wonderful treat! Several ... read more

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