Category Archives: France 2011

Quips about our early travels through Europe in 2011, starting in Paris

Last Entry into Traveller’s Log

We’re flying out today.  After 71 days away from home, we need a bit of a break from this vacationing thing.  We’ve effectively been gone for 20% of the year, so it’s time to water the plants and check the mail.

Tip: Use a wide angle lens to get the whole tower in the photo

How does one do such a trip?  You may ask…how can I do that?  How much planning is involved for such an epic journey?  All good questions…and the first thing is to not have a plan.  It was circumstance that seemed to lead us into this whirlwind journey.  Years of promising each other that when the time was right, we would look at going away for a month.  Life seems to just get in the way though with work commitments, family, business, kids…we just had to set the few things we had aside and go for it.  There were no kids involved if anyone that doesn’t know us was wondering.  As for the planning, we had about 4 weeks notice.  More planning likely could have been done if we had aimed to accomplish such a venture as part of a resolution or bucket-list item, but no…give us a few weeks and internet along the way to figure things out, and we’ll book that return ticket when we’re ready…or out of money.

Accommodation.  We stayed in 12 different cities & towns over that 71 day span, ranging in size from not on the map (Pogerola) to Paris.  Visited another 11 towns on day trips, seeing over-hyped castles and medieval villages.  We likely could have done more…but damn it’s tiring being on the go every day.  We rented 8 different apartments, and only had to bail on one of them.  5 different hotels over that span, nothing worse than an Italian 3-star…nothing better than an Italian 4-star (really there doesn’t seem to be any difference, other than maybe the number of panes of glass in the windows).  Not once did we get caught having to resort to overnight train sleeping, or getting stuck in a bus station in the wee hours of the morning.

This was the back way into Amalfi. Not for the faint of heart.

24 train trips, involving 27 different trains.  Only 2 planes thus far.  With another 2 for the trip home.  If I had only thought ahead, I could have burned up a few more of those credit card travel points on travelling in style…first class.  If you’re looking for us, I think those booking on points are likely positioned next to the most commonly used toilets, in the seats with no legroom and a broken entertainment unit.  Only about a dozen buses.  When in Pogerola, other than walking the 1000 steps into town, the only other way was via bus…and these were almost daily.  Plus the number of connections was uncountable.  The Cannes to Nice run was by far the most terrible of all for duration, making up for the lack of quantity.  Oh yeah, one more bus to the airport.  No taxi for this budget twosome.

Dinner in house…well the last two weeks of the trip almost religiously.  Before that…almost every night out with the goal to eat at a different restaurant each time.  We did well up until Florence…then just gave in to familiarity.  Pizza and pasta is pretty much the same from restaurant to restaurant, and when ordering a half litre of wine every night we were beginning to wonder if we needed the wine to enjoy each other’s company.  Of course we didn’t…it’s our 11th anniversary today, and we’re celebrating with a plane trip home.  In the past we skimped and called the company Christmas party our anniversary, this year British Airways is picking up the dinner and drinks.

Cannes has the sandy beaches…and wind…unbelievable wind!

And with this goal of creating a blog a day of more than 500 words, well it appears to be close to achieved.  This makes 76 published posts, a few of those being all pictures, and aarly posts are a little weak on words and format.  Still 4 posts sitting in the ‘draft’ state, with one behemoth on the ‘history of the pizza cutter’ that will likely never see the light of day due to exhaustive research to ensure the facts discussed are in fact accurate.  Of course this is the internet and fact seems to be less frequent than opinion.

The ‘post-a-day’ goal wasn’t set until a week or two in when it appeared I might be able to do it.  To accomplish such a feat, a dedicated machine was required…both portable and fun to use.  We went with an 11inch Macbook Air, and find now that an external hard drive might also be required for the 50GB of photos we have this thing now loaded up with.  If you don’t have the tools to enable you, then however are you supposed to come up with the motivation?  It now seems we each need one of these machines to maintain peace in the household.  Melanie to work on her pictures, and me to continue writing to appeal to new blog followers in the US, India and Russia.

And how much has this whole escapade cost?  We’ll save that conversation for over a beer or two.  We did have a target in mind to keep accommodation to less than $100CDN per day…and we did that with margin to spare.  Transportation costs averaged out to less than $50 per day…but could have been less without paying cancellation fees for changed train and flights.  Food and entertainment spend…we had a hard cap of $100 per day on that and fell well below that once we started cooking for ourselves.  We’ll say less than a new compact car, more than a large jar of Nutella.  In the end, the dollar amount is irrelevant as this really is an experience that could have been saved for retirement.  Instead we’re spending those retirement dollars now, and why not?

What could possibly be next as a follow up to this trip?  If I knew, I might be able to offer up some hints.  Very little planning involved with this trip.  I can’t say the timing worked out either, or that the funds were there burning a hole in our pockets.

Maybe Australia.  I also wouldn’t mind renting a van and driving through North America though.

Souvenirs for Men?

Maybe a set of house numbers? A personalized rubber stamp?

With our trip wrapping up, it’s time for the acquisition of a few souvenirs.  Gifts and souvenirs always stress me out, only because the variety of items offered are usually generic and impersonal making them destined for the dustbin shortly after handover.

Certainly this isn’t the case for all souvenirs.  The options for women seem to be endless, with necklaces, pendants, rings of every imaginable shape, size and color.  Soaps, chocolates, porcelain plates with some hand painted characters.  For a guy though, the options seem to be a bit more limited.  Even with Christmas coming up, the simple solution for a gift is to get a voucher to Home Depot and go buy some tools.  Men like tools, not fridge magnets.

Restrictions on souvenirs are certainly limited to what a guy might like, but more importantly small and light, non-perishable, and something that will arrive intact.  What might Dad like, or that brother-in-law?  Below is a short breakdown on a few of the male-oriented items we’ve encountered and struggled with the possibility of purchase.  For the guys you’re thinking specifically of, one of these suggestions may be spot on.

Aprons?  Likely a little suggestive, unless spending a lot of time in the kitchen already.  Maybe best suited for a guy that already has several aprons, and not the kind worn in the woodshop.  Rolling pins, spatulas and wooden spoons could also fall into this category.  They are all beautifully carved and finished pieces…but souvenir worthy?

If the budget allows for a fancy Zippo knock-off, this might work. Does he smoke though?

Pens?  Possibly for that guy that writes a number of letters.  Maybe someone that carries a couple pens around for show, or is afraid of contacting the communal pens at banks and shopping markets when signing that credit card slip (yes, they don’t use the PIN everywhere).  Make sure the pen is marked with the souvenir city of purchase, and at least one of those bikinis that slip off when the pen is inverted.

Watches?  A watch is a watch, and can be purchased pretty much anywhere.  Unless it’s duty-free, or a deeply discounted knock-off, why load up your luggage with a timepiece with limited warranty.

The belt buckle.  For a Texan, Albertan, or other farming territory requiring heeled boots and oversized waist-mounted jewelry.  We’ve seen some wicked belts, but a belt is a belt.  Not too many guys are showing off their belts, or discussing waist side with anyone potentially looking to buy souvenirs.

Ah, the wooden games and puzzles.  We’ve run across chinese checkers, and even regular checkers, all nicely carved into a set that rivals the price of a small car.  Small chess sets seem to be typical souvenir items as well, however these are usually sets that sit in a box somewhere in the crawl space, or are set up in the corner of the room for display…slowly collecting dust.

How about a corkscrew with the city of vacation written across the handle?  Corkscrews are handy on occasion, but if there’s very little wine drinking in the house that corkscrew might be used as a wall anchor to create a temporary coat hook.  Of course there are the old standards of the bottle opener, keychain, and combination of the two that could possibly be retained as a gift.  Maybe used for that spare set of keys handed over to the neighbour.

I would want these, but sadly have no place to pack or put them...and it's a personal preference

T-shirts?  The only t-shirt option seems to be the “I heart someplace”.  As a souvenir, this only seems to work for the person buying the shirt.  How could anyone you hand the shirt off to say they love a place if they haven’t been there.  The good thing about being in Nice, is the shirts imply “I love nice!”, which would be near equivalent to “I love happy, spaceships, or cuddly teddy bears”, just in poorer english.  Still not likely suitable for most guys as the big red heart on the shirt just isn’t studly enough.

The default seems to be consumable items.  Maybe a vacuum packed cured meat or cheese.  Something that will likely be consumed in 5 minutes and forgotten about in a week or two unless the smell still lingers in the fridge or unemptied wastebasket.  Candies, chocolates, cookies…aim for something unique that could be washed down with a coffee or beer.

What would I want?  The reality is I wouldn’t want anything.  Buy me a beer when we meet up again and we can chat.  Simple, easy, no need to go out of your way to try and bring something kitschy back.  Just good to know you at least considered me in your struggles with shopping.

Train or Bus from Nice to Cannes? Train!

I am looking for the 200…but don’t see it anywhere. Plan ‘B’…stalking the bus

Maybe we should have taken the train back.  The ride out this way wasn’t bad.

We tried a day trip from Nice to nearby Antibes and Cannes.  Seemed easy enough with the bus terminal nearby and only a one euro fare per person.  Can’t get much simpler.  A couple nights ago we decided to scout out the bus station.  My phone maps suggested we were close…and sure enough that construction site full of dozers and dump trucks is right where Gare Routiere should be.  The buses still run, but from where?  A little research revealed that in January 2011 they started reconstruction on the site… not of a new central bus station but of a park.  Ok…more green space in a city already full of plazas and palm trees?  Where do the buses go?

The answer for transit organizers was to spread out the pickup points for Nice buses over a ten block radius.  How do you find your bus?  If you are lucky you might stumble across a shelter with a map outlining pickup points.  Luckier still, you might be at that pickup point without knowing it.  It only took us twenty minutes, along with some helpful locals to find where the 200 to Cannes leaves from.

Another option, if you aren’t hurried for time, is to stalk your bus.  Watch where it stops and walk up that way waiting for the next one in 15-20 minutes.  Just enough time to enjoy a warmed quiche…although an American guy in Paris once told us that “real men don’t eat quiche”.  Maybe he was more into the raw egg protein powder shake.

Look closely at the guy in the cap and you may see stink lines radiating from him.

The bus to Antibes, not bad.  Scenic, warm, sunny, quiet…smelly.  To ensure the sensory experience was complete, it wasn’t the faint traces of salt in the sea air that had our noses lit up.  It was of course the fellow passengers on the bus taking advantage of the cheap transport to move them down the coast.  I have noted excessive cheap perfume as an offense worthy of some fine or punishment in previous blogs, but here I was almost praying for some young gal to enter the bus and grace us with her lack of olfactory self awareness.  It was just one guy that had an odor challenging that of your friendly cattle barn or pig farm.  For you city dwellers, imagine that one guy at the gym with odiferous pores, mix that with a pee-soaked alley, and add a pinch of shopping cart…or recycling depot.  The two guys with the second most odorous garments were even noting the rankness of this individual…which really has to be a signal.  The joys of public transit.

But it’s the cheap fare and great opportunity to meet different people that you ride the bus…right?  After a 90-minute pit stop in Antibes to grab a sandwich and stroll around the old town we grabbed the next bus to Cannes.  Lesson learned from the previous ride was to choose only seats near the front of the bus…anywhere!

Cannes was a nice little spot for a break.  Windy as hell, but sunny and still warm.  Two hours of wandering the beaches, checking out the castle for a few pics, and stopping to look at the local circus attractions was enough for us.  A 16:00 departure for the bus would put us back in around 17:30, just in time to grab a bite to eat and start in again on blog writing and picture editing.  20 minutes into the ride and it was fairly evident we weren’t going to make that time target without some shortcuts, and a city bus doesn’t make shortcuts.  It was rush hour, and in this part of the world there seems to be about two roads that run along the coast to connect the numerous pretty little towns, a highway and a milk run.

Almost one hour late getting back, hungry, thirsty and in need of a toilet. Destination started out as 200 Nice.

The milk run had it’s usual stop at the Cannes train station to pick up even more people on an already crowded bus.  This group that got on though ended up being ticket inspectors.  No problem, just have to rifle through the slips of paper in my pocket to find the right receipt and we’re good.  One pocket…two receipts from the previous two legs, a couple unstamped tram passes, some tissues and an old train ticket…just a second.  Next pocket…empty.  Third, fourth and fifth…also empty.  Accusations from my travelling partner that I carry around too much excess paper were not helping the matter at the moment.  A second inspector starts walking over, bus stopped the whole time with every passenger now training their eyes on us two foreigners not abiding by the rules, then Voila!  Melanie had it all along just in her coat pocket.

It was 90 minutes in, and we could see where we had to go.  That ferris wheel was noted in the distance across the bay, but with three more little seaside communities to navigate in a bus just big enough meant we were in for a long go of it.  No bathrooms on these buses.  no food or drink allowed.  We were already so dehydrated and beaten down from the ride, we could have been easily mistaken for locals.  We did finally arrive 18:30 making it an exhausting 2:30 from Cannes to Nice.  Tip:  Avoid long local bus trips around rush hour!

In case you’re wondering, it’s a 30euro fine for no valid bus ticket, double that up and we would be up to 60euro.  What I wonder is if that’s payable on the spot or your get hauled off to some French transit prison, or if they just handcuff you to the bus as punishment?  I might pick the former.

Shopping for a French Christmas

A little windy…and where’s the sand?

Nice is nice. How many times have you heard that?  Even when searching Google Images, or things to do, “Nice” is a very hard search term to get any positive results from.  Add ‘France’ and it gets you a little closer.

Nice really is a great stop along the coast.  Neat old town, efficient tram system to move people throughout the city.  A population that doesn’t dominate the entire vista.  It’s not a small town, but similar to Florence in what I would like to call the ‘just right’ category.  Two issues that could be worked on though would be sanding the beach to replace some of those ankle-twisting rocks that line the coast and more dog poo collection, or city crackdown of some sort.  I am not the only one occasionally stepping in the brown stuff.

A fraction of the goodies we found here. If we only had the space to carry some of this stuff home

One of the surprising finds yesterday was a weekly antiques market down on Cours Saleya.  We walked by this street the day before and it was nothing but patio dining.  Another walk by, on a Monday, and the street was filled with what must have been close to 200 vendors all with goods for sale.  Broken pocket watches and lighters from many eras past.  Boxes of postcards, timeworn, stamped, and at one point before email they alerted family and loved ones of travels.  Model cars, lamps and silverware.  Books and screened posters.  Personal letters and corporate documents all in plastic sleeves.  Boxes filled with French francs, all being sold for one euro…which I found interesting because back in ’98 the exchange was locked at just under 7 francs to the euro.  Did these coins appreciate in value due to discontinuation?  Oh, I can’t forget the 1900’s coffee tables, radios and phonographs.  Oh how much fun we could have decorating a place with the goods here.  For those of you looking for a rough video walkthrough of the Nice Antiques Market, with english commentary, see the link.

Another day requiring sunscreen.  Definitely not used to this as at this time of year, we’re used to the grey cold, fireplaces, and the unending chorus of carols.  Here, the effort put into turning a seasonably warm location into something more typical of the season shown on television is surprising. Bring in the Christmas trees. Spray them down with some white fluff, that might normally be used to reinforce the loose gravel next to a roadway.  Add disco balls, a ferris wheel, and zamboni groomed temporary ice rink…and voila!  You’ve got a Christmas market.

Palm trees, fake snow and a ferris wheel. That sounds like winter, kinda.

The ferris wheel amazes me. It definitely wasn’t here last year in October. It’s an object that takes significant effort to assemble and operate.  It is a great focal point, and draws people in from all over the city as a beacon, and hey…we went for a ride.  In addition to the ferris wheel, we’ve seen your standard carousel and a netted-in area that parents were hauling their kids into.  From the top of the ferris wheel you can see that this area is simply an array of trampolines where kids are left for half an hour to burn off a little of that excess sugar ingested from  the cotton candy and mini-churros served with a side of Nutella.   Mmmm…Nutella.  Is there anything that couldn’t use an extra dollop of the sweet stuff?  Even cut with a little dark chocolate, it’s damn tasty.

For four weeks the city is putting on Noël à Nice, and based on Youtube hits during a search for the link, it appears to be happening annually.  Live music in the plazas, with only one small collection of out-of-tune carollers amplified in the corner.  One Santa making balloon animals both day and night.  Hot wine served alongside waffles dusted in icing sugar or marmalade.  More chachkas to be best used as stocking stuffers.

If you happen to consider an off-season trip to the south of France…definitely swing by Nice.

The Return of the Puffy Coats

Stealthily acquired while purchasing our tickets to Nice. The faux-hawk is also alive and well.

Melanie was suggesting I take on a fashion blog.  Excuse me, but the hoody and jeans I am wearing don’t exactly make me qualified in the least to offer my opinion as to ‘what’s hot’.  She then asks, ‘How about making one about the random, sometimes stray, cats and dogs we seem to encounter?’.  Still not enough material there to occupy a reader’s attention span for more than 15 seconds.  Then it hit me…blend the two into one partially interesting article catching the attention of both fashion critics and pet lovers.  Maybe with the ultimate goal of capturing a photo of a feral dog wearing a shiny puffy coat.  Wait, I’m not a magician here.

Although we have moved on from the frigid temperatures of Northern Italy to Southern France, some of the trends in outerwear seem to tag along.  Verona was chilly, which required a thick outer layer to retain a little body heat.  Prague was similar, but Melanie’s observations suggest a tendency for the locals to don a felt based overcoat to maintain that core temperature.  In Verona, and throughout most of Italy encountering temperatures less than 10 degrees, fashion and heat retention has spawned the return of puffy coat.  Remember those down-fill ski jackets of neon colours that brightened the slopes and streets during the winter months when leg warmers and pastel jackets were too lightweight for the season?  It seems the trend may be back in full force, only now in classier colors of black, grey and maroon.  Seinfeld’s George had one of these jackets a good 15 years ago, which may be what started the trend here.  Maybe Larry David’s favourite costume designer was a pioneer in the day.  Shiny puffy coats…every teenage boy, hip young gal and older woman seems to wear one.  I just had to embed this link as a recap.  

What is under these coats?  For the gals it doesn’t appear to be much more than a pair of patterned tights.  The boots are tall, heels high, and skirts short enough to not be seen under the bottom of that jacket.  As for what the guys might be wearing, who cares…it’s the gals that warrant the attention.  The attention that says ‘I am available’, or ‘I haven’t settled yet, and may be in the market for an upgrade…what’s your best offer?’.  It’s a different world for clothes wearing, and it’s likely because of our rather drab garments that few people start up a conversation with us.  I used to think it was the lack of colour in our skin… or maybe no cigarette in one hand and espresso in the other.  Maybe after 9 weeks of travelling we’re starting to look a little haggard and too scary to talk to.  I’ll leave you to be the judge from the photos.

I don’t remember ferris wheels at Christmas.

Now that we’ve crossed the border into French territory, a distinct lack of these puffy coats…likely because the daily highs approach 18C.  It’s early December, and feels damn near like spring.  Yes they are making an effort at a Christmas market here with real trees for sale, hot wine, cotton candy and a ferris wheel…but the fake snow and palm trees in the foreground likely won’t bring out similar coats  for a couple months.   We’ll need to do a little more exploration of storefront windows to see just what might be offered on the coat fashion front.  Don’t keep your hopes up for any updates when it’s still fine to walk around in a t-shirt and shorts though.

Waiter, there’s a spider in my wine!

The most interesting Caprese Salad ever seen, now where the music and someone want to turn the lights down?

The search for the perfect restaurant is not a quest of ours, but dining out for 48 consecutive days and it’s easy to become a bit critical.  The lighting is either too bright, or too dark.  Ambient music is non-existent, or ear shattering top 40 blasting from a distracting 42inch LCD in the corner.  The choice of colours for tablecloths is either pink or yellow.  It seems there should be some guidelines for running a successful restaurant.

Of course success is based on sales, or more importantly the bottom line.  Replacing warm incandescent lighting with the more expensive, yet efficient, fluorescents does save a few dollars at the end of the year…but cast the room with this ghoulish glow killing any chance at romance.  Any lady that has prettied herself up for the evening in less than perfect light conditions may soon find herself in challenging conditions not previously anticipated.  Maybe Tripadvisor could add ‘lighting’ to their list of recommended ratings for eating establishments.

Music has always been a crap shoot while we have been on the go.  In one place we were the only patrons, at which point the staff quickly adjusted the tunes from their favorites to something more classic…making me imagine what a hotel elevator must have sounded like 50 years ago.  In other instances, lounge versions of classics such as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘True’ fill the air for the mix of clientele.  As for that above mentioned top 40 blaring from a TV set, we’ll call that an extreme case of distraction.  We have been without the distraction of regular television for almost 7 weeks now, so a Lady Gaga video following classic Bryan Adams can be a bit off-putting.

The location of the toilet can also be interesting.  It’s always at the back or under the restaurant, but these ancient sewer systems seem to have a mind of their own with the occasional ‘burp’ that will float through the restaurant.  Nothing like a little old world sewer stink to quash that appetite in a heartbeat.  Maybe a quick sniff of that nearby cappuccino would help matters…and have that ball of half digested pizza head back down my esophagus into my belly for further processing.

Another massacre via fork and knife. Get me a spoon to scrape up the toppings per favore!

I know every establishment can’t have the perfect dining experience.  Vancouver seems to just have the correct amount of ‘right’ though.  Knock a Cactus Club or Earls for their increasing prices, overly attentive staff, or kitschy atmosphere.  They do have a lot of good things going on though, and to take an organized business like that and put it pretty much anywhere in the world and a restauranteur could demand 5 star prices.

We’re not 5 star folk though, which means when we order the half litre of house white…we should expect the small dead spider to be slowly floating to the bottom of the carafe.  The bread should also be flavourless, and vaguely resemble a kitchen sponge for flavour, texture, and that crust that would easily scrape that burnt on chicken cacciatore from the bottom of a pot.  And really, we should expect our pizza to show up uncut.  Just give me a knife and fork to tear it apart into chunks I can roll onto a fork.

At the end of the night, it really is all about the company we keep, correct?

The Size of Your Suitcase

That's 100 steps, now only 80 more to the top!

I was warned before we departed that we are likely taking too much.  Well, with everything packed up again it means we’re about to endure the ear hammering rattle of these Chinese-made roller wheels across cobbles.  Only light and durable luggage from now on.  Big wheels and handles are good.  A colour that says, “Hey…look at me!  I am comfortable with my powder blue case and will know if you grab it by ‘mistake’!”  Has anyone looked into Japanese patents for a ‘hover’ option on a suitcase?

As for what really belongs in that suitcase…there isn’t a whole lot that you really need to get by.  if in a pinch, go out and buy it.  Sure you might be saving a few bucks by buying large quantities at home, but you then have to pack this weight around.  If you think you might need it, in all likelihood you really don’t.

For the men, all that seems to be required are the items below…unless you’re fancy and much more self conscious than the average male.

#1. Two pair of jeans, so that you have one pair to wear while the other is washing/drying

#2. Many t-shirts, in muted colours so that they go with anything.  The muted colours also won’t stand out in your pictures as well when reviewing them in a months time only to find out in every other pic you are wearing the same red t-shirt.  Let the locals be the flashy ones.

#3. Add a couple collared shirts for those times when you might be going out to attempt to impress.  For example, that pub crawl you signed up right behind those cute French gals might take more than you buying a drink for them and a clean hoodie.  Make them wrinkle free shirts if possible to, unless you’re aiming for that rumpled homeless look.

Not pictured...two more pieces of hand luggage carted by your friendly blogging mule

#4. The hoodie, we purchased these in Vienna to deal with the lack of heat in our apartment.  A hoodie has proved to be invaluable as a light jacket, casual wear, sleeping gear, jacket liner…and makes you look badass when paired with a scarf.

#5. A Scarf, multipurpose item as it can be used to filter smoke from the air…or mustard gas if in a real pinch.  A very good neck warmer, shawl for the ladies, and it’s stylish enough to maybe blend in a little.

#6. Lots of socks and undies. Essential under any condition and requires no explanation.

#7. Garbage bag, heavy duty…not the cheap thin plastic ones.  Plastic bags serve well as dirty clothes storage, and may be repurposed as a poncho if you didn’t bring an umbrella.

#8. Umbrella, small, nondescript, and keeps the rain off.  That garbage bag poncho raises the eyebrows of museum security when you start rummaging around under the crinkling bag checking your pockets for admission coinage.

#9. Basic toiletries, in the appropriate sizes.  Anything large is always a problem in that you don’t know if it will explode in your checked bags (I of course mean, leak and not the actual reason for checking liquids).  These items are also damn heavy to lug around when for the most part they can be purchased on arrival.  If they aren’t available, it might be time to become a little less precious.

#10. Computer, to hook up to wifi pretty much anywhere.  An iPad sounds great as it has great battery life, but the issues related to connecting in many places, plus the lack of flash and navigation of many foreign transportation sites can be limiting.  Great as a surfing device at home, but not a machine to work from.

#11. Swim shorts, of a muted colour, to make it look like you might actually be wearing real shorts in the event you can’t for some reason wear either pair of pants.  Something fast drying though, not your super thick cargo shorts.  If you insist on skinny dipping only, you won’t be doing the rest of us any favours.

#12. Medium weight coat…something to take the chill off during cold days and that you can pair the hoodie with for extra warmth.  No parka required unless you have the room in your luggage and the down filled garment will be essential to survival.  Additional warmth can be achieved through casual strolls into stores and striking up conversation with the shop owner.  Lamp stores are especially good for this, unless the only retailed fixtures are loaded with LED or fluorescent bulbs

As for the ladies, you may also want to consider a hard case for toiletries, prevent squishing of product, easier to sort and stash your beauty essentials.