RSS feed & onto France

September 22, 2006


We are still having trouble with our RSS feed and comments, but hope to tweak those things on our blog once we get to Spain if not before. I heard from a very helpful person reading this blog that she found a way to get the RSS feed. She wrote me an email thru bootsnall and is clearly very tech savvy, certainly lots more than we are.

Here is what she said;

What it should be :

Hopefully that makes sense to some which will allow you to make the change and get the RSS feed. We
also tried to fix that on our end, but it does not seem like it worked. Once we have more regular internet connection time in southern Spain at our base, we will hopefully be able to work these things out.

We also started having problems with our new mac which is pretty scary and frustrating, but hopefully we will get that worked out as well. It sometimes is on but just black and we are clueless why or how this happens thus far.

But we did get a chance to skype call home to both families and it was wonderful having wifi at the last campground. It really would be awesome if every campground had wifi like so many do in the States, but that is not the case here yet. We could not get it in our camper which was a bit of a pain. I think we were just too far away from the signal & for some reason it did not like working inside campers, because we moved closer and that did not help inside either, tho we could get it outside at both places, but one does like to be discreet with such things. Campgrounds are said to be very safe places, but we like being very low key to not draw attention to ourselves and sitting outside with a laptop or two as people walk by is not the way to do that. We did sneak in a late night call or two tho when almost all were asleep or inside watching their satellite TV’s.

They had a little recreation room where we usually did our internet work. They had a computer in reception for everyone to use as well, but it was 1.5 Euros for 12 minutes and always a wait or delays when the reception was closed. We ended up using it some at our little table outside our camper and they also had some covered outside tables that we used a few times because they closed the rec area at 9 PM and with our 9 hours later from home time difference, late at night is one of our best times to call home. We did not get our webcams to work, but we think that was due to the weak wifi connection.

It took us almost 4 hours to upload our latest pages on the blog (we have not figured out yet how to upload just a part, so have to upload the whole thing every time we add something). We picked i-web because it was the easiest to get our blog up quickly and allow us independence (instead of something like blogger) but its a new thing for mac and has its problems. You combine that with our lack of tech expertise and it makes things tricky. We always knew that we might change this to word press or something else once we get the hang of things and have more time and internet connection to teach ourselves and work out the kinks. So hang in there with us. I am also thinking of doing less pictures,or just albums or something. I
think I will find internet cafes in Paris (tho I read that it is less than any other major European city
which is surprising) but not sure if I will find wifi here or not.

We got our usual late start. We got up early (Mozart slept in a bit and actually that was a help) and almost got a decently  early start, but decided to stop at the local hypermarket (cheapest place for food etc) and stock up on supplies where we did not have to schlep it at a great distance. We had to jump start ourselves which seems to be a regular habit now after stopping for a bit. Then it was time for lunch etc, etc etc.

We do not mean to leave on Fridays, but that has happened the last two traveling days, so we haven gotten to know Brugge rush hour traffic and now Paris rush hour traffic. Luckily neither was too bad perhaps because we are going into the city area when most are trying to come out. Still a Tuesday morning or whatever would seem a better choice than Friday afternoons for travel days, but so far it has not worked out like that for us. It seems our pattern is to stay longer than intended, so we kept to that and stayed longer in Brugge than we thought we would.

The good news is we can go when we please, tho I see at this rate, my big plans for northern Spain will probably not come to fruition this fall probably due to weather and time. We will most likely see some of it ,just not the amount I wanted to see. Again, the good news is we will have plenty of other chances to see the areas that I want to see. We start paying for our rental home in southern Spain on November first, so that gives us a date that must be kept. We faxed the school before we left the Netherlands, so they are expecting us as well. So we will just see what we can and enjoy this vacation leg until that date arrives.

One of my favorite sayings is “It is all perfect” as my personal philosophy is that everything is always unfolding perfectly and we just have to line up with the perfection thru acceptance of what is. Too many times in my life I have had wonderful things happen because I was on the wrong bus or was lost or made some huge mistake. As I get older, I find myself accepting life on its own terms and trusting more even in its “imperfections” instead of spending so much time going against the current as I seemed to do often in my youth. Oh, I still try to get my own way and still have perfectionist tendencies in some ways, but I am grateful to see how I have learned to accept more and mellowed with age. This trip and this lifestyle is a good one to see how quickly one can line up with what is and stay in the flow.

My original plan was probably just too ambitious (a common trait of mine) and unrealistic. So we just have to modify with the reality that is present. Traveling with a child is just not something that one wants to do in a rush. It was interesting that in rereading “Take your child to Europe” she says that bringing along a child takes one from “vacationing” in Europe to “living” in Europe and that has been true in our experience. A child’s needs must be met, so  you just can not push like you can as an adult. You MUST take time out to live. It is actually quite a nice pace for touring.

About half a day for driving to a new location or between 230 and 280 Kilometers seems about right for us. It actually takes us all day to do that half a day with prep, showers before going, meals before and on the way, filling up with petrol and various camper things like filling up with water and emptying chemical  toilet (a story unto itself for those uninitiated like ourselves), bathroom and setting up dvd for Mozart stops etc. We could do more if we had to, but this makes it pleasant.

Florence our Nuvi GPS is working good, especially on the main hauls. She is a little trickier to understand inside a city in heavy traffic, so sometimes we make mistakes there and need to be “recalculated” and that can be stressful especially in a camper. We had a couple of scary city roads in Paris that were pretty scary with less than an inch to spare as of course she does not know that we are a camper (as there is not setting for that only car or bus).

We also have experienced some of that amazingly daring driving that we have heard and read about here
on the continent. We drove all over the UK and did not really experience it, tho there were some hairy moments in London. Luckily then we had a very small car. At this point DaVinci says he could not drive
on the left side with a camper, but we are sure that will change with some experience. We have a small camper, but it feels huge when you are driving it. I would not even attempt it and am amazed at what DaVinci can do. He does have amazing spacial abilities and the reflexes of someone who is exceptionally talented at sports, so that helps. There are women and very old people who do this, so some of it is just experience, but it is not something that I would ever like to take on. I feel like my pokey, overly cautious way of driving would be causing accidents left and right as one needs to be quite aggressive at times. I was surprised that one has to be assertive and aggressive just getting on a train (even with a small child in tow). Our jaws have dropped at some of the aggressive moves we have seen.

We are also very heavy (Rene at B&W commented on that) so not sure how much that affects things. Sometimes even when it is parked it is affected by the wind and it is almost like one needs to have sea legs for this thing sometimes as it is similar to boat living in many ways. The scariest part of driving for me is when a big truck or bus goes by when we are on a freeway. They can really make us sway and at 90 miles an hour, that is pretty scary. Luckily DaVinci is a great driver, so I feel I am in good hands.

But mostly it was a pretty fun trip to Paris. We were driving along listening to and singing along with some Beatle songs at one point, thinking this is the life!


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