Thursday, December 24, 2015

Remains of St Biagio's Church in Rovereto, Italy

A great way to enhance outdoor activities is to go Geocaching. I've written before about this fun hobby and you can read about it in this post,  "Fun Things to do on a Walk- Geocaching" In a nutshell people hide things called caches, mark the spot with coordinates, you  track the location with a GPS and once located, you sign the log and record your find online. What I really love about Geocaching is that it takes us to places we never would have ventured to on our own.

While visiting the town of Rovereto, located at the southern edge of the Alps in Italy, we found one such spot.

Chiesetta di S.Biagio

Chiesetta di S.Biagio Rovereto, Italy

At least what's left of St Biagio's Church!

According to the informational signpost St Biagio's Church is from the 11th century and was doing quite well until it was damaged by artillery fire in 1916. Then in 1940 a bomb pretty much signaled the end of the church. All that remains is a little of the foundation and the beautiful Romanesque bell tower.

Seeing this bombed out church with the bell tower still standing reminds me of the resilience of faith. To be damaged not only once but twice and yet not completely destroyed.

How easy it would have been for the town's people to finish knocking down and clearing this plot of land and yet they chose to leave the remnants of this church. Perhaps as a reminder to future generations of the consequences of war. 

It's a peaceful place. To get to the remains of the church you have to take a walk through a small neighborhood and then take a trail up the side of a hill. Once on top there are picnic tables and a grassy area for the kids to play and the remains of the church. The entire spot is surround by a fence and has lovey views of the mountains and the town below. 

If you're in the area and would like to check out St Biagio's Church grab your GPS and plug in the coordinates. You might even find the hidden cache!

N 45° 51.159 E 010° 59.491

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Greenways of Florida - A.J. Alford Greenway in Tallahassee, Florida


According to Merriam Webster dictionary a Greenway is "a corridor of undeveloped land preserved for recreational use or environmental protection".

Florida is fortunate to have many areas designated as greenways. These areas are typically located in urban settings offering a reprieve from the concrete jungle and traffic of the city. 

A few weeks ago we visited our son and his family in Tallahassee our state's capital. We took a nice long walk at the A. J. Alford Greenway. The greenway sports miles and miles of trails through an oak forest and around a beautiful lake suitable for boating and fishing. It's so strange that less than a half mile off a busy, car infested road you'll find yourself in such a quiet peaceful place. 

You can read about another Greenway we've visited by checking out this post Eagan's Creek Greenway. And you can learn more about Greenways and Trails by visiting Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation.

Lace up and take a walk at one of the many Greenways in Florida. You'll find out quickly that there's more to Florida than Disney World!

Check out other 'G' places to visit...
A-Z Guidebook Badge

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Market in Freiburg, Germany

One of the many stalls set up to sell farm fresh produce. 

Freiburg is a lively university town filled with medieval history. It's located at the foot of the Black Forest in southern Germany.

Check out this post to see more of Freiburg - Walking Tour of Freiburg.

A-Z Guidebook Badge

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Walk Around Munich and A Stop for Chocolate!

We flew into Munich at the beginning of our trip but we didn't stay. We met up with our travel companions, got our rental car and hit the road. At the end of our journey we decided to spend the last full day exploring the city. 

An excellent way to see a city is to walk. We used the self guided walking tour in Rick Steves' Germany guidebook. Complete with maps, history and directions you can't really go wrong. 

It was hard to resist all the good food in the Viktualienmarkt.  This open air market boosts vendors stocking cheese and olives, fruit, veggies, breads and confections. 

We passed up the sweets in the market but then we found the Milka store. 

This store was massive. The shelves below show just a small portion of the Milka candy available. We brought quite a bit home with us!

And of course we had to make it to the Marienplatz in time to see and hear the glockenspiel do it's thing. You can watch the jousters daily at 11:00 and noon. 

We had to do the tourist thing and stop for lunch at the HofbrÀuhaus. So much fun and the food and beer was really good. 

Time for a walk in the Hofgarten. A lovely park with a 400 year old Renaissance-style gazebo. The day we visited a street performer was playing a baby grand piano for tips. Apparently the acoustics are top rated. 

Munich is a thriving city full of history, beautiful churches and wonderful food. This was just a small sampling of all the Munich has to offer. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Triberg Waterfall Germany

At 500 feet Triberg Waterfall in the town of Triberg is Germany's highest falls and probably one of the prettiest. To enjoy the falls be sure you have on good nonskid boots or shoes and be prepared to walk UP! 

You can park at Scheffelplatz entrance and it's a 5 minute downhill walk. Or do like we did and park in the center of the town at Haupteingang and walk up. According to the sign it's a 2 minute walk. Not sure about that. When your huffing and puffing your way up it seems a lot farther. 

But well worth the effort!

Our band of happy travelers. 

Into the Black Forest

From the top of the waterfall we took the trail through the woods. 

This is in my mind what the Black Forest should look like. Dark and damp with large rocks covered in moss. I can just see Little Red Riding Hood walking this path with her basket of goodies while the wolf lurks behind a tree. 

A bird we encountered on the trail. I've never seen one like this. All grey with some white, black and a touch of blue on his wing. The bird was about 8" long. Anyone know what kind of bird this is?

From the very top of the trail looking down. 

The Triberg Waterfall will cost you € 3,50 a person but it's well worth the cost. 
If you don't want to pay you can see a glimpse of the falls through the trees near the lower entrance. 

But why do that?

 Pay the money, lace up your shoes and take a walk!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

PorchFest - Music and Food in Historic Springfield

Springfield is the oldest residential neighborhood in Jacksonville. The area has had it's ups and downs over the years but it appears to be in recovery mode. 

We enjoyed a nice walk through Springfield today as we took in the sights and sounds of Porchfest. This is the second year Porchfest has been held and it appears this free, family friendly event is a success.

What is Porchfest?

"A Music Festival on the Welcoming Porches of Historic Springfield."
Jacksonville Porchfest

Nice crowds of people roamed the shady, tree lined streets.

 Food trucks provided enough variety for any appetite. 

The porches provided the stage and chairs and blankets the seating as local talent entertained the crowds. 

Indie band Complicated Animals

R&B and Soul - Groove Coalition 

There were twenty different bands playing in two sessions on various porches scattered throughout the neighborhood. Something for everyone. 

It seemed that all the neighbors were getting into the spirit of the event. 

Porchfest was celebrated on a beautiful, sunny Florida day. A day filled with fun, food and music bringing a community together and showcasing a lovely neighborhood.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Walk Through Historic Lloyd, Florida

Located at the intersection of Highway 59 and 158 the town of Lloyd is tiny but full of interesting, historic buildings. There aren't any sidewalks but also no traffic to speak of so walking is pretty easy.

Most of the homes in Lloyd were built between 1855 and 1920. The town was named after Walter Lloyd a blacksmith from New York. In 1857 Walter Lloyd opened a store and took advantage of the railroad boom.

(I'm sharing just a few of my favorite photos.)

The Railroad Depot 

Built in 1858 the depot is the oldest surviving brick station in Florida. The golden era of the railroad in Lloyd lasted until the 1930's. In 1968 the Seaboard Coastline gave the station to the Jefferson County Historical Association. It was later turned over to the Gulfwind Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society. The depot currently houses the post office.

Laffette Store 
ca. 1912

Currently being renovated.

And a charming house in need of renovation. 
Love the tin roof and porch complete with a swing.

A tiny replica of the Bethel A.M.E, Church

The original Bethel A.M.E. Church was built in 1870 and closed in 2011 after 141 years of service. The church merged with another A.M.E. church in Jefferson County and the original building was demolished. The property owner built this replica to keep the history alive. 

Beautiful, old oak trees are in abundance in this area.

If you're traveling on Interstate 10 near Tallahassee take a short detour and get off on exit 217, Fl 59 S. Travel less than 1 mile and you'll see the sign for Lloyd. Lloyd is a Florida Heritage Historic District. 

Just a short ways off the highway and you can take a walk through history!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How I Managed to Complete Write 31

Last year I tried writing for Write 31 but quit after 11 days. I'd thought about the challenge ever since and was mad at myself for giving up. (OK I'm my own worst critic!) Anyway I decided to try again for October 2015 and since I'm writing this post that means I succeeded! Yeah for me!

I thought I'd share a little information about how I managed to complete the month. What I did and what worked for me might help someone else...

Be Up Front with the Family

  • The very first thing I did was to let my husband know what I was doing. There's no way I could sit at my computer and write everyday without him knowing what I was doing and why. It takes too much time and concentration. He was very supportive of my efforts and that helped significantly. If he hadn't supported me I'm sure I wouldn't have completed the challenge.

Write about What You Know
  • Another important thing for me was to pick a subject that I am passionate about. Walking is that subject. I knew since I do a lot of walking both around my neighborhood and while traveling I'd have a good amount of material to pull from.

Plan Ahead!

 Last year I tried to wing it and I knew that wouldn't work again so I spent some time in planning mode.

  • I took a look at my calendar for October. (I did this in early September) I noted any days, activities or appointments in October that would hinder my writing. I knew well in advance that I'd be out of town October 9-13 and I wouldn't have access to my computer. I had to plan ahead for those five posts. But this trip out of town also gave me subject matter for my posts later in the month. 
  • Schedule time to write. Most posts (for me at least) take 1 - 2 hours or more when I factor in photo editing and writing plus any research I need to do on the topic. It was crucial that I set aside time in my daily schedule.A lot of my writing was done in the evening which is why it was important to get my husband's support. 
  • I did write five posts ahead of time. For the first week of October I just wrote two posts a day. I scheduled the ones to post for the days I 'd be away. I also wrote the introduction and I set up my landing page in late September.
Stay on Track
  • To help keep me on track I decided to make an outline of sorts to guide the subject of the posts. I posted this outline on my landing page. It went something like this:

Monday - Why Walk? Health benefits, etc.
Tuesday- Walking Tips
Wednesday - My Favorite Place I Walked This Week
Thursday - Walk and Eat
Friday - Fun Things to do on a Walk
Saturday - Travels
Sunday - Walking With God

I sort of followed this outline although as the month went on I changed it up a little. Still it helped me to keep on track. I didn't always have to come up with a subject off the top of my head.

Think Ahead

It was important to think ahead. I'd think about what was happening the next day or over the weekend that would hinder my writing. And also what I would be doing that would give me material for my writing. Most of my posts were photo driven so I made sure to carry my camera everywhere.  I was on the lookout for photo opportunities to include in my posts and to get my creative juices flowing.

Use Link Ups for Inspiration
I've never done much in the way of link ups or link parties but I ran across a few as the month went on that gave me ideas for posts. You can see an example in this post Blue Monday- Seeing Blue in Chattanooga and this one Monday Mural - Finding Street Art. It was a fun way to use pictures I already had. 

A few things I did ahead of time for those days I knew I wouldn't have time to write or be able to think straight:

Before the month started I went through my photos and picked the ones that I knew I wanted to use. I set up a special folder for these pictures. Having these pictures already in a folder helped to jump start my writing. I didn't waste time searching.

I collected up several pictures and bible scriptures. This was so I could have little 'time off' on Sunday. Just a scripture and a photo made it an easy post. Here's an example Walk With God - He Goes Before You

On a couple of my posts I let the experts speak. I used quotes from various articles I found that could tell better than I could about the health benefits of walking. It's OK to use one or two sentences like this as long as you don't copy the whole article and you be sure to give credit to the author. This is an example Why Walk? Pain Relief.

That's a few of the things I did to be successful in this challenge. I know we're all different and have different challenges in our lives and what worked for me may not work for someone else. I just hope that by sharing my experience I might help someone who may have struggled through this month. I'm already looking forward to next October!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

eXtra Big oX

The neighborhood where we live used to be a dairy farm and there's reminders all around. The roads in our neighborhood are named after the dairy owner, his wife and a son  who died young. There's an old milk processing plant that's now a church and daycare, grain silos here and there

And this eXtra big guy.

 I called him an oX for the sake of this X post but I think he's probably a bull or steer. 

Sorry, I may live on an old dairy farm but I know very little about cows...

He stands about 20 feet tall and he has bright red eyes. I have no idea what he's made of but he's been here for as long as I can remember and he looks pretty good. 

It's eXceptionally eXtraordinary to see this eXtra big oX standing eXactly in this same spot everyday.

Want to see more X posts? Check out Jenny Matlock: Alphabe-Thursday

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 31 - I'm a Turkey and it's Not Even Thanksgiving

I wrote and posted everyday for 31 days and I'm pretty proud of myself!

!!!Yeah me!!!

Three things I learned during this challenge:

  •  I learned that I am a writer. Maybe not great but pretty good and with practice I'll get better.
  • I enjoyed writing every day and I loved the challenge. I learned that I function better under pressure. I need a deadline!
  • I was amazed at how many comments I got on my posts. I learned that what I write about is interesting to other people.

The key to my success:

I believe that the main reason I was successful was the support I received from my husband. I want to say a big THANK YOU to my sweet husband John. He encouraged me to complete this challenge. And he never complained when dinner was late:)

Also thank you to those who visited and commented on my posts. I appreciate your words of encouragement and support. 

Walk 31

To see a few ideas about completed this challenge you can check out this post How I Managed to Complete Write 31

I hope that by sharing my love of walking, travel and life this past month it might encourage someone to lace up their shoes and take a walk!

God gave us a big, beautiful world just waiting to be explored. 

Where will your feet take you today?

See other 31 Day participants at 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Walking Tour of Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg, Germany is a University town with 30,000 students, lots of bicycles, a beautiful Cathedral that was spared during WWII and the best bratwurst around. The town is well worth a day visit. 

We love a Rick Steves' guidebook when we travel. I like his style of travel. A kind of go with the flow attitude. Almost every town that is written up in his guidebook has a self guided walking tour. The very best way to see the sights and acclimate yourself to the area. 

Originally we were going to stay in Freiburg but based on Rick's suggestion we stayed in Staufen. A very good choice because Staufen was a lovely town. Freiburg was good for a day trip and a nice long walk but it was a little too crowded for us.

The main reason we went to Freiburg was to walk through the market and eat lunch. A woman we befriended at our hotel in Staufen told us about a place to get the very best sausage dogs. So of course that was one of our first stops. 

Meier's Wurststand

We ordered Lange Rote (Long Red) Bratwurst. Oh my gosh it was so good. The bratwurst was tasty and the roll was out of this world! And only 2,50 euro. What a deal.

Munsterplatz (Cathedral Plaza) and Market

The market was colorful and crowded with beautiful displays of fresh vegetables and flowers.

This is one of several interesting characters we saw in the market.

Cathedral (Munster)

I thought the history of the Cathedral was interesting. During WWII Freiburg didn't sustain very much damage. That is until November 27, 1944 when in just 20 minutes Allied bombers destroyed about 80% of Freiburg's buildings. The Cathedral was left untouched by the bombs. Whether it was by the grace of God or the bombers intentionally avoided the church no one knows. That's pretty amazing.

Add caption

The Cathedral is made from soft sandstone that is easy to work with. But it's fragile and in constant need of repair. 

The inside was gorgeous and we arrived just in time to enjoy a free organ concert. 
Free's good!


This street is typical of old Freiburg. Lined with bachles or small canals filled with water on both sides of the street. Staufen has these as well. They just don't look very safe...

Freiburg is a college town and bicycles seem to be the main source of transportation. This was only a small portion of the bikes we saw. 

And of course the train. There was a big, busy train station in town.

Freiburg was a lively, busy town and made for a fun day trip.