Off to Europe


Labor Day weekend came and went very fast as I approached my liftoff date of Sept. 7.

At the Cincinnati airport

Asheville was having its annual LAAF Festival downtown, which is basically a one-street, four-block-long lockdown for pedestrians and tent vendors. Lots of arts and crafts tents, as well as food vendors. Weird costumes and street acts, such as fire jugglers. Lots of bars on the street, Broadway, and lots of people. Beer sold under a tent but you first had to purchase a $2 armband, the proceeds going to the arts community or some charity. My daughter, Kim, and her husband Danny’s band, PawTooth, played Saturday night at The Lab, in the back room to a good crowd.

On Monday, Danny and Kim put on their biennial back-deck, pulled-pork barbeque, with Danny rising before dawn to get the fire started for 5-6 hours of smoking four pork butt roasts. Homemade coleslaw, buns and lots of other great food brought by friends rounded out the menu. The barbeque, however, was the belle of the ball. Maybe 15-18 people showed up, we drank the wine bought the week before at Biltmore Estate, plus lots of beer and other beverages, and did it all with a steady rain all day.

Tuesday night, took all the family out for a nice dinner at Rezaz, a Mediterranean restaurant in Biltmore Village just down the road from the house. It turned out to be a good table etiquette exercise for Lena and Eliges, Danny’s 18-year-old son. Shared appetizers of smoked salmon and mountain trout and crusted shrimp and calamari. For dinner: large, seared sea scallops on a bed of fresh spinach and polanto, braised lamb ribs, roasted duck breast and paella. And two bottles of red wine. Quite nice.

The five weeks I spent with my daughter and her family were great, and a welcome respite from my traveling, but I’m feeling the need for space and independence. As expected, though, there were a lot of butterflies on the way to the airport. My “Plan A” for my year-long trip is certainly solid but stuff always happens, and then you have to revert to “Plan B” or “C.” Or you just have to make it up as you go along.

Wednesday was trip day, and I sit in the Cincinnati airport as I write the beginning of this report. My flight to Paris has been delayed an hour but they assured us we wouldn’t miss out connections in Paris. Kim drove me to Charlotte this morning, as I decided to fly out of there instead of Atlanta because it was a lot closer and Kim wouldn’t need to drive so far and so long. Almost missed the flight to Cincinnati because they changed the gate and I didn’t hear the announcement. Got on my plane at the last minute with a seat change that had me in the front of the plane. Sweet! Charlotte airport, BTW, has free Wi-Fi access.

Cincinnati’s airport does not. Here, you can order T-Mobile wireless service for $8 a day. I may try it. The Cincinnati airport has just one terminal, terminal B, which suggests there are more terminals but there are no airlines leasing gates in them, so they’re closed. The sole terminal is nice, however, with lots of stores and restaurants.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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