Tag Archives: Holiday Inn

A great holiday/wedding weekend

We had a great time over Memorial Day weekend. (Yes, I am a little late catching up.) Our neice, Ellen, got married in Greenville, South Carolina. She is my middle sister’s daughter, so the event attracted a large number of my side of the family. I am the oldest of five. All are married, most with grown, or nearly grown, children. We and our cousins are spread all over the eastern half of the country. It’s been this way ever since I first moved away from Pittsburgh to Florida in 1971. While we are not geographically so close that we can call and say “Come on over for Sunday dinner,” we do have a good time when we do get together.

Mrs. Poolman and I took off on Thursday to make it a five-day weekend. Our first big surprise was Greenville itself. It has a very cool downtown. There is a small river with a waterfall cutting right through the middle of town. My sister commented, “You know, we lived here for ten years before we even knew we had a waterfall in downtown.”

Greenville's waterfall

Greenville’s waterfall

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Brother taking picture of his son and daughter-in-law.

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(l-r) Girlfriend, Poolboy and Writer Princess

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Nephew, Mrs. P and myself

The rest of downtown is nicely landscaped, pedestrian friendly, and full of shops and restaurants. We went sightseeing both Friday and Saturday afternoon.  We had a very nice time. Greenville, South Carolina! Who ‘da thought?

In between the scheduled functions and parties, our family had a fairly non-stop party going back at the hotel. We were all in a Holiday Inn Express. At almost any time you could wander through the lobby and find someone to visit with. Lots of fun and laughter, and a fair amount of ethanol.

If not in the lobby, my brother and sister-in-law's room works just fine.

If not in the lobby, my brother and sister-in-law’s room works just fine.

I guess I should show at least one picture of the couple. Here is Stan and Ellen, zoning out at the rehearsal.

We all had such a great time, we started looking around at the single children and asked “So who’s next?”

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Looking back at a great trip

It’s Sunday afternoon and we’ve been back in the USA for six days. I guess it is a cliché, but as much as we enjoyed our trip to Paris and Normandy, it is nice to be back in our one house. I think about a week and a half is my limit before I start thinking it would be good to be back to familiar surroundings and routine.

Our trip back to Savannah on Monday was grueling. As we were riding the RER train to the airport, Mrs. Poolman commented that she hoped we had the same luck as we did on the flight over; that is, no one sharing our three-across seat combo. Or, at least not a 300 pounder. As it turns out, the guy in the aisle seat was closer to 400 pounds. Seriously! And Air France has to have the smallest seats in existence, in both width and front-back space. We were on that Boeing 777 for 11 and a half hours, and Mrs. P was not a happy flier. Jabba the Hut oozed across the armrest and over into Princes Leia’s seat space, and the person in the row in front kept reclining her seat so far that she couldn’t even focus on the back-of-the seat TV monitor. At one point Mrs P just couldn’t stand it any more and got up and stood in the back of the plane for around an hour. We didn’t realize how small the seat space was until we connected with a Delta MD88 in Atlanta. When we sat down, Mrs. P and I looked at each other and commented on how much more room there was. Long haul – tiny space. Short haul – roomy seats. That doesn’t seem right.

One thing interesting about travel is trying to figure out the different plumbing and electricity. When we checked into the Holiday Inn St Germain des Pres in Paris, we couldn’t figure out how to turn the lights on. They would come on and then go out again. Then we noticed a little device on the wall near the door. The room key is a flat piece of plastic, and you are supposed to insert the room key into the slot in the wall device. That allows you to turn on all the room lights. Nice idea to save on electricity, but a bit confusing if you have never encountered it before.

What is it with the French thing of a shower guard that only covers half the tub? We had this in three of the four rooms in which we stayed. You have to really work at it to keep the shower spray from soaking the entire room. Would a full-length shower curtain be that difficult?

This is the bath-shower in our apartment. Note the glass shower barrier that extends only halfway down the tub.

Visitors to Mont St Michel are constantly climbing stairs.

You stairs are everywhere!

There is no flat surface on the island. Everything is up or down. It’s a great way to get some exercise. I did notice they have automatic defibrillators about every 50 feet on all the streets.

Instructions in several languages

I wonder how often they are used. At one point, I was out on the causeway taking some pictures when a very rotund man walked by on his way to the gate. All I could think of was, “Oh man, you are going to die here.”

And once again, I have to point out that the people we encountered were all fantastic. The French, and Parisians in general, have a bad reputation for meeting unfriendly, especially to Americans. We did not encounter that at all. Everyone was great, whether we were interacting with a waiter in a sidewalk café, or a fellow passenger as we were packed cheek-to-jowl on a crowded Metro train. The only even slightly unpleasant people we encountered were tourists. See my posting on our trip to Versailles.

The bank account won’t take another trip like this for a couple of years. But if I can get Mrs. P back on an airplane, we’ll attempt another trip before too long. Looking forward to it.

Paris –Day Eleven

It’s Saturday evenng and we’re back in Paris. There’s not much to report since today was a travel day.

We eere up early and schlepped our luggage off the island to the shuttle stop. I packed fairly light, but Mrs Poolman doubled my load. And one of the wheels on her bag broke, so I have heen carrying it while she pulls my lighter, roller equipped bag. I think the brother- and sister-in-law packed everything they own. BIL was looking “rode hard and put up wet” after dragging both their bags off the island, on and off the train and then through three train and Metro stations.

Our drive to Caen was through a drizzly rain, but pretty easy. Actually, the only problem we had was finding a gas (petrol) station in Caen to fill up the car before returning it. In the US it seems like you can fill up on every corner. In Caen, we actually had to go to the rental office and ask for directions to a station. Strange.

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Two of our merry band waiting for the train in the rain.

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BIL & SIL on the train.

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Mrs P and myself enjoying the trip back to Paris.

The train ride back was pleasant. The trip to our hotel was a little trying, again because of all the luggage. Our plan to send  one couple ahead with the luggage in a cab fell through when we walked out of the station in the rain and couldn’t find a cab. So we took the Metro. See above.

We had a pleasant surprise when we got to the Holiday Inn St Germaine du Pres. They upgraded both rooms to mini-suites. Very nice! (I am a member of their loyalty program, Priority Club, and used points to reserve and pay for both rooms.) Thank you very much Holiday Inn!

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The upgraded room. Nice.

Tonight is “Nuit Blanche” or “White Night” in Paris. This is an annual all night party with many museum, restaurants, clubs, etc open all night and free. We were thinking of revisiting the Louvre tonight, but the weather is crappy and Mrs P is tired. We may just hit a nearby cafe and then return to the hotel. Tomorrow is the first Sunday of the month so many of the museums will be open for free all day.

Mrs P wants to hit the Louvre and then Angelinas for lunch.

Checking in from paris

I havent been as diligent as I should have been for the past
few weeks.   Sorry.
Mrs Poolman and I are off on an aventure. We are in Paris for a a week, to be followed by a few days in Normandy and Mont St Michel. We have been planning this trip for months.
I am working off my nook tablet which does not allow me to be quite as fluid a writer as I would like. Mostly lll post pictures for now. Stories later.

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The plane, ready to go.

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Our room at the Holiday Inn St Germain

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View from our hotel room.

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Mrs Poolman sister- and brother in lawvchecking out a lunch menu.

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Fellow travellers, brother in law and Mrs P's sister

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,The two of us

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Very good onion soup for lunch

On the road again…

Mrs. Poolman and I are off for our annual (more or less) driving trip to Pittsburgh and other northern locations. We will have visited my father and youngest sister (and family) in Pittsburgh and then head over to Mechanicsburg (near Harrisburg) to meet up with my brother and his gang. We’ll be spending the Memorial Day weekend at their new beach house in Stone Harbor, NJ.

Fortunately, we’ll have a lot of activity at our Savannah house. Poolboy and GF have moved in for the week to care for house, pool and pets, and Writer Princess (daughter) will be in and out frequently.

So far the trip has gone very well. We left Sunday morning and broke the 11 hour drive into two days. We can and have done it in one day, but Mrs. P tends to get cranky on long trips.

“After eight hours in the car, just cut my throat and put me out of my misery.”

Not a lot of subtlety there.

Our overnight at a Holiday Inn in Beckley, WV was very nice. It was a new or, at least, remodeled hotel, and we were upgraded to a suite. Don’t you know that only happens when all you are looking for is just a bed for the night? Oh well.

We have spent the last couple of days visiting with family. I did take Mrs. P to lunch at two Pittsburgh traditions. Yesterday, we took Dad and my brother in law to Primanti Brothers. This is a famous sandwich shop that started in Pittsburgh’s “strip district” and has expanded to a number of suburban locations. You can always spot a Primanti Brothers sandwich. The French fries are on the sandwich, not on the side.

Today, Dad had some doctor’s appointments so Mrs. P and I were on our own. We headed out to one my favorite spots from my high school and college years,  Danny’s Parkway Pizza. This sandwich shop and pizzeria on Route 88 near South Park, invented and perfected the “hot hoagie” (sub sandwich) long before Quiznos and Subway discovered the concept. It’s a “hole in the wall” place on a busy highway, but as expected, the hoagies were great. I wonder what happened to the drive in theater that used to be next door. 🙂

We had a very nice birthday dinner for my Dad (87) at my sister’s house. Mrs. P and I provided and cooked the steaks. Everyone had a good time and Dad seemed to enjoy it. But after the all-afternoon doctor’s visit and then a family dinner, he was pretty pooped.

Tomorrow, we head to Mechanicsburg and then on to Stone Harbor.

 

 

 

Science Bowl, Super Bowl, halubkys and a ‘suite” upgrade

We have been busy the last few days.

On Saturday, I was a “rule judge” for a regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl. This was a “college bowl” type competition among high school teams, and the questions were all related to marine science. Actually, it was kind of fun. Some of the kids had really studied. The teams were allowed to protest or challenge anything they thought went against the rules, and that is where I came in. We had two interesting challenges to settle. I enjoyed it, but our moderator, who was in the middle of each challenge, was taking the whole thing much too seriously. I hope the rest of her weekend went better.

That is, I hope she wasn’t a Steeler fan. The guys in black and gold lost a close one that they could have won, with just one or two fewer turnovers. Well, they made it to the big game, which is more than all but one other team can say. Next year.

A bright spot to Sunday was Mrs. Poolman’s effort at an appropriate Steeler Super Bowl meal. No wings or pizza for this meal. She made holubkys (also called golabkys).

Halubkys

These are a ground meat mixture, wrapped in cabbage leaves and cooked with kielbasa, sauerkraut and a tomato sauce. Very Pittsburgh. Very good. Mrs. P also says, “A bit of a pain in the a__.”

Next, I was off to Atlanta for a two-day business trip. I got a nice surprise when I checked into my usual Holiday Inn. I had been upgraded to a suite.

Ain't it suite?

Actually, it’s two adjoining regular rooms, but one of them is furnished as a “living room.” Not too shabby. I guess it’s a reward for my brand loyalty. It’s too bad I’m just here by myself and don’t have anyone to enjoy it with.

Tomorrow evening, I face the “little darlin’s” of my 5th grade CCD class. Last week, we really read them the riot act about their behavior. It worked. Then again, we had only eight kids in the class. Also, some of the kids with the attention span of goldfish were not there. We’ll see how it goes. Our subject matter this week is the Ten Commandments. Last year, it took two classes to get through the single chapter because there was just so many questions and discussion. It was a lot of fun. Fingers crossed. Maybe tomorrow will also be as good.

A trip home to the ‘burgh

I have been out of the loop for about the last week. I’m just now getting back to the normal routine.

Mrs. Poolman and I drove to Pittsburgh late last week to visit with my Dad, youngest sister and a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. Even my brother drove in from the other end of the state for a few days.

We had a very nice time, but it was very busy. Mrs. P absolutely hates spending more than eight hours in a car. (“After eight hours, I’m just ready to cut my throat just to get it over with.” That makes a terrible mess, and you never get the smell out of the upholstery.) So we split up the drive both going and returning.

Our first stop was the Holiday Inn in Oak Hill, West Virginia. We didn’t know what to expect, but we were very pleasantly surprised. We ended up being upgraded to a suite-style room that was gigantic. We were tired, so we just ate in the hotel restaurant, and it was also good, and not just by Holiday Inn standards.

We got into the ‘burgh early Friday afternoon. I went to a Pirates game that evening with Dad, my brother in law and nephew while Mrs. P hung out with youngest sister and visited. I haven’t followed the Pirates since I was a child, but I know they aren’t the most successful team in baseball. They didn’t surprise anyone Friday night, loosing to the Rockies. But it was still a great experience to watch the game in the very nice PNC Park.

A good time was had by all.

On Saturday, my Dad hosted a party at my sister’s house. This is most uncharacteristic of him. I’m not sure about the motivation. In any case, he invited a bunch of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc; ordered ribs, wings, etc from some local restaurants; and put on a very nice party. Several of my cousins in the Pittsburgh area came with their families. There were a ton of kids. Everyone had a great time.

One of my cousins and his wife adopted a child from Guatemala about a year and a half ago. They live in the DC area, but came into town for the weekend. We had not seen little Anna before this weekend. She is a gas. She is three years old and very full of herself. She pretty much has all her cousins (all older, 6-18 years old) wrapped around her finger. The kid has it licked. Apparently, she has been totally absorbed into that large Irish-Polish family. Very cute.

We drove back to Savannah Sunday afternoon and Monday, again spending the night on the road. I turned it right around and hit the road for two days in Atlanta Tuesday and Wednesday. This morning I felt a little like I had “been rode hard and put up wet.” I had spent four to seven hours behind the wheel during six of the past seven days. I guess I piled it on by mowing the lawn and cleaning the pool and back yard when I got back to Savannah yesterday evening.  I’m turning into a wimp in my old age.

We have nothing big planned for this weekend, and I think we’ll keep it that way. I need to catch up on bills, laundry, and a little chillin’. The pool and a lounge chair are screaming my name.