My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” — Adventures in Amsterdam

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50After two glorious days in Bruges, Belgium, it was time to leave for the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. The sun was shining as we boarded our bus during our pre-trip on “Rhineland Discovery” (courtesy of Viking River Cruises).*

“First, we’ll stop in Ghent, the second largest city in Belgium,” said our tour director Fred. “We’ll have a walking tour of the city, you’ll have a few hours to enjoy lunch, and then we’ll continue on a 3½ hour drive to Wyndham Apollo Amsterdam Hotel, your lodging for two nights before you embark on the Rhine.”

Ghent; Viking River Cruises; boomer travel; travel

We stopped in the university town of Ghent, Belgium, on our way to Amsterdam.

A Guided Tour of Ghent
“Ghent has 65,000 students. It’s a big university town,” said our guide Charline. She shared stories dating back to the 14th century as we walked the cobblestone streets and visited an old meat house, now a restaurant and bar, where hams were hanging to dry. She showed us special wood frames designed for Quack beer glasses. “After a few beers you see pink elephants,” said Charline.

Ghent; VIking River Cruises; boomer travel; travel and leisure

Our tour guide Charline showed us an old meat market, now a popular bar with Belgian beers.

Charline took us to the Cathedral where the Mystic Lamb is on display. We saw the replica and the original 12 panel altarpiece, which is currently being restored. If you ever saw Monuments Men with George Clooney, the artwork was one of the masterpieces captured by American soldiers after the Germans hid it during World War II (WWII).

Ghent; Ghent Cathedral; Mystic Lamb; boomer travel; Viking River Cruises; Rhineland Discovery; travel

The Ghent Cathedral and copy of the Mystic Lamb masterpiece.

Ghent; Rhineland Discovery; VIking River Cruises; boomer travel

My boyfriend L and I enjoyed our brief visit in Ghent.

Arriving in Amsterdam
My boyfriend L and I had never been to Amsterdam and were excited to explore what the guidebook said was a “city of charming canals, elegant gabled houses, splendid museums, and abundant bicycles.” I couldn’t wait to see and experience it all.

Amsterdam; Wyndham Apollo Amsterdam Hotel; Viking River Cruises; boomer travel

A view of the Amstel canal from our hotel room.

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My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” – First Stop Beautiful Bruges

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Our first stop for our pre-trip on “Rhineland Discovery” (courtesy of Viking River Cruises) was the beautiful medieval city of Bruges, Belgium. My boyfriend L and I spent time exploring on our own and with a Viking guide.*

The night before we left home we watched In Bruge, a comedic thriller with Colin Farrell. (Note: It was the movie that prompted me when I arrived in Bruges to attempt to climb the 346 spiral steps up to the top of the Belfort. I never made it to the top – I was too dizzy after the first 173 steps. I still gave myself an A+ for the awesome view halfway up and allowed myself a few extra pieces of chocolate for the calories I burned climbing.)

Belfort Bruges; VIking River Cruises; Rhineland Discovery; boomer travel; Bruges; travel

The Belfort at night is breathtaking.

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My Travels on “Rhineland Discovery” – A Delight for the Senses

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“We would like to see if you would be interested in beginning a conversation about a potential press trip in 2016,” said the Viking River Cruises PR team last December. “OMG, OMG, OMG!,” I said to my boyfriend L. “Last year’s “Portugal’s River of Gold” was amazing. How will we top that trip? And now Viking is inviting me on another river cruise.” My heart was pounding with excitement.*

Did I say I love being a blogger during my life after 50? I do. I do. Did I tell my boyfriend L how lucky he is to be my boyfriend during my life after 50? You bet! You bet!

Viking River Cruises; Rhineland Discovery; boomer travel; travel; river cruises

The “Rhineland Discovery” EIR Longship.

Which River Cruise Should We Choose?
“There are many wonderful river cruises where should we go?” I said to L. We narrowed our choices to “Cities of Light” with romantic Paris and medieval Prague on either end; “Romantic Danube” with stops in Budapest and Vienna; and “Rhineland Discovery,” with highlights of the legendary Rhine.

Can you guess which trip we chose?  Continue reading

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My Fabulous Vacation to Italy: “The Best Day Of My Life” In Capri

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50My family vacation to Italy with stops in Rome, Florence and a full week’s stay in Positano was already the best it could be — so how could it possibly get better? “I booked the six of us on Blue Star for a day trip to the Isle of Capri,” said my daughter A. She reserved spots ($60EU pp) in advance for my sister N and me, A and her friend J, and my son D and his girlfriend Jo, for a midweek voyage from Positano to Capri.

Capri; Isle of Capri; Amalfi Coast; Blue Star Boat Company; travel; Italy

I’m so glad I followed this advice.

Sailing To Capri
“Welcome aboard,” said our captain Pepe as we climbed onto the boat at the dock early Wednesday morning. The water was choppy and the boat wavered in the waves. Those who had eaten were feeling seasick. (I highly advise not eating during sailing and was glad my stomach was empty. If not, I recommend taking Dramamine beforehand.)

Blue Star Boat Company; Capri; Italy; Amalfi Coast; travel

Pepe was our captain on Blue Star.

“Unfortunately, the Blue Grotto is closed today due to high winds. I’ll take you to the Green Grotto, we’ll go swimming in the Mediterranean, you’ll have time to explore Capri, and we’ll stop for a swim on the way back,” Pepe said.

Capri; Amalfi Coast; Green Grotto; Italy; travel

The Green Grotto Cave is awesome.

He revved up the motor and off we sailed. Pepe told tales about mermaids and the Romans along the way. Halfway there he dropped anchor at the bay as promised and offered us a chance to jump into the clear aquamarine water. My companions obliged and took the plunge. Not wanting to walk around Capri in a wet bathing suit, I held off. (Note: Wear your bathing suit if you plan to go swimming. Towels are provided.)

Capri; Amalfi Coast; Italy; boomer travel

The two rocks leading to Capri are a landmark for lovers.

Once everyone was back on board, we traveled between the two landmark rocks leading to Capri. “You are supposed to kiss your lover when you go through for good luck and good life,” Pepe said. My son D and Jo did the honorary gesture. Continue reading

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My Fabulous Vacation to Italy: Paradise Awaits in Positano

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Can’t wait to share more stories about my family vacation to Italy. If you haven’t left for Rome and Florence after reading my earlier posts, you’ll definitely be booking your trip once you read, or rather view, what paradise awaits in Positano.

A Week On The Amalfi Coast
On Monday, our group of six (my daughter A and her friend J, my son D and his girlfriend Jo, and my sister N and I) said goodbye to the Eternal City for a week in Positano on the Amalfi Coast. We walked with our luggage to Termini Station where we caught a train to Salerno. (Note: We bought our tickets in advance on Eurail.) The ride is about 2.5 hours.

Positano

Along the way to Positano we passed Mt. Vesuvius near Pompeii.

All went well with our pre-arranged transportation pickup at Salerno. The path to Positano around winding cliffs and narrow two-way roads is not for the faint of heart. So pleased that we had a skilled roadster at the wheel. (Glad we decided not to rent a car. While we ended up walking most everywhere, buses and taxis were readily available to get around Positano and from town to town. Our legs got an incredible workout from climbing thousands of steps.)

Casa Orizzonte Villa With Breathtaking Views
“I’ll be waiting to greet you at Casa Orizzonte,” said the owner Gerardo.

Positano; Casa Orizzonte; Italy; Amalfi Coast

The view from Casa Orizzonte villa.

About 70 minutes later we were there — pure heaven. We had booked our villa using Homeaway (actually we were directed to My Rental Homes for the booking) in early January. Lodging came to less than $650US per person for our entire stay. Gerardo welcomed us and carried our luggage down the steps to the entryway.

Positano; Italy; Amalfi Coast; Casa Orizzonte; boomer travel

There were 40 steps down to Casa Orizzonte villa.

“The villa was handed down to me after hundreds of years in my family,” said Gerardo. High up on the hilltop, Casa Orizzonte is magnificent with three bedrooms, each with a door to the villa’s patio overlooking the Mediterranean. There were two full baths, a large living room, full-service kitchen, and absolutely ah-may-zing views. (Let’s just say I wanted to cry when I had to go home the following Sunday. I think we all would have stayed longer if we could. May have to spend a summer in Positano sometime. JudiBoomergirl can dream!) Continue reading

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Your Post 50 Feet Will Love These Comfortable Shoes

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenIt was around the time I reached my late 40s that I started having issues with shoes. Before then, I couldn’t wait for Lord & Taylor to have their fall sale. Each year, I would race to the store to pick out three pairs so I could get 30% off. Sometimes I would buy more than three. My closet racks were filled with shoes.

As I approached my early 50s, finding shoes to fit proved more difficult. I went from heels to ballet flats. In the winter I wore Uggs for casual wear and high black leather boots when I was going to the office.

When I retired from my full-time job I started doing lots of yoga without shoes or socks.

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I have flat feet from aging and going barefoot so much during my life after 50.

A Visit To The Podiatrist
“I used to be able to walk all over New York City, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park and now my feet hurt after a short distance,” I told the podiatrist during my appointment last winter. “You have flat feet,” said Dr. L. “Your arches can flatten out as you age, especially if you are going barefoot all the time. You need more supportive shoes.” He also recommended orthotics.

The Hunt For Comfortable Cold Weather Shoes
I bought Dr. Scholl’s orthotic inserts which worked well in my sneakers. But I couldn’t find comfortable shoes. That’s when I turned to SAS also know as San Antonio Shoemakers. I went to the shoe store in town where I used to take my kids when they were toddlers. Unlike many department stores, the saleswoman measured my feet and brought out several pairs of shoes. I felt like Goldilocks.

“This pair is too tight,” I said about the first shoes I tried on.
“This pair is too lose,” I said about the second.
“I have narrow heels. My foot is slipping out of this pair,” I said about the third.
“The arch is too high in this shoe,” I said about the fourth.

San Antonio Shoemakers; SAS shoes; SAS Freetime shoes; boomer fashions; flat feet; comfortable shoes

I wore my SAS Freetime shoes with jeans to the NY NOW Show in NYC this winter.

Finally after trying on about 15 different shoes, the saleswoman brought out a pair of SAS shoes — the Freetime style, with a removable, cushioned foot bed and a soft sole for shock absorption. I have to admit that they weren’t the most glamorous shoes I ever owned but my feet felt like they were walking on a cloud. I wore them all winter with jeans, leggings, even tights and a skirt and was able to walk all over NYC on multiple occasions. My feet were so happy and my boyfriend L said I looked cool in my Freetime black Nubuck shoes, like a fashionable hipster.

Not Just Your Nana’s and Papa’s Shoes
As the weather warmed up, I had a new dilemma. I couldn’t  wear my Freetime black Nubuck shoes during the summer months. Oh no, oh no, oh no – not another search for shoes!

Then I saw an ad on Facebook. It featured a new stylish collection of SAS shoes. Could it be possible that the same company that inspired an ardent customer-base of elderly nanas and papas was now targeting boomer women? I was so excited.

I quickly contacted the marketing team and told them I would love to learn more about their 40th anniversary line. The nice marketing manager offered to send a pair of their casual shoes to me in collaboration for a blog post.* (Did I say I love being a blogger? I do! I do!)

San Antonio Shoemakers; SAS Breezy shoes; SAS Breezy Periwinkle shoes; boomer fashions; comfortable shoes; flat feet

I wore my Breezy shoes to the shore.

I picked out the Breezy casual with genuine moccasin construction in trendy Periwinkle. I liked that these shoes had side perforations to vent heat, and a foam foot bed topped with striped microfiber for all-day comfort. I bought a size 8 so I could add my orthotics. Continue reading

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My Fabulous Vacation to Italy: A Fun Day In Florence

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50On Sunday, we headed off on a day trip from Rome during my family vacation to Italy this past June. Despite rainy weather, our train from Termini Station to Santa Maria Novella Station took about 90 minutes. We bought roundtrip tickets in the machine with return reservations for early evening. The best thing about arriving in Florence by train is that you can walk into town.

The Duomo and The David
Our team of six divided up to see the sights. Unfortunately none of us bought passes in advance — so we missed the opportunity to climb the 400 steps of the Duomo church. We admired the exterior which is as beautiful as ever. The piazza is also a great place to peruse paintings from local artists. My son D and I each bought watercolor art.

Florence; Italy; Duomo; boomer travel

The Duomo is a landmark in the center of Florence.

My son D and his girlfriend Jo, and my daughter A and her friend J ventured around the city since Jo and J had never been. They were eager to go shopping for Italian leather goods in the open-air marketplace.

My sister N and I walked to the Galleria Dell’Accademia where Michelangelo’s David stands tall. Although we had both visited Florence previously, we had never seen the David. Sadly there were no more online passes available so we stood in line for more than an hour to buy our entry.

Was it worth the wait? Yes, yes, yes. David is an astounding masterpiece and well worth oohing and ahhing over.

Michaelangelo; The David; Florence; Italy; boomer travel

Michaelangelo’s masterpiece.

More Sights and Shopping In Florence
With little time left to shop after the David, N and I stopped for a quick pizza break near the piazza that’s home to a carousel, then met up with our fellow travelers to shop for Italian leather goods. A and J bought leather jackets, Jo bought an orange leather tote, and with little coaxing, convinced me to buy one in eggplant. (Note: The link provided offers a very similar tote to the ones we bought.) Continue reading

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Why I’m Voting For Replens™ in the 2016 Election

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers

Sit down. We have to talk. There’s a crisis that’s about to happen in the coming years that none of the presidential candidates are talking about. It’s bigger than global warming. It’s “so huge” that it may cause emotional upheaval in this country due to the enormity of the population that is currently — and is going to be — impacted by this unfortunate feminine physical condition.

What am I talking about? Can you guess?

The Trends Tell The Story
I’ll give you some hints. It has to do with post 50 women. Just listen to these stats. These facts are from The National Association of Baby Boomer Women:

By 2030, 54% of the 78 million American Boomers will be women.
By 2030, there will be 71.5 million Americans age 65 or older, more than double the number currently within that demographic. And more than half of them will be women. We’re a mammoth population that is growing. And you know what physical changes happen during our post 50 years?

Can you guess what I’m talking about now?

Okay, let me give you some additional clues:
It happens during menopause, or sometimes when you are peri-or-post.
It’s part of the changes that occur during our midlife years, especially with the decrease in estrogen in our body.
You may even be experiencing it now and don’t know what to do.

Still trying to figure it out?

Okay, I’m going to tell you. It’s vaginal dryness. No wonder none of the candidates are taking on this issue. There is nothing to debate. (Although you would think Hillary would be aware of the importance of solving this problem and have a Town Hall on the subject. It might make her more relatable.) 

vaginal dryness; Replens; post 50 women; baby boomer women

Boomer women have been a force for change since the 60s, so we can talk openly about this subject and others. There’s no need to live in what feels like a desert of dryness. My friends at the Replens™ brand know the repercussions and have figured out solutions. They clearly see what’s ahead with the increasing population of post 50 women. They want us to be happy and well moisturized for our second act. They asked me to share their news with you so I thought I’d tackle the topic head on.

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My Fabulous Vacation To Italy: More To See In Rome

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50If you didn’t buy your ticket to Italy after my last blog post (First Stop Rome), I think this one will make you hit the purchase button.

Rome was the first stop on a fabulous family vacation to Italy this past June. I traveled with my sister N, my daughter A and her friend J, and my son D and his girlfriend Jo. The first day in Rome we walked more than seven miles. On the second day we added another nine.

Rome; Italy; boomer travel

Day Two In Rome
On Day Two in Rome, we divided up to conquer the parts of Rome that we hadn’t seen on Day One. The four millennials left early to go to Vatican City to see the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, (it’s good to go early to these areas and buy tickets for tours) and then to Trevi Fountain (one of my favorite tourist’s spots in Rome). They also stopped at Bonci, where they had what looked to be a best-ever pizza. (Wish I hadn’t missed this pizza. Adding it to my “to eat” list for my next trip to Italy. You should too!)

Italy; Rome; Vatican City; Sistine Chapel; St. Peter's Square and Basiclica

Vatican City includes the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica and Square

Italy; Rome; Bonci; pizza

I missed this best-ever pizza from Bonci.

Since my sister N and I had already seen these landmarks on a previous trip to Rome, we took off in a different direction to do some window shopping and see other historic monuments.

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“Absolutely Fabulous – The Movie” Is Fabulous, Fashionable, and Fun

This post is made possible by support from Fox Searchlight Pictures. All opinions are my own.

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenThe crowd cheered as Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, the stars of Absolutely Fabulous – The Movie, walked into the Chelsea Bowtie theatre in New York City on Tuesday evening for an advance screening of their new film. Not knowing much about the British series of the same name, I was eager to learn more about their characters Edina and Patsy. Edina runs a PR agency and Patsy is a magazine editor.

#AbFabMovie; Absolutely Fabulous - The Movie; Jennifer Saunders; Joanna Lumley; boomer movies

Crowds cheered when “Absolutely Fabulous -The Movie” stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley entered the theatre at the screening in NYC.

An Hilarious Twosome
My friend J and I quickly became Edina and Patsy fans, laughing our way through the hilarious twosomes shopping, drinking, clubbing, and escapades around London’s trendiest hotspots. The two are post 60 women with attitude and not afraid to pop themselves with Botox, wear outlandish designer outfits, and say whatever they feel like saying, whenever they feel like saying it. Maybe that’s why I found myself cheering on this dynamic duo for the entire 90 minutes. Having worked in PR for most of my previous career, I could empathize with Edina’s and Patsy’s outrageous behavior to win a prized client or placement.

Absolutely Fabulous - The Movie; Absolutely Fabulous; Edina and Patsy;  boomer movies, post 50 chick flick; Jennifer Saunders; Joanna Lumley

Edina and Patsy are cohorts and best friends in “Absolutely Fabulous – The Movie.”

A Fabulous, Fashionable, and Fun Movie

Absolutely Fabulous - The Movie
In the movie, Edina and Patsy push their way into an uber fashionable launch party to gain access to model Kate Moss as a potential PR client. When Edina happens to push Kate into the river and potentially kill her, all hell breaks loose and they are relentlessly pursued by the media and paparazzi. Penniless, they escape to the French Riviera, planning a way to make their stay there permanent so they can live the high life forever. Continue reading

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