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5 June 2017 / leggypeggy

Our life of luxury is over

Miller's house, Pakruojis Manor

Miller’s house turned into a hotel at Pakruojis Manor

Poor John and I have lived the most unreal existence over the last month. It’s called luxury.

Over the last eight years, most of our normal travels have been on the back of overland trucks or in vans. We’ve camped a lot, sleeping in tents that are waterproof. We’ve used self-inflating Therm-a-rest mats (highly recommended) that are almost as good as many mattresses. Our sleeping bags have been good for three seasons.

We’ve lived in camping clothes—merino (wool) tops that are machine-washable, but which would shrink to Barbie-size in a clothes dryer, and lightweight camping trousers or shorts. My favourite brands are Icebreaker and MacPac for tops, and Berghaus for pants (they just fit me right).

Miller's house, Pakruojis Manor

Approaching reception at Pakruojis Manor

But this trip has been totally outside the box.

We rented a car in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and have stayed in four and five-star accommodation (with breakfast included). I wrote about some of those amazing breakfasts here.

The only constant has been our devotion to camping clothes. We’ve worn them every day, and worn quite a few layers in an effort to stay warm in an unusually cold spring in these parts. It was 7°C (45°F) yesterday in Tallinn, Estonia and, according to the weather report, the wind made it feel like -2°C.

Accommodation-wise we are back to earth and, luckily, the temperatures are warmer.

We’re still in camping clothes, and in a very comfy and nice B&B in Brussels, Belgium. But for a change, we’re up three narrow flights of stairs with no lift and a toilet that’s next door to our room and shared with another room.

We’ve had a great time being completely spoilt (I’ll be writing about the top three places we stayed), but now it’s time to re-adjust to the real world.

But in case you think we’ve been totally spoilt, I will point out that Poor John (also known as He Who Walks Everywhere) has had us walking to and from the ports in Helsinki, Stockholm and Tallinn. 

Just picture me dragging a 15-kilo bag (on wheels) and carrying a 3-kilo camera bag and a 6-kilo carry-on bag as we trudge between port and hotel. Most walks have been about 40 minutes, until we’ve found the shortcuts to go back to the port.

Scenery around Pakruojis Manor

Wonderful scenery around Pakruojis Manor

Clearly luxury comes at a price.

That said, Poor John once walked from our house in Campbell to the Canberra Airport (at 4am) just so he could say he’d done it. Many years ago, and because the banks weren’t open, he walked from the airport to the city in Istanbul, Turkey. Now that was a stroll in the extreme because it’s more than a 4-hour walk.

Anyway, I’ll be back soon with posts about our luxury stays and our less salubrious stays. We’ve booked a camping/cycling trip for next week in Brittany. Here’s hoping it doesn’t rain.

P.S. Plus lots more to tell about our times in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It’s been a fantastic trip.

Miller's house, Pakruojis Manor

Our bedroom in Pakruojis Manor. Perhaps the most basic room we had

67 Comments

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  1. Ilze / Jun 5 2017 7:28 am

    Are you in Belgium!? We are near Frankfurt Germany. Comfy in our caravan 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lexklein / Jun 5 2017 7:29 am

    A shared bathroom is a big step down! 🙂 That’s one thing I find it hard to scrimp on. I seem to go in phases on whether I get any luxury on a trip. When I travel with my kids or my sister, we are very economical, and our accommodations are pretty basic and not always in the top parts of town. In planning my big road trip with my husband for this fall, I am being a bit more picky – after all, it’s supposed to be our anniversary gift to ourselves (a mere year and a half after the momentous date – ha)! I like luxury, of course, but I’m also pretty happy in a tent. It’s all the stuff in between that can feel yucky sometimes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 7:35 am

      Have fun picking places to stay for this next trip. I’ll see if I can recommend a network to look into. In the meantime, I’ll be getting ready for the stint of camping.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Year I Touched My Toes / Jun 5 2017 7:32 am

    Peggy !!! Clearly Poor John has earned a new title. AMAZING John. Glad you had some luxury for the month.Now back to the reality you’re both comfortable with. And both good at. Now off you go – up that hill. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Christy B / Jun 5 2017 7:43 am

    It does indeed sound like you had a magnificent stay in luxury! Safe travels 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. BoomingOn / Jun 5 2017 7:44 am

    I have a husband who likes to do that walking everywhere thing too (best way to explore cities), though I do put my foot down occasionally and demand we just catch a taxi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 7:47 am

      Yeah, I insisted on a taxi yesterday from the Brussels airport in the pouring rain.

      Like

  6. Anthony / Jun 5 2017 7:56 am

    a little taste of luxury now and then (as well as a little bit of challenge…discomfort–if you are used to comfort) never hurt anyone.
    And of course, it makes for a good blog post or two.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Jun 5 2017 9:06 am

    The upsides of all that walking – you see everything, meet people, get to stop when you want, and your hearts are pumping like twenty-year olds – good for the both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 3:18 pm

      When you’re walking to the next transport, you have to maintain the speed, but otherwise walking is always the way to go. Except for a lunch stop, we walked for nine hours yesterday.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. beetleypete / Jun 5 2017 9:18 am

    That’s my kind of accommodation, Peggy. I don’t do camping or shared toilets anymore. Well done to you for taking it in your stride.
    I am with John on the a walking but from the airport into Istanbul is taking that too far!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 3:36 pm

      You’re right, Pete, that walk into Istanbul was TOO far. Camping doesn’t faze me at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. gerard oosterman / Jun 5 2017 9:33 am

    I can highly recommend walking to and from Sydney airport. Parking at Sydney’s airport costs more than staying overnight in total luxury at the airport. It is supposed to be the most expensive airport in the world.
    The second airport, (which has been in the planning since 1942) yet to be built, might be a real challenge for Poor John. He would be well advised to carry a light tent and plenty of water.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 3:38 pm

      The only way to go to the airport in Sydney is the #400 bus from Bondi Junction. You just have to make sure you’re on one that actually goes to the airport. As pensioners, we go for $2.50 each.

      Like

  10. Vicki / Jun 5 2017 10:02 am

    A little luxury never hurt anyone…..especially a couple like you two who usually travel ‘rough’.

    I wish I had Poor John’s feet and fitness. What am I saying. Once upon a time I DID have great walking feet and fitness….I miss them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 4:45 pm

      I can mostly keep up with him, especially on the flat. Going up hills, he is way ahead of me.

      Like

  11. Coral Waight / Jun 5 2017 10:46 am

    Am loving following you on your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. blondieaka / Jun 5 2017 11:19 am

    Not much luxury here ..lol…so when we do I wallow..Oh Yes! So pleased you could have a wallow and I am with Poor amazing John on the walking we have many a magic mystery tours around here and if it gets just too much for these old legs I will admit to jumping in a tuk tuk the drivers who know us now and just smile at this crazy English lady who walks…no one walks here 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 4:56 pm

      Oh my, I sure appreciate your comment about ‘no one walks here’. We have been so many places where we are the ONLY people on foot. Sometimes I’ll say, ‘Oh we walked from there to here’ and jaws drop in disbelief. And it’s only been about 5 kilometres.

      Liked by 1 person

      • blondieaka / Jun 5 2017 5:45 pm

        I know, I find that strange as you see and feel so much more about a place when you walk ..

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 5:50 pm

        We declined the offer a lift to a place today just so we could walk.

        Like

  13. Phyllis Gaetz / Jun 5 2017 11:29 am

    My style of travelling. Glamping only. Enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 4:57 pm

      We won’t be glamping in France, unless it rains. Then we might be hoteling. 🙂

      Like

  14. Alison and Don / Jun 5 2017 12:34 pm

    Oh there’s always a time for a little luxury! We absolutely love it when we decide to splurge. Campbell to the airport – that’s a distance! And the airport into Istanbul! He certainly does love to walk.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 4:58 pm

      The walk from the airport to Istanbul was because the banks were closed. He couldn’t change money and no one would accept Lebanese currency—he was living in Beirut at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Invisibly Me / Jun 5 2017 1:05 pm

    Just think of all the exercise, sights you see when on foot, and fresh air with all of that trekking around. Safe travels and have a wonderful time in Brittany! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 5 2017 5:02 pm

      Thanks so much. Walking certainly does give a different view of things, and we love to explore.

      Like

  16. cookingwithshy / Jun 5 2017 3:15 pm

    Walking is a great way to discover a new place

    Liked by 1 person

  17. dfolstad58 / Jun 5 2017 4:09 pm

    If you have a travel bug-it’s nice if you can do with some luxury.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. lmo58 / Jun 5 2017 6:44 pm

    I’m pleased you’ve had some luxury this time Peggy. It makes a nice change from your usual travelling style. On the theme of ‘doing things so that you can say you’ve done them’, I know someone who once counted all of the Smiths in the Melbourne phone directory. There were eight thousand.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. spearfruit / Jun 5 2017 8:04 pm

    Life of luxury – we all need it every once in a while. Safe travels Peggy. )

    Liked by 1 person

  20. pvcann / Jun 5 2017 9:10 pm

    Now don’t go soft over there :). Enjoying the travel insights.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. simpletravelourway / Jun 6 2017 4:40 am

    Since we nonstop travel, a very limited wardrobe of camping/travel clothes are all we have. We’d say that 98% of the time that’s perfect for us. On those rare occasions when we find ourselves in a cosmopolitan and stylish city, like Rome, we wouldn’t mind an upgrade. Sigh. The lesson for us is the benefit of minimizing our wardrobes. It astounds us now how many clothes we had before starting our travels!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 5:42 am

      Some people look like they fell out of Vogue magazine. I look like I fell out of a duffel bag. Oh wait, I did fall out of a duffel bag!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Lynz Real Cooking / Jun 6 2017 4:48 am

    Your travels are so engaging! Love them!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Gilda Baxter / Jun 6 2017 5:08 am

    I have only recently discovered how much I enjoy hiking and walking everywhere. My husband and are soon to take early retirement, we are planning on doing lots of walking trips…I know that camping will also be in our future. But I do hope to splash on a bit of luxury now and again. I am looking forward to hear more on your recent adventures 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 5:58 am

      I must confess that a bit of luxury every now and then is a very good thing. Now I’m hoping it doesn’t rain next week while we are camping and riding bicycles in Brittany in northwestern France. Good to know you’ll be able to follow your hiking and walking dreams soon. Lovely to have you join us on ours.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 / Jun 6 2017 6:14 am

    Everybody deserves as much luxury as they can squeeze in. Life is short, enjoy it all. I have enjoyed your vacation, especially the places we never got to. Thanks for the memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Curt Mekemson / Jun 6 2017 7:25 am

    You mentioned 9 hours of walking in one day! Most folks would not define that as luxury, Peggy. I’m laughing here. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  26. afterthelasttime / Jun 6 2017 2:09 pm

    You two have had marvelous adventures of a lifetime, it was time for a little luxury! Thank you for all of your terrific posts! Thank you! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 6 2017 3:01 pm

      Yes, I suppose a little luxury is due, but we’ve had a great time whether we’ve gone five stars or no stars. And always appreciated your company along the way.

      Like

  27. Green Global Trek / Jun 6 2017 6:59 pm

    I am a big fan of combining basic simple lodgings with the iccassional luxuriousness to spoil oneselves every now and again. I so enjoy reading you, your writing style feels like we just had a good chat!

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 7:00 am

      Thanks so much, Peta. I’m a bit talkative, so I guess that isn’t surprising.

      Like

  28. Andrew Petcher / Jun 7 2017 1:05 am

    The really good thing about the Baltic States is that they are relatively inexpensive compared to Scandinavia and some parts of Western Europe so luxury becomes affordable. So glad that you had such a good time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 7:01 am

      We had a fabulous time and it was very affordable.

      Like

  29. Alexander Lautsyus / Jun 7 2017 10:19 pm

    Glad you love your visit to small Baltic Countries. I’ve been there decades ago. Actually, Lithuania is my family motherland. I hope to visit it again some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 8 2017 12:54 am

      Lithuanian is a fascinating country. We really loved our time there and hope to return one day. Hope you can visit sometime soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. jeanleesworld / Jun 10 2017 12:24 pm

    After reading some of your traveling tales, I think you and Poor John both deserved this break with luxury. Those rooms look AMAZING!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 10 2017 3:33 pm

      Thanks Jean, all those pics are of just one room and it was one of the two least luxurious ones we stayed in.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Miriam / Jun 14 2017 7:03 am

    Sounds as though it’s been absolutely wonderful. It’s nice to step up in the world and enjoy some luxury for a change. Now back to the real one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 14 2017 3:46 pm

      Real life is delivering me some whammies, but I’m getting there.

      Like

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