Sudan Loop: Khartoum to Meroë

Dear Friends and Followers. Please note, I am once again having continual service issues with IONOS, the company that hosts the blog. My “tech support,” dear brother Don, is helping to get it resolved. But meanwhile, if you attempt to comment and receive “access denied”, please let me know via email at suzanne@taketothehighway.com, wait a few hours, and please try again. Sorry for the frustrating circumstances, but thanks for sticking with me. ~Suzanne

I booked my overland trek through Sudan and Ethiopia with a UK-based company, “Dragoman.” They’ve been in business since 1981, still owned by the original founders, specializing in overland travel all around the globe. They have a fleet of 30 purpose-built overlanding trucks built in Suffolk, UK, and shipped around the world. They are billed as active tours that get off the beaten track and interact with locals in the more Continue reading

The Contrasts of Khartoum

The country of Sudan has never graced my travel “bucket list,” not once. In fact, if I had to list all countries that I still would like to visit in numerical order, Sudan would likely have been in the bottom five percent. So why on earth did I spend a week there?

When I went online shopping for an overland trip that covered all the highlights I wanted to visit in Ethiopia, I found one that offered a “side trip” of sorts, looping through Sudan. I could add it on for not much more money, and since I was using Frequent Flyer miles, airfare would not be any different. So why not see what was there? Continue reading

Happy New Year from the 2020 Departure Lounge

Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and followers! I send you all the happiest, healthiest best wishes for the coming year, as well as the coming decade! What a fast and furious time to be alive. But the promise of a new decade in the year 2020 feels like a great step toward restoring some balance to our lives. As a Libra who needs everything to balance, I can’t think of a better year to offer the promise of hope than “2020!” Continue reading

Letters from Georgia

Before I delve in to the New Mexico recap, I just wanted to thank those who commented on my “This Old House” post. I loved reading about your respective memories of that first place we each called “home.” I found the comments not only moving, but also rewarding that writing a post on a personal blog could net me so many wonderful “mini vignettes” in return. Thank you all for the gifts.

Last year when I attended the Santa Fe Opera, the program distributed at the beginning of the performance contained a preview of the upcoming 2019 season. One performance particularly piqued my interest enough to make me want to return for the second year in a row. Renée Fleming, in her Santa Fe Opera debut, would be Continue reading

This Old House

Once back in Texas, my brother Don was up visiting from Mexico. When we are together, as invariably happens with any family, the conversation often reverts to our childhood. And at some time or other, one of us waxes nostalgic to say, “I wish I could see the old house…just one more time.”

As I get older, my desire to visit the old house has only grown stronger. I hadn’t been back there in 40 years. So recently, Don finally decided to put some action behind our Continue reading

Saudade in Salamanca, Spain

sau•da•de (souˈdädə) noun: “a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese temperament.”

I first heard of this word “saudade” while watching Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” episode on Porto, whereby he states it’s “…a kind of melancholy – a yearning to get back to something or someone lost, perhaps to a happier time.”

Many sources say the word saudade is untranslatable. If you don’t speak Portuguese, Continue reading

Visiting the Vineyards of the Douro Valley

There were many times throughout my two months in Portugal that I wished for a car, but none so much as while trying to figure out a way to tour the Douro Valley. Seems there are several ways to reach the area, but no affordable way to visit the many smaller vineyards once you get there. But as with the coastal road, I knew the stress of trying to navigate in a language I couldn’t speak or understand would negate any pleasure I got from being able to go my own way. The winding roads through the mountains and cobblestone alleyways through the villages would have required full focus on the road, with no “rubbernecking” to see the scenery, let alone sampling of the grape! Continue reading

Vinho do Porto in the Making

I’ve always enjoyed a nice glass of port wine, Vinho do Porto, after dinner or by a fire, often accompanied by some really good “stinky” cheese to cut the sweetness. It’s a drink that warms from within. In fact, when I used to do charters with my sailing pals, a bottle of Port would always be on the provisioning list to be enjoyed out on deck while watching the moonlight shimmer across the water. Continue reading

And Finally, Porto!

Throughout my six weeks of travels through Portugal thus far, whenever I would exclaim my love for the country, just about everyone I met would say “But have you been to Porto?” “Just wait until you see Porto!” “You are just gonna loooove Porto!” So understandably, I couldn’t wait to get to Porto! Continue reading