Keep Your Heart Young

My brother Mike and I playing dress up

My brother Mike and I playing dress up

It was another amazingly gorgeous day here in Iowa. The kind of day I would expect to get in mid-September – sunny, breezy, low humidity, temps in 70s. One of those days when Mother Nature lures me out the door for a run.

Just like yesterday when Catie Curtis inspired the My Dad’s Heart post on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog, I found myself inspired by a song that came on my audio player. I was feeling really great – on a downhill and the likely effects of the sugar and caffeine from my stop at Panera for late morning bagel and Hazelnut coffee kicking in. Then, Brandi Carlile started belting out her You Gotta Keep Your Heart Young song:

…You gotta keep your heart young
Don’t go growin’ old before your time has come
You can’t take back what you have done
You gotta keep your heart young…

I was singin’ out loud, snappin’ my fingers, feelin’ happy. It was just the reminder I needed, as lately I’ve been having some self-talks about getting older – and that talk sure could use some adjustin’! ;]

When I was a kid, I didn’t plan to build a space rocket in my back yard or talk to my brother on a fake CB made from a tic-tac box – but I did have lots of fun playing with my brother over the years – and thoughts of that today make me feel young. Love you, Mike!


30hop coming soon

30hop fb page

We’re anticipating the opening of a new restaurant just a mile or so down the road from us at Iowa River Landing. The Daily Iowan (The University of Iowa’s student newspaper) posted a feature “Hopping to it in Coralville” on 7/24/14 that has us really excited. What they are saying:

  • It will have 30 craft beers on tap – voila, the name makes sense now!
  • It’s urban industrial, but the rustic touches soften the space and make it comfortable, approachable, and relaxing.
  • It will have the first rooftop patio in the county, to seat 130 guests – the intent is to bring a big-city feel to the area.
  • They want to offer a high-caliber restaurant like you might find in Chicago, serving up Asian-inspired tastes and ‘beer-centric’ recipes (featuring head chef Ryan Funk).
  • They are scheduled to open in the first couple of weeks of August.


Vacation is GOOD! #6

View of north Corfu from Mount Pantokrator

View of north Corfu from Mount Pantokrator

Last stop on our summer 2014 European travel adventure was Corfu, Greece – an easy commute via hydrofoil from Saranda, Albania and then a short drive across the middle of the island over to Pelekas and the Levant Hotel, our lovely home-away-from-home for 4 nights. The town is perched on top of a mountain with views over to Corfu Town, and our is next to Kiaser’s Throne, from which there are incredible 360 views of the island.

Highlights for me included sunsets from our hotel, days reading on the beach, afternoon stops at Agnes’ on the main square for pre-nap refreshments, and the views from the mountain tops. My favorite beach was Prasoudi, an unexpected find after we decided to move on from Paranomas, which had been our original destination. What a sweet little beach and lovely restaurant and accommodation at the top of the cliff before the stairs lead down to the sea. I really enjoyed the day we visited Paleokastritsa, an area on the NW side of of the island with its 5 lovely bays – we drove up to Lakones for spectacular views (by now we were both used to narrow roads and switchbacks!).

Our biggest adventure was on the last day when we had all day to fill before starting our travels home. We drove to the top of Mount Pantokrator for truly spectacular views of Corfu Town, the North coast of the island, and Albania. It was really cool to look east and see Saranda, Ksamil beach, Butrint and the Vivari Channel, where we’d just been days before looking out to this mountain. We decided to take the minor roads down the east side of the mountain, versus retrace our path down the west side of the mountain. The girl at the restaurant in Strinilis on the way up said the road would be fine given our Jeep and the man at the mountaintop shop said it was about a 45 minute drive to go 15 km down to Nisaki. Well, the road was bumpy with big stones so we ended up going about 5 mph for about 6 miles, wondering just what we’d gotten ourselves into. There was not a single other car, and just the mountain fauna and bees to keep us company. About the point we started wondering if we should turn back, we saw evidence of a paved road ahead so we continued on, hopeful our path would meet up with it. Ah, the huge sigh of relief when the stones turned to asphalt. Whew! But, wait, for a minute, we thought we were back in Albania (expect the unexpected) – we came around a curve and the road had sunk. Fortunately, it was just passable with the Jeep – oh my, if we’d had a car and had to turn around at that point, I think we both would have cried! The road was fine after that, and within a couple of miles we’d made it back to civilization. Albeit with a lot less time to visit Corfu Town before heading to the airport!

Enjoying the view of Prasoudi beach, SW Corfu

Enjoying the view of Prasoudi beach, SW Corfu

Enjoying an afternoon break at Agnes' Restaurant & Bar, on the town square in Pelekas, Corfu

Enjoying an afternoon break at Agnes’ Restaurant & Bar, on the town square in Pelekas, Corfu

Sunset from Levant Hotel, Pelekas, Corfu, Greece

Sunset from Levant Hotel, Pelekas, Corfu, Greece

For what came before:

Kotor, Montenegro

Shkodra, Albania

Kruja, Albania

Himare, Albania

Saranda, Albania 

[For photo highlights of our holiday, visit Jim and Vicki's Travel Adventures Shutterfly site.]