Posts Tagged ‘travel’

An American in Paris

October 29, 2009

meI had come to realize that Barcelona had run its course and it was now time to move on. So I said my goodbyes (do they ever get easier?) and off I went. Destination: Paris. I realized that I chose not such an ideal time of year to visit the city of lights, where I envisioned myself snacking on wine and cheese while people watching along a charming little outdoor sidewalk café. I had also hoped to take advantage of the city’s brilliant bike rental system and bicycle my way around the districts getting wonderfully lost along the way and, perhaps, in a moment of temporary distress, a dashing Frenchman would notice my dilemma and stop to offer his assistance, which I thank him for, and he then takes me to a romantic dinner after watching the light show at the Eiffel tower… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Where was I? Ah, Paris in the fall. As soon as I arrived, I knew that I had, in fact, chosen the perfect time of year to visit Paris. Though, yes, it was a bit chilly. Too bad I left most of my warm clothes at Andreas’ flat in London. Too bad Andreas from London turned out to be a sociopath. Yet, once again, I digress. My first day in Paris, I checked into the St. Christopher’s Inn, where I met up with Patty, one of my fellow volunteers from Pueblo Ingles II who was at the beginning of her year long trip around the world. After checking in, Patty and I stopped at a market where we grabbed a bottle of cheap red wine, a couple of Baguettes and some cheese and had a little picnic besides what Patty had believed to be the Seine River. It turned out that it was not, in fact, the Seine, but rather a small, man-made quay, but the picnic was lovely all the same.  The next day, exhausted after being kept up all night by several teenagers dancing in the disco along with hostel’s very own DJ, we both happily agreed to check out and move to a nice little hotel on the other side of town.  Near the real Seine incidentally.  So we once again packed our backpacks and off we went. As we emerged from the metro, we looked up and standing proudly before us was the majestic Arc de Triumph which, pardon the pun, trumped the one in Barcelona. Now I felt like I was in Paris! Since this was Patty’s fourth or fifth time visiting Paris, and my first, I decided to leave the map reading and tour guiding in her capable hands.  After checking into our hotel, we decided to take a stroll along Champs Elysees, every now and then stopping and marveling at the sights before us. At one point, we came up to a large, impressive building that Patty informed me was the Louvre. I grabbed my camera and began madly snapping away, taking in the beauty of what stood before us, until Patty, after re-examining the map, realized that the Louvre was actually on the other side of the (real) Seine, and that the building standing before us was actually… well, we’re still not sure.  Later on, we finally came upon the real Louvre, which was even more majestic and impressive than the fake one. The next day, Patty, my capable tour guide, had to leave Paris to continue her trip around the world, and I was once again on my own. But not for long. I decided to go check out a local improv troupe which I had heard about. The two hour show was completely in French, and, being that I don’t speak French, I understood nothing.  But I did manage to meet an adorable Frenchman named Cedric whose English was as good as my French. After the show was over Cedric began to speak to me in French. I replied, “I have no idea what you’re saying but it sounds lovely.” When he looked at me blankly, my friends reminded him that I did not speak a word of French and, therefore, did not understand what he was saying. He then managed to ask me out in English. I said ‘oui’. We planned to meet the following afternoon. The next morning, before meeting with my new French friend, I ventured over to the Oops Hostel where my friend Angela, who was flying in from NY, was staying. As usual it was nice to see a familiar face and to be brought up to date on all that’s been happening in my home city. “So, what’s been going on? How is New York? What’s new there?” , I bombarded her, feeling like an ex-girlfriend checking up on her ex, secretly hoping to hear some good dirt. I suppose like any hung up ex, I was hoping to hear how much NY misses me and how it’s not the same without me. But, to my dismay, as if finding out that your long lost soul mate just became engaged to someone else, I learned that the heart of the city, in fact, beats on without me.

Twelve Angry Men (and women)

October 27, 2009

Today’s theme of the day: Anger. I began the day filled with excitement and anticipation. It would be one of my last in Barcelona and I had lots to do; places to see, people to be…Anyway, my agenda went as follows: Parc Guell in the afternoon with Juan, a fellow traveller from NY I had met the previous day; then, coffee with Lidia and Chus, 2 of the spanish students from Pueblo Ingles II; followed by a free meditation class I had stumbled upon during a quick internet search, (what is it they say, nothing is ever free?); and finally, if I still had the time and the will, a few hours at the Harlem Jazz Club later in the night.

Parc Guell: A Gaudi wonderland, with its winding paths, gingerbread houses, it resembled a sort of Alice in Wonderland meets Candyland. (Alice in Candyland?) It was a spectacular sight. In between marvelling at our fascinating surroundings and snapping photos of each other, we decided to take a break and grab a coffee at the ubiquitous tourist snack bar. The 2 men behind the counter, clearly not from Spain, were taking orders (or rather snapping orders) from the customers in line. The one guy, a short, angry looking little fellow with a large chip on his shoulder barked at me, “Can I help you?” I asked him about the type of coffee that was available: hot vs iced, cafinado vs descafinado. He quickly became frustrated when I didn’t order right away and decided to bypass me and move on to the next customer. Fair enough. However, when I had decided what I wanted, and nicely asked for his attention, he ignored me and continued to help the couple behind me. When the couple realized what was happening, they kindly informed him that “Ella esta proxima” (she was next). He then became even nastier towards me. At that moment, my patience and kindness beginning to dissolve, I turned to the poor couple behind me and said, “Como se dice ‘asshole’?” The gentleman in the couple, so taken aback with my comment, timidly responded, ‘um, asshole.” I thanked him, and being the bigger person, purchased my coffee and told the asshole to have a nice day.
Later on that afternoon, as we left the park and headed back to the center of town, where I was to meet up with Lidia and Chus, Juan offered to walk with me (or rather invited himself to walk with me). Throughout the day, and even during our first acquaintance, I had noticed an edge to Juan which I simply chalked up to him being a naturally cynical, yet harmless New Yorker. Nothing wrong with that. However, during our walk, when we began to talk more about our lives, his apparent harmless cynicism seemed to turn into something a little scarier. He was talking about his last job that he didn’t enjoy and from which he was fired because, according to him, his boss didn’t like him. I then innocently asked, “Were you glad, or relieved in some way to be fired since you didn’t really like the job?”. At this point, he looked at me as if I had just asked him if he enjoyed microwaving puppies, and shouted, loudly, “WAS I GLAD?? OF COURSE I WAS GLAD….MY BOSS HATED MY GUTS!!!”. Gee, I can’t imagine why. It was at that moment, that I realized it was time to say goodbye to angry Juan, and to all angry, toxic people that I may come upon, because there have been too many, and life is too short! But I digress.
Finally, after a day filled with angry outbursts and negative vibes, I was more than ready for my free meditation class. The class would take place at the apartment of a woman named Alicia, who is a … well, I’m still not quite sure what she is, but the class was free so…. When I arrived, Alicia greeted me with a hug and a warm welcome and told me that it was a pleasure to have me in her home. I then entered her living room where 4 other souls awaited their fate. I mean, free class. Alicia began the session by going around the room asking everyone the definition of yoga. When one of the students apparently got the answer wrong, Alicia snapped at her, “No!! That is not what yoga is. Did you read this week’s assignment at all?” The poor student looked terrified and didn’t respond. I prayed that since it was my first class Alicia would bypass me, especially since I didn’t read any of the ‘assignments. What was this? Anyway, she continued lecturing and at one point asked me if I understood her since she was speaking in Spanish. I proudly exclaimed that I understood almost everything! At this point she exclaimed, “Almost?? No!! You can’t understand almost. You have to understand EVERY WORD! This is important material, and you cannot only understand some of it. If you miss even one word, you are missing the entire essence!!” I was now shaking on my meditation pillow. “Laura, please sit next to Allison and translate to her in English.” So Laura sat next to me and translated while I silently plotted my exit. 3 hours later (because I was too scared of Alicia to leave early), the ‘class’ was finally over and Alicia thanked me for coming and reminded me to purchase my 108 bead mala, and to make sure to count the beads before I buy it because it MUST have 108 beads, not 104!! I dutifully agreed, thanked her, and then got the hell out of there. Life lesson #57: (and this one deserves to be repeated) Nothing is ever free!!

Spanglish 2 …continued

October 23, 2009

So my second program with Pueblo Ingles turned out to be just as fabulous an experience as the first, just with a different cast of characters. For instance, we had Dominique, the sexy frenchman, Mikel, the Spanish player, and our very own Heidi Fleiss. And many more, upon which I shall expand at a later time. Since we were situated in the middle of nowhere, our program director decided to take us on an excursion during the week, to another abandoned town a few miles away from Valdallevilla. We were informed that as this was an abandoned village, there would not be any shops, or any other signs of civilization; however, there would be mobile service! So, after about an hour’s worth of hiking up the mountain, we finally reached the old village. At this point almost everyone on the hike pulled out their mobile devices, frantically pointing them towards the sky, begging for a signal from the gods, in hopes of connecting with the outside world. Poor Amelia, our hard-working tour guide had to postpone her lecture while everyone reconnected with their long lost real lives.

The rest of the week proved to be fulfilling and unforgettable. Friendships would be formed and connections made that would stay with us for a long time. Unfortunately, as do all good things, this too, had to come to an end. So we said our goodbyes (in English) and parted ways. After spending only 1 evening in Madrid, I decided to continue my love affair with Barcelona, so I boarded a plane and off I went. After arriving in Barcelona at 1am, I headed to Barceloneta beach where my friend Bea, at whose place I would be crashing, would be meeting me. High on xanax (from the flight) and 8 days of non-stop talking, all I wanted to do at this point was sleep. That would not happen. When I met up with Bea, she was in the happy company of Dan, a cheeky Brit and Dan’s 2 friends Carlos and Juan (whose names have been changed to protect the innocent) and who, I would come to find out later on, were former workers for a Columbian drug cartel under the guise of pizza makers, and who were now selling real estate in Barcelona. Okie dokie. So, despite my protests, sleep would have to wait. The rest of the night would be spent dancing until the clubs shut down and sitting on the beach waiting impatiently for the sun to make her appearance. (After which, I would once again begin my hopeless search for an American diner in Europe…What do they say the definition of insanity is?: Repeating the same thing over and over again, each time hoping for a different outcome? Hm) So, the madness of Barcelona would begin (or resume), and this night would mark the beginning of Barcelona Part III. Stay tuned for more.

My Big Fat Greek Adventure: Part I, Sailing with Cows

July 29, 2009

After parting ways with Jillian, Maria and Florence, Rosimara and I finally arrived in Bari, Italy just in time to catch our ferry to Corfu, Greece. As we walked to the deck where our 10 Euro “seats” awaited us, we joked about being stowaways and having to sit with the animals. Just as we finished having a good laugh, we heard an unmistakable sound coming from behind us, sounding much like a ‘moo’. As Rosimara returned after checking it out, the look on her face told me all I needed to know. We were in fact riding on board with cattle. Well, you get what you pay for, right? After having another good laugh, ’cause what else can you do, we decided to make the best of the situation. This was how we began using what has become the theme of our trip thus far, and that is, when given lemons, make lemonade! And we would be making lots of lemonade over the next few weeks. So, we had an 11 hour overnight boat ride among cattle on the deck of a cargo ship ahead of us and we were determined to make the best of the situation. And we did. We decided to sit on the deck and watch the sunset as it disappeared beyond the horizon along with my beloved Italy. Ciao Italia, I will miss you but I shall return! We then went to the ship’s one restaurant called the Trucker’s Lounge, which lived up to its name. After an inedible dinner, we headed back to the deck to relax, which we got to do for all of one hour until 2 truckers propositioned us, apparently mistaking us for hookers. After straightening them out and having another good laugh amongst ourselves, we resigned to the fact that we were not going to be getting a good night’s sleep on the deck of Trucker’s Central. Nonetheless, we grabbed 2 cardboard boxes, our towels, our bags and what was left of our dignity and made our ‘beds’. Sleeping with one eye open and a pair of scissors in between us, we ended up getting a total of 2 hours of sleep, before arriving at Corfu, where the Pink Palace bus was waiting to take us to our destination. How can I describe the Pink Palace? Hm. It was like the Pink Panther threw up all over a once beautiful beach resort on the Greek Islands and was taken over by MTV Spring Break and 100s of teenagers, a lot of nakedness, alcohol, booze cruises (yes, booze cruises), and other various forms of debauchery. Our decision to go to the Pink Palace began as a joke. Eventually Rosimara and I agreed it would be a hoot to stay there just for one night for a good laugh. Well, of course there ended up being a national ferry strike, and with no other means of leaving the island, we ended up getting stuck there for 4 nights. To both of our surprise, we ended up having a pretty good time at the Palace, in all its Pinkness. We in fact did go on the booze cruise, which despite the hedonistic debauchery surrounding us, ended up being rather pleasant and scenic. Rosimara dove off of a cliff and I went swimming in a bat cave…with bats. Considering I can’t swim, and I’m not a huge fan of bats, this was quite an accomplishment for me. During the boat ride, we were stopped by the coast guard. A few of us were asked by the captain to hide in the crawl space at the bottom of the boat to avoid being fined for having too many people aboard. Feeling a bit like Anne Frank, we waited patiently until the coast guard finally left and we were able to emerge from hiding. At the end of the day, as our boat pulled into the shore off of the Pink Palace, as I was attempting to climb down the ladder of the boat into the water, I tripped over my foot, did a flip and fell backwards, head first into the sea. All of the observers, or non-participants, watching the booze cruise pull in, most likely assumed I was another drunk girl falling off of a boat. Ironic, considering I was one of the only 2 sober ones aboard the love boat. Perfect ending to a perfect day!

Under the Tuscan Sun: Part II July 17 – 21

July 21, 2009

After reuniting with Jillian, the four of us settled into our 6 bed dorm room at Plus Florence, where we stayed on the ‘plus girls’ floor- formally a female dorm, complete with hot pink walls and scented toilet paper. On the first day, we took a walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo, where we sipped wine and watched the most beautiful sunset- so beautiful that as the sun disappeared beyond the hills, all who watched, broke out into applause. It was a perfect moment. The next day we took a tour through a Tuscan market where we sampled fresh olives (which I still abhor, but ate anyway because I’m a trooper), dried tomatoes, cheese and wine- (yes, wine, at 10am..that was a first, but not a last!). After the market, we took a walk to the Galleria del Academia where we saw the majestic David- even more impressive than the copy we saw at the Piazzale the night before. The following day, Maria and Rosimara went to Rimini and Jillian and I took a day trip to Venice. Ah, beautiful Venice. We took a ferry ride down the Grand Canal- in the wrong direction and ended up in some town called Lido. We eventually found the correct boat and headed back into Venice where we had a lovely Italian lunch consisting of Gnocci Bolognese and Fragiolo, some of the best wine I have ever tasted. We then took a walk through the Jewish Ghetto which fueled my desire to visit Germany and Poland. Rosimara and I will be doing that in October. After lunch we met a very well toned Gondolier who introduced himself as Johnba, as in John the Baptist, who offered us a free gondola ride after his shift (which was tempting considering a gondola ride costs 75 Euros- that’s over $100), but sadly we had to turn him down, as the last train back to Florence was leaving at 6:30pm. Next time Jonba! On the train ride home we realized that our tickets were ‘sin guarantia’, or something like that, meaning that we did not have guaranteed seats, meaning that we would either be standing or sitting on the floor for the 3 hour train ride. Just when we began to almost feel sorry for ourselves, we met Mary from Ohio who was travelling with her 20 year old daughter (who was sleeping in the luggage rack… apparently they got screwed out of seats as well). Mary was a hoot! And she happened to have a bottle of wine with her which we cracked open and ended up having a blast! Thank you Mary from Ohio! We eventually made it back to Florence where we would say our goodbyes to each other and to beautiful Italia.

Under the Tuscan Sun: Part I July 12-17

July 17, 2009

So we flew from Madrid to Milan where Maria, Rosimara and I stayed with my friend Luca, who took us to a local Italian restaurant for our first (of many more to come) authentic Italian meals. Then he took us to an amazing open air club in Milan, which reminded me of a big Italian frat party (not that I’ve been to an Italian frat party.. or that they even have frats in Italy, but nonetheless, you get my drift…lots of outdoor bars and drunk people). Maria quickly made friends with a group of Italian guys- Guiseppe, Giovanni, Johnny, Stefano Giovanni- none of whom spoke a word of English- Maria doesn’t speak Italian either, but they didn’t seem to mind. We danced until 4am (again) and then headed back to Luca’s flat where we got a whole 2 hours of sleep before catching our train to Verona, where Matt would be picking us up to take us to our villa in Tuscany. Let me say that again.. our villa in Tuscany. So, we drove to our villa in Tuscany in Matt’s convertable with the top down and our scarves on our heads, much like the ladies of Grey Gardens. (Ok, we had our huge luggage bags on top of us and we were sweaty and tired, and probably smelled, so maybe not quite as glamourous but nonetheless…) So, after making a quick stop for lunch in Bologna, where we had… you guessed it.. pasta bolognese.. we finally arrived in our beautiful villa where we went for a swim in the pool and had dinner in Guissepe and Marilena’s (the owners) little restaurant on the premise. Marilena agreed to allow us to watch her cook the following night, so we had our very own private Italian cooking lesson, where we learned to cook Spaghetti Carbonara and delicious biscotti (not that I cook, but if I should ever become domestic…) One day we drove through the hills of Tuscany- with the top down of course. How can I describe it? It was like a dream and I feel so blessed to have been able to do that! We visited the beautiful town of Sienna- one of the few cities so far that I would actually consider moving to. On our way back home, Maria and I sat in the back, singing along, on the top of our lungs to the Grease 2 soundtrack. Sorry Tuscany. After about 5 relaxing days, we finally came to the end of our stay at Marilena’s villa and headed to Florence where we would be meeting up with Jillian- an amazing girl that Maria and I met at Pueblo Ingles. Florence, here we come!!

Spanglish: Pueblo Ingles, Cazorla, Spain July 3-10

July 11, 2009

Goodbye Barcelona, I’ll miss you! But I will be back. On July 3rd (sorry I’ve been a bit behind in the blogging), we set out on our 5 hour bus ride to Cazorla, Spain, where we would begin our 8 day English Immersion program, where 20 Anglos would help 20 Spaniards improve their English. The program was more than I could have expected. Although we were working 16 hour days (thats 16 hours of non-stop conversation with 20 strangers), those strangers quickly became friends and the 16 hours of work did not feel like work at all. I met some of the loveliest people from Spain, including the 3 Fernandos… Fernando Purple (because he liked to wear purple), Fernando Yellow (yes, you guessed it), and Fernando Glasses. And of course the Anglos, such as Mayor Pete from Monroe, NJ (Geez, I can’t get away from Jersey!), Cheri, the loveliest yoga teacher from Texas, and of course my new buddy, Jillian (who decided to travel with me, Maria and Rosimara after the program). I had my first hitchhiking experience while taking a walk through the small villa of Cazorla with Inma, one of the Spanish students who didn’t feel like walking back to the villa so decided we’d hitch it back. Love her! Later on that day, Jillian and I took a walk back to the village to go shopping at the little Asian Bazaar. While we were perusing the handbags, the little man who worked there kept watching us and following us around the store. It was bizarre (no pun intended), nonetheless, we continued shopping. I tried on a pair of shoes, but decided not to purchase them. I decided to purchased a handbag instead. After paying for my bag, the cashier pointed to my purse and said (in spanish), open your bag. Confused, I asked him why. “Zapatos! Zapatos in your bag”. Oh my goodness, he was accusing me of stealing the shoes that I tried on! Infuriated, I opened my purse and proceeded to take out every item just to prove to him that I did not in fact steal his 3 Euro pair of flip flops! Unsatisfied, he followed us out of the store and demanded that Jillian open her bag, which she refused. Good for her! I then asked him if he Habla Inglesed, which he did not.. only Espanol. So, I stuck my middle finger in the air and shouted, “Comprende?!” We went back to the hotel where we told everyone of our fiasco and warned them not to shop at the asian bazaar. Pablo, our program director, offered to take me back to the store to return the bag and get my money back, which I considered, but decided against… (I really liked the bag). At the end of the week, on the bus ride back, as we passed by the bazaar, everyone on the bus (Anglos and Spaniards) stuck their middle fingers in the air and shouted towards the store, “Comprende?!” Now that’s international comraderie!

Weekend in London

June 27, 2009

So I arrived in London around noon- no drama at customs…kept my big mouth shut this time! – and checked into the MacDonald B & B. Wow, I was spoiled in Guernsey. The Macdonald is what you would call a ‘good value hotel’. My room is about the size of a prison cell- a small one- and the shower and toilet are on a separate floor. Upon seeing the shower I was suddenly grateful for bringing my flipflops. When I arrived at the hotel there was a message waiting for me from my London friend Andreas to tell me he secured tickets to that evening’s performance of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at the Open Air Theater in Regent’s Park. Yay! The theater reminded me very much of the Delacorte in Central Park- it was beautiful. So, we were lucky enough to have perfect weather all day right up until about mid-way through the show when, in typical London fashion, it began to rain- hard. But I was prepared. I had my hat (as always), my Northface raincoat, and, courtesy of Frank the friendly MacDonald Hotel Concierge, an umbrella to boot. So it rained for about 20 minutes during the show and then quickly cleared up. (I hear it does that alot here). The show went on and it was wonderful! After the show, Andreas and I went bar-hopping, though niether of us drink (ok, He doesn’t drink, and I abstained this night), so we went to a few cafes, a tapas bar, and a pub and had cappucinos, tapas and mineral water (in that order), and talked and talked and talked.. until 3am. Love that!
The next morning I woke up early and had a lovely traditional English Breakfast and headed off to Leicester Square to score tix for Hamlet with Jude Law- I stood in line for 2 hours and did not get tickets. But, no worries… I got my second choice- Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theater! 5 pounds! (Of course it rained during the 2nd act!) but it was beautiful!! Out to dinner tonight and off to Barcelona in the am. Can’t wait!

Last Day at the Farm

June 25, 2009

So, I completed my final day of work at Guernsey Animal Aid. I’ve finally got the hang of things and feel like a part of the team. Just in time to leave! I’ve bonded with Jack and Merlin, the resident ponies. I think they sensed my sadness in leaving as Merlin kept rubbing his nose up against me and Jack kept following me around. (Or was that because I had forgotten to give them hay?) Either way, I’m sure they’ll miss me as much as I’ll miss them! And the dogs! Wow, I am going to miss those guys. I feel like they have become part of my family. Its going to be hard to say goodbye. So I’ll wait until right before I leave. So, as I’m working, I’m chatting with one of the local volunteers who asks me where I’m from. I tell him NYC. “Do you have a gun?”, he asks. What? “No, I don’t have a gun” I tell him. “Why, do you think all NY’ers have guns?”. “Well, we think most Americans have guns”, he replies. “Well no, that’s not true”, I inform him. “Yes, there is a huge gun problem in the country, but no, not everyone has a gun, and no, I myself do not own one.” I don’t know if it was my imagination or not, but I think he looked relieved. Ah, Guernsey.. I’m gonna miss ya!

Disaster at the Farm

June 24, 2009

So, I turned in early last night as I’ve been doing most nights since Maria left.. Saving money and resting up for my travel adventures to come. Plus this farm stuff is exhausting. When I woke up this morning, I strolled outside, eager to see the animals once again. It was another perfect, cloudless day and I was in a jolly mood. As I came upon the farm, I noticed Sue (the owner), who I greeted with a big smile and a jolly “good morning!”. Sue did not return my smile nor my “good morning”. “You have no idea what happened last night, do you?”, she asked, “You slept through the whole bloody thing, didn’t you?” What was she talking about? What happened?  “What are you talking about? What happened?”, I ask. “At about half past nine, we received a phone call that 4 of the deer had escaped. One of them was in a neighbor’s swimming pool, and the others were roaming the streets. We were up until 1:30 this morning trying to get them back, and we had the sheriff standing over us with a rifle the whole time, waiting to shoot them if we weren’t successful. We finally retreived them, but one of them was wounded, as there was blood all over the van, and Viv almost got into a car accident driving home”. “How did the deer get out?”, I ask. “Someone left the front gate open. I don’t know who. You never use that gate, right?”, she asks. “No, never. I didn’t even know there was a front gate” I reply. Or did I? Oh no! Wait. Let me think. I did go through the front door of the house yesterday when I left for town, but did I go through a gate? I can’t remember. Oh my goodness, was it me?? I replay the event over and over again in my head. Did I go thru a gate? If I did, did I shut it? Oh god, what if it was me? I almost got 4 deer killed? And Viv! Poor deer! I wonder if they all think its me. After all there was the incident with the lamb and the goat. And the little dog that escaped yesterday and almost ate the rabbit. Oh, and the duckling that got out the other day. But those were all accidents and everything turned out fine. Oh gosh, they probably do think its me! I’m starting to think it was me.. even though I’m 95% sure I never used that gate. Oh well, only 1 more day to go and then the animals will be free of me. Finally, later in the day, I remember that one of the dog walkers came by late last evening to walk the dogs. She arrived just as I was leaving. I remember she went thru the front which means she probably came back in thru the front. Also, I learned there was someone doing gardening work there all day and night. So, it could have been either of them. In fact, I’m positive now that I did not go thru the gate. Ah! Relief washes over me! I feel much better. Only one more day of work at the farm left, which will hopefully pass without incident. We shall see.. Poor animals!