Category: Uncategorized

Are we Primal Citizens?

Hello fellow travelers, bloggers, and Facebook friends. First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are keeping out of harms way during this trying time. Obviously, we have not been traveling much of late, other than to get toilet paper and hand sanitizer! Hopefully your supplies are good as well!

So what does the Travelin’ Man do during a viral apocalypse? Well he writes a book about it! Seriously, I did! But thankfully, our apocalypse will never be as bad as the one in my book. Mine is the result of a nuclear war, and I have actually worked on it for over a year.

And what better way to pass the time than read a great book about an IT geek turned hero in the badlands of a nuclear apocalypse!? So in support of all my friends out there looking for something to do during their stay-at-home time, I am offering you the book for FREE! But the offer is only good for this weekend. It starts on Saturday morning – that’s tomorrow!

I ask only one thing in return, please leave a review on Amazon.  All you need is a Kindle or the Kindle app on your phone, pad, or PC (the app is free, too). You should be able to get to the book by clicking here, but it might not work. If not head out to Amazon, search for “Primal Citizen” or my name, “J.C. Marx”, download your copy, then follow-up with a review after you have read it.

The free book sale only applies to this weekend!

For all my Facebook friends that already have it but have not submitted a review, PLEASE get out there and do it today! I really need the reviews people!

To submit a review, go back to Amazon and click on the book like you did when you got it. On that page there will be a link to submit a review. You may have to scroll down a little bit to see the link. It usually shows up past all the reviews listed on the page. You can also go to your “Orders” page. It is a button on the browser bar that will say “Orders” or on some “Returns and Orders”. Click there and you will see a chance to write reviews for any orders you have placed.

Free book from an author that you know, spend five minutes writing a review – that’s it!

Thank you and stay safe out there!!!


Day Six – Fronsac

Up and out early today. After a quick breakfast, we took the bus and headed out into the Fronsac appellation. This is an area northwest of Libourne and is known more for red wines. Being a right bank appellation, it uses a majority of the lighter and fruitier merlot category.

Chateau Boutinet

This is a privately owned vineyard, meaning it is not in compliance with the strict French regulations known as AOC, rather, they are experimenting and sort of going their own way. That means you will never see this wine in your local store, nor will it ever be exported. This is how wineries begin. This one is run by a husband and wife team. The wife, Nathalie, walked us around the gorgeous property.


Note that there is a medieval castle on the property. Unfortunately, it is in pretty bad shape. Not from wars, but from time. They are slowly working to restore it, but it is a time consuming and expensive endeavor. Their goal is convert the castle into a Bed & Breakfast.

The fog this day was a dense shroud, inhibiting our sight, but at the same time, was also kind of romantic. After a fascinating and educational tour of the grounds, we were honored with a tasting of wine, which was of course from their own sweat and blood. It was quite good, we even bought a bottle to take back to the boat!

Chateau Rivière

This is the only pool I saw the entire time we were in France. This was an amazing castle surrounded by vineyards and beautiful gardens. The views are spectacular. Too bad we didn’t bring our bathing suits…. maybe next time.

And talk about history? Oh yeah. There are 25km of underground caves that were originally created through mining shale. There is a secret entrance that the French resistance used right under the noses of the Germans who had occupied the castle during the war. The small carvings you see in the stone there were done by the rebels as a means of secret communications.

There was even an underground spring running through the caves. See the rut carved into the floor – pure, clear spring water flowing through there. There were sitting areas and meetings rooms scattered throughout the underground labyrinth, all carved From the shale.


Yup, that says gallon, yup as in US gallon! You would be very hard pressed to find any other French wine bottled in a gallon jug. The guy that owned the place back in the 70s wanted to be able to impress his American friends when they came to visit, so he always kept some around.

I was just fascinated with this place. We didn’t stay long enough to see the entire sprawling estate so will come back here if we are ever in this area of the world again.

This, combined with the private tour given by the owners of the other vineyard we did today just made for a great day.

Day Four – Blaye to Bourg



The Citadel of Blaye

Easily one of the most historically interesting places we visited the entire trip! A UNESCO historic site, it was designed by the famous military architect, Vauban, and built to his specifications under the guidance of King Louis XIV in 1685. The idea was to seal off the Gironde river, thus indirectly protecting the city of Bordeaux from (primarily English) invasion. This was accomplished as the stronghold was so fortified, and so intimidating in the completeness of its design that it was never approached by the enemy during that time.

As you can see it is a sprawling endeavor, occupying over 95 acres. And the defensive goals were not only for the river, but also to protect invasion by land. Inside its walls was a complete, self sustaining village capable of housing up to 900 soldiers.

The site has been strategically important as far back as the Romans. To expedite construction time, Vauban´s design incorporated, rather then demolished, the presence of an existing 12th century castle.

There were even secret tunnels built into the design that would allow troops to reach fallback positions very quickly. Part of our tour included exploration of some of these tunnels.

Believe me, I could go on and on about this place and even break the internet by posting a flood of pictures. If you are ever in this region of the world, be sure to get a guided tour of this incredible military masterpiece.

Bicycle ride from Blaye to Bourg

This was a pretty intense ride. While only 18km (11mi), it was through some of the more hilly areas of the coast. And it also required a commitment; once we left on the bikes, the boat also departed! So there was no turning back. It was interesting because as we reached the top of one of the biggest hills, we were just able to see the boat cruising along the river below us. I hate that I wasn’t able to get a pic of that, but we didn’t really make any stops for the duration of the trip.

We got back to the boat just in time for lunch, and boy were we hungry after a ride like that! Jana was, apparently more hungry than me; you won’t find any frog legs on my plate! And the look on her face, well, she just doesn’t look that enthused about them. She does claim, however, that they were delicious; we’ll just have to take your word for that one!


After that, we went in town for a wine festival. It was in a facility overlooking the river. If you look through my glass, you can make out our boat down there docked on the river.

And fortunately, I will not be running for any political office, so I don’t have to worry about this picture coming back to haunt me! But seriously, it was a great time. They had the cutest little French band you ever saw. There was wine, music, and dancing!

PHEW, hard to believe that was all just one day! That’s another great thing about riverboat cruising; after a long day of adventuring, you know the familiar, comfortable ship will be waiting for you at the dock ready to refresh and recharge you. Once back on board, we had another nice dinner, and some relaxing time on deck. What a great day.


Day Three – Pauillac Township and Chateau de Gruaud Larose


Started the day with a five mile walk. This included a tour of the very historic and cozy town of Pauillac, then out into the vineyards. These vineyards were literally out in the countryside of southern France. There was nothing pretentious or showy about them, they were just there. This is where they have always been for nearly 2000 years. But it is this lack of showmanship that makes them so appealing.

You feel this history as you walk through the area. These are vineyards that have been handed down from one generation to another, and whose roots and even dirt have countless centuries of producing the same quality and type of wine throughout history.

Chateau de Rayne

This vineyard is a shining example of continuous improvement. While these vineyards are extraordinary historic, they continue to reinvent themselves with the latest technology and customer facing presentations. This is outrageously expensive, but trust me, the profits are well worth the efforts. A vineyard like this produces some of the best quality wines at prices the average person can only dream about, and they will produce over 300,000 bottles per year (at premium prices).


Check out this tower. It was built a couple of years ago. It allows the customers to go up six stories high and observe the beautiful grounds surrounding the chateau.

When we got to the top, they press a button and the walls fold out, affording us a spectacular view of their vineyard. This is above and beyond and sets the pace for their local competition.

This was a busy and physical day, followed by a happy hour and authentic French cuisine for dinner. And we have been so very lucky with the weather. Today was clear with a high close to 60!

Day Two – River Cruise


Day Two – Cadillac, Chateau de Rayne, and Roqueataillade Castle


We did a early morning walking tour of the town of Cadillac. It is a very quaint, very medieval town. They have Done a great job preserving as much of the architecture as possible. There is also a cool castle in the middle of of the town. I did do a full write-up of the town and the castle, so be sure to click here to go see that.

Chateau de Rayne

After the morning hike, we came back to the boat and had brunch, then piled in the bus for a short ride out to Chateau de Rayne. Great 17th century vineyard located in the Sauternes appellation of Bordeaux. This is considered “Grand Cru”, which means it is the pricier stuff that will probably never make to our table back home, but we thoroughly enjoyed the tour and the tasting. They specialize in white wines, utilizing mostly Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. This ends up as a smooth, white wine that is not as bright as a majority Sauvignon Blanc wine would be.

Roqueataillade Castle

Spectacular classic war castle from the 12th century. It has remained in the same family since 1306, and they still live there today. It has a dry mote, and a two layered defense. It went through a major upgrade in 1860 to modernize it and it make more inhabitable during peacetime. This was a ten year construction effort and is known the world over among castle connoisseurs. There is also a perfectly preserved chapel on the grounds.

And the car, I have no idea what it is, but it looks really old. Inspecting it up close, it appears to be still in use!




Copenhagen, Denmark
(stats courtesy Wikipedia 2017 data sample):
Pop City Proper: 1,295,686
Metro Pop: 2,036,717
Municipality: 86.39 km2 (33.36 sq mi)
Elevation: 1 m (3 ft) to 91 m (299 ft)
Weather: Cold winters, mild summers
Warm Season: Jun – Aug
Currency: Danish Kroner (DKK or kr), credit card friendly
Language: Danish, but good English in most areas

This article documents our 2017 (second) trip to Copenhagen. Our very good friend, Melissa, was visiting from the US and we all went together on this trip. We were there a total of three nights and four days. The weather was warm but cloudy most of the time, and we got caught in the rain a couple of times. But when you’re with people you love, a little rain doesn’t stand a chance of even putting a dent in your fun!

The journal below is organized by day, with the events of that day underneath. This is more of a diary format, not as formal as my write ups. Click on the underlined links to get the full details of that discussion. It will open the event in a separate page so that the journal will remain open for you and you can come right back to where you left off. All of the restaurants will be reviewed on a separate page, and the link for that, along with a quick review of the hotel are at the bottom of this article.

Day One

Central Station always feels like crazy hustle bustle to me. Everybody’s rushing around, most pulling luggage behind them, all going in different directions but all seemingly focused on where they’re headed. Shops and stores, restaurants, cafes and bars all around, all crowded. It’s like seeing the inside of a giant human anthill.

Jana has been here so many times she could navigate it with her eyes closed. Melissa and I were like country comes to town pacing behind a very confident Jana. Up, down, around, and eventually outside and down a long exterior walkway next to the rails. Since we arrived at central by subway, we couldn’t completely trust it being on time, especially with the summer schedule still in play, so we arrived pretty early. Nothing to do now but dig in and wait. At least it was a nice sunny day.


Click here to come ride the train with me! This is my second time doing this. I just love a long train ride. And southern Sweden, in particular, has some of the most gorgeous countryside in Europe. We arrived at Copenhagen Central Station about five and a half hours later, a half hour later than expected.

We checked in at the Manon Les Suites hotel (see review of hotel at bottom of article). We were pleasantly surprised at the size of the room and overall swank factor of the hotel.


After we checked in, we went over to the Tivoli Gardens. Click here to see the full write up of this magnificent park. We walked around the park and gardens for a bit. It was a pretty crowded, as you might expect of an amusement park on a warm summer evening, but the layout was done so well that you just didn’t feel cramped. Every now and then, this formal marching band would just appear on one of the main paths, then disappear after a brief show. Dreamy.

Once we had walked up a good appetite, we went to the Nimb Restaurant and had some drinks and a savory dinner on their private terrace as we watched the people go by.

Day Two

We went on the The Culinary Experience food tour. This was a four hour, four kilometer (2.5 mi) walking food tour.

It was delicious, even though the rain tried but failed to ruin it. We got to see some some very nice sights that most tourists never see, and our guide gave us a great historical perspective of the areas we went through and even how the food itself changed over time. It was very nice.

We did the one hour canal tour from Nyhavn. It was a guided tour that went up the main canal and around some of the smaller ones. It was fun and educational, plus we got some great pictures from the water.

After leaving a wine bar, we got ambushed by a really bad thundershower. We were all soaking wet, even though we had umbrellas. Returned to the hotel and ordered pizza delivery!

Day 3

Lounged around a bit in the morning, then went and had a great hamburger at Halifax Burger Restaurant for lunch. This is one of the places I formally reviewed on the restaurant list. You must go here if you’re in Copenhagen!


We did the Urban Tour, which is a 3 hour 15 kilometer (9.3mi) bicycle tour. There were frequent stops for our guide to tell us the historical perspective of things around us. The clouds built up during the tour – did we make it without getting drenched? Click here to find out.

After the bike tour, we walked around some, did some more window shopping, then had dinner at Peder Oxe. Cool name for a restaurant, eh? It was a pretty unique place. Check out the review of it at the end of this article.


Day 4

Once we checked out of our hotel, we left our bags with the front desk and took the metro down to the National Aquarium of Denmark (Den Blå Planet). Very well done aquarium and media presentations.


Click here to check it out. Also got lunch at the cafe, which wasn’t half bad, and was also included in the restaurant reviews.

Well, that’s it. We went back to the hotel, got our luggage, and walked over to the train station. A great visit with our friend Melissa. The rain tried to douse our fun a couple of times, but we didn’t let it ruin our good time!


Manon Les Suites – Good location. It was a 15 minute walk from the train, and we easily walked to all of our attractions.

Nice hotel suite. Around $400/night. Sounds pricey, but it really was a suite and it was very roomy for three guests. A private master suite with full bath. Comfy day bed in living room and half bathroom. Could even sleep another on sofa in living room. Refrigerator and sink. Full bath has no shower door, causing bathroom floor to essentially flood. Not a malfunction, typical European shower design.


Awesome and unique pool, which we ooo’d and ahhh’d over but did not swim in, this time…


Click here to see the full reviews of all the restaurants we went to, complete with pictures, addresses, and The Travelin’ Man’s recommendations.


Copenhagen Restaurants

These are the restaurants we went to during our trip to Copenhagen with our friend, Melissa. First of all let me say right up front that restaurant reviews is an area in which I could use some improvement. As I indicated in the “About” section, I have very simple tastes. And I almost always forget to photograph the food before we all start digging in. But I do feel like I’m getting better, so thanks for hanging in there with me!

Aquarium Cafe

Location: Inside the aquarium.

Recommendation: Since this was a cafe, I won’t do a full review. But please note that once you’re out at the aquarium, you are a good ways off from anyplace else to eat. So either eat before you go, bring your own, or enjoy the cafe. I had the fish and chips and it really wasn’t bad at all. At least go get a cup of coffee and sit out and enjoy the spectacular view.


Fru Nimb

Location: Inside Tivoli Gardens

Venue: Excellent atmosphere, sat outside on their private terrace. They had table umbrellas and heaters. It looks and feels very swanky, and while it wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t nearly as pricey as I had expected. We had an excellent time and even had a surprise visit from a peacock (no, we didn’t eat him).

Menu: English translations on the menu. The menu is pretty fancy, with a French influence. Melissa and I both got the chicken. It was very delicious and cooked perfectly. I would have preferred a breast versus wrestling with the entire half chicken. I know, poor Travelin’ Man! There was also a roast beef dish, a tar tar, veal, lamb, etc. Jana got the fish, which was superb; kind of wish I had chosen that. Notice the little nicks on the top of the food, “Wait! Forks down I gotta get pictures…”

Drinks: We were a little overheated, so I started with a refreshing cider and switched to the house white for dinner. The wine list tried a little too hard to be diverse and ended up having a bit of an identity crises. But the prices were reasonable, considering the venue, and you will find something you like.

Recommendation: Our server was top notch, everything arrived hot, and there was no long delay on dinner drinks. So if you’re in the mood for a slightly more formal, sit down and take your time kind of dinner, then I definitely recommend this place. We would come back here again.


Halifax Vesterbrogade (aka Halifax Burger Restaurant)


Location: Vesterbrogade 72, 1620 København V, Denmark. Literally right across the street from where we were going for the bicycle tour.

Venue: Fantastic burgers here. We were on our way to Copenhagen Cycles for our bicycle tour and stopped in here for lunch. Very cozy burger-joint style, sort of an American 60’s kind of flair. Big comfortable booths.

Menu: This is where they shine. Pick your burger option from one of many, then the bun, then any add-ones and sides. This is definitely a Travelin’ Man spot!

Recommendation: The service was very good and the staff was friendly. Food was delivered hot and delicious with a smile. We will add this to our must do list each time we come to Copenhagen.


Peder Oxe

Location: Gråbrødretorv 11, stuen, 1154 København K, Denmark. Literally inside the square at Gråbrødretorv.

Venue: It was raining so I wasn’t able to get a decent picture, but it is absolutely cozy and cool inside the square. Several nice bars and restaurants here. We got there early, so we had drinks at Huks Fluks, then just walked (stumbled) across the square to dinner. The rain was blowing around pretty hard, so we opted for a spot inside. The place is pretty cool inside, it used to be a monestary. It’s especially interesting downstairs if you can get a table there.


This is a pic from last time we came and sat downstairs.

Menu: I would call it mostly Danish with a French influence, which is quite popular in Copenhagen. It’s a little on the pricey side, but not too much so. I had the Striploin steak, which was good, but Jana got the venison and it was outstanding. Melissa got the lobster soup, which was salty, but tasty.

Drinks: Very good selection of French, Italian and Spanish wines, with a few others sprinkled in. Prices were in line with other fine restaurants in Scandanavia, which is to say expensive. 😛

Recommendation: We actually came here last time we were in Copenhagen, and it was top notch both times. Service is excellent, food is delicious, and the wine selection is great. What more could you ask for?