A Financial Education Event
     

Venice—Not Vienna!

Wow, this has been such a whirlwind trip! We have 12 hour scheduled workdays (that’s the way we like it) and 12 hour fun days (gotta get in all that sightseeing). I kept getting distracted on the way to Italy and kept saying we were going to “Vienna” rather than “Venice.” Poor Wendy had to correct me as I was checking into the flight it Italy or I would have ended up in Vienna!

When we went to Vienna, we were told that the value of the Euro had gone down even more, but we had a budget and believed we could get by on that for this part of the trip as well. The key, I think, to finding values in any touristy area is to “get lost” in the heart of the city and explore the shops that are not as well known. We found as much as 50% off on the same items by doing this.

One of the things we knew we wanted to do was to ride a Gondola and on our first trip around the city we had a large Gondola driver with gray hair and an obvious love for pasta (i.e. a beer belly) shout out to us $12 each! We passed, hoping to find an “appropriate” gondola driver. You know, one who looked like the male lead in “Under a Tuscan Sun.” When we got lost in the center of the city, we were not only rewarded with great values in stores, we were also rewarded with a more than appropriate gondola driver. When we turned a corner and saw the gorgeous gondola and the driver, he said, “80 Euro” (about $120 for both or $96 MORE dollars than the other option.) Well, as smitten as we might have been with the prospect of having “The Top Ten” of Gondola drivers, we were not so taken that we were going to pay too much for the right. We negotiated down to a much more reasonable sum and were off on the adventure. As we passed the beautiful buildings on the main canal, our driver pointed out sights and sang Venetian songs. Toward the end of the ride, we passed another gondola and I heard Wendy say “Look Ellie, there’s the $12 gondola driver.” Yes, there WAS a bit of a difference!

The second day of touring, we went over to the island of Murano, where they are famous for glass. Once again, we got lost in the middle of the island and found the best shops. When we were paying for our purchases, we asked about some items on the shelf by the register. They were slightly “damaged” and we couldn’t even tell what was wrong, but bought them for 75%—so cool!

I’m so glad we got to visit Vienna–um, I mean Venice!

Ciao

Jolly Old England–On a Dime (That is Worth a Nickel)

We went from Germany to England and discovered at the airport that British Airways said we were only authorized 1 piece of checked luggage. Now you take two southern girls and put them in Europe for 2.5 weeks and try to put their stuff in one piece of luggage. Neither one of us could travel with less than 5 pairs of shoes (what am I supposed to leave at home–the leopard skin pumps?). After an hour of discussion at the ticket desk, we were authorized a second bag at NO CHARGE (it pays to ask all your options and keep asking politely until you happen upon an alternative that works for you–and for less.)
This saved us over $100. We’re having to be creative in England because the British pound is worth twice the American dollar! This is the first time I don’t want to lose pounds!

We landed at Heathrow and then traveled to Lakenheath and Mildenhall, having dinner with some great friends, the Sierts. Kara Siert is a special friend whose story is published in “1/2 Price Living” and she created all kinds of welcome artwork for our visit as well. I had the privilege of sharing a book table with Kara when I spoke at both bases and she was gracious enough to allow me to tell her story in front of the wonderful military audiences.

The people we meet on this trip is the best part of it all. New friends, old friends and no foes in sight (unless you count the Lamborghini that passed us on the autobahn in Germany going 150 MPH.) The audiences in England were BRILLIANT!

That’s all for now!

Ellie Kay

“America’s Family Financial Expert” (R)
www.elliekay.com

Armed Forces Network Radio and Television-Germany

Today was a great day in Germany with our military members and their families. We had an amazing 15 hour day that began with a meeting with the Wing Commander and ended with a meal of Schnitzel at 10:00 PM (a typical European meal time).
In between meeting and eating we also did some greeting! We met some wonderful professionals at the AFN studio in Germany and I gave interviews on live radio and (taped) television. Pictured are Vanessa Heinzelman and Demarno Spence. We had lots of fun in the studio, especially when they played Collective Soul on the radio in between interview spots. The AFN media really worked well as I gave my “Heroes at Home” message to capacity crowds and also gave the “Half Price Living” message as well. There were many young airmen in the audiences and the looks on thier faces when I autographed free books for them was just so incredible.

Our message is one that we hope encouarges those in the audience to be proud that they are Americans and realize how very special their service in the military is in the big world scheme of life. These men and women were handed their books and I shook their hands, thanking them for their service their faces said, “I’m so proud to serve. You made me feel special and that what I do for a living really matters.” They verbazlied their thoughts and thanks. The very best part of the day was when we saw that they caught the vision of their worth to us and to other Americans.

After a truly gratifying day, Wendy and I slept like babies and were on the road at 7:00 AM the next day (today) to go to England–the next leg on our tour. Tomorrow we have another 15 hour day, beginning with interviews, several presentations at two bases and then a 2.5 hour car trip to London.

I feel that so many of you are with us in spirit and I share your sentiments of gratefulness to our military members and their families as we give these presentations.

God bless you and God bless America!

Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)
www.elliekay.com

France for less than 10 Euro


We’re staying in Germany, getting ready for a busy day of media and speaking on Monday. But when we realized that France was only an hour away, we decided to jump in the rental car and go to France for dinner!

We came to the cool village and got lost and found a fabulous French Cafe and Pastry Shop where we sat to rest our wayward bones while drinking Cafe Au Lait and dining on apple pastry and meringues. It was a terrible hardship for which we paid 9 Euro. Then we had an hour to kill before the restaurant was (allegedly) to open and I saw a church steeple whose bells chimed on the quarter hour. We set out to find said church and walk off the pastry and to take our minds off of the fact we were lost in France among people who must not ever learn we are Americans.

We found the quaint church and admired it greatly and then noticed a tombstone. Much to our surprise, here is what it said: Le General De Gaulle, Presidente de la Repulique! We stumbled onto the President of France’s tomb outside the church. Apparently he refused a state burial and was entombed in his home town–the village we visited.
At any rate, when we got back to the restaurant we discovered that the French don’t open their restaurants on Sundays in this small village. So we went back to Germany. We saved tons of money on dinner and THAT is how we did France for less than 10 Euro!

Au Revoir

Ellie Kay
Le America’s Family Financial Expert (R)
www.elliekay.com

We’re in Germany!

Willkommen!

We’re here! After a ten hour flight from the west coast of the USA, we arrived in Frankfurt and made the gorgeous drive to Ramstein. The German countryside is stunning and there are lovely fields, and then quaint towns and then fields again.

We tried a new product called “No Jet Lag” that is all natural. It seems to help as we were able to land at 10:00 AM (1:00 AM our body clock’s time) and stay up the rest of the day. And how we spent our first day of this tour was nothing short of Bazaar!

As a matter of PURE COINCIDENCE, Ramstein AFB is having their huge annual fundraising bazaar (they sold 3 million dollars worth of stuff last year). Wendy (my biz mgr) and I had to stay up, so we HAD to walk about the endless rows of 146 vendors who were there for the bazaar. It was in two hangars and a tent–so huge that we could not conquer it in one day and will be FORCED to return tomorrow.
Well, even though it’s 3:40 in the afternoon on CA time, it’s 12:40 PM here in Germany, so I will simply say “Gute Nacht!”
Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)
www.elliekay.com
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