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A Wonderful Trip

Hi Everyone,
The idea for this article came in some wonderful places. David and I have just returned from a Danube River Cruise. We have never done anything like that before but certainly plan to do another river cruise. It is easy and fun and every day you awaken in a new place.
Our tour began in Budapest. We loved the city right away. The Danube divides the city in two--Buda and Pest (pronounced Pesht). We spent three days there and our legs attempted to adjust to cobbled streets as they certainly would be walking on a lot of cobble stones over the next two weeks. The architecture, bridges and open market areas, an amazing horse farm where we were treated to exceptionally talented equestrians all added up to a memorable visit.
On up the Danube to Bratislava,Vienna,Melk, Durnstein and Nuremburg. In each of these places we docked and were treated to very interesting tours. From Nuremburg we were taken to Prague via Karlovy Vary, an ancient but still very busy and prosperous spa town in the Czech Republic. We sipped the mineral waters from the hot springs but only small sips as they werenít very tasty to our taste buds. We spent three glorious days in Prague, and, over Easter weekend. Really standing looking over the Charles bridge to the Prague castle looked so "Disney " like, like the pages from fairy tale books where the trolls lived under the bridge and the castles were high on a hill in the background, but it all was real. I think the illustrators of my long ago books came from Prague. It truly is a magical place.
Our tour ended in Prague but David and I boarded a train and went back for three more days to Vienna. We love cities and have previously had a hard time deciding where we liked best, Paris, London, Rome, Florence but now we have an absolute new favourite--Vienna! It is so clean, so civilized and the architecture is spectacular everywhere you look. The people were so polite and so helpful and friendly. We stayed in a small hotel that was built seven hundred and fifty years ago. It was situated very close to St-Stephen's Church in the centre of Vienna. And now this is where real estate finally comes into the picture.
It occurred to me, as we went form one structure to another 500, 800, 1000 years old--still standing and standing so solidly and so proudly, that we are a funny lot indeed. I hear all the time that a house is too old and the house may have been built in the seventies or maybe in the twenties or the forties and each night as we went to bed in the 750 year old Hotel surrounded by other buildings of a similar age, so soundly and beautifully constructed I wondered why we fuss so much over our 50 year old houses. Of course I know that our buildings are not built any where near as soundly as the lovely old buildings we visited. But I donít think they are as decrepit as many of our buyers think either.

Recently I read an article that makes good sense to me. The article suggests a pre listing home inspection by the seller. The article goes on to suggest the most common fix ups for home sellers are the repairing of basement cracks, dealing with drainage issues around the perimeter of the house. Perhaps extending downspouts to discharge water away from the house. You should make sure you have fully operational smoke and carbon monoxide detectors working, smoke detectors should be on each level of the home. Good idea to repair or replace defective GFCI outlets. If your electrical system is not 100 amps you should upgrade the service. You should repair or replace your roof if needed. These are just home maintenance issues but easy to let them get away from us. We donít expect our buildings to last 700 years but we can assure more enjoyment for longer if well maintained. The insurance companies are giving us a hard time these days. In particular wiring, plumbing, asbestos, oil tanks and the list gets longer each year of troublesome items. If you have any of these problem areas best to have a plan to deal with them.

So you see once again from our glorious trip filled with wonderful sights and the sounds from several concerts, I managed to find a real estate link and to think our home built in the mid forties is really almost brand new!! Just a few touch ups and repairs and we are all set for another hundred years.
Don't forget to read our article "Early Spring Garden Guide" about preparing your outside for another summer season.
Happy cleanup and planting.
Mary Lindsay

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