A Travellerspoint blog

Virgin Gorda 2017

First and not last visit

We had spent two glorious weeks on St John. Would all the effort it takes to get to Virgin Gorda be worth it?? Up at 530 left Coral Bay at 730. Jim dropped me and luggage off while he returned jeep. Since we were leaving on Saturday and the direct ferry is on Sunday and Thursday we had to take the ferry to Tortola west end.
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Went through customs and we claimed food we had brought. A friend told me they might not let beef products through because of mad cow disease. We ate everything that contained beef in St John. We have a polar bear cooler and use techni ice to keep things frozen. We brought salmon, shrimp bacon and pork loin. I had bought our breads,and other needs in St John. We had six eggs left and did not know if they would make it unbroken but gave it a try. Everything arrived safely and we were allowed to bring everything we claimed in the cooler.I think we had to pay 10$ exit fee??? What we payed it and got a taxi to take us to Road Town. Plenty of taxis were waiting. We arrived and waited about a hour and finally were on our way. It took less than a half hour. We rented from Leverick Bay and she had arranged a Jimmy for us from L&S. He was waiting for us at ferry and we signed the contract on hood of car. Ok this is easy peezy, He gave us directions and a map to leverick Bay.
Wow this island is easy to get around. Found where we were to check in and then we followed the lady up to Sea Breeze. My stomach was doing flip flops. Would this place be clean and bug free? There had not been any recent reviews so I was very nervous, We arrived and walked down the steps. Sea Breeze is separate and Sea View is a Two bedroom place close by. No one was at Sea View this week but it seemed like it would be private enough if there had been. I took a deep breath as she opened the door and wahla it was clean and even more updated than the pictures. Thank you God. It is a one bedroom with private bath and efficiency kitchen and full size refrigerator. Perfect. every thing we would need.The view was better than I thought it would be. We actually ended up liking staying on this end of island.From our place to baths one half hour.We unloaded our cooler and was off to Hog Heaven for barbecue

Sea breeze
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Hog heaven was a delight I had rib meal and husband had pork loin. What a view.

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Necker island We heard that President Obama was vacationing here on Necker island island owner by Sir Richard Branson

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Sunday 29th

Ate eggs and bacon sandwich. We drove to Spring Bay, It takes one half hour from Leverick Bay

We arrived at Spring Bay at 0900 only ones there. Able to find shade. What a beautiful spot,We stayed until 2 pm and then went to eat at top of baths

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WE went out to check out the old copper mine

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Tonight's supper left over ribs and salmon.

Monday

We decided to try Mountain Trunk for the day. Thanks to ABC for directions in Nail bay look for sign to Mountain trunk beach. The pole was down so parked at bottom turned around. It was overcast and little drizzly so we parked under a palapas and did not get wet. Read and enjoyed tranquility of being on beach alone. Pretty good size beach We were alone till 1230. We snorkeled to right and found it to be our best snorkel all week. Also snorkeled across reef to left side of beach.

We had looked for M&M bakery yesterday and could not find it. I went back and looked for more details on internet. Driving south towards baths, past Grandma's kitchen turn left on one way road at Napa auto parts. There was a very friendly island lady working the counter. She said it is open 6 pm to 11 am. We got two huge donuts lemon turnover, so flaky, large coconut macaroons, and brownie in 3 by 4 inch container all for 950 good for island prices. Not so good for waistline.

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The weather was overcast and little drizzly. We went to Mountain trunk beach found in Nail bay follow the sign. Thank you ABD for directions the pole was down and we parked at bottom after turning around.Beach was empty at 900 We set up under one of the nice palpayas Beach is large

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We read and had beach to ourselves until 1230. We then snorkeled to the right and found it to be our best snorkel of the week. We then snorkeled the reef clear over to left.

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Afternoon was sunny and we left at 415. Got back and found out we had maid service I did not know was included. My husbands feelings was hurt because she had remade his bed. Nice addition We could hear music playing from down in leverick bay. Had Salmon and rice for supper.

Tuesday Jan 31

We parked at Spring Bay walked to trunk bay did not stay here just walked through

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Valley trunk Bay

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and then on up the rope to valley trunk. Ok we found our home, our favorite spot. This beach is huge and empty. Very few people find this and it is mainly used by boaters mooring off shore. Another elderly couple who had been coming for 22 years was ahead of us walking in. He had walking poles and she was carrying everything. I was worried about getting up rope and thought if they can do it I can too. Seriously it was not bad at all. We let them get their spot and then tried to find some shade. I cannot have full sun. That is one of the differences of St John VS Virgin Gorda not as many shady areas. We found a spot and decided this is our happy place!!!!

I had had no reception for my phone ATT previously... All of sudden ping ping ping I had reception. It would end of being only place on island we had reception. It was CRAZY because every night back at place would check in with oldest boy who was expecting their third child a Girl any moment now. He messaged me that her water had broke and today would be the day we would have our first Grand daughter. At 1243 Emile Olive was born,
Thanks to technology he was able to send us a picture. We are truly blessed!!! I was sitting on a gorgeous beach crying tears of joy!! Life is good.

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We stopped at the Rock to see what time they opened and made reservations for 6 pm, We never minded the drive back to Leverick bay and would stay in this area again. My husband said driving Virgin Gorda is very easy. Roads are wider going over mountain and no traffic.

the Rock Ambiance, Ambiance, Ambiance

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I had espresso martini and Jim had amaretto sour

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We shared a ceaser salad

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I had lobster spaghetti

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Jim had seafood

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You guessed it no desserts, I could see the twinkle in my husbands eyes we were headed to M&M bakery for a treat. They had chickens that looked good for 12$ but will have to get next time still have food left we need to eat up.

Wed

We went to Savannah Bay.. Lots of parking. First ones there 900 they have several palpays on beach but unfortunately the roofs are mostly gone, We found some shade and enjoyed. The surf was up too much to snorkel. Reef looks good here.Read and enjoyed surroundings,
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We found this a beautiful beach and loved walking the shore.

We went to Little Dix to check it out. The guard let us through and this place is totally being redone, Looks like new sewage, roofs.Not sure how long till it is to reopen but it looks like they have a long way to go. Looked at the bay and it looks beautiful. The guards had changed and we got a dirty look when we left. I do not think we were suppose to be in there. OH Well

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Thursday
you just gota do the baths we had been here twice before years ago.Wading through the colorful coves and granite boulders of The Baths in Virgin Gorda is undeniably the most notable experience you can have in the British Virgin Islands. Travelers and experts alike agree: It's the must-see attraction of the BVI archipelago. Massive smooth ash gray boulders of varying sizes rise from the sea's crystalline waters, making a maze of sorts for travelers to wade or swim through. Climbing through is not hard.

We arrived at 0830 and had the caves to ourselves We payed 3 $ a person and took the path to Devils Bay.

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We went back to Savannah Bay to see if it was calmer. We tried to snorkel but all churned up went to mountain trunk and spent the afternoon.

Went down to Leverick Bay to eat at bottom restaurant. Beautiful view of the bay and fish tacos were good.

Friday

Last day we went back to Valley Trunk. When we arrived same older couple arrived after us. They were hurrying and I think they thought we would get their favorite spot. I said take your time. 'you have earned your spot. What a lovely day. Beach to ourselves with other couple and a few from moored boats later in day.

Stopped at Hog heaven for pulled pork sandwiches. and Mudslide drinks.

Time to pack. We loved Virgin Gorda and will be back. Maybe 2019. We really did not get to experience the good snorkeling with the waves being up most day.

Sat left at 730 left jeep at ferry, keys under visor, Ferry left 0830. Took a hour and a half to get to Charlotte Amile.Went through customs and taxis were waiting. Arrive airport 1115. Short lines and in Airport 1145. Ate a snack and waited for our flight 150 to Chicago. Left on time and arrived at 6pm. Called our son after luggage arrived and was only our way home. We are such a 80's couple and love our waterbed. My husband says the trip would be perfect If they only had waterbeds. Next year 3 weeks St John but Virgin Gorda you are special and we hope to return.

Posted by Cindygad 10:06 Archived in British Virgin Islands Comments (0)

St John 2017 Part 1

St John 2017

This is our tenth trip to St John. We usually spend the night in Chicago and leave our car but we were cringing at the price to leave our car for 3 weeks. So our youngest son said he would take us and pick us up. What a treat! We left home at 5:30 am and arrived about 7:30 am in Chicago. We had a direct flight to St Thomas with United. We a had a little bit of time to waste so we went to the United lounge for breakfast and to wait for our 9:50 flight. Our flight took off on time. We arrived in St Thomas at 3:30. We took a taxi from the airport to Red Hook and caught the 5 pm ferry to Cruz Bay, St John.

The weather for the two weeks we were on the rock was the best we have ever had. It rained only twice during the day those two weeks. The first time was while we were unloading our suitcases at Angel Roost and the second time about a half hour the day before we left. The winds were strong the first five days but snorkeling on the south side was smooth and very clear. The rest of trip the winds were light and great snorkeling.

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We rented our Jeep from Courtesy and purchased some groceries at Starfish market and headed over to Coral Bay to our home away from home for two weeks, Angels Roost. Arrived and was talking to home owners Larry and Jane when had a cloud burst of liquid sunshine. Off to eat at Aqua Bistro for our favorite crunchy grouper and a Lime in a Coconut drink.

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Sunday Jan 15th Sunny

Up early, drinking coffee, and watching the sun come up. One of my favorite times of the day. Had bacon and egg mac-muffins for breakfast.

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I let my husband pick the first beach and he picked Frances. We arrived at 0900. We snorkeled to left and saw some squid and a small shark. Our old faithful underwater camera, DC 10 died. We saw some bubbles go up and that was all. We were disappointed it being our first day and all. The disappointment disappeared as fast as it came after just taking in everything that the beach and seas have to offer, Enjoyed the beach and stayed till 3 pm.

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Driving home stopped at overlook

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We had Steak and potatoes on the grill.

We are huge Packer fans and watched the Packers win over Dallas 31-28. What a game. GO PACK GO.

Monday Sunny winds 18

We went to Little Lameshur after having blueberry pancakes for breakfast. The road has really gotten a lot worse since last year. The holes have gotten wider and deeper. Even gained a few more. The wash outs have become wider and deeper. We met a car on our way out. It did not adventure very far. The car turned around after the first encounter with the washouts and holes.

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We sat up our chairs on the far left. We snorkeled on the left and at rocks in middle. Did not see anything unusual. Read and walked to the ruins.

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We went to beach bum and bought a go pro 5 the only water camera they had. We did not want to waste time going to St Thomas so Go Pro it was Only problem was all the directions were in Spanish. The girl at beach bum helped us set it up.

We had met a couple from Minnesota a few years ago that were on the island again. They had just spent 10 days on Virgin Gorda. Virgin Gorda is our destination for week three. We met them for supper at Indigo Grill. We all had fish tacos that were amazing. I had a mango mojito that was also pretty tasty. We had a nice discussion about Virgin Gorda.

Tuesday 17th Sunny winds 17ENE

Went to Grootpan and snorkeled to left middle and to right a short distance.

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Today, at Grootpan, is one of the days when something happened I will always remember. We were sitting on beach reading when out of corner of our eyes we see a older gentleman, Peter, walking on the very rocky beach with a cane. It took him forever to reach the beach. He stopped, put his cane in the rocks, hung his shirt on it, put his snorkel and mask on, and scooted down the hill to the water. He floated and snorkeled and the expression on his face was priceless. While he was in the water his joints moved freely with no effort. Getting out was a whole another adventure . We wanted to give him his dignity but getting up was just too hard for him. My husband went down to give him a hand to help him stand on rocky beach and make it up the hill. We talked to him and found out Peter had built a home near here in the mid 90's and had sold it last year. He was back staying for 10 days. Seeing him trying to enjoy the simple things of the past warmed my heart in so many ways. I hope someone is there for me to help me along the rocky paths of life.

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Tonight we had honey pecan chicken from Caribbean oasis

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Wed

We had planned on snorkeling with reef to peak
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.We asked to have Steve as our guide. I do not know him except have followed his trip reports of island for years as Augie on virgin island forum,. before he moved here with his lovely wife Leslie.We met Steve at Hansen bay.We had a double Kayak We went to a hidden reef past pelican point snorkeled for over a hour and half at otter inlet. Great snorkel our camera battery died before we got very many pictures.We saw a star fish, lionfish, school of angelfish, puffer fish

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We got done at 2 pm We had pork loin and pasta for supper

Thursday 19th Winds 7E and sunny

Finally the winds are dying down and it was a perfect snorkel for Haulover North. Very clear water with large schools of fish.

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Got to Miss Lucy at 1120. We got the table by the water for the first time.

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Grouper Ruben and homemade fries. AWESOME

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Friday Jan 20 Jan My 60th birthday Sunny wind 1 E

We snorkeled the three mooring balls going into Leinster Bay.

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I have been lucky enough to celebrate my birthday on St John the last 9 years. We ate the first six years at ZoZo's in their old place and once at the restaurant at Caneel. We always loved our meal but the last time I decided I wanted to try something different the next year. For two years, we ate at Asolaire, the view there is to die for, the food is just OK.

This year we went back to Zozo's

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My husband had asked for a table by the rail

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We shared the Calamari for a appetizer

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I had a wonderful Watermelon salad, watermelon, pineapple, cucumber arugula salad, riccotta salata with fresh basil and vanilla vinaigrette, My mouth still waters when I think of it.

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I chose a appetizer portion of fresh Pappardelle wild mushrooms, shaved pecorino and white truffle sauce

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Jim had artic chard that he loved

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We shared a Carmel molten cake

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Turning 60 was not so bad

We went to Salt Pond 0830 and did our annual hike to Rams Head. We took our time and enjoyed the views.

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It was a sunny day we ate lunch and snorkeled the rocks in the middle. It was very calm, saw an octopus in deep water, and an green spotted eel coming back in. The photo does not do it justice it was a vibrant green and blue.

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It clouded up in afternoon, We stayed till about 3 o'clock. Supper was hamburger on the grill and Jim went and got a to go order of onion rings from Aqua Bistro.

Sunday 22 winds N 8 m/hr Sunny

We did the Waterlemon snorkel around the cay, I always love this snorkel my husband not so much. There was a fair amount of current but he said he was ok and it seemed to push us around the good side to fast. We should of snorkeled it a second time. We saw our first lobster on the sandy area.

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You could not park at the gate and the spot we had used earlier in the week was taken. My husband dropped me off and parked up at Dennis Bay and walked down. We went to Oppenheimer beach for lunch and afternoon siesta. Surf was up.

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Had sausage and potatoes on the grill. Watched Atlanta beat our Packers.

Monday we hiked a half hour to tet to Brown Bay, We got there at 0900 and snorkeled for a hour to the left. It was very calm and we were able to get around the point. It was my favorite snorkel yet.

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GOPR0698

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GOPR0714

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left and got last spot at Maho we stayed until 330. Had small turkey breast on grill and garlic mashed potatoes for supper,

Tues 24th

We went to Dennis Bay from900 to 330. We snorkeled to right.

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Posted by Cindygad 07:23 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

St John Part 2

St John 2 weeks Virgin Gorda1 week

Wed Sunny

We went to Great Lameshur to snorkel. Water was calm there were no waves but the water was all churned up and the visibility very poor.

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We dried off and went to Miss Lucy's for lunch

Jim loves mangroves so I decided to give Princess snorkel another try. The water is shallow and you do not wear fins. Last time I jumped on his back because it freaked me out. Still did not love but I gave it another try. Of course the outer areas in deeper water are better but it is easy access

from shore at Princess.

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GOPR0848

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Had pig in blankets and pasta and green beans for supper

Thursday Caneel

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and walked to Honeymoon beach and left our chairs and cooler.

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We hiked to Salomon and when we arrived at 0900 only one other girl on beach. We talked to her and she was traveling alone with out a jeep. She had done alot in 4 days and even went to salt pond by bus. She certainly did a lot and it was interesting to hear how others travel. She was kind enough to take our picture of the two of us. We are not very good as selfies.

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We stayed till 1230 and hiked back to Honeymoon. The beach had been invaded and was packed. We ate our lunch and then went to
Caneel to snorkel from Caneel beach to Scott

Had pork loin on grill and sides leftover in fridge.

Friday our last day before going to Virgin Gorda we traditionally pick our favorite beach to veg out on, Denis Bay won and what a difference a few days. The surf was up and waves were crashing and made for a really relaxing day.

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When leaving St John I feel so much better when I know I am already booked for next Jan. One week at Lunazul and two weeks at Angels Roost.

Goodby Angel Roost until next year
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Posted by Cindygad 07:20 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Part 2 Reflection 2016

Villefrance, Marseille

REFLECTION

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Villefranche

We were here two years ago and went to the Medieval village of EZe, We decided if we ever got back we wanted to explore this quiet seaside port. Most cruise passengers get off and go to Nice, Monte Carlo or Monaco . ,The sun was out and we decided to keep it low key and hike then enjoy the seaside town.

From boat

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We decided to walk to Fort Alban Up Up Up

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Going down to port was harder due to rougher terrain but we enjoyed the scenery

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Marseille,
I was looking for something to do in port since we had hiked to Notre Dame before,I found the electronic bike tour to caliquqnes over by Casis If you know me you know I rarely do ship excursions. I do not like the cattle call big bus excursions, I researched and found this tour had good ratings and promised to get us back 1 hour prior to ship leaving.. It was a gloomy day with a slight drizzle. We wore our rain gear and took cruise bus for 10 dollars to the port. They left you off pretty far from old port. We started walking a half hour to theater where we were to meet our tour Guide. At 0930 our French tour guide Amine greeted us and said we were waiting for two more. First girl was a Japan student or spoke very little English. The second girl an Ecuadorian girl who spoke only Spanish. We had a very diverse group. We walked to garage where we were fitted with bikes and helmets; We then went to first stop an overlook of old port and wonderful views down into port.Our guide received a call and said an Italian Dr would be joining us, Our guides English was great he was an interpreter for American business during the week.

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Next stop was a charming fishing village that was nestled into the bay Vallon des Auffes is one of those places in Marseille where the hustle of the city disappears and the subset from the other side of the road are spectacular. Beautiful town under the bridge, I love the colorful fishing boats that are more reminiscent of the little coastal villages.

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WE then went to restaurant L' Auberge du Corasire Chez Paul. When we arrived the place was empty. They seated us at a nice table and this is where things started to fall apart. The girls had no idea what they wanted to order. Amine took them to look at fish so they could decide..Before we knew it the restaurant was completely full with local people. They knew what they wanted and ordered before our girls could make up their mind. So our nice lunch stop became a two hour lunch. Food was good but we needed to get going. Jim voiced his concern a bout making it back to ship due to delay. Amine said no worries he would get us back in time

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The tour had been awesome to this point. Amine said we are going to pick up the pace and we were off. We stopped in a park and one of the girls bike was acting up so guide traded bikes with her. We rode for quite a while and then my I looked at watch and I said Amine you are going to have to have the owner meet us with the car to get us back in time. No problem he called and made arrangements. We were on our way again when he said to stop we had lost both of the girls what do you think the Japan girl was doing? Taking pictures!!!! She could care less if we made it back in time.He told Jim and I to go ahead. I heard him holler to turn around. I yelled at Jim and then I FELL. To BE CONTINUED

hhhh

Posted by Cindygad 11:18 Archived in France Comments (1)

Do we make it back to ship Barcelona, Tenerify

Barcelona, Tenerify

Continuation When we last left off the Italian Dr had screeched up beside me and got out his Dr Kit. .I told him I was ok and we just needed to leave to try and catch the ship. in the distance I saw the owner in his car. Jim and I took off towards him. He took our bikes apart and he said lets get you back to the ship. He had us zooming underneath the port in a tunnel. He was speeding and I had a flash back to Princess Dianna and her getting killed in the tunnels. Jim heard him say I think it is this way. Jim and I made eye contact like REALLY. Is this happening to us. I was watching each minute fly buy. He made it to the port. We just had to make it past the guards. The first gate went up and he said I hope the guards at next one are in a good mood. We got lucky three pretty girls where walking in and their eyes were on them. The gate went up and we were back, We took off running and made it around the barriers. We made it back 420. Nothing so beautiful as the Ding of our passes going through gate

Barcelona We took the bus from port to the world trade center. We started up Las Rambles a beautiful strolling boulevard. We had been to Barcelona before so just wanted to soak up the area by wandering around. We went into the Gothic area and enjoyed this area and the Roman time period. This place has narrow twisting lanes and undiscovered courtyards. We had so much fun wandering into little shops, musty antique shops and found several shoe stores.

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It was an overcast day.

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We decided we would eat lunch at a tapa resturant. We checked out the menu at one but they were full the girl said we could wait at the bar.
We sat down and the waitress showed us the bar menu and we decided just to eat there with the special.

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We had tickets for Casa Mlia or La Pedrera for anytime today. The sky's were clearing up so we headed that way. The place is sometimes called the quarry has the much photographed exterior. Gaudi house offers up close looks at Modernista architecture.

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I needed to use the bathroom and so we stopped at a local coffee shop, if you take it outside instead of sitting down it is much cheaper 120 E and the purchase gives you the privilege of using the bathroom.

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The ship stayed overnight in Barcelona

We left about 10 and went back in othic area and to Boqueria Market. This lively produce market is an explosion of colors and smells.

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We went back to the ship and went to the Persian Gardens. We had a free coupon for day in port. What a relaxing afternoon, Enjoyed the rain forest showers, infra red room sauna, hot beds and resting on heated loungers Went in cold room last.

WE had two sea days before our last stop. We spent them reading, going to watercolor class, scrap-booking, going to the gym. The average age of cruisers was 70's . I have never seen the ships gyms so full. These older people sure work at keeping in shape. Dancing before and after dinner was great on this ship even though the dance floor was small. The two bands were very good.Strolling Quartet and Sound Stars.

Teneifry Canary island was our last stop before week Transatlantic

View from ship

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First time in Canary we joined a group from cruise critic and Patsy picked us up 13 people at 0930 right off ship, Patsy has been doing tours for 39 years, She cane to islands from USA as a student and fell in love with island. She came back and met her husband who speaks no English. She would end up being one of my favorite quides. Very vibrant and educated,We went to town of La Laguna a historic district. The Tour started 0930 and we got back at 0345 cost was 42 Euro a person.I would recommend this tour to anyone coming here,

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We stopped to eat on way up. We ate with Ken and Anna We had met them before in 2008 on a cruise. WE had a local soup with canary potatoes, meat, chirizo sausage and noodles with chunk of crusty bread. Had local beer Dorida with mugs of Teide peek on them.

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This was our last port and we would start the last 7 days across the Atlantic, We could not believe how smooth and sunny the
crossing would be. We spent lots of time on balcony. Almost everyday we would gain a hour. We ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room and enjoyed sharing a table with new people. We found people were generally very friendly and seasoned travelers. We learned alot from them and their travels.

Some of our tasty treats
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Halloween on ship

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Dancing every evening before and after dinner.Jim wanted to move the Huge rose when no one was looking because it took up so much of dance floor.90_IMG_4222.jpgIMG_4223.jpg

Sunsets at sea

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Last late night stroll on ship

Posted by Cindygad 11:04 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

2016, Rome and 15 night Transalantic on Celebrity Reflection

Rome, Villefranche, Marseille, Barcelona, Teneife

I had booked this trip in May 1015. Would we like a Transatlantic??? Jim wanted to return to Rome and this trip started from there. October Monday 17th after Jim left work at 11am. We got subway sandwich and drove to Wally Park to park car for 19 days. Our flight left at 6 pm from Chicago.

This trip would have a few miscues right from the beginning. Would this trip be a disaster? The night before we left I heard Jim yell out from the shower oh NO!. Yes he had full blaze case of poison Ivy starting on his arm. Ok we will deal with this call and get prednisone pills from Dr. Only thing that helps him.

When going through airport security I unfastened my st John bracelet that had a charm. Key word here HAD a Gold charm. I forgot to fasten when finished and walked 100 yards when I noticed it gone. Jim stayed with luggage and I went back and searched for it with no avail. Ok I am not going to cry. Our fabulous trip is just starting.

Jim asked for charger for phone and ooops I brought charger for, computer, nook, Kindle, camera but not the right one for the phone. Jim loves his Sudoku and only has the one he likes on his phone. I thought the Amazon connector would work. Who knew. obviously everyone but me.

The electric converter did not work we had borrowed from our Son. Ok I will go with wet hair. No problem Hotel Maria has one we can borrow.

We downloaded offline maps for Rome and could not get it to work the first day. We get lost endless times the first day

Flight was uneventful except how could the seats get so hard in a 9 hour flight. We had a in flight supper and we gobbled it down like hungry kids, Tried to sleep but unable, listened to gently snoring of DH. Oh well I watched a couple movies and the picture of the plane inching across the Atlantic. I felt like I was doing yoga poses to get comfortable .Arrived and our bright suitcases were first to come off conveyor. Now to find hired guy our Hotel had sent for us. Looked one end of area to the other a couple times and finally the guard said most drivers are outside. Out we go and there is a sea of signs, Hundreds no less and finally we find a man with our name on a sign. Not the friendliest fellow or maybe it was because I had two carry on's , 1 large and 1 med suitcase. I heard him mutter under his breath Americans! To my defense I had everything packed in 2 carry on's and 1 large suitcase and then Jim said where are you going to put anything if you buy something. Good point hence the 4th suitcase. Well to say our ride to Hotel was quiet was understatement. He never said another word.

We arrived at Hotel Maria safely and fell in love. What a quiet place in such a busy city. It used to be a monastery and was converted into hotel in 2000. The hotel is located in a historical area of central Rome in the heart of one of the most ancient and characteristic neighborhoods of the city Trastevere It is a labyrinth of colorful and bright narrow streets.We arrived at 10 am and were pleased to find they had a room ready for us and had upgraded us to a room that had a bed and a extra single bed to place our suitcases on,

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Ok I just don't get the European way of bidet. Is it just me? I gave it another try and just do not get IT! And Europe does not use wash clothes. I miss my wash clothes.

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We started off with rain jackets in case of rain. We headed out of Trastevere and got lost. The phone GPS was not working..We found the river Tiber and were on our way for a quiet lunch at Mordi & Va ia gastronomia romanesca found in Testaccio market, The sandwiches are 450 E, Jim had a meatball and I had Americano. and a beer

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Today is just a wondering day did I tell you we got lost again, checked out churches, and St Clement the one I really wanted to see I guess there are three churches built on top of each other was closed till 3. Went up and looked at Colosseum and vast area and hope tomorrow is better weather. Gloomy and drizzling today. I had a rain jacket and umbrella and at least 100 peddlers asked if I wanted to buy umbrella. Are they blind? Jim is usually very good with directions but with no sleep we got lost again. I had a meltdown my ankles were killing me the little cobblestone streets raked havoc on my arthritic ankles.

San Giovanni in Laterano Today it is one of the oldest surviving Christian structures in Rome

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We hopped in a cab and was soon back over the Tiber River to Trastevere. I took a hot shower while my lovely husband went to seek out our restaurant so we can get there without getting lost. He also bought a phone charger. I love this guy!

We walked about mile and half to Da Enzo. A highly recommended restaurant by locals and trip advisor. In all the research I did it said to have several restaurants picked out and stick to researched list. Too many tourist have bad experiences getting sucked into a tourist trap

Da Enzo would end up being one of my favorites.

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We got back and looked forward to getting a good night sleep. Jim said if I woke up early he was going out to wander around. I woke up at 0630 and went to breakfast area and had the best coffee of the trip. They had a barista that greeted you when you walked in I started with a Americana. I waited till about 745 and went back to room and asked my sleeping husband if he wanted to sleep more or get up. He was shocked he had slept in and jumped in the shower. We enjoyed the European breakfast of meats and cheese, fruit, croissants and pastries, scrambled eggs, toast, bagels, cereal and juice. Jim loved the jelly croissants. I liked the choc croissants.

Today is Colosseum overload. We had booked the hard to get in underground Colosseum on line. We got there early and walked around. What a difference a day can make the weather was beautiful.

The Colosseum or Coliseum also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre is an oval amphitheatre ... This name is still used in modern English, but generally the structure is better known as the Colosseum. ..... , covering an elaborate underground structure called the underground.

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We had booked our underground tour online. It fills up because they only let 25 in at a time. Our underground tour was for 1140 we got in line at 1030 make sure you are in correct line to the far left. It took about a 1/2 hour to get through security. Then you need to trade voucher for ticket. The line for girls bathroom was huge. There were about 10 ladies in line at men's. I joined the line there and was in no time.

Shows how stones used as wedges to build and aqueduct system

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Your pass from Colosseum gets you into forum and Palatine hill. This is a very vast area. The line to get through security was about a half a hour We could of benefited from a walking tour here to better understand what you are seeing. We spent a couple hours here

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We walked back and took a cab to Amore to have our Michelin star restaurant with a view of the Colosseum
We wanted to try the tasting menu it would end up being an adventure good but not worth all the hipe of Michelin star. The view made it a once in lifetime experience.

MENU Tasting

Octopus served in a glass with foam

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Iberian pork flavored with Gin Mare with fermented garlic and almonds

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Ravioli filled with buffalo mozzarella and sea anchovies on carrot extract

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Sauteed scallops on red swiss chard with vegetables and olives

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Suckling pig with apricot compote and fennel potatoes

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GUANAJA 70% CHOC brownies with wild berries,false lavender marshmallows

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We had a great time visiting with couple next to us. We started at 0730 and finished at 1015. Bad ending to meal asked for bill 3 times finally paid at 11pm and walked back to hotel leisurely along Tiber. a Romantic ending to meal and arrived back at Midnight.

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Thursday was the Vatican We are getting the hang of Rome and not getting lost anymore. We walked about 1/2 hour and arrived at the Vatican, You have to walk clear around for the entrance. Always get tickets ahead the line was already two hours to get in. We walked right up to security once through security you have to trade your voucher in. I got my purse off the conveyor and looked around and no Jim. It was a sea of people in there. It does not help being so short. I started looking for a white haired man but there were so many. After about 10 min I saw Jim walking towards me. He already had exchangedour voucher for ticket.

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The Sistine chapel is an amazing piece of art by Michelangelo ,WE spent our time just being in the moment and taking it all in. We sat along the side to listen to audio guide then went out side to right with groups. WE could then get in line forthe cupola. it was 7 euro for the elevator and then only had to climb 320steps. Due to my sore ankles we took the elevator. What an opportunity to enjoy a fantastic city panorama all around Rome. When you get out you can go outside on middle area use restroom and there is a very nice souvenir shop there.Climbing the spiral staircase climb some narrower steps and sloping steps. At the top you are treated to spectacular 360 degree views.St Peters square and the gardens.

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You then enter St Peters

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When we were leaving we caught the changing of guard. We then walked through the square

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Walking to Pantheon we passed

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Stopped for some gallotto

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Pantheon

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WE walked back to the hotel along Tiber River

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We asked girls for advice for someplace to eat locally, If you pay for a drink at the hotel they have nice appetizers. We only had them one night but enjoyed sitting outside in courtyard and talking to another couple who had been in Rome all week.

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Perfect ending in Rome last night walked to local restaurant

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Cruise port is about a hour from Rome. We were sharing van with Neil, someone I had met on line on Cruise Critic. We enjoyed our last breakfast at Hotel St Maria. I can not say enough about this place loved it. It felt like a quiet retreat in a bustling city after a busy day touring.

I loved walking in for breakfast and Barista would greet you with a big smile. The fresh juices and croissants and pastries were the best I have ever had. Cereal, European meats and cheese, fresh fruit scrambled eggs and we were set for the day.

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large_90_IMG_3961.jpg This uneven cobblestone is everywhere in Rome. It caused me to have great pain in my ankles. I had pain with each step I will be prepared and get ankle splints for future travels.

Reflection here we come!!! This was our 25th cruise. We started cruising for our honeymoon in 1979, Cruising is such a easy way to see

When we got to ship at noon no long lines. We got up to desk and the girl could not find our room cards. We waited about 20 minutes while she got her supervisor and they searched and searched. Finally she came back and said your room has been changed, What???? when I book I always want a certain part of the ship. '''we were now on deck 7 and the upgrade fairy had upgraded us from inside to balcony!!!!!Sweet and what a surprise! Love hearing the ding of sea cards as enter ship. Makes me feel like we have returned home.

Posted by Cindygad 10:51 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

St John 2013

Sharing the island with brother and sister and their spouses

21 days in St John really gets you in the island mood! We started off stopping in Valpo to see our first grandson Mason and drove to Chicago. Stayed at Holiday Inn park and fly for 100$.

Jan 5th travel day.
Travel to St John from Mid west is long. It involves driving 2 hours to Chicago, spending night, taking shuttle to airport, Landing in St Thomas taking taxi to ferry, taking ferry to Cruz bay getting picked up by jeep rental and finally arriving at place for vacation. All worth it in the end.

Up at 5 and caught 630 shuttle to airport. Ate at Chilli's for breakfast. Watched the movie Taken on the plane. Landed at 330. Took taxi 35$ to red 11hook. Had bushwhacker for 7$ and caught the 5pm ferry. We sat up on top and talked to a couple who stayed on Bush island.Courtsey picked us up 900$ for 2 weeks.
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We made a quick stop at Dolphins Market to pick up some groceries and rum and juice. Back to Angels roost and talked to Larry and Jane the owners. It always feels like coming home here. A perfect fit for us. 1400 a week. We usually eat breakfast in, pack a lunch and eat supper out every other night, We bring a polar bear cooler with techni ice and food is still frozen when we arrive.

I crave Aqua Bistro's grouper sandwich for my first island meal in Coral Bay. We each had a drink and key lime pie to go. 52$ large_E44F160EF2F29374CADCEC5D928A8D73.jpg back to watch Packer Viking playoff. Packers won 24-10,

Sunday Jan 6th Sunny but very windy

I Love the first morning on the island and hearing it come alive with island sounds with a cup of coffee on the deck. We had eggs and bacon for breakfast. We tried a new restaurant called pickles for a sandwich for lunch to go. We thought Grootpan bay would be a good snorkel since it was so windy. We did not see much as the water was churned up pretty good.

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Stopped at trunk overlook

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Went to Gibney to read and relax.Had rum drinks and smoked salmon and cheese and crackers. I cooked a turkey breast and made purple potatoes on grill.

Monday Jan 7th, Sunny

Had egg muffins. We went to Great Lameshur Bay. You get there by route 107 heading south. Park at the big tamarind tree. We do the rock scramble to donkey cove on the left. and then snorkel or swim there from the little beach. Great Lameshur is cobblestone beach guaranteed to be quieter than little Lameshur which is sandy.

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We sat our chairs up at Little Lameshur and walked to the small ruins there and ate our picnic.large_AECAFFA5035A702F8FFADCD68ADCBDE1.jpglarge_AEC8C9F9D49A2E5F0909EECE58C32249.jpglarge_AEC610890D0C9D9897EFBA1DC18B23E9.jpglarge_AEC09BB7B9EB03ED91E327B4E1AE928F.jpg

We left beach at 3. Tonight we were eating at La Tapas for first time. We shared a Gorgonzola Cesar salad, mussels in white wine, ,languistinos
Gruyere cheese scallops, flowerless cake with Calvados ice cream, Sauvignon blanc wine all for 107$

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Tonight ND is in the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME We are from South Bend and was hoping for a better outcome. We lost 42-12,

Tuesday Jan 8th Windy

Breakfast was eggs, bacon and potatoes. We went to Haulover South and just chilled and read. Went to Vie's for garlic chicken and conch.
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Went back to Haulover South

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Went to Josephine s to get lettuce, Asian squash and banana bread . Jim grilled steak and squash and had salad.

Wed Jan 9th Sunny

Blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Maho campgrounds is closing after this May. We went up to check it out. Beautiful view from there. Went to Frances from 930-330.
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snorkeled to the right saw turtles and rays.

We went to Franks Bay to watch the sunset before dinner.

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On Wednesday at Lime Inn they have all you can eat shrimp for 27$ I was not that hungry so I had The Bermuda salad. I love it has cauliflower, olives, red onion, feta cheese and Romain lettuce. Jim had a strawberry shortcake drink, Ice cream, amaretto and strawberry passion.large_E2DF32820700BC463956078B71C98CBF.jpg

Thurs Jan 10th Gloomy and rainy day.

Bacon, egg mc muffin, fruit and banana bread. Started off at Cinnamon Bay, Rain till noon. Went to eat lunch at Ocean grill, both had fish tacos that are good there. Stopped at Deli and got a coconut bar aka known as crack bar it is sooo good. Went to Gibney rained some a little sun. Left and stopped at Maho and the sun finally came out. Tonight we ate in and had salmon and pasta and coconut bar.

Friday Jan 11 Sunny & Windy

Drove to Ditliff Point and the gate was open. We have never got to snorkel here. We snorkeled to the left. The middle area is grassy. large_E2E156ECCF156F94AE42BD8F129A457A.jpglarge_E2E32F25CBE1565B73D9EC6A022FEEC8.jpglarge_E2E4F781A8AF611E0C1E6B88018CF1A3.jpglarge_046.jpglarge_E2E94407ADBB287FDAF71211EA871D6C.jpglarge_E2EB2A44FF4A2D1C1951CCB3FEC41AD6.jpglarge_E2ECEE6AA55D13D14E623B3FC00B5B73.jpglarge_under_wate..hn_2013_066.jpglarge_under_wate..hn_2013_068.jpglarge_under_wate..hn_2013_074.jpg

We got to Dennis Bay at noon and took the 15 min hike to beach one of my favorites.large_EBB342E5FF7EAB85170CF56110C9D46D.jpglarge_EBB4F40490139047BFB5281986D38679.jpglarge_EBB684AFA28977792172F13FE36C6CDD.jpglarge_EBB7C6F6A8525EB55F4DDC9AAC48FB54.jpg114

114

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We went to Shipwreck for supper. I had a small salad and mussels with tomato sauce. Jim had fish and chips.Jim likes the St John root beer. 48$ We listened to music by island sounds.large_EC1D4ABFBFF30140B451128BC91C64C5.jpglarge_EC1BAD8FCEC3E89D5FE5C5647DC9F11C.jpg

Sat Jan 12 Sunny

We went to Salt pond which is conveniently located about 4 miles from Coral Bay. It is a great calm beach if the surf is breaking on the North shore.It is about a 1/4th a mile to beach. We usually spend the whole day here. You can walk over to Drunk Bay which is excellent beach for beach combing or making a rock person. This beach is too rough and dangerous for swimming. The Rams head trail is about a mile long and a must do hike. Blue cobblestone beach is there and a great snorkel. If it is sunny I love to lay on rocks at blue cobblestone and listen to water rumbling over rocks. If you do the Rams head hike take plenty of water for it is pretty much out in the open.

We arrived at 0915 and was the first on the beach. We snorkeled to rocks in the center and then to left.large_16B88DC2AD75563FDFAEDC5F9A086566.jpglarge_16BA0472AECBB7E8C841ABDCDDE72828.jpglarge_16BBC14FA6668602AD69E7B7BCB91E2A.jpglarge_1825B0CC9EBF2BFBFDF717110A5A92BE.jpglarge_182B7AD1E98E9DD67DACEBDD573CA11F.jpglarge_182E065D0BD786F21B843EFF199D4BEB.jpg

under water St John 2013 090

under water St John 2013 090

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I love walking over to Drunk Bay, easy walk We left our last name Gadacz I wonder how long it lasts?

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We went to Concordia at 330 for happy hour All rum drinks 3$ and 1$ off beer. we had chicken wings and enjoyed the view
tonight we had leftover mussels with foot long bread I had gotten at grocery store.

Sun Jan 13 Very Sunny

We had eggs and toast and fruit for breakfast. Today was the day we were meeting Dorothy. We had met on Cruise critic 6 years ago when we were planning our trip to Tahiti. She is from Canada and was cruising into St Thomas on Emerald Princess. We picked her up in Cruz Bay after she took the ferry over. We stopped at Deli to get sandwiches to take to beach.

We drove to Leinster Bay and walked the easy trail in, We snorkeled at the three mooring balls on the walk in. There is a nice reef about 20 feet about by the mooring balls. Best to snorkel the shallow water out and deeper water coming back. Be careful there can be quite a bit of current here.large_2280B900A2A413BC5AB01C2B05DFFB1F.jpglarge_22842F32EB09198C32AA098E5E8DC76E.jpg

We stopped at Annaberg sugar mill ruins.The plantation was first established in 1718.large_21F1FC91D651DD6A9CE5C3C52F143079.jpglarge_081.jpglarge_228669D5F617D503B8D52A05C06BDD71.jpglarge_22889853A65C51590D4AB2147F938B24.jpglarge_228A36E2B2AD7AB2EFC0D73B54E86927.jpglarge_21F3D937C0C431BD6A8B2AFE67D3150C.jpglarge_21F51DB9E3FC61D53F8E4F3E69627599.jpglarge_21F68FA7D7C146FA6AF7D17E24F37DE3.jpg

We took Dorthy back to catch 3pm ferry. We went to Aqua Bistro for grouper sandwich and salad. Love the lime & coconut drink.

Mon Jan 14th Sunny

We went to Donkey Diner for breakfast. I had stuffed french toast and Jim had breakfast burrito. It was under new ownership since we had been here. large_53700F0EABF1DD8B06EBC9630CD76DCD.jpglarge_53763152E71D0DF8BC534B4CE4D35712.jpg

We hiked to Brown Bay. We snorkeled to the left and loved it the best snorkel so far. A nurse shark went right by us. I got a couple of pictures.

under water St John 2013 118

under water St John 2013 118

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Brown Bay has some of the extensive ruins on St John To explore them go to the western end of beach and make it further along shoreline until you see the ruins.large_186.jpglarge_53E6B476D24A4FBAD7885BFF1D7E3207.jpglarge_53E874AB955F29AD649958C85C6F3C51.jpglarge_53E9F96AA71F19CFE867D41DA4D15DC7.jpglarge_53EC140A0A62EC33169AA1FA797FC126.jpglarge_19. 8.jpglarge_53F0661BAECA401D632C7C58A4D13AE1.jpg
We ate our picnic at the ruins.

We hiked out and went to Haulover South, We snorkeled to the right and saw a huge stingray. Tonight we had meatballs from home with bread from Lily's

Tues Jan 15 Cloudy and windy

Went to Cinnamon but it was too windy to kayak. large_560750ABFA041C8BA77796B9EFF79CDC.jpglarge_560931B193683DB53A155C4DDC4C073A.jpglarge_102.jpg Final stop Maho stayed until 3. We had reservations at Asolare for our fist time at 530 for sunset.

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I had moon bow drink
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We had chicken egg spring roll
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Rack of Lamb 42$
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Shrimp
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We shared lava cake with raspberry ice cream and coffee was very good.Asolare has mixed reviews. We were happy with it and the view adds to the ambiance. large_569961810316B800470DAC7C3FF9FB01.jpg

Wed Jan 16th Partly cloudy and hot

We went to Kiddle bay and snorkeled to the right. It was very calm today . Saw large stingray and turtles.

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We got to Miss Lucy's 1230 and had soup, grouper Ruben and extra fries they are very good.The waitress was very good but the cook is very slow. The view is worth the wait and it is my favorite place for lunch.

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We was going over to Francis bay when we came upon this group of donkeys. No matter how many times I have seen them it is still part of the charm of St John when you see them.large_80ADE004906E22BFE51EDC6AEA7BF0F2.jpglarge_80B3EFFE92A2BF73CDA2F5479DF15B13.jpglarge_80B553F8ACEC9489B62103B01A4051DB.jpglarge_80B67AB8F3E6ADCDB0999150156146D4.jpg

We stayed at Francis until 415 and then went back and grilled hamburger from home and corn and ice wine from Dorthy.

Thur Jan 17

This morning we went to Kline bay. We snorkeled to the right and saw a huge ray, Jim saw an octopus put he got in his hole before I saw him. We went to Jumbie and stayed till 330. We drove back a rode we had never been on up by Bordeaux Mountain and came out in Coral Bay. large_under_wate..hn_2013_209.jpglarge_83AACE3FCE002FECE71A1EECFA87681F.jpglarge_843F12EFE310AF6F9BFB4E204AF06814.jpglarge_843D87ABBD1ECA9FBD891A682A54E544.jpglarge_235.jpglarge_8440A0ADDEE8180C51DE4D415E3D6AE9.jpg

Tonight we ate at Sweet Plaintains in the room by the window. I had the spiced martini and Jim had gauvaberry martini. We had crab with toastinos I had the tomato curry with scallops and Jim had coconut curry with shrimp, He said it was his favorite meal of the trip. 8487CFF8A16AA33DC22357EA59DC9152.jpg8489A215A58FF0A1219DF3B79B8EEEE3.jpg848AF88CEF61E03FF7283214C9CEC62E.jpg848C8A35D69E04AD8AA98FCC395D681B.jpg848DD34B04102004786E2CB4A58712D3.jpg

Friday Jan 18th Sunny

We parked at Caneel and walked to Honeymoon. We enjoyed the beach and watching the snorkel boats pull up with cruise passengers and just people watched.large_851D4B19CD1DE09EF2561A81E75B7E3D.jpglarge_270.jpglarge_273.jpglarge_852199530CA553041987685F927269F3.jpg287.jpglarge_290.jpg

We went back and ate at the bar I had a club sandwich and Jim panini the onion rings were good. I love good onion rings and I am always trying to find good ones wherever we travel. Jackie and Raymond were bartenders We enjoyed hearing about the catering job they did on the big yacht we saw today on Honeymoon.

We snorkeled Caneel over to Scott. then wandered around the ruins at Caneel.

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Kevin from cruise critic had invited us over to see Coconuts on gift hill. He had some great appetizers and wine for us. Lisa from Wisconsin and her three girlfriends were there too

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Sat Jan 19th

Today is when my brother and sister in law and sister and brother in law are coming. They had spent two days in St Thomas. We left Angels Roost at 0800 turned in our jeep and rented a safari truck from Denzil Cline for 537$ for the week. This way we only had to rent one vehicle for the six of us. We picked them up from ferry at 0930 and went to check into our Villa Capiz. Nancy our greeter met us there. View is to die for, great pool and a jacuzzi, it would be a great place for us.

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We went to supper at Rumlines and had great spicy pad thi.large_D9D44E1B9B3C1C51BB224907E2543C9E.jpgShelias_St_John_2013_156.jpgShelias_St_John_2013_158.jpgShelias_St_John_2013_159.jpglarge_DAF02F6CEB209EAD8B6CB74071CC2152.jpg

Sun Jan 20th

So lucky to be in paradise and celebrate 56th birthday with my family. We had egg mc muffins with bacon, fruit. We picked one of my favorite beaches to go to Solomon Bay. We parked at Caneel and hiked in through Honeymoon and hit the Solomon bay Spur trail. We arrived about 0930 and had the beach to ourselves for a while.
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Dinner at Terrace

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Shelias St John 2013 266

Surprised me with a cake
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Monday Jan 21st

Woke up at 0615 and electric was off. Sat outside on deck until electric came back on at 0730. We decided to head over to other side of island. We went to donkey diner.

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We drove over to Salt Pond and got our spot with some shade and started hike to Rams head.

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527

531

531

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We came back and snorkeled salt pond to right and center, Left beach about 4 the walk always seems much longer than hiking in, tonight we ate at Banana Deck. I had Greek salad and quesadilla Jim had grilled Maui Maui that was good.

Tuesday Jan 22

Mike makes a great breakfast and it was fun to all be in the kitchen working together. He made potatoes and eggs and sausage and toast, juice and fruit. We left and went to Kiddel a real off the beaten track beach, It is a cobblestone beach on south shore located west of salt pond bay.

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Lunch was at Miss Lucy's

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We went to Hawksnest for the afternoon
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Stayed a Villa Capiz for supper had steak, shrimp salad and pina coladas,

Wed Jan 23

We went to Leiinster Bay, Snorkeled the cay, climbed up to guard house, windy city and snorkeled the grassy bay.

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We stopped at Annaberg Ruins on the way out.
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Tonight would be last time we would eat at bar at Zozo's for sunset. They are moving to Caneels next year.

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Thurs Jan 24th

Had bacon and egg Mc Muffins for breakfast. Hiked to Brown bay and had great snorkel to the left.

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Went to Vie's for lunch

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Ran into some donkeys in Coral Bay

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Stopped at Maho's for afternoon. Ate at villa grilled pork chops and potatoes.

Friday Jan 25th

Raining hard. Mike made his mess for breakfast. It cleared up and we went to Cinnamon Bay

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651

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left and went to Dennis Bay my favorite place to go on last day on island short 15 minute hike down to beach

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Back for some villa time on last night

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Lime Inn for supper

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Posted by Cindygad 16:03 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (2)

Summit 2012

Friday Nov 2nd. Started at Park N Fly at Hiatte Regency 109 $ We went to new entertainment area to eat at Tobby Keiths. Had pulled pork and chicken and spinage sandwich.

Sat Nov3rd

Up at 415 went to gym in hotel, Took 615 shuttle to airport. Ate at Chili's in concourse B for breakfast. Left at 0830 and arrived in San Juan at 140. Took taxi 24$ and stopped for water and pop for 7$ Ate lunch at buffet and life drill was 5pm. Went to Martini Bar and had a flight of martini

Our table was 525 Our waiter was Zack and assistant to Hanna. We were at a table with Michele and Doug, Cindy & Terry, Sarah and Brandon,

Michele ad Doug
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Cindy & Terry
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Sarah and Brandon
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Sunday woke up at 315 on a day at sea, Went to gym at 0630. Ate breakfast in Normadine for elite had cappuccino We went up in sun from 10-11. Went on deck 4 to read for afternoon, Met Michele and Doug in Micheal ls Club for 2 hour drinks for elite.'s We had cosmopolitans apple martini and brandy.

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Monday Barbados

Up early and met Doug and Michele for Elite breakfast. Left at 1000 and Jim and I went alone to Accra beach. Took taxi each way for 20$. We have been to Barbados many times, We have driven, snorkeled, went to cave but really enjoy this beach. It was a beautiful beach. We ate at a little Kiosh and had fish cakes and homemade rum punch. The place was called oasis beach bar. Enjoyed our day and headed back and spent some time in wadding pool.

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Enjoyed our free drinks at Michels bar. Michele was treating us to dinner at Quisines for booking our trip with her.

We really enjoyed this evening. The food was ok but what really made it was sharing with cruise friends. Lots of laughter and fond memories.,
We share these and more, lobster, escargot, shrimp, crab tower, egg rolls, lamb chops, filet Mignon and the best gillato and choc cake.

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Tues St Lucia

Up at 0615 ate breakfast up at buffet on deck 10. We met outside ship for Serenity tour. Cast of caricatures, Michele and Doug, Cindy and Terry, Angela and John and Jim and I. We took a short van ride to catamaran Carnival.We took a hour and 1/2 ride and transferred to Jelouse beach we swam and took small boat to van and ate at restaurant overlooking Pistons that had local food.

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Enjoy a swim at Jealouse beach6D126ACEBD8085778BBF5D0046F533BC.jpgDSC_1038.jpg

We took a van up to overlook and restaurant with local food.

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We went to beautiful garden

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We went for drinks and Michele and I had our Cognac DSC_1120.jpgk

Wed Antigua

Jim and I had done a couple Eli Fuller tours before the Eco and the Circumvision tour and decided we wanted to try the Classic Sail.This tour is once again very characteristic of all tours designed by Eli Fuller. Like The Eco Tour and The Xtreme Circumnav, The Antigua Classic Yacht has themes of history, ecology and adventure. This one takes you deeper into the historical experience by leaving you with first hand knowledge of what goes into building one of these magnificent vessels. The classic design of the sailing vessel has been maintained by passionate boat builders since the design was born on the Island of Carriacou back in the early 1800s. We lleft at 0800 and took a taxi 24$ to Jolly Harbor. it was 150 a person. It would only be the 4 of us. We were gone from 0845-4pEli was our captain and James second mate. We snorkeled twice and had a great lunch on deck. What a relaxing day

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Thursday St Martin

We walked into town and took 2$ local bus to Mullet bay and enjoyed the beach, Enjoyed the beach thereDSC_1227.jpgDSC_1228.jpgDSC_1229.jpgF4EB14E8E685FE1A2AD56BECB2326F11.jpgDSC_1248.jpgDSC_1250.jpgDSC_1253.jpgDSC_1266.jpgDSC_1279.jpgF5091C990B9A6817EBE137CE31CC8874.jpgDSC_1281.jpgF5120547ED3646740EB09D0BF4AE465E.jpgDSC_1283.jpgDSC_1284.jpgDSC_1285.jpg

We took local bus back

That night we had an officers reception in the Revelations lounge the band to dance to was wonderful.

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Last dinner at our table

Posted by Cindygad 16:02 Comments (0)

Solstice 2010

Left home 230 Oldest son Brandon took us to Chicago. We arrived at 5 for 7am flight on Spirit, First and last time with them,, no room charge for carry on bags, We got to Fort Lauderdale at 0930. Took a taxi for 16$ We stopped for a case of water and 12 pack of coke. Arrived at port1045. Checked in and boarded at 1130.

We went to Bisto on 5 and had a quiet lunch

Went to library to check out books. checked into our room
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Walked around ship and had Bahama Mama drink.Lifeboat drill at 4 pm. Watched sail away up on deck.

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Martin bar was our favorite and loved the bartender there,
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Dinner at 0830

Table mates
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Waiter
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Danced to Good Ideas party band that we liked

Monday 18th Sea day

Had room service at 0700 for coffee out in sun for hour and half and then went to glass blowing on the lawn deck. AMAZING

Had buffet for lunch
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Tuesday 19th San Juan

We have been to San Juan several times and have always wanted to go to rain forest. Arranged for trip with Judith and Jeff from cruise critic ,When we got off ship it took us a while to find our diver for tour it was 60$ per person, He drove us to rain forest and we watched a movie he took us to Coco falls A cement truck had rolled over so were unable to go to higher trails.

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Wed October 20th our 31st Anniversary St Thomas

Took taxi to town4$ and walked back a easy 20 minute walk

We had never taken the tram to Paradise Point It was misting rain so decided to give it a try. Had bushwackers at the top where they originated, We enjoyed the view.

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Tonight was black and white night we went to dance in sky lounge till 1130

Thursday 21st St Maartin
,
Rented a car 50$ 12$ insurance. Drove around island stopped where airplanes fly over Maho beach. Drove over to Pinel isand took small boat 7$ round trip to island. Went over to quiet side through path. There was alot of seaweed on beach. We stayed a hour. We went back to other side to swim beach is beautiful here and you can walk a long way out in water. Had a drink and appetizer at bar.

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Turned car in at 3 and went up on deck for beautiful sunset and watched sail a way.

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Friday October 22 Sea day

Ate breakfast in dinning. room. Went in sun for a hour and half then went in covered solarium to get out of sun. Ate at aqua spa for lunch,
We went to molecular bar and met everyone at our table for a drink before dinner,

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Saturday October 23 Sea Day

Up and it is raining went to dining room for breakfast. Went to backstage tour. Enjoyed the day at sea.

Friday booked the everglades tour when we got off ship. Have always wanted to ride a air boat. It was quite a experience.

Posted by Cindygad 16:00 Comments (0)

Millinneum 2009

11 night southern cruise.

Up at 3 and drove to Michigan City at 4 caught the bus at 530. Flight left O hare at 0840 . Arrived San Juan and stayed at Sheraton Old San Juan I had gotten hotel on price line. We walked and ask locals where to eat I had yucca potatoes and chicken. Jim had shirt steak with deep fried sweet plantains. Delicious

October 26th

Up early and walked Old San Juan. Went to another local restaurant Mallorca for pastries and coffee. We then walked around fort. . Took taxi and arrived at port at noon and started boarding 1240 and was on ship in 10 minutes

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We had a very active cruise critic and met on deck Michele had name tags for us all.We would do some excursions with people from cruise critic.

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We went to Martini tasting with Michele and Doug from Wisconsin

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Showered and went to dance t o De Risso quartet in Rendez vous lounge. Ate at 0845 in Metropolitan

Tuesday Oct 27th

St Croix Left dock and rented a car from Olympic $42 total.

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Drove on left went to Cane beach and stopped where Columbus landed.

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Ate at Cheeseburger in paradise outside of Christansted> Jimhad first lime in coconut drink. We drove throught rainforrest. Stopped at a place where a pig is suppose to drink beer.

Went to Martini bar and had banana split drink. Supper was rack of lamb and Jim had sea bass.

Wed Oct 28th St Kitts,

Up at 0630 had granola parfait, Jim had blueberry smoothie.

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Went into town qnd had no plans so took and island tour for$25 a person with Terrence. Took trip with 4 from slavikia went through rain forrest botanical gardens,spot where Caribbean meets Atlantic, black rocks and ended at Frigate baywent to beach for a hour and had local beer. tour was 1030-330,

St Kitt
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Dominica

Picked up at dock and wen to office of Ken to pay $50 a person

Michele and Doug
Jolinda and Clint
Judy and Barry
Cindy and Jim

We traveled by van. Elvis was our guide and very aware of plant life. Went to Middleham falls was suppose to take 45 min and took us a hour and half. Judy who was a hiker had problems so we took it slow.

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Leaving port

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St Lucia

Had breakfast on balcony

Met group from cruise critic outside of customs. Spencer a X cop for island tour. He had pop, beer, water and rum punch in large van.
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We took a water taxi to jealous beach and swam between pitons and had lunch up on mountain

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Had slaw with hot dressing, rice lentils chicken hot potato and barbecue sauce all very good. Tour started at 0830 and we got back at 330.

We went to gym and did treadmill before sunset. Went to martini bar and favorite bartender Putu.

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Saturday Oct 31

Barbados

Ate in dining room left ship at 0945 and planned to walk to bus station too far ended up going to Accra beach got there 1015 -1230 15 dollars each way. Able to walk beautiful boardwalk. Quiet sandy beach loved it.

Came back had hot stone massage for port special 105 for 55 min. Watched sail away and had ice wine and cheese and crackers and listened to

guitar music above us on deck by Anton Marlokov

Sunday Nov 1 Grenada

Ate breakfast in dining room. Outside at 0830 to meet Mando at the tourist center, Mando is the man in white.

We took the full day tor for $80 each. We saw Halifax bay Brizan bay Concord falls, Dougaldston spice estate, Lake Antoine, Levera national park, Grenville, Grand Etang.

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Driving around

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Distillery

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Lunch

Had sit down dinner. Split pea soup, bread, salad with avocado, tomatoes and olives, rice, mixed vegetables, barbecue chicken, blackened maui Maui, fried plantains and strawberry ice cream.

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Dougaldston spice estate

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Last stop Annadale water fall

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Tuesday Nov 2 Curacao

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Beach

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Wed Nov 4th Aruba

Took local bus #10 at 0930 to Palm beach. Got rooked into time share and got free chairs for beach. Stayed till 1230 and took bus backl 230 a piece round trip

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To night was formal night
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went to Martini bar and danced

Thursday sea day

Friday Depart San Juan
Segway tour located at cruise ship pier 2 what a great way to spend time before late day flight

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The owner of Segway sent us to his brothers restaurant by taxi very hard to find but we was treated like locals even though only tourist in place. one of my favorite meals.

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Posted by Cindygad 15:59 Comments (1)

Galaxy 2008

San Juan, Curacao, Domingo,Aruba,Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia,St Kits, Tortola,

Sunday Jan 13 2008. We got up early 3 am to Brandon's house at 4am, He drove us to Chicago and dropped us off at O'har. Ate at Chills for breakfast. Took ted to San juan left 0915 and arrived at 130.

We stayed at Holiday Inn by airport Isle Verde. We had all got a good rate on line. Met group of people from cruise critic in lobby. Walked a few blocks to Metropol that had Cuban food. Jim and Pat Robertson, Beth and Hugh Georgia Mary and Steve from South Bend.We had a good time laughing and getting to meet everyone. When we went to leave we thought tip was included and waiter chased us out of restaurant arms a flying and said we did not tip. We were mistaken tax so all the guys tipped.

Monday we were up at 7 and walked to restaurant and ate at bagel place.we had espresso and pastry. We walked along ocean for a hour. We shared a taxi to port with Steve and Mary for 20$. Had a glass of welome champagne and dropped our luggage off. Ate lunch with Steve and Mary and explored the ship. Bought a pass for Thalassipi pool for 100 each person. Ate supper early and went to dance in rouundevoux lounge to Azure Quartet. Up to pool deck at 10 pm for saila way and danced to 5th element party band to bed at 11 pm.

Tuesday January 15th

Sea day slept till 630 had coffee in room. Went to breakfast in Oriion dining room. had berries and eggs Benedict. Met Goldie and Ted from upstate NY that had been married 55 years. He was a writer what a lovely couple. Went to cruise critic meeting with a good turnout. Out in sun until 1pm and went to dining room for lunch. Merengue lesson with Nate a dancer at 3 pm, Went to gym to work out and then used the thalasippi pool.Went dancing before dinner we had asked for a table for 6-8 and there was just the two of us. Jim went to talk to Matra de to see about another table for tomorrow.

Wed 17th of Jan

Curacao Up at 7 had breakfast on deck 12. Love all the colors of beautiful buildings. Walked into town across floating bridge. Tried to get a taxi to go to other side of island to snorkel but they wanted 40$ each way. Asked where bus stop was. Asked a couple to take our picture on bridge with ship in background. 2 couples asked where we were going so went with us to bus stop take bridge past floating market first street on right walk back about 100 yards to bus stop. Taxi took Louis and Lowell from Oklahoma and Ken and Ann from California. We went to beach by aquarium. We stayed 2 hours. I snorkeled out by reef with Lowell.

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We went back to ship and ate at sandwich area and had panini. We walked back into town and bought a humidor and cigars for our son Keith and table cloths for mom and me. Went down by pool and talked to people from cruise critic and told them about our supper table. Steve went to talk to matre d to see if we could join them. We went to thalassapy pool and to dance before supper. Had new table mates table 612 with water Domingo. Steve and Mary from South Bend, Marlo and don from Niagara Falls and Bernie and Ann from Philadelphia. I had seafood risotto and Jim had stuffed flounder. Loved our new table-mates. Went up on deck for Jazz music by orchestra toed at 11.

Thursday Aruba

Up at 7am went on deck 12 to watch sunrise with coffee. Ate breakfast in aft had waffles with orange butter. met Lowell and Lois on gangplank thought we had missed Anne and ken so left to rent car. met them outside on dock it was too much to rent a car so we took a tour taxi John Bennet to Palm beach. snorkel ok along rocks. the tour groups came to in where we were snorkeling. Tour guide came back for us and offered a island tour for 20$ a person. We went to light house, Rock park, Natural bridge park collapsed in 2005We stopped and a got a cold beer. What a fun day for not having anything planned. Got back to ship at 330. I took a nap and Jim went to gym and to thallasaphy pool. Went to dance before supper. I had veal chop and Jim had salmon terriacki sauce. We went to salsa dance in lounge with Mary and Steve and to bed at Midnight

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Friday at Sea

Up at 730 to breakfast dining room at 0800, To spa at 00915 for hot stone massage. 1100 in sun until 1230 ate lunch in dining room. I had calamari Jim had liver. To salsa dance instructions with Nate. Out on deck until 5 and finished book you've been warned by James Paterson. Went to Gym to work out and thalassapy pool. Danced before supper I had prime rib Jim had fish. Went to 50's music in theater. to bed 1130

Sunset
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Saturday Grenada 19th.

Arrival to Grenada

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Ate at waffle bar and off ship at 0815 to meet Mando. He picked us up at 0845 He is the man in white. We was with a couple from Cincinnati who were seeing several islands and Fred who was traveling alone and used a cane.

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We started off and went to spice factory, bought nutmeg, rum and some spices.

Stopped at a beach to relax and saw where the Atlantic and Caribbean seas meet a mile area where sea plates are shifting No boates go throught this area.

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Drove around coast west side and went to sugar cane distillery and bought rum 75% proof. Went to eat in Grenville at a restaurant on ocean. Had bread, veg soup root veg pumpkin okra barracuda and chicken beans and rice and peas salsa potato bread and nutmeg ice cream.

On to see Monkey , rain forest and Annadale falls back to ship at 4 pm.

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I had a seaweed bath at spa at 5 pm. Jim went to work out and we met at thalassapy pool. Danced before supper I had shrimp pasta and Jim had pork chop to bed at llpm.

Sunday Jan 20th my 51st birthday

Up and ate in dining room had figs and eggs Benedict. Jim had smoked salmon and eggs potatoes and bacon. We met on deck with private excursion of Silver moon Catermerand Captain timothy and Tony first mate. Snorkeled with sea turtles and them went to boat wreck. We then went down coast and parked ate barbecue chicken swordfish, cheesy macaroni, coleslaw, garlic bread and rice and beans, bottled beer, rum and pineapple pina coladasTour was from 9-230. Price was 8750 a piece.

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We went back to room to watch playoffs . We ordered supper in our room to watch the Packer game for my birthday!
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Monday January 21 St Lucia

Ate breakfast in dining room. Ate with Anna and Ken from California.

Met on deck 1030 Cosol island tour for 45$ with group from cruise critic. We went to banana plantation, had fresh bananas went to waterfall volcano ate banana ketchup fish cakes had spiced rum water,pop beer. Saw mergo bay fishing villages and area to south and pitons, back at 4 pm.

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Went on deck to watch sail a way. To spa to thalassaphy pool.Dance before supper I had lamb chop's went up on deck to dance to island band and watch parade of melons.

Tuesday Jan ww St Dominica

Met up on deck for Beno tour 40$ a person tour was not to good. Met on dock at 0820 We docked at another port due to too many ships in port. Took 2 vans to Trifal water falls took 1 hour. Had some beer stopped at Mr Nice fruit stand had pineapple coconut and fried coconut. Steve and Mary, Don and Mary from Iowa, Beth and Hugh and Jim and Pat were in our van. Back at 130

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Up on deck for lunch had panani . Out in sun till 415 walked on deck until 5 and went to thatlasappy pool. Danced befor e supper I had chicken cordon blue.

Wed Jan 23rd St Kitts

Took water taxi to the left in terminal Mr X 12 each way. To Friers beach we stayed for a couple hours.

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We went back and ate lunch on ship. Went out and shopped for a hour. Tonight was formal night and lobster.P1230512.jpg

Steve and Mary from South Bend

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Bernie and Annie from Philadelphia

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Don and Moyra from Niagara

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Cindy and Jim

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Thursday Jan 24th Tortola

We had planned on taking Ferry to Virgin Gorda to the baths. Bernie and Annie have a home Gwendolyn Man nor in Tortola. They offered to pick everyone up at our table and take us on a tour of island and their home.We got off and shopped in town. Ate lunch on ship and then Bernie rented a large vehicle and took us around island

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Bamba shack

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Posted by Cindygad 15:57 Comments (1)

Maine 2008

Left home 530 am ate breakfast at cracker barrel. We got off exit we off 90 and ate Italian restaurant called Sam's . I had clams with marina sauce and Jim had Lasagna was very good 53 with tip.

We had trouble finding a place for the night and stayed at Eco lodge, never again! I did not sleep well and we were up early ate breakfast and gone at 0615. We stopped in Freeport for outlet stores in a town setting. It was a nice stop.

Drove highway one along coast through Brunswick, Bath, Wiscaseset to booth Bay. Drove 15 minutes out to ocean point beautiful drive.
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Went back to
Wiscasant to eat at Reds We had Lobster Roll, crab roll and fries. waited h hour in line it was so worth it. Bath room is clear down water street past Sarah on left across from tracks. 32$

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Drove to coach hous3 Inn in Bar Harbor we have the tavern suit. We cleaned up and went to poor bys I had lobster saute in butter over crackers.
Jim had lobster stuffed with crab 25$ He had blueberry martini and I had glass of Riesling 86$ with tip.

Great sunset

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Monday October 13

I got up at 515 and went to kitchen for coffee and got locked out of room.I had to wait in lounge until owner Natalie came down stairs. We were going to go to Cadillac mountain to see sun rise but it was raining Went back to bed till 800 and had blueberry fritters their signature dish. .pineapple smoothie and eggs Florentine.

We went to Acadia visitor center and watched 15 min movie and bought a map for park. We went to South tip and did wonderland trail and ship harbor. nice easy trails along the water.

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We went to Seafood Kitchen and split seafood sandwich potato wedges and clam chowder. 22$ including tip.

Went to Bar Harbor to compass trail and shore path

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Back to inn and had apple pie, Went to Thurston's for lobster pound. Jim had 3 1b I had a pound and half all for 61$

Tuesday Oct 14 Up at 530 left at 0600 to see Cadillac Mountain sunrise what a beautiful experience being engulfed in clouds.

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Back for breakfast at 0730 ha blueberry fritters, coass of mixed melon, Blueberry stuffed french toast.

Off to Acadia park to otther cliff and point.

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Went to Jordan Pond hiked around took about 1 and half hours, The west side is easier than east.

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Had famous popovers with homemade strawberry jelly and blueberry jelly . I had cappuccino and Jiim had homemade lemonade. Jim had blueberry crisp with ice cream. 37$

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Back to inn and had homemade brownies so good.
Had reservations for Galyn's . Had window seat with view of water. Jim had clam chowder and crab cakes I had fisherman's plate shrimp, scallops, muscles, lobster tail and clams. Jim had blueberry martini, I had blueberry Cosmo, Very good.

Wed October 15

Blueberry fritter, blueberry banana yogurt smoothie, scrambled eggs with ricotta and chives over sm rye toast.

Headed to park an did sands beach and great head trail

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Went to beehive and started to climb but Cindy's legs were to short ladder steps and steep clif we did bowl but all the rocks bothered Cindy's ankles.

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In town ate at Chowders had clam chowder and a huge plate of onion rings and crab meat sandwich. fies beer and blueberry pop $42

Went to lighthouse to watch sunset. and full moon.

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Ate at Ketch Seafood in Bass Harbor. had clam chowder potato wedges and seafood sandwich $32

Posted by Cindygad 15:54 Archived in USA Comments (0)

St John 2016

Angel Roost, Lunazul and showing Newbies Doug and Michele St John

St John 2016

A little history of our love of St John. This is the ninth trip for me and my husband Jim. We actually came 36 years ago for day trip on our honeymoon and did not return until 2009, We have came every year since and are addicted to the rock. We have stayed at Angels Roost for last 7 years. It always feels like coming home. Larry and Jane live above our suite and are only there if you need anything. You never know they are there. They live in St John 6 months and back in states in summer. Most tenants are return guests.

We bring a polar bear coole with frozen meats, shrimp and cheeses, Eat in most breakfasts, pack light lunch and eat out every other night, When we have family or friends coming we have stayed on Cruz Bay side and Coral Bay side.

The second week we would move to Lunazul in Coral Bay with friends Doug and Michele we met in 2008 on a cruise, We have cruised 4 times together and Michele is now our travel agent, They travel a lot and we finally talked them into joining us in our favorite place

I had hurt my knee before Christmas and was afraid it would bother me snorkeling and deter hiking, When we hiked I wore a knee support and I think all the snorkeling actually helped strengthen the knee. It only hurts a little now.

I have included cost of trip because I find it helpful to know how much to budget. We stay two - three weeks. This year two weeks

Very long trip report heavy with snorkel pictures because I now blog vacations instead of printing pictures so this is for my memories.

Travel from Midwest starts with park sleep and fly. We stayed at Hyatt Regency . We went to United lounge for Continental breakfast. Flight left at 0820. Watched in flight movie the Intern and The Martian. . arrived 1/2 hour early. How often does that happen? Changed into Capri pants in bathroom and luggage was there in no time. We took taxi to Red hook$36, 2 people and 4 pieces of luggage. We were able to catch 4 pm ferry 30$ Courtsey picked us up with 4 door jeep silver this year $1076 for two weeks he gives us a discount for paying cash. Stopped at Starfish for breakfast supplies and rum and beer$80. Off to Angels roost for our first week. $1400 Ate at Aqua Bistro a tradition for us on first night.$61

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Sunday Jan 10th

This was our first snorkel with our new mask Tri bords we look like Tele tubbies but they are very comfortable and the peripheral vision-is great
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This was a great snorkel and we saw squid, shark, turtles, sting rays. Vision was pretty good and it was calm so we went out towards Mary's Point.

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Went to Denis Bay to relax and read.

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Made a turkey breast on grill with potatoes and a Packer win in playoffs.The turkey would be our lunch for the rest of the week.

Monday Jan 11th

Snorkeled Waterlemon to the right and point one of our favorites last year. This year We got in some strong current out by point.
finished with a snorkel at the three mooring balls on the way out.

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Spent afternoon at Gibney When coming in you often have to walk through water. A surge of water knocked me on my butt. Chairs went flying, hat and shoes off and out with wave and came back with crashing of waves. My husband rescued me with a laughter in his eyes.

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Tonight we went to Virgin Fire Bistro.$100.25 I had read a lot of positive reviews and wanted to check it out. We had reservations for 630. You need reservations here we saw plenty turned away on a Monday night ,Matt our server was very knowledgeable of menu and one of the best servers we have ever had. I did a review of restaurant on Trip adviser if you want more info. My husband had shrimp and Lump Crab Pappardelle and said it was one of the best meals he has had in a long time.I had crispy potato Gnocchi and baby arugula. Husband had Lump crab cakes for starter.
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Tuesday 12

We snorkeled from Great Lameshur to Donkey Blight a long snorkel but with new mask it is so easy and relaxing.

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Lunch was at Miss Lucy's $35 and we love the grouper Reuben there. The service was good today even though they were busy. Always love the view.

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Tonight we just had hamburgers and fruit since we ate out at lunch back at Angels Roost

Wednesday 13

Sunrise

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Today we did the hike to Brown Bay. It was very calm and we snorkeled to the left which is our favorite. We rested and snorkeled to the right which is pretty in a different way.Look close a lemon shark in shadow on a couple pictures.

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We spent the afternoon at Maho and read and relaxed.
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We tried to eat at Indigo but they were closed so we ate at Aqua Bistro $42.50

Thursday

Haulover Bay is a narrow flat strip of land separating Coral Bay on the South fro Sir Frances Drake Channel on the north. The name Haulover came about because it was often easier to just "haul" over small boats over the stretch of land than to make the long sail around East End notorious for strong currents, gusty wind and rough seas.

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We spent the whole day at Haulover enjoying the peace and quiet of the rocky beach. We ate sausage and potatoes for supper.

Friday

We left for Caneel and snorkeled from beach around right to Scott, We snorkeled a couple of hours and then walked Scott beach to right. Towards turtle bay. The coral is great here but beware of current.

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Turtle with remora

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We did an excursion with the friends of the park. $150,00 Jacob was our guide. Started at Honeymoon beach kayaked to Scott beach and then to Henley cay The current can be strong out here. We saw one of the lionfish, Since lionfish are not native to Atlantic waters they have few predators. They are carnivores that feed on small crustaceans and fish including snapper and grouper, while we was at Henley cay there was a man came to spear it. St john has a aggressive plan to eradicate them.

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Lionfish

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Tonight we went to Indigo $60
Had cuban sliders and fish tacos .Food was good.
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Saturday

Today we had friends coming Doug and Michele that we had met in 2009 on a cruise. . We wanted to share our favorite place on earth. We changed places to Lunazul. Love the first moment you see someone coming to join you at Cruz bay dock. Most of all I loved seeing Michele who is a mother of 4, wife, caregiver of mother, sister of 10 , best personal travel agent ever, relax and let go.

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We stopped at Hawksnest for them to change into suits. We then went to Gibney to relax

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We were able to get in villa Lunazul( $3800 for week at 4 pm so went by Angels Roost to get our things and moved in. Stan the owner showed us around We loved our week here, We ended up eating in more at night because we found it so relaxing.The view is amazing. We had pork chops and grilled potatoes.

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My favorite time of day is morning and watching the sun rise and island coming alive. We had bacon English muffins and Karen's mango, coconut bread for breakfast. We headed to Salt Pond.

sunrise
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My knee was bothering after the hike so we sent the newbies to Drunk Bay they enjoyed all the rock figures and rough Atlantic Ocean,

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Tonight we made hamburger sliders on Hawaiian buns and baked fries.

Monday
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we hiked into leinster bay and hiked short way to guard house and enjoyed the view.
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We snorkeled at 3 mooring balls on way out. Our newbies Doug and Michele had new masks and this was probably not the best place for their first snorkel. After getting their masks to fit right we had a nice snorkel
,
. It was Martin Luther King day and a lot of locals had day off. We tried to find a parking place on North Shore. All were taken we thought Peace hill or Denis bay would be open. NOPE all spots were taken so we started back and was lucky to find a spot at Maho

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That afternoon enjoyed some pool time. The pool had a solar cover and temperature of water was comfortable once you got in. One thing I do not need is a pool on St John especially in January. Would not pick a place because of a pool. We have had a pool four of nine times coming and found we rarely used it.
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We were suppose to eat out but decided to raid refrigerator and see what we could make. We made grilled shrimp and potatoes, and little sausages wrapped in crescent rolls dipped in sweet mustard sauce. We had chocolate chip cookies from frozen cookie dough I had brought. Jim and I do ballroom dancing and we were all dancing in the kitchen. We planned on writing a song but that never happened.

Tuesday
Fog rolled in and had a little rain.Usually a rainbow when it rains. Loved breakfast at Villa Lunazul. We ate all breakfast in on this trip.

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We decided to forgo snorkel and eat lunch at Miss Lucy's. $30 $26 Arrived to goat up on the table until the waitress shooed him away. Loved the chicken with all her babies.

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We went to Denis Bay and for the first time heard some moaning from newbies going down trail. When we got to the bottom they enjoyed the afternoon and did agree going up seemed shorter than coming down.Relaxing afternoon listening to waves.

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When got back to Lunazul husband realized he lost his Oakley prescription glasses at Denis Bay. I made him drive back 20 minutes to see if we could find them. Thank you to the kind soul who placed them on rock wall going down trail.Much happier ride back to Oasis $26 to pick up our carry out order. Three of us had pan fried chicken served with honey pecan sauce and one had coconut grouper, This chicken was AWESOME not greasy and the best we had ever had. I can not wait to get more next year

Wed Jan 20th
I have been so lucky to be in St John for my birthday the last 8 years,We saw this sand cake on the beach
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Today we spent the whole day at Cinnamon Bay. The surf was up and undertow got me and I fell and went under not just once but 3 times. They all said I got my spanking for my birthday. I saw the twinkle in Jim's eyes as he tried not to laugh when he came to rescue me. I am sure everyone on the beach had a good laugh on me

Asolare is know for restaurant with a view but pleased to say food is improving here

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Michele had great tuna in St Thomas and said this was even better, Doug and I had 35 day aged steak and Jim had conch encrusted Maui. When the bill came we had small issue . All 4 of us had heard $38 for 35 day aged steak. Doug and I both ordered it. it was good but not worth $65 dollars apiece, Michele was treating us for my birthday and took a deep swallow when received the bill We called waitress over and she denied she said 38 and said she told us it was 65,All 4 of us did not hear her wrong.We did not want to make a scene and payed bill and took up with manager on way out.He did the right thing and begrudgingly made it right. We come from farms and raised own beef and would of never payed 65 for steak.
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We stay on other side where we see sun rises so tonight we enjoyed the sunset
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Thursday we spent all day at Honeymoon beach Always enjoy drink at bar and they validate your parking ticket $45 for 4 drinks d
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Had steaks, baked potato and carrots back at villa and turned in early.

Friday,

There was a wicked snow storm out east shutting down airports. Our flight tomorrow was coming from DC. We changed flights and carriers to jet blue with lay over in San Juan. After making flight changes we went Frances for the day.
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Tonight we wanted to enjoy our last night at Lunazul so we stopped and got carry out at Caribbean Oasis. Love her menu changes everyday, Had ribs, risotto squash in portabella mushroom, and two spicy chicken wraps. Karen is a great cook and taste like home cooking.

Saturday had final breakfast complete with homemade polish sausage from South Bend In, Stan owner came up to return deposit check We loved this villa and had no issues with anything
g. Would rent Lunazul again in a heartbeat.We returned our jeep to Curtsey and left our bags there untill 2 pm ferry. Shopped and ate at High Tide

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Travel day home is never fun but it started out bad when a porter at Cruz Bay Doc insisted we put our bags on trolley and rudely insisted we tip him. We said we tip when we get off ferry. He followed us to ferry and after we were seated came on and demanded we tip him. My husband gave him a few bucks folded and he kicked door when he left ferry. Not a good representation for tourism to St John. Lisa from USVI contacted me and took our complaint seriously. This left a bad taste but not enough to ruin our opinion of St John. We got to airport at 3 and flight to San Juan 615. Made it home from Chicago at 3 am and the water bed never felt so good. Until next year.

Posted by Cindygad 10:44 Comments (1)

Galapagos 2011

Galapagos
This was a bucket list trip for us. Celebrity has this trip working like a well oiled machine.Loved being on a ship with only 92 pa Once in Quitos everything, tours, hotel, transportation, food, drinks, Naturalist is all included. I did this trip because Jim is such an animal lover and was blown away with the animals and surroundings.

A trip to the Galápagos is an unforgettable experience. As Charles Darwin put it: “The Natural History of this archipelago is very remarkable: it seems to be a little world within itself”. The islands are world renowned for their fearless wildlife but no amount of hype can prepare the visitor for such a close encounter with nature. Here, you can snorkel with penguins and sea lions, watch 200-kg tortoises lumbering through giant cactus forest, and enjoy the courtship display of the blue-footed booby and frigate bird, all in startling close-up.

The Galapagos have never been connected with the continent. Gradually, over many hundreds of thousands of years, animals and plants from over the sea somehow migrated there and as time went by they adapted themselves to Galapagos conditions and came to differ more and more from their continental ancestors. Thus many of them are unique: a quarter of the species of shore fish, half of the plants and almost all the reptiles are found nowhere else. In many cases different forms have evolved on the different islands. Charles Darwin recognized this speciation within the archipelago when he visited the Galapagos on the Beagle

Lying on the Equator, 970 km west of the Ecuadorean coast, the Galapagos consist of six main islands: San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana, Santiago and Fernandina. There are also 12 smaller islands – Baltra, Santa Fe, Pinzon, Espanola, Rabida, Daphne, Seymour, Genovesa, Marchena, Pinta, Darwin and Wolf – as well as over 40 small islets. The Galapagos has been called the greatest wildlife show on earth but it is neither a theme park nor an ocean side resort. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is not cheap but is worth saving for and the high prices are one way of keeping the number of visitors within sustainable levels to ensure their survival as the world’s foremost wildlife sanctuary

We left for Chicago park sleep and fly at Hyatt Regency. On Friday left O hare 0815 for 1040 to Miami. Miami to Quito's. The stewardess before boarded wanted me to check my American Tourist-er suitcase. I felt I was being picked on because other suitcases were much bigger. I rearranged so suitcase was thinner and boarded. We arrived at Quitos a small airport and went through customs you needed checked luggage tags like you used to in all airports. Celebrity was waiting with a sign . We needed to wait 1/2 hour for others and then arrived at 5 star hotel Marriott. They offered us warm towel and juice while checking in. We qualified for executive lounge on 9th floor open 6-11.
We went to main restaurant and split Margarette Pizza. This would be one of the few things we needed to pay for everything else was payed for in our package. Tips, Drinks, and all tours.

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Roses are beautiful, plentiful and cheep here
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Hotel
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Down for buffet breakfast, pastries rolls, bagels, breads, fresh fruit, Ki Wi, Pineapple, mango and Jaxo a sweet sour fruit, omelets, cereal muslin cheeses, cold cuts Ecuadorian dishes. I drank COCO tea that was recommended for altitude sickness.

Quitos
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Favorite scarf seller
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Around Quitos
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Change of guard
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Sucre's theaturm We ate lunch at Sucre theaturm restaurant had good potato soup, serve-chi, plantain chips pork, chicken

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town Square
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Sunday

Up for breakfast at 0630. Left st 0800 and took bus to Quito airport. Left at 0940 for a 2 hour flight to Baltra. They served us a breakfast on china that actually tasted good. We arrived at 1140.

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Room We went to our room by attendant Silva there are only 92 passengers on ship. We had twin beds and I asked her if she could put them together and she said no problem. The workers do multiple duties. The panga drivers are servers in dining room and work on deck too.

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Our first hike was a 2 mile hike lead by the ship naturalist.A0BBEAC5E29CD679EBA158F601B25A0A.jpg90_A0BFC5C9F51097742E22610F851944C9.jpg

North Seymour is an extraordinary place for breeding birds, and is home to one of the largest populations of nesting blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds. Pairs of blue-footed boobies can be seen conducting their mating ritual as they offer each other gifts, whistle and honk, stretch their necks towards the sky, spread their wings, and dance—showing off their bright blue feet. Magnificent frigatebirds perch in low bushes, near the boobies, while watching over their large chicks. The frigates are huge, dark aerobats with a 90-inch (2.3 m) wingspan. Male frigates can puff up their scarlet throat sacks to resemble giant red balloons. Boobies and frigates have an interesting relationship. Boobies are excellent hunters and fish in flocks. The frigates by comparison are pirates, they dive bomb the boobies to force them to drop their prey. Then, the aerobatic frigate swoops down and picks up the food before it hits the water.

Frigates This vulture of the sea boasts a wingspan as large as that of the albatross. Their large wings serve them well as they glide through the sky in search of food. Males will inflate a large red pouch under his throat to attract and seduce and attract the female.

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Blue footed boobies enjoys a lifespan of 15-20 years. To attract a mate the blue footed boobies dances brings it tail up and spreads his wings and whistles towards the sky.

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Sea lions gather in colonies on the sands and rocks. They feed primarily on sardines and can dive as deep as 100 meters
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730 had captains welcome cocktail had blue booby drink We ate with Cindy and Mike from Texas and adal and daughter Stephanie from Boston and Germany. It was a busy first day and to bed at 1000.

Monday up at 530 and coffee on deck 615 to see Kicker Rock. We did circumference by panga at 0700

Kicker rock
is the remains of a volcanic cone that has been eroded by the sea. Above the water, the monolithic rock formation towers over 500 feet above the Pacific Ocean and is home to a number of Tropicbirds, Blue-footed Boobies and Frigatebirds. But, the true appeal of this location occurs below the surface of the sea. The natural erosion of this ancient cone has created a channel between the rocks that provides the ideal habitat to view a variety of sharks and rays including Spotted Eagle Rays, White-tip Reef sharks, the ellusive Galapagos Shark and Hammerheads! Because there are no safe places to moor at Kicker Rock, a lunch stop and swim at Manglesito Beach on Islas Lobos is included, where you can snorkel with friendly Sea Lions or take a stroll on the beach. This tour can be centered around either snorkeling or SCUBA diving.

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Got back and ate breakfast with Cindy and Mike from Texas and Alberta and Lex from Holland. The little Ecuadorian bananas are so sweet and Jim had huge sardines in tomato sauce.

We took the long fitness walk at Las Tigeretas fitness walk the first 200 steps were rocky and rest smooth on a new paved path. We had a 1/2 hour in town.

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Isle Espanola the southernmost island in the archipelago features a central volcano and wildlife is rich here. At the westerly Punta Suarez landing point a l.25 mile trail leads past a beach fill ed with sunbathing sea lions and marine Iguanas. The trail follows a ridge and has beautiful views of beaches and cliffs below. At the end of the trail you will find an impressive blowhole where seawater plumes up to 60 feet from the basaltic rocks.

This walk was unbelievable, coastal view, blow hole saw Albatross and babies. Mocking bird, blue foot boobies, sea lions red Iguanas and lots of crabs.

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Waved Albatross is the largest bird in Galapagos islands with a wings pad of 2.5 meters. The waved albatross spends life at sea, only coming to shore to mate, Espanola island is the only place in the world it reproduces. The birds mate for life and can live for 60 years.

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These are my three amigos
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Had cold beer when we got back on deck. Tonight was pina colada cocktail party, Ate supper with Gary and Barbara from Colorado.

Tuesday October 18th

Floreane Island one of the four islands that Charles Darwin Visited during the time here

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We had to go back to ship to get wet suits for advanced champion snorkel they provide all equipment and fit you and give you a bag to keep the whole trip. They wash it and hang it up for your next snorkel. This was a snorkel for experienced snorkelers and the water can be rough. Kind of a drift snorkel. Jim did fine and the most exciting thing was when a sea lion was swimming with us.

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Baroness Outlook
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Wed October 19th

Left at 0830 for easy beach walk saw pink flamingos they are pink from eating shrimp, We did a snorkel. Back to ship for a massage by LuLu. The best massage I have ever had. She had magic fingers.

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Posted by Cindygad 08:26 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Galapagos 2011

Part 2

Bartoloma is a tiny island with a central volcano is the most visited among the islands. Bartolome features a quintessential volcanic landscape with Pinnacle Rock towering. Well worth climbing the 379 steps to reach the top.

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The snorkel by the rock and crevices was good

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October 20th 32 anniversary

Isabel a island is the largest island and is composed of five volcanoes that over the years has joined into one. Urbina bay is is a beautiful wide open bay this directly affected by the Cromwell Upwelling Current. It is a deep water current traveling along the equatorial line from the western Pacific eventually coming in contact with the Galapagos Archipelago. This nutrient rich cold water comes to surface with water temperatures occasionally reaching 10-30 degrees Celsius. The majority of the Galapagos penguin population is found close to Urbina Bay because of the cold water.

Marine iguanas can stay underwater for up to 45 minutes while feeding on algae. The excess salt in their diet necessitates them to get rid of it by sneezing it out their noses

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Snorkel saw turtles stingrays and penguins Ate lunch at beagle grill had lobster, shrimp, ribs and chicken, Delicious!

Isla Fernanandina is the youngest and western most of all the islands, A trail leads over rippled pahoehoe lavato tide pools and tide pools, The largest colony of marine iguanas and colonies of sea lion. .

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Tonight we had dinner with Peggy and Dedra two friends that were in service together and both wanted to do bucket list trip.
Barbara and Gary from Colorado were frequent dinner companions.

Friday the 21st Santiao Island we visited Puerto Egas where a salt mining operation existed until 1960, a walk along the shore leads to the extraordinary grotto's home to Galapagos fur seals.

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The afternoon hike to Dragon Hill was the only hike that I did not enjoy! Hot and did not see much wildlife .It might of been because I had a hour massage with Lulu before she did some cupping where she heated some glass globes and said it helped to get rid of toxins. I was getting a cold and she did a sinus rub and in the morning cold was gone. She was amazing. Jim who does not usually like massages love her. She really has a magical
way.

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Saturday October 22 we did the Highland walk in the morning it was amazing seeing these huge tortoises in the highland meadows.

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In afternoon we did the long hot walk to Charles Darwin research station the giant tortoises. We would see lonesome George who would die a year later

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Jim went on the bridge tour offered

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Sunday was travel day back to Quitos with dinner at Hotel and early breakfast before long travel day home on Monday. This trip was very organized and we only spent less than 3$ hundred dollars since everything was included. The Naturalist were wonderful and this was truly a trip of a lifetime.

Posted by Cindygad 08:24 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

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