A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Cindygad

Down under New Zealand and Austrialia Feb 2024

New Zealand and Australia

New Zealand and Australia 2024

The term Down Under is a colloquialism and refers to Australia and New Zealand. It comes from the fact that these two countries are located in the Southern Hemisphere below many other countries on the globe. We had met two couples from Australia in 2022. We had shared several private excursions with them and it inspired us to book these two cruises. The International Dateline subtracts one day,

We found a place to Park, Fly Stay at Best Western Glenview for 28 days took a 3 pm shuttle to the Airport, and flew out at 7 pm. We flew Air New Zealand and had a sky couch in economy. 3 seats that could be made into a bed. It was quite comfy. They gave you a mattress pad and two large pillows.
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We were lucky and the plane was not full so Jim was able to acquire e empty seats to also lay down.
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16-hour direct flight. Arrived at 6 am. Left on Sunday and arrived on Tuesday due to the dateline.

Took a taxi to our Airbnb in New Zealand. The first rip off meter said 62 dollars he charged us 82. Should have asked price. The owner let us store luggage in a locker. The instructions were great. We changed clothes and I put sandals on I had developed a blister on my foot. It was hot and Auckland was very hilly. We went down the street to a cute little coffee shop. Had pastry and cappuccino.

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We walked down a huge hill to town. We were tired and the sidewalks were unlevel. All of a sudden I tripped. I landed hard on my knee and wrist. Shook up but luckily unscathed. A construction worker ran up to help me and said Maam that was one wipeout. We were meeting Jeff and Evelyn a couple we had met two years ago. They were leaving today for a cruise on Oceania around New Zealand for their 10th anniversary. What a coincidence we would be able to meet up in Auckland. We talked about doing a hop on hop off bus. We met up and decided to go get a coffee and pop to catch up. We missed the bus so we took a taxi to Auckland Museum. Had a great time enjoying the museum and spending time with Jeff and Evelyne.

Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of the mainland New Zealand. They arrived in several waves of canoe in 1320. Over several centuries in isolation, these settlers developed their own distinctive culture, crafts mythology, and language.

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They went on to start a cruise on Oceania IMG_2555.jpegaf8b6a30-df19-11ee-acaa-1b87e4cd8f9a.jpegae0ba800-df19-11ee-bf08-094ca2601a2f.jpegDSC05367.jpeg

We parted ways and took a taxi to check in to Airbnb It was advertised as a Little studio with Big Views. Perfect for us.

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We showered and exhausted walked to our reservation for 360 Sky Tower for our 6 pm dinner. It was set to a price of 109 a person. The reviews said the food was good but it surpassed that. the restaurant revolves once an hour and we had a leisurely dinner for 2 hours.

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We enjoyed our leisurely walk back on a beautiful evening and to a welcomed bed.fea1fda0-e126-11ee-95f3-ed7be76942dc.jpeg

We had booked a tour through Viator to Hobbiton the movie set. It was a full-day tour from Auckland that explored New Zealand's Middle Earth where the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit were filmed. We would see hobbit holes in gardens and enjoy a drink in the Green Dragon Inn. It was a two-hour drive through lush landscapes and we saw kiwi farms on the way. I am not a big fan like my husband Jim but ended up loving it.

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We walked to one of the pickup places at a hotel. The bus was nice and cool and 16 people were on it. Stopped at a rest stop, When we got there had time to go through the shops. We had a great guide. c16c0fa0-e236-11ee-880c-4d4b87c3ed4a.jpegc079e770-e236-11ee-993a-6ff7a4a65921.jpeg4aac8b70-e235-11ee-993a-6ff7a4a65921.jpeg

Wednesday 14, Sunny day and very hot. all tours now include an interior Hobbit Hole. Located on Bagshot Row these offer an authentic glimpse into the charming dwellings of Hobbits. Intricate hand-painted details and carvings adorn the wall It was a plethora of colorful hand-stitched linens and
allowed to touch and explore.

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One of the dominant trees at the site is an oak tree on the hill above Bag End. It is fake and constructed of fiberglass with leaves of silk. 44 Hobbit holes lying amongst emerald hillsides and luscious gardens are waiting to be explored. Seriously it doesn't feel like anything else you have ever visitedDSC05445.jpegDSC05405.jpeg

The Green Dragon is one of many inns of Shire. Had a good cold beer there at the end of the tour.

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We got dropped off where we were picked up. Walking home my blisters were worse so stopped at a pharmacy and got some silicone sleeves that fit my toes like a condom.

We found a place called Ziggles a Korean burger chicken place. Split a sandwich and realized it was a popular place because it was packed for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, Feb 15th. Jim was up early walking. I did a load of travel clothes and laundry handy to have a washer and dryer. He brought me a delicious cup of cappuccino. The Airbnb provided a light continental breakfast. We put our luggage in our locker and headed out to explore Ponsonby Area, which had a beautiful park and hip shopping and restaurant area. We stopped in a local pub and got a cool beer called hazy mystic that hit the spot.
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We had an Uber coming at one and he never showed and said we were not out there. We had been waiting 15min early. He charged us 20 so I disputed it and got returned. Called another Uber and onboard Edge at 230. We are in room 6139. Our room Stuart is Wayne.

Friday 16th Tauranga New Zealand.

Had to be in the lounge at 0815 to catch the Thermal Lake Jetboat excursion. It was a drive there through the Kiwi area. The jet boat It was a thrilling ride,
We had a female driver who put us through many 360 turns,

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Next up was Hellsgate Geothermal Park. Steeped in Maori myth and legend. We did not have time for a mud bath. Ok by me they said the Sulpher smell stayed with you a few days. While walking through this reserve you will be seeing billowing steam, bubbling of pools of warm mud...

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Saturday 17th Napier

In 1931 a devastating earthquake rocked and destroyed most of Napier City. The cities began rebuilding in the Art Deco which has kept Napier an Art Deco mecca in the Southern Hemisphere. We got lucky and it was one of the four-day festivals they have yearly. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in society. In 1920 became popular in Paris. Monuments of the style include the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

A pretty sunrise caught from our room

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Jim went to gym at 515 and brought me back Cafe Americano from Biaco We went to the main dining room for breakfast. Walked around the ship. Enjoyed time in the Eden area. Had a salad in the dining room and got off the ship at 1 pm. They had a shuttle to Napier. The festival was going on. Lots of locals dressed in period clothes. Old cars lined the streets.

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When got back on the ship went to Sunsett Bar and had Mojito and Jim had Long Island iced tea

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Sun Feb 18th

Picton is nestled at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Picton is possibly New Zealand's most pretty seaside town. This charming little fishing village has secluded bays and crystal-clear waters. We were up early to watch coming into Marlborough sounds. the sunrise was a ray of color. The export of trees is big in New Zealand. Before man came 80 percent was covered in wood. Radiata pine was preferred because grew faster in New Zealand Mass planting in 20'a and 30's created a robust forest industry.

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We joined a table of 6 people from Michigan and Utah who had traveled together before. Had a great breakfast with them.

The meeting place was the ship theater

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Talked to a couple that will be going on our Norway trip on August 2025. Jim and I have Kayaked about 6 times together. this will be our last. I asked the guide where I should sit and he said the back. Little did I know I had to steer with foot pedals. To Jim's dismay, he said I drove like a snake! To my credit, the 6 other kayaks had men in back steering. It was a terrific paddle in crystal clear waters. Also we wore q dry bib to keep water out of kayak. Had to snap it down and remember if tipped relax, feel your way around the rim, and pull the tab to release.

Got back and had drinks in Martini Lounge they do a light show at 6 pm and bartenders perform

We ate dinner with a couple from Wales that had been married for 50 years. He skies at the age of 74, Some of the best things about cruising are the people you meet.

Monday, Feb 19

Seas were rough so we could not port. The port authorities closed the port to Christchurch. Today would become a sea day. We ate breakfast with Mark and Linda from California. They told us they like to use Gate 1 for travel. Love all of the travel tibits you learn from seasoned travelers. We went up to the Gym for a workout. We enjoyed a restful day, Supper tonight we had an extensive conversation with a single widow from Singapore. She encouraged us to travel there soon. The courage it takes to traveL alone is eye-opening.

Tuesday, Feb 20th Dunedin

They call it Little Edinburgh both because of the scenery and the architecture borrow heavily from Scotland. We took a tour of the great houses of Dunedin. We stopped at Olveston house a mansion that had treasures from all over the world. The garden will delight any gardening enthusiast.

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Dunedin is home to the only castle in New Zealand, Larnach castle is located on the crown of a wooded hill overlooking Otago Harbour. This castle had my heart at the bagpipe-man greeting us with music and escorting us to the ballroom to have hot scones with clotted cream and jelly and hot tea.

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Guide

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Wed, Feb 21

Up on deck for the first of 3 sounds for the day. We found a good spot as we entered Dusky Sound. The weather was overcast with fog, which made it feel dreamlike. A fjord is an underwater valley carved by glaciers. Generally narrow with steep-sided mountains on either side these valleys were carved by ancient rivers of ice which have disappeared. Because these valleys are below sea level, they have been inundated with seawater creating the fjords we see today. the naturalist Cecilia Garland on board came on intercome outside and narrated about the fjords.

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Doubtful Sound, Once you breathe more than natural air and experience the atmosphere's serenity, you will see why Doubtful is inarguably a favored peaceful destination. Doubtful Sound is a rather untouched paradise that is off the unbeaten path. It is an adventurous journey you will share with fewer people.

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In the afternoon we would enter the last, Milford Sound. Situated within Fiordland National Park this natural wonder is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site, and is protected by its natural geography.

We should experience one of the rare sunny clear blue days in the fjords. The day flew by.

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Thursday day 8 sea day Feb 22

Crossing the Tasman Sea is sandwiched between the Australian and New Zealand land masses. Unlike many other bodies of water, wind and wave conditions on the Tasman 'sea are rough for most of the year as the currents of the Southern Ocean collide with those of the Pacific.

I did Zumba up in the Garden area. The leader is really good. Went in a closed area of Eden to read. Had a lovely dinner with a Danish couple he was a pharmacist and she was a Lutheran Minister.

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Friday day 9 sea day

Sat Feb 24

We were an hour late tendering due to rough seas. It was cloudy, overcast, and called for rain. We got off by the Opera House this is a massive place. It was very crowded so decided to do hop on hop off the bus.

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After dinner it was a magnificent evening so went up on deck to see skilines of sydney

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Sat Feb 25
Today was the turnaround day for back-to-back cruises. this morning was a stunning sunrise with the Opera House in the backdrop.

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Fortunately. we had the same room for both cruises. We got off at 0930 and decided to walk to
botanical gardens.

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Australia's natural masterpiece and oldest botanic garden overlooking Sydney Harbour. The Domain wraps the garden, It was a hot sunny day and we found ourselves seeking the shade. It was a free entry to luscious gardens. We then walked over to the area known as the Rocks. There was a market going on. We walked the streets and found a Munic bar stopped and had a beer and rustic bread, cheese a meet.

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Jim wanted to go to a church and I headed back to Edge to board,

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On Monday we ate at Elite Breakfast in Bistro, Had freshly squeezed juice, a bagel and cream cheese, and a fruit plate. I had cappuccino.

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Went to the Great Barrier Reef Seminar.

Tuesday Sea Day Feb 27

We were sailing the Gold Coast of Australia. Went to a couple of lectures on reef animals. Jim has been getting up every morning at 515 and walking outside or going to the gym. He brings me back a cup of Americana every morning at 630. The barista knows him and calls him Sir James. He was tired today and I told him to go to Eden and find a quiet place to read or find a couch to take a nap. I took my book later and it made me smile to see he found the perfect spot.

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Wed Feb 28

Airlie Beach Queensland Australia. Located in the heart of the Whitsundays region the coastal town has long been a popular holiday destination. We had booked a Catamaran. It was a tender port. The weather on the whole trip had been picture-perfect. Today would be another story. It started off overcast with the look of rain in the distance. We all boarded the purple catamaran and were on our way. Met some fun people up on deck and did get to enjoy sailing for about an hour and a half when the bottom of the day dropped out. It was a deluge of rain for about 2 hours. There were 88 on board and it was very tight underneath in the covered area. Jim sat outside with another lady instead of being crammed inside. The crew worked hard to make everyone happy and put on a tasty dinner even grilled chicken and hamb in rain. It was not their first Rodeo and we all tried to make the best of a miserable day.

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Thursday, Feb 29th

Today is the day We had been waiting for Would the Great Barrier Reef be everything we had dreams of? We are avid snorkelers and have snorkeled in most Caribbean islands, Hawaii and Tahiti, Galapagos, Our favorite being St John, Today would surpass our expectations tenfold. The first view of and underwater landscape of corals in the vast number of colors, shapes, and textures. What a treat and feast for our eyes. None came remotely close to plunging into the South Pacific Ocean and snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is all about superlatives. It is the world's largest Coral Reef. extending some 1400 miles, It covers some 133,00 square miles. It can be seen from outer space.

The dive boat picked us right up at Edge. 44 people total. We had the best safety and snorkel instructions. 20 people dove and 24 snorkeled. There were 3 lifeguards and a naturalist on board. One Master diver for 3 people. All of the divers were very experienced already. They gave us a Lyrica suit and fins. Jim and I brought our full face masks. It was very easy to get in at the end of the boat with the ledge going out. The water was bouncy, I wore a vest and took a noodle for visibility for Jim. It was overcast. The moment I had my face in water was so thankful to be experiencing this.

Hastings Reef Cairns is where they took us. It took about an hour and a half to get there. This was idyllic for snorkeling was a good swing through up to reef experience something I will remember for the rest of my life. We snorkeled for 2 hours came in and ate went back in an hour. I thought it was time to come in the lifeguard said we had about an hour more. I wanted to go back in. Jim was tired and Lifeguard said you are like a fish in water and he would keep an eye on me. I don't like to snorkel alone but hated to give up Jim also watched me from the end of the boat so I went off to my little bit of heaven.

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We got back to Edge at about 4 pm. We were tired but happy from the day in the water. We shared a table with Alan a 84 year old gentleman that was traveling alone on back-to-back cruises. He lived in Auckland. He was a widower and had traveled with a lady friend who now was at home for dementia. He had no children but was close to the daughter of a lady friend. She talked him into doing cruises. He said never again just too lonely traveling by himself. He was a good conversationalist and interesting to talk to. Glad we could share a table with him. We were staying overnight in Cairns so went to see the local entertainment in Theater. A musical journey celebrates indigenous traditions through dance and music. Iat offers a profound glimpse into the heart of Australia's indigenous culture.

March 1 second day in Carnes, We had to meet in the theater at 0645 am. The large Sunlover boat picked us up at Edge. It had 3 levels. Er sat in the middle. They again did a great safety speech and snorkeling instruction. Seas were rough and several people were using barf bags. The staff was exceptional in helping people who got sick.
Took about 2 hours to get to Moore Reef a stunning and extensive series of offshore coral atolls. It is also one of three reefs that have a pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef. It has diving platforms underwater observatories, a bar buffet, and a sundeck,

When we got there we had the advantage of knowing the drill since we had snorkeled yesterday. Jim got the right sizes of Lyrica suits and I got our fins. Before we knew it we were on a platform to enter water. Who knew this would be our best snorkel? From the moment we got in we looked at each other like are we really experiencing this. The sun shined through the corals invigorating the reef and creating an incredible Kaleidoscopic effect. So many juvenile fish out on the corner of the reef. We snorkeled a couple of hours and a half. Jim even said he did not care if he missed lunch. If you know him you know he rarely misses a meal. We made it out and went to a lovely dinner of curried meats, salad fruit, and fresh prawns. When we got done some were enjoying sundeck, water slide, submersible submarine, and observatory deck.
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March 2 Port Douglas Quick Silver Vessel. Another similar excursion takes you to a pontoon platform that again takes an hour and a half to a ribbon reef called Agincourt Reef. located at the very edge of the Great Barrier Reef along the Reefs Continental Shelf. At least seas were calmer on ride out. Unfortunately, the Seas were roughest of 3 snorkel days while snorkeling. This was a totally disorganized start total chaos with people going every which way. We got our equipment. The life jackets did not fit as well. In the water, we go to get kicked by many beginner snorkelers flailing in the water. We got out past them and got out to deeper water. Lots of dead coral at the beginning. It did get better as we got out past the ropes. It was very bouncy and after about an hour Jim said he would wait for me at the middle. I went out deeper but was always trying to keep an eye on him. Saw lots of turtles that people were chasing and trying to touch. I actually screamed at a lady who was trying to touch. I have such respect for animals and coral and it infurates me the lack of respect some have for these creatures. We ate a good lunch and were a little disappointed with the snorkel even though was still good. Took the free submersible submarine and was quite surprised at how healthy the coral was here and really enjoyed this. Very good for people who were unable to snorkel or dive. It was time for the long way back, getting to the port and having to transfer to the ferry took about an hour. We were wiped out from three days of snorkeling.

Supper was a shared table with a couple from Sydney who was going to see 4 day-old first grandchild in Bisbon. It was so good to see the joy in their eyes and how excited they were to meet their grandson. the other couple was from Whales. We had such a good time visiting we stayed in the dining room till 0915.

Sunday, March 3

Sea Day and pass by Willis Island is one of the most remote islands in the Coral Sea, The island is home to a weather station operated by the Australian

We went for a walk and decided it was not windy and would go up in the Jacuzzi

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Tue March 5 Brisbane

You cannot come to Australia without seeing Koala bears and Kangaroos. Since we were not going to the outback booked Steve Erwins Australia Zoo.

Koala bears are awesome animals that are not bears. they are marsupials and have [picjes where their newborns develop. A joey grows and develops in the pouch for about six months. They eat eucalyptus leaves. They sleep up to 18 hours a day.

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Kangaroos are marsupials that carry young in pouch. A male is a boomer and a female is a jill. There are more kangaroos in Australia that people. Kangaroo meat is commonly found in Australia and is considered to be healthier than other meats. Big back legs are good for hopping and tail is used to control balance. Short forelegs are handy for food gathering and in combat.

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Wed March 6

Our last sea day. we packed and got our suitcases outside the door before 10 pm, One last walk, and said goodbye to home of 21 days.
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Thur Blue Mountain debark tour

We left at 7 am for a2 hour ride to Blue Mountains. The mountains are a rugged region known for its dramatic scenery The Blue Mountains are rich in eucalypt trees and it is these trees that create a blue haze. Evelyn lives in the Blue Mountains and told me she lives about 10 min from Echo Point. She offered to pick us up show us around more and take us back to the airport hotel. We finished the tour and she picked us up and we were on our way. She showed us her mountains and took us on some hikes. We went to her house and Jeff took us back to the airport we stopped at a great restaurant on the way.

We first went to Echo Point where we got to view three sisters.37c8dc90-e4b8-11ee-81a2-457d830e509f.jpeg376c3da0-e4b8-11ee-81a2-457d830e509f.jpeg3735eb60-e4b8-11ee-81a2-457d830e509f.jpeg37058c90-e4b8-11ee-a8c1-7f20fe890c65.jpeg

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next stop was scenic park We enjoyed the Cableway, skyway, and railway

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Our first stop with Evelyn the road was being worked on so she took us on a new hike. DSC06453.jpeg37c8dc90-e4b8-11ee-81a2-457d830e509f.jpeg376c3da0-e4b8-11ee-81a2-457d830e509f.jpeg3735eb60-e4b8-11ee-81a2-457d830e509f.jpeg37058c90-e4b8-11ee-a8c1-7f20fe890c65.jpeg

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We stopped at Evelyn and Jeff's house. What a beautiful, peaceful area they live in. We stopped at a great bar for supper. Our meals were very tasty Our treat for them took us to the airport hotel and provided a wonderful tour of the area.

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We stayed at Holiday Inn Express at the airport. Had a hot breakfast including a fancy coffee machine. Left for the airport at 0800 for an 11 o'clock flight to Auckland. Had a 3 hour wait. ate lunch at the airport and headed home for a long flight home. Air NewZealand. Had seats that made into bed and Jim was able to get a row of empty seats too. Good night. Arrived in Chicago 430. Waited for the shuttle to get car at the hotel. Jim slept enough and decided to drive home. Traffic was heavy and arrived home at 9 pm, Grandbaby Stoch was at our house the men were making sausage tomorrow. Until next time.

Posted by Cindygad 00:46 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

St John 2024 sharing with best friend Becki

St John 2024

St John 2024 sharing with my best Friend Becki. I have known Becki since Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. 1975. She lives about an hour from me. I have tried to get her to join us in ST John for years. Her husband does not like warm weather trips. This year our friends were not joining us and we had a two-bedroom villa rented. I told her she might as well come at no charge for her just to get here. She is a very generous person and treated us many times to dinner and drinks and beautiful excursions to baths and Norman Cave.

Before this trip, we would have two trips to Med Point before we left. My husband, who rarely gets sick had a terrible cold and went on Sat. I was fine. On Wed I developed a horrible cold that went straight to deep chest cold. I went to Dr on Wed. I had wheezing that have never had. Dr did a COVID test and I was sitting there I was thinking, great I am not going to be able to go. Jim and Becki will be there without me. Whew, the nurse came back and I just had flu and a Negative Covid. The antibiotics kicked in and I felt better I just had a cough. We went to Indy and stayed with our daughter for the night. My lovely son-in-law took us to the airport at 3 am. We had 530 flight. Yippee we had been upgraded to first class for the first leg to Dulles. The plane was de-iced. we would miss some sub-zero weather at home and lots of snow while we were gone. We were on our way. We only had a 50-minute layover. And had had to go from terminal A to terminal C. When we got they were boarding. We lucked out and got an open seat so I could put my feet up. The bad news was we were next to a screaming toddler for at least an hour. Thanks to noise-canceling earplugs.

We arrived an hour before Becki. Always glad to see our cooler come off the conveyor.
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Becki arrived on time with carry-on bags only. Yeah, we were off to the 330crown ferry. We arrived early enough for a drink at Tickles.

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Courtesy picked us up at Crown Ferry. We got a bright orange Jeep.

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Stopped and got milk, eggs, cream, juice, booze, beer, and water and was off to the wild side.

I thought I had reservations at Rumblines but they were closed. On to Skinny Legs for burgers that were so delicious. Tip order medium well mine was pretty red at med.

The next stop is Lunazul for our stay. Dorthy and Edward were out of town until TUE.

We unloaded and unpacked.

Sunday, Jan 14th.

Up at 0500 my favorite time on the island listening to sounds as the island wakes up. 615 for sunrise. Had sausage egg McMuffins and Becki was a great help in the kitchen. She always had coffee ready the night before. Just had to push the button. We usually leave for the beach at about 0830. Becki was a novice snorkeler. We picked Francis, it was windy but calm but the visibility was not good. saw turtles and rays. We had a quick sprinkle, rainbow and it cleared up for the day.

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Back at Lunazul had appetizers and cocktails
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Our supper was chicken cordon blue, rice, and pasta salad.

We were all tired and turned in early.

Monday, Jan 15
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Blueberry pancakes and Steven's homemade bacon for Breakfast

We arrived in the parking lot at Maho 0845 and several early birds there. We got a nice spot right in the shade. It rained off and on for short periods for an hour or so and then it became sunny. Becki saw her first turtle and ray

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We stopped at Annaberg and the plantation on the island of Saint John in the United States Virgin Islands. It is uninhabited and part of the Annaberg Historic District within the Virgin Islands National Park.

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I had reservations at 530 at La Tapa a waterfront restaurant in Cruz Bay

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Becki and I had sangria. We shared an appetizer of bread and 3 toppings

Jim had paella and we had pasta shrimp, longastino with lemongrass, and salmon. The chief outdid herself, everything blended together so well.

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Tuesday Jan 16,

Virgin Gorda by Viator, The Baths is a collection of massive granite boulders as large as 40 feet in diameter, with white sand beaches and secret rock pools. short for batholiths) are comprised of a labyrinth of massive, awe-inspiring granite boulders that form an amazing array of cavernous passages meandering through sheltered sea pools along a sun-drenched shoreline.
These boulders, some as large as houses, are thought to be remnants of volcanic activity millions of years ago. Over time, the relentless forces of nature sculpted and eroded the rocks, creating narrow passages and hidden chambers.

Becki was treating us to the excursion that left from Westin.
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It said to get there at 730 and would leave at 0800. There were 3 crew and 20 people going. They served a continental breakfast. The seas were rough but the vessel had a smooth ride. We arrived early at o930 and there were no other tours there so it was easy to walk through the baths.

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Devils Bay and the baths

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We ordered our lunch for the top of baths from the menus The food was very good. Get the onion rings here. We took a taxi back to the boat. Next Norman Island and the caves
Known for tales of buried treasure, these caves are appreciated even more for spectacular snorkeling

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we'd biscuits and gravy for breakfast

Wednesday Jan17

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We arrived at Salt Pond at 0845 and there were 8 jeeps already there. We found a place in the shade and started the hike. We took our time and enjoyed the views. The view from the top was worth it.

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When got back donkeys were on the beach

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Becki and I walked to Drunk beach

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Miss Lucy's for 3 pm lunch/supper 3 grouper Reuben with fries please extra reumalaude sauce please, they have good coconut and lime drinks too!. My favorite on the island. Would only get to go here once next week it was closed for the week.

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Thurs Jan 18

Little Lameshur the road has gotten worse since last year. Wish they could grate it. The second jeep is in lot atO845. Got the large shaded area with a tree and picnic table to the right. My favorite spot. This beach gets hot and this area stays shady.

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Becki and I walked to the ruins at the right end of the beach

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snorkeling out at rocks

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Friday Jan 19

We went to Haulover South and had a good snorkel to right

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I had made reservations to get to Lime out from Skinny's on Salt Lime at 1130 it was 107 for the three of us both ways it was a pontoon. You had to wear a noodle I was almost bellied up to the bar and turned round and no Jim or Becki there were a few swells and Jim was having a hard time getting there. Thanks to Becki who stayed with him. boy did I get a look from him. We got up to the bar and placed our order. Becki went out to the tube and had a hard time getting up. Next, I tried took a couple of tries, I don't have the best upper body strength. Jim is strong but still struggled but finally, we were up and our drinks were ready we joined a couple who were on an excursion from St Thomas. The tacos were great and the drinks were good. I had a ceviche taco, they had shrimp tacos. Danger was my spicy drink they had hunter drink. The fish are well-fed there. You drop anything and they are there to gobble it up. It was fun and a one-and-done for me.

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We parked At Skinny's so shopped on the way out.

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Had a taste for key lime pie and wanted to stop at Windmill
Bar. Each year they added on it was bigger than ever. Still irks me they charge you to park. Seems like if you get a drink the charge is not needed.

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Sat was my 67 birthday. So blessed to get to spend it in my happy place. Jim picked Trunk. When we got thereO830. The beach was filling up. Jim found a spot in the shade. He thought since turn around day would not be crowded! Wrong cruise ships galore were in port. It was packed but actually fun to people-watch.

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We had reservations for Morgan Mangos at 530. I always say island restaurants are good but not as good favorite restaurants at home. Tonight all three of us agreed overall one of the best meals we have ever had. From start to finish And Julia our waitress gave super service

Martini’s were spicy mango, key lime pie and pomegranate & pear

Appetizer was Peruvian fusion
Shrimp marinated in lime and tossed in a Spanish salsa. Served with crisp homemade yuca chips
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the beet, scallop, and lamb medallions were superb
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Caribbean lobster
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coconut-encrusted grouper melted in your mouth

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We shared white choc mousse key lime pie this is the best I have ever had.

Sunday, Jan 21

Becki's last day the winds were finally down and we were able to get to Haulover North for our favorite snorkel Becki said it was like an aquarium.
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we climbed to top of Denis Bay for the 360 view

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We spent the afternoon relaxing in Denis Bay

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Becki wanted to go to Skinny’s for a burger. They had bands playing for a benefit. Good food and fun time.

Monday, Jan 22
We took north shore drive and stopped at Trunk for pictures on the way to take the ferry back.

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We dropped Becki off at 0900 ferry and went to the deli for an Italian sandwich

We went to Oppenheimer and got the extra spot down the road.

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Supper was a homemade pizza with Trader Joe's garlic dough, ham, salami, and bacon. Better than island pizza.

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Tuesday Jan23

we went to Grootpan we were the only ones on the beach till we left at two.

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We snorkeled to the left pretty rough today. Left to stop at Miss Lucy's but it was closed. Not much on this side to eat at so back to Skinny’s to eat. IMG_2185.jpeg

Wednesday Jan24

was a wash out it pretty much rained all day We stayed at the villa and enjoyed the sunshine pool area when the sun came out for a short time. We decided to go to Cruz Bay and eat at Greengos in Mongoose Junction. We hit happy hour so had 5 dollar mango margaritas IMG_2194.jpegIMG_2196.jpegIMG_2195.jpeg
We had shrimp appy and shrimp tacos

Thursday Jan25

We went over to the beach by Pelican Rock. We spent the day reading and snorkeled the shelf reef to the left.

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We had Pad Thai take out from Rumblines

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Friday Jan26

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Jim said let's stop at Maho it was a perfect ending to

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tonight we ate in sausage and potatoes and leftover Pad Thai

the moon was still pretty

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Saturday I was up at 5 to soak in the last moments.

Pretty last sunrise

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We were to early for lunch but Jim had BLT from the breakfast menu and the last drink of the trip

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always finish with a donkey

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Posted by Cindygad 19:36 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Germand land Germany land tour Oct 3 2023- Monday Oct 9

Passau, Salzburg, Herrenchiemsee, Oberammergau,Ettal,Zugspitze,Lake Constance,Black Forrest open air Museum, Triberg, Speyer,Heidelberg, Frankfurt

Germany Land portion with 16 people. We hit the jackpot with our guide Jureg Gilgen from Basil Switzerland. He was the best guide. He gave us a bag of local treats and chocolate and a shot glass for schnapps we would have on the bus, not like our mint schnapps for sure!

We boarded our large coach to head to Saltzburg Austria, We stopped at the prettiest roadside stop called Landzeit Mondsee. The view here was amazing.

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Saltzburg is a charming city and is the birthplace of Mozart. The old city retains many people from the Medieval and Baroque Periods. It was salt that gave the region and city its name. It is an Austrian city on the border of Germany. We saw the Mirabell Gardens with elegant landscaping and pathways on lush grounds fronting the Mirabell Palace. The real Trapp family once lived here. The movie classic Sound of Music was filmed in and around the city. However many of locals are not familiar with the movie. The Makartsteg Bridge is often called the Love Lock Bridge. In our free time, we split a pretzel and cheese for lunch.

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We then went to the Zum Salzbergwerk salt mines in Berchtesgaden. We got our overhalls and headed into the mines by a miner's train.
The salt mine has been in uninterrupted operation since 1517. Salt does not occur in pure form but is rather encased in the Haselegebirge. this composition contains an average of 50 percent salt. It is released from the mountain with the wet mining method. We took a train down and got to experience two large slides. Also too small to ferry across the underground salt lake.

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Checked into hotel Aloenresident Buchenhohe We ate at hotel restaurant Holzkafer across the street and had a huge round table for 10-

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Wed Oct 4 we had an early leave time of 715. We were supposed to have a box breakfast but Juerg had eaten here before and requested an early breakfast. It was magnificent

Took bus to Prie Chiemsee fo

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We had a carriage ride from Pier to Castle

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We walked the beautiful grounds while waiting for our guide. In 1878the Palace was built like Bavarian Versailles. When King Ludwig died in 1886 it was never completed. He was only 40 years old.

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inside

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We had a snack at a cafe

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We took the bus to Oberammergau the small town known for passion plays

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Hotel Luitpold was our home for two nights, We walked to Suchi restaurant that had no openings but they let us eat outside.

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Thursday, Oct 5th
Went down to have breakfast and they gave us our own area to have breakfast. Jim made friends with Hostest and when he came back from an early walk she turned on the cappuccino machine for him. He brought me back a cup.

Ettal is a quaint Bavarian town with the Ettal Abbey the Benedictine Abbey since 1330, this was my favorite church of all on the trip.

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We had a cheese tour of the monks' factory with a sampling of cheese. We then had time to walk around town on our own.

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We had a charming guide by the name of Claus for a guide to Abbey and Monks Brewery highlights with its striking beauty. Benedictine monastery was founded in 1330 by Louis IV. Ettal is one of Bavarias's architectural highlights.

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The vestry of Ettal Abbey is a stunning example of Rococo architecture. The walls are adorned with intricate stucco work and frescoes and the ceiling is decorated with the Holy Spirit

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Claus next gave us a brewery tour and tasting

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We then had a full lunch at Klosterhotel

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Soups, pork and dumpling, schnitzel and fries, two types apple strudel and cheese strudel to share. Jourk was right we would not need any supper tonight.

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Today was a full day and we next were headed to Zugspitze cable car ride to the highest mountain in Germany. High above the clouds, surrounded by infinite freedom. Up on Zugspitze, you are greeted by breathtaking 360 views of more than 400 summits. It was dreamlike up there. We took a moment to breath and savor and realized that impression would stay with us forever.

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back to our hotel in Fussen

Friday, October 6

We started our morning heading to Lindau Island located on the shores of the picturesque Bodensee, Lake Constance to Lindau island Germany is a glimmering lakeside jewel overlooking the Alps. We had time to walk around and enjoy people-watching while having a cappuccino. We then took a Bodensee boat ride where you could see Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on three sides of the lake.

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We then went to the Black Forest's open-air Museum Vogtsbauernhof. Experience how people lived and worked in the black forest 600 ago.
The museum is centered on the Vogtsbauernhof farmhouse dating from 1612.

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Take a look at how thick the thatched roof was

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On the way, Jureg shared some black Forrest ham and sourdough bread

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tonight would be my favorite place we stayed BW Schwarzwaid Resident. The girl that checked us in, took suitcases to our room. waited and served us in the dining room and checked us out. It is a place snuggled high in the hills with a view of the town below the church and a waterfall in the distance.

Our bus driver Peter did an amazing job navigating the narrow streets.

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Tonight we were all too tired to walk down and then back up to the hotel. We chose to eat in hotel and had a wonderful dinner. The dinner was comped to our surprise.

The bewitchingly pretty Black Forest town of Triberg is home to Germany's highest waterfall as well as the world's biggest Cookoo Clocks. Jim did his early walk and we went down to a wonderful breakfast. Warm choc cressants were Devine. We had a late leave time of 1015. Yes, same girl was our barista and said we had enough time to walk to the waterfalls. She said would find it behind the church. Doug and Michele, Cindy and Terry went with us.

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We. found the path to Tilburg Falls. Randy and Joan joined us. It was a chilly 46-degree morning but the walk was easy. We had our latest leave time of 1015 We only had a short drive to the world's largest Cooko clock shop. We had no intention of buying a cookoo clock but 6 of 8 couples bought one.

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Loved our room with a view a and balcony

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Bollenhut red hat German Protestant women as part of their folk costume or Tracht in the three adjoining Black Forest villages of Gutach, Kirnbach and Hornberg-Reichenbach. The picturesque-looking red bollen hut has become a symbol of the Black Forest as a whole,

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Cooko clock

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We cross into the Altace region of France and Wissembourg. Wissembourg is situated on the little river Lauter close to the border between France and Germany.

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Jureg had told us to try Tart Flambee a pizza with cream fresh, onions, and thin-baked bacon on thin-crust

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We next stop at Cleebourg for wine tasting.

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Speyer is where we spent the night. We went with group of 8 to a Greek restaurant. Had the best gyros and homemade pita bread. They did not understand English but we had fun ordering.

Sunday, October 8,

We had a walking tour of Speyer and the Jewish ruins and bath.

Spyer Cathedral is historically and architecturally one of the most significant examples of Romanesque architecture in Europe. on 3 doors usually represent the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity. The 5 figures above the central portal represent God,s grace. The rose window is to be seen as a symbol of Divine salvation, The 12 steps is a symbol of perfection. Also 12 pillars in the church

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Cathedral bowl on special occasions the bowl is filled with 1500 liters of wine. The last was the 950year dedication of the church in 2011

The Jewish Courtyard has remains of a synagogue and an intact Mikvak for ritual washing

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Our guide recommended a brewery that we went to for a light lunch and beer

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The last stop is Heidelberg, with Heidelberg castle on the hill and the Old Bridge over the river Neckar

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Last beer

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Tonight we had our farewell dinner at Das Boothaus

Carrot ginger Soup, Argentine Rumpsteak, roasted potatoes, vanilla ice cream and choc dessert

We spent the night at the Frankfurt hotel

Great group of people to travel with

Randy,Mark & Shelley, Robin & Gary, Daen & Dale, Cindy & Terry, Michele & Doug, Cindy &Jim, Paul & Carla and Joan

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Thanks to Doug and Michele for a wonderful trip

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Posted by Cindygad 18:38 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Amadeus river cruise and post cruise Germany

Amadeus river cruise Sept 25, 2023, and post cruise

cb54afe0-69eb-11ee-bee4-0b8878094f88.jpegAmadeus River Cruise 2023 and a week post-Cruise

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We left home at 1000 and ate at Shelby Campbell by the Best Western in Elk Grove where we parked the car for 2 weeks $132. Took the shuttle at 1 p.m. to the airport and flew Lithiswaian through United. Had a 4 pm flight and went to United Lounge to spend time Left at 4 pm and arrived in Frankford at 6 am. Jim slept 7 hours I slept 0. Michele our tour travel agent provided a guide to get us tickets for the train. He met 18 of us and tried to help us at the machine but had difficulty so took us to a booth. Finally, we all purchased tickets and caught the train with all our luggage to Cologne. the train was very crowded and we had to split up in different cars. Only 1 hour ride and we were off to find ship to leave our luggage until we could board. The map we had was confusing and took us a while traipsing all with luggage. All is good it is a sunny day and we found our ship. They were kind enough to take our luggage.

Jim and I Have been to Cologne (German Koln) before so we went off on our own exploring. We could see the Hohenzollern Bridge crossing the Rhine This bridge can be crossed by foot or 3 train tracks, Since 2008 couples have put padlocks on the fence on the bridge

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After walking along the bridge we strolled the waterfront of Old Town we visited a traditional Brauhaus to sample a Kolsch beer, I had the best gulash and Jim said he had his favorite brat of our trip.

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We got to board Amadeus at 4 p.m. Had a lovely dinner and to bed at 0930 traveling day is always a long day, Our handsome Captain was Kapitan Dan Balan
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Day two Tuesday, Sept 26,

Today we started up on deck enjoying the romantic Middle Rhine valley and seeing some castles.

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At one we took the little train to Drosselgasse in Rudesheim is known for its winemaking, especially of Riesling wines. 498ad4f0-67b9-11ee-bf44-a536bba78d75.jpeg

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Drosselgasse is a cobblestone street lined with shops, taverns and restaurants

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Thursday, September 28 Miltenberg-Weertheim Ht Miltenberg we had a city tour of the high-gabled timbered houses, The Tour ended at the fountain of three men peeing oddly enough right by a bathroom.

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Due to a delay in locks arrived late at 1 p.m. Miltenburg

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Tonight Michele had planned a speciality dinner from the Executive Chef Cornel Turcu. Michele had negotiated to have this included withour cruise. Is usually a hundred dollars a person. She always goes the extra mile for her customers.

We started in the lounge with a singnature drink Amadeus
It was presented with a flair. On the menu

We had an Aperitif drink that I did not get the name of, We also had red and white wine

Marinated Gravlax & Honey Mustard sauce
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beetroot carpaccio, young cucumbers, chive oil

Duck Consomme
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quail egg, duck confit rolls

Pan seared Jumbo Praun
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lemongrass lobster bisque zucchini risotto

Veal Tenderloin filet
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fondue potato, green asparagus, king trumpet mushroom, Barolo jus

Coconut creme Brulee
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Friday day 4, September 29, Wurzburg.

We had Stephanie a superior guide

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The stairs to enter were magnificent. You were supposed to float up the stairs in large hooped dresses and heels.

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We started with a tour of the Wurzburg Residence a masterpiece of the southern German Baroque style, Former residence of the Wurzburg prince-bishops its design is over the top luxurious.

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The central staircase with frescos by the Venetian Tiepolo and the imperial Hall are impressive They show the Four Continents beneath a central heaven presided over by Apollo. The allegorical figures on the cornice represent the four continents.America, Asia, Africa and Europe personified by regal female figures

America with the alligator and cannibals
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African camel and pearl traders
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Asia the obelisk and slaves
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Europe the elaborate arts of
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We then did a walking tour of Wutzburg which looks down on the broad stream of the Main River and is surrounded by hills on all sides. The old town features a marketplace, the Killian Chapel the Maria Chapel, and the old Main Bridge.

Romanesque St Kilian Cathedral is located in the center of the ancient city and is one of the oldest churches built in 1040, It has marks of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. The story goes the duke hired two barbarians to murder Kilian and his two companions. In 752 the first bishop of Wurzburg had a cathedral built on the spot where they were executed. Their remains are placed in the crypt, On 8th July St Kilian's feast day the relics are paraded through the town and put on display in the cathedral.

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Maria Chapel built in Gothic style in the 14th century

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market area

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The old Main Bridge was built in the 18th century. It provides panoramic views of a fortress and surrounding vineyards.

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We then walked back to Amadeus along the Main river.

We chose Medieval Rothenburg is referred to as Germany's well-preserved Jewel of the Middle Ages with its ramparts, city gates, and Gothic influences shaped the town. Towers, city gate walls, and half-timbered gables all have remained unchanged since the Thirty Years' War.

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We were lucky to get Stafanie as a guide again this afternoon.

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We had a short tour and then time to shop we chose to walk along the wall of part of the city

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Saturday, September 30. Day 5 Bamberg

On the main river, we went through so many locks. We were supposed to get to Bamberg at 3 p.m.

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We got in early so chose to get a taxi to explore before our tour at 3, Shared a taxi with Doug and Michele. We went in church and walked around. There was a yard sale going on in town. It was a holiday weekend and very busy. Bamberg is known as the Frankish Rome< It has a historic old quarter, churches bridge narrow streets and squares, its half-timbered houses, and baroque facades. It is a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO The former fishing district is now known as Bamberg's "Little Venice"

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Little Venice

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Rathaus Cultural Heritage Monument.

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local beer
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Bavarian night on ship

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Sunday, October 1 Nuremberg

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The Nazi party's rallying grounds are in the southeast of Nuremberg, where Nazi rallies were held from 1933 to 1938. To this day, the remains of the buildings with their immense proportions are a vid testimony to the megalomania of the National Socialist regime. The rallies were staged here to demonstrate their power.

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Nuremberg

Ringed walls towers and and castle provide a vivid image of the town as it may have looked in Middle Ages. When it was popular to tear down walls they did not have money to do so. Now it is part of the charm that makes it so popular. During the devastation of the Second World War, they chose to rebuild the style of the old town was maintained.

Nuremberg Castle is a group of medieval buildings. It represented the power and importance of the Holy Roman Empire.

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Our guide had told us about Bratwursthouse where get three Brats on the best crusty bun with horseradish and mustard. We shared as a snack and it was so good.

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Monday day 7 October 2 Regensburg

Mainly spared the ravages of war and time. It is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Germany, Among its architectural gems are churches monasteries the town hall, and one of Europe's oldest bridges that has spanned the Danube since the 12th century.

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When we got back to ship for lunch the captain was pacing on deck. The water was drastically dropping and if we did not leave soon he was afraid we would not be able to leave today. We got off and they bused us to the Weltenburg Abbey. This Benedictine abbey in lower Bavaria is located at the mouth of the romantic Danube Gorge. The abbey was founded about the year 620 by missionary monks and is the oldest monastic settlement in Bavaria.

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the walk-in along the river was beautiful and our guide Analice was spunky and fun

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The end of our Amadeus cruise we had left the ship and 0900 and boarded our bus for the land portion.

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Posted by Cindygad 18:34 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

St john for a month

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This year we are staying for a month, The problem arises where to leave the car for that long. We decided to leave from Indy where our daughter lives 20 min from the airport. We went the night before so they could go out and we could watch their grandson while they celebrated their 2nd anniversary. On Dec 31 we got up bright and early and left at 345 for the airport. My wonderful son-in-law dropped us off so we could leave the car at their house. Such an easy airport to leave out of compared to Ohare. The only bad thing is not a direct flight. Go figure we flew to Chicago first. We grabbed a breakfast sandwich that held us over on the airplane.

The atmosphere at St Thomas was festive they had the island music playing and three people dancing even someone on stilts. Also Yea the rum shots were back.

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We were able to catch the Crown 330. We got there in time for an Iquana drink Jim bought tickets online and the taxi was 36$ with 4 suitcases and a cooler. Jim gave 45 with a tip. The ferry was $48

Courtesy was waiting for us we got a 4 door jeep for a month. $2238

We stopped at dolphin market to get the usual creamer, milk, rum, eggs, bread lime juice for lime in coconuts, shrimp sauce, and Injuice, $150

Since it was New Year's Eve a lot of restaurants had a fixed menu. We wanted to get something to take back to our place. Called Rumblines and said we could get Pad Thai and Indonesian Fries if we came early. What a treat for our first meal, $40 We shared and had plenty for lunch too,

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Woke up early and enjoyed drinking coffee with the island starting to come alive

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Jan 1, Sunday

Francis is usually the first beach for us

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First time did not see any turtles at Francis

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Jan 2, Monday

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Jan 3 Tuesday

Salt Pond

We got here at 0830 and the 7th jeep in the lot. We picked out a spot in shade. Since I had my Knees replaced they are good but arthritis in my ankles makes it hard to hike on rocky areas. The trekking poles help but I still am very slow. I wanted to do this hike before my kids come so they can do at a faster pace and we can watch my one-year-old grandson for them.It took a while and my husband was such a good sport to go slow. Thankful I could still complete and enjoy the views.

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Miss Lucy for grouper reuben is still my favorite sandwich on the island 52$ 11 TIP

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Wed Jan, 4th

Pelican rock

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Thur, Jan 5

Brown bay was a disappointment. the winds were up and the water was too rough to snorkel. The shoreline had eroded a lot here. One good thing someone had cleared out weeds by the ruins on the left so I explored them. the hike in should take 20 min each way takes me 40.

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We went to Marys Creek to read for the afternoon

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Friday, Jan 6

Today we went to Jumbie where we haven't been for several years. Was the second jeep in the lot so got a great place in the shade

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We left the beach at 230 and had dinner reservations at La Tapa for 530. We have been here many times. Now the fabulous food has the ambiance of a waterfront view.

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Tuna tartare
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Gigli Pasta with salmon and shrimp
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The paella on menu is for two they will make it for one
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Saturday, Jan 7th

Today is bittersweet. It will probably be the last time we stay at Angel Roost. We have stayed here when we are by ourselves at least 13 times. It always feels like coming home. Jane and Larry are the best. They are going to put it up for sale and live in Florida full-time. We wish them the best but will miss their place.

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We were up early and cleaned up. Next up two weeks at our favorite villa Lunazul. Dorthy let us drop our stuff off early and put things in the refrigerator
the view here is our favorite on the island. Michele and Doug should be catching the 330 Crown ferry. This is the fifth time we have stayed here with them. Today is Dougs' 60th birthday. He wants to stay in and eat here tonight. We left and got in a downpour when went to get Key lime pie for his birthday treat from Dave's meals to go. Sorry to hear they have closed since then.

Lunazul

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Went to Cruz Bay to pick up Doug and Michele at Crown ferry

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Always good to see good friends. them We have not seen them since we went on an African safari trip Michele had arranged in May. Coming from a family of 11 Michele brings everything but the kitchen sink with her. She is a great cook and we eat well with a view while at Lunazul. Doug wanted to eat in so we had a birthday meal of steak, potatoes in foil, and salad. When we got back sitting on the counter were Carrot Cake muffins Dorthy the owner had made for Doug his favorite. How sweet I had only mentioned I tried to find a bakery that would make a cake for him to no avail.

Sunday, Jan 8th.

Had a big breakfast of potatoes, toast, and eggs. bacon. We take turns cooking and the guys are a big help. Lunch is a simple wrap and snack on the beach.

Doug picked Maho and we picked a shady place to the right.

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Cocktails and snacks when we got back

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Supper Lasagna, bread, and salad

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Monday, Jan 9

We were the first Jeep at Francis.

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Had chicken cordon blue green beans and rice. We watched 1883

Tuesday, Jan 10.

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Had sausage egg, and a biscuit sandwich for breakfast. Headed south to Little Lameshur

We always walk the beach when we get there. Easy to get to ruins

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We left around two for Miss Lucy's. This is our to go spot every Tue or Wed while on the island. They are only open for lunch Tue, Wed, and Sat this year and open for open Mic on Thursdays.

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Weds, Jan 11

We had been watching the winds all week so we could go to Haulover North. Michele cracked the whip and got us moving early, She-made eggs, sausage, pot, and toast.

We were out the door and arrived at Haulover at 810. Others had the same idea and were already snorkeling

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Went back to pelican rock and snorkeled the shelve reef

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tonight was pork loin smashed potatoes and peas.
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Thursday, Jan 12

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Since we had enjoyed Jumbie last week took Doug and Michele there. It was their first time here, We were the second jeep to arrive. We had a great day,

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We went to Starfish to get more rum, coke, cream, eggs, etc 117$

Back at Lunazul enjoyed the views. Had turkey, mashed pot, mixed veg. We watched the sad ending of 1883. Last year they watched the first 4 episodes with us and waited all year for the last 4 episodes.

Friday, Jan 13,

It was a Trunk kind of day. Arrived at 815 and twenty-five people were already there, Got a great spot, to right Michele loves the lime and coconut drink here and says they are the best on the island

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We stopped at Windmill Bar in the afternoon. You would think if you buy a drink which we all 4 did they would not charge you to park.

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Tonight we had blue gill Doug had caught this last summer.

Saturday, Jan 14

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My son-in-law Steven makes and smokes his own bacon. We enjoyed it for breakfast with eggs and hash brown potatoes. We arrived at Cinnamon at 0830. We got a beautiful spot on the sandy area by the cay.

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We had little hamburgers with Hawaiian bread and noodles

Sunday, Jan 15

The winds were only 6 and this time we were the first to arrive. We were greeted by donkeys coming from Haulover North

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Spent the afternoon at Micheles love beach.

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Monday, Jan 16

We went back to Francis there was a riptide warning and the waves were crashing up by tree line. We headed south to Grootpan

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Kiddle

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We left at 2 and the boys went in the pool back at Lunazul

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Had meatloaf, mashed pot, veg and salad

Tuesday, Jan 17

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Salt pond

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It is Tuesday so you guessed right Miss Lucy's

Wed Jan 18

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Lameshur,

We did a rock scramble to the left.

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We had some lime in the coconuts I made back at Lunazull

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We had chicken cordon blue, carrots, and salad We watched Where the Crawdads Sing

Thursday, Jan 19

It was a beautiful day for Francis

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Friday, Jan 20 th

Today is my 66th birthday. I am so blessed to get to share my favorite place with good friends and my husband.

Michele finds peace looking for sea glass this is her post about mermaids this is just a little glass she found.

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Long ago, when the world was still being discovered, men traveled the sea by ships with towering masts, and sailors docked in ports to rest and share tales of their perilous voyages. Gnarled captains recounted tentacled beasts rising from the ocean and viper-headed monsters snapping at sails; of waves a hundred feet high, and beaches of black sand. As the night grew darker, they talked of beautiful creatures, half woman and half fish, whose pale hands held the fortune of all sailors that dared cross their seas.
Mermaids were called. Women of the sea.
So powerful were they, a single breath could quiet a storm, a single fin bring forth a wave. Fate itself could be suspended by a mermaid’s kindness. Yet even these wild spirits had rules to obey. Neptune, Lord of the Sea, helped maintain the laws of nature, and as such forbade the maidens to use their powers to change fate’s natural course.
One starless night, as a schooner sailed towards Nootka Island in the San Juan, a great black thunderous storm came rolling in. Navigating by only brief flashes of lightning, the Captain desperately tried to hold course as the ship careened towards the jagged rocks, ripped sails sagging beneath the lashing rain. Unknown to him, a mermaid watched from the surrounding waves. The ship was familiar to her, and often she had traveled alongside it. In her ocean vigil, she had watched the Captain grow from a brave youth to an experienced seaman and had fallen deeply in love with him.
As the ship rolled portside, her Captain lost his footing, sliding across the rain-soaked deck towards the seething sea below. In her terror the mermaid instantly calmed the sea, taming both wind and wave to save his life. With the sea calmed, the Captain was hauled on board the ship, and the vessel limped towards the port. The mermaid, for changing fate and disobeying his wishes, was banished to the darkest depths of the ocean by Neptune himself, and condemned to live an eternity beneath the waves; never to see her human lover again.
Since then she has wept in exile, tears that match her rainbow tail washing up on the beaches in the form of glistening sea glass. For those that find them they are a gift of love, and waves will forever carry them ashore until she is allowed to return to the surface and be reunited with her one love.

The snorkeling was great at Pelican Rock today.

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Supper was at Rumblines.

We all had pad thai

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One thing we found funny at the fire station was how we had commented about the fireman sitting outside. Little did we know he was a dummy they would move around. Take a look when you go by.

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Saturday, Jan 21

Today we say goodbye to Doug and Michele and they catch the 1100 Crown ferry. We went back to Lunazul picked up our suitcases and went to our next stop Villa Allure. They were still cleaning but allowed us to drop suitcases off and put things in the refrigerator. Went back to Cruz Bay and stopped for a sandwich at Tap and grill.

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We bought some homemade bread from a girl we saw online. We really liked the sourdough

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Before we knew it was 415 and time to pick up our youngest son Keith and daughter-in-law Kate at the Crown ferry

We stopped at Starfish to get fruit and vegetable rum, beer, bourbon, etc. He did not want to bring a cooler so he just bought what he wanted, 300 dollars later he said I see why you bring a cooler Mom.

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We stayed in Villa Allure in 2021. It is a great place and has so much outside area to utilize.

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.Just the kids and us then, this year we would have two grandkids with us.

I told Kate she could have the master with the fancy shower this time, My daughter Casandra, Husband Steven and one-year-old Stoch, and 12-year-old Brett arrived at 630. Brett picked out his bedroom downstairs. It was so fun to share the island with family.

We all had some cocktails and settled in to enjoy our adventure together. I made ham and swiss sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls and pasta salad.

Sunday, Jan 22

Up early for sunrise

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Had eggs, toast, and bacon for breakfast. This was an amazing group to travel with. Jeeps were loaded at 815 each morning and everyone ready to go

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Maho

We set up camp and enjoyed the day

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Dinner at Rumblines

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Monday, Jan 23

Salt pond. We arrived at 0830 and got a great spot to set up camp. We watched Stoch since we had already climbed Rams Head. We enjoyed our time snuggling, He loved the water and actually fell asleep.

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Hike

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Snorkle
Keith went out to the middle rocks with me it was very bouncy out there snorkeled the left side coming back.

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Stoch

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We had steaks, fries and veg back at villa,

Tuesday

We went to Jumbie

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Dennis in the afternoon.

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Overlook

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Morgan Mango

Lobster, Whole fish, paella, appetizers tartar all were delicious.

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Wednesday, Jan 25

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We arrived at Miss Lucy's just after everyone else did so we had a looong wait. Everyone knew it was worth the wait.

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Thursday, Jan 26

Hawksnest The kids had a good snorkle here. Keith and Kate went to Cinnamon and then came back to pick us up

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Date night for the kids. We watched Stoch and Brett and had leftover Cordon Blue from Michele.

Friday

Francis, we got a great spot in shade to right. The kids snorkeled both sides and found the octopus in a crack in rocks on left.

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We dropped Jim, Brett, and Stoch off and went for another snorkel at Pelican Reef.

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Steven treated us all to pizz from Pizzabar in paradise. He enjoyed talking to ladies while waiting for it. We thought it was rather good for island pizza.

Saturday, Jan 28th

Last day before we leave tomorrow. Where did that month go? Trunk bay was the choice of the day. We arrived at 0830 and they were not charging today. We never mind the fee for such a beautiful beach. We had a wonderful family day enjoying the water.

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The last supper had hamburgers, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and homemade french fries.

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Sunday, Jan 29th

Sunrise was a good send-off for a travel day.

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We turned in our jeeps after dropping luggage off for 1100 Crown Ferry. Did a little shopping and was off for St Thomas. We had time to eat lunch at Tickles before going to the airport.

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Was surprised the airport was so busy for a Sunday. The lines were not bad and we waited for our flight. Home to Indianapolis for the night with our daughter and son-in-law.

Oh, what a trip. Was a month too long? Nooooo

Posted by Cindygad 15:05 Comments (1)

Historical Kaleidoscope on Marina Lisbon-Athens

Lisbon, Portimao Portugal, Cadiz Spain, Seville Spain, Casablanca Morocco, Gibraltar, Cartagena Spain, Barcelona Spain, Malta Valletta

Historical Kaleidoscope 22 Days on Oceania Marina, Oct 11-Nov 1. Kaleidoscope was a perfect name for all the ports we would see through the eye of the traveler. Each port was colorful and unique its own way. This trip was first booked in March 2020 for Oct 21. We delayed it a year due to Covid outbreaks. We left for Chicago on Sunday, Oct 9th for the park, fly sleep option at Raddison in Schamberg. They would keep the car for 23 days. We took a shuttle to the airport terminal 1, Lithuania 4 pm flight. Ate at Chilis at the airport. Flew Prieumum Economy seats, which gave you more room and footrests. Flew to Frankfurt Germany. Had to take a bus out to the plane. Left at 0915 and got to Lisbon at 1115. The line for taxis was extremely long. When we thought we were at end of the line, it then snaked around and around and around. 45 min later we on our way to the hotel. $30 for the ride. We stayed at Holiday Inn Express in Lisbon on Ave Liberade, just off Avenida da Liberdade near the Old town. Too early to check in so went to corner Pastelaria. Jim had Pizza slice and pop, I had a apricot Pastry and cafe Americano, all for 8 Euro.

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We loved the location of the hotel close to walking to everything. After checking in we walked to Old Town Almafa. The Avainade da Laiberade was a beautiful wide walk area with colored tiles covered with large trees for shade. The sidewalk on this street is described as Portuguese pavement.

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After the city's great Lisbon earthquake, the city was reconstructed so the work was fast and cheap

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The Gloria funicular connects downtown with Bairro Alto garden in 1885

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Other things on our walk

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For supper, I had made reservations at a little restaurant that had good reviews just around the corner from the hotel. It started to rain so we borrowed an umbrella from the hotel. Paralelo 45 did not disappoint and we started the trip off with a great meal with paired wine. I had the best Salmon I have ever had with polenta and Jim had Octopus with sweet potatoes. Jim had lava cake for dessert.

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The next morning we had a great breakfast included at the hotel and went for another walk before catching a taxi to the port.

The Oceania would be our home for the next 22 days.

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Embarking was quick and efficient. We dropped our suitcase off in room 7095.

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Lunch was up to wave poolside restaurant they take your order at the counter and bring your food to the table. I had a steak and lobster sandwich without the bread and Jim had the works a hamb and fixings.

We went back and unpacked and enjoyed the balcony. One thing Oceania has changed is they give you your own metal water bottle and have supplied water filtration systems throughout the ship. A nice way to help with stopping some of the plastic waste on board. We had specialty dining scheduled in Polo for a shared table.

Had foie gras steak and mushrooms and shared dessert.

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Went out and walked on deck, and Slept well till 700.

Wed October 12, Portimao Portugal

Portimao Portugal was our only tender port. They use lifeboats as transport. The port had been a large fishing village and fish processing industry. In the 80's hit by the recession and now depends largely on tourism.

We enjoy going to the main dining room for breakfast when we have time. So much quieter and nice to be pampered instead of the buffet. I had lovely avocado toast with fresh fruit. Jim was glad to have the blueberry bowl he has liked in the past.

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We took a tender at 0930, and walked into town. It was a nice sunny day

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We stopped for light lunch down by the water. Warm goat cheese with honey and arugula. Jim had a prawn sandwich

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We met Michael and Leonie from Australia in Horizons for a drink It was Captain's night> Cindy and Jim from California would be going on a couple tours with us. We had reservations in Tuscany for 630. Had a great table for 4. Great couple from Georgia. I had Mushroom Risotto, and Jim had his all-time favorite black fish from Portimao, in a white wine sauce. Jim almost always orders fish and was raving about it when the waiter brought out the chef to our table. We shared the five small desserts.

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Thursday, October 13th Cadiz Spain

It is a charming old town by the sea. It is an island so all streets lead to the sea. The cobbled medieval streets spill out into the Spanish Plazas. The ship was located right on the shore. We would climb up to one of the white villages.

We met outside of the ship and Sandra, tour by locals was our guide for the next two days. We Started with a walking tour of the city

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Next, we had reservations for noon. The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art Foundation. in Jerez de la Frontera, is famous all over the world for its show called, How the Andalusian Horses Dance.

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i had steak tatare
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Friday, Oct 14th Seville Spain

Met on the ship at 0815 and walked the short distance to the train statio,20 dollars apiece

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The Alcázar of Seville is one of the most representative monumental compounds in the city, the country, and the Mediterranean culture as a whole. The historical evolution of the city in the last millennium is held within its walls and gardens, amalgamating influences starting from the Arabic period, late Middle Ages Mudéjar right through to the Renaissance, Baroque, and the XIX century. The declaration of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 acknowledged the survival of cultures and civilizations as a harmonic whole where all of the elements are balanced. The visitor will get to know these unique surroundings either through the legendary al-Mutamid, the XI-century monarch and poet from Seville, or through some of the characters that illuminated modern-day Spain around 1812. Several scenes of Game of Thrones were filmed here,

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Seville Cathedral with the Giralda Tower

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (Spanish: Catedral de Santa María de la Sede), better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville, Andalusia, Spain. It is the fourth-largest church in the world (its size remains a matter of debate) as well as the largest Gothic church.

Christopher Columbus and his son Diego are also buried in the cathedral.

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The Retablo Mayor (Great Altarpiece) is an amazing altarpiece like no other. This massive and intricately-carved wooden structure covered with gold is 66 ft high and 60 ft wide and is part of the altar inside the Capilla Mayor (Main Chapel).

The construction of this altarpiece started in 1482 by Pieter Dancart, a sculptor from present-day Belgium, and was continued by several skilled sculptors before the completion of the first phase in 1528.

As you can see from the image, the Retablo Mayor is a recessed structure held by tall pillars on either side. The front-facing portion is a grid of compartments, each housing a narrative relief carved in wood and coated with a copious amount of gold.

The structure above the base consists of seven columns and five rows of compartments. Not all the compartments are of equal size. The compartments are separated vertically by pilasters, which are ornate with carvings of historical figures from the Bible or Church. Each compartment contains a narrative sculptural relief mostly depicting the scenes from the life of Jesus Christ.

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The Gothic style includes its tall structures, flying buttresses, and stained glass windows.

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We then walked to the Guadalquivir River
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Evelyne took a group picture before we took the van back to Cadiz

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supper tonight was in a specialty restaurant

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Dinner tonight was in Jacques we had a great table and were the last to leave. I had Lobster Thermador and Jim had shrimp

Casablanca, Morocco, Sat October 15

Casablanca is located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco

Our guide was Abderrahim he said to call him Abdul

The first stop was a very foggy morning and when we first arrived at Great Hassan II Mosque it was enveloped in fog. We got our entry tickets and went inside. The mosque stands right at the edge of the water. and its meter-tall minaret is one of the city's major landmarks. t shows the talent and craft of Moroccan artisans. It features pristine marble flooring, hand-carved stone and wood, cedar ceilings covered with gold leaves, and stunning multicolored tiles. This mosque is the biggest in Africa and 3rd largest in the world
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We drove an hour to Rabat

The Royal Palace

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Hassan Tower is the minaret of an incomplete mosque in Rabat

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We then went to Kasbah if the Udayus

is located on the hill at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river

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Tonight we did two loads of laundry it is nice they have three machines and dryers on each floor. No cost to use.

We ate in the Terrace for the first time I had Moroccan couscous and key lime pie.

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Sunday, October 16th. Gibraltar

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it was foggy and overcast again. On this trip, I joined Bernadine and Bob, Vicky and Rick. This was a port that was a bit of a surprise. We ended up loving our morning, It was so much more than just a rock. Quite a few interesting things, Pillars of Hercules, Straight of Gibraltar, Michaels caves with a light show, seige tunnels, Supper big cannon, an airstrip with a road right in the middle that has to close with road that goes right through the middle,

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Unique airport with a road in the middle runway. Rated 5th most dangerous in the world.

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St Michael's cave is a great cave located within the upper Rock Nature Reserve of Gibraltar. It is an underground cavern with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. It has a light show and film to watch in the area they can have concerts.

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Monkeys of Gibraltar British forces brought monkeys during World War ll. The Barbary Macaques originated in Morocco. They are maintained by the Gibraltar Veterinary clinic. They are given fresh water, vegetables, fruit, and seeds as supplements to natural food resources.

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Skywalk glass overlook

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Old fort was a great spot to watch airplanes land.

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RANDOM SHOTS

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Tonight was dinner at Red Ginger I had soup, fish and Jim had Lobster Pad Thai

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Monday October 17th, Cartagena Spain,

The walled city has always been a major naval port. The hilltop view from Conception Castle Enjoy the Panoramic lift to the top

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Had steak tartare, veal Marsala

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Barcelona October 18th

We have been to Barcelona this is one of our favorite ports. We have got to see and experience a lot here. One place we have not been that I have seen lit up is Castell de Montjuic. The sail into the harbor is colorful in the morning. It was a hot day and Jim had checked out how to get to Castell. It would involve a bus, funicular, and cable car to the top. We decided to forgo the bus and walk the first portion. We walked, and walked and walked! My ankles start talking to me after a couple of miles we had surpassed this and were climbing up. I said I think we missed the gondola lift and looking up don't think I can make it to the top. Finally found someone to ask and they pointed over and up. We started climbing up and up. Took many steps and whay la found a cable car. No wonder we did not find a gondola it was hidden by the metro,

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Coming down was much easier and then we took the Metro to the Gothic area. This is a place I just love to walk and wonder. We enjoyed our time and stopped at the tapa bar for beer and tapa.

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Tonight we stopped at Martini bar for Pisco Sour we then headed up to Horizons to dance to House band. Michael from Australia was quite the accomplished drummer. They let him play a couple of songs.

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We had one of our favorites in the main dining room

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October 19th first Sea Day

We needed this day to just catch up. Jim went up and got my coffee Americano from Paulo in Barista. We were pampered in dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We did a couple of loads of laundry early. We relaxed on the balcony and enjoyed the sun.

October 20th Our 43-year anniversary. Malta Valletta

Up early to watch coming into Malta. Another of my favorite ports. We had been here once 4 years ago. We still enjoyed it and saw some new things as well. We were back with two Australian couples. Micheal and Leonie, Jeff and Evelyne. Our guide Alfred was excellent. First of all the cruise into Malta is breathtaking. The island of Malta is right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It is south of Sicily and North of Africa.

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We stopped for pastry and coffee

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Medina is an ancient walled and in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture. It sits high on top of one of the tallest hills in Malta.

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Fontanella tea garden is renowned across all of Malta. It has significant views across the Maltese countryside.

The fishing village of Malta is Marsalokk is colorful traditional fishing boats make the village unique,

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Sea day October 21
Please go to part 2

Posted by Cindygad 20:07 Comments (0)

21 day Lisbon to Anthens Part 2

Cooking class, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Ashod, Alanya, Rhodes, Kudasis, Istanbul, Kavala, Athens

]Sea day October 21

Today I had a cooking class in the culinary center with KarlisCelms for Greek tonight, We started with Stuffed Kalamata figs, Corfu summer salad, Chicken and Zucchini shish Kebobs, Cretan rose drink and Rhodes Yogurt

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The seas became very rough in the afternoon. Thank goodness we still have no issues with seasickness. We realized people would be canceling
due to rough seas and took advantage of polo opening.

Power bowl for lunch. black rice, beluga lentils, peas, cumin roasted cauliflower, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and tzatziki.

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Polo for supper

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Second sea day much calmer

October 23 Ashod Israel

Today is why we booked the cruise. The next two days will always be something I will cherish. There would be times I would get goosh bumps and strong emotional feelings experiencing some of the places Jesus had been.

It was on both Jim's and My wish list to see and experience Jerusalem. This is the only place I booked through Oceiana for the tour. Our guide Lori was wonderful. our day started early with breakfast at Wave at 530. We had to be at Customs at 645 with our passports. We then took a bus to the terminal. This port is an extremely busy export port.

There was a lot of chaos in getting the bus it seems like guides had to fight to get the bus and driver. Our guide was experienced and we were soon boarding for the hour's ride to Jerusalem. The infrastructure just can not keep up with all the people coming to this sacred area. Jerusalem's Old City is one of the world's foremost pilgrimage destination

Jerusalem is a surreal and vibrant city, holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. We would find it unique and just as special as we had imagined. I had to pinch myself to believe we were really here. This is where one experiences living history applies. You walk in the footsteps of prophets and pray in sacred buildings. It was a sensory and spiritual experience like no other.

Jerusalem is a city located in modern-day Israel and it is considered by many to be one of the holiest places in the world. It is most important to Christianity because it is where Jesus Christ was brought occasionally as a child, preached to the poor in his adult life, crucified at the end of his life, and resurrected by God.

Our tour was called A day in Jerusalem

Our first stop was King Davids Tomb

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The Cenacle also known as the Upper Room is a room in Mount Zion in Jerusalem, just outside the Old City walls, traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper, the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus held with the apostles. It is also the site where the Holy Spirit alighted upon the eleven apostles on Pentecost.

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The Western Wall also known as the Wailing Wall or the Kotel is the most religious site in the world for Jewish people. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the last remaining wall of the ancient Jewish Temple. Thousands of people of all faiths journey to the wall every year to recite prayers. These prayers are either spoken or written down and placed in the cracks in the wall. The wall splits into two sections one area for males and the other for females.

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Jewish Quarter

The Cardo is given to the name of the main road around the Roman Empire. It is the most enchanting street in Old City. Life and action were always present in this area.

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Via Dolorosa often translated as way of the Suffering is a processional route in the old city of Jerusalem. It represents the path that Jesus would have taken forced by Roman soldiers, on the way to his crucifixion. The winding route from Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is marked by 14 Stations of the cross.

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The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the church built on the traditional site of Jesus' Crucifixion and burial. or the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.

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We then went to an overlook

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Our guide beat the traffic and we were back to ship around 6. Supper was in the main dining room had steak tartare and rack of lamb.

Our second excursion with Oceania was definitely disappointing. Our Guide was the worst we have ever had. We still saw wonderful places and made the best of it. The ship moved to Haifa port. It is still over an hour's drive inland to Nazareth
where Jesus spent his early years. After overlooking of the city of Haifa

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Nazareth
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Our first stop was the Basilica of the Annunciation.

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It was established over what the Catholic tradition holds to be the site of the house of the Virgin Mary and where the angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced that she would conceive and bear the Son of God, Jesus an event known as the Annunciation

The upper church serves as the local Roman Catholic parish, church

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The lower church is centered around the grotto which according to the tradition was the home of Mary and the site of the Annunciation. The remnants of churches from the Crusader and Byzantine area were seen around the grotto.

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Lower Church centered around a grotto which according to tradition was the home of Mary and the site of Annunciation

photo shows the grotto’s interior, with the beautiful 18Th-century altar dedicated to the Annunciation On the right of the altar – an ancient column, probably placed there in the fourth century to mark the place where the angel appeared. Behind it are stairs that lead up to a small cave (called “Mary’s kitchen”) and an exit to the yard.

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On the Altar the words "Verbum Caro Hic Factum Est" the word was made flesh from John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth

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Luke (1: 26-38)

In this text is the story of the Annunciation:

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind… See more

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We then went To Tagbha the church of the Multiplication of the Bread and Fish

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Next was Capernaum where Jesus's ministry was.

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Yardenit baptismal sight where the
Jordan River separates from the Sea of Galilee,

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Last stop Mount of Beatitudes

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Supper tenderloin and Jim Had apple tart

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Tuesday, October 25th

The third day in the Jerusalem area we decided to take it easy. Honestly, we were worn out after 2 12-hour days in a row. We left the ship and took a bus provided by Oceania to German town. Hafia we walked around for an hour. We watched them harvest olives from a tree by shaking it.

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Wednesday Alanya Turkey.Oct 26

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What a pretty port. Taurus Mountains in the
background, Fort to left

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Many Turkish wooden boats set sail against the crystal blue water of Alanya bay we sat on our balcony and watched at least twenty tours go by.

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We had researched and wanted to go to Alanya castle, When we got off we asked the tour hagglers what they would charge. they said 120, REALLY?

We kept walking along the sea boardwalk and saw a little train that said would drop off at the cable car all for 2 euros. Years ago we would of climbed the way up today we took the cable car up and still did a lot of walking. We enjoyed the ride and got off at the cable car. Beautiful sunny day and was surprised that Alanya Castle ended up being one of our favorite of trips.

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The Alaanya Teleferik

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Castle

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When we took the cable car down to wear train picked up we had time to grab lunch. The aromas from the Turkish outside Cafe we enticing, We only had 145 Lira left. The waiter gave us two options. We each had a beer and the best chicken Curry all for 7 dollars and 80 cents. He brought us this yummy flat bred with olives and trimmings on the house.

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Rhodes Greece

We took bus from the port to the Old Town of Rhodes a maze of cobbled streets that will spirit you back to the days of the Byzantine Empire,
One of the best-preserved medieval settlements in the world, the Old Town of Rhodes has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Protected inside its imposing walls – a boundary between past and present – is the island’s coat of arms. Every stone tells a story.

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The most famous road in the Old Town of Rhodes is the Street of the Knights, restored just as it was in the Middle Ages. Here you’ll find the inns of the ‘tongues’, or national guards, that made up the Order of the Knights.

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At the highest point in the road is a significant attraction: the grandiose castle known as the Palace of the Grand Masters, with its enormous towers, now a wonderful museum

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Ephesus Kusadasi Turkey, 28th

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Unless you have the luxury of going regularly to a hamam and know what you are doing opt for the full service traditional style, It includes warming up in a hot room, a very thorough scrub and soapind , and an optional massage. It was simply an amazing experience.

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Beautiful morning in Istanbul October 29

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We took a break for Turkish coffee and pastry

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Our first day started off crazy because it was the 99 National Republic Day. We got in port at 2. The Cruise terminal is new and huge to get out of. We met our guide Gem we would have for two days. It was extremely crowded due to the holiday. He got us tickets for the Metro. You had to push yourself on and Jim had to push our group to get us off before the door closed. A harrowing experience

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We saw the Blue Mosque, Haifa Sophia Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Gem had arranged for us to go to dinner for Tapas where a Jazz band was playing. Michael was a talented drummer and he played a set for us. day one ended late

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Bridge
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Interesting fact The card game Bridge got its name from the Galata Bridge, a bridge spanning the Golden Horn and linking the old and new parts of European Istanbul, where they apparently crossed every day to go to a coffee house to play cards.

Turkish coffee and Baklava
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My first encounter with a squat toilet. My eyes bugged out but I really had to go. I took a deep breath and thought I can do this. In all reality they say it is a healthier position. Most of the public places had a toilet, Our guide had taken us to a nontourist spot.

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Off to the spice market.

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Sailing away

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Tonight we went up dancing in Horizon to the big band before supper.

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Kavala, Greece Monday, October 31

Our last port was a do-on-your-own. We walked in the old town. Went to the aqueduct, and took the train up to Castle. The last stop for Greek Pastry we saw in every bakery. Bougatsa is a greek cream-filled phyllo pastry.

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Nov 1 Athens, We have been here before so was just flying home today.

Posted by Cindygad 20:01 Comments (0)

Ultimate South African Safari with Ntaba African Safari

Jim’s bucket trip

May 2-13 2022

This trip was first scheduled in 2019. It would be canceled twice before we would be able to go. All due to Covid of course. Then the breakout of omicron in AFRICA. the virus had us wondering if the trip would happen or not?

Michele Duquaine is our travel agent, and friend we have traveled with many times. She organized this whole trip through her vendor Ntaba African Safaris. It would be 12 days and 11 nights. Starting in Johannesburg-Capetown -Thornybush Game reserve. 40 people in the whole lodge. 8 flights total for the whole trip. She is so dedicated and really cares about her clientele. I like to do trips and all the planning but must admit when you do a group trip all the worries are gone. Organization and perfection to a tee. Thanks, Michele.

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On April 25 th we received

Don’t shoot the messenger!
Currently, there have been some cancellations going to and from South Africa! I am monitoring the situation- now flights are canceled through Wednesday.
There is a jet fuel shortage in South Africa due to an anomaly of flooding in Durham- 5 hours from Cape Town and 7 hours from Our safari camp. Specifically affecting United’s flights. This is the area where the ship tankers come in with the fuel.
The flooding won’t directly affect us- however, it is affecting the fuel disbursement.
I will keep everyone posted and really won’t know anything until Wednesday to see if those flights take off.

Thursday and Saturday flights were canceled! This is getting scary! I am not a depressed person but found my spirits down. We found out Saturday our flights were on. Phew, they had found gas!

We had gotten their currency in Rands from a local bank for the trip. 15 Rands to One dollar.

Jim and I left for Chicago on Sunday to park, sleep, and fly. In the morning took the shuttle to Airport for a 2:12 flight to Newark Airport. As We pulled up Michele’s bus from Wisconsin Milwaukee was just disembarking. We went in and checked in. Jim and I shared a meal at Chilis. Michele had packed us a goodie bag full of snacks for a long journey. Just another way she goes up and beyond! The planes were an hour late boarding to Newark. When we arrived we went to United Lounge to kill time and eat. We get one free pass a year for being United members. Had salad and little sandwiches and water. You could get free alcohol but I try not to drink before long flights. This one was 14 and half hours. We had premium seats and felt it was worth the extra room. Leaned back more and had a foot rest.
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The supper on the plane was chicken and rice.
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THEY SERVED US a good breakfast at 5 pm, yes 5 pm. We met a rep and walked to City Lodge hotel throughout the airport. Not hungry so I showered the stink AWAY and to bed at 10 pm. Slept pretty well. 6-hour time difference.

Wednesday, May 4th.

Up for A DELICIOUS breakfast. Check into Airlink flight to cape town. Arrive at Victoria & Alfred Hotel located on the waterfront by coach guide Greg and Martin driver. Check into Mountain facing room.
Had a glass of champagne on arrival.

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Went out for a walk on the waterfront.

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We left at 630 by bus to Gold for a dinner with drumming lessons and show paid for by Doug and Michele.
The gold restaurant offers an authentic African experience. You are immersed in a tasting of 14 courses while learning to drum. What an exhilarating time participating in the event. The entertainment was fun. They came around and painted faces

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Breakfast was included loved oysters on the shell. From the menu eggs Benedict and Avocado toast with a poached egg.

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Depart for Table mountain by cable car .The worlds new seventh wonder. At first, was enveloped in clouds. As we started on trails started clearing.
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We went to where they were hang gliding on signal mountain
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Nice picture opportunity with table mountain

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went to whinery

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We all split up to get served? Went to the Deli Greg suggested. Had the best lemon pie have ever had. Ate it first because we could.

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the waterfront is so nice with lots of restaurants to pick from. Greg recommended a great sushi restaurant Willoughby & Co

Breakfast at the Victoria Hotel
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Today was a rainy drizzly day . .Saw a baboon on the way and an ostrich. We visited Cape Point the most south-western point of the African Continent.
We enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant in Simons bay overlooking False Bay.

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African penguin's in the pelting rain African Colony at Boulders Beach.83E16B1F-9179-4B04-9440-DBB38734E797.jpeg

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supper tonight was a short walk from the hotel
Oysters on half shell, please, prawns for Jim and salad for me.
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I loved the fresh figs and oysters and pot of tea. French toast with banana and peanut butter was out standing. .079948D8-A92F-4733-8C1D-7E86B91D1072.jpegFFC48E9E-3462-403D-AAE3-D11BC8570ED9.jpeg

Day 6 had to have our suitcases out at 8 for transfer from Capetown to the airport to check into Hoedspruit Airport. Airlink flight to Hoedspruit Airport. Smallest airport with no luggage carasole.

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We jumped in vans and were headed to Thornybush Game Lodge in the Thornybush 35 thousand acreor 14 Hectors IT is nestled in the heart of big 5 country, part of Private game Reserve forms part of Greater Kruger National Park. his is an area that covers a massive expanse of unfenced wilderness.We got our first taste of what it would be like on the ride in. Saw elephant and baby, Giraffe, Cape buffalo,

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There were 20 different separate suites nestled in the heart of the big 5. We were in suite 14. At night and early mornings was walked to our room for safety. We heard hianas and lions one night. the bed was divine and when we got back at night the netting was down even though we never was any bugs. Jim loved the outside shower and wishes he had one at home.

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Tea time drinks and treats before game drive we would have 10 game drives while here. Each was a different expierence.To nights highlight was a leopard and combined with tomorrow nights leopard kill. I am going to group the animals togethether instead of day by day individual viewing and include highlights of the day.

Michele had a feeling that her vender who sold the trip would be in the area. Sure enough Robin and IMG_3845.JPGd92e1fa0-dbcd-11ec-8204-3b6738c278f3.JPGahowed up and road with us on evening safari and Morning safari. What a treat they were born in South Africa and now live in Tennesee.

Our ranger Sarah and Kenneth our tracker would be with us for all 10 game drives. They both were top notch. Sarah reminded me of my daughter in law Kate. She was so super informative and a pleasure to be with.

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She kept us calm. The leopard walked right past our jeep.The next night a leopard had an Impala in a tree.

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FOOD
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ZEBRA

Zeh bra not Zee bra is how they pronounce it. Why do Zebras have stripes. These striping differences coupled with the challenges that zebras face in their environment, have guided our understanding of how the stripes might work. While scientist still debate the exact orgins and functions of zebra stripes, their recent efforts have focused more closely on three possibilities protection from biting flies, thermoregulation and protection from predators.

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GIRAFFE
Graceful Girraffs are mesmerizing to watch. Giraffe's are vital to keeping ecosystems in balance. They eat the browse that others cannot reach, which promotes growth of forage and opens up areas for themselves and other smaller browsers to make use of. Importantly this means that by protecting Africa's giraffes, we are protecting other species too.lnteresting when walk move both right then both left legs. Their long legs allow to travel up to 35 miles per hour.Check out the tongue on the giraffe it can be up to 18 inches, it allows it to reach the highest leaves while avoiding the sharp thorns.IMG_E3747.JPG

We had a fun jeep, Michele and Doug, Michele's sister in law Lori and Jackie Jim and I and Ranger Sarah.
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We had signed up for a balloon ride. We would forgo one of our morning safari's to go. This was another bucket list item for us both. Our wake up call was 4 am and we left before five. 28 of our group was going and we would be in three balloons. It was a very bumpy ride to get there. When we arrived they were already starting to blow up the ballons. They told us which one we would be in according to our weight. We had 14 in our gondola and the driver. A little tricky getting in with short legs but I made it. Unbelieveable experience. Just like floating. I got a little nervous as it was time to land had to get in crouch position and hold on to ropes. Our pilot had 20 years of flying. Our landing was smooth . He warned us they are not always this good.We celebrated with glass champanee and nuts and dried fruit.

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ELEPHANTS
We saw an elephant and baby on way into game reserve then was skunked for two days. When Doug wore his lucky hat saw them everyday and Even a parade. Elephants are the only animal that can see people in the Jeep. The parade of elephants was one of my favorites. We was watching the Hippos who are rarely out of the water when Doug said here they come.

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HIPPOPOTAMUS

Hippotamus Every year across Africa, hippos kill an estimated 500 people, making them the world's deadliest mammal, after humans, and nearly twice as deadly as lions. Hippopotamuses are herbivories and rarely bother other animals. But males can become aggressive if they sense danger. Mothers may attack .
Hippos can even sleep underwater, using a reflex that allows them to bob up, take a breath, and sink back down without waking up. Yet despite all these adaptations for life in the water, hippos can't swim—they can't even float!They were fun to watch at night.

CAPE BUFFALO

Cape buffalo to me some of them look almost fake. The Cape buffalo's curved horns add to the stature of an already imposing animal, which can reach seven feet from tip to tail. Horns can help distinguish age and sex. In large adult males, the horns meet in the middle of their heads and are joined by a hard shield called a “boss.” This creates a helmet-esque formation.

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LIONS

We went on a safari twice A day for 9 safaris. Each time was different. Saw the lions sometimes morning and night. I did not realize we would come so close. They would walk right up and pass our Jeep. The pride group of 20 with the little cubs was my favorite. Tracking their foot prints proved to be challenging but rewarding when found them.One night as we were heading back to lodge they were in front of us leading us while they went on a hunt.

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RHINOCEROS

THEY are becoming extinct and probably were the hardest to find. We had seen them one day but had not come across them again. We went on a 45 min tracking adventure with Sarah and Ken both putting their tracking skills to work. They prevailed and the elusive mother and 3 year old were found deep in the bush.

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BIRDS OF AFRICA

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Sunsets are a kaleidoscope of colors emerging to kiss the sky. The African sky never disappoints at sundown.

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My favorite suitcases have bit the dust. We have traveled with them for about 10 years and they were always easy to spot on turntable. They did not survive the 8 flights.

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xx

Posted by Cindygad 02:29 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

St John 2022

The trip started off with some miscues, Broken Oakley glasses, a Lost wedding ring, a Broken suitcase, and a Broken toaster. Broken underwater camera and ended up the best trip ever

St John 2022

Who would have thought Covid would still be here? The Omicron variant was going crazy and they changed the test date from 5 days to 3 days. We got tested on Wed and were to fly out on Saturday. I booked the dates at CVS. It is crazy you can feel fine but when you have to test you start imaging all sorts of symptoms. Jim said if you test positive I am still going. That put the pressure on. I dreamed the night before that he tested positive and me negative. How would I drive I have never driven on the wrong side of the road. We work as a team when we travel and I was pondering how would I do without him? About an hour later I got a ping and text he had passed ping I passed as well. Whew, all that worrying for naught. Posting to the USVI Portal was much easier this year. The following morning we had the green light and paperwork to get on the island.

Friday we left for Chicago and stayed at sleep, park, fly. Located at Glenview Wyndham Baymont. If we spent the night could park free for 21 days. When we arrived our room was freezing. We could not get the heat to come on. The manager came up and could not fix it so put us in a different room. Found a great restaurant close by North Bank Pizza and Burger.IMG_0429.JPGIMG_0428.JPG

We had an early flight so needed a pick up to the airport at 5 am. f72532e0-9001-11ec-a766-d38c1bacf2f1.JPG

Saturday up at 4 and went downstairs and our ride was there early. We arrived at the airport and it was very busy for this early in the morning. People are definitely traveling again. This is the first time they did not search any of our suitcases. Since we stay longer we take food in our carry on Pancake mix usually triggers a search. The restaurants don't open till 6 so we made our way towards our gate. We got in line for a place that was opening up and had a freshly made bagel, egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich. It was delicious and held us over for the long plane ride to St John.

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We arrived at 230 the airport in St Thomas was very crowded. We had our documents for covid ready and they were very organized checking our papers. It took a while to get our luggage and we would make the 330 Crown ferry that is much closer to the airport. We loaded a van and were on our way. Jim bought our tickets for the ferry online. We arrived with 10 min to spare. I love the ferry ride over, Warm wind on your face, few sprays of cool water makes you realize you are almost here. Jim called Courtesy who we rent our jeep from and he met us where the Crown ferry comes in. Greg the owner is always friendly and we checked in and got our Blue double door jeep and were on our way to the Dolphin Grocery store. Most of the stores get fresh food on Tuesdays. A lot of the shelves were pretty empty on Sat. WE bring food but always need eggs, rum, diet coke, and water and beer, When Jim opened the Jeep trunk at the store our suitcase fell out and broke the fiberglass on the corner. We drove over to Coral Bay. Pink Eskaete Corner was open and we stopped to get Jerk chicken, Jonnycake, and conch fritters. $38 dollars and one meal was plenty to share. We got take out.

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Up to Lunazul on upper Carolina. Our fourth time staying here. Second since Edward and Dorthy are owners. They have up grated and have filtered water now, New Weber grill, and have solar panels so no more electric outages. We talked to the owners and Dorothy brought us homemade banana bread.

We unpacked and settled into island mode.

We were both up at o'5'oclock. My absolute favorite time of the day.

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I love the chickens and rooster cock a doodle +do bid you good morning, the baa baa of goats and Hee Haw of Donkeys. Nothing else like it. We eat all breakfast in. We had eggs and toast and were on our way. We got a later start and stopped at Oppenheimer. The three spots at the gate were full but the empty spot down the road was open. Had a great first day and got a place in the shade from 1000-330. On this trip we did not need neso tent. The shade is coming back and if you get to the beach early enough always were able to find shade. Had a couple of sprinkles of rain but all in all a great day. Walking out of the beach Jim hit his head on a tree branch and broke his Oakley glasses. Luckily we have learned to bring a spare pair.

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We decided to give shambles a try.
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Jim ordered a Maui Maui sandwich and I got a side salad with avocado-lime. My salad was good. His sandwich was$19 and small with no sides. Jim thought it tasted like his fish was frozen and would not order again.

Monday, January 10th- Sunny

We headed to Kiddel and were anxious to get under the water again. We parked outside chain and walked in. We relaxed then snorkeled the right and left side. I like the right best. It was calm and clear. When we got onshore Jim said I lost my wedding ring. He said he remembered checking it when snorkeling and it felt tight. 42 years and now is gone. We both were sad but said it is replaceable even though sentimental.

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We went to Grootpan for the afternoon. There is one tree you can get some shade on. We snorkeled to the right and then the left. Water got a little bouncy the further out we got.

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We had heard go things about Calabash market and stopped to get fresh fish. Bought grouper and made with onion, lemon and lime had with bowtie pasta. very good

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Tuesday, Jan ll, Winds 9E

We walked over to Haulover North but it was too rough for DH. We had tucked our chairs back in the shade on Haulover South.

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We snorkeled to the right and enjoyed the snorkel alot. The south is usually calm. We stopped at Daves to go and got Coconut shrimp, Vegetables and mashed pot and roll, $22 and plenty for us to share. Love eating up at Lunazul with the view.

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Wednesday, Jan 12

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Good morning island. Today Michele and Doug our friends we have not seen in two years are coming in on 1000 Ferry. They got to St Thomas yesterday and she had some business to do over there. She is an amazing travel agent. This will be the fourth time we have shared Lunazul with them.

We picked them up at the ferry,

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We stopped at starfish market and $150 dollars later we were on our way. We decided to chill out and relax and use the pool and catch up with each other. Had a few cocktails.

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For supper, we had pork loin, potatoes in foil, and pasta

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Thursday, Jan 13th

Had potatoes, bacon, and eggs.

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We let Doug pick a beach and he picked Maho. We saw the biggest turtles ever here. We sat up our camp in far-right in the shade.

Turtles, turtles everywhere.

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We had chicken cordon blue and rice and corn for supper.

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Friday, Jan 14,

The morning had sausage, eggs, and potatoes,

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We set up camp and had a beautiful day 0830-330, at Cinnamon bay.

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Michele made us bluegill she brined in milk and eggs and fried in butter, So good and she does not even like fish.

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Saturday, Jan 15

Had fried pot, bacon and egg sandwich, and fruit.

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Today the winds were down to 3 which means a Haulover North snorkel. There were the biggest crabs on the walkover. Michele and Doug said it was like swimming in a big aquarium.

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Went to Francis for the afternoon. Had one big cloud that stayed for the afternoon. The donkeys even came for some beach time.

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We had steak, broccoli, baked potato, and salad for supper.
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Sun Jan 16th,

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Still calm today went to East End to shelve reef. Able to go clear out and visibility was great. Had a Quick rain shower couple of minutes and it was so cool because the underwater was undisturbed.

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Went to Francis for the afternoon Very Sunny, Stopped at Salty Dog for a drink We had bushwhackers.

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We had shrimp, homemade french fries, and rice.

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The boys had several cocktails and Michele and Doug decided they are coming back next year.

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Monday, Jan 17th,

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We went to Hawksnest and the water was way up and the waves were crashing on the beach way too rough to go in.

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We went to Maho and set up base far right. 8 Wisconsin people came and set next to us.We enjoyed talking to them.

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Tonight we had Micheles Lasagna she had made at home and brought it. Delicious.

The full moon is called the Wolf moon because the first moon of the year.

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Tuesday, Jan 18th,

Had Sausage link, potatoes, egg, toast, and homemade peach jelly.
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We went to Lameshur and got a great place under the tree with a picnic table. We walked the beach and checked out ruins.

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We went to Miss Lucy for Grouper Rueben my favorite sandwich on the]island. The lime in coconuts are not bad either.

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Wednesday, Jan 19th

We had sausage, eggs scramble and cheese and potatoes and toast.
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Went to Salt Pond. Jim and I climb Ram's head. It was a slow process and took me longer than it should of with trekking poles. Such a beautiful hike. It was very hot and we started at 0900. We had got there early and picked a place in the shade. When walking back saw 2 people who were just arriving tuck their chairs right behind us in the shade. Doug and Michele were in the water. I nicely said we got here early so we could get shade

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Keith had made lime in coconut last year so I had him text his recipe

3 0z coconut rum
3 oz coco lopez
2 oz lemon juice
1/2/lime without peeling
ice

put in a blender and enjoy
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January 20th Thursday

Today is my 65th birthday! Where did all those years go? So blessed to get to spend it in my favorite spot. We had blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

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Maho was our beach for the day. Saw more turtles but the underwater camera started acting up so not very good pictures.

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Rumb lines was choice for dinner. Originally a couple of weeks before we came I made reservations at Morgan Mango but could not get in until 745. We all decided that was too late and was able to get 530 reservation at Rumblines, They were using strict Covid precautions and Michele forgot her. They went to Love City to buy one. It would of been nice if they would of had one you could buy there. Other than small glitch our evening and meal was perfect.

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Friday, January 21,

Michele and Dougs last day We had egg scrample potatoes
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Maho for our last day

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and was at Maho by o830. Had a beautiful sunny day. Got some pictures of overlooks on way home.

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Saturday, Jan 22,

Doug and Jim moved our things over to Angel Roost. We signed the contract for next year. We took Doug and Michelle to the ll00 ferry at 1030. What a great trip with good friends.

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We stopped by st Johns Market by the Westin. They were stocked very well. They have a deli in the back and we tried their Jerk chicken it was very good.

Went back to Angels Roost for our last week. It always feels like coming home. It is a Studio with wrap around porch. This is like our 13th time staying here.

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We unpacked and went to Borec Creek for a snorkel. Saw starfish here again but the camera died for good.

leftovers were for supper and we are Diehard Packer fans and watch Packers and 49 ers playoff games Packers lost to a last-second field goal

Sunday, Jan 23.

Went to Haulover North but was too windy went to shelve reef and had a good snorkel. Sat in the shade under a palm tree.

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We had sausage and Potatoes on the grill.

Monday Jan24th.

Winds down to 6. Had a quick rain shower move through. Went to Brown Bay and hiked. Harder going than coming back. It takes most people 20-1/2 hour. It takes me 45 min each way. There was some sargassum on the beach but not in the water. The water was clear and smooth.

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Awesome snorkels to left. Went to Marys Creek to read.

Had garlic shrimp on the grill and baked potato.

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Tuesday, Jan 25th, Hot and Sunny

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We got a later start and arrived at Peace Hill at 0900. The hike up is easy and what a beautiful 360 view,

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The walk down is easy even carrying chairs and a cooler. This is one of my favorite beaches to read and veg out. We love to find a spot we can tuck back into the shade.

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We left and stopped for a drink at Windmill Bar. Now you have to pay $5 dollars to park a joke.

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We stopped at Coco Jim's to get a Lobster sandwich and Potato salad to go. What a nice guy. He gave us a sample of his chicken.

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We went up and talked to Larry and Jane the owners of Angelroost. They are like family. Their son Jeff was there working from their house.

Wednesday, Jan 26,

Easy walk to the three mooring balls at Leinster bay.

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Went to Francis

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We had cheese and crackers
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Jim went to get Pizza in Paradise. We got Pepperoni, sausage and ham on half and pepprts, olives onion and mushrooms on other half.

It was very good

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Thursday Jan 27,

Blueberry pancakes, bacon and egg.

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I just had to go back to Kiddle and see if we could see Jim's wedding ring. We had a nice snorkel but no such luck. Most of the areas would of been too deep for me to free dive even if did see. Just had to stop at Miss Lucy one more time. We sat next to a young couple who was from South Bend In our hometown. She worked at ND and he owned a family trucking business. It was their first time at St John and they were loving their visit. What a small world.

Friday is our last day

We went to Oppenheimer beach. What a restful last day

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Angelroost goodbye until next year.

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Always end with Donkeys,

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Dreaded travel day home.

Up early to soak in island vibes. We left at 0900 and stopped at Sam and Jacks for a Uncle Peeps and Wolf sandwich for the plane. We turned in our Jeep at Curtsey. We got our tickets for 1100 Cr0wn Ferry. We had Ali meet us to take us on private van to the airport. The lines were not too bad. This is first time we had GLOBAL entry. To go through customs was fast and easy. Agriculture had to look at both sandwiches even though I told them no pork on them. When e boarded there were three empty rows in front of us. The lady by me moved and I had room to stretch out. The Captain came on the speaker and said the fuel guy had not fueled all the way so were waiting for the fuel guy to come back. 2 hours later we were on our way. Landed and Park sleep and fly picked us up. Jim cleaned off snow and we started home 1040. Made good time and made it home at 1220;

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Oh what a trip. Always makes it easier when you know you have another one booked for next year 2023. The weather this year was the best ever.

Posted by Cindygad 16:35 Comments (0)

St John 2021

Covid 19 and all! Showing the son and daughter in law the island for first time.

We have not traveled since we were last stuck on a cruise for 8 extra days last March. Covid 19 had us almost canceling. The numbers were down for St John and everyone coming to the island needed a neg Covid test in the last 5 days. We had just experienced a dramatic change in my daughter's wedding from 200-25 people due to restrictions on Dec 31. We had this family trip planned for a year. We decided we were coming.

First was the testing. We went to CVS for a rapid test 5 days prior to leaving. We got our results in 30 min and then just had to download to Virgin Island Portal. My daughter in law and son's test came back neg too. We had to wait for the daughter and son in law till the next day for their test. Yea all 6 of us will be going.

We got picked up by son and daughter-in-law and had to use the truck to get all our suitcases and coolers in. We ate in Chesterton and stayed park sleep and fly at Sheraton Suites close to O hare airport. We got up at 0420 for 0500 shuttle to the airport. There were a lot of people waiting for the small shuttle and I went to the desk and he said he was getting an extra van to hold everyone. When we got to the airport there were no lines. 3 of our bags got searched. I take food since we are going for 21 days and pancake mix always triggers a search. Nothing was open except Mac Donal's so got coffee and a breakfast sandwich and took a sub-way sandwich for the plane. We took United and had an uneventful flight. the flight had about 40 people on it. We arrived about a half-hour early.

Kate really gets into the Zombie mode on the plane,

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I love when you step off the plane and get hit by the warm air. You know you have arrived on the island. No shot of rum due to covid but we received a mask and wipes.Yippe the times of epidemic

We had a private driver Ali take us to Crown Bay Ferry for the 3:30 crossing. We had time to stop for a quick pain killer and a bloody Mary and delicious Calamari at Tickles by the ferry.

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We got off the ferry and Courtesy was waiting for us to take us to pick up Jeeps. We had rented two 4 door jeeps for the 6 of us, Kate wanted the bright blue one and we took the black one. Next stop store for rum, juice eggs, cream, vegetables and water. Our villa does not drink the water so we ended up going through 18 gallons of water for 8 days for the 6 of us.

Keith Kate and I headed over to Corral Bay to meet greeter Pauline to take us to Villa Allure. Four switchbacks up and we were at home for the 8 days

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Villa Allure

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The power was out and she showed us around the best she could because it was getting dark. My husband met us with the other 2 children that had a later flight. We decided to go down and eat at Skinny's cuz they had lights. It was packed! I guess everyone had the same idea. We could see power came back on and decided to go up and unpack and come back at 800. That was a good decision because the restaurant had emptied out.

Villa Allure has 5 bedrooms, And two kitchen areas with the biggest outside area we have had. It was perfect for our family. Lots of sitting areas and places for privacy.

Jan 10th Sunny/clouds

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Ate all breakfast in. Had smoked bacon, egg mc muffins. I promised my new son in law Steven that he would get to swim with turtles. We got to Francis at 0915 and was the third jeep there. We set up in some shade on the far right. We were sitting there and up popped the turtle heads and he was in the water to go explore. He was one happy fella.

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Kids snorkeled to far right I snorkeled to left tried to find octopus but did not see it. We left the beach at about 2:30 to go to

Annaberg to see the ruins.

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We stopped at Mary's Creek and the tide was low walked out and enjoyed the view.

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We stopped at an overlook of Coral Bay

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Came back and had cocktails, shrimp, cheese, smoked cheese for appetizers.

Supper was made by Keith and Kate, Fresh salmon, peas, and corn.

Monday 11th,

Electric was off but Keith was able to make breakfast on a gas stove. Potatoes and sausage gravy, fresh fruit and muffins for breakfast.

The wind was up so headed to Salt Pond, I had my other knee replaced in Sept. I used trekking poles and was very slow but made it!

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The kids went to Drunk Bay we left about 330 and stopped and got 12-gallon water.

Tonight we had reservations for Rhumb Lines for 0600. We had Mike as our waiter. I had fish tacos, Jim and Kate and Steven had Pad Thai, Keith had seared Tuna. All enjoyed their meals.

Tues 12th, Sunny

Left after 0900 and drove North Shore only one spot taken at Oppeneheimer so we pulled in and took the other two spots. We snorkeled over to Hawksnest and saw a lot of Elk Coral and an abundance of fish. We stayed till 4 pm.

Appetizers back at the villa. Salmon cream cheese and capers. Montemore cheese and fig jelly. Tuesday is Pecan fried chicken with honey sauce from Caribbean Oasis. We called in our order earlier in the day because they are known to run out. Delicious. Kate organized game night and we played a Newlywed game. We came from behind and won.

Wed 13th

Steven and Casandra made breakfast, sausage egg, muffin. Dad dropped Keith and Kate off at Reef Bay trail. We went to little Lameshure and snorkeled Yawzi point.

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When Keith and Kate met up with us they went for a quick swim and we stopped at Miss Lucy's for lunch. Most had Grouper Ruben and Lime in the oconut drink was really good.The view is always to die for here.

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Tonight the kids had reservations in Cruz bay. The honeymooners ate at the Terrace and Keith and Kate ate at Longboards. They don't take reservations so they put their name in and walked around.

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Casandra and Steven had reservations at the Terrace

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Dad and I stayed back at the villa and ate leftovers and went to bed early! These kids are wearing us out.

Thursday the 14th.

Walked into Waterlemon. Went to snorkel the cay. The waters seemed calm, My husband and I have snorkeled the cay about 10 times and only do it if it looks calm. We snorkeled out and got stuck in an undercurrent or riptide. I wanted to turn back I could see panic set in my husbands face. He wears a life vest but could not get it to blow up. I was holding him up under arms and trying to calm him. Got my attention of my son and he swallowed a bunch of water trying to get to us. My daughter ask if we if we were ok using an old sking signal we used. I shook my head no she came with my son in law, he drug my husband to the rocks on cay. We tried to climb up and the water was crashing in on us. All 6 of us made it up on rocks on cay. We sat and rested and collected ourselves and my daughter in law started climbing to find us a way out. We climbed over the cay and were able to get in the calm water on another side.

So thankful the kids were with us. I will never snorkel this again. The three mooring balls are good enough for me. When we got back to shore we told the family of 4 about the undercurrent. Two of them were lifesavers. Later in the week at Trunk bay, we saw them and they thanked us and said they got stuck in the undercurrent and turned back,

Sitting at Mary's Creek and very thankful for everyone's quick thinking

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Stopped at Maho and found a shady spot to right.

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Came home and Keith made Lime in Coconuts as we all reflected on our scary day.

We had hamburger sliders in the fancy dining room the only night we used this beautiful room.

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We played catchphrase and of course, the girls beat the guys!

Friday 15th. Sunny and winds down to 7 from the east.

It is a Haulover North day.

Keith made bacon gravy, potatoes, fruit, and toast. We stopped at Estate Corner and got salt fish, johnny cakes and ordered donuts for Saturday.

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Haulover North was calm and clear

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after great snorkel went to Dennis Bay

Kids hiked up to top Peace Hill for a great view, We headed down to Bay stayed until 3 pm.

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Tonight the kids were taking us out to Morgan Mango's and I was looking forward to it, Have never been there before.
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The food was all good each couple shared an appetizer and we were all happy with our meals. I had coconut shrimp Huge, My daughter had encrusted grouper, and the boys had paella. Very good but portions for a main meal could easily be shared

Appetizer

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Saturday 16th last day for kids

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We stopped at Estete Corner and she had made some donuts for my son in law. She came in just to give them to him. What a sweet lady. They were still warm from her making them.

We headed to Trunk Bay. You have to go to this beautiful beach at least once

The kids snorkeled the cay and to the far right and said they had a good snorkel.

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Sunday 17th

The kids leave today. They had their own jeep. They left at 0900, We left at 1000 and went to Jane and Larry who we have rented from for 10 years. We stay in the bottom of their octagon house high up on the hill in Upper Carolina. Angel Roost, it is a simple place that always feels like coming home each year. there is a private entrance for renters. Her flowers get more beautiful each year.

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We went to Leinster Bay to read and got our first rain of the trip during the day. We decided to stop and get takeout from Estete Corner and got one jerk chicken, potato salad and vegetables. Also a salt fish johnny cake. It was delicious and we shared the meal and had enough for some the next day

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Monday 18th Sunny and hot.
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Went to Grootpan at 0900. Snorkled to left saw and octopus. Not much shade on this beach used our Neso tent and used bungee cords to make a top. We ditched our poles and found this easier to set up. This is only beach we needed for shade this year.

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Tuesday 19th Early morning sprinkles and then hot and windy.

We decided to take a chill day and just read and soak in the noise of the waves. Went to East end and sat up camp.

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Tonight we have dinner reservations at ZOZO"S for my birthday which is really tomorrow. We could only get reservations tonight, Zozo's now offers a four-course meal in an intimate waterfront setting. When we arrived we parked the jeep and took the shuttle to be seated.

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Menu antipasti
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Appetizer

tuna tartar
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Pappardelle
House-made pasta, wild mushrooms some of my favorites
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Entree Zuppa Di Pesce
1/2 Caribbean lobster tail.jumbo shrimp,black mussels and roasted tomato seafood brado.
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Had a beautiful sunset and meal, For me I prefer to order off-menu. Too much food. and I took my dessert to go.

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January 20th, 64th birthday husband made breakfast, bacon, eggs and toast
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Today is Inauguration day for president Biden

We started off to snorkel the three mooring balls at Lleinster bay. The wind hit us in the face and we decided to go to Francis. We were there early and found a great place to set up in the shade. We snorkeled the far right and saw lots of turtles and stingrays.

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We stopped at Deli and I got a coconut bar alias( crack bar) for birthday dessert. Husband made pork tenderloin and potatoes on the grill.

Thursday, Jan 21

We got to Brown Bay at 0900. The first part of trail was very hot. I used my trekking poles and this was much easier than I remembered. The trail was cleared out very good. Thanks to those that volunteer their time to keep trails open. The winds were down so the water was clear.

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We went to Miss Lucy's for lime and coconut drinks and Grouper Ruben,

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Marys Creek was our spot to read for the afternoon.

Friday, Jan 22,

Blueberry pancake type of morning, Wind down 5 from east. Haulover North

Calm and great snorkel.

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Had our chairs set up on Haulover South in the shade

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Tonight was simple supper had little hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls. To bed early what is with the island I get up early 6 but can not keep my eyes open after 0900;

Saturday 23 rd.

Winds still down went snorkeling at Pelican Rock did not see many fish like usually do there. Did snorkel along shelf reef on the far left towards long bay enjoyed this snorkel a lot.

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We had a taste for pizza and wanted to try Pizza out next to where Shipwreck used to be. They said were open at 4 finally got them to answer at 5, Enjoyed the pizza, crust a little chewy otherwise quite good.We had white pizza fresh basil, onion, and half pepperoni

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Sunday 24th

Remains calm went back to three mooring balls on Leinster bay. Saw a sleeping nurse shark

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Jim dropped me off at Oppenheimer gate and went and parked up at Dennis Bay and walked down. Had a lovely afternoon here. Nothing like leftover pizza for lunch.

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Our Packers lost to Tampa Bay 25-31, We felt the house shake and found out it was an earthquake of 5.2 whose epi center was 21 miles away in Virgin Gorda.

Monday 25th

Decided to give Boreck Creek a try after snorkelers' suggestions. We were pleasantly surprised and saw the first starfish of this trip.

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Cinnamon Bay was the destination for the afternoon. The donkeys even showed up for some sun

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The supper was turkey breast, mashed potatoes, and pasta.

Tuesday 26th,

cloudy and drove the road past Sloop Jones over to Privateer beach. enjoyed the overlooks and places that had been built since we last did. Grootpan was our afternoon beach. Very hot so set up nescso tent. On way back stopped for pecan chicken with honey sauce and coleslaw. We only got one to share and had plenty

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Pecan Chicken with honey sauce from Caribbean Oasis
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Lauren was playing at Windmill so went for a drink and sunset, I highly recommend coming here one night,

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Wednesday 27th We went to salt pond. Snorkeled the rocks out in the middle. Watch out for the burs in the sand here.

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Thur went snorkeling the shelve again out towards long bay.

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Aqua Bistro is finally open. Has been closed since March. Stopped for drinks and onion rings. Our drinks wereDrink right drive left and Lime in Coconut

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Thursday 28th

Went to Pelican Rock and snorkeled the reef to Long Bay. The second time we did this snorkel. Was just as good as the first. Stopped at Auqa bistro and had drinks and Onion rings again. Could not pass up a good thing before going home.

Friday 29th

Calm but we had snorkel things packed so decided to have a veg out day and take all our favorite things in one more day.

We made the obligatory stop at Trunk Bay for the overlook

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Dennis Bay

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I always finish with Donkeys and happy we have reservations for next Jan

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Saturday30th

Travel day. Left at 0830 and husband dropped off at Sam and Jacks and we got a sandwich to share for plane. He went and filled up jeep. He dropped me off to get tickets for 1000 ferry. Took taxi from Red hook and arrived at airport at 1120. No lines made it through customs and had a hour till we boarded. Only 30 people on flight. Landed in Chicago at 6 pm. Son picked us up and had two hour drive home. Beat the snowstorm home. Until next year.

Bye

Posted by Cindygad 14:16 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (1)

Oceania Mystical Fjords and Iguazu Falls part one

Oceania Mystical Fjords Cruise, Iguazu Falls, Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina, Montevideo, Uruguay, Punta Del Este, Uruguay

OCEANIA MYSTICAL FJORDS FEB

There were to be 10 ports we would stop at. I would spend hours researching excursions and reading on what is best to do in each port. I would join 2 ports where 4 British people were looking for 2 to join their private excursion for 6 people. I love to do small groups. I Rarely do Cruise ship tours anymore. I have found the smaller tours are better and you end up seeing more than on a ship excursion. Plus a lot cheaper. Cruise Critic also is a valuable resource as well as trip advisor. The internet has so much information. I also read lots of other trip blogs or reports to get ideas. I had two ports I could not find what I wanted and Jim helped me and chose a bike and hiking tour.

I have always wanted to do a trip around Cape Horn. We chose the Oceana Cruise line because we liked the itinerary. Little did we know this trip would have many twists and turns. It would end up having 8 more sea days and a transient through the Panama Canal. I had no idea we would see the beauty that we would encounter on this trip.

We had a trip planned and our daughter in law Staci said if we were going to Buenos Aires we had to make a stop at Iguazu falls. I started researching and decided it looked like we should add it on to the beginning of the trip. The first obstacle was finding a place for 26 days to park the car. I finally found Baymont in Glenview a little further out from the airport to fly and stay. We will spend the night when we get back. Our flight comes in at Midnight.
The driver was new from the hotel and told us this was his second time to O Hare. He was searching for his directions, this should have been our first warning that this drive was going to be interesting. It was 11 miles from the airport and he had no idea how to get there. Jim had to give him directions. He scared the bejeegeezes out of us because he would change lanes without signaling. We left at 5 pm to Dallas. Ate sandwiches at the airport. Left Dallas airport at 9:30 pm for a 10 1/2 hour flight. We arrived at 0930am. It took an hour to get through customs. We had to collect our luggage and go through security for our third flight to falls. It was sunny and warm so we walked outside to kill some time. The flight was not until 5 pm. We could not check checked-in baggage until 2 pm. We had to pay $20 for each checked bag. Jim and I shared a sandwich at the Hardrock Hotel. It was really good. We arrived at Iguazu airport at 6:00 pm. Our driver, from the hotel, was waiting for us at the airport. The charge was $15. As we entered the park, he stopped to buy our admission tickets to the park.

The hotel Grand Meis Iguazu is inside the park.
We were greeted with a welcome drink. The view of the falls from the lobby was amazing. They told us there was a Tango show in the dining room at 7 pm. We dropped our bags in our room and went down to the Tango show in the dining room. Tonight was a buffet with many Argentine types of meat
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We were exhausted from traveling and went to bed at 0930.

We ate at the breakfast buffet at 0630 so we could be on the trail at 0800.

We went to get a ticket for the jungle and fall ride to the left of the hotel then went to the upper trail. Staying at the hotel you get to enter one hour before everyone else so there was no one on the trail.

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The line was already getting long but we got in the second Jungle cruiser. Really not much to see in jungle Huge spiders and birds.

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There is usually one female in the center of the web and three male spiders on outer edges. We arrived and had lots of steps down to the boat. The ride was exhilarating. We went under the falls twice. they gave you a large dry bag. I recommend just being in a bathing suit and take shoes off. My pants got soaked but dried out quickly. It was a fun ride. What comes down must go up we had several steps to get back up to Jungle cruiser. This took a couple of hours and we went back to spend some time at the hotel infinity pool.

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It was a beautiful and sunny day. We stayed till 1 pm then headed to do the lower trail. This trail had so many steps. I had my right knee replaced in May but now my left knee was talking to me. This trail had become very crowded and we just took our time. The lower trail was even more breathtaking than the upper trail.

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We then took the 4 pm train to devils throat you start your journey via the Jungle Train to the Devil’s Throat Station From there, on foot, you’ll take a footbridge of 3,600 feet that leads to the immense waterfalls. It’s a safe, quiet, level bridge that’s wheelchair accessible. The platform at the end offers incredible views of the fall

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Back to the hotel and had a drink up in the upstairs lounge with a view of the falls

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supper was in the hotel restaurant from the menu tonight.

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Yesterday we saw a way to eliminate all the steps. We decided to do the lower falls again. We did the lower trail from the park where you just went to all the falls. Only people there for over an hour. This alone made staying at a hotel worth the extra money.

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WE went back and had a breakfast buffet that was included.

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Jim got a late check out at 1 pm. A driver took us to the airport for $15. The airport is very small and when we landed got luggage. They had a booth inside to get taxis for 30$ to the hotel a half-hour away. When we went to get in a cab, a luggage handler grabbed my luggage for two feet then demanded a tip. He grabbed it out of my hand. Jim gave him a buck.

We took 5 pm flight back to Buenos aires. Arrived took a taxi to the hotel Charles. When we arrived she could not find our reservation and said it had been canceled. She was very nice and took copies of our documents. I went up and called the international credit card number to see if they had a record of the encounter. They said they did but it was canceled and credited back to us in Jan. We were gone to St John and Jim did not notice on our credit bill. Luckily she had a room and honored our price. The lesson learned to verify the hotel before traveling! She gave us directions to the restaurant a few blocks away.

We walked a couple of blocks to the restaurant recommended

We had ham and cheese empanadas, Flank steak and salmon and side of fries with q bottle of Chilian wine.

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Sunday we had a complimentary breakfast at the hotel, We walked a couple of blocks to catch our tour by Viator to the Tigress river, It was a half-day tour, We were only Americans. the guide spoke Spanish. English and Portegues. We took a small bus to the Market and then did the river cruise on Tigres river.

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We then had an hour river cruise.

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At the end of the tour dropped us at Puerto Nervo at a restaurant where our late lunch was included.

I ordered a Stella beer and they brought me a liter bottle. No problem Jim helped me. Lunch was really good and all we had to pay was for beverages. Portions were so big we took half back to the hotel for later.

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We took our first Uber ride back to the hotel.
We got back to the hotel and Jim went out to explore while I rested my knee. We were going to a local La Milonga later, a tango for locals. Jim came back all excited. He found a Basilica that had an evening mass at 730. He does so much for me I thought this is the least I can do for him. We walked to Mass at 730 and then walked through the park of a square that was close.Even though Mass was in Spanish it was a great way to end a Sunday night.

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Monday

We ate breakfast at the hotel

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We had time to kill and went walking, saw a pop-up tango on the street, Sorry can not get the video to play on here.

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Took taxi 7$ to port. Coronavirus had started in China. they checked our passports to see if we had been to China in 30 days. Took our temperature and we were on at 1230, Went to the library to get books and to reservation for specialty restaurants. There are 4 specialty restaurants that are included in price. We checked to see if they had any openings and were able to get a joined table at 630.

Our room is large. they did not need all the WC rooms so Michele snagged it for us. Our room is 7085 We each had a desk which was nice for all the electronics.

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We went up to eat in wave restaurant the pool dining. You order and they bring it to your table. I had steak and lobster sandwich without the bread so good
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We went to walk around the ship. We had a dinner shared a table at Red Ginger. This would end up being our favorite specialty restaurant.

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Lobster pad thai
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Sea bass
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Dessert

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We ate with two widows that were traveling together.

Tuesday, Feb 25th Montevideo Uruguay

It is a major city along Montevideo Bay. Montevideo exudes European charm and elegance. It revolves around the Plaza de la Independencia, once home to a Spanish citadel. This plaza leads to Ciudad Vieja (the old town), with art deco buildings, colonial homes and landmarks including the towering Palacio Salvo and neoclassical performance hall Solís Theatre. Mercado del Puerto is an old port market filled with many steakhouses.

San Felipe Santiago de Montevideo overlooks the north shore of the Rio de la Plata where the waters of the mighty river meet the Atlantic Ocean.

Most of the countryside is a farm or ranchland. The life of the cowboy or gaucho is part of the local lore. Our guide said at this time the city was doing well and wealth could be judged by how many cows one had. Right now cow rich.

We had a tour with 4 brits, Helen and Jim. Carol and Eric,
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Private guide Laura with tours by locals.
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We went to city squares a port market Parlement, river drive, The river is the widest in the world here on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata. the Río de la Plata may be considered a river, an estuary, a gulf or a marginal sea. It is the widest river in the world, with a maximum width of (140 mi). , central parks, Uruguayans call good time in-country fat cow. We stopped at a market close to the ship and had a beer and flatbread ,a thin chickpea flatbread called fainá. Its earthy flavor and crispy crust add an unexpected taste and texture, not to mention more carbs. We also went to a lookout and 360 degrees of the city,

pulling in port
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Town squares
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Daily Market
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Church
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Square Mata drink is a traditional drink in South America. It is made of an infusion of dried leaves of yerba mate.
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360 degree views of the city

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we went to supper with Eric and Carol from the UK.They had an opening in Polo so the four of us ate there.

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Wednesday Punte de Este Uruguay

We Had to take a tender, so went down to get tickets and Jim called me in the room that they were boarding. He had picked a bike ride for our excursion today, We med our bike guide, Alicia,

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Fashionable Punta Del Este is one of the world's most appealing seaside resorts. Its white-sand beaches and artsy vibe. The rich and famous flock here.

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Went to lighthouse and church

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The sculpture of hand on the beach symbolizes humanity coming to life.

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We Went back to the ship and did two loads of laundry. Beautiful sunset.

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Thursday was a sea day
I went to Marina showroom for a lecture on animals. Tried a scarf tying class and Jim went to a lecture by Verne Lianquists sportscaster. Went up to Horizen to dance and for captain's cocktail. We went down to Polo specialty dining for a shared table. a great group Met Roy and Joyce that we would share supper with later on. I had lobster.

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Friday another Sea Day getting cooler outside

Jim had a spin class and I had a cooking class in Red Ginger, my partner was Marylin. What an experience We cooked spring roll, watermelon and duck salad, lobster pad thai and dessert.

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Part 2 link
https://cindygad.travellerspoint.com/102/

Posted by Cindygad 13:08 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Port Stanley Part two Marina Mystical Cruise

Port Stanley, Falkland islands,Ushuaia,Argentina,Punta Arenas,ChilePuerto Chacabuco, Chile, Puerto Montt, Chile,San Antonio Chile,Coquimbo, Chile,Panama Canal, Miami Florida

Saturday Falkland Islands

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Tender again, they started leaving early. Windy but able to dock sometimes they have to miss this port. We were doing the Estancia tour to Volunteer Point. Got in a jeep landrover for 4 and driver. Martha and Craig from Minnesota we had already met on bike tour were in our jeep. Very rough and off-road adventure for two hours. We stopped for a bathroom break and our guide said now we go off-road Oh boy we sure did.

These remote windswept islands are home to 3000people, they support a half million sheep and about a million penguins during the summer nesting season. We would see Magellanic, King Gentoo and Macaroni, Observing their antics is a most pleasurable pursuit.

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When we arrived at Volunteer Point we got out of jeeps and our eyes feasted to the large gathering of King Pinguins. King Penguins are the largest ones. Adult birds are noticeable because of distinctive orange-yellow coloration on side of the head. The chicks are covered in thick brown down. King penguin has a breeding cycle longer than one year. The diet is small lanternfish.

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Magellanic is probably the most widespread around the coast of Falkland Islands, It is extremely difficult to count them due to their burrowing habit and the vast coastline. Two black bands run across their bellies.

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It was a two-hour ride back. This was one of my favorite things we did all trip. I could have watched the penguins for hours.

Sunday was a sea day. I had my second cooking class. Marylin was my partner The class was on discover Patagonia. We made salmon en coute , lamb, steak, potatoes, and a dessert crepe.

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Today we sailed around Cape Horn. Sometimes seas can be very rough here. we were very lucky It was pretty smooth. Cape Horn is a rocky headland on Hornos Island in southern Chile's Tierra del Fuego archipelago. It is surrounded by wild seas of the southern tip of South America where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet. The albatross shaped Cape Horn Monument commemorates the lives of thousands of seafarers who perished attempting to sail around the cape. A secluded lighthouse and tiny Stella-Maris Chapel are nearby.

It was cold out on the deck. Jim weathered the cold and took pictures. I enjoyed the view from the comfort of the warm room.

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We ate supper again with Joyce and Roy from South Carolina

Monday March 2nd Ushuaia, Argenina

Met Jim and Helen, Eric and Carol from the UK. We had a private tour with tour by locals and Gaston was our guide. Met him at the end of the gangplank. Gaston was an exceptional guide. He said it rains here almost every day and that we were fortunate to get a sunny day!

Ushuaia is surrounded on three sides by towering peaks, this former penal colony on the banks of the Beagle Channel is spectacularly sited amidst waterfalls. glaciers and beech forest. This is the southern extreme of Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia is known as the end of Pan American highway that starts in Alaska, Our guide Gaston said End of world or Beginning of world depending on how you look at it.

We started out with a hike in the park with the water on one side and the beautiful Andes Mountains in the background. We ended up at the post office at the end of the world. King crab is the specialty here. We walked on t Martin street and then back to ship. Ate a late lunch at the wave and split a burger and splurged on homemade Malt. They ask us if we wanted to eat in Polo dining tonight at 730 for a shared table. Met a great couple from Arizona,

We should have eaten later because going through Chilian fiords and there were some gorgeous glaciers. We could see from the dining room.

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Tuesday, March 3rd Sea day

SUPER TUESDAY

Pete Buttigieg our past mayor from South Bend had been running for President he was running 3rd in the poles. He stepped down and gave his support to Vice President Biden. It would be the turning point for Biden and he placed first in many states.

It was cool but sunny it was beautiful scenery going through the glaciers.

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Tonight we ate in French restaurant Jacques enjoyed and had lobster Thermador good but very rich.

We had a shared table with some seasoned travelers and learned several tips.

Verne Lundquist
Jim enjoyed all the lectures by him. Hall of fame Broadcaster Verne Lundquist He has manned the announcer's booth at. He has manned ABC; NBC and Turner Sports. He was the radio voice for Dallas Cowboys for a decade. Although he hung up the microphone in 2116 he can be heard calling the Masters

March 4th Punta Arenas
Jim picked a Patagonian Forest half-day Hike with tour operator Borealis Adventures Patagonia through Viator

The Magallanes National Reserve is located just outside of downtown Punta Arenas. Our guide chose a circular hike encompassing 6 miles.

We met our tour guide off of the ship at 0930. Jamie was the tour owner and she was training Huyvart a local born. I was a little nervous because my left knee was bothering me now, Jamie had trekking poles and it sure helped my knee, It was just a moderate trail and we took our time there was just one other couple Chet and Gail from NJ. had an enjoyable day.

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back at 230. what a delightful day. Jamie was a very knowledgeable guide who had her degree in biology. The driver brought us back to the gangplank. I made it, but the knee was sore so I went in and iced it. Jim went and did laundry they had three washers and dryers on each floor.

Thursday, March 5th Chillian Fiords

Sunny but cool perfect for viewing. There is nothing quite like being in such a far off location to remind us how small we are in this vast universe, Being surrounded by all this pure nature is a humbling experience. The cruise ship entered the Beagle Channel. the narrow fjords came into view with the granite walls and sometimes a waterfall. As we entered into Glacier Alley we could see chunks of ice floating past us.

Exquisite sunrise this am

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As we approached the Marinelli Glacier the captain came on and said he would do a full circle so we all could see. It is a tidewater glacier located in Alberto de Agostini National Park, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. The glacier spills out of the Cordillera Darwin and calves int Ainsworth Bay.

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Friday was a Sea day and much rougher seas and rainy. I went up to the gym to ride a bike and it was almost empty. Started watching a movie on a bike and went back to the room to finish, Tonight we had a shared table in an Italian restaurant,

Saturday tender port Chacabuco

Windy and rainy Got off early and met tour guide in terminal Mate Che

This was the only tour that we had a poor guide. She was young and did not speak much English, She would ask the driver questions and he would give her answers. She just was not prepared. There was another tour group that went to the same places and had a much better guide. We took the road to Coyhaique. This road is surrounded by a stunning landscape. We l observed the Simpson River and stopped at a waterfall.

We stopped at a small farm ASADO PATAGONIA. A meal serving typical food from Chile's Patagonian region including lamb cooked on a stick, salads, tortas, fritas a typical fried bread Prepared with, a mixture with tomatoes onion, chile, and cilantro potatoes and a glass of Chilean red wine.

Ron and Carol from Arizona and Coleen and Reed were the other two couples with us.

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Jim called and arranged supper with Joyce and Roy from South Carolina, and John who was traveling alone from the Netherlands

Sunday tender Port Monte,

Today we had to walk all the way out to meet guides. We got the last place in the van about 10 people and we were off first stop to look at an overlook. We knew Craig and Marth and Ron and Carol.

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This tour will go to Petrohue waterfalls excursion

Stopped for a snack, stopped in Puerto Varas,, Frutillar, Our guide brought baked beef Chilean empanada and glass of Chilean wine. The landscape with the volcano behind us was stunning. It was kinda awkward eating and having wine outside of the van.

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Petrohue Falls inside Vincente Perez Rosales National Park. The waters flow over basaltic lava while the Osomo Volcano stands behind,

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City of Varas city of roses on the lake Lianquihue which offers commanding views of snowcapped Osorno Volcano and Calbuco Volcano both still active traditional German-style architecture characterizes the town reflecting its colonial past

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There was a peacful march for womans day

Fruitellar is a city on the western edge of vast Lianquihue lake. It has black sand beaches. German-style wooden buildings

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Monday Sea Day I had my third and last cooking class called SWIM, We made scallops, shrimp, breaded fish, snapper and veg. My partner was Collette. from California this was a boot camp on fish cookery.

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COVID-19 Coronavirus disease is becoming serious 22 people have died. Another cruise ship has finally ported in Oakland 21 onboard are infected, Schools are being canceled. Here on the ship, we depend on news forecasts for updates.

Tuesday, We docked in San Antonio, Chili

Today we did not book a tour. There had been a lot of unrest and riots here in the fall Oct and Nov, San Antonio is a colorful hub for fishing. It was a sunny day so we took a walk into town, We walked through the market and fish market. Many other passengers took tours to Valparaiso and Santiago for the day,

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We had a great supper with Roy and Joyce from South Carolina and John from the Netherlands. Closed down dining room with great conversation,

Wed Day 17 of cruise Coquimbo Chile

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It was cloudy and 65 degrees when we started our tour with central Tour Serena. Our guide was Sebastion and he said do not worry about clouds he would promise us sunny days in the valley.

Ron and Carol were with us again from Arizona.

We stopped at Puclaro Dam in Elgui valley, The reservoir provides drinking and irrigation water The temp was 108 here

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research station Eliqui valley is known for its rain-free climate and remarkable clear skies. Given its remote location high elevation and reliable cloud-free nights. It is home to four major astronomical research bases.

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Went to Avendia Francisco de Aguirre to La Serena's main square

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We then went to a restaurant where they cooked everything by solar. I had the soup and goat meal.

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Pisco distillery Pisco is a colorless or yellowish to amber colored brandy produced in winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. It is made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high proof spirit. Aba distillery is a family-run, Handpicked grapes fermented at low temperatures then distill in copper receptacles to strike the perfect balance.

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Thursday Sea Day

We went to the library to read.

We went to Helen and Jim's large suite for cocktails and snacks at 530. The four brits and four Australians they had met were there. loved listening to all the accents,
Shared a table in Red Ginger with 4 other people. The one lady talked all the time and was quite entertaining even though she monopolized the conversation.

Friday Sea day Gloomy day

Went to the main dining room for breakfast. To Libary to read and stopped at Barista for a cappuccino. Skipped lunch and went to the gym to ride a bike.
The Brits Carol and Jim and Helen invited us to tea and wanted to teach us how a proper tea is done. Had scone with clotted cream and jelly so good.

Saturday Sunny

Jim would go to Barista every morning at 630 to get me my coffee Americana. What a special guy he does not even drink coffee. He then would go to the gym. He came back that morning at about 730 and said We were nowhere near Pisco. The rumor in the gym is they would not let us port. Sure enough, the Captain came on speaker in the room and said Pisco port was closed and we were turning around and heading to San Antonio Chili. You know it is something important when they break into a speaker in the room because they only use for very important announcements.
We did a load of laundry and went out on deck to enjoy the beautiful weather.

At 530 went up to the beautiful Horizen lounge to have a couple of Pisco Sours and dance to the Marina show band. We ate supper in the main dining room with Joyce and Roy and John. About 0930 the captain came on intercome and said we were turning around and heading to Panama Canal. We should get there Wed. We were done eating and just sitting at the table visiting. I felt punched in the gut feeling. Would we allow ed to port or just be floating and isolating??? We were so thankful for to our knowledge no one was sick with a virus.

Sunday Very sunny and hot

Today our cruise was supposed to end. Since ports were closed at sea and the temperature is getting hot! could only take a half-hour in the sun and went to find spots in the shade. The crew has been amazing. Offered us free drinks in lounges for 2 hours for 2 days. We already had free internet bu now offered to everyone. Freephone calls from the room. They never missed a beat. The ship was shining from all the cleaning they were doing to keep us healthy. We saw them fumigating rooms on a rotating basis to keep germs down. They had automatic hand sanitizers everywhere, We went up to dance to the house band.

Monday

It feels like groundhog day. Another day at sea. Thankful we are healthy and able to move around the ship.
Found a place in the shade Ate a Hawaiian Poke bowl salad for lunch that was incredible. Had free drinks again and had another Pisco sour
Reservations in the french restaurant and who would be seated with us but Craig and Martha who we had shared excursions. Another delightful couple. Had french onion soup to die for and best filet with foie gras.

Tuesday 23 day on the ship

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Sat in shade to read. Met Carol and Erc in Horizon for drinks at 530 and dance to the ship band.

Wed 24th. day

We have been gone for one month today. The dream that never ends. Sat in shade but really hot. Arrived in the Panama area at 0830. Captain came on and said we will transient through on Friday. That will take all day and we will arrive in Miami Monday afternoon, We have a plan Oceania will get our flight for us. We all could take a deep breath. There were at least a hundred freighters keeping us company waiting for their transient.

Thursday warm and sunny

Remain anchored outside of the canal. Panama City appears to be booming.

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spent most of the day in the shade. Ate Red Ginger with a shared table , one couple had been on the ship for 64 days.

Friday Day 26 Panama Canal Transit

The Panama Canal stretches across the Isthmus of Panama in Central America. The waterway measures 50 miles. It handles a large volume of world shipping and enables vessels to avoid traveling around South America. Built by the United States in 1904 o 1914, It posed a major engineering challenge and cost $350 million. Disputes between the US and Panama led to the treaty and Panama took control in Dec 1999.

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got up early for coffee and out on deck to watch the ship come into the locks

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got up early for coffee and out on deck to watch the ship come into the locks

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We enjoyed watching the MSC Ship ahead of us go through the new locks.

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We decided to go to breakfast in the main dining room and they seated us in the back so we could see the locks.

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spent the rest of the day in the shade enjoying the locks. We would see the MSC freighter every so often on upper locks above us.

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Saturday day 27 days at sea. Nothing outstanding Ate with Joyce and Roy again in the dining room.

Sunday day 28 Last Sea day.

Time to pack, getting anxious to leave our bubble with how fast coronavirus has spread at home. Will we REALLY get to get off the ship and fly home? Would the ship pass the health department? Were they telling us the truth that no one had a virus on the ship? We have been to see the last 11 days without anyone getting on or off. Who knows? These are scary times. The one thing I know is all the crew on Oceania worked their butts off to keep us safe and clean. We were treated like five-star passengers. They still SMILED and treated us with professionalism.

Monday 29th day. Hallelujah! we see land and Miami port.

Jim brought me coffee and went to the gym. We went down for breakfast in the dining room. We were anxiously looking to see when the first passengers were allowed off the ship. IT HAPPENED. We both had tears in our eyes. We were going to get off. Oceania provided buses for us to get to the airport. Customs was a breeze at the terminal. We were dropped off around 11 at Miami.

The airport looked like a ghost town. Customs was quick. We were shocked that there were no health screenings or temperatures being taken.

There were very few restaurants open, They were using social distancing in the restaurants. They were wiping down tables, giving you to wipes to use also. I complimented the waitress on all the precautions they were using. The did not touch glass without a napkin.

Jim does not think there is going to be a plane, very few appear to be on our flight. 20 min before the flight the crew arrived. We have HOPE. When boarding they separated us and there was no one in front behind or on the side of you.

Leaving Miami

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Chicago

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We arrived and our checked luggage was not there. Ok is the trip ever going to end? Jim and another man went to check and found out our luggage came in on an earlier flight. 10 minutes later we had our luggage and hotel where we left our car called a taxi for us. This is getting real the taxi driver has a mask over his mouth and nose. When we arrived at the hotel they did not charge us for the extra 9 days. UNREAL. We both held our breath as Jim went out to see if car would start after 35 days. He picked me up and we are on our way. Two more hours and we will be home to warm waterbed! Nothing ever feels as good as coming HOME.

As I finish writing this I know how incredibly lucky we were to be on a ship that did not have the virus. It is a terrible feeling to be denied entry to ports. Especially ports in the USA. We are so thankful to the cruise line and crew for their hospitality and for keeping us safe. Many of the crew can not go home because their ports are closed. As I watched yesterday as the two ships Zaandam and Rotterdam were finally let off I cried. That could of been us Even though it is almost 2 weeks later. I pray for the crew and for passengers on Coral Princess will be allowed to dock. The count today of death count in USA is 8.000.

Posted by Cindygad 12:04 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

St John 2020

Sharing 10 days with friends Michele and Doug and a week by our selves

We went to Chicago on Jan 7th. Stayed at our usual Best Western in Des Plains. Jim asked check-in girl for recommendations and she said the Boston Fresh Food Market. Walkable from the hotel. We drove and was pleasantly surprised. They sell all fresh unfrozen fish. We had a couple of delicious sandwiches. The next time we will share a freshly grilled fish meal. It comes with vegetables, rice, and baked apples.

Up at 4 am and took a shuttle van to the airport. We had pre-check but my shoe caused alarm and of course total knee requires a pat-down. Flew to Charlotte and ate lunch. Bought salad and sandwich to eat on the plane. Arrived at 430 and luggage took awhile a big spirit airline had just landed.

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Left at 510 and was able to catch the Crown ferry at 530. It is less than 10 minutes from the airport. Do ask what charge is we got gouged on the price but was in a hurry so did not bicker. I love this new addition.It felt so good to have the warm wind in our faces. A bird entertained us the whole ride over.

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We arrived and Curtsey was there to pick us up along with a big group. We got our 4 door jeep and was off for groceries. We got the basics, creamer, milk, eggs, rum, beer, pop, water, We each brought a cooler with meat, lunch meat, cheeses, bacon, sausages, potatoes, chips and snacks, shrimp, We called Doug and Michele who was already at Villa Lunazul and told her our arrival time. We arrived at 0730. She had cooked us a lovely meal of chicken cordon Blue and rice. Doug and Michele live in Slinger WI and arrived a couple of hours earlier than us and got a ride to the villa. They do not want to drive on the island

Villa Lunazul is my all-time favorite Villa when renting with another couple.

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We have stayed here 3 times, Dorthy and Edward are new owners and live down below in the villa down the hill. Always available for any questions or anything we needed. Nonatrusive would not even know they are there. We had a beach chair break and it was immediately changed out and Edward fixed it. A shutter was loose in the high winds and he fixed it the same day. Everything you need for the villa is there. Dorthy is a wealth of information and gave us several tips even though we have been here many times. The view is priceless from here. I find I sleep less. Always up by 6 to watch sunrise peeking over the horizon. This is the first time we experienced high winds and howling at night in Jan. I can not EVEN imagine what it was like during the hurricanes of 2017.

First Day Thursday, Jan 9th. Doug picked Maho. We arrived early and was able to get a place in the shade.

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This beach has changed a lot since the new area with a bar and food has opened up. It definitely makes the beach busier. We did walk down and get a drink and they were very good at $8 average. There is a place to rent boards. In my opinion, it was a tastefully done area.

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I prefer quieter areas but can see why some people like the addition. We snorkeled and you can always see turtles here. Maho is a beautiful sandy beach easy walkout for children. Great calm beach to learn to snorkel. Supper tonight was a pork loin, Cauliflower and smashed little potatoes in the oven. The first game of dominoes.

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Friday Jan 10th

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Frances for the day. It was pouring rain when I ran upstairs to start the coffee. It soon stopped. We stayed at Frances whole day had a 2o minute soaker rain. then it cleared out and we stayed until 330 and the No seeums carried us out. Steak, potatoes in foil and corn.

Full Moon Tonight

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Saturday, Jan 11th
Went to Salt pond had been very windy during the night. Sunny, Saturday tends to be turn around day so not many people on the beach. We were able to find some shade.

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Jim and I walked the short 10-minute walk to Drunk Bay. It is not good for swimming. The coastline here is wild and rugged. Good for beachcombing. it is open sea that rolls all the way from Africa. Many times you can find unique rock formations.

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Miss Lucy's for late lunch

Nothing like grouper Ruban sandwich The lime in coconut drinks are awesome here.
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Since we had late lunch just had shrimp and crackers with fig jelly and cheese

Sunday, Jan 12th

Today was a Trunk Bay beach day from 9-3. We sat up in the shade and enjoyed the beach and water. We walked the beach in the morning

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We had Michele's lasagna and a salad. I must admit we are eating well on the islands.

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Sunday is Packer Sunday
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Packers played the Seahawks Packers WIN 28 Seatle 23 Packers play San Francisco for Divisional Playoffs,

Monday, Jan 13

Very high winds during the night. We decided to go to Lameshur
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We stopped for a drink at Aqua Bistro

Had painkiller and lime and coconut.

Tuesday Jan 14

The boys and Michele picked Frances again to look for sea glass. One of my favorite beaches. It was cloudy and we had a downpour that lasted for about 20 minutes. The rain went away and we had a great day until the noseeums ran us away.

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Tuesday means Chicken-fried Chicken with pecan honey sauce at Carribean Oasis. It has become so popular we called our order to be picked up at 600. We all went down and had a drink.

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Bingo was ready to start so Jim and Michele bought cards. We enjoyed talking to the man Henry next to us. He invited us up to his house tomorrow. We decided to eat there. a quick pop up rain shower came and went. We left we noticed Henry and Betty were leaving ahead of us. We followed them up and decided to stop. They are such a cute couple he showed us his 2 bedroom place that he rents out when they are not here. They stay a couple of months, they are Italian and he told us of great Balsamic Vinegar that Starfish Market has that can refill. We later would stop and get some to bring home.

Wednesday Jan15th

Mostly sunny with a couple rain burst. We went to Hawknest from 10-3

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We went to eat at Rumblines for appy and 1/2 off drinks at 5 0'clock at the bar. We had great service and food came out fast compared to last year's slow service. We had egg rolls, french fries, and spicy noodles and shrimp. I had mango Margaretia I liked.

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Thursday Jan 16th,

We went to Cinnamon Bay. 930-300,IMG_5324.JPG5113ff50-41e6-11ea-bbf7-cd9ba1bb30b1.JPGIMG_5340.JPGIMG_5349.JPGIMG_5351.JPGIMG_5352.JPGIMG_5345.JPGIMG_5339.JPGIMG_5355.JPGIMG_5341.JPGIMG_5338.JPG

They have paved the road that goes by Catherineberg Ruins. I have driven by but never stopped to check them out. Since we were so close we stopped and enjoyed them.

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Friday, Jan 17th

We went to Maho.

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I had a good snorkel and saw 7 turtles. Came in at 130 and 4 people had sat up camp right behind us in our shade., Mind you we get to each beach early to find shade. We did not say anything gave them a hard look like REALLY and packed up. Went to
Frances.

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Saturday we packed up. Edward and Dorthy came up to talk. We moved our stuff to Jane and Larry at Angel Roost

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and took Michele and Doug to catch the 11 Crown Ferry.

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We had so much fun with our friends. Not everyone you meet can you travel with. We might only see each other once a year but until next time my friends take care.

We went to Haulover South and snorkeled and relaxed.

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Sunday, Jan 19th

We drove out to Pelican Rock. Parked and donated $5 It was calm and we snorkeled for 3 hours resting on shore for a while. Saw a spotted ray.

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shelf reef close to shore

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We had shrimp for supper. Packers played 49 ers It was not the outcome we wanted.

Monday, Jan 20th 63 birthday
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Walked over to Haulover North but seas too rough. Went to Groupon the no see ums ate us alive so drove to Annaberg.

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and checked out ruins. then went over on the side and read and enjoyed the area where they fly fish.

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We chose La Tapa for birthday dinner. Some places are closed on Mondays

I had a Sangria and we shared a octopus appetizer

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I had a shrimp pasta with shitakes mushrooms and sugar snap peas and arugula

We shared a flowerless choc cake with carjillao ice cream.

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Tuesday Jan21st

Hiked to Brown Bay so much easier since I had a knee replacement last May
I was slower but the trail was cleared. Water was churned up and rough disappointing snorkel

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We scored a parking spot at Oppenheimer at the fence

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Wed Jan 22

We have done excursions with friends of the park in the past. I signed up for the all day one on Piracy of islands We met at the visitor center at 0945 Captain TOM of Sadie Sea, Archeologist Ken was the speaker. We Boarded and sat on the bottom in shade. We went to Henley Cay and parked you could snorkel if you wanted. other stops were on Mary's cay and last at three mooring balls at Leinster bay.

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The archeologist was very long-winded it was interesting hearing all his stories. We made it back to dock at 4 pm.

Thursday finally calm enough to snorkel Haulover North.

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Miss Lucy's for lunch
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Went to Liensterbay and talked to Laurie and Chet from Minnesota, We relaxed and read on the side.

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Friday January 25 th

Winds were down and had to Haulover North for last snorkle. It was like glass and was able to go way out to left.P1230815.JPGP1240894.JPGP1240902.JPG335d0670-42c0-11ea-8552-f76d18a41dca.JPGP1240893.JPGP1240891.JPG31b10420-42c0-11ea-9309-a325dc980925.JPGP1240908.JPG

Denis Bay for last afternoon.

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Saturday
Last but memorable sunrise.

Up early packed and cleaned up went up to say goodby to Jane and Larry. Returned jeep and caught 1000 ferry.

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Posted by Cindygad 13:29 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Ama Waterway river cruise on Rhine and Lucern April 29th

Amsterdam.

Ama Kristina river cruise award winning for overall river cruising 156 passengers

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We parked our car and got the shuttle from one stop parking at Hyatt Place. We flew KLM got there at 220 and left at 5 pm our time. We arrived in Amsterdam at 630.

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There were 8 in Michele's group at the airport, Michele and Doug, Richard and Joyce, Liz and Ed. We met the Ama representative and were on our way to ship. Arrived at AMA Kristina a 0730.

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I am getting a total knee replacement when we return home. We adveraged 5 miles a day. I hobbled along but Iam thankful I was able to see everything we did on trip.

Our rooms were not ready but they held our luggage and invited us to breakfast. Every day this was a buffet with omelet and egg station, Fruit, cheeses, muesli, cereal, assorted bread, meats, grilled veg, fresh orange juice and cappuccino, and espresso bar. You could also order off the menu if you chose eggs benedict, homemade hashbrowns, I probably gained a few pounds from just these potatoes they were so good. We finished our breakfast and went on top to wait for the room to be ready.

Jim was getting antsy and wanted to go exploring. We got off the ship and walked toward the train station and caught the free ferry to the other side of the canal. Amsterdams Architecture is quite an eclectic mixture of 17th-century canals and innovative buildings. See that square shaped building as we got closer we saw there were swings up high. Too high for me.We headed back to ship for lunch and then our rooms were ready so we unpacked and took a nap.

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Bikes everywhere! Boy was I wrong when I got home I googled the bikes that I thought were cheap. I was so wrong Most of them were Azor brand and ranged from 999-1225 in price.WOW! Remember bikers rule and always have the right away.

Cocktail hour one hour prior to dinner in lounge wine, beer, drink of day included.

We ate supper with Joyce and Rick from Wisconsin, had a great time getting to know them. He is an awesome story and joke teller. I had coconut crab cake and beef and dessert.

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I went to bed at 1000 to rest my knee. Jim went out to take pictures I am pretty sure he just went out to see what red light district

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Tuesday, April 30th. We took the one-hour scenic canal cruise in a covered canal boat.
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We then walked around Amsterdam on our own.

1245 AmaKristina sails to Cologne.

Tonight we had Chefs table with Michele's whole group of 22 people.

Heirloom tomato and eggplant caviar
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Turnip cucumberTartar

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Carrot ginger soup
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Skin grilled pike perch

Free Range Nabraska beef
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Cologne Wednesday, May
Holy City Walking Tour departs with a walking tour through the colorful city which combines modern and historic. The tour ends by the Cathedral where the guide described its 632-year construction.Your floating hotel docks just 10 min from walking center of the city. There was a back up at locks so the captain had buses pick us up and had a 45-minute bus ride to the city.

Cologne gothic church

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We were lucky to see tapestry baroque that is only displayed for a few weeks each year. They show the Triumph of the Eucharist.
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Cologne Cathedral began construction of gothic masterpiece took 600 years to complete. It was built after the relics of three wise men were brought to Cologne

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We walked around then stopped for a beer with our friends. Kolsch beer the oldest brewery in the area a pale ale.

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Supper was in the quiet area on the ship and had our own private table with 10 in a separate room.

My knee was bothering me and I went to bed at 1000. Jim went out for a walk and got some great night pictures.

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Today is Castle day! Our Morning will be an unforgettable experience. We started off in a mist of clouds in a dreamy scenic cruise through the most famous stretch of the Rhine River.30 castles will be on this short stretch of the river valley. We met up top and they provided blankets. We were cozy with a hot cup of coffee and ready to watch. the magic begins. I felt transported back in time and could only imagine what life was like then.

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Castle Stolzenfels is a castle in Koblenz Germany, It is a former medieval fortress castle turned into a palace a 13th-century fortress.

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Castle Konigsstuhl or Kings Chair is now a hotel, This is Royal Throne of Rhens where German Kings were elected in 1346

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Castel Liebenstein and Castle Sterrenberg were castles built by feuding brothers. Major restoration toook place in 1977 and today is hotel and restaurant.

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After marker 555 is the famous Loreley rock

On the right bank at the bend in the river is the rugged cliff bearing the name of Lorelei the siren who inspired Heinrich Heines melancholic poem. At its best in the evenings, sunshine-the ledge offers a grand view of Oberwesel and Schonburg Castle. Down the crag from which the lady lured sailors to their doom.

I don't know what it can mean that I am so sad,
a fairy-tale from ancient times
which I can't get out of my mind
the air is cool and it getting dark,
and the Rhine is flowing peacefully
the mountain's peak is glittering
in evening sunshine

The most beautiful virgin is sitting
up there, marvelously,
her golden jewelry is sparkling
she combs her golden hair.
She combs it with a golden comb
and at the same time sings a song
that has a wondrous
tremendous melody.

The boatman in his little ship
is seized by a mad woe;
he doesn't see the rocky reefs,
he's only looking up into the heights.
I believe the waves will engulf
boatman and boat in the end
and that, with her singing
the Lorelei has done

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Oberwesel Schonburg Castle has 25 rooms for hotel and restaurant

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Gutenfels Fortress below the town of Kaub is now a hotel

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Pfaltzgrafenstein built in 1327 a tiny castle in the middle of the Rhine that was a toll castle.

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Rudesheimer Coffee Abachbrandy is a specialty of Rudesheim and a key ingredient of the coffee. It is poured in a special mug set on fire, doused with coffee and topped with whipped cream and chocolate flakes. We were served a cup up on deck.

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Furstenburg built in 1219 is in ruins today

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Sooneck Castle first mentioned in 1271

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Reichenstein Castle

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They served us a German Lunch today and we docked in Rudesheim at 2 pm

We chose to due to the gondola ride to over the vineyards to a Germania monument of German defeating France of the war of 1870.

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Jim's night walk

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Friday May 3 Sunny- cloudy 55

We cruised in the morning up ride the Rhine. Took a bus 45 minute to Speyer one of Germans oldest towns. Founded by Romans in 1024. They constructed a mighty cathedral that was completed in 1111, It was the largest of the time and its monumental significance symbolized the imperial power of Christianity.

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The first Jewish community merged in Speyer was one of the most important Jewish communities in Middle ages at the Bishop in 1084, He granted the Jews rights and privileges which went well beyond contemporary practice. The ruins of the Speyer Synagogue are the oldest visible remnants of building in central Europe.

the Ritual bath Mikveh Here the Jews undertook the religious cleansing proscribed by the Mosaic Law by immersing themselves in the cold natural water.

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Tonight we ate with Joyce and Rick had a lovely evening. I will remember the story of the squirrels! I was laughing so hard.

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Saturday, May 4th. Cold and rainy Strausburg

Strausburg is a beautiful historic city. It is fused with Franco-German culture. The city's main site is the Cathedral of Norte Dame de Strasbourg with its famous Astronomical clock. The Medieval cityscape and the Petite France district.

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We had great guide Eme we took a walk towards Cathedral started in 1015 completed in 1439 is a masterpiece of gothic art.

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The current clock dates from 1843 its main features besides the automata are a perpetual calendar, a display of the real position of the Sun and the Moon, and solar and lunar eclipses. The main attraction is the possession of the 18-inch figures of Christ and the Apostles which occurs every day at solar noon, while the life s

We then went to lunch
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We walked around and the met back at Grubers for our wine tasting Michele had set up for our group

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Wines of the Alsace. Deliciously crisp and dry the wines of the Alsace owe much to the region's location in a valley in Northeast France, the best sites in Alsace are low southern and southeastern facing slopes. German types like Gewurztramier and Riesling are the most popular.

We got back and 550 and went to the lounge for a dress up night. Casual no suits.

Sunday

Up early and to breakfast at 0730 with Doug and Michele. The boat was late getting through the locks so tours were an hour later.
Riquewihr Frane, one of the most beautiful villages of France. The true charm of Riquewihr is simple to amble through the streets admiring the fine houses Our guide was Monica very vibrant

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Our ship was delayed getting through the locks so they took us to a restaurant and we were served a traditional meal of sausages, potatoes and
kraut.

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Michele had wine tasting for us in the dining room in the back

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A great week with new friends and new adventures to be seen.

Tomorrow starts part 2 of Jim and mine adventure, trams, trains, buses, cable cars, cogwheel trains, gondolas, in Switzerland on our own,

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Part 2https://cindygad.travellerspoint.com/97/

Posted by Cindygad 02:16 Archived in Germany Tagged france germany netherlands switzerland Comments (0)

Part 2 Switzerland, Lucern and Zurich

Trams, trains, buses, trolleys, cogwheel train, gondola, cable cars learning the Europe travel system on our own

Switzerland on our own. I loved the river cruise and organized tours but was so glad we decided to do the last part of the trip on our own. Liked being able to do things at our own pace. Very easy to use transportation in Switzerland.

Monday depart AMA Kristina and travel to Lucern by train. We got up at 6 and had our last breakfast with Doug and Michele at 7. We got off at 8 and walked a block and half straight ahead to catch the tram. Now the figuring out of tickets to buy???? Zone one or two ??? We were unsure and no one spoke English. Finally, a young lady saw us struggling and helped us. The 8th stop was the train station. We then needed to buy our ticket for the train at the Kiosk. We got it figured out and took 0915 train to Lucern. What a beautiful ride. The second class was great with plenty of room. Arrived at the train station and took the number 2 bus to get to our air bnb. When we got off the bus had a little difficulty finding. It was behind. Our landlord had agreed to let us in early. She was a music professor and had a break between classes. The place was very clean and basic. The bed looked quite interesting. We had a nice kitchen area and planned to eat light breakfast in. We walked to Aldi's a block away to get breakfast food. Bought fresh peaches, yogurt, and English muffins, and some sort of bread. Interesting buying all in German. When we opened a loaf of bread it was covered in chocolate, Oh well not what we thought but Jim was happy

Lucerne described by French writer Alexandre Dumas as " a pearl in the world's most beautiful oyster" It is a beautiful city with the lake, Mountains as background and beauty everywhere you look,

The famous old bridge was not far from us and we started off walking. Spreuer Bridge is the oldest timber bridge in Switzerland was completed in 1408 as part of the Citys fortifications. It features 67 paintings depicting a dance Macabre added between 1626 and 1635,

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Museggmauer or Musegg Wall

This wall with its nine towers was built around 1300 to protect the city. It is one of the best preserved and longest wall fortifications in Europe
The clock on the Zyt tower dates from 1535 and has the privilege of chiming the hours one minute before the others in town.

Jim wanted to do this climb. My knee was talking to me and all the steps in the tower were hard for me but the view was so worth. We felt so blessed to stop and enjoy the beauty.

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Next stop was a walk through the old town. The old town picturesque squares flanked by buildings featuring historic frescoes.

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Lion Monument The Dying Lyon of Lucerne is a famous monument. Carved out of rock it commemorates the heroism in 1792 of Swiss soldiers who died attempting to protect the Tullieries Palace in Paris during the French Revolution.

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Supper was at Rathhouse brewery
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Jim had sausage and potato salad. I had veal cordon blue.

Tuesday is Mount Rigi day a day I have looked forward to since I started our planning. It would end up being Jim and my favorite day of the trip.

We got up and was surprised to have both slept well on the funky low to ground bed. We took the 0830 bus to train station. Took the 0900 boat

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Vitznau to Cogwheel railway to Rigi-Klum

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from pier 1 to Vitznau where you take Cogwheel Railway to Rigi-Klum. We bought the two days tell pass for 180swiss franc for 2-day travel pass for everything we would do the next two days, the pass is per person. When we got off the train the view was breathtaking. We waited to0f687060-7e35-11e9-aadc-73efa7b551b6.JPG0dc065b0-7e35-11e9-bbeb-37b9853acb19.JPG0e190d00-7e35-11e9-aadc-73efa7b551b6.JPG0c497d20-7e35-11e9-bbeb-37b9853acb19.JPG tell everyone got their pictures and went further up to peek. We took our time here and enjoyed the tranquility and natural beauty. You walk up a small trail where you are greeted by snow. We d

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We decided to walk down to cable car. This was very difficult for my knee but I am so glad I did the beauty from the mountains astound me. Tranquility is around us if we just take the time to breathe and take it all in. Thankfully there were benches to rest and enjoy the view.

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Cable car going down

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Weigis

Beautiful lakeside town. We were tired or I would have spent more time exploring Weigis. The boat was just pulling in as we arrived from the cable car. Took the boat back to Lucern.

Gutsch
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Tonight we met Doug and Michele for supper at a pub and good beer and some sandwiches. We had them walk to our air BnB to check it out. Not quite the fancy hotel they had but it served the purpose. I had read about the hotel up on the hill and talked them coming up with us for a drink,

There was a free funicular to get up there and the view was amazing. Jim had a peanut butter drink and I had one called the cloud.

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We helped them get on a bus and was off to bed.

Wed is Mt Titlis day we use our second day of Tell pass. Took the bus to the train station and Engelberg. There was a bus ride to the cable car valley station.

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We explored the Titlis glacier cave a frozen cave in the heart of the glacier.

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It was snowing and blowing and Jim was not too sure about the Titlis cliff walk. It took your breath away. It was a narrow suspension bridge. We only went part way but got your pulse racing.

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titlis rotair revolving cable car

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We then took the train back to Lucern we ate at Pfistern and Jim said he had his best sausage of the trip.

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Thursday travel to Zurich. We got up and took the bus to the train station. We took the train into Zurich.a beautiful hour ride through the countryside. We were looking for our transfer bus to the hotel. Well, this was our first travel blunder, We need to take the train to the airport station. Back on train short ride to the airport station. Caught the shuttle to our hotel. Arrived early noon and they let us check in and gave us a newly renovated room. We dropped our suitcases off and walked a couple of blocks to get the train back into Zurich. We walked to old town.

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Loved wanderng the streets and found a lovely Italian restaurant for late lunch early dinner.

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Friday travel home day. Up at 4 and took shower blew our cercut in room when drying my hair. Room went completely dark. we went down stairs to report it and breakfast was set up so we ate. The manger came and said he fix our problem. We caught airport shuttle to airport.Unieventful flight watched 4 movies. Home to Chicago rush hour traffic.

Posted by Cindygad 02:15 Comments (0)

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