A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Cindygad

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 (0)

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)

The Edge cruise with family

Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, Tortola, St Maarten

The Edge March 2019

This trip came about in a strange way. Last January my sister in law Kim contacted me while we were in Roatan. She said did you see the great rates Michele had on the new Ship The Edge. I had seen them but we already had a St John Trip and a River Cruise booked for 2019. That is about all we travel in one year. We turned her down from joining. When we got home we found out my sister had also booked. I was mentioning to Jim and said what did he think if I booked a cheaper room so we could go. He said go for it I will be retired. I had read so much information about the new ship that had come out in November. I was excited to give it a try.

We have been to these islands many times so decided to be low key. We took all the pictures from my I phone. We made it all about being on new ship instead of islands.

We left a day early and stayed at usual Park Sleep Fly we use in Des Plains. We had an early flight which meant we would leave the hotel at 34 5 to catch the 6 am flight. The silly thing was the time was to change at 2 am and we wanted to make sure our clocks or phones changed so we also set a travel alarm. We both woke up at 2 am and the phones said different times so we just stayed awake staring at the clocks. 3 am arrived and we were up getting ready. Taxi was waiting and we were off to the airport. No glitches there and we were in the air at 6 am. I love the new United app which allows you to watch movies on your devices. We arrived in Ft Lauderdale and the airport was a zoo, There were people sitting everywhere at 10 am. We got our baggage and took a taxi to the port. There were 7 ships in port. We got through the line and my name was spelled wrong so I needed to go to a desk to get that fixed and our picture was taken. We were on the ship at 1045. The new way you can drop suitcase off and room keys are the outside door. Our room was finished except room service tray on the floor so we quickly unpacked our carry on's and was out to explore the ship.

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Jim and I went up to Martini Bar on 3. We had a classic drink package included in our booking. You only pay extra if the drinks are over 9. It did not pay for us to upgrade. We only paid extra when we had specialty Martinis a few times. I love the large Martini area and all of the seating around. A great place to gather prior to dining.

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We went to Muster drill at 315 then watched sail away from the Magic carpet area.

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Supper was at 8 pm the In Cyprus dining room, Michele our travel agent had made dinner reservations a couple of months ago for all our nights. When we went to check in there was a snaffoo they had us for a table of two and the other for a table of 6 instead of all of us at a table of 8. This is the only time we had issues with matre d not working the problem out smoothly. We waited a half hour for a table and the dining room was not even full What was up with that. Our table mates for cruise brother and sister and spouses and new friends of my brother.

Cyprus dining room one of four to choose from This is the Mediterranean themed restaurant.

Brother Kenny and Sister in Law Kim

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Sister Shelia and Brother in Law Mike

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Friends of my brother Logan and Joylnn

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My husband and ME

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Had a great dinner, mushroom soup, spring roll,161233e0-4d68-11e9-b4d6-3121998c1a35.JPG

sea bass Very tired to bed at 1100

Monday sea day very sunny but windy

My days always start the same with an Americano coffee from cafe Bacio. Thanks to Jim who does not drink coffee. He also would bring back a small choc croissant to start the morning. We ate breakfast in the dining room. It was very windy but we found a nice spot out of the wind. Loving the layout of the ship. The decor and artwork were very appealing to me.

Michele had a cocktail hour in the Eden for her group to meet everyone. We enjoyed great conversation and the beautiful serene area the Eden is.

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the room you pass through before you get to Eden reminds me of the room of mirrors

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We met in the Martini bar and I tried the Pickle Martini

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We went to the show at 7 called Kaleidoscope it was interesting

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Supper was in a different dining room called Tuscan.This is the Southern Italian restaurant and is located on deck 3 Michele had fixed our seating problem and we had great service tonight,

I had salmon tartare and lamb chops to die for

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Wine for the evening was

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After dinner, we went to the club for Silent Disco. What a hoot! There are three different styles of music so everyone is listening to a different channel. You can change it to the same color or a different one. When you take the headphones you hear no music just people singing. It is so fun if you ever have the chance just do it!

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Tuesday San Juan afternoon

We weren't supposed to get into San Juan until 3 pm. We did the usual morning routine and went to the solarium to relax and read out of the sun.
We scored a double lounge
r and relaxed. Went to the main dining room and I enjoyed a cobb salad and pecan pie. We talked to a young couple from Texas who have both traveled a lot for their age and a lovely lady who traveled by herself was on her 50th cruise and was from Slovakia originally. She was very vivacious and fun to be around. Through the years I have enjoyed meeting some awesome people at dinner and hearing about their travels.

When we got on elevator met Vern aka Jeramy and he said to come out by the pool where his family was. It was a beautiful sunny day and enjoyed sitting on the pool edge with feet in the water.

We then enjoyed sitting at pool bar with logan and Joylnn and getting to know them better.

We got into port an hour later than suppose to they had engine problems but got it fixed quickly We watched the sail into San Juan from the Magic Carpet
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Michele had given each couple of dinners for specialty dining. Tonight was ours at 8 pm in Fine Cut dining room. At 55 a person

Desert was unbelievable ice cream sundae and Brownie Sundae. He brought extra to tempt people who had not ordered any. Also had a new drink with amaretto and cream and almonds

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Too full to go to bed so we walked up on the rooftop and retreat area. The ship is beautiful at night.

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Wed Tortola

Jim and I had rented a villa on the island and stayed for aweek several years ago. We decided just to get off and walk into Roadtown. I love walking when we are at ports and it makes me laugh at how lazy we as travelers have become. Most got on an open air taxi just to go into Roatown. Today we walked 5 miles and my knee was talking to me when we were done. We took it slow and enjoyed seeing how much has changed since we were here. There is still a lot of construction going on after the Hurricanes of 2017. Islands take so much time to recover since they do not have the resources available to them. Tortola is a British island and appeared to have much more rebuilding to get back to pre-hurricane state.

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Went looking for a new hat at Pussers for Jim but they did not have any at this time.

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We got back on the ship and went to eat at Eden for lunch had salad and sandwich. We went to Sunset bar at the back of the ship and had Mohito and Long island ice tea.

It was time to meet in Martini Bar at 330 to start Michele's famous Poker Run Ran by her sister in law Lori. You get two cards at each bar but do not open until the end. It is a great way to get to know everyone in her group. We had an awesome time with lots of laughter.

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Got back to the room and Jim fell asleep. 6 long island ice teas for him. I thought I would be going to dinner by myself. I poked him and said are you going to dinner???? He popped up and showered and was good to go. We ate in Tuscan again and Mike did not show up for dinner. Had turkey parmesan and cheese flan. Went to watch the show at Eden called Revelation! Baazar is all I can say.

Thurs St Maartin

We went up to eat breakfast inOcean view cafe at buffet. Very good. We got off ship and took ferry 7$ round trip. This area was all repaired from Hurricanes and looked beautiful. We walked around and got tablecloths for Holidays from Linen shop.

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We got back to ship around 1100 and found a closed in area above pool bar with cushy double lounges. You could hear the music but much quieter than around pool tried out the Mast grill for burgers. Enjoyed this area very much

we watched sailaway and talked with brother and sister in law.

Had dinner in cypress and crab cake, salad and short ribs.

went to the show in the Club and watched Mirage by les Farfadels acrobatic show.

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Sea day Rainy most of day

Had breakfast in dinning room than had tea at Cafe al Bacio with Doug and Michele

Jim got a spot up on quiet deck above pool bar with plush double loungers, Spent day up there reading and relaxing

Had dinner in the Normandy had great gruyere cheeser tart and Lobster and favorite wine of ship Haven from South Africa.
We also celebrated Jolynn birthday.

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Saturday sea day and sunny all day Yea!

Sat by a fun couple from Austriala that had done 3 ships and was now returning home. those Austrialians know how to travel.Went to upper deck to find an area in the shade. Ate lunch in buffet and they had large cold shrimp today. Today is packing day so got in done before supper.

Dinner tonight was in the Cosmopolitan we had a great steai and little pouch with scallop and wonderful carrott cake.
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Went to bed early have walk off departure in morning.

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Sunday back in port in fort Lauderdale. Did walk off with suit cases and got taxi to air port. Our flight was 1050 and able to catch it without any problems. Arrived in Ohare at 130,IMG_2901.JPG

got luggage and took transfer back to hotel to get our car. Home at 430. Sunny and 46 degrees.
Jim says retirement is really good when you get home from vacation and don't have to go back to work.

Posted by Cindygad 07:27 Archived in Saint Martin Comments (1)

St john 2019 part 2

Wed the winds were down so great snorkel at Haulover North.

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We went to Kiddle for the first time in a few years. The rope was down and we were able to park in there. Stayed here from 1130-4pm. Snorkeled both sides.

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Thursday Jan 17

Arrived at Francis at 0915 Got a great shady place made out of sticks to set up shade. At 1100 a large family moved in with 4 small children under the age of 3. I must admit there were very quiet and did not bother us. In fact, enjoyed watching them in the waves.

We snorkeled to left clear to Maho. Water was not to clear today. Saw lots of fish but nothing remarkable.

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We tried the Wok on the beach for the first time in Coral Bay. We got there early and most seats were open. before we left it was completely full. I did not get the waitress name but she did a fabulous job and did not get riled when they got so busy. It is actually one of the few restaurants that have an ocean view.

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Friday Jan 18

Went to Grootpan at 0900. Had beach to ourselves for a few hours. had to put parasheet up for shade.

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Snorkeled to right and pretty clear today. Saw some reef far out had not seen before.

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We made our weekly stop at Miss Lucy for Grouper Rueben fix.

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We then drove over to East end.

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Saturday Jan 19th.

We found that Saturdays are a turn around day for some so fewer people at Salt Pond. I love coming here. Always see turtles, stingrays and usually and squid. The rocks in the middle are great snorkel if it is not to choppy. Today did not disappoint.

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Snorkel

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Tomorrow is my 62 birthday Hello Social Security! The restaurants I want to go to were both closed on Sunday so I decided to go tonight. We were early enough to see the sunset

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then went to Virgin Fire Bistro.44885060-24dc-11e9-a8c3-bb79f9d1d1db.JPG

We had reservations for 6 pm. the place was almost 1/2 full already. Service was remarkable as always and Abby our waitress was special. Not only beautiful but charming and efficient.

I had a grapefruit margarita that was so good would need two.c0bfc800-2556-11e9-b65b-bd7e9ff2c9f3.JPG

We had crunchy calamari
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I had the shrimp and Jumbo Lump crab and homemade pappardelle.
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My husband had Cioppino seafood stew.
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Loved the meal and service

Sunday, Jan 20th

treated to a colorful sunrise
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and lovely breakfast53fc2da0-255e-11e9-b77f-a14fd2084fc3.JPG

I picked to go to waterlemon for my birthday. the walk in is all along shore and easy.

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When we got in the water my husband gave me the look! He said he forgot the camera battery. I said no problem after 39 years of marriage he does not forget things often It is usually me. Usually though if the battery goes dead that is when you see so many unusual things. Not today nothing was missed. When we got out of the water we were talking to a lady who is traveling on her own. She is a scientist and found out they just cleared a trail to so ruins we had not seen in the gut of Leinster Bay. So glad she told us or we would have missed it.

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We sat on the little beach across from parking lot and read and enjoyed the ripple of the water

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Some pictures of full moon and eclipse FULL DISCLOSURE Someone else posted
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Monday 21

We went to Oppenmyer and Gibney beach it looks different now. We still enjoyed and just spent the whole day here with a rain shower lasting about 20 min.

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Tuesday Jan 22
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We hiked to Brown Bay. It was disappointing snorkel the water was all churned up. We did see thousands of little fish unsure what they were but seemed bigger than fry fish, Also some interesting tube fish in sand coming out of holes as we were coming in. A barracuda just kept circling us. Usually, they don't bother me but this one got on my nerves.
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Went to the east end and snorkeled the shelve past pelican rock

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Wed

Went to Francis and set up neso for shade spent the whole day there. Larry and Jane the owners of Angelroost
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took us out to eat at Rhumblines. It was not as busy as the last time we were there but they still have some service issues. The food was ok

Thursday 0e770230-25a6-11e9-977b-41fdcc9f663f.JPG

We went to Lamshur and set up chairs in the shade Then we hiked teck tite trail

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Friday rainy and misty did not go to the beach until 1030 and we chose Gibney with all its imperfections it is still one of our favorites. We had the beach to ourselves until the afternoon.IMG_2179.JPGIMG_2176.JPGIMG_2183.JPGIMG_2180.JPGIMG_2191.JPG

Saturday the day of doom

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When we landed in Chicago we had quite the drive home roads very slick and snow covered had to go 40 miles and hour all the way home.
What a drastic change in weather.

Until next year

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xxx

Posted by Cindygad 16:29 Comments (0)

St John 2019

Three glorious weeks

Jim retired on Wednesday this year after 39 and a half years at AEP working as an electrical engineer. We went to Chicago for Park, Sleep and Fly. We stayed at Best Western in Des Plaines. We went to a Guy Feri place of diners and drive in called paradise pup. It is a small place that serves the best burgers and fries and Malts yes I said Malt. you do not hear that much anymore.

Sat Jan 5th up early and left the hotel at 615. We went to United Club room to wait and have a light breakfast. We were to meet up at the airport with Michele and Doug friends we had met in 2009 on a cruise. This is before Michele was destined to be a travel agent. She is awesome and always goes above and beyond to provide the best service possible. Hopefully this trip she can get some much-needed downtime. We had a 0850 flight. It takes about 5 hours to get to St John.

First glimpse of land

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I went to the bathroom to change clothes and our luggage came out. We were hoping to catch the 5 pm ferry. Michele had contacted Ali
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one of the drivers she has used before to pick us up on a private van. We were excited and loaded up and were off. about 15 min into the ride my phone rings and says, Charlotte Amalie. I do not know anybody there but answered and he said he had one of our luggage back at the airport. I said nope we got them all. He said, lady, I am telling you I am calling you from the number on your bag. We looked in the back and sure enough, I had left one on the sidewalk. So much for catching the ferry, we had to turn around and go back to the airport to get it. We arrived at Redhook just as the ferry was pulling away. Oh, well we are on island time. Jim bought us Painkillers, Bushwackers, and Doug a beer. It helped to ease the pain. It tasted so good and before we knew it we were loading the ferry.

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Courtesy met us at the dock and we were off to get our 4 door Jeep. We stopped at the dolphin market for necessities like rum beer, eggs, water, and bread. We called Stan owner of Lunazul and said we were on our way. It was dark and we were unsure which road. It had been three years since we had stayed there and everything looked different after hurricanes. Our phones would not work so we gave it a try on our own. thought we were on right rode then decided it was not. Jim backed out of this crazy driveway and we went back down. Finally got phone reception and got a hold of Stan and he met us and took us back up. We were on the right road after all. It felt so good to be returning to Lunazul. They had lost a couple windows and a door in Hurricanes. Everything looked great and some of the palms were growing back nicely. We put our food away and decided to eat in and made some sandwiches and turned in 1030 island time. So good to be back on the island.

Sunday, Jan 6th

Up at 530 made coffee and watched island start to come alive. My absolute favorite time of day. Doug made sausage and Michele made dipping eggs

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We picked Frances as the first beach and sat up camp. First on the beach at 1000.
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We came back and had drinks and appetizers. We had chicken kiev, rice, and salad. We listened to music and went to be about 0830.

Monday

Today is Doug's birthday. We had blueberry pancakes and sausage.

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We went to Hawknest beach.

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We listened to music and played dominos.

Tuesday

Had steak and egg scramble and muffins.

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We went to Haulover South for the morning and a snorkel.

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We stopped at Skinnys for some shopping and drinks. I had a Bushwacker and chips to snack on.

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Stopped at Maho for a swim
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We had supper from Carribean Oasis located down below lunazul. We all had pecan chicken that is to die for and sides of coleslaw, mashed potatoes.

Wed
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Started off with some light sprinkles and end up with a beautiful day on trunk bay.

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We stayed at the beach all day. We all four had been floating and talking in water. We all were leaving the water at the same time and boom we got hit With a big wave and all of us did a somersault in the water and came up laughing. We gave the whole beach their laugh of the day!

We had little hamburgers and smashed potatoes. Jim and I stayed up and watched Bird Box movie.

Thursday

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Today we took Doug and Michele to a new beach they had not been to. Little Lameshure. We were the only ones on the beach for a while. the road down is pretty challenging. They loved this remote beach and definitely get St John if they love it here. They snorkeled and then we headed to Miss Lucy for a late lunch.

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Miss Lucy's and Ruben grouper sandwich.IMG_1928.JPG
My favorite on the island.

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To full for supper since we had late lunch. Just had cheese and crackers and sausage while played dominos.

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Friday
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Dennis Bay was our first stop of the day

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We left for one last snorkel at Maho.

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We stopped at Carribean Oasis to get some mashed potatoes to go with our turkey for supper and had a couple rounds of drinks at bar.
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Had best Turkey dinner for last meal at Lunazul. Don't laugh but I brought a small turkey breast and we roasted it in the oven. It was so good.

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Saturday

day to leave Lunazul and transfer to Angelroost for two more weeks.

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We went into town and it started raining. Went to Mongoose junction for a little shopping and stopped in at new tap room for a drink and some cheese curds.

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We took Doug and Michele to catch 1 pm ferry, We enjoyed sharing the week with them. Loved that Michele was able to enjoy and savor the quietness and beauty of the island. She says in her words a place where her soul rests and her heart beats at a slower pace.

Until next year my friends
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We went back to Angelroost and unpacked and talked to owners Larry and Jane Brown.
We took it easy and had little sausages and crescent rolls and watched the playoffs.

Sunday

Woke up to a very sunny day and had blueberry pancakes. We left at 0930 and parked by road to enter long swim to pelican rock. Good snorkel and very calm

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We went to Haulover South and did a snorkel clear around to lime cove.

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for happy hour 5-6 half off pu pu menu and drinks. Drinks were good. Service has some bugs to work out. Took a long time to get drinks. Ordered food and ours came out and people next to us waited an hour and they had ordered before us. We all enjoyed talking to the people around us. One couple we had met at the beach she is also a nurse Chris and husband Tim from Massachusett they come every Jan. Another younger couple is down working on a house they bought. It used to be Leslie and Steve's rental before Hurricane. They hope to rent next year and come to visit when they can. They have 5 children. The bartender gave us all 6 a round of drinks because service was so slow. We enjoyed our evening in spite of the service.

Monday

To Hawknest and was beautiful there. We picked some shade and about an hour later a couple came and sat right in front of us. Not the view we wanted so we went to Dennis Bay and read. No snorkeling today

Tuesday

Today we had Lap of St John scheduled with Busy Bee. Went to the office across from Skinny's to meet and the other couple had canceled due to sickness. We offered to come another day and Bryan the owner said no today is a perfect weather day and we were off. His wife Marguerite are expecting a baby in June. She walked us to the pier so we could get on Busy Bee. First stop was Bee Hive. We had snorkeled here but not clear out to point. Enjoyed this snorkel a lot.

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Second snorkel was ove by St James Christmas Cove we snorkeled around cay and then went for pizza at pizzia pi.

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We had 1/2 Indiana sweet home and another half Dali Lane. So good Bryan called our order in and when we pulled up it was ready. How cool is that getting fresh pizza on the ocean!!!! Really good!

The third snorkel was Whistling Cay someplace I have always wanted to snorkel. Water was a little choppy

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We went in Cruz Bay to get some gas

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The 4th snorkel was round bay at the end of the long bay. Not too much to see except an Octopus

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See St John 2019 Part 2

xxxx

Posted by Cindygad 16:27 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Rome before and after cruise 2018

Rome October 2018

Getting there is never fun. We had a direct from Chicago O' hare to Rome. I watched several movies and watched Jim my DH sleep the whole way. How do guys do that? Arrived at 0900 and driver Roberto was there and took us to our first Air BnB in the Monti area. He left us at door and I thought oh no now what. We pressed the buzzer and Marisa's husband opened the door. Our room wasn't ready so we left our stuff and started exploring! We had seen the Coliseum before so just wanted to explore the area more. We found a Villa Aldobrandi and had a great overview to see the area.

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View from street corner of Air BNB

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We were close to Piazza Navona. We walked to trevi fountain and Spanish steps.

We stopped for lunch at the place our Air BNB recommended down our street

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Back out after we got checked in at air bnb. Went looking for the church San Pietro in Vinvoli and found the beautiful Moses statue that was completed in 1515

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on the ceiling, you find a beautiful fresco by Giovanni

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The church has the layout of a much larger basilica as it is divided by 20 ancient marble columns in the interior

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The chains of St Peter, according to tradition when the two chains used to fetter the Saint in Jerusalem

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Views of Forum

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Coliseum

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Had reservations at Cuoco E Camica in a cosey alleyway right by a flight of stairs. We sat in a quiet spot only a few steps from the heart of the historic borough of Monti
We had the seafood tasting menu, Rome is always a city by the sea. salmon tartar, cucumber cups, Lobster packets, Octopus, Squid and more. Mango ice cream and two pastries. delicious and waitress explained everything in detail! Two years we had eaten Amore hotel and this meal surpassed it by far and was one third the price.

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Went to leave and it started pouring. We laughed as we sloshed through the puddles and ran back to our room.

Saturday, October 6th
In the morning, I used a hotpot for tea for the first time Jim brought back a pastry we were up and ready and had our head stuck out the window looking for our driver to pick us up. We heard him holler Mr. James

We used all off ship tours from cruise critic forum with a group that was traveling on our ship the Jewel. I started working on excursions in Nov 2017 and was all done planning in Feb2018. I joined some tours with others and was in charge of two tours. The people on cruise critic were very seasoned travelers and easy to work with. We ended up seeing many throughout the ship.

We had booked a Pre Cruise Rome Countryside Tour through Stefano's ROMECABS
Barb and Dan from Pennsylvania
Daveen and Don from Washington

Castello Orsini-Odescalchi is a castle in Bracciano in the province of Rome located on the southern shore of Lake Bracciano. Opened in 1485. It is the most impressive castle in Italy. It was built by powerful Orsini family as both a private residence and defense fortress. The castle host important cultural events and high profile weddings, The price for the castle was 8.50 Euros per person. We did not get a guide and enjoyed seeing it on our own and reading placks in each room.

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We stopped at and walked the boardwalk

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Monday day ten leave the ship and go to Rome

We shared a ride with Dawn and Tom. We were dropped off at Primo Suites We rang the buzzer and Fabio the owner came down to greet us. Our room was not ready so we were given a choice of two rooms. We picked # 5. He gave us a map and many suggestions for places to see since we had been to Rome before.

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I loved that we had no agenda and just planned on wondering Rome. We walked to Trevi fountain but it was so busy decided to get up early and come back in the morning. We then walked to Spanish steps

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Lunch

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We met Dawn and Tom for supper

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Tuesday up early togo to Tevi fountain

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Market

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Capacino break

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Jewish Gettho is the oldest Jewish settlement in all of Europe. It is very pedestrian friendly and a great place for a stroll.

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lunch

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Piazza Navona
Fountain of four rivers in the middle with an Egyptian obelisk, the Northen end has a fountain of Neptune, Southern end four Titans, Church of Sant Agnese

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Supper was a small place off the beaten track that Fabio recommended. We would meet a young couple who also vacationed in Switzerland that we enjoyed talking to. I had ravioli with spinach sage butter and ricotta cheese. Jim had spaghetti with a hole Bucatini with tomato sauce and bacon

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Wed Papal Mass with Pope Frances

Jim had gone on Tuesday to get free tickets you get them directly from the Swiss guard in St Peter's Square at the bronze door. We arrived at 0730 to a huge number of people and went through security took us about a half hour. We then went and found a seat in chairs set up and tried to get in the aisle where the Pope goes through in Popemobile. They had several large screens set up in the square. He arrived a little before 10 and went up the aisle and middle where we were. Pope Francis stopped several times to bless people. I was overwhelmed and it brought me to tears. So Happy to experience Pope Francis in person.

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We decided to take a walk. Rome is known as the city of seven hills, but actually the Gianicolo or Janiculum the hill that provides one of the best views of Rome to go down we went down to TRASTEVERE. We stayed here the last time and love the location. We had time to wander around and found a great stop for lunch

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At Noon

the quiet is momentarily broken by the single shot of a cannon to mark the exact time, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. We saw a bunch of people waiting and wondered what was happening and BOOM. the cannon went off. We just happened to be in the right place at right time to see it

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We went down the steps to TRASTEVERE and wandered around. Found a great place for lunch. I was a little too happy after sharing a bottle of Chanti with Jim and had to get a picture with the bartender!

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We spent time exploring

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I had to rest my ankles, sat on the square and enjoyed people watching after all the walking.

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We walked back along the Tiber River and I went to the room and rested while Jim checked out a few more churches and Lego displays.

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Legos

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For our final night in Rome, we picked a restaurant Fabio had recommended, Osteria de Memmo

I had mushroom tagliatelle and Jim had seafood tagliatelle. We shared a cheese plate and bottle of wine.

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Thursday the dreaded travel day home. Started day off scary our driver did not show up. Fabio came through again and called them and they said our driver's car had broken down and they were sending another driver. 25 min later the driver arrived. He drove like a racecar driver and we made it to the airport with a few minutes to spare. The first leg of the flight to London. We ate a great burger at the pilots club there. Next long flight home to Chicago. Landed and pulled into our driveway at 1130 at night. Awesome trip and met some wonderful people.

3

Posted by Cindygad 11:15 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Rome,Italy, Sicily ,and Greece on the Jewel October 2018

Rome, Sicily,Malta,Mykonos, Santorini & Athens

Rome

Getting there is never fun. We had a direct from Chicago O hare to Rome. Arrived at 0900 watched several movies and watched Jim sleep the whole way. How do guys do that? Arrived and driver Roberto was there and took us to our first Air BnB in the Monti area. He left us at door and I thought oh no now what. We pressed the buzzer and Marisa's husband opened the door. Our room wasn't ready so we left our stuff and started exploring! We had seen the Coliseum before so just wanted to explore the area more. We found a Villa Aldobrandi and had a great overview to see the area.

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View from street corner of Air BNB

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We were close to Piazza Navona. We walked to trevi fountain and Spanish steps.

We stopped for lunch at the place our Air BNB recommended down our street

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Back out after we got checked in at air bnb. Went looking for the church San Pietro in Vinvoli and found the beautiful Moses statue that was completed in 1515

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on the ceiling, you find a beautiful fresco by Giovanni

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The church has the layout of a much larger basilica as it is divided by 20 ancient marble columns in the interior

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The chains of St Peter, according to tradition when the two chains used to fetter the Saint in Jerusalem

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Views of Forum

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Coliseum

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Had reservations at Cuoco E Camica in a cosey alleyway right by a flight of stairs. We sat in a quiet spot only a few steps from the heart of the historic borough of Monti
We had the seafood tasting menu, Rome is always a city by the sea. salmon tartar, cucumber cups, Lobster packets, Octopus, Squid and more. Mango ice cream and two pastries. delicious and waitress explained everything in detail! Two years we had eaten Amore hotel and this meal surpassed it by far and was one third the price.

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Went to leave and it started pouring. We laughed as we sloshed through the puddles and ran back to our room.

Saturday, October 6th
In the morning, I used a hotpot for tea for the first time Jim brought back a pastry we were up and ready and had our head stuck out the window looking for our driver to pick us up. We heard him holler Mr. James

We used all off ship tours from cruise critic forum with a group that was traveling on our ship the Jewel. I started working on excursions in Nov 2017 and was all done planning in Feb2017. I joined some tours with others and was in charge of two tours. The people on cruise critic were very seasoned travelers and easy to work with. We ended up seeing many throughout the ship.

We had booked a Pre Cruise Rome Countryside Tour through Stefano's ROMECABS
Barb and Dan from Pennsylvania
Daveen and Don from Washington

Castello Orsini-Odescalchi is a castle in Bracciano in the province of Rome located on the southern shore of Lake Bracciano. Opened in 1485. It is the most impressive castle in Italy. It was built by powerful Orsini family as both a private residence and defense fortress. The castle host important cultural events and high profile weddings, The price for the castle was 8.50 Euros per person. We did not get a guide and enjoyed seeing it on our own and reading placks in each room.

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We stopped at and walked the boardwalk

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Now the chaos begins we had received an email stating not to arrive before 1 because the previous cruise had norovirus 250 people had been sick. We arrived around 2. We checked in quite easy because we are diamond level. There were hoards of people at the terminal. We got in line and was on board at 3.

Everyone was heading to the dining room. Windjammer. There was no place to sit. We had our carry on suitcases so waited on a table to open. I Sat down while Jim went to get his lunch. When there has been a virus they have to serve you your food from the buffet and get your drinks. None of the staff seemed to know what was going on. I got a salad and we ended up sharing the table with some great people from Alabama that had never cruised. that helped to pass the time. They came on the speaker and said the rooms still are not ready. We left and tried to find a place to wait. All the chairs were taken and the hallways and stairs were covered with people.

The doors finally opened before fire drill at 515. Rooms were not ready but we dropped our suitcases off and went to drill. The rain had stopped and it was hot waiting for the drill to be completed in the sun.

Since we are diamond members we get free drinks from the bar from 5-830. We went to eat at 0815 any time dining and had a great waiter Joel from Philippines and Vineesh from.
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They would end up being our favorite team we have ever had. Danced and to bed at 1000.

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Sunday, Oct 7th.

Sicily was a tour I had arranged we did not arrive until 1100 am. We went down to the main dining room and had to wait in line. Talked to a young girl in a wheelchair who was a senior and travel to Greece with her Mom and Dad to explore for her school studies. She was an amazing young lady we would run into throughout the cruise.

I had a sign when we got off the ship and everyone was prompt and it was good to see people I had talked to online and put faces with names.

Dawn & Tom Chicago
Jane & Mike
Ute & Oliver from Germany

Our Driver was Carmela. We were picked up in the port of Messina. and we were off it was the Taormina and Winery tour we chose through Sicily life. Anna was easy to work with the booking of the trip. We drove through seaport of Giardina Naxos which was the first Greek settlement in Sicily.

Our first stop Gambino Winery along the slopes of Mount Etna overlooking the sea. We were taking in the view and our wine guide came out and gave us a glass of wine while he explained the grapes.
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They are special due to volcanic minerals in the soil. We went inside to be seated for the tasting combined with Sicilian food tasting of dried tomatoes, etna mushrooms an olives, local salami, types of cheeses and homemade sausages.

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Jim has always liked wine and would share a glass but he enjoyed all of them and joined the wine club here. I think he really fell in love with wine today.

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Carmela got them to bring us a taste of his favorite a reserve wine

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Next, we had a panoramic drive to reach Taormina. We had time to explore the village and stroll the mean streets and narrow ways with hidden corners and nice shops.

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We walked to Belvedere square with its unique breathtaking view over Messina coastline.

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We walked down the hill to a beautiful view

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We met our driver and drove back to the port.

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Valletta is the capital city of Malta Malta is a southern European island consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean sea. Valletta, The Fortress City, "a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen" is Malta's capital city: a living, working city.

We were up on deck to watch the Jewel sail into the walled city. We met off the boat and met tour guide, Brigitte.

Daveen and Don had arranged the trip
Dawn and Tom
Cindy & Steve
Cindy & Jim
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We walked to overlook L-Isla, Malta Xlokk, Malta, Malta

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A walk down Merchants street

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View of Blue Grotto and the massive arch. We took a boat trip around caves for a spectacle of colors a result of the reflections. The phosphorescent of colors of the flora on the seabed as well as the minerals in the rock.

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We stopped in Marsaxlokk a picturesque fishing village on the south-east side of Malta, with it's traditional brightly painted boats having the origin in Phoenician times.

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It was a really hot day so only three people went to the Tarxien Prehistoric Temples are a 3 temple site ranging between 2,500 and 2,900 B.C.

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Mdina is one of Europe's finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture. These late medieval villages were built when the in habitants of Mdina stopped feeling the need to be living behind walls. Perched on a hilltop, Mdina has an irregular plan of narrow winding streets to confuse the enemy.
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Tuesday, October 9th sea day,

Went to breakfast in the dining room. I went to napkin folding class. Ate in the dining room for lunch. Jim said he had the best salmon he has ever had. They gave us free bloody Mary's and mimosa. We went to deck four to listen and dance. We went to see oncore of Gary Williams sings the hits of Frank Sinatra. Such a good performer.

Wed October 9th.

We had no tours planned here, We planned on taking it easy and just walking in Mykonos.

Mykonos may be one of the smallest islands in the Cyclades. According to Greek mythology, it was here that Hercules slew the Giants; the large rocks that are scattered about are said to be their petrified corpses. The rocks are stunning sight against the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Loved strolling the town through winding streets and a maze of shops.

To get there you need to take the sea bus

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We started to walk to windmills. It was very windy but sunny out. We walked through Little Venus IMG_E0695.JPGDSC_0541.JPGDSC_0542.JPGDSC_0533.JPGDSC_0538.JPG

the iconic windmills are an easy walk

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Loved the winding streets

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Thursday 71 and windy

Santorini is a vision of whitewashed villages and bright blue sea. The whitewashed cliff-top villages against the azure waters. To get to top need to take the cable car, ride donkeys or walk. When you get to the top of Fira for the first glimpse of the stunning caldera. This natural wonder is what probably was the biggest volcanic eruption in history. Believed by some to have caused the disappearance of Atlantis

Caught first tender at 0730 met our group at top of the cable car.

Dan & Barb
Bob & Deb
Phyllis & Don
Liz & Mike
Mike & Jane

We met our guide at 0830 Kevin Mike had been the group leader for this excursion. He also made the wonderful online roll roster and excursions list for our trip. We took the first tender off the boat at 0730 and then went to cable car entrance.

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Fira is where you get off cable car at top of the main stunning cliff-perched town. It is one of four villages on the crescent of the caldera. We took obligatory pictures of the view.

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There is a push to stop the Donkey rides to top that has been providing transportation for years prior to the cable car. Animal warfare groups are trying to stop. They feel that the animals toil in poor working conditions and are abused and mistreated by handlers.

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Kevin our guide

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Santorininalso known as Thera in Greece

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Oia is a photogenic town with a maze of small shops. The best part about Oia is it is a small village easily walkable and around every corner is views to die for

The Three Blue Domes this is the shot you see on postcards and our famous

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Three Bells of Fira which is part of the iconic church. The Catholic church is famed for its three bells, blue dome, and picturesque views
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Pyrgos built in the heart of pre volcanic hinterland and at the foot of Mt Profitis Ilias.

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Megalochori is a quaint village sitting on a hill. It has retained much of its history ancestry

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Athens full day tour with PK travel

Phyllis & Dan group leader
Daveen & Don
Mike & Liz
Dawn & Tom
Mike & Jane

We met Christine at 0720 12 people. She was a great guide and gave just the right information and made me enjoy the historic places and museum.
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It was built by Romans in 161 AD and still used today for classical concerts — at Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
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Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens. It
includes the Parthenon, the Erechtheum

Parthenon

Parthenon temple that dominates the hill of the Acropolis.is built entirely of marble.It is a temple dedicated to goddess Athena

Entasis provided an illusion of straightness that counteracted the human eye's tendency to see straight objects with a concave curve.

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Erectheion
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The `Erecthion sits on the most sacred site of the Acropolis where Poseidon and Athena had their contest over who would be the Patron of the City. — at Parthenon, Erechtheion, Temple of Goddess Athena, Athens Greece.

Maidens The porch of the maidens or Caryatids which now copy the originals 4 of which are in Museum of Acropolis and the 5th taken by Lord Elgin who put it in the British Museum more than a century ago — at Acropolis - Ακρόπολη.

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When leaving there was a group of dancers to honor a political dignitary
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Temple of Olympia Zeus originally had 104 columns today only 15 remain

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Panathenaic stadium

Only stadium in the world built of marble. It hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first Modern Olympics in 1896, It was also used in 2004 as the Olympic venue.

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Old palace changing of the neoclassical trilogy

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To be continued on part two

1

Posted by Cindygad 11:47 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Athens part 2, Amalfi Coast, Rome

Λόφος Λυκαβηττού (Lycabettus Hill)

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La placka

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Acropolis Museum
Under the Acropolis Museum are the ruins of an ancient. The Athenian neighborhood, The museum was constructed on the archaeology in such a way that enables visitors to look onto ancient foundations — at Acropolis Museum - Μουσείο Ακρόπολης.

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This was the day I had been looking for ever since we had to see Almfi Coast before. We were up early and inline to get off the ship at 0715. This was a morning of total miscommunication and chaos by ship. We did not get clearance until1000

Cindy & Jim
Daveen & Dawn
Kris and Rod
Mike & Jane

Lucky our Driver from ROML Rome in Limo was still waiting for us and we were off to my magical place.

Positona

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I requested a water view for the restaurant and our driver came through with a great place with the view.

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Amalfi

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Monday day ten leave the ship and go to Rome

We shared a ride with Dawn and Tom. We were dropped off at Primo Suites We rang the buzzer and Fabio the owner came down to greet us. Our room was not ready so we were given a choice of two rooms. We picked # 5. He gave us a map and many suggestions for places to see since we had been to Rome before.

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I loved that we had no agenda and just planned on wondering Rome. We walked to Trevi fountain but it was so busy decided to get up early and come back in the morning. We then walked to Spanish steps

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Lunch

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We met Dawn and Tom for supper

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Tuesday up early togo to Tevi fountain

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Market

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Capacino break

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Jewish Gettho is the oldest Jewish settlement in all of Europe. It is very pedestrian friendly and a great place for a stroll.

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lunch

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Piazza Navona
Fountain of four rivers in the middle with an Egyptian obelisk, the Northen end has a fountain of Neptune, Southern end four Titans, Church of Sant Agnese

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Supper was a small place off the beaten track that Fabio recommended. We would meet a young couple who also vacationed in Switzerland that we enjoyed talking to. I had ravioli with spinach sage butter and ricotta cheese. Jim had spaghetti with a hole Bucatini with tomato sauce and bacon

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Posted by Cindygad 11:46 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

the Papal Mass part 3, 2018

Wed Papal Mass with Pope Frances

Jim had gone on Tuesday to get free tickets you get them directly from the Swiss guard in St Peter's Square at the bronze door. We arrived at 0730 to a huge number of people and went through security took us about a half hour. We then went and found a seat in chairs set up and tried to get in the aisle where the Pope goes through in Popemobile. They had several large screens set up in the square. He arrived a little before 10 and went up the aisle and middle where we were. Pope Francis stopped several times to bless people. I was overwhelmed and it brought me to tears. So Happy to experience Pope Francis in person.

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We decided to take a walk. Rome is known as the city of seven hills, but actually the Gianicolo or Janiculum the hill that provides one of the best views of Rome to go down we went down to TRASTEVERE. We stayed here the last time and love the location. We had time to wander around and found a great stop for lunch

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At Noon

the quiet is momentarily broken by the single shot of a cannon to mark the exact time, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. We saw a bunch of people waiting and wondered what was happening and BOOM. the cannon went off. We just happened to be in the right place at right time to see it

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We went down the steps to TRASTEVERE and wandered around. Found a great place for lunch. I was a little too happy after sharing a bottle of Chanti with Jim and had to get a picture with the bartender!

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We spent time exploring

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I had to rest my ankles, sat on the square and enjoyed people watching after all the walking.

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We walked back along the Tiber River and I went to the room and rested while Jim checked out a few more churches and Lego displays.

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Legos

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For our final night in Rome, we picked a restaurant Fabio had recommended, Osteria de Memmo

I had mushroom tagliatelle and Jim had seafood tagliatelle. We shared a cheese plate and bottle of wine.

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Thursday the dreaded travel day home. Started day off scary our driver did not show up. Fabio came through again and called them and they said our driver's car had broken down and they were sending another driver. 25 min later the driver arrived. He drove like a racecar driver and we made it to the airport with a few minutes to spare. The first leg of the flight to London. We ate a great burger at the pilots club there. Next long flight home to Chicago. Landed and pulled into our driveway at 1130 at night. Awesome trip and met some wonderful people.

3

Posted by Cindygad 11:43 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

St John 2018 post hurricanes

Unexpected March trip

We came home from Roatan the end of January INSTEAD OF ST JOHN. Life went on but something was missing. Jane who we rent from called and asked how our trip was and offered us a special deal. Flights were too expensive so we let the idea go. Two weeks later I checked and the rates had went down so wayla we are headed back to St John. I had been watching the pictures on forum daily but I warned my husband to be prepared for lots of changes.

We went to Chicago Sat night after our Guys and Dolls dance and stayed at Best Western in Des Plains for park sleep and fly,caught the 545 shuttle to O'hare, no direct flight so we flew to San Juan. by United. Used United Club at Chicago to wait and got continental breakfast. Arrived in San Juan and had Mexican snack of chips and salsa while waiting for Seaborn

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20 minutes later we were landing in St Thomas. They took the luggage right off of plane and you got to take it and go. Went to the van taxi Line and boarded.

I sat next to a lady that would be one of many conversations with locals. Luckily her home on island was not damaged. She was co owner for two restaurants that were both damaged but open now for business. I told her the one in Cruz.Bay is my husbands favorite for pad Thai .We also go to the one in Coral Bay at least once each visit ,She handed me her calling card and said have dinner on me as she got out of the van ! We are so glad you are returning to visit the island .How generous is that! We were not expecting that,

Arrived in red hook and had time to grab a bushwacker drink first sip and we are in island mode

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Made the 5o'clock ferry. When we got in our first look a the island in person post hurricanes. Lots of.blue tarps on roofs and visible damaged. Amazed how cleaned up Cruz Bay was. This little island has worked their tails off to whip it back in shape and ready for visitors.

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Courtsey picked us up in new large van he said he got in March pre hurricane. His office was demolished so he is doing his business out of his van. We went to his lot where he is rebuilding. We have always had great experiences with Greg the owner. He gives 10% discount for return customers and 6% discount if we pay cash.

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He told us that the looters stole three of his jeeps and set one on fire and destroyed it,He was so thankful for return visitors he was also lucky his home was not damaged. Stopped at grocery store and headed over to Coral Bay

Jane greeted us at Angel Roost an octagon house in Upper Carolina Coral Bay. It had very little damage, lost its gate to come down to our studio, a rail on upper deck Jane said every leaf from flowers was stripped clean. They had spent their 50th anniversary huddled together in their home during Maria. She said it was the worst night of their lives. She said we had better get going if we wanted to eat because restaurants were not open late on Sunday. W ended up at Skinny Legs for burgers and watched the ND girls win ending up in sweet sixteen

ANGEL ROOST

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Monday March 19 Sunny winds E 5 good condition for Haulover North snorkel

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Walking in was beautiful as the butterflies were everywhere. The trail was very clean and easy L.ot's of stag horn and pillar coral broken. We saw a nurse shark and turtle. We forgot to charge camera batteries so no pictures. We sat at Haulover South had some shade there.

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Drove to East End

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The good and the bad. We drove the North shore. Gut wrenching seeing all the damage and widespread loss of home yet you look out to water and see new and better views. Driving to Annaberg ruins was tough all the mangroves and canopy of trees stripped and barren.

We walked the ruins and enjoyed the expanded view

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MAHO AND FRANCIS

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TRUNK

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Tuesday I always enjoy the early mornings pre sunrise with cup of coffee watching and listening to island wake up

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Went to Francis and first on beach at 0850 we had bought Neso tent for sun protection: Easy to put up We snorkeled to right saw two large turtles and two small rays. We left at 330. We had met a couple a few years ago that was here now. We met for supper at indigo Grill. We both had a mango monito and Jim had jambalaya and I had mango fish taco. We had the same her waitress we had last night at skinny legs. Had great conversation with her about the hurricanes and experience after. She schooled us in differences of native She was born here and what a local was! g

Wednesday

We decided to take it easy today. Larry and Jane the owners came down to visit, the eighth 11 times we have rented from them. We got to Denis at 1030it is easy trail down, Tried to use Naso tent for shade but gust of wind would knock it down. It was sad to see all the palm trees down and all coral broken and on shore: Found shade down to right and enjoyed beautiful views out to water: Stayed till 430 and went back to house and had cheese and salami and cocktails on deck. Life is good

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Thursday

Rained a little during the night . They have had very little rain the last few weeks. Beautiful rainbow with breakfast:

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Had blueberry pancakes. We went to Trunk Bay, The guard was in the booth but there was no charge. He just wanted to make sure you were not carrying glass 100$ fine. Set up tent and walked the beach which seams larger since hurricane. Restrooms were openand a booth was open selling rental chairs, snorkels even new whole face mask to rent . It was not that windy buta gust would knock tent over. Kept putting back up because no shade to be found, I snorkeled the the trail and actually it was pretty good. Even some stag horn corral survived. We went on a non cruise day and beach was not crowded.

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Aqua bistro just opened this week. We had onion rings for app that were good. I had lime and coconut drink and Jim put arm on the table that was unlevel and all the drinks spilled on him what a mess. We changed tables while the cleaned up mess and got a new drinks.

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Had crunchy grouper sandwich and pasta salad. Jim had fish tacos. We talked to owners of house Above Lunazul Ted and his wife from St Luis down working on house had windows blown out and porches damaged. Such good spirit with everything they had been through.

Friday

BROWN BAY

Up and went to Brown bay and wore knee brace and splints. Remoteness is back! The views were different than previous trips. Vast open views. open climbing up. Someone said not to go to Brown Bay that was full of garbage that had floated up. I was braced to see liter all over and when we came into the open the beach was clean. Thanks to all that cleared the trails and beaches. I picked up some stuff on side and put by trash for pck up
Beach is not know for beauty but it was quiet and tranquil and we found some shade. A lounge chair must of floated up and provided a resting place in the shade

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Saturday

Haulover North,

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No wind so headed to Haulover north again awesome snorkel. Went the farthest out we have been and large reef we had not seen before. went to third telephone past rocks that jut out.

Miss Lucy for lunch their hours are noon-4 for now. Candy the cooks daughter was the waitress and we sat underneath the large umbrella that had been donated. Got so excited when saw on the menu that Grouper Ruben is back on menu my favorite sandwich on island.

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Never saw this sign before after Saltpond
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Went to Grootpan Bay after lunch. It was very hot here. I snorkeled to right what was churned up so did not see much. Tent would not stay up.My review of tent is not worth it gusts of wind bring it down. Today was the last day we tried to use it.

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Tonight we went to Rumblines used what owner had given us for six piece pupu platter and drinks. Jim had pad thi. The waitress Katie was excellent and enjoyed her service. Talked to father and son who worked for BBC putting up power poles. They had been here since October and plan to be here till end of year. Son has fell in love with island and hopes to come back sometime and enjoy it when not working.

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Sunday

We Started out late and went to Waterlemon. We had heard from our friends that the snorkel at three mooring balls was not much there any longer. Walked whole way by shore now to big black rock. Very sad to say there was little to see around the cay. Also the snorkel on right to point all the coral was gone. Can not imagine how strong hurricane was to do so much damage above and below water. The beaches are bigger. There is good with the bad. We went to watch where the fishermen fly fish and found shade. We went and got our chairs and had wonderful quiet afternoon reading and staring at beautiful view.

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Area where they fly fish

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Monday

Awarak tandem kayak adventure. We were able to park at Mongoose parking lot at customer parking for day. We went to North shore deli to get sandwiches and Crack Bar. put in zip locks bags and in cooler. Checked in at office and then she walked us to Cruz Bay where they have Kayaks. She gave us the low down and safety instructions. There were foot rest and knee pads to help steer and roater in back.

First need to tell you our kayaking history is we have done two ocean tours one out to Henley Cay and one from Haulover South to point with two snorkel stops pelican rock and further out. #rd starting at Henson and going to Hurricane hole to snorkel mangroves. All of these had guides.We have come to conclusion we are not good at docking tandem kayak. Singles would of been easier. my husband seemed to think I did not paddle as much as he did. Go figure.

We started out and goal was to snorkel Caneel beaches since you can only get there by water.

SALOMOM BAY

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HOONEYMOON BAY

The water was fairly calm wind at 8 knots. We made it over to turtle bay and hoped to make it to Hawksnest. The seas got much rougher so we decided the farthest we would go was Turtle beach. We started to go in and the beach was kinda uphill we got kayak front on beach husband got out and my foot got stuck on peddle and kayak started getting pummeled by water and sand. I finally got out and we both were holding on to kayak trying to keep it from sinking. We frantically pumped water out and finally got it on shore. We had to scoop sand out and decided to eat our lunch there. Thank goodness for zip lock bags our sandwiches stayed dry. We relaxed on the beautiful beach.

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Tuesday Salt Pond

Arrived first in parking lot down at 0900. The butterflies lead us down the trail. We found some shade and set up camp. First up hike first part is all along shore now and is hard for me because I have arthritic ankles and bum knee. My husband did not want me to do this. I wore ankle splints and knee brace and off we went. Actually the beginning part was harder for me because of loose rocks but found the rest to be easier.I was so happy I was still able to do hike another year.Leaving Salt Pond it sprinkled and made it much easier walking out being cooled off by rain drops.

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Blue cobblestone

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HIKE

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SNORKEL

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DRUNK BAY

Story of the painted rocks, pirate and lady bug. My grandchildren live in Valpo Indiana. They have a great club who paints rocks and hides in parks for kids to find. They though it would be great if Grandpa and Grandpa hid some in St John. We left them in Drunk Bay. Hope someone finds and enjoys them or re hides them.

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Wed last day

Denis Bay

We had not been up to Peace hill in years. Just do it the 360 view is awesome. Not hard to climb up there.

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MY daughter got my husband a hammock for Christmas. We did not try it till the last day .BIG mistake we loved it.

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DONKEYS just will end with them

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Until next year We can not wait to return. So glad we came. Still our favorite place!

Posted by Cindygad 08:39 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (2)

Roatan 2018

Dodging tIhe high winds and rain

ROATAN Jan13-27

The trip to Roatan came about all because of the devastation to St John. I checked out many new locations and mainly was looking for some good snorkeling. After lots of searching we decided on Roatan. Little did I know it was the rainiest season they had had in a log. time. It did not help that I kept comparing it to St John where nothing but sun was showing on the weather forecast. I told Jim to be ready to do lots of reading due to weather.

Roatan is near the Mesoamerican Barrier the largest reef of the Caribbean Sea Second largest to the world wide after Australia great Barrier reef.

We got up at three and left home at 330. Went to our son Brandon's and he drove us to Chicago and dropped us off. Had a few snow bands to drive through but made it to airport a 6. We had a foot and half of snow a few days ago then it rained and melted. Crazy weather patterns. We flew American at 0810 and arrived in Dallas had a hour layover took the skylink to get around airport. Left at 1130 and arrived at 3 pm.There were 3 planes in the small airport at once.

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It took us a hour to get through customs. They fingerprinted and took our picture. Deanne and Mark the owners where we were staying were waiting outside to pick us up.
They took us to local store in Coxin Hole and we bought groceries at Eldons for our stay. The prices were comparable to home which is surprising for a island.

We arrived at Casa Amarilla our home for two weeks on Mangrove Bight. The yellow house. We were staying in the bottom apartment of their house.
The bight means a wide indentation of a shoreline or the body of water by a curve. It is distinguished from a sound by being shallower.
The place was right on the water . Very clean and the screens intact. Very important to keep out the noseums and mosquitoes. I had read so much about bugs before we came and was armed with bug spray and sunscreen with bug spray in it. We sprayed each morning and after our shower before going out and would not occur any problems. Sorry for got to take picture of living room and kitchen. We had good WiFi there with satellite tv.

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Our location we can walk to West End , Half moon Bay and West Bay or take a water taxi. No need for a car rental. Roads are very bad shape with many pot holes. Half moon bay was a short few minutes walk. We walked up and down East end and decided to eat at Argentina Grill. I had a basil mohito and Jim had a Monkey La La The drink is named after the ubiquitous lizard.Everyone should give this drink a try. Kahlua, Baileys, coconut cream, chocolate syrup, vodka dark rum, a banana and pineapple juice. The couple next to us encouraged us to try the surf and turf. We shared and had the best grilled veg and double baked potato. We were full and walked back to our place.

Money used on island is Honduran Lempira. $1=L23.7. We had no issues with money and we brought small bills with us to use.

Sunday Jan 14th

We were up early and the sunrise was at 615. Very windy so we decided to walk to West bay and do the rock scramble to get there. A couple of miles but pretty easy to do. West Bay was a beautiful sandy beach with many resorts on the shore. We took nothing of value but our back
pack and cell phone with us. We heard on the following day Monday someone was robbed of cell phone and money by knife point doing the same walk we did. We took the water taxi from then on. A shame because it is a nice casual walk with few rock scrambles.

West End

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You are bombarded by many venders wanting to sell you a tour , massage or clothes or jewelry, braid your hair.We just politely said no thank you. We were there for two weeks and was asked by same people every day. We enjoyed the walk and talked to some people along the way.

West bay
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We had a pizza at Bananerama .Bacon, Chicken and ranch dressing. We brought a to go container for left overs. This is encouraged to cut down on garbage. The local beer, Salva Vida and Barena were both good. It was so windy there were no water taxis so we took a land taxi back for 15$.

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Monday Jan 15th Very windy and rainy. Rented a car from Roatan Rental for the day $60 for 24 hours. We stopped at Anthony's Key a huge diving resort and walked around. They have the dolphin adventure there. Cruise ships bring groups to swim with them and for a show.

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Next stop Larson Rock beautiful quiet a

We went to French Harbor and ate at Gio's
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a place where rental guy suggested. We ordered Bocca Municipal for $4O had shrimp, squid, lobster, chicken, steak, fish and conch accompanied by fried plantain. We ate on the porch that has a nice view.

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We stopped at large pirate ship on hill that is vacated. Used to be nightclub allegedly owned by the mafia and shut down a few years ago
We took pictures because we thought our grandsons would like it.

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Tuesday morning Jim returned car and we walked to West End and ate at Por Que No a Mediterranean restaurant. The husband waited on us and the wife was the cook We shared a sampler plate for lunch. Sitsuka a n eggplant tomato sauce with baked potato, Couscous salad with cucumber tomato onion and homemade garlic sauce. Borek a Turkish homemade pastry and cheese. Mucver, zucchini pancakes egg and onion. I had a Turkish coffee and we shared a brownie and cheese cake with ice cream. Yum

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We had pork chops and pasta salad for supper back at the house.

Wed was still cloudy so we walked up to the gas station. We went to a talk on the coca bean and tried several chocolates. We then walked to see where Roatan Oasis restaurant was. We walked back and took a path that came through across from Thai restaurant. Roatan Oasis is closed on the weekends.

We talked to a couple who had recommended a restaurant above Roatan Rental called Oleaje, They have only been open two weeks The owner Paul waited on us and his wife Ali was the cook. They were out of Lobster for sandwich but had an eggplant and pasta special. She brought us a red pepper tapas. I had the special and Jim had a Patella. Both were good. Paul makes the homemade bread. We were talking to another couple on island for 3 months from Wisconsin. They joined our table and we had a great visit for a couple hours.

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Thursday Left at 1000 walked West End still windy but weather getting better. We stopped at Sundowns a cute bar on the water. We had Monkey La La and a Zack Attack. Vodka, lime mix and coco loco. I had a blue cheese burger.

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The bartender was from Canada and also a diver. I finished reading a book by David Baladacci the guilty
and we watched ND girls play Tenn they came back from down 23 points to win.

Friday Jan 19th Yea a sunny day. We walked to halfmoon bay and snorkeled by Gingers. We ended up staying there all day. Used chairs free if had beer there . Jeff and Ginger have had the restaurant for one year from Texas a great friendly couple.

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Sat Jan 20th My 61th birthday
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They had someone coming to clean the apartment so went to Olejae for breakfast,

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Ate supper at Argentine Grill. We arrived at Happy hour and I had a Tequila Sunrise. I have not had one of those since I was 18 and we ate at Motts Apple Core and you could drink at 18 in Michigan. Coconut shrimp was good and Jim had red snapper it turned out to be a beautiful night.

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Had pulled pork sandwich and fish tacos at Bananarama

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Tuesday had a huge lightening and thunder storm in morning. Headed over to West bay by water taxi at 1130. Two cruise ships in port so lots of excursions in water. We went out to second reef and started going to left towards the wall

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The beach was so busy we took water taxi back and ate at Sundowners I had chicken sandwich and husband had Hamburger.

Wed

We were up early and decided to go to west Bay and beat the cruise ship crowd in the water to snorkel. We had to wait 15 minutes to get someone else to ride water taxi with . We got in the water to snorkel about 830.

90_IMG_6644.jpg We snorkeled all the way to wall .

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We ate at Bananarama Jim had a banana split drink and we shared chips, cheese and bean dip.IMG_E6648.jpgIMG_6650.jpgIMG_6649.jpg

We walked to restaurant Olejae I had tuna salad and Jim had omelet. They offered at free Argentina Tango lesson at 630.We had fun and the instructors were great.

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Thursday

My stomach feels better was upset during the night. We had homemade biscuit Ali had given us with eggs. Rainy. Went to walk into town and I could not find rain jacket. I left it at tango lesson. Jim wanted to try out food at Salty dog the new cook Anthony is Thurs, Friday and Sat. We went up to get jacket and low and behold they had Lobster sandwich. It was meant to be we enjoyed and she brought me a fancy coffee at the end. I wish Paul and Ali good luck with their new restaurant. We have enjoyed everything there

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It poured for three hours so we spent time reading.

Friday

last day we walked to halfmoon bay and ate local Baleades at Yahonreh. I had avocado one and Jim had chriszo one. Very tasty and I had coffee and Jim had large juice and all was for $6.

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We walked in town in afternoon

Ate at the Salty dog and on Thurs, Friday and Saturday Anthony cooks Louisiana food.

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Anthony came out and sat with us and talked about a half hour. One of the things I have loved about Roatan is how friendly the owners of restaurants. We had met Anthony a few days ago in the Choc factory and he told us about his place. 0CCA525CE01583E2CF2DD16E81AC54D7.jpg

Sunday Jan 21

This is out of order but for some reason will not insert where it is suppose to so here goes. Sunday the water taxis were running so we took a taxi over to West Bay.

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They ask you to take your shoes off at door. Cherie was the greeter and a local who came and sat down and talked to us since we were the only ones there early. Santiago was our waiter.

Since we ate the the chair guy set us up with free longer to use for the day in the shade.
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Before we left Jim went into East bay to take some pictures,

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Jims favorite spot dodging the raindrops on dock at Casa Amarilla

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My thoughts on Roatan. Even though the weather was not the best we had a great time. Would I come back? In a heart beat. The vibe and friendliness of people was amazing. We had more conversations with locals and owners of restaurants. I like the rustic feel of West End versus Resort atmosphere of West Bay.

Saturday we caught a ride to airport with Deanne and Marks neighbor. Their car was in the garage waiting on parts. We arrived at 1030 for a 1245 flight. Airport pretty unorganized for a small place but the important thing is we left on time. Layover in Miami 3 hours which to go through customs took a while. We ended up with a hour before we left so ate there. Arrived in Ohare early and our son picked us up. We climbed in bed at Midnight to our warm water bed.Yes we still have a water bed we are such a 70's couple

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Posted by Cindygad 13:01 Archived in Honduras Comments (0)

Summit Oct 28th 2017

7 Night Caribbean cruise, San juan, Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique, Antigua, St Kitts

This trip was a roller coaster of emotions. Minimal for us compared to all the hurricane ravished islands. Irma and Maria were so damaging to so many island. Tortola, Virgin Gorda, St John, St Croix, St Martin, San Juan, Barbuda.

We planed to go to the island of Culebra for 4 days prior to cruise. That was not an option they had no power. San Juan airport and port was open but island was still devastated. is it right to still go on a vacation when people are suffering so much? We waffled back and forth. The cruise was past the cancel date to get refund so we went.

We went to Chicago to stay the night before cruise. We always go to San Juan the day before but due to hurricane we took the risk of getting there on same day. We stayed at Best Westerns in Des Plains. We ate at Paradise pub a Guy Fieri Diners, drive ins and dives. We had the best strawberry malt and patty melt. So good and greasy!

Travel day Oct 28
Up early took 6 am transfer to airport. Hotel manager gave us a muffin and yogurt to go.We were TSA pre approved but my suitcase got pulled when going through the scanner. Oops we had put yogurt in carry on bag to eat on plane. it was little but was 4 oz instead of 3 oz. Lesson learned check out those sizes. The TSA lady was very nice and gave them to us to eat anyway. Kudos to them for catching.

Arrival in San Juan on time. Airport was hot and baggage delivery slow. Totally understandably with the situation they were going through.We took taxi and the driver was glad travelers were coming back. He still did not have power but was resilient and his happy spirit amazing. He was thankful to be working and to get some normalcy back in his life.

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Arrived on Celebrity Summit at 330 plenty of time before departure time. Room 3118 Room steward was John. We like the room location on ship. It is a simple room with window. We rarely get a balcony because of cost so we can travel more often.

We went to Casino to watch Nd football game.IMG_5856.jpg

We had the classic drink package included in the cruise. It was nice to have a glass of wine with dinner and especially the coffee in Cafe Bacio included.

Had select type dining which means you don't have a set dining time. We had standard fire drill and then walked on deck after eating. To bed at 1045.

Sunday Oct 29th Only sea day

Up at 6 Jim went and got me a coffee Americano from Cafe Al Bacio.

Ate breakfast in dining room love fresh figs and bagel and salmon and egg Benedict.

We went to the gym for a hour and I love working out looking out over the water.

Out in sun for short period and found some shade to read in.

Sat next to Bill and Karen from New Jersey that we would enjoy talking with throughout the week. Supper of Salmon Tartar, rack of lamb and apple crumble. Had Terraza Reserve Malbec for wine.

Danced some calories off to The friends project the dance band that was was very good.

Monday October 30th Barbados 8-5 Sunny

Took a taxi to Accra Beach or Rockley beach a 20 min drive 15$ FOR Two a quiet beach we have been to before. We rented two chairs and umbrella for shade.15$ We stayed from 10-2. Jim walked across street to "Just Grilling" I had always wanted to try flying fish sandwich. We each had
one for 10$ each.

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Had lovely scallop appetizer, apple salad and seafood medley, We danced a waltz to house band and went to martini bar, I tried a butterscotch.
We ended the night listening to a Billy Joel and Elton John by one of band members on piano .

Tuesday October 31 St Lucia

Jim is such a sweetheart bringing me an Americana Coffee while I get ready. He can not stand the smell of coffee but knows I need it to get my morning started. We are not fan of buffet so usually go to dining room for breakfast. Had a apple pancake and fruit plate.

We have been to St Lucia several times and have visited Pitons, Done an island tour and catamaran tour in past. This trip we are keeping it low key and walking to a beach. I found good directions on line and we headed out. We have never been so bombarded by so many vendors on the way out of the building. We kept walking and they said the beach was too far. 2 miles on beautiful day not a bad walk at all. They told us it was unsafe to walk but I had read this was fine and we kept walking. If we would not of been seasoned travelers this would of been very over whelming. We felt totally safe and arrived at Vigie beach, We walked the whole distance of beach and sat up our parachute sheet beach blanket on the sand under a large tree. There are chairs on beach if you choose to rent.

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Spent a great morning here and started walking back to ship and taxi stopped and we took ride back for 10 bucks.

Ate lunch at buffet and listen to great pianist playing

Danced to Up and Up party band before and after eating. We like the waiter Richard and ask for a table in his section everynight.
Had lamb in puffed pastry and tiramisu.

Wed Nov 1 Fort de France Martinique

Due to islands that were hit this was an replacement island. We have been here one time before and I remembered I did not come away with favorable memories. Not sure why just a certain vibe you get. I am all about second chances so we got off and took 10 ferry to Du Bout 7$ round trip.

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We came back at noon grabbed a qiock bite for lunch. I read and Jim walked back into town to take some pictures

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We got a special invitation to come to helipad for sail a way,

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Friday Nov 3rd St Kits

We wanted to go to island of Nevis but ship had short stay only till 3 pm so took a taxi to beach. We joined a group of 8 and driver took us to
Cockoshell beach

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The driver stopped on way back to get some photos.

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Last night on ship walked around and checked out newly added movie area on deck.
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Sat Nov 4th

When we got of ship took a tour of Old San Juan so we did not need to spend as much time in airport. It was hot and air conditioned bus was good. There were only a couple of shops open and power trucks were everywhere downtown trying to get power up. Lots of power is from top of buildings as not to take away from character of Old San Juan. Medical ship still in harbor giving aid as needed.

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Posted by Cindygad 06:49 Comments (0)

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