Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our wild day with Anna!

I don't even know where to start! We tagged along with Anna, as she was doing a private tour with a very cute couple from the ship. What an adventure! We left the ship at 0700, and met Anna at the roman gate, she walked us to the train station, where we boarded a very crowded train to Rome...What a site, watching the locals crowding in at every stop, jostling for seats and space...Our first stop was the Vatican, as we left the train, we could see St Peters Basilica in the distance, walking thru crowded seats, we entered the Vatican City thru tall ancient columns...very awesome. Anna took the other couple ( Kim and Tom) to the Vatican Museum, to visit the Sistine Chapel, As we had already been there, we chose to wander the City, have a coffee, and enjoy the local action. We met up around 1030, and took the metro to the Colosseum.
I have to say it was really neat to exit a 20th century metro, and the first thing we see , as you exit, is a 1st century Colosseum! It was fun to look at Tom and Kims faces as they had their first look! What a great couple!  After seeing the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum, we walked what seemed like miles, to the Pantheon, which is 2000 years old!
The Pantheon
Tom and Kims picture

On the way, we stopped at a little hole in the wall Pizza place, ( which is Anna and antonio's favorite pizza in Rome) and had what has to be the best pizza we ever had! ( outside of Antonios pizza) We sat on the streets and munched pizza with cherry tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella, and Pizza with parma ham and cheese...After that we were ready to move on thru the crowded little streets of of the old roman center, to the Trevi fountain, where Tom threw in a coin, to ensure his return to Rome.
Trevi fountain
Then, we continued to walked thru to streets, looking for Anna's favorite Gelato shoppe, and I had a small hazelnut, topped with a chocolate nut scoop....I thought I'd died  and gone to heaven! We jumped on a tram, crossed the Tiber river and then walked to the train station for our return to the ship....let me tell you that was an experience of a lifetime....This train was so crowded, there was standing room only! We got separated from Tom and Michael...we were packed in like sardines. it was hot and sweaty, some people around us were not wearing deodorant! after about 20 minutes we finally found some seats and all sat together! It was the ultimate Italian experience! I loved it! thank you Anna!After we exited the train,Anna stayed on the train and went home.
                                                      the view from Antonios and Annas Pizza Joint
We limped back to the shuttle bus, Entered the ship, dropped off our things and headed straight to the bar to be revived! After dinner, we were in bed by 9 pm, and woke up 12 hours later....crippled, but happy! lol
We have 2 days at sea to recover, then, on to Athens!!
                                                       The view from our balcony
I have to say that Tom and  Kim adored Anna! She found a way to show them everything they wanted to see! They felt like family! ! Patty, the 10 pound hamburger made it, as well as all the baby clothes. Michael took several pictures of Anna, and sad to say a 7 month pregnant woman., outlasted us old folks!
Ciao for now!


 We had a wonderful day in Maui! It was about 80 degrees, sunny and no humidity...loved it! We rented a car with another couple and drove partway around the Island. What a beautiful place! We docked outside of Lahina and tendered in....this little town is so sweet. Looked like the 1950's....little sidewalks and lots of shops. We saw the second largest Banyan tree in the U.S. , covered nearly 2 acres! We picked up our rental car and away we went! The beaches were amazing, lots of surfers in the water, and we saw some huge waves come was amazing to see as there were lots of rocky areas, and the surfers sorta threaded the needle....I looked for sea glass, but only found one piece....not my best

After about an hour we turned inland and drove thru a valley, with huge mountains on each side and about 10 miles of flat valley between them..lots of sugar cane and of all things, cattle! WHAT A SIGHT! we reached the other side and headed for the IOA valley, to see the famous rock formations. We visited the IONA needle, a tall volcanic rock formation where in ancient Hawaiian days, they held human sacrifices. Apparently in ancient Hawaii, if you broke the rules, you were SACRIFICED...NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS! No second chances, if you were non compliant with the with you head! However, the needle is most famous for the battle where King Kamamah won against the Maui warriors, and united all of the Hawaiian Islands. It was very impressive, and I was very careful not to break any rules! haha

We hiked around and then drove off to the famous road to Hana.....We called it ....THE HELL ROAD TO HANA!..The further we drove, the more narrow and curved the road became...many one lane bridges, on a curve, and you had to hold your breath as you crossed! we nearly got sideswiped twice,,( very scary) and finally Michael couldn't take any more and he found a place to turn around....I thought we were heading off the edge of the mountain, and gave the famous Selleck girls gasp....scared the crap out of everyone....we laughed all the way back, but had to change our underwear when we got back to the ship! lololololol

It was a fun day....On the way back we found a Costco.....( of all places) and loaded up on wine and Gin.....Best souvenirs we found all day! We ate lunch and had a few beers at Bubba Gumps on the water, where we could see our ship out in the bay.....We loved Maui!

Where oh where are the Caneries

Well,they are all in Tenerrife! Blue ones, yellow ones, you name it! What a beautiful place! We had perfect weather....68 degrees, clear blue rain...Loved it! We left on our tour at 0730, drove to a little town, just ouside santa Cruz......La Laguna, beautiful little cobbled streets, and lovely restored homes. We saw 2 cloistered convents, where the Nuns are secluded with no outside contact....they spend the days praying for mankind....the grill work on the top of the convent was beautiful, and meant to keep eyes off the nuns when they walk outside for the air. We visited a bustling market, full of vegetables, pastries, and strange looking fish.....We also spent a few minutes inside an unimposing church, where the alter was made with 1.5 TONS of silver brought back from the Americas is the 1500's!

The rest of the day was spent climbing thru the forest, to the height of 7500 feet to view the 10,000 foot volcano, El Teide After we were above the tree line, there was nothing but Lava fields, filled with wonderful outcroppings of stone...and the view of the Volcano was magnificent! All in all, a wonderful day! Our tour guide was from New England, and was just wonderful..full of facts! Did you know that the Canary Islands were once known as the Dog Islands! What a great trivia question!
A beautiful lava flow!
We loved this part of the Canaries!

I can always find the handsome men!

I'm torturing

Our trip to the Canary Islands last year was wonderful.. I'm using old emails that I wrote and adding pictures so I can figure out how to do this on our next cruise.....So far so good!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

cruising thoughts

I LOVE CRUISING! I know that comes as a surprise to most of you..hahaha....But honestly, if you are going to see the world, this is the easiest and safest way I know

I'm on the big ship!

Just only have to fly once, jump on the ship, and unpack ONE TIME ONLY!!Each day you wake up in your own little bed, ready for the days adventure. A sea day filled with quiet reading by the pool, or the slots in the casino...your choice. OR you wake up in a new port, and spend the day seeing the wonders of the world that God gave you...A lovely lunch, with a local beer or glass of wine, snorkeling in the waters of a beautiful lagoon, or savoring the beauty of an ancient Cathedral.
Bora Bora Motu Picnic....yummy

The different cultures can seem so strange, but one thing I've learned is that people are the same everywhere.

Bora Bora tour guide

South Korea....she loved my Barbie

2 old salts!

they were talking and gossiping as they sewed

I can ALWAYS find someone to hang out with!

everyone loves a puppet show!
Vietnam greeters...what a nice smile