Saturday, November 23, 2013

How do you fit everything into one suitcase!!

We will be leaving soon for a 7 day cruise on the Freedom of the seas.....
For me, One of the great pleasures of traveling is packing.....I have a closet ( we do not have kids at home anymore, so I have a free closet!) that is dedicated to cruise clothes.....and cruise necessities....
I'm quite a pack rat when it comes to cruise necessities......from my essential pharmacy kit to duck tape....So a week before the cruise I start making some decisions....

note that everything will go with black...

Do we have to fly?  That helps me decide on how many and what size suitcases I need.
Hot weather cruise?  easy peasey....lots of shorts, light tops, and a bathing suit... One suitcase will do the trick!
Cold weather cruises are harder.....Everything is bigger and bulkier and weighs more.. I will need 2 suitcases for this trip!.
Mixed weather is a challenge....I have to choose very carefully and everything must mix and match...
OMG .... the suitcases will not be big enough!

Purple suitcases are easy to find when there are thousands of suitcases at disembarkation!

One thing I've learned is that people don't remember or care, what you wear......So I feel comfortable wearing the same outfit many times......I just update it with a scarf or jewelry, and I'm good to go!
Black dressy pants, black dress, and a few mix and match colors for evening wear.  Black and dark jeans with tops and a sweater if needed, white and beige shorts, with casual tops...and my packing is done!
no wild colors for me....and everything goes with everything else....

Add one red jacket with black pants and black top
for dinner in a specialty restaurant
With white dress for cocktails

and with jeans for a tour

I have a list, and I'm checking it twice! Actually I'm checking it a lot more than that! I've forgotten some essential things over the years.....I actually forgot my perfect round brush for blow drying my hair on a 2 week Alaskan cruise.....I had to buy one on the ship at a huge markup and it was not so perfect....Now that brush has made it to the list!  Perfect round brush...check!

Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, but one thing I have to remember when I'm packing a range of sizes.....sad to say, but on a 6 week cruise, what I wore to board the ship, may not zip well, when I exit the ship!  Just saying...
Beginning of trip picture...note, jeans, dark sweater, white top...
(you didn't really expect an end of cruise picture, did you....:)

Weight is a big thing when flying. ( and I'm not talking about mine.. grin)  If your lucky and fly southwest, you get to have 2 suitcases that can be checked. However, most airlines make you carry one on board.  I'm good to go with that..still young enough to hoist my own luggage, plus carry a humongous purse that carries all my on board necessities....I won't even go into that all women know there is no purse large enough to carry everything you need!!!
I have to limit myself to 3 purses in my luggage

one for formal nights, a small purse that will hang diagonally for hands free shopping ( a must in some ports!) and a cute purse for evenings...( Connie, I found "our bag" in Tarpon springs!)
Checked baggage is limited to 50 pounds...who decided that ridiculous number!  Obviously a man, who doesn't need 6 pair of shoes for a 7 day cruise!  That being said...sigh.....I usually limit myself to 1 pair of dressy black heels, walking shoes or sandals, flip flops, and flats.  That's my bare minimum and they must go with everything...( this is the most painful part of packing! and the last thing I decide) One trick, when flying, wear your heaviest clothes and shoes...  So what if it's 99 degrees at Tampa airport, and I'm dressed in jeans, sweaters, hiking boots, and a felt hat...carrying my coat...( I'll never see those people again!)

you just never know when you are going to need those heavy clothes!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cruising Buddies

One of the best parts of cruising the world, is the wonderful friends you meet from all parts of the world....It's even more fun, when you get to spend a few days visiting these friends, and experiencing life in a local setting.....We have stayed 2 times in Nottingham, England with a wonderful couple we met on a cruise!

Last week , we drove down to ft. Lauderdale to pick up our 2 cruising buddies from England, to return the favor..They had done a transatlantic cruise from Barcelona Spain to Ft Lauderdale, on the beautiful Liberty of the seas!

We became friends with Steve and Bev on the first Transatlantic cruise we ever did....We almost didn't meet them as the cruise started off horribly, with our passports being stolen in Barcelona.....Thank goodness we had copies, as it only took a few hours for us to taxi to the Embassy and have them replaced.  We boarded the ship the next day, and met them at the lifeboat drill......We laughed so hard at the drill, that the little ole lady in front of us, shushed us and told us to be quiet! It was the beginning of 4 cruises together and one more planned for next fall!


After we arrived back at the ranch, Steve settled in with a scotch on the rocks, and perused his E-mail

He kept a close eye out for all the alligators we warned him about!
This one lays on our banks, so Steve had a reason to worry!

Bev worked on her I Pad, while we planned the rest of our days....

One of the days they were here, we visited Wall springs. It was a hot spot for the rich and famous to bathe in the early 1900' closed in the 1960's, and was restored and turned into a park in 2009...
Below is a picture of the bottom of the spring.....
It is so beautiful and peaceful here.....just a spot of local COLOR!

Bev celebrating at dinner, when she realized that she was one up on Michael.....a very hard thing to accomplish with all the banter going on between the two of them.....We had lots of laughs comparing how the English pronounce our language....

Before they left, we had a wonderful day in Tarpon springs shopping, while the menfolk sat outside enjoying the local beer.  That evening, We had dinner at Mamas...a wonderful local eatery.  We stuffed ourselves on Greek salad, garlic flavored hummus, Pita breads, and U-peel-em shrimp...We hoisted glasses of Sangria, and toasted to our friendship! After the Sangria, we debated on getting up and doing a Greek dance....Fortunately for the other diners, we settled on shouting we exited the dining room!

N971AN - American Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft

The next day these Brits.....took off for London on our very own
American Airlines......
So long to our bestest buds from Merry ole England

Monday, November 4, 2013

South America Ole'

As most of my dear readers know, Michael and I are cruisers...not just any cruisers, but dyed in the wool, have ships blood running thru our veins, crazy about cruising...cruisers!
our longest cruise ever was a 7 week, LA , around the horn, to the big apple itself! The weather was in LA, hot as hades in Peru, cold as the devil in Puntarenas, High seas thru the Magellan straits, roasting in Rio, unbearably humid in the Caribbean, and ending up with frozen noses in NYC.....
How did we pack, you ask.....well that's another blog.....
sailing into our first port, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico....
 the view from our ship, as we dropped anchor in the bay....

lovely dancers await us in Huatulco, was our first time there, and we have hilarious memories of our river rafting trip....but pictures!

Guatemala was a lovely day, spent in port....the local beer was just what we needed on this very hot day....

Of course there are Llamas in Peru  ( was there any doubt?)
I bought llama wool for my daughter-in-law, who is very prolific knitter!

We visited an ancient site just out of Lima.....
So ancient and sacred, that it is forbidden to move the bones that the shifting sands expose. 


These are the beautiful Andes mountains....we took a tour to 12,000 ft elevation...The air was so thin, that we actually carried oxygen on the tour van, in case any of us got Short of breath, or dizzy...Hey, I'm tough!! No 02 for me!
This is the lovely village we stopped at when we reached the summit,, and where I bought my yarn.

A local store for thirsty travelers!

The village was celebrating Mardi Gras, by having a local parade with beribboned locally elected politicians....hmmmmm  sounds like a plan.....anywaaaaaay, they had a small band, and the locals celebrated by throwing flour, and shooting shaving cream

Guess who ended up in the thick of things!

On our way back down, we stopped to view the valley below, and I had a chance to use my panoramic viewfinder for the first time!


Valparaiso Chili was very colorful.......We had a walkabout with a local guide, and he was so proud of his city....
We climbed up and down hills for what seemed like hours!
After all that walking, I was able to eat an extra dessert for dinner!
Grin, I always eat an extra dessert, but this time it didn't count!!!

The weather didn't stay nice though, the further south we went, the rain started and it became pretty cold

As seasoned of us was prepared...Thank you Michael!

The falls were beautiful!

And we forgo the usual local beer that day.....for HOT coffee in the little town on the bay...the wind was icy, and we were freezing!

A little excitement on our way to see the penguin colony...This was the first flat....a few miles down the road, we had another!  Instead of being disappointed at the delay, we used these 2 stops to explore the flora and fauna on the side of the road....

We finally made it to the colony, and probably saw the last 25 penguins left! It's a good thing that we have a sense of humor!
I wanna know who's thumb is in our picture!
We had better luck when we got back to town and found some tasty crabs and local beer!
Who needs penguins anyway!!

Got up at the crack of dawn to view the glaciers in the Chilean Fjords

Was so worth it, I loved just sitting on upper deck of the ship, sipping hot chocolate as we all oooed and ahhed all the way to our next port.

more oooos ahd ahhhhhhs....

sailing into the Ushuaia...also known as the bottom of the wasn't so cold that day...
 The beer was awesome, and the sun was shining...           The flowers were beautiful!

Lunch at a bar-b-que joint in Montevideo Argentina. This was our second time in this city, and our mouths were drooling as we sailed into port....couldn't wait to go back to this little local place for the best bar-b-que ever!!!

After feasting on our Ribs and lamb....we finished up the quart size bottles of local beer, and headed to the shops!

unforgettable Buenos Aries
What more can I say...maybe I should do a little tango!

La Boca....birthplace of the tango....

Sailing into Rio....what a view of Sugar loaf

What a view from the top of Sugar loaf!!
As you can is no longer cold!
Copacabana beach in the background..

However, as we neared the top of Corcovado mountain, Christ the redeemer was shrouded in mist....I could have used a sweater!
                  Salvador Brazil was amazing, and so was the cold beer             
These characters met the ship to invite us into the city!
These outfits will be perfect for our next formal night!

      Fortaleza Brazil was just plain hot!
Did I say hot?       

we were wimps and lasted only a few hours before we had to head back to the ship and air conditioning!

hit a shop on the way, but was to hot to spend any money! Honestly!

Even the coconuts didn't tempt me......

Our last stop in the Caribbean....I'd introduce you to my new boyfriend, but it was just a one day stand....

We sailed thru the Bermuda triangle, on our way to New York City.....We saw no ghost ships, and we were not afraid....Who ya gonna call.....Ghostbusters!