A Travelogue

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Azores

I thought I had written all there was to say about our cruise, but then Hans downloaded the rest of our photos and lo and behold, the fog cleared from my mind. How could I forget the Azores?

This archipelago of 8 jewel green islands lies quite some distance off Portugal. Sao Miguel is the island we visited and we took a tour to the crater lakes. One lake is bright blue and the other a brilliant green, though over time their colours have unfortunately faded.
The legend is that a blue eyed princess fell in love with a green eyed shepherd, but she was promised to a neighbouring island prince. In their despair at not being able to marry the lovers wept copious tears. Hers became the blue lake, and his the green.

In reality, the lakes are separated by a natural wall that for years kept the two lakes separate. Now that they are a uniform silvery gray, perhaps the lovers finally found a way to be together.

In town, we came across this fabulous poinsettia tree.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

coming soon... Camino photos

In the coming week I'll start posting some of Hans' photos into his Camino blog (check August and September archives). He has to go through 700 and choose a few representative ones so it may be a bit of an ongoing project.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back to Normal

Got back Friday morning around 1:00 a.m. and all day Friday I did laundry but we had to go out in the afternoon to fill the fridge. Hard to make a meal from pickles and mayonnaise. And then we both got diarrhea as our systems purged themselves of the indulgence from the past 4 weeks. Alas, it didn't purge the 8 pounds I gained so now I have to work on that for the next few weeks. *sigh* Why couldn't I have been born as someone who doesn't like to eat and drink?

Today all our clothes are clean. At least i didn't have to hang 10 loads outside like this photo in Venice.

Hans' tux fit both before and after the cruise so I didn't need to use the needle and thread I brought. It must be a miracle fabric! Nor, luckily, did I have to use the seam ripper on my clothes.


As for the next vacation, we're off to the Philippines in March. I looked for a cruise to take us there or back in order the avoid the 14 hour plane trip, LOL. Found a 32 day Holland America cruise from Hong Kong to Vancouver leaving April 9th. That might actually work for us since we can arrange to spend more time there or else in Hong Kong. We're thinking about it. Retired life is grand!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Stateroom

It's a little after the fact to mention our stateroom, but it does deserve mentioning.

These are the largest cabins we’ve ever had on a ship! There’s so much closet room we aren’t even using it all. Above our headboard is a large mirror and it faces an opposite mirror spanning the desk and mini bar. I see the tv reflected 8 times in diminishing size until it’s absorbed in the distance.

John's Blend

Ron from Australia approached me one day in the “Vinyard” as I was typing.
“I see you have a Dell,” he said. “So do I, and the thing is, I forgot my charger at home. Brought 2 batteries, but now I’ve run them both down. Any chance you have a charger and I could borrow it?”

“Sure,” I said. I got his room number and said I’d call him later. Shortly after that Hans joined me so I explained about Ron and just then, Ron walks by with 2 splits of champagne and frosted glasses which he was bringing to his wife who was doing their laundry. We arranged for Ron to pick up the charger later and in return, he said he’d buy us a nice bottle of wine, which he did. To our sincere appreciation, a fine bottle of Australian Rosemount Shiraz was delivered to our dinner table that evening.

We ran into Ron again the next day at the pool and we talked about wine. John Glasier (sp?) was the chief winemaker for Wolf Blass and John’s a friend of Ron’s. John left Wolf Blass to make his own wine, though he’s on retainer as a consultant to them for which he gets paid a very handsome annual salary for about 2 hours work. Nice job if you can get it!

John apparently makes a very fine blend called plain, ordinary John’s Blend. Evidently it’s quite pricey and made in small quantities. Ron recently bought 6 of the last 10 cases from 1998 John – who kept the last 4 for himself. At a restaurant in Vegas they offered a recent bottle of John’s Blend for $200. When Ron told the sommelier he had some of the 1998 vintage, he sommelier brought out an older wine list where they were selling it for $2,000.

In other news, Ron mentioned that he and his wife have friends in France and they had driven to Marseilles, our first stop, to meet up. High winds prevented us from docking so that trip fell through. They also have friends in Mykonos who came to meet the ship and there too, we didn’t dock.

“I hope you don’t have friends in Istanbul,” said Hans.

Smelly Socks

“I think I smell my socks," Hans said in horror as we were standing in the central open area of the ship.

In fact, I could smell them too and was horrified at their pungence. Since Hans walked the Camino, even though he washed out his socks every night, his shoes and sandals became permeated with foot odour. In fact, we deliberately left his sandals behind on the ship.

“Let’s go back to the cabin”, I suggested.

On our way back as we walked past the International Cafe and the Vinyard, I noticed that the smell became distinctly riper.

“It’s not you. It’s the cheese in the appetizers!”

Couldn't find a photo of Hans' socks, so instead, here's a dress we saw in Cannes, France for $5,000.

Athens and the Acropolis

Time to catch up on some of the ports that I didn't get a chance to write about earlier.


The Acropolis, which is the entire hilltop that includes several temples and the Parthenon, was stunning. There’s a lot of restoration being undertaken to prevent the ultimate crumbling of the buildings. Oddly, it took only 9 years to build the Parthenon from scratch. But restoration has been ongoing now for over 20 years.

We had the guide from Hell. Eva found only minimal and inconsequential subjects to discuss on the long bus ride from Piraeus to Athens. But once in situ, she would herd us like cattle off the beaten path and dredge us with a lecture that found no end. At the second stop, some of us asked her where we would be meeting, and when, so we could look around a little rather than remain in one spot listening to her. She wouldn’t tell us. By the third or fourth stop, which was the acropolis, a few of us became insistent on information: where, when, tell us now! She relented and said she would need at least 45 minutes to give us the history, and we would meet at the exit at 11:30. “But if I’m late and you have to wait a long time, don’t blame me.” We hurried off to look around in peace on our own.

“Ah, some more A-2 rebels,” came a voice from the side. Another member of our tour group, A-2, had beaten a hasty retreat even before us. We shared a few moments of mutual hatred for our guide and laughing, went our separate ways.

We could walk to the little restaurant below from the Acropolis where we were treated to a delicious Greek lunch of Greek salad (of course), bread with tzatzki, moussaka, meatball, slab of steak, and spaghetti. Is that Greek too? Free wine and luckily, only 2 of the 6 at our table drank so the one bottle was just enough!

After a very satisfying lunch and no lineup to the toilets, we headed off to the museum. By now Hans and I were adamant we couldn’t be near her so inside the museum, we asked when and where to meet and toured the museum on our own.

The best part was the statuary. There were dozens in several rooms and we were allowed to take lots of photos. Below is one of either Zeus or Poseiden, historians are undecided but the preference seems to be Zeus.



This one is of Aphrodite and Pan, who is trying to seduce her and she’s defending herself with a sandal. I wonder if that worked for her?

Many of the other artefacts on display were treasures hidden away in graves filled with the shadows of lost lives.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Beautiful Day!


The weather is slightly cloudly, but around 25 degrees and we're going out momentarily to enjoy some rays before indulging in a delicious and beautifully presented sushi buffet upstairs. They had one one before and as you can probably imagine, it's a picture.

These sea days mean you either sit by the pool or participate in some of the pool activities. We've done all those on previous cruises so we're really just indulging ourselves in doing... nothing. Love it!

The ship's chef and maitre d' just did their comedy routine where the chef really does pick on his poor assistant, the maitre d', as they prepare appetizer, meal, salad and dessert. They made us weep with laughter.


It's another hot and beautiful day on the Atlantic.

Those aren't the chefs, but our friendly waiters.

Now, out to the pool and soon, lunch.

And also soon (but a little later) diet. Yuck.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Movies Under the Stars

Last night we watched "Licence to Wed" on the huge screen outside under the half moon. It gets cool as the sun goes down so the deck attendant bring us blankets. Then they brough popcorn. And a little later, milk and cookies!! It was great, and since it was still early, 7:00 pm, we got to see the movie before going down for dinner. I did have popcorn but drew the line at cookies knowing a fabulous dinner was waiting downstairs. And it was: Alaskan crab legs. Yummy.

The after dinner entertainment last night was Robert Mesmer - no doubt a pseudonym since he's a hypnotist. These shows are always howlingly funny so don't ever volunteer to be up on stage!

In other news, the last 4 nights we've turned our clock back 1 hour every night. The first 2 times was great. All that extra sleep. Now, however, we're waking up at 5:30 in the mornings! It makes for a long day, LOL.

It's another beautiful day today. After we woke up once again at 5:30 am, we watched a movie in bed and by 7:45 we were lounging by the pool. Hans made a coffee run filling up not just a mug of coffee for me, but also filling the insulated coke holder we have which holds another 2 mugs of coffee. Book and cup in hand, we sat watching the ocean slip by as we soaked up the early morning sun.

Life is good.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lisbon

Another gorgeous day! Every day has basically been 23 degrees, sunny and beautiful. I'm so sorry we're in the last quarter of our cruise. The ending is bittersweet, but not bittersweet like chocolate. More like kumquats.

La Segrada Familia

I know, I know. I'm not blogging our ports in sequence but sometimes I have to write about where we've just been or I forget. Some of you know how that is.

On our second trip to Barcelona we toured the amazing La Segrada Familia. This stunning cathedral was designed and started by Antoni Gaudi over 100 years ago but it's still not complete. Luckily, he left behind detailed drawings and calculations and so the City of Barcelona is able to continue construction. They expect it to be completed in 25-30 years.



The exterior is so detailed. In fact, it's a book telling various tories of the young Jesus. The West details the last supper, the betrayal and crucifixtion. The East side has a huge Christmas tree filled with white doves, the birth/manger, Jesus at 12 in the temple, etc. The north and south sides still need to be detailed. The interior is stunning, even unfinished.


Above you see huge pillars forming the tee trunks soar about 100 metres and unfold into gilt flowers high above your head. Curvy balconies reminiscent of Douglas Cardinal's style swoop around the perimeter as Gaudi loved curvy lines and much of his architecture reflects it.

We saw other examples of Gaudi's work it's definitely different and quite beautiful.

On another note, it's very difficult to post photos. In fact, now that we're basically at sea except for one last port, it will be impossible. But we'll post them when we're back in Red Deer.

Have been swimming almost every day! It's great. If I go early enough, I have the pool to myself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cadiz, Spain

The sun topped the uppermost railing thatlined deck 19 of the ship and pierced through an opening so that a stream of hot light pointed across the pool. I was alone this early in the morning, except for a maintenance man fixing the clock, which had dropped its minute hand a few days ago to protest the passage of time. The pool was mirror still and inviting as I slipped into the sun kissed blue. Forty minutes later I was still alone in the pool. It's so delightful to be able to swim into the current. If I had a pool, I would have to get one of these machines!

Now Cadiz. We took a turn on the hop-on hop-off bus to get an idea of the old city. It's beautiful, and so clean. The lady mayor has the entireold city washed early every morning and the city shopkeepers reflect their pride by doing their part, sweeping and washing their storefronts.

There are kilometeres of long, wide beaches of golden sand that line the atlantic side of Cadiz. It makes this a tempting city for a winter getaway.

After our city tour, we sauntered through the pedestrian areas of Cadiz and finally gave away our bus tickets to some other tourists since they were good for the rest of the day. Oh, and we picked up some Freixnet for 4 euros... I love Spain!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Facebook

By the way, I can't access Facebook on Princess. They block the site. So I haven't been able to check any messages there. Sorry if you've been sending stuff.

more on Venice


We were a little disappointed in Venice. Yes, it's famous and has some great landmarks, like the San Marco Square, but it's dirty. There are cigarette butts between all the cobblestones, and lots of pigeon poop and feathers everywhere.

However, the side streets were charming. Locals shop with little pull carts of cloth on 2 wheels. Of course they have to. There are NO cars! This alone makes Venice unique. Since the whole city is geared to pedestrians, there are benches everywhere and locals are usually found there chatting and gossiping in between shopping. We picked up some very inexpensive wine and could have paid even less in one of the shops that sold it right out of the barrel. You bring your empty bottle and fill it for under 2 euros.



Venice has a beautiful garden, the entry to which has a sign which reads:
"Think with the Senses. Feel with the Mind."

And a last note about Venice. One of the evenings we were in port, a local string symphony of 17 members entertained in the Princess Theatre, and they were fabulous,playing some of the favourite Italian melodies like Granada, Return to Sorrento and they had a guest tenor who was excellent! We have been wonderfully entertained on this ship.

Cannes

Ow. Ow. Ow! Whoever said strolling along a beach was romantic?

We sauntered through lovely white sand on the famous beach at Cannes but boy, is it tough walking. For awhile we held hand but quickly realized that we really needed both arms to keep our balance. Sand walking is definitely not smooth.


The beach, however, is gorgeous. We saw pretty women in dental floss bikinis, men smuggling grapes in their speedos, and even a topless 80 year old woman.

Cannes is about 3 miles of beach interrupted by a very upscale marina with huge yachts and triple masted sailboats.


On the other side are the high-end shops like Armani and Chanel. We saw the area where they show all the new films, but other than the hundreds of tourists from the cruise ships, there were no famous people in sight. *sigh*

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Baron

Our first night at dinner on the second cruise leaving Venice, we were joined first by Ian and Betty from Florida, and then by a stunning platinum blonde woman from Atlanta travelling alone.

After our introductions, the maitre d' escorted an attractive gentleman to our table and seated him next to Natalie and I remember thinking how lovely, she'll have a charming dinner companion during the cruise.

That's the last time I found myself thinking "charming" and "Ronnie" in the same sentence.

Ronnie, not Ron, also prefers to be called The Baron. And he flashed his card to Natalie to prove his provenance. After that, almost every sentence he spoke was a conversation killer. He was in 2 words, a pretentious prick. In short order we discovered that he's 71 - but he does look good for his age - has 5 children, the youngest of whom is 9 (hip, hip hooray!) has 3 wives, had a wife of 12, yes TWELVE, given to him by the king of some obscure country in West Africa where he was very helpful due to his deep knowledge of monarchial law. Though he's not a lawyer. Wow. Then he became a judge where no doubt the humble local peasants hung on his pearls of wisdom which he undoubtedly magnanimously distributed. He was quick to tell us that he immediately divorced his child bride after gifting her with goats and cows and that on his next visit, she, now the wealthiest woman in the village, was happily married to someone else.

Oh yes. In Scotland, he has 2 castles, don't you know. And his crest, which isn't a crest and which he quickly corrected me and called his coat of arms, is of a winged unicorn which has a name, but I've forgotten it. He raises sheep and cattle and I bet they miss him.

Fortunately, even though we've seen him several times since, Hans and I have immediately found something of great interest on our lapels, or on the floor, or in fact in the opposite direction and hasten to remove ourselves before we're spotted.

I should say that Natalie, in the clever way for which Southern women are well known, neatly cut him down to size wearing a brilliant smile and doing it with such finesse that he actually didn't catch on. The rest of us did though. He didn't return to dinner the next day or any other day since, but he has pursued the pretty Natalie at lunch without success. In fact the next day, he smugly asked her "if she had gotten lucky the night before." "Baron, I'm a good looking woman. I get lucky every night."

Sorrento

The Greeks first settled the Sorrento peninsula and named it Sirentium. They believed the gorgeous blue waters between Sirentium and the Isle of Capri were alive with mermaids - sirens - hence, the name.

From our perch on the high road above these same blue waters, we could see clearly to the bottom. Alas, no mermaids, but it was invitingly blue and green. And we were so high up that we were actually above a heliocopter passing by.

Amazing Amalfi

"I know. I know I won't have your complete attention," said Stefano, our tour guide, as our bus deftly evaded 3 scooters squeezing between us and an oncoming bus. And then we dove into traffic so thick and roads so windy and steep they defy description. Of course, that's not going to stop me. They actually have traffic wardens along some of the curvier sections of road who radio several curves ahead and then have buses here, or there, stop and wait so that we don't encounter each other in a tight corner. That worked fine. However, on more than several occasions cars had to back up to give way to us. And on the other side? nothing. The cliffs plunging into the Mediterranean are so steep that in some cases they are negative: not straight down, but slope backwards towards the road. And the road itself? As we rounded curver after curve and looked back we could see it hanging over the edge! It is jaw droppingly spectacular. And in the distance, the deep blue sea flows over the rim of the horizon.


Oh. It's known locally as the Mama Mia Road, this drive along the Amalfi coast.

Italian bus drivers are experts on this road and show no compunction in doling out loud and enthusiastic advice to foreign drivers.

In Amalfi we stopped and walked around, eschewing a look into yet another cathedral for the more touristy passtime of sitting and having an ice cream. We chose our selections carefully from the luscious display and people watched as we indulged. Our table mates, Betty and Ian walked by and sat with us momentarily as we caught up on our day then headed off. Hans went inside to pay. "Fourteen Euros" said the owner, deadpan. "What?" I exclaimed. "14 Euros for 2 ice creams?" He shrugged Gallically even though he was Italian, and we just paid. Yikes $20 bucks for ice cream. We even have a picture of it!

That's nearly as shocking as 13 Euros for a beer in San Marco Square in Venice, except there we had been warned and had our beer a little cheaper for only 4 Euros down a side street.

Stefano was very informative on many subjects, including the groves of olive trees we passed. "Olives have four major pressings," he instructed. "The first of course is the very desirable Extra Virgin, then Virgin, then ordinary olive oil. And lastly, motor oil."

Kusadasi, Turkey


We decided to look around on our own here and just wandered through town, browsing in the market. This looked a lot more like the type of market I was expecting: crowded little kiosks filled to bursting with schlocky goods. We bought some Turkish Delight which we found to be surprisingly good. It was pretty hot, 29, so we stopped for a beer in a little roadside cafe.

Then back to the ship to cool off in the pool!

Once again we sailed off at sunset. From the top of the ship the water goes on forever stretching till the earth’s curvature stops the eye just below a tangerine sun.

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Oops

Can't blog. Wrote some stuff but the computer can't read our disc so... it will have to wait. But we're having a grand time. We are back in Civitavecchia today and decided not to go back to Rome since we'll be doing that on a later land holiday, so today we're just browsing around and enjoying the great weather.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

At Sea


Today we were scheduled to stop in Marseille but overnight the wind picked up and we apparently have heavy swells. Too heavy to allow a vessel of this size to dock safely, so the port was cancelled. Didn’t matter much to us since we hadn’t scheduled a tour and were just planning to take the shuttle into the old part of the city for a walkabout. Instead, we have a day at sea and that’s never a bad thing when you’re on a fabulous cruise liner. Already, I was part of a losing team at a game this morning and now I’m catching up on blogging. Later, who knows? There’s never a shortage of things to do on the ship. And there’s always the fitness room. I can only hope it will be full.

Barcelona

Barcelona! A city capped by an azure sky that mirrored itself in the sea. Our first glimpse of the ship was such a dazzling white it hurt the eyes.
All went well. Eileen used her influence at Air Canada with the baggage fellow, a friend of hers, who tagged my suitcases with a Priority tag. “This will decrease the likelihood of your suitcases being lost by 5%” he intoned with a smile. And the extra 5% worked for me as not only did they not get lost, but they came off the plane first in Barcelona! Hah. I’m taking her with me every time I check my luggage from now on. We did meet an unfortunate couple on the ship who are missing all 4 of their bags.

This new ship features a different layout for the staterooms and the result is extraordinary closet space. We actually have room left over!
The highlight to this first day on the ship was that we learned, quite by chance, that for this day only we could bring some booze on board. And wouldn’t you know it, right there inside the sprawling reception hall devoid of all but a bar and curio shop was a fully stocked liquor store. Coincidence? I think not, but the prices were reasonable so it would have been silly not to take advantage.

Dinner was lonely. We were glad to get our preferred second seating at dinner, but I had also requested a table for 10, or8. Alas, we are at a table for 4 and the other couple didn’t show up. Sometimes this happens on the first night – people come in on late flights or are tired after travel. Lots of reasons. But if they’re not there again tonight, we’ll have to request a change. Despite this temporary setback we ordered our traditional bottle of champagne the first night.

The lobster terrine was a picture. The barramundi was flaky and tasty, and despite my best intentions, I had dessert. Probably the first of many. But, there are many stairs to compensate. Hopefully, enough of them.

Pompei


Wow. We saw only a small portion of the excavated portion of Pompei but it dazzles the senses. We walked along one of the original roads still in excellent condition, It bears the grooves from countless chariots that travelled over the paved volcanic rock. On either side is an elevated sidewalk for pedestrians. Also on either side are the small shops the lined the road. Bars with terracotta amphoras hanging inside stone boxes to keep the wine cool on hot days. Fountains with running water for pedestrians to drink. The occasional villa, though most weren’t on the main road. Rooms were small, but the entrance foyers were large and each one has a sunken rectangle which contained the household water.

The communal baths were divided into cold, tepid and hot water areas since even then, they understood that it can be a shock to the body to go from cold to hot. Hence the tepid water. It was piped in. Unfortunately, their pipes were lead and they were all slowly being poisoned. They knew they were being poisoned but they never knew how.

We were so impressed at how civilized these early Romans were back in 79 B.C.
Lunch was a traditional Italian pizza. Apparently when the pizza was invented, the chef wanted to create something with the colours of the flag of Italy. So he covered the bready base with red tomato sauce, white mozzarella and green basil. It was surprisingly tasty given the scant ingredients.



Following lunch we toured the museum that houses many of the artefacts recovered from Pompei. Like the exquisite mosaic floor coverings. The richer the homeowner, the more elaborate the mosaic. The largest one recovered has over 2 million tiny pieces!

Stateroom

These are the largest cabins we’ve ever had on a ship! There’s so much closet room we aren’t even using it all. Above our headboard is a large mirror and it faces an opposite mirror spanning the desk and mini bar. I see the tv reflected 8 times in diminishing size until it’s absorbed in the distance. Every day we get fresh fruit, but only if we request it, which we do.

Under the Tuscan Clouds

Our stop in Marseille was aborted. The high winds and muscular, white peaked swells made it perilous for a ship our size to approach the dock. It was no big deal to us since we hadn’t booked a tour in Marseille but instead, were going to take the shuttle into the old part of town and look around on our own. Instead, we had an enjoyably relaxing day at sea. Still don’t know all the nooks and crannies of the ship, but we are now intimately familiar with the stairs.

Today we are scheduled to dock in Livorno. However, because of the ongoing high winds the ship that is currently docked in our berth actually cannot leave! So now what? The captain explained since he had already aborted one stop, he wasn’t going to do so again so instead, he took us a little further down the coast. From here we would be tendered to shore and all tours would operate as before except that we were going to have to leave the ship a little earlier to make up for the longer bus ride.

The drive into Florence and then into the Cathedral Square and Field of Miracles around Pisa took a little over an hour and it passed quickly. Our guide Stephania kept us entertained with stories about Italy and Tuscany in particular, the province that holds Pisa and its famous leaning tower. It certainly does lean!

A recent multi million dollar project has stabilized the tower so it will not continue to tilt and tumble down, and exterior restoration has also taken place. It looks fabulous. Our tour didn’t include climbing up inside, for which I am quite grateful since really, it’s the visual from outside that’s really the draw. We were so lucky to see it on a cloudy day. Whenever we gazed upwards, the fast moving clouds gave the illusion that the tower was moving and from one angle, it looked like it was coming down right on top of us. “Not a good place to stand,” said Hans as we edged away.

Along the way to the cathedral and tower, you run the gauntlet of illegal hawkers. They have their counterfeit Italian bags like Gucci and Prada spread out on sheets on the ground. It’s illegal to sell or buy these knock-offs in Italy and tourists who get caught are given a hefty fine: around 2000 euros. “It’s cheaper to buy the real thing,” Stephania warned us.

Although the sky was cloudy, there was lots of blue to be seen and we didn’t get rained on. Caught the last 2 seats on a returning tender which delivered us to the mother ship at 1:55, just in time to slip into the nearly empty dining room for a late lunch.

While Hans unpacked our backpack, I soaked in the hot tub at the back of the ship and watched tiny white sailboats cavort around the bay and thick dark clouds rolls in over from behind the hills.

Quick Update

Sorry - haven't been able to blog since I can't bring myself to pay 50 cents per minute on the ship!! However, I have written up a few things which I will post sometime. Not today probably since this is our FIRST opportunity to use internet!

Yesterday we were in Istanbul. Fabulous city! We did get offered free internet by a Rotarian in a hotel however, it wouldn't let me access our webmail nor the blog so...

Today we are in Kusadasi, Turkey, and it's hot! 29 degrees so we quickly ducked into the first internet place we found. We'll brave the heat later.

We have seen beautiful cities. Rome is absolutely fantastic and we will be returning. Even though we didn't drop a coin into Trevi fountain. It's just a magical place and quite frankly, that took me by surprise. I hadn't expected to find it so fascinating.

The ship is grand. We had some rough seas, not very rough but enough for them not to fill the resistance pool until yesterday when I was the first to test it out. Loved it! Went in again this morning. Unfortunately I can't count laps since I swim in place, LOL, so I'm going by time and counting strokes. It's great. Hans works out on the treadmill and we're hoping to keep the pounds gained to a minimum.

Tomorrow is Athens, and we climb the Acropolis. Apparently there are 80 steps but since we're doing the steps on the ship, it should be a piece of cake, LOL.

We'll be in Venice on October 7-8-9 and maybe I can find a place to download my Word stuff on to the blog. Until then.