Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sadly this is the last post of this trip. It's been fun teaching myself PSE 7. Hopefully my brain is growing somewhat in keeping with my waistline on this trip. I only wish.
Ronne is on Bornholm, a small Danish island off the Swedish coast. The day started out beautifully sunny and warm, became overcast with threatening thunderstorms (never materialized) and ended with warm sun. It's good to be prepared for all weather! Ronne was a tantalizing taste of Denmark with friendly (blond) people and compact tidy homes. There is also a small Thai community and I happily traded some memories in a Thai-English mixture. I know I started the shopkeeper with a Sawadee Kha! The fun of travel.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Our day in Newcastle was another brilliantly sunny day with temps that promised to be warm - into the 70s. Arrival from Rotterdam was scheduled to be around noon with a mid-day departure from the ship. We never knew the exact time for tenders or a shuttle bus for sure each day until a few hours before and the times still changed after arrival in a port. Those people taking a tour with HAL always had priority in leaving the ship so it could be hard and frustrating to plan much of a trip outside of strolling around the main part of a city. Fortunately this suited us most of the time but it was hard for dh to wait till 11am or later to leave the ship when he is such an early bird in the a.m.
I had seen Newcastle years and years ago, and despite the boast that the city had been cleaned up and modernized, I decided Newcastle would be a r&r day aboard ship for me. Reading, computer time with the pictures and just a relaxing day before Edinburgh, which I DID want to see. DH decided that he would be adventurous and explore on his own. I saw the looong line waiting for the shuttle bus into the city and wondered how his patience was holding out.
From what he tells me the city still has the look of an industrial city - which it was - and thus had no 'old' buildings with most being either modern architecture or Victorian era still needing some clean up. Sandblasting makes the limestone look lovely again but it is costly.
Where once a city might be full of scaffolding with ancient buildings etc being restored, it seems that today more construction and replacement or repair of infrastructure might be happening. Newcastle was a place dh said had some of that and some of the 'normal' occurrence of a metro stop being closed for x,y, or z and the trains rerouted.
All in all, he can say he has visited Newcastle and I can say I had a good leisurely day with no pressure to walk or see something new. A daily diet of anything can get old.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Some of this day was very much like the 'Gilligan Island' 3 hour tour. Dick went into Plymouth before I did, and when I attempted to board a tender about two hours later, there was a lot of going round in circles out in the bay. Every day a new experience! but isn't that what travel is all about.
I am so sorry not to be writing more but even writing off line and posting has taken a great deal of time that is usually spent out and about. I hope the pictures give you a good taste of this trip and I will say that they have given me a lot of Photoshop (Elements 7) practice which has been great fun.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Back to the Cathedral we went where we learned that Basilica is an honorary title bestowed by the Pope. I don’t know what percentage of the population is Roman Catholic but the church looks very well supported. Just beyond the church, I had noted a very large sign for The Rooms. (I hadn’t taken time to talk to the Tourist Information people on the dock as I was dashing to catch up with dh.) When we walked over past the church we saw that The Rooms were the archives and museum. The gift shop wasn’t open yet as they are still on Winter Hours (!) but I left dh on a comfortable bench while I went off to Scobeys, a huge supermarket to look for some tea. With a packet of local decaf tea in hand, I came back to The Rooms and looked around the really lovely gift shop but didn’t buy. We were considering eating at the top floor restaurant/café but after taking some wonderful pictures from the observation deck in Full Sun, we decided to go back to Hungry Heart.
We had seen the staff setting up for a large group in the morning, and when we got back the tables were full. With all the chatter, I whispered to dh “I hope they’re leaving soon.”
Rather than leaving, the group was about to hear a talk by the folklorist of Newfoundland which turned out to be absolutely fascinating. We had a marvelous lunch of quiche for me and soup and sandwich for dh AND a wonderful chance to hear all about the work to preserve heritage crafts and stories in NFL. It was pure serendipity.
With our slickers in our bag, we headed back down towards the harbor and the main shopping areas. We walked from shop to shop and while the woolens were wonderful and hand made, we really had no need for that kind of good for our normally mild winters. DH and I then parted ways as he went back to the ship for a nap and I forged on to see the rest of Water Street. By mid afternoon, the clouds had come in and the temperature was dropping. A shop keeper said the previous Victoria Day weekend had been the nicest in 30 years. I ended up contributing a bit to the NFL economy with a fleece pullover and a wool hat. (The hat I had planned to buy turned out to have raw fleece inside and as the clerk said, was the warmest hat they had. Hmmm, not what I needed I’m afraid.)
Finally I said goodbye to NFL, and after dinner on board we time to see Slumdog Millionaire, and a welcome climb into bed. A sunny day in NFL was a real treat so much so that dh is willing to come back, By Car!!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
After a lie in for me with a cabin bit of breakfast and a much earlier start to the day for dh who prepared himself with a full breakfast, we headed down the gangplank and decided on the Gray line On and Off bus. It didn’t seem like a good idea to try to hike up to The Citadel with dh’s feet not up to par. There are three routes the buses take and they truly take in all the sites to see in downtown Halifax. There was only one fly in the ointment. It was Victoria Day so many things were closed and the downtown seemed almost deserted for a Monday morning.
We rode thru town and got off the bus at the entrance to The Citadel. We paid to go into the site and while touring it, the rain really came down at times, but that’s why we pack good slickers. We cut the tour a bit short and walked down the hill to the main part of town. Again, it felt so strange to be one of the few people walking about near noon. I did regret that we missed the 21 gun salute given to Queen Victoria (!) but figured we’d hear some of it down below in town. Walking towards Spring Garden Street, we wanted to get back to a bookstore we’d spotted on the bust trip up to the Citadel. But low and behold, I spied with my little eye another book store, so we veered off onto Doyle Street. Alas the shop was closed but the little Italian coffee shop was open. Instead of coffee, we ended up sharing a bowl of seafood chowder and a cheese scone. Hot, tasty and with small fish quenelles in it, it was just the thing to take the edge off of our hunger and the chill of the rain.
We then went back on the main drag of Spring Garden and did a lot of window shopping and a stroll through Jenners which had a lot of handcrafted items from Nova Scotia. There is a lot of beautiful silver and pewter jewelry here but as I wear gold, I saved my money. Dick is always happy to support a local independent bookstore but I had to pass since I am seriously working at reducing the stockpile of books I have at home.
We continued up Spring Garden to the actual city gardens which were gorgeous but then the rains came down again. Fortunately there is a refreshment building where we shared a hot and luscious hot chocolate. I never think about hot chocolate but dh has suggested it at times and it’s really a nice change from tea. Then back on our On-Off bus to the ship and lunch aboard. DH decided it was time for a nap but I headed back into town on another of the bus’s routes which took me back to the Old Burying Grounds and a walk thru the once again rain to a tea merchant. I had an ok cuppa Lapsong Souchong but got dear gd a packet of Lady Hannah tea. I think it will be a thrill to get tea with her own name on it.
Now it was time to start heading back to the ship lest it sail without me but I did dash into a huge SuperStore to check on powdered laundry detergent. What caught my eye as I entered were whole cooked lobsters at under $6. Canadian. Oh I was tempted but we have access to so much food I couldn’t justify it. I wanted to. DH met me but there really wasn’t time for more walking so Water Street would wait for another trip.
Some computer time, and then I was off to my massage, facial and pedicure. Oh how nice that was…a real treat and of course it left me absolutely ready for bed with one more time change.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Mid morning we met up with the Cruise Critic group and were grateful that Fran – our serendipitous meeting at the train station – had told us where and when the group was meeting. Amazingly enough there was another couple named Maureen and Richard, and they were on the same deck. Talking to the assorted other members about 40 people in all, we found many interests shared and many had many enjoyable conversations. Because the online group has been in existence since last year, a lot of work has been done on booking tours and setting up plans at prices much more reasonable than HAL’s prices. That was a real blessing.
Suddenly – it seemed – it was lunchtime and back to the
A bit more exploring, some computer time off line and then we had a 12 step meeting. It’s always nice to make that connection with Friends of Bill at sea. Amazingly, it was time for dinner again! Neither of us was terribly hungry but we made a valiant effort and of course managed to eat!
After dinner, there was some computer time and then a movie. We saw Nixon/Frost which both of us really enjoyed and I highly recommend it to people of all political persuasions. I found it very poignant and even if you feel you know that history you may get some insights into the personalities of both men.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Upon arrival at the ship, we turned over our luggage and then went thru the security and health checks. Finally, we boarded the ship, and went to our cabin. My suitcase was already in there and dh’s arrived while we went out exploring the internet site. Then came the requisite lifeboat drill which always involves a lot of ‘stooging around’ but then we were done. Time to use the net a bit while we still had free access thru the WAN on dh’s Mac, then farewell to NYC, the Statue of Liberty and our first dinner.
We decided to stick to the casual Lido buffet which had the same menu as the main dining room for the first night especially as I was really feeling the movement of the ship. I was glad to have the Dramamine from a prior cruise and after a walk about outside – just one lap to be sure dh’s feet didn’t get blistered up again – we were ready for an early night. We did go back to the Lido for an ice cream cone tho – chocolate and cinnamon scoops for me and vanilla and orange sherbet for dh.
A Dramamine for me and about 5 pages of reading and I was out like a light while being rocked to sleep by the ship.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
At least I am going with a laptop of my own this time (well at least a hand-me-down from dh) and a chance to do some of my own computer work, and not have to share on line time with dh. DH's computer time makes $$ so it was always hard to compete with that!
Ok, I have to get back to some serious planning of the packing! See me back here on Saturday.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Goodbye Kenisngton Marriott, you are a great location. I'll be back.
Finally, we had one more fry-up at Heathrow. Good stodgy sendoff for our last meal. btw, note that there is a tangerine in both the pictures. Marriott had bowls of these each day and I did eat my share. No scurvy for this woman! However...I forgot to eat the last one I had in my carry on bag, and the drug dogs sniffed it out at Newark airport. Guess which two people had to have their bags searched by the food police?!?!? I shrugged it off but dh was NOT amused by the waste of his precious time. They confiscated the tangerine of course...and sent me off with a warning not to do this again. Bah humbug.
Now for a break from travel blogging for a bit again. See you next trip!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Believe it or not after some walking and a bus ride, we actually were ready for a stop for lunch at The Three Tuns just off Oxford Street. Best to have a full stomach when museum hopping, I say!
We had decided to try the Wallace Collection which neither of us had ever seen. So much of my time in my earlier years in England involved travel with short children, so a few of the more adult museums never got onto the lists. I had just read a few books about WWII and Polish Jews so this exhibit Treasures of the Black Death had caught my eye. I have no photographs of that exhibit but it was exquisite and moving. We did wander into some of the other rooms, including a hands on amour room. So back to the 16th century and the big kids played too!
After a tea break in the gorgeous cafe at the Wallace, we decided to part company for the rest of the day. I seriously wanted to get back to the British Museum and dh seriously wanted to Just Rest. We each got our wish. Much of the British Museum has been discussed over at Cooking My Life, but before I got there, I hustled with a bus ride and some suddenly lost and trying to relocate via the map time. I had also nearly exhauste my oyster card and needed to top it up to get back to the hotel. Fortunately, a pharmacy was able to add my money to it. Amazing! Lots of fun stuff to see along the way tho.. a soccer shop for my dear grandson
So many things to see in this Museum and I had less than an hour, and it was also getting dark, and rush hour was coming. However, I mushed on. It nearly broke my heart to pass on this exhibit. But at least I saw the items in the gift shop. :(
Elgin Marbles as they were called in 1965 on my first visit. The Parthenon Marbles in all their glory 44years later.
It was time to get on the bus or tube and get 'home' to my dear husband, make a pot of tea and realize it was a damn good trip. Full of so much and yet home was really beckoning.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Now to walk through the park to the Palace. Ah Sunday in this park was Sunday in every big park - dog walkers, children on scooters and skates, babies in prams, couples canoodling, joggers jogging and people sitting on benches reading the papers. Yes, it was gray and cloudy but it was mild. Mild enough for a nice day out. Sun is just icing on the cake at the end of winter.
You did know that this was Princess Diana's home, didn't you? We didn't take the tour not just for price, but because it gets to be a bit much for us to stand and look and look.
One thing we saw, and I then seriously regretted those pastries at Paul's, was the Orangery. So so pretty but we weren't hungry or thirsty by then. If you go to Kensington Palace, you really should Continue Your Day in Style as the sign says.
Well goodbye to William of Orange (how about those clouds?),
We did spend a good bit of time in the gift shop, which was free and just lovely inside. Fortunately there wasn't a lot of geegaws and schmaltzy stuff. This is a royal abode so respectful, stiff upper lift items were about. Tastefully done. Had I been 20 or 30 years younger, and still buying things, I would have been sorely tempted by a lot of the lovelies. I did get my daughter a small lavender sachet and that was it. (Himself is the silhouette in the center of the pic.)
Finally a little section of houses that must have been built at the same time by the same builder. Spec houses of the day but what day?
Well we were thinking about dinner, and trying to think about packing too when we saw this restaurant. Sadly after googling and checking some reviews we decided to pass. Shame, I think I would consider it for a lunch sometime but not the more pricey dinner.