The Posts

  • Travel Day

    May 9th, 2023

    Up and out of the room by 8:00. After 138 days it was like leaving home.

    The collection of luggage went smooth and we had a car service pick us up and take us to our friend’s home in Richmond. 

    Once in Richmond we had a bit of a walk. A beautiful city.

    We will be in and around Richmond for 9 days and then off to the Queen Mary II for the crossing to New York.

  • Greenwich

    May 8th, 2023

    Through the night we sailed up the River Thames and anchored in the middle of the river at about 3:00AM.

    We got off the ship and did a short guided tour around maritime Greenwich. A nice tour, the Cutty Sark ship is there, great history. We then walked up to the Royal observatory for a fantastic view of London. We walked through a beautiful park on the way back to the ship.

    We got back onto the ship to finish packing and start saying our goodbyes to new friends. There were some tears.

    Tomorrow morning we have to be out of our room by 8 AM. 

  • Dover and Canterbury

    May 7th, 2023

    Today we sailed across the English Channel and into the port of Dover. It was amazing to see the White Cliffs.

    Canterbury is a quaint town with a lot of history. The cathedral is beautiful and the bell tolled while we were there.

  • Normandy and the D-Day beaches

    May 6, 2023

    A very moving day

    We travelled through the beautiful Normandy countryside to Omaha beach where we spent a while reflecting on what happened there 79 years ago. There were white roses in the water around the monuments, put there by someone that knows we should never forget.

    We then traveled to the nearby American cemetery, it reminded me of Arlington, but different. All these men died here on this beach. So many graves. Heart wrenching.

    We then went to the site where the allies built an artificial “Mulberry” harbor to support the landing. Many parts of the harbor can still be seen at low tide. An amazing feat of engineering.

    We stopped at a local bistro ate moules et frites and drank a bottle of wine while we contemplated what we had seen.

    We then went to the Musée du Débarquement, Arromanches which is an excellent D-Day museum.
  • Lisbon

    May 3, 2023

    This is a city we really wanted to see and it did not disappoint.

    The sail in up the Tagus river was beautiful followed by a 3 hour walking tour of the old town. What a great city.

    Of course we had to try out the local Pasteis de Nata, warm out of the oven, fantastic. Loved the store with birthday year canned sardines.

    We will be back in September to explore some more.

  • Cartagena, Spain and Gibraltar

    May 1st and 2nd, 2023

    This was a new port for us and it turned out to be another fabulous Spanish city. We did a short bus ride to a beautiful beach on the Med and then to a recently found Roman amphitheater. The Romans were everywhere and built awesome buildings.

    We then walked through the old city where the pedestrian streets are paved with marble.  Susan had the best coffee ever, Asiático coffee. We also found some Iberico ham and a couple local beers.

    A beautiful place that we would love to go back to.

    The next morning we sailed through the Straight of Gibraltar. Sadly it was a cloudy morning so no mountain photos, but there were dolphins and birds.

     Viking did host a very nice brunch.

  • Barcelona

    April 30th, 2023

    Today we are in one of our favorite cities. 

    We got off with some new friends and jumped on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for a tour of the city on a very nice day. The tour was great and we saw some of the fantastic buildings in Barcelona.

    After the bus we wandered up La Ramblas to find a sidewalk cafe for lunch and a couple beers. Then we walked through the Gothic Quarter which I love getting lost in.

    I wish we had more time in this great city

  • Monaco

    April 28th, 2023

    Today we toured the Principality of Monaco a very small, very pretty and very expensive little place on the Mediterranean.

    We had an excellent guided tour through the old town, then we had lunch overlooking the Med.

    After lunch we went to the Musée océanographique de Monaco, Jacques Cousteau was director there for a long time. It was a fantastic place.

    After the museum we walked over to the famous Monte Carlo casino to see all the outrageous cars and get a look into the lobby. You can’t actually get into the casino without a passport and paying 19 euros. We did not need to see a casino that badly.

    The Monaco Grand Prix is soon, so they were setting up the track which blocked some views and pathways. But we did get to walk on the track.

  • Tarquinia

    April 27th, 2023

    Today we are docked in Civitivechia the port for Rome, but instead of Rome we decided to go see the Etruscan Necropolis in the nearby countryside.

    This UNESCO site is really old, some of it back to the 9th century BC.  The tombs are fascinating and beautiful.

    We also had perfect weather and the wild flowers and the views were outrageous.

    Afterwards we went into the charming village of Tarquinia to see the museum with many artifacts from the tombs including a 9000+ year old painted ostrich egg. How it has never been broken is beyond me.

    After the museum we walked around town and got a gelato. This would be a nice place to spend a few days.

  • Pompeii and Naples

    April 26, 2023

    This was another place I remember learning about in grade school. It did not disappoint.

    We had a great tour guide and saw a ton at Pompeii. Afterwards we walked up into Naples and found great pizza, wine and gelato.

    A great day

  • Messina

    April 25, 2023

    Messina, Aetna and wine

    Today we had a great trip on the island of Sicily.

    It is a beautiful island where people have built on the most unlikely cliffs.

    We went to a bee keeper to taste some honey, then we went to the 1972 lava flow from Mount Aetna. Then we went to the Murgo winery on the slope of mount Aetna. A very nice winery run by very nice people.

    Beware, we did see a cyclopes on Mount Aetna.

  • Athens

    April 23, 2023

    I remember learning about the Parthenon in Athens in grade school and today I got to stand in front of this ancient marvel. It was stunning to see.

    We stopped at the Olympic stadium and then walked up to the Acropolis where we climbed to the top for the amazing sights and views.

    Afterwards we walked down to the Palaka district to wander around a bit and grab a gyro for lunch.

  • Istanbul

    April 20 and 22, 2023

    We sailed into Istanbul on the last day of Ramadan which was followed by Eid al Fitr which is a huge national holiday.

    Needless to say a lot of places were closed, including the grand bazaar and the spice market. But the excitement of the people (and the huge number of them) helped to make up for it. 

    On top of it all, the blue mosque opened after a 5 year renovation and that attracted pretty much all of the 14+ million people in Istanbul including the Turkish president.

    It was crazy town

    We managed to get in a tour of the city and a visit to a very beautiful mosque followed by a boat ride down the Bosphorus. After the boat ride we found some lunch and walked through the old town with ALL of Istanbul. It was nuts. 

    I would like to go back again someday, there is a lot more to see.

    On the way back out to the Aegean Sea we passed by the Anzac and Turkish memorials at Gallipoli. Very sobering to think about how many men died there.

    And now we say goodbye to Asia.

  • Ancient Ephesus

    April 19th, 2023

    Today we docked in Kusadasi and took a short bus ride to Ephesus for a half day tour.

    I knew about the “Library” but I had no idea how vast the site was. I could have easily spent an entire day there. There are a lot of well fed happy cats here like there were in Rhodes.

    Fresh squeeze pomegranate juice is really good.

    The city of Kusadasi is also very nice and it is kinda fun to interact with the vendors that try so hard to get you into their store. They are pretty entertaining.

    We had a great lunch and wandered around for the afternoon.

  • Rhodes

    April 18th, 2023

    Our first visit to Greece was amazing, we went on a walking tour in the morning through the old town and to the palace of the grand masters.

    The weather was perfect and the old town was great. After the tour we found a pretty little courtyard for some lunch and then wandered the many alleys in the old city.

    We loved all the well fed cats.

    So much to see, a place we will come back to again.

  • Israel

    April 15th and 16th, 2023

    We docked in Haifa Israel and had 2 great excursions 

    On day one we went up to the Hanging Gardens of Haifa. They are beautiful garden terraces on Mount Carmel.

    We then went to the Ruins of Caesarea Maritime. A huge roman ruin with an amphitheater and a arena.

    On day two we went the Acre/Akko a really interesting place with very well preserved crusader ruins. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth.,_Israel

  • The Suez Canal

    April 14th, 2023

    After leaving Luxor, we proceeded up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal. 

    I had thought that the “Big Ditch” would be nothing more than a lot of sand on both sides. There was indeed a lot of sand, but there was so much more.

    We saw a lot of ships, guards, fishermen, monuments and even dolphins, a rare site in the canal.

  • Egypt and Luxor

    Today we went to Luxor, Egypt, a very long bus ride that was so worth it.

    Egypt at first seems to be nothing but sand and rocks, but then you get to the Nile valley and it turns green and lush.

    There is a lot of poverty, an armed guard at every intersection and at each of the very many police checkpoints you must go through. Donkeys are still a major form of transportation. It felt like we went back in time more than anywhere else on this trip.

    We went to the Luxor Museum, Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. We had lunch at a hotel right on the Nile River.

    Standing there among the columns and statues was stunning.

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  • Amazing Petra

    Petra is a place that blows past all the hype you may have heard. It is huge and wonderful.

    There really are no words to describe.

    I hope you enjoy my attempt to photograph the impossible to capture.

  • Jeddah and the Red Sea

    April 9th, 2023

    After 5 days at sea from Mumbai we have reached Jeddah Saudi Arabia. On the way I captured a few images of the wildlife found in this area of the world.

    In Jeddah Susan and I went on 2 separate tours. I did the walking tour of the UNESCO old town of Jeddah and Susan did the same, but her’s was a women tour only and focused on women in Saudi Arabia. Susan loved her guide and tour.

    The tour was good, very hot, but beautiful. The buildings in the old town are amazing and I can see why it is a UNESCO site. It was unfortunate we were here during Ramadan as most all the shops were closed while we were there. I understand they opened up in the afternoon after we were back on the ship.

    I think it would be a great place to see at night when it is full of people and all the twinkle lights were on.

  • The best thing about plans is changing them

    We have decided to extend our adventure beyond London

    We are going to stay in London a few extra days and then on May 18th take an 8 day Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary II to New York City. From there we will rent a car and take about a week to drive home.

    It will be awesome to make this a true around the world cruise and to sail on such an iconic cruise liner.

    And our entire trip will happen without getting on a plane.

  • Mumbai

    April 1, 2 and 3 2023

    I don’t really know how to write about Mumbai, it is just too much to capture

    Big, crazy, crowded, beautiful architecture and friendly people

    It makes New York City seem like a sleepy little town.

    We really only had 2 full days where we could get out and explore because the ship was leaving early on the 3rd day.

    On the first day we did a drive and walk tour which took us to some amazing places including a very crowded local market that sold everything and also the famous Gateway to India. 

    On the second day we took an hour boat ride to Elephanta Island to see the 1500+ year old UNESCO caves. Getting there and being there were two very different but both awesome experiences.

  • Goa India

    March 31, 23

    Today we did a long bumpy bus ride out into the countryside to see a spice plantation.

    The plantation was great, we saw how many flowers, fruits and spices grow including pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, coffee, jack fruit, pineapple, cinnamon, vanilla and I am sure I have missed a couple.

    We also had a Goan buffet lunch which was really good. It would be familiar to most or you if you eat Indian food in North America. They also gave us a taste of the liquor they make from the “apple” of the cashew pod. Pretty much like moonshine.

    As for the ride out and the sights we saw, I think I’ll let the pictures speak for that. Please excuse the quality most of them were taken out of the bus window.

  • Cochin India

    Mar 29, 2023

    Our first taste of India, Cochin also know as Kochi is in a mostly Catholic state of India. This particular state is run by the local communist party.  since this is not a Hindu area there were no cows roaming around, I understand that will be our next couple stops.

    I have to say it was both what I expected and not at the same time. Very hard to describe. 

    We did a local city tour of some very old Portuguese churches and other sites, a tour through a fishing market and saw very old Chinese fishing nets and then a tour of “Jew Town” where we saw a synagogue and many Jewish/Hindu/Catholic/Indian shops that confused me quite a bit.

    We did buy some spices and a couple other items from some very nice shop keepers.

    There were a ton of great birds flying around all day long and we saw dolphins during the sail away.

    It was not a clean city by any standard and seeing a ship dump thousands of gallons of sludge into the bay about a mile from where they were fishing was hard to watch.

    I’ll let the pictures tell more of the story.

  • Smiling Sri Lanka

    Mar 25-27, 2023

    3 days in Columbo Sri Lanka and I must say I was surprised. 

    These are perhaps the friendliest people I have ever met, everyone smiles and waves. They love to engage in conversation. They are kind and beautiful people.

    On the first day we did a city tour, turned out to be a great day for there was a huge cricket match going on between rival schools. It was exactly like a big college football game back in the states. Flags waving, music, tailgating, traffic jams, dancing. It was awesome to see. 

    We went to a Buddhist temple that was total sensory overload, so many Buddhas, they get Buddhas sent from all over the world. it was another amazing place.

    Then we went to Independence square and saw their celebration of freedom from England. We also saw a snake charmer which is a fading thing here and will be gone soon.

    Day 1 pics

    On day 2 we did a tuk tuk (pronounced took took) tour around the city. Many of the same sights as the previous day but from a very different perspective. 

    The ride was thrilling and more than a few close calls, though those don’t faze the drivers at all. 

    At a stop I got to know our driver a bit and he was happy to show me the engine of the tuk tuk. Other drivers showed up and wanted to show me all the different engines, 2 stroke, 4 stroke and full injected. They were very happy to be explaining all this to me.

    I think I need a tuk tuk in Winter Garden

    Day 2 Pics

    On day 3 we went out to a tea and rubber plantation and factory. It was nice to see some countryside and more little villages. The plantation itself was up a very narrow almost 1 lane road, we had to back up several times to let traffic pass. It was beautiful.

    We were invited to the managers bungalow for tea and cake on the lawn, very civilized in a beautiful environment.

    We then saw rubber trees and how they tap them for latex.

    We saw ladies harvesting tea and then we had a factory tour. It smelled so good. 

    Yet another amazing day.

    This is another country I would go back to. So much more to see.

    Day 3 pics

  • Phuket Thailand

    Mar 21, 2023

    We decided to make this another Thai beach day. Beautiful Patong beach was just at the end of the tender pier, so really easy for us.

    We walked down the beach and found a nice spot to rent a couple beach chairs and umbrellas. The very kind Thai people brought us beer and they often walked by with stuff for sale. Not pushy at all, if you say no thanks, they smile and walk away.

    The water was perfect and very fun to play in.

    Susan got a temporary tattoo on the beach, very fun experience.

    We then got a great Thai lunch with a view of the beach. I truly can never have Thai food at home again, spoiled for life.

    We walked back along the main road. Very funny little taxies are everywhere. Turns out you can get almost anything in Thailand, except they were very clear that it is illegal to eat dog or cat. 

    You can buy weed everywhere anytime and word has it that the beach becomes a very different place after dark where you can get really any adult thing or service you can imagine. We were not there to witness this.

    As we sailed away Viking put on a tomahawk steak dinner under the sky by the pool. The meal was good and the opera singers were amazing.

  • Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

    March 21, 2023

    We were looking forward to Georgetown as it had been put forward as a place that might be good for long term stays.

    We went on a morning ship excursion which took us to see some very cool street art, then a UNESCO old Chinese fishing jetty and then a tour of the city with a stop at the very impressive botanic gardens. We saw monkeys there.

    Once back to the ship we decided to walk to a hawker market the guide recommended for lunch. It was a hike and it was blazing hot, but we saw a lot. I got my Malaysian Laksa soup which was good but not great, but what can you expect for under 2.00.

    Walking back through Chinatown, little India and the Islamic areas was fascinating. But, cars do not stop for pedestrians, you have to be on your guard all the time. Also, it was hot hot hot.

    I don’t think we want to go back for a long term stay, but we would visit again.