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Day 3 Scandinavia – At Sea and Ellie Tries to Kill Her Grandma

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The sun just coming up at sea at 5 a.m.. Notice the slip of a moon in the upper right-hand corner.

The call of nature, and habit, woke me this morning.  I love going out on the veranda to see what the sunrise has to offer.  It gives me a little shiver of pleasure to think I’m somewhere exotic and this special spot and time is mine to savor.  What an opportunity to live in the moment.

This morning, I paid tribute to the moment and then the lure of the soft, cushy bed drew me back.  We are all exhausted, and today is a day of recovery at sea.  Yes, this will be a day of regeneration and get ready for Copenhagen tomorrow.

Last night, when Ellie was working me over in the gym, I had stupidly agreed to attend a 7 a.m. fitness class with her.  Something about finding my core.  I just wanted to find my bed.  Fortunately, Ellie was zonked out and I “forgot” to wake her up.  In fact, I slept until 9:30 a.m., which is very late for me.  Ellie slept until almost 11 a.m., and I was more than happy to tiptoe around so she wouldn’t wake up.

Continue reading “Day 3 Scandinavia – At Sea and Ellie Tries to Kill Her Grandma”

Scandinavia Day 2 – Bruges, Belgium: Waffles, Chocolate and Beer, Oh My!

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Sunrise from our balcony at Zeebrugge, Belgium, where we docked. We took a 30 minute bus ride into Bruges

In a perfect world, it would have been nice to have a day at sea before landing at our first destination inn Bruges, Belgium.  The majority of cruisers were still rummy from traveling.  It’s fun to meet people from around the world; especially when there is time to sit and have a chat.  Despite our cultural differences, we have so much in common.  In essence, it was hard for everyone to get out of bed.  We docked at 6:30 a.m. and headed to shore soon thereafter.

A healthy breakfast is a great way to get energy for a day of adventure, so we each individually staggered our way to the breakfast buffet. Personally, I feel the buffet is the easiest location for me to manage a healthy breakfast.   I wanted to keep the calories down, so I could enjoy some food treats in Bruges (chocolate and waffles), our first stop.

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Non-Fat plain yogurt, pineapple/melon, roasted tomato, salmon lox, scrambled eggs and grapefruit. One point breakfast

I still felt like I was dragging, so I decided to have a bit more protein, without spending any more points.  I hit the buffet and came up with this:

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Lox, capers, cucumber slices, thin-sliced onions and lemon quarters

With a bit of re-arranging:

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Yummy salmon protein rich appetizer. Gave me just enough extra protein to get me motivated and energized for our excursion.

Continue reading “Scandinavia Day 2 – Bruges, Belgium: Waffles, Chocolate and Beer, Oh My!”

Day 1 – We’re Off to Scandinavia and Russia!

It is such a job getting out of town on vacation.  It is so much work that we need a vacation to recover from the effort.  There is always a last minute disaster or two, which in the moment of chaos, makes me wonder whether this is all worth it.  But, of course, it is.  What is moderate inconvenience (and lack of sleep) compared to heading out on a grand adventure!

This trip we are taking our granddaughter Ellie, aged 14, along.  We took her twin sister, Emma, with us to South America last spring.  This time we are headed to Scandinavia, with a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia thrown in. Continue reading “Day 1 – We’re Off to Scandinavia and Russia!”

Day 15 – Do I hear Funeral Music?

The ship steamed towards Florida all night, and we awoke to our final destination – back in the USA.  Darn.

Yesterday was a jam packed day, so I had started packing the day before.  I’m not good with goodbyes, whether it is kissing one of my kid’s goodbye as they drive away with their family or realizing that my fantasy vacation is once again ending.

I love my family, I love my children, and oh my – how I love to travel.  George is always ready to head back to Oregon.  His dream vacation lasts around a week.  This was a little over two weeks, so Teddy Roosevelt is ready to cry “Charge” and head back home.  His souvenir panama hat planted his head, safari shirt, shorts and black dress socks and shoes.  He is dressed and ready to go.  I, on the other hand, am eyeballing the next ship to see if there is a stowaway spot. Continue reading “Day 15 – Do I hear Funeral Music?”

Day 13/14 – Near Death with Dolphins

Greetings,

Yesterday was exhausting, and a bit emotional, so I didn’t write about it last night.  It’s the next morning, the last full day of our cruise, and now I’m really getting emotional.  I hauled myself out of bed and am sitting with my computer, a cup of coffee, fruit and a bit of muesli (damn I’m going to miss this).  I think yesterday was exhausting for a lot of folks, and I easily found an empty table on the outside deck at the rear of the ship.  It has everything to make my heart happy; warm breezes, blue waters, people to dote on me (oh dear, I’m going to cry), and the buffet right through the electric doors.  I don’t even have to push a door open and there is the coffee pot ready to fill my cup that runneth over.

But, back to yesterday!  The Grand Cayman Islands!  We have never been to the Caribbean.  Don’t hit me, but it didn’t seem all that interesting.  I mean, the Romans never made it there, did they?  It’s always seemed more a land of party boats, bikinis and laying on the beach with a tropical drink.  Three things I am decidedly not.

Oh my goodness.  The water is so blue.  Royal Blue.  The. Water. Is. That. Color!  Lord, it is lovely.  And then it changes!  All my life I have known there is the color of aqua marine blue.  You know that blue-green so popular decades ago.  They got that color from the Caribbean!  It really exists on something besides a wall!  Or a 1950’s refrigerator. Continue reading “Day 13/14 – Near Death with Dolphins”

Day 12 – In the Caribbean Sea

Hi,

Our last full day at sea with no commitments.  Tomorrow we are in the Grand Cayman Islands and then one last sea day before Ft. Lauderdale.  But we will have to pack and get everything set out early to be ready for disembarking.  It will take me hours to creatively stuff all our purchases into the luggage.  I’m still stressing it won’t fit.  I need one of those giant old steamer trunks like they used in the 1920’s.  Those were the days.  And if you believe the movies, everyone had a personal maid to pack it for them.

Today was a great people watching day.  We are all aware the trip is winding down, and I noticed many travelers stopping to chat with the staff and various musical acts.  It is nice to see people take the time to say thank you and share how their talent touched our hearts.  Obviously, we all work hard for money, but I know how my heart sings when someone has a kind word – it is the icing on the cake.   Continue reading “Day 12 – In the Caribbean Sea”

Day 10 & 11 – The Panama Canal

Howdy,

We spent a lazy day on the ship, as we are full speed ahead for the Panama Canal.  Whoa.  My Bucket List Runneth Over!  I have always been intrigued by this man-made phenomena, and know I am going to see it first hand.  No PBS documentary for me – it’s a full sail day across the Isthmus of Panama and I don’t want to miss a moment.

Yesterday I attended another Beyond the Podium lecture by our intrepid Arctic explorer.  The first two lectures were fascinating and extremely motivating.  I was ready to volunteer for the next expedition – who cares it will be 20 degrees below zero – on a good day!  But the last two lectures haven’t thrilled me as much.

This lecture was about a dogsled trip she took across Greenland.  It was not an exploration by any means – she hired a guide for she and her husband.  Not that doesn’t beat a trip to the outlet stores at Lincoln City, Oregon!  But she was reaching here to bill this as a mighty exploration adventure.  There was one humorous situation.  After their dog sled trip, they couldn’t leave due to bad weather.  Before they left, they were able to witness a 20 team dog sled race, which is a pretty prestigious race in this neck of the woods. Continue reading “Day 10 & 11 – The Panama Canal”