Beauty is all around us…Past and present photos…Big and “small things”…

A few roses remain in Trish and Neil’s garden as summer comes to an end.

As we continued on our travels throughout the world we found one commonality is each location…beauty is all around us. We need only stop long enough to spot it.

Strawberries growing in their garden, well protected from birds in the enclosure.

The idiom, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” holds true. We each have our own unique perception of what we discover as beauty. For us, in our constant search for “the interesting” with the intent of sharing it with our worldwide readers, we find that which may be of interest, to possess a beauty of its own design.

Whether it’s an interesting insect, a blooming flower, an animal’s face, or form in the wild we often take a photo in nature we find most appealing. No doubt, many of our readers have no interest in many of the subjects of our photos or for that matter, what we’ve found to be beautiful. 

Here on the grounds, we noticed these flowers we’d also seen at the Pukeiti Gardens at Mount Taranaki.

Many are more interested in photos of familiar points of interest they’ve already seen in photos, online or in their own travels:  a historic building, a popular tourist attraction, a public venue, or familiar work of art. 

Were one to go back through our 1,313 previous posts, many such photos are contained therein.  From our photos in past posts, as shown below in the photo of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain in May 2013 to the Venus de Milo statue at Le Louvre in the August 2014, we’ve seen so much.

Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch, also known as Aphrodite of Milos. It was amazing there was a momentary break in the number of onlookers when 100’s had been crowded around this famous statue also trying to take photos.

Over the next two to six months we’ll be visiting and/or staying in such countries as Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Bali when we’ll be taking photos of familiar and significant works of art, historical buildings, and endless points of interest and beauty that may appeal to a wide faction of our readers who prefer to see more than nature shots.

Sagrada Familia, the famous church in Barcelona that has been under construction for over 100 years.

For us, there’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm as we anticipate these exciting countries we’ll soon visit.  The prospect of taking and sharing photos along the way, only adds to the excitement.

Sure, we spend a tremendous amount of time in quiet, remote locations constantly on the lookout for even “the small things” we’ve found unique and perhaps interesting to many of our readers as shown in this post and photo below.

This was our first photo of the dung beetle in action. The female often sits atop the ball of dung while the male moves it along using his back legs while his front legs grasp the ground for stability. The female lays eggs in the ball so she tags along as he rolls the ball, as they search for an adequate hole in which to bury the ball. The ball is used as sustenance for both of them as well as for the maturing larvae.

Whether it’s a small thing, a historic location, or an environment such as here on the alpaca farm in New Zealand, we expanded our personal horizons, perceptions, and expectations of that which is truly beautiful as we wrap our arms and minds around that which is located in our close proximity at any given moment.

We’ve never known the name of this dark-colored bloom although we’ve seen them in a number of countries. Any comments?

It is through this window we peer out at the world often from the lens of our camera to capture the beauty we find in our path. This, dear readers, is what brings us this infinite sense of joy and belonging.

Tomorrow on our 21st wedding anniversary (based on the date in this part of the world) we’ll be back with more on a unique, although “small” point of interest we discovered last week when we toured the quaint town of Opunake that, in our perception, we found to be “beautiful.”

Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 6, 2015:

Partway down this steep trail in Kauai, we spotted this view on the steep path down the cliff Hideaway’s Beach. For more photos from that date, please click here.

Barcelona, Part 1…Security scare!!!..OMG!!!…

Please stop back tomorrow for the remaining photos of our visit to Barcelona including our visit to Segrada Familia.

The Port of Barcelona.

Before we describe our visit to the bustling historic city of Barcelona, Spain, let’s get the scary story out of the way. Thus, this is the end of the story described in the beginning.

The bridge over the bay by the pier.
On this back-to-back cruise, we were given priority sticky badges to wear when we return to the ship, to avoid the lines with new passengers boarding. On our last back-to-back on Carnival, this process was literally seamless, taking only minutes to board as we were graciously pushed through the lines.
The long dock we observed from the Garden Café early this morning.

As a precaution today, Tom wore two pairs of pants. The inside pair was cargo shorts with multiple pockets closing with Velcro. Over those shorts, he wore a pair of jogging pants with an elastic waistband. 

An animated “headless” man, hoping money will be tossed into his container.

The purpose of the abundant attire was to protect those items from pickpockets for which we have been well-warned by many travelers. It would have required the pickpockets taking Tom’s pants off to get to the stuff. 

An artist’s rendition of the colors of Barcelona.

Ironically, as we departed the ship we noticed most passengers carrying backpacks, purses, wallets with straps and various other bags and containers, all fodder for pickpockets. Barcelona has a reputation for a high risk of being pick pocketed, in many cases rather aggressively. We were prepared. No such incident occurred.

A vendor shop along the boulevard attracting tourists.

Returning as back-to-back passengers, Norwegian Epic’s process was cumbersome and annoying. Returning from Barcelona after the hectic rush of traffic, zillions of tourists in a mad frenzy to see the myriad sites, we were anxious to get back on the ship.

At the entry point, we were steered into a lengthy line with hundreds of passengers of all ages, rolling their carry on luggage and talking while paying little attention to the movement of the line. 

Tom is not the most patient person on the planet, easily annoyed by lines.  Hopefully, as our travels continue, he’ll become more patient. He’s trying. In no time at all, he gets over it and the grumbling ceases. I tend to ignore his fussing. 

This afternoon, around 2:00 pm when we returned to the ship, his patience was wearing thin as 30 minutes or more crawled by as we waited in the long line. Finally, we reached the security checkpoint.

I was a little anxious as we approached security, since while in Barcelona, we stopped at a “Pharmacia” to purchase more contact lens solution. I’d already gone through the small $12.50 bottle we’d purchased on the Carnival Liberty. The Epic’s little shop doesn’t carry contact lens solution. Quite odd, actually.

Security checkpoints do not allow bringing any obvious liquids aboard the ships as prohibited when flying. Along a shelf, I noticed numerous partially used bottles of various liquids, soda, water, iced tea and lemonade. 

Oh, oh. Were they going to confiscate my contact lens solution? (When we originally boarded the Epic on April 20th, we learned this lesson when we had to forfeit our liter bottle filled with Crystal Lite Ice Tea).

As we approached the security area during the mad rush, we decided to share a white plastic bin with the items from our pockets: the camera, one RFID passport holder containing both of our passports, Tom’s plastic pocket comb, my metal tube of  lipstick, a holder for our cabin key cards, a small amount of Euros we’d purchased when we got off the ship and Tom’s jacket. That’s all we had on us.

Pushing the items through the scanner we each walked through the metal detector, one by one, without incident. As we reached the end of the table,  preparing to grab our stuff as our white plastic bin came through, suddenly a bevy of Spanish security guards surrounded us. 

A breath caught in my throat. Tom and I glanced at each other, panic in our eyes. What was wrong? The seated security guard pointed to an item on his scanner, shouting, “What is this?”

Tom and I both crooked our necks to see an item on the screen neither of us recognized. I suggested it was my camera, my heart beating in my throat. Tom was baffled. Obvious confusion was in his eyes. 

The guards surrounding us started taking the items out of the bin, one by one, to discover a closed 4″ BLACK HANDLED BUCK KNIFE!!!!

This was the type of knife in our bin, but with a 4-4.5 inch blade.

Shocked, I looked at Tom wondering if he had brought such a knife, dismissing it instantly, knowing he’d never be so foolish. At exactly the same moment we both protested, panic in our voices,”This is not ours.” It wasn’t ours. 

Someone had placed the knife in our white plastic bin! How were we going to get out of this pickle? Were we going to jail? Oh, good grief! Were they trying to get us to pay some exorbitant fine? Why? Why? Why, had this happened?

We both protested loudly, desperately trying to communicate with the Spanish speaking guards. We kept saying, over and again, “No, no, no.  This is not our knife! We have no knife with us! We are returning passengers to the ship. Take the knife! It is not ours!!!”

The guard talked in muffled tones among themselves. The seated guard looks up at us and says, “Go, go, go.  Not your knife!”

Baffled by the experience, hearts still pounding, we couldn’t walk away quickly enough. As we raced through the walkways toward the ship, we barely spoke, still reeling over the incident.

How did that knife get there? Tom suspects that it was a standard test put upon the security guards by the upper echelon to see if the guards would, in fact, “catch” the knife on their scanner as it came through. I’m not so sure. I suspect that another passenger realizing they had the knife on them, wanting to avoid being arrested, tossed it into our bin.

We’ll never know.  Lesson learned? One of us holds onto the bin as it goes into the scanner while the other waits on the other side for it to come through.  Anyone have any suggestions? Please, do tell.

My contact lens solution went through without incident.

Barcelona, we’re on our way!…

Last night’s “towel pet,” an adorable bunny.  WiFi too slow to add more photos today.
Staying awake until 3:30 am another night, partly from the excitement of sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar and the remainder of our seven hour time difference. We can’t seem to shake this time difference, no matter how hard we try.

Continuing to go further and further east on our trip to Dubai, the difference will only become more pronounced. Prior to this cruise, we’d assumed that adding time slowly, as we crossed the ocean would make the time changes less obvious. How wrong we were!

We now realize that a fast time changes one experiences when flying makes adjustment easier when one is in control of their waking, eating and sleeping. 

On a ship, time is scheduled, leaving us feeling as if we must try to stay in sync with the ship’s time in order to get into the restaurants and events on time. There are a few dining spots open 24 hours, but they serve fried foods, burgers and pizza, none of which meets my dietary criteria.

Last night, left us in awe in a similar manner as when we traveled through the Panama Canal.  When we entered the area, Tom commented that it would have been especially enjoyable to see the Strait (I’ve since learned it’s “strait” not “straits”, my error) during the day.

Much to our surprise, the nighttime crossing was breathtaking with a twinkling light show, varying in size and color as we passed by Morocco and then finally to the Strait of Gibraltar.

At the moment, as we sit in our favorite booth in the Garden Cafe, we can see the shores of Cartagena, Spain.  Tomorrow, morning we’ll arrive in Barcelona where we’ll spend the day exploring and taking photos.  Later in the day we’ll return to this ship, the Norwegian Epic, for the four remaining days of our back-to-back cruise.

With five and a half hours sleep, I’m feeling a little more rested today. Missing five days without working out after the three days of rough seas plus sheer exhaustion, today I’ll force myself to get to the health club. We’re losing our tans, but hopefully I can maintain my level of fitness, vital to our continuing travels.

By the way, I’ve yet to take the time to open the box with the new camera, charge it and learn to use it. Over the next few days, while out to sea, I plan to get it taken care of.  There will be some serious shooting as we begin the 15 day journey to the Middle East.  Perhaps, committing this to writing, will force me to follow through.

Look for us late afternoon tomorrow, with photos of Barcelona when we return to the ship for the remaining four days of this cruise.

Ship taking a detour today…Sick passenger being dropped off in Bermuda, plus rough seas…

Our ship, the Norwegian Epic is taking a detour today to drop off an ill passenger in Bermuda. 

This morning, the captain made this announcement as well as warning us we will be approaching rough waters today. He said, “Hang on, folks. You paid for this in your ticket.” Oh.

Plus, our Internet connection is really awful. We will write here with updates but will be unable to post any photos today for this reason.

The weather is very windy and cool. It doesn’t appear we’ll be enjoying any poolside lounging as we sail across the ocean. 

Last night, we had a one hour time change and will experience several more the closer we get to Europe.

Back in touch with updates throughout the day.

Be well.

We changed ships!…Heavenly!..Back to back cruises again, same cabin…

Our new huge ship, the Norwegian Epic with 4200 passengers and 1750 crew. 
Comfortable bed, covers, soft towels, huge shower and vanity area.
 Cruise #1

Norwegian – Norwegian Epic, departs 4/20/13, 11 nights
Day Date Port or Activity Arrive Depart
Sat Apr 20 Miami, FL 5:00pm

Sun Apr 21 At Sea
Mon Apr 22 At Sea
Tue Apr 23 At Sea
Wed Apr 24 At Sea
Thu Apr 25 At Sea
Fri Apr 26 At Sea
Sat Apr 27 At Sea
Sun Apr 28 Funchal, Madeira, Portugal 10:00am – 6:00pm
Mon Apr 29 At Sea
Tue Apr 30 At Sea
Wed May 1 Barcelona, Spain 5:00am

Cruise #2
Norwegian – Norwegian Epic, departs 5/1/13, 4 nights
Day Date Port or Activity Arrive Depart
Wed May 1 Barcelona, Spain 7:00pm

Thu May 2 Marseille, France 8:00am – 7:00pm
Fri May 3 At Sea Sat May 4 Palma de Mallorca, Spain 6:00am – 6:00pm
Sun May 5 Barcelona, Spain 5:00am

We couldn’t be more thrilled to be on board the Norwegian Epic as shown above to find it much more modern and classy than the Carnival Liberty.  Also, with a more mature crowd there isn’t the loud blare of rock music filling the air as in typical on Carnival Fun Ships. 

 Our mini suite with balcony.  Plush amenities.

Yes, we are old, preferring the more elegant, quiet, less frenzied pace of this ship.  Initially, we were concerned about the enormous size, but after wandering about for the past three plus hours, we feel we have a handle on the layout.

 Tons of storage space not only to unpack our clothing, but to hide our bags under the bed.
With over half of our bags already unpacked, soon we’ll run to the Internet Café to set up our wireless package.  Once we sail in the next hour we’ll lose our ability to use our MiFi connection and be subject to this ships $.40 a minute charge.  That’s the highest rate we’ve seen thus far. 
  Coffee in our cabin, not available in the past four cruises.
Having budgeted for these expenses, allows us to communicate with loved ones and of course, keep our blog and photos posted on a regular basis.  The connection is secure which enables us to do our banking, pay bills online and check our credit card balances.
All of our credit cards, do not charge an exchange rate.  Thus, we use them for everything we possibly can, paying them off every few weeks, to keep them from accumulating huge balances and avoid interest charges.  So far, we’ve yet to incur a single dime in interest or fees. 
 Easy to use safe, wine cooler/fridge.

Our final bill on the Carnival Liberty came to $672 which included $159 for Internet, $100 for dinner in the Diamond Steak House, $12.50 for contact lens solution, $44.98 for one bottle of Cognac for Tom, cocktails and beverages, plus, the cruise line charged our bill $161.60 for tips plus additional tips we paid as we ordered beverages. 

Oversized shower, vanity with lots of drawers and medicine cabinet plus, an outlet. It’s an odd configuration with the sink in the bedroom and having to walk through the two sections of the bathroom when entering the cabin.

In addition, last night, we handed out additional cash tips to our cabin steward, dining room service staff, restaurant hostesses and luggage handlers.  This totaled approximately another $180, leaving us over by $82. On the prior cruises we were under budget, making it a wash. 

Our balcony for the next 15 days.  Love the two little tables.
Have to run and get to the Internet Café since we’re about to lose our signal.  We’ll be back in touch soon with more photos of this amazing vessel. Tonight we have a reservation to see the Blue Man Group, included in our fares. 
Back in touch soon.

Time to book hotel reservations for Barcelona….Itinerary updates…

Yesterday, while we were docked in Colon, Panama again staying onboard, we realized it was time to go online to book a few hotel reservations. We had a strong signal with our XCOM Global WiFi and decided to take advantage of the it.

Now, today, we’re in Puerto Limon, Costa Rico, comfortably seated in the Sky Observation Lounge in the bow of the ship, hoping to get a better Internet signal with our XCOM Global MiFi, while we notice a number of passengers getting off of the ship, walking the mile long parking lot and subsequently returning to the ship.  Apparently, there was nothing to see from this location. 

The few offered excursions included a bumpy bus ride to “touristy” shopping areas at the cost of $49 per person.  Why spend money to spend money on items we don’t need or want?

As mentioned earlier, we had no problem visiting a few of the same ports we experienced earlier in the month on our journey through the Panama Canal.  We love cruising and visiting two of the same ports in the past three weeks was no different to us than if one was on vacation and awoke in the morning to the same view as the prior day.  No big deal, right?

On to our hotel reservations.  Requiring reservations on two separate nights, May 5, 2013 and June 3, 2013 in Barcelona while we’re between cruises, it was time to book these after we had made our airline reservations from Dubai back to Barcelona with Emirates Airlines last weekend while in Florida.

Here’s how this looks directly from a portion of our itinerary.  The highlighted items are  five of our six remaining cruises.   Everything you see here is booked, as is the reminder of the first 2 1/2 years of our journey which will grow as we continue on:

Belize to Miami  (return trip to Miami from Belize)
3 4/9/2013 –
Cruise Miami to Miami (Caribbean cruise) 7 4/13/2013-4/20/2013
Cruise Miami to Barcelona
Cruise (across the ocean)
11 4/20/2013 -5/1/2013
Cruise Barcelona to Mallorca 4 5/1/2013 – 5/5/2013
Hotel Barcelona 1 5/5/2013 – 5/6/2013
Cruise Barcelona to Dubai 15 5/6/2012 – 5/21/2013
Dubai Condo – High Rise Tower
overlooking Palm Island
13 5/21/2013 – 6/3/2013
Flight Dubai to Barcelona 0 6/3/2013-6/3/2013
Hotel Barcelona 1 6/3/2013-6/4/2013
Barcelona to Venice – Cruise 12 6/4/2013-6/16/2013

As a pleasing point to us, the above first two cruises, beginning on 4/9/2013 and 4/13/2012 respectively, are on the same ship and in the same cabin.  The next two, beginning on 4/20/2013 and 5/1/2013 are also the same ship, same cabin.  This translates into a 10 day stint and a 15 day stint moving only once in between. 

We felt lucky to have been able to do this.  But, after meeting many people aboard ship, apparently avid travelers often book cruises back to back to avoid moving luggage and for the purpose of extending their experience on one particular ship.

Ideally, we wouldn’t have these nights in between the cruises but based on the advice of our cruise guy, Joaquin, at Vacations to Go, it was too risky to plan to get on another cruise on the same day when subject to an airline reservation. 

This is the case on the return flight to Barcelona from Dubai on June 3, 2013.  The earlier date in May was simply an extra day in between two cruises.  That was as tight as we could book these particular two cruises. 

Yesterday, off to we began a search for an affordable highly rated hotel in expensive Barcelona our criteria being:  close to the pier, free WiFi (which we may not need if we have our trusty MiFi), rated four stars or more by Expedia reviewers. 

We lucked out!  Our first reservation for May is $166 a night and the second in June is $140 (both with taxes) and to boot, with a 4.7 our of a possible 5 star rating. We couldn’t be more thrilled. 

Earlier today, while looking online for a storage facility in Barcelona to store our excess baggage during our trips to Dubai, Kenya and South Africa (when we’ll have no choice but to fly), I stumbled across a few travelers who had worked with a number of hotels in Barcelona which were willing to store luggage for a fee for extended periods.  This would be ideal with Barcelona as a central location for many of our comings and goings.

If we can’t convince the hotel to store our bags, there is a huge self service storage facility less than five miles from the hotel.  As time approaches and we have a better feel for what we’ll need in our luggage, we’ll decide if its worth storing two or three large bags or paying for excess baggage fees.  We don’t fly until May leaving us time to figure it out. 

Check out this link for the Grums Hotel in Barcelona for our two separate nights.  We opted for non-refundable reservations for both nights in order to save almost $100. 

How did people travel the world without use of the Internet?  Somehow, they managed, making endless long distance phone calls, using the services of travel agencies, all the while booking directly with each establishment. 

The time saving benefits of using the Internet makes this experience much easier for us.  However, in any case, it still requires an enormous amount of advance thinking and planning.

A few night ago at dinner we spoke to a couple, perhaps a few years older than us, who said they’d spent days planning this single cruise.  They asked, “How in the world did you book one location after another, keeping it all straight?”

The answer is clear to us…bite sized pieces coupled with precise record keeping with absolutely NO RISK of losing the records by storing them in multiple locations.  In our case, we’ve stored all of our records (and photos) in Dropbox of which we each have separate accounts, local copies on the desktops of each of our computers and in each of our Outlook and Gmail accounts.  In addition, my new Windows 8 laptop has the cloud Skydrive where we also store copies.

Thus, if both of our computers were stolen, all of our records (and photos) would be readily available online in our multiple accounts.  This gives us considerable piece of mind. 

Wherever we may go, whatever plans we may make, there will never be a time as we continue to travel the world, that we can stop being mindful of the next location.  Luckily, we both enjoy the process.  Tom may not do as much of the searching as I do but his suggestions and input is equally valuable to us in the process.  Is it overwhelming?  Not at all. 

For me, its not unlike grocery shopping.  If we like homemade food, we make a list,  plan meals creating a menu for the week, whether written or in our heads.  I’ve never tired of grocery shopping.  Each time I walked into the same or a different grocery store, I was challenged by the opportunity to make delicious and varied meals that we or our guests would enjoy.

Its the same with planning our next step in the journey; make a list of that which we desire to do, first consider our existing itinerary, plan a budget, do some research to determine if it is possible and affordable and then…begin booking, all the while documenting the results. 

Actually, I do miss grocery shopping.  After almost 23 days aboard ship with every meal prepared for us, it’ll be time to dig out that little skillet I stuffed into one of our bags and start cooking again. 

In a matter of a mere three days from today, we’ll be tucked into our little beach house in Placencia, Belize figuring out how to get a ride to the grocery store to purchase our first week’s groceries.  Wonder if they’ll have grass-fed meat, organic vegetables, coconut oil, free range chicken and eggs.

If not, well…we’ll improvise. 

We don’t like flying…

It’s not that we’re fearful of flying. We’re not. We both say a prayer upon take-off and landing, asking God to take us to our destination safely and praising God for the minds and skills of those individuals instrumental in creating and flying these beasts of the sky.

In our earlier discussions of the possibility of world travel upon retirement, we had this brilliant idea (so we thought) that we could avoid flying and cruise from location to location. In the planning of our first year, we are able to avoid stepping foot in an airport from October 31, 2012 (retirement/departure date) to September 1, 2013, when we will depart from Rome to arrive in Diani Beach in Mombasa, Kenya for our upcoming three-month stay.

In looking at a world map, it’s easy to ascertain that cruising from Italy to Kenya is challenging, if not impossible. The trip through the Suez Canal is wrought with dangers of political strife and rampant piracy, which prevent many cruise lines from sailing through these areas.  

Also, the seaports in Kenya are shallow as described in this link about the difficulty China has in importing goods to African seaports, not only due to its shallow ports, but also due to a lack of an adequate river system to transport the goods throughout the continent. As a result, smaller ships travel to Kenya, vulnerable to piracy.  Not an ideal scenario for cruising.

There are a number of cruises that travel through the Mediterranean to Egypt, but only a rare few that continue on into the Red Sea to Kenya. The cruise we have booked for June 4, 2013, doesn’t sail to Egypt. In the future, we will experience a cruise to Egypt. After all, we will have all the time in the world provided good health prevails.  

We selected this cruise which departs from Barcelona, Spain, after our one-month stay in Majorca, Spain, to fill a two-week lag we had to fill prior to the availability of our rental in Tuscany on June 16, 2013.  The cruise ends in Venice where we’ll either take a train to Florence or rent a car and drive to the Tuscany Region to our rental.  

When analyzing the cost of this cruise to the costs of two weeks of transportation through Italy, car rental, hotels, and meals, it proved to be slightly more economical. We’ll have plenty of time to tour Italy while staying in Tuscany for almost three months. 

12 nights departing June 4, 2013, on
Norwegian’s Norwegian Spirit
Brochure Inside $2,399
Our Inside $1,249
You Save 48%
Brochure Oceanview $2,599
Our Oceanview $1,499
You Save 42%
Brochure Balcony $3,299
Our Balcony $1,929
You Save 42%
Brochure Suite $6,399
Our Suite $3,929
You Save 39%
$$$ Early booking bonus! Book now and receive a FREE $100 per cabin onboard credit and a FREE bottle of wine on select categories. Book select penthouse suite or villa categories and receive a FREE $300 per cabin onboard credit (call for pricing).
Promotions may not be combinable with all fares.
The prices shown are US dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. They include port charges but do not include airfare or (where applicable) airport or government taxes or fees.
Important Note: Visas are required for this itinerary.
Tue Jun 4 Barcelona, Spain 7:00 pm
Wed Jun 5 Toulon, France 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Thu Jun 6 Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 pm
Fri Jun 7 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 pm
Sat Jun 8 Naples (Capri), Italy 8:00 am 7:00 am
Sun Jun 9 At Sea
Mon Jun 10 Mykonos, Greece 7:00 am 3:00 pm
Tue Jun 11 Istanbul, Turkey 9:00 am 6:00 pm
Wed Jun 12 Izmir, Turkey 11:30 am 7:00 pm
Thu Jun 13 Athens (Piraeus), Greece 8:00 am 6:00 pm
Fri Jun 14 At Sea
Sat Jun 15 Venice, Italy 2:00pm
Sun Jun 16 Venice, Italy Disembark

As always, we have booked a Balcony cabin.

And thus, we are limited by our transportation to Kenya. Train travel through Africa appears interesting and varied, but the uncertainty of train schedules and creature comforts didn’t quite fit our goal of “wafting through our worldwide travels with ease, joy, and simplicity.”  

Simplicity and ease would not include dragging our bags through various train stations, often waiting overnight while sitting on a bench awaiting the next train. That, definitely would not be “joyful.” After all, we aren’t in our 20’s any longer. 

We’ve discovered that careful planning, well in advance, better prepares us to handle the “unknowns” we will encounter along the way.  

Flying to Kenya and three months later to South Africa could result in sleeping on the floor in an airport with our heads on our carry-on luggage due to a delayed or canceled flight.  It could also result in delays at custom checks or as a result of overweight checked baggage. It may result in our being unable to sit together on the flight. We’ll take these risks, albeit hesitantly, and book the flights as the time nears.

Once we arrive in Diani Beach, unpacked our bags, and get situated on the veranda, we’ll be quite content.