Our new and revised “About US” for our new and revised upcoming website…2013 Dubrovnik, Croatia photos…

There’s Tom, happy as a clam as we make our way in a lifeboat to the shore of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from June 14, 2013, while in Dubrovnik, Croatia. See the link here for more details.

When we decided to revise our site about six months ago, we had to plan to begin the process in early May, at which time we’d previously expected to be in Bath, England, for part of the month and then on to Scotland.

Well, as we all know so well, everything changed for us and the world in March when we began the lockdown in Mumbai, India. When May 6th came around when Kate, the developer and I, had previously decided we’d start working on the new site, I let the date come and go.

Croatia is located in Central and Southeast Europe, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It borders Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro to the southeast, and Slovenia to the northwest.

But, it stayed on my mind. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Blogger was in the process of making significant changes, our advertiser links were old and stale, and after over eight years of posting, we were due for a new look.

We were hoping by changing our site and the look of our sponsors, we might have an opportunity to increase our revenue sufficiently to cover the costs of maintaining our site. 

This Windstar small cruise ship preparing to dock in Dubrovnik enhanced the view as we made our way into the harbor.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, we don’t continue this site for money-making purposes. However, we’d love to have an opportunity to cover the costs of our annual maintenance better. By improving optimization, readership, and use of our sponsor links, this can be accomplished.

All we ask of our readers is to consider using our links, which don’t cost you a penny more than it would if you visited them through their site and to pass on our site to those you know who may enjoy reading our story, whether day by day or on occasion.

The walled city of Dubrovnik.

At the end of May, I contacted Kate, and we began the lengthy process of creating a new version of our site which will be as easy to read as the old site, if not easier. Also, reading it on your smartphone will be a breeze compared to the cumbersome process we’ve had to date.

I am speculating that by the end of June, our new site will go “live.” Our link will be the same, so if you have it bookmarked, you won’t need to do anything. If you’d like to receive our posts daily in your email, you’ll only need to subscribe as indicated on the new home page. 

One of the features on our new site will be “About Us,” a current synopsis of our years of world travel. In the past few days, as requested by Kate as one of my many tasks to aid in this process was to rewrite a more current version of “About Us.” Our former such link wasn’t defined clearly but now will be so on the new site.

No more than a few feet from the tender, we were greeted with the charm of this historical city.

I thought today would be a good day to share this update with our readers. Please feel free to share any comments with us. Sorry it’s so long, but it has been a long journey, especially with incidents of late.

“June 14, 2020

Traveling the world for eight years and the surprises never end…

Whether it’s the sighting of a herd of lions walking along the road in Kruger National Park in South Africa or the breathtaking view of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, the experiences of our daily lives as world travelers often leaves our mouths agape with the sheer wonder of it all.

Amid all of the spine-tingling adventures, life can dish out some surprises of its own that set our magical years-long journey into a flurry of fear, apprehension, and uncertainty. After visiting all seven continents over the past almost eight years, including Antarctica in 2018, our lives have been a continuous stream of jaw-dropping experiences leaving us in awe of the world around us.

Many of the narrow streets had stairways leading to more narrow streets.

AYes, from time to time, we stumbled upon obstacles. After embarking on this exquisite journey on October 31, 2012, little, did we know that we’d encounter the challenges that befell us in 2019 and 2020? Yes, from time to time somehow, with our fast-growing experience and determined resiliency, we figured it all out, whether a booking error precipitated by our own doing or a situation over which we had no control, as a solid husband and wife team, we relied upon our resources and one another to find a solution, overall maintaining a high level of confidence, always with a sense of humor,  that in the end “everything would work out.”

And, in every case, it did work out. The most devastating of them all was when at the end of January 2019, during a routine visit to the local doctor in Komatipoort, South Africa, to refill a few prescriptions before heading to Kenya, it was discovered I had a previously undiagnosed cardiovascular disease resulting in three of my four coronary arteries being 100% blocked.

It was determined that emergency open-heart surgery was my only option when stents were impossible after having an angiogram at the small hospital in Nelspruit, South Africa, an hour drive from our rented holiday home in the bush, in Marloth Park, a wildlife conservancy. 

Could it be more enticing?

We were terrified. How could this happen? I’d exercised all of my life, was slim and fit and had always maintained a healthy diet. Our lives, save for an occasional stressful travel day, were relatively stress-free. My dreadful situation was beyond my control. It was hereditary.

Several convoluted experiences transpired over many months, making a recovery after the February 12, 2019 surgery seemingly never-ending. After four times in the operating room, nine days in intensive care, three weeks in the hospital, and the resulting infections in both my legs from where the grafts were taken, requiring two more surgeries and a second hospital stay, it felt like our travel days were over.

Surprisingly, through it all, while my husband Tom, who became the most devoted and patient caregiver one could imagine, we never once discussed quitting our world journey. After three months of my attempting to recover, twe carried on, leaving South Africa o travel to Ireland, which was on our itinerary at that juncture. We rented a car and drove for 3 ½ hours to Connemara to a gorgeous seaside holiday home where recovery was far into the future. As I continued to struggle, we avoided what appeared to be the inevitable conversation, one ultimately we never had.

After three months in Ireland, we embarked upon a 12-night cruise from Amsterdam, which included hours of walking tours in St. Petersburg. I could barely walk. I didn’t complain. We continued. Tom was always supportive, and we held back when necessary.

From there we spent two months in England and Wales staying in four locations. Finally, I began to sense recovery was on the horizon. Still, we never discussed ending our journey. On October 24, 2019, we sailed from Southampton, England, to the US for a two-month visit with family.

This parrot was sitting atop a woman’s head.

On January 29, 2020, we traveled for over 30 hours (with layovers) from Phoenix, Arizona, to Mumbai, India. I was feeling great. We made it through, are excited about the future, and hope to continue our years-long journey.

On February 2, 2020, we began an extraordinary one week journey on the world-renowned Maharajas Express Train from Mumbai to Delhi, after which we began a 55-night private tour of the country of India. What a glorious experience!
We were scheduled to sail out of Mumbai on April 3, 2020, on a 29-night cruise on the Viking Sun to Greenwich, England. During the tour, we stayed on top of the worldwide news of Covid-19, continually aware of the rampant infections in China and Italy and other parts of the world, also on cruise ships.

It was March 10, 2020. We were notified the cruise was canceled. It was at that point. We decided to end the 55-night tour with over three weeks remaining. We needed to get back to Mumbai, close to the airport, to determine what we’d do from there.

Twice, we stopped for beverages, once by ourselves and a second time when joining our new friends, Nicole and Gerry.

WAfter considerable discussion, we decided to fly to our favorite place to hunker down until the virus ran its course. We finally made it to Mumbai with a flurry of activity; a flight from Madurai, India, to Mumbai, canceled and rescheduled.

Immediately, after arriving at the hotel in Mumbai where we’d stay the first few days when we’d reached at the end of January, we booked a flight to South Africa, via Kenya and a house in the bush with the help dear friend Louise. We repacked our bags to comply with baggage restrictions.

On March 20th, we arrived at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 3:30 am, in preparation to board the first leg of the long journey to South Africa. After hours in the queue at the airport and waiting for almost an hour at the check-in desk, we were turned away.

We could not travel to South Africa. They were and still are rejecting all foreign nationals from entering the country. With our luggage in tow and a dreadful taxi ride back to the hotel (the driver was lost), we checked back in with a plan to figure something out. The Mumbai airport was closing in 36 hours. No international flights.

One may ask, why didn’t we return to the US at that point? For several reasons, one, Covid-19 was rapidly escalating in the US, and I’m at high risk: asthma, heart disease, and age. The thought of making our way through multiple airports was terrifying at this point. Secondly, our international health insurance only covers us while “outside the US.” Thirdly, we have no home in the US. We had no choice but to “wait it out” in a safe hotel in Mumbai.

                     Another view of the square as we worked our way back to the lifeboat.

After four nights passed, the hotel informed us they were closing and sent us on a wild goose chase to another hotel they confirmed had booked us. Once we arrived, we were told we hadn’t been booked into the hotel, and most hotels other than a few were closing by the hour. In essence, we had nowhere to go.

We checked holiday homes online, but owners weren’t interested in renting to foreign nationals, especially US citizens, rapidly climbing cases. Most hotels in the city were closed. Taxis and tuk-tuks weren’t allowed to operate. Need I say, we were apprehensive.

We were offered a room at a government-arranged hotel, but all the patrons were suspected Covid-19 cases on a 14-day quarantine. We passed.

The architecture continued to be impressive.

With the kind help from the hotel manager at The Orchid Hotel, which was closing and not accepting bookings, he found us the beautiful Mumbai Courtyard by Marriott hotel that would take us but under the condition that they too could close at any time and leave us stranded.

That is where we waited in lockdown for many months in a comfortable air-conditioned hotel room with excellent WiFi, kindly supportive staff, food supplies rapidly dwindling,  and the constant concern that they too will close with only 20 rooms occupied by guests such as us, out of 334 rooms.

We lived day by day, hoping the hotel would remain open, hoping eventually the virus would pass, the airports will open. We’ll be on our way to South Africa, which at this juncture won’t allow any foreign nationals to fly into their country until perhaps as late as 2021.

 At the pier, as we were boarding the lifeboat for our return to the ship.
Can we wait it out? Only time will tell. In the interim, we draw upon our emotional reserves, our dedication to one another, and our passion for continuing to see us through yet another challenging time in our journey. We can do this. And yes, we’ll carry on…

For details of our almost 8-year journey, please find us here:


Thank you, dear readers, for getting through this long story you’ve read in one way or another, over and over throughout the years.

May your day be filled with peace, safety, and comfort as we all make our way through these challenging times.

Photo from one year ago today, June 14, 2019:

Fishermen in Connemara, Ireland, heading out to collect salmon cages. For more photos, please click here.

Running as fast as we can… One year ago today, Dubrovnik, Croatia…

The sky continues to captivate us. The billowing smoke is from a fire burning next door.

Hardly a day passes that we don’t hear or see something, including on the days we stay home, that makes us laugh or smile. We are grateful for the time we’re spending in Madeira which is moving too quickly for our liking.

This morning, checking today’s weather from the veranda, I see the four goats next door, the mom, dad, and two kids. I holler out a loud “baa” to which they all turn, looking at me, all “baaing” back in response. This happens each day.

Blue sky, blue ocean.  Beautiful.

Moments later, the rooster crowed for the first time today to begin his day-long litany of crowing to his heart’s content until sunset. A few minutes later, we hear the quarter-hour church bells ringing as the sounds bounce back and forth in the hills surrounding us. We love these sounds.

But, the musical sounds of the various vendors of fresh foods echoing through the hills is a sound unlike any we’ve experienced in the past. Anticipating it with the same fervor as a child awaiting the ice cream truck’s musical foray into the neighborhood, both Tom and I await in wonder.

Mom goat, sitting and hugging a branch.

On Thursday morning as Judite ran about the house cleaning, we heard the approaching music, hoping it was the produce guy. When able to clearly hear the sounds, we have to hustle. He zips through the neighborhood with a fervor barely giving a prospective customer time to get out their door. With our shoes on, the door unlocked and Tom’s wallet on hand, we’re always ready to run.

In a matter of seconds, not minutes, he was on the street while our fast response enabled us to flag him down after he’d actually passed our house. Backing up, he got ready for us. Unlike the fish guy, he turns off his music when he has a customer, making taking a video less interesting.

Mom goat hanging out with the two kids.

We’re never certain when he is coming when his timing doesn’t appear to be consistent. Thus, we tend to purchase small amounts of the produce we’ll need for several days at the nearby little market which is also farm fresh. All we needed on Thursday was lettuce and carrots.

It was the same 20’s something produce guy from whom we’d purchased in these past four weeks. We always try to shop from the local vendors when possible. After all, they’ve welcomed us with open arms, especially in this quaint village of Campanario which is less of a tourist area and mostly occupied with locals.

The produce guy coming toward our street with music blaring.

I couldn’t have been more thrilled when we saw he had avocados which I’ve been unable to find at either the supermarket or local market. We purchased four avocados, two heads of Bibb lettuce, and a kilo of carrots. 

The produce from the truck is not as much of a bargain as it’s been in other countries in which we’ve lived. The total was US $8.12, EU $6, a none-the-less great price by US standards. 

We didn’t recognize some of the produce and didn’t ask when the driver speaks no English.

As I later cleaned the lettuce, I picked off worms and bugs, smiling all the while as I was reminded that no pesticides were used in growing this produce. And the carrots of peculiar shapes and sizes, also illustrated that the growing process was as natural as it would be if I’d grown them in the yard.

As a matter of fact, produce is growing in our yard, planted and cared for by Gina’s dad, Antonio. I’m sure as it matures, we’ll be the recipients of some of his gardening expertise.

The first avocados we’d seen in Madeira.

Last night we made pizza, one for each of us based on our topping preferences. Tom had his usual mushrooms, olives, onions, sausage, and cheese while I made mine with anchovies, a small amount of sausage, piled high with cubes of carrots and zucchini, eggplant, red peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cheese. 

Of course, for the base, we made our usual cheese and egg crusts, made in earlier in the day in order to harden into perfect crusts. As always, the pizza was fabulous with enough leftovers for another round tonight with a huge side salad using those farm carrots and Bibb lettuce.

These green summer squash are similar to zucchini.

Today, we’re scheduled to return the blue car which we plan to return in plenty of time by 3:00 pm.  On July 15th, we’ll return the second rental car to pick up the third and final rent. We have an outing booked that morning on a 70-foot catamaran for whale and dolphin watching. That way, we’ll be at the pier in Funchal for the booking at 10:30 am, returning the car later in the day after the boat trip. 

Last night, the full moon alluded us with a cloudy sky. We’d decided not to dine out last night as we’d mentioned when we realized we needed to use the produce we had on hand including fresh mushrooms we’d purchased on Monday. 

Although I can’t eat fruit (due to sugar content) and Tom doesn’t like it, we both were amazed by the size of these grapes.

We’ve so enjoyed the fresh food and cooking again after our reprieve in Morocco that we’ve hardly dined out, only three times since our arrival. With the average cost of dining out at US $65, EU $48 range, we’ve found that doing so holds less interest for us while we’re here. 

We’ll be dining out for over two months, beginning on July 31st when we leave for Paris until we end up in Oahu, Hawaii on October 5, 2014, after the two booked cruises and four hotel stays. 

What are these green things? Does anyone know?

By then, we’ll have had our fill of dining out especially when dinner for two on any of the four islands on which we’ll live in Hawaii, typically costs over US $100, EU $74, without wine or cocktails. 

That’s all for today folks. See you tomorrow with photos from today’s trip to Funchal, the capital city of the island of Madeira.

Photos from one year ago today, June 14, 2013:

We took a tender from the ship to the small pier in the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Our ship was scheduled to go to Athens but political unrest prevented it. Instead, they chose Dubrovnik which I believe we loved all the more. (I had added the date feature for the camera that day but changed it later).
Once again, walking the narrow alleyways between buildings in Dubrovnik held tons of charm. For details of that date, please click here.

Dubrovnik, Croatia…A walk into another century…Amazing!

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Having the opportunity to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia was only due to the necessity of the ship finding another port of call when strikes in Athens prevented us from stopping when all public forms of transportation were shut down.
Excuse the dates on the photos.  My error. Will remove them for next batch of photos.

This Windstar small cruise ship enhanced the view as we made our way into the harbor.
Dubrovnik Croatia, a beautiful shoreline.
There’s Tom, happy as a clam as we make our way in a lifeboat to the shore of Dubrovnik Croatia.
The shoreline as we approached.
The walled city of Dubrovnik.
Another city following a design restriction presenting a similar style to the newer homes and structures.
Both new and old Dubrovnik were beautiful.

We couldn’t be more thrilled to have visited Dubrovnik today, an enchanting walled city, filled with rich history and charm that is difficult to describe. 

No more than a few feet from the tender, we were greeted with the charm of this historical city.
The artwork depicting the treasures of the city were in abundance.
The narrow passageways led to one interesting view after another.

To think we may not have seen this city, this country simply further proves how much this world has to offer as we make our way on our relentless journey of discovery and wonder.  We can’t wipe the smiles off of our faces.

Many of the narrow streets had stairways leading to more narrow streets.
Every possible space was devoted to enhancing the productivity of the city.
Croatia is on the north of Slovenia and Hungary, on the east and south of Bosnia and Herzegovina and on the east by Serbia, is formerly known as the Republic of Yugoslavia. The Adriatic Sea forms Croatia’s long western border.
The view from our ship took our breath away, instantly eliminating any disappointment any of us may have had for missing Athens.  At this point, neither of us was motivated to visit more ruins and Dubrovnik didn’t disappoint with nary a “ruin” but well preserved streets, buildings, narrow passageways, quaint shops and restaurants.

With no available tenders, our ship, the Norwegian Spirit, decided to use its own lifeboats to transport us from the harbor to the shore. Gee, we hope it’s the only time we’ll see the inside of a lifeboat! 

Yep!  Lots of cruise ship tourists.  It would be ideal to visit this city in the off season.

Tomorrow, we’ll be nearing the end of this cruise, as the ship sails soon toward Venice, Italy. Also, our bags will be packed, awaiting pickup outside of our cabin door by tomorrow, Saturday,  at 11:00 pm while we keep our digital equipment in our possession along with clothing and toiletries to disembark on Sunday.

Sorry, no time to edit out stranger’s heads.

Taking a cab to the airport to pick up our rental car, we will begin the four hour drive to our new residence in Lucca in the Tuscany region.  Today, we printed our rental car confirmation, directions and a map to the property and a list of all of the foods I can and cannot eat, in Italian, to be used when we dine while in Italy.

Could it be more enticing?
With no room in our luggage, buying anything was out of the question, but nonetheless tempting with the wide array of handcrafted items at every turn.

This parrot was sitting atop a woman’s head.

Twice, we stopped for beverages, once by ourselves and a second time when joining our new friends, Nicole and Gerry.

Tom enjoyed the local beer.Not a big soda drinker it was the only beverage available without sugar. Ice wasn’t available, not unusual as we’ve found in many countries.

Another view of the square as we worked our way back to the lifeboat.

The architecture continued to be impressive.

 At the pier as we were boarding the lifeboat for our return to the ship.

Looking forward to “settling down” for the next few months while we tour Italy a day or two each week, sharing the details and photos of our outings and, of course, the minutiae of our daily lives, living in a country where we don’t speak the language as we learn the culture and embrace the local customs and lifestyle.

We’ll be back tomorrow from Venice!