Best countries in the world to visit, according to popular travel magazine…How many have we visited?…Funny video!…

Mongooses came up to the door to ask for some eggs.
Please click this link to see a fun video we made:  https://youtu.be/UeLx1ZmKLLk
It was a pleasant Saturday evening. Our friend and author, Alan Holmes, again spent the evening with us on the veranda on a very warm and  “buggie” night. After all the rain these past few weeks, the vegetation pond in the garden with puddles of water everywhere, the “mozzies” were on a rampage. I couldn’t load up on enough repellent. Amid the swarms of bugs, we enjoyed yet another evening on the veranda with our new friend.
On top of that, the stink bugs have infested the area, soon to disappear and they, too, were underfoot, on our clothing, and in our faces from time to time. We were thrilled to spot a few dung beetles on the table on the veranda, but without their massive ball of dung, we didn’t attempt any photos in the dark.
As hot and humid as it was, few animals came to call. With the prospect of rainstorms on the horizon, they tend to hunker down undercover in the parkland and other more sheltered areas. From what we’ve seen, most of the wildlife is terrified of thunder and lightning. Only us crazy humans stay outdoors until wind-driven rain impairs our comfort on the veranda until we wander indoors.
Lots of mongooses stopped by for eggs.
Yesterday, Tom forwarded an article to me from Conde Nast Traveler magazine about the best countries to visit in 2020 according to their readers. We carefully perused this article to discover how many of these countries we’ve visited on the list as shown listed below, in order of preference by their readers. We’ve placed a checkmark next to those we have been to over the past eight-plus years of world travel.
1. Italy √
2. Sri Lanka
3. Portugal √
4. Japan
5. Greece √
6. Indonesia √
7. Thailand √
8.  South Africa √
9.  Vietnam √
10  Mexico √
11. Ireland √
12. Bhutan
13. Jamaica
14. Peru √
15. Malaysia √
16. Columbia √
17. Israel
18. Turkey √
19. New Zealand √
20. India √
In carefully reviewing this list, we found we have been to 15 of the 20 countries, except for Sri Lanka, Japan, Bhutan, Jamaica, and Israel, all of which, we hope to visit sometime in the future depending on the degree to which Covid-19 impedes future travel. We’re scheduled to sail on a few cruises around Japan in 2022, but who knows if they’ll sail by that time?
Tom bringing out the scrambled eggs in the flat pan while they are all waiting patiently.
We have no idea what the future holds. Besides the obvious restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19, our age and ongoing ability to travel will be a primary factor. Based on how we feel now, it’s entirely possible we can continue on for years to come. However, as we so well have learned, regardless of how hard we work at achieving optimum health, health issues may arise over which we have little control.
Recently, a kind reader wrote and asked if we had a complete itinerary of all of our travels since the onset. I felt bad explaining that based on variables at any given time, our itineraries are piecemeal at this point, often grouped into one or two-year itineraries.
I’d like to have put that together for him, but based on all the time I have spent working on my laptop over the past year, I just don’t have it in me to begin such a lofty goal at this point in time. If we are fortunate to make it to the 10-year mark, I plan to tackle such a project at that time.
After eating the scrambled raw eggs in the pan, a few get into the pan for scraps. Note the tiny one.
In the interim, our travel map on the right side of our home page, under the heading “Map Our Travels” only requires a single click to see when and where we’ve traveled since 2012. Tom has been diligent in keeping this map updated regularly, which will be highly instrumental when the time comes to map out the full 10 years.
We’ll tackle that project in October 2022, the 10-year anniversary of our world travels, a mere 20 months from now. How the time has flown. We would never have imagined traveling, we’d travel for such an extended period. But, now after wasting, albeit safely, almost 10% of our travel time in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, we have an entirely different perspective of how precious every day was, is, and will be in the future.
We’re grateful for each day of life, each day spent together, each day of exploring the world, its people, its cultures, and its wildlife and nature. Without a doubt, it’s been a gift, one we will joyfully treasure for as long as we are able to continue on.
Stay safe, wear a mask, social distance, and wash and sanitize your hands. May your life and the lives of your loved ones, be long and fruitful in this amazing world.
Photo from one year ago today, February 7, 2020:
The photos posted on this date, one year ago are a compilation of those we’d taken on day 2 in the following palaces: City Palace, the largest in the state of Rajasthan; Chimi Mahal; Mori Mahal and the spectacular Zenana Mahal; The Crystal Gallery at Darbar Hall and more. For more, please click here.

A year ago post…”Knowing and the not knowing.”…Our views then and our views now…

What a pose! What was she thinking? Female feathers are brown while males are black.

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 shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 2, 2018, while in Marloth Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa. See the link here for more details.
It was a treat to see multiple wildebeest visiting the garden at night.
Ironically, one year ago, we wrote the following, taken directly from the post here on July 2, 2019:



“After all the excitement over the past week by finalizing several bookings for the upcoming year, we’ve now settled back into our day to day lives. The itinerary is almost completely filled in with only a few gaps for hotel stays.  

Not only has it been exciting for us, but it’s also been a huge relief. Not knowing where we’ll be in six months is daunting, especially as I continue to recover from open-heart surgery.



That is one of the important aspects of world travel after all these years, knowing where we’ll be a year from now and perhaps the following year. This fact has been instrumental in our booking so far out over the past almost seven years.

Without a home, apartment, condo, or place we can go to repack and regroup, this process must be completed while amid our travels. This could be unsettling for many.



Now, with experience, we’ve found if we know where we’ll be in a year is all we need to feel comfortable. However, we both acknowledge that most likely we’ll never be in a position to land in a new country without reservations. If we’d did, we’d figure it out and not panic.”

Elephant viewing from the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

Funny, isn’t it? And now, not knowing where we’ll be in a week, a month, let alone a year. Next time, down the road, when we broach this topic we’ll certainly look at it in a different light.


While on cruises or socializing in any country, we’re often asked, “How far out do you book your travel?”


We always answered, “As far out as it takes for us to feel comfortable, usually about two years.” 

There may be one elephant or 40. However many there may be, we’re always thrilled to see them.

At the beginning of our world travels, we only felt at ease with bookings out as far as those two years. But, as each year passed, we became less stringent about this, generally dropping it down to about a year as time moved on, while always having some cruises booked into the distant future.


Here we are now, with nary an idea of where we’ll be at any point in the future and oddly, we’re still ok. We aren’t afraid. We aren’t stressed. We aren’t uncomfortable. 

This flock of ostriches is often found in a particular area near the river we often visit when on daily drives. Note the chick on the far left.
Our goal is to stay free of the virus and to be able to stay in a country where we can resume somewhat of a normal life, in a house with a view, with a kitchen, cooking our meals, doing laundry, going out sightseeing and, sitting outdoors on a veranda. 

We may not be able to visit crowded venues, but we’d always avoided typically crowded tourist hotspots. However, we’ve loved the opportunity to take a drive to find interesting scenery, wildlife, and nature, all the while taking photos to share with all of you here. 
Tom feeding kudu girls and boys from the veranda. 

I can’t wait to be taking photos again, even imagining that first trip to a grocery store to stock up, with a camera in hand. Most likely, our first photos will be of a new holiday home, its view and immediate surroundings, and a trip to the market to revel over the food options…humm…even some beef will be a treat.


At this point, we haven’t been inside a grocery store in six months! We haven’t cooked a meal in six months! We haven’t had a chunk of quality cheddar cheese or a handful of nuts when we’ve been hankering for a midday or evening snack! 

Wildebeest Willie ate a few pellets, looked at us, and was on his way, the other following close behind.

And, at this point, we haven’t had a glass of wine or a cocktail in 100 days! Wow! I’ll certainly take a photo of that first glass of wine, that first homemade meal, and that little plate of imported cheese to savor as a treat. 


We’d love a side salad, an olive, a pickle, real cream in French press coffee. Yesterday, while we watched an Irish cop series, Red Rock, Tom had to wipe the drool off his chin when he saw a plate of donuts.

A group of kudus is a “forkl” with females and males are together in a family unit, also referred to as a “harem.”

It’s all different now, one year later, the knowing and the not knowing, and most of all, the profound uncertainty of the future. May we all stay safe.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 2, 2019:

Whenever the sky is mostly clear we look forward to the sunsets. For more details, please click here.

Itinerary one year ago…Itinerary today…

We stumbled upon the Preston Fresh Seafood Wholesaler on our drive to Yorkeys Knob which is a quick five-minute drive from our then home in Trinity Beach. We returned many times during our months in Queensland.

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 shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 1, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.

While searching for the “Photo from one year ago today,” it was interesting to see the upcoming itinerary we’d posted on July 1, 2019. Doing so, prompted me to post this prior itinerary revealing how much has changed at the tail end to the present, in light of COVID-19. (See below).

Their colorful signs in the somewhat remote location made it easier to spot from the highway.

This is the first time in our almost eight years of world travel that we don’t have a specific itinerary, nor do we have holiday/vacation home bookings anywhere in the world, at any time in the future.


We have some cruises booked going forward but, based on how COVID-19 is progressing, we expect they’ll be canceled or changed at some point, leaving little reason to post an itinerary including such cruises.

When we arrived at the wholesale fish market we were intrigued by what could possibly be “cooked bugs.”  Could this possibly be some type of sea “insect?” Check out the photo below of “cooked bugs.”

It’s a weird perception after all these years of world travel to literally be in “limbo” with virtually no definitive plan for the future, other than to leave India when it becomes possible, which could be months from now.


Our itinerary has been a vital aspect of the joys of traveling the world. Having the opportunity to review and revise it as needed has been a vital part in our planning. Now, everything has changed.

Gee…we’ve never seen scallops in the shell. We can imagine a plate of six of these covered in an almond flour and Parmesan-crusted buttery topping. Tom likes scallops so this will be a no brainer.

There are several couples with whom we’ve stayed in touch, mostly from North America who have been traveling the world as well, mainly from one to three years. 


On Facebook or via email and text messages we stay in touch with those couples and are up to date on their travels during the lengthy lockdown. Some have been able to travel within their own country, US or Canada, and have been able to fly in and out of several locations in order to maintain a degree of the continuation of their world travels.
These are “large cooked bugs” which are similar to crab but according to the salesperson, they taste similar to prawns. Next time we visited, we tried a few and loved them.

Had we been able to fly to islands in the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, no doubt, we would have chosen another path during this long haul rather than staying stuck in Mumbai. 


As more time passes, more and more countries are refusing to allow travelers with US or Indian passports/visas to enter their borders. It seems this fact is escalating by the day when this morning on the news, a growing list of countries now forbidding entry into their borders where COVID-19 is on the rise, as is the case in the US and India.

If and when India’s international flights resume, we may have to continue to stay in Mumbai when few countries will welcome us with this double whammy (US and India) in our passports.

We selected a barramundi filet from this batch, caught that morning. Keep in mind, for those of you reading from countries not using the metric system…AUD $32.50 per kilo translates to 2.2 pounds which would be USD $14.77 per pound, not too bad for fresh (never frozen) wild-caught fish. We purchased about one pound of which Tom had 9 ounces and I had approximately 7 ounces.

The few countries, such as Tanzania, which we previously considered, is accepting anyone from anywhere which may be indicative of their lack of interest and caution in providing safe entry into their country. But, according to this news story (and others), it may be foolhardy to travel to Tanzania based on their lack of statistics and precautions.


The reality isn’t as simple as, “When and where international airports will open to US citizens having spent many months in equally high-risk India.” It’s much more complex.


Again, some of our US readers write, “Come back home!” But, as we continue to reiterate, ad nauseam, there’s no point in us doing that when cases of the virus continue to escalate, we have no insurance in the US (only outside the US) and we have no home, no stuff to fill it.

At AUD $64, USD $49.26, all of these items which includes a huge Barramundi filet, two pieces of made-without-sugar smoked fish and two containers of crab meat which we’ll use to make low carb crab cakes this weekend (lasting for two meals) will result in four meals for the two of us.  As a result, the cost per entre results in a cost per day of AUD $16, USD $12.31, not bad for such delicious fish and seafood. We struggle to be motivated to go out to dine when we do so well at home and have just as good a time.

This fact doesn’t make us sad or despondent. Still, we consider ourselves world travelers and we have no intention of changing that scenario one day sooner than is absolutely necessary, which most likely would be due to health considerations.

Sure, on numerous occasions, we’ve discussed the reality that travel will be different going forward to include; vaccination requirements; long queues at airports and cruise terminals; required quarantine in some countries; face masks being worn in public areas; social distancing and more restrictions we’ve yet to discover.


We had to get about 18 vaccinations when we began traveling in 2012, which we updated in 2018 while in South Africa. Although we’d both prefer not to be vaccinated if a proven-to-be-safe COVID-19 vaccination becomes available, we will accept this requirement, when most likely, having such a certification may be required to enter most countries. 

There were a few types of fish that had been frozen but it was clearly marked. We prefer not to purchase defrosted fish preferring to buy only fresh when available.

We didn’t flinch when we had to be inoculated for Yellow Fever and other diseases in order to visit certain parts of Africa and other countries. And, we won’t flinch again when this becomes a requirement to travel. We have no doubt this will become necessary in the future. Want to travel? Be vaccinated or stay home, which will be the standard travel motto in the future.


We appreciate and accept the risks of vaccination that have created a movement of sorts, who are opposed to vaccinations. We understand and accept there are certain risks. 


But, traveling the world may require a degree of putting aside some of our personal beliefs, preferences, customs, and familiar modes of living to accept that of the country we’re about to visit.

There were a few types of fish that had been frozen but it was clearly marked. We don’t purchase defrosted fish preferring to buy only fresh when available.

Here is our link from which we’ve taken this year-ago itinerary as shown below.

Itinerary 2019 – 2020
Ireland – Connemara – house rented 89 5/12/2019 – 8/8/2019 
Hotel Dublin, Ireland 1 8/8/2019 – 8/9/2019
Hotel Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2  8/9/2019 – 8/11/2019 
Cruise – Baltic – Amsterdam to Amsterdam  12  8/11/2019 – 8/23/2019 
England – Falmouth, Cornwall, UK 14  8/23/2019 -9/6/2019 
England – St. Teath, Bodwin, Cornwall, UK 14 9/6/2019 – 9/20/2019
England – Witheridge, Devon, UK 21 9/20/2019 – 10/11/2019
Wales – Chepstow, Monmouthshire, UK 11 10/11/2019 – 10/22/2019
Hotel – Southampton, England 2 10/22/2019 – 10/24/2019
Cruise – Southampton to Fort Lauderdale  15  10/24/2019-11/8/2019 
Hotel – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 14 11/8/2019 – 11/22/2019 
Henderson, Nevada, USA 9 11/22/2019 – 12/1/2019
Holiday Rental – Apache Junction, Arizona USA 61 12/1/2019 – 1/30/2020
Flight Phoenix, Arizona to Mumbai, India* 2 1/30/2020 – 2/1/2020
Hotel – Mumbai, India 1 2/1/2020 – 2/2/2020
Train – Maharajas Express -Mumbai to Dehli 6 2/2/2020 – 2/8/2020
Safari – India (inc. in Private Tour) 5 2/8/2020 – 2/13/2020
India – Private Tour 51 2/13/2020 -4/3/2020*
Cruise – Mumbai to London 29     4/3/2020 – 5/2/2020
Total days planned 359 5/12/2020 – 5/2/2020
*The private tour ended on March 15, 2020, due to COVID-19

Life is filled with trade-offs. Only each of us as an individual, a couple, or a family can decide what works best for their desires and choices. We pray that each of our readers is able to choose what is best for their needs as opposed to being driven by the choices and opinions of others.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 1, 2019:

A year ago, we posted more information on the then-upcoming tour on the Maharajas Express. One of the many excursions on the Maharajas Express train includes a visit to the Taj Mahal. (not our photo). For details, please click here.

A huge update and change in plans!!!…

Locals hitching a ride to the local festival.

If we had a home during the corona-virus crisis and had been touring India, most likely we’d have ended the lengthy tour early and headed back to the US, purchasing a fair amount of toilet paper to hunker down for a while.


As world travelers without a home, if we have a need to hunker down, where might that be? If we return to the USA, we have no health insurance other than Medicare Part A and even if we signed up for Part B and a supplement we’d be stuck with it once we were on the move again.


Plus, returning to live in the US is not an option for us at this time, even with this looming virus. We’re not about to “give up” this lifestyle which we recently embraced with gusto after last year’s open-heart surgery and a long recovery.


But, now we have excellent, low co-pay health insurance through United Healthcare Global (Safe Trip) that we purchase every three months, good only outside of the US. This morning we purchased more coverage until the end of July when we’ll renew for another 90 days at that time.  

Crowds of people on their way to a festival.

Yesterday, when Viking Cruise Line informed us the 29-day cruise we’d booked long ago has been canceled, we had to figure out what we’d do for the 29 days. So far we only had the one booking in Bath, England and a cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town next November. 


With the number of cases of the virus rapidly escalating in the UK and Europe, we decided against keeping the UK booking. The owner of the Bath house is arranging a full credit for us for the deposit that we paid, only one week ago.


The cruise line is refunding the full fare we’d already paid, which easily covers a good portion of our costs for the next 12 months. 


Guess where we’d headed, folks?


Yep, back to South Africa… to Marloth Park… to all of our animal and human friends and a vibrant social life. We’ll arrive at Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport next Friday night, spend the night in a hotel and on Saturday morning make the hour-long drive to Marloth Park, where dear friends Louise and Danie will have a house waiting for us.

“Buffaloes are believed to have domesticated around 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley and thrive best in the areas of moderate rainfall as they require plenty of water for their daily bath.   Indian buffaloes are considered to be an important source of milk today. They yield nearly three times milk as cows. Interestingly, 47.22 million milch buffaloes produce 55 percent of milk which is more than half of the total milk produced in the country. Whereas, 57 million cows contribute only 45 percent of the total milk yield.”


Of course, we’d love to get back into the Orange house, but that’s booked until May 1. At that point, we’ll move back in. In the interim, Louise will ensure we have great houses to stay in as we hop from house to house as she deems necessary for the remainder of March and all of April. We can live with this plan without hesitancy.


There hasn’t been a single case of coronavirus in Marloth Park but of course, we’ll continue with precautions as we have here in India; avoiding crowds; lots of handwashing, no handshaking and extra careful touching any surfaces or possibly infected areas. 


Yes, we’re excited to be heading back. And no, there are no unrealistic expectations that South Africa will be safer than in any part of the world. But, Marloth Park is remote with fewer and fewer visitors coming to stay due to fears of travel right now.


No, we won’t bore our readers with endless photos of warthogs. We’ll strive to focus on the fascinating little things, interesting people stories and wildlife special moments. It will be an all-new angle for our time in Africa once again.

Buffalo movin’ on down the road. “Buffaloes also called as Bubalus bublis belong to the family bovidae, sub-family bovinae, genus bubalis and species arni or the wild Indian buffalo. They are classified into river and swamp types. The present day domesticated buffaloes are the descendants of Bos arni found in North-Eastern parts of India especially in Assam and surrounding areas.”


How long will we stay? As long as they’ll have us, which our regular readers know is a tricky proposition. We’ll do everything we can to stay as long as possible, even if we have to fly to other countries, stay for awhile and return.


As for the balance of our India tour? It’s ending about 16 days earlier than planned. We didn’t make this decision lightly. The tour company is giving us a partial refund which we’re grateful for but, such cancellations such as this is happening all over the country of India, all over the world. 


Temples are closing. Sporting events have been canceled, public celebrations are fast coming to a halt, schools are closing, as is the case in most countries throughout the world. It’s definitely a frightening time not only in regard to contracting the virus but also the awful impact on workers and economic conditions worldwide.


We carry on… All of us do, in an attempt to make the most of this dreadful time in history. We extend our love and prayers for each and every one of our family members, friends, and readers worldwide. 

Workers loading sugar cane onto a truck.


May you and those you love be safe, as you exercise every caution. Wash your hands! Use hot soapy water when possible. Don’t cough or sneeze in anyone’s face! Don’t shake hands! Wear a mask if you are sick or stay indoors at all times.


Don’t touch surfaces others have touched! Even an elevator or lift button; a grocery store trolley or the counter at the bank can carry the virus. When going to the doctor, dentist or any office, don’t lean on the counter when checking in. If you need a handrail to walk up or down stairs, get someone you know to help you instead of touching the railing.


Make everything and everyone suspect, but in the interim, we somehow must do our best to find ways in which to enjoy life, enjoy people and cherish every moment we have of this precious life. God bless.

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Photo from one year ago today, March 13, 2019:

With ample vegetation after many days and nights of soaking rain, the zebras still love pellets. For more photos, please click here.

Researching the future…We’re behind schedule…


Taking this photo without zoom on this date in 2013 gives a perspective of the small size of this island, somehow appealing to her for its varied vegetation. For more photos from that date, please click here.

Since we arrived in the US on November 8th, we’ve been preoccupied with visiting family and planning for our upcoming two months in India. At this point, we’ve yet to begin booking where we’ll stay after our 29-night cruise from Mumbai to London which ends on May 2, 2020.


It may seem to be a long time away, but in our world, four or five months fly by in a flash, especially when we are having a great time. As much as we’d like to postpone the time it takes to conduct an in-depth search, the time has come for us to get to work.


The hardest part of booking the six months we have to fill between the end of the cruise until the next cruise in November is where exactly would we’d like to travel.


With the Schengen visa requirement that we can only stay in Europe for 90 days out of 180 days it makes sense for us to spend more time in the UK that doesn’t fall into the Schengen requirements. 


Undoubtedly, it makes sense to stay in Scotland (a part of the UK) for a period of time, which neither of us has visited so far. There appears to be a number of available options for the summer months. But, undoubtedly, we’d better get something booked soon.


It’s still hanging up in the air concerning our return to South Africa at the end of the November cruise. But one thing we have decided is we won’t stay in South Africa over the holidays due to increased seasonal rental costs and excessive power outages, especially when there are so many people in Marloth Park. They are experiencing such issues now as we’ve seen mentioned many times on Facebook.


Instead, we’re contemplating getting off the ship a few days prior to the end of the cruise when the ship docks in a port of call in Luderitz or Walvis Bay, Namibia and stay there for a few months while awaiting the end of the holiday season in South Africa. This makes a lot of sense to us.


After the upcoming first of January, we’ll be contacting an immigration attorney in South Africa to assist us in getting the waiver we applied for which has yet to be approved.  


It’s been almost eight months since we applied and yet have no response. Without the waiver, we won’t be able to return to South Africa until May 2024. That’s too far out for any planning at this point.


This morning we visited Mary and Eugene and Colleen and Gene (Margie returned to Minnesota for a few weeks to attend her granddaughter’s wedding on New Year’s Eve). No one seems interested in doing anything out and about on New Year’s Eve, but there are a few activities transpiring in the next few days.


Tomorrow, before noon we’ll get together for the Minnesota Vikings Game at Colleen and Gene’s home where we’ll hook up Tom’s laptop via the HDMI cord to their large TV. I am making an egg, mushroom, onions and sausage casserole to bring for brunch.


On Monday, its Colleen’s birthday and the six of us will go out for happy hour and a bite to eat at a local pub, “What’s the Hell.” It will be fun to celebrate with her as we did over Tom’s birthday on Monday.


Now, I’m off to the market once more for a few items. We’ll spend a quiet day and evening at our place, having dinner and perhaps watching a movie in the evening. We’ve already completed our walk now that the rain stopped.


Happy day!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 28, 2018:

It’s easier for male kudus to eat this way as opposed to bending down with those giant horns.  Wildebeest Willie waits in the background for his turn. For more details, please click here.

And life goes on…Knowing or not knowing…

Whenever the sky is fairly clear we look forward to the sunsets.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“The
Irish perform in the Tailteann Games, Ireland’s version of the Olympics.”

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After all the excitement over the past week by finalizing several bookings for the upcoming year, we’ve now settled back into our day to day lives.  The itinerary is almost completely filled in with only a few gaps for hotel stays.  To see yesterday’s posted itinerary, please click here.


Not only has it been exciting for us but it’s also been a huge relief.  Not knowing where we’ll be in six months is daunting, especially as I continue to recover from open heart surgery.

A glimmer at a distance.

That is one of the important aspects of world travel after all these years…knowing where we’ll be a year from now and perhaps the following year.  This fact has been instrumental in our booking so far out over the past almost seven years.

Without a home, apartment, condo or place we can go to repack and regroup, this process must be completed while in the midst of our travels.  This could be unsettling for many.

In the beginning in 2012, we were booked out over two years since we were well aware of the fact about the human condition is to be rooted in one (or more) locations.

The sunsets occur late here in Ireland, especially at this time of the year.

Now, with experience, we’ve found if we know where we’ll be in a year is all we need to feel comfortable.  However, we both acknowledge that most likely we’ll never be in a position to land in a new country without reservations.  If we’d did, we’d figure it out and not panic.


But, why put ourselves in that position? We’re not 20-year-olds backpacking it and staying in hostels along the way.  We have certain expectations as to the creature comforts we require;  a clean and well-maintained property; WiFi, heat, and aircon (if necessary), electricity, running water and a kitchen suitable for preparing most meals.  A comfy bed and bedding is a bonus.


Anything beyond that is a plus we never fail to appreciate.  We aren’t snobs and don’t require “fancy” and “modern.”  While we stay in Apache Junction in the same neighborhood as Tom’s three sisters and significant others, it will be a fun for us.

What a sight!

We chose to stay in Apache Junction near his family a few reasons, but mainly since Tom is the youngest in the family and wanted to have valuable time with his sisters, which we haven’t done in years.  


Many of our travel experiences include what I suggest and would like to do.  Good grief, do you think he wanted to spend over a year in South Africa, something we’ll never do again for such an extended period?  He did it for me and ultimately enjoyed himself in the process.  


When he suggested we visit his sisters for two months (a time we had to fill) in Apache Junction, Arizona living in their neighborhood in our own place, it sounded like a good idea. This is a collaborative adventure.  Besides, I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with his sisters.

Old cement house along the highway to Oughterard.

With a little time and effort and assistance from his sister Colleen, we were able to book a place within walking distance to his sister’s places.  It is inexpensive compared to many houses we’ve rented at Euro 1327, US $1500 a month (includes WiFi and all utilities) and will give us an opportunity to recover some of our losses over the past year.


We’re both good with this.  We didn’t want to spend the cold winter in Minnesota when we have no cold weather clothing, can’t stand the cold or afford a hotel for such an extended period. It’s very expensive to stay in Minnesota. 

Another man and a boy fishing in front of our house.

We didn’t want to impose upon son Richard by living in his house for two months (instead we’ll stay with him for 10 days).  It’s a five-plus-hour drive from Henderson, Nevada to Apache Junction, Arizona.  


We’ll rent a car in Nevada, use it while in Nevada, drive to Arizona and return the car either to the airport in Nevada or Arizona, depending on our plans at the time.  Tom has done some research and it appears the price will be the same if we pick it up in Nevada and drop it off in Arizona since both airports are very busy.


So much planning goes into each location.  Fortunately, we continue to find research fun, rewarding and not a chore.  Should this ever change, we’ll have to rethink our lifestyle.


We hope you have a fantastic day!

__________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, July 2, 2018:

This flock of ostriches is often found in a particular area near the river we often visit when on daily drives.  For more details, please click here.

Here it is at long last!…Our newest itinerary!…

One of the many excursions on the Maharajas Express train includes a visit to the Taj Mahal. (Not our photo).

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Abortion
is illegal in Ireland unless keeping the child would put the mother’s life at
risk.”

__________________________________________

There’s no doubt we’re tentative about booking into the future, especially when there is no certainty about my health going forward.  To date, we haven’t booked anything where we’d lose the entire cost of the venue, just deposits.


Even paying deposits is risky.  After we’ve paid out so much in medical bills our insurance company refuses to pay and losing so much for prepaid travel events we couldn’t attend, flights we had to cancel, and bookings we had to forgo, it’s not surprising we’re cautious.


The unexpected cardiac bypass surgery could easily put a quick end to our travels, which neither of us wanted to stop.  Instead, we strive to continue on, living life to the fullest.  


None of us knows how much time we have on this earth and yes, my situation may mean I have less time than many.  But, it’s no reason to stop living.  What would we do if we lived in a condo in the US?  Stay home and do nothing? 


The travels we have ahead of us will require some days at the airport, waiting in a long queue to board a ship and lots of walking.  Would it be a lot less active if we lived in the US (or some other country)?  Besides, being active is the number one prescription for improving one’s health after cardiac bypass surgery.


Walking?  Yep. I’m on it every day, keeping track of my fitness watch to ensure I get in enough steps each day.  Believe me, it’s not easy to do, walking around the house all day.  Right now, I have a timer set to walk every 30-minutes.


I shake it up every few days.  Sometimes, it’s for long periods or several times a day once every hour.  On some days I do half or more of the walking at one time.  Why don’t I walk outside?  It’s cold, windy and it rains a lot.  Also, there are no sidewalks on the very narrow winding roads. The driveway to the road is rocky and uneven. It defeats the purpose to risk injury.

Itinerary 2019 – 2020
Ireland – Connemara – house rented 89 5/12/2019
– 8/8/2019 
Hotel Dublin, Ireland 1 8/8/2019
– 8/9/2019
Hotel Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2  8/9/2019 – 8/11/2019 
Cruise
– Baltic – Amsterdam to Amsterdam 
12  8/11/2019 –
8/23/2019 
England
– Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
14  8/23/2019 -9/6/2019 
England
– St. Teath, Bodwin, Cornwall, UK
14 9/6/2019 – 9/20/2019
England
– Witheridge, Devon, UK
21 9/20/2019 – 10/11/2019
Wales –
Chepstow, Monmouthshire, UK
11 10/11/2019 – 10/22/2019
Hotel – Southampton, England 2 10/22/2019 – 10/24/2019
Cruise
– Southampton to Fort Lauderdale 
15  10/24/2019-11/8/2019 
Hotel – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 14  11/8/2019 –
11/22/2019 
Henderson,
Nevada, USA
9 11/22/2019 – 12/1/2019
Holiday
Rental – Apache Junction, Arizona USA
61 12/1/2019 – 1/30/2020
Flight
Phoenix, Arizona to Mumbai, India*
2 1/30/2020 – 2/1/2020
Hotel –
Mumbai, India
1 2/1/2020 – 2/2/2020
Train –
Maharajas Express -Mumbai to Dehli
6 2/2/2020 – 2/8/2020
Safari
– India
5 2/8/2020 – 2/13/2020
Hotels
Udaipur, India 
30 2/13/2020 – 3/13/2020
India –
to be booked
21 3/13/2020 – 4/3/2020
Cruise
– Mumbai to London
29 4/3/2020 – 5/2/2020
Total days planned 359 5/12/2020 – 5/2/2020
It does not include cruises beyond this date in the event we make some changes. * All distant locations include flights – the
only flight more than a day is from Phoenix 
to Mumbai.

                                

Walking around the house at a good clip is not that bad.  I have a route I vary every few minutes rather than stick to one path.  Boredom is the biggest problem.  My cheap South African-purchased-smartphone doesn’t have enough memory to add a podcast app which would help tremendously.  


At one point I added an SD card, but it isn’t able to store any data.  It’s the phone.  Nothing I can do about that until we purchase new phones in the US when we arrive in November, a mere four months from now.  


We’ve already selected the phones we’d like, but won’t order them until closer to the time of our arrival in the US.  In four months, newer models could hit the market and prices may change.


In preparing the itinerary we’ve included today, we didn’t include the cruise we’ve booked to Cape Town, South Africa, long before my illness, based on hearing from immigration as to our “undesirable” status after overstaying for three months for my recovery.  As mentioned a few days ago, we’ve applied, re-applied, and called several times, requesting a response.  None yet.  We’ll continue trying.



Also, as mentioned, we have a few more cruises we’ve booked and may not actually take. These are not shown in the itinerary.   We’re able to move the deposits at any time with no losses.  Having chosen a few costly cruises, with considerations for our budget, we won’t be cruising as often as we had in the early part of our travels.


Cruises are highlighted in the itinerary in turquoise.  We’ll definitely be taking the cruises listed on the itinerary. Everything we do in life is subject to good health. For some oddball reason, I wrongfully thought that saying “health providing” in dozens, if not hundreds of other posts, as if provided some insurance nothing bad would happen. It did happen anyway.  I am done saying that!


After further research and comments from kindly readers who’ve been to India, it appears we can stay up to 180 days.  That’s great!  We didn’t want to deal with more immigration problems.


Gotta go!  My timer just went off for my next round of walking.  


Enjoy your day!

__________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, July 1, 2018:

One year ago today, we attended the Honorary Ranger’s Annual Fair in Marloth Park.  Artist’s renditions of wildlife along with an array of skulls, horns, and tusks.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 4…New bookings…A new country…A new lease on life!…Tomorrow, our new itinerary!…

Mumbai.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“The longest river in the country is the River Shannon. The river is 360 km, 224 miles, long. The River Shannon (Irish: Abha na Sionainne, an tSionainn, an tSionna) is the longest river in Ireland.  It drains the Shannon River Basin which has an area of 16,865 km (6,512 sq mi), one-fifth of the area of Ireland.”

______________________________________________



As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we hesitated over spending so much on this cruise, especially after the cost of the Maharajas Train on which we’ll embark on February 3, 2020.  


We have two months to travel while in India while we look forward to this upcoming cruise embarking on April 3, 2020, ending in London on May 2, 2020, 29 nights later.


We’ve yet to decide where we’ll go when we arrive in London.  We have plenty of time for that, a little over 10 months.  We may plan to stay around Europe for a few months.  With the Schengen visa restrictions, we can only stay in most European countries for 90 out of 180 days.

There are several countries that aren’t part of Schengen.  For more details on Schengen visas, please visit this site.


According to visa regulations listed on many sites for India e-visa, a traveler from the US and many other countries may only stay for 60 days.  We’ll actually be in India for 63 days.  If necessary, we’ll apply for an extension through the Indian Embassy through the consulate in San Francisco, the location we must use as residents of Nevada.

However, at the governmental e-visa site for India, the following is clearly stated as follows:


“Stay:
Continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days for countries except the USA, UK, Canada, and Japan. For the USA, UK, Canada, and Japan continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days.

Today, I sent them an email asking to clarify if a 90-day stay is accurate.  After all our visa issues these past few years, we aren’ taking any chances.  Nothing spoils a visit to a country like immigration issues.  

Anyway, back to the cruise fare…We weren’t thrilled that Viking requires payment in full so close to the time of booking and far from the time of sailing.  In this case, the final payment, as shown below is due in full on July 24, 2019, a little over three weeks from now:  

Cruise Fare $19,998.00  
E-Check Discount ($633.53)       
Past-Passenger Discount ($800.00)            
Grand Total: $18,564.47   
Total Deposit Paid: $483.50    
Total Balance Due: $18,080.97  Final payment due July 24, 2019 


Gifts/Amenities Included: 
Jessica Lyman: $300.00 Onboard Credit 
Thomas Lyman: $300.00 Onboard Credit 


We justified this expensive cruise based on the fact that we have three cruises we’ve booked with deposits we are able to transfer to later cruises, most likely to 2022, giving up plenty of time to recover the big expense.  


In the interim, we’ll wait and see if we can sail on the cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town on November 10, 2020, on Azamara, which visits many ports on the western side of Africa, a very rare cruise.  


We’re waiting to find out if the five-year ban from returning to South Africa is lifted for medical reasons.  We applied for the waiver almost seven weeks ago and have inquired several times to no avail.  They simply don’t respond to our inquiries by phone or email.  


On Friday, we inquired again and will do so every Friday until we get an update.  If we don’t receive the waiver, we’ll lose part of the deposit we paid and miss this exciting itinerary and plan when and if we’ll get back to Marloth Park.  When and if we do, we won’t stay longer than 90 days in South Africa.


Today, we’ve added photos and information about dining options on the Mumbai cruise with Viking including the complimentary specialty restaurants.  Please see below for details.



FastDeal
21770
29 nights departing April 3, 2020, on
Viking Cruises’ Viking Sun

Brochure Balcony $9,999
Our Balcony $9,999
You Save 0%
Brochure Suite $16,749
Our Suite $15,999
You Save 4%

Prices include select shore excursions and unlimited internet.
Book select categories by June 30 and pay a reduced deposit of $250 per person.
Promotions may not be combinable with all fares.
___________________________________________________________

Dining options on Viking Sun:

“The Restaurant
Cuisine: Continental
Dress Code: Elegant casual
Surcharge: No
Reservations Required: No
Hours
Breakfast: 8:00am – 10:00am
Lunch: Noon – 2:30pm
Dinner: 6:00pm – 10:00pm

The Chef’s Table
Cuisine: Continental
Dress Code: Elegant casual
Surcharge: No
Reservations Required: Yes
Hours
Dinner: 6:30pm – 10:30pm

Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant
Cuisine: Italian
Dress Code: Elegant casual
Surcharge: No
Reservations Required: Yes
Hours
Dinner: 6:30pm – 10:30pm

World Cafe
Cuisine: Variety
Dress Code: Elegant casual
Surcharge: No
Reservations Required: Yes
Hours
Breakfast: 7:30am – 10:00am
Lunch: 11:30am – 2:00pm
Dinner: 6:30pm – 10:30pm

Viking Deli
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Dress Code: Casual
Surcharge: No
Reservations Required: No
Hours
Check onboard for hours

Aquavit Terrace
Cuisine: Al fresco options
Dress Code: Casual
Surcharge: No
Reservations Required: No
Hours
Check onboard for hours

The Kitchen Table
Cuisine: Cooking school and restaurant
Dress Code: Casual
Surcharge: No
Reservations Required: No
Hours
Check onboard for hours

Mamsen’s
Cuisine: Norwegian breakfast and lunch
Dress Code: Casual
Surcharge: No
Reservations Required: No
Hours
Check onboard for hours

In addition to the restaurants mentioned above, the Viking Sun also features afternoon high tea in the Wintergarden, a pool grill and 24-hour room service. “



Last night, our dinner for guests was canceled due to an unexpected illness of one of our guests.  We’re hoping she will recover soon.  We ended up thoroughly enjoying the dinner we planned and spent a quiet evening at “home.”


Tomorrow, we’ll be back with our new itinerary.  Please stop back to see it!


Be well.

__________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, June 30, 2018:

The particular “dazzle” of zebras visiting that morning was all female except for a youngster.  For more photos, please click here.


Part 3…New bookings…A new country…A new lease on life!…More tomorrow…

In 2013 we sailed on a similar itinerary but this 29-night Viking cruise offers additional ports of call which appeal to us.  Also, other than Antarctica this was my favorite itinerary, sailing through the Middle East and the Gulf of Aden.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“In
2007, Ireland saw 40 straight days of rain.”

                   ____________________________________________


To ensure we’d get the full flavor of the country of India we decided to spend about 60 days traveling to several locations and staying a few weeks at each.  As mentioned in a prior post, we’ll attempt to spend little time in the cities with the most population, commotion, and traffic.


In India, the massive population in the big cities is one of its attractions bringing tourists from all over the world.  Certainly, we won’t miss out on this fascinating opportunity.  

Indoor pool.

Our days of staying in one location for many months, other than a few here and there, are over.  After my recent heart surgery, we felt we needed to take advantage of each and every day.  Staying in one holiday home for long periods, wouldn’t provide us with the quality of experiences we’re seeking at this point. 


Since I’m not yet 100% of my former self, how often we move about will be based on how I’m feeling down the road.  It’s difficult to determine right now.  In several months, we’ll know more and be able to plan accordingly.

Lounge area on the main deck.

When we knew we’d be in India, Tom got to work trying to find a cruise to and from Mumbai.  This is a preferred departure point by many but most cruises are outrageously expensive and beyond our reach.


His continued research resulted in him finding the cruise we’re describing here today, which we’ve booked with a bit of hesitation due to the cost but with considerable excitement over the ship and its luxury feel, its amenities, and the fact its a 29-and day journey.

One of two outdoor pools.

With many amenities included in the cost, such as unlimited high-speed WiFi, only 930 passengers, free specialty restaurants, complimentary self serve laundry (soap included) and no children under the age of 18 allowed.  


Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy children but on cruises, the running in the halls and public areas and the seeming constant screaming distracts from the otherwise adult experience.  Relaxation is the key along with adult conversations and activities.

This is the type of cabin we booked.  All cabins on the Viking Sun have a veranda.

The ship offers many educational sessions in the theatre as we approach port after port.  Since we’ve already visited a portion of the ports of call, we’ll venture out to see the more obscure locations or, if we’d like, stay aboard the ship when there are no tours befitting our preferences.

Comfortable theatre.

At each port, one tour is included in the cost.  Most certainly, we’ll take advantage of these, even if it is a bus tour of the city.  We’d already visited Petra in 2013 and making that long hot trek (45C, 113F or more) once again isn’t necessary.  It was a fabulous once-in-a-lifetime experience.  


To see our posts and amazing photos from Petra, of which there are several, please start at this link.

The Chef’s Table, a special dinner made for a small group in a kitchen on the ship, included in price.  It will be tough to get a reservation for this but we’ll try.  Also, we may be concerned if the special meal will work for me.

Today, we’re busy getting ready for two guests for dinner.  We’re doing it easy upon their insistence and based on my current limitations.  Thus, I won’t have to spend the entire day in the kitchen standing on my feet.


Tomorrow, we’ll be back with more to include the pricing on today’s cruise along with some peculiarities Viking Cruise Line insists upon with passengers during the booking process.

There are many lounge areas throughout the ship.

Please check back tomorrow.  For the ship’s list of amenities, please scroll to the bottom of today’s post.


Have a fantastic Saturday, wherever you are, whatever you do.  Thank you for stopping by!

VacationsToGo.com

Viking Sun

Ship Rating:
Expand your horizons on the 930-passenger Viking Sun. This ship features all veranda staterooms and a unique onboard experience, from the peaceful Wintergarden area around the main pool, perfect for a calming cup of tea; to The Spa, a sanctuary of wellness; to the Explorer’s Lounge, where passengers can share their latest adventures. Also included are inspiring onboard talks that help you understand every destination in depth. The Viking Sun was built with understated comfort and elegance in mind and ensures you will explore every destination in comfort.

Viking Sun is dedicated to adults and therefore does not carry children or teenagers under the age of 18.

Viking Sun
Ship Statistics
Year Built 2017
Tonnage 47,800 tons
Registry Malta
Length 745 feet
Beam 95 feet
Passenger Capacity 930
Crew Size 465
Total Inside Cabins 0
Total Outside Cabins 465
Cabins & Suites w/ verandas 465
Suites 47
Maximum Occupancy per room 2
Age Restrictions All must be 18-20 or one must be 21 or older
Dinner Seatings 1
Seating Assignments
in Main Dining Room
Open
Dining Hours 6:30 PM
Dining Room Dress Code Dining
Tipping Expected? Yes
Tipping Guidelines
Viking recommends $15.00 per day, per guest. These amounts may be given to the onboard staff in cash, or you may charge them to your credit card at the end of the cruise. Bar gratuities should be made at the time of purchase.
Onboard Currency US Dollar
   
Services & Amenities
Bars/Lounges Yes
Beauty Salon/Barber Shop Yes
Casino No
Chapel No
Disco/Dancing No
Elevators Yes
Hot Tub Yes
Cell Phone Service No
Internet Center No
Wireless Internet Access Yes
Laundromats (self service) Yes
Laundry/Dry Cleaning Yes
Library Yes
Movie Theatre Yes
Outdoor Movie Screen Yes
Onboard Weddings No
Shops Yes
Showroom Yes
Spa Yes
Video Arcade No
Fitness & Sports Facilities
Basketball Court No
Fitness Center Yes
Golf Driving Net No
Golf Simulator No
Ice Skating Rink No
Jogging Track Yes
Mini-Golf Course No
Rock Climbing Wall No
Swimming Pool 2
Tennis Court No
Water Slide No
Water Sports Platform No
Cabin Features & Amenities
24-Hour Room Service Yes
Hair Dryer Yes
Safe Yes
Telephone Yes
Television Yes
Kids Facilities
Babysitting No
Children’s Playroom No
Kiddie Pool No
Supervised Youth Program No
Teen Center No
Water Playground/Splash Park No
Special Needs & Requests
Adjoining Cabins
     (private connecting doors)
No
Kosher Meals No
Single Occupancy Cabins No
Single Share Program No
Wheelchair-Accessible Cabins 2

__________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, June 29, 2018:
The sunset changed second by second, each scene more beautiful than the last while at Aamazing River View Restaurant last night.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…New bookings…A new country…A new lease on life!…More tomorrow…

 
India is a huge landmass proving us with endless opportunities to explore.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Ireland’s
flag has three colors for a reason. The green represents the Gaelic tradition
of Ireland, the orange is meant to represent those who followed William of
Orange and the white stripe in the middle represents peace between both.”

____________________________________________


This morning we took off early and headed to Clifden to grocery shop.  We’re having company for dinner tomorrow night and although we promised to make an easy meal, we still had to pick up a number of items at the market.

After my quick stop at the pharmacy for more bandages for my leg, while Tom went to the ATM for cash, we met at the market and breezed through our shopping list which I keep on an app on my phone. 

I’ve been using a grocery shopping app for at least the past 12 years, finding it so much easier than a handwritten list, especially since I can’t read my own scratchy handwriting.

In no time at all, we were back on the road for the 40-minute drive back to Glinsce and our holiday home.  We quickly put everything away while Tom worked on removing the ice from the tiny freezer.  We needed all the room we could get in the small space.

After the big chest freezer in Marloth Park, it’s quite a difference only having a freezer the size of a small chill box.  With the trays of ice and a bag of ice, there’s little room for food.  When he was done removing the ice, I got to work organizing the items and somehow managed to get everything inside including the ice.

In my life, before heart surgery, putting away groceries wasn’t a task.  But now, any activity that requires standing for long periods, bending down to put food into the below-counter refrigerator becomes a major undertaking.  But, I push myself to accomplish every task before me, knowing in time, all of these activities will only add to the rebuilding of my strength.

Today is our 28th anniversary from the night we met. We’re making a special dinner and will enjoy some quality time together reminiscing and thinking toward the future. 

Most prevalent in our minds are the bookings we made in the past several days; the luxury train in India, the Maharajas Express, the “Heritage of India” and a cruise, a fantastic 29-night cruise we can’t wait to share in tomorrow’s post.


In yesterday’s first post about the train, we promised to share more details of our upcoming train expedition beginning on February 2, 2020, a mere seven months from now.  It’s not that we’re wishing time to go by quickly.  Instead, its fun for both of us to plan into the future, knowing we have so much to anticipate.


We selected the deluxe cabin in order to keep the price down.  Sure, we’d love to have chosen a suite but the added cost is just not worth it to us.  
The main differential in cost is the size of the cabin and we’re fine in tiny spaces when we spend so little time in our cabin.


So here are the pricing details for the Maharajas Express, the “Heritage of India“:  

Prices Valid From 01 October 2019 Until April 2021

 Price in Sterling Pounds Per Person

Price Per Person Per Journey Deluxe Cabin Junior Suite Suite Presidential Suite
Twin/Double Cabin £ 5072 £ 7915 £ 11040 £ 18960
Single Cabin £ 8944 £ 15040 £ 22080 £ 37920

 Price in US Dollars Per Person

Price Per Person Per Journey Deluxe Cabin Junior Suite Suite Presidential Suite
Twin/Double Cabin $ 6340 $ 9890 $ 13800 $ 23700
Single Cabin $ 11180 $ 18800 $ 27600 $ 47400

  
Included in the above pricing is the following:

Price / Cost Includes

*** Accommodation in Air Conditioned Deluxe Cabin or Junior Suite or Suite or Presidential Suite with attached Bathroom on board The Maharaja Express
*** All meals including tea, coffee, and mineral water and house brands of Indian wines, beer, and spirits during The Maharaja Express
*** Transport for sightseeing with Deluxe Coaches during The Maharaja Express for Deluxe Cabin and Junior Suite Clients
*** Transport for sightseeing with Private Vehicle & Private Guide during The Maharaja Express for Suite and Presidential Suite Clients
*** Entrance fee to palaces, museums & parks during The Maharaja Express
*** English speaking guide during The Maharaja Express
*** Bulter Service for Suite and Presidential Suite Clients
*** Service of the Tour Manager on Board
*** One Transfer in Mumbai and One Transfer in Delhi by Private Vehicle with Driver


Of course, the most exciting aspect to the train excursion is the itinerary as follows:

Day 1 – Mumbai – Sunday

  •  09:00 Welcome and Registration at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
  •  10:30 Proceed for Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Terminus Railway Station, Mumbai
  •  11:30 Maharajas’ Express proceeds to Udaipur
  •  12:30 Lunch onboard
  •  19:30 Dinner onboard

Day 2 – Udaipur – Monday

  •  08:00 Breakfast onboard
  •  10:00 Arrive at Udaipur. Proceed for a boat ride on Lake Pichola followed by a visit to City Palace and Crystal Gallery
  •  13:00 Return to the comforts of Maharajas’ Express
  •  13:15 Lunch onboard. You may choose Optional Activities – Spa at a hotel or Local City Tour
  •  18:15 Proceed for an Exclusive Dinner at Satkar Hall of Fatehprakash Palace or Jagmandir Island Palace
  •  20:30 Returns to comforts of Maharajas’ Express
  •  22:00 Maharajas’ Express proceeds to Jodhpur

Day 3 – Jodhpur – Tuesday

  • 07:30 Breakfast onboard
  •  09:15 Optional Tour to Bishnoi Village (De-board at Rohat Railway Station)
  •  13:00 Lunch onboard
  •  14:30 Proceed to visit the Mehrangarh Fort followed by a Walking Tour of the Old Clock Tower market and enjoy a joy ride on Tuk Tuks
  •  17:30 Proceed for an exclusive cocktail dinner at Hanwant Mahal or Khaas Bagh
  •  20:15 Return to the comforts of Maharajas’ Express
  •  03:00 Maharajas’ Express proceeds to Bikaner

Day 4 – Bikaner – Wednesday

  •  08:00 Enjoy the countryside while having breakfast onboard
  •  10:00 Arrive at Bikaner. Relax onboard or you may choose Optional Activities – Visit Lalgarh   Museum or Local City Tour
  •  13:00 Lunch onboard
  •  14:00 Visit to Junagarh Fort followed by sundowners at Sand Dunes
  •  17:30 Arrive at the Sand Dunes followed by cocktails, bar-be-que, and folk dances
  •  20:15 Return to the comfort of the Maharajas’ Express
  •  21:30 Maharajas’ Express proceeds to Jaipur

Day 5 – Jaipur – Thursday

  • 08:00 Breakfast onboard
  •  09:30 Arrive at Jaipur. Proceed for a visit to Amber Fort
  •  12:30 After sightseeing proceed to Rambagh Palace hotel for lunch
  •  16:00 Return to the comforts of Maharajas’ Express
    You may choose Optional Activities – Spa at a hotel, with a visit to the City Palace Museum and Observatory or Local City Tour
  •  20:00 Dinner onboard
  •  21:30 The Maharajas’ Express proceeds to Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore)

Day 6 – Ranthambore and Fatehpur Sikri – Friday

  •  06:30 Proceed for an exciting Game Drive at Ranthambore National Park
  •  09:30 Return to the comforts of Maharajas’ Express
  •  09:45 Breakfast onboard
  •  10:15 Maharajas’ Express proceeds for Fatehpur Sikri
  •  13:30 Lunch onboard
  •  14:30 Arrive into Fatehpur Sikri
  •  15:30 Visit the deserted Mughal City of Fatehpur Sikri
  •  18:00 Return to the comforts of Maharajas’ Express
  •  19:30 Enjoy an “Indian Evening” followed by dinner onboard

Day 7 – Agra – Saturday

  •  06:45 Arrive into Agra and proceed to visit Taj Mahal
  •  09:30 Champagne Breakfast at Taj Khema
  •  10:45 Return to the comforts of Maharajas’ Express
  •  11:05 Maharajas’ Express proceeds to Delhi
  •  13:00 Lunch onboard
  •  15:30 Disembark and bid farewell to the Maharajas’ Express as your journey comes to an end
We’re in the process of deciding where we’ll visit during the two months we’ll have in India while we await the cruise (see tomorrow’s post) that begins on April 3, 2020.  It’s exciting to research different locations and decide what appeals to us the most.

No doubt, we’ll be booking a safari in India with a search for tiger sightings in mind.  Oh, my, this is exciting!  I can’t wait to hopefully post photos of tigers we’ve spotted in the wild.

Happy day to all. We’ll be back tomorrow with more and…soon we’ll post our new itinerary.
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Photo from one year ago today, June 28, 2018:
“The foot of the giraffe reaches a diameter of 30 cm (12 in), and the hoof is 15 cm (5.9 in) high in males and 10 cm (3.9 in) in females. The rear of each hoof is low and the fetlock is close to the ground, allowing the foot to provide additional support to the animal’s weight.”  For more photos, please click here.