Part 2 (of three parts)…Month by month, emotional and memorable events from our world travels in 2023…Happy New Year!…

In May, when staying at The Villages, we spent a day on Lake Harris, boating with reader/friends Linda and Burt. We stopped at a campsite for lunch. It was a fun day!
It was a delightful day on Lake Harris and the Dora Canal.

May, June, and part of July 2023 – The Villages, Florida, USA

Tom’s cold isn’t going away. He doesn’t feel awful and has no new symptoms, but he’s not himself. We thought that after a week, it would be gone by today since we’d made plans for tomorrow that we’ve since canceled. Fortunately, I feel fine.

Our dear friends Rich and Karen came to visit us twice while we were in The Villages Florida.
Kristi and Kevin, Tom’s nephew, thoughtfully drove the eight-hour round-trip to see us. We had a fantastic day!

We had planned to clean the condo on Friday. When he awoke this morning, he was still not feeling well. For the first time in a very long time, I cleaned by myself. We’d purchased a Swiffer from Amazon with dry and wet pads, and I ran around doing one project after another, washing, wiping, dusting, and floors. It took me about an hour.

Our friends from Boca Raton, Mark and Carol. They are visiting us for three nights. We’re having an excellent time with them. See the post here.

After struggling for almost a year, I surprised myself with how energetic I am. Today, I will be up to 20 minutes on the exercise bike, adding one minute daily. I can’t believe how quickly I was able to increase the duration. Now, I will stop increasing time and instead increase the difficulty. Doing this has changed everything for me.

When they visited, we had a great time with friends Lea Ann and Chuck. Right now, they are on a nine-month world cruise. How fun!

Note: we’re waiting for one more photo from our dear friends in Florida, Karen and Rich, who visited us twice while staying at The Villages. We were so busy yakking we forgot to take photos!!!

Our dear friend Lisa is on the left, and her friend Vicki is on the right. We had a fantastic day and evening!

Soon, I will begin doing resistance exercises using light weights using the equipment in the Fitness Center in this condo complex. I know how to pace myself since I worked out six days a week before traveling the world 11 years ago for most of my adult life. I was always fit and ate healthy. But even so, I fell prey to heart disease due to heredity. There is little one can do to override our genes.

Fortunately, I don’t need to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I’ve lost 21 pounds, am working out again, eating as healthfully as possible, and have reduced my occasional red wine consumption from two glasses to one. I considered giving up wine, but I love a glass of red, and it doesn’t seem to affect my heart or pulse rate; I decided to reduce the amount.

A few days ago, we stopped at Liquor World near the petrol station when Tom needed to refill the fuel in the rental car before returning it to the airport for another car. At that store, I found the brand Black Box, Cabernet Sauvignon, with only 5% alcohol, as opposed to the usual 12% to 14%. With this wine low in carbs, calories, and alcohol, I could drink a second glass, which still would be less alcohol than one glass of regular wine.

I realize low-alcohol wines don’t taste as good as regular wine, but it’s a tradeoff I am willing to make for my health, like the tradeoffs I’ve made with food. I haven’t opened it yet, but I think I will tonight, it’s New Year’s Eve. Tom won’t be celebrating with me but will once he’s feeling better.

Last night, we did a Grubhub order with a Henderson Asian restaurant. We purchased enough to last us for two nights. Tom had his usual sweet and sour pork with pork fried rice, and I had steamed shrimp and vegetables. It was delicious. We get Grubhub with no one-year delivery fees through our Amazon Prime membership. But still, the two-night order was $105, including Grubhub’s service fee, taxes, and tip. We rationalized the cost, realizing we’d spend more than this to go out to dinner one night. Once in a while, this is fun to do.

On another note, today’s post is to share what transpired in our world travels in 2023. There wasn’t much traveling in today’s second segment since we spent May, June, and part of July at The Villages in Florida while we waited to go on a few cruises, which we’ll share in tomorrow’s final segment. Although, we had a wonderful time when friends came to visit us.

However, in August, included in the second segment, we went on two cruises, and thus, the cruise-related photos continue in today’s “year in review” post.

July (end of the month) and August 2023 – Edinburgh, Scotland, and two cruises, one to Norway, the second to Greenland

We couldn’t post photos while we spent three days in Edinburgh. The WiFi connection at the hotel was too slow to add pictures. Then, when the three days ended, we immediately boarded the first of two cruises: the first on the Azamara Journey, with horrible WiFi preventing us from posting more than a few photos to Norway, and the second on Celebrity. Summit to Greenland, 17 days later. For detailed photos from these two cruises, please check our archives for August 2023. But here are a few. Please scroll down to see.

A few nights into the Norway cruise, we got off the ship to a theatre with local dancers and musicians performing. See the post here.
Tom’s photo today of the town of Isafjordur, Iceland, while on the Greenland cruise. See the post here.
Tom was squinting his eyes after he took off his glasses for a selfie. We had so much fun at the” Silent Disco.” From the post here.
Deep-sea sediment cores from northeast Greenland, the Fram Strait, and the south of Greenland suggest that the Greenland Ice Sheet has continuously existed since 18 million years ago. See the post here.
Cape Spear Lighthouse in Newfoundland. See the post here.

Running out of space with all of these photos, we will continue tomorrow with September through to the end of the year here in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. Thanks for sharing this year with us. It wasn’t as exciting as some years ago, but we visited nine countries in 2023!

Happy New Year everyone. Have a safe and enjoyable segue into 2024!

Photo from ten years ago today, December 31, 2013:

On New Year’s Eve, after returning to the house in Marloth Park, this centipede on the wall by the bathroom door made us cringe. Tom, as always, disposed of it. Sleep didn’t come easy the remainder of the night, fearful that the rains of the past few days may have brought more of these inside the house. For more, please click here.

Part 5…Unpublished photos from the Azamara cruise to Tromso, Norway…

Yes, reindeer are real animals found in Norway.
Statue in Tromso.
It was a Sunday, and the streets were quiet.
This little train-like vehicle is a tourist attraction…
This was a government building.
A pretty church at the end of the road, Tromso Cathedral.
A view of the street from the top of the hill.
A pharmacy in the town of Tromso with a population of 72,000.
The Tromso Bridge.

Here’s the post we wrote on the day we arrived in Tromso, Norway:

Day 9…Norway Cruise…Tromso, Norway…Why is Norway called, “The Land of the Midnight Sun?”…The Troll Fjords…

Part 5…Unpublished photos from the Azamara cruise to Svolvear, Norway…

The scenery couldn’t have been more beautiful.

Here’s the post we wrote on the day we arrived in Svolvaer, Norway:

Another fishing village in Norway.
We couldn’t believe how close we came to the sides of the narrow waterways.
It was delightful to see many waterfalls along the way.
Me in the evening before heading to dinner. With so few clothes, I keep wearing the same things repeatedly.
Bless his heart! Tom held my little bag and glass of wine while I took his photo.

Here’s the link for the post we wrote on the day we spent in Svolvaer, Norway.

Day 8…Norway Cruise…Svolaer, Norway…

Part 4…Unpublished photos from the Azamara cruise to Stavanger, Norway…

Down a quiet street in Stavanger…
A histoirc museum in Stavanger.
The port of Stavanger.
Boardwalk in Stavanger.
The historic Stavanger Church.
Reindeer pelts and boots for sale on the street.
The outdoor marketplace.
A live goose checking out the wares for sale in the shops.
The local Burger King.
The colorful buildings lined up along the boardwalk.
A tower in Stavanger.
Our ship, Azamara Journey, was docked at the end of the road.

Here’s the link for the post we wrote on the day we spent in Stavanger.

Day 3…Norway Cruise…Stavanger, Norway…

Part 2…Unpublished photos from the Azamara cruise to Haugesund, Norway…

A British-looking old-fashioned phone booth filled with books.

Here is the text from our day in Haugesund, Norway.

Stuffed animals in a shop window.
The interior of the church.
The beautiful pipe organ in the church.
More views of the interior of the church.
Colorful house along the boulevard.
A ram statue on the street.
Various pubs and restaurants lined the boulevard.
It’s an adorable shop with frilly Norwegian clothing.
There was our ship, soon to be back out to sea once again.

Part 1…Unpublished photos from the Azamara cruise to Alesund, Norway…

A blurry photo of a statue with a seagull on its head.

For expediency and ease, we’ve decided to post some of the photos from our Norway cruise each day rather than go back and add them, one by one, to each post. At the end of each day’s regular post, we’ll include the link to the newest posting of the photos, or you will find them, one by one, after each new day’s post of our experiences in Nevada during this nine-day stay. Captions will be added when possible.

Here is the post with the text from our day in Alesund:

Waterway in the town…
When we spotted this St. Bernard, we knew it was a segue to a conversation with a local.
St. Barnar,d we met as we chatted with a local.
Historic building.
Many towns we visited in Norway were known as fishing villages.
With low tide, more of these old steps were revealed.
Another historic building.
Colorful buildings along waterways are always a delight to see in Norway.
The old and the new in this modernized town.
Not unlike many cities throughout the world, graffiti is popular.

More will follow tomorrow.

Day 16…Norway Cruise…Sea day…One day and counting…Packing day…

Not our photo. Due to the time of year as “The Land of the Midnight Sun,” we couldn’t see the Northern Lights but Norway was filled with other wonders we savored.

Note: I cannot add more photos today, other than the above, due to the poor WiFi signal aboard the ship. Once we arrive in Nevada in early September, we can post our photos from Edinburgh and this cruise. Of course, we’ll continue to try to add photos each day! We are sorry for the inconvenience. Perhaps, when this cruise ends, we can start posting photos while on the upcoming Celebrity cruise in 4 days. We’ll continue taking photos and writing text daily, if possible.

This morning, before 8:00 am, when the laundry room on our deck was about to open, Tom was waiting outside the door for it to open to get our clothes washed and dried. Others were there waiting, and he was the second person in line. With six washers and dryers, with one of each not working, it was good he got the early start.

Now, as I write here at 10:40, the laundry is done, folded, and ready for packing, which we’ll complete by the end of today, leaving our bags outside the door tonight to be picked up for tomorrow’s disembarkation. We’re scheduled to depart the ship by 8:30 am and have booked a shuttle to the airport in Amsterdam. Our flight isn’t until about 2:10 pm.

Fortunately, the flight is only 3½ hours long. Icelandair has screens and free movies at each seat which helps the flying time pass quickly. Once we arrive in Reykjavik, we’ll take a taxi to the hotel. Having toured the city in depth on a past cruise, we don’t intend to do any sightseeing during the less than 18 hours in the city.

On Friday, we’ll board Celebrity Summit at noon and be on our way. It will be different to be on a ship with about 2000 passengers as opposed to the 567 passengers on this ship, Azamara Journey. Surely, in no time, we’ll be used to the differences and blend in as we always do, enjoying many features of the quality cruise line.

Celebrity may not be relatively as upscale as Azamara, but it has everything we need and works well for our choices of activities and events. Now that we have the trivia bug, surely, we’ll get involved in those events as well. With $450 in cabin credit with drinks, tips, and WiFi for two included, we’ll find a way to use up our balance as well as the balance on this ship.

At this point, we don’t book specific tours since walking long distances is very difficult for me. We’ve spent plenty of time walking as much as I could in the various ports of call in Norway and will do so again as we embark on this next cruise. It’s very disappointing that I can’t walk far after the two surgeries on my legs four years ago.

But this disability is not keeping us from carrying on with our travels with gusto. I do the best I can do. It’s not as if my legs get tired, but instead, they get extremely painful due to nerve damage. However, I can do many aspects of our travels considering how far I can walk at any given time.

Neither of us feels as if we are missing out. Our lives are rich and fulfilling with the joys of nature, socializing, and visiting new places throughout the world. We plan to continue on for as long as we possibly can. Life is good, and we are content.

Tomorrow, we’ll prepare a post when we arrive at the airport in Amsterdam, awaiting our flight.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, August 16, 2013:

Walking gingerly is a must on these steep stone steps to the basement. The HomeAway listing for this house clearly stated that this property is not intended for the older population due to the many steps required to get from one end to another down the long hallway and the tricky access to the patio on the right of this stairwell. For more photos, please click here.

Day 14…Norway Cruise…Trondheim, Norway..Final port of call…Another great evening of conversation and entertainment…

Not our photo. Trondheim, Norway, is our final port of call until we reach Amsterdam in a few days.

Note: I cannot add more photos today, other than the above, due to the poor WiFi signal aboard the ship. Once we arrive in Nevada in early September, we can post our photos from Edinburgh and this cruise. Of course, we’ll continue to try to add photos each day! We are sorry for the inconvenience. Perhaps, when this cruise ends, we can start posting photos while on the upcoming Celebrity cruise in 4 days. We’ll continue taking photos and writing text daily, if possible.

Today, our ship will dock in Trondheim, Norway, as a result of me not feeling up to it, we didn’t get off the ship in Trondheim, although we continued with the daily activities aboard the ship.

After trivia, at 5:00, we headed to our cabin, dressed for the evening, and were ready to partake in the events of the evening with one entertainment venue after another; it was pretty enjoyable.

Each evening at dinner in Discoveries Restaurant on Deck 5, we’ve sat at a sharing table, often with others we’ve shared with on other evenings and, like last night, with mostly new people we hadn’t met in the past. With only 567 passengers on this cruise, it’s easy to repeatedly run into the same passengers.

After dinner, we headed to the Spirits Bar in The Den, chatted and listened to live music, and then to a live show in the Cabaret. The performer was a comedian/magician who proved to be quite entertaining. At 10:30, we returned to the Spirits Bar for another fun round of general knowledge trivia, which we once again lost.

Neither of us is great at trivia, although we usually get many answers correct. Some passengers play in larger groups, which significantly improves their odds. But, more often, we play alone, giggling over our missed answers and lack of ability to recall music and pop culture from the 70s and 80s. With both of us being parents at a young age, with the accompanying responsibilities, we didn’t pay much attention to what was happening in the world. But, we often surprise ourselves with some answers.

Win or lose, it’s fun to play, and we’ll continue to do so on the remaining days and nights on this cruise and our upcoming cruise beginning on August 18.

Tomorrow, we will write about our visit to Trondheim and again try to post a photo or two. We’re not expecting much luck on that front, but the nine days in Henderson, Nevada, is coming up quickly, and we’ll be able to get caught up at that time. Following is the information from Azarmara’s brochure about Trondheim:

“Trondheim, situated in Norway, is a historic city known for its rich culture, strong architecture, and picturesque landscapes. It serves as a hub of education and research, with the renowned Norwegian University of Science and Technology located here. Trondheim’s charming blend of modernity and tradition, along with its vibrant arts and music scene, makes it a captivating destination for both residents and visitors..”

As typically happens at this point on a cruise, passengers start coming down with colds and flu. This has often happened to us. So far, so good, but fingers crossed we don’t get anything on this or the next cruise. We avoid close contact with others and frequently wash our hands. There’s only been one case of Covid-19 so far, and we continue to hope and pray there is no more.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, August 14, 2013:

No photos were posted on this date ten years ago today. For the text, please click here.

Day 13…Norway Cruise…Bodo, Norway…Car rental in Nevada?…

Bodo, Norway
Not our photo. The town of Bodo has many modern buildings against its snow-covered mountains.

Note: I cannot add more photos today, other than the above, due to the poor WiFi signal aboard the ship. Once we arrive in Nevada in early September, we can post our photos from Edinburgh and this cruise. Of course, we’ll continue to try to add photos each day! We are sorry for the inconvenience. Perhaps, when this cruise ends, we can start posting photos while on the upcoming Celebrity cruise in 6 days. We’ll continue taking photos and writing text daily, if possible.

This cruise ends in four days. Have we loved it so far? The food, the people, the ambiance, and the entertainment have been excellent but not necessarily better than we experienced on other cruises. Would we sail on Azamara again? Yes, but only after they improve their WiFi.

My frustration over being unable to upload photos to our daily post has been annoying. It will require me to spend a lot of time when we get to Nevada on September 1, editing and uploading the many photos we’ve yet to post. Although the only things we’ll want to do in Nevada are collect mail at our mailing service, renew our driver’s licenses at the busy DMV in Henderson (we have appointments), and spend time with Richard and a few friends in Las Vegas.

After that, we’ll be able to relax. I aim to get the photos uploaded in the first few days, leaving my mind free to relax and enjoy the time spent in our state of residency. Yesterday, we rented a car in Las Vegas, which we hadn’t planned to do, instead using Uber for our few appointments. But prices had dropped since we last checked several weeks ago.

We were surprised by the lower car rental prices when we arrive on Thursday, August 31, Labor Day weekend. But we were all over it when we could rent a car for nine days for under $400. Formerly, prices were running around $100 daily, which was quite an improvement.

Now, as this cruise winds down, we feel more like relaxing and winding down for our next adventure, the cruise to Greenland. Today, we’re doing laundry in the provided washers and dryers down the corridor from our cabin. They even provide laundry pods, all at no charge, which is an excellent perk for us instead of paying for laundry.

On the upcoming Celebrity cruise, with our Captain’s Club rewards, we are entitled to two laundry bags during the entire cruise. We’ll likely have clothes to wash once we arrive in Nevada, but we’ll figure that out. For us, laundry is always a concern when we don’t have a home we’re returning to at the end of any cruise or tour. Of course, a washer is a priority at all of our holiday homes, although a dryer is not.

Today, our ship is docked in the village of Bodo, described as follows from Azamara’s brochure:

“Bodo, nestled on Norway’s northern coast, offers a captivating blend of natural wonders and modern charm. Embrace the midnight sun during summer and witness, witness the Northern Lights in winter, and explore scenic landscapes. With a rich maritime history, vibrant arts scene, and access to Lofoten Islands, Bodo is a gateway to Arctic adventures and a destination of captivating allure.”

Last night, we had a fun evening in the Den (Spirits Bar) when the cruise director and his assistant provided delightful entertainment. However, we drifted off to our cabin by 10:00 pm to watch a movie and relax, ending in a great night’s sleep.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, August 13, 2013:

I read this book when it came out, which made me acutely aware of not sitting too much during our world travels. For the story, please click here.

Day 12…Norway Cruise…Harstad, Norway..

Note: I cannot add a single photo today due to the poor WiFi signal aboard the ship. Once we arrive in Nevada in early September, we can post our photos from Edinburgh and this cruise. Of course, we’ll continue to try to add photos each day! We are sorry for the inconvenience. Perhaps, when this cruise ends, we can start posting photos while on the upcoming Celebrity cruise in 6 days. We’ll continue taking photos and writing text daily, if possible.

The past 24 hours were relatively uneventful. We had delightful conversations with other passengers, wandered about the area and the ship, and enjoyed a few excellent meals, as always. We attended a few live entertainment venues, one, a fantastic comedian in the Cabaret on Deck 5, and live music in the Living Room and Spirits Bar.

The entertainment aboard ships is generally quite good, and we partake, especially when we hear from other passengers that a particular show is worth watching. Typically, we don’t attend every night’s entertainment in the Cabaret, but so far, when we have, it’s been good. We prefer listening to live bands at night in the various venues and even the songs played by the DJ in between sets.

Today, we are in Harstad, Norway, and will venture out later in the day once we get today’s post uploaded and after I’ve had lunch in the buffet around noon. For several days, Tom has been having breakfast while I have lunch. There seem to be more options for me at lunchtime than at breakfast. Tom goes to breakfast alone while I am getting ready for the day but joins me at lunch in the buffet, even if he’s not eating anything.

Today our ship is docked in the town of Harstad, Norway, which is described as follows in the ship’s brochure:

“Nestled in northern Norway, Harstad is a coastal town renowned for its stunning fjords, cultural richness, and outdoor activities. Explore historic sites like Trodenes Church and Museum, indulge in local cuisine, and take in picturesque landscapes. With a blend of history and natural beauty, Hardstad offers an enchanting Artic experience that captures the heart of Norway’s north.”

Almost every afternoon at 4:00 pm, we head to the Living Room for two trivia games, one at 4:00 and the other 30 minutes later. Each day’s topics are different and unrelated. Since we’ve been away for so long and missed so much of pop culture and music, we’re not as good as we were as a team 20 or 30 years ago. Plus, I suppose as we’ve aged, we’re not as good as we may have been years ago.

It’s not as if either of us have any signs of dementia. We don’t.  Actually, our memories are excellent of what we’ve been doing over the past almost 11 years since we began traveling. But, prior to that, it is a little less clear. Perhaps, with all the stimulation and new information we’ve absorbed all these years of travel, the past has become less at the forefront of our minds.

Although we’ve yet to win a game among the many passengers who playing in large groups, we still enjoy playing and do a lot of laughing between us when reviewing our wrong answers, let alone our shock when we answer many correctly. In any case, its fun to play, and we will continue to do so until the end of the cruise.

Today is Saturday, and we disembark the ship next Thursday when we fly to Reykjavik the same day, sailing away on Celebrity Summit the following day. No doubt the fun will continue as it has over the past two weeks since we boarded Azamara Journey for the Norway cruise.

Soon, we’ll head to Window’s Cafe on Deck 9 for my lunch. Tom doesn’t usually eat again but is happy to sit with me, which I appreciate very much.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, August 12, 2023:

We’re reminded that fall is near in Tuscany by the pumpkins and gourds in our yard. For more photos, please click here.