A walk in the hilly neighborhood…

Vegetables for sale in a front garden.  We selected a zucchini and a small pumpkin.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth:

   “Falmouth was originally known as Smithwick, home to the Killigrew family at Arwenack Manor. In 1613 John Killigrew began to build houses around the harbor, despite opposition from the ancient towns of Helston, Penryn, and Truro, and a new town began to emerge, split into two hamlets called Smithicke and Pennycomequick. Finally, in 1660, King Charles II decreed that they should be known as Falmouth.”
Three days ago, I was official “off” the heart medication Bisoprolol, which caused severe side effects, including difficulty breathing, difficulty walking, extreme exhaustion, and a constant feeling of general malaise.
This is the sign for the produce garden products.  We dropped the appropriate coins in the letterbox after we’d selected a few vegetables.
The side effects of the medication withdrawal may include dangerously high heart rate, excessively high blood pressure, breathing problems, and severe palpitations.  
During this gradual withdrawal process, I experienced infrequent episodes of all of the above but for short periods only, no more than a few minutes at most.  Knowing the possible withdrawal symptoms, I stayed calm and made my way through it all.
Plant prices were marked and offered for sale in the homeowner’s front garden.
Within minutes, my readings would return to normal.  Once I was down to ¼ of the original dose, these side effects dissipated completely. I stayed on that dose for another week, and three days ago, I stopped completely.
I hadn’t planned to reduce the dose while on the cruise, but since the process seemed to be going well, I continued, checking my pulse and blood pressure a few times each day, which were normal except for one night early on. As I patiently continued, those ill effects ceased.
This sign is located in the garden by the plants for sale.
Among others I recently stopped, this drug may remain in one’s cells for many months, still serving up side effects. I hope I will make it through the upcoming months without incident and be free of these toxic drugs.
(If you are prescribed any of these mentioned drugs, please see your physician for changing or stopping your medication. Some patients must be hospitalized during the weaning process when doing so may cause a heart attack. Proceed with caution. We are not offering any medical advice, nor are we qualified to do so).
A Black Rose Aeonium.
The literature included with this last drug stated three days after gradual withdrawal, the incidence of side effects may begin to lessen. I started noticing a dramatic improvement yesterday on day 2.

As a matter of fact, for the first time since the surgery on February 12, 2019, Tom and I went for a walk in the neighborhood, taking the photos included here yesterday and today (post found here).

No, during the 30-minute walk, I wasn’t free of pain in my legs, but I did considerably better than I’d done while on tour in St. Petersburg. The hills are steep in most Falmouth based on the terracing of homes for the outstanding ocean views. Walking on the local streets is a challenge for most people, let alone me in my weakened condition.  

Fuzzy burgundy blossom was spotted on the walk. Any ideas what this may be?
It’s not so much that I run out of breath when walking but more so having to deal with the severe pain in my legs. Now, as I continue to progress, we’ll walk more and more, taking advantage of those hills to aid in my recovery. I only push myself as far as I can go, frequently stopping as needed.  

Today, we’ll stay in on a rainy day. There’s no point in risking a fall on the cobblestone streets in the rain. Instead, I’m busy around the house, organizing and repacking my messy suitcase. We leave here in nine days for the following location, but fortunately, we’ll be driving, not flying.
We made a reservation for the “Sunday Roast” which we’d had at a restaurant in South Kensington, London, in 2014 at the Andover Arms.  Here’s the link from that date.  Fantastic meal.  I hope to be so once again.  Check back on Monday for details.
With the towel situation resolved and a bottle of Prosecco for our inconvenience delivered by a wonderful neighbor, Sheena, we’re willing to provide a good review if everything continues as it appears from here on.  

We love the beautiful location, and the house is fulfilling our needs with good Wi-Fi, constant electricity, running water, and a very comfortable bed. The fridge is tiny, but we’ve adapted, and every three days, we shop for perishables.

Have a pleasant day and evening.

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2018:
We visited the Railway Museum in Livingstone, Zambia. A steam engine reminds us of “Thomas” trains, appropriately named, built-in 1919.  For more photos, please click here.

Struggling with sorrowful situations…

The Artina Phoenix Reisen, with 1260 passengers, built in 1984, is a passenger ship, arrived in the Falmouth port this morning.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About Falmouth:

“Falmouth Harbour and the Carrick Roads form the third deepest natural harbor globally and the deepest in Western Europe.”

It’s a glorious morning in Falmouth, England. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and a cruise ship is docked at the Falmouth Pier while passengers disembark to savor this stunning town and surrounding areas.  

We were able to take a photo of a portion of the ship, part of which is obscured by a building. Perhaps later, we’ll walk down to the road for a better photo. But, today, our hearts are heavy.

As the sun began to rise this morning, Tom captured this photo with the sun’s reflection in the bay.

Someone we love has been diagnosed with cancer, and we pray she’ll find a path to recovery and healing. Our love, hearts, and prayers are with her until we can be at her side in 73 days. (To protect her privacy, we aren’t disclosing who this is and the depth and breadth of her condition).

As we’ve learned, particularly in the past seven months, joyfully traveling the world in love with life and one another doesn’t make us exempt or free from the sadness associated with disappointment, heartbreak, and sorrow.  

Sunrise with more reflections in the bay.

Often, others perceive our lives of world travels to primarily consist of the pleasure and fulfillment one might experience on a non-stop holiday/vacation.  Not the case.  

As “they” say, “Everywhere we go, there we are.” There’s no escaping the realities of life, much over which we have little to no control. As I struggle to re-learn to walk less tentatively, I realize, perhaps for the first time in years, that regardless of a degree of sheer will and determination, not everything can be overcome.

Sunrise in Falmouth Bay.

Oh yes, some theories promise that healing can come from meditation, mindfulness, and prayer. And, perhaps, there is a particular element of fact in these modalities when we exercise our hearts and minds to heal and ultimately recover.

Is the reality such that “we can’t control what comes our way?” But we can control how we react to what comes our way. And, can it be that our reaction has a profound effect on the outcome?  With that, I agree.

All Saints Church in the center of the town.

I’ve been no hero or example of strength and fortitude over this past almost seven months filled with pain, worry, and frustration. Many have so kindly written praising me for “being tough and strong.” I appreciate these comments wholeheartedly (no pun intended).

However, my reality remains…I merely have done my best to get through this, emotionally and physically intact. That’s all any of us can do. We have the option to “give up” or continue. But most of us have a robust commitment to ourselves and those we love to heal and recover.

A clock atop the Packet Quay, where vacation rentals are located.

I will admit I did exercise a high degree of self-control to avoid self-pity and hopelessness by not complaining aloud. The story can be shared but not in an attempt to elicit sympathy, although a tinge of compassion goes a long way when I haven’t been able to keep up the pace.

Over the past months, I’ve seen this compassion from our readers, expressing a deep understanding and compassion over my inability to write at times, take photos, and get out sightseeing to add depth and interest to our site.

Alternate view of the cruise ship in port.

Believe me. If it hadn’t been for all of you, I could easily have become a “couch potato” lounging day and night. Instead, I was keenly aware that our readers expected a “little action,” thus motivating me to get out and do more and more. This proved to be a blessing in disguise.

For those who are worrying about a loved one’s illness, there’s no easy answer.  Not everyone wants to include other family members and friends during a difficult time. We must respect this and let them know we care. It’s not about us and how we react. It’s all about them and the process that lies ahead and how they choose to handle it.

Our love and prayers to our loved ones and yours, who struggle to find peace and resolution in their challenges.Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 27, 2018:

Lots of kudus by the steps to the veranda.  We couldn’t hand out pellets quickly enough.  For more photos, please click here.

We made it to Falmouth, England and were in for a few pleasant surprises…

This is the view from our veranda in Falmouth, England.  We couldn’t be more thrilled to be here.

As much as I’d like to do a whole post tonight, I don’t have it in me. Only minutes ago, we finished our first homemade dinner in Falmouth, England (we both were too pooped to go out to eat), and now it is almost 2100 hours, 9:00 pm.

We’ve yet to unpack and start laundry since when we arrived. We had to grocery shop and found converters/adapters for our plug-ins when nothing we had on hand worked. Mission accomplished, along with the purchase of a SIM card for my phone.

We rushed back to our new temporary home, tried to figure out how to use the complicated “hob,”  only finding answers from a YouTube video. We’ve run into this issue in the past, but finally, the chicken breasts were baking in the oven.

Tom’s rice was cooking on the stovetop along with my pre-cut stir fry veggies, all of which we purchased at the well-stocked Tesco store in the charming holiday town of Falmouth. 

I assure you, we’ll be heading there after some much-needed rest and taking photos for days on end.  It truly is a wonder. With the final weekend before school starts again on Monday, it was packed with tourists.

By Monday or Tuesday, it will thin out, and we’ll be able to leisurely take our time to enjoy this magical place and walk the hilly streets based on how much I can do.

So, for now, I’m wrapping this up, but once we get laundry started in the morning, I’ll be back downstairs sitting on the comfy sofa surrounded by fluffy decorative pillows, anxious to share more with all of you.

Have a fabulous evening and enjoy a sneak peek at the above photo of our outstanding view of Falmouth Harbour. Wow!

Photo from one year ago today, August 23, 2018:
We’ve rarely been this close to a waterbuck since they remain close to the river, impossible for us to access.  What a handsome animal! For more Chobe photos, please click here.

It takes a few days to adapt…What are the adaptations?…

John, the fish guy with Tom.  John will stop by once a week. Last night I had the haddock, which was fabulous without a single bone and the fresh crabmeat.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland” 
“Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle. This is because of its lush greenery and rolling hills. The country receives a lot of rain each year, which keeps the grass green and the plants blooming.”

Regardless of how well equipped a holiday home may be, there are specific nuances to which we must adjust each time we move to a different country and subsequently begin living in an unfamiliar holiday home.

No holiday home is perfect. For us, the primary factors when we book a house is its location, price, views, WiFi, and other amenities. A good kitchen is a must, along with laundry facilities, at the least a washer. (We gave up interest in clothes dryers shortly after we began traveling).

Neither of us cares to live in an apartment unless it’s necessary, such as in big cities where private homes are either too costly or too far from the hubbub of the town, which we may explore on foot.

Hotels are another matter. Location is critical for access to sightseeing, along with price, breakfast, and free WiFi, if possible. We do not book hotels where we must pay for WiFi.

Freshly caught fish in John’s truck.  He may have different options each week. The crab meat was delicious when I sauteed it in a bit of Kerry Gold butter.

This morning Tom booked a hotel for August 9 to August 11, 2019, when we’ll have two nights to spend in Amsterdam before the upcoming Baltic Cruise.  Location was significant mainly for walking and accessibility to the port.

Amsterdam is very expensive. Using our accumulated credits for past bookings on Hotels.com here on our site, the cost was still Euro 364, US $408 for the two nights at a conveniently located and highly rated hotel. We selected a canal view when the scenery in Amsterdam is important to us.

However, holiday homes and hotels always seem to have some type of issues that impact our stay and require us to adapt to the nuances. This home in Connemara, Ireland, is no exception.

The most substantial issue is that the three bedrooms, including the master, are located upstairs, requiring climbing an open wooden spiral staircase.  Not only are the steps a bit slippery with the finely finished wood, but they are steep.

As mentioned earlier, Tom and I agreed I wouldn’t go up and down the spiral staircase other than once per day. He placed a plastic bin at the top and bottom of the steps to allow me to add items to go up or down, which he’ll handle.

Fishing boats in the bay.

This wasn’t an issue for me when we booked this house, but since the surgery on my legs, I’m unstable until I build up my strength and balance. I’m working on both of these each day, by walking no less than 6000 steps per day or more some days. After all, I was only starting walking about 10 days ago, after lying down with my legs up for months. Slowly my strength is building.

Another issue with this house is the double bed in the master bedroom, with no larger bed in the other two bedrooms. Typically, this would work for us, but with the necessity of finding a comfortable position for my leg, I’ve slept in the twin bed and the bedroom the first few nights. This is unusual for us. 

Tonight, we’ll try to sleep together again, and if a problem, we’ll have no choice but to sleep separately during the balance of our 90-day stay in Ireland. If the bed were a queen, such as we had in Marloth Park, there would be no issue.

Another concern is the tiny below-counter refrigerator in the kitchen without a freezer. Another fridge is located in the laundry room with a very small freezer, enough for our ice cube trays, a bag of ice, and a few packages of meat or chicken.

When the fish guy comes weekly, I’ll eat fish for two days due to lack of freezer space, as I did last night making a fantastic salad with haddock, crabmeat, and tons of vegetables. Tom had a taco salad. Running back and forth to the two refrigerators is good exercise for me but annoying. 

Shopping for groceries is challenging when we can only purchase enough to fit into the tiny freezer. Nor can we make larger quantities of our favorite dishes to freeze and have for dinner on the days we’ve been out sightseeing. The refrigerator space between the two is sufficient to handle our cold products.

Closer view of boat hauling fishing equipment.

Otherwise, the kitchen has every conceivable pot, pan, gadget, small appliance, dinnerware and flatware, and spices that we can use. The knives are wonderfully sharp. There are plenty of dish towels and a newer dishwasher. There’s even food in the cupboard (very few items we’ll use) and condiments in the little fridge.

As for the pluses, the views from almost every window are stunning, overlooking a bay surrounded by mountains. The WiFi signal is superb, the flat-screen TV set up with satellite and many channels (we only watch the news) and there’s an upright piano.

No longer will we need to watch our favorite shows on my laptop. We hooked up our HDMI cord and can watch our shows from the living room. We could have done this in Marloth Park, but it was always too hot to do so comfortably.

The furniture in the living areas is in excellent condition and exceedingly comfortable. We have two areas when we can lounge and work on our laptops. It would be nice if there were an ottoman on which I could put my feet in the evenings, but the big comfy chairs do not have this, nor have we been able to find a comfortable alternative.

The TV is located at the end of the living room, preventing us from seeing it sitting on the sofa. We may ask the owner if we can move the furniture around to put my feet up at night.

There are few annoying insects other than midges (tiny biting insects) at sunrise and sunset. Of course, as we often experience throughout the world, there are no screens on the windows. If we want fresh air, we must risk flies and midges entering the house.

Although full of vegetation, the lot on which the house is located is impossible to use with uneven land, bushes, and wild plants. There is a picnic table on the side of the house which we’ll seldom use when it is fairly cool outdoors. 

Down the road, if I start drinking a little red wine, as recommended by the doctors, we may sit at that table at happy hour. For now, neither of us is drinking any alcohol since Tom never drinks alone, nor does he miss it.

Once we get a little more settled, we begin the process. We’re quite a distance from some of the areas we’ll research, but others are within an hour’s drive. Overall, we are content and look forward to researching Tom’s ancestry, which motivated our coming to Ireland.

Tomorrow, I’ll work on the documents to apply for the waiver from our status as “undesirables” in South Africa, hopefully enabling us to return in 2021 instead of the five-year ban we received from immigration at the Johannesburg airport last Saturday.

This morning a cleaner will come to clean the house. We were surprised at the high rates charged by cleaners at Euro 20, US $22.41 per hour. That is more than we’ve ever paid for a house cleaner, although these may be the current rates in the US and other world areas. We’d considered having her clean the house twice a week, but instead, we decided on three hours once a week.

After she’s done cleaning, we’re taking off to check out Carna, another quaint town with a few shops. It’s only five kilometers from here and may prove to be handy for odds and ends we may need between shopping trips to the distant Clifden (which requires a 90-minute round trip) but has a fantastic SuperValu market. We plan to shop in Clifden once a week.

That’s all for today, folks! We’ll continue to get out to take photos as often as possible. For today, we didn’t have many photos to share, but we will be heading out after a while to see what we can roust up on this cloudy day.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2018:

A small but substantially packed ferry was arriving in Zambia from Botswana while we waited. This reminded us of the ferry boat when we arrived in Mombasa, Kenya, in September 2013. Click here for that post. For more photos from the above Chobe visit, please click here.

Road trip…Port Douglas…Lots to share after a perfect day…Photos shown in progression…

Every beach along the way has its own personality. They may all look like sand, rock, and water, but we find each one to have its own unique scenery.

Since arriving in Trinity Beach on June 11th, it’s been in our minds after many recommendations from Aussies we met on the most recent cruise that a visit to Port Douglas was definitely worthwhile.

We had traveled part of the way toward Port Douglas several weeks ago, posting photos. Thus, we began taking photos after that point to avoid repeats.

We couldn’t agree more. After uploading yesterday’s post I was particularly interested in heading out on this must-do outing. On a whim, I suggested to Tom that we make the trip at long last.

Some beaches have massive expanses of sand and others have less sand and more rocky shorelines.

In minutes, we were heading out the door with a container of iced tea,  our mugs, extra camera batteries which we always keep charged, binoculars, the hot spot and unlocked phone ready to use for navigation if we needed it in a pinch which we never did.

Up until yesterday, we’d only seen a few people on the beach such as in this photo. However, in the days to come, we’ll be sharing surprising photos of a packed beach.

We always take along our small insulated bag just in case we stop for perishable items we may find along the way. Although we didn’t purchase a thing other than fuel, we came home to leftovers and time for a quick few hands of GIN before dinner.

We saw Double Island in the background.

It was a perfect day, returning with almost 200 photos most of which I’ve already perused, deleting those we didn’t need to keep. It’s always challenging determining which photos we’ll choose to post. As usual, we’ll decide as we post over the next several days.

This beach was covered with rock and wild vegetation.

The coastline drive from Trinity Beach to Port Douglas consists of many areas of very steep winding mountain roads. If rushing, one could make the trip in a period of shortly over an hour moving as fast as the posted kilometer signs or, as we did over a considerably longer period by often stopping to admire the scenery and take endless photos.

We had to travel quite a distance to no longer see Double Island, which we can see from our veranda with Scout Island to the far right.

We were in no rush. Our goal was to see as much as we could and return on the steep winding highway before dark. When we returned home before dark we were pleased for a great day out and also for one more desirable experience in visiting this area of Queensland. 

The sand is so fine on the beaches that after taking a few photos, I have to gently wipe the miniature grains off of the lens.

The drive along the Coral Sea was beautiful on a mostly sunny day. As typical in this ocean climate, the sun was in and out all day long. We’ve yet to experience a day that remains sunny without an intermittent cloud cover throughout the day.

Today’s and future day’s photos will be posted in the order we took them.

Here’s some information we borrowed from this online site about Port Douglas:

“Port Douglas is a town in Far North Queensland, Australia, approximately 70 km (40 mi) north of Cairns. Its permanent population was 3,205 at the time of the 2011 census.  The town’s population can often double, however, with the influx of tourists during the peak tourism season May–September. The town is named in honour of former Premier of Queensland, John Douglas. Port Douglas developed quickly based on the mining industry. Other parts of the area were established with timber cutting occurring in the area surrounding the Daintree River and with settlement starting to occur on lots around the Mossman River by 1880.

Previous names for the town included Terrigal, Island Point, Port Owen, and Salisbury. The town is situated adjacent to two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

The Port Douglas township was established in 1877 after the discovery of gold at Hodgkinson River by James Venture Mulligan. Port Douglas Post Office opened on 1 September 1877.  It grew quickly, and at its peak Port Douglas had a population of 12,000 and 27 hotels. With the construction of the Mulligan Highway, it serviced towns as far away as Herberton.

When the Kuranda Railway from Cairns to Kuranda was completed in 1891, the importance of Port Douglas dwindled along with its population. A cyclone in 1911 which demolished all but two buildings in the town also had a significant impact. At its nadir in 1960 the town, by then little more than a fishing village had a population of 100.

On 4 September 2006, entertainer a.k.a. “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died at Batt Reef, off Port Douglas, after a stingray barb went through his chest into his heart while Irwin and his crew were filming a documentary called The Ocean’s Deadliest.[10] Irwin was filmed snorkeling directly above the stingray when it lashed him with its tail, embedding its toxic barb. Irwin died almost immediately. This event was widely reported both in Australia and overseas.[11]

In 2012, Port Douglas was the pole position for a Total Solar Eclipse. This phenomenon took place at 6:38 am on 14 November 2012. The total eclipse was visible from approximately Innisfail in the south to Cedar Bay National Park in the North. Port Douglas was right in its path. Thousands traveled to Port Douglas to see the event.”

Many beaches offer shady spots for those preferring to be out of the sun. And yet, we seldom see people on the beaches as in this case of this pristine Ellis Beach.

Unquestionably, Port Douglas is an ideal tourist town. We drove past numerous fabulous resort, hotels including some which were quaint and tucked away in the forest while others were lined up along the main roads for quick and easy access to restaurants, shops and attractions.

We were looking forward to seeing the renowned Four Mile Beach, a major attraction in Port Douglas.

The downtown area which we’ll share in photos over the next several days was lined with shops, dining establishments, tourist planning centers and travel agencies many of which were on Macrossan Street and Wharf Street. A shopping enthusiast could easily spend days wandering up and down the main street in downtown Port Douglas.

When we spotted the sign for this resort, we decided to drive in off of the highway to see it.

The waterfront, pier and marina were stops we thoroughly enjoyed stopping and easily parking to get out and explore. Most likely, we parked no less than a dozen times to get out of the car to check out the scenery. We saw as much in one day as many tourists may have seen over a period of days. 

The grounds at the entrance to Thula Beach Nature Reserve weren’t used for any purpose, only kept up for viewing

We decided against visiting any of the fee-based tourist attractions. The crowds, the queues, the waiting, and the cost kept our interests focused on perusing the naturally beautiful scenery that Port Douglas has to offer which as you’ll see are many. 

We couldn’t resist this view as we entered the grounds of Thula Nature Reserve to check it out.

We’d researched online as we always do to ensure we’d hit the highlights that appealed to us which you’ll see here beginning today. There wasn’t a single venue we wanted to see that we hadn’t.

Back on the highway, we were close to entering the Port Douglas area.

We have a few more road trips in mind over our remaining time in Trinity Beach. Currently, on day 48 of 88 days, we’re beyond halfway of our time in this area. With many booked upcoming cruises sailing the perimeter of the continent, we’ll have plenty of additional opportunities to visit many of the highlights of Australia we’ll surely have missed along the way.

Through the car’s windshield, we spotted one of the first resorts in Port Douglas. We had arrived! We’ll be back tomorrow with lots more.

Please stop back tomorrow for more photos from our road trip to Port Douglas, its wonderful town, and more.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2014:

We’d made an error in posting the correct one-year-ago-date a few days ago. Please click here for the correct post from one year ago today as we wrapped up our time in Madeira.