Ship damage repaired…New York Harbor sail away…

This photo illustrates how the gangway was jammed into the ship.

In six days, we’ll arrive in Fort Lauderdale. This has been a fantastic cruise for us. We’ve met many interesting people, enjoyed hours-long lively conversations, dined on excellent food, and as always, have had a fun and playful time together, often staying up well past midnight.

Not used to such late nights, every four nights or so, we try to get to bed a little earlier and “catch up” on sleep. “They,” say you can’t make up for lost sleep, but we both find ourselves rejuvenated and refreshed after a long night’s rest.

A crane was used to hook a cable to relieve tension on the jammed gangway to
extricate it from the ship.

Need I say, we’re having such a good time! I am feeling well, able to walk up and downstairs when the elevators are slow or packed, and each day I’m accumulating plenty of steps on my fitness device from frequently walking down the long hallways and walkways on the ship.

Today, we’re in Boston for a shorter layover than initially planned due to yesterday’s late departure from New York with the damage incurred to the ship from the jammed gangway, as illustrated in the photos.  

Finally, the ship was freed, and we were on our way, waving to the workers who assisted in the process.

Again, without warm clothing with us and the overly long walks required, neither of us had any interest in visiting the big city. We aren’t “city people,” and although we appreciate the many good aspects of big cities, we can’t push ourselves to tour them from the ship.

Besides, we don’t generally cruise to see big cities. We cruise for the convenience of getting from one location to another to avoid flying and for social interaction. 

“The Colgate Clock is an octagonal clock facing the Hudson River near Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey. It has a diameter of 50 feet. It is currently situated 400 meters south of where the headquarters of consumer products conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive used to be sited before it left the area in 1985.”

We prefer to visit other countries on our own time and in our way, primarily by living in an area, among the locals and experiencing the full “flavor” of the location, its natural environment, its culture, and its people.

This particular cruise has fulfilled our expectations, and now with only six nights remaining until we arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, we look forward to the next leg of our journey, spending two months in the US visiting our family and friends.

Ellis Island…Ellis Island is a federally owned island in New York Harbor, within New York and New Jersey, containing a museum and former immigration inspection station of the same name. As the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954, it processed approximately 12 million immigrants to the United States through the Port of New York and New Jersey. Today, the island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, a U.S. national monument. The north side of the island hosts a museum of immigration, accessible only by ferry. The island’s south side, including the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, is abandoned but accessible to the public through guided tours. In the 19th century, Ellis Island was the site of Fort Gibson, a component of the fortifications of New York Harbor. It later became a naval magazine for storing artillery. The first inspection station opened in 1892 and was destroyed by fire in 1897. The second station opened in 1900 and housed facilities for medical quarantines as well as processing immigrants. After 1924, Ellis Island was used primarily as a detention center; during World War I and World War II, its facilities were also used by the United States military. Following the immigration station’s closure, the buildings languished for several years until they partially reopened in 1976. The main building and adjacent structures were completely renovated in 1990.”
We have a lot to do while we’re in the US, including arranging for new passports, acquiring visas for India, replacing our driver’s licenses in Nevada, purchasing new laptops and phones, purchasing and replacing some of our clothing and supplies.
In addition, we’ll both have our teeth cleaned in Nevada, and I am planning to book an appointment for a heart check-up while in Minnesota or Nevada. We’ll see how that all rolls out.
As we sailed past the Statue of Liberty…The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States. The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left-hand carries, a tabula was inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken shackle and chain lie at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the recent national abolition of slavery.”

All of these tasks will occur amid spending quality time with our kids and grandkids, siblings, and friends. On top of that, right now, we are perusing options for the two months we’ll spend in India after the Maharajah Express train tour in early February. It will be a busy time.  

How the time flies! We can only pray for good health to continue our journey with the joy, freedom, and excitement we are feeling today.

May your life be filled with joy!

Photo from one year ago today, November 2, 2018:
A lioness and her kudu kill on the bank of the Crocodile River. For more photos, please click here.

Paris in some out of the way places…The charm of the city continues to intrigue…

The Paris Statue of Liberty, which is the second of two replicas, is much smaller than the one in New York Harbor, USA. See the quote below for details.
An inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Unbeknownst to us, we discovered that there are two replicas of the Statue of Liberty in New York’s harbor, the second of which is shown here, which we visited yesterday. See the link or quote below for details:
“The first (original) statue stands in the Jardin du Luxembourg (48°50′46.9746″N 2°19′59.36″E): an information panel on the pedestal claims that it is a bronze model used by Bartholdi as part of the preparatory work for the New York statue; the artist offered it to the Luxembourg museum in 1900 and it was placed in the park in 1906.[1] The date written on this statue’s tablet (where the New York statue has “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI”) is “15 November 1889” (November 15, 1889), the date at which the larger Parisian replica was inaugurated.

Pont de Grenelle

This second Statue of Liberty in Paris is near the Grenelle Bridge on the Île aux Cygnes, a man-made island in the River Seine (48°51′0″N 2°16′47″E), 11.50 meters (37 feet 9 inches) high. Inaugurated on July 4, 1889, it looks southwest, downriver along the Seine. Its tablet bears two dates: “IV JUILLET 1776” (July 4, 1776: The United States Declaration of Independence) like the New York statue, and “XIV JUILLET 1789” (July 14, 1789: the storming of the Bastille). This statue is shown in the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets as one of the historic locations.”

Most tourists spend from three to five days in Paris, hitting all the major sites. If well planned this could be accomplished in a relatively short period of time if constantly being on the move wasn’t an issue.

We walked on a bridge over the train tracks with the Eiffel Tower in a distance.

Our objective is not only to see the major highlights at our own pace but to save time to familiarize ourselves with what life may be like living in this city, not that we’d ever considered living in a big city. We enjoy visiting the local shops, restaurants, and neighborhoods where Parisians live and conduct business and their lives.

A River Seine cruise ship, perhaps docked for the day to allow passengers to tour Paris.

After all, no location we ever visit, even for short periods, is beyond our realm of a longer stay sometime in the future. Although Paris is essentially too large of a metropolis for our idea of a long term stay, it’s enjoyable to imagine what life would be like.

One of the popular Viking cruise line’s river cruise.

As a result, we tend to examine life everywhere we travel with a profound sense of curiosity as opposed to constantly being enamored by the tourist-orientated surroundings, which may be difficult to ascertain by the level of our enthusiasm as we post each day.

When in crowded tourist areas, Tom carries this pen in plain view in front of him as a deterrent to pickpockets.

We try not to behave as tourists constantly asking questions of hoteliers, staff in various establishments and people on the street. Besides, each person’s taste is different and suggestions others may make may not be befitting our preferences. 

As we walked toward the more modern area of Paris, we stumbled across this modern shopping mall.

Yesterday morning, as we wrote our time-consuming post while situated in the lobby, no less than a dozen separate groups checked into the hotel with no less than a dozen already checked-in guests constantly questioning the staff at the reception desk as to where to go, what to see, how much to pay and how to get there. 

The interior of the shopping mall could have been in any city in the USA or another country. We looked at cameras in an electronic store but with the 40% taxes, including VAT, the prices were outrageous.

As I was writing, I couldn’t help but listen to the many conversations hoping to gather a morsel of information here and there that may be useful to us. Alas, I was sorely disappointed when we heard several suggestions that were contrary to the information we discovered on our own researching online sites, reading many reviews, and tailoring our events to our personal desires and preferred schedule.

The City of Light is mostly known for its historical architecture. However, many modern buildings occupy the skyline.

So far, we’ve asked three times for someone to fix the leaking ceiling in our bathroom (still leaking this morning after multiple efforts to repair it), to make a dinner reservation for us, and to get some ice when the ice machine was empty. The rest, we’ve figured out on our own. 

Unusual design in this building in the “downtown” area.

It’s not to say that the way we do it is ideal, especially for a shorter-term visit. But, we’ve learned to rely upon our own resources to discover what we want to do, how much we’re willing to pay, when we want to partake and how we will get there. It works for us.

This charming bag shop so well depicts Paris with its awning, quaint architecture, and highly-priced items.

Yes, we’re already booked to go to Versailles, The Louvre, The Cathedral of Notre Dame, a dinner cruise on the River Seine and much more, as we continue to research that which we feel is worth our time and money. But, also, we plan to walk as much of the 40 square miles of the city of Paris as our legs will allow.

Another Merry-Go-Round in the city.

Yesterday, we walked all afternoon with one major destination in mind, the Statue of Liberty which was the second statue in France from which the New York statue was based.

Six streets intersect in this interesting area of the city near the Place Charles Michels station.

We especially enjoyed the long walk from our hotel to the statue along the banks of the River Seine as illustrated in our many photos shown today that led us to the bridge and subsequent stairway that then, led us to the statue beautifully located on the river in its own, not so easily accessed spot.

A narrow one way street with minimal parking for residents of these buildings.  Driving in Paris and parking in Paris is difficult, to say the least. We feel it would be pure frustration for a visitor to rent a car with intentions of seeing the city.

As we walked along the river, we spotted a little Asian boy with his parents, squealing with delight as he pointed at us and then to the water, inviting us to come to see the treasure he’d found in the Seine, a family of Trumpeter Swans. It’s moments such as this that make our travels meaningful.

The largest of the North American waterfowl, an adorable boy invited us to see this Trumpeter Swan family on the River Seine. The babies have yet to develop the black markings on the beak. These birds mate for life in most cases. Most likely this is mom and dad with babies.

Or, the pleasure we received in chatting with the friendly shop owner at the little store next door to our hotel that chatted with us in reasonably good English, making us feel so welcomed that we stopped by the next day to simply say hello.

Under the bridge in the area of the Statue of Liberty was a workout area with multiple sturdy pieces of equipment with a soft padded floor. There were four low rock climbing walls.
As of today, we’ve been in Paris for three days. During our walk yesterday, Tom and I spoke of the joy of having no angst about leaving Paris in 13 days when our experience already is rich and fulfilling. 
A government building.
By giving ourselves the opportunity of doing exactly what we want, when we want, and how we want, provides us with an indescribable sense of freedom, making every moment of our travels filled with contentment and pleasure.
During our three to four miles walk yesterday, we found this restaurant returning at 7 pm for dinner. The food was good with prices in euros as noted on the receipt below. Our plan going forward is to post a photo of dinner receipts as we’ve done below.
The best cup of tea I’ve ever had, French Breakfast Tea, was EU $4.10, US $5.51 for one teabag, and a tiny pot of hot water. Tom’s beer was EU $8.30, US $11.14.  We both ordered the hamburger, mine without the bun. I gave Tom my fries, leaving me with a small, delicious beef patty topped with cheese, onions and tomato with a side of wild greens topped with olive oil. I ordered a side of haricot verts (green beans) but, I see we weren’t charged for them. If we maintain this price range for most of our meals, we’ve decided to try three of four finer dining establishment on other occasions. So far we’ve booked two highly rated upscale dining experiences and will continue to book one or two more, reporting back here with the menus, food photos, pricing and the décor.  It was impossible to get a seating time over the weekends when most venues were booked through Monday evening.
Photo  from one year ago, August 3, 2013: 

No photos were posted a year ago today. As time marched on we made a point of adding at least one photo with each post. Thus, we won’t have too many more dates in future “Photo from one year ago” sections that don’t include a photo.  That date, we wrote a story about our concerns for visiting Kenya in less than a month on September  1, 2013 when there were travelers warnings posted from the US State Department about visiting Kenya. For details of that post, please click here.