Monthly Archives: December 2014

Guest at Christmas

Week 26 – Cruise Crud & on the move to Mississippi!

‘When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.’ – F.D. Roosevelt

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

We only have one more month in the U.S.A. before we fly off to Austral-Asia.

This week I’ve learned a new term – ‘Cruise Crud.’ We have, all 4 of us, come down with the flu.

It’s hit us hard and the recovery is slow – especially for the cough that goes with it. Fingers crossed, we are all on the mend.

Well, our great plans for Christmas had to be altered slightly due to our illness, but 3 of us made it to our cousins for a stellar meal and some good laughs.

Cousins

Cousin Jessie and my Mom

St. Augustine

St. Augustine

We did manage – 3 of us – to have a day visit in St. Augustine. Really recommend a long weekend here, as you can only get a quick feel for it in a day. It’s the oldest city in the U.S., as the Spanish landed here first. We were advised the Fort and jail are really worth taking some time to go through, plus, the chocolates are good. We managed a tour and dinner in an excellent restaurant, but our plans to come back the next day were thwarted by the nasty flu.

Jessie

Jessie at the restaurant

After Christmas, it was time to say good-bye to our month in Florida and start heading towards. L.A. where our next flight out originates from.

Our first night was at a northern area – the pan handle. We were all still very much recovering, so we took it easy.

 Beach

Beach at Bay St. Louis

Next day, we went to the beautiful state of Mississippi. Here, we over-nighted for 2 nights. So Mom and I had some time and the energy to go see some of the local area, the boys were still out for the count with the flu. The area is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina in 2005,

Carved Oak

Carved oak from Hurricane Katrina

but there are beautiful old homes, sandy beaches and lovely little towns with boutique style shops – I found a lovely little dress in one.

New Dress

New Dress

Now, we are off to New Orleans for our New Year’s celebration!

Louisiana

Louisiana

Happy New Year!  What are some of your best New Year’s Eve memories?

Debx

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Norwegen Sun

Week 25 – Caribbean Cruise

‘People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

What an awesome week!

Cruise Ship

Cruise Ship

This week we sailed off to the Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Sun cruise ship. This part of our trip brought the whole Bridge clan together, which included my brother & his brood, my parents and John & I.

We, literally, sailed off into the sunset from Tampa Bay, Florida.

Tampa Bay Bridge

Tampa Bay Bridge

Our first day was at sea – love sea days for relaxing and taking it easy.

Roatan

Roatan

Our first port was Roatan, Honduras; a lovely island. My brother arranged all the tours for us, as we all agreed, we didn’t want to use the on board tours. All of us have had poor experiences at high prices for cruise tours. So we hired a taxi driver for $25 each (8 of us) and were driven all over the island, which included going to a monkey farm and feeding the monkeys, and

My brother feeding the monkies.

My brother feeding the monkeys.

then off to a beach resort for an afternoon of R n R.

Pool time

Me having some pool time.

Our next day, found us in Belize where we went on an inner tube cave experience. With this tour, we got lunch included ($50 pp). I got to touch a tarantula in the wild. Nice thing about this tour, we didn’t have to carry our tubes, plus we ate and drank the juices with ice and no food poisoning – delicious local food, too!

local cuisine

The local cuisine after our tubing experience.

Then our next day, we went to Costa Maya to see some Mayan ruins

Mayan Ruins

Mayan Ruins near Costa Maya

and have another afternoon of local food and fun. Loved the ruins and saw the smallest bees ever – they had no stingers.

Smallest Bees

Smallest Bees

In the afternoon, our food and drinks were included.  This was at a lovely resort on a ‘lagoon’ (I’d say lake – Bacalar Lagoon Resort), where you can kayak and drink Pina Colada’s to your heart’s content.

Margarita Ville

Margarita Ville

Our 4th stop was at Cozumel – a zoo of 6 cruise ships, so I didn’t get off the ship.

Sad good-byes to my brother and family, now, we are off to Christmas in Northern Florida.

The Whole Family Bridge

The Whole Family Bridge

Merry Christmas!

Debx

Lagoon

Week 24 – Florida Take 2

‘The most difficult phase of life is not when no one understands you, it is when you don’t understand yourself.’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Observation Lounge

Me being the captain at the observation lounge no our cruise.

I’m sitting in the observation lounge on the first full day of our cruise – lovely!

What a week, it started with another air-boat ride, only this time, my Dad joined us and we had a great time.

Air-boat tour

Air-boat Tour with Dad

We saw alligators,

Gator in Glades

Gator in Glades

birds and… cows!  Yes, seems wild, domestic, free range cattle range the back countries of Florida.

Cow in Everglades

Cow in Everglades

Balloons

Balloons over our campground

Then I got to meet with a friend in Orlando.

We are very close to Disney World, so many mornings balloons go up to check out the ‘Magic Kingdom.’  We are avoiding the theme parks, as they are very busy, I’ve seen a lot of them as a kid and very expensive.

Manatee and Me

Manatee and Me

Thursday, was the highlight of my trip so far.  I’ve been lucky to have swam with dolphins in New Zealand, but, now, I can add Manatees.  The most gentle and beautiful creatures and so friendly – very easy to swim with and pet.  You just let them come up to you, as they are so curious about a human.  There were lots of volunteers who watch over them and make sure the tourists behave.

Then, Friday, we got ready to meet with my brother and his family in Tampa.  We have all left on a cruise together in the Caribbean.  I’m pleased to say, we all traveled well and made it onto the ship easily.

We, currently, have one day at sea  – often my favourite days – as I love the comfort and ease of cruising.  It’s my floating hotel that affords me to see many places in great content.  It’s a great way  to get a feel for a region and have, what I call, ‘tasters’ of ports, so you can go back and see those ports you like best at another time.

Hope you well and Happy Holidays!  How many of you have cruised and what are your thoughts on cruising?

Love

Debx

Key West Beach

Week 23 – Florida!

‘No act of kindness is, no matter how small, ever wasted.’ Aesop

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Bird Sunning himself

Bird Sunning himself

This last weeks adventure took us all over southern Florida.  We had some more nature trails in the Everglades where we saw tons of alligators, turtles, a snake and lots of birds.

Southern most point

Southern most point on continental USA – Key West

We, then, drove down the Keyes, which is Spanish for island.  Can’t say I liked the drive, not nearly as scenic as we had heard and very long.

We did like Key West,

Key West

Key West

it has its own character and flavour.  I would just recommend you fly or cruise rather than drive.

If you do your homework on the Keyes, there are nice places, but most of it is over crowded and kitsch when driving the only 2 lane highway.  Plus there is a lot of traffic on said highway at any time of the day.

Ugly highway

Ugly highway to Florida Keyes

We, then, started to take a few days to drive back up the coast to meet up with my Mom, Dad, Mickey (our parents pet cat) and Mojo (the RV).  One night we had a lovely stay on Hutchinson Island, just north of Miami.

Hutchinson Island

Hutchinson Island

It was lovely and quiet with a beautiful beach area and friendly restaurants.

Hutchinson Island beach

Hutchinson Island beach front

We rejoined with Mom and Dad at another of the Thousand Trails campgrounds, but this one is very close to Disney World, but John and I have agreed we aren’t going to any major theme parks.

Bird in campground

Bird in campground

So part of our ‘other’ discoveries in Florida has been Bok Tower a beautiful garden near Orlando.

Bok Tower

Bok Tower Gardens

It was created by a Dutch/American who was a philanthropist.  There is a beautiful tower in the centre which has live concerts played daily there.

Lovely quote I read there which is a great motto for life, “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.”

What are some quotes that you love?

Happy Holidays!

Debx

Week 22 – South Carolina, Georgia and Florida!

‘Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.’

[How this works is, each week, I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach its destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Trolley Tour Savannah

Trolley Tour Savannah

This time last week we were still battling severe thunder-storm warnings and possible Tornadoes.  We did manage a day break to Savannah, Georgia.  We trolled around with my parents to get a better understanding of the city, but the engine was so loud it was hard to hear the guide.

Trolley Tour Savannah

Trolley Tour Savannah

It’s a beautiful city with many squares which remind me of English city squares.  Despite the rain, it is warmer which makes it all worth it.

Savannah Square

Savannah Square

From here we drove through rain storms to arrive at the Peace River Thousand Trails campsite (Florida), just in time for the American Thanksgiving.

American Thanksgiving Dinner

American Thanksgiving Dinner

We joined in on a mass Thanksgiving meal which was delicious with more than we could eat, especially pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

It was a beautiful campsite, but there wasn’t much that interested us in the area, so Mom and I enjoyed the hot tube and we got some practical things done.  Right now I’m the Triominos champ – undefeated one!  The mojo is getting its Christmas make-over.

Thousand Trails Campground

Peace River Thousand Trails Campground

John and I have, now, gone off towards the Keyes, while Mom and Dad head closer to Orlando.  Down here we’ve been on an air boat tour – awesome –

Fan Boat Ride

Fan Boat Ride Florida Everglades – so cool!

in the Mangroves, held gators

Gator Hug

Gator Hug

and did a boat tour of 10 000 islands/Everglades National Park.

10 000 Island Boat Tour

10 000 Islands Boat Tour

So many gorgeous animals to see, such as Pelicans, Dolphins, Alligators, Flamingos, Raccoons and many others.  Plus it’s sunny and warm!  Yippee! (Photos of animals at bottom of blog.)

Debbie

Photos of Animals: