Sunday, February 12, 2012

I forgot to mention - all photos were taken with my Motorola Droid X phone. I didn't take my digital camera with me.
Nov 20 - Tampa

Back to Tampa and the flight home. Richard picked us up at the airport and we drove home to Chelan. I had a really good time but was glad to get home.

Best part? Beyond a doubt it was Barcelona! I loved Barcelona! I loved Cadiz too. Malaga was great too. The Canary Islands - they were interesting, but I really have no desire to go there again. Madeira was beautiful too. But, again, I probably won't return there.

I want to return to Spain with Richard, maybe next year, and spend some more time in Barcelona. I also want to take the train, or fly, to Seville.

When all was said and done, I flew 8,230 miles (thanks Delta!) and sailed 5,523 nautical miles (1.15 statutes miles equals 1 nautical mile). What fun!
November 18 - Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Half Moon Cay is a little "private island" owned by Holland America (well, it is owned by Carnival - who owns Holland America). "Private island" is a bit of a joke - it is more like a sand spit in the middle of the ocean. We were only there for 1/2 day so did not have time to do much of anything except eat (they had a barbecue for us) and sit on the beach. No time to snorkel, etc.

I did not take any more photos because my camera was out of memory.
After leaving Madeira, we sailed for 7 (yes, count them, seven!) days across the Atlantic Ocean to Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. The first couple of days and nights at sea were pretty rough. Fortunately, I did not get seasick! I did not even have to take the seasick medicine I had with me. After a couple of days it was pretty smooth sailing.

Let me tell you, spending 7 days at sea of a cruise ship can get boring. The longer the cruise, the older the passengers seem to be; and this was a 17 day cruise. Makes sense - you generally need to be retired to have that much time to float around the ocean. I was one of the youngest people on the ship! Also, I went on this trip with a friend, not with Richard - so there was no romantic dining, dancing, etc for me. ;-) But, when all is said and done, we had a good time and met some wonderful people.
Farewell to Madeira!

A replica of a Portuguese Man of War ship.

A sign near the harbor. I wish I would have had time to check out more of the island.

The harbor. Lots of very nice boats.
A plaza near the harbor. Lots of outdoor cafes. There were lots of tourists there, but also lots of local people. Communication was a bit tricky, since they don't seem to speak much English (unlike Spain where all shop owners spoke English) and I certainly don't speak Portuguese, but we managed to order some coffee/tee and a lunch. They also had free wi-fi. Yipee! The wi-fi on the cruise ship was sooooo lame that I was always looking for free wi-fi when I was on shore.

This is a closeup of the artist who was sitting under the yellow umbrella you can see on the right side of the above photo.

The sidewalks in Funchal are beautiful. Each one is somewhat different from the others. I am not sure if they are made out of marble or some other type of stone, but they are very creative and lovely to look at.

More street scenes.

November 10 brings us to Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Madeira is best known for it's Madeira wine and for embroidery work. Since I am not a fan of fortified wine (yuck!), I did not taste or buy the wine. While the embroidery work was lovely, I was not in the market for tableclothes, dishcloths or traditional folk costumes. I did however find some wonderful shops specializing the purses and wallets which were made in Portugal. It is sad, but even in Europe you have to make sure what you are buying was not made in China...

An intersection near the harbor. This cathedral was beautiful inside (but much simplier than the ones in Spain).

A street scene in an older part of town (away from the tourist area).
In Tenerife we just walked around the town. It was pretty but there was nothing particularly outstanding about it. I opted not to take a tour of the island. Like the other Canary Islands, this one is a volcanic island also - but since I had taken a tour of a volcano the day before I decided not to again. Plus, I've seen lots of volcanoes - Hawaii, Mt St Helens, Bali, Lanzarote, etc. Been there, done that... ;-)

Tomorrow - Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.
November 9 brings us to Tenerife, Canary Islands. I didn't take very many photos here. I was running out of room on my card and didn't take my computer so I couldn't download them.

View from the top deck of the ship as we left the harbor.

Another view of Tenerife from the ship.

Since I work for a plumber, I took a photo of a plumbing fixture store we saw in town. I like how you can see our reflections in the window.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Farewell to Lanzarote! Tomorrow Tenerife...

Then off to the camel ride. I can't believe I did this in retrospect (being an animal rights person...). But, the camel owners I saw seemed to actually like their animals and treat them well. I saw several camel herders petting their camels and talking to them in quite moments when no one was around. :-) The camels and their owners walk from town (Arrecife) to "work" each day; about an hour each way.

It was fun - in a touristy kind of way - but I am glad I did it. Now I've ridden an elephant and a camel.

After seeing the volcano we went to a winery. It was pretty interesting. The winery was in the volcanic area. They have learned how to grow grapes in the volcanic soil. In addition to wine grapes, I saw fig trees and other vegetable plants.

The wine that I tasted wasn't particularly good - however, that's subjective so we'll just say that I didn't care for it. Your mileage may vary...

This is one of the vineyards. The rocks are built up around each plant to keep the trade winds off them.

This is a view from the top of the volcano area.
I copied this from the internet:
Lanzarotes "Big Bang" started on September 1, 1730. By April 6, 1736, one of the worlds most devastating and long--lived volcanic eruptions had finally come to an end.During those six horrifying years, the area around what is now the Timanfaya National Park -- Lanzarotes Fire Moutains -- was transformed from an agricultural zone of quiet villages with exuberant vegetation and extensive vineyards, into a deadened stark landscape, a monstrous heap of volcanic debris and a bleak reminder of the totally unforgiving face of nature.

November 8 brings us to the Canary Island. The Canary Islands are located off the coast of Africa.

The first island we visited was Lanzarote. I decided a couple of days earlier to take a ship tour when we got to port. Our agenda was a bus ride from the harbor at Arrecife to the center of the island so we could see the volcano, and also to take a camel ride (!!).

Typical white buildings. They endeavor to keep the history of the island alive by adhering to a strict building code, including the color of the buildings (white) and the height (I think 3 stories is the maximum). This is an effort to prevent the island from becoming nothing but high-rise tourist hotels, etc. Excellent idea!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

November 7, a day at sea.
These are some of the many towel animals our steward made for us throughout our cruise.

A Turtle

A rabbit

A scorpion

A strange looking penguin... ;-)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tomorrow - another day at sea then the Canary Islands!
Cadiz and the Mediterranean Sea. There was a very nice promenade that went along the Sea. A great place to walk or jog.

A street by the harbor.

A plaza with outdoor restaurants. Love them!

Interior shots of one of the cathedrals. They are elaborate beyond measure.

For you non-Formula 1 fans, this is Fernando Alonzo. He drives for Ferrari and is from Spain. His photo is in every Santander bank I saw (and there are LOTS of branches all over Spain). Since he is my second favorite driver (next to Lewis Hamilton) he gets his photo in my blog. ;-)

This is one of my favorite photos. We were walking down this cobblestone street near one of the cathedrals and I looked up and saw Barb walking ahead of me and thought it'd make a nice photo.

I couldn't get far enough away to get the entire cathedral in the photo. There were two towers - it was very symmetrical.

Another cathedral on a plaza.

Cadiz street scenes.

Since it is early Sunday morning it is pretty quiet. Some of the shops will open later - some not at all. Barb and I decided to stay in town and shop (did I mention that Barb owns a women's clothing shop?) instead of going on a tour to Seville.

Cadiz, Spain (Sun, Nov 6). Last night we sailed through the Straight of Gibraltar. It was quite rough - lots of bouncing around.

Not sure what the statue is commemorating. It about 9:00 Sunday morning.
And what would a Spanish city be without several cathedrals? This was a particularly pretty one I thought.

After a wonderful day shopping (what else?) it was back to the ship and off to Cadiz, Spain tomorrow. So far I am totally loving Spain.

Motorcycles and small cars are the preferred methods of transportation in the cities we visited. Not like in America - where gas guzzlers reign supreme...