Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Forgot a couple of things in Key West

Wanted to show the spiral staircase. Also, Highway 1 begins here. Mile 0 it is called. It ends up in Maine somewhere. Living on the West Coast, I thought Highway 1 ran along the California coast.

Another thing iconic to Key West are the chickens. Everywhere. And finally, I stumbled upon a labyrinth on my wanderings. I had to walk it. Of course.

Some odds and ends of Key West

Clearly Blogger hasn't fixed their problem of limiting the uploading of pictures using their email function. If I stayed home long enough I might switch over to Word Press. But I haven't done that yet. And if I want to continue trying to post on the fly and "live" then I'm stuck with multiple posts per port.

Key West boasts being the southernmost point in the Continental United States. And I have the picture to prove it. Sadly, I left the ship this morning without Snort, so no pictures of him today. I promised him next time we come back I will take him.

I'm also a fan of lighthouses and this one did not disappoint. 88 spiral steps to the top!! The views were nice.

Did you know that there are no waves at the beaches in Key West? Yep a doodle. No surf. But nice snorkeling and a couple of nice sand beaches. Oh, and the sand is all imported.

The old theatre in town is now one of coolest Walgreens around. Ha!

Next port tomorrow is Havana, Cuba!

Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll is purported to be a haunted Doll. In the early 1900's the Doll belonged to a young boy named Robert Gene. Everyone called him Gene, so he named his doll Robert.

Apparently Robert was evil. All sorts of horrible things happened and always Robert was blamed. After the owner died, a little girl who lived in the house where Gene had lived, found Robert in the attic. And the little girl was never the same again.

Now, Robert lives at the East Martello museum and if you visit him and want to take a picture of him, you have to ask him for permission first, lest you suffer horrible and evil consequences. I asked.

The museum is small but interesting. Some cool art pieces.

Iconic Key West

I lived in Key West for a year when I was a little tot. My Dad was stationed here as a young Naval officer. In fact, he and my Mom met here a few years earlier. She was a cocktail waitress and he was drinking at the bar where she worked. I think they married about a year later.

I wish I could tell them that I visited here today. They'd get a kick out of that. Especially since we're docked out at the naval station.

I took a little hop on hop off trolley tour. I wanted to see the island and I wanted to visit the crazy Robert the Doll out at one of the museums. He's a creepy thing. I'll have pics in my next post.

Before the Navy arrived in the late 1800's, this area was flush with pirates. Once the Navy arrived, the pirates took off and hid around some of the 800 or so keys that dot the sea scape out here.

It's a cute little place and very laid back. Hemingway had a home here as did Truman. His "little White House" is available for tours today.

Key West is also famous for Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett's song and shop. And for key lime pie. I stopped at one of the more well-known shoppes -
Kermit's and had a slice. Yum. It was so good I forgot to take a picture of it. That fellow in the picture is Kermit!

Let’s go!

Off to Cuba

The afternoon flight from home (Sacramento) to Boston was relatively uneventful. We had a short stopover in Denver and then a bumpy ride all the way to Boston. I arrived close to 1 AM and by the time I Ubered it to my hotel in Seaport Village, and turned out the light to sleep, it was pushing on 2:30. I had a 20% coupon for Lyft but no one was interested in picking me up that late at night, I suppose. Uber drivers, however, were happy to oblige. 

I slept deeply until almost 8:30. I woke feeling decent and after I made a cup of coffee, sipping it as I walked to the window, I looked out and I was staring right at the ship! Granted, it was a mile or so away, but there she sat. What a nice surprise. Had I known last night that my window faced that way, I might have set my alarm so I could have gotten up to watch her sail in. Ah well. Another time, perhaps. 

Fast forward a couple of hours and I had checked in and was on the ship. Checkin was fast and efficient. I was a little bit excited and a little bit apprehensive about my cabin this time. I had one of the newer lanai cabins. These are cabins on the walk around deck called the promenade and have sliding glass doors that open right onto the promenade deck. Kind of like having your own balcony but a public one. Each lanai cabin has two reclining lounge chairs assigned to it and they are marked "reserved" right next to your door, so no one is allowed to use them except you. 

The upside is the easy accessibility to the outside walking deck. The downside is that you've got to keep your drapes closed at night, because while you can't see in during the day, at nighttime if your lights are on in your cabin then anyone walking by can see right in. I thought I wouldn't like that so much because I like having my drapes open at night. It shouldn't matter since it's dark out, but it matters a lot in the morning since I enjoy waking up naturally, as the rising sun is my alarm. 

It's been a couple of days now, and I've decided I really like the cabin!  I found that once I'm ready to go to sleep and turn my lights out, I can open the drapes at that point and no one can see in AND I get to wake up with the sunlight shining in. Yay!!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Where to Next?!!

Time to go home. The cruise to Bermuda and Canada was wonderful. Can't recommend it enough. But......

I won't be home for long. On June 23 I hop back on the Veendam for two weeks. This time we're going to Cuba! Well, some other stops too, like Key West, Jamaica and Grand Caymen, but Cuba's the draw. I'm sailing solo this time, and will experience one of the lanai cabins on the promenade deck for the first time. How bad can it be??!

The Crazy Uber Ride

We called an Uber to take us up to Mount Royal, a large park with biking and hiking trails and loads of vast lawns just perfect for picnics and naps on a sunny spring afternoon. The top also boast great panoramic views of the Montreal area if you've got clear weather, which we had today. The area is also where the St. Joseph Cathedral is located.

However, our Uber driver and his Google maps were having some trouble getting us there. Seems Google wanted him to take some streets that didn't go through. We finally got there, and all ended well, but you'd think the driver, with over 1,500 rides to his credit, would automatically know how to get there, as it's a big and popular tourist spot.

A walk around Part 2

I do enjoy art scenes and great architecture. We don't see much "old" architecture in the U.S.

A walk around old Montreal

It was a sunny and windy day in Montreal. And very quiet for a Saturday morning. It did get quite busy later in the afternoon and evening.

Notre Dame Basilique

Wow, this church is so pretty. It's very dark inside. Many years ago there were lots of windows behind the altar area made of stained glass. But when morning mass was held, the people couldn't see the priest because the sun coming in the windows blinded the people. So, they covered up the windows. Huh? Yes. The windows are still there. Even so, this is a gorgeous piece of architecture.

It was constructed in the late 1600's but expanded and rebuilt in the 1820's. One of the towers holds the great Bell, which weighs 10,900 kilograms. Wow!

The organ is also quite special. Over 30 pedals, 4 keyboards, 99 stops and 7,000 pipes. As of today, only 2 people in Montreal can play it.

Montreal - The Pug and The Poodle

We arrived early to Montreal and were disembarked from the ship shortly after 8:00 AM. We grabbed an Uber to our hotel where we were lucky to get our room early. A nice two bedroom suite room, to boot! We dropped our luggage and left to walk about the old part of the city. Biggest site to see down here is the Basilique Notre Dame.

Across from the Basilique is a public square. Alongside one part of the square are two bronze figures. Instead of repeating the story I'll let you read it from the picture I've included. Cute!

Goodbye Quebec City

This man playing the harp caught my attention. The music was soothing and haunting all at once.

We passed an art shop with this painting of a mournful cow. Too bad it was too big for the suitcase.

Finally, our sail away at sunset time. The storm was coming in and the sky turned crazy looking. A short time later, once out on the St. Lawrence, a pretty sunset appeared.

Next and last stop - Montreal.

Last buildings in Quebec City

I saw a framed photo of the funicular building in a gift shop, which inspired me to duplicate the shot. But a bit of editing might be in order to jazz it up, I think.

Around town - Quebec City

It's a great little city to photograph. Next time, however, I will want to get outside of town and see what the rest of the area has to offer. I know there is a large waterfall nearby - heard that it's higher than Niagara Falls.