A 81-day adventure by Sonia Gelman
  • Day66

    Sydney, Australia. Day 2.

    March 8, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 68 °F

    After visiting ship's doctor in the morning and making sure Boris is ok to leave by himself, I decided to go to explore the city by myself.
    I took 9:00 AM shuttle to Darling Harbour and walked along the harbour to Barangaroo reserve.
    This area was of importance to Aboriginal Cadigal people as a hunting and fishing region. There are some indications that it was inhibiting over 6000 years. Now it is a beautiful park with terraces and beautiful view of the harbour.
    After that I walked to the Rock. It is old pedestrian shopping area with Street market and many restaurants.
    I was debating with myself to walk Sydney bridge as a pedestrian or to go over the bridge. I took an elevator to the bridge and then walked to the other side of the bridge, taking pictures of the Sydney harbor and Opera house. It is carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central district and North shore. It is a massive and about 0.5 km long. I had to cross it twice, to the North shore and then back to the center.
    After that I decided to visit Queen Victoria Building. The Queen Victoria Building (abbreviated as the QVB) is massive Victorian style building used as upscale marketplace (shops and restaurants). Beautiful exterior and interior.
    By that time I was already pretty tired and hungry and I still needed to get to the ship shuttle. Time to go back. Total steps walked today - 20,000.
    I was back on the ship by 2:30 PM.
    Next two days are sea days, so I hope Boris will have time to recover. His leg is still swollen and gets worse by the end of the day.. To see more pictures of this day, please use this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/VCgKMWyXYBWpDRfB7
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    Sending good wishes for Boris. I live Sydney. Spent 5 weeks in Australia did a bunch of touring around Darwin.

    Sonia Gelman

    Please sign your name. If you did not download the app, I can not see who leaves the comment

  • Day65

    Sydney, Australia. Day 1.

    March 7, 2020 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 70 °F

    At 6:00 AM we were sailing into beautiful Sydney harbor going under Sydney Bay Bridge, passing Sydney Opera House.
    We had breakfast and at 8:00 AM went to see ship's doctor. She referred us to Royal Prince Albert Hospital.
    We took Uber to the hospital and by 9:00 AM arrived at emergency room of the hospital.
    Boris was taking in pretty fast. It is one of the oldest public hospitals in Sydney. It has good reputation.
    The emergency waiting room looks pretty outdated. Then Boris was escorted to examination room. To my surprise, there was not even a chair for me or doctor to sit. Only bed.
    After blood was taking, we were told to wait in the waiting room for the blood test. So they are not keeping people in examination room. It is a different waiting room, but it looks very old and pretty dirty. Patients are sitting next to each other. Not very pleasant. After 2 hours of waiting the result came in. As we suspected it is cellulitis. The antibiotics should clear it in a few days. Let's hope.
    Amazing the whole thing in this hospital costed us $200. It will be much more from ship doctor. That is why we purchased travel insurance.
    We took Uber back to the ship. Need to rest, eat dress before going to the Opera tonight.
    At 4:30 PM we met with few other people from our ship who were going to the Opera, took a shuttle to the Darling Harbour and then a ferry to the Opera. The performance was sold out. The Opera is Carmen, but contemporary production. Can't say I loved the performance. The singing was more or less okay, but the playing was pretty bad. By intermission Boris looked very tired and his leg was uncomfortable, so we left theater and took taxi back to the ship. He needs to rest and elevate his leg. We hope he will be better in few days. To see pictures of this day, please use link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/mF7iT1u1wNSZrZU6A
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    I hope he is much better. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    Two to Travel

    Sorry Carmen didn’t meet expectations. Such a shame. Your experience sounds like the one Mui and his mom had when they went to see Aida in Paris.

  • Day64

    Celebrating 9 years anniversary.

    March 6, 2020, Tasman Sea ⋅ 🌧 73 °F

    Today is our 9 years anniversary of the cars accident. So in memory of this Boris decided to get sick. Last night after Gala dinner he went right to bed. He was shivering and looked like he had fever. Knowing that this are the first signs of UTI, he took antibiotic. By morning the fever went down, he continues with antibiotics.
    He felt much better, unfortunately his right leg did not look good. It was red swollen and hot to a touch. He went to a medical center. They took his blood and after few hours he went back to talk to a doctor and see the blood results.
    The doctor told us they suspect he has skin infection or blood clots. Their blood testing machine for infection is broken and the indicators for blood clots are not conclusive. She gave him blood thinner shot and new antibiotics. Tomorrow morning in Sydney we have to go to a hospital. Hopefully the antibiotics will work.
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    AM Hllwy

    Oh no, sorry to hear about Boris! Hope he's feeling better soon! Take care of yourself too!

    Diane McDougall

    Oh please get well, Boris. We all want you to heal. Sonia, thanks for being such a great nurse for him. Wishing you both the best!!

    Sonia Gelman

    Had a great time today walking around Sydney all by myself. 19000 steps.

    2 more comments
  • Day63

    Latest Update

    March 5, 2020 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 73 °F

    Just got new update. Not going to Sri Lanka and India. Instead spending many days in Australia. Most people are very happy.
    March 7, 8 - Sydney, Australia
    March 11 ----Townsville, AU
    March 12 ---- Cairns, AU
    March 16 ---- Darwin, AU
    March 19 ---- Briime, AU
    March 21 ---- Exmouth, AU
    March 23 ---- Geraldton, AU
    March 24,25 - Fremantle, AU

    That is all we know for now.
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    Helen Beylkin

    Not a bad exchange: I don’t think you’ve been to cute beach towns of Exmouth and Broome before, in addition to other interesting places, like Darwin, and maybe you’ll be able to spend more time in Top End this time around.

    AM Hllwy

    Great place to explore! Can't wait to see pix!

    Sonia Gelman

    I wish I could download some pictures, but the internet does not let me.

    4 more comments
  • Day62

    Waitangi, NZ

    March 4, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

    Another tender port... I got up early and was in line for tender tickets by 6:00 AM. Today we were suppose to have 5 hour Day Cruise and some island walking and winery tour. We got on the tender boat by 8:00 AM and I opened my email. What a surprise...the tour is cancelled due to the fact that we are the only two people that signed up for this tour.
    Since we thought that not much walking will be on this tour, we did not take a wheelchair. Now we are on a tender boat going to the town. We decided that Boris will walk as much as he can and then we will go back on the ship.
    Waitangi does not have anything, only Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It considered to be one of the most important places in NZ. That where two people: local people and people from Europe signed a peace treaty. We could not go there because Boris did not have a wheelchair and suggested time of walking is more then 3 hours.
    So we decided to take a shuttle to little town Paihia and walk as much as he can. It is a very nice little town with beautiful view of the Bay, many restaurants and shops. We walked around, had an ice cream and then got on the shuttle back to the tender port. On the way to the port, the driver asked us if we wanted to stop at Waitangi Treaty Grounds and we decided to stop and then it is a short walk to the pier. We walked a little and then Boris said to get to the pier we had to go left. I argued with him, because I thought we had to go right. But, my sense of directions is pretty bad, so we went left. We walked and walked and then we reached a golf course and walked and walked up and down on the golf course until we climbed on top of the hill and saw our tender port in completely different direction. We had to go right.
    So we went down that hill and up another hill until we reached a parking lot. I was tired...imagine how tired Boris was. Good exercise.
    There was a school bus with a driver on the parking lot. I told him we got lost and he drove us to the pier. Another day of adventure.
    Tomorrow is a sea day, so Boris can rest. To see pictures of this day, please use this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JtRdHvM46yAfz6tRA
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    Two to Travel

    Oh wow ... that didn’t work out well, did it? We visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds when we did our self-drive trip in 2015. Interesting place, but probably more so for the Kiwis than the average tourist. We skipped Paihia for Russell across the bay ... more quaint and quieter we were told ... and that’s what we found.

  • Day61

    Auckland, New Zealand. Day 2.

    March 3, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 72 °F

    Two days before today I decided that it will be much easier for us to have a tour then go by ourselves. Auckland is very hilly and it creates a problem for Boris.
    I got online and found a tour that we liked, but it was sold out. So I decided to try my luck and emailed the company. They answered that there was cancellations and two spaces are available for March 3rd. They sent me a link to pay. I tried to do it using different computers, different browsers, but could not do it. Finally, using Skype I was able to call them and asked to hold reservations untill we meet in Auckland and will be able to pay for the tour.
    Precisely at 8:25 AM, as they told me, the yellow Mercedes pulled over. There were 4 more people in the van. Total of 6 in the group and the van is for 12. Plenty of space.
    The tour took us all over Auckland, the best view points. We also visited one winery and had a wonderful lunch outside of the city. We passed many neighborhoods of Auckland. It was a wonderful overview of the city.
    To see the pictures of this day, please use this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yXhUYDTejnfHRpo76
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    Two to Travel

    Glad the tour worked out!

  • Day60

    Auckland, New Zealand. Day 1.

    March 2, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    After few days in the sea, we docked in Auckland, NZ.
    Our plan for today is to explore Waiheke Island. This island is located 30 minutes ferry ride from Auckland.
    Waiheke Island is the most populated and the second-largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand. Waiheke is the second-largest island in the gulf, after Great Barrier Island.
    Waiheke has become known as New Zealand's "island of wine." It has close to 10,000 population in the winter and it is 30,000 in the summer.

    So, we were promptly outside of the ship at 8:00 AM and short walk to the ferry. We purchased combined tickets ferry plus hop on hop off bus. By 8:40 we were on the island. First bus came at 9:40 and to our surprise not wheelchair accessible, so I had to take the wheelchair completely apart to fit it in the bus. Well, no problem. We got off after one stop to see the village and to our surprise discovered that one of the knobs for the wheelchair attachment broke after I screwd it on. Now we could not fold the wheelchair and put it on the bus. We were told that one of the HOHO buses is double decker and is wheelchair accessible. We decided not to wait for it, but take a city bus which is acceptable. Our next stop was a cluster of wineries. Although it was any 11:15, we decided to taste wines and have a bite. The setting was beautiful and we had delish pizza and wine samples. After spending there nearly 2 hours, we got on HOHO double decker bus. Our next stop was gorgeous beach and charming little village with lots of restaurants. Again we spent 1.5 hours on this location, walked on the beach, enjoyed ice cream and surroundings. The bus came late and it was different bus. It was huge tour bus. We were told the double decker had an accident and 4 broken windows and they replaced it with a accessible tour bus just for us. Hooray!!

    Our next stop was the highest point on the island. The view was beautiful and in addition to that the place had beautiful winery. Since we had to kill 1.5 hours to the next big bus and all hiking in that area was pretty hard for Boris, we went to the winery and spent a lovely time talking to a woman from San Francisco and a local man with a cute dog.

    One and a half hours later the bus came, but to our surprise it was a small bus. The big tour bus had an accident also that brock windows. The wheelchair can not fit on small bus. Luckily after tacking wheels off we could put the wheelchair on the bus w/o folding it. We decided not to press our luck anymore and go straight to the ferry to Auckland.
    After ferry we walked to pharmacy to get some supply.
    Tomorrow we will have another day in Auckland, but we are taking a tour and Boris will not need a wheelchair.
    To see the pictures of the day, please go to this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ohrtkUe23PrRN34n8
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    Two to Travel

    Sounds like a great day on Waiheke ... despite the problems with accessibility. What’s either busses and all these accidents??? They need to get better drivers. Hopefully you’ll be able to get the knob on the wheelchair fixed.

    Sonia Gelman

    Yes, it was a good day. We managed. And HAL made us a completely new brass knob. We are very grateful!

  • Day58

    Unknown Future Itinerary

    February 29, 2020, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ 🌙 77 °F

    Yesterday the captain announced that our itinerary will change and the new one will be delivered to our state room.
    Well, we got it. As of now, we are on our course for New Zealand and Australia.
    After Darwin, Australia, we will be in the ocean for 7 days, then Sri Lanka for 2 days instead of one. Then unexpected Mumbai for 3 days. We are missing Maldives, but staying in Seashells for one extra day.
    That is for now. I am sure it is not the end of changed.
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    Two to Travel

    Change is constant it seems with cruises this year. I know you’ll go with the flow.

    Sonia Gelman

    We have no choice but go with the "flow". 🤣

    Helen Beylkin

    You will still be going to most interesting places! Let’s look forward to that and your wonderful descriptions of those adventures.

  • Day57

    Nuku'alofa, Tonga.

    February 28, 2020 in Tonga ⋅ ☁️ 84 °F

    Tonga is located in South Pacific. It is the only country that was never colonized. Consisting of 176 islands, Tonga has a history dating back over 3000 years and the monarchy was in place around 1000 years. Tonga was given the nickname " the Friendly Islands" after Captain James Cook arrived here in 1776.
    In the 19th century missionaries arrived, converting local population to Christianity. Country's capital Nuku'alofa translates to "Abode of Love"

    We are very lucky to dock at this island. They turned away four ships before us. They really afraid of the coronavirus.

    We docked around 7:30 AM and by 8:15 AM we were on the dock. We changed some money for local currency and found a taxi to take us to the beach and pick us up later.

    We drove past king's palace, some government buildings, thru town, villages to the end of the peninsula. First two beaches were closed for private events (tours from our ship), then he drove us to the third beach. It is a private beach that we paid $2.50 pp. The beach was stunning, unfortunately the sea was a little rough. Boris went snorkeling, but it did not feel safe. He saw some fish and corals.
    The rest of the time we were sitting on the beach under the palms and going to the water to get a little cooler.

    There was one local woman on the beach and we asked for some drinks, so she offered a coconut. We got a huge coconut from refrigerator. It was really good. After we finished a coconut water, I asked if it is possible to break the 🥥 to have the nut. She took the coconut, and then in about 10 min, the guy came back to us and explained....our big coconut is not good, so he gave us small brown coconut and inside it was a small round part that considered to be a delicacy. We finished it and the meat from the coconut.

    Later he came with another coconut that had sponge like filing instead of the coconut water. That is sprouted coconut. The sponge tasted good too.
    By now it was after 1:00 PM and extremely hot. We were very relieved when our driver came to pick us up.

    We got back on the ship, took a shower, had salad and an ice cream and trying to keep cool. I will put link with pictures later.
    To see the pictures of the day, please go to the link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/CkHk4hQGDqVKTEENA
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    Two to Travel

    Nice to have a beach day on a hot and humid day so you can go in the water to cool off.

    Helen Beylkin

    Really glad you were able to dock there and enjoy a nice beach!

  • Day53

    Rarotonga, Cook Islands

    February 24, 2020 in Cook Islands ⋅ 🌧 79 °F

    Another tender port. Since we get almost everyday 25 hours a day, we all can not sleep past 3:00 AM. I got up very early and went on deck 5 to get inline for tender tickets. This is another difficult port for tender boats. By 8:00 AM we got tender tickets and got on the first boat after cruise ship tours.
    Our plan for today was find a good place to snorkel. The online investigation pointed to three best snorkeling placed.
    I also consulted with my cousin Helen who has been their many times.
    One was very shallow, the other one popular with families with kids and the third looked good. So we decided to go to the third place.
    After 15 minutes of wait on shore, we boarded island bus and asked the driver to stop at Tikiokie beach.
    The beach was absolutely empty. We found a big boulder, so Boris could sit on and then we put our snorkeling gears on and went into the water. The water was not crystal clear because of the rain yesterday, but good enough. There were lots of colorful fish, bright blue star fish, some pretty corals.
    We did not want to sit on the sun, so we walked about 100 yards and found big palms that create a lots of shade. We settled under these palms. Shortly one men came to the same area and went for a swim. After he got out of the water, he got a huge coconut right of the tree and made a hole in it. I asked and he told as that he is local and shared this coconut with us. Delicious fresh coconut water.
    We did more snorkeling and after couple more hours on the beach took a local bus back to our tender boat.
    Very nice day away from the crowd.
    To see the pictures of the day please go to the link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ETLdQVjrr2Gr1jFy7
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    Helen Beylkin

    It’s the best place to get away from it all, no crowds, no big resorts, a very friendly population. I’m glad you had a chance to enjoy it a bit.

    Two to Travel

    Sounds like a great day away from the hub bub of tourists. Glad you were able to land there.


    What a great day! I am amazed at the colors of the fish and starfush.