How to Relax in Key WestDecember 27, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 77 °F
Play Mah Jongg. Observe local wildlife. Play more Mah Jongg. Visit Hemingway’s house and six toed cats,
I got up early yesterday’s and sat on our deck and drank coffee while listening to the town wake up. I heard but could not see the delivery trucks making their rounds to restaurants and tee shirt shops located a block away. People swept side walks and opened doors to kitchens. We are right off Doval Street at the “fewer bars”end of the street, for those of you that have been here. It was a peaceful time punctuated by the wild roosters making their presence known. There was some discussion, as others appeared on the deck, about staging a rooster hunt the next AM.
We decided to start the first round of Mah Jongg mid morning. With six players it is easy to make a game. We drifted in and out of our compound of four small, bedroom and bath sized cottages to get coffee and Cuban food. We spent the rest of the day playing MahJongg, reading, napping, and taking advantage of the good, fast internet connection. Jodi made latkes, we lit the Hanukah candles and sat around the outside table until the rain came. It was about 9:00 so I went to bed. Love, RissaRead more
We took the hotel shuttle to the car rental place at 8:00 am. We got into the longest line we had encountered since we began our trek to Key West. The day before there had been no lines at Logan to check in or at TSA, so we were startled to see 20+ people in line at Budget. The other companies had a few people in line but nothing like Budget. They must have had a really good sale sometime in the past because they certainly had the customers. Each customer took a long time at the counter and there were only three representatives.
Richard spent an hour plus in line, while I guarded the bags and read a new book by Janet Evanovich. I have read her series religiously. She brings out a book each fall. The books have titles that include a number. This years tile included the number 26. In my opinion, her most recent books are not as good as her first ones. I enjoy them enough to keep reading but long for the funny mysteries she used to write. I usually get one good belly laugh out of a book. Not this year, just a couple of chuckles.
Once we got the car and started driving it was amazing. First of all, there was nobody on the freeways. Secondly, once we got to the keys driving along these little spits of the land where you could see the water in what should’ve been the ditches, on both sides of the road was startling. I mean, in places there WAS ROAD AND OCEAN LAPPING AT THE SHOULDER and that was it. It wasn’t for long stretches or happening very often, but when it did occur it made me realize we are driving on an itty, bitty piece of land heading deeper into the ocean. Then, there were the bridges between the larger bits of land. It was beautiful and scary at the same time.
It also seems that a lot of people go to the keys on Christmas day. Once we got to Key Largo, which is the first key and where the road drops to two lanes, there was a lot of traffic. Now, this is where the scary part comes in. There was bumper to bumper slow traffic with a heavy dose of slow senior tourists who drove with a blink light on at all times. Weaving among them were the “I’m passing right now” drivers and the bumper huggers who thought to make you go faster by driving really close. You get the picture. I just want to mention that we, of course, were in the speed appropriate, non crazy passing, blink lights off senior tourists group.
We took a break and ate a Cuban restaurant that was open. We had a lime marinated pork chop, potatoes, eggs and wonderful crusty, soft pieces of sandwich bread toasted and slathered with butter.
We made it to Key West.
Our rental off DeVol Street which is the major tourist old tourist section area for the rental is more than adequate it has wonderful one bedroom with bath for each couple and one for Anna-Sophia and one for us, so everybody is has their own space. Love RissaRead more
Flights were all on time. Everybody was in a festive mood. Our hotel room is comfortable but located in an area where lots of restaurants are closed on Christmas Eve. We really aren’t hungry after drinking and eating airplane snacks on our way down the eastern seaboard. Delta Comfort+ comes with free alcohol. We had Bloody Mary’s with nuts for brunch and beer with Cheezits for afternoon snack. We ate frozen dinners from the hotel pantry store and are calling it a night. Are we gourmands or what? Love, RissaRead more
Susan and I waited a lot on Friday, May 5. We guarded the luggage in a huge cruise terminal while John & Richard took public transportation to Malmo, Sweden, which is across a bridge from Copenhagen, to pick up the rental car.
We drove to Aarhus, Denmark. Aarhus is a university city. It is also the second largest city in Denmark.
Saturday we spent the day with Matt, Marnie and their boys. We all took the bus from Matt & Marnie's to the the Mosegaard Museum. After the family picture there are two pictures of brochures from the exhibits I spent the most time in.
The last picture is the hand of a bog preserved Iron Age man. Grauballe Man was a Danish media sensation in the 1950's.He was discovered by peat cutters and immediately put on display. Bogs, we learned, are giant, natural preservation ecosystems. Since a bog is anaerobic, no decay occurs. The final picture is a close up of the bog man's well preserved hand.Read more
Our cruise is ending. Our days of elegant isolation are over as we race to pack and have one last Mah Jongg or bridge game, trivia contest, or opportunity to win big in the casino. We will be back to paying for our meals, as we go, so quickly we will start to eat frugally which may also be better for our heart and general health.
The pictures are of our disembarkation paperwork, a view of the port, the strange picture in our cabin, my desk for the past 16 days, my favorite breakfasts buns and another cruise ship heading into dock.
Love, RissaRead more
Yesterday, we visited two D-Day beaches in Normandy. It was a sad but very interesting tour. The the first pictures are of Omaha Beach, Utah Beach and a hedge row.
Today, we are docked at Zeebrugge, Belgium. We are tied up next to a container depot. The port picture is a picture of what I have been watching out my window.
Richard and I chose to stay close to the ship. We both ate too much last night at the "Heritage Dinner". This is a meal where there are specialty dishes from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Everything was exceptional so we ate everything.
We felt better later in the late morning, so we took a free shuttle to Blankenberge. It is a nice sized costal town. We walked around and found a cafe with free internet. We had a beer and used good internet. After a little site seeing, we returned to the ship. We saw a church that was built in the 1300's. Just one of many old churches in the town.Read more
One of the best shore days ever. I was not expecting much. I have been to Yellowstone Park and Hawaii. I have seen ocean volcanos and calderas. But, I had never been to the Azores!
First,"parallel parking" a cruise ship at night, in the wind, into the narrow harbor at Ponta Delgada was attention getting. For a huge ship a little left, a little right, some forward and a lot backward, is rather disconcerting. We were at the Filipino Crew show so we heard first one set of thrusters and then the other interspersed with the songs and dances. Two tugs eventually pushed us sideways and backwards into the docking space. Thus, began our stay in the Azores.
The next morning, we got up and met our guide-driver for what became a great tour. We started at a pottery factory. I loved learning about every step in the process for making regionally famous blue ceramics. I restrained myself and did not purchase a palate of pottery. It was hard.
Our Lady of Peace Chapel was our next stop. It had the most wonderful stations of the cross stairway from the parking lot to the chapel. The blue tile holy picture with the calves in the green field highlighted a peaceful moment.
Next, we drove to the Furnas area of the island of San Miguel. Furnas is an active thermal area with steam rising to the surface in many places. We relaxed in thermal pools. There were four pools, each heated to around 39 degrees centigrade. We did not go into the 28 degree centigrade stream to cool off. We lounged around in the mineral rich pools that did not smell like sulfur. This is a characteristic of this areas pools and makes them extra popular. A large group of middle schoolers, on holiday arrived, as we were leaving. Our timing was great.
After our soak, we drove out to a city park where large pots of taro roots, yams, carrots, kale, & cabbage are slow roasted in thermally heated sand. All sorts of meats are also part of this natural slow cooker meal. There was beef, chicken, pigs knuckles, and chorizo and blood sausage. Everything is cooked for about seven hours. There is a fish cozido, also, but we did not try it. The meal was an extraordinary tasty mixture of the vegetables and the meats. Salt & pepper as well as what came out of the chorizo was the only flavoring. The blood sausage was cooked in foil to keep its flavor and color from mixing too much.
Each restaurant cooks its own pots of cozido. We were able to score "day of" reservations through our guide. We had not read carefully enough to realize that the amount cooked is limited and reservations are necessary.
We finished our day trip by visiting a tea plantation for an after lunch cup of tea. We were back on the boat in plenty of time to make "sail away". I always worry that I will be on the pier waving as the boat leaves. I slept very well that night.Read more
Using my all purpose elevator landmark method, I found my way to and from:
• John, Susan and Richard's trivia game (reinforcing that I can not remember random facts). Their team was in the top three.
• the library. I could not find a real book for me.
• to the stage show, A Thousand Steps. The dancers' parents paid a lot of money for dance lessons, is all I can say.
• to Mah Jongg. Life is good!Read more