Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Geezer IX - The Trip to Flagstaff

It’s about an 11 hour drive from our home to Flagstaff, but as we usually do we decided to do it in a leisurely way and take three days.  It has been our custom since our working days when heading to the Southwest to spend our first night in Tehachapi, CA.  It’s only a three hour drive from our home, but it made for a quick getaway after work.  It’s no longer necessary, but we still do it as one of our favorite barbecue places is in Tehachapi.  The Red House BBQ not only has great ribs, but also very tasty side dishes.

After a great dinner and good night’s sleep, we were off to our next stop, which was Harrah’s Casino in Laughlin, NV.  It was a little longer drive, but still just a little more than four hours so we got in around 2:00.  We always get comped rooms and food and we enjoy gambling there so it is a good spot to stop for us.  We checked in and found our room wasn’t ready so we spent some time gambling.  We tired of that so we walked outside and watched the activity on the Colorado River, where many of the hotels are the hotels are located.  We checked again and our room still wasn’t ready so we relaxed for a while and had some snacks in the Diamond Lounge until our room was finally ready.  It was worth the wait as we were once again given a suite to stay in, but instead of a view of the river our only view was the front of the hotel and the distant mountains.  It really didn’t matter since we were only there overnight.

We went down to have an early dinner since we hadn’t eaten anything except for some snacks since breakfast.  Last time we were at Harrah’s in Laughlin we had eaten at the new Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho so we went there again.  We had a great dinner and then spent most of the rest of the evening gambling.  Val had her ups and downs, but ended up losing her gambling money, but I did better.  I usually have terrible luck in Laughlin, but I finally broke the curse, thanks to a nice hit on a dollar slot machine; I actually left with a profit.

The drive from Laughlin to Flagstaff was only three hours and since we couldn’t get into our rental house until four, we slept in.  After getting up and packed we decided to have a big breakfast in the buffet and not eat again until dinner.  The buffet was OK, but not great, but we did get filled up and it was free so the price was right.

Except for a surprising amount of traffic around Kingman, AZ the drive to Flagstaff was an easy one and we arrived around 2:00 and headed to the grocery store to buy supplies before going the rental house.  After getting groceries it was just after 3:00 so we called the owner of the house and he said we could get in early so hooray for that!  We easily found the house and while I unloaded the car, Val started preparations for dinner.  Our dinner theme this year is our favorite foods from our childhood so tonight we are having hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad.  I had gotten a recipe for potato salad from my cousin Cheryl in Michigan that her mother used to make that I really liked, so that was what Val was working on.

Jack and Steph pulled in about a half hour after we did so I helped them unload their car.   John and Greg are flying in this year so they won’t be here until around noon tomorrow.  After catching up for a while, it was time to start the barbecue and start grilling the hamburgers and hot dogs.  Dinner was great; we rarely eat hot dogs so they really hit the spot and the potato salad tasted really good and reminded me of my childhood in Michigan.

After dinner it was more talk and catching up before we called it a night.  The house we are in is very nice and although close to town, it borders on the national forest.  It is very quiet at night so we should get a good night’s sleep.  We all are looking forward to John and Greg’s arrival tomorrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Geezer IX - Here We Go Again

It seems like we have just gotten settled after being gone for over six weeks and suddenly it's time to go again, though this trip will be much shorter.  It is that time of the year when we hold are annual "Geezer Gathering" and this year it will be in Flagstaff, Arizona.  For anyone reading this who doesn't know what this annual event is, the "geezers" are Val and I, Jack and Steph, and John and Greg.  The tradition started the year we all turned 60, and every year since then we have been renting a house for a week each Fall at a different location.  John, Val, Jack and I have known each other for over 50 years. For more details here is a link to where I first wrote about it in more detail.

This is a special event for us, and even though we have traveled to some amazing places, it is still our favorite thing to do.  Nothing is better than getting together will old friends who you don't see nearly enough.  So, the bags are packed, the food is packed and everything is ready - time to hit the road.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Wrapping It Up

This may have been the best cruise we have been on.  When you combine a great itinerary with the best service we’ve ever had, it puts it right at the top.  We loved everywhere we went, but I think our favorite place on the trip was Iceland; it is a beautiful country with friendly people.  We spent four days there and every day was better than the last.  We also loved visiting Greenland as it was a unique experience that we never thought we’d have.  For the sheer beauty of a pristine, isolated wilderness, cruising through Prince Christian Sound was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had traveling.

Next in line of our favorite spots would be Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man; our tours through the countryside in those areas were highlights for us.  In Ireland we only saw the city of Dublin so we didn’t see much of the countryside so we would like to go back and tour the whole country as we have heard about how beautiful it is.  Norway was also wonderful, but we were really limited to what we could see on our visits there.  We had a good time in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, but compared to the many of the places we visited it didn’t seem as exciting to see.  Our visit to the Canadian Maritime provinces whet our appetite for a road trip we want to take through that area as we just couldn’t see enough of the area with our limited time in the ports.  There was nowhere we went that we didn’t enjoy on this cruise, every port had its own unique character and beauty I now know why this cruise is so popular.

The Rotterdam was a great ship to sail on and the staff was one of the best we’ve encountered.  Mervin and Celeste in the Neptune Lounge were the best concierges we’ve ever had as they were able to answer every question we had and take care of everything we asked.  We also met some really great people on this trip.  We enjoyed our dinners every night with Ken and Mary Beth and Richard and Glen.  We had a great time in Iceland and St. John’s with LT and Cindy.  Ken and Mary Beth take a yearly trip to Monterey, CA in October so we’ll be getting together with them in Big Sur and are looking forward to seeing them again.  We also enjoyed all the people we met while gathering in the Neptune Lounge and the people we played trivia with.  On a 35 day cruise you meet a lot of nice people that you really enjoy getting to know, which adds a lot to the trip.

So now it’s back to everyday life; no one makes our bed or brings us our meals and we have to do our own laundry, but it is good to be home.  Val’s cold has turned into walking pneumonia and my cold has developed into an ear and sinus infection, but at least we waited until we got home to get sick so it didn’t impact our enjoyment of the cruise.

So that’s it for now.  There’s no rest for the weary and in a few weeks we’ll be leaving for Flagstaff, Arizona for our annual “Geezer Gathering”.  After Flagstaff we’ll be spending a few days in Las Vegas and then we will be done traveling for the year.  See you on down the road.

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - The Trip Home


Neither Val nor I got much sleep last night as the train was very noisy; every time we went over a switch in the tracks, which was often, the train made a loud bang and rocked back and forth.  Besides that, the trains in the east have only one level so you are much closer to the tracks and hear much more noise.  We got up around 7:30 and neither one of us was in a very good mood after our near sleepless night.  We had breakfast in the dining car and then went back to our room to await our arrival in Chicago.

We arrived in Chicago on time and made our way to the Metropolitan Lounge where we had a five hour wait until the Southwest Chief (our train to Los Angeles) left.  As I said on the trip east, the Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago is brand new so they are still decorating and adding things, which led to our entertainment for the morning.  They were hanging a giant picture in the area we were sitting in so we were able to watch and of course supervise and give advice; not really, but it kind of felt that way as they had a small audience.

We started getting hungry and headed to the food court for lunch and then had only a short wait until our train started to board.  It’s always a bit hectic getting to the gate and boarding, but we were soon sitting in our room watching the countryside go by.  This train is so much quieter than the train we were on yesterday I hope we can get a good night’s sleep tonight.

We spent the rest of the afternoon reading and watching the countryside go by until it was time for dinner.  We both had steaks for dinner and they were pretty good considering the limited kitchen space the train has, but the service was the worst we’ve ever seen on the train.  It appeared they were trying to organize it in some way, but it had the opposite effect as it was totally disorganized.  We had a 7:00 reservation and we didn’t get back to our room until after 8:30, it should never have taken so long.  Oh well, it’s not like we had anywhere else to go.

We were both pretty tired so it wasn’t long before we decided to have the beds made up and to try and get a better night’s sleep tonight.  Tomorrow we’ll be on the train all day.

Train Day

Last night we both got a good night’s sleep as the train ride was much quieter and smoother.  Someone told us we would like the trains east of Chicago much better than the ones in the east, but I have to disagree with that after our experience.  We got up just after 8:00, but we went from central time to mountain time just after we got up so it turned out to be just after 7:00.  We decided to pass on breakfast this morning as neither one of us wanted to go to the dining car.

We sat and read and watched the world go by for a while, but we learned the train stop in La Junta, Colorado was going to be for a half hour so we decided to get off the train and stretch our legs.  Right across the street from the train station we spotted a donut shop and decided we would have our breakfast there.  Donuts are a guilty pleasure of mine and I hadn’t had one on our entire trip so far so I thought it was my lucky day. 

After enjoying our breakfast, it was back to the train and we continued our journey home.  The train just kind of rolls along and so does the time as we spend our time reading, talking and just watching the world outside our window.  We made our lunch reservations for 1:00 and the service was only slightly better than last night; I really think they need to reevaluate their system.  After lunch we spent the afternoon much as we did the morning.  The train stopped for almost an hour in Albuquerque so we did go out and wander around for a bit, but other than that we just relaxed.

We made our dinner reservations for 7:00, but as the time drew nearer, neither one of us really wanted to eat another meal in the dining room so we went to the cafe car instead and had some snacks for dinner.  They told us the train was running early and we would be arriving in Los Angeles at 7:20 AM instead of 8:15.  This meant we would have to be up by 6:00 so we went to bed early.  We were lucky in that we had gotten back into the pacific time zone so that gives us an extra hour.  Tomorrow we will finally be home after our long journey.


Today is the last day of our journey, tonight we will be sleeping in our own bed.  We were up by 6:00, but evidently things hadn’t gone well in the night and we were behind schedule instead of early; oh well, such is life on the train.  No breakfast this morning as they closed the dining car very early so we sat in our room and watched the countryside go by as we made our way to Los Angeles.

We arrived in LA only about 20 minutes late so we were happy as we had a two hour layover until our train north leaves.  We opted for Red Cap service today as Val is in the midst of a bad cold and I’m coming down with one.  The Red Cap loaded our luggage into his cart and whisked us away to the entrance to the Metropolitan Lounge.  Once inside we checked in and found a couple of comfortable seats to wait until our train home leaves.  They had muffins and juices available so we helped ourselves and made up for our lack of breakfast this morning.

We again found out the benefit of tipping the Red Cap well as the Red Cap who took us from the train to the lounge magically appeared and said they were getting ready to start boarding on our train.  He took us out the door, loaded our luggage on his cart, and we were brought to the Coast Starlight, which was the train we would take north; very nice service especially at the end of a long journey.  This is a short five hour trip, but we still opted to get a roomette as it is more comfortable and there are a few amenities that make it worthwhile.

The train was soon underway and we relaxed and read as the city of LA rolled by.  The Coast Starlight has a unique feature for sleeping car passengers that the other trains don’t have; the Parlor Car.  The Parlor Car is a combination bar, lounge and diner.  We opted to have our lunch in the Parlor Car and it was very good with much better service than we had on the Southwest Chief.  They announced they were showing a movie on the lower level of the Parlor Car, but we wouldn’t be on the train long enough to see it.

We rolled through the countryside north of LA and enjoyed the views of the Santa Barbara coast.  We were running right on time, but when we were within a half hour of home, we had to wait for another train to pass so we ended up being almost a half hour late.  We finally arrived in San Luis Obispo and were met by our good friend Doug who drove us home.  Thanks so much Doug.

It was great to be home, but we did find a few glitches.  I found that my car had been vandalized, which was very strange as we live in a bit of secluded area that doesn’t get much traffic.  It wasn’t too bad, but it will be a hassle.  After the police showed up and took my report, I went up to turn on my computer and my monitor gave a loud hum and would not work again.  I guess that’s what happens when you leave home for six weeks.  Oh well, it was a great trip, but it feels great to be home.

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Debarkation and Train to Chicago

Today we were up early as the ship arrived in Boston at 7:00 and we were scheduled to be one of the first groups off.  We had our last breakfast in the Neptune Lounge and said good-bye to concierges, Mervin and Celeste, and went back to the room to await the departure announcements.  There seemed to be a delay in clearing the ship so things were running behind schedule, but finally our number was called and we were off to the showroom to get a quick customs screening before departing the ship.

Whether it was the delay in clearing the ship, the terminal or some other circumstance, the debarkation was a bit chaotic as there were a lot of people getting off and the customs lines were winding through the baggage pickup area making it very difficult to claim our luggage.  I finally located our luggage and got in the customs lines which is usually a quick process, but because we had bought some cheese and tulip bulbs in Holland we had to get those cleared.  I thought they would just look at the cheese and bulbs, but they searched through all of our bags, which was very frustrating and time consuming.  The cheese and bulbs were declared OK, but they found some popcorn Val had bought in Canada and said it wasn’t allowed; who would have thought that popcorn was a problem?

After finally getting through customs, we got out of the terminal and found the Luggage Forward people who would be taking our two large bags and shipping them back to California.  We were very glad to give our bags to them and very grateful we wouldn’t have to be dragging them with us all the way home.  We headed for the cab line, which was pretty long by this time, but after a 20 minute wait we were on our way to Boston’s South Station where we would pick up our train to Chicago.  I should actually say we picked up our bus, as they are still doing track work so the train from Boston to Albany, New York was cancelled and we were bused instead.  We found out later that today was the last day for the bus so weren’t we lucky.

Boston has a very nice lounge for sleeper car passengers and we had an almost four hour wait until our bus left so we made ourselves comfortable.  They had water, juices, soft drinks and snacks with wi-fi, computer stations, work desks and printers making it a very easy wait.  I got my computer out and sat down at one of the desks and updated the blog while Val relaxed and read.  We wouldn’t be getting on the bus until around 1:00 so Val went out into the station food court and got us some sandwiches for lunch.  By the time we finished lunch it was time to board the bus and we were soon on our way.  We had noticed several couples from the ship in the lounge who were also taking the train and found one couple who was taking the same route we were to Los Angeles.

We did learn something today about tipping the Red Caps in the station.  When we arrived at the station we were looking for the lounge when a Red Cap asked us if we could use some help.  We told him we were looking for the passenger lounge and he led us right to it and helped us with our luggage.  I gave him a nice tip and thought nothing more about it, but when it was time for the bus to load he comes right back into the lounge and right to us.  He grabbed our luggage and escorted us to the bus, which was very helpful and needless to say we tipped him again as the walk to the bus had include a long set of stairs.

Not much to say about a five hour bus trip except to say we were very glad when it was over.  We pulled into the Albany train station around 6:00 and waited for about half an hour until it was time to board the Lake Shore Limited for our trip to Chicago.  This time we had reserved a full bedroom instead of the roomette like on our trip east, and we were very glad we did as it had much more room.  As soon as we got settled we headed to the dining car and ended up eating with one of the couples from the ship.  They live in Illinois so they were only going as far as Chicago, but we had a very nice conversation with them before heading back to our room.  We were both tired so we had our attendant make up the beds around 9:00 and called it a night.  After being on the ship for 35 days, our train dinner and bedroom were a far cry from what we were used to on the cruise, but I guess it’s time to get back in the real world.

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 35 - At Sea

Today is the worst day of the cruise – the last day.  Everything is winding down and we are faced with packing and getting everything ready to go.  We were up by 8:00 and after a quick breakfast in the Neptune Lounge, Val started packing and I updated the blog.  When our room attendants showed up to clean our room, Val went out on the balcony and I decided to do some walking.  I did three laps (1 mile) and then headed back to the room to start my own packing.

Packing to leave is the worst thing of the cruise; not only do you have to pack everything you brought with you; you have to pack all the additional things you’ve bought along the way.  After much shuffling and struggling, we finally got it all in.  It was time for lunch so we headed up to the Lido for lunch.  

Val decided not to go to trivia today so we had some time to kill and went down to the photo gallery to see who won the photo contest.  LT, who went with us on our tour in Isafjordur, Iceland won first prize in landscape for his waterfall picture; congratulations LT!  Val won runner up in the wildlife competition with her picture of the four-horned Manx Loaghtan sheep on the Isle of Man.  Congratulations to Val, it was a great picture and she deserved to win.

Val won runner up in the wildlife category.
LT won first place in the landscape category.
Next we went to the third round of the slot tournament where Val was in third place and I was in fourth place at the start of the day, but when we arrived we found that I had been bumped off the board and Val was down to the sixth and last spot.  We waited around for a while and then Val got bumped so neither one of us was on the board any longer.  We decided to give it another try, but we both fell far short so we didn’t qualify for the finals.  John, one of the people we play trivia with at the MIX in the evenings was still on the board so we stayed around and watched him compete in the finals, and he won!  It was his first try at a slot tournament and he now has $500 to show for it; congratulations John!

John gets paid after winning the slot tournament.

It was back to the room before dinner as things were winding down pretty quickly on our cruise.  After getting ready for dinner, we headed to the MIX for our final round of trivia before going to dinner.  Today was Mary Beth’s birthday so we joined our table together along with Richard’s and Glen’s and we all ate together.  It was a great meal and afterward Mary Beth was serenaded by the dinner stewards with the Indonesian birthday song.  It was a really fun evening with our new friends.   Here is a video of Mary Beth's birthday serenade.  The steward in the white jacket shaking hands with her at the end is our TJ, our great dining room steward.

Happy Birthday Mary Beth
We really enjoyed talking to Ken, Mary Beth, Richard and Glen every night and they really made our dinners fun.  After saying goodbye to our dinning stewards, TJ and Bonny, we were off to the casino for our final night.  We both lost, but for the first time on a cruise I didn’t lose all of my money and actually brought some home with me.

After the casino is was back to the room for our final packing and then bed as we had to get up early tomorrow.  We have to put our large luggage out in the hall tonight, which we’ll pick in the terminal tomorrow after it goes through customs. Tomorrow when we wake up we’ll be in Boston and our cruise will be over.

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 34 - Halifax, Nova Scotia

Today we are in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is the last port on our cruise before returning to Boston.  Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and has a population in the metro area of 390,000.  Halifax is a large economic center for Eastern Canada.

Val got a good night’s sleep last night and is feeling better this morning.  We didn’t have anything planned for Halifax so there was no rush to get off the ship. 
It was an overcast, dreary day as we sailed into Halifax.
The weather was overcast, but not too cold and very humid.  There is a boardwalk that runs along the waterfront from the cruise terminal so we walked down that for a while, but Val still isn’t 100% so we kept it short and returned to the terminal area.  There are a lot of shops and restaurants around the cruise terminal so we spent quite a while looking around in them before returning to the ship.  The Veendam, which is another Holland America ship is also docked in Halifax today, so the shops around the terminal area were doing a brisk business.  The Veendam is also the ship we will be on for our Atlantic Adventurer cruise next year.

This is a statue of Samuel Cunard who was a British shipping magnate and founded the Cunard line.  He was born in Halifax.

This statue honors the emigrant.  Halifax was a major destination port for people migrating from Europe to Canada.  Halifax was also the destination of the Titanic on it's fateful last voyage.
It was time for lunch when we returned to the ship so we headed off to the Lido and for the second day in a row, we had pizza for lunch; we had really liked what we had yesterday.  After lunch, it was back ashore to buy a present for Mary Beth as her birthday is tomorrow.  After doing that it was back to our room for a little relaxation before Val left for her team trivia.  While Val was gone, I walked around the deck and took some pictures until Val was finished with trivia.

This is the Samuel Cunard statue as seen from the ship.
An interesting looking harbor tour boat.

We were sailing out of Halifax at 4:00 today so I went out on the Lido pool deck to watch the sail away and stayed out there until we left the harbor.  When I returned to the room Val was out on the balcony so I joined her there until we were clear of the harbor.  

We sail away from Halifax.  That is the Vendam, another Holland America ship.

This was a military installation from World War II.

We relaxed for a while before dinner and then headed for our usual routine of trivia, dinner and the casino.  Tonight was the last formal night of the cruise and for the first time on all of our cruises we attended all the formal nights.  Tomorrow is a sea day and the last day of our cruise so everyone is a little sad today.

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 33 - At Sea

Val had a bad night last night with a bad cough and a fever that kept her up.  She didn’t feel very good when we got up, but felt a little better as the morning wore on.  We had breakfast in the Neptune Lounge this morning and then went down to see the photo contest photos, which were displayed in the photo gallery.  We were quite disappointed so see how dark our pictures had printed, but I don’t know whether it’s the way they were printed or a problem with the screen on my laptop.  There were a lot of very nice photos on display so it may not have mattered anyway.  I voted for Val’s photos in the people and wildlife category and LT’s waterfall picture in the landscape section.

We returned to the cabin and while Val rested, I updated the blog.  The morning went by quickly and it was soon time for lunch so we went up to the Lido.  There is a pizza stand out on the Lido pool deck that I wanted to try so with only a few days left, we decided to have pizza for lunch.  The pizza turned out to be quite good as was the caprese salad that we had with it.  After lunch Val was off to trivia and I downloaded the photos from yesterday.

I met Val in the casino after she finished with trivia because today was the second round of the slot tournament.  I had dropped to fifth and Val remained in third so we decided we didn’t need to enter today as so far both our scores qualify for the finals.  The third round and finals will be the day after tomorrow so we’ll see if we make it.  We hung around the casino for a while and after losing a little money, I returned to the room, but Val stayed.  I read for a while and worked on our photos, but I began to wonder what happened to Val; I figured she had hit a big jackpot or was spending all her money.  I went back to the casino to check on her and it turned out it was neither, she was still playing on the same 20 dollars she had started with; not winning very much, but not losing either.  After watching her for a bit I picked up a snack from the Neptune Lounge and returned to the room.  After a while, Val finally returned; after two hours of play she had ended up doubling her money so it was a success.

We looked at our pictures from yesterday and then relaxed for a while until it was time to get ready for dinner.  We headed off for the MIX for trivia before dinner and then finished up the casino.  Val is still feeling under the weather so we called it an early night and returned to our room.  Tonight we gain another half hour of sleep before our arrival in Halifax, Nova Scotia tomorrow.

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 32 - St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Today we are visiting St. John’s, Newfoundland, which is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador.  We won’t be arriving until noon so we slept in this morning.  We were hungry when we got up so instead of going to the Neptune Lounge for our breakfast, we went up to the Lido and had a full breakfast.

There is a photo contest going on so after breakfast we looked through our pictures and found three of Val’s pictures to enter.  After a little editing we were ready to submit her photos, but when we went to the photo gallery we found it closed so we’ll have to wait for later.

Val seems to be coming down with a cold so she laid down for a while and I went out on deck to watch our arrival in St. Johns.  There is a very narrow entrance to the St. Johns harbor and it is very picturesque.

We sail into the St. John's harbor.

The day was gloomy and cold which seems to be the norm for our return trip in contrast to the first half.  We waited a while for the crowd of people getting off the ship to thin and then got off ourselves around 12:30.

Downtown St. Johns.
We walked around town for a while checking out the shops and browsing through some of them and started getting hungry for lunch.  There were several people from St. Johns on the ship this morning handing out maps and answering questions about the town so we asked where would be a good place to get fish and chips.  One of the women said her favorite place was a place called the Duke of Duckworth so following her directions we headed off to find it and have lunch.  On the way ran into LT and Cindy, our traveling companions from Isafjordur in Iceland and we decided to have lunch together.  Val and I both got fish and chips while Cindy settled for an order of chicken wings and LT sampled the local beers.  The fish and chips were OK, but a bit of a disappointment, but we had a good time talking to LT and Cindy so it was a very enjoyable lunch.  We saw many people we recognized from the ship come in while we were there so evidently there were many who asked for a recommendation.

After lunch, Val and I decided to take a taxi out to Signal Hill, which was a high point at the entrance to the harbor used  to keep watch many years ago.  Due to its strategic location, it was vital to the cities defense from the 17th century to the end of World War II.  It is now a national historical site.  Cindy and LT decided to join us, so Cindy found us a cab, negotiated with the driver and we all squeezed in and were on our way.  The view from Signal Hill was amazing and the clouds had blown out while we were eating so we were left with a sunny day and blue sky that made the view even better.  After getting our fill of the view and taking many pictures, we went back to the cab.  We had decided to hire him to take us to a couple other spots so he had waited there for us.

The view from Signal Hill

Cabot Tower
Our next stop was Qudi Vidi Village, which the Location Guide, Barbara, had talked about, but it was not what we thought it was so we didn’t stay very long.

Our last stop was on the other side of the harbor and a view of some colorful houses on the other side.  Many of the homes in St. Johns are painted in bright colors much as we saw in Greenland and Norway.  They locals call those homes “Jellybean” homes so the homes on the hillside across the harbor are the subject of many photos that you see in the shops and we wanted to take some photos of our own.  The lighting wasn’t quite like what we’d seen in the stores, but we did get some good photos before having our driver take us back into town.

Hiring the taxi proved to be a good idea as it was relatively inexpensive and the driver was a native of St. Johns who filled us in on things from a local’s perspective.  It was also nice to be able to spend another day with LT and Cindy as we have enjoyed spending time with them.

The ship doesn’t leave until 8:00 tonight, but Val and I decided we had seen enough of St. John and returned to the ship.  It was late afternoon and evidently a lot of people thought the same thing as there was a line waiting to get back on the ship.  Val still wasn’t feeling well so she read a little and napped.  I went out on deck to take some pictures and then decided to sort through our pictures to find some entries for myself in the photo contest.  With all the pictures we had taken, that was no easy task, but I did it and added them to Val’s for submission.

The St. John's Harbor entrance.
By this time, it was time to get ready for dinner so it was off to trivia in the MIX.  After trivia we were off to dinner, which has been very enjoyable on this trip not just because of the good food, but because of the people we have met at the nearby tables.  We have gotten along very well with Mary Beth and Ken, and Glen and Richard and have very much enjoyed our conversations with them.  We all agreed that it would be a good idea for the last night of our cruise to join our tables together to make it easier to talk.  Val and I usually opt for a table for two because we’re always leery of who we might be seated with, but this cruise might change our minds as we have certainly enjoyed the company of Ken, Mary Beth, Glen and Richard.

We had a beautiful sunset as we sailed out of St. John's while eating dinner.  This was taken through the dining room window, but it turned out surprisingly well.
After dinner we made our way to the photo gallery to submit our photos and then it was off to the casino to lose our money.  We called it a night after that and returned to our room.  Tomorrow is a sea day, which is a good thing for Val as she will be able to rest and maybe throw off her cold.

Not only did we have a beautiful sunset, we had a beautiful moon rise.