Saturday, November 7, 2015

The End - Trip Completed

I was making my way to the gate for my Southwest flight that would take me home to St. Louis after being away 56 days. I looked out through the window and there she was the Allure, ever the vixen luring me back into her care.

I had been hers for the last 26 days, she kept me close and she kept me safe. In the end neither of us wanted to let go, but we had to.

I took a quick look at the door that separated our being united again and wanted to bolt at high speed through the glass enclosure but I knew I would never make it out alive. So I sighed that heavy sigh of resolution and turned away from Allure's gaze but not forgetting all she had done for me these past weeks. It was time for both of us to move on.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
To all my friends and acquaintances who have followed me on the recent journey, thanks for coming along with me. It has been a wonderful trip and I enjoyed sharing a little bit of it with all of you. I will work now to get my photographs organized and up on Flickr soon for those of you that would like to see a bit more of places that I visited. Stay well, be happy and treat others with kindness each and every day.

My Way ~ Frank Sinatra

And now, the end is near; 
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear, 
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

I've lived a life that's full.
I've traveled each and every highway; 
And more, much more than this, 
I did it my way.

Regrets, I've had a few; 
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course; 
Each careful step along the byway, 
And more, much more than this, 
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt, 
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall; 
And did it my way.

I've loved, I've laughed and cried.
I've had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside, 
I find it all so amusing.

To think I did all that; 
And may I say - not in a shy way, 
"Oh no, oh no not me, 
I did it my way".

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels; 
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -
And did it my way! 

Yes, it was my way.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Day 12 - At Sea ~ Next Sunrise will be in Florida

Our last sunrise at sea. My bags are packed along with cares and woes and I brace myself for reality.

For the past twelve days we have been a community of approximately 8,000 people, cruisers and crew. Some 52 to 72 nationalities and a chorus of foreign language is heard throughout the day. We are not a people of one political thought but remain cordial and gracious to one another.

I think I can safely say we have not had a single shooting or stabbing. There was an incident of unauthorized liquor at the pool. However the booze was confiscated and the case closed without further todo.

The Belly Flop contest was held yesterday... impressive.

Have a wonderful day my friends.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Squint You Might See Land

It's about 10:30 am Atlantic Ocean time, Wednesday, Day 11 (I think). You couldn't ask for more beautiful weather. I have a Post-It reminder to self to check out the St. Louis weather as I brace myself for return to reality.

I wonder if it is really healthier to live in this stress-free environment, how could it not be? For several days we were without realtime news as in CNN on the television. If you weren't inclined to surf the net you would think all was right with the world.

The gardeners here in Central Park where I sit at this moment writing, are hard at work weeding and trimming and making sure the grounds are in perfect shape. It is almost like being at a Disney theme park. I did mentioned that the sounds of a variety of birds fill the air. Just walking through the park I can feel my blood pressure begin to drop.

I love the park for reading but force myself to switch between the Deck 16 ocean view and the calm of the park. Now as we near the end of the voyage more cruisers begin to discover the wonderful little hideaways that exist on this ship, so life becomes a little more crowded.

May your day include a little blue sky and calm as well. See some of you soon.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Sunday

It's Sunday morning aboard the Allure of the Seas ~ Day 8 of our Atlantic crossing. The seas have calmed and most cruisers are basking in the warm sunshine.

Sunrise was around 8:00 am and it wasn't long after that the surfer boys were lined up to take their chances on the wave rider. Well they weren't exactly "boys" rather mature and very fit older men. Well done, I say. I didn't want to make them nervous by pointing a camera in their direction so I'll just give you a shot of what challenges them at this early morning hour.

It is hard to imagine just a couple of days ago we were rocking and rolling in about twenty foot waves and now the sea is beautiful and calm.

It really is such a gorgeous day today, there is nothing that quite matches the vibrant blues when you are at sea on a sunny day.

I love how this ship reflects itself at some of the most surprising turns when strolling along the upper deck.

It won't be long until the basket-ballers will wake from their slumber and take to the court. As the Allure continues to push closer and closer to the land of America leaving a wake and Europe behind her.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Let me entertain you...

We've had a "rough" day and high winds are keeping most people indoors. My god the bars are packed... ugh! This was my quiet space.

The truly sad news is when you are in the middle of the Atlantic no one wants to foot the bill for launching a satellite to cover that middle area, so coverage will be sketchy until we pick up the North America signals.

Fingers crossed that we will get the Rugby World Cup final match on Saturday between New Zealand and Australia. Go All Blacks!!!

Birthday Greetings From the Allure And Its Cast of Thousands

Well it isn't everyday that you get birthday greetings from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean or get a drink made especially for you, not with joy but by Joy.  So here you go kid. Cheers!!!!

Joy wanted to make drink just for Sophie that had an American flair to it and I think he pulled it off perfectly.

A Happy 21st  Birthday smile and drink from Joy and the Allure of the Seas.

And Happy Birthday from Gammie as well.

See you soon Sophie.

Love and Kisses.

Have a great Birthday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Final Sail Away – Leaving Málaga a Final Time

Last night we left land behind us until we reach the States on November 6th. Yesterday it was a cool and rainy day for the most part but turned out to be a wonderful evening.

The sun went down and the moon came up and glistened off the sea as the Captain made his final preparation and the Allure prepared to head for the open sea. I stood on deck 16 and leaned against the railing and watched the lights of Málaga glisten against the night sky.

I love the city of Barcelona but I think Málaga has become my favorite city in Spain. No wonder for it is a much smaller city with just over half a million population and Barcelona is at three times that population.

So with its fewer people the city’s coziness has a change to glow with her tapas lined streets and generally happy feeling that fills the air.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Malaga A Second Look

Twenty-three days ago I was in Málaga for the first time as the ms Rotterdam made its stop at this port as we entered the Mediterranean area. On that visit I had a full day of touring the city, now I sit back and relax and people watch and read.

Twenty-three days ago it was warmer and the summer like weather was still touching us gently, now we near the end of October and cooler temps and a scattering of rain showers welcome in the approach of November and Málaga on the second visit.

Málaga was greatly influenced by the Moors that occupied the city for nearly 800 years before the city would fall to the Catholic Monarchs. With the conquest of Granada in 1492, Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula would come to an end.

Intricate carved walls, a plethora of courtyards and fountains are vivid reminders today of this Moorish heritage.

"One of the greatest and simplest tools for learning more and growing is doing more." ~ Washington Irving

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Allure of Mama Mia!

Tonight I attended a two and a half hour production of Mamma Mia on board the Allure of the Seas. Very nice job, and the performer that played Sam can really sing. Bravo!!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sea Day ~ Final Visit to Barcelona Mañana

I thought I would leave you with the words of John Masefield on this sea day as we are making our way to Barcelona for one final visit before heading across the sea and home.

Sea Fever
by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Nook and Cranny Humor

Converted phone booth in Norway. Now that's a great idea!

Words to live by.

 Almost life-like statue in Malaga.

               Punch. What a sweet creature! what a handsome nose and chin! 
               (He pats her on the face very gently.) 

               Judy. (Slapping him.) Keep quiet, do!

Sign reads: "This rhino is a work of art."

OK, I'm outta here for now.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Stroll in the Allure Garden

This morning while others boarded tour buses and headed to Rome I took the road less traveled. Here is a little view of my walk through the Allure's Central Park. Now remember folks this is a ship, not a spaceship, but a boat that floats and travels the seas of our planet Earth.

It truly is amazing. I have hired an out of work garden gnome just to pinch me every hour on the hour to make sure it is all real.

I read somewhere that the ship has three full time gardeners that take care of this space. It is not a huge area in the realm of space on this ship.

It occupy's the middle forward area of Deck 8, a circular walking path that is lined with restaurants and a couple of shops. My current stateroom is on Deck 9 and looks down on this delightful area.

I stumbled upon this sculpture, which I have tagged with the name of "Can you hear me now?"

In addition to all the beautiful live flora and fauna there are discreet speakers that emits a variety of bird sounds.

So you can see why one day when I was traversing the park and got caught in a light sprinkle that I thought it was fake rain.

Art not by Chihuly but these bluebirds do make one very happy.

One day when we were in port I noticed a live butterfly that came to visit and a bartender has told me that real birds do often come and enjoy the park as well.

I am curious how the park might change as the ship shifts its location. When we return to the United States the Allure will begin its winter cruising of the Caribbean region.

I hope you enjoyed our little walk today. Maybe now you can see while I am totally content to stay aboard the ship and never leave.

"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." ~ Robert Frost