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

Civitavecchia, Italy

Civitavecchia in 1795, etching by William Marlow.

I am in a comune right now but don’t worry I haven’t joined it yet. I am almost eighty years old and here I am still learning new things.

Civitavecchia in 2015

In my search to learn more about this seaport that serves as the  “Gateway to the Eternal City” of Rome and whose name, Civitavecchia, translates to mean “ancient town” I discovered that in 1696 this became a free port under Pope Innocent XII.

Today the port serves as a beginning and ending point for the many cruise ships that come to its harbor. The city of Rome is just ninety minutes away, a popular destination for the many cruisers that make this a full day stop.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

La Spezia, Italy

Map of La Spezia, Italy - Late 19th Century

Today our stop is the port town of La Spezia, Italy where cruisers often scurry to the inner bowels of Florence for shopping and to that famous leaning tower of Pisa. If there are two things that cruisers love to do, it is shop and eat. Oh, and to hold up towers that are tipping.

I had promised myself that I would venture in to town on this second go around, but I have found the solace of the ship and catching up on my reading just too pleasurable. Even with the cool air this morning which caused a bit of bundling up, afforded a delightful outdoor breakfast with a quiet view of this city.  

For me the views out trump shopping and eating any day. This week I have pretty much done what I would do if I were home without the view of a parking lot. In fact the bench seat in my cabin window over-looking Central Park is the most comfortable reading spot in the world. I had to do some fast talking to my cabin attendant and his housekeeping supervisor that I really was quite happy not leaving my room. Even telling them to think of it as 'my suite", heh heh, for 'suite people' have their own secluded areas where they dwell.