Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Day 14 (Last day at sea)

Our last day at sea was rather uneventful, unless you find packing your luggage as exciting. We did leave our swimsuits out and again, had the Solarium pool to ourselves that night. Well, almost. There was some sort of squabble and it looked as if two dudes were going to fight. Turns out, one of the guys had accidentally splashed the other guy's wife and her hair got a little wet. The husband got really mad about this stating "Now she's going to have to do her hair in the morning!"

Well, probably shouldn't be swimming in a pool then.

Anyways, we pass our tips to the appropriate staff and get our bags out for the shuttle in the AM. Yes...uneventful.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cobh/Cork, Ireland

Day 13

We walk thru Cobh, a pretty little coastal town, famous for being the last port that the Titanic sailed from. Very colorful town, quiet, large church. Meet Snubby the cat and Stubby the dog on our walk. Gina and Shellie go to confession. Dad can't get into pub due to it being packed with Futbol fans cheering on a game, very loudy! We catch a taxi to nearby Cork for shopping. Back on boat we watch Irish dancing from local dancers. Then head out to hear brass band on dock. Seems the town has come out to see the ship and send it off. People all over, waving, cheering. Absolutely amazing! Must have been what the passengers on Titanic saw. ;)

Did I say we love Ireland? Yes, we do!

And another beautiful day here. We skip entertainment that night for the Solarium pool again, which we have all to ourselves. Dad gets 2nd place in pool tourney. Gets medal.

Our rating: Kevin9 Gina 8.5

Dublin, Ireland

Day 12
Long wait for shuttle bus then lots of traffic. We take city bus out of city to nearby town of Enniskerry to see Powerscourt gardens. Have lunch at Peggy Murphy's pub. Dad has a Guiness, Gina and Shelly get beer mustaches! Shellie doesn't like food. Soooooo picky. 1 mile walk to gardens. Gardens beautiful as is the weather, again! Unbelieveablely good weather. Ireland so pretty. Bus ride is about 1 hour each way on double decker bus, we sat in front on top for the full experience but ride back has arabic chatty kathy behind us and he is so loud. Durka Durka Mohamed jihad.
Cutting it close on time has us jump off bus early in Dublin and hail a cab. He is very friendly and gives us a little tour guide on the way back to the ship. Ship leaves at 6pm so we have pretty sunset for dinner but wish the day was longer in port. Kevin climbs again but arms sore from yesterday! We really love Ireland.

Ilia and Valerie from Cirque Du Soleil perform. Excellent. Kevin to start lifting weights and Gina to loose weight so we can do same stuff! Love and Marriage gameshow is very funny. Gina upset we weren't picked to be contestants!

Our rating: Kevin 9.5 Gina 9.5 (would have been a 10 except for long city bus ride.)

Day 11 At Sea

K & G sleep in way late and miss Waltz lesson. BUT, it is sunny and warm out today. English coastline off of starboard side. Dolphins spotted in water (4 pods). K & G climb wall. Gina makes it up 2 times (Tracey P will be so proud!). So warm out, people are sun bathing and it's Oct. Unheard of! K& G read books on top deck and get some sun. Gina's SAD is finally cured! Dad wins mini-golf tourney, Gina comes in 2nd. Kevin achieves goal of using all 9 pieces of silverware at dinner! Food has definitely gotten better. Entertainment is production called City of Dreams, very good!

Our rating: Kevin 10 Gina 10

Le Havre, France

Day 10 (for sure)
We taxi to Hertz to rent a car. An Opel Zafira! Sweet. Drive North to coastal town of Etretat, along the Alabaster coast for the white cliffs. Again, foggy day. Pretty town, small. Pretty beach of stones. Rock collecting! Gina wades in water but rocks hurt feet and it's 'cold'. Shellie's shoes gets soaked from rogue wave. Old german WWII bunker. Gina tries to pet sea gull. Big tide here (>20') and it's low tide. Amazing how high it comes up! Continue North to town of Fecamp, another pretty coastal town. Again, tide out and is way low. Hike out to end of marina.

We make our way to freeway, navigating all the round-a-bouts to get there. Lots of countryside. and cows that need milking! Long drive to Caen then Bayeau to Normandy coast with lots of tolls and large futureistic suspension bridge. Pretty drive. Gina and Shellie snoozing. Kevin stops us at Arromanches, where the Allies brought all the gear ashore after D Day. Pretty town. Left overs from artifical bay the Allies created. French public toilets the pits Gina sez. A hole with 2 footprints on each side. Women hold out for a proper toilet! Cool old houses along beach.
Drive back along coastline past beaches of Juno and Gold thru towns named Luc Sur Mer and such. Getting lost in some of the small towns, but always manage to find to old church in the middle somehow! Taxi drivers in France don't seem to speak to us. Hal and Pat from dinner went to Paris and said the taxi drivers there won't even pick up Americans.

Italian violinst for evening entertainment. Very good. Solarium pool to ourselves!

Our rating: Kevin 9.5 (Hey, I got to drive and it's lovely exploring foreign countries) Gina 9

Brugges, Belgium

Day 9 I think.
Catch bus to Blankenberg then train to Brugges. Short hike along narrow, cobblestone streets to city centre, navigating via tall, church spires at center of city. Kevin and Gina hike 366 steps up spiral staircase to top of Bell Tower. Great panoramic views of city but obscured by fog. Get to see bell mechanism work that controls bells that are ringing up above us. We then find Chocolate Museum but don't pay to go in as you can't eat the displays. Bummer. Gina and mom go chocolate shopping, Shelly loads up on the goods but they don't take credit cards. Mom pissed. We take boat tour of canal that surrounds city and see many cool old things such as the Basilica of Holy Blood and old bridges. You don't want to fall in nasty canal water! Find way back to train station and back to boat. Impressions: Very pretty, very crowded ("Where'd all these damn tourists come from!!!")

Our Rating: Kevin 8.5 Gina 8.5

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Amsterdam, Holland (The Netherlands)

Start with a tour of town of Edam (a picturesque town from the 1600s), a cheese factory and some Windmills (very nice AND they actually served a purpose...) Made friends with a Dutch feline. Many wooden shoes in the gift shop and FINALLY affordable gifts!!! Lots of canals, cows, sheep and tourists on tour. Afternoon spent touring around Amsterdam on our own. Millions of bikes here, just like in Copenhagen, but here they are LOCKED up. Lunch at local cafe. Kevin: Hamburger. Gina: Apple pancakes. Window shopping in Red Light District (look but don't touch!), Magic mushroom stores and strong aroma of pot from the coffee houses. Watch out for contact buzzes and the muchies! Gina fires Kevin as tourguide as he misses R turn and we detour for a little bit. Mom's back starting to tighten so we ship her and dad back to the ship on the city tram. We tour the Jordaan neighbourhood for a bit then head to the Anne Frank Huis and do the tour. Pretty amazing. (You should read the book if you haven't) Amsterdam is canal central (and I bet very stinking and mosquito-ey in the Summer!). Witnessed bike/ped/bike accident, no-one hurt. Found way back to the boat. Dinner and coffee/dessert after. Mom gets tipsy from 'Captain's Call' (Coffee with Kahlua and Cognac). Good production show tonite. Hello Solarium (again!), got it all to ourselves. Very nice! (say it like Borat!)

Our Rating: Kevin 8 Gina 8