PRINCESS CARIBBEAN CRUISE, 3/2017, part 3

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We are going to climb Dunn River Falls – not up the board sidewalk – but through the water.  It was a 900 ft. climb – against the current.

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Debbie was a little tenuous about it, but being the trooper she is…..

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As much as possible, everyone held hands to pull each other up.  I suppose the reasoning is that if one person falls, they pull the whole crowd down with them.

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Debbie can hardly wait to get started.

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The water was rushing pretty fast.

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The guides were great!  If anyone couldn’t make the next level up, they pulled them up.  They were very attentive to people who needed help.

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People on the board walk weren’t having nearly as much fun – they weren’t even getting wet.

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Debbie is saying, “What the heck have you gotten me into?”

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Some nice people took our photo.

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Onward and upward we go!

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I cannot say enough about the guides – They were a tremendous help!

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A refreshing waterfall.

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We’re almost there!

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And we made it all the way to the top.

On our next excursion, we’ll do a little zip lining.

 

PRINCESS CARIBBEAN CRUISE, 3/2017 part 2

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I think I published this photo yesterday, But I like it so much I thought I’d do it again. 

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Same bird – wings down.

 

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Another photo of the Eastern Streamtail.

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Check out the thorns on this thing!!  They’re deadly!

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These acrobats made some pretty cool moves.

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I know this would look better in video, but I just didn’t do it.

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And back down the mountain.

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Talk about setting down roots!

Our next post will be Debbie and me taking a walk up the Dunn River water falls – up the falls – not up the boardwalk beside the falls, but through the water.

 

PRINCESS CARIBBEAN CRUISE, 3/2017

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Welcome back to “Travels with Skip and Debbie.”  We are presently on the Regal Princess cruise ship.  I have final gotten some photos processed so I can put them on our blog.  The above photo is a group of ships in port at Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)  Our ship has just set sail.  (I do not know why they still call it sailing when there’s not a sail in sight).

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Above is the atrium of the ship.  This area is surrounded by shops and restaurants.

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A view over the back of the ship…..2017 PrncsCruz0014_std

And a view towards the front.

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Debbie uses sea days to catch up on some reading.

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Our first stop was supposed to be Grand Cayman, but the seas were so choppy, they cancelled our snorkeling excursion.  So, we proceeded on to Jamaica.

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Early morning view of Montego Bay.

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Our first excursion on Jamaica was a chair lift ride up Mystic Mountain.

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We were greeted by some beautiful flowers….

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And some hummingbirds.  There was an area where there were hummingbird feeders and plants.

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I liked the looks of this plant, but I don’t have a clue what it is.

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Debbie and I were thrilled to see these Eastern Streamtail hummers.  Check out the long tail.  We don’t see these guys in our back yard!

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Lucky shot!  This guy took off a fraction of a second after I took his portrait.

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It may be our imagination, but these hummers seem slightly larger than the ones we have at home.  Maybe ours fight too much over the food and that stunts their growth…. Just sayin’.

Our next post will be a continuation of Mystic Mountain hummers and some acrobats.

 

 

VANTAGE RHINE RIVER CRUISE, Part 35 Fall, 2016

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The health department in the U.S. would probably stroke out at this selling of raw fish in an open air market.

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Sorry, but this doesn’t look all that appetizing to me.

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But our guide loves it.  He has ben our guide on a couple of excursions.  The fish is marinated in some concoction and is eaten as is,  bones and all.

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He loves them and eats them all the time.  He couldn’t atop talking about how good they are.  He tried to get some of us to eat one, but he had no takers.

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I don’t know,  but he looks a little green around the gills, if you ask me.

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Cooked fish and other things were also sold there.

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Not only food, but also beautiful flowers were also available.

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Pomegranates are called granaat apples over there.

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Cheese wheels were in abundance.

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I’ll introduce you to our cast of characters.  These are the people we went on the cruise with.  They are all retired from Kraft Foods and take a cruise together like this every couple of years.  Pictured above are Chuck and Chris from Virginia.

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This is Jeff and Janet from Michigan.

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Rick and Pam from Virginia

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Larry and Sue from Texas

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Ned and Kathy from Delaware.  Ned did a fantastic job planning and organizing the entire cruise. Debbie and I would have never undertaken this trip without experience travelers like Ned and Kathy.

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My bride Debbie and I are so thankful to be invited to go with them, even though we are not “Kraft people.”  We look forward to seeing our new friends again.

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At the end of most cruises, (River or Caribbean), there is a parade of the kitchen crew featuring baked Alaska for dessert.

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Well, all good things must come to an end.  We’ll spend the night on the ship, the River Splendor, and take a motor coach to the airport in the morning.  If you plan to go on a river cruise, look into Vantage Cruise Lines.  They are fantastic!

Thank you for travelling with us, and I’ll keep the blog going with posts from other outings, so stay tuned.

 

VANTAGE RHINE RIVER CRUISE, Part 34 Fall, 2016

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This is Arnhem, The Netherlands.  One of World War II’s fiercest battles was fought here under the name of Operation Market Garden.

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Our guide told us the actress Audrey Hepburn stayed here when she came to The Netherlands.

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This field is where the gliders and paratroopers landed during the assault on Arnhem.

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You may notice that the roof on this house is made of thatch.  It is made from a tree called the cut willow.  When it is cut to be used as a roof, it grows back and can be cut again.

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These two roofs are made of tile.  A tile roof is a status symbol.  If you are well-to-do, people referred to you as “living under the tiles.”

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As the sign below says, a grim battle was fought by British, Polish, and Dutch soldiers around this ancient church in an effort to liberate the Netherlands from the Nazis.

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These are some of the bullet holes still remaining in the walls today.

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This is the Arnhem bridge that was immortalized in the movie “A Bridge Too Far.”  British and Polish troops went by glider and parachute to secure the Rhine River bridge in Operation Market Garden.  Only a handful of British 1st Airborne troops were able to reach the bridge.  They could only hold it for four days before they were overrun by the Nazis.  It was renamed the John Frost Bridge in honor of the commander of the paratroopers.  Of course, the bridge has been rebuilt since then.

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You may remember the cathedrals earlier in the trip were very narrow with massively thick wall to support the ceiling.  Later, architects invented the flying buttress, which is a buttress connected to the main wall and extends downward to a shorter wall to resist the outward pressure of the main wall.  This allows for wider ceiling spans.  You can see two of them in this photo.

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This is the last gate that leads into the city of Arnhem.

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This sculpture represents a man trying to protect himself from the ravages of war.

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This is the ultimate in recycling.  This old tree stump is being used as a dolly to serve outside diners at this café.

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We were told this is a Hebrew place of worship.

Well, I hate to say it, but our next post will be the last of the Vantage Rhine River Cruise.  So far, we have had 34 posts on this trip, so if you missed any, you may go back and catch up.  But, we will be taking a Caribbean Cruise in about a week.  We hope you will join us.  I will try to fill in this space with other stuff.  Stay tuned!

 

VANTAGE RHINE RIVER CRUISE, Part 33 Fall, 2016

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We are taking a leisurely evening cruise down the Rhine River toward Arnhem in the Netherlands.

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Powerful lights illuminate the towers and castles along the way.

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I think my favorite photo of the whole trip is this cathedral glowing from all the lights against the night sky.

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We saw several of these bicycles.  The passenger is guarded against the elements while the driver toils away in the open.

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I never thought of leaves as being nature’s organic confetti.  Maybe that thought will make them easier rake up – or not!

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It’s pretty original the way they tie the limbs of the trees to suspended cables so they stretch out horizontally to the ground.

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This is a Christmas time parade tradition in the Netherlands

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They are white people in black-face and are known as Zwarte Piet (pronounced “zwart pit.)”  Translated, it means “Black Peter.”  (When you get through laughing, I’ll continue.)  That’s better.   Zwarte Piet is a jolly sidekick of St. Nicholas.  He is black because he is a moor from Spain.

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He is part of the annual Feast of St. Nicholas, which is celebrated of December 5.

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According to Google, they appear only in the week before the Feast.  But we were there the first week of November, and here they are.  They are probably here now to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas Market season.

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They are there only to amuse the children and pass out candy.  They are very kind to the children and the children love them very much.

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Unfortunately, the Dutch police have arrested about 100 protesters demonstrating against Zwarte Piet who is accused of being a racist stereotype.

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These horses will participate in the parade, which will usher in St. Nicholas.

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This is the cart in which St. Nick will ride in the parade.

Next, we will take a bus tour of Arnhem and see some World War II locations.

VANTAGE RHINE RIVER CRUISE Part 32, Fall, 2016

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We went on a walking tour of the 2000 year old town of Koblenz, Germany.  It is situated in the picturesque landscape at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.  Here we see the St. Castor Cathedral.

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This must be a statue of St. Castor.

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All these cathedrals have beautiful organs and stained glass.

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I believe this would be the baptismal font.

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rvr-cruz-2016_1370_stdThis is the entrance to the Ludwig Museum of Modern Art.

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It is one of the most important museums for modern and contemporary art in Europe.  Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to go in.

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But that was O.K.  I’m not a real fan of modern art.

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See what I mean.

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This monument stands at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.

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The Moselle in coming in from the left, and the Rhine from the right.

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We leave tonight for an evening cruise to Arnhem in the Netherlands.