Friday, October 14, 2011

San Francisco

A big day when we disembarked from the ship in Quebec then spent hours at the airport waiting for our flight to Toronto en-route to San Francisco.  Since then, we've been recovering from the pace of the last 3 weeks travelling not realising how tiring it had been to wake up early every morning, have bags packed, gulp down breakfast then board a bus or whatever for the day's activity (are we getting old?).  Paddy's friend Nora has welcomed us into her home and given us the keys to her car so that we can get around while we're staying in San Fran.  Yesterday we made a latish start then Paddy (against her better judgement) drove to the bus stop where we caught the bus to the Rapid Transit Centre and went into the city to see the sights.  We jumped aboard one of the crowded cable cars to Pier 39, enjoyed clam chowder for lunch, and walked through the pier area.  Sundowners in Nora's place are a couple of Margaritas before dinner - just a nice way to wind up the day.  
Late in the afternoon there is still fog sitting under the Golden Gate Bridge.  

This was as close as we could get to Alcatraz 

The steep hills of San Francisco

The cable cars are turned manually

The pretty merry go round at Pier 39

Seals arrived at the pier after the earthquake in 1989 and now live here year round.  They entertained with their antics

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quebec - the second time around

Our last day before leaving the ship was spent in Quebec.  For us it was the second time around and we enjoyed the opportunity to revisit and just pottered for the day.  We took a leisurely horse and carriage ride which saved us fighting the pedestrians enjoying the perfect weather.  It is such a pretty city and the shops are great with lots of different things to look at and buy.  Gave the credit cards a bit of a lashing and now we've got to get it home somehow.
Mozart the horse enjoyed a drink at the horse fountain as he took us around Quebec
Carved indian decorates the doorway of a fur store
Fabulous murals depict days gone by 
Halloween decorations are everywhere - pumpkin soup coming up

Saguenay Fjord

 Another bouncy night but when we entered the Fjord the seas settled and we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and the sights of the fjord.  The local amateur theatre group dressed in period costume greeted the ship when we arrived which was a lovely way to be welcomed.  Our tour for the day was the highlights of Saguenay and about 50 of us were packed one of those yellow school buses you see in the movies and it was really squeezy, then we boarded a boat for the return to the pretty town.  Finally we were to see the autumn colours of the trees and everywhere we go now, there are pretty yellow through to deep red trees everywhere.  We're were just a bit early but we've now got lovely memories of the colours. 
Our welcoming committee 

More picturesque colours

Beautiful Saguenay Fjord

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The last few days

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything but we’ve had some days where there wasn’t much happening.  We visited Gloucester and Boston, then Bar Harbour Maine which didn’t seem to have lots to offer but a main street filled with souvenir shops.    Then we went to Halifax, Nova Scotia where we had a great tour guide who gave us lots of information and took us to Peggy’s Cove which was a picturesque fishing village built on granite and so we were told had the most photographed lighthouse in Canada - just looked like any other lighthouse.  Took our photos and then the rain set in as we headed back to Halifax and then continued for the next few days.

Memorial statue to over 5000 fishermen and their boats which have been lost at sea.
Picture postcard pretty - Peggy's Cove
The last couple of days have been interesting in that the weather turned very nasty and our wise captain decided to get us out of the path of an approaching low weather system rather than put 2000 passengers at risk.  We spent the day onboard while the stabilisers coped with the ugly seas whipped up by winds of more than 85mph as we skirted the storm. 

Doesn't this look like fun to play in?  The fury of the sea in Force 12 winds.  No wonder I'm a fair weather sailor.
More bouncing through the night and this morning we were in Charlotteville on Prince Edward Island, home of Anne of Green Gables.  We visited the pretty home which was used as the model of the house in which the characters in Montgomery’s books lived, and had been owned by relatives of her Grandfather before being turned into the Green Gables historical site.  Unfortunately it was pouring with icy rain and the temp was around 3 degrees and bitingly cold was so we decided to re-board the ship rather than explore the town of Charlotteville.
Anne of Green Gables Cottage

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Newport, Rhode Island

In Newport we got a taste of what a life without money concerns was like when we toured two homes belonging to the Vanderbilt family.  I'd have to say that to me it was almost obscene the opulence and extravagance of these holiday homes of the rich and famous.  While a house built of marble both inside and out is spectacular, do you really need it especially when you build it just to have a nicer house than your neighbour - I don't think so, but then I'm not a Vanderbilt.  The estates were beautifully maintained with spectacular views over the ocean and were really lovely.

Lifestyles of the rich and famous.  Absolutely beautiful estates.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It was 40 years ago today

Happy Anniversary!  Yes it’s 40 years since these 2 kids were married and I couldn’t imagine my life without Geoff.  There’s been challenges thrown at us along the way but we’ve got through them.  Geoff - you’re my best friend and I luv ya.


We were young once.
Now we're a little bit older, a little bit greyer and a little bit wiser but you're my best mate

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New York - Day 2

Well thankfully we got through the day without too much stress.  The Embassy processed Paddy’s new passport in a couple of hours and then it was onto the 18th Precinct NYPD.  Believe it or not it was just like you see on TV with the bad ass momma at the counter with a bad attitude.  We laugh about it now but it was a bit nerve racking at the time and unfortunately we weren’t brave enough to get out our cameras to record the event.  But yes, we are on the ship and under way and I’ve had a chance to download my photos from yesterday before the s... hit the fan.  I can only put a couple of my New York shots to give you a taste.  
A photo doesn't really do justice to Grand Central Station - it's spectacular

Central Park would be a haven in the middle of this busy city.