We have now boarded the Mariner of the Seas for 2 weeks in the Caribbean, and we are hoping for some sun because it is drizzling in Galveston right now. Yesterday we flew to Houston and took the Supershuttle to Duane and Dorothy's house in west Houston. The original plan was that we would have dinner with them, stay at their place, and they would drive us to the ship today. When we arrived, Dorothy was there with her best friend Mary, and Duane was in the hospital! His lungs had filled up with fluid and he was having trouble breathing. They got him straightened out and he is back home this afternoon, but probably they can't travel for a while. The 4 of us had a wonderful visit and delicious dinner, which we were amazed at because Dorothy pulled it off despite the health crisis. Mary drove us to the ship today and we greatly appreciate that she did this, and that Dorothy arranged it for us. We have GREAT friends!
Yesterday when I was posting pictures from the Mediterranean cruise, I didn't finish before we had to get on the airplane, so hopefully, I can finish now.
Northern Israel (continued) The ruins at Capernaum:
The Monastery at Tabgha, built where Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, had wonderful old mosaic floors:
When the tour stopped for lunch at a restaurant near the shores of the Sea of Galilee, David, Diane, Elaine and I had a picnic. You can see by this picture that the water has receded quite a bit, because they have been over-using it, and also there has been a drought. The Sea of Galilee has fresh water in it, and the people of Israel depend on it.
Here is a picture of us dipping our hands into the Sea of Galilee to see how warm it was.
The last place we visited on the Sea of Galilee was this church built where Jesus preached about the Beatitudes. The grounds were beautiful and the church had many mosaics inside with all the words of the Beatitudes.
One of the ports, Kusadasi, was in Turkey, so David & Diane shopped for a carpet. Here is the carpet shop:
Lots of the streets in Kusdasi are clean, have decorative cobblestones, and cute shops. We wandered one block off the main shopping street and found this area where the "real" people live:
There is a nice harbor in Kusadasi and we were there on a sunny day:
One of the highlights of Athens was going to the changing of the guard at the Parliament building. On Sundays at 11AM the entire regiment takes part and it is quite colorful and they do interesting high-stepping:
Of course, most people visit the ruins when they are in Athens. Here is a shot of the amphitheater:
We were in Greece during the strikes and labor protests. On the walk through Piraeus to the metro to go to Athens, we encountered this effect of the labor strikes:
While we were on the ship, we received an award for having 280 cruise days with Royal Caribbean:
The island of Rhodes was our favorite. The old town is completely surrounded by walls, gates, towers and moats. Our ship docked right next to it.
One of the gates in Rhodes:
The narrow streets in Rhodes are lined with nice shops and often have trellis or flowering vines hanging down:
Our favorite handicraft item in Rhodes was utensils made of olive wood.
Some people devised innovate ways to market olive wood!
Most of the places we have been on this cruise have mosques with minarets. This one could be clearly seen from our ship and was within the city walls:
Chania, Crete has a delightful Venetian style port area. You can see it just behind us:
Greek people enjoy drinking ouzo, so we tried it while in Chania. It tastes like licorice and we liked it:
On the next cruise, the transatlantic, Ken & Carolyn Kimpton from Park Sierra joined us and we all went out for dinner at Portofino:
Palma de Mallorca has one of the largest cathedrals in Europe:
Funchal, Madiera has always been one of our favorite ports, partly because they have such decorative sidewalks:
An interesting looking fruit we found in the market was a combination of banana and pineapple. It was delicious!!
We explored Funchal with Carol & Byron, so Byron took this picture when we stopped at a streetside table for a local beer:
In La Palma, Canary Islands, we enjoyed the scenic small streets with colorful buildings:
Also in La Palma there is a life-sized replica of Columbus' ship, the Santa Maria. You can see our ship in the distance at the top of the picture:
On some of the sea days during the transatlantic crossing, they had special High Teas for Diamond+ members:
And we had a special gathering of all the cruise friends who are now "Newts": From left to right are June, Susan, Dorothy,Carol, Elaine, Diane, Marilyn, & Letty.
After the cruise we went home with David & Diane to Austin and enjoyed a wonderful BBQ dinner at a unique place in the country. They have a lovely home and here they are in their family room: