Saturday, October 26, 2013

Brilliance Cruise - Continued

Hi Again - it is a cold day in our last port, Portland, Maine, and we have been here at least 3 times before, so we are currently sitting in the Concierge Lounge where we have a good phone and internet signal. We are waiting for it to warm up a bit so we can go out for a long walk. In the meantime, I will tell you about the port experiences we have been having. Portland was our first stop last week and the day was nicer. Here is a picture of the city:
We mostly walked all over, admiring the old buildings. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived here, so his house has been preserved and there is a museum nearby. The waterfront, where our ship is docked, has nice shops and restaurants. When we were here in our RV 2 summers ago, Boomer friends Gloria and Charlie Goss were with us and we all took a ferry to Peaks Island and walked all around it - then had a picnic lunch. It was MUCH warmer then! We also bought cheap lobster, and taught them how to cook and eat it. We had lobster on this ship when we ate at the Captain's Table and it was overcooked and tough. Boo Hoo. Bar Harbor was the other Maine port. Last week everyone was disappointed because the main attraction nearby is Acadia National Park, and it was closed. We took the tender into town and walked all over, admiring the HUGE and stately old hoimes, many of which have now been turned into Bed and Breakfast places. Here are a couple of them along the beach front.
There is also interesting architecture all through the town, an example being this place:
The town itself has lots of cute little shops selling goods for tourists because they get lots of visitors here, not just from cruise ships.
Last week we had this picture taken to show how the trees were changing colors:
You can see that it was warmer because we are in shirts. This picture was taken in Bar Harbor yesterday with the twins, Lisa and Marcia - the ship is anchored behind us:
You can tell it is much colder by the way we are dressed. Our ship is the last one making this run this season. After a little shopping with the twins, Elaine and I went to the library to do internet and then met them later at Geddy's for lunch.
We all had good food and local microbrews, but Lisa was especially keen on having lobster. Elaine is a very experienced seafood eater and she taught Lisa how to break the lobster apart and get all the meat out:
Lisa enjoyed it, despite the look on her face! For dinner, the twins joined us at Giovanni's, the very excellent Italian restaurant on the ship. We had scallops as a starter and a soup loaded with seafood for Elaine, as well as jumbo shrimp for her entree and I had lamb chops. I always request that they go to the neighboring restaurant (Chops) for some of their delicious forest mushroom soup. Everything was delicious and we had plenty of wine too, supplied by the ship as one of our amenities. Here we are sharing a special night (our 5th wedding anniversary) with special friends:
The first Canadian port was Saint John, New Brunswick. The first week we did a very long walk over to the reversing falls. We have been here before and actually, they are no big deal because it is just when the river reverses because of very high tides, and you have to be there at the exact right time. But we needed a destination, so we walked over along the very pleasant harborwalk. Here is the reversing falls area:
On of the nicer tourist areas is called Market Square and nearby is the Barbour Store Museum. This is an old store that was actually moved about 80 miles on a barge to this site and restored. It is well done, interesting, and free.
Outside the store there are so benches with some really cute carved figures, so we posed with them:
Our second visit to Saint John, we walked around a different area downtown. It was much colder but no threat of rain. It was so cold that we were surprised that flowers were still abundant in the planted beds:
One of the fun places to visit was the City Market, where there were many colorful fish drawings hanging over the stalls, and lots of nice handmade creations by the local people.
Saint John is a very historic city, and there are lots of architecturally interesting brick buildings which could be seen on our walk. These were built after a large majority of the wooden buildings were destroyed by a huge fire in the 1800's.
There were many brick and stone churches with prominent spires which could be easily seen from our ship. Here is the Stone Church:
Many people from America who were loyal to England moved up to Saint John after the Revolution. Some of their houses are still around and on display and they call them Loyalist Houses. The last port was Hallifax, Nova Scotia. This is a delightful city we have enjoyed before and lots of the interesting things to see are within walking distance of the cruise port. We did the Harbour Walk, which is very well done and has many lovely sculptures, restaurants, shops, and sights scattered along its length.
This cute little tugboat was moored along the walk:
The second cruise week in Hallifax we walked over to the extensive public gardens. I'm sure they are amazing in Spring and summer, because they were pretty good even now, despite the cold weather. This is the bandstand there:
The lake in the public gardens was bigger than we expected and quite nicely landscaped along the shore:
It wasn't far to The Citadel, a big fort shaped like a star which is high on a hill overlooking the city.
I had my picture taken with the guard:
There are also many elegant, old brick buildings in Hallifax too:
St. Paul's church is one of the oldest in Canada and has a beautiful pipe organ, as well:
Now for a few more miscellaneous pictures from the ship. This is the staff captain and his wife, from Croatia, who hosted us the second week at the Captain's Table:
This is the very elegant dessert that was served:
This is a picture of some of the beautiful and delicious sushi rolls which we ordered at Izumi, the Japanese Restaurant here on the ship. This is one of our favorite places to eat!
Tomorrow we arrive back in Boston and fly back to San Diego where we will stay with Darran & Marielle again for a day or 2. Then we will drive back to Park Sierra to reconnect with old friends who have returned to the park. Our next adventure starts Nov. 13 when we fly to Barcelona to board the Serenade of the Seas for a series of 3 cruises - the Mediterranean, a transtalantic, and a Caribbean.

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