Monday, December 30, 2013
Usually this letter is sent before Christmas, but because we have been traveling, it is now a New Year's letter. The important thing is that we have heard from many of you, and enjoyed every word. We greatly appreciate the communications from family and friends. And we want to let you know what has been happening with us. As is the usual case, we have been enjoying a combination of RV travel, cruising, and some land trips in foreign places this past year. We started the year in the RV in Arizona, staying with friends in Yuma and then joining the Boomer group in Quartzsite the last few weeks of January. Mid-Feb. we flew to Bangkok for a few days on our own and then a 15 day tour of Myanmar (formerly Burma). This country has just recently been opened up for tourism, so it was extremely interesting because it is not very Westernized yet. Upon our return to Bangkok, we joined another tour group which visited southern Thailand, Malaysia, and ended in Singapore. It had been 10 years since we were in Thailand, and we found this area so heavily touristed that we did not enjoy it nearly as much as before. Malaysia and Singapore were both new to us and quite enjoyable and interesting. In early April, we flew to New Orleans and boarded the Navigator of the Seas for a transatlantic cruise to Italy. And we stayed on board for the following cruise to some Med ports and Greece. When the cruise was over towards the end of April, we took the train up to the Cinque Terre towns in northern Italy. These are 5 small picturesque towns perched on cliffs overlooking the sea, connected by hiking trails as well as trains and boats. We stayed in Levanto, the small village north of the 5 towns, because we wanted to have a more authentic experience than staying in the towns where there were so many tourists. It was a good choice, we had a great B&B, and we had 4 days to explore everything. Couldn't do much hiking because lots of the trails were closed due to landslides, but we explored a lot by train and walking through all the towns. In late May, we packed up the RV and started north. It was great to visit friends in Oregon on the way up to WA. Had to have some major work done on our brakes in Centralia. Then we had a great family gathering at the college graduation of my oldest granddaughter, Paige, in Seattle on June 9. We left our RV at the SKP park in Chimicum, and drove our car to Vancouver to catch the Radiance of the Seas for two back to back cruises up and back to Alaska. Had some sunny weather and also several friends living up there showed us great hospitality. Back in Washington, we did a few things with the RoVing Rods and then relocated to Gig Harbor where we spent several weeks staying with Chris Christensen on her new lot. It was great to explore that area and also get a few things fixed on our satellite TV system. August found us heading for Winchester Bay, Oregon where we usually had fantastic crabbing experiences. This year there were very few crabs, probably due to water that was warmer than usual, but the salmon fishing was awesome. There was lots of tuna available when we first arrived as well. So we canned tuna and salmon whenever we could get some. Early September we started heading south in order to attend the wedding of my daughter, Laura, to Dennis Calvin. It was held at South Lake Tahoe and we rented a big house for all the family to stay in for the weekend. It was a fun weekend and a beautiful event. We returned to Park Sierra with our RV and set it up for a long stay. October 9 we flew to Boston and spent 4 days exploring that interesting place, before boarding the Brilliance of the Seas for 2 cruises up to maritime Canada and back. Both cruises were great, with good weather and great friends aboard. We even got upgraded to an owner's suite when we were top cruisers on the 1st one. The first part of November we were at Park Sierra. Nov. 11 we drove to San Diego to stay with Darran and Marielle, and then leave our car with them while we flew to Europe. Nov. 14 we boarded the Serenade of the Seas and did a 12 day Med cruise, a 15 day transatlantic cruise back to New Orleans, and a 9 day Caribbean cruise, ending in New Orleans on Dec. 21. After flying back to San Diego and retrieving our car, we drove to Fremont to have Christmas with Tarra and family. Thomas came over from San Francisco, and Laura and Dennis drove down from Reno. Darran and Marielle were with her family in New York.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
We hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. We enjoyed that occasion on the Serenade of the Seas, somewhere in the Mediterranean between Barcelona and Cadiz, Spain, the first port of our second consecutive cruise. This cruise will end Dec. 12 in New Orleans. Barcelona is where we started (Nov. 15) and ended our first cruise which was 12 days visiting many ports in the Mediterranean. It is quite late in the season to be doing these ports because of cold weather, but we lucked out and only had a few days of rain. First we visited Cannes, France, where we explored the old city and the very enjoyable waterfront promenade area with David & Diane Wilson. Here is a building painted with scenes from the film festival: