Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Hi again. We are waiting to go to the airport. I forgot to tell another funny..Monday I wanted to change money? We kept seeing banks..finally went in. there was a tube like a revolving door without the inner thing. I got in...there was a message in Italian...someone else in the Libby said I had to get out and put my camera ,etc in a locker? We'll, I couldn't get it!to work??thankfully there was a nice nun there? she showed me I needed a euro to put in...once I did this, it worked. after all of that, I went in and they didn't change money!!! I did get my euro back when I undid the lock.later I found a cam bio and made a major mistake???I didn't ask what rate he charged...15%!!!!AWCKKKK I should have changed more the day before in sorrento after seeing Pompeii. In sorrentomi sawmthembiggest lemons I have ever seen???they were even bigger then grapefruit???the bellhop is here so better go. Barb. Once I get home I will post photos.

Getting around on 1.5 Euro!

this morning we wanted to go to the Pantheon. I stopped to ask the man at the desk on how to get there. he told me to go to the newsstand  and buy the ticket.then proceed to the bus stand near the Hard Rock Cafe. This we was a very small bus...we didn't know exactly where to get,off..we had some walking to do. I wonder how the ancient Romans hauled those huge stones up to creat these buildings! Next we had to fine the museum with the Davinci machines. this was so neat. they had life size copies of Davincis designs ...he was absolutely incredible..a bicycle, the idea of a helicopter, etc.I don't know how much longer it will be on exhibit.
while we were leaving the area of  the Pantheon we walked down a street that had many shops selling the robes ,etc. Needed by Catholic priests....beautiful things...beautiful robes...also the silver and gold chalices, etc. Needed for the service.
eventually we found a bus wasn't the bus we had arrived on but we recognized different buses went to the metro stops we had used yesterday. when we finally got to the metro stop we finally used our ticket. We're watched people getting on the buses and didn't see them swiping them so we had gotten all around the city on one ticket!!!
We found a place on our way home to eat..Small, open face sandwiches and blessed water!!!
we had to buy another suitcase after taking a nap, we have packed. Wee get picked up at 8ish tomorrow morning..our flight leaves about noon...we get back to Tucson at 9:30 or so....been a long trip but incredible!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Country bumpkins in Rome

Hi all. we left the ship about 7:30 min. Am and we're in a car with driver heading to ROME by 8!
our hotel is near the American embassy....nice area? we left out luggage with the bellhop and got a map and headed out. We found a hop on,Hop off tour bus...stayed on for the first time around we got off at the colleseum...wanted to see the lower part but would have to wait three hours formate guided tour so just walked around the second level. The weather was,perfect..not hot, with a little breeze. by the time we finished that and got back to our area it was after 3.
Now our bumpkin-ness showed itself!  We got the key to our room and headed up. We could not see a slot for it and had to wait for the bellhop with our luggage...turns out you just lay the key on the thing and it reads the code and opens the door! Duh!  So now we want to shower to get ready to go to dinner..we have this incredible shower...there were three jets coming straight at Joe???he got those disabled and was able to get!water coming out of the hand-held thing but never out of the over-head faucet!!! (The Clampetts hit the big city!). At least the water was nice and warm. We found out that our friends from church, Dee and john Sundby, were close by so just walked to meet them for dinner. we compared cruises, etc. they are leaving tomorrow for Florence and Venice.
yesterday we also went to St. Peter's  to get the lay of the land .
today we found the subway and went to ST. peters so happy we had the Skip the Line Vatican tickets? the line was three long blocks long, four wide.UGH. We were early so went and had some coffee. We spent several hours in the Vatican museum ANG finally the Sistine chapel. a man on the ship had given a lecture about the Sistine chapel???was really glad I had gone? Nothing to say but incredible. when we got out we got to see the changing of the guard by the Vatican guards...neat. We then got in line to see St. Peter's basilica???and the Pieta...also incredible. by this time I was unending out of steam...on the street bought a "knockoff" Prada bag..?Making sure it was spelled right first!!!
We also had to buy another suitcase as I had shopped more then I expected,on the cruise.
Camemback and took a nap...knee was hurting. Went to dinner and met a really nice British couple...spent a lot of time talking to them. they were heading to Sicily. We told them our friends had been there two days ago and got snowed on!!!
best close. Barb

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Hi, we are on our way toBehlehem..just ate a very late lunch. We have seen the dome of the rock, the
via de lorosa, the wailing wall, garden of gethsemenae..really pretty.
Two day ago we transitted the Suez Canal...that was really neat.. We started about 4 am by getting in s convoy ...we were the fifth ship with 20 more behind us..each ship pays about $90-120,000 to transit. The canal has been n service for over 100 years so it is bringing a boatload of money to Egypt. We got into the Med. about 4 pm.

Yesterday we went to the Dead Sea and also Masada. also saw Qumwran where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. Boy, was it hot !!!
We had bought our swim suits and went into the Dead Sea. The water looked normal...I was expecting it to look different. It is really a funny back in and then sit down...your legs flip up and you are about salty tasting!!!I put a drop on my tongue...I could taste it for a long time.

Back to the canal...there were quite a few towns along the way with ferries taking cars and peoplE
across.  We were so close to the shores on both sides...everyone was on deck 10 sitting an watching. The poor servers had to refill the large coffee urns several times.

Today there are quite a few tourists..I can't imagine doing this during Easter or must be packed solid.
Tomorrow we are coming back to Jerusalem on our own..will probably take the train in...I will keep you posted!

Friday, April 25, 2014


Hi all, We were most excited about this stop. It has been 45 years since we were here and there is nothing that is the same. The Jordanians have made this an economic free zone and there is much construction going on. |Lots of big hotels, apartments, etc. The sheik from AbuDhabi has a big project going on. In a few years this will be another Monte Carlo.
Yesterday we took the shuttle bus to town and hired a cab to take us around. There are lots of tourist shops mixed in with regular stores. We went to several gold shops but the price was too expensive for my taste. ||Our driver was really nice. The weather was nice .overcast and not terribly warm. However  it warmed up after we ate lunch and it started to bother me. We did a little shopping , drank tea, ate lunch and went back to the ship.
Today we took a bus to Wadi Rum..we had never been in Wadi Rum..always just had ridden past it. It has really been built up as far as little villages, etc. The Bedouins have the monopoly on the tours, etc and have done quite well with it.
Soon we were all in the back of pickup trucks with benches in the back. We drove off into the desert to various places. We stopped at a total of 4 Bedouin camps...most were permanent structures with a half-wall with benches and a tent over the top. Some of them were selling things besides giving us tea. We saw no women...many men in the kafeeya on their phones. The Cunard line Queen Elizabeth pulled into berth right behind us last night and dwarfed our ship. This morning there must have been 30 tourist buses out in front of their ship. Anyway, there lots of pickup trucks in the desert but it worked out well so there weren't a lot of people at each stop. The rock formations are really incredible.The sand is something else to walk in...very slippery and hard to walk in. At one of the camps there must have been 20 camels..I got on and rode it around for a few minutes..can't imagine doing that for days.

In town there are many woman the chador...we never saw that when we lived here. The woman were wearing their traditional dress that had lots of embroidery on the front and sleeves ...they may have had several layers of clothes on underneath that. They had a scarf on their head but not covering their faces...really different now.
\yesterday at the restaurant we had tabbouleh, hummus, and fried kefta....good. also a lemon-mint tea...really good.
Today in the camps we had tea that also had cardamon in it. good but different.

Tonight we eat in the Polo Grill...then in two days we eat in the more day and then we go through the Suez canal..then three days in |Jerusalem.
Will keep you posted. Barb.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Hi All, it is Easter Monday and we are going through the Sea of Aden and we are within swimming distance of Yemen. We have passed Somalia  and are now between Yemen and Djibouti ..there is an oil rig out here also. really a narrow passage...can see why and how the kidnappers worked. more later.Barb

Sunday, April 20, 2014

In the Aden Sea

Hi all, just finished team trivia...we finally came in for first [place!!!Right now we are 70 miles from Yemen and 70 miles from the Somali coast...neither one likes us very much. All of the fire hoses are out on deck. i found out after we got on the ship that this ship was attacked  by the Somali's 3-5 years ago and someone was killed for not moving fast enough.!

We are seeing lots of tankers. Maybe ships go through in bunches
Yesterday we were in Salaha, Oman. Quite a change as up to now everything has been very tropical and lush. Oman is strictly desert. They are on the ocean .They are actually a fairly new country. Up until 1970 they had no infrastructure., no hospitals, no schools, etc. The health care is free, i am not sure about the schools. all of the buildings look new.
This is where you get frankincense...smell it burning all over. We went to see a majestic mosque..very beautiful but they wouldn't let us in if we didn't have a scarf to cover our head and neck. So  had to wait until someone came out.
They then took us to a tourist shopping barginning skills re-surfaced and I cam away with some bargins. I was unhappy as we didn't see the real local market l saw two woman selling things in the market and they let me take photos.

Did I tell you that some people were offered $12,000 to down-grade their room? Apparently on these long cruises people want the higher decks. One couple was first offered, $3000, a cruise in August and something else. They deferred..they were called back a little later and were offered a flat $12000 and took it!
I have gotten the names of websites to arrange tours on so will pack those away. also got a lesson today at the brunch(Easter) on negotiating for a few things. I will try that sometime also.

We still have one more day at sea and then we are in Jordan!!! Will keep you posted.