Claire Cates

ClairesTravel

Claire Cates

I love to travel with Family and Friends and travel is always an adventure



Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome December 18th 2018

We woke up and got ready and then crossed the street to the café we found last night across from the hotel where we got fresh orange juice and a chocolate croissant. The guy running the café remembered us from last night when we stopped by and asked if he served pastries in the morning. We went back to the hotel and checked out, but we got them to hold our luggage. We then walked the 15 blocks to the metro station and took the metro to the Coliseum. The Roma pass we bought in the states and picked up yesterday allowed us to get on the metro free, but we couldn’t figure out how to use it. We showed it to a guard and he smiled and opened the entrance for us. Ok, so that ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome December 16th 2018

We started in Raleigh and boarded our flight from RDU to Rome. Susan loved the first-class seat that included champagne, a large pillow, lie flat seats… Of course, I did too. We had a nice meal and then tried to crash. I slept some but again you just don’t get too much sleep on a flight when you are going to bed at 8 and waking up at 1. Your body just isn’t used to those times. We got to Paris, went thru passport control and headed to our flight to Rome. Air France first class was nothing more than regular class except the service. It was disappointing. We arrived in Rome and took a taxi to the hotel. Our first stop after the hotel was to get our Roma pass that we had purchased online. ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam July 28th 2018

We knew the day was going to be long, what we didn’t know was it was going to become 2 days. Neither of us slept well. Susan still didn’t feel great after last night and then we had to wake up early so that we could get on the shuttle to the airport. We arrived at the airport and we were the only ones from Viking taking TAROM air (the Romanian airline) Almost everyone else was on British Air. We got to the check-in desk and she checked me in and said, “you will have to pick up your bags in Detroit”. Wait, our flight is thru JFK. Originally it was thru Detroit but when a schedule change happened that gave us 15 minutes in Detroit to go thru customs, go thru immigration and passport control, ... read more
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Europe » Romania July 27th 2018

Today was sad as it was our last morning on the ship. We did our usual of eating early but then we came back and pushed our suitcases out into the hall. Around 8:30 we boarded our bus. The ship was docked in Giurgu, Romania but we were traveling to Bucharest. This was about an hour drive. The bus drove thru a bit of Giurgu and the got on the road to Bucharest. They did a bathroom stop at a filling station since there is nothing like a rest stop around here. Our guide told us a lot of Romanian history during the trip. The first thing Susan and I noticed was that we could read the signs again. We were back where they used the Latin letters, plus, we could understand a bit of the ... read more
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Europe » Bulgaria » North July 27th 2018

As usual, we got up early and ate breakfast. Around 9 we got on the bus. Luckily the bus was not full so Susan and I both got to sit by a window. The bus drove thru Russe, Bulgaria where we were docked. Russe is the biggest port in Romania even though it is not on the Black Sea. We saw a few sites in Russe from the bus and then we left for the long drive to Velido Tarnovo during which, I read some on my kindle. We drove thru the country side for about 1.5 hours to get to the town. Velido Tarnovo used to be the capital of Romania several hundred years ago. It is a pretty town with a large castle and buildings that are on the side of the mountain. There ... read more
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Europe July 26th 2018

We woke up in Vidin (Veeden) Bulgaria; actually, when we went to bed, we were already there. Guess what, we woke up early like we do every day and headed to breakfast right as it opened. Our tour didn’t start until 9am so we checked news and email then boarded the bus to the Belogradchik Rocks, one of the natural wonders of Bulgaria. Vidin is the poorest city in the EU and you could tell it. After the fall of communism, a ton of the factories in this area closed. We drove by factory after factory that looked like it was from an apocalyptic movie. They could surely film one here. Some factories looked like they had been agricultural based, others more manufacturing based and then others looked like office buildings. Wow. We then drove out ... read more
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Europe » Serbia July 24th 2018

On most ships you might have a day as sea, but since we are not in the ocean, today is a day at river. We got up early because we wanted to get good seats on the main deck and we were afraid we would not be able to since we were going to be on the river all day. Almost no one was up there. Breakfast started a half hour later than usual and once it opened we went down and had a nice breakfast. While we ate we watched the beautiful mountain scenery go by and took some pictures. These are the first real mountains we have seen on this trip. We saw the greenhouse looking building which houses the excavation of an ancient settlement from 20-50 thousand years ago and a little later ... read more
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Europe July 24th 2018

We woke up early again so that we could eat and join the tour for the day. Today’s tour was the Best of Belgrade. The ship is docked on the Sava River. The Sava joins the Danube in Belgrade which is why this area is so important and has be fought over for so many years. Cargo ships dock on the Danube while passenger ships dock on the Sava. The two rivers were both major water highways, plus there were several overland pathways connecting east and west; Belgrade was where all the action was. Last night we learned a little history of Belgrade and it turns out there have been 115 wars in the area over the last couple of thousand years. The city has been destroyed 44 times and rebuilt 45. In one 3-year period, ... read more
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Europe July 23rd 2018

We arrived early for breakfast again this morning as we had another early outing. When we woke, we looked out our window and we saw water instead of into another boat. The weather didn’t look great though. The ship was docked in Vukovar Croatia. Vulkovar is in the eastern part of the country and not where most people visit when they come to Croatia. We got on the bus and headed to Osijek(O syeck). Along the way we saw war damage. The guide was great and told us a lot about the area. During the war of the early 90s, Slovenia broke away from Yugoslavia and all went well. That wasn’t the case when Croatia tried to break away. Croatia was the part of the country that controlled most of the money and Serbia (where the ... read more
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Europe » Hungary July 22nd 2018

It wasn’t a good night for sleep there were AC problems plus emails and texts that came in from the East coast. The phone had to remain on for the alarm plus we wanted to make sure the kids arrived back in New York safely. We woke up and our ship was tied to another ship. Our window looked into the side of the other boat. We got ready and headed to breakfast. They had champagne, but I didn’t indulge this morning. The ship was docked in Kalocsa Hungry (pronounced - Ka low cha). We boarded the bus and headed out on our adventure. The bus trip took about 20 minutes and we passed several corn fields and fields full of sun flowers. KK, I thought of you. We arrived at the horse farm and they ... read more
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