Suzy & Hugh

Nisswa Suzy

Suzy & Hugh

North America » United States » Minnesota » Nisswa March 27th 2011

We're home! Feels kind of strange, like we are half here and half there. The suitcases are empty, one of the last loads of clothes is in the washing machine, and the huge pile of mail has been sorted through. We've been to the grocery store and had to cook and cleanup after our meals for the first time in months. My tan hands are getting rough! But it is good to be home. Hugh's good friend from his early days with the railroad, Jim White, met us in Southampton and drove us up to their home in Cold Ash, a village in Berkshire, west of London. There we had a tasty lunch prepared by his wife, Isobel, waiting for us. It was a warm, sunny day -- the daffodils were all out! -- so the ... read more
Last formal night
Pay attention, Colin!

Europe » Portugal » Azores » São Miguel » Ponta Delgada March 20th 2011

Yesterday we were in the Azores after almost a week at sea. We've had some pretty rough seas almost every day, with Force 7 - 9 winds, so the ship has been bouncing around quite a bit. Of course, this is to be expected since it is the North Atlantic and March. Ponta Delgada, Azores, was beautiful. From the moment we looked out the cabin window in the morning, it was obvious we were in a Portugese port. Every building was black and white. We had a tour in the morning which took us to the west end of the island where we saw the two lakes in the volcanic cauldron at Sete Cidades. Although it was a cloudy day, we were lucky that it was clear enough while we were there that we could admire ... read more
Church detail
Main Square
Our Waiters

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » North Atlantic March 13th 2011

The Islands Well, we are recovering from more than a week of hectic days in port. We are now somewhere in the Atlantic, heading home...well, back to Southampton, that is. Our first island was Aruba, one of the Netherland Antilles. Hugh and I went on a semi-submersible boat ride which took us over the wreck of a German freighter as well as a beautiful coral reef. It was Hugh's first time seeing underwater and I think he liked it quite a bit. To get to the boat our bus took us past all the hotels that line the beaches...there are too many and they are too huge! On the other side of the road was every American franchise restaurant you could imagine from MacDonald's to Tony Roma's to Hooters. It would be very easy to spend ... read more
Iguana Joe's
Great License Plates!

We woke up before 7:00 AM Tuesday because we could hear an unusual amount of activity for that hour. We scrambled into some clothes and ran up to the deck where we could see that we would soon be at the first of the two sets of locks on the south end of the Canal, the Miraflores locks. The captain had said we'd be there at 7:45, but we were almost an hour early. My favorite part of the canal is watching the two guys in the tiny boat row out to bring us the cables that will attach the ship to the mules that pull us through the locks. They throw a rope up to the guys on deck who then haul up the cables that are tied to the rope. I think it is ... read more
Banana Seeds
Little Bananas

South America » Ecuador » West » Manta February 26th 2011

Today we are in Manta, Ecuador. Bet you never heard of this place. We had a city tour which took us to, among other places, the little town of Montechristi where Panama hats come from. Turns out Teddy R. was given one when he came down to open the canal, so he told everyone it was his Panama hat...and the rest is history. It can take three months to weave a hat although they can vary hugely in quality and price. We got a very simple one which I am wearing right now as we are sitiing on the deck, watching a tuna boat unload on the other side of the pier. That is the main industry here: tuna. It is pretty amazing to see these big boxes of fish being hauled out of the hold ... read more
Girl selling scarves
At least she gets a break

South America » Peru » Callao February 26th 2011

Machu Picchu, Peru Note: For some reason, I can't load any pictures today. I'll try again later. There's a reason it's called the rainy season. The only time it wasn't raining during our trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu was while we were driving to and from the airport. However, it was still a wonderful experience. As soon as the ship docked in Callao, the port for Lima, we were off to the airport for our Star Peru one hour flight to Cusco. I was lucky to have a window seat and could see the change from the desert to snow-capped mountains to the incredible green of the Sacred Valley, where we were headed. Our Condor Travel guides -- who were terrific -- escorted us the entire trip, from the ship and back, so all went ... read more
First view of Machu Picchu
Rolly, our guide
Proof we were there!

South America » Chile » Arica & Parinacota » Arica February 18th 2011

OK, I spelled Machu Picchu wrong in the last entry... On Wednesday, the 16th, we had our second luncheon for those passengers who are booked for the entire cruise, the "All-Rounders." Here's the menu: Seafood Tower -- Baby shrimps, rock lobster and tiger prawns on an artichoke bottom served with cognac flavoured cocktail sauce. Cream of Carrot and Pumpkin Soup -- Infused with ginger, served with a swirl of herbed cream and crouton. Duo of Salmon and Sole -- Pan fried salmon filet and poached lemon sole filet served with grilled green asparagus, mushroom and lobster sauce. The Best of Chocolate and Orange -- Silky chocolate cheese cake and orange mousse with Campari flavoured fruit sauces. Not bad, huh? Oh, this was accompanied by a glass of champagne as we walked in and wine with the ... read more
Ell Morro
Hot and sweaty at the top
Among the containers

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso February 16th 2011

First a correction: Castro is the name of the city, not the island. The island is Chiloe. We took the tender in after lunch even though it was still raining off and on. The walk up to the main square was really, really steep, but worth every step because the most beautiful church I've ever been in was up there. From the outside it looks dreadful, but the interior is breathtaking. It is about 100 years old, but designed like a European Gothic cathedral. Except that it is made entirely of wood, not stone. That's because the area is densely forested -- it is their main export -- and there isn't any building stone around. All the buildings are wood, with clapboard shingles that are painted in many colors. Because it was pouring when we came ... read more
Osorno Volcano
At the Rapids

South America » Chile » Aisén » Puerto Aysen February 12th 2011

Just heard there was an earthquake in central Chile yesterday. We are still hundreds of miles to the south, so knew nothing about it. In other words, we are fine. We called at a tiny port called Puerto Chacabuco which is about 8 miles from the larger town of Puerto Aysen. The river that flows between the two used to be navigable, but a recent volcanic eruption made it too shallow. So now all shipping -- including us -- must go to the tiny port. We took the local bus to Aysen (about $1), standing all the way even though a sign clearly indicated no standing was allowed. Also liked the sign that I interpreted as "Bothering the driver can be fatal." It was not a scary ride because we just followed the riverbed, but interesting ... read more
Local Sign
The bridge
What does it mean?

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 9th 2011

Well, it has been a wonderful few days. We were the only passenger ship in port at Ushuaia, but there were container ships loading and unloading all along the same pier. That was one of the differences from six years ago when Mom and Dad and I were there as part of our Antarctic trip. Another difference was how much the town has grown, now at 63,000 when I'm sure it was less than 50,000 back then. It also, unfortunately, seemed less cared for. The flower gardens that so impressed us at that time are still there, but full of weeds in addition to the amazing lupines and pansies. Hugh and I had morning coffee at an interesting restaurant called "Ramos Generales," a place that was a general store 100 years ago and still had shelves ... read more
Ushuaia Flowers
Hugh @ Cape Horn
Crab Trade

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