Page 3 of Parks Photos Travel Blog Posts

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. We took a rather relaxed approach to the morning, knowing that the bigger planes we wanted to catch coming into Princess Juliana Airport would arrive later in the afternoon. We stretched out our balcony breakfast, did some photos –me of France and Ray of yesterday's catch-- then spent some time getting to know Patsey, our housekeeper for the week. It's always fascinating to get to know how others live their lives, especially in such a different part of the planet that requires a different approach to life. So many similarities exist among the various differences that one would conclude that the only thing different is the sameness. After Ray spread out the two pieces of art he purchased yesterday at the Marigot Market, he decided he ... read more
Catch a falling plane...
Da Party Bus
getting ready to blow over the spectators

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. Day 5 on the island, and we're definitely getting into the timeless nature in the spaces of our day. We didn't have to be anywhere by any time, nor be anywhere at all except where we were at any time; but, to keep us current, we managed to be on time for our happy hour interlude. We started the day with our usual balcony breakfast of cereal, bananas, coffee and sugarbird companions. We watched early risers running the beach, and others trolling with their metal detectors for a chance at the big prize of someone else's misfortune. The beach below us was beautifully manicured for the day's destruction by rampant sun worshipers out to impress. The morning haze promised afternoon humidity, and we decided to ignore ... read more
Fort Amsterdam
Fort St. Louis
Marigot below

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. It was Tuesday, Day 4 of our trip to St. Maarten, and Ray and I must have been getting a little too far into the laid-back feel of the place because our relaxed apathy was turning into outright laziness, like the best part of a day is swinging in a hammock. We were slow to move in the morning, and even when we finally got down to the car, we weren't sure of where we were headed. I worked on some of the France pictures as we lounged around our digs, and we got to meet Patsey, our wonderful housekeeper. The entire staff from desk clerk to bartender (that's the hotel hierarchy, isn't it?) were exceptional personalities with an honest desire to help make your vacation ... read more
Radisson Bark

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. This morning I woke up and Ray was still sleeping. I decided to make a quick gallery of our suite for his daughter Lisa who was gracious enough to share this wonderful place with us. Her normal suite is 406, but, because of the change of week we had to make, we stayed in 404. She was curious to see any differences. When I was done, I looked back out toward the ocean. Ray had been telling me that on a clearer day we'd be able to see a couple islands on the horizon, but the weather of late prevented any such visibility. Magically there it was. No, not the island, but a beautiful rainbow arching over the hill on our right. As I hurriedly setup ... read more
Colorful Storm
Boo Hoo. Boo who?
Sugarbirds' Happy Hour

Photos for this trip can be found through this link. Getting back to the Belair last night was not as easy as the normal island attitude. As we rounded the circle, we were surprised to see the road to our hotel was closed, likely washed out from the heavy rains. Ray's mind tried to scramble through old mental maps from previous visits, but when we entered the parking lot of the grocery market where we shopped earlier, he said, "Pull up there," pointing to the entrance of a restaurant named Mark's Place. He was out of the car before I turned it off, and by the time I caught up to him inside, he was already at a table getting directions from one of the customers. Later, back in the car, I asked him why he ... read more
Endless Pool
Ice Cream Gallery
Spiral Marble

We had 5 days from when we returned from France until we took off for St. Maarten, and during that time Barb & I came to grips with the fact that she couldn't make the trip. Just before we left for France her mom had taken ill and was in the hospital. Barb received many calls on our cruise with updates, and for help making decisions about her mom's choices. Her brother Bob lives nearby and is always a huge help, but Barb was the one with the Power of Attorney and she felt anxious about the position; besides, she loves her mom and wanted to be with her during this time. We planned this trip to the Caribbean island while we were visiting our friend Ray Listanski at his Florida digs in March. Ray mentioned ... read more
Belair Beach Hotel
Sugar Birds

Europe » France » Île-de-France May 4th 2014

Photos from Day 10, Notre Dame & Placa de le République We figured most of Paris slept this early on a Sunday morning holiday weekend, and we were right. We felt like the first intruders in the slumbering city; the only others to be walking about were the ones that hadn't yet called it a night. We wanted to be near the front of the line when they opened the doors to the top of Notre Dame, and were cautiously pleased when there was no line yet. Barb went over to read the sign by the gate and I shot the church. "It doesn't open until 10," she said returning. WHAT?!! It was quite cold and we definitely could have slept another couple of hours, and I was furious with myself for not learning NOT to ... read more
Conciergerie across the Seine
Conciergerie Prison
Peak Peekers

Europe » France » Île-de-France May 3rd 2014

Photos from Day 9, Jardin du Luxembourg, Palais Garnier & Eiffel Tower We jumped into an early morning cab, waking the driver, and said in what surely sounded like a foreigner takeover, "Luxemburg Garden." He returned a look of defeat and seemed ready to abandon his vehicle. Then I tried my best imitation of the godawful nun who tried drumming French into our souls in high school, "Jarr-dan do Luke's inborg." Immediately, relaxation and relief filled our driver with confidence. "Ah, schar dan due looks en berrg!" he rushed the words as if his thermos of coffee finally kicked in. And we were off. It was Saturday and my good friend Jim Patt... read more
Inside the garden
Luxembourg Garden
The River Seine

Europe » France » Île-de-France May 2nd 2014

Photos from Day 8, Musee d'Orsay & Les Invalides The cruise is over, and now we are on our own in Paris for three days. Well, not totally alone. There were a dozen of us who extended our trip, and Viking provided us with Monsieur Arnold (Arnold is his first name, but I called him "Misure Arno"). Of course there was an extra two million visitors to the city because of the holiday weekend that kept us anything but alone. We awoke early to see Dan & Fran off, although Barb never made it to the lobby at the right time. Charlie & Lauri's flight was later so we all had a farewell breakfast and hugged our favorite crew goodbye. At 9:30 Barb & I boarded the bus that took us to Crown Royal Plaza Republique, ... read more
Les Invalides
Interior shot
Napoleon's Tomb

Europe » France » Île-de-France May 1st 2014

Photos from Day 7, Montmartre Montmartre. Artists and Sacré-Coeur. Barb couldn't wait to show me this place. She knew I'd recognize the feeling, but never anticipated the final feeling we got of this place. This was May Day, the day all of France celebrated the workers. This was the day I thought it would be fun to serve our servers on Viking, but it turned out to be one in which they worked even harder. After a quick breakfast we bid them farewell and boarded our buses for the highest part of Paris. The city was asleep with its employees waking on their vacation schedules, the streets were sparse with traffic, but the crowds would soon be among us. The buses couldn't get through the narrow streets taking us uphill, so we debussed at Moulin Rouge ... read more
Sacre Coeur
The Neptune
Kayakers on the Seine

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