Page 5 of onthegogirl Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 6th 2017

I had been in Lucca once before with Mike but this time we entered the city through St. Peter’s gate and saw many different churches and plazas. The city dates back to Roman times and although the original walls are gone now it is still a walled city. The current walls date to the 15th century. No longer used for protection, the city walls provide wonderful walks and bicycle trails. While all the surrounding towns and villages were conquered by Florence, Lucca remained independent until a profligate ruler sold the town to Florence to settle gambling debts. It is a great sense of pride to the locals that the city has never been conquered. It was early when we arrived and the city had not fully awakened. We strolled through mostly empty streets to the old ... read more
One of many towers
The cathedral

Europe » Spain » Balearic Islands October 5th 2017

Palma de MaJordan is a beautiful island and I hope to come back someday to explore the City but today we are off to learn how to make Paella. Unfortunately ML is not feeling well but tropper that she is she persisted. It is a shame because this is the one tour she really was looking forward to. Our first stop is the market to buy our ingredients. Like most markets of Europe it was a feast for the eyes. Large, immaculate, with fresh meat, fish, veggies and fruit, it really stimulated the taste buds. Everything is locally grown except for the tropical fruits. You can buy herbs and spices and prepared meals as well. Cooking utensils and pans and pots and aprons, whatever you need for the kitchen is available here. We watched the meat ... read more
The hacienda
Making Paella
The result

Europe » Spain October 4th 2017

Barcelona. Rather than go off on our own we decided to take a ships tour. The province of Catalonia has wanted independence from Spain forever and the provincial government scheduled a referendum for Sunday, October 1. The central government has sent in police from all over the country to stop the election and the locals are demonstrating daily. Whether the police will actually block the 2000 polling places or arrest the leaders of the demonstrations or both is still uncertain. The problem with a ship’s tour is that you are with 45-50 of your shipmates. This makes the logistics of getting on and off the bus time consuming. We stopped near the most famous Gaudi houses and saw dozens of young people emerge from the subway with Catalonian flags. They were heading to the Plaza Catalunya ... read more
Sagrida Familia

Europe » Spain » Region of Murcia October 4th 2017

We are now entering the port intensive portion of the cruise. First stop, Malaga. We were here before with Rich so many of the attractions were old hat. Still it is lovely to find familiar spots is foreign cities. We strolled past the cathedral and the old cardinal’s palace and found the cafe were I had enjoyed a drink in the past. I had forgotten that the drinks were humongous. We each had a G&T at the tonic came in a small bottle. The Gin or Vodka however were presented in a large brandy snifter with a couple of ice cubes. It is the only time I can remember where they served a larger proportion of alcohol versus the mixers. Total cost, 10e. We chatted up a woman who was vacationing from England and worked at ... read more

Europe » Gibraltar September 30th 2017

Since Lisbon the ports have been daily. While other passengers headed off to Seville, ML and I enjoyed a spa special. I have never felt to pampered in my life. Full body exfoliation and massage, and facial. After, I lounged in the thermal suite reading and used the thermal pool (like a giant hot jacuzzi). I could have had a steam bath or sauna but I was much too relaxed to try. I had visited Gibraltar last fall so some of the touring stops were repeats but…. This time we saw the rock from tip to toe. Visited the siege caves built when the Spanish tried to starve the British off the rock. It didn’t work. There are massive fortifications around the rock to protect it from invasion and guard the entrance to the Med. While ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon September 27th 2017

Lisbon is a lovely city. My plan was to taxi to the Saint George Castle and follow Rick Steeves guide. Instead there was a Hop on Hop off bus right outside the pier so I hopped on…….and never hopped off. Didn’t realize that it’s route was in the “modern” part of the city. Lisbon suffered a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. The city was virtually destroyed and 30,000 people died. It was rebuilt in the baroque style and it is now a wonderful blend of old and new architecture. At every place the bus stopped there were large crowds waiting to get on and very few of us got off. The plan was to ride the circuit and then return to a great jumping off place. The traffic was awful, the crowds were awful and the bus ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto September 24th 2017

Portugal Our first port of call was Porto. We took the local bus into the center of the city and walked down to the riverfront. It reminded me of Valparaiso in that it was very hilly. The streets and sidewalks are cobbled and that makes it a bit of a challenge for me. Still we persist. This is a town that respects it’s architecture and character and still maintains its Old World charm. It must be a zoo in summer since the square was chock-a-block with people. In the center is the church of Clerigos. It’s facade is beautifully tiled. We picked a narrow street leading downhill and checked out the shops. Near the square they were ticky tacky souvenir shops but here and there there was a goldsmith shop with delicate and intricate jewelry. This ... read more

Europe » Spain » Galicia » La Coruña » La Coruña September 22nd 2017

We spent our second sea day lazing around the ship. Coffee and juice and a good chin wag, breakfast, then it was “what do you want to do Carole”? “I don’t know. What do you want to do MaryLou?” In the end we each did our own thing and mine was to read. And so the day went on. There were many activities but nothing appealed. I did however try the gelato. This is another innovation on the Konigsdam. It is extra but for $1.23 I got two large scoops, chocolate and Dulce de Leche, and the topping of my choice. It was quite good but but much too much. We headed for Happy Hour and arrived in time for trivia. We did OK, not great. Hoping we’ll improve. MaryLou’s drink selection turned our to be ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Dorset » Weymouth September 20th 2017

On board the Konigsdam - Sea Day. We met the CruiseCritic group in the Crow’s Nest. We were 128 strong. The group was comprised one third American, 1/3 Canadian and 1/3 Australian. They appear to be in their 50’s and 60’s wth a few of us geezers sprinkled around. Everyone was excited to be on board. We then had to stand in line to pass British immigration and afterward it was time for Bingo for ML while I indulged in Asian food for lunch. We are sailing slowly towards the English Channel and I just want to read, relax and watch the world go by so I skipped the Hold ‘Em tournament and trivia pursuit in favor of a relaxing afternoon in the stateroom. We headed for Happy Hour at a new location, The Billboard. While ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam September 19th 2017

I love it when a plan comes together. MaryLou and I met at the hotel around 2:00. Our room was ready when I arrived at 11:00 and it was spacious with a veranda and a great bathroom with both tub and shower. We were both pretty whipped from traveling and I was a bit hungry ( the airline food was pretty bad) so we went to the Brassiere and sat by the fireplace. We were both chilled from the trip and the heat felt wonderful. I had a bagel with salmon and a glass of wine, ML had coffee and we were in bed by five. Awoke refreshed after 16 hours. Better be refreshed!! Coffee, then boarded the shuttle to the airport. Found the train station easily, bought our ticket and were soon on our way ... read more

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