S: Venice & Greece - Sept 2011
BC: With Our Two Love Boats
FC: Venice & Greece September 2011
1: Venice – Bellisima! Sept 15th and 16th – On the 15th, we spent the first part of the day leaving our Holland American cruise ship and flying to Venice. But as soon as we arrived – wow! What an amazing place! Our bus from the airport dropped us off in the north part of Venice – as far as cars can go. From there we had to roll our luggage, over our first canal, and the sites spread out before us immediately. But before we were to explore any further, we had to find our hotel and drop off our bags, which was only a few blocks away, down an incredibly narrow alley. The hotel was great, and the clerk gave us some great tips. First, we were going to float down the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s Square, and then walk back from there. The cheapest way was a water bus, so we bought two tickets and as soon as we boarded, I said “no way”. It was a cattle call, and the boat was not an open air boat. I told Joanie that I didn’t come this far to float down the Grand Canal like cargo. So we tried to get our money back and then find a water taxi. However, they wouldn’t give us back our money. However, Joanie found a Nun that spoke English, and the Nun helped convince the ticket taker to give us back our money and let her and her fellow nun use our fare. AND. Joanie wasn’t done yet. The water taxi was going to cost us 90 Euros for a twenty minute ride granted it would be a ride of a lifetime. However, Joanie was determined to find another couple to split the fare, and less than 10 minutes later, she was successful. She found a couple from, of all places, MacKay Australia – a place we’ll be going to in November. Anyway, the open air water taxi was incredible! We just couldn’t put down our cameras – it was simply magnificent! Upon our arrival in St. Mark’s Square we found our jaws still hung open, as we began our 90 minute stroll back to our neck of Venice. It was of course filled with a lot of tourist spots, but there were some very nice shops as well. And the famous Rialto Bridge, and the buildings and the people and the Gondolas: Just beautiful. We finally reached our neighborhood and ate dinner with a Grand Canal view at Trattoria Povoledo – recommended to us by our hotel clerk. It was delicious – Joanie had Ravioli with gorgonzola and I had Pasta Carbonara. The sun had set and it was really incredible. What an memorable day and evening. The next morning we had a nice continental breakfast in the hotel’s garden and then strolled around Venice some more, in the cool of the morning. We went looking for an electric outlet adapter and a new purse for Joanie (her travel purse that Chelsea gifted her about 10 years ago broke )– so our stroll had a purpose – kind of. But we took lots of pictures in the soft morning light. We went back to our hotel room after finding the adapter to take advantage of the free internet at our hotel, and after about an hour, we checked out (keeping our luggage at the hotel) and walked some more. After finding Joanie a new purse we stopped at a Gino’s for pizza and a pint. Again, yummy – watching Venetians and tourists meander down the street. But the time came for us to retrieve our luggage and get ourselves to the harbor to board our Royal Caribbean cruise to the Greek Islands. Once on board and while settling into our room we heard the Captain talk about our “sail away”. We were going to sail right by Venice and St. Mark’s Square. So from our balcony, we were able to enjoy one last (and unexpected) look at Venice – and again, how beautiful! A great perspective of this magical place to say our goodbyes. We will never forget our short, but inspiring stay in Venice. Bellisima!
11: Split, Croatia - From Below and Above Sept 17th – We arrived in Split as the sun was coming up, and it looked beautiful and clean from the sea. And it didn’t disappoint once we began to explore. We didn’t plan much for Split – wanted to have a fairly easy day. We just walked from the ship to the coastal area of downtown where there were two sites to see. First was the Riva – the newly improved ocean -front esplanade – mostly lined with restaurants. But before we got too far on our walk, we came to the second site – Diocletian’s Palace – a Roman emperor who built a “vacation home” right here on the coast in the 13th century. This home was a 10 acre Palace, with many buildings and streets and piazzas. It was more like his vacation “town”. What’s amazing about this place now is that it is one of the few (only?) ruins that has been occupied and is still in use. There are shops and restaurants in the dark and cool underground hallways, and even homes and churches scattered throughout his palace – it was really quite interesting. Almost gave you the feeling of what life might have been like for the people that shared this space with him. The highlight of our time at Dio’s place was when we climbed to the top of the Bell Tower – that was awesome! It’s about 180 feet tall and the first part of the climb were steps made of the original stones, through narrow and short hallways. But after a bit of that, the original stairs must have decayed as we walked the rest of the way on steel steps. Nevertheless – the view from the top was fantastic – a 360 degree view of the entire Palace below, the town of Split and the sea and the mountains in the distance. This was definitely the highlight (pun intended) of our time in Split. But the rest of the time was fun too – albeit hot and humid. couldn’t stay dry. But – we walked through different stores and even a farmer’s market, getting some great photos along the way. And then we heard some singing, and soon came upon a group of about 5 men singing original Dalmatian songs (Split is on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia). They were inside this cavernous building where the acoustics were amazing and so was their singing. I recorded a film clip but unfortunately it’s too large to post on the blog – but really beautiful singing. After that we walked around a bit more, along the waterfront past the Riva and then walked back to the ship – of course making a stop for some Croatian gelato and sorbet. Got back on the ship early today, on purpose, to have an easy afternoon and take a vacation from our vacation.
14: Corfu, Greece A Nice Beach and Great Greek Food! Sept 18th – Another easy day planned for today – with just a bus ride to Glyfada Beach for a few hours of badly needed R&R. Anyway, the bus ride was arranged through the cruise line and it was about a 25 minute ride from the east coast to the west coast of Corfu Island. And the beach was nice – we had a “front row” location, with two sun beds (as they call lounge chairs in Europe) and an umbrella. And the water was perfect – cool enough to refresh but not cold. There were no waves and the water was shallow for a very long ways out. And the surrounding hills were very pretty. We spent about 2 hours lounging around, reading and playing Scrabble on Joanie’s Kindle before we decided to get lunch at the Taverna on the beach. That was a good decision – we ordered a Greek salad and some Dolmades, and both were perfect. We also had some locally made Corfu beer (very good actually) and ordered Chicken Kebabs which took forever and we didn’t even eat much of them, because we had to save room for some of the best Baklava we’ve ever had. Yum!
16: A Day at Sea Sept 19th – Eating, reading, movies, laundry, eating & reading. And drinking. And napping. Fun.
17: Crete, Greece - A Relaxed Day By The Waterfront Sept 20th - Another planned easy day in the midst of our cruising, and in anticipation of some very active days to come. We took a bus to Chania Town (about a 15 minute ride) and per the recommendation of a local Greek tour guide, we found the restaurant where she told us we could get some Bogusata – a traditional Greek pastry made with local cheese and sprinkled with sugar. And of course, a nice mini-cup of Greek coffee to go with. Again, delicious. We then took off on our stroll of Chania Town; first through the old indoor market (another gorgeous market full of fresh and dried fruits, cheeses, meats and artifacts. And yes, touristy stuff as well). We then walked several more blocks until we finally reached the waterfront. The harbor area was beautiful and the water was very clear, and as we strolled along the waterfront taking tons of pictures, we must have passed at least 50 “Tavernas” along the way. At the far end of the harbor we saw a man and two young women swimming in the ocean, and it looked like a great spot to do so, and again, it was hot. So Joanie and I went down to the rocks and I swam in my undies (they were blue, so it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.) and it was very refreshing. Anyway, with my blue undies now in my back pocket, we strolled back along the waterfront the way we came, and finally selected a restaurant for lunch. We ordered our Greek usual – Greek salad (which by the way has no lettuce, just tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese, then we dress it all with Greek olive oil and some vinegar), Dolmades, Tzatziki and pita. And once again – very yum! We then started walking back to our bus stop, with a quick stop off for some more gelato. When we got to the bus stop the bus was there and we were back on the ship in no time. Just lazing around the rest of the day, getting rested up for our big day in Athens tomorrow, followed by Mykonos and Santorini the following days. The highlights of our Greek trip – all in a row.
20: Athens – A Walk Back In Time We arrived in Athens to a little drizzle, which wasn’t surprising since we had an awesome shipboard thunder and lightning show the night before as we were heading to bed. Anyway, the plan was to catch a taxi straight to the Acropolis (the hill-top area that’s home to the Parthenon and other important sites), hoping to beat most of the crowds, and we succeeded. We even found another couple to share the taxi, and arrived at the Acropolis before it opened at 8am. When it did open we went straight to the top to tour the Parthenon, and it was awesome! A tremendous ruin, at an incredible spot with an amazing 360 degree view. These ancient Greeks had it going on. So as we walked the site taking photos (and many without a single person in them) we started down the hill and walked by two ancient theatres that were on the side of the Acropolis. We then went to the New Acropolis Museum, which was very cool. First, it wasn’t huge which made it very manageable and the design of the museum was very unique – in that it was built on top of sites currently being excavated. They did this with both open areas in the museum and glass floors. After the museum, we stopped for a bite to eat (spinach pie and a pastry) and some coffee. We then walked over to Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Zeus – both incredible sites (especially Zeus’ temple) with great views of the Parthenon. We then walked the Plaka; the oldest neighborhood in Athens in the shadow of the Acropolis. By this time in our trip, quaint narrow streets with shops selling touristy things and with sidewalk café’s with their hustling hosts begin to lose their quaintness. But we continued our stroll until we found a place for a lunchtime bite to eat. This place was nice in that it was in a square that had lawn and trees (something not found too often apparently in Europe). We had a Greek salad and some lamb kebabs, and some Ouzo – all were very good. We were about to call it a day but we saw there was another area of ruins nearby so we walked over to this area (still not certain what it was called) but it was beautiful. It kind of reminded us of the Roman forum – a fairly large open area with scattered ruins. There was one temple there that was in really good shape, but my favorite part was – again – the view of the Parthenon we had from this area. From this vantage point we realized we had walked almost all the way around the Acropolis –a pretty good tour we just took ourselves on, and all on foot! Now it was definitely time to head back to the ship, so we caught a cab, driven by Zervas Gregory (he just loved it when he found out my name was Greg). It was a very fun ride back to the ship, as Zervas spoke very good English and we had a nice conversation about Greek and American lives. It was a real treat to be able to walk these ruins and just marvel at them. The design, the engineering and the sheer accomplishment of creating these buildings (and the detailed artwork and sculptures that are so much a part of them) was truly amazing. A historic day for Joanie and me.
25: Mykonos – Now This is Greece! We took the RCCL shuttle bus early into Hora town, and it was beautiful. We left early and didn't have breakfast on the ship, just so we could find a café by the water – which we did. I had scrambled eggs with tomato and feta – very yummy. Joanie had French coffee (yummy) and I had Greek coffee (not so yummy). After our brief meal (by European standards) we continued our walk through the picturesque town, taking tons of photos: White buildings everywhere, some with red, or blue or green accent colors. We finally turned a corner and came upon the famous windmills of Mykonos – really beautiful. But shortly thereafter it started to drizzle, and it kept drizzling, and there didn’t appear to be any clearing in sight. So we sadly headed back to the boat to prepare ourselves better for this weather. When back at the boat, we got a weather update and it seemed as though it would be only a 30% chance of rain. So we packed rain jackets and bathing suits and headed back into town, with the intention of finding a cab, going to Paradise beach and hoping for good weather. And we were successful - the weather turned out just fine. Yay! We spent about 2-3 hours at the beach on sunbeds under a palapa, with a short break at the beach taverna for another Greek salad and , I guess, an “authentic” gyro – which was chicken, pita, tzatziki and French fries. Weird. Anyway, it was a very enjoyable and relaxing time at the beach. We also met a couple from Canada and had some nice talks with them. When leaving the beach, we were able to take a small boat to another beach which was really fun. From there, a short bus ride brought us back to the far end of Hora, so we had one more chance to walk through the beautiful town. Of course we stopped at a restaurant in near side of town, Babulas, for some Greek Meze (their version of a poo-poo platter) with feta, olives, sardines, eggplant, and dolmas. Joanie had a glass of Greek wine, and me, Ouzo. We then caught the ship’s shuttle back to the boat, and had another quiet night. Mykonos was truly beautiful and tasty, and despite our hours at the beach – we were exhausted and went to bed early.
29: Santorini – Walking Through a Postcard Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 - We tendered to the shoreline which is the base of the town of Thira. Here, one has the option of walking 589 platform steps to the top, or taking a donkey or a cable car. We opted for the cable car to the top, where the actual town of Thira is located. Took a short walk through the busy/commercial part of town to the bus station, and took the city bus to the town of Oia. (pronounced Ee-ah). The ride took about 20 minutes and the views were pretty remarkable, riding along the ridge of the volcanic caldera that forms the island of Santorini. We arrived in Oia and walked past some touristy shops and restaurants towards the caldera’s edge, and wow! Amazing! Every direction we looked was a picture perfect postcard! Whitewashed buildings clinging to the cliffs, with accent colors of blue and red and yellow. Just spectacular. Our plan was to find a breakfast spot, and we found a gorgeous place right away. It was called Floga and the views were fantastic and the food was just as good. We split an omelet with tomato and feta, each had our own coffees and we also split a Greek yoghurt with honey and nuts. So damn good! We eventually pried ourselves out of our seats and began to explore Oia some more, with the blue ocean about 1,000 feet below. We headed towards the east part of the town, towards the sun so we could photograph all the sights we were walking by as we passed them. Again, every building, every home, church and street was worthy of being a postcard. Just stunning. So we walked and walked and marveled. I think that’s all anyone would need to do in Oia. Although we did see many people enjoying these beautiful-cliff side hotel pools – looked like another great way to spend time on Oia as well. We finally came close to the end of town and headed back through town, past our original starting point and onto the west end of town. There was a overlook spot here that provided more incredible views of this magical place. And within sight of this overlook – there was another gorgeous looking restaurant. We convinced ourselves that we were still a bit hungry and we grabbed a table – again with a billion dollar view. Here we had another delicious Greek salad and then we ordered their fried meatballs – which doesn’t sound like anything great – but they were fantastic. These smallish meatballs were made from meat, some veggies, tomatoes, spices and mint. With or without the tzatziki dipping sauce, they were delicious. The plate also include some homemade potato chips and some roasted veggies. (I’m afraid I’m saying “yum” way too many times in this blog, but) Yum!!! So we finally pried ourselves out of these seats and walked slowly back to the center of town, where instead of catching the bus for our return to Thira, we found a taxi and a nice young Swiss couple to share the ride with. And once in Thira, instead of taking the cable car down to the shore to catch our tender, we decided to walk down the donkey path instead. And that was fun, and a trip. The few encounters we had with donkeys was really fun sometimes we ran into them when they were with their human guides, and other times when they were walking up or down the path on their own. And once they were blocking our path and wouldn’t move. We had to grab their bridles and “encouraged” them to move a bit. Once we finally reached the shore, we sat down at a small snack shop to rest our feet, get out of the sun, and grab some sparkling water and a piece of baklava. We deserved that little reward. Finally we caught the boat back to the ship and are now writing this blog as we sail away from Santorini. It really is a very special place.
38: Katakolon – A Pleasant Day Our original plan for Katakolon was to take a cruise ship bus to Olympia, site of the first Olympics and view these ruins. However, after I lost my sea legs the night before (rough seas and a rough evening), I didn’t feel like taking the 40 minute bus ride and then walk around more ruins. (Especially after already taking in the incredible ruins in Athens.) So we were able to turn in our tickets and instead we just hired a taxi in port and he took us to this little beach (and tavern) about 5 minutes from the port. The beach was called Agios Andreas and it was great. It was a small beach with free chairs and umbrellas, incredibly clean and clear water, with little fish that nibbled on your feet, and, the surrounding area was very lush and green. It really was probably the nicest beach we have visited on this trip. We got there early and there were only about 5 other people there, so we picked a couple of sunbeds and an umbrella and sat. And sat. And swam a bit, and sat some more. And watched the beach get very crowded. We did take a break from all this lounging to go to the tavern where we, unfortunately, had the worst Greek food on our trip. Some calamari and more of those meatballs we had in Santorini – but this time we left at least half of it on the plate. A great location, a great view, but awful food. Oh well – can’t win them all. So back to our sunbeds for about another hour, when we had arranged our taxi driver to pick us up. Five minutes later we were back in the little port town of Katakolon and I found a very cute water front café and I had a sparkling water and baklava while Joanie did a little strolling down the main street of this very small town. After a short while she joined me and we walked back to the ship. All in all – a port that we didn’t have high expectations for turned out to be a very charming and relaxing stop (except for that lunch). But it was a very easy day – and something we really both needed. Not to sound ungrateful – but exploring a new port almost every day can be exhausting – so a day at the beach, and tomorrow’s day at sea, are both welcomed. But we have both realized that we are at the point in the trip when we are starting to miss home – at least the States. It will be good to be in Florida on Tuesday, where we have a beach condo for 4 nights. So we can recuperate from this amazing experience.
40: Our Last Day in Europe We disembarked from the ship early this morning heading straight to the Venice airport. About four hours later we were at our hotel near the airport in Rome. We had planned to taxi into Rome for dinner, and we knew it wouldn’t be cheap, but it was outrageous, so we made other plans. We were much closer to the port town of Ostia so we took a taxi there for dinner. It was a fairly underwhelming place, but we walked along the boardwalk for quite a long way until we finally found a place to sit and get a drink. And yay – we discovered something new – it was called an Aperol Spritz. Delicious. We later bought a bottle to enjoy in Florida. On the way home, the taxi driver took us by Ostia Antica – an ancient port town of the Roman Empire. The view from the taxi was pretty good, as this is a very large area and we drove by quite a bit of it. Even saw a new excavation of an ancient ship. After a very good Italian meal at our hotel, we hit the bed to rest up for our long flight to Miami in the morning. | Back to the States This never seemed like it was going to be a great day and it wasn’t. The plane was delayed (2 hours) and the flight was 11 hours – a recipe for tons of fun. It wasn’t horrible, just looooong. The most amazing thing that happened on this day was the unbelievable determination (and insanity J ) that Joanie displayed in playing a super duper Sudoku. She spent almost the entire 11 hours of the flight working on that one Sudoku! (see picture) Amazing! (Joanie claims it took her longer than it normally would have due to the free wine Alitalia was providing us.) Anyway, the day was so long that by the time we got the rental car in Miami, and headed (through Miami traffic) towards our condo on Sanibel (3 more hours), we decided to call an end to the day and got a hotel in the outskirts of Miami. Yay – the day finally came to an end. Today was a transition; tomorrow Florida.
41: Sanibel Island via Alligator Alley The next morning we woke up well rested and hit the road early. The drive across the southern portion of the Florida peninsula was really cool. Very swampy and tropical and pre-historic looking. From the road, we saw lots of wildlife (but no alligators). We stopped at this one rest stop and saw dozens of these large, vulture-looking birds hanging around; on the ground and in the trees and on the lamp posts. We caught this one bird spreading his wings in some sort of gesture, or perhaps a cleaning ritual – very cool. Anyway, we reached the town of Naples (pretty nice) and stopped at Whole Foods for some supplies for the next several days. The drive from Naples to Sanibel got us in the mood for Florida – very Jimmy Buffet like feel to the land, water and bars and restaurants. Finally got to the condo and it was very nice – an ocean front property with a great view of the Gulf of Mexico. After unpacking we got back in the car and took a tour of the island – to get the lay of the land- from the lighthouse at the southern part of the island all the way to the northern point. It was totally reminding us of Hawaii – with the vegetation and the humidity. Although the homes and businesses definitely had that Florida/Caribbean feel. Our last stop was at Billy’s Bike rents and we arranged for two bikes for the next couple of days. Back at the condo, we eventually found out that “shelling” is big on Sanibel, and when we finally went down to the beach we immediately discovered why. The beach was literally covered with shells! It was hard to find sand – something we’ve never seen before. So we walked the beach for a long time, checking out all the amazing shells. We watched the sunset. Very, very nice. This should be a fun time here on Sanibel.
42: Discovering Sanibel and Its Creatures Thursday, September 29, 2011 - We woke up (very) early today (lousy bed and pillows and our internal clocks not adjusted), but we were able to get down on the beach before the sunrise (which we were told was amazing). And it truly was! Not just a beautiful sunrise, but the creatures on the beach – there were really too many to describe here. Shells walking around, living starfish on the beach, and tube worms spitting out sand and lots more. (Joanie even found this half-dead fish that was amazing looking.) I have never seen anything like this before, except on TV. And speaking of TV – we got some great footage of these creatures in action. Really very cool. After a couple of hours enjoying this living beach, we went back to our condo and got our bikes. We decided to ride back down to the lighthouse and walk the beach down there. It was a fun ride, and bearable because it was early in the morning. And the lighthouse and the beach there were also fun – a scenic lighthouse and more creatures on the beach. The star creatures here were the egrets (or heron?). They were not afraid of people – just watching me carefully and taking just a few steps as I approached them. Very pretty birds. On the ride home we stopped at the Lighthouse Café (a Sanibel “institution”) and had a very nice breakfast, and then rode home. The rest of the day, I watched a movie and caught up on the Blog. And Joanie switched from Sudoku to a puzzle – of shells no less. She's been working on this one now for about 6 hours. Gotta go now – time for another Aperol Spritz and a sunset walk on the beach
44: A Lazy Day in Sanibel Our 2nd full day on Sanibel was a lazy one, but it started early with another beautiful sunrise. Morning walk, with nowhere near the amount of life we saw yesterday.although there were few live creatures we found a great stash of empty shells that we gathered for bringing home. Then we hung out around the house; reading, playing scrabble, etc. At night we went to the Thistle Lodge for my birthday dinner – nice garden and ocean view in an old Victorian lodge, and a delicious dinner (at least for me) – great lobster bisque soup, crab cakes and “Meekers” Lobster Cove Chardonnay (which I have to get some). Tomorrow we leave the humid and shell infested shores of Sanibel Island for Clearwater Florida, our stop on the way to the north west coast of Florida and St. Augustine, in our quest to find the Fountain of Youth. (By the way, one disappointment about Sanibel – the ocean water was very murky and a bit smelly – and very unappealing for swimming pretty severe negative points unfortunately.) But despite that – we had a very enjoyable and relaxing time here. Great way to spend a few days winding down after lots of very active days in Europe.
46: One Night in Clearwater, Florida The drive to Clearwater was nothing special, but the Tampa Bay area was pretty amazing to see how large that bay was. And the bridge we passed over to get into the city was pretty cool. Anyway, Clearwater Beach sort of reminding us both of Venice Beach in L.A. – a wide variety of people (and that’s putting it nice). We arrived in the late afternoon just in time to watch the Boise State / Nevada game on the TV in our hotel room, which we did. We then went on a walk on the boardwalk along the beach. We bumped (literally) into two couple from Scotland, and ending up having about a 30 minute conversation right there on the boardwalk – very fun people. Anyway, that night we ate at the Gondolier Italian restaurant right down the street from our hotel which was fairly good. The rest of the night we watched a horrible movie on TV and applied lotion and rubbing alcohol on our no-see-um bits. Don’t think I mentioned that yet, but Joanie and I each have probably a hundred “souvenirs” from our mornings on Sanibel Beach. We didn’t feel the bits as we were getting bit, but boy are we feeling them now.
47: Arriving in St. Augustine, Florida We left Clearwater early, picking up bagels and Starbucks coffee, and heading towards St. Augustine. It was a fairly long drive, through Orlando and we even took the long way to drive by Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. We decided not to take the $45 tour, but it was still cool to see the huge hanger and launch pad from a distance (and the life size mock ups of the Space Shuttle (again!) and also this time it’s fuel tanks. We then drove up the coast towards St. Augustine, passing through Daytona Beach, and stopping at a little oceanfront café to split a burger and fries. We finally pulled into St. Augustine and it was pretty cool. We are staying in the Old Town part of the city (and St. Augustine is the oldest city in America)! It was hard finding our hotel but we finally did and it was a great room with a balcony in this quaint little boutique hotel. After checking in we took a walk down St. George street and it was really nice. Touristy, but it had a lot of great restaurants, great artisan shops and was very alive with people. And it had a very European feel with narrow streets and buildings that were hundreds of years old – very impressive for being in the United States. We came upon two restaurants that really interested us – the first was a place called Columbia – a Spanish restaurant that was 105 years old and was beautiful. The second place was Harry’s Bar and Café – a new Orleans eatery. So we ate at Columbia tonight and it was great. We had their 1905 salad, which was iceberg lettuce, ham, cheese, olives, and dressed with Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice – it was really good. We also had some Tapas and flan for dessert. Tomorrow night we plan on eating at Harry’s, but more about that later. Either way, St. Augustine looks like a very fun and appropriate place (giving its European “style”) to spend the last couple of days of our vacation. (The statue is Ponce de Leon - "founder" of the Fountain of Youth.)
49: A Lazy Day in St. Augustine Today was another one of those lazy days. We had the continental breakfast that the hotel offered, and then later in the morning headed to the beach. We stopped at a beach burrito place and each had a smoothie and a wrap – nice American food. We then were able to drive our rental car right onto the beach, where there was a compacted sand parking lot. We had rented two chairs and an umbrella so we kicked back, and swam for the next 3 hours. We then came back to our hotel and hung out on the balcony, watching the world go by. For dinner, we went to Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille, which was great. We ate in their outdoor patio at sunset, and Joanie had Fried Green Tomatoes, and I had Jambalaya. It was all very good – and we took home some chocolate bread pudding with whiskey sauce for dessert. We’re back at our hotel now for our last evening on our trip. It’s been another trip of a lifetime – but we are both looking forward to being home in Boise tomorrow night. And also looking forward to creating a photo book to help us remember this trip for a long time to come.