Monday, June 23, 2014

Meeting the Captain with stipulations.

One of our earliest invitations on this voyage was to meet the Captain for cocktails on the first formal evening of the cruise.  Was I ever excited!  

Out of over 600 passengers, why were we invited to this reception?  Was it because we were next-door-neighbors for the summer?  (We really are, you know.)

Whosoever knows the logistics of these decisions!  We presented ourselves in formal attire and said hello to the Captain and then the officers, chief engineer, hotel manager and other staff.

(Oh, and by the way; we were asked not to shake any of their hands.)  

So after we had mingled a bit, our Captain gave a short speech and a little bit of history of his ship.  He told us the history of the original large reception suite which happened to be where we were partying... right there in the Captain’s quarters.  There was speculation by the Captain as to why the private reception area remained just that but no one really and truly knows why it has not been transformed into another suite for passengers.  

No handshakes.  A lot of small talk.  Snap.  No cameras either?  (They really didn't say anything about cameras, but no one seems to have brought theirs.)

I recall about ten years ago during my very first cruise we had pictures taken WITH the captain and shaking his hand.   How times (and illnesses) have changed traditions!  

From my balcony I was able to sneak this candid photo of the Captain (since I live next door to him for the summer) as he was on the bridge, overseeing a Prinsedam docking at a port

I don’t think he suspected a thing, do you?  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

All Aboard!

We embarked the Prinsedam, one of the smaller vessels of Holland America according to schedule, arriving early and being able to board without any problems.  We were anxious to visit our Neptune Suite.  It surely was one that I had occupied only in my dreams!  

From the way it appeared, it was anxious for us, too.  There were cards, letters, invitations and even a bottle of welcome champagne chilling.  (That bottle is still sitting on the desk!)  

Life aboard a ship on an extended journey takes some getting used to.  We are not only talking about time and location difference here… there are adjustments to this way of life that just wear you slap out.  I think I was exhausted just in anticipation!

So we set sail to see places we’ve not yet seen and make more memories for us to cherish as we grow older.  Our lives aboard the Prinsedam were no different from any other vacation.  Sea days (days of sailing only and no ports of call) include upcoming port talks, time for reading or journaling (or blogging!), a very expensive manicure and even church and Bible study.  My favorite part are the cooking demos done by the onboard chef.  This time I will even get to take a cooking class, which I cannot wait to document!  

So as we adjust to our summer it seems appropriate that it will be an extended summer.  The days are longer here… so long that sometimes the sun never sets.  One night I peeked out of the drawn curtain at 11:15 p.m.; the sun was shining still like the morning!  These surely are long days in the Baltic!  Unlike our cruise last year when our Vista Suite presented a different sunset every evening from the aft of the ship, this year on the starboard side it seems we are chasing sunsets.  


Thursday, June 19, 2014

A "little" behind

I am a little behind on my posts.  I will work to catch you up on the highlights of our travels in Northern Europe very soon.

(Taken outside Amsterdam, at The Dyke.)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cheese! It's a new granddude!

This past Friday night while in Amsterdam I got a text from my overly expectant only daughter.

Well we r headed to the hospital.  This was Friday morning around 9:20.  (Amsterdam is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Savings time).   

Hubs and I had spent the morning at the Alkmaar Cheese Market near Amsterdam and we’d been up and out starting very early to make the opening ceremony, being overwhelmed with the whole cheese-buying/selling processes.  

Still in cheese mode I found myself thinking… Cheese!  Today my Granddude will be born!

I texted, Will today be his birthday??

We continued to text back and forth.  Mom and dad-to-be kept me up to date with what was transpiring.    That is until it was getting more exciting there.

There was a two and a half-hour-delay and it was 1:39 a.m. Amsterdam time.  I was trying to keep busy to not think and worry, but it was very hard.  

I got the text… Pushed for 10 minutes, 3-4 times :) He’s got the dimple.

He was really here.  I was not there.  I had missed it by 4700 miles. 

I got the vitals from Facebook when Dad posted the picture and details.  

I was so excited.  I could finally go to sleep!  I was shocked back to reality; the jet lag was taking over and my body was screaming for rest!

As I tried to sleep I realized that noise was rising to our open windows from the street below us.  There indeed was a party, typical of a Friday night in Amsterdam (or any large city for that matter!)  Yes, let them party!  We had something to celebrate!

We finally had our John Matthew.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

You are making these right now.

Memories, that is.  

What memories are you making this summer?

School is out; schedules are relaxed for summer.  No matter what your plans (or no plans!), you will be making memories this summer.  You may not be jet-setting around the world or taking a “formal” vacation.  Nevertheless you are making your very own unique memories.

I just so happen to be seeing a part of the world I only dreamed I would see when looking at the map.  I have been many places on Planet Earth but where I will be this summer is a place I never knew if I wanted to see, being born in the 50’s, growing up in the 60’s and having my young and impressionable adulthood during the Cold War.  

Yes, my memories will be made in Russia and surrounding Baltic countries with the Hubs.  It ill be a learning and cultural vacation for me, as this is usually what I seek when I travel.

And as I travel, I’ll be documenting it all, via Facebook, this blog, a handwritten journal and eventually a Photo Album filled with pictures and memorabilia so that when I am old and can't remember, I'll always have something to remind me of the details of the places we visited.  

As exciting is my summer trip is, so is yours.  I  can say this will the utmost authority as I remember my earlier years when we had no particular “adventure” but these memories are still fond and vibrant ones as well.

So whatever your adventures this summer, may they be happy and blessed!