Category Archives: Vacations

It’s all fun and games

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until somebody gets hurt….and that somebody is generally my klutzy self!  But this time it was still fun and games after my wipeout!

I spent this beautiful weekend up at Mad’s cabin in Shelton with most of my Baby Corner family.  I have lots of photos to share, well technically just a couple from my phone that I snuck when Mad wasn’t looking since the cabin is a “technology free zone”, but Stephanie took tons of and as soon as I am able to get them from her I’ll share them.  For today I thought I’d share my war wound that I proudly received:

 
 I went tubing and impressed everyone by my willingness to (1) go tubing in the freezing cold water and (2) my excitement of speed!  (I guess most people assume I’m a wimp….)

The boat was able to have two inner tubes going together and the first time I went with Chris’ son Ethan.  We both lasted a VERY longtime before we crashed into each other and I sadly was the one thrown into the freezing cold water.

After the boat came back to get me and I climbed back on the boat I realized my foot didn’t feel so good.  I somehow managed to whack/catch it on the towline was I was tossed off.  It immediately hurt but I wasn’t about to let a chance to tube again be missed and I climbed right back on.

After we got back to the cabin my foot was pretty swollen and painful.  Wanda’s husband is a Physical Therepist and said it looks like a pretty good sprain.  Luckily it doesn’t seem to bother me too much and hopefully can avoid a visit to the doctor.

The injury didn’t keep me down long as I was back on the tube again today. Now I have a nice bruise to remind me of a fun weekend!

I’m actually writing this post from the ferry and thought I’d end with a couple of photos:


I’m pretty sure I live in the most beautiful place on earth!!

Until next time…

Update 8:52pm: By the time I got home (I wrote this post on the ferry) my foot had swollen to twice the normal size and my bruising was crazy.  At that point I talked to my mom and decided to go into urgent care to have it X-rayed.

I went in and doctor agreed it’s either badly sprained or possible fractured.  Unfortunately they didn’t have an X-ray tech and I either had to go to the ER for X-rays or come back tomorrow.  I decided to avoid the hour wait at the hospital and will just go back first thing in the morning.  They did put me in a walking boot so hopefully that helps stabilize it.

  

Update 7/20/2015: This morning I went in for an x-ray and luckily it’s NOT broken, but is badly sprained.  After a busy day on my feet at work I’m home with my foot up and icing.  My foot looks even more black and blue and now my entire leg is swollen to twice the size of normal….it’s really lovely!

In addition to the sprain, I had an allergic reaction to something and have like 50 thumbnail sizes itchy welts to enjoy.  Needless to say I’m not loving life right now…

 

 

 

 

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The Long Journey Home

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I’ve been home for almost 24 hours now and am trying to readjust to a time zone that’s 9 hours behind what I’m used to.  However, the previous 24 hours were extremely long and tiring as we journeyed from Rome to Seattle. 

Debarkation

The morning started out pretty early, we had to be up, packed and in the Moderno Restaurant by 8:30am to meet Bruno who would help us with debarkation and loading our minibus.  We all had one last breakfast in The Haven, said goodbye to our towel animal friends who had kept us company for 21 days and took a couple last pictures.

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Rome Airport

After the 1.5 hour drive from the boat, we arrived at the airport which is very odd.  Well, maybe not the airport but the check-in flow.

We walked in and went up to a counter that we assumed was the check-in counter (we had already checked in online, but apparently had to do it again at the airport).  There they looked at our passports and asked us the standard questions: have your bags been in your possession since you packed them? Did anyone ask you to take something for them?  Etc.  Once we passed that test we were handed a clear plastic bag and told to put any and all cameras and electronics in the bags.  This may seem like a simple endeavor but for me I had my iPad, computer, cell phone, camera, extra lens, power cords and chargers.  By the time I got everything bagged up and closed all my luggage I had only voiced my complaints a couple of times I had a plastic bag that was ready to rip.  I was hoping that once I went around the corner security would be the next step.  Wrong.

Once around the corner we got into another long line to check our baggage.  This time we had to scan all our passports, weigh our luggage and officially get checked in.  (What the heck was the first check?!)  By the time we made it through this line my clear bag was closer to ripping but we weren’t done yet.

My mom had bought a ring tax-free (??) that needed to be declared, so we had to go to the customs office to get something signed.  One step closer to my bag ripping.

FINALLY we made it to security and could put all the electronics away before they went crashing to the ground.

It wasn’t long before we boarded our plane that would take us to JFK in New York City.

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The 8.5 hour flight from Rome to JFK was great and shockingly the time flew.  I watched three movies, a couple of television shows and before I knew it we were landing in New York.

JFK Airport

This is where the fun started as we had about an hour to make our connecting flight.

Grandma needed a wheelchair to get from gate to gate so we got a personal escort, who ended up becoming a lifesaver in helping us make our connecting flight because the customs process at JFK was a long nightmare.

We started by scanning our passports and receiving a receipt, standing in line and going through customs.  Then we had to go claim our luggage and drag it 10 feet to another line which was super long.  At that point Grandma’s wheelchair pusher took matters into his own hands and cut through the HUGE customs #2 line.  All eight of us were running behind him to not get lost or stuck in the line.  Had we waited in line, like we should have, it would have been at least a 30 minute wait, time that we didn’t have. 

We made it through customs line #2 and now had to rechecked our luggage.  At this point we had about 20 minutes until our flight began boarding.  Again, Mr. Wheelchair Pusher pushed us to the front of the line and assisted us in the rechecking process.  He then told us we needed to keep-up as we would be moving extremely quickly to make our flight, especially because we still needed to go through security…again.

This time we didn’t cut to the front of the line, but we went through the employee and VIP line and made our way to the security machines (what are they called anyway?).  Once again we emptied our pockets and bags of electronics & liquids, took off shoes, coats, and waited for our turn to go in the machine.  I apparently was in a rush because I stepped into the machine and immediately through my arms over my head so I could be scanned.  I must have startled the TSA agent because he laughed and said “this looks way to natural for you”.  Hmmm….

We made it to the gate to find out that the arriving plane was delayed.  So in the end we ran for nothing!  Oh well, it was nice to have a chance to use the bathroom and get water before boarding our flight to Seattle.

Flight to Seattle

We were hoping that the 5.5 hour flight to Seattle would be as smooth as the transcontinental one we just got off of, but no such luck.  This plane was much smaller, with far less leg room making it really hard to get comfortable.  To make things worse we were exhausted as it was now well past midnight in Rome. 

About two hours into the flight we hit major turbulence and were stuck in our seats for the remainder of the flight.  I’d never felt turbulence this bad before, the captain even made the flight attendants to buckle up for more than an hour.  It was crazy bumpy.  At first it was fun, but after awhile I began to get anxious and suddenly it wasn’t that much fun anymore.  I was happy when it stopped and we began to fly normally again.

We landed in Seattle about 10:30pm (7:30am Rome).

Leaving SeaTac

It didn’t take us long to collect ALL of our bags and make it down to ground transportation to meet the van that would bring us back to Duvall.  However, the driver was NOT prepared for the amount of luggage we had with us.  He loaded up the van and then realized he only had half the bags.  He panicked and called his supervisor to tell her it wouldn’t all fit in the van.  We calmly told him that we had the same size van and amount of luggage when we headed to the airport and that it all fit.  He wasn’t so sure and when his supervisor came over she laughed at him and told him….”Well, this looks like you have some work to do.  Pretend it’s Jenga or Tetris and MAKE THE LUGGAGE FIT!!”  He didn’t seem to like that answer, but with the help of my mom and dad (who actually loaded most of it) we headed home.

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We got home about midnight and it was a mad rush for a shower and to find something to eat.  By about 1am we were winding down, but still pretty well wired however, by the time my head hit the pillow I was out.

Today was LONG.  I woke up about 7am (early for me) and was wide awake.  By about 1pm I was soooooooo tired, but had to stay awake so I can sleep tonight and hopefully reacclumate to the time.  Right now it’s 9:30pm, I did it!!  Now it’s time to go to bed!!  GOOD NIGHT WORLD!!

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Capri & Anacapri

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When we went to Naples a week or so ago my friend Keri Smith said that if I ever went back to go to the chair lift in Anacapri.  I kept that in the back of my mind, but figured I’d never go back.  Little did I know that on the second cruise and the last day we’d be going back!  As soon as I realized it we were going back I went to work researching how to get there.  My entire family was against me,

You’ll never have enough time to go.”

“It’ll be to expensive.”

“Nobody wants to go, why do you?”

I just smiled at them and continued with my research.  After working with our concierge, I learned how to get there (ferry boat and then bus ride) and about how much, roughly 50 euros.  Once I had the information my mom, Brandi and Alex quickly got on board.  The rest of the group was too scared to ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain. Wimps.

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We had no problem getting to the chairlift, it was the return trip that was more of a problem. 

We hopped right back on the bus and headed back toward Capri and these buses are full.  I mean, PACKED.  They stop loading the bus when the next person to get on decides its to full to climb on.  On the way back we got on mid-way through the line and I got shoved near the door.  It wasn’t that big of a deal until we got to the first stop and my arm caught in the door and got squished.  Oh.My.Gosh did it hurt.  The entire bus was yelling, “CLOSE THE DOOR HER ARM IS STUCK” in several languages but the driver either didn’t hear or didn’t care.  Luckily the door finally closed and I was able to get my arm out.

Not to long after my arm squishing the bus stopped again and the driver announced “Finished” and everyone got off the bus.  The four of us looked at each other and then down the cliff to the water below and new were NOT where we wanted to be.  It turns out that we got on the wrong bus and ended up in the actual town of Capri and not the marina area we were looking for.  It took us a few minutes to figure out where we were and how to get back to the marina to catch the ferry back to our cruise ship.  It didn’t take long before we were back on the bus heading down the hill.

Keri was right and this was an amazing place to visit.  Of all the beautiful stops along our Mediterranean Cruise I have to say this was the most beautiful.  I’d go back to Capri and Anacapri in a heartbeat.

Tonight is our last night on board.  Our bags are packed and are in the process of being picked up and prepped for disembarkation tomorrow morning.  It’s crazy to believe that are 24 day Mediterranean adventure is coming to an end and we’ll be home soon.  Time definitely flew and we definitely had a great time.

Next time I check-in I’ll be home.  Am I ready?  Yes and no.  Twelve hours ago I would have said no way when I was unpacked and in vacation mode; now that I am almost packed, my cupboard (the nickname of my bedroom) is bare and we’re talking flights home I’m beginning to be ready. 

Tomorrow morning we’ll disembark the Norwegian Jade about 8:30am and head the the Rome airport where will board a Delta flight to JFK and then onto Seattle.  Our journey home will begin at 8:30am in Rome (11:30pm on Friday in Seattle) and we will be home roughly 24 hours later as we land in Seattle about 11:30pm.  Tomorrow will be a LONG day, but I’m hopeful that both flights will have power plugs so we can keep our electronic devices charged and thanks to movies the time will fly.  Tomorrow at this time we’ll be well on our way home.

I’ll see you back in Seattle.

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At Sea, Again

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As I write this I *think* we’re docked in Naples, Italy.  I didn’t realize we were arriving tonight, but we stopped moving and I heard murmuring from others saying we were.  Who knew!

Today was another laid back day.  Slept in (and we gained an hour, wahooo!) and then another typical day.  We did get family pictures taken before dinner and then visited the bridge viewing area to see what the captain does.

 

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Tomorrow (well I guess tonight too) we’re back in Naples for our second visit and going to Capri followed by going back to pack. Sad day, vacation is just about over. 

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Tax Day at Sea

That title is enough to make you vomit, yes me. taxes. at sea. Sounds like a fun combo right?

Sadly this year I didn’t take enough out and had to pay $609, first time in my life I’ve had to pay.  Anyway, I did my taxes about a month ago but didn’t want to pay until the last possible minute.  It was all done and all I had to do was log into the internet and hit submit.  Easy.  That has been my plan for the last month.  The whole thing should take less than 5 minutes. Easy. Peasy.

Back to today.

Today we were at sea so it was pretty lazy.  I slept in.  Played several games of Gin and Bananagrams.  Read a bit.  Had lunch. And amazingly didn’t take one single picture (therefor a photoless blog post, feel free to stop reading now if you’re only here for the photos!). 

After my leisurely morning I decided I needed to get to work and pay & submit my taxes.  I figured since it was still early morning in the USA, it should be very easy to log into TurboTax and hit submit.  The only thing in my way was the ships stupidly slow internet.

The ship uses satellite internet which is SUUUUUUUPPPPPEEEERRRRR SLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWW, but I still went in to it with hopes that it would be fast.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.  And now extremely broke.  I’m not kidding, it took me THREE HOURS TO SUBMIT MY TAXES and at about .95c a minute it was painful in many ways. 

The good news is I have submitted my taxes according to TurboTax.  The bad news is I never got my email confirmation.  I’m *hoping* I just didn’t wait long enough for the email to come.  I guess I’ll need to confirm as soon as I get home, but for now I’m going to go with what the webpage said.

I’ll close tonight’s email with a joke, especially for Madeline Fish, maybe she’ll even include in her Monday EBC email (I can dream) and we’ll see if she actually reads my blog…

I have two goldfish at home.  One is named One and one is named Two.  That way if One dies I still have Two.

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Istanbul, Turkey – Day 2

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This morning bright and early we set off for a tour of the Blue Mosque and then to the Grand Bazaar.  While the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar were really cool, I didn’t take many photos, I think I’m beginning to be tired of taking pictures.  I’m already on my second memory card after filling up a 16gb one and have a good start on my 8gb one.  I hope this one will be big enough to finish the trip because after this I just have a couple of small 1gb ones that hold like 100 photos!

Here are some of the highlights of the very few photos I took today and there are actually no photos of the Grand Bazaar,I was too busy shopping to take photos!

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Today was also part 2 of the Gin Tournament and Grandma and Mom will be moving onto the finals tomorrow.  I’m still a bit annoyed that I was knocked out in the first round, but I’m trying to be strong….that and have refused to play ever since!  That’ll show them not to beat me!

Tomorrow is an at sea day, followed by another at sea day, Naples on Friday where I’m going to Capri to ride the chairlift that Keri Smith said was a must see and sadly on Saturday we disembark and began our long journey back to Seattle.  It’s crazy that this amazing trip is coming to an end, but there is still three more days of fun ahead of me and I plan to make the most out of it!

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Istanbul, Turkey – Day 1

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We arrived in Istanbul, Turkey about 1pm today so the day started out pretty lazy which was good because I stayed up way to late last night.  After going to the show in the Stardust Theater, then watching one movie with Brandi, I watched a second one on my own and then read for an hour, it was after 2am when I finally fell asleep. 

Once we finally arrived my dad, mom, Brandi, Alex and I took off to explore near the marina.  We have a big excursion tomorrow to the Grand Bazaar and the Blue Mosque so we just decided to walk around today.  In most of the ports we’ve been in right outside the terminal is a nice shopping district, here in Istanbul not so much.  Before we left the terminal we had to pass through two security checkpoints where they validated our cruise cards.  My mom couldn’t pass through the second set of turnstiles so she had to go back to the ship and get a new card.  She was able to catch up with us later, however we were on our way back.

Once outside of the terminal we turned left and quickly realized there was really nothing that direction and found ourselves walking down what was similar to Hwy 99.  We walked a little further and finally turned back.

After we made it back to the terminal we went the other direction and came across a park.  This was better than our Hwy 99 walking, but there still was nothing open or anything to really look at.  We took a couple of photos and continued on.

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A little bit farther down the park two little girls approached us asking for money; this really broke my heart.  They wouldn’t leave my dad alone and kept asking.  It wasn’t long before my dad took out off running with the girls right behind him, and they started playing tag. It was hilarious.  My dad would sprint forward, the girls would follow and then he’d reverse and run the other direction.  They did this for a few minutes and definitely was the highlight of today’s outing!

 

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After our walk in the park, or in my dad’s case his run through the park we headed back to the ship.  Along the way we passed a man selling pretzels and my dad wanted to buy one.  The pretzel was 1 Turkish Lira, but all my dad had was Euros.  He tried to pay 2 Euro’s, which was twice the amount it was but the guy still said ‘no’.  Sorry dad, no pretzel for you today.

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Tonight we stay all night in Istanbul.  I was wrong (shocking I know), but we stay docked all night and thus, all the stores on board, plus the casino are closed until we leave tomorrow night.  With nothing much going on, on board, our family got out the cards and anti’ed up 2 Euros each and started a Gin tournament.  The first round competitors consisted of my dad and me, Kelly and Brandi and Alex and my mom, Grandma had the bye.

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I lost badly to my dad and was out of the tournament pretty quickly.  The other games went quite a bit longer, but in the end Kelly and my mom were victorious.  My dad and Grandma started round 2, but the other games will continue tomorrow. 

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Tomorrow we have to check-in for our tour in the Star Bar at 8:15am, ick that’s really early. 

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Ephesus

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This morning we docked in Kusadasi, Turkey and got a taxi to head to Ephesus, about 40 minutes from the boat.  We did this tour completely on our own, got our own taxi, bought a book outside of the Ephesus and my mom played tour guide to the best of her ability as she pointed out and highlighted different relics and ruins she saw in the book. Since my mom bought the book I can give a little bit more information on what we saw and don’t just have to rely on my memory, here are a few of the highlights!

Ephesus was built during the middle of the 7th century BC as a a major thorough fair for the great trade road and it was when Christianity was beginning to spread across the area.  At the theater in this city, the Romans protested the doctrine that St. Paul was sharing.  Ephesus is also where St. John brought the Virgin Mary during her last days and where she died.  St. John also had many divine inspirations while in Ephesus.  And in 431 AD, the Third Ecumenical Council met in the Virgin Mary Church and accepted Virgin Mary as the mother of God.  After many centuries of attacks, revolts, takeovers and captures the town became smaller and smaller until it was no longer a port city or a trade center.  By 1090, most people had left Ephesus.

It was pretty surreal to be walking on the same streets that the Virgin Mary, St. John and St. Paul had walked on many, many centuries ago.

It didn’t take long before we realized that there were TONS of cats living inside the Ephesus gates, around every corner we saw cats and the girls were loving, loving on the kitties.  Kelly got a little to close to one kitty and he scratched her, oops!  Other than that cat, they were all really sweet, Alex was even able to hold one and that kitty then followed her around for awhile (we got it on video, but again the internet isn’t strong enough for me to post it!).  At the beginning of our visit, before we had figured out what we were doing and seeing, my dad had to laugh that we spent hundreds of dollars to visit a cat sanctuary!

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The other funny part about our visit was when we were overlooking a beautiful castle like structure, my mom announced that this was actually the brothel.  We were all confused to way the most beautiful and intricate building in the city was the brothel, as we began to see this beautiful structure in a new light she announced she was wrong and it was actually the library.  Phew! 

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The Brothel The Celsus Library

Here are more photos of our excursion to Ephesus today:

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Tomorrow is our first day in Istanbul, Turkey, we’ll be there Tuesday and Wednesday.  I’m not quite sure if we stay docked for both days or if we move during the night and then re-dock in the morning.  I’m guessing the latter because the shops and casino can’t open if we’re in port, but we’ll just have to wait and see.  We don’t arrive until about 1pm tomorrow and then just have a day to tour on our own.  On Tuesday we will have an official excursion to the Blue Mosque and then to the Grand Bazaar!

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