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The 2010 Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise, Part 7

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The 21-Day Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise (And more!), October 26-December 1, 2010, Holland America Prinsendam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Seven

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November 16 (Tuesday, Day 22, Barcelona, Spain) -

Mercats de Barcelona

We got off the ship at 9:30 AM and took the shuttle bus to the Monument Colom. The forecast was for a sunny day and around 55 degrees. We walked to the nearest metro station and paid €1.40 each for a metro ticket. We got on and rode for 15 minutes to Avda. Diagonal which is one of the main streets in Barcelona. We decided to just walk a lot today so we walked from Av. Diagonal to Placa de Catalunya and then down Las Ramblas to the shuttle. During our 4-hour walk we stopped at El Corte Ingles department store to use the bathroom. Its basement had a full grocery store so we looked there, too. Later on in the walk Snookums went in a bakery and bought a €0.80 cookie that was about 4 inches across and very flat and kind of looked like pie crust or a very thing sugar cookie. It had pine nuts sprinkled on it and was glazed with a clear glaze that tasted like citron. It was okay and like nothing she had seen before. Further on in our wanderings we found the “Mercats de Barcelona”. It looked like a temporary building (but it wasn’t) in the empty lot next to the hospital and it housed all sorts of independent food vendors. Lots of locals were buying the meats, fish, and produce and Spaniards certainly like tripe based on the number of butchers selling it. We bought a can of some kind of fish (salted cod?) for a Christmas present.

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The 2010 Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise, Part 6

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The 21-Day Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise (And more!), October 26-December 1, 2010, Holland America Prinsendam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Six

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November 12 (Friday, Day 18, Livorno, Italy) -

Gary on a train

Gary, Snookums and Filbert were the first off the ship and took a cab to the train station with four other people on this misty, drizzly, windy day. The driver wanted €20 for the ride and Snookums tried to get it down to €15. He immediately responded, “Take the bus”. Needless to say, we paid the €20 and took the cab to the train station. (Snookums had done the Internet research and read that people paid €8-€10 for the trip to the station so she thought that we were being swindled, but the price must have gone up since the driver was adamant about it.) We got there around 8 AM and the train left at 8:10AM. We bought and validated our tickets and settled in for our 1:23 ride to Florence. We decided to take the $19 per person roundtrip train rather than the $99 Holland America bus transfer to Florence for the adventure of it.

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The 2010 Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise, Part 5

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The 21-Day Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise (And more!), October 26-December 1, 2010, Holland America Prinsendam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Five

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November 7 (Sunday, Day 13, Athens, Greece) -

Guards--evzones--at the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

We met for breakfast at 7 AM and Charlotte’s knee was bothering her a lot so our plan of doing the “hop-on/hop-off” was a good one. (Charlotte will have her knee scoped in December to fix her problem so she should be as good as new for our 2011 cruise.) We took the Metro to the start of the bus tour and enjoyed sitting in the open top of the double-decker bus for the next 90 minutes while hearing about Athens. Most stores were closed since it was Sunday and the museums were closed due to the election so it was very quiet other than some of the street vendors selling shoes, socks and other assorted new items displayed on blankets laid on the sidewalks.

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The 2010 Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise, Part 4

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The 21-Day Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise (And more!), October 26-December 1, 2010, Holland America Prinsendam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Four

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November 5 (Friday, Day 11, Flying to Athens, Greece) -

Athena, the statue

We woke up and Pat took us to the Stuttgart airport. We got to the gate in record time and our flight to Zurich boarded on time. We landed in Zurich for our 1-hour layover but had to go through security again since that was how the Swiss Airlines gates were laid out. We forgot that the free bottles of water that we stowed in our backpacks from the Stuttgart to Zurich flight were in there and, of course, they were confiscated. By the time we got to the gate we had about 25 minutes.

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The 2010 Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise, Part 3

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The 21-Day Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise (And more!), October 26-December 1, 2010, Holland America Prinsendam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Three

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November 1 (Monday, Day 7, Stuttgart, Germany) -

We went to the gym with Pat and while she had her personal training session, we completed our own hard workouts. Pat had a 1:00 meeting that ended up lasting until 3:15. While she was gone Snookums made 7-layer bars for Jane’s health class (?!?), changed a light bulb in the wall sconce, did laundry and helped Filbert prep for his green curry stir-fry dinner. Both Jane and Grace had their end of season soccer parties at 5:00 but at different locations (naturally). Grace walked to hers but Pat had to drive Jane to hers. Everyone finally got home by 6:15 and loved Filbert’s dinner, especially Pat who didn’t have to cook.

Lenny came home from work around 7:30 and after he ate he broke out the various alcohol treats. Filbert, Pat and Lenny really liked the Edradour Cream Liqueur from Scotland’s smallest distillery that Pat and Lenny just visited. Then there was a drink made from black vodka and two fruit juices, one red and one yellow, that when poured in a shot glass looked like the German flag.

Did the two-day Stuttgart photo blackout end with pictures of Pat? Of Lenny? Of the very colorful and rapidly changing German fall foliage? Of any of their cute-as-a-button kids in mid-argument with each other? Heck no! It ended with a picture of alcohol, of course!

Deutschlandershot

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The 2010 Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise, Part 2

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The 21-Day Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise (And more!), October 26-December 1, 2010, Holland America Prinsendam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Two

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October 29 (Friday, Day 4, Zurich, Switzerland) -

We woke up at 7 AM for our free hot beverages and after a very leisurely morning, we ventured outside around 10:15 AM. We decided to do the walking tour of Zurich as described in the city map. We visited Fraumünster (Church of our Lady) with its Marc Chagall stained-glass windows added in 1970. Then we headed to the lake in order to find out when our free boat tour was going to leave and stumbled on a farmer’s market that promptly shut down at 11 AM. There were many flower vendors, produce vendors, cheese vendors, bakers and a few other assorted vendors (fresh pasta, fish, spices).

Backerei (Bakery)
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The 2010 Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise, Part 1

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The 21-Day Mediterranean & Atlantic Explorer Cruise (And more!), October 26-December 1, 2010, Holland America Prinsendam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part One

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October 26 (Tuesday, Day 1, Flying to Zurich, Switzerland; $1.00 = 0.98 CHF) -

This journal should start on Monday, October 25. That’s when we got called at 8 PM with a recorded message from American Airlines saying that our first of three flights was cancelled. High winds in Chicago prevented the plane from getting to Kansas City which meant we didn’t have a plane to use. Snookums was put on hold and while waiting for 20 minutes, she found other flight options that would work. The customer service representative booked our first option which meant we had to leave an hour earlier than originally planned. Snookums called the shuttle service and re-scheduled our pickup for 6 AM.

That's why we have no introductory photo. Oh, wait . . . we HAVE to have an introductory photo. Unfortunately, I (Filbert) left all my old photos at home after cleaning off my laptop's hard drive. (Not to worry, there are multiple backups, back at the Palatial Abode.) So, here's a random picture I've downloaded from the Internet on the very day (morning, afternoon, night, whatever) that I posted this first travelogue post:

You have to be flexible when you travel, you know? This is, supposedly, the first photograph ever taken that contains the image of a human being.

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The 2010 - 14-Day Alaskan Adventurer Cruise, Main Page

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This is the front page for our journal of our Alaska cruise on Holland America's ms Amsterdam from August 22 through September 6, 2010.

Here are the individual posts, collected all in one handy location for your reading pleasure. As we travel, we'll be adding posts so you can follow our journeys.

(Click the Read More to see all the post links . . .)

The 2010 - 14-Day Alaskan Adventurer Cruise, Part 9

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The 14-Day Alaskan Adventurer Cruise, August 22-September 6, 2010, Holland America Amsterdam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Nine

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September 3 (Friday, Day 13, Juneau, Alaska, continued) -

Baked Alaska

Snookums, Filbert, Charlotte and Gary ate in the dining room in order to enjoy the Master Chef’s Dinner. It started 15 minutes earlier than our normal dining time and the waiters sang, danced and juggled. Everyone received the same first two courses and we had to choose our appetizer, soup and entrée. Everyone got baked Alaska for dessert and that was paraded around the dining room. It was a fun time and even Filbert, who hates the parade of waiters that occur on some cruises, enjoyed the dinner.

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The 2010 - 14-Day Alaskan Adventurer Cruise, Part 8

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The 14-Day Alaskan Adventurer Cruise, August 22-September 6, 2010, Holland America Amsterdam

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Eight

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September 3 (Friday, Day 13, Juneau, Alaska) -

Morning in Juneau

Judy, Snookums and Filbert met at 8:15 in order to go on the Whale Quest and Mendenhall Glacier tour. We took a 20-minute bus ride to Auke Bay and drove by Wal-Mart and also had an excellent sneak peak of Mendenhall Glacier which was stunning. 40,000 people live in Juneau and most of them are government employees since it is the state capitol of Alaska. Juneau is accessible only by airplanes or boats. No roads lead to Juneau.

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