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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 5

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Five

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October 10 (Wednesday, Day 20, Jeju City, South Korea; 100 KRW = $0.09; $1.00 = 1,111 KRW) -

It's NOT called Jeju City because . . .


Snookums got up when her alarm went off and although she was pretty tired from yesterday’s activities, she went to the fitness class. She swore off the ship’s desserts as of Sunday, October 7 in order to lose some of the weight that she already gained on the cruise.

Jeju City, with a population of around 300,000, is the capital of Jeju Island, which is a resort island roughly 45 miles by 26 miles. It was partly cloudy with a forecast of a high of 72. We took the free shuttle to the Ramada Plaza Jeju Hotel. We walked around and stopped at E-Mart right away since the travel planning information that Snookums brought on the trip talked about a basement grocery store and a fifth floor food court. It took us several tries to find the various escalators, elevators and moving walkways that were needed to get to each floor, but we did it and scouted out our shopping plan for our return walk back to the Ramada. Then we continued our Jeju City exploring and stopped at the tourist information kiosk and Snookums asked where she could get a postcard and the woman gave her a pack of five. What luck, considering the two souvenir places in E-Mart didn’t have any.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 4

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Four

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October 8 (Monday, Day 18, At Sea) -

Kunchi Festival, Nagasaki


Snookums woke up in time to do 25 minutes on the elliptical prior to going to the fitness class. She got a trophy on her watch, too, for meeting her calories burned goal the prior week. She made it by 1%! It will be hard for her to get a trophy for this week’s efforts since there won’t be any workouts the two Beijing days.

Snookums went to the 11 AM “Things to See & Do in Xingang and Beijing”. We are doing a two-day overnight tour to Beijing so she doesn’t need to learn about Xingang or Beijing (and she’s been to Beijing two other times), but she wants to hear about Xingang in case another cruise stops at this isolated port.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 3

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Three

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October 6 (Saturday, Day 16, Kobe, Japan; 100 JPY = $1.28, $1.00 = 78 JPY) -

Kinkakuji


Snookums went to the fitness class and then Brooke, a woman traveling alone for the first time, joined us for our trip to Kyoto which is about an hour away via train. Kobe is the sixth largest city in Japan and has a population of about 1.5 million. In 1995 a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Kobe and 6,400 people died and 100,000 hones were destroyed. Kobe made a quick recovery and it is now a modern, industrialized city. Our $15.90 train took us from Kobe to Kyoto via Osaka. The entire hour-long trip was through a city and the Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto boundaries were not obvious. For some reason, Snookums thought that Kyoto was a town, but it’s a large, bustling city just like Yokohama, Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 2

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Two

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October 3 (Wednesday, Day 13, At Sea) -

Snookums went to the fitness class and then Snookums and Filbert ate breakfast in Neptune. It was rainy but around 68° outside. After that Filbert and Snookums went to the “Things to See & Do in Jeju” travel lecture and then stayed for “The Aleutian Islands” lecture. Then Snookums picked up her prize of a deck of Holland America playing cards for winning Monday’s daily quiz. It’s the same prize every time so she won’t bother with the daily quiz again.

Snookums went to the crafts class and made a beaded keycard lanyard although she doesn’t have a need for a lanyard. Later on she went to the “Fab Abs” class.

Tonight was formal “Kimono Night” and Snookums looked elegant in her men’s kimono that she bought at a thrift store when she worked in Tokyo and Filbert looked dashing in his Indian outfit that he purchased to wear at a wedding in India. We went to the Ocean Bar before dinner and saw the five gentlemen hosts onboard dancing with single women. We also noticed that not many men wore any kind of ethnic attire. Filbert was unique, and comfortable, in his!

Kimono Night


At dinner we saw that Sharie wore a beautiful Korean kimono – solid black heavy damask with a starched white collar and a bow tied off to one side under her chest. She bought hers at a Vancouver thrift store for $20 and definitely got her money’s worth. There were three Japanese dinner selections – yakitori chicken appetizer, sukiyaki soup and tempura entrée – and all were enjoyed although the tempura was rather greasy and heavy. Even the dessert menu had two Japanese choices – green tea ice cream and green tea cheesecake with adzuki bean sauce. Filbert was the only brave person at the table to order them. He didn’t care for the cheesecake and said the bright green ice cream did taste a little bit like green tea.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 1

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part One

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September 20, 2012 (Thursday, Day 1, Flying to Seattle) -

The Itinerary


Our Alaska Airlines non-stop flight to Seattle left five minutes early and landed 30 minutes early. The trip got off to a great start. We took the $2.75 Link Light Rail to the Hyatt at Olive 8 and were upgraded to a corner room suite and were also given a bottle of red wine and a 7.5 oz. bag of chocolate covered dried cherries for our anniversary. The trip is off to a really great start and it’s only 8 PM! After waiting 90 minutes for our Hyatt Diamond amenity to be delivered and making two phone calls, the bottle of wine and cheese and crackers were finally delivered. A slice of chocolate cake was also delivered as an apology.

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The 2012 Alaska Cruise, Part 3

The 2012 14-Day Alaskan Explorer, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Three

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July 7 (Saturday, Day 10, Homer) –

Kilts in Homer. Why? Who knows?


Snookums, Filbert and Matt left the ship and looked for the rental car woman on the dock. We didn’t see anyone and asked a local to call the rental car number. We then found the woman in the big maroon van that was to be our rental car. She took us to the airport for us to do the paperwork and then we were off on our adventure.
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The 2012 Alaska Cruise, Part 2

The 2012 14-Day Alaskan Explorer, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Two

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July 3 (Tuesday, Day 6, Juneau) -

Mendenhall Glacier


Filbert and Snookums walked to Juneau Car Rental Company, about a mile from the ship, for our 8-passenger rental van. We picked up everyone else back at the ship and drove to Mendenhall Glacier. Mom and Dad stayed in the visitor’s center while the rest of us “hiked” to Nugget Falls which is a waterfall near the glacier. The weather was nice and it was an easy walk. Pat spotted a mountain goat that all of us were able to see. Snookums still wants to see a bear and a moose, though!
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The 2012 Alaska Cruise, Part 1

The 2012 14-Day Alaskan Explorer, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part One

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June 28 (Thursday, Day 1, Flying to Seattle) -

Flying over Yellowstone


Note – Snookums, four of her siblings, her parents and her husband Filbert are on this cruise.

Our shuttle minivan to the airport showed up on time. Unfortunately, the driver didn’t know how to stow the seat in the floor and after 15 minutes, Filbert was the one that figured it out. In the meantime, Snookums called the shuttle’s office and requested another (complimentary) shuttle minivan be dispatched to Mom and Dad’s house. Our shuttle made it to Mom and Dad’s house and five minutes after we arrived there, the other shuttle arrived. The five of us (Mom, Dad, Judy, Snookums and Filbert) piled into the two minivans and took off for the airport. Jean and Matt (Snookums’s siblings) were there, too.
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The 2012 Hong Kong-Athens Cruise, part 6 of 6

The 2012 35-Day Hong Kong-Athens Cruise, Oceania ms Nautica, 6 of 6

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Six

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May 11 (Friday, Day 36, Haifa, Israel; 1 ILS = $0.26; $1 = 3.79 ILS) -

Baha'i Gardens


At 8 AM the six of us met Omri to start our day seeing the Christian highlights. We started off by driving to the top of Haifa’s Carmel Mountain for a panoramic view over Haifa bay and the famous Baha'i Gardens. Haifa is Israel’s largest port and third-largest city. The most striking landmark on the mountainside is the gleaming golden dome of the Baha’i Shrine, set amid utterly beautiful circular grass terraces that fill the slopes from top to bottom. Haifa is the world center for the Baha’i faith.
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The 2012 Hong Kong-Athens Cruise, part 5 of 6

The 2012 35-Day Hong Kong-Athens Cruise, Oceania ms Nautica, 5 of 6

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Five

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May 7 (Monday, Day 32, Safaga, Egypt continued) -

Crossing the Nile


We drove to an air-conditioned alabaster shop in order to drop Donna off since she decided she was kind of done for the day due to the heat and the need for two knee replacements. The rest of us continued on to the Valley of the Kings ($13.25 per person). This is a valley that contains a lot of tombs that were built for the pharaohs and noble from the 16th to 11th centuries BC. It is most famous for the tomb of Tutankhaman. We saw the tombs of Ramses 1, 9 and 4. Of the three, Ramses 1 was buried the farthest underground and there were quite a few steps and then a ramp to navigate to get to it. The ticket puncher at the entrance gave Filbert a flashlight and helped Barbara down all the steps and ramp. Then he pointed at various paintings/figures on the tomb and told us about them. We were pretty glazed over by that time. We started up the stairs and he expected a tip. We walked by him and ignored him. We didn’t ask for the flashlight or the help down the stairs! We forgot that in Egypt just about everyone expects a tip (or baksheesh). Cameras weren’t allowed in the tombs (all underground, but still hot and stuffy) since the colors could be damaged by flash photography. Barbara went back and waited in the visitors’ center after going to the first tomb but Filbert and Snookums saw all three. (A ticket allowed entrance to three tombs.) There are many tombs and our guide chose these three for us to see. Other tourists were seeing other tombs.