Little Citizens of the World

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Qaqortoq, Greenland

Greenland?  Who goes to Greenland?

We do!

It’s so hard to believe that last week we were baking in the sun on the Island, and today, we’re wearing fleece jackets and it’s 39F!  Welcome to Qaqortoq, Greenland!

So let’s be honest, there’s not a whole heck of a lot to do in Greenland, but the people selling crafts are so kind and the village is beautiful.  They do gorgeous bead work crafts here, there was a beautiful Christmas ornament that I loved.  When I asked the price conversion to US dollars I almost died.  $75 for a beaded ornament.  I know it takes a lot of time to make, but I couldn’t afford that, so just the magnet at this stop.

A very sweet woman who was selling her bead work gave each of the girls a beaded necklace, it was so kind.  She didn’t speak English and I was so grateful, I didn’t know what to say to thank her.  Of course she understood, gratitude needs no words, but still, it was just so tender of her to give them something for free that she had spent time making.

We did a little loop around the village and walked along the dock before getting a tender back to the ship for lunch.  It was a brilliant day.

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The grass is so long and green!

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Wildflowers everywhere

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The tenders go back and forth all day bringing passengers to and from the ship.

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Red Bay, Labrador – Canada

It’s 52F right now at 8am and we’re 1000 nautical miles from Boston.  It’s very foggy and has been since we started up north.  The fog horn blew all night, which was so amazing, just like home.

The kids are still sleeping and breakfast will be here soon.  We always order breakfast because, we generally have the same thing and it’s always super busy in the lido in the mornings, especially on a shore day.  Besides, the kids like to eat in their pj’s, then get ready for Club HAL.  It’s especially convenient, with the time changes, to have breakfast delivered.

UPDATE:  Okay, so we’re back from Red Bay now.  We had a fun time.  There’s not really anything to do, but it’s nice to get out on land and walk on real dirt and smell real grass when you’re on a ship for many days.  It was drizzly the whole time, but it helped keep the black flies down, they’re quite bad.  Sparrow is a magnet for bugs and has two welts on her neck from the flies.

So, we took a little walk to the top of a nearby hill, took a few photos, and hit the souvenir shop, before hoping the tender back to the Veendam  Sky got a little stuffed humpback whale and Sparrow got a stuffed wolf, I got the required magnet and Christmas ornament.  The best part of this stop, was the enormous iceberg blocking the harbour.  It was massive!  I’ll post a photo, but it won’t do justice.  I had taken a few photos of it as we passed by it on the tender, but it was raining pretty steadily, so the windows were too wet for a good shot.

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The tenders load right below our window!

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This is the view inside the lifeboat.  The man in the centre with his head out the top is our captain.  He can’t see through the condensation, so he keeps standing up to look out the hatch while steering.

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I know that iceberg looks small, but I’m telling you, it’s huge!


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Corner Brook, New Foundland – Canada

This is our first shore day!  I’ve been to the Canadian Maritime’s before, but this was the first time the kids have been.  When we came back from Australia in 2013, we stopped in Vancouver, BC.  So they’ve been to the far west coast of Canada, and now the far east coast.  I hope someday, they get to explore the middle a bit!

Corner Brook is a very small town, with not much to do or see.  It’s lovely, don’t get me wrong, it’s just a nice small town.  We walked quite a ways to get to town and ended up hanging out at the library for about an hour and a half before heading back to the ship.

I did notice, the grass everywhere was very long and full of wildflowers.  Even as we were walking along the busy road from the port to town, all you could smell were the sweet wildflowers.  I loved that it was like that.  Everything is so manicured back home, so strict, so reigned in.  It was nice to see the grass so tall and green like that, long enough to blow gently back and forth in the wind.  Yes, I liked it.

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Corner Brook library


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Goodbye Boston

Bon voyage!  Goodbye America, we are Ireland bound!  Admittedly, we’re taking the long way, but it will certainly be exciting.  We definitely had a good omen as we were sailing away.  An Aer Lingus gave us a fly by!  Well no, it was just trying to land at Logan Airport, but I like to think it was a good luck fly by.

It feel so good to be back on a Holland ship, I can’t even tell you.  Everyone is incredibly kind and helpful.  The ships are all different, but so similar there’s not much time taken up with finding your way.  The food is unbelievable and the atmosphere is as casual or sophisticated as you wish to make it.

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Aer Lingus  landing at Logan Airport, Boston

 

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Cruiseport Boston

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That’s a lot of suitcases!  These were the ones unloaded from the previous cruise, ours are already in our rooms.

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It’s slow going out of the harbour

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Now let’s get something to eat!


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“Who can say where the road goes, where the day flows, only time.” ~Enya

So we have been home for almost two years and I’ve been working on our next adventure for quite a while now.  We loved Ireland so much, we’ll be going back in just a few weeks!  That’s right folks, we are heading back to the Emerald Isle.  The excitement is almost too much.  In fact, if I wasn’t still focusing on the last leg of travel, from mainland Europe to Ireland, I’d be bouncing off the walls!

We’ll be cruising again and with the one and only Holland America Line.  I can’t say enough about this cruise line.  They are incredible.  I think I’ll do a post about them in the future.   The girls are excited to be back in club HAL and I’m looking forward to seeing some new and interesting places.  We are also thrilled to be heading back to a place that felt just exactly like home.  I’m not kidding, it’s hard to believe that any place can feel exactly like home, I’ve felt very comfortable in a lot of the places we’ve visited, but nothing has held a connection like Ireland.  I actually think I’ve missed it more than I’ve ever missed my own island community, and that’s a hard thing to do!

So we are looking forward to seeing our amazing friends again and jumping right back into the groove.  There are so many outstanding opportunities in Ireland and the sooner we are back, the better!

River Lee, Cork Centre

River Lee, Cork Centre

 

Playing in the sand


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Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

We anchored off Half Moon Cay early this morning.  The kids ate breakfast in the window and watched as we slowly made our way to the anchoring point.  We had to sail around a few little islands to get there, and they made lovely breakfast viewing.  Our window is pretty dirty by now so everything has a salty hue, but it looks worse through the camera lens than it did in actuality.

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Bagels while we moor up

Half Moon Cay was originally called Little San Salvador Island, and it was very popular with pirates during the days of the real life pirates of the Caribbean.

Pirates!

Pirates!

We definitely had beach day on our minds, but I had planned a shore excursion first thing.  So at about 8am, we headed to the showroom to wait for our colour to be called for the tender boat.  When we were all on board, we cruised off into the little harbour that reminded me very much of the lagoon on Gilligan’s Island.  We got on our “bus” and headed off to the Stingray Adventure!  I know some people will think I’m nuts, but how cool is it to swim with stingrays?!  The kids got into wet suits and we all put on water shoes, donned masks and climbed down the stairs into the stingray area.  It’s actually open to the sea, so the rays can come and go as they please, (which I love!!) but they always come around in the mornings because they know there’s food.

They are stunning

They are stunning

The kids were both super nervous because of the waves and because the water at the bottom of the stairs was up to my chest.  As they can’t swim, I had to carry them back in to the shallows.  After some minor freaking out, I got Sky into the shallow water.  Sparrow was a bit more of an issue, she got a little panicky and decided she didn’t want to do it, not because of the rays, but because of the deep water.  It was slightly overcast, so the water looked cloudy and deep, I can see where she was coming from.  Anyway, a very nice passenger offered to lower her down to me from the pier which was about 2 feet above my head.  That worked and as soon as she was in the water, she was perfectly happy.

Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

Most people on the excursion were swimming about, as I was with the kiddos, I was waiting for the rays to come to us.  Well they did!  They were everywhere!  It was so cool!!  Everyone was given a squid, which the girls found completely fascinating, and we waited our turn for the lady to help us hold it properly.  Sparrow decided she didn’t want to get that close but Sky rocked it!  She did great and I am so proud.

This sweet lady helped them get over their jitters

This sweet lady helped them get over their jitters

The kids took some warming up before they would touch them

The kids took some warming up before they would touch them.

 

At Sky's feet

At Sparrow’s feet

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Showing their smile

 

Great job Sky!!

Great job Sky!!

After the stingray adventure, we got back in our open air “bus” and headed back to the beach.  It takes about 6 minutes.  We spent the rest of the day lounging and it was magic.  I rented a cabana for $15, it’s just a big half moon umbrella that comes with 2 lounge chairs.  Yes, I was in heaven.

Playing in the sand

Playing in the sand

 

Maasdam (rt) and Noordam

Maasdam (rt) and the much larger Noordam

We stayed on the beach until about 1:30 and then headed back for lunch.  It was a fantastic day and a great and relaxing end to a very long and exciting trip.  Tomorrow, we disembark in Fort Lauderdale and catch a taxi to the train station where we’ll get the overnight to Washington DC and transfer to an overnight to Boston.  It’s about 25 degrees in Boston right now, so that should be interesting.  Amtrak, as I mentioned in an earlier post, does not have any internet access, so I’ll post when we get to Boston.

 

 

 


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Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah

So we’re on the ship for Hanukkah!  That’s kind of neat!  We have a very nice Rabbi who’s name escapes me, (I really need to take notes) and a very full room every evening.  Although, that could be because the kitchen brings trays full of latkes, and donuts every night.   We will be onboard for all 8 days, so it’s really nice to be able to share in the entire holiday with our fellow passengers.  They love it too, since many will be away from their grandchildren, so they love to fawn over Sparrow and Sky.  We’ve had conversations with many of the congregation in passing over the weeks, but when we walked in on the first night of Hanukkah, their faces lit up, I think it made them feel a little more like Bubbe’s and Zayde’s.  Of course, everyone was invited to celebrate, no matter their affiliation, and there were a few people that came simply to be a part of the festivities.

So here’s the thing about lighting the light’s when it comes to cruising.  Candles are not allowed on the ship, for obvious reasons, so the menorah was electric and the girls took turns each night twisting the bulb.  Still a lot of fun for them, and everyone enjoyed watching them do it.  On the last night, they even cheered!  A lovely group to share the Festival of Lights with.

"lighting" the menorah on the first night

“lighting” the menorah

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The seventh night…although it looks as though all the lights are lit.

I found the biggest gelt ever in Gibraltar and saved it for the last night.

I found the biggest gelt ever in Gibraltar and saved it for the last night.

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