Sunday, November 7, 2010

Storybook Cottages of Carmel

So I got a magazine awhile back, the only time I had heard of the magazine. There was an articles of interest and I tore it out and threw away the magazine. I kind of forgot about it but remembered it in the back of my mind. Then I ran across it again and put it in a place I would remember. Marta wanted to go some place together before she started back teaching and I told her about these houses so we went to Carmel to check them out. I have the article and a map and we went to Carmel.The houses are quite unique. They were built by Hugh Comstock for his wife so she would have someplace for her dolls and are called storybook houses. He was not a builder but just used his imagination and figured it out. He built the Hansel cottage, the Gretel cottage. He built the homes between 1925 and 1930 and built 15 to 20 additional storybook cottages. They are scattered around town and a little east.
We walked to most of the ones on my map. My map only has seven. Some of them no longer remain.
This one is a tea house in downtown Carmel on Delores. You've probably all seen it but didn't know what it was. We had a great time. Wouldn't you love to come to and we could go to Carmel and see these delightful houses.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

well it's late coming but I decided it's either now or never so here goes the rest of our cruise.
Here we are in St. Petersburg. We began our tour sightseeing in the city and going on a subway tour. The subway was really beautiful. Then we took a hydrofoil to Peterhof. That is what this picture is. We are standing on a bridge waiting for the fountains to come on. You can see the big fountain in the back and the side fountains are coming on along with the ones at the sides of the river.
They have fountains all over the grounds and it is huge. This is a fountain that goes off when people step on it. People will try to get thru without turning the fountain on but all the time we watched no one could and they got wet.
Here are some off the fountains in front of the palace. This is the palace of Peter the Great.
On our city tour we went into St. Isaac's Cathedral. It was quite amazing. During the war Stalin covered all the walls of the churches and the people were not allowed to worship. They used the building for warehouses and other things. What a shame. The people have been oppressed for so long they still don't smile. They can worship now and they do. We saw many people coming into the churches to pray. Even our guide lit a candle and prayed at one of the churches we went into.
We went to a Folklore show the first night we were there. It was really great. We enjoyed so much hearing the music and watching them dance and sing. They wore very colorful costumes and did a wonderful job.
The next day we toured the Hermitage Museum. Steve you would have loved the art. The Hermitage was the former residence of the Russian monarchs. On display are many famous paintings and sculptures from your famous painters. People love to spend hours in there but it was very hot when we were there and we were glad to leave. The weather is not usually hot there but we managed to be there when it was terribly hot. We were on a private tour, just us and Julie and Terrell. Our guide were take us to the front of the lines so everywhere we went we were able to go pretty fast. We were to spend 3 hours at the Hermitage but spent about 2 1/2. It really was quite exciting to see. The picture above and the one below is the Church of
of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood. It was called such because that is where Nathaniel the Great was assassinated. They never worshiped in this Cathedral but it was a monument to him. The inside was incredible. They had huge mosaics con the walls depicting the life of Christ. They were so fine they looked like paintings. I didn't have as much time to shop as I would have liked in St. Petersburg. I was able to pick up a few things. So much to do. We did have a dinner there with typical Russian food. It was interesting and good. We also had lunch and that was very good. We spent two full days there. Our guide was great.
Tallin, Estonia - This was one of my favorite cities. It was hilly and quite quaint. We were on our own there and did a walking tour. Old Tallin (where we spent our time) is a walled city.
This is a view from on top of the wall. You can see the wall going around the city with the towers sticking up. The view was beautiful and looked out over the Baltic Sea.
A shopping area along the wall.
Our last stop was Amsterdam. The ship docked at Rotterdam and we took the train to Amsterdam a little over an hour. Amsterdam is a city of many canals, flowers and bicycles. We saw bicycles all over.
There were many houseboats of the canals. We did a guided walking tour which was fun because our guide told us all about the city and showed us places we never could have found. Like the flowers were thru and door, down a walkway and opened up to several apartments. After the walking tour we toured the Anne Frank House. It was quite sobering. I'm so glad they have maintained the house and made a museum to remember the Jews and those who helped them. Then we went on a boat on one of many of the canals.
When we got back to Rottenburg they told us they were mad at us for leaving and going to Amsterdam but they would forgive and give us a tour of their city as well. This was the bus driver and his helper. That was quite fun. She was delightful. These are some cray buildings built on a bridge over the road. She pointed out some crazy statues and said what she thought of them. Rottenburg was completely destroyed during the was so it is a very modern city. It has the largest sea port in Europe. Amsterdam was occupied but not destroyed.

All in all we had a marvelous trip. We weather might have been a little hot at the beginning but it was great. Our ship was great and very comfortable and we just had a great time.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our second stop was Lubeck Germany. This was in what would have been East Germany. We were on a tour from the ship. Our tour guide had lived in East Germany. Our route took us by what had been the border and she talked about it and the changes when the wall came down. At that place the wall was barbed wire fences separated by so many feet. It is all gone now and there is buildings and such there now. Lubeck is a very old town. It was founded around 1000 AD.When you walk along the street there are occasionally small openings. This is what we saw when we went thru one of the openings. This is where people live. It was very pretty.
We went in an old church that was interesting but they also have there little devil
The building were very old and interesting. Notice the round openings in the building.
This is where they make marzipan. We went to the place where they make the marzipan. I did buy some but I didn't know who liked it so I ate it myself. I really enjoyed it too. I still have some but I put it some place and can't find it.
This is Lubeck. A fun place to visit. We went to a stand to get werst for lunch. I think the guy didn't like me because I was American. He was very rude. I guess I should have spoken German but I didn't know how. I was giving him my money. I really tried to be nice.
Our next stop was Stockholm. It was really beautiful driving into Stockholm. They have all these islands our ship navigated thru. It much have been two hours going thru them. Some are large some small, some inhabited some not. It made for a very ride.
We went to the Vasa Museum. It houses the fully restored, wooden warship Vasa, the only remaining intact 17th century ship. It seems the king designed the ship and on its maiden voyage sank in the harbor. It was too top heavy. Because it was in brackish water it stayed intact. This is a replica. It was dark in the building and I couldn't get too good of pictures of the actual ship.
We visited Skansen and this is a view from there.
We took a hop on hop off boat to get around to the various sights This is a view from that boat.
Here we are on one of the streets we walked on. Stockholm was a fun place. I thought of Byron when were there and how much he would have enjoyed going back there after serving his mission there.
Our next stop was Helsinki, Finland. This is the view from our ship. We didn't have a lot of time here. We took the bus into town in the morning and walked around the town then went back to the ship to go on a ship shore excursion to Porvoo.
This is the Lutheran church in Helsinki. We liked Helsinki. It was clean and had stately architecture and the walk thru the city was along a park with the buildings on either side. It was really very pretty and well kept.
Porvoo was a fun little town. It is the second oldest town in Finland. I found it quite charming. It would be a fun place to visit just before Christmas. It says it goes out of its way to evoke an endlessly cheerful Finland of long ago. It was founded in 1346. It would have been fun to have had more time there to shop if I had had a way to get things home. I found a bread box I really liked and lovely linens. We did make a candy stop here.

Well this concludes this post and the next one will be St. Petersburg.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I know I blogged about my lost luggage before and the horrible flight we had with US Airways but this past week I have had my faith in this airlines restored. I filed a claim for the expenses incurred because of the luggage delay including the $219 long distance phone bill. I planned to see what they would pay (I wasn't expecting anything) before I filed with our travel insurance where I knew I would get $200. I sent them copies of all the receipts instead of originals which is required and explained to them I had done this because I needed to keep the originals for my travel insurance if they didn't cover for my expenses. I could not believe it but US Airways came thru covering the whole amount $556.96. I may even fly with them again.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Here is our ship. It is a beautiful ship and we had a wonderful cruise. It even had grass, real grass, they had to water and cut. They had a putting green, Terrell won the putting contest, croquet, and bocce ball. We were so busy with all the activities on board we didn't even get to use it except for Terrell. We watched a glass blowing demo by three glass blowers. They really created some beautiful things. We also went to classes for the Mac - i-movie and i-dvd to name a couple, plus we couldn't miss name that tune. Terrell won the Beattles name that tune. He knew everyone and broke the tie breaker. Of course we were on his team so we all got a lanyard.
These pictures didn't come out in the order I put them on but since I've been having a hard time with this blog I'm leaving them and will work my journaling around them. This is our first stop, Brugges in Belgium. We had a good time here. It is a fun place. We saw a lot of the town on the Segways. That was a new experience for dad and I. We didn't know how we would do but when we got the hang of it we did pretty good. They are guided by the way you move your body and you don't get off from them or they keep going and will crash. We witnessed a couple of crashes and it wasn't pretty. Our guides would help us get off and on. They took us around telling us about the different places. We were on them for 2 hours. I got to one point I didn't think I would make it any longer my legs were hurting so bad. We finally got a rest and I found out others were having the same problem. After our rest I was good the rest of the time.
Here is the town square. This is in the old part of Brugges. When these houses were built the number of steps on the roof showed how rich you were.

Here's some people you should know. This is where we shopped for Belgium chocolate and Belgium lace. They still make lace by hand and even have schools to continue to teach the skill.
Here is our pool and spas. the holes in front would squirt water out and the kids had a lot of fun with that. We had a lot of kids on board. The teen room was full of teenagers. We only made it to the pool and spa one night when we decided to for go the entertainment for the evening. We didn't however go in this pool. There was another one on a lower deck that was for 16 and up. We opted to go there. There was only one person in there when we went and was really relaxing.
Now I would try to get more pictures on but the last time I did that it lost everything so I am just going to post and I'll add more on my next post.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Baltic Cruise - Part one - Horrors of flying

Okay I am taking a page from Jenni's book and am going to do this in parts. One reason is because I don't have time to do it all at once, another is you don't have time to read it all at once. So here goes. I guess we'll start at the beginning because it can only go uphill from here.

I had checked the internet to see about baggage prices. It said we could check two bags with US Air. That's great I thought. When we got to the airport they said the second bag was $40. We had to do some adjusting. We checked two then took the others with us. I soon realized I couldn't carry on some of the stuff I had in this bag so I went back. Our bags were already gone. We had to wait quite a while but we had plenty of time. They went to get our bags and I was able to make the necessary adjustment. Of course that meant I had to fit my purse into one of my carry on's. I put stuff from my small carry on (My camera, My meds and a few other items to make room in my small bag for my purse and we proceeded to the gate. When we went to board the plan they said the overhead bins were full and they had to check our big carry-ons. Of course I'm at the gate they take my bags and assure me they will be on our plane to London. There was plenty of room in the over head bins and our two checked carry-on bags didn't make it to London. That meant my camera, my med's, my make-up, plus my shoes, my PJ's (I can't sleep without PJ's or a night gown) and underwear didn't make it. Dad had his suit with him but most of his other clothes were in his checked carry-on bag. We filed a report at the baggage loss claim area and felt little confidence wed be getting our bags anytime soon, and our ship was sailing the next day. I asked them to trace it. They said they couldn't. I asked about a financial adjustment and they said I would have to call this number on the paper they gave me. Well we met Julie and Terrell, did our thing in Winchester and went to our hotel where we proceeded to see what we could do. We called the number and they said we would have to call after 12 noon on Monday. Big help that was. Terrell called our trip insurance and they got right on it. The next morning they called and said it should be on the plan to London on Sat. and someone would be there to bring it to the ship. We didn't trust the baggage place. By the way Matt that would be at the United Lost baggage counter. They were handling the lost baggage for US Air. Our insurance Co. said we were allowed $200 each per day. Well since dad needed so much we went shopping. He spent his nearly $200 and got 2 pair of pants and 3 shirts and a belt. I bought some socks, nylons, a night gown, make-up and a pair of shoes that don't really fit but will do in a pinch. They were Clark's so you know they weren't cheap. Anyway when I called the Insurance Co. when we got home to start our claim they said we had $100 each. We also racked up $219 in long distance phone calls.
Now just to get the horror's of flying out of the, on our trip home they took 1 1/2 hours to unload the plane in Philadelphia. That gave us 45 minutes to get to our gate and we had to go thru customs. WE really hurried and got to the gate just as they were boarded our zone which was the last zone. We did make it just barley. When we got to SFO it took them forever to unload the plane. Jenni and Jared drove around three times before we had it. They broke the wheel on my large suitcase which makes it not usable (new luggage for Christmas). That bag was practically new, however I did get it in China and it only cost $25.00. Needless to say we will not be flying US Air again. Glad I put our frequent flyer miles with AA.

Not our flying tale has been told and next episode will be about our most fabulous trip, with pictures. I got the camera back.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wow has it really been that long since I last posted a post. Oh my and so much has happened. I am leading the quilt group again but this time I'm going to try to keep it a little more simple and maybe only once a month instead of twice. At least for the rest of summer. I have too much going on. Besides that will give them more time to finish there projects. I did show them how to make those potato pouches for the micro wave. I did warn them to be sure and watch them because they can catch fire. They do potatoes great and I just learned a new use for them. How about tortilla's. Heats them up perfect.
I've been thinking about the ocean lately so I thought I would just include this picture from Point Lobos. I can never get too much of the ocean.