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Friday, August 31, 2012


Star of India
The Star of Inda, in San Diego, a three masted bark, is the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship afloat.  It was launched in 1863 and circumnavigated the globe 21 times before being bought, getting its present name and becoming part of early California's maritime history. 
It's gorgeous!!!!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012


I had never considered guest posts before, but I get some wonderful emails, and it is time to open up Third Age Traveler to others who love to see the world.  I find more people email me than use the comment link at the bottom of each post, and there is so much to share. 

This cruise sounds fabulous to me.  So does her next one!  Sharon's advice is well worth considering, and PLEASE note what she says about dealing in the different currencies.  We were beginning to see that off and on during our last trip to Europe, and as the idea of a credit card chip becomes more and more prevalent, our U.S. banks will have to adjust.

Thanks, Sharon, for sharing your trip with all of us.

Please tell me what you think of the guest post idea.

If you would like to be a guest poster, please send me your post.


My sister & I sailed on Royal Caribbean "Jewel of the Seas" departing Harwich, England on July 26.  We flew from Miami on British Air and it was a pleasure.  British Air is a great airline which great service and can you believe really good food.  We were a little concerned having to fly into and out of Heathrow because of the Olympics and the intended strike by immigration personnel due to begin the day we were to arrive, but the strike was cancelled and going through immigration and customs was a piece of cake.

We have sailed on the Jewel of the Seas before.  We had a balcony cabin in the front of the ship but the seas were like glass all the way and the Captain said it was the best Baltic cruise so far this season.  We did notice a change in RCCL over when we were on one of their ships last summer to Alaska.  No lobster and pot roast???  We could see a cut in quality, I am very sorry to say.  My sister and I are both Emerald Status with RCCL so we have sailed with them a lot.  The entertainment was good and the theater big enough to hold the crowd.  But there was only one Production Show with the RCCL singers and dancers.  It was called City of Dreams and was spectacular.  We had seen it before and it was just as good the second time around.  The singers and dancers were a new group to this ship having boarded at our first port in Copenhagen so I don't know if that had anything to do with the reduced number of production shows or not.

The activities on the ship during the day were pretty poor to say the least.  But to be fair, once we left England we had only one day cruising and then a port, one day cruising and a port and then 4 ports right in a row so there weren't many sea days.

This was a 12 day cruise and our ports were Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia for 2 days; Tallinn, Estonia; Gothenburg, Sweden and back to Harwich.  We have never been to the Baltics before and really enjoyed the ports.  We have done a river cruise of Russia starting in Moscow and ending in St. Petersburg but one never gets tired of St. Petersburg.  All of the counties were beautiful, clean and full of history and architecture.  Sailing into Stockholm through the archipelago with its 24,000 islands and islets was breathtaking.

We toured many of the castles and mid-evil forts in different ports and they were all wonderful.  We visited a 100 year old non-working Vodka distillery and had a taste testing of 5 different Vodkas while we were in Estonia.  I was very surprised to find out that Estonian and Finnish Vodka is as good as good Russia Vodka.  Another fact that I learned is that Absolute Vodka is made in Sweden and Smirnoff is actually made in the US even though it is marketed as Russia Vodka and of the 5 we tasted, Smirnoff was the absolute worst.

One word of caution, on this cruise we dealt with US Dollars, English Pound Sterling, Euros, Swedish Kronor and Estonia Kroon.  Visa or MasterCard is accepted BUT most places only will accept a credit card with a chip embedded in it with a pin number that you must than enter into their credit card machine.  US banks do not yet have this system/technology and therefore US credit cards do not have the chip and many establishments will not accept US cards as they can't process them with the new machines they have.  If you intent to use your credit card, ask if the establishment will accept it before you buy that meal or glass of wine.

We are home for about 3 weeks and then are off on another cruise.  This one is on Princess, a transatlantic, and sails out of Copenhagen to Oslo, Norway; Kristiansand, Norway; Glasgow, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Qaqortoq, Greenland and ending up in NYC.


Friday, August 24, 2012


Modern Day Huck Finns on the River
Watching these kids playing on the rocks in Vancouver, BC, their childish figures silhouetted in the waning light made me think of Huck Finn on the Mississippi--only these gutsy young explorers were little girls.  Wonderful!

Friday, August 17, 2012


doll towel sculpture
I get such a kick out of towel sculptures.  This lovely senorita greeted us one day at our timeshare, Temptations, in Cancun, Mexico.  Muy bonita.

Monday, August 13, 2012


photo by Hyku (

With parking fees ever on the rise, a shortage of on-the-street parking, a dismally clogged traffic pattern, and the inability to visit more than one section without moving your car, public transportation works beautifully.  Negotiating New York City’s transit system isn’t really an intimidating task thanks to some helpful websites and available apps to aid you on the go. 

As I write this, the cost of a single ride ticket is $2.50.  If you have a metro card, it is $2.25.  For more information on fares and your choices, go to  This is a very good site which includes a trip planner and an explanation of how to use the metro cards in the subway and on busses.  It also deals with the Long Island Railroad, Staten Island, and MTA, so you can see how easily you can come in to the city.  You find all the information you need as well as a trip planner for directions. 

Tickets and Metrocards are available in subway stations for cash or credit.  Metrocard or exact fare is necessary on the bus. I add that if you have any problem or question at the Metrocard vending machines in the subway stations, some New Yorker is always ready to help in a friendly way, so don’t be shy.  Once you use the system once, you’ll feel like an old hand.

I’ve begun using the MTA’s New Jersey Transit to come into the city.  Parking is significantly cheaper; I travel out of peak hours so I have a comfortable ride to and fro (which gives me time to read or snooze), and I experience no angst caused by the fear of being late, being stuck in traffic, etc. etc.

 If you are looking for directions within the city, at the very top of my list is and its free companion phone apps.  It’s the best for all around ease of navigating both their site and the city.  It’s the place to go for directions.  Simply enter your starting and ending locations and voilĂ , you have a helping hand every step of the way—including estimated times. 

The site has a wonderful feature called “Smart Route” if you want to compare options for getting from one place to the next.  Once you fill in the start and end information, HopStop lists several options.  Take a bus or a train or choose to walk. You can even search wheelchair/stroller friendly routes.  There are taxi estimates as well as private car services.  But if you know your mode of transportation, simply disable it, and you’ll get just what you are looking for.  It works as a phone app as well, so if you are in the city and wish to go to another destination, just go to HopStop.

HopStop is definitely user friendly.  Not only can you get directions but also transit maps and schedules, and, if you use their city guide, directions to restaurants and special sights to see. 

If you insist on driving in to the city, you can avoid exorbitant parking garage fees by using Best Parking at I am giving you the link to their home page, and you will see that this site encompasses far more than New York City.  But I have saved a lot of money through this site by checking before I leave my home, printing off the guaranteed price, and presenting it at the garage.  Recently the difference was $10.00 between the Best Parking price and the garage’s posted price.

Once again, the site is easy to negotiate, has a phone app that is not quite as reliable, I’ve found, but still worth trying, and will definitely save you money.  That leaves you more to spend on something enjoyable.  Works for me!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Black Swan
If this black swan cooling its heels in California doesn't have attitude, no one does! 
How would you caption this?  Please do in the comment link below.

Friday, August 03, 2012


Fog covered Valley
White hot heat and haze cover the valley as I watch from high in Joshua Tree National Park, California