Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday 16th August
Boston: A great city, probably not much busier or bigger than Brisbane. It was another hot day, 31c degrees. We shared a cab with another couple and headed for Quincy Markets. The centre avenue of the building is about 150 meters at least and full of boutique eating stalls with food styles from just about everywhere in the world. Then there was the basement with all sorts of clothes, jewelry, gifts etc., and again outside along either side of the building. We had hot dogs for lunch, Jorgen had the traditional style, which he said was one of the best and I tried the Italian version, which was also pretty good. Then we wandered part of the Freedom train, which covers many of the historic sites and building in Boston. From my school days, I remember learning about the Boston Tea Party. Many of the sites relate to that historic event. I think of Boston as the city of Parks and Statues. They are everywhere there is a little bit of undeveloped space, along with a couple of much larger parks, all within reasonable walking distance. The heat got to us and of course, our advancing senior years so we returned to the ship at about 2pm for a nana nap and to catch up on the ironing while most people were on shore. There’s almost always a cue for the washers, dryers and iron. Having been to Boston on an earlier visit and seeing it again, I still think it is one of my favourite cities in the world. The GD confers that it is one of the nicer cities in the USA. We won’t see land now until we arrive at Ireland on the 23rd August. Time to catch up on my Bridge lessons and any activities the GD takes part in, like cooking demos etc..

Monday, August 17, 2009

Newport Rhode Island - Saturday: A much slower pace than NY to be sure. It’s a place where the rich and famous live or spend their summer holidays. I’ve never seen so many luxurious yachts and sailing boats – it’s a mecca for those with nautical interests. Getting off the ship today was pretty fast by any standard, thank goodness. We went ashore by tender – with all the vessels in the area, I don’t think it would be feasible to berth a huge cruise liner at a shore dock. We didn’t see too many taxis around to take us on any extensive adventure and after yesterday, it was nice just to stroll around the pretty town area right at the wharf. For lunch, we sampled a delicious fillet steak and mushrooms, with chips and slaw, at a local restaurant and thank goodness, not the enormous feed that we’ve come to expect in the US. We bought a couple a paintings at a gallery on shore. Hopefully they will fit in a suitcase. Alternatively, we may send them home by post from Darwin. It’s about 3pm and the GD is having his nana nap. We sail again at 4pm then it’s all stops out until we reach Boston tomorrow morning about 8am.

New York - Friday: Busy, Busy, Busy. We’re not to happy with the dis-embarkment procedures at New York, This was partly due to the organization by the Princess Line and the excessive procedures required by US, even though we had already passed immigration laws in San Francisco. It took around 2 hours queuing to get off the ship and through customs, before getting on with our plans for our day ashore. Since the hop on hop off bus had been suggested as a good way of seeing NY the first time, then that’s what we did. We viewed most the city from the top of the open level of the bus. We got off at only two of the stops, Ground Zero and Battery Point. We had lunch at an interesting cafĂ© near Ground Zero and tried Chicken Adana (hadn’t heard of it before). It was spicy chicken rissoles with rice and salad and a creamy, lemony sauce. We shared one meal between the two of us and then still couldn’t eat it all. But it was tasty. It’s hard to appreciate the huge area of destruction on 9/11 until you see it. It’s now a hive of construction so even having seen the site you get feel the real impact it must have had soon after the event. From Battery Park you can see the little lady (Statue of Liberty) in the distance. I say little because she’s not nearly as big as one imagines. You nearly have to lie down to see the top of the Empire State building. Saw the Brooklyn Bridge and drove past Central Park but we were hot and tired (our 3 hour bus ride had become about 5 hours in total) so didn’t get off the bus. The smell of horse poo was rather strong as they have dozens of horse and carriages taking people around the Park. Too busy for us, and too many people. Very few people who live in the city own a car, so nearly every second vehicle was a yellow cab or a commercial vehicle. An interesting place but I wouldn’t want to live there – Neither Sydney or Melbourne come anywhere near the hustle and bustle. I would like to have got into Macy’s the biggest department store in the world but just ran out of time and energy. After setting sail at about 7.30 and watching NY fade into the distance from the top deck, we had an early night.