Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013 from Belgrade!

Well, I will have to say, Belgrade sure knows how to celebrate New Year's Eve! But first... Today I walked up to St Sava's Cathedral. I guess I didn't realize that it is still under construction. I actually went there twice today. When I first got up there it was overcast and foggy, but then I noticed after lunch that it was starting to clear up, so I went back over there and took some more pictures. This afternoon I came back to the hotel and rested a bit, then went up walking in the Pedestrian area. Tonight I found an out of the way local place and had some grilled chicken and a salad for dinner. On my way back to the hotel after the midnight countdown and fireworks (and live music), I stopped and had some Kettle corn. I don't think I've mentioned it, but they have a bunch of little popcorn vendors around, I think I've had popcorn every day! Okay, I'd better sign off, and put my earplugs in and head to bed while much of Belgrade still seems to be celebrating! It's 2:30am. I catch my flight about 1pm tomorrow to head back to Stuttgart. Auf Weidersehen, -Kris

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Belgrade Day 2

I have had such an awesome day here today! I walked over 8 1/2 miles. I've taken a lot of photos that I will share when I return. I found the US embassy, took a couple photos which seemed to put their guards on edge, probably not a good thing. Highlights of my day included the sunny weather, seeing and walking as much as I did. Seeing St Mark's church, having lunch at the "?" Tavern, yes, that's really the name... Google it. The end of the day found me over at the "Republic" square, listening and enjoying live Jazz music. The one group I listened to, ended their set with "Oh When the Saints go Marching on!" How cool. All the jazz songs that were sung, we're in English! I met a nice gypsy woman that reminded me so much of my friend Janis (who passed away about 3 years ago), she loves the music as much as I do. Her name was Mira. And she spoke pretty good English. Well, I'm going to sign off and since its only 7:30pm, I may go back over and listen to some more live music. Republic square is only a couple blocks away, and that's where they will be doing New Year's Eve, and they've got a great big clock tower set up so everyone can count down tomorrow night. *smiles* Auf Weidersehen, -Kris

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Belgrade Day One

So, I made it to Belgrade without any problems. I checked into my hotel about 1:30pm, got myself situated and then went out exploring. I walked all the way down to the Fortress (rated on Trip Advisor as the #1 thing to see and do in Belgrade. I walked all afternoon/evening and got back to my hotel about 7:30pm without getting lost. I'm REALLY looking forward to the next couple days of sunshine and I'm hoping I can get some good photos, with at least 1 good enough to put on next year's calendar. Okay, signing off... I'm in the hotel restaurant waiting for my dinner. *smiles* Auf Weidersehen, -Kris

Friday, December 28, 2012

After midnight and have to finish packing!

 Coming into Genoa at dawn
 The sun is rising over Genoa
 Genoa is hilly
The Silouette in port in Genoa

Okay... just a few pictures from Genoa that don't do it justice, but it's almost 12:30am and I have to drop the dogs off by 8am in order to make my flight.

Work went okay today.  One of our docs brought his little doggy in because it just got out of the doggy hospital last night (they are the ones that watched my dogs while I was on the cruise), so I got to babysit her off and on between paperwork and appointments (we kind of just kept passing her among 3-4 of us depending on who had an appointment when).

After work I stopped by the store to pick up some different medication for my lips, one another co-worker recommended.  Sure hope it helps. My lips have been really cracked and I *don't* think it is from the weather... it's like I have blisters lining my lips where they meet.  Hurts like a dickens!

Tonight I *have* been doing some packing, and as I've been uploading pictures to my facebook (I think I'm done now)... I've been jotting down things to remember to take.

Now to go finish packing and head to bed! Tomorrow night I'll be sleeping in Belgrade!  I should be able to post from my iPad, but won't be able to put pictures on my blog (I can upload them to my FB account though).

Auf Wiedersehen! 
- Kris

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Uploading photos takes a LOT of time




Besides my cruising friends... some of the things I am missing are my cabin, my daily escargot, my daily Creme Brulee' and my balcony on the ship!

Work went okay today, it was interesting in some ways, I had to deal with something that I've never dealt with before and will probably have to continue to deal with at least for awhile (an interesting "case/situation").  It's a learning experience for me, and for some of my co-workers (I wouldn't want to have to learn to deal with this situation on my own! *smiles*).

Tonight I've just been doing laundry and loading all my cruise photos into albums on my computer (one of my external drives).  I think every folder has multiple duplicates (better to have duplicates than to not have them!).  It's taken a LONG time though and I was trying to upload pictures to my facebook account and now it's 11:30pm and I only got 3 albums done (on Facebook).  I still have to finish uploading photos from Genoa, Marseille, Barcelona, Tenerife and then some "ship" photos.  Guess I'll try to tackle that tomorrow night as I try to pack for my weekend trip to Belgrade.

Okay... signing off in hopes of being in bed by midnight! YIKES!

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Year in Serbia!

This is a night shot of Belgrade, Serbia

So... I've decided that where I'll spend New Year's eve is in Belgrade, Serbia (which was last bombed in 1999 by NATO!).  It should be interesting.  I found an old hotel right in the heart of town (or so it says)... and it looks like I might even be able to watch fireworks from my hotel window (I'll keep my fingers crossed).

Work went better than expected today. I had 5 appointments scheduled and only ONE showed up?  Guess no one needs therapy the day after Christmas? *smiles*  We'll see how tomorrow goes.  The first appointment this morning emailed about the time of their appointment, AFTER it was supposed to have started, so they are coming in next week, then the spouse of THAT person, missed THEIR appointment this afternoon... not sure why.  I had a new appointment that was supposed to come in for an initial session today, they called to apologize, they overslept, so I rescheduled them as well.  My last appointment of the day was a no-show as well.  I had to scramble this afternoon since I lost my work ID card at lunch time.  I re-traced my steps several times, (I only went 2 places at lunch time)... and finally, someone called and had turned it in. Whew!  I can't get on the computer without the card.

Tonight I went over to meet a new couple who are going to dog-sit for me this coming weekend.  They are a fairly young couple, they've only been married 4 years, no kids yet. BUT... they are both from Western Washington!  I think they will do well with the dogs, they've had their own dogs.  I'm going to drop the dogs off on Saturday morning and will pick them up late Tuesday afternoon.

Okay... signing off...it's already 9pm and I'm more tired than normal tonight.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!



Merry Christmas from our home to yours.  Sorry the top photo isn't very good... but it was one of those "timer" things and trying to get a decent shot with me and the doggies is a challenge.

I had a nice quiet day, I made some turtle brownies to take over to the neighbors in addition to baking a ham to take over.  I didn't get out of bed until 11am, that was nice.  I've been sleeping in every morning (other than getting up with the dogs to let them out briefly). Tomorrow is going to be rough, having to get up and go into work. 

This afternoon I spent most of the day over at my neighbors, and then I came home and Skyped with my younger two daughters (my middle daughter is up visiting my younger daughter). It was nice, I got to be online with them while they opened their presents (they had already gotten and opened the presents from me).

Tonight I was hoping to take the dogs to meet a couple who have agreed to dog sit them this weekend, but I couldn't get in touch with them.  I sent them an email and will try to hook up with them after work.  I also made a Cherry Sour Cream Coffee Cake to take into work tomorrow morning to share with my co-workers.  If we had worked yesterday, we were going to have a potluck breakfast, so since we didn't, I thought I would make it anyway.

Okay... I'm going to sign off... I hope and pray you have a wonderful Christmas!

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012




Some photos I took today.  It was a beautiful day with temps getting up to the low 60's! 

I had a wonderful morning of staying in bed until 11am, and then decided to go buy myself a new lap top for Christmas... my "old" one has been on it's last leg for a few months.  In fact, when I tried to download my cruise photos, I put my "memory" into critical mode.  I also went ahead and sprung for a new router and for the first time in about 9 months, I actually have decent connectivity.  I'm not sure what it was about the last router I got, but it just didn't do the job. 

So... tonight I've just been setting up the new router and trying to figure out how to use Window's 8.  I also Skyped with my older sister for awhile this afternoon... that was AWESOME!  Tonight I've been watching some silly Christmas movies on TV.

I'm ready for Christmas, I guess. I got my "presents" under the tree (the ones from two of my daughters and the ones I wrapped for my neighbors). 

Tomorrow I'm going to get up and bake a ham to take over to my neighbors... and I might make the brownies as well, although Tamie said they weren't needed.  I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23rd and the Stuttgart Christmas market




Some photos from the Christmas Market today. 

I slept in until about 9, but according to my fitbit, I woke up 31 times!  Of course... I'm not sure how many "times" my being awaken by the on-call phone counted for (I got a call about 3:45am, but thankfully I didn't have to go in for it).

I left home about 11am to run some errands (stop by the store) and then I went on into the Christmas Market in Stuttgart (I parked at one of the "park and ride's" for the train and took the train in, it just seems to be the easiest thing to do).  It was VERY crowded, probably because today/tonight is the last day for it. It's the only German Christmas market I've made it to this year!  That's because I was traveling for 3 out of the 4 weekends they were having the markets.

Tonight I've just been fiddling on the computer and I talked with my younger sister (for the first time in probably a year, although we touch base frequently by Facebook and email), for over an hour.  That was nice.  She had gastric bypass about a month ago and is struggling with it (but she's lost 20 pounds or so already!).  So, I wanted to give her a pep talk.

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, December 22, 2012

O Christmas Trees, O Christmas Trees...

 This is the "doggy's" Christmas tree! It's just a small table top Christmas tree. I picked them each up a doggy Lollipop and a toy for Christmas.
And here's MY version of Charlie Brown's Christmas. *smiles*  It's just a tad bedraggled!  But, at least I now have a tree and have somewhat decorated for Christmas. I think this is the latest I have waited to do so, ever!

Today I got to sleep in, (HOORAY!)... and then went and ran some errands.  I needed to pick up a couple little things for the kids across the street, where I'll be having Christmas dinner.  I'll be giving Tamie & Curt one of my calendars for Christmas, but, needed something for the kids.

I also went and dropped off my recyclables (plastic bottles) and picked up some soda and that is also where I got my Christmas tree. It was 25 euro... doesn't have a point for a "topper", but oh well... it's okay. Maybe I'll have a better tree next year.  I also realized that I don't have very many German wooden ornaments... I have more Hawaiian Santa ornaments than anything and a hodgepodge of Christmas balls.  Guess I need to work on my Christmas tree more next year and be more prepared?

I don't know if I mentioned yesterday that I get Monday off.  I am *so* happy!  4 days to sleep in (hopefully NO calls from the "on-call" phone!).  I still haven't made any firm plans for New Year's eve... gotta work on that.

Tomorrow I may go down to the Stuttgart Christmas market, it is the last day.  And I've not been to a single German Christmas market this year.  Whassup with that? (I was traveling for 3 out of the 4 weekends before Christmas).

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ahhhh... 4 day weekend!! Whoohoo!

 Me being goofy in Genoa, Italy.  *smiles*

My (new) friends, Deb and William that were married on the ship.  I took over 200 photos for them the day of their wedding.  They were a lovely couple!

I hope these pictures come through... I'm in the process of uploading some of the pics from the cruise, but when I did, it left me with only about 2 gigabytes of memory on my laptop, so now I'm in the process of switching them over to one of my external drives. I'm hoping my laptop doesn't crash in the process. I SOOO need to get a new laptop.

Work went okay today, I only had one appointment scheduled for today, but spent the rest of the day catching up on online documentation and in meetings.  I didn't get one note written and had anticipated going into work on Monday to do that one, and then to do some online training and do some peer chart reviews, but I just found out we get Monday off (the 24th).  I am SOOO happy about that!  I may find some time this weekend to go get that one note done, because next week is going to be busy.

I was hoping we would get out of work early today, because yesterday we had a meeting at 4pm that ran until 5:30.  We were told we could leave at 4:30, but 95% of the people stayed (including myself and most of my co-workers).  As it is, I left work late (again), but not too late.  I ran by and picked up my mail and then I ran out to the Pet Store and spent $100 on the dogs. I got them a large bag of dog food that should last a little while, some treats, 2 toys for Christmas, and 2 doggy lollipops (chewy stick for the stick) for Christmas.  I'm sure they will like that.

I still haven't set up my Christmas tree... but I did get a couple presents in the mail today from 2 of my daughters (thanks Kori and Kati!)... so I need to get my tree put up so I can put the presents underneath.   Maybe I'll do it tomorrow? I'm sure feeling lazy tonight.

Okay... signing off.

- Kris

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Busy day...

Here's a photo I took at the Rome train station (Termini), they were decorated for Christmas (I took this on December 1st).

Work today was busy, I had 1 "free" hour, but had to go see my "new" doctor (my old doctor has moved back to the States). My old doctor wanted me to get the rest of my lab results and so wanted me to follow up with one of the other doctors.  (I know most of them anyway, because I work with them).  The rest of my lab results came out okay... so for me... it's just about keeping on doing what I'm doing (right).

At the end of the day we had a meeting for the whole clinic and it ran over about an hour (my guess is that we might get released early tomorrow).  The meeting was just about discussing the future of our clinic.

I've been dealing with a tummy ache today and my joints are aching more today... not sure what that's about.  My knees are probably just hurting because it's cold outside (I have arthritis).

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tiring day...


These are some of the friends that I hung around with on the cruise (that I spent the most amount of time with).  All but one of them was on last year's cruise.  All wonderful people! (Although I don't know why David, with the yellow tie, looks cross-eyed in this photo).  Sue & Guy (Sue is in the brown diagonal top, Guy is the one without the tie) have been married for something like 50 years.  Alan (gray suit) is from New Zealand, this is the third cruise I've been on with them (Sue, Guy and Alan).

Work went okay today, I had one cancellation which was nice.  I had one session that had it's share of conflict though.  I still need to get busy and schedule 10 more couples/families that are wanting Marriage & Family Counseling.  I think I might ask our secretary for help in contacting them.

After work I ran home and took the dogs out and then went and got my nails done and stopped by the store on the way home after that (I needed more soda).

Tomorrow is expected to be a busy day for me.  I think today, between having a slight tummy ache and jet lag has been wearing me down.

Okay... signing off...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas party time...

This is one of my favorite areas on the Silhouette (I still haven't finished downloading all my photos... maybe tomorrow?).  This area is the "lawn" area and those chairs are HUGE!

Work went okay today, I had one appointment this morning, my 2nd appointment was a miscomunication and the 3rd one had a conflict with another appointment... and then this afternoon we had our clinic Christmas party.  It went okay and I stayed for the majority of the afternoon (then went back to my office and left about 10 minutes late).

After work I had to run some errands... I had to go pick up two comforters that I had to get cleaned (because the German washer and dryers are SOOOO small)... that cost me $48.  Then I stopped by the store to pick up some "jock itch" stuff to put on Peanut's paw (she keeps licking it) and I got some ace bandage type stuff that sticks to itself so I could keep her from licking the paw until it heals (I believe she has a fungal infection).  A friend of mine that was on the ship works with rescue animals and suggested this "treatment."  I hope it works.

Okay... signing off for another day...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Monday, December 17, 2012

Home again, home again... jiggity jig

 One of the Christmas trees on the Silhouette (I still need to finish downloading the pictures from the cruise).

And... one surprise when I got home, was my "pictures" were waiting for me at the mail room.  These are two of my photos that I had put on canvas, I think they came out really nice!

Well... I'm happy I MADE it home!  Whew... and it's already 9:30pm. I went to pick up the dogs after work, and then stayed and visited with the folks keeping my dogs (and had dinner with them).

So...to go back to the beginning, there was a lot of turbulence on the flight from Fort Lauderdale to Cincinnati, then less turbulence from Cincinnati to Paris (I tried to sleep on that flight).  The last segment of my flight from Paris to Stuttgart went okay and I arrived on time.  I took the train to the nearest train stop to where I work and I had a co-worker come pick me up.  I spent the afternoon at work catching up on news and emails and such.  My neighbor gave me a ride home (we work close to each other).  We stopped on the way home so I could check my mail and I got my pictures.

Okay... signing off... I need to go get the dogs food and water bowls filled and head to bed.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In Cincinnati awaiting my flight to Paris

I made it off the ship and to Cincinnati, now I'm about ready to board my flight to Paris where I will connect to a flight to Stuttgart.   Just getting on to say hello!

Auf Weirdersehen,
-Kris

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last day/night onboard the SIL

So... I've been procrastinating about packing tonight, I got my suitcase put outside my room right at 11pm (the deadline) and they are going up and down the halls now, picking up the luggage.  I still have to pack my carry on and my backpack.

Today I got out of bed right about 9am, then went upstairs for some breakfast, and visited with Deb & William for awhile.  I went on a tour of the ship's galley (kitchen) this morning and then the only other thing I did was go to a matinee concert this afternoon.  I met up with my friends (the 10 of us that have been hanging around together) for our last dinner together and visited with them for awhile after dinner.  I did make it to the casino, where I've just been kind of holding steady at $30, not losing or gaining.  At least it's entertaining.

Okay... signing off.  I  *won't* be posting tomorrow night as I'll be flying all night... so I'll post again on Monday night (Germany time).  Tomorrow after I arrive in Fort Lauderdale, I hop on a Delta flight to Cincinnati, then on to Paris and then FINALLY arrive in Stuttgart about noon on Monday.  Whew!

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sailing through the Bermuda Triangle...

Well, today about noon we entered the Bermuda Triangle, and I haven't heard of any passengers disappearing yet! *smiles*  (nor has the ship to the best of my knowledge!).  Today I got up about 8:30 and headed up to the cafe for some breakfast on the back deck, then wandered around talking to people before heading up to the pool area.  I watched the Captain and some of the crew play a couple games of water volleyball against guests (I knew a couple of the "guests" on the 2nd team... which DID beat the Captain's team).  I enjoyed some time in the jacuzzi and then got to have some quality "sun" time! Ahhhh... that felt SOOO good!

This afternoon I went and played some Bingo (with no luck, but one of my friends won a game).  Then changed for our formal dinner and headed down to Sue & Guy's cabin for a pre-dinner appetizers. I think there were 7 of us (we were supposed to have one more, but Deb was very upset about the shooting at the school in Connecticut so chose not to join us).  We then wandered down to the Ensemble Lounge for a drink before dinner.  I had lobster (again tonight) for dinner!  I feel spoiled... lobster 2 nights in a row!

Tonight I went to one of the onboard shows, but it ended up being the same one I've seen 1-2 other times with the same cast members, so I dug out a little early to come post.

Tomorrow is our LAST day (sad frown)... so tomorrow night I'll be packing and saying good-byes.  No big plans for tomorrow... if the weather is nice, I'll be up by the pool for at least a couple hours, and then I want to take in a tour of the ship's galley in the morning and take in an afternoon matinee concert.

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tomorrow we enter the Bermuda Triangle!

Well, this morning I slept a *little* later, I shut my curtains last night when I went to bed.  I think tonight we get our last "extra" hour of sleep.

Today was a relaxing day... I went up for breakfast about 9:30 and then tried to find the iPad group, but  looked a couple places and couldn't find them, so I missed it again! Darn! (this is a small group of people from our cruise list).

When I couldn't find them I headed upstairs for a couple hours of sunbathing (ahhhh... heaven!)... and found out they were having their "brunch" today, so I had "lunch" there in the main dining room about 12:45pm.  Then I chilled for awhile and went back out to find some sunshine but ended up talking with friends in different parts of the ship (mainly in the pool area though).

I sat upstairs on deck and watched the sunset tonight.  It wasn't very colorful, darn it.  Then I got ready and Five of us women who are traveling solo, had dinner in the Murano Grill, one of the specialty restaurants... I had a lobster tail! NUM NUM!

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waking up with the sun

I don't know that waking up with the sun is all that it is cracked up to be... guess I'm used to Germany where the sun doesn't come up until about 8am right now... and here on the ship, it is getting light by 6am!  That wouldn't be bad, but I'm a night owl and don't like to go to bed early!

Today was a busy day... I had my "book club" meeting at 10am, then a wedding at 11:20am (it started late) and then lunch with 6 of my onboard friends and then there was a "Captain's Club" gathering.  By the time I got back to my cabin it was 3:30.  AND... I missed the warm sunshine! It got up to 85* today! I'm hoping and praying for more of the same weather tomorrow because I've only got a 9:30am iPad gathering to go to and dinner with 4 or 5 other women tomorrow night.

The wedding was wonderful, I videotaped it AND I took a couple hundred pictures for Debra and William.  I got quite a few pictures... so if they don't want to pay for all of the ship's photos... they'll have mine as a back up.  I was the only one that took a picture of the Captain signing the wedding certificate. *smiles*

Okay... signing off

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

3rd (?) Sea day

I had another relaxing sea day... although I woke up a little after 7am.  When I go to bed at night, I open my curtains so that I awaken with the daylight.  Then when I wake up, I get up and open my sliders to the balcony and lay back down listening to the ocean for awhile.  It's wonderful, it's heaven!

This morning I got to go for a "behind the scenes" look at the Silhouette theater which started with a question and answer session with some of the performers.  Then we got to go behind the scene and see the dressing rooms and such.  It was interesting.

This afternoon my highlight was going to a "matinee" concert by a British pianist, he was fantastic and very entertaining.

I had dinner with Kathy and Diane and then later sat and had a drink with some new cruisers I've met (that I've been online with, but hadn't met in person until this cruise).

So... all-in-all, a nice day.

Tomorrow feels like it will be busy.  I have my "book club" at 10, a wedding at 11:20am, lunch with friends from last year's cruise at 12:30.  Hopefully I'll have some free time and some good weather after that for the afternoon.

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Monday, December 10, 2012

Halfway across the Atlantic

Well, we are about halfway across the Atlantic. Today has been a little rocky, nothing too bad though and I've not heard anyone saying they have been dealing with sea sickness.  The Captain, who has a wonderful sense of humor, in his morning announcement yesterday suggested putting an olive in your belly button to help with sea sickness.  When someone mentioned it later, he said that if people just believe it, that alone is enough to help, because 90% of sea sickness is in your head.

Today I got up about 8:30am... went for some breakfast on the back of the boat up in the cafeteria and then met up with some friends about 10.

This afternoon I spent a couple hours in the "Persian Garden" relaxing on a heated ceramic bed and read.  I've finally finished my 3rd book tonight (this one was set in Barcelona).  After my relaxation, I joined a bunch of friends at the Martini bar to watch the show the bartenders put on and sample 6 martinis (I am NOT a martini drinker!).  I did try several though and then had to stumble to my next gathering (with people I had gone on the Marseille tour with)... and I had a drink there... I *should NOT* have done that... I stumbled to my cabin and fell asleep (probably the wisest thing to do) and dreamt that I was driving drunk! Ha! Glad I wasn't!  I woke a little after 8pm when someone called that belongs to the online group that I am a part of... he was asking if I was the one from "Fairbanks" and I've agreed to meet him and his wife tomorrow for lunch to talk about Alaska... they lived in the Anchorage area for 18 years, but left before I got up there I think.  I've met a couple other people who have spent time in Alaska.

Okay... signing off... I've been listening to one of the bands play rock music downstairs and now it's about time to head to my cabin for the night.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Warm sea day!

I enjoyed a wonderful sea day... I slept in, had "brunch" on my balcony, then went and spent time soaking up some sun by the pool and spent time in the jacuzzi visiting with some of my on-board friends (they are getting married onboard 12-12-12!).  This afternoon I participated in a cabin crawl.  There are almost 400 people who have been chatting online before this cruise (that are ON this cruise), and some had volunteered to share their cabins so that people could check out the various types of cabins... from an inside cabin, to an ocean view, to aft cabin balcony cabins, to veranda, concierge, etc on up to a family cabin (which was amazingly large!) and to a really nice suite.

Tonight was another formal night, I had dinner with 9 of my onboard friends, that's always nice.  There are three of them on board that this is the 3rd time I have been on a cruise with them.

After dinner a couple of us went to the casino, I gave up after losing $40.  Oh well.

Tonight the Captain said we are supposed to have about 12' swells, that's gentle rocking compared to last year!  He said after tomorrow we should have smooth sailing. I like the sounds of that.  I think today the temperature got up to about 80*.  That was heaven!

We also gain another hour tonight... THAT I will enjoy!

Okay... signing off.  Will post again when I can.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Today was our last port day before we head across the BIG ocean (AND through the Bermuda Triangle!).  I ended up going on a tour up to Mount Tiede which is the highest point in the Canary Islands.  One of my onboard friends (Alan from New Zealand... I've been on 2 other cruises that he has been on) called this morning and said he had a bad headache and asked if I wanted to take his spot on a tour that several of our other friends were going to be on (i.e. Sue & Guy... I've also sailed with them twice before... they live down in the Florida Keys).  So... I ended up on a tour (otherwise I would have just walked through town, but it sounds like from some of my other friends, I didn't miss anything by not doing that).  Jane organized this tour (my first time on a shore excursion with her and her husband) and dang, we had a hard time finding the person that was going to be our tour guide. And instead of taking the free shuttle bus to the port entrance, we walked... about a mile!  And it was about 70* out down here on sea level.

Mount Tiede was cool... it reminded me of Mount Haleakala over on Maui.  I've posted a couple pictures on my facebook and will post some on my blog when I return from the states (to Germany).

I continue to meet some interesting people and have had fun getting to know where people are from.  Tonight I went to dinner with some of my "regular" friends... in fact, all but one was on the transatlantic last year with me.

Our day in Tenerife was short... we arrived about 11, (didn't get on our tour bus until almost 11:45) and then we were back at port by 4:45pm.  Short day.

Okay... I'm going to sign off.  If I don't post for a day here and there, forgive me in advance, but it might be due to satellite signals out in the middle of the ocean (or LACK of satellite signals).

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nice couple sea days

I wasn't able to get online yesterday or this morning to post, probably something to do with the satellite uplink.  SO...
I've had a nice couple sea days.  I've been doing a lot of resting and taking it easy...snuggling in my bed reading and sleeping in.  It's been wonderful after 3 intensive port days.

Today I woke up shortly after 8, but then laid in bed and read until almost 11am.  I had my curtains open, the temps were about 60* and it was overcast.  I finished my 2nd book today and have started the third one for the onboard "book club."

Today my "online" group had their slot pull.  We each put in $15 and then each got 3 "pulls" (or pushing the button) on the slot machine.  There were 70 of us playing in the group today (we are going to have one more, I think on the 11th).  Anyway... about the 15th person pulled and WON the JACKPOT!  After all was said and done (we kept playing on another machine) we ended up each getting $74.  That sure beats the $8 or so we got last year.

My friends Guy & Sue have a suite on board this year (they said it was the first time they have booked a suite) and they invited about 6 of us to their cabin for some appetizers, then we all went to the martini bar and then went to dinner together it was nice.

Okay... not much else to write about tonight... tomorrow we are in the Canary Islands.  I haven't made any plans.  We arrive about 11am and have to be on board by 4:30 or 5pm.  I hope we have nice weather tomorrow.

IF... I don't post, just know it's not because I'm not trying.  The internet system onboard isn't the most reliable... so I'll post when I can.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Monserrat, Spain outside of Barcelona

Today our port of call was Barcelona. I had signed up with a friend to do a shore excursion.  We started off going to a viewpoint overlooking Barcelona, then we drove over to the Familia Segrada church, where they walked around it and I went in search of Cabenera figurines (they are the ones that are "squatting" and taking a poop).  The Catalona people believe that it is a symbol of fertilization and prosperity.  So, I picked up a couple of those.  After that we tried to go to Park Guell (I think that's how you spell it), but we didn't get to see much there because the park is under construction.  Apparently it was the pre-planned city designed by Gaudi.  I think I've seen it before, but we were coming at it from a different angle.  I'm thankful that I've been here to Barcelona before, and that I got to see different things today.  We went up to Monserrat which is a monastery that has been rebuilt (it was destroyed by Napolean back in the day).  We got there in time to listen to a boy's choir that has been performing for 400 years (yes, obviously not the same boys).  We had lunch up there and then headed back for a drive around the city and then returned to our ship.  We arrived in port about 8am and had to be back to the ship about 5pm.  Apparently one of the ship sponsored tours got delayed, and we are now leaving a couple hours late.  The captain had hoped to sail by the Rock of Gibraltar during relative daylight, but now he is not so sure we can make it (it would be my 3rd time sailing past it).

Other than that, all things are well here.  Tomorrow is a sea day (thank goodness... I'm TIRED... I've been staying up WAY to late and getting up by 6:30 or so in the morning).  We have our Cruise Critic party tomorrow at 10am... I wish it were about 2pm.

Okay... signing off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Marseille, France

Today the port stop was in Toulon, France and I took a tour to Marseille with some folks from the Pacific Northwest (WA and OR) and there were some people on there from Hawaii as well.  That was neat.  We went up to the Notre Dame (there seem to be a lot of Notre Dames around). In Marseille it sits way up high on a hill and I guess the sailors used to WALK up there to be blessed before they went out sailing.

After Notre Dame, we came back down to Marseille, between the construction and a protest, it was difficult to maneuver in a large bus.  We finally got dropped off and then split into two groups for about an hour walking tour.  I was disappointed that there didn't seem to be a lot of old buildings, I guess Marseille was heavily damaged in WWII, and was occupied by the Germans.  After the tour, many of the group went to a restaurant for lunch, I chose not to go with them (I didn't like what was on the menu).  I ended up going to some hole-in-the-wall restaurant and I had some white fish with a cream sauce, rice and salad (it was the daily special for today).  It was okay, I probably would find someplace else to eat if I went back though.

I did a little bit of shopping. Marseille is known for their soap... so I bought some soap... and yes, I bought a tee shirt. *smiles*

We got back to the ship about 4:30... I went and visited with one of my friends for awhile and then came back to my cabin to change for "formal night."  It was nice knowing everyone at the table.  We took some group shots (of the "8" solo sailors last year that ate formal night together, 7 of us are back on and we've been joined by a larger group of people sailing by themselves).

It's already almost 11pm, so I'd better sign off.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Monday, December 3, 2012

Genoa

Today our port stop was in Genoa, and I have to say, I really enjoyed the town/city.  It was a lot larger than I thought it would be.  I went on a tour with a bunch of friends, I knew all but one couple and had sailed with at least half of them before.  So, it was nice, and comfortable.  We did a little bit of sightseeing by bus but then did about 3 hours of walking around "old town." We saw a LOT of buildings inside and out with frescos (paintings on the walls).  We wrapped up the tour about 1pm and all but one couple and I, went back to the ship at that time.  I went with a couple I just met on the tour today and we walked down (about a mile) to a Christmas market, and then we wandered around and walked back.  I think we had about a 3 mile walk back.  It was okay.  Part of the way back we ran into another person they knew (and knew who I was because of my online postings on the cruise website), so she walked back with us.  Between all of us, we managed to find our way back to the ship.

Tonight at dinner I sat at a table with a couple from Kenai, Alaska, that was neat.  There was also a couple from north of Toronto, and another couple from West Africa (they are there as missionaries, they are from the US).

Okay... signing off.  Someone I know is here asking me questions and that's distracting me and costing me internet time/money...

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lucca and Pisa

Well, I stayed up too late last night, so I'm hoping to get to bed earlier tonight.  I had room service deliver my breakfast and to serve as my wake-up call (although I had already awaken and showered by the time they called).  I went with a group of people (one of which I've sailed with before) on a shore excursion, we first went to Lucca and spent the morning there (we had to meet at 7:45am), then we went to a winery for a tour, a tasting, and a very light lunch (considering it cost 20 euro... it was NOT worth it!).  The wine was all "dry" wine... so I wasn't too enthused, but went along for the tour more than anything.  About 2 we headed over to Pisa, it was nice, because as the day wore on, the weather got nicer and nicer (NOT necessarily warmer and warmer though).  We had blue skies for Pisa and I think I got a good pic for my 2014 calendar if I decide to do another European calendar (who knows where I might be living at that time!).  Leaving Pisa our driver was distracted (showing us a site) and almost ran over some poor guy pushing a baby stroller (he had to slam on his brakes HARD!).  Then he went over a curb... I'm *sure* HE didn't have any wine at the winery... (I got the impression he doesn't drink much period from earlier conversations).  But alas... we made it back to the ship okay and in plenty of time.

I didn't feel like eating dinner in the main dining room, so snuggled in my bed for awhile and read a book on my iPad (finished reading "The Secret Library").  Then I went up to the Cafe for dinner a little later.

Okay... time to sign off.  Tomorrow I'm on another tour out of Genoa... not sure where we are going (I've been told, but haven't paid attention... I'm kinda just going along for the ride again).

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris

Saturday, December 1, 2012

On Board the Silhouette!

For some reason last night my iPad wouldn't let me blog... so I missed a day! *smiles*  My train ride to Rome was interesting.  The train was late getting to Stuttgart (the one I was supposed to leave on) and we left Stuttgart about a 1/2 hour late.  I was really worried about making my connection in Munich, but got there with plenty of time to get to my sleeper cabin.  It was nice, they had it all set up for me with a single bed.  I didn't sleep as well as I had hoped, but it was nice to have the cabin to myself.  And I was happy that there was a "key" to lock the cabin.  There was even a sink and mirror in the cabin!  The only disconcerting part on the Munich to Rome portion, is that the steward took my passport and then didn't return it til morning (he did ask what time I wanted to be awaken) and when he came in the morning he brought a little breakfast box (Oj, muffin, a piece of funky bread and some butter).  The train from Rome to the port was also late... but I wasn't worried about that, I would still be on the ship before noon.

After boarding (which went fast), I went up to the cafeteria and ran into several friends from last year (Sue and Guy, Alan, Dave, Barb, then Ann, and Diane), it was nice to sit and chat and have some lunch with them.  They finally let us into our cabins about 1:30pm.  I spoke to the Cabin steward because I wasn't real happy with the cleanliness of the cabin, so I asked him to wipe down a couple places (and I asked him to clean out the mini bar because I don't use it).

Okay... signing off... time IS money on the cruise ship... it costs a LOT for the internet time.  Will post again tomorrow after I get back from my tour in Livorno.

Auf Wiedersehen!
- Kris