Thursday, June 29, 2017

Speaking Of Slow Travel....

I wrote about my fascination with transatlantic travel several years ago, in THIS POST.  Transatlantic cruises allow us to arrive at our destination without jetlag, and, if you plan wisely, don't cost much more than a plane ticket.  Additionally you also get up to 2 weeks of long, lazy days and several interesting ports of call.  Until recently we'd only been able to cruise from Europe back to the U.S., but my real dream was to cruise to Europe - I can never sleep on a plane, even with lay-flat seats (which we can afford anyway!) - so the drive to our final destination was always torture after a long flight.

Once Art retired from Churchill Downs we were free to cruise both to and from Europe.  We cruised to Barcelona last spring for our vacation in France, and we took the same cruise this year, arriving in Barcelona then driving to Italy.

The first stop on the cruise to Barcelona was Key West.  I'd never been to Key West before, so last year we toured the island and visited the Hemingway house, which was very interesting.  Other than that, Key West seems to be bar after bar, interspersed with food shops (key lime pie anyone?) and the usual T-shirt/souvenir shops.  This year we wandered around, not really looking for anything, but at one jewelry stand I spied a whale tale charm.  Hmmmm....I had a gold fluke, a souvenir from a trip to Hawaii many years ago, but since my hair's gone silver I've switched my jewelry to silver, so perhaps this would be the place to find a silver whale tale.  The search was on!

Whale fluke_Capricorn Jewelers_Key West_3377After several unsuccessful stops we found Capricorn Jewelers, owned by Loukas Kongos.  Mr Kongas, was born in Greece, studied jewelry making in Milan, and now calls Key West home.  He's designed some interesting bracelets, and to my great relief had exactly the size and style of whale tale I wanted,  I had my first souvenir of our vacation!

Our next stop was a new one, Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St Maarten.  The season was definitely over, and ours was the only ship in port. The streets nearest the beach were filled with shops, but the further away from the beach we walked, the more run-down the area appeared.  We only spent a few hours here, and I don't know much about St Maarten, or the French side of the island, but I'm guessing tourism is the biggest industry. I'm sure there are incredible views and some great snorkeling and scuba diving.

After we left St Maarten we then had seven days at sea, which meant seven days with absolutely no agenda, no sites to see, no worries about making it back to the ship on time!  That's real slow travel!

Here are some shots from St Maarten, and a few from the ship itself.  Our all pictures are available on our FLICKR PAGE.

St Maarten_2639 St Maarten_beach_2642 St Maarten_beach_2665 RCCL_Rhapsody of the Seas_St Maarten_02


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