§ Today’s stop is Dominica, one of the least developed of the islands, very green and hilly.
We rode a bus to our destination which was a river for tubing. On the way we stopped at a waterfall site.
§ At the tubing spot, there was a welcome dance by the Caribe Indians, the original inhabitants of the island. Fun adventure, but bumpy, long ride there and back.
§ We finished watching Vicky Christina Barcelona back in our room that night.
Day 9 –
§ St. Maarten. Our excursion for today is the Rhino riders – they are like the mini boats and a waverunner combined.
However, the bus ride took forever – an hour instead of 15 minutes due to traffic. That cut our time short, and eliminated the chance for us to get into town to shop & explore.
§ By the time we got back to the dock area, there were only 45 minutes left before sailing. We were able to poke around in a few shops and grab a few souvenirs.
§ Back on board, there was a sidewalk type of sale in the shop area, and we bought a few more things there.
§ Heading back to Florida now. Our plan for this morning was to get up early to catch the sun rise as it was to be on our side of the boat now, but it was cloudy so we just went back to bed.
§ Brunch in the main dining room. It was quite an event. Ice sculptures (Santa with a "bag" full of shrimp!), chocolate (milk & white) fountains, and a ton of food.
§ A quiet day for us, we spent some time in one of the lounge/bar areas and no one else was in there, very relaxing.
§ Gym time, then snack.
§ Greg wasn’t feeling well, so he rested in the room, and I wandered about. We had dinner in the cafeteria for the second formal night, and then sat in the hot tub.
§ There was a card room area that also had some games and when we went to take a closer look we found there was a Yahtzee game, our favorite! Even though it was missing parts, we managed to grab a few dice from a Monopoly game. Greg kicked my butt twice. Time for our glass of port, then off to sleep.
Day 10 –
§ Another sea day and it’s raining. The ship is rocking a bit more today and making weird creaking noises.
§ I bought the 2 CDs of the string quartet, we’ve really enjoyed them.
§ Hit the gym.
§ There was another wine tasting but today it was about pairing with food. 4 wines – Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, and plates with different foods to taste with each. It was interesting and surprising to see the difference in the tastes of the wines with the various foods.
§ Dinner in one of the specialty restaurants – the Tuscan Grill, an Italian steak house. This time we dressed up a bit (but not quite up to formal). Then margaritas, Greg was fascinated by the twisted straw covers!
Of course we had filets and they were so good. We also ordered one of the pasta dishes that included Kobe meatballs. Wow, they were great and the noodles were delicious.
§ We made one last round of the ship, and had to go back to our room to pack. They take the bags at 11pm. Sad to know this part of our adventure is almost over.
Day 11 –
§ We’re back in Fl, and we are able to get off a bit early. There are busses that will take us to the airport so we can pick up our rental car for the next part of our adventure – Orlando!
§ First, we make another stop at the liquor store to get Bryan some Glenlivet. We looked at all the duty free shops and this place had the best prices.
§ Then we hit the road to Orlando, it’s about a 3 hr. drive.
§ After unloading our stuff, we headed to Downtown Disney. There are the usual shops and restaurants, but what used to be Pleasure Island is no longer an adult’s only place but they sell liquor from kiosks. We stopped at one and ordered a Mai Tai, and whoo, they were really strong.
§ We cruised through the shops and went to dinner at the House of Blues.
§ Across the way was a giant 24-plex movie theater where we saw “Up in the Air”. It was pretty good. Back to condo & sleep!
Day 12 –
§ Went to the Magic Kingdom Park today, Xmas day. Holy cow, it was really crowded. I wasn’t expecting this, but we had a fun time though. And at one point it rained really hard.
§ That night we went to the Grand Floridian Hotel via the monorail for dinner. I forgot what a beautiful place it is, and it was so lovely with all the holiday decorations.
§ When we got back to the condo, we rode up in the elevator with another couple. They asked us where we were from, and after talking it turns out we live right near each other in Bothell!
Day 13 –
§ Disney Hollywood Studios. We were really hungry and after checking the map, we went to the Sci-Fi Theater diner. It was really cool – the seats were set into convertible cars and it looked like a drive-in theater. On the screen they showed science fiction previews.
§ E wandered around and then went on the Tower of Terror ride, it was pretty great and Greg had not been on it before.
§ We then went to Epcot, with the plan to have dinner there and see the special Siemens Base 21 area. This is a special lounge for Siemens employees. But by the time we got there, the Siemens access was closed. Boo.
§ As we walked around the country area trying to find somewhere to eat, we found the restaurants all booked up. After a while we were so tired and hungry we ended up in the American cafeteria place, another burger style place.
§ On the way out we ended up near a new ride – Test Track. It’s like an auto test facility and the cars go really fast at one point.
§ Back at the condo, we hit the hot tub and it felt good, but they are never as good as our one at home.
Day 14 –
§ Kennedy Space Center – Another ridiculously crowded place, they even mentioned it was the most crowded day of the year. Argh. Fortunately most of the way to see the place is via bus tour. It is an amazing place. They give you a sense of the size of the building where the shuttle is put together. On the side of the building is the flag – each star is 6 FEET across!!
§ On the drive back, we stopped at a Wal-Mart to get a duffel bag as we needed more room for all the things we bought. We saw these cute Coke bottles there. (Yes, I am easily amused and I don’t go to Wal-Mart very often.)
§ Then we tried to find somewhere to eat but couldn’t find anything until we were back near Orlando. We tried to go to Outback but it was full and most of the other places were super busy. We ended up at a Lone Star steak place and had to wait a bit but finally ate, and it was almost 9pm by then.
Day 15 – 12/28
§ Our last day. We packed up and loaded the car and headed back to Epcot.
We were able to get into the Siemens Base 21, and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. They have a meeting space, and provide drinks and a place to relax. The best part of it we had access to the front of the Spaceship Earth ride in the big dome. As with most rides, there is a point where they take your picture. At the end of the ride, there is a display area where you interact with your pictures and it makes a little video. Apparently Greg made a funny face and waved his hand when the picture was taken as there was a weird shadow on his face. They emailed us a copy of the video and it cracked us up with Greg’s goofy expression. Go to my Youtube channel (lisacagle) and check it out.
§ We also used the fast pass process to get another ride on the Test Track later. Such a fun ride!
§ In the meantime, we went to the country area. In the Norwegian area, we went on the Viking Maelstrom ride, not terribly interesting. We ended up getting lunch at the German buffet. The food was pretty good and near the end of our meal, the German band came out to perform.
We went back to the Test Track ride and then headed to the airport.
§ Just after we got into the car, I felt a stinging on my neck and thought mosquito. Brushed at it with left hand and it landed on my right. Looked like an ant. I shook it off and after it landed I squished it. It really stung for about ½ hr. When we got home, Greg figured out it was probably a fire ant. Other than that, very little insect activity which was great.
§ The plane ride home was fine, but long. No upgrade, but we at least had legroom in exit row. We are very glad to be home after our wonderful adventure.