Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Replugged, with No Worries

I've been back from my trip for about 3 weeks, and I woke up this morning determined to return to my blog.

So here I am, back home, back online, and getting back into things.

It's been a
busy three weeks, filled with visiting grandchildren, apartment hunting (and showing our apartment to prospective buyers), noise from renovations that our new upstairs neighbors are doing before moving in, adjusting to being home and back in Israel, and, as ever, dreams and plans for my next trip...and the ones after that.

Where I've been..

A quick recap of my trip: On September 30, I flew to Los Angeles with my husband. We spent 2 fun weeks together at our son's home, relaxing and enjoying our grandchildren. We saw the youngest, Moshe, take his first steps, and enjoyed mornings with a bed filled with little ones, and days giggling, chatting, and hugging.

After my husband returned to Israel, I took a 4 night Carnival cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. A few days after returning from the cruise, I was on my way to a week in Sydney, followed by a week in New Zealand's South Island. Then, a short stay with a cousin in Florida before a week of total relaxation on a Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess. On Novemeber 16, I returned home refreshed, fulfilled, smiling- and wondering where my travels would take me next.


The beauty of New Zealand floored me.

I've always dreamed of visiting New Zealand, and from photos and reading knew it was gorgeous, but I literally found myself breathless as I looked out the plane's window on the flight from Christchurch to Queenstown. More shades of green than I'd ever imagined, blue skies punctuated by snow capped peaks, thousands of sheep, glacial lakes...

Walking around, and traveling by bus, I found that each bend in the road brought another breathtaking landscape. I've mentioned before that, to my occasional regret, I'm not much of a picture taker, but in New Zealand I found myself clicking away, intent on capturing the beauty unfolding before me.

Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Mt. Cook, Queenstown.... glory upon glory...

A Week of Firsts- I Prefer Nature Touring, but Sydney was Lots of Fun

I toured Sydney with my friend Laura, and while my week in New Zealand was unquestionably the highlight of this trip, I really enjoyed Sydney, too.

We walked and walked (actually, it was more like Laura walked and I trotted next to her- boy, does she have a long, quick stride!), took ferries to beaches and to the zoo, toured the Opera House and went to an opera, and saw little children everywhere - Sydney seems an energetic city of young, blond, expanding families.

It was a week of firsts for me: I saw my first opera, petted my first koala, saw my first platypus (a real highlight for me, as they've been stuck in my mind since I read about them in second grade), and maybe most important, learned a great new phrase: 'no worries.' I heard it countless times in Sydney and in New Zealand, and now I've found that it's replaced my usual 'no problem.' Such a sweet outlook on life, embodied in a quick and easy phrase!

Here's a few photos from Sydney:

A Very Pleasant Surprise

From New Zealand, I flew to Boca Raton, Florida to spend a few days with my cousin Susan.

I'd been promising to visit Susan for way too long, a
nd finally, on this trip I made my way to her home. I shouldn't have been surprised to find that she had gone out of her way to ensure that I would have a comfortable and enjoyable visit. For months, emails flew back and forth, asking me about my favorite foods, favorite things to do, how much quiet time I wanted...anything and everything that the perfect hostess would want to know about a guest was asked and answered. When I arrived the fridge was filled with yummy treats, my bedroom outfitted, and I was treated better than royalty: Susan's love and delight in seeing me embraced me, and I could feel the smile on my face enveloping my entire being.

Besides feeding me, Susan took me to the beach, to a nature preserve, and on a tour of 'Boca' and neighboring towns. I had only set aside 3 nights for my visit, and by the middle of the first day I was regretting the brevity of my trip. Needless to say, the promise I made to visit at least once a year is one I will be eager to keep.

Capping it off with a Sanctuary

As long as I was going to be in Florida, I figured I might as w
ell take a cruise! I wound up on the Emerald Princess for an Eastern Caribbean cruise (Princess Cays, St. Martin, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk), but I spent most days in the private area of the ship called 'The Sanctuary.' The Sanctuary more than lived up to its name: an oasis of quiet and pampering, with thickly cushioned daybeds instead of the ship's regular lounge chairs, and a staff who strived to make one's stay as comfortable as possible. The ship was great and the Caribbean was lovely, but my time in the Sanctuary was heavenly.

A few of my favorite photos from Florida and from the cruise:

... Where next!?

No question about it- once you've got the travel bug, it never goes away. When I booked my ticket to Sydney, I thought that might be the end of my travels for a while. Silly me! Within a couple of days of returning home, I was already leafing through travel magazines and browsing websites..

My husband's asked me to stay home for at least a little while, so the trip to Egypt I was flirting with for this week will have to wait for a bit- but only a bit, as Stu's promised me that the next time he goes to Port Said on business, I can fly with him to Cairo and tour from there. Hopefully, that will be by the end of next month- especially since I've already started planning my trip!

We're hoping to finally get to Petra together next year, too, but other than our regular trips to see the kids, I'm leaving my travel plans for 2010 open for now. Sure, I've got some 'maybes' floating in my head: a return trip to London and/or Paris, Amsterdam or Copenhagen, a British Isles cruise, Sedona, AZ and thereabouts. A Greek Isle cruise if I spot a great price. Maybe a long weekend in Prague with Stu.

Mostly, travel in 2010 will be low key, with mainly shorter trips. But I've got big plans for 2011 and 2012 :-)


How could I not include at least one pic of the true highlight of my trip!:

No comments: