Monday, October 21, 2019

Home - the best place to be!

We made it home from London yesterday evening after battling thousands
at Heathrow, then Charlotte, and even here in Raleigh! Airports are just getting so
 difficult, tiresome, and getting through them in those ever lengthening lines is like
 fighting a battle.  Seems everyone has TSA Pre Check now!  We do have 
Global Entry which gets us through Immigration faster - however as usual I was 
called aside because of my fingerprint problem - I don't have any clear ones for
 the machine to read! Perhaps it's easier in Business/First but for the rest of us - the
 majority of us - it's murder in the airports these days.

I'm too busy/tired today to write much now.
The garden is still suffering from the drought which was in effect 
when we left. It's cooled a bit but apparently only a light shower fell
the entire time we were gone, almost three weeks! 
No much-needed soaking rain.
I looked out early this morning as the sun came up - jet lag had me up
 before 5 AM, so I started unpacking. Then I noticed just a touch of color 
brightening the morning - those hardy little morning glory seeds did
germinate after all!

I'll be back here later in the week - stories and photos to share of some new, interesting, 
often mysterious, lovely places and beautiful people. . . . . . .and tales of life on board 
a small ship.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sahara Desert wanderings -

The part of the Sahara Desert we visited was quite surprising. 
It made me think of visiting Antarctica where one is 'there' but rarely gets to visit 
the actual South Pole. The Sahara is the largest hot desert, and third largest
 desert in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic. Covering 9,200,000 square
 kilometres it is comparable to the area of China or the United States.

The Sahara comprises much of North Africa, excluding the fertile region
 of the Mediterranean Sea coast, the Atlas Mountains of the Magreb, and
 the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan. 

From the port of Dakhla, our fleet of twenty seven 4X4 vehicles, without
 air conditioning, drove us through the city to the Lagoon area and into the
 desert for the visit to the Sahraoui Camp - a rather long, very bumpy, uncomfortable
 drive to say the least! Accompanied by serious looking armed Police in cars, 
vans and on motor cycles, we felt somewhat over-protected.

We were there in the desert but despite the sand it didn't really feel like we had
reached the true desert. It was so vast and I wished we could go further with no
 views of water and kite-surfers in the distance! 

Me with our guide Rashid.

Dancing and afternoon tea. . . . . . . .Sahara Desert style.

Tasting Saharawi Tea.

"Do not regret the passing of the camel and the caravan. 
The Sahara has changed, but it remains a desert without compromise, the world in its extreme. 
There is no place as dry and hot and hostile."
William Langewiesche - Sahara Unveiled: A Journey Across the Desert.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Moroccan Colors -

Today we have been at sea with no shore excursion. Water quite flat mostly. 
One whale and a lot of dolphins spotted from the deck.
Beautiful sunshine and comfortably warm so enjoyed lunch on the lido deck 
under a bright blue umbrella. 

We are now sailing to the desert city of Laayoune via the port of El Marsa.
 We will have a tour ashore tomorrow morning - Saturday, October 12. 
We are told we will be escorted by Police!!!

Just a few photos to show you some colors of Morocco from the past couple of days.
More to come.  

 Entrance to an art gallery in Agadir.

Musicians welcoming us to lunch in Agadir.

 Home for a few of the many, many feral cats in Agadir............

.............such as this one on the wall of the Casbah overlooking the harbor.

 Beautiful Moroccan traditional bread.

Our traveling friend Kim - from bus to a camel at the Casbah stop!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Casablanca, Morocco -

Arrived in Morocco today.  Shore excursion included a visit to this amazing 
building - more photos another time.

 Me - our California friends Kim and Rob to the left.

Largest mosque in Africa, third largest in the world!
Photos of the exquisite interior later.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Shades of Algarve Blue, Portugal ---------


The cliffs of the Algarve. . . . . .along with warmth, sunshine and the
 bluest of skies. Just perfect
Sailing to Cadiz, Spain tonight.  Sea just fine and more good weather for tomorrow.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Back in the UK. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . but just for 24 hours!

We arrived early, even before the sun was up!
Good flight and only 7 hours with the brisk tailwind. A few hours of dozing, 
but no real deep sleep.
Cool, very cool for us coming from such intense heat. Some little
 patches of blue sky later.
Hung about an airport coffee shop - Caffé Nero java will wake anyone - before 
taking a taxi to our hotel which, thankfully, had our room ready for occupancy.

Airbus 380-800 - largest commercial plane in the world - costs a bit too,
$318 million!

We always request a room here overlooking the runway.
Huge planes arrive from some place in the world about 
every 3 minutes.
Clouds have rolled in.  
A few raindrops falling now. . . . . . after all this is England!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Leaving home ---------------

This could be my 'last rose of summer' - a yellow Peace tucked in between 
two huge now withered hydrangea bushes.
Did it bloom to say "goodbye" as we leave, hefting the cumbersome luggage 
down the driveway for our ride to the airport later?

We stowed all garden knick knacks, seat cushions, bird feeders, umbrella etc., 
anything able to blow around and cause damage in a windstorm.

First leaves falling from the fig tree - on yet another already sweltering morning.

Very little autumn color here yet, but perhaps on our return it will have cooled at
 long last, the leaves will have changed to gold and rust, and hopefully rain - a lot
 of soaking rain - will have fallen to end the serious drought conditions. 

When we leave town this afternoon the temperature will be 99F/37C - hard to
 believe this is October and each day is breaking heat records here.

Next post should be from London when we arrive tomorrow and have an
 overnight at Heathrow, then on to Lisbon Saturday where we board the
 ship . . . . . . . or, if not from there, who knows where! This trip is going to so 
many places and I'm hoping to blog when Internet is available!
At least it will be cooler our first few days in Europe . . . . . . . . . . . I'm so
 looking forward to that, plus wearing boots and a sweater at long last!

Enjoy your October days.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Packing for the world!

Last evening. . . . . . . 
I wrote a long post to accompany these photos of my packing for the journey
And then something happened and the entire thing disappeared into thin air 
prior to posting. So frustrating.

My time for blogging is a bit limited right now so this is a quick replacement 
version, less detailed, and with fewer explanations as to how this lover of plain
 neutrals has suddenly done an about face and added some prints to the mix!
It started with that zebra print caftan this summer and now includes a few
other animal prints and a bold geometric.
Worn with my basics I should have a good mix.

Today's the day for packing. . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .a few pieces of clothing may have to be removed depending on weight
 and space in my one checked bag.  
Footwear remains as shown, I can't do less! 
Cole Haan black leather Chelsea boots, grey nubuck sneakers and black strappy 
sandals . . . . . . and, as always, for kicking back on board ship, my favorite pair of
made in South Africa/bought in Australia pewter sandals which have traveled the world!
All are broken in and comfy for walking in cities, along beaches, over desert sands,
across tropical islands, all the the many different places we'll be visiting.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Baking this week?

No way!
I was planning to use up what are too many blueberries in the refrigerator
but we leave this week. Instead we're eating up what needs to be gone. 
Tonight a veggie flatbread and green salad, both enhanced with the last
flavorful Roma tomatoes from my neighbor's garden.

I'll be freezing some foods - the remaining perishable items will go to our
 neighbors. I overbuy sometimes as I love to see bowls of fresh fruits, and
 of course vegetables, sitting on the kitchen island. The summer season for
 eating fresh locally grown is now coming to an end . . . . . . by the time we
 return even the weekend Farmers' Markets will be closed until next spring.

Blueberry-peach galette made earlier this summer.

P.S.  Have you ever shopped at a Wegman's grocery?  Our brand new store - first in the area - opened
just 5 mins. drive from here on Sunday.  There was a lot of excitement in town. We waited until late 
afternoon to stop for a quick look - well 'quick' was impossible as it's gigantic. We didn't plan to buy much as we're going away, but it was fun looking at so many specialty areas such as the cheese, seafood, wine etc.  Last night on the local news we discovered we were two of 30,000 (yes that's thirty thousand) people who stopped by the store between 7 am and midnight on Sunday, amazing!
Talk about a 'destination store', this is it!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Morning Raptor Visit!

Bob yelled, "Quick, a hawk in the tree."
I rushed to the window, saw who he was talking about, though almost 
hidden behind the dead leaves.
Asked him to grab my camera while I gently pulled up the blinds!
Dive-bombing small, very fast, noisy birds were hitting the young
 Red-tailed hawk's head, but it stayed just long enough for me to get a
 few photos then apparently said to itself, enough of this malarkey, 
I'm off to greener pastures.

I always enjoy unexpected garden visitors!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Everything but the kitchen sink!

Last of the summer blooms at the kitchen sink.

Always so much to do before leaving on a big trip. 

What constitutes a 'big trip' anyway?

For me it's all about the number of countries on the itinerary - usually
 more than two.
The transportation to get to the first one and then the journey 
onward whether on planes, ships, trains or automobiles.
The weather in each place can be so different making choosing
what to take and wear often time consuming - for me anyway!

For the upcoming trip we will have possible cool days in
Europe - and of course something for rain always needs to be packed.
As it won't be cold my nylon packable jacket bought in England in 
May will be perfect - it's longer, roomy, and has a hood. . . . . . . and
it folds into a very small 6x8 inch pouch which came with it. I love it.

We board the ship in Lisbon and, following one port stop in Spain
where layers may be required if temps are cool early morning and 
warmer later, we'll then be heading to Morocco with perhaps much
 warmer weather. Picking clothes for Casablanca and other Moroccan 
ports requires comfy sightseeing outfits, but with more coverage such
as loose tunics with sleeves, over long pants - no plunging necklines
 or shorts, which I wouldn't consider anyway!

Once in Western Sahara it will most likely be even hotter and drier.
Again, local custom requires modesty and coverage - perhaps the caftan
or tunic length tops worn with lightweight long pants will work there.
As for the port stops on three Cape Verde Islands, who knows. It's 
going to be tropical and again hot, so will wait and see. By the time we
 arrive there it's likely I'll just be tossing on something comfortable. . . . . 
 in linen and very wrinkled no doubt!

One large bag for checking awaiting.
A big pile of clothing being edited to fit in said bag!
Plus one small roll-aboard to carry on. 
If only I could travel without so much. 
I will leave the kitchen sink behind though!!!!!

Busy weekend ahead and still so hot and dry here.
Hope you have fun things planned.

P.S. Coming next - the travel clothing rack is collapsing under the weight!

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