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June 18, 2014 ~ Gdynia & Gdansk, Poland

June 28, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sunrise: 4:10 am Sunset: 9:35 pm

Weather: High: 69F Low: 54 F Partly Cloudy

6:45 came very early today, did not like being awakened by the phone. While putting on my sneakers today I thought again why is one shoelace longer that the other and I actually looked at my shoes. I brought 1 from each pair! Never noticed before today. Breakfast was crowded because all ship’s tours were sold out. They said there wasn’t much to see in Gdynia and Gdansk was about 40 minutes away, so the best way to get there was on a tour. We took Panoramic Gdansk for 4 3/4 hours at $24 per person. This tour was a panoramic drive with a photo stop at the Oliwa Cathedral, almost 2 hours at Long Market, together with Long Street, and the Solidarity Monument (3 towering steel crosses commemorating those workers who died in the 1970 anti-communist riots.) The Monument to the fallen Shipyard Workers 1970 (Polish: Pomnik Poległych Stoczniowców 1970) was unveiled on 16 December 1980 near the entrance to what was then the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland. It commemorates the 42 or more people killed during the Coastal cities events in December 1970. It was created in the aftermath of the Gdańsk Agreement and is the first monument to the victims of communist oppression to be erected in a communist country. It was designed by: Bogdan Pietruszka, Wiesław Szyślak, Wojciech Mokwiński and Jacek Krenz.  We also saw Royal Route Long Wharf. Long Street ranks among the most beautiful streets of Gdansk. Passing through the Green Gate you see the Main Town Hall, beautiful 15th century merchant’s Palace of Artus Court and Neptune’s Fountain. We tried to find a place to have a Pierogi, but they were filled with funny things so we did not eat one. There were lots of shops to look at and we went to an amber store to see them polish amber. It was a beautiful day, weather wise.

Back on the ship we had lunch and then relaxed before getting ready for our last formal night tonight. Of course Ray was able to fall asleep and I was not. After a good dinner we went to the show lounge to see the singers and dancers in ‘Ovations’ featuring songs from different plays. I think this is the most flexible group of dancers we have seen but we have heard better singers. These singers were good, however. We skipped formal pictures with the captain. I was tired so went to see the sunset and then went to the cabin to read and Ray stayed up for the Liars Club which was at 11:30 pm. He said it wasn’t as good as the last one.

Day 105, Sat., April 20, 2013 — At Sea

April 20, 2013


     I forgot to bring my sea turtle to painting to finish it, so I worked on the opera house.  While looking through my paintings, I found another one that I did in early March.  I don’t remember painting it!  The second one shows a slightly different view.

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     This is the necklace we made yesterday using old paperback pages soaked in strong coffee.  We couldn’t make the earrings today because the Indonesian Crew Show was this afternoon.  It was a great show!


Indonesian Crew Show 2013 Indonesian Crew Show 2013Indonesian Crew Show 2013 Indonesian Crew Show 2013Indonesian Crew Show 2013

     After dinner the show was Kings of Pop, Queens of Soul again so we went to the movies instead.  Ray left after an hour and I stuck it out.  It was a weird movie, “Tango”, which was also in subtitles.

“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; action form habits; habits decide character, and character fixes our destiny”.  ~  Tyron Edwards

Day 80, Tues., March 26, 2013–At Sea

March 31, 2013


     Today was a great sea day with all of the usual activities.  We had been invited to have dinner with the Captain and Officers tonight in the Pinnacle, but it was postponed to Easter because the Captain had to be on the Bridge.

     Our entertainment tonight was Dale Kristien.  She was in the original Phantom of the Opera.  She was also on one of our other cruises, but she is good.  We received a gift tonight, a beautiful reversible plush and faux lamb’s wool throw blanket.  We could have used them earlier in the cruise when our cabin was chilly when we were napping.  They will take up a lot of room in the luggage, but maybe we can squeeze some of the air out.  They will come in handy at home.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.”  ~  Helen Keller

Day 48, Fri., Feb. 22, 2013–Adelaide, AU

February 23, 2013

     I was up early, as breakfast is between 7 and 8.  This morning I sat with Murray, the only person in the breakfast room.  I have to admit I have trouble understanding Australian.  I stopped at Lizzie’s to use the Internet before going to see Ray.  I copied messages for him into Word and also copied the bank account so I could fill in the book.  I then went to the ATM. 

     The doctors had made their rounds before I arrived and then a male nurse came to bathe him.  His resting pain was 2-3 and moving 5-6.  He was sleepy so I let him sleep and went back to Lizzie’s.  After a bit the lunch crowd was coming in so I went “home” to charge the computer and have a rest.  There was a movie on about Lucille Ball, then interrupted by the news about the Australian Olympic swimmers.  So much for rest and I headed back to the hospital.

     Ray woke up about 2 minutes after I arrived.  He had sat up for lunch and walked to the bathroom.  I sat and read most of the afternoon as he kept nodding off.  Dinner came around 6 pm and his meal was crumbed fish, potato mashed, mashed pumpkin, white bread, custard and tea.  He ate all but the bread.  He sat for a while, walked to the bathroom and got back in bed.  His room mate offered me his meal as he couldn’t eat.  When I told him that he had meat & vegetable casserole with rice, I think he said ‘roadkill’.  It wasn’t too bad and it sure beat eating another sandwich at Lizzie’s.  I set up Ray’s bed table and headed “home”.  ‘It was only 7:10 and I still had to ring the bell to get in.  Most of the lights were out.

     I washed some clothes and took another ‘shower’.  The water barely comes out.  I can’t wash my hair as I don’t have a dryer or curling iron.  Having a perm, I can’t wash and go.  I turned on the TV and was surprised to see men’s night of American Idol.

     The doctors in the morning will be removing the drain and IV and I think the pain pump in the morning.  (Saturday)  Jason said that if all goes well he should be out on Sunday.  They said they would give us a staple remover for the ship’s doctor to use.  We haven’t talked with the ship yet.

Day 42, Fri., Feb. 15, 2013–Sydney, Australia

February 18, 2013

     We took the shuttle over to the Marriott on Pitt St. and headed for the Apple store.  We ran into Bonnie and Rich in their store.  They had plenty of staff to help with questions.  We got some info and used their Wi-Fi because it started to rain.  Had some more questions answered while doing emails.  We then headed around the corner to York St. for the craft stores.  The first was Eckersley, 93 York St. where I bought a Water Brush, fine tip for AU$7.95 or $8.36.  Across the street was Lincraft at 68 York St.  Lincraft is more like a Joann’s or Michael’s.  They had quilling paper, but not brown.  I did buy fabric ribbon to knit a ruffle scarf.  That was AU$19.99 or $22.16.  They do not seem to bother with pennies in NZ or Australia.  They just round it off.  We then headed back towards the shuttle.  We saw the Queen Victoria Building.  We went through the Strand Arcade and they set up tables in the middle and people were eating.

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We had a glimpse of the Sydney Tower and headed down Pitt St.   Just as we got off the shuttle it started to rain again.  Great timing!


Who knows, this might be our last trip to Sydney.  Sad smile  Some new passengers got on board in Sydney.  Our entertainment tonight was Flautist Simeon Wood and he was very good. 

“This is the foundation of all.  We are not to imagine or suppose, but to discover, what nature does or may be made to do.”  ~  Francis Bacon

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November 11, 2011

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Day 32–Fri., Oct. 28, 2011–South China Sea

October 29, 2011

     Another great day at sea, except for this cough I have developed.  My voice has turned bass.  Hopefully it will go away soon.  I have been taking my Mexican drugs.  In watercolors we do our own thing again so I painted a junk.  In Wii we did the game where you ride a cow.  We both came in second.  Another game to buy when we get home.

Wii  Wii

     There was another Mongolian Buffet today.  I felt so bad for the cooks as it was so hot outside, we are almost to the equator.  Singapore is just 1 degree 15.73’ north of the equator.   Julius cooked my lunch.

Mongolian Buffet  Mongolian BuffetMongolian Buffet Mongolian Buffet

     We went for our second Indonesian Language Class.  Rays picks up languages quickly.  I can’t seem to remember them or roll my r’s.  Clocks were set one hour forward at 2 pm today, so it was a short afternoon.  We made a folded card in crafts.  I was not feeling too good but went to the formal dinner anyway, it is Black and Gold Night.Black & Gold Formal night Black & Gold Formal night

I wasn’t going to go see the show, but I felt better after dinner so we went.  Wu Man played the pipa, which is sort of like a banjo.  She was in our watercolor class and translated some Chinese for me.  It is not really my kind of music and a lot of people walked out.  She is excellent on the pipa and she explained it.  It has 4 strings and played with 5 fingers.  She wears fake nails to play the steel strings.  It would have been great if she had played one Dixie type song on it.

Wu Man playing a Pipa  The Black and Gold Ball was tonight which we did not attend.  Maybe the next one.

“Live out of your imagination instead of out of your memory.” ~ Les Brown

Day 15–Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011–Busan, So. Korea

October 15, 2011

          Busan, also known as Pusan, is the largest port city in South Korea and the third larest port in the world.  Busan is located on the southeastern most tip of the Korean peninsula.  The local Port Authority offered a complimentary shuttle service into town.

IMG_0001 Stitch Pusan Stitch 2

     We were having breakfast in the dining room when they announced there was a pier side welcoming show, so we missed it.  We didn’t have a tour, so when we got off the ship we got a map and then got on the shuttle bus.  There were two stops, the first being Yongdusan Park.  It was about a 30 minute ride into the center of town near the Phoenix Hotel.  We decided to go to the Gukje Market first.  This place was huge!  Lots of narrow streets with lots of stalls.  The sun was out and it was a perfect day to “stall shop”.

Gukje Market Gukje Market

Some things were a bargain and other items were expensive.  We walked through the market for quite a while and then ended up in the BIFF area which was more shops.  We went in a lovely bakery and saw a McDonald’s.

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     We then crossed the street and walked around the Jagalchi Fish Market.  It didn’t smell too bad.  We did see a lot of different fish.IMG_0043 IMG_0046  We then decided to go to the Underground Shopping Center and everything was closed.  We sadly looked at the long flight of stairs back up and a gentleman told us there was an escalator further down.  It was a long way down, but it beat the stairs.  We came up just where the shuttle bus was waiting for us.  Back on board we had lunch and then I went for a swim and Ray took pictures all around the ship.  We did see the sail away show on the pier.

IMG_0048 IMG_0087   Three girls from the crew came running down the pier, but the gangway had been raised and we pulled away without them.  (One of the girls was from the casino and Ray heard they will have a “talk” with the Captain tomorrow.  We saw them get on the ship the next morning.)  The singers and dancers performed “Dancin’ Fool”.  Such energy!  We were bushed from all the walking.

     Ray says:  . . . . Walking the Gukje Market was a real eye opener.  Many blocks of stalls where all kinds of goods were being sold.  No one was in a hurry to make a sale.  The whole market was low key.  If you buy something fine.  If you don’t, no one seems to get excited about it.  People very friendly and helpful.  . . . . .  All in all Busan was a stop where you need more than one day to see it all.

“My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” ~ Diane Arbus

Day 12–Saturday, October 8, 2011–At Sea

October 8, 2011

     Ray had said he wanted to sleep in this morning, so I was up and out while he was still sleeping.  It has been such smooth sailing.  Wayan asked me if I saw the sunrise, and I hadn’t, so I went to the aft Lido pool.  Gorgeous!

IMG_0003 Stitch day 12 sunrise

     I was getting ready to go to painting and Ray showed up.  It turned out we were wearing the same Myrtle Beach shirt, just different colors.  He wasn’t too happy.  It was paint what you want again today so I picked up a few tracings.  I couldn’t find the matching photos, so I winged it.  One was a scene from Vietnam and I thought the other one was a hot air balloon with flowers trailing from it.  When I turned it around to paint one area, I discovered it was really a vase with flowers.  We all had a good laugh, but I like it as a balloon.

     While in the Loft painting, they started the Polar Bear Plunge.  Some jumped into the aft lido pool and then got out.  If they could stand for 5 minutes they would receive 5 Grand Dollars.  It was around 54 degrees F.  IMG_0012    IMG_0013 

This was the aft pool at sunrise: 

     At 11 there was a bean bag challenge and then we went to La Fontaine dining room for lunch.  We each had a spring roll and wonton which was so delicious!  Ray had crispy cod and I had a turkey burger with cranberry mayo.  Both were very good.  We then went to golf chipping into the Lido hot tub.  I tied for first for the women and hit the ball into the special hula-hoop and won HAL golf balls and tees.  Go figure.  We then went to talk to the cruise consultant and yes, we did it again!  We signed up for the world cruise in 2013!  Woo-hoo!  I then dashed up to make a card in crafts and then got ready for HAL Chorale.  We’re starting to sound pretty good.

     At dinner time it was 57 degrees F and we have sailed 4245 nautical miles.  Dinner was good and then we saw the Moscow 4 again.  Their harmony is great and they looked much more relaxed on stage, especially the blond.  The dark-haired girl is a natural.  We really enjoyed the show.  By 9 PM we had sailed 4,307 nautical miles since Seattle and it was down to 55 degrees.

     “Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young.”      —                             W. Somerset Maugham


Day 110–Mon., Apr. 25, 2011–At Sea

April 25, 2011


     Well, here it is, the final sea day of this fantastic voyage around the world on the ms Amsterdam.  Lots to do today.  We had to finish packing, attend the disembarkation presentation and farewell from the crew, meet with onboard sports friends, crafts friend and others to say farewell.  Ray wrote his final thoughts on the cruise, but they must have been packed, I can’t find them.

     Our Cruise Director, Bruce Scudder, wrote this final piece for the Daily Explorer news.  He says it all!

     “On January 5, 2011, nearly 2,000 excited guests and dedicated crew embarked on a journey that promised to be like no other.  True to its title, “Gems of the World”, the 2011 Grand World Voyage laid out in spectacular array the gold of Incan Peru; the turquoise-blue of the South Pacific islands; the emerald hillsides of New Zealand; the opalesque colors of the Great Barrier Reef; the pearls of the Orient;, the rubies of the rajahs in India; the ancient treasures of the Valley of the Kings; and the sapphire blue waters of the Mediterranean.  The ms Amsterdam, our elegant home-away-from-home, is designed to navigate the 7 Seas in a truly grand style featuring gracious and attentive service, exquisite art and antiques, fragrant flowers, beautiful music, sparkling entertainment, and delicious food.  Our menus, offering everything from the exotic to the traditional, ensure that every palate is satisfied – each plate a work of culinary art.  The hand-selected crew go to work with just one goal in mind – to make each day a new, sparkling gem of a day for you.  Truth be told, the most precious gems of this 110-day adventure, are the people.  Old friendships rekindled; new ones made.  Extended families re-united; lives enriched and changed.  How can we ever forget the faces of the people all over this world in which we are privileged to travel?  Happy, smiling people who proudly welcome us to their country; the wide smiles of the world’s children, eager to be seen with you; and the grateful smiles of those men, women and children who are beneficiaries of your generosity through your donations to the Red Cross, the Hospicio de San Jose in Manila, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  When we are home, long after the bags are unpacked and the photos and videos sorted; long after the souvenirs and gifts have been delivered, one truly lasting memory will remain.  YOU, our dear guests and cherished friends, are the real gems of this 2011 “Gems of the World” Grand World Voyage.  On behalf of Captain Olav van der Waard, Hotel Manager Henk Mensink and the entire ship’s complement, thank you for a treasure trove of indelible, colorful, and meaningful memories.  Until we meet again … Bruce Allen Scudder”

     After dinner the dining room staff sang a farewell song to us.  The entertainment featured Max Dolcelli and Kimika.  We finished packing and put our bags outside the door to be carried off ship in the morning.  The bags shipped FedEx will next be seen at home.  We don’t have to claim them in the terminal.

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“Ships that pass in the night are quickly forgotten, but nights on the ship are remembered forever. – Mike Goodard –