Brigid Travels

Updates from The Road

Leaf Peeping - Day 9: Montreal -> Boston -> San Diego [2014]

We had planned on leaving at 8, hopefully getting to Kevin's at 1pm, so we had 3 hours yo socialize before Steve & I left there at 4 to comfortably return the car and catch our flight home at 7. That was the plan. We left the pavilion at 8:30, stopped at the souvenir shop and got on the OAS at 9. Not terrible. The main bridge out of Montreal was closed and there was no detour. And we didn't have any detailed maps, and if we used our iPads it would have cost like $300 (international data roaming). And all signs were in French. So we (anxiously) meandered and asked (3 workers until one understood English) at McDonalds and eventually got to where we needed to be, close to the other end of the bridge, at 10. We crossed the border at Falls, stopped for a few bathroom breaks and to pick up Subway in spectacular Montpelier and got to Kevin's at 3:45. In the car 6h45m. It was an absolutely gorgeous drive, or should I say ride - Steve drove the whole way.

Steve and I had some marvelous veggie chili Kevin had prepared and scooted at 4:15. At 5:30, thanks to Kevin's stellar directions, we made it to the car rental return, through security by 6:10, they were loading already so steve got on and saved me suitcase space (he has status) while I went to the rest room and immediately loaded when I got out. On the plane by 6:40 EDT flight of 5h30m

Long day

Looking forward to seeing our little girl :)

Leaf Peeping - Day 8: Montreal, Québec [2014]

Arrived an hour or so late in Montreal since we had a late start from Quebec City. Once during the night the ship rolled left and then rolled right... And we saw something go by very close and very fast... Not sure what that was! We had a lovely porter at the port, and decided to all go together in a taxi to pick up the rental car. Good decision. I had thought maybe I would walk to the rental place and then drive back and pick up everyone. It would have been quite a walk, and I think difficult to even pick folks up! And we scored - had reserved a full size car but ended up with a nice big minivan.

DSCN7137.jpg

We drove straight to the St Joseph's Oratory and quickly decided to make it our only Montreal tourist destination. We explored until about 3:30, then checked into our room on the grounds, freshened up and headed back up the hill for 4:30 mass in the basilica. It was a special once a year mass for the Knights of Columbus con celebrated by 2 cardinals plus a gaggle of priests. Did I mention it was in French? And the Knights had plumage/capes of all different colors - the normal white/red, green, yellow, purple... Not sure what they all mean. It was visually and aurally stunning :)

We went in search of food, and found an Irish pub - McGouls. Good stuff - single malt scotch, snakebites, rum+coke! fish+chips, pout ills++

Finishing the night, we are playing cribbage at the John XXIII Pavilion at the St Joseph's Oratory.

Leaf Peeping - Day 7: Québec City, Québec [2014]

Gorgeous Old City area, rented a car and headed to Ste Anne de Beaupre. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was lovely. Then we drove to the top of Montmorency Falls, just gorgeous, and Steve and I crossed the bridge that goes across the top. It was a bit of a nightmare getting the car returned and back to the ship on time, but Québec City is gorgeous, and definitely worth another trip!

Leaf Peeping - Day 6: Gulf of St Lawrence, Québec [2014]

Today it was raining. First thing in the morning, Steve and I saw 2 whales traveling side by side away from the boat :) I was hoping we would see more, but nope. No other sea life or birds or anything. It was a relaxing day. In the morning I sat up in the Crows Nest, very quiet and serene, very few folks. We all met for lunch in the Rotterdam, our first non-buffet breakfast - nice.

We walked breakfast off by going to deck 6 and walking all around the ship a bunch of times, the Promenade. Still rainy, but most of it is covered.

Later we played cribbage in the Crows Nest and hit up the PEI baked potato bar. Yummy.

Then napping and chilling took up a few hours, followed by dinner in the Rotterdam followed by cribbage in the Explorations library/cafe while we finished the rest of the champagne and red wine in coffee mugs :)

Leaf Peeping - Day 5: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island [2014]

Sunny and warm, though a bit windy. The weather on this trip has been entirely unexpected - temps in the 60s and sunny every day! Unfortunately that means the leaves have not changed completely since they haven't gotten enough of a cold snap to cause the truly dramatic colors, but still it is gorgeous. This morning we went on a bus tour, first to the beautiful Anne of Green Gables Historic Site - Anne is a fictional character but the writer spent lots of time on PEI nearby with her grandparents, and this was a neighbor's house on which a Green Gables was loosely based. Steve, Gert and I got a chance to hike through the woods for a km or 2, while Mom spent time near the house and barn.

After that stop, we briefly went to the cliffs on the beaches of Cavendish - just beautiful: red cliffs, blue ocean and sky, and white sand dunes. Then more driving through the lovely colorful rolling hills of Prince Edward Island and back to Charlottetown while the tour guide regaled us with anecdotes and history. Nice tour.

We grabbed lunch on a pontoon dock on the water, at D's. Lobster rolls for Mom & Gert, veggie burgers for me & Steve, local beer topped it off!

Mom & Gert got back on the boat while Steve & I wandered through the town for a few hours - to the art museum, a coffee shop (fabulous lattes!) and to the provincial capitol building. Founders Hall closed early so we missed it.

Mom & Gert went to mass, and we Started laundry - what a stroke of luck that the machines were empty!! We popped open the bottle of bubbly Julie had supplied (thank you!) and headed on deck to check out the Confederation Bridge in the dark at 8pm as we (barely) went under. We went to a secret spot at the front of the boat on deck 11, that I had discovered out the front of the fitness area.

Then it was time for dinner, and we closed the joint! Mom got her chocolate martini! And the rest if us sampled some fine scotch. Salads, veggie jambalaya, breaded veal, beef cooked rare, chocolate parfaits and hazelnut mousse.

Nite!

Leaf Peeping - Day 4: Sydney, Nova Scotia [2014]

Wow, it has been warm! We docked this morning around 10, after a local pilot jumped on board mid-channel to take us into the Sydney dock. We had met in the Lido pool area god a special breakfast of creeps and flapjacks (with real maple syrup) and some Celtic music accompanying! At the dock (deck 3, so minimal gangway - yesterday the exit was on deck 5 with lots of ramps) we met our guide Tommy by the worlds largest fiddle and he took us around Cape Breton Island, including Christmas Island, Iona with the Highland Village with reenactors and buildings transplanted from surrounding old settlements, Baddeck including the fascinating Alexander Graham Bell museum - what an amazing renaissance man! - and Kelly mountain. He was a ton of fun, and got us back in time!

For dinner, Steve and I took advantage of their offer to give us a free meal at their upscale joint, the Pinnacle, in compensation for he damaged luggage. Just lovely: amuse bouche of a mushroom 'cappuccino'; appetizer plate of grilled asparagus, a dollop of whipped potatoes and some terrific sautéed mushrooms; main course was a roasts pumpkin risotto with a side of brussel sprouts for Steve and baked potato for me; pre-dessert of coconut covered in dark chocolate, espresso cream covered in dark chocolate and pistachios, pecans and dried fruit in a (solid) puddle of white chocolate; dessert for me was a baked Alaska variation: Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia in the center, surrounded by fluffy white cake and covered in toasted whipped cream cover, plus some bing cherries in a sauce and for Steve, a trio of creme brûlée: normal custard, espresso and chocolate. And we decided on a yummy Pinot noir to help up along the way :) a wonderful meal.

Afterwards, we went next door to the Explorations Cafe to see if we could find Mom & Gert. They were there, finishing up their second game of cribbage. They had dinner in the dining room, the Rotterdam, and met some really fascinating well traveled folks.

Off to bed!

Leaf Peeping - Day 3: Halifax, Nova Scotia [2014]

What a sweet city - so much more to see! We must come back. We walked along the waterfront for a few hours this morning, and this afternoon caught a bus tour of some of the city's highlights and did some walking in key spots. First, the cemetery where most of the bodies recovered from the Titanic are buried, then a stroll through the amazing Victorian Public Garden, and lastly the Citadel. Our tour guide wore a kilt - lots of Scottish traditions here. Halifax is very multicultural due to lots of waves of immigration: French, English, Freed slaves, German, S Ottis's and Irish primarily.

Mom had an unexpectedly long day of walking but muscled through it.

As we were shoving off, us girls got together for a drink while Steve hit the gym... And we all met for dinner in the main dining room. Again, the food was a hit - citrus fruit salad infused with Gwerstemiener for all, then tomato fennel soup (wow!) and French onion (guess who) for the middle course and for the entree the meat eaters had turkey+stuffing+veggies in solidarity for Canadian Thanksgiving and us vegetarians had a yummy penne with a bit of basil, etc. For dessert we sampled a fruit cobbler, pumpkin pie and strawberry mousse in a white chocolate cup. And we all had the drink - Violet Beauregard - chambord floating on top of creme de cacao.

By now it was about 9, and we had missed the fiddlers, though we had been serenaded by a bagpipe and drum before we left. So we ambled over to the pianist who played Irish songs for about an hour, followed by some standards and singalongs. Really good stuff!

Our towel animal was a butterfly :)

Alaska Cruise [2005]

The folks and I took a cruise to Alaska!

Vancouver

Vancouver was our jumping off point.

Ketchikan

First stop and we took a horse-drawn carriage around town and saw some very cool totems.

Juneau

We headed up to the Mendenhall Glacier and to the salmon hatchery on this day.

Skagway

Mom & Dad took the train up the gold rush pass, and I headed out to a bald eagle preserve that didn't have too many birds (wrong season).

Palmer / Hatcher Pass

We took the train from Whittier to Ancorage and then drove up to Talkeetna and down to Wisilla, Palmer and Hatcher Pass.