December 31, 2010

Pirate in the Casino

Here Frank posed with a "pirate" in the ship's casino. We were on our way to the theater.

To reach the theater, you could either walk through the casino or you could use a different route on the floor above it and enter the balcony.

Lunch in Key West

After our walking tour, we had lunch at a place called Caroline's Cafe. Here's Frank enjoying a slice of key lime pie (of course).

Then we walked quickly up to Starbuck's so that I could purchase a coffee press before rushing back to catch the last shuttle bus to the ship.

Around the Hemingway's Pool

Hemingway was not pleased when his wife had the pool put in. I got the feeling that he was a hard person to live with. And eventually he left his wife for another woman.

The urn and trough was intended as a water supply for his cats, but they shunned it. The trough was formerly a urinal at Ernest's favorite bar, and after he brought it home, his wife cleverly decorated it with tiles and a nice setting. The cats were not fooled though.

Hemingway's Writing Studio

In Key West, FL

Frank wanted to see the Hemingway house because he read and enjoyed some of Ernest Hemingway's books. I was interested because of a distant link between my family and Ernest's which I had found once while searching for my name on the internet.

It was my maiden name that I found, along with my siblings, listed as descendants of Ralph Hemenway, who settled in Massachusetts around 1633. I can't find that page now but there are plenty of lists of Ralph's descendants that include my great-grandmother Grata Leora Hemingway, and a few that include my dad (see link).

In any case, our kinship with Ernest is very distant. Hemingway genealogy has been published and is available online, and I see that my distant cousin Richard M. Nixon was closer to me in kinship than Ernest was! (Incidentally, I've also read that anyone who has ancestors who were in this country back in the very early years of English colonies is likely to be related to anyone else who has an ancestor here at that time. I don't recall the cut-off date but I'm pretty sure 1633 qualifies. So "Hi" to all my distant cousins out there, whoever you are!)

Ernest Hemingway Slept Here

The writer Ernest Hemingway lived here in the 1930's. Today the house and grounds are a museum, but they are also home to the descendants of his pet cats.

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Hemingway's Saloon

After our tour guide took us through the Key West residence of Ernest Hemingway, he walked with us to Greene Street and took us inside Captain Tony's Saloon which was favored by Hemingway. (For those unfamiliar with the famous writer, he was a frequent drinker, meeting his friends at the bar every afternoon at 3:30.) At that time the establishment was called Sloppy Joe's.

Between Hemingway's home and the bar we passed this fence.

December 30, 2010

Route 1 Ends Here

Key West, FL

Intersection of US 1 and Fleming Street
Since I grew up near U.S. Route 1, I was amused to find myself at it's southern terminus. Over the years I've traveled on it many times and in many states. And in most places it looks much like it did back when I rode the school bus on it to get to high school: busy with traffic, surrounded by a decaying sort of sprawl choked with gas stations and strip malls. Not a pretty road but a familiar one.

Scenes from a Walk in Key West

The only port-of-call activity we reserved before our cruise began was a walking tour of Key West which focused on Ernest Hemingway's years there. It was advertised as a one and a half hour tour, which sounded ideal. This turned out to be a printing error, the actual time was two and a half hours. That left us a little rushed and a little tired, but it was worth it.

Harbor at Key West, Florida

We had wanted to visit Key West for some time so we were glad that the cruise went there. After a delay in the ship being cleared to disembark, we got to spend part of an afternoon there.

Since we did not stray far from the harbor, many of the tourists we saw were from cruise ships. It certainly seemed like the town was packed with visitors.

Back to the Cruise Pictures

Christmas is over so I'm returning to the cruise photos. I hope to get them posted before the end of the year... but wait! That's tomorrow! Well, I only have one port of call left to post, so I should be able to do it.

December 29, 2010

Water Tower at Sunset

Strasburg, Virginia
in the Shenandoah Valley

I saw this a week ago as I left the Food Lion in Strasburg.

See also my post: Strasburg Skyline

Marie and Me 12/27/2010

When we get together with family members, I try to remember to take some pictures. After all, we don't see each other all that often and the photos make the moments seem to last longer.

Frank took these pictures in the driveway as Marie prepared to start her journey home. It turned out to be a slow trip because of heavy snow in New Jersey and New York. She took the train from DC to NYC and it had delays, but at least she got there the same day. Some folks who tried to go by plane were less fortunate because flights were canceled.

December 28, 2010

Holiday Lunch with My Daughters

Marie and I drove down to Rockbridge County on Sunday and took Lynn to lunch. Marie and I had both purchased at least one gag gift for Lynn.

Rock, Lynn, and Roxie

Walking in the Snow

Christmas Morning at Our House

I always enjoy family visits. We don't get to see Marie very often because it's pretty much an all-day journey between our homes.

The Kindle was on her wish list and I was glad to find one for her. She plans to take it on a world tour.

December 27, 2010

This Gift Made Me Laugh

Generals Grant and Lee
as Finger Puppets

Marie gave me these little "Magnetic Personalities." They are both finger puppets and refrigerator magnets.

I posed them in a potted petunia with Grant behind Lee because he spent so much time pursuing him.

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Snapshots, Christmas Morning

Above: Marie
Below: Frank and Linda

December 26, 2010

On the Day Before Christmas

Allison and Dave Visited

December 25, 2010

Have a Delightful Christmas

‎"Christmas is wonder and a magic, meant to cheer the heart. … Christmas makes us add a touch of color to our everyday rooms and everyday life and puts a bright green sprig on our front door as if we would say to all the world that there live in this house warm people who delight in beauty and believe in joy and want to share a little of it with you—you would be welcome if you should come in."

December 24, 2010

In the Centrum, Dec. 5

The big lobby in the center of the ship is called the centrum. It was decorated for the holidays.

A balloon sculpture session was taking place here.

A Holiday Village

Christmas Decorations on the Ship

Tender on the Sea

boatTo get from the ship to the little port of Coco Cay, we boarded a "tender" which held a couple hundred passengers. Once it filled up, we were ferried over quickly.

Geographic note: This is in the Bahama Islands which are in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is a region consisting of the Caribbean Sea and over 7000 islands, reefs, and cays. A cay is a small island formed on the surface of coral reefs.

December 23, 2010

View from Coco Cay

Cruise Ship in the Bahama Islands


December 22, 2010

Starfish and Seaweed

Coco Cay, A Tropical Island

Royal Caribbean calls it an exclusive island "reserved exclusively for Royal Caribbean guests" and a "tropical paradise." It's less than 200 yards wide and about a mile long. And it's in the Bahamas.

Although a variety of water sports were available (for a fee), we planned to spend our hours there relaxing on the private beach. Just us and (it turned) about 4,000 other people.

There were two cruise ships there at the same time. Our ship carries around 2400 passengers but some did not come ashore. A significant number of staff came ashore to work though, serving food and drinks, keeping the grounds clean, and taking pictures of passengers to sell to them later. (One compliment I must give Royal Caribbean is their staff: plenty of them, well-trained and hard-working.)

It took us a while to find vacant chairs and when we did, they were on a rocky section of beach. Still, the sun was warm but not overly glaring, so we enjoyed the luxury of sunbathing on the first of December.

December 21, 2010

Message in the Wake?

I took this picture looking down from our balcony at the turbulence caused by the ship moving through the water. Here the light blue shapes look almost like letters. Wait, does that say HELP?

Port of Nassau at Night

I took these photos from the balcony of our state room. Other cruise ships were docked near us.

Touring by large ship turned out to be rushed and crowded. As I mentioned before, we did not have enough time in Nassau. Just part of a single afternoon does not allow you to explore much of the city. I suppose if your only goal is to buy some souvenirs, it would be adequate.

December 20, 2010

Back to the Ship, Nassau

After a brief afternoon in Nassau we went back to the ship. Reboarding always takes a while because everyone has to line up to go through security. Ship security is not as intrusive as security at an airport in that you don't have to remove your shoes but it's still a nuisance, especially if you are tired and need to get off your feet.