Sunday, June 29, 2014

#647 Sweet, Sweet Virginia

There are so many places to love in sweet, sweet Virginia and we've discovered a lot of them in the last 7 years.  Here are our favorites:
Alderman Library  
Blackfriars Playhouse
Breaks Interstate Park

Charlottesville Downtown Mall

Creeper Trail

Fairfax home built by Mary's father

Fork Union Drive-In Theater
Hull's Drive-In Theater

Maymont Japanese Garden

Poplar Forest
No wonder we love Virginia so much.

As Eddie from Ohio will tell you,
When you're talking home, you mean the Old Dominion
Just southeast of Heaven to the surf and the hills
She's the best of 13 sisters and 37 more
Sweet sweet Virginia always keeps an open door

Yours in agreeing with Eddie,

Saturday, June 14, 2014

#646 Friends Make It So

Life is beautiful.

Northern Ireland, connected to both the UK and the Republic of Ireland, is a confusing place to visit.  On yet another beautiful day, our 2 terrific guides from Black Taxi Tours help us to understand a bit about this country's history and the current efforts to live peacefully in a country divided.  Hopefully, these 2 friends will make it so.

After our last port on this voyage, we take the time to remember how lucky we are.  Lucky in where we live.  Lucky in our opportunity to travel.  And lucky in friends.  Life is beautiful.  Friends make it so.

With thanks from a full heart,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

#645 Iceland

Iceland is my new favorite.

We're lucky that we have 3 days to spend in this beautiful country, docking in Reykjavik, Isafjordur, and Akureyri.  Many folks on our month-long voyage are most looking forward to our time in Iceland and the weather gods are smiling on our enthusiasm!

Reykjavik, the capital and largest city, offers us sunny skies, an open air museum (Arbaejarsafn),
 and this beautiful lupine.  Though it is not native to Iceland, it's everywhere and I like it.
Isafjordur, a town of only 2600 inhabitants in the northwest of the country, doesn't see many cruise ships since most are too large for this small port.  The rewards for arriving by small ship are sunny skies, spectacular glacier views,

and the best fish in Iceland - perhaps in all the world.  The chef at Tjoruhusid asked us what we wanted and we asked him to give us a sample.  We feasted on cod cheeks, plaice, catfish and Viking beer (the local Iceland beer.)

Akureyri, the second largest town in Iceland with 17,754 citizens, is just the right size.   Just south of the Arctic Circle, Akureyri boasts the northernmost botanic garden, a stunning fjord, a beautiful harbor,
and kite flying!

Yours in loving Iceland,

Saturday, June 07, 2014

#644 The Shetlands

Not a tree in sight and yet...

The Shetland Islands are breathtakingly beautiful!

We docked in Lerwick on the most beautiful day of the year (according to the locals) and made our way to the northwest edge of the mainland to see the Eshaness sea stacks near the Eshaness lighthouse.

 It's been a couple decades since we last visited Scotland and we are happy to see it again.   
 Some of our favorite things include kite-flying over the sea stacks,
the crofts,
 cutting peat,
 those intelligent, strong, adorable Shetland ponies,
 and the dry stone walls.  (I predict there will be a dry stone wall in my future.)
Yours in enjoying the spectacular beauty of this Scottish island,