Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More of the crossing and into the Caribbean

Well, after Malaga, we went to Cadiz, Spain and I was gutsy enough to sign up for a nine hour tour… whooey! I decided to go see Seville, which was an hour and a half away, so the good part was that even though it was a long day, I got to sleep on the bus ride there and back. Seville was a gorgeous city! I wish I had more free time to check things out because I felt like I didn’t have enough time to take everything in. I saw the Spanish House (or at least that’s what I’m calling it) which was huge and crazy beautiful and then we went to a Jewish Quarter, which wasn’t much of anything. After we walked to see the Alcazar, which was an old GIGANTIC house with Arab architecture. I think my favorite part was seeing all the foliage in the city… very fall =) After the Alcazar, we went to lunch which was a buffet with okay food. Not the best, but it could have been worse. Our last stop was a huge cathedral, which was definitely old in character, and I thought it had a little flavor of Gaudi to it. I was bummed we didn’t have a lot of free time because I didn’t find a spoon; HOWEVER, on Sarah’s tour was a passenger named Cliff, whom we met on our tour to Rome on October 25, knew I collected spoons, as does he, so he ended up getting one for me! I tell ya, I meet some of the nicest people onboard. He’s been on 16 HAL cruises, and travels alone, so I think he really enjoys mine and Sarah’s company. And the nice part is that he’s not one of those creepy old guys; he’s a genuinely nice guy.
The next port was Portimao, Portugal and we had to tender because the bottom of the sea inclines up super steep. The tenders take about 40 minutes, and then it’s another 20 min or so shuttle ride to the city, so I didn’t feel like dealing with it. Therefore, roommate and I decided to make the day a lazy day: we ordered room service and spent the day watching movies! There was a Halloween party that evening as well and we went as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Suess haha! Lisbon was the day after, and it was a crappy port city. We ended up finding some shopping, and of course, I found us a Starbucks! The final port of call was Madeira, Portugal; a small island of Portugal. It was really pretty; we just walked around and enjoyed the natural nature of it all.

Finally, the last seven days were… interesting. I had a hard time dealing with the motion sickness. The beginning of the crossing was pretty bad: I was in bed for a good two days because I was scared to fight the movement. I definitely got sick more than a few times, and I had tried everything I possibly could to prevent it. The best remedy I found was Ginger Pills and green apples. They helped the nauseating feelings go away. Despite my sea sickness, I was able to make it through all of the shows without any craziness happening! I drugged up and took ginger pills and did just fine. Some of the show nights were pretty rocky, so it made it interesting to try and not fall all over the place!

The day we got into Ft. Lauderdale was crazy! We had to get up at 5:30am to show customs our passports, and then do mandatory fire drills and general emergency drills to prove to the US Coast Guard we know what we’re doing. We got through all of that by noon and then all of us made a mad dash for solid ground; especially me! I ran down the gangway screaming and flailing my arms I was so happy to be back in the states and be on solid ground! We made runs to Starbucks, the grocery store, and had lunch at a local sushi joint. And of course, I made as many phone calls as I could and sent as many texts as I could while I was on land!

So now we are in the Caribbean until May! I feel so much more relaxed and less pressured to get off at EVERY port and see EVERY thing… it’s mostly beaches now and we’re here for so long that I don’t have to cram anything in. So last cruise, I got off at Grand Turk and went to a little place called Jack Shack and used free wifi and just enjoyed the beach. Then I got off the boat in Curacao; I did a tour to some pretty neat caves and then was given a short tour around the city. The next port was Bonaire, but I slept until 2:30pm (WHOA!) so I just walked around with Sarah for an hour just to get a feel of the city. Next was Aruba and we took a tour to a private beach where we went banana boating and tanned for the rest of the time. It was a nice beach! There’s something for everyone! I haven’t put any pictures up because I’ve not been diligent about posting pictures lately… oops. I need to make a list to figure out which ports I still need to upload from Europe and now the Caribbean. I’ll upload eventually!!!

So that’s really it for now… we’ve been at sea for the past two days on this cruise (which is now Cruise #10) and we’ll be in St. Maarten tomorrow. I’ve been dealing with everything pretty well so far, but especially now that the holidays are getting closer, I’m getting more and more homesick. I miss all the holiday stuff and the smells, and most importantly I miss my family and friends. I hate that I can’t be there for the holidays; I know that there are many more to come, but it doesn’t make this one less difficult to deal with. Sarah and I are trying to make it as festive as possible: we’ve decorated the crap out of our room (after a MAJOR shopping spree at Target last Monday) and have been playing Christmas music non-stop. We have Secret Santa gifts ready and most of our Christmas Cards done, and I’ve been working on other Christmas presents. I can’t wait to wrap everything and mail them off!! J

So, if you feel the need to ship me anything to make me feel like I’m home for the holidays, feel free ;) hahaha

Letters and cards go to this address:                     Packages to this one:
HAL/Noordam/Sheri Hayden                                 IWS/HAL/Noordam/Sheri Hayden
P.O. Box 13135                                                   3400 McIntosh Road A-5
Port Everglades, FL 33316                                    Port Everglades, FL 33316

Missing everyone from home like crazy!! Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!! =)

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