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THEVOW2013's Photo THEVOW2013 SparkPoints: (79,912)
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8/14/15 12:43 P

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London&Paris

Edited by: THEVOW2013 at: 8/14/2015 (12:44)
God is careful with me, he has promised a hope and future.


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8/5/15 11:03 P

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US Train travel sounds like so much fun! I have done plenty of it in Europe, but would love trying it out here in the west, it must be so much different.

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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 7,507
7/29/15 1:27 A

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Deanna, last winter we took the Empire Builder from Portland to Glacier Park, Montana (for a ski vacation), and we all loved many things about it. Food was good. We had a roomette; tiny, but much better than coach. Train schedule was very delayed due to freight traffic (Empire Builder was on Burlington Northern tracks for the portion we went on). Views were very nice -- but much of the Rockies were traveled at night.

I have very fond memories of traveling on a student Eurailpass many years ago, when we could get off and on the train at any destination, it is a delightful way to travel if you don't have a firm schedule.

Alison


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7/27/15 9:56 P

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Thanks for sharing your plans, they sound completely amazing!





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7/27/15 9:45 P

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Deanna, that sounds amazing! I have never done a long-distance train trip. I traveled from NH- Providence and NH to NYC but that was it! I have an Alaska day trip booked by train.

Let us know your plans.

Karen





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NANA2JONEMIMAT's Photo NANA2JONEMIMAT SparkPoints: (0)
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7/18/15 6:24 P

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Has anyone done any TRAIN TRAVEL? I have looked at tours, but am considering taking an 18 segment trip. This is where you can get off and back on again when the next train comes along. Going from point A to point B is a segment, point B to point C is another segment, etc.

Probably would fly to Chicago and catch the Empire Builder and go west. Travel south from Washington state to California and then back east.

I have seen there are many tours out there that cover a lot of territory with hotel and bus tour side trips along the way.

Deanna

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RATHPAT's Photo RATHPAT Posts: 127
7/17/15 3:41 P

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My daughter and I are going to Oak Ridge, TN at the end of August. We both read the book "The Girls of Atomic City" and decided we wanted to visit it!

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7/16/15 6:45 P

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We have vacationed for the last 5 years in Fairfield Glade, TN, which is just east of Crossville. Crossville has a variety of shopping areas, good restaurants (exception is Shoney's, didn't care for) a movie theater and a variety of churches to choose from.

I will PM you the name of a sparkfriend who lives in Crossville.

Deanna

Edited by: NANA2JONEMIMAT at: 7/16/2015 (18:48)
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TEEJAY51's Photo TEEJAY51 Posts: 3,121
7/9/15 8:14 P

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Tennessee end of Sept. Hubby and I are planning to retire so we are looking at some towns/cities we are interested in. Cookeville, Chattanooga and Crossville. If anybody lives at these please email me. I would love to hear your opinions.

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7/9/15 7:35 P

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RATHPAT's Photo RATHPAT Posts: 127
7/8/15 12:19 A

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AEONWARRIOIR, let us know where you decide to go!

ALIHIKES, sounds like a lovely vacation!

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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 7,507
7/7/15 8:52 P

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WOW exciting exotic adventures!

My next trip is more mellow -- we are renting a historic Forest Service cabin in the Ochoco Mountains (part of Oregon's Blue Mountains). Lots of hiking, wildflowers, wild horses and antelope.

Alison


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AEONWARRIOR's Photo AEONWARRIOR Posts: 54
7/6/15 2:52 P

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Rathpat- I do speak Spanish but I haven't done so for awhile. My Mandarin and French are also not that great. Last fall I studied in Edinburgh and loved the city life. I'm from a small town in Oregon so I would be comfortable in either type of community, I would think. I'm not so comfortable in places where I cannot understand others though. I get anxiety pretty quick when traveling. (That's really funny about the coffee cream!)

Cuteneko- I'm not wealthy by any means, so maybe London is more suitable for a visit. I've heard bad things about Rome too. Last time I studied in Edinburgh, I roomed with 4 girls from China. I grew to love them but I don't know how I would function in China. My Mandarin is very limited as is my country knowledge. I don't know if I could deal with Cambodia. I'm a survivor of childhood abuse. That might be too much.

Thank-you both for your input. It was great! Hearing from people that have been there helps more than reading tourist guides, I think.

That helped me narrow down: Ireland, Scotland, Romania, France, Australia, New Zealand, or Costa Rica.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. - Thomas Edison


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7/6/15 4:33 A

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Hi AEONWARRIOR,

I live in Japan. I have been to London, Italy (Rome), France and China. I have lived in Thailand too for 2 years (it's next door to Cambodia). I am originally from Canada, but have been living in Asia for 16 years.

My comments:

London - VERY expensive. Bring a lot of cash.

Rome - Lots of history, lots of pickpockets. Also, quite dirty and overrun with tourists. If you speak Spanish, many Italians will understand. English is widely understood too.

France - (I've been to southern France only). Very nice! Alas, also expensive (Euro). Many young French people speak English quite well, so no worries about language barriers.

China - Not tourist friendly. Even in large cities like Shanghai and Beijing, some English signs, but not many. Toilets are the worst! (squat style - some with no privacy) Hong Kong is expensive, but great for shopping. Shanghai used to be a French Colony, so the architecture there is very nice.

Cambodia - A very, very poor country. You will see children begging for coins everywhere. You need a strong mind to say "no". And the worst part? Many of the children are working for gang leaders, who pocket all the kids' coins. Traveling there, US dollars are much more accepted than the local currency, so it can be more expensive than you were expecting. Do not be surprised to see adult men/ women prying on young children for sex. It's a big problem there. Cambodia is in desperate need of hard-working volunteers however, most are selected to work in orphanages and/or teaching children.

Bottom line:
If you want "easy" --> go to Europe.
If you want an experience that will open you eyes VERY wide --> go to Cambodia.

I hope my comments help you.



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RATHPAT's Photo RATHPAT Posts: 127
7/6/15 1:49 A

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One factor in your decision would be where in those places you would be (for instance, a big city or in the country) and how comfortable you are in an environment where you don't understand the language. For instance, my son loved his semester in Costa Rica but you would need to function mostly in Spanish. A friend is in China right now and a bit uncomfortable because he understands nothing (and can't read anything- he ended up drinking coffee creamer for a week thinking it was bad tasting white Chinese coffee!). However, in a large city in Europe, you will find people who can speak English so it isn't so confusing. It really depends on what you are looking for and how comfortable you are with being in another language and culture.

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AEONWARRIOR's Photo AEONWARRIOR Posts: 54
7/5/15 11:29 P

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I'm doing an internship next summer and I am unsure where I'm going just yet. I have choices of places with housing and places that I have to find my own housing. I could go to Scotland but a different area that I have not been, London, Ireland, Australia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Cambodia, Italy, France, Rome, China. If any of you have been to any of those countries, if you could let me know how that was for you, it would be greatly appreciated.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. - Thomas Edison


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6/20/15 5:24 P

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K3NDRAR,

Your trips sound like heaven! How are you able to do so much traveling? Please share more about your itinerary, modes of travel, excursions, etc!

Karen





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6/20/15 5:21 P

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I have a business trip to Anchorage in October. Any suggestions?





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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 7,507
6/18/15 11:24 P

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Congratulations on your New Zealand trip! (I will be going there too, in September!)

Alison


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6/18/15 11:12 P

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Made the deposit today! It is a go for New Zealand.

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6/12/15 1:26 P

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I raised my grandson, and when he was in middle school, I proposed trips rather than presents, his birthday is Dec 19, it was killing two birds with one stone. He said it sounded good. That was 8 years ago. I said, what would like for your 21st Birthday, he said New Zealand. I've created a monster!

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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 7,507
6/7/15 1:15 P

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Two great trips, K3NDRAR! Both the bike ride, and the year long trip!!
Fitnessfoodie and Parkersnows, your trips sound like fun!

My next trip is a long weekend in Hart Mountain Wilderness in Eastern Oregon with friends. We're staying at a cabin on the wilderness border, exploring and viewing antelope and pictographs, then we will meet up with the archaeology club and see more pictograph sites. It has been over 30 years since I have been to Hart Mountain and I am looking forward to the trip!

Edited by: ALIHIKES at: 6/7/2015 (13:16)
Alison


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6/7/15 12:25 P

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5/26/15 7:57 P

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Camping in the Catskills of NY - July!





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5/21/15 10:02 A

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Randall's Island, NYC in June for the Adidas Grand Prix track Meet

Decide once and for all to have an extraordinary life.


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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 7,507
5/19/15 5:30 P

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Hmmm... my sister just took a 3 month assignment in Buenos Aires -- I think I'd better plan a trip there! Always wanted to go to Argentina!

Alison


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5/18/15 11:51 P

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RATHPAT's Photo RATHPAT Posts: 127
5/18/15 1:16 A

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SIMADOWNOW, You will love Bavaria. It is one of the most beautiful places I've visited. There are very few places I want to return to after visiting but Munich/Bavaria is one of them. We had only a few days. I would have liked to have had more time, rented a car and spent more time visiting little villages in the countryside.


Edited by: RATHPAT at: 5/18/2015 (12:01)
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5/18/15 1:08 A

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The chateaux of the Loire Valley

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4/29/15 6:26 P

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just booked flight to Montana and will do Yellowstone NP too. This is a bucket list trip!

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4/15/15 2:06 P

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Hi Ali!
What wonderful experiences you had with volunteering! Moab holds a dear place in my husband's and my heart. We met there, and love going back. It will be our priority vacation destination when we move back to the states this summer. Hopefully in October, we can find our way there :)

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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 7,507
4/15/15 11:52 A

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Welcome, Parker! I have never been to Myrtle Beach, it looks beautiful.

Alison


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4/15/15 2:06 A

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Going to Myrtle Beach this weekend (Apr 17) for a few days. Looks like rain there though. I'm Parker by the way, new to the site and to this group emoticon

Decide once and for all to have an extraordinary life.


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4/8/15 11:53 A

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Alaskan cruise with my sister! emoticon

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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 7,507
4/7/15 11:12 P

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Hi Cutenekko,
I LOVE reading your cruise tips. I have only been on one cruise (with Royal Caribbean to the Mediterranean -- you nailed the description!); I enjoyed the experience, but I usually do more active adventure tours.

My volunteer activities were varied, and some were a few years ago so the programs may have changed. Passports in Time (Forest service archeology program) & Bureau of Land Management -- camped/stayed in rustic housing for free. Sierra Club Service trips -- camped, paid a fee (included meals); at the time that I went the fee was partially subsidized by a grant. Church camp for lower income kids: we commuted daily on a church bus to camp in a state park. Local archeology club volunteering -- we camped, didn't pay a fee. Girl Scout ski vacation -- all the scouts were converging on my town to ski our slopes; they camped in the basement of 2 churches and I commuted with them in their vans to the slopes (I got to sleep at home). So I just don't know what different options are available in your area!

I know my niece did a service project abroad and paid a fee; she got college credit for her internship. (She went to South Africa to work with a woman who was setting up a charity); I don't think they provided housing but she was able to live with my sister who was working there.

Good luck! I think teachers have a LOT of skills and opportunities. I always was interested in archeology so that's why I picked some of my destinations/volunteer work. The photo below is from my most recent service trip (archeological survey near Moab 2 years ago, we camped)



Edited by: ALIHIKES at: 4/7/2015 (23:52)
Alison


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4/7/15 7:56 A

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*** Hello SIMADOWNOW,

I really enjoyed reading your post about your cruise experience. I was especially thrilled to hear that you loved Halifax -- I grew up there!! emoticon

You mentioned that there were not many people your age on the cruise. I know this is a very personal question, but in what age bracket are you? I just turned 40. I think you can find people your age by considering several factors:

-- The cruise ship company -- My observations from the 3 companies I've tried:
>> Norwegian -- they had a lot of younger crowd members, single/ solo travelers + families.
>> Royal Caribbean -- a lot of mid-age to older
>> Costa -- a lot of Europeans (mainly Italians). It didn't seem to matter what age the Italians were, they just loved to party, talk, eat and drink!

-- The ship's route
>> The caribbean seems to attract all ages, but I noticed a lot of families.
>> Europe is a mixed bag, but families usually had teenagers, very few young children.
>> The Middle East (I cruised UAE and Oman last year) Filled with experienced, European cruisers who were very well traveled. I saw only a few families.

I think if you want the highest chance to meet young people, cruise the Caribbean. My friend and I paired up with a college couple who were cruising during their spring break. They were like us -- picked the cheapest room, did adventurous port tours, etc. The Caribbean cruise we joined was only $375 for 6 nights, so that's likely another reason we saw a lot of younger people.

-- Your port tours.
>> Booking with the cruise ship is expensive. These tours tend to attract older passengers because the tours are often via bus and are easy (less walking).
>> Book tours with independent, local operators and you're more likely to meet younger passengers who are internet/ research savvy. I use Viator, City Discovery and plain ol' Google to find the best shore tours. I have met non-cruise/ backpacker types on these independent tours.
>> Book an "adventure" tour. You will definitely meet younger people on those! Examples: camping in the desert, skydiving, zip line, (insert animal here) ride, etc.


I hope my tips help when you choose your next cruise! emoticon

** Other readers, please add your tips too! I want to hear more about cruise experiences. emoticon


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4/7/15 7:18 A

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** Hi ALIHIKES,

I really liked your ideas of volunteering for several trips as a means of saving money. I have looked into that too -- volunteering (even if you are paying a non-profit company) can be much cheaper than paying a travel company. There are several of these NPO companies I follow on Twitter. One advertised Sri Lanka for about $265 for a one week volunteering stint (includes home stay). I work as a teacher, so it's quite easy for me to volunteer as a teacher abroad; however, I haven't been brave enough to volunteer yet.

When you volunteered, where did you stay? Did you have to pay a "donation fee"? Or was it completely free?





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4/7/15 6:58 A

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regarding cruising - I got to go on my first cruise this past October. I was somewhat disappointed but with better planning (time of year, destination, maybe ship) then it would have been better. The cruise was free so I didn't have any choice.

There was really no one in my age group - except for the staff. I felt awkward. All of the kids had just gone back to school...so there were no young and middle age people/families on board. Something to keep in mind.

We sailed out of New York on Carnival with stops in Boston, Portland and Kennebunkport in Maine, St. John, Halifax.... I think other destinations would be more exciting.

I liked Boston but should have done the walking tour of historical sights and stayed in town instead of going to Harvard. Portland was ok...Kennebunkport was better. St. John we took a tour of covered bridges - too long of a bus ride. I'm sure there was something better for that day. Halifax was actually really amazing - lots of history. Nice town, easy to walk.

Our room was AMAZING compared to what I thought a cruise ship would be like. Thank God we had an outside cabin. There was a walk in closet and a bathtub! There was a bar, sofa, two beds, and a patio. Everything was very nicely appointed - beautiful wood and granite. But I didn't want to spend time in the cabin I wanted to be out doing something.

Spa was expensive but good, shows were fun and entertaining, comedians were ok...gambling was good. However, I feel like I really needed to get more involved with the schedule - like I missed something. Plan/research out your shore excursions before you even get on the ship.... .

If you go on a cruise get dressed up at dinner, let them take all the pictures of you they want, try all the different restaurants and types of food, go to the spa, and lido deck. stay up late, dance...talk to other people, sit with strangers and make friends...



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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 7,507
4/6/15 3:50 P

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Patti your cruise sounds great! Lots of history and great scenery!

Cutenekko, when I was more limited on finances (and single and relocated to a new city), I did some very fun CHEAP trips that were combined with a service component. My activities included volunteering on archeological survey trip; volunteer host at a historic ranch site for a week, hiking and playing games with kids from a church camp that served lower income and immigrant kids, a long weekend helping a friend who was taking a Girl Scout troupe skiing. But vacations could include really anything that interests you and/or matches your interests.

My family always took vacations that tied into my dad's business trips (he owned his own small business). He would search for sites that would interest us kids (science or history museums, factory tours, national or state parks, historic buildings/sites, etc) and we really enjoyed the time spent as a family more than anything.

So enjoy your travels and your vacation time where ever they may take you!



Alison


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4/6/15 5:08 A

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If you can not afford to travel for a vacation then take your family, especially the grands to the sights in your community that is a tourist draw and talk about the history and other significant features. It can be day outings or overnight in a local camp grounds that most have reasons for being where they are.

Jane on Guam..



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4/5/15 8:14 A

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Everyone's holiday plans sound really fun! I will wish for sunny skies for you all. emoticon

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4/5/15 8:03 A

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I have been to the Anne Franks museum. I did not like the political stuff at the end but the tour of where they stayed was very well done and educational.

Jane



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JSTBKOZ Posts: 6,135
4/5/15 7:55 A

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Two more weeks and I'm off cruising as well. I will be on Celibrity Silohette from Fort lauderdale to Amsterdam with stops in Lisbon, Le Harve, and Bruges. 14 nights on the high seas. In Amsterdam we have rented an apartment for three nights. In France we have rented a car for a days touring. In Amsterdam we are booked into a tour of Anne Franks museum, day and evening cannal tours. The rest is still up in the air.

Patti




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4/1/15 3:12 A

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Wow some wonderful trips ahead! Jane I am glad you are getting to fly to the US and visit my part of the world (Pacific Northwest) as well as Orlando (I have a sneaking desire to visit Disney World!). DOINGIT4ME, your cruise sounds like a great vacation! Enjoy the adventure! Cruises really seem to be filled with friendly people and lots of chances to intermingle in fun situations.

CUTENEKKO, I hope you get enough time off from your studies to explore BC! Such a beautiful province.

SIMADOWNNOW, looking forward to hearing about Munich. I only visited briefly many years ago (as a college student staying in hostels with my backpack) so my recommendations would be WAY out of date.

I will be visiting Pittsburgh with my sisters in April for a short trip, and we are looking forward to seeing Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water. I hope to get a few more short trips over the summer before I retire. In September, I will celebrate my retirement with a trip to New Zealand.

Edited by: ALIHIKES at: 4/1/2015 (03:21)
Alison


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3/31/15 10:41 A

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YIGOBUTTERFLY - I understand, cruising is not for everyone with the motion sickness and the pills/patch don't work for everyone. I've been pretty lucky so far, I got land sick after arriving home from my very first cruise so now I go armed with an arsenal of motion sick meds and since I'm prone to vertigo, I put the patch on the day before the cruise and keep it on until 2-3 days after the cruise. So far that's worked for me. This upcoming cruise will be my 6th and number 7 is already booked for next year!

Cruising aside, it sounds like you have some nice trips coming up - enjoy and safe travels!!!


~Jill


"It doesn't matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again." - Charles Franklin Kettering

"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it" - William Durant


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3/31/15 10:35 A

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CUTENEKKO - I am going on the Royal Princess from Ft. Lauderdale to London with stops at Azore Islands Portugal, Cork Ireland, Rotterdam The Netherlands, and Brussels Belgium. I'm both excited and nervous as it's my first transatlantic and first trip to Europe, but I'm cruising solo this trip as my husband couldn't get the time off work on such short notice. I'm sure I will be fine once I get onboard - it's not like I'll really be cruising solo when there are 3500+ other cruisers right?!! lol

Vancouver might be a vacation, but studying for your masters definitely is not. Sounds like a lot of hard work in your future - best of luck to you!!


~Jill


"It doesn't matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again." - Charles Franklin Kettering

"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it" - William Durant


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3/31/15 12:57 A

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I'm going to Munich in May - so excited to redeem some free air and hotel points before they expire. Short 7-10 days... We will stop in Ulm, Oberambergau, Neuschwanstein, any other places within 2 hours of Munich worth stopping at?

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3/29/15 8:18 A

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I will be leaving for the states a little later than usual this year. A couple of friends and I are going to go to Orlando, FL to see the different sites in the area. One of us has three days and two nights of free hotel rooms so that should help.

I will be flying in and visiting family in Oregon/Washington in mid July and then going on from there. I also want to visit my son and family in the Houston area. He is the reason I can go on these trips. emoticon

The cruise sounds fun but I get sea sick real easy so stay away from overnight trips.

Jane



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3/26/15 8:30 P

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Hi DOING-IT4ME,

I am very jealous. I love cruising too! Which ship are you taking? Ports?

I'll be in Vancouver, Victoria & Langley BC Canada at the end of August, to start my Master's studies. Not really a vacation I guess. LOL emoticon

Edited by: CUTENEKKO at: 3/26/2015 (20:30)
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3/26/15 11:09 A

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I've got a 14 day transatlantic cruise coming up in just 30 days - so excited!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


~Jill


"It doesn't matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again." - Charles Franklin Kettering

"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it" - William Durant


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