Wayne & Mary Alice (MA) Wendel's travel journal with daily updates, places seen, people we meet, photos and funny stories. We will also share some travel tips with you so you won't make the same mistakes we have. We hope you will follow us by signing up for an automatic email. We would love to hear from you with comments and questions.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Crossing the Atlantic with a Stop at the Azores
Crossing the Atlantic with a Stop at the Azores
After sailing out of Fort Lauderdale last Thursday
evening, we spent the next five days at sea.
Maybe you’re wondering what one does at sea on a cruise ship for five
days with no land in sight. Well we get into a routine and then change it, ever
flexible to events, and there are many to choose from here.
But for example, I order room service coffee the night
before and the steward is at our door the next morning, promptly at 7:00 am,
coffee service in hand. I have a cup, and
then get ready to walk the Promenade Deck 7 for an hour, approximately 4
miles. By the time I get back to the
cabin, MA is up, well most of the time, and from there we go to breakfast.
For lunch (notice how no meals are missed…ever!)
anyhow for lunch sometimes we eat in the buffet and other days we would decide
on the dining room with table service. Breakfast and lunch is where you join
any table, meeting lots of cool folks every day.
The rest of our schedule depends on the ship’s itinerary
and there is a lot to choose from. For
example, there was a Sunday church service, with over 300 in attendance. Then there are movies going on all over the
place, Bridge for those who like to play, seminars usually on travel related topics,
Zumba fitness classes, golfing on the top deck, Bingo (we don’t do Bingo but
lots of folks do!).
Let’s not forget MA’s line dancing classes, also Scrabble
and other board games, Afternoon High Tea, cabaret shows, comedians, and like last
night a juggler who could maneuver around with 12 trays of wine glasses without
dropping a one. Anyhow, trust me, you
can’t do it all but there’s something for everyone!
MA at a crater lake
One of the highlights for me so far was a veteran’s
reunion which was attended by over fifty vets.
There were three WW2 vets, one gentleman 90 years old, several Korean
vets, a lot of Vietnam vets and an active duty Navy seaman who was on his
honeymoon. Every vet was asked to stand
and give name, branch, and where they served.
The only woman vet turned out to be a USMC three star general and her
husband, a bird colonel Marine. Both are retired. MA spoke up when it came to her time and she shared
how she was a flight attendant on Pan Am MAC charters that took the Vietnam
vets to DaNang, Camron Bay, and Saigon and then picked them up for R&R to Hawaii
or Japan, all of which got a hearty applause from the veterans who remember
Our routine usually includes some time on the Piazza,
Deck 5, at 4:30pm having one of the many specialty coffees. We’re working our
way through the coffee menu! We then get ready for dinner and sometimes catch a
show before our 8:15 dining reservation.
St Peter's Church
Today the Emerald Princess docked at Ponta Delgada on
the Island of San Miguel in the Azores, a group of Portuguese islands. Our tour
took us up into the mountains to see the volcanic crater lakes and visit some small
villages. The Azores was formed by
volcanic eruption and you see lava rock everywhere. It is even used as a building material on the
buildings. Our main stop was at a
village called Sete Cidades. MA and I
walked to the small church made from lava rock.
It was beautiful inside. I also
found a couple of birds later that I did not recognize. Maybe some of my friends will look them up
We then drove up the mountain and saw a couple of
lakes formed from the rim of the volcano.
One of the lakes has a blue cast and the other lake has a green cast. We stopped again another volcanic lake and
then headed back to the port, stopping to sample local cheeses. Our guide told us there are as many cows on
the island as there are people. And we
saw a bunch of them. But obviously dairy
products, cheese being primary, are a big deal here. We ended our time ashore
shopping in a local store for bottled water (too expensive aboard the ship!).
Interior of St Peter's Church
Princess offers evening get-togethers for “frequent
sailors”, and tonight’s snack was “all you can eat shrimp”. We still have
dinner ahead, filet mignon and more shrimp and cherries jubilee. Guess we both better do some walking tomorrow
although the Captain has warned us we might be sailing in semi-rough waters for
a little while.
One of the best things about our trips is time away
where we do lots of fun things, we talk, we laugh, we meet nice folks, we see
God’s awesome planet. We leave Fox News
behind, politics behind, gas prices behind, and just enjoy being a couple on a