I liked how the shapes of the canopy give the impression of a sunburst to the reflection in the glass.
Mornings on the pool deck are my favorite times, because the only people out then are me and the deck attendants. 😉
Kathy & I are in Fredericksburg, TX after our cruise on Norwegian Prima, and I just took time to look at my photos so far. We didn’t get off the ship in Costa Maya, Mexico because we got in to port late and the weather was iffy, which turned out to be the right move because it rained most of the time we were in port!
Our stop in Harvest Caye, Belize was cloudy and overcast, so I didn’t get any “postcard worthy” photos, but I did manage to find some slices of color in this interesting foliage.
I’ve taken a bunch more photos and will get them posted in due time!
Most of the travel that Kathy & I do is by ourselves, but many times we arrange to see some friends along the way. We have started doing a pretty-much-annual “Friends & Family Tour” each summer, since for some reason a lot of our friends won’t travel to see us. Likely because we’re “never” home! 😉
We do have a few couples who we can count on to let us know when they are planning a trip and who ask us it we want to come along, or come along with us on a trip we are planning. Most of these friends are retired and travel nearly as often as we do. We did a river cruise in October with three other couples and it was great. We all did things that suited our interests and went different places in different combinations. Our travel agents – who have also become friends – even booked a cruise after they found out we booked it, and we’ll be cruising with them in February! Other friends arrange to meet for a weekend or a few weekdays in an equidistant location.
We enjoy travel with friends because it sort of forces us to change up our routines, perhaps look at places or things a little differently, and sometimes we just end up someplace we haven’t thought of. Group photos are fun, too. Although more often or not we’re having so much fun we forget to have someone take them. I do take a few photos with my camera, but then I’m never in them! Selfies are okay, but we do like the occasional group photo taken by someone else. Especially if it is a large group – my arm isn’t long enough for a selfie!
The final stop on our recent cruise was the island of Curacao. Together with Aruba and Bonaire, it forms the ABC islands. Collectively, Curaçao, Aruba, and other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean. Curacao is the largest of the ABC islands in both area and population as well as the largest of the Dutch Caribbean.
For our time on Curacao we booked a private tour with Henry Plaate, a taxi driver who I found on a Curacao tourism website. Henry and I communicated multiple times prior to our visit, and he did a fantastic job in showing us the highlights.
The waves along the northeast (Atlantic) shore were pretty incredible!
I sometimes have problems with caves, but this one was not too deep, and the photo ops made me forget about any issues. Very cool!
Beaches and boats, some of my favorite scenery!
Our recent cruise took us to the islands of Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. We booked a private tour on Bonaire with Luc of Bonaire Photo Shoot. I had found him online a while ago and this was our first opportunity to tour with him. He has a 12-passenger custom built van, which he built himself over a period of years. It is an open air bus for unrestricted photography but with shade, and is quite ingenious with hidden storage and easy access. Luc is a former photographer and all-around great guy. There were five of us on the tour and we had a great time.
Unlike many Caribbean islands, Bonaire is largely unspoiled, and there are plenty of native flamingos, donkeys and tropical birds.
Sorobon Beach is a popular spot for windsurfers.
Salt mining is still part of the economy on Bonaire, although the operations are now largely automated. Slaves were once used to harvest the salt, and they lived in the huts that remain along the beach.
The marker points the way to one of many dive sites just off the beach.
I hesitated to jump on the “23 for 2023” bandwagon, but I didn’t want to let the old year slip away without somehow acknowledging its passing. For those of us with way more “Before Times” than “Future Times,” I think it is generally better to keep our eyes forward with just the occasional glance in the mirror. But it is kind of fun to look back on the prior year before diving into the new one.
Just to be different, I skimmed through my Lightroom catalog and chose one photo from each month (except April – I took no photos in April, strangely. So I chose two from March). Not necessarily the best or most memorable photos, just one that would represent where I was and what I was doing.
In January, we welcomed Ben to the world. He was born in December 2022 but Kathy & I didn’t get to meet him until January. Ben is my grand nephew, my brother’s grandson and son of my brother’s daughter. Here’s Ben today:
We spent the month of February on cruise ships. It didn’t matter what photo I chose, but I like this one.
In March we visited Stanton, Virginia with friends. I made this photograph as well as the one below it which represents April.
This colorful character was maintaining contact with the outside world instead of enjoying the Conservatory at the Biltmore Estate.
We visited a lot of distilleries in 2023, including Bardstown Bourbon Company in June. I even made a few photographs. 😉
In July we made our first-ever visit to the U.P. of Michigan. I just had to stumble out our friend Jeff’s front door to make this photograph. Thank goodness for articulating LCD screens!
In August, we were visited by the world’s second heaviest gross weight production cargo airplane and heaviest operating cargo aircraft, the Antonov AN-124. It occasionally makes a stop in Charlotte to deliver aircraft parts, and I was fortunate to be able to catch a glimpse from the Airport Overlook at Charlotte Douglas.
September found us back in Bourbon Country again. I managed to make a few more photographs before a tour. We could almost give the tours, but they are always fun.
In October we ventured back to Europe for the first time in 5 years. I actually stink at candid photography but every once in a while even the blind squirrel finds a nut. I found this one during dinner at an outdoor restaurant in Prague.
November found us back on a cruise ship. This scene was a photograph waiting to happen. It was not our ship. 🙂
After our November cruise, we stopped by to visit some friends near Orlando. One evening we visited Disney Springs, and this scene was from the restaurant where we had dinner. A photograph was required.
We have lots of travel already planned for 2024, and I have a few more posts to make from our 2023 travels which I hope to have finished in the next week or so. For now, Kathy & I hope everyone has a joyful and enjoyable year in 2024. Thanks for sticking with us!
We often read about old paintings where previous paintings are discovered beneath the top layer. While not a work of art, it looks like this building in Aruba has had quite a few different looks over the years.
Monte’s recent post reminded me of this sign I came across on the island of Curacao. Litter, and trash in general, is a problem everywhere. This particular sign was in a national park, which thankfully appeared to have its litter problem well under control.
I need to get a sign like this and post on the road in and out of our neighborhood.
Kathy & I had stayed home for a few weeks when it was time to venture off again. We just returned from a swing through Florida that included a cruise with friends, a few days post-cruise with those same friends, then a few more days with other friends.
Our first stop enroute to Fort Lauderdale was Daytona Beach. We had some extra time so we decided to take a tour of the speedway. I haven’t followed NASCAR for many years, but it was still interesting to take the tour and visit the museum. This is just a sample of the photos, but I’m just getting started on looking at them!
These seats are located on the main straightway, on either side of the Start/Finish line. No idea how much they cost, but they are kind of low. Regardless, they look like they would have a close-up view of the action.