Wednesday, 26 December 2012


Montreal grand voyage est fini! The big adventure has finally come to a close with a final flight from Montreal to Edmonton on Dec. 19th. I travelled with my daughter Genevieve and her two cats as carry ons. All went smoothly, thankfully. The cars were absolute angels! I arrived at Genevieve's close to midnight on Dec. 2nd. I decided to continue my frugal ways and took the shuttle bus from the airport with two metro lines to her apartment. Think of me pulling a suitcase, back pack and large hand bag all alone with several homeless people sleeping in the subway. Lori and I would often say after walking the Camino that we could manage anything. I guess I had better tweak that sentiment a little. I might be capable of doing something; but maybe I really shouldn't just the same. My visit with Genevieve was a little lazy but enjoyable. I was reluctant to go out in the cold at first and limited myself to short walks to her local stores. I caught up on some of my favourite missed Canadian television shows and enjoyed going to Genevieve's Christmas sales events. I also had the pleasure of diner out with my two nieces and their children, who live in Montreal. Since I was visiting for 16 days, I decided to do a mini train trip to Deseronto, ( east of Toronto) to visit my sister Joanne and her husband Lloyd.  That was great fun as well. They are very artistic people and I always feel mentally rejuvenated after a visit.  My last outing with Genevieve in Montreal was to see "The Hobbit" at the IMAX theatre. Fantastic. Oh, why can't we all live in peace in beautiful little houses in the Shire?! So now I return home with four days to prepare for Christmas. Wish me luck!  It will be wonderful to be with my Alberta family and friends again.  Next Posting.. More pictures and thank you to all the good folks who helped make this trip the great success that it was.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! Sincerely  Arlene

Monday, 3 December 2012

Visiting the Snowbirds in Florida

Visiting the Snowbirds in Florida Lori and I arrived in Florida on Nov. 21 st. It was wonderful after our three months of travel to have someone waiting to greet us and whisk us away.  We enjoyed a relaxing dinner and evening with my sister Maggie and her husband Brian.  Nov. 22 was American Thanksgiving and we were happy to have a home cooked turkey dinner since we missed our Canadian one in October.  We had a double treat as we all went to the beach while the turkey roasted; sweet!  On Black Friday we did a little shopping, rode bikes, swam in their club house pool and for a finale went to see the birds landing at sunset at an Audubon built rookery. Lovely! On Saturday we drove Lori to the airport so she could return to her BC home. It was strange saying good bye to my co pilgrim and adventure bud of 3 months.  What a trip we had!!! My next week in Florida was a joy.  I bought a three day visitors fishing license so we packed that in between beach combing, dinning out, and shopping. On my last night we saw a Christmas boat parade on the Intercoastal Waterway. Time to get into the Christmas spirit. Thank you Maggie and Brian for your great hospitality and for collecting two traveling gypsies off our ship in Miami. It was great fun, as my visits always are with you. You have made terrific retirement choices. Florida is wonderful! Now up to the Great White North. As I write this I am sitting in an Italian restaurant in the Chicago Airport awaiting my connecting flight to Montreal.  I will visit with my daughter Genevieve for two weeks. I know that I will enjoy this very much as well. Yes, it will be difficult to finally face the winter season but Christmas festivities are here and that will help me adjust. Genevieve is coming home for Christmas and we are traveling together on the same flight with her two cats on Dec 19th. This should be an interesting adventure onto itself. Next chapter will be all about Montreal with Genevieve.  Happy Holidays!

Crossing the Pond on Carnival, Breeze

Crossing the  pond on Carnival, Breeze. Lori and I have been traveling with a guardian angel for 3 months. We have had such incredibly good fortune with the weather.  We crossed the Atlantic with mostly sunny skies , little wind and shallow waves.  Our first port of call was Palma de Majorca in Spain. Lori went on a ship's excursion to see the Caves of Drach. This is very beautiful and since I had already visited it in 2010, spent the day walking the port area myself and visiting the cathedral, which had some interesting relics. The second port was Malaga, Spain. It was raining hard when we arrived  and I decided to go on the cave tour as an option to get off the ship and still be out of the rain. Lori did a walk, shop, and a  Picasso museum. In the evening we passed through the Straight of Gibralter. It was dark so we did not see much; just lights and the black silhouette of the rocks. Our third port was Las Palmas, Canary Islands. This port had a very nice tourist area and easy access to the shore so we toured on our own and went beach walking and swimming.  Our five days straight of cruising across the Atlantic was relaxing and   I would definetely do this again. We attended line dance  classes, swam, watched afternoon movies by the pool, did craft sessions, soaked in hot tubs  and I even played bingo a few times.  Oh yes, we also ate  in abundance and drank a little wine. Actually, that seemed to be the main pass time.( eating that is) Our first port on the Caribbean side was Antigua. We again had a beautiful sunny day and I did a catamaran trip with snorkel and beach stops; great fun. Lori did an  island land tour with a visit to a beach. We also had time to walk around the port and do a little shopping. Our fifth and last port was St. Maarten, the Dutch side of the Island. We had a very nice day of relaxing on the beach with rented chairs,  umbrella and a bucket of cold drinks. One of the main things to do there is shop and there seemed to be a hundred jewelry stores.  ( of no interest to us after such a long shoe string trip) Our last two days of cruising to Florida were pretty relaxed; just enjoying the last opportunity to do nothing. My sister Maggie and her husband, Brian were waiting for us at the Miami  cruise terminal which was wonderful.  They had the previous day to visit Miami and Lori and I were happy to go straight to their house in Venice to relax in a family home after three months on the road. Next post will be about Florida. I promise to get some pictures added to these last few posts once I am in Montreal at my daughter Genevieve's.  By the way; life is sure wonderful for these retired snowbirds in Florida!