Monday, March 14, 2016

2015 in Retrospect

2015 was quite a year for travel.



JANUARY


We spent New Year's Day in Las Vegas, friends were visiting but under the weather, so we headed to Goodsprings outside Las Vegas.
We even had a light dusting of snow this week in Vegas and it was cold.




John got some rounds of golf in with Vegas buddies.



We enjoyed revisiting old spots and finding some new ones. Here we are at Container Park near Fremont, basking in the sunshine.







We had more visitors for Blair's birthday. We went to Boulder and we visited the Mob Museum.


We took a drive through Red Rock Canyon.


Some familiar sights around town.


January 29 saw us driving to Los Angeles where we will embark on an Awesome Asian Adventure.


FEBRUARY


January 31 - February 21 2015

BY THE NUMBERS
Number of countries: 4




Number of flights: 5 Total Hours 22.75 Total Miles 10,401


HOURS MILES

LA to Hong Kong 15.00 7,236

Hong Kong to Singapore 4.00 1,612

Singapore to Bangkok 2.25 882

Bangkok to Siem Reap 1.00 226

Siem Reap to Phnom Penh 0.50 445

Number of canal boats - 1 Bangkok

Number of elephant rides- 1 Bangkok

Number of sampans: 8

Number of tuk tuks: 7

Number of cyclo or rickshaws: 3

Number of photos: 5,855

Number of hotel rooms: 21


Click here for our flight from LA to Hong Kong to Singapore


SINGAPORE

Click here for our itinerary.






We stayed at the Rendezvous for 5 nights. We have a friend who is working in Singapore so it was fun to get together and S was a great tour guide.










Click on the links below to see our day by day sights.

Day 1

Everyone and everywhere was gearing up chinese New Year, the year of the goat/sheep.





Day 2 click on photo for larger view.





Day 3 click on photo for larger view of Clarke Quay.





Day 4 included a visit to Raffles, the iconic bar.




Day 5

Click here for a tour of the Arab District.

Click here for larger views of these murals in the Arab district.




Click here for more details about Changi.


Some more sights around Singapore.

CHIJMES

St. Joseph's Church


Gardens by the Bay. Click here for more photos.



AND having Suzanne as our own tour guide.



Singapore's famous chili crab!



Food! Click here for what we ate!!! BTW this is pronounced goo-ey duck!


BANGKOK THAILAND

February 5 flight from Singapore to Bangkok Thailand.

InterContinental Bangkok 4 nights - this was booked as part of the Mekong river cruise but only eight of us are here, they rest will join us on board.







Click on links below for daily activities.

Day 1 around our hotel.

Click here for more details about the altars around Bangkok.





Day 2 River Kwai, World War II, elephants and tigers!




Day 3 - First day of Avalon, Reclining Buddha, Grand Palace, Canal ride, lunch, pool time, Chinatown


Click here for a detailed visit to Wat Pho.






More Chinatown

Day 4 - Ayutthaya, Bang Pa-In summer palace, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol,, Wat Maha That, lunch











Click on the links below for more detailed postings.

Markets

Canal ride

Signs







The Grand Palace outside Bangkok






River Kwai





MEKONG RIVER CRUISE
Bangkok to Siem Reap CAMBODIA
Number of cities/towns: 11





The Bangkok Gang flying to Siem Reap




Changing their money.




Arriving in Siem Reap we meet Phiem, our tour director and absolutely one of the best we have ever had.



We stayed at the Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa for 3 nights.




Day 1 - Bangkok to Siem Reap, fish massage, market



Day 2 - Angkor Wat, more temples, lunch, dinner, dancers, monks









Day 3 - more Angkor temples, lunch, markets, massages and dancers.

Siem Reap to Phnom Penh CAMBODIA

We fly, because the river level is too low at this time of year, from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh for our first day aboard the Avalon Siem Reap.





Tour director and guide making sure our luggage gets on board for Phnom Penh.



MS Avalon Siem Reap

Avalon 7 nights

The ship features 18 suites, each 245 square feet in size with the line’s Open-Air Balconies, and will cruise the Mekong from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap and vice versa, as water levels allow.

Boarding!














Once aboard we depart and we cruise back up the river so we don't miss anything by flying here.

Cruising: Kampong Tralach–Konpong Louang–Prek Bang Kong

Quite the view when we awake.




Disembarking for our walking tour of Prek Bang Kong.




Cruising: Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban VALENTINE'S DAY

This morning, visit WAT HANCHEY, a temple dating back to the 8th century and the Chenla Empire. Located on a hilltop, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a TRADITIONAL WATER BLESSING given by local monks. After lunch, enjoy a WALKING TOUR through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here you will see traditional Khmer houses and visit a LOCAL SCHOOL. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Wat Hanchey photos and details.


Highlight definitely was the children who followed us around.


Angkor Ban


Cruising: Phnom Penh
Day 10 Phnom Penh City Tour

The capital city of Phnom Penh retains its French charm to this day. This morning, your sightseeing tour by private cyclo includes visits to the ROYAL PALACE with the spectacular SILVER PAGODA and the NATIONAL MUSEUM, featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Royal Palace


National Museum
Afternoon to ourselves so we set out to explore the city. Click here to explore the Night Market.


An evening out on our own.


Day 11

Killing Fields where over 200,000 people were killed by the Khmer Rouge.



VIETNAM

Day 12 Sailing across the border into Vietnam and a ride along the canal to Chau Doc.

Chau Doc


Day 13 Sa Dec-Cai Be
Click here to visit The Lover's house.
More photos of the market.
Click here to visit the market in the afternoon.



The crew, seeing us off.



Ho Chi Minh


InterContinental Asiana Saigon 2 nights



We head out on a walking tour. It is Chinese New Year so it is very quiet.


Lunch is a cooking class.


War Remnants and Reunification Palace - learning their history is very sobering.


Day 2 Cu chi tunnels and free afternoon.


Click here to see the cathedral.

Farewell Dinner



On our last day we arranged for a late checkout. Tonight we fly to Sydney Australia!!
We head out early to see the holiday flower market.


AUSTRALIA


Day 1 Sydney Australia

We are booked at the Swisshotel for three nights. Location is perfect to walk everywhere.



The highlight has to be the Opera House.



General Post Office



Day 2 Sydney


Bondi Beach



Day 3 Blue Mountains and Botanical Gardens







Day 4 Sydney to Cairns


Day 5 Great Barrier Reef


Day 6 Train and Skyrail and Kangaroos












Day 7 Cairns to Alice Springs

Day 8 Alice Springs to Ayer's Rock



Kata Tjuta

Fly nets are a God send.




MARCH


Uluru



Day 9 Sounds of Silence dinner


Driving the Outback


Day 10 Ayer's Rock to Coober Pedy



Desert Cave Hotel



Day 11 Coober Pedy


Day 12 Coober Pedy to William Creek



Day 13 William Creek to Parachilna


Day 14 Parachilna to Wilpena Pound


Day 15 Wilpena Pound to Adelaide

We start our morning drive with a close encounter!







Day 17 Barossa Valley

GOLD COAST DRIVE


Day 18 Adelaide to Penola
Our home for one night Merlot Cottage




Day 19 Penola to Port Fairy




Day 20 Port Fairy to Apollo Bay

 Flagstaff


Twelve Apostles


Day 21 Apollo Bay to Melbourne





Day 22 Melbourne
We are lucky to have our own local tour guides, Linds and Annie whom we met on the Mekong cruise.


Dinner on a vintage streetcar.





AUSTRALIA TO NEW ZEALAND








Day 26 Queenstown - a free day to do chores and stroll around.

Day 27 - Queenstown to Franz Josef


Day 28 Franz Josef  the highlight of the day was the helicopter ride even though the unsettled weather didn't allow a snow landing.


Day 29 Franz Josef to Christchurch we take a (delayed) train to Christchurch in the rain, so not great views and we arrived so late that we didn't see anything of Christchurch.


Day 30 Christchurch to Rotorua We take an early morning flight to Rotorua, definitely a highlight.

The rest of the day we explored the town, went to the Hot Springs Spa and out for dinner.


Day 31 Touring Rotorua this was a morning of tours.


Then to a sheep museum.



Rainbow Springs



In the evening we went to the highlight Tamaki Maori Village.




Day 32 Rotorua to Auckland a lovely bus ride with lunch and a tour on the way. We couldn't take photos in the glow worm caves.


Day 33 Auckland we spent the day around town and then had a late overnight flight to LA.


Air New Zealand to LA





It is now March 26 and we land in LA, spend the night. The next morning, bright and early John heads out to retrieve his car from the very long term parking and we are off.

We take 21 days to get home. This map doesn't show the last stretch around the lake to Toronto.









APRIL
We arrive in Texas and stay for 8 days.


A few days of golf at the Fairfield Marriott



AUSTIN




FORT WORTH


The Stockyards






MISSISSIPPI

Overnight in Jackson.


TENNESSEE


One night in Memphis.


A couple of nights in Nashville



KENTUCKY



PENNSYLVANIA WEST VIRGINIA OHIO NEW YORK


TORONTO ON CANADA AKA HOME

April 15, 2015



April in Toronto



MAY


Montreal


JUNE

My BFF and I continued our summer traditions of days out downtown with lunch.


JULY

We renewed our Art Gallery of Ontario membership so we made several trips over the summer, recapped in this collage.
We are also members of the ROM and attended some special exhibits.


John and I spent a lovely day at Toronto Islands with lunch. We planned on coming back but never got to it, but will do it next summer.



I attend Taste of Toronto on my own last year but John came with me this year so you can sample more things with company. I think next year we need some more people to come with us!!


AUGUST

Had a great day out with Anais that included a trip to the ROM. I also went to a Frida exhibit at the Textile Museum. 
Toronto hosted the Pan Am games, so the city had many interesting activities. 
Our friends Alan and Debi moved back from Calgary so we had a house guest for a while.

Family get togethers







We spent a weekend at friends' cottage in Niagara and finally visited the Laura Secord homestead.


St. Jacob's



SEPTEMBER


IRELAND


We went to Ireland with friends, their first time, from Sep 2 to 24. Click here for our itinerary.

Day 1 we arrived early morning and were picked up and taken to the Shelbourne. Checked in and wandered about for the day.


Day 2 Newgrange in the morning and a walking tour in the afternoon.



Day 3 Dublin to Cork

Rock of Cashel


Blarney Castle


Day 4 around Cork

Busy day today - Cork Jail, Cobh, St. Finnbar, Jameson's, Kinsale.


Day 5 Cork to Killarney

Coffee in Bantry, lunch in Kenmare, drive through the Ring of Kerry, Ross Castle tp Killarney.


Day 6 around Killarney

Puck, Bog Village, Valencia Island, Sneem and Kate Kearney's Cottage for dinner.


Day 7 Killarney to Dingle

Lakes of Killarney in the morning, Dunbeg, Slea Head and Dingle.



Day 8 Dingle to Dromoland with Adare and Bunratty on the way.



Day 9 Cliffs of Moher and the afternoon to ourselves on the rainiest day of our trip.


Sample of our dining pleasures at Dromoland.


Day 10 Dromoland to Galway


Day 11 Galway to Dublin and whiling away a rainy afternoon at Guinness.


Day 12 Dublin


We went to visit my aunt in the evening.


Day 13 Dublin sights churches and cemetery


Karen and Blair fly home and we fly to Berlin.

GERMANY

Day 1 Dublin to Berlin


Day 2 Berlin


Day 3 Berlin

Breakfast at the Reichstag, a must do but you must make reservations ahead of time.


Boat cruise


Around St. Nicholas


And finally we walked to the East Wall.


Day 4 Berlin


Day 5 Berlin


Day 6 Berlin to Frankfort by train arriving mid afternoon


Day 3 Frankfurt to Toronto

We take a long walk before our afternoon flight.



OCTOBER


Oct 10 - 24 we were in Palm Springs with friends. We've been here many times so I will just do highlights.



Living Desert


Tram


29 Palms


Joshua National Park


La Quinta


Sculpture Garden


We came home to completed renovations, the ugly panel ceiling in the kitchen was replaced.
The pantry, which had industrial shelving was replaced with kitchen cabinets and a new light fixture.




My BFF and her daughter have a photography business and needed "older" models for their portfolio and asked us to do a shoot. This was a lot more fun that I expected and we felt very comfortable following Amanda's instructions.



My BFF and I took advantage of this and had these photos taken showing us 50 years ago!!!


NOVEMBER

We went to the Cloud Garden, Allan gardens, Gerrard for the murals and the Financial district.




DECEMBER

We left for Mexico on December 15 for three months.

MEXICO

 MAZATLAN

We stayed in Mazatlan until the New Year at El Cid, a timeshare. Our friends Bill and Carol came to Mazatlan to meet up with us. 



Click here to stroll around town.

Semana Uno
Semana Dos Christmas Day by the pool
Los Cerritos
inSPIREd Sunday



Bill took us several times to El Quelite.

Beans and Cheese



Gracias a mi marido por un año increíble! Feliz 2016!!!


4 comments:

  1. You certainly have done a lot of travelling!

    ReplyDelete
  2. No one can say you don't keep busy!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What an amazing year of travel!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was an amazing kaleidoscope of another wonderful year with my travelling partner and friend. I think this should count as a "read novel".
    A great recap of our travels.

    ReplyDelete