The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Friday, February 12, 2016

June 5 - Day 121 - New York City to Houston and Home                       

We are homeward bound today. One last, leisurely breakfast in the small breakfast area. This hotel is a nice place to stay in New York, and not as horribly expense as most places. The location is good with some good places to eat within a few blocks. With the subway and taxis nothing is too far away.  Our flight leaves at 2:50PM so we head to the airport around 11AM.

The flight is uneventful and we arrive in Houston on time. Our daughter and two grandsons are waiting for us. We have dinner with them and answer all kinds of questions about the trip before heading home. Exhausted we crash as soon as we can turn on the hot water, the AC and get cleaned up. Unloading can wait!

It has been a fabulous trip, but we need our own bed! I think we will voluntarily clip our wings now. A total of nine and a half months traveling around the world twice, covering 75.000 miles the first time and 55,000 this time is enough. Add to that a 72 day cruise around South America, an 84 day driving trip to Alaska and a 2 week trip on an ice breaker to Antarctica and we have checked off most places on our bucket list! Well, except the Polar Bears at Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. But hey, at least they live in our part of the world!


Thanks for reading our blog. It has taken us along time to wind this one up. We came home and immediately tore our house up by starting a six month long remodel and repair ordeal. Then it was Christmas and then we had to get the travel books from the blog ready. It has taken three 100 page volumes to get all the blog and pictures covered.

Of course, that also meant I had to finish the last two days. So I am posting those as I send off the book files to be published.

We love to travel and loved this trip, but this has been a hard one with Carolyn's mobility issues and Dick's emerging knee problem. Think we will look for a less active option next time. Will we go round the world again?  Maybe so, but it will be a few years down the road and on a cruise ship for the whole trip!

We enjoyed the Queens Grill on the Queen Mary 2 very much and can see sailing to England or Germany for a several weeks stay, especially staying somewhere in Scotland or Wales and then sailing home on her.

We absolutely loved our time in South Africa and would go back in a heart beat if no flying was involved! The self drive safaris were just as wonderful as our first one and we feel that is the way to really enjoy seeing the animals. An in country driving trip is the way to go!

Myanmar was interesting and we are so glad we did that part, though it was the hardest part of the trip.

We have now seen a good bit of Australia in our two trips there. It has many things to see and we have enjoyed ever minute there. I I loved West Australia best, Tasmania is wonderful!

Travel is a true adventure and a wonderful experience!!

Happy travels!

June 4- Day 120 - New York City, New York, USA 

The room is very comfortable...quiet and cool. We sleep like the dead. Our knees are better when we get up, but it probably isn't going to last since we have a busy day planned. We head to breakfast about 9AM. The hotel has a very small dining room with some self service items and cooked to order eggs or pancakes. It is good though not the best we have had.

The day is cool and mostly sunny. Our first stop is the WTC Memorial and 9/11 Museum located at the World Trade Center site under the footprint in lower Manhattan. Carolyn made timed reservations yesterday so we wouldn't have to stand in line to get into the museum part. It is walkable from the hotel, but in deference to our knees we take a taxi. There is a lot of construction with roads blocked around the site and we do have to walk some after all. The taxi drops us off about a block away. We enter the site in front of the fountain on the building foot print. There are many people milling around, but it is surprisingly quiet even with all the construction. The memorial is a very impressive design.

From the fountain we enter the museum quickly since we have the timed ticket. The museum is outstanding and is actually in the basement area that connected the buildings. We see the staircase that was the only exit for those trapped, the foundation walls, steel structural beams that were bent like they were paper, not steel, the beams that so many people wrote messages on and many of the vehicles that were mostly destroyed in the collapse It is set up with videos and pictures to tell the story of that horrible day. We spend several hours and could have stayed longer, but our feet were giving out.

We decide we want go up to Central Park and have lunch in that area. Dick is not a fan of subways so we get another taxi. It is about a 30 minute ride, but we head up along the Hudson River so it is very interesting. We have the taxi drop us at the Plaza Hotel and go to the Plaza Hotel Food Court. After walking around and checking out all the option we choose the Todd English Restaurant. It has a funky menu and we decide to do a tasting menu of our making. We order a pitcher of Sangria with lots of luscious fruit mixed, a platter of sliders and a pasta that is to die for and a salad. This delightful meal takes us over two, very pleasant, hours to eat.

We now head for Fifth Avenue for a bit of window shopping past the high-end jewelry and clothing stores. Dick is not much on shopping and it is getting late. We are really limping along. So, after a bit of effort, Dick finally hails a taxi and we head for the hotel. It has been an interesting, fun day, Our huge late meal really ruined dinner for us. We decide just do cocktails and then get some more pizza from the little pizza stand around the corner. We walk over to the stand and get a slice which we eat sitting outside. Our flight is at 2:50PM so Carolyn opts to pack in the morning. We read for awhile and then turn the lights out for the last time on this wonderful, "50TH ANNIVERSARY TRIP AROUND THE WORLD!"

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June 3, The Queen Mary 2 to New York City

Wednesday, June 3 - Day 119 - The Queen Mary 2 to New York City 

During the night we continued up the channel to New York City after taking on our pilot. WOW, 4:00AM comes awfully early! Why, you may ask. are we up so early....well, to see the QM2 pass under the Verazano Narrows Bridge with only 14 feet to spare and enter New York Harbor!

We are really dragging, but we make it onto the Observation Deck on 11 in time to watch passing under the bridge about even looks tight! As we turn the corner into the harbor, we see beautiful New York City all dressed in its night lights! It is quite a sight, spanning more than 180 degrees from Staten Island, the commercial docks, up the Hudson River with its bridges, sparkling Manhattan Island with the bright beacon that is the new World Trade Center building, the East River with the Brooklyn Bridge and finally Brooklyn with just the tiniest hint of a golden red sunrise. We stay out on deck nearly an hour....what a fabulous scene! Sunrise over New York City!

Back in the room we warm up; it was a bit airish out on the open deck. Breakfast is from 6:30 to 8AM this morning and we are there about a 6:45AM with the rest of the Queens Grill passengers. Service, needless to say, runs a little slow, but that is OK as we can’t leave the ship until around 8:15AM or later.

The Captain comes on the PA at 7AM and welcomes us to New York and tells us the ship is cleared and the self service passengers can now leave. After we finish eating, we go back to the room and get our cameras for one more round of photos from Deck Eleven. At the terminal entrance, there is a long line of people waiting for taxis and not a taxi in sight! We stand and watch for a few minutes and see three taxis show up...getting away from the terminal is going to take forever at this rate.

About 8:20 we head on down to the gangway (that was the time we were suppose to be able to leave). We don’t like going to the Lounge because it is just that much more hassle with the luggage. So we just wait in the room until the printed time, which so far for Queens Grill has been earlier than the vacate time for the room.

In the lobby, there is a huge line trying to far they have only called the self service and Queens Grill passengers and it is already a zoo! Lots of people handling their own luggage on this cruise. In the terminal it is even worse. We have a bit of a hassle finding our bags and getting a porter. Once that is done, he gets us in a line for immigration and we think we will be there for an hour or more, there are so many ahead of us. Wrong...there is a separate line with two officers for those of us with porters and we move right along. The officer checks our passports and takes our customs card and we are done, the porter takes us to the Taxi line and suggests we use a fixed price limo for $41 as it will be much faster. We agree and are number two in that line while there are at least 40 people waiting for the regular taxis which are still coming very, very slowly, one every 2 to 3 minutes. By 9:15 we are on our way to the hotel! Worth every penny of the $41 dollars for the private hire.

We get to the to the Wall Street Inn just before 10AM and find our room is actually ready...wonderful! This is a nice little hotel just off Wall Street near the Battery. We are pleased with what we see. It is nicely appointed and seems to be in a very "happening" area.

Carolyn gets the luggage stowed and things in the room set up for our two day stay. We check email and reserve our ticket for the 9/11 Memorial for 11AM tomorrow. By now it is after 11:00, the sun is out and we are hungry! Dick’s knee is really hurting him after dealing with the luggage. Carolyn’s are achy and stiff from the cold, damp morning air, so we decide to find lunch and take a feel better pill. There is a pedestrian street right behind the hotel that is packed full of eateries of every kind, We chose a crepery that is connected to a restaurant and have a delightful, filling lunch.

Food and painkillers improve our mood, so we decide to walk over to the Battery and catch the Staten Island Ferry for a nice view of the Harbor and the Queen Mary 2 on this sunny afternoon. It is probably the best harbor ride outside of the Star Ferry in Hong Kong and it is free! It takes about an hour and a half to do the round trip and we enjoy the views and the people watching! After that we walk around looking at the neat mix of old and new buildings in New York's lower end. Some of the old buildings have mid=1800s dates on them and one date to the time of the Revolution.

By 4PM we are done in and limp back to the hotel. Carolyn gets cleaned up while Dick goes back over to the food area behind the hotel and gets us pizza for dinner. By 6:30PM we are fed, medicated and ready for bed. Four AM is way too early to get up!!! Hopefully a good, long, nights sleep will improve our knees. We have several things we want to do tomorrow.