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A Bermudaful Day with Somerset Bridge Water Sports!

2015-04-12 18.18.38 We’re just back from our second visit to Bermuda, and everyone needs to visit Bermuda at least once, and that probably won’t be enough for you. You can enjoy Bermuda’s beaches on your own with no problems, and public transportation, which includes ferry and bus, allows you to explore the entire island affordably. This time, we decided it was time to enjoy some watersports, so we joined our friends for a Jet Ski Adventure with Somerset Bridge Watersports. And, we saved a little money with their Early Bird Special at 8:15 am. What a great way to begin a day in Bermuda!

My husband, Roger, is an old pro with jet skis, and he loves speed, so I was thrilled to ride as his passenger. This was a beautiful morning, and the cool breeze and the spray of the water kept us both smiling. Our tour guide, Harry challenged us to catch him, and Roger gave it his best. I was hanging on, having a ball, laughing because it felt like my body was going to take flight a lot of the time. Wow, what a great ride. Bermuda’s coastline was beautiful from the water, and I’m only sorry our tour was over before we made it to David Bowie’s Bermuda home.

The pinnacle of our ride was feeding the fish at the wreck of the Vixen. The fish swarmed as we tossed bread in the water, what an amazing sight. Harry invited 2015-04-12 17.20.12us to jump into the frenzy, and Roger jumped right in. I stayed on the jet ski, laughing watching those fish frenzy around him. This was so much fun! Here’s the details of our ride:

Taxis were waiting in the port area to take us anywhere, so our group of seven jumped in a van for the short ride to Somerset Bridge. The taxi driver headed inside with us, because Somerset Bridge Watersports pays for your taxi ride to their facility. And, we all settled in to complete our paperwork for the ride. We sure would have loved some coffee while we did this, so that’s a little suggestion for their early bird business.

After our paperwork was completed, we headed inside for our safety briefing, and to store our belongings in their facility. The ride is fast, so anything that’s not secured tightly to you needs to be left behind, including sunglasses and hat. My hat was the only loss on our trip, so I replaced it with a Bermuda hat shortly after this excursion. And, we all donned our life jackets, before boarding the jetskis.

2015-04-12 16.26.27Bermuda had some damage from Hurricane Gonzalo last year, so Somerset Bridge Watersports has all new jet skis as a result. We all boarded our jet skis, ready to head out in our water tour of Bermuda.

Our tour guide, Harry, told us, Speed is our friend, and the jet skis were so much easier to handle at speeds above 40. The gals in our group had no problem handling the jet skis, and we only had one couple in our group who didn’t fare well, because the wife kept telling the hubby to slow down, when he really needed to go faster to get better control.

Once our ride was over, we waited outside Somerset for a while, laughing and sharing our jetski stories, until we realized that no taxis were coming down there, so we all strolled out to the main road, where a taxi quickly pulled over to take us back to the port.

I absolutely recommend Somerset Bridge Watersports for all your water fun in Bermuda, whether you want to kayak, jet ski, ski and/or snorkel, or rent a boat. Tell them I sent you!


My Vacation Reading … on our Bermuda Cruise!

I never had an iPod, because I’m not that into music. I love all music, so whatever is playing will usually please me. My Kindle on the other hand … I absolutely love the convenience of reading on my Kindle, especially as we travel on vacation without having to carry an extra bag with all my reading. I love to read.

trainAs I’m planning to leave on our vacations, I always ask my Facebook and Twitter friends for book recommendations, and they always come through for me. So, as I traveled home this time, I decided it was time to give back, with my own review of what I read during my travels. I loaded more books on my Kindle than I read, so if you don’t see the book you recommended here, it may just mean I haven’t read it yet. Here’s what I did read:

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins – The person who recommended this book to me said, that if I liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I would like this book, too. Gone Girl was recommended by someone for my travels last year, so I eagerly added this to my Kindle selection. When I finished reading this book, I was sad and disappointed. Granted, this book had lots of twists and turns, but I felt little to no compassion for the characters, and I believe the author missed the mark in building character depth that would draw me in. I dragged myself through chapter after chapter of this book, believing at some point, I would really care about any of these characters. I never did, and I regret this purchase. However, some of you may have really enjoyed it, so feel free to defend this book. 2 stars, a plot filled with sad useless characters.

Defending Jacob, William Landay – Wow, what a story. And, unlike The Girl on the Train above, I cared so deeply about these characters, I jacobalmost cried at the end. The story about a teen charged for a murder that his deputy assistant prosecutor dad was investigator, and how this family handles the trial and aftermath, within a community they have loved. 4 ½ stars, great plot, love the characters, could not put this book down until the end.

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty – Imagine you had an accident, lost the last 10 years of your memory. For me, that would mean my son would alicestill be living at home without joining the Marines, and my daughter would still be home without moving to live in Washington, DC. We would be living in our Jacksonville, Arkansas home, attending a different church from the one we attend now. And, I would not be a travel agent yet. This is exactly what happens to Alice … she loses ten years of her life, and her last memories were being happily married and pregnant with their first child. She doesn’t remember her three children, and she has no clue why she and her husband are in the process of getting a divorce. This was just a fun book, with people just like you and me, who can be both delightful and incredibly annoying, depending on the moment. 4 stars, a feel-good easy-to-read story, somewhat predictable, but it made me smile!

One Lavender Ribbon, Heather Burch – Adrienne Carter relocates to Florida following a bitter divorce, and finds a bundle of letters tied with a lavender ribbon in the Victorian home she purchases to restore. She begins to read the letters and feels compelled to find the person these belong to, and a beautiful story evolves in relationships from both the past and current days. This was another easy read, not a deep story, and sometimes the writer got bogged down in Adrienne’s insecurities from her divorce. 3 stars, just because it made me smile.

The Giver, Lois Lowry – This book turned out to be a series of four, and once I’d read the first book, I had to quickly download the next three books, The Messenger, Gathering Blue, and The Son. I’ve only read the first and second books, and the story feels incomplete without the others, so I can’t give you a complete review on this book yet, but I enjoyed the first book enough to invest in the other three. The story is about a future society that shuns and discards the weak and broken, living in a literally colorless world, and each additional book reveals additional details about this future world. I’m enjoying the book, and I’ll return to update this review when I’ve completed the last two books. So far … 4 stars for an interesting plot, great characters, and interesting writing that draws me into their fictional society.

My secret pleasure is those easy to read fictional stories about the Amish. I added several of those to my Kindle, because they’re a really quick read on planes or while waiting for flight connections. I’m not reviewing those, because the stories are predictable, but I love the characters. Let me know if you’d like to know some of my favorite authors of these kinds of books.

So, what have you read recently? Let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts. And, a great big thank you to each one of you who offer your recommendations each trip. I’m leaving for Costa Rica in a couple of months, so I’m going to need some more books. What do you recommend?

You’re invited … Greek Island Hopper Tour with fun folks!


Santorini Resort Pool

So many destinations on our bucket list, and too little time and money to complete them all right now. In 2016, we’ll knock Greece off our list as we spend luxurious days in Athens, Mykonos, and Greece. One of my friends emailed late last year, saying he wanted to spend his 40th birthday in 2016 in Greece, so he wanted to know which cruise line did the best job in Greece.

If he wanted to visited Greece, Turkey, and perhaps Croatia, a cruise line is absolutely my recommendation, but if he wants to just spend time in Greece, I definitely recommend a land trip. On cruises, you only get to spend a few hours of one day in each port in most cases, so you just don’t get to immerse yourself in the culture and really enjoy these gorgeous islands. I recommended Globus Greek Island Hopper tour, and we selected the tour that would include the dates of his birthday, June 22 – July 1, 2016.

Our international flight will leave the US on June 21, and we’ll fly into Athens to meet up with all our friends, enjoy dinner and drinks, and spend two nights there. Our sightseeing there will include a visit to the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, the beautifully preserved Theseum, Roman temple of Zeus, theater of Dionysus, and the Agora where Socrates taught. On our second morning there, June 24th, we’ll head to the port of Piraeus, to sail on a ferry on the deep-blue waters of the Aegean Sea to the mountainous island of Mykonos, where we’ll enjoy a dinner with our friends tonight at a local restaurant, then spend three nights on this gorgeous island, including a walking tour. On June 2th, we’ll board the ferry to sail to Santorini, the stunning “Black Pearl of the Aegean,” where we’ll enjoy dinner with friends at a local restaurant, then settle in for three nights and a walking tour. I can’t wait to not only

The Parthenon in Athens

explore these fabulous islands, but relax and enjoy the beauty as well. On June 30th, we’ll head to the airport for a short flight back to Athens, where we’ll wrap up our Greek adventure with one more night in Athens, before heading home to the US on July 1st.

Here’s a link to the details online based on the 2015 itinerary. Our tour is June 22 – July 1, 2016, and it ends up being an 11-night vacation, since your outbound International flight is overnight. We love to travel with friends, so you’re invite to join our fun-loving group, which all ages, races, and gay and straight folks, all who love an adventure.

Globus is honoring their 2015 price for this tour of $1,892 per person. The cost of the intra country flight from Santorini to Athens must be added on once those flights are confirmed, and this year that flight was $331 per person, so we’re expecting much the same for 2016. Once Globus has their international flights for this tour contracted, we can check prices for our international flights. Globus airfare prices are usually lower than what I can find independently, and you can reserve your flight with a low deposit, instead of paying for it in full when you book it.


These prices are based on double occupancy, so let me know if you’d like to see prices for single or triple occupancy. And, send me your preferred airport if you’d like me to send you a guesstimate for your international airfare.

The deposit for the tour is $250 per person, and you can book that right now. Once the intra-country air is added, that requires an additional $250 per person deposit due, probably in September. And, when you add Globus international flights, that will require an additional $350 per person deposit. Final payment is due 4/2/2016, so you pay the deposits as they are due, then you can make payments along until you make the final payment on that date … or you can just charge the final payment any time before that date. I’m happy to accommodate payments for the folks who like to pay for a “layaway vacation.”

The price is not locked in until the deposit is paid, and the price will likely increase over time. There’s only 40 seats on this trip, so this trip can and will sell out. Booking now not only locks in your price and your seat, but it also allows you more time to pay off your layaway vacation.

Deposits are fully refundable at this time. Once the tour is confirmed and guaranteed in September, the deposit becomes fully non-refundable. At that time, I highly recommend you add Globus Cancel for Any Reason Travel Protection of $249 per person. That way, no matter what happens in the future, you have protection.

If you this sounds like fun to you, come go with us! All I need to book your travel with us is your legal name exactly as it appears on your passport, your date of birth, address, phone, and email, plus a debit or credit card to pay the deposit. I plan all kinds of vacations, so I’ll help you with any vacation, but how about joining us in Greece in 2016! Here’s how to reach me or stay in touch with me.


Port Canaveral, Florida Recommendations

Radisson Resort at the Port Pool Area

Port Canaveral is one of our favorite places to cruise from for several reasons.  The port area and the cruise terminal are easy to navigate.  That’s good news especially for the folks who are driving to the port and parking their car there during the cruise.

Radisson Resort at the Port is our favorite place to stay when cruising from Port Canaveral.  (We prefer a beachfront hotel when we are actually visiting Cocoa Beach.)  We love the pool area, a fabulous Tiki bar, and easy transportation to the ship.  We can’t wait to hang out with cruising friends at the Tiki Bar in the pool area the night before the cruise

Here are some interesting restaurants we’ve enjoyed in the Port Canaveral area:

Rusty’s Seafood & Oyster Bar:  Roger especially enjoyed this place, because he loves oysters on the half shell.   We enjoyed a fabulous group meal on the open-air deck of this restaurant, with fun live entertainment that had us all swaying our hips, even in our chairs!

Roberto’s Little Havana:  This restaurant is just a little more than a diner, but I love trying new kinds of food, and this was my first taste of Cuban entrees, which I love.  Good food, good service, so this might be a place you want to try!

Durango’s Steakhouse:  Some friends picked this place to meet up with us, against our objection that you don’t eat steak on a coast.  To our surprise, this was among the best steaks we’ve ever eaten, and we ate their twice during our week-long visit.  Highly recommend this place for steaks!

Florida’s Seafood Bar & Grill:  This restaurant is the furthest away from our hotel, but I wanted to throw it into the list, because we enjoyed a fabulous seafood meal here.

Rusty's Seafood Menuhere one evening.

While you’re out on the road headed to or from your restaurant, I highly recommend a stop in Ron Jon’s Surf Shop.  We aren’t big shoppers, but we really enjoy visiting these stores, and we never leave empty-handed.  The most comfortable beach sandals I’ve ever worn came from here!

We visited Cocoa Beach the first time after taking our kids on a whirlwind visit to the four Disney Parks, Universal Studio and Sea World in Orlando.  We had scheduled three days in Cocoa Beach for beach time before flying home.  As we pulled into our hotel, two long limos pulled out of the parking lot, and we commented that someone “important” must be staying there.

Later that night, our son, who was only 17 at the time, slipped out of our room for a little time to himself downstairs, and returned saying that we could get a free drink in the bar if we said we’d seen Tommy Lee Jones or Clint Eastwood at the hotel.  Apparently that’s who the limos were for!

The next morning, Roger and Rachel headed down to the beach early, while Eric and I were relaxing a little longer in the room.  As they rounded the corner from the elevator, they ran into Clint Eastwood who was just coming in from an early swim.  (Yes, their bodies collided.)  Roger was shocked, Rachel didn’t know who he was, so they just moved on, but Roger said Clint was in great shape for an older guy.  We later found out they were filming Space Cowboys at that time, a movie that still makes us smile.

If you have time, you may want to add on some extra days before and/or after our cruise in the Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Orlando area, because there’s so much to see and do there.

Ports of Call

St. Thomas

U.S. Virgin Islands

We love St. Thomas.  The folks on this island are friendly and welcoming, and St. Thomas has some of the most beautiful views and beaches I’ve ever seen.  We consider St. Thomas a paradise, and Roger claims he’s working his way south to live in St. Thomas at least six months out of every year.  more »