Circle of Wits

Outwitted by Edwin Markham (1852-1940)

He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

Inside the QVB Dome

Inside the Queen Victoria Building Dome, Sydney, Australia

Blue Ceiling Capitol Building Havana Cuba

Blue Ceiling Capitol Building, Havana, Cuba

mapparium

Mapparium at the Mother Church, Boston, MA, USA

CapitolDome

Interior of the Capitol’s Dome, Washington D.C., USA

Cromer Circles

Beach at Cromer, Norfolk, Great Britain

Tuckerman Hall in Worcester, MA, USA

Tuckerman Hall in Worcester, MA, USA

Full Circle Festival in Newport Landing, Nova Scotia, Canada

Full Circle Festival in Newport Landing, Nova Scotia, Canada

Have you ever experienced prejudice or adversity on your travels? How have you handled it?

Secret Destinations

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow over California

I find that traveling allows me to discover myself in ways I could not otherwise do so. I’ve found strength, courage, and daring on my travels. I’ve had the strength to keep going when physically and mentally tired. I’ve had the courage to try new things outside of my comfort zone. I’ve had daring to grab life and live it.

What has been your secret destination? Is it a place or a discovery? Or both?

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber (1878–1965)

The Artist Eye: The Parthenon, Athens, Greece

Parthenon in Athens, Greece

Crowds at the Parthenon in Athens, Greece

Q: What is the Parthenon?

A: It is the Doric temple of Athena on the Acropolis in Athens.

The Acropolis in Athens

The Acropolis in Athens

Q: What is the Greek Doric style?

A: You can tell a Greek Doric column apart from other Greek column styles (Ionic, Corinthian) with relative ease. The Doric style is the simplest of the columns in terms of fancy work.

Detail of a pediment on the Parthenon

Detail of the Metopes and Triglyphs on the Parthenon

Q: Do the Parthenon Doric columns feature entasis?

A: Yes, they do. Entasis is an aesthetic applied to columns to make them fatter at the bottom than at the top. It is thought to correct the optical illusion of concavity. It also makes the columns look more grand, sturdy, and as a structural bonus, makes the column stronger.

Parthenon columns and metopes

Detail of the Architrave and Entablature at the Parthenon

Q: What are metopes?

A: Metopes are the rectangular spaces between two triglyphs. They are decorated with carvings at the Parthenon.

Keira in front of the Parthenon

Keira in front of the Parthenon

Q: Would you explain what a triglyph is?

A: They are the decorated vertically channeled tablets on either side of a metope. They look like the Roman numeral III.

Wall of columns at the Parthenon

Wall of columns at the Parthenon

Q: Where is the architrave on the Parthenon?

A: The architrave is 1 part of the entablature. It supports the frieze from column to column.

The Porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum

The Porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheum

Q: Where is the entablature?

A: The entablature is the superstructure of architectural elements above the columns. It consists of the architrave, the frieze, and the cornice.

Precarious Column at Parthenon

Precarious Column at Parthenon

Q: So the pediments are on top of the columns?

A: Yes, and on top of the architrave. They are the triangle wedges, which unfortunately at the Parthenon were damaged. Many of the sculptures from the frieze are in the Athens Museum or among the Elgin Marbles collection.

Acropolis at Night, Athens, Greece

Acropolis at Night, Athens, Greece

Q: What are the friezes?

A: A frieze is an unmolded strip that may or may not be ornamented and is part of the entablature. The Parthenon frieze is the low relief, marble sculpture created to adorn the upper part of the entablature.

The Parthenon lit up at night

The Parthenon lit up at night

Q: Where is the cornice on the entablature?

A: The cornice is the decorative molding around the pediment.

Detail of fragmented pediment on the Parthenon

Detail of fragmented pediment on the Parthenon

Q: What building is the Erechtheum?

A: It is a temple dedicated to the Greek hero Erichthonius.

The Parthenon has entasis columns

The Parthenon has entasis columns

Q: What is the Propylaea?

A: The Propylaea is any monumental gateway. The original Propylaea is the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. It means “before the gates.” We use it now to mean a gate building.

Crowds on the stairs of the Propylaea, Athenian Acropolis

Crowds on the stairs of the Propylaea, Athenian Acropolis

Q: Where is the Porch of the Caryatids?

A: The “Porch of the Maidens” is on the Acropolis. You can find it at the Erechtheum. It features six draped female figures known as caryatids.

The Erechtheum and the Porch of the Caryatids

The Erechtheum and the Porch of the Caryatids

Q: What are Caryatids?

A: A Caryatid is a sculpted female figure that provides the architectural support of a column. It can hold the weight of an entablature.

The Erechtheum from the side.

The Erechtheum from the side

Holy Land Cruise Day 8: Nazareth and Galilee (Part 2)

Continued from Holy Land Cruise Day 8: Nazareth and Galilee (Part 1).

Very, very hot. Guide says it is often hotter.

11 AM – It is About a 20 minute drive to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. It’s a little bit misty. Earthquake area. Going from the north past Jordan River, which flows into Sea of Galilee from the north. Golan Heights is the main source of water for the Sea of Galilee.

View of the Sea of Galilee from bus.

View of the Sea of Galilee and Golan Heights from bus.

View of the Sea of Galilee alongside little town.

View of the Sea of Galilee alongside little town.

Keira at the Sea of Galilee.

Keira at the Sea of Galilee.

Sea of Tiberias is another name for the Sea of Galilee.

Sea of Tiberias is another name for the Sea of Galilee.

38 synagogues were found in the Golan Heights.

11:45 AM –  Baptismal Site  at the Jordan River where it meets the Sea of Galilee on the southern end; we walked among the little fishes; our guide says this is the best place to buy things — very nice things plus air conditioning.

They had beautiful old coins, including the Simon bar Kochbah. It was nearly $6K. It is a beautiful coin from the Second Revolt about 135 AD. It was basically in perfect condition, with a certificate. One side is a palm tree; the other side was also a small tree/grape vines.

You get 14.5% back in taxes at departure from Israel. If you buy enough you get 15% off to begin with. They guarantee, and I believe they replace if you damage it. They are a kibbutz.

We tasted date honey, the honey of the Bible. They also had some with walnuts. We tasted one with apples, dates, nuts and cinnamon. Mom liked them both. I preferred the date, and wanted to try the apple.

Yardenit is the name of the baptismal site (one of them) on the Jordan River.

Malki was our sales person.

Keira and Mom in front of Yardenit, a Baptismal site on the Jordan River.

Keira and Mom in front of Yardenit, a Baptismal site on the Jordan River.

Baptisms in action on the Jordan River.

Baptisms in action on the Jordan River.

Keira and Mom stepping into the Jordan River - Mom's toes are nibbled on by fish.

Keira and Mom stepping into the Jordan River – Mom’s toes are nibbled on by fish.

The Jordan River is not very wide at the baptismal site.

The Jordan River is not very wide at the baptismal site.

It's a stone's throw across the Jordan River.

It’s a stone’s throw across the Jordan River.

Nice little place to eat along the Jordan River.

Nice little place to eat along the Jordan River.

12:30 PM – We were to be back on the bus, but people were still in lines buying, so we left about 12:45 PM.

First kibbutz was here in early 1900s with all girls who believed in equality. In the beginning they shared clothing. Today they share cars, but you might also have your own. In early days the whole kibbutzim would vote to whether they could afford a TV or a computer. But very good education and very good food. Used to have babies in one area at night so parents could sleep. They would be with parents after work until bedtime.

1:00 PM – It is 35 degrees C = 95 degrees F. Food at the kibbutz was excellent! Better than the ship. Salads. Excellent beef, like Swiss steak; chicken; fish; olives; all Kosher. Tour guide says the desserts are not as good as they are not whipped cream, no dairy.

She says it is the first time they have gone there, and her boss takes comments very seriously. She told us to ask her for anything if we needed it.

2:00 PM – Leave for Nazareth – Drive through Cana.

Cana is the city where Jesus Christ performed the miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding.

Cana is the city where Jesus Christ performed the miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding.

Church of Annunciation — were supposed to go inside the crypt, but there was a church service. On the lower level outside was the house. Over to the side is the crypt of Joseph in the church of Joseph.

First view of the Church of Annunciation

First view of the Church of Annunciation

Keira and Mom in courtyard of the Church of Annunciation

Keira and Mom in courtyard of the Church of Annunciation

Engravings on Church of Annunciation

Engravings on Church of Annunciation

Woohoo! It's breezy by the Church of the Annunciation!

Woohoo! It’s breezy by the Church of the Annunciation!

I love the dome on the Church of the Annunciation.

I love the dome on the Church of the Annunciation.

Ruins of (Virgin) Mary's house inside Church of Annunciation.

Ruins of (Virgin) Mary’s house inside Church of Annunciation.

Priest holding a church service in Church of Annunciation.

Priest holding a church service in Church of Annunciation.

Keira crouching down to get in the shot of the church service.

Keira crouching down to get in the shot of the church service.

Church pews under dome of Church of the Annunciation.

Church pews under dome of Church of the Annunciation.

Wing of Church of the Annunciation.

Wing of Church of the Annunciation.

Dome of Church of the Annunciation.

Dome of Church of the Annunciation.

Joseph's workshop on grounds of Church of Annunciation in Israel.

Joseph’s workshop on grounds of Church of Annunciation in Israel.

4:00 PM – Leave to go back. It is approximately a 1.5 hour drive. Our camera battery held out until the last picture. We charged it completely two nights ago, but never thought to charge it last night — will do ASAP we get to our room, plus take off the photos so we don’t accidentally lose them all.

Temperature is 36 degrees C = 96.8 degree F. Feels hotter.

At some point on the way in the morning we saw Mt Tabor, which looks like a round projection. Our guide lives there.

4:30 PM – We just bought water from the guide — $1, best price we’ve seen. I put ours between Mom and myself where our arms touched because Mom was a hot box. So am I. The air conditioning works really well in the bus. And the guide had us in the shade as much as possible and into air conditioning every little while. Yesterday several folks took a bus around the city on their own to the B’hai gardens which are supposed to be beautiful and employs 158 gardeners, if you can imagine.

I’m not sorry that we went to Tzippori, even if there were other mosaics today that were similar at the one church, but Tzippori was worth seeing to imagine Jesus being educated there (perhaps the incident when he was 12 and wandered off). I’ve also heard that Joseph of Aramathea was his uncle and during the lost years he traveled to Britain with him and built a wattle church.

Mom brought a small spritz bottle of water with us, and that helps a lot. Kept our faces and limbs cool.

4:45 PM – Traffic is heavy; Tali is playing her Pilates tape and half the bus is sleeping — one lady just asked for the air to be warmer, but she is not sitting in the sun. We have the curtain pulled over, as it is so bright.

5:00 PM – Back at port; free Internet at port. Mom and I got the VAT back at the port, but it was less than the store said.

Again, we were met with ice water and iced towels by the ship’s crew. Lovely.

6:00 PM – Back to room, and Mom and I went to the pool, then back to the room to shower and get ready for dinner.

7:30 PM – Dinner; loud again; took a long time to fill the table, so the service was very slow, then they were interesting. But so loud, you almost couldn’t hear them.

10 PM – Ship is leaving, and we just finished dinner, missed the comedian. We watched a bit on TV, some was funny, some not. Then we watched more of The Adjustment Bureau.

Tali said we should definitely go to the Dead Sea and Masada. (And we totally agreed with her after the fact. We had bought this excursion already.)

Holy Land Cruise Day 8: Nazareth and Galilee (Part 1)

Dome of the Church of the Beatitudes

Dome of the Church of the Beatitudes

(Photo Count: 265)

It’s Wednesday September 7, 2011. We are going to see Nazareth and Galilee as part of a Jesus Ministry excursion.

6:30 AM – Wake up call, breakfast in room.

7:45 AM – Meet group for departure.

The Official Scoop:

Day 5: 07-Sep-2011
Location: Nazareth and Galilee, Israel
Tour: Jesus Ministry HF16
Reservation Time: 02:00 PM
Total Cost *:  $172.00 USD each
Guaranteed Language: English
Time: 9.5 hours
Difficulty: Strenuous

You will travel to Galilee – Israel’s luscious region and the scene of Christ’s youth. Here Jesus was baptized, preached and performed many of His miracles. You will have the opportunity to visit these sacred sites.

Please note guests should dress conservatively when visiting sacred sites. Clothing should cover shoulders and knees. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes and adequate protection against the sun.

You will visit the following sites:

  • River Jordan – Visit the bank revered by the faithful as the spot where John the
  • Baptist immersed Jesus in the waters of the Jordan.
  • Mount of Beatitudes – Christ delivered the Sermon on the Mount from this hill.
  • In 2000, Pope John-Paul II celebrated the Eucharist on its slope. From the terrace of the domed Catholic Church, founded in 1937, there are splendid views of the Sea of Galilee.
  • Tabgha – The Church of the Multiplication is believed to occupy the site where Christ performed His miracle with two fish and five loaves. Consecrated in 1981, the current shrine protects a beautiful 5th century Byzantine mosaic floor depicting the miracle.
  • Capernaum – Considered to be the “centre” of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee. A guided walking tour visits the ruined synagogue where Christ preached.
  • Nazareth – Nestled in a circle of cypress studded hills, Nazareth is the scene of Jesus’ youth. Visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, consecrated in 1969, the largest Christian Church in the Middle East is said to mark the grotto where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin.

Photo Opportunity: Sea of Galilee – an observation platform offers sweeping views of the area.

Note: Guests must be able to walk 2 miles over uneven terrain with some steps.

We went past the valley of Jezreel where her mother wanted to live.  They own an olive garden by Magdala. We drove past the city where Mary of Magdala lived.

Our guide is a beautiful young woman in her late 30s and the driver is Jamal, who she introduced as Jimmie.

10:00 AM – Church of the Beatitudes on the Sea of Galilee; guide paid for our bathroom fees; we read the Beatitudes from the Bible.

Mom in the gardens surrounding the Church of the Beatitudes

Mom in the gardens surrounding the Church of the Beatitudes

Keira and Mom happy to be visiting the Church of the Beatitudes

Keira and Mom happy to be visiting the Church of the Beatitudes

The altar of the Church of the Beatitudes

The altar of the Church of the Beatitudes

Beatitude Mosaics in Courtyard at the Church of the Beatitudes

Beatitude Mosaics in Courtyard at the Church of the Beatitudes

Keira enjoying the view of the Sea of Galilee from the Church of the Beatitudes

Keira enjoying the view of the Sea of Galilee from the Church of the Beatitudes.

10:30 AM – Church of loaves and fishes; beautiful mosaics on floors from 1500 years ago.

Mom in front of the Church of Heptapegon - The Seven Springs.

Mom in front of the Church of Heptapegon – The Seven Springs.

The Church of Heptapegon is thought to be the sight of Jesus Christ's miracle of the loaves and the fishes. The rock is where he stood.

The Church of Heptapegon is thought to be the sight of Jesus Christ’s miracle of the loaves and the fishes. The rock is where he stood.

Crane mosaics on the floor of the Church of Heptapegon

Crane mosaic on the floor of the Church of Heptapegon

Peacock mosaic on the floor of the Church of Heptapegon

Peacock mosaic on the floor of the Church of Heptapegon

Stork mosaic on the floor of the Church of Heptapegon

Stork mosaic on the floor of the Church of Heptapegon

10:45 AM – Capernaum and house of St Peter’s mother-in-law. We saw from the ground level and from the church that is built above it; we took pictures by the Sea of Galilee. Read from the Bible about her healing.  The town per se is very close to the house. There were mosaics going up.  The new stairwell is beautifully decorated with stars or starfish and R and sort of an upside down partial heart.

Jesus cursed Capernaum, and basically there is nothing left.  The Corinthian columns, some, have the lamp of the temple on them, which is how you know it was a Jewish town — plus the synagogue, of course.

Mom and Keira at Capernaum.

Mom and Keira at Capernaum.

Mom and Keira sitting in small garden at Capernaum.

Mom and Keira sitting in small garden at Capernaum.

Church over St. Peter's mother's house at Capernaum.

Church over St. Peter’s mother-in-law’s house at Capernaum.

Ruins and Church at Capernaum.

Ruins and Church at Capernaum.

Ruins and columns at Capernaum.

Ruins and columns at Capernaum.

Column detail at Capernaum.

Column detail at Capernaum.

St. Peter's mother-in-law's house at Capernaum.

St. Peter’s mother-in-law’s house at Capernaum.

Inside Capernaum Church

Inside Capernaum Church

St. Peter's mother-in-law's house at Capernaum under Church.

Church floor view of St. Peter’s mother-in-law’s house at Capernaum.

Read Holy Land Cruise Day 8: Nazareth and Galilee (Part 2) for the next half of the day and lots more pictures!

Holy Land Cruise Day 7: Haifa and Tzippori Mosaics

Haifa port

View of Haifa from room.

(Photo Total: 159)

It’s Tuesday September 6, 2011. We are at the Haifa port and plan to take an excursion to visit the Tzippori Mosaics.

Today’s Temperatures: H = 89 F; L = 76 F. Forecast is clear and sunny.

8:30 AM — Breakfast! I had my usual banana pancakes; so good. Mom tried the scrambled eggs, which were unusual, with bacon.  We both had orange juice.

9:30 AM — Around the world trivia. We had 14 out of 20.  One of the facts was that on the maiden voyage of the first Carnival ship, it ran aground!

10 AM — Back to room to relax until later.

11-12 AM — Mom slept.  I went out and played lawn Jenga. That didn’t last too long. Nobody else was there.

12:10 PM — We are coming into port. Mom took some pictures from our balcony.

Cool looking building in Haifa

Cool looking building in Haifa

12:25 PM — I went back to room after lunch (chicken pot pie – so good!) and brought Mom lunch.  Dining upstairs was crowded.  We enjoyed the balcony, eating and reading the Bible Lesson.

It doesn’t feel unbearable in the shade.  We are taking an umbrella for shade.

1:50 PM — We meet for tour, get bus number eight. We were singled out again to go thru Xray.

2:00 PM — We left right on time.  It takes 1 hour to get there.

mona-lisa

Mona Lisa of the Galilee

Here’s the official scoop before we left:

Day 4: 06-Sep-2011
Location: Haifa, Israel
Tour: Tzippori Mosaics – HF19
Reservation Time: 02:00 PM
Total Cost *:  $92.75 USD each
Guaranteed Language: English
Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Strenuous

The town of Tzippori (Sepphoris) was located on the top of a chalk hill in Lower Galilee, west of Nazareth. Following the Roman conquest, Tzippori was declared the capital of the Galilee by the Romans in 55 B.C. Tzippori was the home of the Sanhedrin (highest judicial council of the ancient Jewish nation) in the first half of the 3rd century. The town has been diversely populated – Jews, Romans, Christians, Crusaders, Arabs. The Biblical archaeologists believe that the parents of the Virgin Mary, Anna and Joachim, were natives of Sepphoris and today there is a church standing on the site of their house.

Today Tzippori is a national park near an agricultural settlement. Archaeological digs have uncovered a Roman theatre, a Crusader citadel, network of streets and ruins of buildings. The most exciting discovery is an impressive amount of Roman and Byzantine mosaics. There is a reconstructed Roman villa whose floor is covered with 3rd century well preserved, colourful mosaics depicting scenes from Roman cults. One of the frames portrays a woman who has been called “The Mona Lisa of the Galilee”. There is the Nile mosaic building, remains of the Byzantine period with works by 5th century artists with hunting scenes and Egyptians celebrating the high waters of the Nile.

Leave Tzippori and drive through the Carmel mountains and stop for a panoramic
view from the Mukraqa. Drive via the Druze villages and return to Haifa.

Note: Guests must be able to walk 2 miles over uneven terrain with some steps. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility, wheelchair bound passengers or guests with walkers. Wear comfortable walking shoes and sun protection.

City of Haifa

City of Haifa from bus as we drive toward our destination.

Miscellaneous notes along the way:

Signs are in Hebrew and Arabic and pictures, some English on some advertisements.

We are traveling along by bus, but in old days would have taken boat.  Hard to understand the speaker. Drove into Zebulon.

View of Haifa from bus

View of Haifa from bus

Mount Carmel is one of the few places in Israel with natural forest because of the long Turkish rule.  Lots of rocks and sand in other places.  Jews planted trees.

We pass an Ultra Orthodox Jews, Hasidim, village — beautiful agriculture.  Excellent school.

Mount Carmel  comes from two Hebrew words and means the vineyard of God is here and Elijah’s cave.

Then a modern Jewish village, then an Arabic.  All living in harmony, not like you see in news.

On the other hand, mosques are springing up everywhere and Christians are leaving.  Like everywhere Muslims are moving in.

Some cotton fields.  Cotton used to rule the world, needs lots of pesticides, cannot use the land for anything else.  Four harvests here each year.

olive tree

A olive tree is hollow. See below for some background on olive trees!

Olive trees and orange trees. Plant citrus even in the desert, because they have a new customer — China.

The water we are seeing is the Lake of Galilee and on left is Arab village — Jews, Christians, Muslims. No taxes if you add a holy room.  Each part of family has their own floor, so some houses look like hotels.

Passed through Arab land because they are in groups and do not share as a group.

They sell all their olive oil in all Israel to Saudi Arabia.

Another village, another clan.

Looks like bare, unfinished stucco, no outside paint, etc.  Ground looks like it should grow nothing.  Rocky, dry.

View from Tzippori

View from Tzippori

Tzippori has no water.  It comes from a spring, through two channels to an enormous underground cistern that comes down to a pipe and it pushes itself through and up the mountain.  All houses have flowing water.  It is from Roman times.  They knew how to do it.

Ancient Tzippori was the capital of Israel, not Jerusalem.  When Herod first came, Tzippori did not want him, so he had to conquer in the snow.  He had to kill his Jewish wife and children, but he preserved her in honey next to his bed and talked to her.

Entrance to Tzippori

Entrance to Tzippori

We saw many beautiful mosaics, but they closed the house at 4 PM that housed the Mona Lisa of the Galilee, which doesn’t seem right. It was the major reason why we wanted to go on the tour in the first place.

Olive trees live forever — The tour guide said that the tree itself falls apart in about 600 years, but the roots grow a new tree, and they might be 3000 years old. It will grow up through the old trunk, protected from the harsh sun, until it is strong enough to break the old trunk apart.

Synagogue

Tzippori Synagogue with mosaic floor.

You can walk from Galilee to Tzippori in about 1-1.5 hours, so it is possible that Jesus went daily with his father to Tzippori to be educated in one of the 18 synagogues.

Prior to loss of the temple: A synagogue was not a place of worship, but where they took money for the poor, and where they had discussions.

Another view from Tzippori

Another view from Tzippori

It wasn’t as hot as we expected since there was a good breeze the higher up we got.  There was some shade.  We were covered up much of the time.  The ancient synagogue was enclosed and had some air conditioning, but it was tepid. We probably stayed there too long, not to get to the Mona Lisa, but the last part had some spectacular mosaics.

Mom in Roman theater at Tzippori

Mom in Roman theater at Tzippori

The theater was very interesting.  Covered with marble meant covered with stucco. Public announcements were made at the theater, which brought the Jews in when they would have avoided. It was like soap opera, going on for 6-7 hours in the sun. Wealthy people were transported to the orchestra where they reclined on their sofas with servants or slaves to fan them.

The upper part of the seating just looked like ruins.  The Arabs took the materials to build their houses. The reason the rest is standing is that it was buried under a land slide.

Fortress at Tzippori

Fortress at Tzippori

The fortress was built by the crusaders, who were defeated by Saladin, but not treated as they had treated the Muslems.

You could look where we were and from the ship and see the borders of Jordan and Lebanon.  Very close.

Ruins near fortress of Tzippori.

Ruins near fortress of Tzippori.

Satyr

Satyr mosaic in Roman home.

The Pomegranate is the symbol of Israel, because there are supposedly exactly 613 seeds, the number of the extra Jewish laws. [Turns out they have 800 or so.]

6:00 PM — Back on the road to the ship.

Shop floor mosaic.

Shop floor mosaic.

Major Roman thoroughfare of Tzippori

Major Roman thoroughfare of Tzippori

To count the people, you would only need to take the offerings at the temple and multiply by 10. More likely that it was here where Jesus was born because there is a Bethlehem near Tzippori. About the 5th and 6th century changed it to where it is now near Jerusalem.  The Mount of Transfiguration was also moved by the bishop to where it stands now.

Detailed mosaic of nude woman.

Detailed mosaic of nude woman.

Synagogue floor mosaic

Synagogue floor mosaic

Went past where the Battle of Armageddon is supposed to take place.  It is where the battle on cavalry took place in WWI, and where a battle took place in WWII, the old and new, the past.

About 41% of the Jews are from Russia.

The German area is designed to look like Germany with red roofs and gardens.

Cheeta pounces on its prey.

Cheetah pounces on its prey mosaic.

7:00 PM — We are back to ship and clean up for dinner. The boat feels very cold after being out on the heat all day.  They met us with cold drinks and iced hand towels.

Edges of floor in synagogue.

Edges of floor in synagogue.

8:55 PM — Open seating dinner. Dinner was OK — does not compare at all to Holland America.  The potato soup was very good though.  We skipped dessert to get to the show.

Lion killing bull mosaic

Lion killing bull mosaic.

10:15 PM — Claire Maidin, pianist is the show. She was terrific, very vibrant, every style.  Blonde hair.  Played Mack the Knife in about 8 different styles.  Sang some songs without playing along.  Said she met her husband and he didn’t believe she could play – then she played him Flight of the Bumblebee, as she did for us.  She will have a show in London soon.

Keira and Mom at Tzippori

Keira and Mom at Tzippori

Antarctica Journal Day 18: Miami to Orlando

Mom and Keira saying goodbye to Argentina and Antarctica

Mom and Keira saying goodbye to Argentina and Antarctica

We got to Orlando right on time 8:10 AM and Dad was waiting for us.

Passport control: It was miles from the plane to the passport control in Miami. Then through customs, picking up our luggage, and dropping it off in the next room Orlando area. Thank God there are trollies. It was a long trip!

Mary Jane was so sweet. She offered us a ride from Orlando if we’d needed one.

Dad told us about an incident Kevin had in Barcelona. Geez Louise! I’m glad we didn’t know anything while on our trip as it would have made Mom super worried and she wouldn’t have had much fun.

Home: I got most of my stuff put away, amazingly enough. I didn’t expect it.

Then we watched the trip video – or slept through part of it. Mom slept for a while sitting up. I slept later in the afternoon.

Now we are watching some of our taped TV shows. We had Orville Redenbacher Gourmet White Popping Corn – new kind of air popped and so much better, no shucks.

Antarctica Journal Day 17: Buenos Aires to Miami

La Recoleta Cemetery

La Recoleta Cemetery

We ate some breakfast (I had toast and fruit) (Mom had fruit).

Buenos Aires Tour and Tango Show: Then we went to the Martini Bar on Deck 5 by 7:15 AM. We were off the boat by 7:30 AM. The bus was comfortable, and the tour guide, Amalia, was very nice and competent. She was an older woman and happy to be taking us around. She took us to the shanty area, but likely not the worst of the worse. She wanted us to ask questions. Mom asked her about the homeless we saw – a man dressed in rags; a man sleeping on a mattress on the street and those living under the bridges.

One of the most interesting places was the cemetery where Eva Peron is buried, La Recoleta Cemetery. Much of it has been declared a national treasure. If there are no descendents, the government keeps up the gravesites. Reminded me of the New Orleans cemetery in the Double Jeopardy movie.

La Recoleta Cemetery

La Recoleta Cemetery

We liked the little art area, but most was closed when we got there. Mom bought a cute little crèche scene for about $10.

Then to the Tango Show. The food was mediocre at best, but the show was more than excellent. And so were the costumes and the scenario. I got quite a bit of it on video on Mom’s camera.

(We heard later that the other Tango show’s food was excellent. If it is the one on the video we bought, the show itself was not as good.)

La Recoleta Cemetery

La Recoleta Cemetery

Buenos Aires airport: Then to the airport by 2 PM, but our flight wasn’t until 9:30 PM and they wouldn’t let us check in until 6 PM. We ended up playing cards, first Misery, then Rummy, with Lynne from the boat for a couple of hours which killed some time.

Another group of 4 played Euchre and sort of taught us how. Their flight wasn’t going until 11:30 PM. It was a zoo. Most airport workers spoke no English. We had lined up in the wrong area, but it didn’t take long to get through the right area. A fellow came along and gave us all a computer print out. We then knew we were in the right line.

Chatting with one couple, they asked if we got sick on the boat, didn’t believe we’d been to Antarctica because they hadn’t seen any of what we were describing. Turns out they were on the Norwegian boat, not our boat. Ha.

La Recoleta Cemetery

La Recoleta Cemetery

Amalia took a couple of couples back into Buenos Aires to shop. She said she didn’t know why Celebrity planned the tour for so early, it could be done later without so much airport time.

Inside the security part of the airport we had a chicken calzone, which was excellent. Then we had a Fanta – it tasted so good! Mom window shopped around the airport, but didn’t buy anything. Lots of perfume; Hermes; Mont Blanc; liquor; chocolates. Everywhere we paid with US dollars, and usually didn’t get any change, though we got 1.25 pesos at the airport.

Mom and I were separated on the plane because Mom exchanged her aisle seat in front of me with the sister of the family with a baby in that row. Mom then had the cattycorner aisle. Lucky.

La Recoleta Cemetery

La Recoleta Cemetery

The flight dinner was excellent: chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies and a sort of caramel egg custard (not my thing or Mom’s.) The OJ was excellent! Breakfast was fruit, more OJ and a croissant that didn’t hold up to the croissants on the boat.

Antarctica Journal Day 16: Montevideo

Welcome to Montevideo!

Welcome to Montevideo!

A little boat trivia: There is no jail on the boat, but there is security. The crew is not allowed to handle difficult guests. They call security. Evidently on the Christmas cruise a man was beating his wife in their room. The room next door called to report it. They ended up holding the man in house arrest, in his room with a security man outside the door. They had to find a place for his wife, as the boat was completely booked.

We are now in Montevideo. The boat is docked but we are not yet cleared to exit. Both of us slept pretty well as the sea was calm. We both think we only half-sleep when the sea is rougher.

Pretty residential building

Pretty residential building

We turned on the TV and found a local live CNN report that Chile, specifically Santiago, had an 8.8 magnitude earthquake at 3-something AM Chile (local time). It was felt as far away as Buenos Aires, where they evacuated the downtown office buildings in the middle of the night. They said it was cleaning crews who were evacuated. They say the energy expended is like a nuclear explosion.

Throughout the course of the cruise we have heard lectures on the fault lines, continental drift, and etc.

We know of one Chilean family here because they traveled with us to the railroad in Ushuaia. They were here with their two young daughters, about 12 and 15. Our prayers are with Chile.

Fun wind up figure graffiti.

Fun wind up figure graffiti.

Montevideo: We took a free shuttle from the boat to a leather shop, but not the one the boat told us about. Mom figured it was safe, because no one would be allowed on the dock if they weren’t.

The shop was by Independence square, one of the places we wanted to see. The shop was tiny, similar to those in Italy. The square was full of soldiers, readying for some presidential event on Monday. We think it was an inauguration.

We walked from there to Constitutional Square. All the way down were little tables full of people’s antiques, silver, pictures, or jewelry. I found a couple of rings I liked. We felt we would keep looking and come back. I decided not to buy one of the rings. Then we found a really cool agate necklace for me, then an agate ring ($3) from another seller, then glass earrings from another seller. Mom found a cool agate necklace that looks like water and icebergs or like a cruiseship on water. She also bought a couple of glass earrings. We really had fun wandering. One seller had interesting whale earrings (but we’d not wear them) and also earrings that clamp to the mid point of your ear (ditto.)

Independence square and statue of the 'father' of Uruguay, General Gervasio Artigas

Independence square and statue of the 'father' of Uruguay, General Gervasio Artigas

Constitutional Square was also being worked on. So it was basically an unusable space in mid city. We ran into Suzanne and her mother and took pictures!

Along the way we met Ken and his partner. They took a picture with us with the church in the background. They were heading out to try to find the old train station, which they found but it was cordoned off with razor wire too. They told us to be sure to look in the church. If they hadn’t, Mom and I might not have even thought of it. They also told us about women begging for money. We did see one woman, but she didn’t approach us. The church was beautiful, dark, elaborate, and creepy. The gift shop smelled weird. Like old dusty bones. Part of it was in a smaller room with a walled off old fireplace.

The city was dirty. Lots of potholes to walk into – or pavement that was uneven. Graham had warned us in his talk, and he wasn’t being facetious. We found a nice gift shop. It had some knitted garments in it too.

Keira in front of a fountain on our walk

Keira in front of a fountain on our walk

People were sipping mate tea thru silver straw spoons, with holes in them to filter out the tea. Mom said it would have been something interesting to buy, but would she ever use it? Suzanne and her mother bought a painting.

We just continued to walk down the central street to the Plat. We crossed the street, turned right, and walked quite a ways to the ship, but it didn’t seem as far as it had looked when driving it in the free shuttle. We followed another couple who were Spanish speaking who made it clear by gestures and smiles that we were walking in the right direction. Mom’s original thought had been to go to the other leather shop and take their free shuttle back to the boat. The walk was interesting. Lots of dogs free of leashes, but with collars. The doors along the street were old and intricate.

Keira and Suzanne in Montevideo

Keira and Suzanne in Montevideo

Mom said [tourists] really are at a distinct disadvantage if [they] don’t speak Spanish. I think she feels this way because we are in South America in Spanish speaking countries; we usually travel elsewhere where it is not so prevalent.

We went back into the boat, had some lunch (hamburger, veggie lasagna, fruit, soft ice cream.) Then we went to play some trivia type games.

It's the Opera!

It's the Opera!

We had reservations at 6:30 PM at the US restaurant on the boat, SS United. It was classy inside, multiple waiters. Mom had a Wellington scallop appetizer. I had the goat cheese soufflé recommended by our maitre d’, then Dover sole. The chef sent us (and all the tables) a small cold tomato soup, quite delicious. Mom had the filet. They flame it at the table after it is somewhat cooked already. She loved the sauce. We ordered the chocolate soufflé and the Grand Marnier mango soufflé.

The chocolate was similar to a volcano cake. Mom and I shared the chocolate as I didn’t like the other. Mom liked them both, but couldn’t have eaten a full one by herself. I asked them if I could take the other with us to eat later. Mom gave it to Joseph and Teresa because we knew she loves Mango. It reminded us of Crème Brule, but not as sweet, and not quite an egg custard texture, definitely better than Crème Brule.

Archway on our walk

Archway on our walk

Mom made sure to look up Mili to say thank you again to her. She thanked her! Said, Mom really was happy the whole trip. She was!

We went back to our room, changed to our traveling clothes, finished packing, and left our suitcases outside the door. Then we went up to the Constellation, but hardly anyone was there. Carole and Joan had been and gone. Mom didn’t want to spend the last night in our room, but there was no 11:15 PM movie. Suzanne and Chrissi were there the Suzanne and I went off to play some cards (and exchange emails.) Chrissi and I chatted, until it was just too noisy.

Afterward we watched an Antarctica show on TV. Late night by the time we went to sleep.

Antarctica Journal Day 15: Sea Day

Our awesome waiters

Our awesome waiters

We have moved the clocks ahead one hour.

It’s rocking and rolling quite a bit.

Quiet, happy day on the boat. It really makes a big difference to have a lovely boat to be on. There is something about the Infinity that makes it big enough to have things going on. And the areas around the boat are so pretty to walk through. All the common areas, except for shopping, have views of the sea.

I brought food for us to the Rendez-Vous Lounge where we played Catch Phrase with another woman and the man who made the boat in Ushuaia. It was really fun. No one else showed up for it, as it was 9:15. He gave us all luggage tags. We laughed every time they offered the tags and we didn’t have our luggage yet – that we would win the tags but have no luggage.

I began to play the Millionaire game. Mom watched for a while, then left to see what the hoopla was about shopping. Carole and Joan were buying the blown glass.

I came up and joined her and we went to hear Allan’s take on the lighter side of leaving. He told a lot of jokes. They had a large number of staff come onto the stage, and the captain spoke. He said something like this: “Amazing cruise. This time we see everything: Paradise Bay, Falklands…etc.” Then he missed a beat, with a small laugh. “Last cruise we see nothing!” Made us glad once again that we were on this one.

It seems a miracle that we saw it, as well as that we made the boat!

Another bit of trivia: During the bridge tour we were told that the last cruise had very high winds, and the boat listed to 15 degrees because of the wind. Kyle told us that they steer in a way to minimize the wave effect, so it isn’t necessarily a straight course.

All dressed up!

All dressed up!

Then it was on to Trivia with Allan. We played with our table mates. The questions were hard! It was possible to get 27 points and the best was 19 points. We had 8 points, but there were a couple of teams that had even less. At any rate, it’s a lot of fun with whooping and hollering, and groaning at his groaner jokes. He told a joke where he had to say hiss a number of times and he never made a mistake. It was funny just to hear him do the tongue twister. This is his last cruise until he starts up with the Constellation in May.

We ate lunch out by the outside pool. They had a band and the officers served a buffet lunch out there. The weather is mild and sunny. It was nice to have the fresh air.

Then we went to the Thalassotherapy Pool for a couple of hours. We soaked and read. It felt like we were getting sunburned even with the glass ceiling overhead.

We took our showers and headed right out for Graham Sunderland’s last lecture: Flipper, Fur, and Feather. The first half hour was explaining the things to do in Montevideo. I’m sorry we missed his presentation on what to find in Puerto Madryn, though we did find the silver things we bought. There wasn’t much there.

He also told us some stories of WWII history of the area. Mom says knowing a bit about this already, she never had a strong desire to visit this area, including Argentina.

Mom looking very pretty.

Mom looking very pretty.

He told us to pay attention to where we walked because there are large potholes. Scan 100 yards ahead, walk them, scan, etc. He said people would fall in. He also told about one building where the interior is all black, including the staircase, to let our eyes adjust before we walked any farther or we’d end up down the stairs.

We ended up going back to our room to read – and sleep – after he was finished. I woke only in time to go to the evening 7 PM show. The singer was Dana Paul. Mom liked his outfit: black pants, black shirt, white jacket, black and white shoes. He put on a good show, but no one particularly liked it. Mom liked his last song. He was playing to a cold audience, if that makes sense. No one knew who he was, so he had to win us over. Unfortunately he told jokes we had already heard. You know the drill. But if someone well known had put on a show as good, people would have been happy, because they would have started warm already.

Then dinner. After dinner the the 50s and 50s sock hop party.

There were a couple of the entertainment staff dressed in poodle skirts. I danced some, but then they played couple dances, both slow and fast, and the couples took over the floor. There was a short Name that Tune competing for the very terrific prizes of T shirts, luggage tags, and a bag. Joan raced up one time and was there at the same time as another woman. She is so funny! Her laugh is enough to make everyone laugh. They gave both women a prize.

We decided to watch Last Chance Harvey after we went up to the 50s and 50s sock hop party. I think the only way we could do that was because we had both napped.