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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Baltic Cruise

We're off again for a trip to the Baltic region, cruising on the Royal Princess. This is our first ever cruise on a big ship. And big she is at 3600 passengers and 1200 crew. The red arrow shows our deck—mid and low. It is one humongous ship! She was christened by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge last June 2013.
Dolphin Deck. We're on the Starboard side (the other side of the ship!)
We start our vacation in Copenhagen for a few days to get over the jet lag and see some of the sites. Then it is on-board to travel the cities in the Baltic Region.

Our Itinerary:
Day 1 Copenhagen, Denmark
Day 2 Oslo, Norway
Day 3 Gothenburg, Sweden (Goteborg)
Day 4 Warnemunde, Germany
Day 5 At Sea
Day 6 Tallinn, Estonia
Day 7 & 8 St Petersburg, Russia
Day 9 Helsinki, Finland
Day 10 Stockholm, Sweden  (Nynashamn)
Day 11 At Sea
Day 12 Copenhagen, Denmark and fly back to Ottawa




Hope to find my sea legs quickly. But others have told me that these big ships are very stable and I should be ok. Hope they are right. Just in case, I've packed lots of Gravol and my anti-nausea wrist bands.
My sister and her hubby are coming along, in fact it was their idea, along with two other friends. The big difference between this trip and our Ireland trip last year is the clothing I'm bringing. We lived in jeans and hiking gear in Ireland. But the ship has these "dress-up" nights so I'm packing a fancy dress and hubby will be fully "Kilted Out" for those two evenings—Kilt, sporran, dinner jacket and bow tie.

That means two large suitcases for a 2 week trip. Just not used to packing so much. And lists galore. Plus lots of different currencies for our day trips.



Click here to read about the entire trip on Travelpod: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/timsandy/3/tpod.html

Sandy


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Birthday Fun and Am I Really That Old?

My birthday was March 15th, the Ides of March. I turned 60.

But I don’t feel 60. I remember when I was young(er) that someone who was 60 was OLD. I really don’t know how 60 is supposed to feel these days. Just as I didn't know how 30 or 40 or 50 was supposed to feel. Sure there are a few aches and pains but generally I’m in good health, eat well (most of the time), travel and keep active.

Having a birthday in March sucks. It's almost always cold, snowy and dreary. So I planned a birthday weekend. Had my hair cut and coloured. My youngest sister visited from Toronto and along with my older sister, niece and daughter here in Ottawa went for tea at the Chateau Laurier. Here are some pictures from the day.
Selecting our tea at the Chateau Laurier.
I skipped the sparkling wine.
Our steeped loose tea arrived and shortly afterwards three tiered plates of scones (with Devonshire Cream & Jam), finger sandwiches and sweets, one for each of us.
Posing with one of my sisters.
Finger sandwiches. Two biters.
Yummy sweets
The tea was fun. At another table was a group of women spanning the generations from 8 to 80 with their fancy hats and fascinators. It was decided then and there that when I turn 80, in twenty years, we would again get together for afternoon tea at the Chateau, this time with our granddaughters who would be in their twenties.

Hubby gave me a lovely Pandora charm for my bracelet—a gold bouquet of diamonds. 
And on March 16th, we girls had manicures and pedicures. Just a bit of pampering to celebrate a milestone. I also watched as my Retirement countdown calendar (to the right) switched to less than 4 years til retirement. Time is flying! 

I’m still working which kind of sucks. I was out of the full time workforce for most of the 90’s, while my kids grew, only working part time or no time. Which means I’m making up for lost time and padding my pension with each year of service. Two years ago when I started this blog I asked the question “Will I be Ready to Retire?” At the end of that post I wrote:
"I will explore what will make me happy. Now. And from there I won’t see retirement as something that has to have a final plan in place but an extension of my current life. I just won’t need the alarm clock to get me up each morning. Unless I want to get up early."
The same holds true two years later. Lately a few close to me have been dealing with illness or death. We can never predict how our life will unfold.

So, I’m doing what makes me happy now, because we don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Sandy




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