Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Break in the Florida Keys

This April we took a trip with our friends, The S's, to Islamorada Key in Florida.  We flew into Miami and drove to our hotel (about one and a half hours with no traffic).

We stayed at the Postcard Inn and had an oceanside room.  (  I think we were lucky to get a ground floor room so we could just walk out onto the beach. 

This was the view when you opened the door of our room:

The hotel is right on the "beach" and there is a pool as well.

We went snorkeling out of Robbie's Marina ( on the "Happy Cat".  The Lighthouse from above:

THe lighthouse from below...

We had lovely sunset dinner at Islamorada Fish Company (

We also went Kayaking out of Robbie's Marina (
We were told there was a 30% chance of seeing a Manatee and often Crocodiles are spotted sunning themselves. (Crocodiles don't attack people generally; Alligators do)

We kayaked along the shoreline and saw Heron Island.

Then we paddled through the Mangrove Tunnels.

Another Sunset dinner was at Lorelei's.

The hotel had WaveRunners to rent...

The Hotel had a number of bars...Tiki Bar, Rum Runner, etc.

Some our favorite shops were:

LATITUDE 25 CLOTHING Co. fun, affordable shopping experience. Tropical gifts, home decor, key lime products, tervis tumblers, Tommy Bahama, Pelagic, Salt Life, Body Glove, sandals, pet products and more!

Lion's Lair Swimwear Speciality Sizes and Swimwear for the whole family

Blu Bamboo Salon & Spa Full service salon and day spa.. The Day Spa offers Yonka and Arcona custom facials, massage, reflexology, waxing, manicures and pedicures

Ocean Gardens & Gifts, LLC Beautiful Gift Shop with Shells, candles, glass wares and much more - A "must see" stop in Islamorada

Islamorada Mercantile Island boutique - clocks, tide clocks, t-shirts - clothing & gifts for the whole family!

We also enjoyed  The Island Grill restaurant...but it was not on the bay side so it did not have the sunset views.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cruise on the Western Mediterranean: The MSC Fantasia

Sorry for the delay....there was a Cruise, Moving, Pneumonia, Taking the Eldest to College, Starting High School....

Before we left Europe, I thought it would be good to check out a few countries that we had missed....well I had missed, anyway!  Our furniture was on its way back to New Jersey, so why not spend some time on vacation.

We chose the MSC Cruise line because they had an itinerary we wanted but also kids cruised free!
We were on the MSC Fantasia which entered service in 2008 and can hold up to 3959 passengers. She is 1093 feet in length, 125 feet wide and has 18 Decks.  It is a European cruise so almost all of the announcements were made in English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

 Pool on the rear deck.

Some lounges...

 The crystal staircase. 

At night...

 The upper deck...

Next:  Our first Stop...Tunisia!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Things I will miss...

Vanilla sauce
Tassimo Latte Machiatto
Süsstoff (sweetener)
Cheap Beer (sometimes cheaper than a Coke!)
No speed limits on the autobahn
Good drivers
Hikes in the Frankische Schweiz
Skiing in the Alps
Not having to pay when people text you
Apple Strudel
Good Public Transportation
Bike Paths
Dogs in the mall
Bavarian Countryside
Easy access to many other countries
New friends

Friday, June 24, 2011

I can't wait for:

Cold Stone Creamery
Library with the drop off box
Garbage Disposals
Ice Makers
Big Freezers
Free Water at Restaurants
Big Parking spaces
Cheap Gas
Diet Snapple Ice Tea
Shopping on Sundays
Shopping after 8:00 at night
Mexican Food
More than one choice of movies in English at the theater
Panera Bread
Waiters who bring you the check
Chocolate Chips
Proper Brown Sugar
Pumpkin Pie
Seeing family
Old Friends

Monday, June 13, 2011

Silk Painting: Erlangen

One of my friends here in Germany, Jeanette, likes to teach Silk Painting.  I had painted a scarf depicting Nuremberg last time and this time I wanted one that depicted the town we live in, Erlangen.  I did a preliminary sketch of the layout and she came up with a final design.  It depicts scenes from Erlangen with flowers from the botanical gardens in the background.

Closeup of the Schlossgarten.  The Schloss (Castle)was built in 1700 and is now used by the local University.

For the 1000th year anniversary of Erlangen, Artist Isolde Kunath created giant "pins" to commemorate notable historical places and monuments in the city.  

The World War I Memorial:

The Headquarters of Siemens in Erlangen, known as the Himbeer Palast (Raspberry Palace) due to the color of the bricks.The Siemens AG central was moved after World War II from Berlin in the undestroyed city of Erlangen.  Erlangen was also easily reachable by canal and highway.

Neustädter Universitätskirche in Erlangen.

Every June Erlangen hosts the Bergkirchweih, and annual fair and beer festival in ErlangenGermanyThe Bergkirchweih starts on the Thursday before Pentecost at 5PM. The opening ceremony called "Anstich", which is carried out by the town's mayor, takes place in a different beer cellar every year. Thousands gather to watch the opening spectacle hoping to get one of the free beers from the first barrel. Twelve days later the last beer barrel is buried in the cellar where the next Anstich will take place. The Bergkirchweih area is located in the northern extremities of the town of Erlangen and is roughly a kilometer long (0.6 mi). It contains beer cellars, booths and rides - a huge Ferris wheel is the Berch's traditional landmark.

With its wooden benches under elms, chestnuts and oaks it is the biggest Open-Air-Biergarten of Europe with more than 11,000 seats.
The Bergkirchweih has taken place since 1755. . Roughly a million people - about ten times the town's population - visit the event, making the Bergkirchweih the third biggest fair in Bavaria after the Oktoberfestin Munich and the Gäubodenvolksfest in Straubing.

Depiction of beer at the "Berg":

Flowers from the Erlangen Botanical Garden:

Flowers from the Erlangen Botanical Garden:

A view from Erlangen looking toward Buchenbach across the meadow.  Sometimes sheep graze there!  Our house is sort of behind the trees on the left.

Pin commemorating the "Knight's Academy", an educational institution for the sons of the nobility.

Bonus: This is one I did of Nuremberg:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fun with

Can you guess what these pictures are?
Note that each picture is created out of the letters in the title of the photo.