Day one,Athens, 8 Sept 2019

Day one in Greece, Sunday 8 Sept 2019

Our first night was exquisite in the Sofitel Airport Hotel. We had a leisure morning, missed breakfast at the hotel, ate some snack foods to keep us going, took a taxi in to Jason Hotel in Athens.

I notice that it is good to travel with two power plug converters. For sharing and updating devices like IPad, iPhone, Iwatch.

When we arrived at the Jason Hotel we asked for recommendations for locally supported restaurants easy to find and in the area. A short walk and a few corners, we found lovely pedestrian street Adrianou …. market stalls and outdoor cafes, with indoor seating and air conditioning … all with sights of the Acropolis. Of the three suggestions, we selected Attalos for lunch. We had our first Greek salad (fresh, tasty ingredients, including capers …. with drizzle of olive oil, and shake of oregano on top of the generous slab of feta cheese …..and we shared 1 liter sparkling water. Lovely. Satisfying. Perfect sense of occasion and seat inside watching out the doorway at pedestrians going by. Greece is a great people-watching place. And listening to the foreign accents and expressions. A feast for sure!

I am fighting my sleepiness waves that come and go … it’s about 10 hours later here in Greece. So when you are all sleeping, I am walking the busy streets. We decided today we will take it easy, we are going to take hop on bus to orient to city and not get lost ..haha

We negotiated a fare for the two of us, about three pm when we started … no intention to hop off! The heat is high here, in the 30’s … kind of reminds me of Kamloops in Canada for the terrain and shrubs are similar, sparse and dry. Lots of sights to see, most covered in graffiti but pillars of old stone stand tall and proud. Many of the buildings, trains, fences, walls seem to be canvas for the graffiti artists.

I spied a Starbucks on street from bus but unable to take the time to grab a much needed and desired taste of home. Maybe tomorrow we can find it again and enjoy my fave decaf beverage in this old city.

In a few minutes we meet our tour group. We will orient to the city tomorrow and have free time to explore, maybe Acropolis is on our list! When in Rome … er … Greece!

I will try to keep in touch as we go. Thanks for reading

Pamela

“Your traveling agent”
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Gratitude in Greece, 8 Sep 2019

Great morning in Athens, luxury and abundant, sunshine and blue skies

I woke up at 8 am on Sunday 8 September…. it’s tomorrow here! 10 pm back home in Victoria Canada.

Let me tell you it’s exciting to see tomorrow and I can foresee …. it’s all going to be fine. Better than you think …. brilliant and beautiful, restful and exciting …. it’s all here waiting for you.

Great sleep, although maybe I could use a bit more … lol. It’s great to be a morning person. It’s great to be happy. It’s great to have positive energy. It’s worth it to do the self-development practices all year so they become habits of happiness. Yeah!

Today a leisurely wake up, repack and head to the new hotel downtown …drop our stuff and out to explore in Plaka in downtown Athens. Checking out the designer shops, perhaps.

I overpacked but let me tell you what I packed this time … silk items from previous Greece adventures “just” to lounge around in the hotel rooms. I seldom pack like this … I love luxury and yet, here I am on a Classic GAdventures land tour of the most ancient country … so bringing luxury with me seemed appropriate and makes me happy. Layers of flowy colorful silk garments wrapping me in love and care. I brought a silk travel pillow encased in silk pillowcase.

I brought “sharing” quantities of west coast peppermint tea leaves, decaf coffee packs from Starbucks, Univera Xtra and Aloe …. abundance and luxury abound for me in this wonderous place on the planet. Lucky me! Lucky us!

Conversations about how we get to define ourselves today … each day. It’s a choice to be fully who we are and to celebrate that and witness for each other. I am so grateful for my family for loving me and supporting me to be who I am and my mom and ancestors for giving me this gracious way to be in the world.

Have a wonderful day wherever you are.

Love and gratitude from Pamela at the Sofitel Airport hotel in Athens. It’s an awesome place to stay after a long flight.

On route to Athens, Sept 6 2019

On my way to Greece, 2019 September 6

Hello my friends and family. I am somewhere over northern Alberta, flying Air Canada, Vancouver to London, UK. Upon arrival will take the last leg on to Athens. I am joining a lovely GAdventures tour, Best of Greece.

A few words about intentions….. I feel it is part of every vacation, (and quite frankly every day)to set ones intentions as to how we, I want to live my life. Stepping into a fabulous life and lifestyle is more than just chance and wishes.

Setting intentions is about giving form and possibility, a road map, for the universe to provide that which the heart desires. How does the universe know what to provide? The regular practice of uncovering and declaring intentions …. this the directional compass for what comes next, leading to next and even ultimate outcome.

Brilliant really, when we discover that our / my destiny is really in my hands / mind / intention.

On this trip my intention is ease, escape from the busy-ness of my work, and to be in awe of an ancient time. I can feel the energy of ancient ancestors around me as I set out on this travel adventure. What is open for me to discover? What will be the highlights and life-changing events and vision that will take my life on different directions? To be open to possibilities for change and increased awareness is to really embrace the travel experience.

Collective Intentions:
1. To be as present as possible
2. Extending kindness and genuine compassion to the souls that cross our path
3. Be open to new ideas and new ways of being in the world. (New to me/ us anyway)
4. I want to experience fully, sunrises and sunsets. The change of the day to the night, the night giving way to a new dawn. Sit with it, sense it, be with what is
5. Beaches and tides … the sea as it embraces the shore. Volcanic textures that exist from ancient times, in awe of time and of these powerful elements
6. Choosing to experience new experiences with a grateful heart
7. Ease and flow, rest and recovery
8. Savory, sensational food exploration and satisfaction
9. Celebration of my friend, Colleen’s, birthday
10. Leave a subtle and almost undetectable footprint ….one of love and care. The only wake that says “I was here and it mattered”

Sunday 8 Sept 2019 local time …. Arrived at the hotel, steps from the airport in Athens. We walk with our luggage (which gratefully arrived in tact). Face wash, teeth brush … cup of peppermint tea …. unwind and prepare to sleep in this ancient and far away place. Till tomorrow ….

Greenwich England, 10 June 2019

The Last Post from Azamara Journey, 10 June 2019, Greenwich England

This morning we were required to attend in the lounge for immigration officials to have a face to face meeting with each and every soul on the ship. Immigration was very fast. We produced our Passports and room key card. We had breakfast and grabbed each an umbrella. Heading out to Greenwich today in a torrential rain storm, to check wifi, to arrange for transfer to airport tomorrow, to do our on-line check-in for our Westjet flights, to catch a glimpse of the Prime Meridian.

The ship is actually tendered mid-river. Many bus-type boats for moving people along the river, up to London, to various stops along the way. Efficient catamaran for transport from the ship to shore. It goes very fast, produces little wake. It goes up and down the river with different docking places, ours was one stop along today.

Once safely on shore, we found the Tourism Information area, not yet opened so we waited in the rain with our umbrellas from the ship, large blue with Azamara logo identifying us as from the cruise ship. The wifi was available outside the building before the office opened so we huddled, I posted a few blog posts to catch up. Once it opened at 10 am, we went in and enjoyed catching up on the issues that needed wifi connection. The wifi on the ship is sketchy at best, does not work well in staterooms, have to stand in the Hallway or go up to some of the common areas on ship. I heard lots of people complain that often it was not available at all.

We walked toward the beautiful park, in search of the Prime Meridian. We entered the museum and an accommodating staff person walked us through and gave very helpful directions. It was a beautiful walk way …. trees overhead, lovely paved area. Stunning actually. The Greenwich Park is beautiful, lush and green, well manicured, beautiful trees and flowers, benches to rest at. Large 180 plus acres of green-land!

We continued to walk in the rain around the park and through some of the city, along cobblestones, by residences, enjoying being in this lovely place, despite being completely soaked up to our knees! Shoes were squishy filled with water.

Back to the ship for our afternoon nap, some food and a restful afternoon talking, looking out at the village along the river, packing up our suitcases for our adventure home tomorrow.

Goodnight my friends and family, Thanks for following

Stay tuned for my next travel adventure ….

Pamela

Greenwich England. 10 June 2019

A self-guided Greenwich England walking tour, a leisurely plan for the tomorrow. We will find wifi and post recent blog posts so you all can know the events of the last few days. Come with us on the walking tour of this world famous destination.

“The ma.l.in purpose of the Observatory was to measure and monitor time and the most famous aspect of the Observatory from this purpose: The Prime Meridian. At 0 degrees longitude, the Greenwich Meridian marks the point where all time around the world is measured. The Prime Meridian was established in 1851 and gained international use by 1884. A stainless steel strip in the courtyard marks the line and since 1999 there has also been a green laser that shines down 0 degrees.” To help people synchronize their clocks to Greenwich Mean Time, the Astronomer Royal in 1833, John Pond, had the time ball installed on top of the Observatory. The ball drops daily at 1 pm all-year-round.

We will see the Greenwich Foot Tunnel (joins the two sides of the Thames River), the Millenium Dome (opened 1 January 2000), and the Cutty Sark (built in 1869, retired in 1954, was once believed to be the fastest freight ship in the world. Damaged by fire in May 2007 and undergone 35 million pound restoration, now open to the public).

It is 630 am on Monday 10 June 2019, we are backing up along the Thames River. We see industrial buildings first, then commercial business high rises and now rows of dense residential areas. Background is very tall towers, bank and other business names. A single jogger in the rain. Sea gulls a plenty circling around our ship. Very tall, very grey, lots of glass and golden cranes bending over the roof tops. Brown river water, slowly we creep along to our parking spot. Palm trees on rooftops, balconies and dog walkers. It is all very curious! Single walker with umbrella along the walkway across the river. Our balcony is on the water side as we park this cruise ship. According to a map, about 6 to 8 kilometers from downtown centre of London! It will be interesting to explore this area today. Big tug boats and sea gulls gathered and surrounding our ship this morning as the docking procedure continues … it is now 7:10 am and we still seem to be continuing to move in a backward motion, slowly inching our way along. Another single walker across the river. 7:30 am and we are stopped, the tug boats have left us now.

Joggers, cyclists, dog walkers and folks out walking with umbrellas. Residential area with a lovely river-side walk way. Ducks / geese with long necks floating by over by the wall. Planes overhead. We are tied up now to huge buoys in the river … apparently to expect a tender system provided by the city (not using Azamara small tender boats). According to the information desk yesterday, the tender system runs all the time as we are parked, docked, tied-up until the ship departs with new guests tomorrow.

Security advises we must go through immigration on the ship, with London England officials by showing our passports and attending face-to-face with their team coming on board. Our scheduled time is 9 am …. still a few hours to rise and watch the process. Today’s project is also to find a suitable drive into London Gatwick for our ride to airport tomorrow as we will be leaving early in the morning. One more sleep. I am coming home!

Sea Day. 9 June 2019. Left France. En route to England

Last evening after dinner, we sat on the top deck, the Living Room it is called on board the Azamara Journey cruise ship. Front row view in comfy chairs, deck 10, for more than 3 hours as we sailed with swans along the Seine. I took pictures … I wrote these words …

“Wow. Spectacular. Fancy Triplets playing favourite songs.

Perfectly manicured lawns and hedges surrounding beautiful estate homes, mansions facing the mighty and peaceful Seine River. Farms on the other side of the river, acres of greenery. Tree lined walkways and paved paths.

Flocks of birds in formation leading us up this beautiful river. This is an amazing sight. A highlight of the trip and the reason we sail on small ships in Europe.

Caravans of camper trailers. Families of swans peacefully meandering alongside our boutique sailing home. The sun in the clear blue sky is preparing to set behind the green full trees. It’s so peaceful and busy. The colours of the sky catch my breath.

Occasional church steeples on the horizon. Hello yellow golden glow. Swans creating ripples in v formation. Horses in the field. Flowers atop fence posts. Limestone cliffs, sandy beaches. Trees bending in reverence.

Sailing boats tied up at the ready. Tall 4 story old homes stately, dignified, coloured paint, brick and stone, half timber, sloped roofs. More swans. A mating pair. And another. Families of 4 or 5. Getting ready for slow summer night on the Seine.”

It was a relaxing sea day today. We went for a walk and run this morning. A day of relaxation, enjoying the meals, free laundry. Recognizing this as the last day aboard this cruise ship, appreciation of the food, the activities, entertainment. We had German traditional meal, British cuisine, chocolate buffet. A view of behind the scenes at the Cabaret hosted by Eric, the cruise director … for over an hour of Q and A. As well as Eric deGray show tonight, singing Broadway and then a tribute to ABBA. Costumes, singing, humour, talent, fun, standing ovation. This is a spectacular cruiseline with a lot to offer.

Tomorrow we explore Greenwich England. We will find and arrange a transfer to Gatwich airport for the following morning as we depart for Home. Stay tuned.

Thanks for following, I am coming home!!

Love Pamela

Rouen France. Day 2. 8 June 2019

Good day folks, thanks for following along with us as we have travelled from Victoria BC Canada to Barcelona Spain, then Cadiz, up coast of Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), several stops in France (Saint Malo, Cherbourg, Honfleur)…. as we prepare to leave Rouen France, today is our last stop on mainland Europe.

A sea day tomorrow, followed by Greenwich England and then nice flight home, direct this time :). Westjet, London Gatwick to Vancouver and then a quick hop over to Victoria by Tuesday afternoon 11 June 2019.

Today, with rain on the forecast, we bundled up after a leisurely breakfast and grabbed the large bus shuttle to town. Our intention to walk over the bridge and walk along the Tall Ships exhibition here in beautiful Rouen, on the Seine River in France. The rain held off, the crowds were building, 5 entrances, free admission but security present creating some line-ups to get in. Families, young and old, friends, single walkers, tourists and locals all seemed happy to be walking along the promenade. Many lining up to step foot on and tour around the ships themselves.

Several countries have pavilions … Canada selling maple syrup products from Quebec, Russia selling stacking colorful dolls, Cuba selling interesting bright colored food served in edible dishes. I noticed the Swiss tent but don’t recall what they were featuring. Flags flying proudly in the wind, beckoning walkers to take a closer look.

The promenade spread out about two kilometers on both sides of the Seine, with 50 Tall Ships from around the world, open air tour boats taking people to view from the river, for photo opportunities. We kept our eye on each other walking as the crowds got more and more dense, people stopping at white tents for purchasing sweets, baked products, mouilles frites, beverages, souvenirs of the Armada 2019, leather goods, cheeses, wines. One tent hosted huge, larger than life-size pink plastic pigs drawing attention to their food being cooked over fire pits, pigs on racks rotating, stacks of wood to add to the fire. Never seen anything like that before! Otherwise it had the real feel of a festival like Calgary Stampede, I thought.

We were grateful that the rain held off. We retraced our steps back to the main bridge and found the exit. We enjoyed walking along the roadway back to the ship. Total walking time of our outing today was 2.5 hours.

When we arrived at the ship the staff were rearranging the stairway up to the 5th floor of the ship ….

A wee rest and then lunch at the buffet. Now sitting in the Living Room, 10th floor, looking out at the sun sparkling on the water in front of us. Big gray and white clouds taking turns covering the sunshine that surely is above, creating the heat of this day. It has been a spectacular place to park and visit this great city. No regrets, only gratitude for the weather, the ancient sites, the waterways and celebration of the Tall Ships here in Europe. The torrential rain has started now, difficult to make out shapes on the front window through the many large raindrops. It is a beautiful day.

I listened to a few chapters of “Making Friends With Your Mind” recording with Pema Chodron as the weather passed this afternoon. Went for some laps of walking around the deck, it was warm and sunny. Decided to have a swim in the lovely salt water pool. About ten minutes into the pool, the black clouds came back and the rain started again. It is time now to get ready for dinner. Music can be heard from the pier, our balcony door open, concert beginning the evening celebrations.

As we prepare to depart France tonight, I think about the trip, my intentions to walk and be present to the land and stories we are walking on … ending the trip in Greenwich England, where time takes on a new meaning. More to follow …..

Each night before drifting off to sleep we have been exchanging gratitude from the day, the trip, or what has happened to us. It builds a closeness, a sense of positivity and friendliness with ourselves, each otherand the world around us.

I intend to keep that practice going as I return home, ever so grateful to have a wonderful supportive home to return to. Grateful for my loving family, for having enough, for being enough. Thankful for safety and positivity.

Thank you for following and supporting me in my travels,

Pamela