All Destinations


To know my mom, Iris, is to love her.  She can come up with the craziest ideas…and they work! One thing for sure, we love to travel together. I thought that by being on sabbatical I wouldn’t be able to treat her to a trip for a long while to come.  But by the grace of God, He made a way for us!

Traversing through Puerto Rico and then hopping aboard the beautiful Caribbean Princess sailing to St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, and then back to San Juan for a post-cruise stay was the perfect way to celebrate Mom’s birthday.  We had a lovely time.  And by the way, Mom dubbed me the Diva and she is the Duck!! Why??  Only she knows for sure!

 

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Roatan Rocks!!

Just got back from one of my favorite activities…CRUISIN!  My Aunt and I did the 7 day Royal Caribbean Cruise out of Galveston to Roatan, Honduras, Costa Maya and Cozumel.

In Roatan, we met up with my dear friend Marc in Gumbalimba Park.  This park has it all.  First, we did an amazing nature walk wherein we saw many black iguanas, beautiful flowers, and unusual trees. Then, we had a great time trying to cross the stream on an Indiana Jones style bridge.  Next, I got to play with a spider monkey and parrot. Such an awesome experience!!!

After the nature hike, I could not resist the opportunity to snorkel on the Jolly Roger Catamaran. The azure waters were calling me to come forth — LOL!!! Okay, I only stayed in about 15 minutes – but it was well worth it. I guess I was tired from eating too many deserts on the cruise ship.  A guide was beckoned to “rescue” me.  He took  me back to the boat where I had a cool drink and then met a fitness pro champ, Nicole.  She has the BEST ABS!!!

We continued to explore the park and had a chance to talk with Olivia, who is excited about her work with the youth on the island.  After that, we were ready for more adventure by taking the clear kayak tour to see the coastline.   These kayaks have a clear bottom which enable you can see clear down into the sea — Amazing!! 

Roatan really surprised us. The beaches were warm, the waters were crystal blue, the people were nice, and the variety of activities were great!  My Aunt and I had such a good time that we were trying to figure out a way to stay in Roatan instead of going back to the cruise ship.

More Beautiful Beaches

The next stop on the cruise was Costa Maya. This port is a fairly new development with a party type atmosphere and a variety of shopping options. We actually got a taxi to the downtown area and lounged on the beautiful beach for the whole day. 

I continued lounging on the beach in Cozumel to get more “sabbatical rest”.  It was great!! We met up with Nicole and just did absolutely nothing…loved it!

Inspiration – Try not to become a (wo)man of success but rather try to become a (wo)man of value. (Albert Einstein)

Prayer Focus – Haiti, Honduras, and Mexico (especially children). 

Be Blessed!!

I am back!  Jamaica, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Panama.  Of all places, never did I imagine that I would be in Colombia.

Starting out – This cruise adventure started in Ft. Lauderdale, making the first stop in Jamaica.  Here, we  had the opportunity to really talk to the locals and get an understanding of their lives.  After touring the island, the driver took us to a nice beach and we got some jerk chicken.   But to my surprise, it tasted like BBQ chicken – not authentic as I imagined…still good though and I ate every bit of it (LOL)!!!

Costa Rica – We got off the boat and secured a taxi to take us on a tour of Port Limon. The highlight of the tour was going on a jungle boat ride.  As we sailed through the swamps, we saw sloth, iguanas, and other creatures along thick foilage of the jungle.  What a treat!!

TIP – This same trip cost about $75 per person on the boat, but we got it for $20! When going on cruises, the excursions offered by cruise lines tend to be way more expensive. Plus, they leave too early in the morning for me. I suggest negotiating with a local taxi or tour driver at the port. Just ensure that you settle a rate before you begin your ride.  

Colombia – We landed at the Santa Marta port and got a taxi to take us to Tayrona National Park. Check out the pictures of this park to see the most beautiful coastline and beaches ever!   Once we got to the park entrance, I started to get a bit uncomfortable. The “guards” at the gate wanted an extreme amount of money to enter the park. Thank goodness our fellow cruiser was fluent in Spanish! 

We then went to Cartegena. I love this place! The culture, beaches, people, and architecture were just amazing. One thing about Colombia – it was HOT!! You definitely need a hat, sunglasses, and water.

Panama – The ship docked in Colon, Panama. We got a taxi to take us through the city and onto Panama City,  but not before seeing the Panama Canal.  Actually seeing a ship go through the locks was interesting. By this time, we were all running out of money.  One good thing, most of all the cities we visited took the US dollar. Panama actually uses our currency.  But, things were just a little bit more expensive.

 Fin – The trip ended with an overnight stay in the Panama City Marriot. The hotel was really nice. It had a huge gym – which I didn’t use of course. But, I did get in the hot tub!

Inspiration –  Don’t let disappointments, strained relationships and job challenges tell you who God is; let His Word speak for Him. (Joel Osteen).

Peace & Blessings!!

-A

Here in the south, or at least southeast Texas, we hardly get to see a distinct change of colors when seasons change. So, you can imagine my thrill when I saw all the wonderful bright oranges and reds flowing over the landscape of Frankfurt, Germany.  This surely put me in the mood for fall and a perfect end to the Ancient Empires cruise! 

Inspiration – Thank you Jesus for all that you have blessed us with!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

-A

WOW!!!  We really got a great deal aboard the beautiful brand new Celebrity Equinox cruise ship.  Thank you Aunt Thelma.  Here are the details of our adventure…

We landed in Rome and quickly found the train route that would take us to the port city of Civitavecchia.  From there, we boarded the ship for a 12 relaxing days around the Mediterranean Sea.  These days were filled with taking advantage of learning new languages, eating, relaxing in the hot tub, meeting our fellow cruisers, listening to great jazz music, and dressing up for exquisite dinners. 

Oh, I must mention, aside from the exotic ports of call, one of the most exciting part of the cruise was the broadway style show after dinner. In Cirque style, there were aerial performers (which I LOVE) and other dancers in flamboyant costumes.  This show was world-class!  This voyage was definitely off to a great start.

First Stop – Athens

The weather was slated to be clear and hot for our  first stop – Athens, Greece.  Boy, was the weatherman ever wrong!! On our way to the Acropolis, it started to drizzle.  But that didn’t stop our adventure.  The taxi dropped us off and we were headed up the steep pathway to see this ancient wonder of the world. Finally making it to the top, we also treated to a spectacular overview of Athens and the Parthenon. At this point, it started to POUR!!!  There was no place to take cover.  Luckily, we saw friends with umbrellas who gladly escorted us down the hill.  From there, we got a taxi and went back to the ship…So much for a day in Athens.

Next stop??  Onward to Ancient Empires

Words cannot express the awe I felt traveling through the Holy Land and following in the footsteps of St. Paul in Ephesus, Turkey.  Imagine my excitement seeing the magnificent Pyramids of Giza and standing right next to the Sphinx.  I actually envisioned the baby Moses sailing down the Nile River in his basket.  Definitely an impressive journey!  

Here is a challenge – Can you name the site/locations captured in the photos below? (hint – mouse over the pic for the location).

Wait!!   There’s more…But, it will have to wait until my next post.
Be Blessed ’til then!
-A

I am sitting here thinking about the crystal blue waters of the Sea of Cortez. So very relaxing!! Cabo really was a great luxurious getaway. I stayed at the beautiful Riu Palace and one thing for sure – the food was AWESOME! I couldn’t stop eating and didn’t want to either.  This trip was a great experience not only because of the destination. But, because of the adventure and the people I met along the way. 

New Friends

Allow me to introduce some new friends. The scene – downtown Cabo. The place – Starbucks (go figure). While shopping around, I happened to meet a very motivated and handsome young man, Modu. This highly educated, finely sculpted and interesting man recently took a step of faith and moved to Cabo to pursue his dream of fitness training, modeling, and launching a clothing line.  He does it all! Check out his site and see for yourself http://www.moduvatedtobefit.com/.  In his own words, he gave me some great advice for this season of my life “Never look back. Do what you love because we only live once. It will pay off soon or later.” Modu is indeed very wise. 

Ziplining – While mustering up enough courage to zipline for the first time, I also met a very inspirational family from Arizona. Rebecca, Jeff, Gabby and JJ. Especially brave JJ!  With his beautiful big sister Gabby watching over him, he was such a trooper as we climbed high in the canyons of Cabo. Check out the pictures from our adventure. Although it was fun, Lord knows I probably won’t be doing any more ziplining again!!

So that was my amazing Cabo adventure. A most memorable one for sure!

Inspiration – A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles. – Tim Cahill

I am back from Italy and have been eagerly wanting to share with you the details about my Italian adventure. 

Here we go… 

Although we were running a few minutes behind schedule to the airport, we pumped up the tunes and jammed to BOOM-BOOM-POW to get us into high gear.  Kerri, Elaine, and yours truly (aka Team BOOM-BOOM-POW) were ready for Italy.  But, was Italy ready for Team BOOM-BOOM-POW??? 

Kerri, Angie (me), and Elaine
Kerri, Angie (me), and Elaine

After landing in  Roma, the Italian men were upon me. Italy loves Angie and Angie loves Italy!  Several guys quickly deemed themselves as my “boyfriend”.  We managed to sneak away from them and make it outside the terminal only to be greeted by Elaine’s handsome “young and fresh” friend, Nicola. He was every bit of an Italian that one could imagine. He gave us a tour of the stomping grounds near his job, took us to a cute coffee shop for a snack, and then generously drove us the train station. Thank you Nicola!!

Once again we were en route and on the go. We went from Roma to Positano via the trains — some with no air and it was hotter than Houston!! Finally making it to Positano and settling into our beautiful cliffside hotel, we couldn’t wait to explore the island and get some food. As we walked along the way to the boardwalk to the beach area, there were many boutiques for our shopping pleasure. I managed to keep my spending to only food and essentials. The Euro was still pounding at the USD, making things pretty expensive from our perspective. Okay – I did buy a cute swimsuit coverup that I couldn’t resist.

Positano

Positano turned out to be the highlight of this fabulous trip for me. One night while we were having dinner, a guy totally surprised me with the biggest most beautiful bouquet of flowers ever!!! They even matched my outfit!  Apparently, he saw me the day before and waved to me, but I didn’t think anything of it. He then saw us having dinner on the boardwalk, passed by a few times, and then returned with the flowers…Now that’s ITALY!!! 

Flowers from an admirer Flowers from an admirer

Our love for Positano continued by dancing the night away at Music on the Rocks, lounging on the beach, meeting wonderful people, eating great pasta, and hitching scooter rides. Kerri broke some guys heart and left him standing on the porch and Elaine –well, she just had a grand ole time.

Next, the star treatment continued as we ferried to the beautiful isle of Capri.  We were trying to go up to the top deck of the boat, but the Captain and his team beckoned us to come up to the command center for the remainder of the ride!!! It was great! We had a blast.

Capri

In Capri, we met up with a Billie and Ryan, Elaine’s friends. (As a travel aficionado, she has friends all over the world -LOL!!). Although we had the worst pizza ever in Capri, the day was salvaged by visiting the infamous Blue Grotto and taking the chairlift in Anacapri up to the highest point on the island for spectacular views of the Bay of Naples. AWESOME!!!!

Back to ROMA

Team BOOM-BOOM-POW was now in Naples. We waited a few minutes at the bus station, but realized we needed a cab in order to get to the train station before dark. Kerri and Elaine were a bit apprehensive at the cab that stopped for us because it wasn’t in the best condition.  But, I was getting in the first thing moving…LOL!!!

We made it to the train station and back to Roma. Seems like we went from one questionable situation to another. The hotel was in a remote area of town and we had to walk under freeways and back streets to get there. I dare not mention the things we saw along the way. Here, we added Nicole, a model from Milan to our team. So now, we were BOOM-BOOM-POW plus One!! She was full of energy and being fluent in Italian was our “tour guide” for the must see sites of Rome.

It was sooo unbelieveably HOT in Rome! But we hydrated with water from the ancient Roman aquaduct fountains and cooled off with gelato and limoncello slushies–mmmmm good stuff! 

We actually did a lot in the short time we were in Rome. We were in awe of the Vatican, Coloseum, the Trevi Fountain, and all the ancient ruins. We marvelled at the magnificient works of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel….ahh ROMA!!! The only thing we missed were the catacombs. We got there too late to tour them. Oh well, just have to go back.


 

Those are the highlights and memories from the first trip of my sabbatical. Never did I imagine my dreams would start to come true so soon after leaving my job. I have had the opportunity to meet wonderful people, see some beatiful landscapes, and have awesome experiences. For that, I am thankful.

Inspiration – The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams (Eleanor Roosevelt).

Be Blessed,

-A