Ferry-ly We Go Along – Changes in Latitudes

When I was a kid, my Dad would take us for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  At 5 cents per passenger, it was a true bargain for a family of six.  We’d ride to Manhattan and turn around and come back.  Sometimes, he’d take the car on the ferry and we’d drive in the City.  Great times!

That was the start of my affection for ferries.  Here are a few others I’ve ridden.

Cape May, NJ – Lewes, DE

The Cape May to Lewes Ferry held 2 attractions for a friend and me – water and crab cakes.  The combo fare for ferry and shuttle service got us close to Lewes’ downtown area.  After dinner, we’d stroll to King’s for homemade ice cream before hopping the shuttle for the “cruise” back to NJ.

Oxford, MD – Bellevue, MD

Started in 1683, the Oxford – Bellevue Ferry is more modest than most carrying just 9 cars.  The pleasant 7 minute ride covers about ¾ of a mile as it crosses the TredAvonRiver on the way to St. Michaels, MD, the “town that fooled the British.”   During the War of 1812, knowing the British were poised to attack, the residents hung lanterns high in the trees.  At night, aiming for the lights, the British gunboats overshot and the town was saved.

Port Kent, NY- Burlington, VT

One of the best ways to start Vermont leaf-peeping is aboard the Port Kent-Burlington Ferry, operating since 1826.  With the Adirondacks to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, this is truly the “scenic route” of the Lake Champlain service.

Hyannis, MA – Nantucket, MA Lawrence

In the 1830s, Nantucket was one of the busiest whaling ports in the world.  Today, she still welcomes travelers arriving by sea, including by ferry.  The Steamship Authority runs service to the island regularly from Hyannis.  Passengers who “walk on” can chose the high speed which takes about 60 minutes.  Those with vehicles or a little more time, might prefer a more leisurely 2 ¼ hour cruise.

Levis, Quebec, Canada to Quebec   City, Quebec, Canada

As the Empress dominates Vancouver, so does her sister hotel the Chateau Frontenac loom high above Quebec City. Travelers crossing the St. Lawrence via ferry at Levis enjoy a 10 minute trip and some spectacular views of this 400 year old city.

Seattle, WA – Victoria, BC, Canada

Reigning over Vancouver Island’s Inner Harbor with grace and majesty, the Empress, a magnificent hotel from another age, awes visitors arriving by ferry from Seattle.  Built in 1809, she has welcomed royalty, rogues, and regular people like my Mother, sister, and me.  After visiting the Royal BC Museum, Parliament, and Butchart Gardens, we indulged in that time honored ritual known as Afternoon Tea.

Tea at the Empress

Tea at the Empress

 

Planes, Ships and Automobiles – Changes in Latitude

My family has taken many vacations over the years, most of which involved long car rides to our destination.  Most of our time was spent reading road maps, sitting in traffic, searching for parking and waiting in rental car lines.  However, one year we decided to try something new.  We sailed on a Disney Cruise and left the ship responsible to take us to our destinations.  We would relax aboard the great big ship and be pedestrians for the week (and shed the pounds we would gain from having access to food 24 hours a day).  We were ready for our relaxing non-transportation vacation, or so I thought.

Photo Credit: disneyparks.disney.go.com

Photo Credit: disneyparks.disney.go.com

On the day of the departure, we loaded into our mini van and drove 90 minutes to the airport in Allentown, Pa.  Soon we were airborne as our plane took off for Orlando, Florida.  And no sooner than when we landed, we were driving along in our rented car to Cape Canaveral to board the ship.

For those keeping track – car, plane, car and ship.

Our first stop on our cruise docked us at Key West,  where we walked, walked and walked.  Day two was spent at sea, so our mode of transportation was a comfortable lounge chair aboard the outdoor deck.  On Day three, we arrived at Grand Cayman where we boarded a smaller boat which delivered us to the pier and waiting taxi that was beach bound.

Who is checking?  Car, plane, car, ship, walk, smaller boat, and taxi.

Our next stop in Cozumel involved taking a shuttle bus to a location where we would swim with dolphins.  What a memory!  As our cruise neared its end, we played on the beaches of Castaway Cay and we kayaked.

In one week we – Car, plane, car, ship, walk, smaller boat,  taxi, shuttle bus, swam and kayaked.

Who ever said cruising was relaxing?

But rest assured, we are planning our next transportation mode rich cruise.

Bon Voyage!

 

The Emerald Isle – Changes In Latitude

Polite and friendly people. Warm and delicious brown bread.  Green for more than the eye can see.  Guinness on tap everywhere and anywhere you go.

Where are we?

Ireland, of course – the Emerald Isle.

As the plane descended from the clouds, the morning was bright and beautiful.  And at the expense of sounding cliché, outside our window the greenest fields and lush rolling hills greeted us.

ireland2This was my first trip oversees in many years and the first in which I was leaving my children behind in the care of my parents.  Trying to suppress my anxiety of leaving them, I vowed to make the most of my time in the beautiful city of Dublin.

And what a city it is!

During our week stay, we visited the “must see” sites Dublin primarily by foot and bus……

…St. Patrick’s Cathedral (which unlike the cathedral in New York City is Anglican).

ireland…Trinity College and the splendor of its breath-taking library.

..the Guinness Factory and the tour up to the Sky Bar for a free pint of Guinness – there is a full meal in every pour!ireland3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But of all the tourist sites we visited, by far my favorite was taking the Literary Pub Crawl.  What is better than being immersed in Irish literary history while enjoying a pint at each stop along the tour.  On the night of our walking tour, a light rain fell and we met Yeats, O’Casey, Joyce and Swift along the way on this tour.

And like all good trips, the night before we left, our tour bus made its way up the winding hills and delivered us at the door step of The Merry Ploughboys Pub where we dined, danced and sang as if we were just another fellow family member.

 

 

Cruising Up the Nile in 1987 – Changes in Latitude

Photo Credit: VikingRiverCruises.com

Photo Credit: VikingRiverCruises.com

Most of Cairo was asleep as my cab pulled away from the hotel.  Soon the streets and sidewalks would bustle with people, cars, buses, bikes, and mopeds.  For now, in the dusty morning light, it was my cab and a donkey cart.  The cart had no driver.  Yet, the donkey trotted with confidence and purpose, crossing the street carefully as two men slept in the back.  I don’t know where the donkey was going but I was on my way home following a whirlwind tour of Egypt.

That I was in Egypt at all mystified me. I had read Death on the Nile and Elizabeth Peters’ excellent mysteries. I knew about the Pyramids, King Tut, Ramses, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra.  That was about it.

When my sister Clara, a travel agent, invited me to cruise up the Nile between Luxor and Aswan, I couldn’t refuse.  We met in Cairo and flew together to Luxor, where the Osiris, our floating hotel, awaited.

Shopping in downtown Luxor, a tour of the Temple, and a spectacular light and sound show at the Temple of Karnak, left us exhausted.  As we slept, Osiris crossed the river to the West Bank of the Nile. To avoid the daytime heat, buses left at 6AM for the necropolis at the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. We wore sturdy shoes and carried flashlights, bottled water, and sun tan lotion.

Photo Credit: ancientegyptonline.co.uk

Photo Credit: ancientegyptonline.co.uk

The tombs had been cut deep into rocky hills. The walking was strenuous.  Inside the tombs, colorful, well preserved murals and hieroglyphics depicting the life and death of the entombed covered the walls and ceilings of uneven passageways.

With terraces and colonnades, Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple at Deir al-Bahri rests below towering cliffs.  Here, a member of our group revealed she had been Hatshepsut in a previous life.  Sadly, the tomb drawings were destroyed by the Queen’s successor.  He wished to eradicate any trace of this woman who ruled as a man.

Though hot and humid on land, on the river, it was cool and relaxing when afternoon tea was served.  Occasionally, we heard the call to prayer from towering minarets.  We sailed north to Dendera and the tomb of Hathor, goddess of heaven, joy, and love.  From there, we bused to Abydos, the final resting place of the god Osiris.

Heading south, we stopped in Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo which is protected by two gods.  Harwar, a hawk headed god and Sobek, a crocodile share a twin temple with one side dedicated to each.  In Aswan, we traded Osiris for a graceful felucca to sail to the botanical gardens on Kitchener’s Island and to the Aga Khan’s mausoleum.

Returning to Cairo, Clara and I visited the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Visitors don’t walk into the pyramids. Rather, they crawl along an ascending or descending passage though galleries and chambers. It is not for those who are claustrophobic. At the bottom of the Pyramids, sits the Sphinx.  Part lion, part man, the Sphinx faces east to watch the rising of the sun, the return of life each day.

 

SummerBlogPhoto

 

Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their 
memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal 
recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America, 
and around the world.  Changes in Latitude………..