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About Booney

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  1. Bonjourno from Italy! We’re docked at Livorno which is a busy port city. Lots of cruise ships and ferry boats have come through the port while we’ve been here. We have quite a beautiful view from the ship: Today we took a tour of Pisa, which is a 40 minute drive from Livorno. Its most famous landmark, the Leaning Tower, is in the Square of Miracles, which has a few other beautiful buildings including the Baptistry below. The Baptistry is also described as a musical instrument. On the half-hour, one of the guards demonstrates the acoustics by doing a chant. Due to the echo effect, her one voice sounds like several voices - it was amazing! Of course, the centerpiece is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You can actually climb to the top. It’s 238 steps...Mr. Booney and I decided to pass on that! @PearlClutcher - we’ve been eating on board the ship mostly (the food is wonderful btw!). We’ll be in Florence all day tomorrow, however, so we’ll have lunch in a restaurant there. Then we’re on our own in Rome Sunday and Monday, so we’ll be sampling the local fare. Ciao til tomorrow!
  2. This is the cathedral where Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly were married. They are both buried inside. We were able to tour the cathedral, but could not take any pictures inside. Their tombs (in the floor) always have fresh flowers on them - today there were orchids. The head of state is Prince Rainier’s and Princess Grace’s son, Prince Albert, who lives with his family in the Prince’s Palace. We toured that as well. As were were walking across the open courtyard in front, guards hustled everyone to the side to allow two cars to come through and enter the palace grounds. In the first car was Prince Albert himself, who apparently prefers to drive himself! A guard at the Prince’s Palace: Princess Caroline lives close to the palace in this pink house. (Princess Stephanie lives in a condo in another part of town, choosing not to live like a royal): It was a fascinating glimpse into Monaco! It’s evening here now and the ship will be sailing shortly to our next port of Livorno, Italy where we will do tours of Pisa and Florence tomorrow and Saturday. More tomorrow!
  3. Hi everyone! We spent several hours in Monte Carlo, Monaco today. This is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. Our guide told us that the average apartment rents for 10,000 to 20,000 euros...a month! It’s very modern, with lots of high rises and skyscapers. The view of city, with the harbor in the foreground and mountains in the background, is spectacular: The building on the right with the two turrets in this pic is the world-famous casino, featured in two James Bond movies: A different view of the many high-rise condos and apartments:
  4. Lol, no shops with tiny cardboard purses and cheap jewelry. Btw, I’m seeing cold shoulder tops on some of the female passengers, but not a poncho in sight. 😊
  5. Bonjour! Today was our last day in France, and we spent it in two coastal resort areas on the Cote d’Azur. St. Tropez is the playground of the very, very rich and famous. I have never seen so many yachts...huge, huge, yachts. Our cruise ship anchored next to this behemoth, the Katara. It’s one of the largest yachts in the world - 400+ feet long, worth $300 million dollars and owned by the former Emir of Qatar. It even has its own helicopter! These are the kind of folks that come to play in St. Tropez! The dock area of St. Tropez is huge, and did I mention all those yachts? Although St. Tropez is known for its designer shops like Hermes, high end jewelry stores, and very expensive restaurants, the part of town known as Old St. Tropez is really quite charming with picturesque, narrow streets. Although charming, St. Tropez was mobbed with people - lots of hustle and bustle. We fell in love with the other town we visited, Port Grimaud, which is just a short ride from St. Tropez. Not as expensive (though that’s not saying much!), and quieter, it has more of a village feel. Here are some pics from Port Grimaud. @KLovestoShop, I use my little ol’ IPhone camera to take photos - nothing fancy! Our ship left St. Tropez at 6:00 p.m. and set sail for our next stop, Monte Carlo in Monaco. As the sun was setting over the Mediterranean, I snapped this shot. Good night, all - more tomorrow!
  6. Here are a few pics from our tour of Marseille today. Marseille is France’s oldest city, and it’s second largest (after Paris), with over a million people. Two views of Vieux Port, or Old Port, a natural harbor in the center of the city that hosts all kinds of watercraft: This monument commemorates those lost in WWI and is also a symbolic gateway to North Africa: Looking out to the sea: We had another great day! Our ship has just left port and we are headed to St. Tropez where we’ll be tomorrow.
  7. I don’t know who told you that - Viking directly, or a travel agent - but we have certainly seen passengers on this trip who I would not describe as “active people who do physically active cruises.” There are various levels of excursions offered - from those that do require physical activity, like hiking, to scenic tours where you sit on a bus for the duration. You might want to get a second opinion on that policy. ETA: We saw a woman on a scooter a few minutes ago as we were walking to the ship’s theater.
  8. Thank you, @KLovestoShop! Yes, we’re on a smaller ship. All of Viking’s ocean cruise ships are all only 930 passengers, which is a much nicer experience than the super ships. This (the Viking Orion) is a brand new ship - she had her maiden voyage a week before our trip - so everything is pristine and state of the art. It’s funny - parked next to us in Marseille port is Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, which I think is the largest ocean cruise ship in the world - 5,500 passengers. It looks like a behemoth and not one I’d be interested in sailing on! Viking has brought some of the advantages of the river cruise experience to ocean cruising in that the cost is more inclusive. They include a wine and beer package, one excursion per person per port, and some other amenities that you typically pay extra for on an ocean cruise. I agree with you totally on cruises. I love the fact that you don’t have to pack and upack! I also love that you don’t have to plan everything - all the planning is done for you and you only have to decide which excursion(s) to take each day. It’s true you don’t see a city or country in depth, but we’re happy seeing the highlights, and you still do get a very good feel for the flavor of the places you’re visiting. It’s definitely our favorite way to travel, and we’re already planning our next one for 2019!
  9. We opted for a walking tour of Séte today, where we are docked. Sète is a city of 40,000 and is a resort destination as well as a fishing center. Like many cities in France, it has canals; below are two views of one of the main canals: The city is known for its art and artists, and many colorful murals grace building walls. The church in the background is one of the highest points in the city. The seawall, which protects the port city: There are many cultural influences in the city. There is regular ferry travel between Sète and northern Africa (Algeria and Morocco) and you can see that reflected in many Moroccan and Algerian restaurants and shops. Our guide told us that many Italian fishermen migrated to Sète and influenced the culture. One artist created this sculpture that he called “Italian Mama” (no offense to Italian mamas!): We throughly enjoyed the tour. It’s almost 11:00 p.m. now and our ship is getting ready to leave the dock and sail to Marseilles. More pics from Marseilles tomorrow!
  10. We woke up this morning to these beautiful views of Sete, France - a coastal town near Montpelier where we are docked. We’ll be taking a two-hour walking tour of Sete later this morning. I’m guessing that France will still be celebrating yesterday’s World Cup win!
  11. We’re on our way to France. Some of you asked for a picture of our room on the last cruise, so here’s a pic of our room this time. Cruise cabins are generally pretty small, but we have a balcony which makes it feel more spacious. Mr. Booney is enjoying the view of the Mediterranean from our balcony: So instead of staying inside taking pictures, I’m going to go out and join him!
  12. Hola from Barcelona, Spain! Mr. Booney and I arrived here this morning to begin our next excellent adventure, a Mediterranean cruise. We only have a few hours here before we set sail for France this evening, but we managed to walk around a bit to get a feel for this vibrant city. One of main landmarks is the Columbus Monument. The orange you see on Columbus’s arm is a life jacket that activists placed there to mark the loss of migrant and refugee lives in the Mediterranean Sea. We walked down La Rambla, a tree-lined pedestrian mall in the heart of the city lined with shops, open air stalls, and many restaurants and tapas bars. Wish we were here a little longer, but we’re looking foward to spending the next three days in the south of France - Montpelier tomorrow, then Marseilles and St. Tropez. I’ll be posting pics of our travels!
  13. I agree! For me, cutting out entire food groups, or trying to go low fat or low carb just didn’t work. Being able to eat most things - but in moderation - seems to be working.
  14. HB on with VPH selling a faceted hurricane that comes in silver, gold and rose gold - HB: “Silver is for the 25th anniversary and gold is for 50. Kelly and I just celebrated our 15th, which I think is paper. I wrote her a check.” VPH, laughing: “Kelly puts up with a lot.” HB: “She’s such a lucky girl.” VPH: “The hurricane looks like it was made by a crystal company.” HB: “We can’t say the name. They have lawyers.” HB: “According to Erica (the producer) we have 1600 left in the rose gold. Erica has never been wrong, ever. Except for that one time when she wasn’t wrong, she was mistaken.”
  15. You can add me to the support group. I’ve struggled with losing weight forever. I used to be able to lose weight pretty easily (keeping it off is another story!). But once I hit my 60s, losing it became even harder than keeping it off. I’ve tried every diet out there over the years, but last fall, I decided to give up diets and try a different approach. I didn’t drastically change what I ate, but I changed how much I ate. Very, very slowly I’ve lost a little weight - 15 lbs. since last November. Recently I joined a gym and the increased activity is helping. I’ve got another 25 - 30 lbs. to go but I’m trying not to focus on a weight loss goal or a timetable. It’s still hard!