2017 1-Florida, Transatlantic, Krakow Poland, Prague Czech Republic


Double click pictures to enlarge.

May 19-23-2017   We had a nice visit with granddaughter Tiffany, her husband Nick, great-granddaugter Madeline age 2 and great-grandson Andrew 3 1/2 months.

Maddie, liked the beach and playing in the hotel’s children areas.

Maddie, who has had her own room her whole life, did not want to go to sleep with mommy and daddy in the room. Finally they called down and asked if a pack and play could be brought up to their room. Once the pack and play was made up it would just fit the closet, so Maddie now had her own room and went to sleep.

Maddie is so much like her mother was as a child, and looks a lot like her. She is full on going 100 mph, very bright, and talkative.

Andrew at 3 1/2 months also has his own room at home, but he was OK with mommy and daddy sharing it. He is a big boy, looks more like 5 or 6 months, but isn’t quite ready for all those fun things at the hotel yet. We will visit with them in Pittsburgh again in August.

We had great fun in Fort Lauderdale with Maddie and Andrew, our great-grandchildren, but we do not feel comfortable posting their pictures on a public blog.

We look forward to visiting with  them again in August in their new home.

The Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel Ft. Lauderdale FL


While in Fort Lauderdale we also met up with a very sweet young lady, Cindy, from Belgium. She and I had exchanged emails after we had “met” on the website Cruise Critic, and made plans to go to lunch in Fort Lauderdale.  Cindy also kept us in Belgium chocolate the whole trip across the Atlantic on RC Freedom. Hopefully we will meet up again in the future.

We boarded Freedom Of The Seas April 23. The first couple of days the Atlantic Ocean  was a little rocky, but has settled down since.

Our cabin attendant Melroy has been very helpful, nothing is too much trouble.


Off we go again………

I love watching the ship’s wake.

Whenever possible I  book rear facing aft cabins. This is the first time we have had a port hole and a door. They are usually double sliding glass doors.


These pictures give a good idea of size for a standard balcony cabin on Royal Caribbean. They run 180-190 square depending on location and ship.

On the desk you can see the towel bunny Melroy made.

The bathrooms are tight, but you have a shower, sink and toilet, and a small amount of storage, what more could you want? Yeah, I know, more square feet.

You have to get along pretty well to survive for several weeks in  a ship’s cabin. Our  longest consecutive so  far was 8 weeks.

When we came back from dinner Melroy had moved the bunny to the bed and it is holding the remote. Must be a boy bunny.



Cadiz, Spain

Monument to Spain’s first constitution written in 1812.

Cadiz was founded by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago and is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe.

The Cadiz Cathedral was built in the 18th century as a memorandum of trade relations between Spain and America.

Leaving Cadiz for Seville

This bridge seems to be loved by some locals and loathed by others, but it is an interesting design. (Pictures taken from back seat of car around Jim’s head by Jeannie and telephoto lens, on point & shoot.)

Seville Spain

This week there was a fair in Seville with lots of flamenco dancing, lots of beautiful costumes, and many families arrive on very decorative horse drawn carriages pulled by beautiful Andalusian horses. 


One of the watchtowers to keep watch over Napoleon as he bombarded Seville from across the bay for a four year time span in the early 1800’s.

One of over a hundred watchtowers on top of residences or buildings that were also used to keep an eye on Napoleon’s forces.

The steeple of Seville’s Cathedral Of St. Mary the largest gothic cathedral in the world, with ongoing restoration. I took this picture several times thinking I was holding the camera at a slant.

The Alcazar Royal Palace, residence for Spain’s royal family when they visit Seville.

The architecture of Alcazar was greatly influenced by the Muslims who controlled Seville from the 12th century through the 15th century.

More of the Muslim influence in Alcazar’s tile work.

The interior of Seville’s cathedral 

Over two tons of gold was used in the construction of the altar of Seville’s cathedral. 

We decided to leave Seville and move on to Arco de la Frontera since traffic was beginning to build up as people were waiting for the fair to start.

Arco de la Frontera – one of the “white villages” that mark the border between the Christian & Muslim religions when the Muslums (the Moors) still had a strong presence in the country of Spain. 



May 4, 2017 from the port of Malaga to the village of Mijas, Spain

We left the port of Malaga and drove for about an hour to Mijas. Mijas is one of the charming white villages, and could be a wonderful place to spend a week or several….. days, weeks, etc.

The sea is over there, can you see it?

The Rock Church

Patient beagle at cafe


May 5, 2017  Palma de Mallorca Spain

Interesting door knocker


May 8, 2017  Barcelona Spain

The first 3 are through our dirty windows in our hotel room

Park Guell

Park Guell is a public park system in Barcelona Spain that is composed of gardens and architectural buildings that were built between 1900 and 1914.  

The park was originally part of an unsuccessful housing site owned by Count Eusebi Guell, after who the park was named. Guell commissioned Antoni Gaudi , a quite famous Spanish architect,  the best known practitioner of Catalan modernism.

The intention of the original housing development was to promote the fresh air and beautiful views from the site, with 60 triangular lots provided for luxury housing. 

With the failure of the housing development the property was converted to a municipal park.


Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi is our next stop today.

Construction of the church was started in 1882 by architect Francisco Paula de Villar with Gaudi becoming involved in 1883 after Villar resigning as head architect. Gaudi transformed the project with his engineering and architectural style combining Gothic and Curvinear Art Nouveau form. Gaudi devoted the last years of his life to the project, and at the time of his death in 1926 at age 73, less than 25% of the project was complete.

The construction of the church progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations, and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, and World War 2.

It is currently estimated that the construction of the church will be completed in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. They are now selling tickets for guided tours to help pay for the construction.

When complete the church will have 18 steeples, representing in ascending order of height the 12 apostles, the Virgin Mary, the 4 evangelists, and the steeple representing Jesus Christ being the tallest.

La Sagraeda Familia   architect Antoni Gaudi

Monument to Christopher Columbus 

The next 4 are from the roof of our hotel in Barcelona.

We flew from Barcelona to Venice May 9 and are flying from Venice to Krakow May 11.  Time in Venice was spent sleeping and laundry. 

May 9, 2017, We had left Barcelona for Venice, (where we will catch a cruise ship in June), so we could store some items at the Venice hotel, and then May 11 we left Venice for Krakow Poland (the first city on this land portion of our trip). 

The itinerary was supposed to be Venice to Krakow,  via Amsterdam.  Our Venice flight arrived late causing us to miss our flight to Krakow. Our only option for our next itinerary was Amsterdam to Krakow, via Berlin. We finally arrived in Krakow at about 11:00PM but  our luggage did not make the trip.

This evening, May 12, we went back to the Krakow airport to greet our three pieces of luggage that have been making the rounds in various airports in Europe.

Lesson learned, never accept flight changes being assured your luggage will be removed from flight B and catch up with you on flight D.  We should have insisted our luggage be returned to us in Amsterdam.

.The stories it could tell. 

May 12, 2017- Krakow Poland  On the way out to the airport this evening to pick up our luggage Jim asked me why I had chosen Krakow as one of the cities I wanted to visit in central Europe. It was because of some pictures I had seen.  Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland and is often noted as one of Europe’s most beautifully conserved medieval cities. 

Our hotel dates back to 1836. The building was gutted and restored a few years ago. It is a combination of the original outer old building, and the interior building with brick exposed walls and ceilings from the original building, to an artistic boutique style.


The elevator in the hotel is the smallest we’ve ever seen. It is only large enough for 2 people (who are friendly) and 2 suitcases. It has a capacity of (900 pounds). When we call the elevator from floor 0 (floor 0 is ground floor in European buildings ) we first see the elevator counter weight go down, then the elevator comes up.

Shower tile (I love unique tile)

May 13, 2017- Our hotel is in old town. All we need to do to go to the market is walk out the hotel and cross the street. We took a walk around the neighborhood today. Weather is cool with some sprinkles. 

The area appearing in lower half of above picture are the roofs of all the combined sections of the market. There are a lot of spices, vegetables, some fruit, meats, candy, bakery/pastries, some clothing and household, purses. That’s all I can think of right now.

I love all of the buildings in the backgrounds. Krakow’s old town dates back to the 9th century.

This is a large market with all kinds of vendors across from our hotel.

This is one of the churches by our hotel.

Pope John Paul II   He was from Wadiwice Poland, he was the first non-Italian Pope since 1523, and was Pope 1978-2005.

Pope John Paul’s goal was to bring the people of Christians, Judaism, and Muslim faiths together. 

More of our Krakow neighborhood

May 14, 2017   Krakow Poland

Today we walked to the train station just to make sure we knew where we need to go, and what level, when we leave Krakow for Prague on Tuesday. I did take a few pictures along the way.

Old city meets new …….  Krakow dates back to 1038.

May 15, 2017

Today we set out for Wawel Castle, Wawel Cathedral and multiple beautiful churches between the castle and Market Square.

The Baroque era didn’t emerge until the 1700’s.

We have really enjoyed this city, it is really beautiful. So having said that , and in no particular order, here are today’s photos.


Vistula River as seen from the promenade around Wawel Castle, inside castle walls.

St. Mary’s Basilica, a Gothic style church adjacent to the main market square of Krakow. It was built in the 14th century. It is one of the best examples of Polish Gothic architecture. 

As legend has it, two brothers were hired in the 16th century to build the two towers of St. Mary’s. One brother was to build one tower and the other brother was to build the other. The tower being built by the older brother was taller than the other brother’s tower, so in a fit of jealous rage the younger brother killed his older brother and then proceeded to build his tower taller.

Consumed by guilt over killing his brother, once his tower was finished he climbed to the top of his tower and jumped to his death. 

Krakow wiki

One of the things we really enjoyed seeing in Krakow were all the beautiful horses with carriages, and many times the people in traditional Polish dress.

The main market

Inside the main market square, Krakow.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Train to Prague, Czech Republic moving out!

On the rails again!


May 17, 2017 Prague Czech Republic 

All of the magical, the mythical, the mysterious, and the tragedies throughout the centuries have brought many changes to this city.  It is so unique, and strong, and truly a  beautiful city  that shines brightly with pride.

Today we have a guided tour of Prague with the first part of the tour being the castle complex in Prague, Czech Republic. The castle complex dates from the 9th century and is the official residence of the president of the Czech Republic. The Bohemian crown jewels are kept within a hidden room inside the castle.

The Prague castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 750,000 square feet.

The period of 500 AD through 1306 AD was the great Moravian Empire under the Premyslid Dynasty until the ending with the last dynasty member in 1306.  

Next the country was ruled by Charles IV  who lived from 1316-1378.  He started Charles University, the second oldest university in Europe, built the Charles Bridge, and established Prague as the cultural capitol of Central Europe and made it one of the most prosperous European cities at the time. Charles is considered to be the father of the Czech nation.

This construction of this broadcasting tower was started by the communist party during the 1970’s with it’s intended use to drown out the broadcasts from Western Europe and the United States that the Czech people listened to to offset the mis-information from the communist party. After the collapse of the communist party in the early 90’s the Czech people finished the construction of the broadcasting tower and it is now used for normal broadcasting.

The moat around the castle.

The courtyard inside the Prague castle.

Changing of the guard.

St. Vitus Cathedral whose construction started in 1344 and was completed in 1922 is is considered an excellent example of Gothic architecture. 

The amount of stained glass is truly remarkable and the beauty is absolutely amazing.

No matter what ones favorite architectural design, they are all represented in the magnificent city of Prague.  

Architectural designs in Prague.

The Prague Astronomical clock in the old town square was first installed in 1410 making it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world, and the oldest clock still working. 

The clock mechanisms has three main components, the astronomical dial which represents the sun the moon and the sky, the walk of the apostles is an hourly show of figures and other moving sculptures striking the time, and a calendar with medallions representing the months. According to local legend the city will suffer if the clock is neglected.

Legend has it to prevent the clock maker from making another astronomical clock for a city other than Prague, the mayor of Prague had the clock maker blinded while he was sleeping. 

Prague old town square.

Tourist’s from Texas

This room inside the Prague castle was used for jousting 

May 19, 2017

Today we decided to do a complete loop on a  HOHO  bus. These aren’t the huge ones, they probably have room for 26 or so.

Our driver was way beyond the age of a race car driver, but he certainly was trying.

I took a few pictures as we raced down to streets while holding onto the seat in front of me. 

Some of the pictures will be repeats from what I posted from May 17, hopefully not all of them.


May 20, 2017

Today we went to Charles Bridge to walk across, take pictures and see the area. Of course that means I have more pictures to post.

These pictures were taken while on Charles Bridge.

Prague’s oldest bridge was built to replace the Judith Bridge that had been badly damaged by floods in 1342. The Stone, or Prague, Bridge, called Charles Bridge since 1870, was begun in 1357 by Charles IV and was completed in 1402. The bridge is built of sandstone blocks, flanked at each end by fortified towers (Lesser Town Bridge Towers, Old Town Bridge Tower). From 1683 to 1928, 30 statues of saints were carved to decorate the bridge, the most famous of which is the statue of St John of Nepomuk.

Prague is the most beautiful city I have ever been in, just incredible. 

Notable in both Krakow and Prague was the lack of litter.

This afternoon we went down the street from our hotel for some ice cream so of course just a few more pictures.

This ends our time in Prague, and this page on the blog.

Tomorrow 5/22/17 we leave for Vienna Austria and will begin the page for Vienna Austria & Budapest Hungary which can be found in the upper or side index. All pictures can be enlarged with double click.






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