Sitka, Alaska: From Healing Wings to Honored Grounds

Sitka, Alaska: From Healing Wings to Honored Grounds

After a very rough night, with high seas and gale-force winds, we entered the calm waters of the sound that surrounds Sitka, Alaska. The port docks were full at this stop, so we had to tender them to shore. It had rained all night, and the weather service suggested it...

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Kushiro, Japan: Embracing the Elements

Kushiro, Japan: Embracing the Elements

Kushiro, Japan, was the last stop in Japan before we headed across the Pacific Ocean and the United States. It was foggy and rainy when we pulled into the port. Kushiro was another port with no permanent structures, just several tents with tourist information and...

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Hike, Sea, Breathe: Cape Chikyu, Muroran, Japan

Hike, Sea, Breathe: Cape Chikyu, Muroran, Japan

We arrived in Muroran to sunny skies and cool temperatures. The port is industrial; no structures were located where we tied up. A huge windmill was perched at the pier's edge, and many more were on the nearby hillside. There were several buses and a makeshift...

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Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Hakodate, Japan

Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Hakodate, Japan

Liquid sunshine greeted us in Hakodate, Japan, so we put on our rain gear and thought we’d checked out what the tourist information office had to say about the highlights of the city.After disembarking the ship and getting through security and customs checks, we found...

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Otaru, Japan – Beyond the Tourist Trail

Otaru, Japan – Beyond the Tourist Trail

We got off the ship after it ported and walked along the canal. A lovely little walkway right next to the canal was a leisurely stroll. We had considered taking a canal boat ride but, after seeing the canals, decided there wasn’t much to look at besides the warehouses...

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Aomori Adventure: A Day in Northern Japan

Aomori Adventure: A Day in Northern Japan

The ship made port at the Shin-Chuo Wharf; the day was beautiful, sunny, and warm.Once off the ship, we decided to walk and enjoy the weather. First, we stopped by the Uto Shrine, and then we continued our walk to the local park.The Aoi Mori Park is in the downtown...

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Japan Off the Beaten Path: Sakata

Japan Off the Beaten Path: Sakata

Our arrival in Sakata, Japan, was met with a port full of a drum team, school kids, mascots, and many locals to greet us. After disembarking the ship, we were approached by schoolchildren who asked us to play games with them, which we did. We mingled with the mascots...

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Kanazawa, Japan: A Whirlwind Visit

Kanazawa, Japan: A Whirlwind Visit

The ship arrived in Kanazawa, Japan, and we had to be processed through customs and immigration since our last stop was in South Korea. The system was orderly, and we were processed efficiently. A shuttle bus was waiting for us when we exited the port terminal; it...

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Sokcho: Not Your Typical Tourist Stop

Sokcho: Not Your Typical Tourist Stop

As we sailed into the port, we had a wonderful welcome from the town of Sokcho, South Korea, with dancers, women in traditional costumes, and dignitaries from the town.Once off the ship, we had to go through customs because we had left Japan and entered South Korea....

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Fukuoka: Japan’s Hidden Gem

Fukuoka: Japan’s Hidden Gem

On our way to Fukuoka, we sailed through the kanmon strait. The strait is so narrow and shallow that we had to adjust our itinerary to coincide with high tide to make it through. The captain opened the "front deck" so we could watch our transition through the straits...

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Kochi: More Than Just a Castle

Kochi: More Than Just a Castle

Our day in Kochi, Japan, dawned cool and drizzly. As we ate breakfast we discussed if it was worth going out or just staying aboard the ship and relaxing for the day. Curiosity won out; we gathered our rain gear and disembarked the ship. We took a bus (with those...

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Off the Beaten Path- Omaezaki, Japan

Off the Beaten Path- Omaezaki, Japan

The ship arrived at port, and disembarkation was well organized and pretty quick. The weather was sunny and warm, perfect for a day to explore. The town of Omaezaki provided a free bus service from the port to the fish market. When we boarded the bus, all of the seats...

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Yokohama: A Port City Adventure

Yokohama: A Port City Adventure

We made our way from Koh Lanta, Thailand, to Krabi, where we caught a flight to Bangkok. After spending the night at the Novotel Hotel at the Bangkok airport, we flew to Tokyo/Yokohama, flying into Hanada airport.We took Japan Airlines on this trip, and the flight was...

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Koh Lanta, Thailand – Island Vibes

Koh Lanta, Thailand – Island Vibes

Today, we drove from Ao Nang to Koh Lanta. Although we had driven part of the route while exploring the area, we were headed quite a few miles further south. As we turned off the familiar highway towards our new adventure, we saw a group of scooters and motorcycles...

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Ao Nang Adventures

Ao Nang Adventures

Today, we left Bangkok and flew to Krabi, picking up a rental car and driving to Ao Nang. Research had indicated that Bangkok Airways was a great regional line with excellent service, and although it cost a little more, I went ahead and booked it. However, the...

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Bustling Bangkok: Our Experience

Bustling Bangkok: Our Experience

Our arrival at the Bangkok airport was better than expected. Research has indicated that the customs/immigration process was poorly organized and could take hours. It took us about 10 minutes. Perhaps it was because of some divine intervention from a group of Monks on...

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Historic Ho Chi Minh City

Historic Ho Chi Minh City

We flew from Danang to Ho Chi Minh/Saigon today. The hotel in Hoi An arranged our transfer from the hotel to the airport. The driver arrived on time and got us to the airport in plenty of time for our departure. The last time we flew, we had to check Jim’s carry-on...

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Enchanting Hoi An, Vietnam

Enchanting Hoi An, Vietnam

Our Hanoi hotel secured a transfer to the airport for us, and we arrived in plenty of time to check-in. Jim’s carry-on bag was over the weight limit for the first time, and the agent said we would need to check our the bags. We’re in a foreign country, and if they...

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Hanoi Vietnam Highlights

Hanoi Vietnam Highlights

After arriving at the Hanoi airport and clearing immigration, we looked for a SIM card for Jim’s travel phone. We had researched to find the best store to buy it from and settled on Viettel. Their station was easy to find, and although the sales reps were nice, they...

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Our First Flight With Vietnam Airlines

Our First Flight With Vietnam Airlines

We purchased our tickets online, and after reading several accounts of people having boarding issues because there was no space for a middle name, we made sure to have our middle name on the ticket. We added it as a second name in the first namespace. We checked in...

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Royal Caribbean – Spectrum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean – Spectrum of the Seas

When we first decided to come to Asia, we thought it would be a good idea to slowly work ourselves into the area by taking a cruise. We anticipated getting a brief snapshot of the people and culture by stopping at different locations. Once our friend could no longer...

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Sanctuary of Truth and Pattaya Floating Market

Sanctuary of Truth and Pattaya Floating Market

Today was another guided tour day trip to the Sanctuary of Truth and a floating market.Our first stop was the Sanctuary of Truth, an extensive compound housing everything from a massive wooden building to horse rides, boat rides, and lots of green space with mini...

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Vung Tau, Vietnam – Temples, Palaces, and Views

Vung Tau, Vietnam – Temples, Palaces, and Views

We had the opportunity to take a day-long tour of Vung Tau in Vietnam. While there, we stopped at the Whale Temple, known to locals as Lang Ong Nam Hai. This isn't your typical temple; it's a mixture of spirituality and the history of the whale. Roaming around the...

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Exploring Singapore

Exploring Singapore

After a leisurely breakfast, we loaded the backpack with rain gear and drinking water and headed out for a day of exploration. Our first planned stop was the Orchard Park area. We had heard it was a beautiful area with various shops and cafés. We took the MRT (metro)...

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A First Look at Singapore

A First Look at Singapore

At 8:00 AM, two days after we had departed Washington DC, we finally arrived in Singapore. With our passports and additional documents in hand, we headed for immigration/customs. They have the newer biometric stations where you scan your passport; the machine takes a...

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Asia Adventure – Travel Day

Asia Adventure – Travel Day

We arrived at the airport earlier than usual, but the schedule worked for the person driving us, so we were flexible. Our airline tickets were with Qatar, an airline we had not traveled with before. Their flight schedule out of IAD (Dulles) is limited so the ticket...

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Planning Our Trip to Asia

Planning Our Trip to Asia

About a year and a half ago, I saw a cruise around Asia for a very reasonable price. Asia has never been on my bucket list, but this caught my attention. In my mind, it's a bit of a scary place; they use symbols instead of letters! Although I understood that English...

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Scenic Bergen, Norway

Scenic Bergen, Norway

The day after Thanksgiving, we headed to the airport for a flight to Bergen, Norway. Despite the holiday weekend, the security lines were remarkably short. There was a slight delay in our flight to Frankfurt, but we made our connection without issues. The line moved...

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Setting Sail With MSC Cruise Line

Setting Sail With MSC Cruise Line

We have had the privilege of experiencing sailing with MSCs several times on the Armonia, Meraviglia, Seascape, and Seaside in the pre and post-COVID era.Each ship in the MSC fleet offered different touches that made for a unique travel experience. From exceptional...

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Northern Lights & Norway Nights

Northern Lights & Norway Nights

One item on our bucket list was seeing the northern lights. After several trips to the upper peninsula of Michigan and two trips to Iceland without success, we decided to take a cruise up the coast of Norway. Initially, we scheduled the trip with Hurtigruten, but then...

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Newport, RI: Past Meets Present

Newport, RI: Past Meets Present

Newport, Rhode Island, is a little gem on the New England coast. It's rich with history that dates back to the 17th century. Founded in 1639, Newport emerged as a key city in the American colonies, becoming an essential port known for its bustling seafaring and...

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Lisbon Essentials: Culture & Charm

Lisbon Essentials: Culture & Charm

Portugal has been on our bucket list for quite some time, but life kept getting in the way. After reviewing our travel calendar for the year, we found a week and a half gap between plans we had in the UK and a meet-up with friends in Ireland. Although we preferred...

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Exploring Reykjavik, Iceland

Exploring Reykjavik, Iceland

Welcome to Reykjavik – the city where fire and ice are ever-present. In Iceland's heart, the colorful houses rival the Northern Lights, and the culture is as rich as the coffee brewed in the cozy downtown cafés. Reykjavik is the largest city in Iceland. It may be...

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Bruges: Europe’s Fairytale City

Bruges: Europe’s Fairytale City

Charmed by the fairytale buildings, Jim and I were utterly smitten with Bruges, Belgium. This enchanting town, crisscrossed by its peaceful canals and sprinkled with architectural gems from a bygone era, quenched our hunger for new exploits and appetites for the...

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Mackinac Island: A Journey Back in Time

Mackinac Island: A Journey Back in Time

Mackinac Island is nestled in the sparkling waters of Lake Huron, Michigan. Known for its timeless charm and historical richness, the Island is a perfect day trip for Michigan residents or an excellent destination for a unique vacation. Life is slower on the Island,...

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Discovering the Beauty of Geiranger, Norway

Discovering the Beauty of Geiranger, Norway

Nestled at the far reaches of the breathtaking Geirangerfjord, an arm of the grand Storfjord, in Norway, you'll find a small village as enchanting as the fairy tales of its homeland—Geiranger. Encircled by steep green cliffs, thunderous waterfalls, and the reflective...

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Off the Beaten Path in Akureyri

Off the Beaten Path in Akureyri

This past fall, we ventured into Akureyri, the second-largest city in Iceland. Because we like to explore off the beaten path, we rented a car and traversed the Trollaskagi Peninsula in the northern part of the country. Famous for its cliffside views, towering...

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Iceland’s South Shore

Iceland’s South Shore

On a day trip to the South Shore of Iceland from Reykjavik, we encounter a unique blend of landscapes. This area is carved by glaciers and volcanic activity, boasting black sand beaches, waterfalls, and impressive rock formations. And it's truly the raw beauty of...

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Global Travel: Destination Tips

Global Travel: Destination Tips

Greetings, global wanderers. Ready for your next grand adventure? Perfect. We've rounded up tips for your international travel checklist. Discover the value of local tourism offices, smart safety steps, and the attractions that are worth every moment. It's all about...

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Exploring Manistee, Michigan

Exploring Manistee, Michigan

Manistee, Michigan, is quietly tucked away along the pretty shores of Lake Michigan, and it's an absolute hidden treasure. Teeming with natural beauty, historical structures, and small-town charm. Whether it's strolling along the scenic boardwalk, playing on the...

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Global Getaway: Pre-Trip Tips

Global Getaway: Pre-Trip Tips

Planning a global getaway can be exciting, yet daunting. Before you set off, a little preparation goes a long way. Equip yourself with essential paperwork and insights to navigate new territories. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey with confidence.Ensure...

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St Croix, USVI: Beautiful Beaches & More

St Croix, USVI: Beautiful Beaches & More

Tucked away in the Caribbean, St Croix, USVI, sparkles like a secret. This captivating island offers a beautiful blend of various cultures, directly reflecting its diverse heritage. The rhythms of local traditions swept us away. Enjoy the island's tempting culinary...

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Fuerte Amador: The Gateway to the Panama Canal

Fuerte Amador: The Gateway to the Panama Canal

Fuerte Amador is a peninsula that is no ordinary piece of land - it's an engineering marvel formed in the 1990s when humankind decided to give Mother Nature a helping hand. They filled in the spaces between four islands - Flamenco, Perico, Culebra, and Naos - using...

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Our first cruise with Princess Cruise Line

Our first cruise with Princess Cruise Line

While we've navigated the seas with various cruise lines in the past, we recently set sail for the first time with Princess Cruise Lines. We embarked on the voyage of the Emerald Princess, cruising through the Panama Canal for our first cruise.Embarking on an...

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Colorful Cartagena, Columbia

Colorful Cartagena, Columbia

We recently returned from Cartagena, Colombia, and were a little surprised at what we found. We didn't really have any preconceived ideas other than the stories we had heard of the area growing up. The city is beautiful, and the scenery is breathtaking.First up, the...

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Vibrant Puerto Vallarta

Vibrant Puerto Vallarta

On our visit to the vibrant streets and quiet beaches of Puerto Vallarta, we found a collection of experiences that cater to just about everyone. From beautiful accommodations to a feast of flavors, this coastal haven is an adventure worth checking out.Nestled along...

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Authentic La Crucecita

Authentic La Crucecita

On a recent cruise, we stopped at Huatulco, Mexico. Warm breezes, white sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters met us. While cruising is a fantastic way to get there, Huatulco itself is a destination that invites you to unwind and indulge in the tranquil beauty of...

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Michigan Snowmobile Thrills

Michigan Snowmobile Thrills

Michigan boasts more than 2,600 miles of prime snowmobile trails. The sport's popularity fuels countless small businesses with spending on gas, food, lodging, and local sights. Some friends joined us as we prepared for an epic overnight snowmobile adventure in...

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