Writing the Waves 2013

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Cynthia Whitcomb is hosting another Trans-Atlantic cruise this year and we have booked passage again for our fourth time. We will cruise on the Emerald Princess, leave Ft. Lauderdale, and stop in Bermuda, Ireland, England, France, Netherlands, and Denmark.

The highlight this year is we fly from Copenhagen to London for 10 plays in 7 days with Cynthia. The plays are: Peter and Alice, The Audience, Untold Stories, Book of Mormon, Once, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Relatively Speaking, Passion Play, War Horse, and Top Hat.

Cynthia's lastest play "Seven Wonders of Chipping" is a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill. We are so excited for her. She wrote it last year on the cruise. We look forward to seeing what she creates this year.

 

Back Home on the Bike

Returned home Sunday from our trip to Europe. Still have several more photos and posts to upload. Yesterday was a rest day and this morning  was the first time back on the bicycle. I did a short 12km loop and cut 2:44 off previous best time. The spinning classes on the cruise were a big help. I avoided adding pounds on the cruise and still ate too many desserts. 

NOTE: map above is interactive. 

Market Day at Campo de Flori

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12 May 2012

Market Day is special all over the world, but only in Rome will you find so many varieties if dried tomatoes or such wonderful meat stores.

The morning was ours to wander because we would not board the Crown Princess until 1:00 pm. After walking through the stalls we found a table at one of the cafes surrounding the piazza and woke up with an expresso and breakfast sandwich. Few times in life are more relaxing than a comfortable chair, a good cup of expresso, and observing unique people from a short disance.

Our cruise begins this evening.

Crown Princess

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We are excited about our upcoming cruise on the Crown Princess. We fly to Rome in May for an evening with our dear friend Dennis Cigler, before boarding. You may remember our last visit with Dennis. We will have a few days to rest at sea before arriving in Alexandria, Egypt. We then travel to the island of Mykonos and on to Turkey to visit Istanbul and Ephesus (Kusadasi). Next we tour the ruins of Athens and then around to Venice, Italy where we will disembark and stay for a few days at a B&B beside one of the canals. We hope to take a lot of photos and get a little writing done.

Cruise Photos Part 2 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

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Best Street Art

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Bicycles Everywhere [caption id="attachment_5490" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Smallest cars ever..."][/caption]

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Barges of every shape and size...

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Other Photos [caption id="attachment_5498" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="A Little Cheese?"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5499" align="alignnone" width="375" caption="Rembrant's Studio"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5500" align="alignnone" width="375" caption="Rembrant's paint stand"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5501" align="alignnone" width="375" caption="A parting slice of pie before we head home to Nova Scotia"][/caption]

Hope you enjoy this short photo tour. -L

A Few Cruise Photos

[caption id="attachment_5442" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Rotterdam at dock"][/caption][caption id="attachment_5443" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="At sea with our wrap around balcony"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5444" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Writing the Waves Group (Cynthia Whitcomb, our leader in red boa)"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5445" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Pamela in Cork, Ireland"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5447" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Dublin, Ireland street scene"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5448" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Dublin guitarist with home-made electric guitar and amp"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5449" align="alignnone" width="334" caption="Found a pub in Dublin, wonder how?"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5450" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="London and Big Ben"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5451" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Traffic jam on the Thames River in London"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5452" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Found a theatre bookstore and another pub."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5454" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Bayeux, France"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5455" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Bayeux, France museum"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5456" align="alignnone" width="375" caption="Bayeux, France Cathedral"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5457" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Brugge, Belguim, out favorite medieval town"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5458" align="alignnone" width="375" caption="The famous Brugge canals"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5459" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Market Day in Brugge"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5460" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Spires everywhere"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5461" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Canal repose, Brugge."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5462" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Brugge is a historic swan sanctuary."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5464" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The painted houses of Brugge reminded me of home in Lunenburg."][/caption]

Rotterdam, The Netherlands [caption id="attachment_5466" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Rotterdam a city of diminishing canals"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5467" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Our patio H2otel room beside the canal"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5468" align="alignnone" width="375" caption="Boats seem to outnumber cars in Rotterdam"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5469" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Rotterdam, a modern city rebuilt after WWII"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5470" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Modern suspension bridge in Rotterdam"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5471" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Canal side cafes in old town Rotterdam"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5472" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Captain Pamela at the wheel in Rotterdam"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_5473" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="A few of the classic sail boats and barges"][/caption]

Barcelona: Old and New

April 21, 2010 We chose an audio guide tour for Barcelona, which meant we could wander on our own, yet still have a "guide" of sorts.

Barcelona, population of 3 million, is the second largest city in Spain. The people are lively and proud of their culture and and city. Barcelona is clean (sweepers are a common sight) and its many historic buildings and monuments are well preserved.

Greeks and Phoenicians settled here in 4th century B.C. Romans came, conquered and occupied until 5th century A.D. In 711 Moors from Africa brought Muslim religion and influence. 9th century: independence and Catalonia developed; built fleets of ships, buildings, art then a decline "brought about by the discovery of the New World". The Suez Canal opened in 1869. "... only since Franco's death in 1975, and the crowning of King Juan Carlos I, that the Catalonian language and culture has again been allowed to flourish and regional autonomy granted".

An old drinking fountain:

We didn't have enough time to visit the Picasso Gallery, which houses over 2,000 of Picasso's earlier works. Picasso came to Barcelona at 14 to study art. Guadi's works, however, can be seen throughout the city: curved construction stones, twisted iron sculptures, colourful tile mosaics.

A church, one of many 13th century buildings in the Gothic Quarter.

Most of the old buildings were built from stone. Soldiers sharpened weapons on this stone wall many years ago:

Even in the narrowest of alleys we found shrines or memorials set back in alcoves carved into stone walls.

For five centuries a gaggle of geese has lived in the Barcelona Cathedral cloister. It is thought that they originally served as a security measure, bahonking someone's arrival I suppose. Anyway, they're a popular attraction.

However, I preferred this happy gaggle:

School kids at play in colourful smocks.

Inside the cathedral something from this century: coin operated LED "candles".

Hopefully Lloyd will post more photos, and better photos.

-P

Tenerife, Canary Islands: Part 2

April 18, 2010 Las Canadas National Park.

A caldera, the 2nd largest in the world behind Yellowstone, makes up much of the park.

"Star Wars" and "Clash of the Titans" scenes were filmed here.

Back in the cloud we drove through a stretch of forest damaged by a recent windstorm

Out of the cloud we steeply descend into La Villa de La Orotava, a wealthy cultural city with narrow streets lined by many a church and bright buildings with balconies, shuttered windows and terracotta tile roofs.

As steep as San Francisco...

A rich finish of ornately carved wood balconies and window frames:

Our last stop: La Casa de los Balcones built in 1632 now houses souvenir shops and caged canaries. We bought local pistachios which are smaller, less salty and have a smokier flavour than those we buy elsewhere.

Back on the boat we watched the fueling boat top up the ship. Then the pilot boat trailed, sidled up and the pilot lept off. Passengers applauded from their balconies and he waved like a celebrity until he was out of sight.

We left the dark clouds behind for two more "at sea" days.

-P

Tenerife, Canary Islands: Part 1

April 18, 2010 Our first shore excursion took us 180 miles off the coast of Africa to the volcanic island of Tenerife, a Spanish island, the largest of the seven Canary Islands at 790 square miles and a population of 700,000.

85% of the island's income comes from tourism. Bananas count for a fraction of the remainder, as well as wine including "Malmsey", a very sweet wine made from the grapes of low bush vines planted in the volcanic soil. Shakespeare refered to malmsey as "an absolutely penetrating wine" and Henry IV. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote "a little good canary will comfort me the heart of it.”

Close-set buildings stretch out of small steep valleys. Architecturally, it looks like Lego.

At 12,198 feet, Mount Teide is the highest mountain in Spain.

The only source of water on the island is mined water. It's mined by boring holes into mountains in search of springs. Otherwise a desalination plant processes sea water. Hmmm. I didn't see a rainwater collection system, but they must have them since they measure annual rainfall in metres...

The different lava flows left their mark:

Our "4x4 Adventure" took us on steep, snaky roads through La Experanza Forest, thick with fragrant eucalyptus trees and umbrella pines, and through the clouds.

Everyone speeds here. If the posted speed for a curve is 18kms, our guide "Frankie" (Jose Francisco) takes it at 43kms.

We had a brief stop at Restorante El Petrillo, a bikers hangout, for the best hot chocolate we have ever had. Basically, it's melted chocolate with a little bit of cream to keep it semi-liquid; it has the consistency of hot pudding. It even comes with a spoon to scoop the last thick drops.

We continued ...

... passed the formation locals refer to as "The Lady's Bum" ...

to Roques Garcia. A new to me plant, ...

... another view of Mt. Teide and rock formations.

The smooth formations are layers of old ash and the rougher formations are lava-based.

Part 2 on the way...

-P

Navigator of the Seas

April 10, 2010 A 14-night, Transatlantic cruise to Europe, a working cruise with plenty of play time, an experience of a lifetime that we hope to repeat next year... We want to share our experience with you and hope you enjoy the posts.

We left a grey day at Ports of Miami ...

... for the big open blue. Here's the view from stateroom 7274:

Nine "at sea" days. If you think that might be boring ... the ocean is vast and ever-changing. It amazes me. It's hard to realize how big it really is until it's all you see for seven straight days and again for two days more. Amazing...

We had a calm sea the entire time and just enough beam sea to gently rock us to sleep at night.

Inside stateroom 7274:

And outside. My half of the balcony. ;) I loooved the balcony.

Sixteen writers spent most waking hours in the Boardroom on Level 2, just above the waterline.

Every "at sea" day went like this:

9am-Noon - Writing workshop with Cynthia Whitcomb

Lunch

1:00-5:00    -  Write on own (no talking), technically 2-5pm, but we needed every spare minute

5:05-5:20    -  Scramble to get ready for dinner

5:30-7:30    -  Lovely, amusing, inspiring dinners with our group and a little shop talk

7:30-8:00    -  Dress down, cram, grab a tea

8:00-10:00  - Writing salon: readings, critiques, problem solving

10:00-           -  Cocktails at the Champagne Bar, sometimes a brainstorm/problem solving session

?                      -  Fall into bed and lose another hour to the time zone monster

Repeat.

We made it to the gym the first five mornings, but after losing an hour at night, seven (AGH!) times, we cared less about gaining elsewhere. Our room attendant, Al, a giant in size and energy who was always, "As cool as a piña colada," or "As cool as the ocean breeze," said, "You're going to need a vacation after your vacation."

Pictured (L to R): Lloyd, Beryl, Richard, Joan, Joanie, Penny, and Jackie.

***NEWSFLASH*** I met Lloyd seven years ago and this was the first time I saw him wear a necktie. Doesn't he look dapper in his tie? I better send a pic to our Moms ...

One of three formal nights at Swan Lake Dining Room:

Pictured (L to R): Billy, Lorraine, Maryka, Molly, Chris, Cynthia, Jessie, Bernadette and Lloyd #2.

We were on our own for lunches and enjoyed the gourmet salad bar at Nutcracker restaurant, otherwise we preferred the speed of Windjammer, a huge buffet open for every meal. I especially enjoyed the ethnic dishes. Overall, the food was very good, the desserts were good enough to double up on after dinner, and the coffee was strong enough to fuel a Prevost.

We had little time to explore the ship, but here are a couple views:

The casino:

We have a lot more to share with you. Stay tuned!

Love,

-P

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Bon Voyage... Writing the Waves

April 10, 2010 - Atlantic Ocean We leave today for a Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the Navigator of the Seas on a voyage to the Canary Islands, Barcelona, Nice, Florence, and Rome.

While at sea we will participate in Cynthia Whitcomb's screenwriting workshop. We have seen Cynthia before at the Screenwriting Expo in LA and the Screenwriting Conference in Santa Fe.

We have rented an apartment in Rome and look forward to several days of touring this grand city with our friend and artist, Dennis Cigler. Dennis heads the art department at one of Rome's most prestigious schools. In his spare time he guides couples on exclusive private tours of the city, in the style of the Grand Tours of the nineteenth century.

We look forward to visiting so many great places and hope to capture some great images and more stories. -L