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Thursday, October 10, 2019

We Love You Ecuador!

Dear Family and Friends,

If you are living in the U.S., I do not know if you get news from Ecuador.  Ecuador is going through stormy times at the moment.  I am going to share a video from the Amelia and JP vlog.  They explain what is going on in our city of Cuenca.  Their video is non partisan.  

Before you watch this video, we want you to know that our neighborhood is quiet.  We do not feel threatened.  We love the people of Ecuador and hurt that this country is going through this unrest.  

If you are interested in seeing other vlogs Amelia and JP have done about their experiences living in Cuenca, go to Youtube and type Amelia and JP in the search.  Subscribe to their channel if you want to get notified when they post new episodes.

Nancy & Chuck

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Visiting Family and Friends in Georgia

Dear Family and Friends,

I returned home last week from Georgia.  Columbus, Georgia is where I was born and it is always a great pleasure to go back and visit. 

Although the weather was hot, we did not experience any effects of the hurricane.  In this day of air conditioned homes and automobiles it is not too bad.  I do wonder, however, how I endured the hot humid summers of my youth without air conditioning.  We played outside during the summer, always with bare feet, and were delighted when the popsicle man would come by our house in the afternoon.  For a nickel we had a nice cold, sweet treat, but because of the heat and humidity, by the time we finished eating it we were a mess.  Long sweet, sticky, colorful streaks running down our arms and legs.  Mom would clean us up outside before letting us come inside the house.

Being able to visit and hug so many people who were an integral part of my childhood brings me so much joy.

The week long visit consisted of visiting family and friends.

Here is my Aunt Opal.  She is my mother's younger sister and was such a big part of my childhood.  She is 94 years old and is doing great.  You might recall that Aunt Opal visited with us in Cuenca about 7 or 8 years ago.  

One day the cousins from my dad's side of the family met together and enjoyed lunch at Country's Barbecue.

Another day my cousins from my mother's side of the family met at Rosehill Seafood for catfish. 

The lovely lady, in a yellow top, at the end of the table is my Aunt Betty.  She is Aunt Opal's younger sister.  

On another day, some friends from high school met at Cook's for scrambled dogs.  

Most of all, I was lucky to spend a whole week with my little sister, Mary Anne.  When not visiting family, we were out shopping.

I had a wonderful week.  So thankful that I can return home now and then to get recharged with hugs and love.  

Chuck and I are going to be touring right here in Ecuador next week.  I will share about that after we return.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Outrunning hurricane Dorian...

Dear Family and Friends,

I was due to fly out of Quito tonight (Monday night)  for a visit to Georgia.   

Last Thursday night I was on the internet and learned that hurricane Dorian was headed to Florida and was expected to hit sometime on Monday.

On Friday morning I called Delta airlines and changed my flight to that evening.  While I packed my suitcase Chuck went downtown and changed my ticket on Latam from Cuenca to Quito.  

I flew out of Quito and had an uneventful flight to Atlanta and then on to Columbus, GA.  

Now I am sitting at my sister's house, watching the weather channel.  I think I did the right thing to change my flight but it will be interesting watching what happens through the day on Monday to find out what happens.

Hopefully the hurricane will turn and stay out to sea, but only time will tell.

Thank you Chuck for helping me get out of Ecuador and fly to Atlanta ahead of the storm.

Happy Labor Day everyone.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

One day Holland Adventure.

Dear Family and Friends,

We spent the night in Bergen, Norway after our boat docked.  We had a quiet dinner in the hotel because it was raining out.  We were told that this is common for Bergen.

The next morning we boarded our plane for Amsterdam.  We decided to spend a day in the Netherlands but wanted somewhere besides Amsterdam.  Chuck researched and picked Haarlem.

Haarlem is not very far Amsterdam.  We went from the airport to Haarlem by train.  We had to change trains on the way...not good with luggage.  

We arrived in Harlem about 45 minutes after we left the airport.  We left the train station and there was a big plaza. Chuck had booked us a hotel right on the plaza.  So taxi.  We walked across the plaza and checked in.

Unfortunately, Bergen is not the only place it was raining.  It was misting in Haarlem.  We grabbed our rain jackets and started viewing the town.

We loved this town from the start.  It is very walkable, flat (as is all of Holland) and what seems like thousands of people riding bicycles.  

Here is a shopping street.  Just the right size town.

The church in the distance is the Grote Kerk, the church of St. Bavo.  It is right in the center of town on the market square.

We were able to go inside and view the organ.  This organ was built in 1738 and has been played by Mendelssohn, Handel, and a 10-year-old child prodigy, Mozart.  

View toward the altar.

We enjoyed walking around town despite the misty rain.  Haarlem is very walkable and with the architecture, canals and bridges, there is not doubt you are in Holland.

Chuck in front of a souvenir shop in a pair of red wooden shoes.  

We had dinner at a Thai restaurant because it was right next to the hotel and by then it was raining pretty hard.  

When we woke up the next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel.  We were delighted to see the sunshine.  

We started off the day by walking to the dock and taking a sightseeing boat abound the canal system.

It was fun, but not the best way to see the city on a beautiful day.  Great in the rain.

We went to the Teylers museum, an art, natural history and science museum.  It was incredible and we could have easily spent the whole day just viewing and reading about all the exhibits.

Here is Chuck standing on a drawbridge over that spans the main canal.

The sunshine and blue skies made the views perfect.  Here is a canal from another bridge.

This windmill has been a distinctive part of the skyline in Haarlem for centuries.  Well not actually this windmill.  The original one burnt down in 1932 and was rebuilt as an exact replica of the original.

I can't end this post without sharing a typical Holland style building.  I just love them.

We had a wonderful lunch at an outdoor restaurant right across from the church.  

Chuck and I both agreed that Haarlem is worthy of a return visit of 3 or 4 days.  

It is a perfect day trip from Amsterdam if you are staying there.  But here is a secret.  The hotels in Haarlem are less expensive than hotels in Amsterdam.  So, if you are thinking of going to Amsterdam you may want to stay in Harlem and day trip to Amsterdam.  

The next day we took a bus directly to the airport.  It only took about 30 minutes.  No changing train stations while dragging luggage for us.  

We had a nice trip back to Quito and landed in the early afternoon so we were able to fly home to Cuenca the same day.  

We had a grand trip.  Cruising with Ronnie and Andre was so much fun.  


PS:  Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors in this post. My editor, Chuck, is in Cuenca and I am in Atlanta at the airport.  

This is a whole story in itself.

I will share that with you next time.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Views of the Coast from the Ship

Dear Family and Friends,

For me, the best part of the trip was seeing the views.  A lot of days the sky was very overcast and I did not take many pictures.  On the few days that the sun was shining, I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and took many pictures.

Some of the beautiful scenes:

A small town we visited.  Notice the waterfall in the left of the picture over the boat.

This sunset is at 10:30pm.  Long, long days.  

Going into a narrow fjord.

This lighthouse was built in 1880.  Before it was automated in 1987, the lighthouse keeper lived on the bottom floor.  Today, this lighthouse can be rented for vacations.  It is lit from July 21 to May 16 every year.  It is not lit during late spring and early summer due to the midnight sun.

Chuck and Andre checking out a boat coming to our ship to pick up tourists.

We saw waterfalls galore.

Looking back at the fjord we just came through.  Notice the waterfall on the right side of the fjord.

This scene is as we arrived back in Bergen.   Overcast and rainy when we left and overcast and rainy when we returned.  We were told that this is typical weather for Bergen.  

We finished our cruise up to the very tip top of Norway and back in exactly 12 days.  A very fun adventure.

We disembarked, hugged Ronnie and Andre goodbye.  They were heading to Spain for more travel. Chuck and I headed back home to Cuenca, but we did spend one day in a charming town in the Netherlands before we flew out of Amsterdam.  

I will share that adventure on our next post.

Have a great day.