All posts by Desiwood

Ooops I did it again!

I have been bad and happy. I have travelled a lot since I last posted. I have lived a lot in life. I am sorry that I have been so busy that I have not been posting……but I have been in other places.

I last shared you with you here in November. My Bad! In November I was in heaven… Majestic Resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Do you want photos? videos? I have many. It saddens me that since that time fake news has bashed this country. It is a very safe, fun place. I am going back in August. I wish I could have gone back sooner, but I have been busy.

Absolutely fantastic vaca in April and May. We took at trans-Atlantic cruise from Florida to Amsterdam with stops in between and a long stay in Amsterdam afterwards. What a great city, that does ‘t seem like a city.

In a few days I will be off to the Florida Keys. It is totally different than other USA places in that it is so layed back.

We’ve already booked a fantastic trip to Asia next Spring. It is a combo cruise and land in Hong Kong, China, Korea, Japan, etc. It is again on Holland America, our favorite cruise line with our own add ons on each end. We’ve been to most places before, but not the Great Wall or Terracotta Warriors….so new stuff.

I have been waiting anxiously the opening of Majestic Resorts in Mexico. They were supposed to open in late Fall this year. I want to be at the opening. So far, they are only selling from Jan 15th. I can’t wait any longer for my Fall travel plans. haha So……I did it again. I booked another trip today. It’s totally unlike us for many reasons…..but a GREAT bargain for luxury. For the first time we are going on MSC Cruises. I have watched them since they first started. We booked that top most suite! We booked through What great deals they have between them and their cruise lines. It is less than $100 per person per night! Unbelievably truly all inclusive. We get drink package….AI….almost unheard of in cruising. We get spa services included. We get pre-paid gratuities. We get free internet access! We also get a multi hundred $ ship board credit. This is fun! Yep, we’ve been to all of the stops before, but sometimes a vaca is always a vaca.

Next booking is still the opening of Majestic Resorts in Mexico! I can’t wait, but am looking at dates.

A 3 Cake Birthday with the 1st at Majestic Colonial Punta Cana

Last month I turned “old”.  I was born in a year that ended in an “8”.  With the coming of this birthday I could no longer pretend to be a youngster.  I don’t feel “old” or think of myself that way, but the # tells me I had better finally admit I’m not a “young adult” or a “young lady”.  I have definitely passed the half way point in my life.  When I think of it that way, though, it means I still have a lot of living to do.  It’s like the old question, “Is the glass half full or half empty?”, but there is a difference.  I’ve always been a half full type of person, but thinking about my life, I’m not sure the analogy applies.  Being half empty is not pessimistic when it comes to how old one is.    One good thing is that since hubby is older than I am (more than 5 years, less than 10 years), I will always seem “young” to him.

In preparing for this “event”, hubby decided we should go somewhere.  I never went “away” for my birthday before.  There was no reason to do so.  I was born at the Jersey Shore and lived in New Jersey almost my entire life.  My husband and I met there.  We were married there.  Most of my family still lives there.  It’s the “season” in August.  Why would I go somewhere else?  Things do change, though.  A little over a year ago, hubby and I moved out of NJ permanently.  It was a great decision.  Our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner, but that is another story.

Hubby’s first idea was to go to Vegas for my celebration.  I wasn’t thrilled with that idea.  We’ve been before, more than once.  It’s not a short flight.  We have casinos in our new “backyard”.  We’ve been to Atlantic City casinos since they opened.  We even had an earlier birthday party for me with our families in one of those casinos.   There’s a lot of entertainment in Vegas, but nothing we haven’t seen before or can’t see elsewhere.  I suggested we look at something different.  It was my birthday, after all.

We live in Palm Beach County, Florida now.  They have cruises to The Bahamas that leave from Palm Beach.  We looked into it.  We’ve done a lot of cruising and the short cruises on this route are not on ships that would appeal to us and they are very short in duration.  Then we found that you can put the round trip cruise together with a stay at an all-inclusive resort.  That sounded interesting until we did our research.  It did not sound like fun to pack up, get on a cruise ship for a night or two, pack up again to transfer to a resort, and then pack up again to cruise back home for another night or two.  The convenience of both cruising and AI resorts is that you aren’t packing and unpacking.  So began the next round of investigation.

We’ve been to many AI beach resorts, including in The Bahamas, so we thought about nixing the cruise part and found it was easier and less expensive to take a ferry or a plane to the Bahamas.  At this stage of the planning, we decided we were crazy.  The resorts we were looking at were not as nice as Majestic Resorts in Punta Cana, where we have been going for years.  Where we had been before in The Bahamas was much more expensive than Majestic and we liked Majestic better.  You have figured out where this is going, haven’t you?  Of course you did.

We’ve been going to Majestic Resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for 10 years.  We have always had a blast there and have so many happy memories.  We had hubby’s “old” birthday there with family from both sides.  We had hubby’s Mom’s very very “old” birthday there with family.  Why were we trying to re-invent the wheel?  And so it was that I wanted to spend my birthday at Majestic.  (There are three of them and we’ve been to all of them.)

One of the things we pre-planned before going off to Punta Cana was that I wanted to have my birthday lunch at Majestic Colonial in its Le Gourmet restaurant.  Of all of the three sister resorts’ restaurants, this is my favorite for lunch.  You have to be staying in their “Club” level, which is Adults Only to have access for lunch.  It is a lovely room and is air conditioned!  It is an a la carte luncheon with really good food and wonderful service.  It is greatly underutilized by guests.  Most people eat elsewhere such as at the beachside, more casual, partially open air, quasi-buffet restaurant.  I dreamt of having the clams in brodo as an appetizer.  I did and it did not disappoint.

It was as if the room was just for us.  We had a long, leisurely lunch, with multiple courses, wine, and, of course, cappuccino (with Kahlua).  The entire time we were there only two other tables were ever occupied.  Pleasantly, right after we were seated, the two Assistant Managers at the resort appeared to personally wish me a Happy Birthday.  How nice is that?  Without us knowing, they had arranged a little surprise for me for the end of our meal.

At desert time multiple restaurant staff appeared with a cake…..a whole cake, not a slice.   The cake had a giant sparkler in it,  They all sang Happy Birthday to me.  They even had a “picture frame” for Happy Birthday photos of me and the cake.  Of course I have a few photos to share with you.  I acted like a “ham” and pretended I was trying to blow out the sparkler.  When I was leaving I had a photo taken of me again acting like a “ham”.  I loved the lights in the ceiling here.  The entire room is so nice.

Thank you Majestic Resorts, Majestic Colonial, Juan Roncero, Linda Bauer, and the entire staff at Le Gourmet for making my birthday luncheon all I dreamed it would be.  Thank you for making me feel a part of the “Majestic Family”.

Enjoy the photos.

Monkey Land from Punta Cana, DR

Many times when I go on a beach vacation to Punta Cana, I do nothing but enjoy the resort.  If you follow me you will know that for the last decade we have always stayed at Majestic Resorts Punta Cana.  There are three of them:  Majestic Colonial, Majestic Elegance, and Majestic Mirage.  We have stayed at all three.  We are going back again in November.  We have spent every Thanksgiving in Punta Cana, except for one, for over 10 years.

Many times we have not left the resorts and only done water sports/excursions right from the beaches of the resorts.  Other times we have gone out and about in Punta Cana.  This past trip, less than a month ago, we decided to see something new:  Monkey Land.  There are two things that always get my attention when traveling:  water activities and animals.  If there is a zoo or aquarium in a place I am going, you will usually find me going to such place.  Monkey Land is not a zoo.  It is a natural habitat area, although the Squirrel Monkeys are not native to this area.  I usually only post one or two photos or a video.  This time I’m going to give you many of both.

Whenever we are going somewhere, both hubby and I do lots of research about things to do.  Years ago this entailed buying guide books.  Now it is so much easier with the internet.  Part of the fun of travel is in the planning and discussion.  We can often be found in different rooms of our house on different computers “researching”.  When something of interest is found, we then shout to one another and advise the other where to “go to” to see what we found.  There’s also the sharing of links and the like to make it easier for the other and without the need for shouting.

This trip we booked the resort through Costco.  We booked our air separately, direct with the airline.  Everything was done by computer.  Costco had the best price.  The “deal” included round trip private transport between airport and resort.  It also included a $100 excursion coupon.  We decided to take advantage of the coupon.  We decided on Monkey Land in advance.   We did not make the arrangements until we got down there.  Costco uses Blue Travel.  They have a representative at the hotel every day.  We went there our second day and booked for a couple of days later.  We are not fans of booking excursions in advance of being at a resort.  For many reasons, including weather and resort activities, we can tell better what day we want to go once we are there.   This does not apply to cruises, special excursions, or if you will be in a place for a very limited amount of time.

You can do just Monkey Land or combine it with zip lining.  We decided to do just Monkey Land.  We didn’t want too long an excursion.  You have your choice of early morning i.e. 7:30 am pickup or afternoon i.e. 1:30 pickup.  That was a no brainer.  I’m not getting up and out that early in the morning when I’m relaxing, if I don’t have to.  The cost was $75 per person, so with our discount coupon, it cost us $25 per person.

One of the reasons we wanted to try Monkey Land was because we had enjoyed our time with the Barbary Apes in Gibraltar.  This was better.  The actual sanctuary provides bowls of fruits and nuts for you to feed the monkeys.  This is not quite accurate.  The monkeys feed themselves from the bowls.  You do not feed them.  They can be very picky in what they want to eat and will throw on the ground what they don’t want while continuing the search for what they do want.  Don’t do what I did:  I wore a white shirt.  The monkeys got it quite dirty.  I had monkeys sit on my head, my shoulder, and even my chest while they munched away.  They will jump from person to person and amongst branches.

There are only a couple of rules to follow.  First:  don’t wear dangling earrings.  The monkeys will pull them out causing you possible injury or they will steal them.  One young woman in our group did not follow this rule.  She was not injured, but she lost an earring to the forest via monkey.  Most importantly, don’t touch the monkeys.  They can scratch you badly if they feel threatened.  Let them do the interacting.  This is especially true if there is a baby (monkey) involved.  We were lucky enough to see a newborn riding on its Mom’s back.  If you in any way threaten a baby, the entire group of monkeys could attack you.  There were no problems like that on our visit.

Enjoy the photos and videos.  We did not take a lot.  Our experience was much more thrilling than the “media” we got.  We were enjoying it, not trying to make a documentary.  The place that provides the habitat will also take photos for you and sell them to you.  They took many photos of us, but we did not purchase any.  Many others did make purchases.

After you interact with the monkeys, there are also several houses that you tour.  They are open air structures where they demonstrate the making, the old fashioned way, of coffee, chocolate, coconut oil, etc.  You get some tastes and you can purchase items to take with you.

The still photos are first.  Can you find the baby monkey sleeping on its Mom?  Can you find the monkey lounging in the tree?  Can you see the zip line in the background?

I thought the still photos were first.  The “Program” has  its own ideas.  haha  I give up.  I have two more videos to share and they don’t want to post.  I’ll post them  separately.   Nope:  none of the videos want to post.  I’ll post them separately.





Your “diet” is your health. Mine is amazing, but difficult.

You have no life journey without good health.  Everyone is different as to what this means.  In some ways, though, we are all similar.  A little over six months ago, I chose  a new primary care physician.  It is a “she”.  She is young.  I don’t know if I believe everything she suggests, but I am willing to listen and try.  What is most important to me is that she listens to me!

When I first met her, she had many questions about my past medical history.  One of her first was, “Did you not have health insurance?”  The answer to that was “NO!”  I have always had health insurance, but did I have doctors that listened?  They all acted like they did, but I have my doubts.  Many want to just test, test, test, but don’t actually resolve the “problems”.  I am lucky that I am very healthy, but I have my issues.  We all do.

Over 6 months ago, my dr. put me on a very restrictive diet because of cholesterol issues.  I have followed many of her restrictions and not others.  My health is now much better.  I have never been heavy.  I have always been small boned, but big busted.  I now weigh less than what I weighed as a freshman in high school.

The first step in my new diet was hydration….It is so important for all of your functions.  The second step was to avoid MILK!  I have always been a milk lover.  I was drinking up to 8 cups of tea a day.  I drank it with milk.  My dr. said that she does not advise that any adult drink cow’s milk.  I stopped drinking it.  To my shock, what I thought were new allergies disappeared.  No more mucus, sneezes, or coughs!  I now drink my tea with fresh lemon.  A few weeks ago I ran out of lemons and so for one day I used milk.  I didn’t like the taste anymore.  It tasted like cups of fat.  Immediately the mucus started again.  Also, I didn’t feel so good in my tummy.  My body was talking to me.  I have listened.  I also confirmed with a colon/rectal specialist that milk produces mucus throughout your body, including in your intestines.  He also suggests not drinking it.  I have also cut back on my tea consumption to 4 cups a day.  Any  beverage with caffeine in it is dehydrating.  Since the first secret to good health is hydration, anything that is so dehydrating is not good.

Meanwhile, hubby and I are going on vacation in a couple of days.  He is a dream come true when it comes to on-line shopping.  He found a Halston dress for me before our last vacation, but the bra issue was not so good when I wore it.  He recently found a French bra that can be worn strapless or with straps and bought it for me in two colors!  The full retail on them is about $80.00 each.  He found them for less than $27 each and free shipping.  I’m still playing with the right adjustments.

One photo tonight of me planning on adjusting the bra.  It doesn’t matter if you are big or small busted, the right bra can make you look good or bad.  I’ve been looking good and not so good with some of my existing bras.  For me it is not only the strap issues with various style dresses and shirts, but also some of the backless or cut out back styles.





Holland America, Diet, and Majestic Resorts

Yes, once again I am teasing you to figure out what these three things have in common.  Of course I will tell you.  Our last trip was on Holland America to many countries bordering the Baltic Sea.  It is a great misunderstanding for people to think that those are “The Baltics”, as in former Soviet Union controlled areas.  We were in Copenhagen, Denmark; two different ports in Germany; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Talllin, Estonia.  What did all of these ports have in common while travelling on Holland America’s Zuiderdam?  Towel Art.  haha  Every day in our suite on there was a new towel art animal.  I know I took a new photo each day of them, but I can’t find them all in my computer.  I post tonight the ones I can find.  Do they make a vacation?….No.  Do they bring a smile each day when you see the new one?  Yes.

Yes, there were more.  I think I took photos every day, but I used different cameras.  What does HAL towel art have to do with Majestic Resorts in Punta Cana, DR?  Every visit we have been to Majestic in PC, they have also had animal towel art.  We are off to visit our true second home at Majestic in less than a week.  I am sure we will see some more of “the art”.  There are three Majestic Resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  They are all next to each other.  Our first visit was to Majestic Colonial.  It was during the opening week of Majestic Elegance.  Our next many visits for years was to Majestic Elegance, with some privileges at Colonial.  Then Majestic Mirage opened and we have been going there.  We will be back to the three of them and can’t wait!  We will be “sleeping” at Mirage.

What do a HAL cruise and a Majestic Resorts vacation have to do with diet?  Everything!  You can eat a heathy diet and still go on all you can eat vacations!  It is up to you.  I started a more healthy diet in February.  I have always eaten healthy, but my doctor told me I was “starving” myself causing my body to store fat.  She advised me to eat more often, but to change what I ate and drank.  I did.  The first week I lost 4 pounds….eating more.  The second week, I lost another 3 pounds.  I plateaued and went on the all you can eat cruise/vacation for three weeks.  I didn’t gain any weight.  I came home and stuck to my new diet and lost another 3 pounds.  Since then I have lost another 2 pounds.  I now weigh 5 pounds less than I did when I was 17! …and I am eating and drinking more than I ever have.  hahaha

Many of you have followed my move to Palm Beach County and my new home.  Many of you have liked a photo I posted of our antique bar with lithograph over it.  We have moved that lithograph and replaced it with a mirror.  I was trying on my bathing suits for our upcoming trip today and took a photo of the new arrangement.  You can’t really see how thin I look, but I will post some many photos of our upcoming beach vaca at Majestic Resorts next week.  I can’t wait!!!!!  I will be celebrating my birthday there.  I know it sounds funny, but the weather is better in Punta Cana in August than it is in Palm Beach.  LOL


Helsinki, Steroids, and Punta Cana

You should be wondering what the three items in the title possibly have in common.  I will tell you.  They are three phases of my current life journey.  Helsinki is one of the stops on my last vacation in May/June.  Steroids are my current life travel recommended by my doctors.  Punta Cana is where I am off again for vacation in about two weeks.  They all relate.

First topic, in order is Helsinki.  The President was just there and you may have seen photos or videos of his visit.  You may or may not have noticed that it is still light out at 10:00 pm.  It is a weird feeling for those of us who live further south on the globe, but it is nice.  It is not so nice at other times of the year when the darkness prevails for so many hours.  It is my second time in Helsinki.  The first time we were flying to St. Petersburg and there was a long layover.  There was provided a free shuttle bus from the airport to “downtown”.  We spent the day buying fresh berries at the market, sight seeing, having a repast at a café, etc.  We then took the free shuttle bus back to the airport to continue our trip.

This time Helsinki was one of the stops on a cruise.  We didn’t want to do the standard sights while there, since we had already seen them.  One of the “tours” offered through the cruise line, Holland America, was to WinterWorld.  I looked into it.  I found that I could book the tour directly through WinterWorld.  I did it on-line.  They spoke perfect English in their emails and greeted us when we arrived in perfect English.  If you buy through the cruise line, it was more expensive.  You also have to come and go per their schedule.  Further, you are on a big bus.  I emailed WinterWorld directly.  For less $, they offered a private taxi/van pick up, tour of the city, and visit to WinterWorld.  Also, we did not have to pay in advance, but not until we arrived there.

What a great time we had in Winterworld!  It was adult fun in the snow, even though it was very warm outside.  It is an enclosed winter wonderland.  There were 4 of us.  Our driver/guide met us with a sign and a large private van at the dock.  The Holland America concierge in the Suite Lounge was kind enough to let me use his email/cell phone from the ship the day before to make sure all was in order.  Internet/email/cell phones on ships and in European hotels is another topic.

We took a photo of our driver and van when we returned to port.  We weren’t sure we would like it all in advance.  haha  Most taxis/transport services that we encountered throughout our multi country visit were more in the nature of vans than old fashioned traditional taxis.  We have found that in other countries also.

You see the big bus in the background?  That was not the way we wanted to go!  We opted to go to the fun first and the tour afterwards.  Most people do.  This place was so much fun!  There were so many things to do.  It was COLD!  After you check in, you are directed to a changing area.  You NEED a warm suite, boots, etc.  You don’t look pretty, but you have to be warm from the cold.  After you get all dressed up and enter, you get an alcoholic drink at an ice bar.  Yes, vodka…it’s Scandinavia.

Then on to the fun!  They have cross-country skiing (on flats) to get around.

They also had two igloos that you could go in.  One had furniture in it.  The other had


Then there were the manual sleds, for two people.  I was the passenger and hubby was the propeller.  haha

Behind the second photo you will see a “slide”.  You get little pads to slide down on an ice slide.  We tried, but didn’t get good photos or videos of it, because it is so fast.  We have so many other photos and videos of this fun time.  You needed the protection from the cold!!!!!

The final fun for us was a dog sled ride.  The dogs are really friendly and quite at rest when not “working”.   I pet them all before our ride.  And, no that is not me with the camera in the photo.  I am seated in the dogsled.  That is hubby’s sister in law taking video of us on the ride.

This post is too long as it is.  I have so much more to share.  The steroids and other photos and videos from Helsinki and other ports will have to wait.  Doctors have put me on steroids for pain.  I have spent my life avoiding them.  I will agree to a short term of them, but am really pissed that the doctor told me he was prescribing an “anti-inflammatory” and it was a steroid.

Punta Cana is so close.  I am looking forward to total relaxation.  Europe was fun, but a lot of effort.  I live at the beach, but want a beach vacation!  We’re looking forward to that for XMas and New Years.

Then there is the next trip already booked for another cruise of the Atlantic to Amsterdam!…..with other stops in between.  I love to travel!!!!

FIFA Soccer/Football Finals and Cruising to St. Petersburg

I was lucky enough to be in St. Petersburg in May and see the new stadium they built for the FIFA tournament.  Tomorrow are the finals.  Everyone was raving about the new stadium.  Of course, it is always an international quandary whether to refer to the matches as soccer, as in the USA or football, as in most of the rest of the world.

We cruised to St. Petersburg.  We have been there before.  It has changed since we were there last in many ways.  It is a beautiful city.  The seaport is entirely new built on re-claimed land.  It looked to me like a work still in progress.

The first photo is of the new stadium.  You can see it like a flying saucer by the bridge that leads to it.  It is dead center in the photo.  This photo was taken from our wrap around teak terrace on Holland America’s Zuiderdam on the back of the ship.  It was a great suite!  I’ve also zoomed in on the photo so you can see it.  Good luck to whomever you are routing for tomorrow.

The entire seaport for cruise ships is new.  They have also built new semi-high-rise buildings at it for housing.  One of the most different things we have seen was the image of a ship on these housing units.  You could only see it in certain light.  These photos are also from our wrap around terrace showing this sight.  Unless you make the photo “bigger” you can’t see what I am talking about, so I have done it for you.  There has been a lot of building of housing since we were last there, but the wait list for it and the prices are still very high and the spaces very small compared to what we are used to in the USA.

Cruising is great to see many different places without having to pack and unpack.  It is not inexpensive, but has many advantages.  It is not all inclusive.  The extras add up quickly.  Some things in St. Petersburg have not changed since our last visit.  The views from outside The Hermitage on the river.  I post a photo of me nearing sunset, which is very late.  It was taken after a private tour of the Hermitage.  The new thing since we were last year is my earbud.  All of the tours these days have them so you can hear your tour guide without having to be up close and personal.  I post the same photo lightened up, so you can see me.  haha  I do this because the original photo looks great on my computer, but does not translate so great when posted.  The photo was taken by an iPhone.  I dropped our digital camera before this stop on our grand tour and had to resort to the iPhone camera.

St. Petersburg is a really lovely city.  I loved it the first time I went.  I loved it even more this time.  The first time we went, we fly there and then took a Volga River cruise to Moscow.  This time we went on a high end cruise that included an overnight there, so we got to spend another two days there.  The first time we spent so much time seeing the sights.  The second time we spent more time enjoying the city.  Some of that was because we had already been there.

Enjoy your travels.  Enjoy your soccer/football.

Another Trip in Less Than A Month, Last One Went Well for the Diet

Our last trip ended about a month ago and our next trip is in less than a month.  Our next one will be much less strenuous and involve fewer modes of transportation.  All trips involve multiple modes of transport.  Last time we were leaving from a very local airport.  We were supposed to take an Uber.  We each have an Uber account and neither of our phones were cooperating.   ARGHHH!.  At the last “minute” I am trying to call for or arrange for on-line a taxi or airport service and hubby is fuming.  We got it done at 3 times what the Uber cost would have been, but we did it.  Very not happy about that, but the “problem” has been resolved for the future.

This was our first time flying out of Palm Beach airport, our new home.  We were flying to meet relatives in Wisconsin/Chicago before going to Europe.  Our biggest mileage account was with United, so we chose them.  Them airport is only 20 minutes away.  It is a great airport.  I got a really cheap flight through diligence out to the Midwest.  I had been warned, through research, about the disadvantages of these cheap flight.  I wasn’t worried, because I was a “member”.  Oh, that didn’t work out well.  Our checked backs, one each, were free.  If you are not a member, you pay.  Then came the problem.  The biatch at check-in wouldn’t accept our one of our “personal” items, because it had wheels.  Another charge.

Our relatives had offered to pick us up in Chicago, but the same flight was cheaper to Pewaukee than getting off in Chicago… Pewaukee it was.   Several days later, it was private limo service for the four of us to Chicago for our international flight to Copenhagen.   Once in Copenhagen, it was private bus transport through Holland America to our hotel.  All went well, except they had changed our hotel!  We weren’t happy about that.  It was the same hotel group, but not the same hotel.  We did out thing for a few days in Copenhagen, and were then back on a private bus transport to the ship.

Once on the ship, our transport was at ease.  We had pre-booked many tours, most of them through Holland America, but not all of them.  One, in particular, we had booked directly through a site and were picked up via private taxi/tour guide.  Our travel mates had wanted to book private tour/limos for many of the sites, but the cost was prohibitive and inconvenient.  Entrance and camera fees were not included, so you would have to wait in long lines to get into the places you wanted to see.

One tour we were pre-booked for was to start with a private train ride to and fro.  We ended up cancelling that excursion.  We had pre-paid, but they changed the departure time to 6:30 am!….maybe earlier.  I’m not doing that on vacation.    During our travels about we took small group vans and buses, some free from Holland America and some part of tour we paid for.

Our travel to and from Europe was vis SAS “first class”.  The fully reclining beds were nice!  The cost was not.  I could spend weeks at other locations for the same cost as the air alone!

When we abounded the train trip in Germany, we changed to a multiple lake cruise for the day.  It was great.  We met locals and USA travelers and shared wine on a beautiful day.  Yes, even though we were on a cruise, we took a lakes cruise for the day.  You go with the flow of the area you are in.

After all of a great trip, that I will tell you more about later, it was back to Chicago via !st Class  air, private limo to Pewaukee, private limo back to the airport days later, and then air on Southwest to Ft. Lauderdale.  I have to say, I LOVE Southwest and its prices.  Once in Ft. Lauderdale, we took an Uber without incident,  to our car and then drove home.  Finally, our many modes of transport were over!

Travel includes many incidences of transport.  It takes a lot of planning.  Our next trip is in less than a month, to Punta Cana, DR, and will involve much less.    We booked our air through SouthWest…… them….great prices.  We booked our resort, Majestic Mirage through Costco…..and it includes private transport to/fro airport/hotel.

One photo is attached today.  It is of me in Tallinn, Estonia.  What a jewel of a place.  We met a couple from here several years ago when we were staying at Majestic Elegance.  They did not describe how beautiful this place is.  Two very surprising things:  everyone speaks English…..more so than in Germany;  the entire country pays by cell phone for everything, including taxes.  Why do they not have a hacking problem when we do in USA?

Oh yeah, forgot to say, I modified my “new diet” while on the trip and came back home not gaining a single pound and yet eating and drinking all I wanted to.  Some of it was because of all the “exercise” of touring and some because I  watched it without sacrificing.   After I got home, resumed more of my “diet”,  but had less exercise,  I lost a few more pounds.


The Diet from Hell Doesn’t Stop the Travels

It was about 10 years ago that I developed a cholesterol problem.  It wasn’t until 5 years that my doctor acknowledged it and let me in on the secret.  It wasn’t until a few months ago that a new doctor started to help me to battle the problem through diet.  This is truly the diet from hell, but I am doing it for my health and to avoid taking statins.  Statins are bad!  I tried them.  Within one month of taking them, all my cholesterol numbers were normal.  They had been horrific.  However, within that same month, my liver enzymes had turned bad.  The doctor I had at the time told me he’d rather see me with good cholesterol numbers than good liver enzymes.  I disagree.  I am working with a new doctor.  This is the third GP I have dealt with specifically on this issue.  I started taking the statin about 4 1/2 years ago.  I stopped about 1 1/2 years ago.  This new doctor initially wanted to put me back on a statin after she saw my bloodwork results.  I was very adamant that I did not want to do that.  She then suggested an alternative medication that I reluctantly said I would try.  While I waited for the prescription, she changed her mind.  She suggested I try a special diet instead and see if that worked.

My doctor told me the diet would be very hard.  That is an understatement.  As I reviewed it with her tweaks, I immediately thought it was the diet from hell.  I’m getting used to it, but I’ve added some of my own tweaks so that it can be sustainable.  Sustainable is important.  If you cannot follow the diet for a long period of time (as in forever), then it will not work.  This is a diet for health, not weight loss, although I have lost weight too.  I am due to have my blood tested again to see if it helped with my cholesterol problems.

The good news for those who might be interested in trying this, is that the first step of the my doctor’s orders were for me to eat “more”.  It wasn’t volume that was directly addressed.  It was the frequency of eating.  There is no calorie counting or watching on this diet.  It is a matter of what you eat and drink.  Although that seems like a simple statement, what you should and should not eat surprised me.  I researched the information when I started this and continue to do so.  Avoiding foods high in cholesterol themselves is NOT part of this diet.  It turns out that you could avoid all high cholesterol foods and your body will still produce between 75% – 95% of the amount of cholesterol that it did when you were eating those foods!!!  Your liver produces most of the cholesterol found in your body.  When a doctor tells you to address cholesterol problems through diet, (s)he often forgets to tell you how.

All “proper” diet steps begin with hydration.  Yep,  you need to drink water!   It purifies all of your body.  It was the first, and hardest, step for me.  I always avoided drinking water, unless I was on vacation in a hot climate.  I knew I needed it then.  My doctor advised to drink 2 liters of water a day, with fresh lemon squeeze in it.  I have found this very hard!!!!  On the other hand, I have learned to enjoy it.  The 2 liters is tough!  There is no reason to buy bottled water!  There are many alternatives.  We have a new refrigerator that has a water filer.  I can fill that in a water filtration system like Brita or others that has an additional charcoal filtration.  Then I have very clear water.  I add my squeezed lemon.  I’ve “learned” to love it.  It is tasty and refreshing.  It has no sugar!  I used to think I needed sugar to enjoy “lemonade”.  I do not!!!  I started meeting the 2 liters a day.  I found myself devoted to my water.  You can get water from other sources in your “diet”.

Let me say, hydration, hydration, hydration!  It is so good for your health in so many ways.  Give up the sugars….both artificial and natural.  You don’t need them and they are bad for you.  If you decrease them, you won’t want them.  Don’t “substitute” with chemical “fake” sugars.  They are not good for you either.    Your internal organs, skin, hair, and overall bodily functions are better without sugar.  I’ll talk more about them in a subsequent post.  Don’t forget, even if you don’t “add” sugar” to things, they are there.  Fruit has a ridiculously high amount of sugar.  Packaged foods are abhorrent.  Carbohydrates are still sugars.

Some good news……This diet from hell did not at all interfere with my most recent travel.  I was away for about three weeks.  The majority of that was on a cruise in the Baltics on a Holland America ship, the Zuiderdam.  I have been on that ship before.  Here’s one photo of me and hubby taken on “our floor” by the elevators closest to our suite.  The ship is gorgeous.  The dress I’m wearing was new.  Hubby found it on-line and ordered it for me.  It is a Halston!!!!  It is my first Halston.   “good” clothes last forever compared to cheap clothes.  Beware…designer clothes don’t have to cost a fortune.  They go on sale!  Good clothes last forever!  Pick your wardrobe for your body.  Accentuate the good, whatever it is.    I’ve got large breast, have always had same.  It doesn’t mean I have to wear mou- mous.

Enjoy the photo, enjoy life.  There will be much more to come on the “diet” issue and my travels.


Shoes for travel

I love shoes!  I have always had too many!  I can’t help myself.  With the long distance move hubby and I did almost a year ago, I got rid of many of my old shoes.  Hubby started buying me many new pair once we got settled in our new home.  I have one major piece of advice on the topic…..DON’T buy CHEAP shoes!!!!!!  On the other hand, there are always shoes on sale.  I tend to buy very expensive shoes on sale.  Sometimes I by lesser prices shoes, but there is a comfort or quality reason for this.

I just got back from a more than 2 week and less than 3 vacation in the Baltics in Europe.  Hubby and I took a separate suitcase for our shoes.  This is not unusual for us.  His shoes are very heavy because he is a big size (14 US) and he buys quality also.  Our shoes add a lot of weight to our baggage.  Whether you are travelling or at home, reward your feet with quality shoes.  Your feet, back, and neck will appreciate it.  They also last a lot longer than cheap shoes!  You can build a comprehensive shoe stock that can last for decades, if you buy “good” shoes.

Travelling and life require both no heels and high heels, if you want to be fashionable and comfortable.  In the past I erred on the side of high heels.  I liked the way I looked and my outfit looked.  Also, hubby is a foot taller then I am.  We looked better together when I was taller.  I’ve abandoned that recently, but not without some problems.  It turns out that one of my legs is slightly longer than the other.  In high heels, the heels wore down to adjust to the same height.  Without heels, there is not adjustment and it gives me pain problems.

I post today front and side views of the shoes I took on our most recent vacation that ended a few days ago.  Some cost over $1,000 a pair and some cost less than $50 a pair.  Those are full retail prices.  I never pay full retail.  There are too many sales out there.  Can you tell which are the expensive ones and which are the  more affordable ones?

In a future update to this post,  I will tell you which brands these shoes are, the retail cost, and the sale costs.