Monday, June 4, 2007

We're Back!

Yes, we have returned from vacation! Sad but true. We had a great time. You have already seen the fun post on Silver Springs. I'll tell you about the rest of our trip. Coral Springs was our next stop. It is just north of Ft. Lauderdale. There was a big mall over there, but it wasn't all that exciting. Scott and I went to see a movie in a really small theater that didn't have stadium seating (we felt like we were back in the dark ages, haha). We watched Shrek the Third. It was really good. I thought it was really funny-maybe even funnier than the 2nd Shrek movie. We stayed in a Courtyard by Marriott and got a really good rate! It was a nice hotel. Then on Monday, it was on to Miami after breakfast. We got to Miami and made sure we knew how to get to our port and our terminal then turned around and drove down A1A to the beach. It was really expensive to park because it was Memorial Day weekend. We went out and walked on the beach and ate a quick lunch and then turned around and went back to our terminal. It was really quick getting on our ship and our room was really nice. I was surprised that it was as big as it was. We had a little vanity area on the dresser, flat screen TV, a closet area, an armchair and a loveseat, as well as a king-sized bed. I was afraid that our shower would be like the tiny little ones in a camper, but it was almost as big as a normal bathtub and shower. I would definitely recommend getting a balcony if you take a cruise. I was glad that Shana talked us into it. Knowing us, we would have taken the cheap route and gotten one of the tiny rooms if she hadn't told us about it. Thanks Shana! There was a take off party where the activities people tried to get everyone to do dances, but we were not up for that. We took lots of pictures and videos of Miami and of the ship moving. All the food was really good during the cruise and there was a ton of it. There was free soft serve low fat frozen yogurt out by the pool every day from 11-6! They also had a "Welcome Aboard Show" that night in the theater and they had a comedian. He was really funny. Every night except for the first night we had an animal made out of towels on our bed when we returned from dinner...they were all wearing Scott's sunglasses. Those pictures are on the slide show.

Our first port of call was Nassau, Bahamas, which is on the island of New Providence. In order to get into the city, you have to walk through this building that has all kinds of vendors selling things. Then, when you get out onto the street, there is a boat dock that the ferry boats and tour boats all pull up to. There were people lining the streets offering to sell us bottled water and braid my hair. I had so many people offer to braid my hair, I couldn't believe it! There are a ton of shops in Nassau. We only went into a few. Our first thing to do was our excursion, which was a ferry boat tour from Nassau to Paradise Island. We were guided over to the Atlantis Hotel and given a brief tour of the grounds and taken to the beach where we had chairs and towels waiting. Scott and I went back in and went through the aquarium they have there. They don't have signs or anything on what the fish are. But the cool thing was that when you are walking around outside, when you pass water, you are looking down into the aquarium. Most of what they have in the aquarium are predator fish. There were several types of sharks, sting rays, some large fish and some schools of smaller fish. We had coupons for lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants in Atlantis and then we spent a few hours on the beach. I layed out. I will show you a picture of Scott's idea of "enjoying the beach" below this paragraph. After we were done at the beach (it got kind of windy), we took our beach stuff back to the ship and came back out to go shopping. We checked out the straw market, which was aisles and aisles of people selling you the same "touristy" stuff like t-shirts, wood carvings, purses woven from straw, sea shell or bead jewelry. We walked down about 3 aisles and then left. Too many people. We went into a few other shops, but our favorite was Del Sol. This store is full of things that change color when they are exposed to sunlight. We loved that store. The show that night was all the singers and dancers singing and dancing to various songs through the last few decades. It was pretty good. I would have preferred an actual musical theater play (I guess that is the Shorter College graduate in me.) That night on the ship, they had an ice sculptor create an ice sculpture of a swan right in front of us in about 10 minutes! Scott got a video of it! They also had a midnight buffet of Caribbean food. We didn't eat very much of it because we were still full from dinner - we just made enough room for dessert. :)

Here is the picture of Scott "enjoying" the beach and the sun.

The second day we went to CocoCay Island, which is owned by Royal Caribbean. The only thing to do is either hang out on the beach or do their excursions like snorkeling or parasailing. I might try parasailing, but not on this trip. I don't think I would like snorkeling. The people that sat at our table each night went snorkeling in CocoCay and there were these tiny jelly fish all around them. I could not have dealt with that. So, Scott and I got over there early and looked around at their miniature version of the straw market and laid in the sun for a while. Well, I laid in the sun and Scott laid in a hammock completely shaded by the two trees that were holding it up. It got pretty windy, so we decided to go back to the ship and hang out by the pools. That was fun. They had poolside which we did not participate, but we knew most of the answers between the two of us. The show that night was a comedian/juggler. He was really good and super funny. They also had a midnight buffet that was completely dessert! The boat was really rocking that night on the way to Key West. Scott and I took a nap before the midnight buffet and when we woke up and it was so bumpy we weren't really sure what was going on. Everyone was staggering around!

Here is Scott in the hammock...once again really enjoying the sun!

I decided to take a picture of myself before laying out to enjoy the sun. Hehe.

The last day of our cruise was Key West. I think that was the favorite stop for both of us. We went out early to see what there was on the island and locate the shops we knew we wanted to visit. Unfortunately most of them were closed but we did see something very interesting. Apparently about 80 years ago the Cubans brought their fighting roosters to Key West and would make bets and make a lot of money having "cock fights" I guess is what they were called. Then, it was made illegal and the Cubans got mad and just released all their roosters! So, the first thing we saw was a white rooster and a multi-colored rooster duking it out right in the middle of the street. At the same time, a couple of guys that apparently lived in Key West were cracking us up by the commentary they were making...really agging on the roosters like kids in high school. We took some pictures and a video of them. There were roosters everywhere in Key West. Our excursion that day was the Pirate Soul Museum and the Shipwreck Museum. Our tour guide that took us from the ship and between the two museums told us the history of the roosters (we were the only people doing our particular excursion from our boat, so we could ask him whatever we wanted). We really enjoyed the Pirate Soul Museum. It was basically a history of the real pirates of the Caribbean and they had a book on computer that told about some of the most famous ones. They were definitely not nice like Captain Jack in the movie. The Shipwreck Museum basically explained the history of shipwrecks in Key West. There were people whose entire living was made by being the first to arrive when a ship was going down close to Key West, they would save people first and then dive down and save the goods on the ship. This was before diving equipment. These people could hold their breath for 6-7 minutes! Apparently this was so common that there was an entire set of laws written regarding who got what from a salvage. We had heard that the Blonde Giraffe was the best place to eat Key Lime Pie. We had also seen that restaurant on food tv. We told this lady in a jewelry store that we were going to go there to get our pie she told us she liked this place called Key Lime Pie Heaven better. So, in order to decide for ourselves, we shared a piece at both places. The Blonde Giraffe definitely was the best. You can order their stuff online, I think. They mail it to you frozen. Yum! We went to the shops that we wanted to visit, including another Del Sol! Then, we hightailed it down to the SouthernMost Point of the United States and back before we got left by our ship! Unfortunately, Key West was our shortest day at any location. I would definitely like to take a trip to Key West again and spend several days there.

Here are the fighting roosters. That bus was ready to take off and was honking at them and they weren't even aware that it was even cranked!

This is a picture of us taken in front of the mural outside of the Pirate Soul Museum. Our tour guide, Dan, took the picture. He was a really good tour guide. I think the mural looks pretty realistic.

Here we are beside the marker for the SouthernMost Point of the United States. I just thought this was an interesting picture.

Friday was sad. We left the cruise ship (we stayed for as long as we could) and then got in the car and drove up the coast to St. Augustine, FL. I had stayed in St. Augustine on a vacation when I was about 8 and remembered all the fun things we did on that trip and Scott had been there on a business trip and didn't get to do anything fun. I remembered going to this particular restaurant and a friend of mine from work had been there too, but I didn't know where it was in St. Augustine or what it was called. Scott was able to find it on the internet! He really is a good researcher. It is called Santa Maria's. The food isn't all that wonderful...but the great part is that it is out on a pier and there are these window ledges with little doors you can open and they give you baskets of bread to feed the fish that swim around the restaurant. They were all huge catfish! There were also lots of sea gulls and pigeons hanging around. The pigeons still weren't as fat as the ones in downtown Atlanta. On Saturday, we went to the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. We really enjoyed looking through there. Then, on the drive home, it rained basically the whole time! We were glad that north Florida and south Georgia were getting rain, but it was a lot of rain! Then, when we got home, it started raining, just enough to be irritating while we unpacked the car...and then it stopped when we were done! But, I think that we ended up getting a little over 1/10 of an inch at our house for the whole weekend...which was more than we have been getting, but I would like to have more.

Here we are at Santa Maria's. You can see the little door to the fish behind Scott and our basket of bread between us. It was a lot of fun to feed the fish. I remember that I did not eat much of my meal when I went there as a child because I fed most of it to the fish. :)

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

I know that everyone is wondering about the boys! Our neighbor Nan took really good care of them while we were gone. They actually didn't seem all that excited to see us Saturday night when we got home. But, Sunday they were very affectionate with us all day and wanted lots of attention. At one point in time on Sunday, we discovered them both sleeping in their bed. I will put a picture of that on here because it is really a classic! Overall, we were really glad we took our vacation. We both needed the time away. We were not happy to have to go to work today, but at the same time we are thankful to have jobs and to be able to take vacations. I know that this post was really long...but I have never claimed to be short on words! I have not posted any slide shows from the trip yet...but I will! That will be something for you to check back on. I need to decide which pictures to include. I don't think that y'all want to see all 505 pictures we took on our trip (that does include the Silver Springs ones).

Here are the pictures of the boys in their bed. Aren't they cute...look at Maxwell's tail hanging over the edge. We really have sweet kitties!


The Prators said...

I love this blogging thing. I tried to set up my own but I can't figure out how to do everything. I'm going to have to get you to show me how to do this. It's really cool!

Josh & Shana Stringer said...

Aww that is the cutes pictures of your babies. I wish my dogs did that.

Callie Michelle said...

Marcy... you TOTALLY should have gotten your hair braided! That would have been awesome... haha.

Marcy and Scott said...

Callie - You are so funny!