Monday, December 26, 2011


What a year!!  We closed on the sale of our condo on 1/11/11.  In the year that followed, we spent a total of 7 months at sea.  Aside from the World Cruise, there were lecture engagements on the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Celebrity plus the transatlantic crossing.   We sailed out of Malaga to Fort Lauderdale aboard Seabourn Spirit on November 25. There were only 159 passengers onboard, far less than the number of crew.  The food was fabulous, the service fantastic.  Lots of glorious, sunny days and many pleasant, interesting people to meet.  In our 14 day crossing, we only had one stop: Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese province of Madeira, 600 miles from Portugal.  We have been there a number of times so we were content to spend our time walking and cleaning up some emails at an internet café. 

View from our 39th floor room
Our corner room at Beaux Arts
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale December 9, picked up our car and headed to Boca Raton for a couple of days – just long enough to visit our storage area and repack suitcases.  Then we headed to South Palm Beach where I had booked (through Skyauction) 5 nights at the Omphoy Hotel, a beautiful hotel right on the beach.  The weather was mostly windy and cloudy but it afforded time to catch up on emails and 3 months of land mail.  Plus we got to have dinner with someone we met in Italy in 1993 on Ron and my first trip overseas together.  We had lost touch for years but Julie found me on Facebook.  It was wonderful to see her again.  I am not a big social network fan but it does have its benefits.  

Then it was 6 days in Miami at 2 beautiful hotels.  First we went to Beaux Arts then Tempo. 
These two packages were bought from ( see below).  They included 3 nights at each, breakfast, a 3 course dinner for two, massages and taxes.  Beaux Arts is a new, ultra luxurious hotel atop JW Marriott.  From our 39th floor windows, we looked down upon Steven Spielberg's two hundred million dollar yacht.  

On Dec. 22 we boarded Celebrity Millenium where I lectured over Christmas and New Year’s.   Cruise ships are a fun, festive place to spend the holidays while enjoying lovely weather and the beautiful waters of the Caribbean.  

              Wishing you joy, peace and love in the New Year.    

Christmas 2011 on Celebrity
TRAVEL TIP: is another site where you bid for travel but it is unlike skyauction in several ways.  They sell packages at upscale hotels and resorts that include 2 or more nights of lodging and are likely to include breakfasts, one 3 course dinner for 2, massages etc.  They offer a buy now price higher than the bid price.  If you are bidding, check with the hotel first to make sure the dates you want are available.  And, of course, check out reviews on or and always read the small print.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


We concluded our 7 weeks on the Costa del Sol back in Torremolinos, but at a different hotel.  It is about one mile to the east of the first one and also overlooks the marvelous beach promenade.   You can walk it for miles -- and we have.  We are closer to El Centro here; there is a long, winding pedestrian street up the hill to town or a lift that takes you part way.  We only discovered that recently!  In the morning, we take a long walk along the beach or go into town and wander the winding streets.  On Sundays and Thursdays, there is a Mercadillo  (think flea market) at the fairgrounds we enjoy strolling around. 
Reminders of old fishing village

Like most of the towns along the Costa del Sol, Torremolinos was once a poor fishing village.  It was the first of the beach towns to turn into a major resort.  It has almost 6 miles of beautiful, wide beaches.  The summer is very busy but even winter with its mild temperatures and mostly sunny days attracts many visitors from northern Europe.   The only American voices we hear are from tour groups passing through.

Beach chairs still out but no sunbathers
The weather is starting to change.  Temperatures usually mid-sixties, some cloudy, rainy days.  The rainy days afforded an opportunity to work on a new lecture.  That always involves a lot of research, writing and Powerpoint design.  Creating the blog also takes some time.  

Sand sculpting is popular
Since this is now our lifestyle and not just a vacation, we do many of the things we did when we had a home.  Aside from walking, spiritual readings are always part of our day.  We also enjoy reading or listening to an audio book.  Right now we’re listening to “The Next 100 Years” by George Friedman.  Very interesting.   I bought a Barnes & Noble Nook Color just before we left the States.  Like the Kindle, it allows me to download and read books but it also has internet capability.  Fortunately, most of the places we stayed had wi-fi.  Aside from keeping up with email,   it has allowed me to begin designing our travels for next year.  We expect to leave Florida mid-January and spend 9 – 10 months circling the country.  

Well, we say adios to Spain on November 25th and board the Seabourn Spirit for a 14 day cruise back to Fort Lauderdale.  Hope everyone has a bountiful Thanksgiving.  We are certainly feeling very grateful for – among many other things –  our wonderful visit to the Costa del Sol.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Our favorite restaurant in Marbella
Spain’s Costa del Sol runs for about 100  miles along the Mediterranean.   We wanted to experience as much of it as possible during our 7 weeks here so we moved several times.  After Torremolinos, we headed west to Marbella. 

Thanks again to Skyauction, we spent 10 days at the Don Pepe Gran Melia in Marbella for a fraction of the usual cost.  Melia is a worldwide hotel chain; Gran Melia their luxury brand. We had a beautiful room, and an unexpected bonus: a fabulous breakfast buffet was included. 

Like Torremolinos, Marbella has an extensive promenade along the beach.  One day we walked  to Puerto Banus and back, about 4 miles each way.  I think of Puerto Banus as Spain’s answer to St. Tropez.  Upscale shops and restaurants circle the harbor which is full of luxurious yachts even this time of year. 

Pool at Gran Melia Marbella
Long walks in the morning were followed by afternoons at the pool overlooking the sea.  At night we sought out local restaurants.   There were plenty to choose from.  They line the promenade along the beach, surround the plazas in old town and are plentiful all over the city.    
On October 29, we packed up and moved to Marbesa, a residential area not far to the east of Marbella.   It had a very different ambience and provided a totally different experience. 

Walkway along beach from Marbella to Puerto Banus
Here we rented a bright 2 bedroom apartment with a big balcony overlooking the pool.  Spoiled as we were by the hotels we had stayed in, it was nice to feel ‘at home.’  Ron made great use of the washing machine and we enjoyed shopping at the local supermercado, having breakfast and lunch at home.  There were a number of restaurants in walking distance but no beach promenade.  On sunny days, it was fun to walk to them along the beach.  On rainy days, we followed back roads until a side street dipped down to the beach and restaurant.  Our dinners are very simple.  We share a large salad, one entrée and a bottle of Rosado.   

Our apartment in Marbesa
Purto Banus
Another totally different experience awaited us in Benalmadena which is to the west of Torremolinos.  Here we rented a very modern, comfortable one bedroom apartment at Holiday World, a huge complex with its own market, cinema, spa, restaurants.  One cannot really walk anywhere from here so we take the bus into town or into Fuengirola, a very busy hub where one gets a better sense of the local lifestyle.  On those days, it is likely that we will have our main meal at lunch time and tapas for dinner.  Ron has even cooked a few dinners here.  I don’t want him to lose his cooking and laundering skills just because we are homeless.

Now it is November, the days are a bit cooler and we’ve had some rainy days.  They call this winter but for the most part the days are still sunny and bright.  

Walking the beach to dinner in Marbesa

View from our balcony at Holiday World
Sunrise in Benalmadena

Monday, October 17, 2011


Hotel pool overlooks beach and ocean
The ancient city walls of Ronda
In the fall of 1970, I traveled to Europe by myself.  First I visited relatives in Belfast, Ireland, my mother's birthplace.  But true to fashion, the weather was cold and damp.  So I flew off to Barcelona where the weather was not much better.  Go south everyone said.  So I boarded a train for Malaga, Spain.  Little did I realize it was a 24 hour ride, not 4 hours!  But during that ride, I met some terrific guys who had recently graduated college in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).  They were headed for Torremolinos.  I followed their lead and found a studio apartment overlooking the beach where I lived for about 2 months.  Here I am back again 41 years later and except for that apartment high on a cliff over the beach, nothing is the same.  

Ronda has the oldest bullring in the world 
Torremolinos has become the snowbird destination of Europe.  The beachfront is lined with shops and restaurants, hotels and apartments.  It is busy but not  overcrowded in this the shoulder season (between high season and off season).   The weather is magnificent.   Twice a day we walk the promenade that runs along the beach for miles.  Afternoons we usually spend a couple of hours at the pool.  

We did take 2 day trips.  One to the city of Ronda.  Though there is evidence of  prehistoric settlements from the  Neolithic Age in the area, the town was originally settled by Celts and later Romans.  Aside from its history, Ronda is best known for famous summer residents they used to entertain like Orson Wells and Ernest Hemingway who were drawn by the town's famous bull fights.  

The other trip through the Andalucian countryside included a stop at an olive oil factory.  With over 300 million olive trees (some as old as 1,000 years), Spain is the leading producer and exporter of olives and olive oil.  Making oil from olives is not unlike making wine from grapes.  Depending upon the quality of the oil, 4 - 11 kilos (kilo = 2.2 pounds) are necessary to make one kilo of olive oil.   

GOOD FOR A LAUGH:  A blind man sat down next to a Jewish man in the park during Passover.  The Jew is eating his lunch and offers a matzah cracker to the blind man.  He touches it for a moment and says, “Who writes this crap?”Geri's website

Friday, October 7, 2011


With Kevin in New York
After Colorado, it was back to Boca Raton for a week.  And a busy week it was -- in and out of our storage unit unpacking and repacking for the upcoming 3 month trip.  Plus I was reviewing and running off copies of the lectures I was scheduled to give on our upcoming cruise.  Once that was all behind us, we relaxed at the Riveside Hotel on Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, a charming hotel in a great locale -- another winner from  (See earlier post about how skyauction works).  We took long walks along the New River and on A1A beside the pristine beach.  We spent a good part of one day on a water taxi meandering along all  the beautiful waterways lined with multi-million dollar mansions.  

Cunard's newest ship The Queen Elizabeth
On Sept. 19, we flew to New York to board the Queen Elizabeth.  It was docked in Manhattan overnight so we had the opportunity to see our nephew Conor, and our friend, Kevin.  On Sept. 20 we sailed out of New York harbor and arrived in Newport, Rhode Island the next day.  The weather was beautiful and the town was quiet following the busy, summer tourist season.  

College roommates 44 years after graduation
Unfortunately, the weather was not so great the next day in Boston, but that did not put a damper on my reunion with 3 college roommates.  All four of us had not been   together in over 20 years, but we talked and laughed as if we were back in the sorority house.   

The great thing about this trip was the opportunity it offered to see some special people along the way.  That continued with our stop in Portland, Maine.  Our friend Perry  met us at the pier and we spent the better part of the day talking, lunching and being shown the highlights of Portland. 

Quebec city, Canada
Last stop in the USA was Bar Harbor, Maine.  Then on to Canada where we spent one day in Nova Scotia and two in the charming city of Quebec.  The massive Hotel Fontenac dominates the city overlooking the restored buildings along the waterfront.  

Last chance to step on land was in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  Finally, we saw a few trees turning color, but our cruise was just a bit early to enjoy the height of fall foliage.  

Fall colors in Newfoundland, Canada
Five sea days after Newfoundland delivered us to Southampton, England which happened to be my 65th birthday.  65 years old???  44 years out of college???  Can it be?  I like what Sophia Loren said about aging: "There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age."

We spent the day in Southampton.  The weather was damp and chilly as it often is in England.   Next morning, it was off to the  airport for our flight to Malaga where we will spend the next 7 weeks enjoying the Costa del Sol.  

TRAVEL TIPS:  If you are looking for a cruise, is a great site for checking the sailing dates and itineraries of all the major cruise lines.  No obligation to book your trip through them but their prices are competitive.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011


The route we chose to take from Glenwood Springs to Crested Butte took us primarily on a dirt road over a mountain pass.  The views were well worth it.  Colorado is gorgeous this time of year. 
Driving over Kebler Pass

Crested Butte is a real old west town set against the magnificent backdrop of Mt. Crested Butte.  We stayed at the Elevation Hotel at the foot of it.  It's a beautiful hotel with a fantastic gym and spa -- another winner from Skyauction!   The weather was a little cooler here and we enjoyed leisurely mornings, time for the gym and the indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna and steam.  The town is small and easily walkable from one end to the other.  

Crested Butte

The highlight of our time here was doing the Zip Line Course.   We were well and safely outfitted for the 5 various zip line crossings and walking the rope bridges.   After the first time of stepping off into thin air (literally at this elevation) it got easier.  It was great fun and definitely thrilling.   

          The zip line & ropes course at Crested Butte

With Alan in Pagosa Springs
For the final segment of our trip, it was on to visit our friend Alan in Pagosa Springs.  He was a fellow world cruiser and we often wonder where we would be right now if it weren't for the friends we met on the Voyager who encouraged us to visit them this summer in Colorado.    Thanks Julia, Frank and Alan! 

HEALTH TIP:  We picked up and have been reading THE CHINA STUDY.  It is the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted.  Forget all the conflicting reports on health, diet and nutrition.  I think this book has the facts backed by extensive research.   


Geri's Website

Biking along the Colorado River
Whitewater rafting on the Colorado River
In preparing for our month in Colorado, I came across a town called Glenwood Springs.  Sounded like there was lots to do there, so I booked a week.  Shortly thereafter, Glenwood Springs was named the most fun town in America by a Rand McNally/USA      Today survey.  And they're right!  

We rode bikes along the beautiful Colorado    River one day and went white wafer rafting on it the next.  Then we rode segways up Red  mountain.  We visited the Adventure Park and rode the alpine slide which is actually a very high speed roller coaster.  Perhaps nothing took more courage than boarding a   giant swing that sent us soaring out 1,300 feet over the valley.  One minute we were looking at sky and the next straight down at earth.  

After all the activity, we were happy to take a leisurely drive to Aspen the day before we headed off to our next adventure in Crested Butte. 

Riding segways up Red Mountain

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:  You can tell a lot about a person by their belongings.  (from the book BLINK by Malcolm Gladwell)

Monday, August 15, 2011


Queen Mary 2 docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Geri's website

Keystone, Colorado
    We are officially homeless now!   We sold our condo in Boca Raton just prior to the World Cruise, but the deal was contingent upon being able to rent it back for 2 months.  So, after disembarking from the Regent Voyager in Southampton, we flew back to Florida.  Even though we sold the apartment fully furnished, there was still so much 'stuff' to sort, give away, throw away, pack away and move into storage.  Fortunately, right in the middle, we had a brief reprieve.  I was asked to lecture on the Queen Mary 2, a round trip
cruise from New York City over the July 4  holiday. Then it was back to work.  In addition to packing and moving, I was developing a couple of new lectures and laying out our schedule for the next 5 months.
Keystone, Colorado

     On August 7, we said our final goodbye to the Yacht & Racquet Club of Boca Raton and, feeling free as birds, we flew off to Colorado for a month.  First stop: Keystone, Colorado.  What an idyllic place to relax and unwind.  The scenery is gorgeous, the weather was magnificent.   We took the chairlift to the top of the mountain and hiked the loop trail.  A little more strenuous than walking the beautiful trails that run along the     Snake River. 
At Frank & Julia's mountain home
     On Aug. 12, we drove up to Fort Collins to   spend a week with dear friends.  We met Frank & Julia during the World Cruise.  They were on the first 2 segments and we hit it off from Day 1.  They could not have made us feel more at home, and a gorgeous home it is.  Lots of laughs and good conversation while Julia spoiled us with her fabulous cooking.  We also visited their beautiful mountain home. 
TRAVEL TIP: I love and have had great success with  It's like ebay but you bid on hotels, flights, etc. Aside from the bid price, hotels charge a daily tax & service charge, usually $39 or $49.  Skyauction charges a one time $20 processing fee.  Be sure to: 1) read the small print for dates of availability or any extra charges i.e. valet, resort fees. 2) cross check expedia/orbitz or the hotel's site for specials and promos. 3) read traveler's reviews on tripadvisor or expedia. 



Sunday, June 5, 2011

ROME - SOUTHAMPTON 5/24 - 6/7/11

It is so good to be back In Europe.  After seeing so much of the world on this trip – from the very poor in Cambodia to the very rich in Dubai, I can say that there is nothing like the history and charm of Europe.  In Italy, France, Spain, we visited medieval towns, modern cities and harborside villages.   

Spending 2 days in Bordeaux, France was a real treat.  The weather was perfect.  We were docked along the Garonne River and could follow a marvelous bike/skate/walk way for miles along the river’s edge.  The historic part of town is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and was in easy walking distance.  The surrounding wine country dotted with chateaux is idyllic.  The Bordeaux area has 287,000 acres of vineyards, produces 960 million bottles of wine a year and brings in 14.5 billion Euros a year.  Not far from the city of Bordeaux is the 13th century city of St. Emilion.  Cobblestone streets are lined with wine stores and French cheeses.  In the center is a gigantic underground church carved out of limestone.  

Well, this brings us to the end of our 145 day world cruise.  It has been exciting, educational and fun.  But we are ready to get on with the next chapter of our lives.  As many of you know, we sold our condo in Boca Raton and closed on it the day before we left on this trip.  We sold it furnished and fortunately, can rent it back for 2 months upon our return.   Then it is off to Colorado for a month to visit friends, a quick trip back to Boca to change suitcases and fly to New York to board the new Queen Elizabeth.  I will be lecturing onboard as it sails up the New England coast to Canada and across the Atlantic to Southampton.  So check back now and then to follow our upcoming adventures as nomads. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

JORDAN – ROME 5/14 – 5/24/11

Ron at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
Ruins below old city & mural of the way Jerusalem was

The Red Sea has become a popular vacation area and we got to enjoy 2 beautiful days of sun and sand at a beautiful beach resort in Safaga, Egypt while some of our ship mates went off to visit Luxor and Cairo.  Fortunately, we did an extensive tour 3 week of Egypt several years ago so did not feel the need to make the long trip from the port.  Tourism is down 70 – 90% in Egypt.  Sharm El Sheik, our next stop in Egypt was like a ghost town.  Miles of beautiful beaches lined with hotels and outdoor restaurants were virtually empty. 
Then it was on to Israel and 3 days of 11 hour tours.  Tiring but well worth it.  We saw many of the highlights.  In Jerusalem, we visited the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane.  Entering the Old City through narrow walkways, we went first to the Holy Sepulcher perched on Golgotha and believed to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.  Afterwards, we visited the Wailing Wall.  In the afternoon, we drove to Bethlehem to see the Church of the Nativity built over a grotto where it is believed Jesus was born. 

Believed to be spot Jesus was born in Bethlehem
The Dead Sea
The next day we drove to Masada where we saw the ruins of an amazing fortress and palace built atop a mountain under the direction of King Herod.  We were able to take a cable car to the top but slaves had to carry large cisterns of water up the winding mountain path.  Here Herod enjoyed a palace built on 3 levels where he could look out over the Dead Sea.  The surrounding city had baths and homes for thousands of citizens as well as store houses with stocks that could last for years.    

After lunch at a hotel, we were able to go swimming in the Dead Sea.  What an incredible feeling to be so buoyant.  On our drive back to the ship, we passed Qumran where a Bedouin shepherd boy found the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947, the oldest known Biblical manuscripts in the world. 

On the third day in Israel our ship moved from Ashdod to Haifa and from there we were able to visit many of the sites where Jesus lived and traveled: Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, Cana, the River Jordan and Nazareth.  The final port on this segment was Sorrento, Italy.  Italy never fails to enchant. 

Qumran: where Dead Sea scrolls were found (the little holes)