JaniceHeck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the month “June, 2014”

WPC: Extra, Extra 2: Mykonos Afternoon

While visiting the Greek island of Mykonos recently, my friend and I sat at a waterside café imbibing icy drinks, snacking on island specialties, and watching the tourists stream from the cruise ship that had just anchored in the harbor. (We had been lucky and had managed to snag places on the third tender to bring guests to shore.)

Across from the café sat a woman all dressed in black sharing our view.

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The woman in black sat in the same spot for almost an hour, then she stood up, took off her shoes, and dabbled her feet in the cool, clear water, giving us the opportunity for an extra interesting photo.

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WPC: Extra, Extra in Venice, Italy

Two of my favorite photos of Venice enhanced by gulls that flew into the setting.  The rain kept the gondolas docked for a short time, but as soon as the sun came back out, excited tourists climbed in for tours of the canals.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

The Sixth Annual Book-a-Day Challenge

Nerdy Book Club

New guests to our house always say the same thing when walking into our living room for the first time, “Wow, you’ve got a lot of books.” With thirteen bookcases—most double-stacked—and a custom built-in wall unit crammed with books, the principal decorations at the Miller Ranch are book spines.

Anna Quindlen said, “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” I can relate, Anna. We are clearly kin.

“Buy a Kindle. “ I divorced my Kindle in 2010 when it died on a long conference trip. I asked a friend to drive me to a bookstore, and I never went back.

“Get a library card. “ I have three, so does everyone in my house. We use them. We dedicated one shelf near the door for our library books, so they don’t get…

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Venice, Italy. Riding the Water Bus to San Marco Square

Travel Log: Venice, 2014

On May 28th, My friend Connie and I flew into Aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo, Venice, Italy on a direct USAir flight from Philadelphia, arriving early in the morning on May 29th. We planned to join a cruise ship the next day, so we had only thirty hours in this glorious city.

The Marco Polo Airport, located on the Italian mainland, is a relatively short distance from Venice. We had several options for going from the airport to Venice: by land (airport bus or taxi) or by sea (water bus or water taxi). We chose the reasonably priced (15 euro = about $20 US) Alilaguna Blue water bus for the hour-long trip to San Marco Piazza (St. Mark’s Square).  (Buy tickets inside the airport terminal and walk outside around the building to the docks…a five-minute walk.) We took this same Alilaguna Blue line from San Marco Piazza water stop out to the cruise terminal on May 30th for 8 euro (about $10 US).

The weather was remarkably pleasant: warm and sunny with partly cloudy skies.

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Other visitors joined us on the uncrowded and comfortable ride to Venice.

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The most glamorous but most expensive way (110 euros = about $140 US) to get to San Marco Square or other water stops in Venice is to take a water taxi.  The water taxis seem to rule the waterways, and our water bus slowed down to ride out the wake of the water taxis each time one raced by going in either direction. The water taxis did look like fun, but we liked the leisurely pace of our water bus. Our ride felt like a grand tour of the waterways with lots to see on the way.

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Along the way, we saw lots of interesting water traffic.

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Our first view of Venice was breathtaking.

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Gondolas waited at the San Marco Square water bus station to take tourists out for a ride along the Grand Canal and other smaller canals.

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The Grand Canal hummed with steady traffic.

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Our hotel was just a few blocks (and two small bridges away) from the San Marco water stop. From this stop, we dragged our suitcases on wheels to our hotel. Alternately, we could have paid a porter to transport our luggage on a hand truck but being independent seemed like more fun.

This next youtube video gives you an idea about how individual tourists get their bags to their hotel in Venice. Of course, if you go to Venice with a tour group and arrange for transfers, the tour managers will have your luggage waiting in your hotel room or your cruise ship room.

And in this next video, Rick Steves gives an overview of his visit to Venice.

For more tips on your visit to Venice check Quick Venice     

I will publish a few more posts on Venice in a few days.

Istanbul in the Rain and Blogging At Sea

Istanbul in the Rain... but still a nice day.

Istanbul in the Rain… but still a nice day.

Internet connections can be tricky while traveling.

I have just spent 12 days at sea on a Mediterranean cruise (Norwegian Spirit) and have had a difficult time completing blog posts.

First of all, Internet connection time from a ship is expensive and SLOW. At $.55 a minute for the bargain rate and with the slow speed, publishing a new post was just not feasible. Believe me, I tried, but the minutes ticked away too fast.

Logging on to Internet on my Microsoft Surface 2 tablet ate up minutes and connecting to my blog took even more time. I blame this on the Internet access and not my tablet. I did manage to post one picture, but after that, I kept having problems loading the images. I resorted to using the ship’s computer because it was faster, and I could complete basic tasks (Gmail and Facebook checks) much more easily. Blogging was just too frustrating.

Now I am in a hotel in Barcelona with FREE Internet, and already I can see that working on the a blog post is much faster than at sea. I have already easily posted a photo to Facebook and to this draft post.

Second, I am using a new tablet, and I haven’t learned all the intricacies of it yet. The blogging process works the same as on my desktop computer, but it is definitely slower. Add the sensitivity of the touch screen (sometimes too touchy, sometimes not touchy enough), and I had added problems.

I tried to preview this post three times, but no luck. I can’t figure the reason for that.

Let’s hope I can publish what I have written. If you can read this post, I have been successful.

Venice, Italy: Bucket List Trip

Bucket list trip. Day 1. Venice. The Grand Canal

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