Friday, February 24, 2017

Drowning in a Sea of Penguin Pictures

I knew I was neglecting Buttercupland when two friends mentioned that the blog was awfully quiet. They also reminded me that they were waiting for the long awaited penguin pictures. I got home on Monday and after grocery shopping, napping and doing a very basic sort of my mail, I settled in to choose penguin pictures to share with Buttercupland. You can see how far I've gotten. In an effort to capture every possible cute penguin I have taken hundreds of photographs and videos of penguins. I feel as though I am drowning in a sea of penguin pictures and iceberg photographs and hundreds of other pictures. In order to just begin to post again I chose several photographs I enjoy and will use this post to write about the cruise. I'm optimistic this will help "prime the pump" of blogging and set me back on the writing path. 

Getting ready to sail south. Buenos Aires is in the background. 

I've been thinking about going to Antarctica forever and had been studying various cruises for the last several years. I loved the idea of actually setting foot on the Antarctic continent, but both the cost and the potential for sea sickness deterred me from choosing one of the smaller expedition ships. There are only a few cruise ships that sail into Antarctica and the Celebrity Infinity does two sailings every winter, which is the Antarctic summer. At the end of 2015 I saw that the price was reduced which made the cruise very attractive, but I had already made plans to go to Peru. I decided to wait until the end of this year and if there was another "sale" I would be ready to travel. I booked my trip at the end of December and left for Argentina on February 5. It's more spontaneous than I usually am, but everything worked out well. Have passport, will travel.

Enjoyed all the nature talks on board. Every morning that we weren't in a port the theater was literally standing room only. 

I had mentioned my plans to a number of friends, but the amount of time -- two plus weeks -- the cost and/or the destination deterred them from traveling with me. I decided that if I wanted to see Antarctica, this was my opportunity. I knew it could be lonely, but I also knew that cruise ships had a lot of opportunities to meet people. I joined a group that played trivia on sea days, found some fun people to have dinner with and it seemed that with every excursion and activity there was someone to talk to.  

Whether in the dining room or in buffet, I enjoyed the meals and snacks and ice cream bar. Perhaps a little too much! I discovered that tea foods were served every day and these raisin scones quickly became my favorite afternoon treat, especially when I added whipped cream and strawberries. The only food glitch was running out of lettuce south of Cape Horn, but somehow we survived this deprivation.  

Sunrise at Ushuaia, Argentina
I've shared about my cruise experience and as I was thinking about how to make order out of photographic chaos for the rest of the trip, I decided to do a post about each of our four ports. As an introduction to my next post, Ushuaia, Argentina, I'm closing with a photograph of the sunrise as the ship neared Ushuaia, the most southern point in South America. We were blessed with calm seas and a perfect sunny day. 
I'm returning to my photographs with renewed energy. Next post will include penguins, actually lots and lots of penguins. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Moment in Montevideo

 Not sure where the days are gone, but this is the last day of the trip and my flight back to New York is tomorrow night. There will be pictures of Antarctica and of penguins and of Montevideo, Uruguay -- where we are presently -- but they will wait until I'm back in New York. This is a quick hello and a photograph of my view at lunch from the deck cafe. Yes, my favorite place to eat on the ship.

I'm back to more regular blogging next week. Take care and enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, February 11, 2017


I've been remiss posting, but I promise to share both Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn. Right now we're cruising into Paradise Bay, Antarctica and there are no words to describe the scenery. I've looked at thousands of photographs over the years, but I was still unprepared for the beauty.

Happy to send my greetings from Antarctica! 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sea Days, Glorious Sea Days

This is my view, looking out into the South Atlantic. We left Buenos Aires last night and are heading south to our first stop in Patagonia. This is the most Southern part of South America and our only stop before we come to Cape Horn and then Antarctica. The deck is closed because it's very windy. As tempted as I am to walk on the track I'm being prudent and following directions. It's not rocky, but I can definitely feel the ship moving.

 I boarded yesterday afternoon and the highlight of the day -- besides exploring the ship -- was a Super Bowl party in the theater. Enjoyed seeing the game on the big screen. There were traditional snacks -- sliders, wings and chips -- cupcakes and cakes for each team. I'd hoped to post the cake for my Atlanta Falcons, but instead here is the Patriots cake. 
This was our view as the ship left Buenos Aires. I had an uneventful flight -- hurray! -- and enjoyed watching "Brigid Jones Baby." Very cute movie, especially if you're a Colin Firth fan. I spent Saturday in Buenos Aires catching up with a friend that moved there five years ago. What a treat! 

Thanks for joining me on my Antarctica adventure. As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Next Stop: Buenos Aires

All packed and just about ready to go. Next stop, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Hope to keep in touch while I'm at the ends of the earth.

Take good care!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The More of Less

This is a long overdue post. It's actually the post I meant to write the first week of January when I was contemplating the year ahead. Now the year is almost one-twelfth finished, but the thoughts that Joshua Becker shares in The More of Less are certainly no less relevant.

When I was younger, acquiring was so much more attractive. But somehow as the years went by, all the acquiring -- "getting and spending" as Wordsworth described it -- became a burden. Stuff seems to be everywhere and it seems at every turn we're encouraged to get more and more. I've written steadily about my decluttering efforts and though I've made headway, I'm a long way from the less cluttered life I'd like to live.

I found the More of Less a good guide, both in the lessons of Joshua Becker's life and the practical suggestions that are offered. I'm especially enamored by this quote, "the beauty of minimalism isn't what it takes away, but it's in what it gives."  My goal is to live a life that isn't sparse -- I still want books and pictures around me -- but one that gives me time to read, enjoy the out of doors and spend time with people I care about. I'm going to test this out during my vacation. I've made great strides in vacation souvenirs, but my limit is three for this trip, and preferably small and useful.

I'm just about set for my trip. I've got a few last minute trip related things to do and not very much scheduled in the next few days. I'm packing light and will put everything out on Thursday night to make sure I'm not scrambling at the last minute. A light suitcase makes a happy traveler.

We had one of our few snowy days today. It snowed, but it wasn't slippery and I really enjoyed being outside and walking. I'm hoping Friday is clear, so there are no weather delays with my flight.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care!

Please note: I was given a review copy of The More of Less by Blogging for Books in exchange for my thoughts. My thoughts are all mine.

Monday, January 30, 2017

When You Wish Upon the South Star

As, I'm sure, those who know a lot more -- or even just a  little more -- about astronomy will tell you, there is no South Star.  But if there was a South Star -- equivalent to Polaris, the North Star -- next week I would be gazing at the night sky and tossing my wishes right to it.

I'm not usually one for selfies, but yesterday at the New York Times Travel Show I took a number of them. I was wishing for one that included penguins and I got my wish. I leave this Friday for Argentina and set sail on Sunday for a cruise that includes penguins and Antarctica. My dream destination for years has been Antarctica and after looking at trips for years and watching for a sale -- it was a quick three day sale -- I'm almost on my way.

I've bought my foot warmers for standing on the deck and taking pictures -- no cold feet for me! -- and have my reservations for my hotel in Buenos Aires the night before the cruise and a penguin expedition in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. I also discovered via Facebook tonight that a lovely couple I met on the cruise I took to Iceland and Norway three years ago will also be on this cruise. Foot warmers, penguins and friends -- can't ask for more.    
Enjoyed meeting my Panda friend. 

The travel show was a lot of fun. I shared the good time with my college roommate and we walked two miles through the Javits Center enjoying the thought of all the places we might travel. A safari was enticing, but I also found fun things in New York and Pennsylvania, which are definitely more doable.

There were exhibits from many countries, and this CoffeeGirl couldn't resist the one for coffee from Indonesia. I'm going to look for coffee from Sumatra during my coffee excursions in New York.

It's hard to believe that I will be leaving for South America in just four days. I've been dreaming of this trip for years and now it's less than a week away. I've got a number of errands yet to do, another yoga class, a medical appointment and a few more blog posts to write. I'm hoping to post while I'm away and share the scenery of Antarctica with Buttercupland.

As ever, thanks for visiting and take good care.