May 2015

Ibiza's Archaeology Museum, Puig des Molins

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Museum Sign, Puig des Molins, Ibiza
Chuck Sat, 2015-05-30 07:30
Ibiza isn't all about nonstop partying, electronica museum, hippy markets, and "what happens in Ibiza stays in Ibiza" sorts of activities: there's actually a nice archaeology museum here. Though it doesn't rank very highly in TripAdvisor's list of attractions for Ibiza Town (#47 out of 163), we found it a surprisingly interesting, well-organized, and informative museum. We'll let your imagination struggle with the pronunciation, but we will say that "molin" means windmill. This might lead you to believe this is a museum on windmills, but the name only comes from the old windmills that sit...

Chuck's Absinthe Experiment

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Chuck's Absinthe Experiment
Chuck Fri, 2015-05-29 17:30
In this special edition Friday evening blog, Chuck will endeavor to dispel or engender some of the myths surrounding a certain spirit called absinthe. For those of you who might not have heard of this peculiar liquor, absinthe is a licorice-flavored liquor infused with a wormwood that purportedly gives the spirit hallucinogenic properties. A popular drink of the Paris arts crowd in the 1800's, absinthe earned the nickname "The Green Fairy" because of its signature green color and the alleged hallucinations that result from thujone, the chemical compound in absinthe that comes from that...

Ibiza Medieval Festival!

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Medieval Festival Dancing in Ibiza
Chuck Thu, 2015-05-28 07:30
Regular readers of our blog know that, among the beaches and wine and tapas and dancing and museums and concerts and plays, we love to go to local festivals. So it was with great joy that we learned Ibiza Town was to hold a 4-day Medieval Festival the second weekend we were in town. We went two of the four nights. Now, this festival is a big deal. We don't know the numbers, but attendance was easily in the tens of thousands over those four days. This is doubly impressive considering how small an island Ibiza is and that the festival is not held during the busy season. The result was, for the...

Ibiza Primer 3 of 3: Touring

from Google Maps
Chuck Tue, 2015-05-26 07:30
We hope our last blog didn't dissuade you from considering a visit to this terrific little Spanish island. It's filled with wonderful, friendly people and offers plenty of sun, wine, and tapas. That alone encourages around 2 million visitors per year, but there's also scuba diving, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, beautiful vistas, and even an annual fashion show. And of course there's the world-famous all-night disco scene which heats up during the summer. In today's blog, the last in our 3-part primer series, we organize and describe the island by the towns which lie at the corners of a diamond...

Ibiza Primer 2 of 3: History

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Ibiza Town Medieval Wall
Chuck Sat, 2015-05-23 07:30
For the most part, the two and half millennia of the populated history of Ibiza could be described as peaceful, bucolic, and agrarian. That is except for four months or so of the most chilling bloodiness the 20th century can muster up, which is saying a lot. For a couple of dozen or more centuries, Ibicencos have enjoyed the peacefulness that being a bit out of the way can bring about. The earliest known inhabitants of the island were Phoenicians, who named the island "Ibossim", from iboshim, a dedication to the Egyptian god Bes. The Romans romanized the Phoenician name to Ebusus, and the...

Ibiza Primer 1 of 3: Geography

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Clifftop View of Ibiza Town's Playa (Beach) Area
Chuck Thu, 2015-05-21 07:30
A few of the people we told we were going to Ibiza in May had that that sounds familiar look on their face. Ibiza is as well known to Europeans as South Beach is to Americans, and for all the same reasons (bars, discos, all night partying, ridiculously expensive and large drinks, etc.) For anyone who doesn't know anything about this wildly popular European summer destination (it's currently RyanAir's "destination of the month!"), read on. Ibiza is a small Spanish island in the western Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the Balearic Islands, a group of islands (an archipelago) that includes the...

Our Bummer Visit to Barcelona

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Chuck and Lori Bad Selfie
Chuck Tue, 2015-05-19 07:30
Top: Even our Barcelona selfies were a bummer. "Bummer" is not a word I'd ever thought I'd use in a description of a visit to Barcelona. As we related in this blog a week or so back, our quick 2-day visit to Barcelona began on a very sour note (Lori's phone was stolen within an hour of our arrival). It never really got that much better. We had hardly entered the sumptuous Barcelona cathedral when Lori realized her iPhone was gone. At that point, we had to miss the rest of the cathedral (though we had seen it when we visited in 2008) in favor of a relatively pointless effort of calling AT&...

Congratulations, Catie!

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Catie's Engagement Ring
Chuck Sat, 2015-05-16 07:30
Catie is Engaged! Note the excited dog in the background, but know that he's always excited. We interrupt our regularly scheduled program of fascinating, titillating, amusing, and educational travel blogs with this special announcement: The second of our beloved progeny, known herein (and everywhere, really) as Catie, is to be married. It happened like this: boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy and girl are friends for a few years, girl and boy realize each other are pretty cool, but then girl moves away, boy follows, girl graduates college, boy forms band, girl thinks boy will never propose,...

Final Thoughts on our NCL Crossing

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - Chandelier on Norwegian Epic
Chuck Tue, 2015-05-12 07:30
The Funky Chandelier Over the Epic's Taste Dining Room A common question among cruise ship passengers is naturally, "How many cruises have you guys been on?" I guess the official answer is now three: in addition to our two recent Atlantic Ocean criss-crosses, we took the Norwegian Sun on a week-long Caribbean cruise from Houston for our 20th anniversary back in 2005. The two experiences--a 7-day out and back in the Mexican Riviera versus a transatlantic crossing--couldn't have been more different. Our week-long vacation on the Norwegian Sun almost a decade ago was what we'd consider a proper...

High Tech Cruising with Norwegian's iConcierge App

Norwegian iConcierge App Screen Shot
Chuck Sat, 2015-05-09 07:30
A few days before the Norwegian Epic left Miami, NCL sent us an email suggesting we download their "iConcierge" app. Well, Cunard didn't have an app, and we're techy-geeky Americans, so we were intrigued. Touted as the way for Norwegians to stay in touch with each other and with family back home, and so much more, we both installed it. On the Queen Mary 2, there had been times when Lori didn't know where I was, so it seemed useful to be able to send texts to one another through their app. Reading further, it looked as though the Norwegian iConcierge app was chock-full of useful features, all...

Land Ho! Maderia, Portugal

Chuck Thu, 2015-05-07 07:30
After seven full days at sea, it was an event to see anything other than open ocean. On day five we passed a cargo ship off our port side headed in the opposite direction; if our cabin hadn't been port-side we never would have seen it. Indeed, nobody we mentioned it to seemed to have noticed it. The next day we spotted a bird, and the day after that we were treated to the sighting of a flying fish. Unfortunately for us, that same day we missed seeing a pod of whales that some of our new cruise friends spotted; we would gladly have exchanged the sighting of a cargo ship for seeing those whales...

Party on the Atlantic! 11 Days On the Norwegian Epic

Chuck and Lori's Travel Blog - The Norwegian Epic in Barcelona, Spain
Chuck Tue, 2015-05-05 07:30
Just a few years ago, we were only dreaming of taking a cruise across the Atlantic (known as a "crossing" to those who've done them). Now, in the space of barely four months, we've accomplished two of them: westbound on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 back in December, and now eastbound on Norwegian's Epic. We left Miami for Barcelona, Spain on April 19th, with only one stop planned at the island of Madeira (a possession of Portugal) after 7 full days at sea. After a few days we had to remind ourselves that it's not fair to compare the Queen Mary 2 and the Epic. Cunard and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL)...