Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Clear Cookies When Pricing Airfare

Chocolate and butterscotch chip cookies, October 2008 For some people this is old information. Others have heard it before but don't believe it.

Well I just experienced it and wish I had taken a screen shot to prove it.

Yesterday was booking domestic air for me and DH. I had a really good rate on Delta but was also checking AA, United, Jet Blue and Southwest because I was also looking at flight times.

Delta was by far the best rate at $327 RT.

Somewhere along the line I must have closed the Delta window. When I went back and clicked on the same flights, fare was over $500!!!!

I closed my browser, cleared cookies and history, and repeated the steps with Delta. And guess what? There was my $327 fare back again!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tips For Traveling By Air

I got an email from an employee of who asked if I would be interested in linking to a post on their site. I don't normally do this but I read the article and felt it was full of a lot of helpful information, all in one place. Hope you feel the same way too.

Air Travel Tips From Booking to Flying

Friday, August 5, 2016

Granada and Seeing The Alhambra

The opportunity to see the Alhambra was one of the main reasons we took this itinerary. Since Granada is about 2 hrs from the port of call, we decided to take the ship's excursion. We had an excellent tour bus guide and a fantastic lunch afterwards. In between ... well not so great.

We started out in decent weather and went through some beautiful countryside.

The weather changed when we got into the mountains. Whether it was the weather (drizzle) or the guide we had at the site (probably more that than the weather) we were disappointed. OK, call us crazy. Everybody raves about seeing the Alhambra. For us, it was a distraction of a sea of umbrellas and a tour guide who didn't know how to keep his group together. I think we spent more time looking for him than actually looking at the building. And then he would say things like 'look at this." Look at what? Where?

I have to say the gardens and the view from the hillside were spectacular. I honestly think because we had such a wonderful guide in Seville for the Alcazar that we just couldn't appreciate the Alhambra with the lousy guide we had. (And, yes, I did fill out the review form when we got back to the ship.)

Whatever the reason, it is now checked off our bucket list.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Visiting the Market in Malaga, Spain

(Back to Spain after spending a few days in Puerto Rico with my 16-year old granddaughter. VBG)

Our ship docked right near downtown Malaga. It was easy to just walk off the ship and walk into the city for anyone who wanted to tour by themselves.

That morning, the chef was doing a Market Tour and I decided to join him, an assistant chef, 2 crew members and about 15 others. It was a fast 15-minute walk to the indoor marketplace. Inside were stalls of the types of things we've seen at other city marketplaces: vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses. All beautiful arranged, everything clean and everything extremely tempting.

The chef went from vendor to vendor with what seemed to be just a hint in his mind of what he wanted to buy. If he saw something interesting, he stopped and spoke to the vendor who was more than happy to pass out samples to the group considering how much he had the potential to sell. We had samples of nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, olives, meats, and cheeses.

After the tour, I needed to head back to the ship. The other passengers simply walked into town to continue their tour of the city. The chef flagged a taxi down for the two crew members to take all the purchases back to the ship and I was able to bum a ride. Overall, it was a great experience.

Our chef with one of that night's entree options.

And, at lunch that day, almost all the items were displayed on the buffet. And this fish was prepared for dinner. Those who ordered it said it was excellent.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Visiting Seville, Spain In The Pouring Rain

I couldn't believe the weather we had in Seville. Pouring rain barely describes it. Jerry and I had our Gortex jackets on but by the end of the 3 1/2 hr walking tour, we were soaked through. Ditto with our shoes and socks. Still, we marched forward and onward, led by our tour leader, Marta of

Typically, to visit Seville by cruise ship, you dock in Cadiz and take a bus to Seville. The Windstar Star Breeze is small enough to go up the Quadalquiver River, through the new lock, and dock within walking distance of downtown. Although we were about an hour late, Marta was at the terminal, waiting for us with her umbrella.

Our first stop was Placa de Espana. This is an absolutely gorgeous plaza, even in the pouring rain. We ran out from under shelter to try and get as many photos as possible. The plaza was built for the 1929 Iberian-American Exposition World Fair. There are tiled alcoves (on the left in the picture), each one representing one of Spain's provinces. Really beautiful and it would have been nice to enjoy it in better weather, but, on the other hand, this weather allowed us to take pictures without a lot of people in the way. :)

As we took a short walk in the area, Marta pointed out many buildings which were built by countries represented at the fair. All of them beautiful.

To save us a bit of walking in the rain, Marta had us hop one of the trams which took us from the exposition area to the pedestrian area surrounding the Alcazar and the Cathedral. These were the two main places we wanted to see while in Seville. We thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the Alcazar, enjoying seeing the mosaics and the Moorish architecture.

We spent quite a bit of time here, learning about the history of the building. It is used by the royal family when they are in Seville, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. The palace was built by King Pedro I who was reputed to be very ecumenical, incorporating Christian, Muslim and Jewish symbolism in the building.

Main Altar Covered in Gold
Our next stop was the cathedral. Built on the site of a 12th-century mosque, the only original piece still remaining is the minaret.  The Alcazar and the cathedral (the largest Gothic building in Europe) are all part of a UNESCO site. Plus, within the cathedral, is the tomb of Columbus. Or at least part of Columbus. Columbus was reputed to originally buried in the Dominican Republic. His body (bones?) were then moved to Spain. After a few more moves, at least some bones, confirmed to be those of Columbus through DNA testing, are now buried in this cathedral.

Our tour ended here and the original plan was to walk the streets of the old town, which had also been the area where the Jews lived. Marta (before heading in the cathedral) pointed out several portals to this area (not sure we would have found it on our own.) However, the weather did us in. We were uncomfortable and exhausted.

So after leaving the cathedral, we made our way through the pedestrian area to a main street where we hoped to catch a taxi back to the ship. It was pouring rain so what was the chance of catching one? Finally, a taxi driver without his green light on took pity on us and stopped. I gave him the piece of paper where Marta had written out the name of the port. And less than five minutes later we were there! Who knew we were just around the corner only a couple of blocks away? We thanked the driver profusely and tipped him generously for the short ride.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Staying Cool With Your Own Personal Mister

A cool mist of water is a nice way to stay cool whether at home watching a ball game at the local park or traveling in hot climates. While making my way around the Internet I discovered this water bottle which is so much more than a water bottle.

LUNATEC's Aquabot is a high pressure multi-functional drinking water bottle with a personal mister, providing either a shower, stream or mist. It is BPA free and requires no batteries. There are two attachments for lanyards making it easy to carry hands free. You simply pump it to build up the pressure and the variable flow trigger allows you to adjust it for just the right amount of water.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Our Excursion in Portimao, Portugal

The first leg of our B2B Windstar cruise ended/began in Lisbon, Portugal. Having spent several days there before, we decided to stay on board ship. For a few hours we were the only passengers on board and we felt like we had our own private yacht.  :)

Our next stop was Portimao, a small town on the southern coast of Portugal. We had several options here. The ship was running a circuit bus that went into town, the beach and back to the ship. Here was another place I had hoped to go to the beach, but again, the weather wasn't cooperating. 

So we took the excursion that went to Cape St. Vincent, the southwesternmost point in Europe. We had a beautiful ride through the Algarve region of southwest Portugal and lucked out by being on the bus during the worst of the rain.

Our next stop was Ponta de Piedade, another spot with beautiful sea vistas and golden yellow formations. 

Our final stop was the charming town of Portimao where we had a chance to stroll, shop and enjoy some gelato.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Visiting Agadir, Casablanca and Rabat, Morocco

Two of our stops on the Windstar cruise were Agadir and Casablanca, Morocco. As a Jew, I had mixed feelings about visiting a Muslim country. We decided to stay on board ship in Agadir except for the included Windstar private excursion being held that evening. During our stop in Casablanca, we decided to take the ship's excursion to Rabat, the capitol.

The private excursion in Agadir was fantastic. We were taken to a beach by bus where tents and tables were set up. The walking area was covered by multiple carpets so we didn't have to step on the sand. We had a delicious multicourse dinner, with as much beer and wine we wanted (remember this is a Muslim country ....), entertainment and a beautiful sunset.  Food was beautiful presented and we had a lovely evening.

And as beautiful and amazing as everything was, even more jaw-dropping was the bathroom area!

Next day we were off to Rabat. I'm glad we took this excursion because we learned a lot about the country. If the tour guides can be believed (and we heard the same from others who took tours), the people absolutely love their king. He is working very hard to improve the financial status of the people, building new apartment complexes to be rented at very low cost to those now living in slums. (Which we saw lots of on our way to Rabat, and surprisingly, each slum complex had an amazing number of satellite dishes!) The country is very ecumenical and Sultan Mohammad V defied the Nazis during WWII in regards to the Jews. Currently there are about 3,000 Jews in Casablanca with three active temples. We even passed one on our way back to the port.

 Rabat is the country capital and we saw a few government buildings. Disappointed that we couldn't go inside. But we also visited the tomb of Mohammad V which was quite beautiful.
Our next stop was the old walled part of the city, where we had a chance to wander around some gardens, browse in shops and have some refreshment while sitting at a river overlook.

Our ride back was along the seashore, with many beautiful vistas and where we could also see the construction of more public works projects ... like playgrounds, parks, and even a skateboard park.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Visiting The Canary Islands: La Gomera, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote

The Canary Islands have been high on my bucket list for a long time. With our Windstar cruise, we finally made it to four of them. I've already reported on our days on Tenerife. The visits to La Gomera, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote were short cruise stops.

We elected to take ship excursions on La Gomera and Lanzarote. On La Gomera, our excursion took us to the forest of Garjonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With parts of the forest reaching 4,000 feet above sea level, we had some fantastic views of the island. As we rode higher and higher into the forest, it got windier and colder. We drove through fog and along narrow roads twisting through the forest. Not what I expected from a tropical island.

From there we headed to a small village, down on the southwest coast. There it was warm with brilliant sunshine and I had a chance to shop in a local market, sit along the seawall and even rolled up my pants at the opportunity to put my feet in the water. We enjoyed the excursion and seeing an island that was very different from what we experienced on Tenerife.

Several excursions were offered for Las Palmas, Gran Canaria but it was the one stop where we had easy access to a Blue Flag beach. A 15 minute easy walk brought us from the ship's docking area to Las Canteras, a beautiful city beach. The weather wasn't optimal for the beach but as long as it wasn't raining, I was determined to go. We got two lounge chairs and an umbrella for 7,50 Euros. The young man setting it up for us knew what he was doing and the umbrella protected us from the wind and what there was of the sun. Jerry took advantage of the time to relax while I walked the whole beach and even got myself into the water ... I was determined!

Our final stop in the Canary Islands was the island of Lanzarote. We took another excursion here, this one taking us to the Fire Mountains, the wine district of La Geria, the salt pans along the coast at Salinas and views of the coastline of Los Hervideros. On Lanzarote, there is still a lot of geothermal activity and we saw examples of the heat reaching the earth's surface with an interesting 3-step demonstration near the visitor's center. First, soil from about 12 inches below the surface is placed in the palm of your hand. And it is QUITE warm. At the next step, brush is thrown into a pit about 2 feet deep, which smolders and then bursts into flame. At the third step, water is poured into a hole, with the result a man-made geyser. At the café in the visitor's center, you can get a baked potato that is cooked over an open thermal pit.

We then reboarded our bus for a drive through the park. A very interesting fact about this road was pointed out to us. The gentleman who laid out the roadway wanted it to have the least impact on the landscape as possible. And it does, with almost no other part of the road visible from the part you were on. And while this island is volcanic like the other islands, it was very different from its neighbors.

Next stop was the beautiful coastline at Los Hervideros, created by the lava flowing into the sea. Love the color the water!

Our final stop on this excursion was the wine country. We have never seen wine grown this way, with the semi circular walls keeping out the wind and keeping in the moisture. Within each semi-circle is one grape vine, planted in a depression in the center of the stone wall. After a chance to sample some wine, it was time to head back to the ship.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Travel Ideas. Travel Tips. Travel Warnings

Just wanted to remind readers of this blog that I have another travel blog which can be accessed through this link. While I keep Travel Snippets very personal, Travel Ideas. Travel Tips. Travel Warnings. is more general.

For instance, I'm posting here about the trip we just returned from .... cruising the Canary Islands to Barcelona, via Morocco and Portugal. But some tips and warnings about Barcelona City Tours HOHO bus and using ATMs in Europe are posted to Travel Ideas. Travel Tips. Travel Warnings.

So if you want to cover all the bases, please also Subscribe to Travel Ideas. Travel Tips. Travel Warnings. Thanks.  :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Visiting Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

The Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa, have been on my bucket list for a long time. Also on my Spain bucket list was the Alhambra in Granada and Barcelona. There are many cruises that do each of these but then I found two back to back segments on Windstar that let us do all three so we booked it.

Our ship departed from Santa Cruz, Tenerife so we flew into Tenerife a few days early to recuperate from the long flights and the change in time zones. The first decision was where to stay. The ship departed from Santa Cruz de Tenerife so that was an option. Also La Laguna, a UNESCO down. Working with Patsy Little (, we settled on La Laguna, with hotel and transfers (from the airport in the southern part of the island) arranged.

La Laguna is a UNESCO site, an old town in the northern part of the island. We stayed at Hotel Laguna Nivaria in their historic building. We had a lovely huge room and thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. The location was perfect, right on the edge of the historic old city and across from a lovely park. Our first day was just for R & R and we spent it sleeping and eating and strolling around the old town. Weather was a bit cooler than we expected but still enjoyed our meal at an outdoor café. Especially finishing it off meal with hot chocolate and churros.

For our next day I had arranged a guided tour of the island. The tallest mountain in Spain is here, Mt Teide, and the area is a national park. Our guide, Patsy, is an ex pat American from Connecticut. She was a high school teacher of French and Spanish and during the spring semester of her first year of teaching she led a school trip to Tenerife. She went back to the states, quit teaching, moved to Tenerife, married  a Canarian and has been guiding for over 35 yrs.

Pick up was at 9;45, so we were out of the hotel at 9:30 and Patsy showed up shortly after. We got back to the hotel at 5:45 so it really was a full day tour. The national park is amazing.  We have been to many volcanic areas and yet somehow, Jerry and I agreed, this one was different. Very beautiful. At 3,718 meters high, Mt Teide is really all that is left of the northern rim of the crater of the volcano that created Tenerife. The caldera, that we drove across, is 17 kilometers wide! Many beautiful and interesting formations and we were lucky with great weather.


We had driven south along the spine of the island to read the park. We returned via the west and north roads with spectacular vistas including the one we had from the restaurant we stopped at around 2 for a leisurely and delicious lunch, Mirador de Garachico. Great having a local with us who helped us pick our lunch items such as recommending we try the grilled cheese appetizer which is literally a grilled 1/2 inch 4 x  4 block of fresh goat cheese. Delicious. Presentation of my main course was stunning. Excellent meal.
We returned to the hotel exhausted but very satisfied with our beautiful day. Tomorrow, time to board our ship.