Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We have been packing and planning for weeks, no, months, talking to adventurers about different options and possibilities. We have gotten our shots, packed our meds, weighed our soft sided duffles, and are generally ready to be thoughtful and observant travelers. After much research and discussion we chose Thompson Safaris ( for a variety of reasons, not the least of which Connie's friend, Allan has gone on three trips with them and been thrilled with every one. He has had many helpful hints and observations to share and we are grateful. There are a TON of companies out there with all sorts of offerings. We are headed to Tanzania and only Tanzania but doing a multitude of stops, ending in Zanzibar (Really, how could we not!) for several days before the long and roughly direct slog home.
We begin our journey with a stop in Amsterdam. On the docket- not much, we plan to wander, take a canal trip, visit the Rijksmuseum and enjoy a short time to catch our breath before the next leg. We have taken a Delta flight over the pond and will be resuming couple days later with a KLM flight to Kilimanjaro airport where many safari companies start and end from as it is near the Serengeti.
For our Amsterdam home we found a small hotel, Hotel Hegra ( ) through TripAdvisor which I use a lot, both for research and for planning. I also post a lot of reviews although go under a different name, which I will not share with you. I think it is a useful tool for traveling and sharing information.
 The hotel will be our base for two nights.

Stop One- Amsterdam

After a harrowing hour of realizing I forgot my malaria pills and trying to figure out how to procure them (thank you, thank you, thank you Thomson Safari)  we boarded the plane and were eastward bound.
Arriving in Amsterdam we took the train to the City Center, about 20 minutes and then a taxi- 12 euros. We are staying at a charming little hotel,the Hotel Hegra, on the Herengracht Canal. The room, which ended up being on the steep stained third floor overlooks the canal and is totally adequate for our needs.
Killing time until the room was ready we went to a little neighborhood cafe and had delicious omelette so and cappuccinos accompanied with some awesome fresh orange juice. Strolling around the Jordaan neighborhood we ended up taking a canal boat ride in the intermittent rain which was the perfect thing to do, a little look around, a little history, followed by a welcome nap!
Heading back out later we further explored the Jordaan neighborhood ending up at a devious Turkish restaurant with outstanding mezzas, appetizers that satisfied.
Topping out day off with a walk though the infamous red light district- Yes we think it is probably all it is cracked up to be (but not at 8 at night..)- we head for home to put our feet up and get ready for a cultural day tomorrow.

Friday, May 13, 2016

So this is a test to see how this all works with some pictures I took in Cuba in February, 2015.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016