Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To Panama and Back . . .

We've been gone.     For quite a while -- for we celebrated New Year's Eve in the city and New Year's Day flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the following Wednesday, we were leaving on a cruise.

And the main reason for the cruise -- to see the Panama Canal!

It was a great experience to go through the Panama Canal.

It was awesome.    This is the picture we took upon  entering the first lock on the Atlantic side -- a boatload of containers is just ahead of us.

It took most of the day -- although the time in the locks was much less than I had imagined for they filled quickly and then you moved on.     The lake between the sets of locks is large and it took a while to sail through the lake until we got to the final three locks and then, finally, into the Pacific Ocean.

And the day after the Panama Canal, we stopped in

Panama City was definitely a city of haves and have nots!

Panama City -- the buildings in the background are lined up on the ocean.   High rise condos all -- built within the last eight years (or at least that is why our guide said).     The richness of these condos was quite a contrast to the poverty of the older sections of Panama which we drove through.

But before we sailed through the Panama Canal, we also stopped in . . .

Nothing like a Caribbean Island -- white beaches and blue blue water.

Aruba.      Our ship is in the background -- The Coral Princess -- our first Princess cruise!

Our favorite port on the cruise was in Columbia --

A town not far from us is Bolivar, Missouri -- it was fun to see another square named in honor of Bolivar!

Cartagena where we spent a few quiet hours on a park bench in a square named in honor of Simone de Bolivar before we visited their Cathedral and headed back to the ship.

And our last stop before five wonderful days at sea was in

The coffee plant and the coffee berries were not what I expected.   At the plantation we visited, they still harvest by hand.

Costa Rica where we visited a coffee plantation.     Fresh roasted coffee came home with us and I had a better understanding of how coffee is produced and what the raw beans look like on the bush.    We were fortunate to be at the plantation during harvest -- not everyone gets to see the beans being harvested.

One of the best parts of a cruise is . . .

An ocean sunrise!

The view from your balcony as the sun rises.     The perfect way to start the day!

Last Friday when the Costa  ship "sank", it was the talk of every breakfast, lunch and dinner table until we got off the cruise.     We were on a similar ship and Costa is a sister company to Princess -- both being owned by Carnival.

Being on a cruise means that there isn't any internet access  (there is but it is way too expensive and way too slow and besides, we like the idea of not being "plugged in"!) so I apologize for not visiting your blogs while I was gone.  

I'm back and life is almost back to normal at Linderhof.     I'm trying to get used to only three meals a day -- and those I have to prepare myself!    No one made my bed this morning (sigh) and I'm sure when I go upstairs that there will not be a chocolate on my turned down bed!   (In fact, I doubt that my bed will even be turned down!)

Oliver missed us and that was my first chore this morning!   He was very glad to get home and has been under my feet most of the day!

 The second was sorting the container of mail that we received while we were gone (most of which went into the trash!) and the third was laundry.

We'll soon have guests for luncheons and dinners and real cooking will once again begin.

Vacations are fun but it is always so good to come home again!


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Wow, what a trip. So glad you had a good time. Enjoy settling back into home!!!

Lottie said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! Great places to visit!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Glad you had such a nice and interesting vacation. Welcome home!

nannykim said...

I have a friend that cruised to the Panama canal this year. My hubby's grandfather helped build that canal. I may just want to go see it some day--however after that ship crashed my husband said , lets wait a while ;-)!

Pondside said...

What a wonderful holiday you must have had! I'm sure you've come home with lots of ideas and inspiration.

Savannah Granny said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic cruise. It is my favorite way to travel. So relaxing. We took our first Panama Canal cruise the December after the 9/11 attack. Security around the airports, ships, canal all of it was unbelievable.

It is a beautiful trip. We took our grandsons back to see it.
Thanks for the memories. I enjoyed your pictures. Unfortunately I didn't have a digital camera then. One day I will learn to scan and sort them.
Glad you are back home safely.
Blessings, Ginger

Carol at Serendipity said...

We are off on a cruise to the Panama Canal this season as well. We will not go all the way through but there is an excursion to the Pacific that my husband will take. I am looking forward to lots of knitting and good food and not making the bed!
So glad that you had a wonderful time.


Rebecca said...

Welcome back! You were missed. (I can't help but wonder what scrumptious dessert you'll be serving with the Costa Rican coffee!)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Looks like you had a lovely trip! I think everyone has the same mental image when they see a cruise ship right now - too bad. Beautiful photos!

Marlis said...

Now this sounds like a wonderful dream vacation.. Love that you went through the locks.. how cool is that! Your photos are wonderful.. I also read your last post about the lovely fragrances, I too was gifted a lampe bergere years ago and love a scent I buy in Ruidoso, NM, one made up uniquely for their clientele there, called Ruidoso Rain. so fresh and natural. I always use it after I've fixed something stinky or fish! glad you are back safe and sound! xo marlis

Ana said...

Hi Martha,
Sounds like you had a wonerful trip. Awesome pictures. Thanks for sharing and thank you for stopping by for a visit. Hope getting back to your routine isn't too tough :-)Have a wonderful day.

Hugs and Kisses,