Alaska Cruise–Week 1

(Click here for more photographs.)

We took a 14 day cruise aboard the Zaandam, a Holland America Lines ship, round trip from Seattle to several ports in Alaska.  Neither of us have much cruise experience but we were thrilled with the level of service and the quality of the food aboard this ship.  We heard similar comments from more experienced cruisers as well.  Every evening in the main dining room was a fine dining experience with a varied menu that changed every day.  And they even had selections that suited our particular food preferences.  With a 14 day itinerary we were able to visit ports that don’t get a lot of cruise ship traffic.  The following is a summary by day of our experience.

Departing Seattle Continue reading

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Lyon, France

During our visit in Lyon (pics), France’s 3rd largest city, Paris was subjected to three days of terror which began with the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical periodical.  Certainly, the people of Lyon felt the effects and we saw the signs of support for the people of Paris as well as Lyon’s Unity rally which took place at the same time as the one in Paris.

Nous sommes Charlie

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Cicchetti in Venice

When I posted about Venice, I neglected to mention cicchetti.  This refers to small snacks or side dishes served in bars around Venice.  These may be small sandwiches, crostini, vegetables, a variety of seafood or other small portions of typical full course plates.  You can pick and choose portions of these dishes.  The bar we visited for cicchetti had a variety of about 20 different items to choose from, priced from 1.5 Euros to 3 Euros each.

Cicchetti is generally available throughout the day and locals may stop in at any time for a quick snack.  Usually, cicchetti will be accompanied by a glass of wine so there is a social ritual that goes along with this type of food.  The bars are generally small and may only have a few tables where you may stand while having your snack.  It’s a terrific way to experience some different foods and to take part in a very Venetian activity.

Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market is the longest continuously operated outdoor market in the United States, now in its 41st year.  The market is available every Saturday and Sunday from March until Christmas, in the Tom McCall Waterfront Park alongside the Willamette River in the Old Town section of Portland.

The Saturday market is an arts, crafts and food market with over 250 exhibitors.  Among the ready to eat food booths all of the major food groups are represented:  Greek, Thai, BBQ, burgers and fried dough.