Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 42 Sydney, Australia

I got up especially early this morning for the sail into Sydney Harbor. It is one of the finest harbors in the world…. just grand. After our arrival, four of us, Janice, Lola, Doug & I headed for the Bridge Climb. We got off on the 9:05 bridge climb and it was wonderful. Our climb leader, Michael, was great… best yet! After the climb we went up to the bridge pylon and took photos from the fantastic viewpoint. I went back to the ship to drop off a few things and it was back out exploring Sydney. I headed out to the markets and spent some time roaming around and checking out all the merchandise. Then it was off for a photo tour of the waterfront and Botanical Gardens. The views are just amazing. I spent the rest of the afternoon touring the city and enjoying the spectacular weather. Tomorrow I’m off to the Blue Mountains….

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 41 At Sea

Today was a major surprise! The daily program listed a forecast of 64 F and showers… I was mildly depressed last night as I read that but alas, the weatherman was apparently drinking heavily, it was about 80 F and sunny… a glorious day! On the ship tonight we are celebrating Halloween. I think I’ll dress up as a cruise ship passenger. Tomorrow, Sydney!!! Perhaps there is a Bridge Climb in my future. Switching subjects for a moment… I would like to talk about one of the top employees that are part of the Holland America Team, Christel Mensink, the Guest Relations Manager. She is, without a doubt, the best GRM that HAL has in their employ. She is excellent handling guest problems, issues, complaints or anything else that comes her way. She is the consummate professional. For me personally, she has been extremely helpful on countless issues. She handles everything in a thorough, efficient manner and always with a smile. She is the type of person that keeps people coming back to Holland America time after time. As far as I am concerned, she should be employee of the month or the recipient of the President’s Award or something like that. I know that the Hotel Manager will not put her in for any such honors because…. he is her husband. Therefore, I will sing her praise. Perhaps someone in Seattle will take notice…. She is very, very deserving!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 40 Brisbane, Australia

Another fantastic day in Australia! We arrived this morning in Brisbane, Australia after sailing up the Brisbane River. The sail in was primarily and industrial area but there were some nice birds and scenery. My tour left around 0930 and we headed straight for the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Lone Pine was a real treat, not only were there Koalas, there were all types of wildlife. I saw Kangaroos, lizards, birds, Wallabies, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils….. The time went by so quickly, I could have spent a couple more hours there. The highlight of course was holding the Koala, very nice. We left the Sanctuary and went to a terrific viewing area, Mt. Coot-tha. On our way back into town we stopped at another terrific viewing area along the Brisbane River…. Nice! Our guide, Jennie, was fabulous and provided us with a very nice tour. She had the bus drop us in town so we didn’t have to go all the way back to the ship. I continued my touring walking around the city a bit on both the South and North sides of the river. I loved the Street Beach, a man made beach in the middle of the city, how great is that??? I really liked Brisbane, although we didn’t have enough time here…. Hopefully we can do an overnight at some point. It was a great visit!