Our last day in Cuba is also our last full day on the cruise. Our excursion starts early – we are heading away from Havana and to the countryside to visit La Terrazas, which our hosts/tour guides describe as a program.
Our first excursion is at out of Havana itself via the antique American cars. S and I pick a red 1946 Ford (our driver calls us his girlfriends).
The flight is at 7:35. International: advice is to get there three hours ahead. 4:35pm. But my car has picked its moment to beg me to get rid of it and so between the unfamiliar rental car and the unfamiliar route to Dulles, I give myself plenty of time. I’d so rather be checked in, reading at my gate, than stressing about it. Continue reading “Day 1: Departure Iceland”
It’s just a partial day remaining, and since there isn’t sufficient time to catch a puddle jumper over to Vieques, I opt to just drive and explore for the morning.
Driving is a bit more challenging since I can’t really read the signs. But I enjoy it anyway, and there’s no rush because my flight is leisurely hours away.
It’s a lovely day, but too short.
The plan for my only full day here includes a walking tour of Old San Juan. I’m up early, knowing I will fight rush hour into the city on my way and not sure where I’ll find parking. As it turns out, there’s a paid lot just 2 blocks from the meeting point. I have time for a macchiato and a small pastry.
Puerto Rican coffee is so strong that it needs the doctoring. But it’s good.
Flavors of San Juan puts on a good tour, including an exploration of rum (and piña colada to start the day right). We sample a variety of local cuisines as we walk through the city. It rains in and off (and a magic jacket with bug spray makes me some new friends) as we cross cross the city. Afterward, I trek back to the far side to El Morro….
While the sky just absolutely opens over me.
Soaked to the skin and resembling a drowned rat, I nevertheless get a photo before trekking back again.
There’s a Christmas tree in the lobby of the hotel, decked out in white, and White Christmas playing softly in the background. Of course Christmas is Christmas, even in climates that stay consistently 80ish. To me it feels like I’ve stepped into summer, so the tree and music feel incongruous.
But whatever the weather, soon we celebrate the newborn King. Hallelujah.
It rains the kind of passing warm deluge that the tropics are known for in the brief window between my check in and my plan-making for tomorrow. I head out to get dinner and GPS says walking is more efficient.
It is, if you discount walking past a club that advertises cock fights. Ugh. Cruel much?
Still, a delicious mofongo de pollo later, I am thoroughly enjoying Puerto Rico.
Of course, that might also be the Pinot Gris.
I’m at the hotel at the airport for my last night, so I’m up and out early for my flight. Flights. Which will take all day, when you factor in the time zones.
In all, I saw 3 states, 2 that were new to me, and thereby completed all 50 states. In the process I drove 2156 miles. Filled the tank (or let someone fill it for me, thank you Oregon) 8-9 times, and saw more beautiful things than I can even say.
And I’m thankful.
I’m not a big breakfast person. I wouldn’t have said I was a B&B person. But Karen at the Carlton Inn makes me a convert.
As pretty as it is, I have distance to cover today, bypassing Portland in this trip (the only part of my original itinerary that I cut) to see the Columbia River Gorge.
As I head north, on my 4 hour drive north into Oregon wine country, a hot air balloon is floating in a perfect blue sky.
Then I head into mountain passes with clouds nestling into the mountain, my phone providing the eclectic soundtrack to my trip. The Beatles (incongruous because they’re the recalled soundtrack to my first trip to Hawaii), Gin Blossoms, Teshima, Morrissette, Swift, Maroon5, and on it goes.
It’s lunch time when I pull into the driveway of my B&B, too early to check in but the innkeeper, Karen, doesn’t mind if I park there and walk into town.
Carlton, OR is in the heart of wine country. On the way there I must have passed signs for 100 different wineries, and in Carlton you can’t swing a stick without hitting a tasting room. Which is fine, as long as you stay in walking distance. 😊🍷
I visited a number of tasting rooms, saved by the fact that I’m not as much of a Pinot Noir fan as the area warrants. But it’s a great day and then a wonderful (and peaceful) night back at the picturesque Carlton Inn.
It’s 41 degrees when I leave in the dark, though it will rise into the 80s by the time I return.
Crater Lake is a little more than an hour north and east of me, and I’m anxious to get there.
Scenic outlooks (saved for the way back) with natural bridges and waterfalls. Solo drives through silent forests. The road perfectly eastward glowing gold in the reflecting sunrise.
But most of all, Crater Lake: