Archive for the ‘Cruise Ship Travel’ Category

Most Haunted House in New Orleans is Owned by a Big Hollywood Star!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Most Haunted House in New Orleans

Who owns the most haunted house in New Orleans, Louisiana?  He’s a big star, he’s done lots of movies, he’s an Oscar-winner, and he was once married to the child of a King.  Can you guess?

Okay, here’s another clue: he lives down the street from another famous star, in fact, a pair of Hollywood notables: Brad and Angelina.

Have you guessed yet?  No?

Read on. . .


Mother’s Home Cooking? Try New Orleans, Louisiana

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Mother’s Restaurant - New Orleans

Ignore its dumpy exterior because if you want to eat in this New Orleans restaurant, you’ll have to get over first appearances.  Besides, the place was good enough for celebrities like Steve Martin, Jimmy Buffet, Kathleen Turner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and LeAnn Rimes.

Look for a plain building with a side entrance; one of the entrances probably has a busted door, so you’ll have to go to the side.  You’ll see lots of people coming and going; that’s always a good sign of good eats.  Once inside, don’t stand around waiting for any special attention, just grab a menu, and place your order.

Read on. . .


How a Tilley Hat Nearly Caused my Husband’s Death!

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Tilley Hat Man

Nothing proclaims, “This person is an adventurer” like a Tilley hat.  It’s true; look at a group of tourists – the ones in the khaki Tilley hats don’t look so touristy – they look more serious, more experienced, more like seasoned travelers.

Yes, it’s all good when you wear a Tilley hat unless, of course, you (like my husband and world travel companion) refuse to wear the hat’s chin strap.  That decision, or lack thereof, can get you into a lot of trouble.

Read on. . .


Dunedin, New Zealand: Cheese, Churches and Beer!

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

I was feeling a tad envious as I watched other passengers board the charming Taieri Gorge vintage train.  They didn’t even have to drive into Dunedin because the train pulled up alongside our Celebrity ship.

However, had I known how wonderful a day in Dunedin, New Zealand was going to be, I would have merrily waved them on their way, without a second thought.

I found out later those folks didn’t get much of a chance to explore Dunedin (Celtic for Edinburgh) and that would have meant missing so much.

Read on . . .  (more…)

Florence, Italy: A shocking encounter behind Dante’s house!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Photo by Sheree Zielke

Favorite travel destinations?  The question is hard to answer because there are so many.  But if I am asked what some of my favorite foreign cities are, the question is more easily answered.

In the number one position is the ancient city of Florence, Italy.

It’s in Florence that I had my best cappuccino, at a sidewalk café; it was so artfully decorated with the image of a fern leaf designed with coffee in the milky foam.  Florence is also the city that introduced me to one of the most surprising street performers I have ever encountered.

Read on . . .


New Orleans: It’s Business as Usual come Hell or High Water!

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Are you wondering about the state of affairs in New Orleans?  Has the “City That Care Forgot” managed to recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina?  Information on New Orleans recovery can now be easily accessed at the city’s brand new “Recovery Projects Information” site.

It’s been more than 2-1/2 years since the Big Easy was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.  The massive hurricane, complete with high winds and high waters, hit New Orleans on August, 29, 2005.  Protective city levees broke, and the majority of the city was flooded.  Luckily, one of New Orleans most popular historic areas, the French Quarter, was spared; that’s where I am headed in a couple of weeks.

According to the Bush administration, it’s expected that it will take a quarter century for New Orleans to fully recover from Katrina.  But where tourism is concerned, it’s business as usual.    Read on . . .


How to Get Arrested, Booked, and Escape in Under 45 Minutes in Melbourne, Australia!

Monday, February 11th, 2008

“Hey, did you guys take the Experience tour yet?”

“The what?” we responded.  Doug was intense with excitement.  He was one of our new cruise ship buddies who happened to be visiting the Old Melbourne Gaol (jail), too.

“You have to do it.  It runs every half hour, but they only take 20 people,” he added.  “There’re lining up right now in front of the building.”

“Okay, thanks.”  We nodded and scurried out of the somber building.

Ned Kelly Death Mask by Sheree ZielkeBut my stomach was feeling a little queasy; I was not sure if I was up for more of this gaol’s brand of “experiences.”  I had already spent an hour inside the Old Melbourne Gaol; the death masks, the whipping frame, and the horrific correctional devices employed by the gaol in its early history were not for the faint-of-heart.  And mine was feeling very faint.

So, it was with a fair level of trepidation that I followed Doug’s advice and joined the queue for the Melbourne Gaol’s “Watch House Experience.”

I began to regret my decision when I met the gaol’s intimidating desk sergeant…

Read on…


Princess Diana: Is she really worth all the hype?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Princess Diana Exhibit Sign

Sydney, Australia’s Powerhouse Museum and the dainty Princess of Wales don’t really seem to fit together.  But then again, they really do.  Up until early May 2008, the city of Sydney, is hosting a special exhibit dedicated to the late Princess Diana, one of the most influential and powerful women the world has ever known.  So, in that sense, the Powerhouse Museum and the adored Princess are a perfect pairing.

I, as a fan of Diana, could have gone back through the exhibit again and again, but time was short, so an hour was all I could budget.  Here are the hi-lights.


8 hours to pack a suitcase? That’s just nuts! No, it’s WINE! No-fail tips for packing wine, and other liquor!

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Actually, it was more like 12 hours, but I had already experienced enough derision from my travel mates.  So, I didn’t fess up to the real amount of time.  But…

I had precious cargo to transport.  And I wanted it to survive the ravages of airline luggage wranglers, airline conveyor belts, and airline scales.

I was not about to leave my hand-selected New Zealand wines behind; but neither did I want to ship the bottles only to have them broken in transit.  And I didn’t want to pay an overweight baggage fee at the airport.  So, logistical plans take awhile.  Okay?

I have brought back many fragile things in my suitcases — with almost complete success.  Especially wine.  I haven’t lost a bottle, well, except one to an unscrupulous airport security inspector, but that’s another story…

A Quick and Easy Guide

Here is a quick and easy guide for the supplies you will need, and tips for how to pack your imported wine for safe and secure transport in your suitcase….


Sydney, Australia: I am Very ANGRY at YOU!

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

“It’s just not fair,” I wailed. 

I wailed because I saw buttery yellow sunlight creasing the clouds, and because it was disembarkation day for our 14-day cruise of New Zealand and Australia, and our last day in Sydney, Australia.

We had arrived in port two nights prior, but had only one rain-filled day to explore this massive port city, with its famous Opera House, gorgeous old heritage buildings, and infamous convict history.

But that’s beside the point ‘cause now I am just mad at you, Sydney.  And that’s very strange since we (my husband and I) had vowed we had no interest in visiting Sydney.  Ever.  And that makes me even madder.

You could have told me sooner that I was going to love your harbour, that I was going to love your city streets and your people, that I was going to adore The Rocks, and that you had so much to offer.  I would have made different plans.

And now it’s too late; we are leaving.  (Or so I thought.)

Things are never as they seem…read on…