An Adventure in Asia!

16 February 2017

Last fall Glen found out about this East Asia cruise on the luxury ship Oceania Nautica, so we are going with our Margarita Friday friends who introduced us, Ruth & George, plus Glen & I are seeing Disneyland Hong Kong and Disneyland Shanghai before & after the 15-day cruise to 4 different countries! What a trip this will be! Here’s the itinerary so far, and we have free wifi at both Disney hotels and on the ship, so hopefully it will work well enough to post updates and photos along the way!


Sat Feb 18th Hong Kong
land 8:10am
straight to Disney – 15 minute taxi?
Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
A 10-minute walk from DisneylandĀ® Hong Kong, this Victorian-style resort overlooking the South China Sea is a 12-minute walk from a metro station and 12 km from Hong Kong’s Central Business District.
pick up park tickets at hotel desk

11am-12:30pm Signature Disney Dim Sum @ Crystal Lotus @ hotel

Disneyland Hong Kong!
how late can we stay up vs. jet lag? šŸ˜‰

Sun Feb 19th Hong Kong
Disneyland Hong Kong!

Mon Feb 20th Hong Kong
check out by 2pm from Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
12pm early check-in to cruise ship Oceania Nautica
afternoon walking around Hong Kong
6pm ship sails
6-7pm group welcome reception in Deck 5 Forward
dinner in dining room

Tues Feb 21st Cruising the Taiwan Strait
10-12 lecture
8pm dinner reservation for 4 at Toscana

Wed Feb 22nd Taipei, Taiwan
7:45am Britta & Ruth Taipei Hot Springs (8 hrs)
Yangmingshan National Park, local lunch, Cal La Young Garden Resort in the Jinshan District most hot springs in Taiwan, afternoon tea, bring bathing suit & bathing cap, bathing caps available for purchase onsite

8:30am Glen & George Highlights of Taipei (4.5 hrs)
National Palace Museum, Memorial Hall (no lunch)

4pm sail
dinner in dining room

Thurs Feb 23rd Okinawa, Japan
2:30pm Naha Highlights (4.5 hrs)
former capital of Ryukyu kings, Shuri Castle, Shikina en Garden, Kokusai-dori (Naha’s main street)
9pm sail
dinner in dining room

Fri Feb 24th Cruising the East China Sea
8:30pm dinner for 4 at Polo Grill

Sat Feb 25th Kyoto (Kobe), Japan
8:45am Highlights of Osaka (5 hrs)
Kobe to Osaka, Osaka Castle, Shitennoji (oldest Buddhist temple in Japan)
dinner in dining room? or out in Kobe/Kyoto? docked all night

Sun Feb 26th Kyoto (Kobe), Japan
7:45am Traditional Kyoto (9.5 hrs)
Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion shogun villa built in 1394, Nijo Castle 1603 walls & moat, local lunch, Sanjusangendo “hall with 33 bays” displaying 1001 statues of Kannon Buddhist Goddess of Mercy
6pm sail
dinner in dining room

Mon Feb 27th Hiroshima, Japan
8:45am Hiroshima & Miyajima Exploration (7.25 hrs)
Peace Memorial Park, local lunch, ferry to Miyajima Island, red O-torii Gate in the sea guarding the Itukushima Shrine
4pm sail
dinner in dining room

Tues Feb 28th Nagasaki, Japan
1:15pm Highlights of Nagasaki (3 hrs)
Nagasaki Peace Park & Atomic Bomb Museum
7pm sail
dinner in dining room

Wed Mar 1st Crusing the East China Sea
10-12 lecture
9pm dinner for 4 at Toscana

Thurs Mar 2nd Seoul (Incheon), South Korea
8am DMZ Third Tunnel & City (8 hrs)
Drive along Unification Road, Freedom Bridge, DMZ in Imjingak, briefing by military personnel, guided museum tour, DMZ 3rd Tunnel 240 ft underground designed for a surprise attack on Seoul, Dora Observatory for cross-border views of Propaganda Village, traditional Korean lunch, Insadong living museum shopping district.
(photography restricted in the DMZ, carry passport at all times!)
5pm sail
dinner in dining room

Fri Mar 3rd Dalian, China
12pm Walking Tour of Dalian with Kite Flying (3.5 hrs)
Dalian Port drive to Zhongshan Square, walk to People Square, Friendship Square, Victory Square, Qingniwaqiao shopping area, to People Square formerly known as Stalin Square, bar for refreshments, tea, soft drinks, drive to Labor Park for kite flying weather permitting.
4pm sail
4pm lecture
dinner in dining room

Sat Mar 4th Bejing (Tianjin), China
7:30am The Great Wall of Huangyahuan (8.5 hrs)
2.5 hr drive through North China countryside to the “Yellow Cliff Pass” Great Wall, Phoenix Tower, Eight Diagram Pass Castle, local lunch, 2hr drive back to ship.
4pm sail
dinner in dining room

Sun Mar 5th Cruising the East China Sea
10-12 lecture
5:30pm group open bar reception
6:30pm group farewell dinner @ Polo Grill (Deck 10 aft)

Mon Mar 6th at sea to Shanghai
free day on board
9:30pm arrive Shanghai

Tues Mar 7th Shanghai
8am disembark
see some of Shanghai first?
Shanghai Disneyland Hotel
pick up park tickets at hotel desk
book character breakfast buffet? time must be booked at concierge desk
Disneyland Shanghai!

Wed Mar 8th Shanghai
Disneyland Shanghai!

Thurs Mar 9th Shanghai
6:30-10:30am character breakfast buffet? time must be booked at concierge desk
check out 11am from Shanghai Disneyland Hotel
more Shanghai sightseeing?
airport by 4pm
6pm flight home

Grandma’s 102nd birthday in Seattle!

8 November 2016

Since Grandma was turning 102 and still loves big parties, we had another birthday party brunch for her at her house in Seattle this year, so I embellished a Costco cake into an impressive peacock-feathered creation, Glen accompanied me this time, and we even had a chance for a few hours of sightseeing in Seattle! Check out the full photo gallery at the end, too!

Glen did his best Shatner at the EMP museum Trek exhibit in Seattle…hahaha! While it rendered it had messages like “Please wait, rendering evil smugness…amplifying Shatnerosity…” Hilarious!

Click through to see the full gallery!


Spain Day 12: The End

20 June 2016

Monday June 20th: more sitting than walking!

We have come to the end of Barcelona and Beyond: Castle Road Trip of Spain, at a pace which Glen has named Power Tour Ramming Speed! In our 11 days together in Spain we drove 2226 miles / 3562 km in 66.5 hours and walked 127,610 steps / 58.64 miles / 93.82 km seeing 26 castles total and staying overnight in 9 of them! Glen is leaving Spain a souvenir, since his shoes are shot! We left our last castle hotel at 6am, a rude jolt back to the mundane after a fabulously fun Spanish siesta from reality! At least we saw the moon setting over Cardona at dawn and the rising sun on the serrated peaks of Montserrat on our early drive to the Barcelona airport. Our gates were across the airport from each other, so we already said hasta la vista. Thank you Glen for a fabulous trip with a great travel companion, and see you back in California!

Last driving in Spain!




Thankfully even with several buses and trains to get between terminals and security again, I still had 2 hours to kill at Heathrow, so I found a cloudy hard cider that isn’t Addlestones but pretty tasty!

Home to cool down a hot house! I guess we need a new scratching tree…sheesh! No sign of Ebony yet but both boys are glad I’m home.


Parting Words from Glen:

Thanks for joining me on a spectacular Spanish adventure Britta Peterson! Thanks especially for documenting it in such detail on your page so all I had to do was enjoy the adventure and pose for an occasional selfie.

As many photos as we took, there were three moments I wish we had been able to capture but missed:

1) Our five Spanish friends who helped us maneuver a giant car out of a space designed for horses, with energetic cries of “poco poco!” and other words that sounded like complete gibberish to me.

2) That Gibraltar monkey who held on to your purse for dear life.

3) Your never-ending battles with medieval hotel door locks that never seemed to respond to your key turns, and never ceased to amuse me.

Come to think of it, I did capture a video of #3 but had to delete it after considering your threats of retaliation if I shared it with anybody.

Spain is a beautiful country and well worth more than the 10 short days we spent seeing it. Ā”Hasta la prĆ³xima!

For the record, here is the final map of everywhere we actually went!

Spain 2016 Final Tour Map

Spain 2016 Final Tour Map


Spain Day 11: Last 3 Castles!

19 June 2016

Sunday June 19th: 7342 steps 3.3 miles

We enjoyed our last leisurely hotel breakfast with even thicker sipping chocolate, took some photos of the Parador La Concordia at AlcaƱiz, the least castley castle hotel of our trip, understandable since it started as a monastery, then drove away headed for the coast again. Tonight will be our last castle hotel at Cardona, and maybe we can swing by one more castle on the drive today… :)

Two more bonus castles achieved! We found the small Castell de Castellet but it only offers prearranged guided tours so we walked around the outside and the view of lake. Then thanks to a quick stop with free wifi at a freeway McDs, Glen the Castle Whisperer found a bonus castle *winery* on our way just south of Manresa near the strikingly jagged Montserrat mountains! We didn’t know Oller del Mas was only for prearranged tours, but since we arrived just after a bus tour had finished their tasting and we were pleading even just to buy a bottle to the winery guy cleaning up, fumbling around with Google Translate, he took pity on us and let us taste three reds from the leftover bottles…he said with a shrug they were already abierto! šŸ˜‰ We tried to tip him but he refused, so muchas muchas gracias from us! Both Glen and I preferred the cheaper Syrah blend, so I bought a bottle as a souvenir!

We arrived at our final castle hotel, the Castell de Cardona, about 7pm and got the big rental car stuck trying to turn around since the tiny hotel parking lot was full, but five nice local guys shouting in Spanish finally got Glen out with no scrapes! They congratulated us and themselves for “internacional” cooperation, and later they waved at us from the top tower after we parked in the larger lot at the bottom of the hill. šŸ˜‰ We saw other cars getting themselves trapped in the same tiny lot later so Glen has his turn laughing at them. As soon as we unloaded our luggage, we strolled around most of the castle since this was our only daylight chance, but there are ticketed entry parts inside some towers that had already closed for the day. By then dinner had opened and we enjoyed our earliest but second-tastiest dinner of the trip!

We missed sunset due to dinner but we took advantage of the full moon and drove and walked around Castell de Cardona for more photos, accompanied by Halloween music. Room 712 of the Parador de Cardona is supposedly haunted but the interior hallways are even less spooky than college dorm rooms, so instead we made our own spooky scenes in the full moonlight…heh! #nofilters

daily driving map:




Spain Day 10: Coastal Route with 5 Castles to AlcaƱiz

18 June 2016

Saturday June 18th: 9287 steps 4.17 miles

Since we haven’t found any bonus castles on today’s route to AlcaƱiz, we had a leisurely morning enjoying breakfast with regional scrambled eggs with ham, we are back in the migas fried bread crumbs region again, and they finally had real Spanish sipping chocolate…so thick and delicious! We checked out then got the key for “acceso exclusivo” to the ramparts of Castillo Marques de Villena aka Parador de Alarcon! After we had enough of the walls, we retuned the key & got in the car, but we found a dirt road that ended under the castle at a walking bridge across the gorgeously teal River Jucar for more fantastic views. I matched the teal river and Glen matched the castle walls…haha! As we drove out of town the same way we drive in, we still hadn’t yet had our fill of castle views, so we parked and walked around the outer gate tower too! We highly recommend spending more time here if you ever get the chance, but for now we say farewell to Alarcon!

We left Alarcon around 3pm and changed from our original inland route to a coastal route in hopes of a seaside snack and maybe a bonus castle. After I took over driving, Glen spotted three more castles from the road and took photos for me! From we could tell by our offline maps, they were something near Castellon de la Plana, Oropesa Castle overlooking Oropesa del Mar, and Xivert Castle in Alcala de Xivert, but it was already taking too long for our revised plan so we didn’t have time to stop and made it to PeƱiscola around 6pm. Glen found us an awesome bonus castle…Castillo de Papa Luna in PeƱiscola right on the gorgeous teal Mediterranean Sea! From the big sign it looks like they’ve filmed some Game of Thrones there too? We paid our admission and explored the big gray castle thoroughly, had a quick ice cream on our walk back down the hill, then we dipped our toes in the Mediterranean Sea…another bucket list item for this trip! Hooray!

Back on the road again we went inland again headed for AlcaƱiz. As the sun was setting we saw some structure in silhouette, then when we drove through Morella, the castle at the top was straight up above the city! Impressive but we were already going to be very late for dinner so we only paused for photos. We made it through lots of curvy mountain roads with wild Iberian ibex goats to AlcaƱiz into the Parador La Concordia by 10:45, barely making it to dinner before they closed, but we finally we were not the last ones to leave! šŸ˜‰ Our room is on the corner with a view of the cathedral nicely lit at night, but we could hear the wind howling all night…it’s chilly up in the mountains! Tomorrow is our last day in Spain so we will make the most of it!

daily driving map:




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