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 Disneyland┬« 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? ­čśë

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

Happy Holidays!

17 January 2017

Xmas2016I haven’t created a Christmas photo the past couple years since I thought everyone knew what my year was like due to Facebook and my blogs, plus I couldn’t get decent photos of all three kitties and myself. However even though we are already well past New Years, this year I have major updates to announce, so let’s get started…

Grandma has had a harder year healthwise, so I surprised her in March for a quick weekend to cheer her up in the hospital before she could return home. Her travel is now restricted due to congestive heart failure, so we didn’t do a big trip this summer like our Hawaii cruise in 2014 and the Canadian Rockies in 2015, but I did visit her in July for a few days. She was well enough to thoroughly enjoy her 102nd birthday in November with a party that kept growing larger as she invited more people! We spent Christmas at her house, like the majority of my entire lifetime of Christmases, and we are all thankful she still has all her personality even if her body is “finally starting to wear out” as she put it.

My big trip this year was in June when Glen & I took an ambitious road trip around Spain, seeing 26 Spanish castles in 10 days, even staying overnight in 9 castles! I’m sure you won’t be surprised that I took a TON of photos, over 3300 in fact! You can see select photos and read about the whole trip in the Travels section on if you like.

After celebrating 16 years working for Equinix, still thankful it pays for my house and other things I enjoy, summer was more fun working on Halloween projects between hosting my annual 4th of July fireworks party and three Cinema Brittahytta backyard movie nights, then by the end of August, Glen and I were officially dating! We first met 9 years ago when he attended my Halloween party with mutual friends, and our friendship has grown closer the past 5 years after he volunteered to help with my Halloween projects, so it is wonderful to have such a strong relationship before adding romance. :)

My big annual Halloween party went well as the Webmistress hosted a Victorian Halloween at Castle Brittahytta, with a new spider food menu and a front show with original music and over 10,000 spiders crawling over the castle walls and gravestones as the Waltz of the Spiders, but sadly our November was rough, starting with Glen catching an awful flu before we left Grandma’s birthday in Seattle. Thankfully I stayed well to take care of him, but he was miserable for a couple weeks and was only barely well enough to feel human again when I found out my beloved “dog in a cat’s body” Onyx was in end-stage chronic kidney failure at only 9 years old. I gave Onyx one last night of love, then Glen held me as I held Onyx as he left his pain behind. The next day we flew to San Antonio as scheduled to meet some of Glen’s family for a Simon Thanksgiving at Bret’s house, with Frank and Lisa also visiting, and to see my highschool friends Amanda & Anne, which was a really great trip…remember the Alamo! We had turkey #2 as a Peterson Thanksgiving on Friday in Roseville with my parents Diane & Gary and brother Erik, getting my fresh Christmas tree and fresh apple cider at Apple Hill the next day according to tradition…a whirlwind week but grateful we could visit both our families!

Glen & I both caught colds to start December, but thankfully by my Holiday Happy Hour party on the 11th, we were both healthy again, ready to host our friends for Christmas at the Castle while wearing the new red & green tartan dress I made for our fancy Christmas photo, and ready to take on the rest of the holiday season and 2017…starting with an East Asia cruise in February!

We hope everyone enjoyed a happy holiday season, and may you have a fabulous 2017!

– Britta, Glen, Ebony & Obsidian from Brittahytta in Santa Clara, California

Goodbye Onyx

19 November 2016

I am in shock and devastated. I sure thought I’d have more time with Onyx in my life, but I will forever be thankful that I was blessed with his one-in-a-million personality for 9 full years.

Last night I gave Onyx all the quality time he wanted, cuddling almost all night, because he was in end-stage chronic kidney failure that doctors reassured me there was nothing I could have prevented or caught earlier, but I still feel I failed him. This morning I held him in my arms as he went to sleep forever. I will miss him so much.

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!


quick Seattle trip – July 2016

22 July 2016

Grandma has developed congestive heart failure and isn’t allowed any airplane travel anymore, plus I didn’t have time for a longer trip after I’d spent so much work time off on the Spain castle trip, so I just visited Grandma for a couple days in July.

Gorgeous day for the ferry! Headed to Poulsbo today!

Poulsbo is an adorable Little Scandinavia town, with lovely murals, gorgeous flowers, cute Viking ship benches, and gjetost and even beet sillsalat in the market! The lefse looks a little thick though, and no prune tarts at the bakery, so we enjoyed caramel pecan rolls for our snack. Next stop Bainbridge Island…

Since I have two friends who are also now fans of the late-harvest Viognier, we went back for more wine tasting at Eleven in Bainbridge Island! Totally different in the sunshine since the last time we were here, some sideways rain hit us hard! Too early for dinner yet so we are already at Kingston in line for the ferry back to Edmonds.

Had to look out the ferry bow on the way back to Edmonds, but the view as we were leaving was stunningly dramatic with backlit clouds!

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