Sunday, June 13, 2010

LB to Catalina to Ensenada to the Pacific and back to the LB...

I'm back! I almost don't know where to start describing my little cruise adventure so I'll just start at the beginning and go from there.
My friend, Christina, and I met in Long Beach and swiftly boarded our temporary home, the Carnival Paradise cruise ship. After dumping our bags in our ocean view room, we set out to explore and watch as we our ship pulled away from port.
The ship

On deck - and on vacation!

The Atrium

Our first towel animal - would you say this is a walrus? Other ideas...?

After dinner and a fantastic sleep, we woke up in Catalina where we spent most of our first full day. Christina had never been to Catalina before, so we perused a bit of the downtown area and then walked up to the Wrigley Botanical Memorial Garden. I'd never gone to this bit of Catalina before so it was nice to explore something new.
Christina among the Matilija poppies that were blooming everywhere:

Looking up at the memorial:

The view down the valley toward the ocean - oh, and me:

Stopped for gelato, we are happy ladies!

We were happy to re-board the ship for dinner after Catalina, knowing we had a full day ahead in Ensenada, Mexico on Wednesday and needed a good meal and some rest. Christina's boyfriend met us in Ensenada and we helped him choose new upholstery for his Airstream - he'd driven it down in hopes of getting some of the interior fixed up. After meeting with some local craftsmen for a few hours, we grabbed some lunch (and margaritas!) then wandered the town, doing a little shopping and visiting the local church.
If you ever find yourself on a cruise headed toward Ensenada, I will pause here to recommend that you book some sort of shore excursion. If we hadn't met up with a friend, the day would have held little excitement. The shop area is small and there isn't much to do downtown and no nearby beaches to visit. Your best bet is to book a wine tasting, or an ATV adventure, or a horseback riding tour to take up the better part of your day and then spend an hour or so downtown. That's all you'd really need to explore the area. The shore excursions are a bit pricey but everyone we talked to onboard in the evening really enjoyed their day and said the cost was worth it.
I hardly took any pictures in Ensenada - but I will share this one. The port of Ensenada sports one big ass Mexican flag - probably one of the largest flags I've ever seen, anywhere. And I've been some places... This picture really doesn't do it justice.

Thursday was our "Fun Day at Sea" and we spent most of it laying around on deck, eating, reading, eating some more, and laying around. And then eating some more. Needless to say, there aren't many pictures to share but it was the most relaxing day I've had in a while and was fabulous. I recommend a similar experience to everyone.
Eat, read, relax. Eat some more. Rinse, repeat.
And be sure to make some towel animals.

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