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capriccio

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  1. If you have extra time and budget I enthusiastically recommend adding a few days in Brazil and visiting Iguassu Falls. They are spectacular. While Princess will probably have a cruisetour, it is easy and much cheaper to visit on your own. You fly out of Rio (about a 2 hour flight) and I recommend spending two nights either directly at the falls (pricey hotels) or at one of the nearby hotels (wide range of prices and amenities). It is well worth visiting both the Brazilian and Argentine sides. There is more information on the South American cruise critic board: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/47-south-america/
  2. I agree. My absolute favorite is the sequence of blooming trees (redbuds followed by dogwoods) and then blankets of bluebell flowers in the woods. Those are the signs that spring is here even if the temperatures might not necessarily reflect that. It makes my heart happy.
  3. Generally the higher, cooler elevations color and then shed first while the leaves at the lower elevations start later and hold on longer making the panoramas from the ridge tops beautiful. Additionally when the coloring starts depends upon the type of tree. As far as timing, it obviously varies each year but right around mid October is usually peak in the northern Shenandoah Valley. It may be slightly later as you drive south. Here's a picture from a week ago of Massanutten Mountain (first Alleghany mountain ridge to the west of the Blue Ridge). The oaks were just starting to turn yellow.
  4. JB - next time visit the Blue Ridge Parkway and/or Shenandoah National Park in mid-October. The fall leaf color is lovely!
  5. Here is the synopsis of the 51 page draft Florida Plan according to the Sun-Sentinel: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/coronavirus/os-ne-coronavirus-florida-vaccination-plan-20201025-g7c7agj6nzgghhn7vimbeq5hse-story.html#nt=pf-double chain~homepage-top-heads~flex feature~curated~home-heads-8~UG4FHQVTCZA7NGITUKMH7ZNURM~2~3~2~15~art no There was nothing in the article about non-residents but that could very well be addressed in the draft plan which I haven't read. Highlights: The state breaks down its vaccination plan into three phases, starting with the most vulnerable populations, such as those living in long-term care facilities. During the second phase, when more vaccines are available, it will be distributed to pediatricians, primary care providers and more pharmacies. This is also when county health departments will start public vaccinations. There may also be a state-managed vaccination site, comparable to what currently exists today for administering COVID-19 tests. Hospitals that choose to may also start vaccinating people in their emergency departments, urgent care centers and other outpatient settings. During the third and final phase, when enough supply is expected to be available, the state will begin providing the vaccine through routine delivery systems such as commercial pharmacies.
  6. We were on the Crown Princess from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro in December 2016/January 2017. It was one of our favorite cruises. In addition to the comments made by others, I will note that since the South American cruises are held during the northern hemisphere winter it is summer in South America and you will run into plenty of South Americans of all ages - and especially families since it is the schools' summer vacation period. In and of itself that was no problem to us but you should be prepared for announcements in both English and Spanish and if you chose late traditional dining (very popular and even a little too early for South Americans) it will be filled. It was the only Princess cruise we've been on where the Maitre'd had to close the dining room doors every evening at 8:45 (late traditional dining started at 8 pm). I know from talking to our wait staff (we had the same excellent staff for 31 days) the late arrivals did upset the service somewhat but we were in no rush so that wasn't a problem.
  7. More than 8 years later, I still think that DeLoreanGirl's British Isles write up was one of the best (extremely well written and informative) that I've ever read on cruise critic. We used lots of her recommendations for independent excursions in 2013.
  8. I have to leave for the afternoon so I'm going to award this round to dogs4fun since she/he obviously knows the answer! It is the rear of the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. The front of the cathedral overlooks the Mississippi River. Wikipedia describes the cathedral as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and is the oldest cathedral in continuous use in what would become the United States. It is dedicated to Saint Louis, also known as King Louis IX of France. The first church on the site was built in 1718; the third, under the Spanish rule, built in 1789, was raised to cathedral rank in 1793. The original St. Louis Cathedral was burned during the great fire of 1788 and was expanded and largely rebuilt and completed in the 1850s, with little of the 1789 structure remaining. We were on a river cruise with Road Scholar from New Orleans to Memphis, Tennessee this time last year and had a wonderful time. We spent 3 days in New Orleans before and 2 days in Memphis after; two wonderful cities full of good music, good food and lots of history. The stops along the river ranged from antebellum plantations to a Civil War battlefield (Vicksburg), Angola Prison, Natchez and a private gospel choir concert, and a day in the historic Delta region (home of the blues).
  9. A number of cruise lines have this city as a terminus.
  10. Queen of Everything - I first saw a picture of the Keukenhof Gardens in a coffee table book my parents had of pictures taken in Europe about 10 or 15 years after WWII. I was the first person in my family to see them in person in 1989 and they remain my favorite gardens even though, just like notamermaid, tulips aren't my favorite flower. Name what is in the photo. First guess the river. After that name the town/city/place. The person one who first guesses correctly gets to post the next photo! Please, DO NOT POST any PHOTOS unless it is your turn.
  11. According to an article in today's Washington Post entitled Britain to infect healthy volunteers with coronavirus in vaccine challenge trials (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/covid-challenge-trials-uk/2020/10/20/00a31136-026c-11eb-b92e-029676f9ebec_story.html), the British will launch the world's first human challenge trials for covid-19, in which healthy volunteers will be deliberately infected with the coronavirus in hopes of further speeding the drive to a vaccine. Highlights of the article include: Research is funded by the British government and being conducted by Imperial College London Potential payoff: accelerating vaccine development by even three months and saving hundreds of thousands of lives globally Volunteers will be quarantined in a hospital for 22 days Initial phase will be 100 young adults (18 to 30) with hopes to expand in the spring Haven't determined which vaccines to test yet (possible candidates include those vaccines that have proven themselves in large-scale Phase 3 trials, or they may be earlier in their development but potentially more effective). Study to be reviewed by and ethics committee of the Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency ( the British equivalent of the FDA)
  12. capriccio

    Hotel

    For people new to Fort Lauderdale a couple of things to consider in TTEllis' comment: The Hyatt Place is right behind the Embassy Suites (the Renaissance is closer to Port Everglades) but still in an excellent location. Hotel prices in Fort Lauderdale vary significantly according to the season. Summer is the low ("wet"/hurricane) season, winter is the high ("dry"/tourist) season and the same room can vary more than $100 depending upon the season. To add to TTEllis' recommendation of staying at the beach -- if you are staying more than overnight the beach is a good location. I would also encourage you to think about downtown (Las Olas Blvd). In addition to the venerable Riverside Hotel a few new hotels have opened in the past 2 years. Downtown has a wide variety of restaurants, galleries, boutiques and museums in addition to a water taxi stop and the dock for the Carrie B sightseeing boat.
  13. The official Fort Lauderdale tourist website has a Covid-19 Updates page (https://www.sunny.org/healthadvisory/) that includes this section on Restaurants & Bars: On-premise dining and bar service is available at restaurants and in bars throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale with rules for 50% seating capacity indoors for bars and up to 100% capacity indoors at restaurants as long as tables can be placed six feet apart. Seating at bars and restaurants is allowed up to 100% capacity in open-air outdoor areas, which is available at many area restaurants and bars. You must wear a mask when entering restaurants or when waiting in line or walking to registers, pickup counters or restrooms. Broward County government issued Emergency Order 20-26 on Friday, September 25 allowing all businesses to reopen, subject to local rules and orders. Pickup and delivery options remain available at many locations. Find details about restaurants offering take out and delivery on our dining page or on @VisitLauderdale Facebook and @VisitLauderdale Instagram stories. With high-demand grocery items in short supply, some area restaurants have turned into community markets selling fresh meats, seafood, produce and even paper goods and cleaning products. Read more about it here. There is lots more information: Visitor Guidelines Hotels Vacation Rentals Beaches Attractions Shopping & Services Transportation Public Events Safety How to Help Covid-19 Information Links
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