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Old 03-14-2011, 02:10 PM   #91
dolphingirl47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cannp123165 View Post
Sounds like a great day! I love the Kingdom Keepers series - I can't wait for the next book.
I have the next book on pre-order. I can't wait to read this. Amazon and Waterstones.com will both sell the 4th book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mandymouse View Post
I love the idea of the Mixology Class, it sounds like lots of fun

Another great day
The idea behind it is great and it was a lot of fun on the Magic. One the Wonder, it could best be described as a waste of space. Still, I am going to give this another go on our Mexican Riviera cruise.

Corinna
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:41 PM   #92
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Day 11

We had another fairly early start. This day was the day I had looked
forward to the most apart from the actual Panama Canal crossing. When we
got up, we were docked at Puntarenas, Costa Rica. I have visited some
amazing places over the last few years, but Costa Rica is definitely the
most exotic of those.

This was another private excursion that somebody on the DIS Boards had
kindly organized. We were supposed to meet at 7:45 by the aft gangway.
When we got off the ship shortly before 7:30, there were buses parked
right by the ship. The whole thing was organized chaos. We bumped into
some people I knew that were on the same excursion and they advised us
that the tour operator was actually waiting for us just outside the
port entrance, which was in the opposite direction from our meeting
point. Quite a few people were already there and more arrived in due
course.

















Just outside the port by the beach, a little market with various
tourist goods had sprung up. Some people headed across the road to
have a look while we were waiting for the rest of the group to appear.
I decided to stay in the shade of a big tree. Even that early in the
morning it was hot and the sun was strong.

Once everybody had arrived, we walked the few steps to the buses. The
group was divided into two and our bus was adults only. We were
introduced to our guide Andres and our driver, whose name I could not
remember.

Formalities out of the way, we set off on our long drive to the Manuel
Antonio National Park. The park is about 2.5 hours away from Puntarenas.
During the drive, our guide told us a bit about Puntarenas
and Costa Rica in general. I was quite surprised that the literacy
rates were much higher than in the UK.

I soon realized that I had a problem. I associate Costa Rica with coffee
and that is indeed their most famous export crop. They do however also
grow just about every exotic fruit that you can think of: mangoes,
papayas and unfortunately also bananas. I am severely allergic to
bananas. It is mainly ingesting even the tiniest amount of banana that
is causing problems, but banana pollen also leads to coughing fits,
sneezing and runny eyes and nose. This put a little bit of a damper on
the day.

On the way to Manuel Antonio, we stopped briefly at the restaurant where
we would have lunch after our visit to the park. We had chosen our food
on the bus and we had to drop off the list with our food choices so that
our lunch would be ready for us when we returned. This also gave people
the opportunity to use the bathroom. Some people had headed for the
garden behind the restaurant and had spotted monkeys. So soon everybody
was in the garden. The monkeys that we saw there were white-faced
monkeys.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:50 PM   #93
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Once everybody had seen the monkeys, we headed back to the bus for the
short drive to the national park. Our guide paid our admission and then
we hiked into the rainforest. We stopped every few meters to watch the
wildlife. I have to say I did not see a great deal. Between my less than
perfect eyesight, the slight twilight, lots of greenery for the wildlife
to hide in and the quick movements of most of said wildlife, I mainly
saw plantlife. Still, I enjoyed the walk and the fresh air and the
distinct absence of banana plants. The others saw frogs, various birds
including humming birds, white-faced and howler monkeys and some
wildlife that I was glad that I did not see - snakes. I did spot some
toucans and the highlight of the hike, a sloth.













http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ibb_MJWosVo













I was actually quite surprised how much wildlife was around as there
were wall to wall people and they did not make any attempt to tread
quietly. I also doubted the sanity of some people who had brought
toddlers and even babies to the park. The heat and humidity were brutal
and would have been unbearable for young children.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:58 PM   #94
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Once we could tear ourselves away from the sloth, we walked down the
hill to the beach. This is where I did my wildlife watching. There were
monkeys all over the beach area. One family had the clever idea to hang
their beach bag from the branches of a tree and they only just managed
to get it back before a monkey ran away with this. Other people were not
so lucky and a group of monkeys made off with their belongings.





The real surprise was the raccoons that were everywhere. I always had
associated raccoons with colder climates like the northern states of the
USA and Canada. Apparently they are native to Costa Rica, too. I had
great fun watching them for a while.









In the end the sea proved too much of a temptation for me. Graham had
headed for a swim as soon as we got to the beach. The water was
beautifully warm. I could not understand that most people in our group
did decide against going in the water.





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Old 03-22-2011, 01:02 PM   #95
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All to soon, it was time to leave. On the way back to our bus, we walked
on a path that had the rainforest on one side and the sea on the other.
We saw more interesting wildlife, including an agouti, which looks like
an overgrown rat, but is about the size of a pig. What made me laugh
though was a little scheme that the local raccoon population has thought
up. One of them was walking in front of the people looking incredibly
cute, while its friends were raiding the bags and picnic baskets behind
people's backs.

























The walk back to the bus was a lot quicker than the hike to the beach.
We had to climb down a short stretch of steep and rocky path and cross a
little stream, but soon we were back at the bus. We went back to the
restaurant for our lunch and by now I was more than ready for it as I
had not eaten anything that day. Shortly before we reached the
restaurant, our bus had to make a sudden emergency stop. A huge iguana
had decided to slowly walk out right in front of our bus.

Despite the excitement, we soon arrived at the restaurant. As soon as we
sat down, we were served corn chips with various different salsas. They
also came round with jugs with some kind of fruity drinks. I am always
nervous if I don't know what precisely I am served, but after smelling
Graham's drink, I decided that this was probably OK. Fortunately I was
right. It was some red concoction that was very sweet, but tasty and I
still don't know what I was drinking, but as I did not get a reaction,
it did not contain banana. Graham also tried some white juice and he was
pretty sure that this contained banana so I gave this a wide berth.

The food was gorgeous. We both had Rice with Pork and Chicken which was
served with Salad, Plantain and Yuka. I was a bit angry about the
plantain on my plate. When we stopped at the restaurant earlier in the
day, I had explained to our guide that I am severely allergic to bananas
and even though I had never eaten plantain and therefore do not know for
sure that I would get an allergic reaction, as they are part of the
banana family I should avoid coming in contact with them. He did not
overly concerned and sure enough, there was plantain on my plate. Graham
took them off me together to the food that had been touched by them and
I did not suffer any consequences. I was not sure what precisely Yuka
is, so I gave this a wide berth as well. People on our table had started
to order margaritas so we decided to have a margarita each as well,
which was very nice. For pudding we had some traditional sponge cake,
which was very nice.
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:06 PM   #96
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When we left the restaurant there was heavy rain. Our guide was really
surprised as January is at the beginning of the dry season and normally
they do not get any rain at this time of year. I was quite grateful as
the rain kept the pollen levels down. It rained on and off all the way
back to Puntarenas.





The original plan had been to stop at an open air museum on the way back
to give people a chance to buy souvenirs and coffee. However, as we took
longer than planned at the national park, this part of the itinerary was
scrapped. We just made a quick stop by a river where crocodiles are
plentiful. The bus dropped those of us who wanted to see the crocodiles
off at one end of the bridge and then waited for us at the other end of
the bridge. The people who were not interested in seeing the crocodiles
just stayed on the bus.















After this last stop, we returned to Puntarenas and the port. We were
dropped off just outside the port entrance. We were met by a
representative from the tour operator and we paid four our excursion. We
said goodbye to our driver and our guide and headed back to the ship. By
the port entrance, a large number of families with children were waiting
looking longingly at the ship. Some of the children kept saying Mickey
Mouse. They were hoping to get some kind of souvenir. Unfortunately I
had nothing at all on me that I could have given to the children.

When we got back on the ship, we dropped our stuff off in our cabin and
then we headed up to deck 9. We sat down and enjoyed the view. I treated
myself to a Melon Mojito and Graham had a Virgin Pina Colada. We enjoyed
our drinks and once we had left Puntarenas and I had heard the ship's
horn, we headed back downstairs.

As soon as the shop opened the limited edition pin for Puntarenas had
been released. When we got down there, there was hardly a line. I joined
the line in front of the Walt Disney portrait. The line was moving fast
and 5 minutes later, I had my pin.



My treasure in hand, we headed back to the cabin to drop off the pin and
to get our swim stuff. We then headed up to the Rainforest Room to
relax. I made good use of the Tropical Rain Shower and the Fog Shower to
get the last bits of banana pollen off my skin and hair. Once that was
achieved, I settled down on the heated tile lounger to relax and dry
off.
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:09 PM   #97
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A little while later, I left Graham there and headed back to the cabin
to get changed. We arranged that we would meet at dinner and I made sure
that he knew what restaurant we would be eating at. That evening the Fab
5 (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto) would be in the atrium
together for photos. I have a red silk dress with white polka dots,
which bears some resemblance to Minnie's traditional dress. So I decided
to wear this for the occasion. I went to the atrium right at the
beginning of the allotted time to find a huge line. I was told that the
line was closed. Two of my table mates were in the line and I suggested
that I should join them, but I could not bring myself to do so. Instead
I headed up to deck 4 where one of our favourite photographers was
taking photos in front of a light blue backdrop.









Photos done, I headed for dinner. That night we had the Around the World
Menu. We had the same menu on the Transatlantic cruise and even though
the menu looked very promising, the execution had been somewhat lacking.
I was in for a lovely surprise. On the Wonder everything was cooked to
perfection and I loved everything I had. Graham ended up with Beef
Empanadas, Pea Soup with Potato and Knockwurst and Pork Tenderloin with
Spaetzle, Red Wine Sauce and Spinach. He passed on dessert as nothing
appealed to him. I chose Beef Empanadas, Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup,
Pork Tenderloin with Spaetzle and Red Wine Sauce. I had a Butter Pecan
Sundae with Brioche and Maple Cream for dessert.

Once dinner was over, we were both stuffed and tired. We headed back to
the cabin where we found a towel heart and settled down to sleep.

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Old 03-22-2011, 02:06 PM   #98
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Sounds so much fun! Some crazy wild animals...they all freak me out! Your server was Daniel? We had a Daniel on the Western cruise. He was from Hungary and absolutely fabulous! Love reading and following your trip!
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:13 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForTheLoveOfDCL View Post
Sounds so much fun! Some crazy wild animals...they all freak me out! Your server was Daniel? We had a Daniel on the Western cruise. He was from Hungary and absolutely fabulous! Love reading and following your trip!
Hi, I was just about to leave you a message on Facebook that I have posted an update.

Yes, our server was called Daniel, but he is not the same server that you had. Our server comes from Manchester in the UK (same as us) and was on his first contract with DCL. I am hoping that he will be on the Wonder in October as he was fantastic.

Corinna
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:15 PM   #100
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so many amazing animals to see. lovely place to discover. I don't like Bananas either but they don't make me ill, thank goodness it wasn't to bad for you.
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:27 PM   #101
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Another great day!
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:27 AM   #102
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I just had a chance to catch up on your report. Costa Rica looks amazing, so much more interesting than the usual Caribbean or Mexican ports on a cruise. I can't belive those racoons. we have lots of them here in New Jersey, but they are nocturnal and would never come near a person. The Costa Rican ones must be so tame. Great report, looking forward to more. Karyn
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:01 PM   #103
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Day 12

This morning we had a proper lie in. There was nothing that we had to go to first thing in the morning so we did not get up until 8:00 AM and then we headed up to Beach Blanket Buffet for some breakfast. For a sea day, it was surprisingly quiet up there. We had a leisurely breakfast while watching the world go by. With breakfast out of the way, Graham headed down to deck4 to do Walk a Mile and I went to deck 3 for another DVC Member Celebration.

This DVC Member Celebration was not quite as busy as the first one. I managed to sit with people from our cruise meet thread. This Member Celebration had a distinct Hawaiian theme. They served Blue Hawaii cocktails, introduced the new Aulani resort that will open in Hawaii later this year, did a number of give aways rthat tied in with the new resort and showed some artist impressions of the new resort. I have to say it does look stunning. They also showed a video about the hidden Menehune. Menehune are mischievous little people that live in the forest, but also have been credited with being fantastic builders. Throughout the resort, images of the Menehune have been hidden, most of them in places where they will be found by children. The myth of the Menehune and how they have incorporated this in the resort was very interesting. We did a bit of a Menehune hunt of our own. Before the meeting, the DVC staff had stuck little images of Menhune under some of the chairs. The people who found one of them under their chairs, got a little prize. I did not win anything, but it was fun anyway.

After the Member Celebration, I headed back to the cabin. A group of people who are organizing the Mouse Adventures Scavenger Hunts at Disneyland and Disney World every year happened to be on our cruise and had offered to do a Mouse Adventure at Sea for us. As Graham is not interested in this kind of thing, I teamed up with two other cruisers that were in the same situation. With being in port for most of the day the previous day, I had forgotten to contact our team captain to arrange a meeting time. I did not want to risk waking her up before we went to breakfast so I decided that I would call her when I got back from the Member Celebration. Graham was in our cabin working on his boat. As soon as I got back, he told me that our team captain had rang and left him her Wave Phone number for me to contact her. They have recently introduced Wave Phones, which are essentially mobile phones that work only on the ship and on Castaway Cay. They are free to use and every cabin has two of them. This was the only time I used ours. I managed to contact her and we arranged to meet up outside Beach Blanket Buffet 5 minutes later.

When I met up with her and her son, who had decided to join us, we had a look through the game pack. There were a number of tasks that could be done sitting down like some trivia questions and some picture clues. Others could be partially done while sitting down like a word search, but that then lead to a question for which we had to find the answer around the ship. My favourite task was where you had to put various public spaces onto a grid of where they are located and this was then used to decode a grid of words, which in turn formed a question. Other questions could only be answered by going around the ship. A really fun task happened on the Route 66 entertainment area. As part of the theming, they have mile markers and there are also places printed on the carpet that are along Route 66. There was a whole lot of multiple choice questions and for each answer, you had to go back or forward a certain number of miles. Once you reached the last question, you had to answer in which “state” you are badsed on the place names on the carpet around you.

Once we had done this task, we decided to go and sit down to work on the tasks that did not require us to walk around the ship. It just so happens that Bingo was on at this time and my partner in crime really wanted to play. I played a lot of Bingo on our first cruise, but have not played since. Still, I was quite happy to sit down and work on the Scavenger Hunt while the electronic Bingo card did its job. The session was finished earlier than scheduled so they decided to play a game of give away Bingo and everybody in the room was given a free card. I participated in this, but did not win anything.

Once the Bingo was over, we headed out to work on the tasks were we had to find clues or answers around the ship. In the meantime, we had ben joined by another team member. We literally walked up and down the ship looking at every corner of the public spaces. We even managed to talk our way into the Oceaneers Club with the help of the daughter of our team captain as we thought one of thepictue clues was taken there. This was the perfect way to get to know the ship better. We finished off most of the tasks that we had started earlier and did one task where we had to decode a question that had been written in the nautical alphabet and then we decided to break for lunch. I wanted to catch up with Graham for lunch. Be therefore arranged a meeting time and location. Of course, I could not find Graham anywhere. So I decided to go up to Beach Blanket Buffet to join the others.

We had a nice leisurely lunch. I had Macaroni Cheese, Beans and Carrots, Beef Short Ribs, Fried Chicken and Pasta with Tomato, Basil and Parmesan Sauce. For pudding we decided to get some soft-serve ice cream from Goofy’s Galley and made our own ice cream sandwiches with the cookies that were on the dessert buffet at Beach Blanket Buffet.

After lunch, we carried on with our tasks. We had another decoding exercise to do and we also had two tasks that had to be done at a specific time. One of them was Shuffle Board and I was very quick to volunteer somebody else for this and the other one was a task where we had to send a message to a Wave Phone with a bit of information and then got a reply with another piece of information. Once all the tasks were complete, I dropped off our answer sheet as the cabin for this was near my own cabin. We came 9th, but this was definitely about the taking part rather than the winning and I had a lot of fun doing Mouse Adventures at Sea.

When I got back to our cabin, Graham was there and we decided to go and get a coffee at Cove Café and then head for the Rainforest Room. We had a nice relaxing afternoon. In between, we did our laundry. We had no trouble finding a washing machine. Finding a dryer proved to be a bit more challenging. As there were no dryers available on our deck, Graham decided to go up to deck 7 as the laundry room there is bigger. I decided to leave him to it and get changed for the show. I rarely attend any shows when cruising, but that night there was a show that I wanted to see. Susan Egan, who was the original Belle in Beauty and the Beast on Broadway was on the ship and was giving a concert. I was just leaving to head down to the theater when Graham came back to ask if I could come up to see if I could get the dryer to work. He had found spare dryers on deck 7, but unfortunately he could not get the dryer to accept his key card. Each machine has a card reader installed. You just swipe your key card and it charges the applicable amount to your room account. Well, that is the theory anyway. I tried with my card and had no success either. I then noticed that none of the card readers in the laundry room seemed to have power. By now I was too late for the show anyway, so I headed to Guest Services to report the fault. You have to give them this. By the time I headed back to my cabin, maintenance was already on the way to look at the problem.

With my plans spoiled, I went back to the cabin to read for a bit and then headed out to make good use of the various photo opportunities. I was in line for Mickey and Minnie, when Graham appeared in this swimming shorts and a t shirt to let me know that he had managed to find a dryer and would be a few minutes late for dinner. There were all these people in their semi-formal dresses and then there was Graham. You should have seen the looks some people gave us. He suggested that he should have a photo with me, Mickey and Minnie, but I sent him packing. I regretted this afterwards as this would have made a very memorable photo.





Once I had my photos with Mickey and Minnie done, I went to have photos done on the stair case and in front of one of the backdrops. They had a lovely pink backdrop out that evening.













Once I had my photos done, I headed for dinner. Apart from Graham, we were waiting for one other couple. When Graham arrived, we decided that the other couple would probably not come so we decided to order. Graham disappeared in between two courses to get our laundry out of the dryers. That night was the Prince and Princess Menu. Graham had Scallops Au Gratin, The Beast's Potato and Sausage Casserole Soup and New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Potato Gratin, Ratatouille. It suited me rather well that he was not there at the beginning of the meal. On the Transatlantic he had really enjoyed the Rack of Lamb and even had seconds. So I tipped off our server to this fact. For his dessert, Graham had chosen Princess Jasmine's Banana Bread and Butter Pudding, but he was not very impressed with this. I had chosen Double-baked Cheese Soufflé with Mascarpone and Gorgonzola Sauce, The Beast's Potato and Sausage Casserole Soup, Beef Wellington, Broccoli and Carrots, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and for dessert I had Prince Charming's Chilled Chocolate Soufflé.

After dinner, we made a quick exit so that we could some photos of the two of us before the photographers packed up for the night. Unfortunately the photographer by the staircase had already left, but we managed to get photos in front of the pink and white backdrops.

















Once the photos were taken, we headed to our cabin. Our stateroom host had left us a towel peacock. I took a couple of photos of this and then retired to bed.



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Old 04-02-2011, 04:09 PM   #104
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Day 13

It was back to our usual routine that day. Mickey Mouse gave us our wake up call at 7:00 and we headed up to deck 9 for Aqua Aerobics. We had a bit of a surprise that morning though. Up to that point, the female fitness instructor had been doing Aqua Aerobics. However, this morning the class was done by her colleague. The class was always very energetic, but that day it was even more so. We were the only people participating and it was great fun, but we were absolutely worn out by the end of it.

Once the class was over, we retired to the hot tub for a bit before getting dried off and heading back to our cabin to get changed. Then we headed back upstairs for a coffee and some Stollenbread at Cove Cafe.

Next up was Walk A Mile. After this I went back to the cabin to pick up my camera. I had been given strict instructions by a dear friend to take photos of Edge, the new Tween Club. They had an open house that morning before their programming started. So I decided to head down there and ask if I was OK to take some photos. The counselor on duty was perfectly happy with this. I rather liked what they had done with that space. It was especially impressive considering that the space that is now Edge was still taken up by conference rooms about two weeks before our cruise.



























Once I had taken all the photos I wanted, I thanked the counselor and headed off. My next commitment was a character meet and greet with Goofy and Max at the Gazebo on deck 9. There was no photographer, but the escort for those two was only too happy to take photos.







The scavenger hunt the previous day had inspired me to do something about the Scavenger Hunt that I had promised to organize for our October cruise. So I headed up walked through every inch of public space on the ship for the second day running. While I was at it, I took plenty of photos around the ship.













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Old 04-02-2011, 04:18 PM   #105
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I had arranged to meet Graham outside Triton's at 11:00 for brunch. We were seated and were asked if we would mind sharing a table, which we didn't. It was a nice surprise when the people we ended up sharing with were two of our table mates from dinner. Graham had a fruit platter followed by Marinated Flank Steak, Green Beans and Chips and I have Mushroom Soup followed by Marinated Flank Steak, Green Beans and Chips and Chocolate Brownie Pie for dessert.

After we had our fill to eat, I headed out again. They had a repeat of the Princess Gathering that they had offered earlier in the cruise. I had given it a miss at that time as I am not really into the Princesses. I rather play with Stitch. Still, I figured I had a CD to fill. So I decided to attend it this time. I had heard horror stories about the lines the first time round. When I got there, the line was not very long at all. Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Tiana and Ariel were in attendance. There was only one line and you just went from Princess to Princess.























Once I had my photo taken with all the Princesses, I went back up to deck 9. Mickey was supposed to be coming for a meet and greet in the gazebo near the Goofy pool. Mickey had brought Minnie along as well. Better still, there were not many people around so I got quite a few photos.







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