Gosh, has it been a week that we’ve been on the Allure of the Seas? Time flies when you’re having fun, as they say.
Today we have completed the first leg of our Caribbean cruise and added three new countries to our list. On the Western Caribbean leg. We did a very fast turnaround after docking at Fort Lauderdale by getting off the ship for them to satisfy US Immigration’s “zero count” and then got on again for the second leg to the Eastern Caribbean.
Cruises are the best way of seeing new countries and learning about new places and this cruise was no different. On the first leg of our Caribbean cruise, we docked at three new ports-of-call and added three new countries to our list: Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico! These are not necessarily places we would normally book a vacation to and some of them, like Haiti on this cruise, are probably places we would never ever make it to if not for a cruise.
On the next leg we’ll stop at Nassau in the Bahamas and that will be country number four on this trip. The next two stops are St Thomas and St Maarten, which we had already been to in 2006 so they don’t count as new countries!
By now we have a routine when visiting new countries: a fridge magnet for every new city visited and a bracelet charm for every new country. We find this to be the highlight of all our trips and stops, believe it or not. Sometimes we don’t find the magnet we want so we get creative and create our own. Once in Klaipeda, Lithuania, we didn’t find a magnet but we were lucky to find an old commemorative coin with the word “Klaipeda” written on it. When we got home, I stuck a magnet behind it and voila, we have a fridge magnet.
We love our fridge magnets and we ran out of space on our fridge a looooonggggg time ago so they are proudly displayed on a long magnet wall in our kitchen!
We also ran out of space on this wall so I recently started another wall in the kitchen
As far as bracelet charms go, I have to say I have also run out of space on my bracelet and must reorganise it soon or I have to stop adding countries LOL!
The charms we buy have to be a symbol of the country we visit or else remind us of something we did there. Its usually very straightforward, like the Colosseum for Italy, the Parthenon for Greece, a Dutch klomppen (clog) for the Netherlands, etc. We got a diver for the Maldives because we went snorkelling there for the first time and a helicopter when we went to Antigua because we flew over the Montserrat volcanic island in one. Sometimes of course, we also don’t find a shop selling charms or else we didn’t find a suitable charm, in which case we make a note of it and decide what kind of charm we want for the country and look out for it in future travels.
So far, we’ve got our new magnets in Labadee (Haiti), Falmouth (Jamaica) and Cozumel (Mexico) but found our charm only in Cozumel. You guessed it – a sombrero! We will look for charms to add for Haiti and Jamaica…we were thinking of a banana for Haiti because it used to be called “The Banana Republic” and maybe a guitar for Jamaica because the iconic Bob Marley hails from there. Ya mon!
So, adding countries is a lot of fun! We used to buy all kinds of souvenirs which, after a while, became dust collectors. Sometimes we wonder why we bought them at all. But we love our magnets and charms collection!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad