Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, art and the occasional rant!


2 Comments

I am fund raising to go Volunteer in Africa

Last month there were information sessions held at my college for Volunteer Eco Students Abroad. I only found out about it the day they were happening as there were flyers on the reception desk as I went from classes to work in the admissions office.

VESA logo for t-shirts

I saw the words VOLUNTEER THIS SUMMER! on the flyer so I grabbed one to read at my desk. I have always been an active volunteer and have been looking for more involvement here.

I was very happy to have discovered that flyer as the last session was at 4 p.m. that afternoon which was when I got off work!

The organization was founded in Australia and operates pretty much worldwide. They have projects in South Africa, Laos, Fiji and Ecuador (Amazon). They are geared for students 17-24 years old but anyone can sign-up.

It is a self-paid trip – you pay your own way and spend a week volunteering, and then there is an adventure travel excursion included before you leave. VESA strongly encourages all participants to fund raise to cover their expenses.

I was most interested in the South African project and the Southeast Asia/Laos project as both involved endangered species. The Laos project was at an elephant sanctuary, and in South Africa a portion of the volunteer time is at two conservation parks (one for crocodiles and the other for cheetahs and wild cats.)

image003

The total costs of the program and travel expenses will probably be around $4000 – I don’t have the exact costs for the travel yet as they provide a group rate by the end of the year that you can opt in for, or make your own arrangements. It is close to my tuition costs for one year – but how often will this sort of opportunity come up for me? I decided after my mom died that I was going to do things and have adventures while I still could – and this definitely is an adventure.

I applied for the African project and received an offer within two days. I accepted it!

This is what I will be doing next May: We will be building/renovating buildings or facilities, assisting in the school and daycare/orphanage and then working at the conservation parks. All the participants will get to work in ALL the areas.

image005

This is a link to the Season Reports for Africa – it tells about the work that the volunteers have done.  African Project Season Reports

I started fundraising as of yesterday.

I set-up a personal fundraising page on Facebook. This is my fundraising page Volunteering in Africa – Shannon’s Trip Expenses if you would like to contribute there.

I can also accept direct e-transfers (to save on the processing fees!) if that is convenient for you. All of the funds through both methods will end up in the same account that I set-up specifically for the money raised for the trip.

I am in production mode creating Christmas Cards to sell – hand-drawn and coloured. I will soon have them up online. I am going to be selling them $5 for one; $24 for five, plus postage. Each will be a unique piece of art. If you would like to buy some drop me a message through Facebook or comment on this blog and I’ll respond! These are my first prototypes which will be one-off as I have actually come up with other very unique designs that I am still colouring.  They are on card stock with envelopes. I plan to have my complete supply read to ship within two weeks, in time for use this Christmas.

I got a couple coloured from the second set of designs – here they are. Drawn in Micro pens and coloured with Copic markers.

I am also thinking about selling my world-famous candy (brittles and barks) closer to Christmas – I sold off my excess last Christmas and it was very popular so, depending on my workload I may get that going. If you happen to be interested – I will take and make to order!

I am very excited about this trip – exploring different cultures, seeing a different part of the world, and just the whole experience of working in a group doing something to help others in their own environment will be so satisfying on a personal level.

If you are able to help me out I will be forever grateful! And any funds in excess of the travel and program costs will be used to buy supplies to take to the village I will be working in. VESA will be sending us lists of items that are needed/appropriate gifts that we can take.

Thanks for reading through!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Hey, it is Inktober

I am once again starting a monthly challenge! Let’s see how far I manage to go this time!

My record isn’t the greatest on the daily art posting challenges – I have completed ONE out of several I’ve started. But I am really proud of that one.

I may get through this month being that I am actively a full-time art student and drawing everyday, and not just classwork. I carry pocket sized sketchbooks and fill them up while waiting to get into classrooms and studios.

These are the first three I’ve posted on my Art Page on Facebook at Shannon Fennell Art  (you should go check it out, and give it a Like while you’re there!)

So far these are in my pocket sketchbook. I’ll move to larger paper once I’m through with homework! I had a couple of paintings to get finished.


Leave a comment

School is in!

First week back is done. First classes of all courses attended. I am excited!

This semester I’ve got six classes for five courses:

  • The Art of Photography
  • Ideas & Images for Art and Design
  • Drawing I
  • Digital Resources for Art & Design
  • 2D Art & Design which is two 3-hour classes per week – one is Design, one is Painting each with a different professor.

There was also a Communications for Design course in the schedule, but I have challenged it. Just have to do the fourth part of the assignment which is an oral presentation with a PowerPoint presentation (it is scheduled for Monday.)

Ideas & Images for Art and Design looks really interesting. It is the first class in this program that is in a lecture hall. It is a little different than I expected, but am really looking forward to it. The seats are horrible and the table space is way too small… but I guess I will survive.

The college renovated the studio spaces in L-wing over the summer. Now instead of a couple of nice roomy studio spaces with lots of storage there are three smaller ones with no room to move around. The art studio has hideous lighting (hanging pot lights) that cast intense black shadows so that your hand’s shadow blocks out what you are drawing – just awful.)  The drawing studio no longer has a corner for the models to change in private, nor counters for the paper and equipment.  It is like no artists were consulted on what was needed.

I have a pair of magnifier glasses that actually have lights in them – I think I will take them to class to counter the shadows from the overhead lights.

I am also still in the Work/Study Program – full-time Summer job turned into a part-time job while in school. I am allowed to work up to 12 hours per week. The really great thing is you arrange your schedule around your classes and it is flexible if you have projects or field-trips, etc. I am so happy about being approved to continue in the program.

Tuesday morning was our first Design class and it started at 9:10 a.m. I am aghast at how many students strolled in late. Without even an apology to the professor, or even saying anything to her! The latest to show up was close to 11 a.m. Really? Way to make an impression guys. I know I am old and “things were different back in my day”… but… is this really how it goes now? I’m not sure how many are actually in the class (as they haven’t all appeared as yet) but, about a quarter of them were late.

No art to post yet, just getting started so maybe next week I’ll have something to share.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Another Summer winding down

Today was my last day at my summer job at the college. I was asked to stay on so will now be a “Work/Study Student” which is a work program for full-time students at the college. Your work schedule is flexible to fit your course timetable, up to 12 hours per week and is only during regular business hours so no evenings or weekends. I am really happy to have been asked to stay on, and for being approved to do so.

Fall orientation is on Tuesday and classes start on Wednesday. I am so excited to be getting back to class! I’ve always loved school.

This semester I will be taking classes in Drawing, 2D Design, Painting, Photography, and a couple of others that cover resources for art and design in different ways.

I’m going to be spending a bit of time over the weekend seeking out my supplies from where I stashed them at the end of last semester! There are things all over my suite in different places. One of the professors posted projects online so I can see the supply and equipment list for her class so I know what I have to find for that course at least. Hopefully more will be posted before the first classes happen.

I was expecting the weather here in the southern Ontario to be super unpleasant for me – I used to hate heat and humidity. However, ahem, post-menopause I am always cold. Freezing cold. While everyone was complaining about the heat and humidity all summer, I was wearing long-underwear, a heavy sweater and then going outside at lunch to try to warm up before going back to my desk. It never worked.

After work I get into my car – with its all black leather interior – and just sit there with the engine off and the windows up. Waiting for my fingers and toes to thaw out. It feels wonderful to sit on a nice hot seat and feel the warmth start to seep into me.

The house has air conditioning and I had to shut and cover all the vents into my suite. I swear it is sub-zero down here. I have a duvet and a fleece blanket on my bed – I did have three fleece blankets at one point. I’m hoping once the heat is on for winter I’ll be more comfortable.

The plants in the yard are doing well. My sister and family only bought the house last year so a lot of the garden plantings were unknown. So we were watching and figuring out what various things were, and then planting more things. I also had scattered all the hollyhock seeds I’d brought with me last fall and have to say they are thriving here.

The existing hydrangea is a gorgeous rich pink. I haven’t previously seen one this colour – blue and purples and very light pinks, but not this bright. And the Rose of Sharon hibiscus – the neighbours on a couple of sides have a purple version. The daisy we planted this year. And the darker Mallow we planted, the lighter one is coming up so there must have been some here previously.

My sister’s goal is a self-generating perennial garden that appeals to butterflies and bees. I think we are well on the way. There are numerous other things: herbs, a rose, lavender, a white peony, black-eyed susans, sweet-william in a deep red, butterfly bush, milkweed, snapdragons, bleeding he rts, lilies, iris and several others. Next year the hollyhock will bloom so there should be quite a show.

One house down from us has a giant hibiscus… the flowers are over a foot across. I tried to discreetly get a shot of it without walking into the yard. The bloom is a bit droopy here – it was in full open position the evening before but I took too long to decide to get my camera out.

DSC06936

We’ve been harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, beans and zucchini. Also lots of herbs. My sister planted about 12 different kinds of basil all in one huge pot. There is dill, sage, lemon balm, cilantro, thyme, chives, rosemary and parsley too. I love fresh thyme and rosemary!

I did some face painting over the summer for events and birthday parties. I am now starting to get inquiries for Halloween. As Halloween is on a Wednesday this year I expect that the weekends before and after will be quite busy with parties. The last time it was mid-week I was booked solid for three weekends back in Grande Prairie.

I also worked with Theatre on the Ridge in Port Perry – rebuilding a dragon into a Lake Monster and wig work for some shows. I’m hoping to get more involved in the local theatre scene over the fall and winter. There are local groups all around with lots of productions of various sizes.

Fall will be here before we know it! Unfortunately the pumpkins plants failed – well, actually it was the squirrels, they ate the baby pumpkins. So we’ll have to buy some again this year.

I am thinking about taking a trip next summer. Just need to find out final costs and decide if I can swing it. There are still so many places to see and I’m not getting any younger, so want to get to as many as I can, while I can.

Hope you all had an enjoyable summer!

 


Leave a comment

Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

It has been quite some time since I posted a recipe! This morning I made some muffins.

I’ve been thinking about coming up with a recipe that would satisfy my craving for cinnamon buns and be quick and easy. I’m all about the quick and easy.

I used to make muffins all the time for my mom – bran, wheat germ, six fruit muffins – which were awesome, and made cornmeal muffins to go with dinner, etc. Very easy to do. But since I changed how I ate, I hadn’t made any.

For about two months I’ve been thinking (dreaming?) about cinnamon buns. I don’t have the patience to make a dough that would roll out of the ingredients that I could use. So muffins seemed to be a way to do it.

DSC06908

I already ate one!

I got up this morning and wrote down my ingredients – trying to guesstimate ratios using cassava flour. It tends to be more absorbent than regular flour so a little more liquid is needed.

I have been making great pancakes with cassava flour! It is not super low carb, HOWEVER at 28g per 1/4 cup the carbs are diluted it in a recipe. And if you have ONE serving of whatever you have made it will be much lower than that. I don’t eat it everyday. Once every week or two, as a treat – and only a small portion. I do get a higher blood sugar reading but I am still in range as a T2 diabetic.

This is the flour I have – I get it at a local health food store where I get my heavy cream. Like I mentioned above, I do not eat this regularly as it does contain more carbs than I normally eat, but as an occasional treat I figure it is okay, for me.

 

Shannon’s Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

LCHF, Keto, Paleo friendly. Diabetic in moderation.

DSC06911

Makes six regular sized muffins.

Preheat oven to 325F. Baking time: 20-25 minutes

Prepare a muffin tin – use paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.  I used liners as I wasn’t sure if this would stick to the pan or not.

Ingredients:

Dry:

1 cup of cassava flour

2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Wet:

1/2 cup of melted butter

3 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup of heavy cream (may need extra to thin batter if it thickens too much)

Cinnamon swirl:

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of vanilla

*6 dissolved saccharine tablets (use about a teaspoon of boiling water to dissolve them) *feel free to substitute your preferred sweeteners.

3 tablespoons of butter

Directions:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.
  2. Melt the butter in measuring cup, add the eggs and cream and beat together.
  3. Add the wet to the dry and mix just enough that it is consistently mixed (no dry ingredients left). Lumpy is okay. If the batter gets stiff, add more cream. Batter should fall off the spoon in loose clumps, not pour!
  4. In another bowl or measuring cup add a small amount of boiling water and the saccharine tablets, stir until they are completely dissolved (crushing them first makes it quick.) Add the vanilla and the cinnamon, and mix until no dry cinnamon is left – it is okay to add a little more hot water. Add the butter and blend until combined smoothly.  This should be slightly runny/drippy as you want it to run when you add it to the muffins.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin/cups. Add about a tablespoon, then drizzle the cinnamon over that, then add another tablespoon of batter on top, and more cinnamon drizzle. Use the spoon, or a knife, or a stick, to swirl the batter and cinnamon together and even out the batter. (* another way would be to add the cinnamon mix into the batter, swirl gently then scoop into the muffin tin – your choice of method!)
  6. Place in the centre rack of the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Check them for doneness (firm and dry looking, toothpick comes out clean, etc.) May need a little longer depending on your oven and how wet the mix was.
  7. Remove from oven. Let them cool for a few minutes then remove the muffins from the baking pan and place on a rack to cool.

Eat warm with butter! Store in an airtight container once completely cool. If you don’t manage to eat them all in a couple days, they can be frozen.

DSC06917And… they definitely hit the spot! Really yummy and cinnamon-y – the saccharine just took the edge off without being super sweet.


Leave a comment

New shoes!

I am getting creative over the summer. Without any homework I have time on my hands so started to play around with customizing some shoes.

I’d pretty happy with how they turned out!

AllShoesI am now scouring every store in the area for cheap cotton/canvas shoes in white or very light colours.  As it is mid-summer I have missed optimum stock time as they are now putting out the Fall stuff, but am finding some in discount bins. But is difficult to find any size 10 left!

I may see what I can do on dark colour shoes with a bleach solution… sort of a reverse batik look maybe.  Or… anyone else remember acid washed denim?

It is an experimental process as I am playing with the different colours to see how they work – some do what I want, others don’t.

Here is the process – plain shoe, colour added, and finished product.

StagesBlueShoes

This pair is my favourite so far.

I found some plain white baseball caps at the dollar store so am doing them too. And I think I will look for some t-shirts and scarves as well to make myself a whole outfit for face painting in.

Once I get everything working the way I want I will be selling/taking commissions for custom wearable art!

 

 


Leave a comment

What I saw on my vacation…

This will be the third and last post about my Transatlantic cruise in May aboard the Disney Magic.

We stopped in five ports – Ponta Delgada in the Azores and Lisbon both of which are in Portugal, and Cádiz, Málaga and Ibiza in Spain. We disembarked in Barcelona and were taken straight to the airport so I am not counting that (other than waiting 5 hours to check-in is stupid!)

There wasn’t a lot of information provided about the tours or ports – just the brief description in the brochure/website with the prices. On other cruises I have been on we always had port talks on board and were provided detailed printed information about the ports – history, maps, shopping information, etc. I was really surprized that there was nothing provided on this cruise.

May 20 – Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal

Tour was “Highlights of Ribeira Grande” and the brochure description was “Scenic travel towards the central part of the island to Serra de Agua de Pau and Barrosa Mountain. After a brief photo stop, travel toward the north coast and visit Caldeira Velha monument. Continue to Ribeira Grande for a brief stop before heading to a local farm known for breeding Lusitano horses. Enjoy wine and cheese tasting at the farmhouse and visit the horse stables.”

I had never been to the Azores before so was very excited. I woke up early and saw the lights of the island on the horizon, and was able to watch the ship maneuvering into port and docking – all from my veranda. Pretty cool!

Weather was overcast with a low ceiling so we couldn’t see the tops of the mountains. Which was a shame.  Also hampered the views from the top of the mountains so we couldn’t see the whole island from the top – that was a bit disappointing.  But still was a great tour.

Ponta Delgada is the largest city on the island and Ribeira Grande is the second largest. It is a very beautiful place. We drove through Ponta Delgada and up the caldera to view the largest undeveloped volcanic lake on the island – it was hit and miss whether we would be able to see it due to the clouds, BUT just as we got to the lookout point the cloud opened up enough for us to see it! There were some excellent views of the island on the drive as the clouds would break every now and then.

DSC06645

We then stopped at the Caldeira Velha Monument – which is a botanical park, not a “monument” as we were thinking it meant. There were hot springs there with public access so lots of people soaking in the pools. It was pretty cool seeing the water boiling up out of the ground, but it did make you think how close we must be to active magma! Lots of very Jurassic Park looking plants.

It is a very pastoral island, lots of agriculture. Their cows are very content – all pastured and clean. They take trucks out to the cows IN THE FIELD to milk them! They supply a huge percentage of dairy products to the mainland, along with tea and other products.

We then arrived in Ribeira Grande which means “Big River”… um, no. It is a creek, barely. But must be the biggest on the island I guess.

DSC06690

A very picturesque town with old Portuguese buildings but lots of modern touches. A Hybrid Lexus cruised by us and the guy next to me commented he must have turned off his engine to coast down the small street – I pointed out it was a hybrid running on battery. We stopped at as shop selling local liquor and souvenirs.

This island is known as “The Island of Hydrangeas” and they are everywhere – so I bought a fridge magnet in the shape of one.

We then went to a horse farm the bred Lusitano horses and saw some absolutely gorgeous horses! Their stable was beautiful too. The owner explained the history of the breed and how her family got into them. The Lusitano breed is from the same Roman era base stock as the Andalusian and Lipizzaner, and you can see it in the conformation. So beautiful. And they were so calm and friendly, for stallions!

Then they took us to another building and we had a wine and cheese tasting – well, slightly more than a taste of cheese for me! I didn’t try any wine of course. The cheese was really good – six varieties all made there. Some was fresh made just for today! They explained all the processes and features of the wine and cheese.

DSC06718

Then we went back to Ponta Delgada. I stopped to buy some local tea – which is excellent by the way! It was Orange Pekoe and very smooth and pleasant. Wish I had bought a bigger box now.

DSC06724

On the tour our guide told us that most of the flora and fauna we see are imports. When the Portuguese first arrived on the island it was mostly low scrub. As the islands are pretty far out in the Atlantic and isolated, the natural migration of things was very sporadic. There are no poisonous insect or animals on the islands, and even mosquitos are very rare.

There used to be orange groves all over but a disease killed off the industry and they diversified into pineapple (they grow it in greenhouses!), dairy, wine and fruit liqueurs, and also wheat and corn, etc. Tourism is just starting to really take off in a big way.

I really enjoyed the day. I’ll add the Azores to the list to possibly visit again sometime.

May 22 – Lisbon, Portugal

I had visited Lisbon before in 1995 when we did our Mediterranean cruise. So I chose a tour outside of Lisbon.

Tour was “Sintra and Casais” and the description was “Travel to Sintra, a 19th century UNESCO World Heritage Site. Have free time for shopping and sightseeing in Sintra’s city centre, and visit the quaint shops and cafes. See the Sintra National Palace (Palácia da Vila), considered the best preserved medieval Royal Palace in Portugal. Drive to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe for a photo stop. Return to the pier passing the towns of Guincho, Cascais and Estoril.” I chose the Adults Only Departure.

I woke up really early and was able to see the first sight of land from my veranda. So I got dressed and went up to the lounge to watch us entering port. Lisbon is VERY big and the shop cruised under a large bridge on the way to the docks. Was fun to watch (and not my first bridge!) There were two other ships already docked when we pulled up.

I was a little unimpressed with the “tour” as it consisted of the guide dropping us off at the locations – he talked a little on the ride about where we were going, but did not escort us or show us highlights. In the Azores our guide was with us at all times, giving us information and pointing out interesting things.

Sintra was beautiful though, set on the side of a steep hill, the palace was very impressive.

There was also a fortification on the top of the hill but we weren’t given any information about it from the guide – I probably could google it…

DSC06757

Anyway, it was a very nice place and pleasant to walk around, although VERY congested with tour traffic as there seemed to be a tour bus unloading every 2.3 seconds! There were lots of nice shops – higher class tourist things, locally made crafts, etc. I bought a cork bracelet and a small handmade and painted dish (which has hanging holes so I’ll put it on the wall.)

We then went to Cabo da Roca – the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Great views (if you can get the other million tourists out of your way!) Cliffs and tidal activity was impressive. There was a big monument but trying to get a shot of the text was difficult as people were constantly blocking it to get their own photos. This was just a photo/rest stop. Ended up having to wait for one woman who took 20 minutes more than we were told!

There were lots of flowers – all low shrubby stuff and pretty.

The drive through Cascais was nice – rich resort town, pretty much the same as any other rich resort town on the Mediterranean coast.

We drove through Lisbon a different way than the trip out in the morning and I thought the streetcar was cute. When we got back to the ship we (the Concierge passengers) were invited to party on the Captain’s private deck just below the bridge to have a viewing of our departure from Lisbon’s harbor. There was all sorts of food and drinks, and character visit from Daisy Duck.

May 23 – Cádiz, Spain

Tour was “Seeing Seville” and the description was “Drive to the city of Seville from a guided tour of the 12th century gothic Seville cathedral, the third largest church in Europe, home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Wander through a bevy of winding, narrow cobblestone streets and gaze upon a myriad delightful, whitewashed houses during a walking tour of the Barrio se Santa Cruz. Visit the quaint CallejÓn del Agua and spend some time at the Hosteria del Laurel for a beverage and snack. Have free time to explore the city on your own. Take a scenic drive through Seville before returning to Cadiz.”

The tour didn’t leave the ship until 10:45 and it was a very long day! Great, but long. It was a 1.5 hour drive to Seville from Cádiz.

Seville needs so much more time to be explored! The old section is beautiful – Moorish, Spanish, old Jewish quarter – was very much like Morocco. The main square in the old part has the Alcazar on one side, and the Cathedral on the other which is the largest gothic cathedral in Europe.

The Alcazar was definitely Moorish – it was almost the same as the palaces I toured in Morocco last year! The craftsmen who did the tile work quite probably were the same! The Spanish built on top of the original Moorish palace without altering the original. They liked what was there so just added to it.

It was the same with the Cathedral – they like the mosque building so just converted it. The minaret was used as the bell tower.

The tower of the Cathedral has 35 ramps, not stairs, as the call to prayers happens five times a day so the Imam would ride a horse up to make the call! We could go up if we wanted… I didn’t.

Columbus’ tomb is inside the cathedral – it is only a little bit of him actually as he was buried twice before. They did do DNA testing and it IS him though. Quite a cool tomb – different than others I’ve seen in European cathedrals.

DSC06809

Part of the tour was going for Tapas – the guide had read a list of choices to us on the bus. But when we got to the restaurant the waiter said no when some asked for things off that list. We got ONE tapas and ONE drink each. Our table got ignored for quite a while, then my plate (was cheese – four slices of a local Parmesan type cheese…) was forgotten and I had to flag down the waiter to ask where mine was. I also asked for bottled water – but the label had so many ingredients on it in Spanish, that I didn’t bother to even open it.  This restaurant was decorated with bulls… not paintings or ornaments, actual bulls mounted on the walls, many, many bulls who died in bullfights. With plaques with the date and killer noted on it.

DSC06783

After the restaurant our local guide took over and we all were given “whispers” which is the sound system the guides use so you can hear them when they are up the block! She led us around, took us on a tour through the Alcazar and the Cathedral, the Jewish Quarter (the Santa Cruz District) which is against the walls of the Alcazar. After the Cathedral we were on our own.

I went into a couple of shops and bought a painted wood fan and a fridge magnet (my souvenir of choice for this trip). Then I went and sat on the monument steps in the middle of the square to wait to meet with our main guide at 3:45. We then walked to the main street of modern Seville to meet the bus. We drove around a bit to see the gardens and building – which were pavilions from different countries. The Jacaranda trees are stunning! Clouds of deep purple. I tried very hard to get decent photos of them.

I dozed off on the ride back to Cádiz – we got back to the port at 6 p.m. which was the time the ship was supposed to be departing! Then there was a massive crowd in the customs building and then a line for the gangplank. It was a chicken coop style gangplank, and steep. I took a couple of steps, tripped and did a face plant on it… hit hard on my knees, both wrists and my head. Sigh.

Long story short – it was a “possible fracture” in my left wrist and bruising on the rest. Dent in my head lasted three days. Their x-ray machine wasn’t high resolution enough to determine if a mark on the bone was a mark or a fracture. So I got splinted for the rest of the trip. Luckily we travel with a pharmacy so I had anti-inflammatories and pain pills.  The Doctor gave me a waiver to use to cancel the shore excursion I had booked for Málaga as we didn’t know what I would be up to doing tomorrow – that meant I would get a full refund.

1112-17144502-F Lumiere-31039_GPR

May 24 – Málaga, Spain

I went ashore on my own and had a great day. Absolutely beautiful!

When I woke up I was a little stiff but walking was fine (as long as I didn’t actually touch my right knee!) and the wrist wasn’t an issue, it hurt, but the splint protected it. So I took my pills and decided to go ashore and walk around on my own. The shipped was docked RIGHT at the town and the dock was meant for cruise ships so was all laid out for tourists! It all looked gorgeous from my veranda!

DSC06831

There was a bus to take us up to the town from the ship – it wasn’t super far, maybe a kilometer or two total to the town, so if you wanted you could probably walk easily as it was all sidewalks. I wore my skirt to I wouldn’t be putting pressure on my sore knee with pants.

The bus dropped us under some Jacaranda trees! I had a map of the city, so took a few minutes to try to orient myself. I really love these towns! Málaga is old but modern, clean, wide boulevards, narrow streets, and it all mixes up together really beautifully. I got a little off on the map – thought I was one street over but I figured it out. Everything is very close together.

I walked up a very wide pedestrian boulevard with lots of modern boutiques (posh, not tourist!) and wandered around up little side streets. Then I found the cathedral and town hall square, which finally got me in-sync with the map I had! Even the cobblestones were arranged beautifully here.

I then went to the Roman amphitheatre and climbed up to the top seats. It is right there in the town – I love that about exploring Europe, you can see all eras in a couple of blocks!

I decided to go see the Picasso Museum – he was born here. There was the museum and then further out was his house which was also a museum but I wasn’t sure how far that would turn out to be. The museum was only about a block from the Roman amphitheatre. Entrance was only 7€ which was pretty reasonable. There were twelve galleries and work in all mediums that he worked in! Mostly owned/donated by his family. I used one of those audio guides to go through. I’m not really huge into his work as I don’t “get” cubism, but this museum had all his periods represented. And in person, even the cubist stuff is pretty impressive! The colours and texture are really awe-inspiring. There was a shop so I got a couple of postcards of two of the paintings I really liked, and a fridge magnet.

When I left the museum it was getting very hot out so I decided to head back to the ship. I hadn’t brought a hat with me so didn’t want to add heat stroke to my list of current issues. I poked around the duty-free shops at the terminal but didn’t get anything.

I have to say going out on your own is nice as you don’t necessarily run into crowds when departing or boarding. I was quite happy that I had cancelled the tour I had originally booked.

May 25 – Ibiza, Spain

Went ashore on my own – very long shuttle bus ride and the map that was sitting on the dock on a table was only in Spanish.  A lady on the bus asked where I had got it and I told her it was just there and I happened to notice and took one. No one from the cruise or buses bothered to hand them out. Had a walk around the old town which is mostly converted into bars, restaurants and tacky tourist stores. I bought a fridge magnet at a little shop in a hut right by the shuttle bus stop.

Ibiza is a little, um, less impressive than the other ports. First we were docked way out at a multi-purpose pier (commercial area), the shuttle ride was long and confusing so there was no way to figure out if you could find your own way back, the place wasn’t “clean” – lots of litter and just dusty looking. Where we were dropped at was kinda scuzzy – the buildings along the street didn’t look any older than the 1960-70s. I was pointed over to the other side which was the old town. So I walked across the embankment and explored along the waterfront and up a few streets.

I didn’t bother going up to the castle – I was tired and starting to feel the effects of my fall the other day.

Ibiza is a small island and the place is geared for partying tourists – lots of night clubs and night life. Didn’t see any parks or green areas or public squares in the small part I saw in this town. But I didn’t explore too far away from the shuttle stop to be honest.

We were packing and disembarking in the morning so I was back on board around 3 p.m.

So that is what I saw and did off the ship on this Transatlantic Cruise on the Disney Magic. Overall a really nice trip (not including my trip on the gangplank!)

I would definitely like to see more of the Azores, Seville and Málaga – maybe one day I will take a land tour of the area and spend more time exploring.