Tag Archives: Seychelles

Heading West and By the Numbers

A four hour train ride took us from Pamplona to Madrid.  We got lost in the mesmerizing landscape grinning every time a small village with white stone buildings entered the scene.  Lush were the hillsides and fields of agriculture.

We walked by the Atocha Station a couple of times while in Madrid but discovered a lush garden inside after departing the train.It was an easy listless day – train and then a taxi to the hotel near the airport for our flight back to the USA the following morning.

It was an eight and a half hour flight to Newark where we were to have a quick layover and be one our way to Charlotte.  Upon landing lightening crashed in around us and the plane stood still on the tarmac as the airport closed.  An omen.  A half hour later the plane was cleared to head to the gate.

Unbeknownst to us the airline industry and particularly United was in melt down mode.  It was utter chaos. Cancelled flights and stranded people.  Our connecting flight to Charlotte a victim.

It was 5:00 pm.  A United agent told us it would be days before any  seats would be available. “Check online.” The internet confirmed the worst.

We had places to be!  The following day was our grandson’s first birthday and our son had taken time off of work – we didn’t have days…. who has days???

Quick change of plans – we rented a car and headed to Charlotte driving until dark.  It was 1:30 am Madrid time by the time we stopped for the night somewhere in Maryland.

We arrived at our destination 21 hours late but in time to celebrate.

We visited family, broke bread, raced cars and played with our grand babies. 

United continued its melt down and we feared we’d not make it home to Nevada as scheduled.  It all worked out – both flights harmoniously were delayed and we made it home.Now we shift through months of mail, dust off the house and get ready for summer.  We head out again in 8 days.

Our trip by the numbers:

13 flights, 1 cruise ship, a few boat rides, multiple trains, lots of car rides,  one tram – 34 beds and 18 Countries: South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, French Comoros, Seychelles, Omán, EAU, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Spain.

I wore everything that I packed, left one shirt (on purpose) and threw out 2 that I ruined.  I way overpacked even though we just had carry on.  Another lesson learned (again).  Way less is even more!

Thanks for following along!



Seychelles – a place I have longed to visit but it was so far away from anywhere (the closet airport is 7 hours from the east coast of Africa) that I figured it wasn’t in the cards.

Lo and behold it appeared on an African cruise itinerary.

Comprising of 115 islands.  The flora and fauna, the humidity and the turtle doves reminded us of Hawaii.

Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles  – 60.7 square miles – population is approximately 95,000. and 86% of the country lives on  this island.

The town of Victoria was walking distance from the port.  We soaked in the local life as we sweated like an icy glass of water in the hot sun.

*click on photos to enlarge

The beaches are the draw.  My mission was to get us to Beau Vallon Beach on the other side of the island.

I’m the one with the cheap gene in the family – passed down for generations.  Uncharacteristically Bill decided that a $25 taxi fare to the beach was absurd for the sign said it was only 4K away.

After asking multiple taxi drivers the cost he exclaimed to the last one that we would walk.  The man pointed to the mountain in front of us and said no you won’t.

As Confucius says “Roads were made for journeys not destinations.”

Second option was taking the local bus to the beach.  We managed to jump on a full bus ready to depart the station. Being the last passengers on board the only option was a standing position by the driver.

Bill said “We can stand – it’s only 4 clicks”.

Oh but wait – it was rush hour.  Bumper to bumper traffic that moved slower than a snail. Forget the 4 clicks which was way wrong – the amount of time spent standing with my backpack weighing me down and packed in like sardines had sweat dripping down my face hindering my sight.  Pools of water seeped from every pore.  The fellow passengers wouldn’t make eye contact.  They had to assume I was sick with some disease.

After finally breaking free from the traffic jam our driver went peddle to the metal and climbed the tight mountain curves (with no shoulder) throwing the two of us around like a sack of potatoes.  We white knuckled the bars to keep ourselves upright at the same time giggling like school kids. The rest of the bus remained silent.

Unbelievably, the driver stopped three more times and allowed more passengers to board.  How the bus absorbed them was a mystery.  It just added to the heat.  The open windows offered no relief.

What goes up must come down.  I don’t know if it has harder hanging on going up or down.

All the people at the front of the bus must have known which beach we were heading to because when the driver stopped we were told it was our time to get off.

Phew.  All that excitement for a $1.50!!!

The beach was lovely.  White sand and clear warm water.

Our cruise wasn’t leaving until 4 am and this allowed us to have a beautiful beach-front sunset dinner with cocktails.

By the time dinner was over the busses had stopped operating so we paid $20 for a taxi ride back to the port! HA!

The next day we arrived at La Digue – the 4th largest island – population 2,800 and 3.89 square miles.

Now this is what I saw in photos.  An oasis – where tall mountains are blanketed in tropical green.  Huge rock formations are scattered on the white sand beaches and the Indian Ocean is crystal clear. Coral reefs make beautiful designs below the water’s surface.

It is home to one of the most photographed beaches in the world – Anse Source d’Argent.

Bicycles are the popular form of transportation and personal vehicles are scarce.

Poor Bill had to pedal in the heat of the day so I too could photograph the most popular beach.

Popular = people.  Too many for any special photos.

We peddled to a quiet beach where we could leave the camera, phones, etc and do what was really most important – wading in the Indian Ocean until our fingers became pruney.