A Travellerspoint blog

Celebrity Edge

Key West

sunny 87 °F
View Celebrity Edge on rpickett's travel map.

First stop, Key West, Florida. Conch Train ride and lunch at the Hog's Breath Saloon. "Hogs breath is better than no breath at all"

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Posted by rpickett 12:53 Archived in USA Tagged west key Comments (0)

Celebrity Edge

Embarkation

sunny 88 °F
View Celebrity Edge on rpickett's travel map.

For me it is always exciting when a new ship comes out and I am able to go to sea on it. Such was the excitement for boarding Celebrity Edge.
Edge has its own free app, which allows you to check in electronically, register your credit card and take a selfie for your picture in the system. The app the generates your set sail pass. When you arrive at the terminal, an agent scans your pass with a hand-held computer, scans your passport and then you board the ship. No standing in line. Your key is waiting for you at your stateroom. It was easy and fast as there was no waiting when we arrived just after noon.
The first night we ate at Raw on 5, one of the specialty restaurants, which features sushi and a variety of other seafood favorites. My brother and I are sailing with some clients who are friends from my time in the Navy, and we are enjoying each other's company.

Our cabin has in infinite balcony, a new feature on the Edge, which allows you to turn your balcony into part of your cabin, or pull a partition, and open the window and it becomes a traditional cruise ship balcony. Keeping the balcony as part of the cabin creates a great picture window overlooking the ocean. It's a great innovation.

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Posted by rpickett 12:19 Archived in USA Tagged lauderdale ft. Comments (0)

India Photo Album

semi-overcast 67 °F

My India Photo Album is loaded. Click: India Photo Album

Click on the first picture to enlarge and you can scroll through the entire album.

Enjoy!

Posted by rpickett 14:35 Archived in India Comments (0)

India

Jaipur

sunny 75 °F

This is our final day in India and we slept in a little, did some sightseeing, had some free time to eat lunch and shop in the market, and mid-afternoon we flew back to Delhi to prepare for our flights home, many of which leave between Midnight and 4:00am going west.

This was probably one of the best groups I have been part of. Because it was India, the group was well-educated, well travelled, exceptionally friendly, prompt for departs, and just a pleasure to be with.

Our major stop for the morning was the Hindu Temple Birla Mandir where we attended morning prayer. It was a remarkable and inspiring ceremony. To preserve the sanctity of the temple and service, photography was not allowed inside. This temple forms one of the most beautiful attractions of Jaipur. The construction of the temple started in 1977 and it went on till 1985. On 22 February 1985, the temple deity was invoked and was opened for public to visit. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan), the preserver and his consort Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Due to this reason, Birla Temple is also known as Laxmi Narayan Temple. Birla Mandir is constructed in the finest quality of white marble. The three huge domes of the temple represent three different approaches to the religion. The beautiful white marble temple mesmerizes the onlookers, when it glows at night. Stained glass windows depict the scenes from Hindu scriptures. Ganesh the protector of households, is above the lintel, and the fine quality of marble is evident when you enter the temple and look back at the entrance way. The images of Lakshmi and Narayan attract the attention, being made out from one piece of marble. Many of the deities of the Hindu pantheon are depicted inside the temple, and on the outside walls great historical personages and figures from all religions are shown, including Socrates, Zarathustra, Christ, Buddha, and Confucius.

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We then went back to the center of the city for free time, lunch and headed to the airport for our flight to Delhi.

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India has to be taken at face value, and you can not invoke western customs and traditions on the country. The socio-economic paradox is enormous. Most scholars believe Hinduism formally started somewhere between 2300 B.C. and 1500 B.C., and the social structure of the country has evolved since then into it's current state. Because of that, and a tremendous number of people, the distance between the rich and poor is great. It is what it is, and you have to marvel at the country's character and Icons and not judge it.

Posted by rpickett 03:26 Archived in India Tagged jaipur Comments (0)

India

Jaipur

sunny 80 °F

After a beautiful sunrise over the lake this morning, and a good breakfast, we headed to the Amber Palace - also known as the Amer Fort - in the Village of Amer, where we took jeeps from the parking area to the gate of the palace. Amer Fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Amer Palace. Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-i-Aam, or "Hall of Public Audience", the Diwan-i-Khas, or "Hall of Private Audience", the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly known as the Amer Palace. The palace was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas and their families. At the entrance to the palace near the fort's Ganesh Gate, there is a temple dedicated to Shila Devi, a goddess of the Chaitanya cult, which was given to Raja Man Singh when he defeated the Raja of Jessore, Bengal in 1604.

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It was then off to an exclusive jewler and stone cutter to watch a little about how stones are cut, and to purchase some goodies. The stones are all certified and the pricing was excellent.

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After a nice lunch at a local restaurant, we toured the Royal Palace. It was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The Chandra Mahal palace now houses a museum, but the greatest part of it is still a royal residence. The palace complex, located northeast of the centre of the grid-patterned Jaipur city, incorporates an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. He planned and built the outer walls, and later additions were made by successive rulers continuing up to the 20th century. The credit for the urban layout of the city and its structures is attributed to two architects namely, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, apart from the Sawai himself who was a keen architectural enthusiast. The architects achieved a fusion of the Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture with Rajput, and Mughal.

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Our final stop of the day was the astrological museum, which uses the sun and various sun dials accurate to several seconds. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. They are monumental examples in masonry of known instruments but which in many cases have specific characteristics of their own. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India's historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.

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Posted by rpickett 04:22 Archived in India Tagged jaipur Comments (1)

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