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India

Ramthambore and Jaipur

sunny 78 °F

This morning we did our third total and second 0700 safari in search of the tiger. This is what you do bounce around on a safari vehicle and stare at the countryside, which today was wonderful. Sightings are actually pretty rare. We encountered one of the trackers the government employs and he had seem some prints, but no tigers. However we did manage to see a Sloth Bear. The sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is an insectivorous bear species native to the Indian subcontinent. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, mainly because of habitat loss and degradation. It has also been called labiated bear because of its long lower lip and palate used for sucking insects. Compared to brown and black bears, the sloth bear is lankier, has a long, shaggy fur and a mane around the face, and long, sickle-shaped claws. It evolved from the ancestral brown bear during the Pleistocene and through convergent evolution shares features found in insect-eating mammals. All in all between the leopard and the bear, we saw two animals that are sighted far less frequently than tigers.

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After a breakfast and a shower, we left for Jaipur, about 4 hours away, and arrived at the hotel at about 1600. It is along side the lake, and Globus booked us into lake side rooms, which have a small balcony.

This evening we went inside the Pink City for dinner at a Noble family's house, who host lunches and dinners to help maintain the residence. The family has owned the house since the 1700's. We also had a quick demonstration of Turban and Sari tying. It was a wonderful evening.

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Posted by rpickett 04:06 Archived in India Tagged and jaipur ranthambore Comments (0)

United Kingdom

England, Wales and Scotland Photo Album

My photo album of this trip is posted. Click United Kingdom to view the album. Click on a picture to go full screen and you can "slide show" through the album.

Posted by rpickett 14:11 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged and scotland england wales Comments (0)

Norwegian Breakaway

Isle of Portland, and Corfe

sunny 55 °F

We sailed across the Irish Sea and moored in the morning at the Isle of Portland, where we decided to take a tour to the town of Corfe and climb to the remnants of the Corfe Castle

Portland is a central part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site on the Dorset and east Devon coast, important for its geology and landforms. Portland stone, famous for its use in British and world architecture, including St Paul's Cathedral and the United Nations Headquarters, continues to be quarried. Portland Harbour, in between Portland and Weymouth, is one of the largest man-made harbours in the world. The harbour was made by the building of stone breakwaters between 1848 and 1905. From its inception it was a Royal Navy base, and played prominent roles during the First and Second World Wars; ships of the Royal Navy and NATO countries worked up and exercised in its waters until 1995. The harbour is now a civilian port and popular recreation area, and was used for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Corfe Castle is a fortification standing above the village of the same name on the Isle of Purbeck in the English county of Dorset. Built by William the Conqueror, the castle dates to the 11th century and commands a gap in the Purbeck Hills on the route between Wareham and Swanage. The first phase was one of the earliest castles in England to be built at least partly using stone when the majority were built with earth and timber. Corfe Castle underwent major structural changes in the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1572, Corfe Castle left the Crown's control when Elizabeth I sold it to Sir Christopher Hatton. Sir John Bankes bought the castle in 1635, and was the owner during the English Civil War. His wife, Lady Mary Bankes, led the defence of the castle when it was twice besieged by Parliamentarian forces. The first siege, in 1643, was unsuccessful, but by 1645 Corfe was one of the last remaining royalist strongholds in southern England and fell to a siege ending in an assault. In March that year Corfe Castle was slighted on Parliament's orders. Owned by the National Trust, the castle is open to the public and in 2010 received around 190,000 visitors. It is protected as a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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Posted by rpickett 09:21 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged and of corfe portland isle Comments (0)

Norwegian Breakaway

Sea Days 6 and 7

overcast 60 °F

Life continues quietly at sea. The passengers are up and about and are filling the various events on board. No one seems bored or is having a problem finding something to do.

The highlight of the cruise so far is the food. We have eaten at all of the specialty restaurants and with the exception of Le Bistro - the french restaurant, they have been exceptional. Le Bistro missed on the escargot which were dry and the fish stew which only had six pieces of fish in it. The mostly Philippino wait staff is exceptionally attentive. Our cruise director Dan-Dan is also Philippino and is also very good. We went through Ireland immigration today - two officers got a free two day cruise - so debarking tomorrow should be a breeze. We are fog bound today as we are west of the English channel.

Two nights ago we ate at Teppanyaki - a traditional Japanese restaurant, and last night we ate at Ocean Blue - the seafood restaurant

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Posted by rpickett 06:50 Tagged sea and day 7 6 Comments (0)

Norwegian Breakaway

Day 3 and 4 at sea

sunny 72 °F

After another cloudy and windy day, we dined tonight at Cagney's Steak House, which was bustling. A good pork belly appetizer, lobster bisque and a filet hit the spot. The chocolate seven layer cake finished of the dinner - far too much food. Everything was cooked superbly!

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This morning we woke up to something new: clear skies and less wind. The upper decks were opened back up and the passengers enjoyed some 'freedom' from below decks!

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Posted by rpickett 10:28 Tagged sea and at day 3 4 Comments (0)

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