Seoul to Boston overland and sea 2019



Outline of trip.


Right so today’s silly idea is to finish our circumnavigation of the world by land and sea. We are missing the bit between Seoul, South Korea, and Boston, USA. So the plan is to stay in Seoul for a couple of days, then train it down to Busan in South Korea, and catch the ‘vomit comet’ fast ferry to Fukorama, or something like that, in Japan. Bullet train to Tokyo and eventually catch a cruise liner going from Tokyo to Vancouver, Canada. 14 days of nothing but sea, sea and more sea.

More Intro

Catch a greyhound bus to Seattle and then fly to LA (We have done the drive previously). In LA we catch an AmTrak train to New Orleans, stay there a few days then catch an Amtrak train to New York, then Boston. When we reach NYC we have done it!


Back on 27th May, about 6 weeks. What can possibly go wrong!!


Friday 19/04/19


Holiday Inn, Bath Road, London

The adventure starts with a night at Holiday Inn Heathrow Ariel 118 Bath Road UB3 5AJ London  just a few miles from Heathrow Terminal 3. Thanks to my membership of IHG we get a room upgrade, with a fridge! Plus 20% off food and drink, just as well really as I was having a hot flush with the high prices. Get tickets for Hoppa bus to take to terminal 3 tomorrow at 0636, with the alarm set for 0515 ……..
Todays Hotel view.

Hotel view, Holiday Inn Heathrow Ariel
Hotel view, Holiday Inn Heathrow Ariel


Saturday 20/04/19 – Sunday 21/04/19


Japan Airlines

A very smooth start to the day. The bus arrived early, traffic was light and the sun is shining. We are to fly Premium Economy with Japan Airlines to Tokyo, then transfer to a flight to Seoul, South Korea. Apparently our flight is not very busy according to the check in staff, so we changed our seats for extra leg room. Good old Japan Airlnes (JAL).  Flight JL042 (JL42). They also give us a voucher for the BA lounge and as we managed to get through security and Duty Free in quick time we’re in there before 0730. Gate info at 0840. We get to our Premium Economy seats but no champagne is offered! Indeed it is not offered until the food arrives. The ice cream was good. A 12 hour flight to Tokyo.

Food Onboard

The flight was interesting. Although we were premium economy, the food options were minced chicken with onion and pickled gherkin, or ‘spot the body organ’ in gravy. Sue being a veggie went hungry. 
The onion with pickled gherkin washed down with japanese real ale were ‘interesting’ on fellow passengers on the 12 hour flight. The films were fantastic, if you understand Japanese. Couple of movies, a bit of iPlayer and then land at Tokyo 0515 Sunday.

On the plane

I particularly liked the film about about a pork omelette. Also the one about the teacher with Tourat’s was a classic. Oh how how we laughed!




Flight JL42 In flight film
Flight JL42 In flight film


Flight JL042 inflight film
Flight JL042 inflight film


Our connecting flight is 0825 to Seoul. Tokyo departure lounge proves to be entertaining with the musical passenger carts ……
Our flight to Seoul is uneventful, very busy but the cabin crew manage to serve everyone with food and drink. Again nothing for me but as jet lag has kicked in I try and doze through the hour and fifty minute flight.

CenterMark Hotel

After a quick ish passport control we collect our bags, are met by our taxi and are deposited at the CenterMark hotel, Seoul,  by 1200.

Centermark Hotel Seoul
Centermark Hotel Seoul


I’m asleep by 1300. As we’ve been to this part of town, and this hotel, before we just go to our usual local haunts for food and drink. Found craft ale bars so Dick is happy. Back to the hotel by 2300’ish and asleep by 0030.


Monday 22/04/19

Sightseeing in Seoul

The sun is shining and we set off to find the railway station for tomorrow’s journey to Bushan. En route we stop for brunch,  at Myeongdong Shopping Street Seoul and have a local dish – clear soup with rice on the side. Beef seems to be the meat of choice, even if it is every bit of the cow that is used! Grilled Rectum! WTF! Other choices of food include ‘Hangover soup’  Stir Fried Cartilage’  and an olde favourite ‘The eldest Grandson of the hangover soup.’

Myeongdong Shopping street Seoul
Myeongdong Shopping street Seoul




Grilled beef rectum
Grilled beef rectum


Stir Fried Cartilage
Stir Fried Cartilage


The eldest grandson of the hang over soup
The eldest grandson of the hang over soup



Have a Starbucks coffee before returning to the hotel for a short snooze. Find the local post office so manage to get rid of the postcards. Onto an ale bar. Dick enjoys the happy hour prices and I sample grapefruit-ade. Very nice but couldn’t do too many. Eat close to hotel with a seafood pancake, also given what I think was a chicken see through soup. One last bar before returning to hotel and bed.

Tuesday 23/04/19

Travel to Busan

Up at 0630 and efficiently in cab to Seoul train station for 0800.Oh Dear! My Korean is not what it used to be.


Seoul Train Station
Seoul Train Station

From Seoul you can take the train via KoRail They have an Englaish langusgae site. We booked the train tickets in advance. The main train station in Seoul is Seoul Station. We are taking the KTX express train.
Today we are going by train (Hopefully, if we get the right one!) to Busan and then getting a 3 hour ‘Vomit Comet’ ferry to Japan. Then 2 nights in Fukuoka, Fuk-U-OKA, before a train to Tokyo.

Coffee time

 Time for a coffee before boarding the 0900 train to Busan. Marvellous train service and we arrive a couple of hours later. It is a short walk to the ferry port where we await the 1530 jet ferry to Hakaka, Japan.

Busan Ferry Terminal to Busan Train Station
Busan Ferry Terminal to Busan Train Station

Busan Ferry Terminal

There had been all sorts of horror stories about this service and it’s high speeds in rough water. The safety demonstration tells you to keep your seatbelt on throughout the journey (We move at 40 MPH) as we sometimes need to swerve suddenly to miss Whales!


We took the Beetle Fast ferry across the Sea of Japan to Fukuoka We booked through website AFerry,  as the Beetle Ferry website is all in Japanese so AFerry was the way forward.  2 single tickets booked in advance were £113 for the pair. Food and drink are available at the ferry terminal. Check in is on the 3rd floor.


You carry your luggage on board with you and place at the back of the boat in a special storage area.


Beetle Ferry Busan to Fukuoka Japan

Dodgy food

My command of Japanese is a bit iffy so when I ordered a beer I got the ‘happy meal’ by mistake, this comprises of 2 beers, a package of some sort of mystery food, and a shrimp Fish cake. Trouble was the fishcake was partially frozen (I assume because no local ever bought one of these). It was disgusting. I thought it would be funny to suck it like an ice lolly.


Food Beetle Ferry Busan


Apparently it wasn’t funny! 


 Well it was a breeze. No bouncing around so all good. Low cloud didn’t allow for much sightseeing or enjoying the views. Immigration and Customs at both ends of this journey were a dream.

Map Busan to Fukuoka


There were taxis outside and a cab into town was about 1000 Yen, around £6 or $US9.

Hakata Nakasu Inn.

Taxi to our hotel, Hakata Nakasu Inn.  As expected, the room is very small but comes with all mod cons and plenty of complementary bits in the bathroom. We pop out to find many restaurants and places of entertainment. We go to an Italian for food and return to hotel by 2200 for a quiet night in. We are now at Fukuoka Ken Kurume Shi Japan. Or Fuk-U as the locals call it for 2 nights.

Wednesday 24/04/19

 Dreadful sleep again. Consequently we’re both knackered. Pop down to a breakfast of fried noodles, cabbage, a bit of omelette and a bit of mackerel. We need to buy the bullet train tickets today so that is our mission for the day. A short walk finds us Hakata railway station and we get the two tickets for about £150, which is half what we thought we’d have to pay.

Hakata Railway Station Fukuoka


Sightseeing Hakata

Then on to the hop on hop off bus trip. Not one of the best. The audio channel didn’t work so we were none the wiser at the end of the drive. Back to the hotel as we are both knackered and we managed to sleep for four hours. Absolute bliss. We venture out to a couple of beer bars that were spotted on our bus trip. One bar we went to was the Crafty Bear, Sumiyoshi, Hakata – Ku, Fukuoka City. Some great cocktails and dodgy looking beer. This was an orange beer and very, very, nice.

Crafty Bear Bar, Hakata


Crafty Bear Bar, Fukuoka City


Wandering around by the canal is really quite relaxing and peaceful despite the locals who have had half a shandy too many. Oh, found a Desigual outlet but didn’t venture inside. Maybe there’ll be one in a Tokyo our next stop. Back to hotel for more sleep and local Tv. Excellent time.

Hakata Nakasu Inn  Hakata TV


Hakata Nakasu Inn  Fukuoka City TV


Thursday 25/04/19

Shenkensen fast bullet train to Tokyo

 Quite an uneventful but productive day. Leave the hotel by taxi to get to Hakata train station for our 1010 Shenkensen fast bullet train to Tokyo.We should be grateful for the small things in life. Prior to boarding we decide to eat some food, Well at least we now know it is a food menu. Number 4 looks nice, but without the cheese topping.



El Escondite Hakata


The plan is to take a train from Hakata, Fukuoka to Tokyo. I did a bit of research and it was not very clear, so let me explain. The fast, Shinkansen bullet train, is the best option, and even at high speed the journey still takes about 5 hours, at about 170 MPH. You have to book the train tickets when you are in Fukuoka. I did enquire at a number of internet sites, all of whom told me we had to book the ticket in Japan. The JR rail pass is not valid on the fast, Shinkansen bullet train.


Shinkansen bullet train board


Wrong tickets!
There are direct Shinkansen trains which go from Hakata station. You can walk to Hakata Station from the centre of Fukuoka in about 30 minutes or take a taxi, which will cost roughly 1000 Yen. We tried to buy the tickets from the ticket machine the day before we travelled. It is not a problem, the ticket machine is in English. But ensure you get the correct ticket, we bought the ticket without the express part, and when we tried to go through the barrier on the day we were blocked until we bought an express addition to the ticket.

Extra expense

Each complete ticket was about £150. Book a reserved seat otherwise it is a 5 hour stand! Everything at the station, and on board the Shinkansen bullet train, is written both in Japanese and English. Get some food and drink prior to boarding as choice is very limited on board. There is a trolley that goes up and down the train.

 Not much to see en-route.


On Shinkansen bullet train



Once in Tokyo station everything is as expected in Japan. All very quiet and organised. Getting a taxi was a bit of a chore, try to get out of the station on the ‘west’ side as the queue is much shorter and there is no cover in the event of rain.Whilst queuing for a taxi outside the train station we chat with a Canadian chap and his wife who are also going on the cruise. So we have some new friends already!

Shiba Park Hotel

We stay at the hotel Shiba Park which was booked by the cruise company. On this note I need to recommend our cruise company arranger,  and . She has arranged a couple of trips in the past for me, and she is very good. The hotel is great. Our room is four times the size of those to date with all of the required toiletries in the bathroom. There is even BBC News on the tv so Dick is happy. We’re still not over this jet lag thing so have a two hour kip. I present a show on SFM radio, in the UK, so I did a live interview by phone to the UK about the trip. All worked well.


We pop out later in the evening for food and find an Indian restaurant not too far from the hotel, and my sag paneer hits the spot. New Namaste India Restaurant. 5-34-6, Eagle Shimbashi Bldg. B1, Shimbashi 105-0004 Telephone number 03 3431 7147. They had some Nepalese lager which was very strong, but makes you sleep well. Return to the hotel bar at the rear of the property for a nightcap. You forget how annoying it is to have smokers in a public area, but overall the bar is very relaxing. Reminded me a little bit of the Commodore’s Bar on the Queen Mary 2.

 The hotel Shiba Park   has the longest flushing toilet in the world ever. However not the best hotel view in town!

View from Hotel Shiba Park, Tokyo

Friday 26/04/19

Sightseeing Tokyo

Relatively good sleep so ready for a sightseeing day. First though we make use of the washing machine and dryer at the hotel in order that we can have a full complement of clothing for the boat trip. The weather is a bit drizzly but we make our way on foot to the train station to pick up the sightseeing bus,
although we have been there before we had not taken a tour bus. There is a very good hop on hop off bus service. There is a blue and a red route. Be aware there is no covered seating area, so wrap up warm.


Tokyo Sightseeing bus in the cold.

Cagoules are provided and you all look like giant condoms on the top of the bus.

 There is no ‘downstairs.’

 Not the best of tours but it was 90 Minutes driving around town.


Tokyo Skytree

Observation Tower Tokyo





National Diet Building Tokyo




Japanese Building Tokyo


Eating in Tokyo

We stop for lunch at one of the restaurants at the station.

I was quite cold as there was not an option to sit inside, however, we immediately went onto the one one hour tour which was even less informative than the first. We spot an Irish bar on our walk back to the hotel. It is not far from the hotel so the plan is to go back to the pub for pre dinner drinks, have a pizza and then return to the hotel bar for a nightcap. Mission successful. Did some people watching in the hotel bar – spot the cruisers ….. One thing that I will miss upon leaving Japan is the sophisticated toilets: the warm seat, the variety of flush modes. Wonderful.

Also we were promised a ‘fantastic cultural free gift’ if we took the open top tourist bus.

Japanese Sushi gift

Well here it is. What is it? The hotel receptionist looked at me as though I was a bit weird, and didn’t know either, perhaps sushi with rice on top? Tomorrow we start the Pacific Ocean Cruise.

Saturday 27/04/19

Celebrity Millennium

We’re being picked up at 1100 so just pack and potter about until then. It took about half an hour to get to the port where there were lots and lots of taxis queuing to get to the Celebrity Millennium boarding point.

Celebrity Millennium

Our driver passes the queue to drop us off at the front! Our luggage is briskly taken care of and after a short wait we check in and are given our State Room key. We’re told our room is not ready yet so we pass the first hour in the Cellar Masters bar. Two vodkas on next to no food leads to a siesta later in the day. In the meantime we move in to State room 8151 Celebrity Millennium our home for the next two weeks.


State room 8151 Celebrity Millennium


The ship has been recently refurbished so everything looks very clean and smart. We just squeeze into the Oceanview Café before 1500 for lunch. Lots of choices. It is all too easy to overeat …. before the ship moves off we have our muster station drill and then we’re off.


Celebrity Millennium leaving Tokyo


Oceanview cafe
We’ve decided to use the Oceanview Café for most of our eating experiences rather than limit ourselves to specific meal sittings in the silver service restaurant. Our entertainment starts with a four piece band, mainly for dancing but jazzy as well. Very nice. After eating we are entertained by a female soloist and guitar player, and we finish off listening to Bryan James, guitarist/singer. Singalong’ish. As long as it doesn’t turn into karaoke it’s fine by me.

Sunday 28.04.19

Life onboard

Unfortunately the jet lag has caught up with me and I wake up about 0400. I do doze but at 0600 I give up on sleep. Early breakfast and then a talk in the theatre about our various ports of call. I then go to the gym for an hour. Great facilities in the gym. Then lunch. Absolutely rammed so we’ll certainly lunch at a later time in future. A talk on Buddhism follows. I found it very interesting. I had to have a siesta and it would seem that there was a medical emergency on board and a helicopter dropped off some personnel. I was awake though to see the patient being airlifted into a helicopter. This could be viewed by the internal tv channel. Not much privacy for the people concerned but marvellous to see how a medical helicopter works.



Medical evacuation Celebrity Millennium


More food

Out to one of the many bars before going to an informal buffet for dinner. Our entertainment for the evening was the Oz Boys. Not bad, got the toes tapping with their easy to listen to style and songs.


The Celebrity Millennium was completely renovated 3 months earlier, so we were able to sample the almost new facilities. We were not disappointed. We had a balcony stateroom on the 8th floor. Ideal location for the activities on the 4th and 10th floor. I have sailed with Celebrity before and never found a fault with anything on board. Be aware that it will severely dent your wallet. The ‘middle’ alcoholic drinks package we had was about £45 each per day. Additionally there is a £14 a day each standard gratuity charge. This is on top of whatever you have already paid for accommodation, food and services. You can ask not to pay the gratuity. I Think £14 a day for tips is taking the mick a bit. I know it is a US boat and that is how they do it, but I am not paying. So there, rant over.

Food on board

There is a choice of silver service or buffet, whichever suits you (For the same price), a number of bars with entertainment, a huge theatre with guest stars, guest speakers through the day, activities, gym, pools (Both indoors and out). A walking track on the top floor, spa, casino, the list is endless.


Guest speakers of note during the trip were Ronald Bowers, retired Los Angeles District Attorney, Doctor Gary Kramer and Christopher Luard who dealt with all aspects of Buddhism. Could be a good 14 or 15 nights. Still not sure how long as we cross the dateline and go back a day.
We are at sea for 36 hours, in calm seas heading for Northern Japan.


View from Stateroom 8151 Celebrity Millennium


Monday 29.04.19


After 2 days we docked in the northern Japanese port of Hakodate. Early arrival at Hakodate, an island at the tip of Japan. The view is nice. A metal scrap yard!

Scrap yard Hakodate



As you get off the boat you are met by the locals who all smile, bow, nod, grin, and generally want to make you feel welcome. There is a huge banner, which I think is a welcome in Japanese. I do my ‘where’s Wally’ impression! Lots of confused Japanese and off we go to the bus.
Where’s Wally Hakodate Celebrity Millennium

We get the shuttle bus into town, primarily in search of WiFi but also to look for postcards.
I should mention at this point that WIFI on the Celebrity Millennium is very expensive, $319 dollars for 1 device for the trip for 14/15 nights.

Nice day

It’s a lovely day, blue sky, sunshine and a general good feeling. Our need for WiFi had been met before we got off the bus as there was an overall free WiFi throughout the town. Very forward thinking. I am glad to report that the courtesy bus drops you off at the Hakodate train station in the centre of Hakodate.

Bank Holiday in Hakodate

We arrived there on a Japanese Bank Holiday and only the overpriced tourist shops were open. Hakodate is a nice town and worth the visit. We trundled around town, found the Hakodate brewery which didn’t open until 1100 so we didn’t visit and went into a café instead. In one of the many tourist shops we found some postcards, so job done. This town is well known for its ‘hairy’ crabs and many were on display at local food stalls and markets. Huge things. They’d certainly give you a fright if seen walking along a beach. I love the taste of crab but, like lobsters, I have yet to achieve the expertise to eat the things properly. 


Anyway, back to the boat and a walk around deck 11.

Celebrity Millennium Hakodate

Strictly Come Dancing

Oh, this was after our Japan immigration departure admin in the Cosmos bar. All very official and well organised. Afternoon spent on lunch, watching an episode of Game of Thrones and listening to podcasts. Evening as before, drinks before supper but this time with the Bristol Fashion House Band this time. Clearly this is going to be groundhog day for the next 14 nights. We could be in worse places. More displays of Strictly Come Dancing from fellow South Korean/Japanese passengers (How do you tell the difference?). After our buffet supper it’s off to the theatre for a violin virtuoso concert by a Ukrainian lady.


Very pretty, very slim and very talented. Crumpet! I said to Sue that she keeps looking at me, I suppose she is only human after all. Having said that, I did find myself nearly dropping off a couple of times during the performance. Must have been the two glasses of champagne. Anyway I toddle off to bed after the show. The clocks go forward one hour so 2300 seemed fairly respectable.


Now 2 days by boat to Petropavlovsk, Russia

Tuesday 30.04.19

 All day and night sailing.

 Sue’s day starts with a meditation with Chris Luard,, a practising Buddhist. It was very much along the lines of Yoga Nidra. We meet for a very quick breakfast before a talk by Chris about the life of the Buddha. This talk was followed by retired Assistant DA Ronald Bowers, who was retelling a couple of court stories. Interesting but I found his presentation skills to be stilted and felt a little cheated that we weren’t told any real details. The afternoon slipped by in a long doze . Went back to the stateroom after lunch and that was it until gone 1900. Whoops…. down to the Rendezvous Bar for some music, then buffet supper, back to Café al Bacio for nightcap and music. The clocks go forward again tonight. Ground hog day.

Wednesday 01.05.19

 Of course cruising along all day and night you do tend to miss some of the sights. Albeit, yesterday, I think, was just a lot of sea, or ocean. For instance this morning at 0700 whilst waiting for the kettle I spotted a snow-covered mountain. It’s somewhere on the coast of Russia but who knows where.


Clear sky today.

At 0900 I go to the Assistant DA chat and meet up again for a coffee later. Decide to have a lazy day so just watch the snow covered islands that we are passing en route to mainland Russia. Clear skies and not much else to be seen on the sea, the occasional fishing vessel and a few birds. As we get closer to mainland Russia there are many more of these snow covered islands. It makes you wonder if any man made footsteps have ever been made. I was talking to someone who has a balcony on the other side of the boat who said he’s been watching whales! But then he didn’t see our landscape.

Bristol Fashion House

Entertained by the Bristol Fashion House band, buffet dinner and then back to the stateroom for me for an episode of Game of Thrones, put the clocks forward another hour and then sleep. I did try sitting on my balcony one night but the artic southerly wind was a bit fresh.

Tomorrow we arrive at
Petropavlovsk, Russia.

Thursday 02.05.19


Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky celebrity Millennium.


After 2 days at sea we arrive in Petropavlovsk, Russia about 0615. I assume we only stop there to break up the long 7 day sea voyage ahead. A very welcome break even after 2 days. Petropavlovsk doubles up as the nuclear submarine base across the bay.


Celebrity Millennium Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

This is the far end of the world! The far end of Siberia, The town is set on a peninsula that in order to get to you need to drive, what was this place like in the 1800s?

Grim Place

I have travelled through Siberia before and I wasn’t disappointed with how poor and grim this place was.




In an effort to vary my walking exercise I walk up the stairs from floor 1 – 11, twice. As we’re still waiting for our passports to enter into this Russian town at 1230 I guess I could have done quite a few more laps. We eventually leave the boat 1330’ish and have a short walk into town.

Sightseeing in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky


Celebrity Millennium Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

BE AWARE that although the Celebrity head office won’t give you a straight answer, you CAN go ashore independently and don’t need to purchase one of their very expensive shore excursions. There is only one way out to the town, and you have to exit through the security area where there are free maps and an ad hoc tourist office. Everyone is very helpful. Take a walk into town, keeping the sea to your left, about 15 minutes, and you find a huge square with one or 2 very local, and basic bars.

Poor area

The houses on the hills look quite poor with corrugated roofs. I do wonder how they cope with the weight of the heavy winter snowfall.


Celebrity Millennium Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky


Looking for Wifi
Looking around I think there might be a ski run in view. There is not a great deal of colour around but there is a beach, pebbles, and lots of the locals are enjoying the sunshine. I wonder if it is a holiday. There is no advertising as to what is behind the shop doorways and the one we ventured into was a supermarket with beer taps behind the till for a carry out draft beer service. What a great idea. Carry on walking with the sea to your left and you will come to the Baker Street cafe, Petropavlovsk. That is the free internet cafe. There were about 40 passengers from the Celebrity Millennium there and the wifi still worked. Wifi Petropavlovsk.

So we did a bit of admin before returning to the boat.To be honest apart from the wifi, (obviously no food is required) and expensive souvenirs there wasn’t an awful lot there.

Back on the boat.

Entertained by Sailing Mood Quartet before dinner. We went into the formal dining area this evening on a table of six. All nice people and it was good to have a conversation with people other than each other! Ate too much though. Went back to the Rendezvous bar for Bryan’s guitar and singing and, of course, to watch all of the budding ‘Strictly’ contestants. It’s great for people watching. In bed by midnight.
Next stop in about 8 days is Victoria in Canada. Then Vancouver the day after. 

Friday 03.05.19

 The first of seven days and nights at sea. Sue’s day starts with the 0900 meditation. Always nice. It’s got quite cold now. 4 degrees, apparently. Not bikini weather at all. Gosh but the wind is strong on deck 11 but Sue managed to struggle through for the meditation. Followed by breakfast and we meet for a quick cuppa before the 1115 talk by Chris Lourd. The food on here is incredible, albeit some of it is mystery food. They cater extensively for gluten intolerant needs.

Gluten Free Food

Gluten Free Celebrity Millennium.




Gluten Free Celebrity cruises.


Talks onboard

The next talk was the DA guy about the OJ Simpson case. Afternoon passed by watching a Game of a Thrones, only series 7 to go now, a short yoga session and a quick kip before going out at 1900 to listen again to the Sailing Mood Quartet. I think it’s the Bristol Fashion House band at 2200. Meet some nice people at dinner, another six-some. Clocks go forward again one hour. A groundhog day.

 Saturday 04.05.19

 Nearly oversleep for Sue’s 0900 meditation session, then some of the Mythologies of Buddhism before lunch. Never really wake up so watch a couple of tv episodes before a 30 minute doze, and then our 1900 schedule kicks in with a trip to the bar. I’m getting a bit stir crazy not being able to go outside – it’s just too cold and too windy for an outside walk. In fact, some of the upper decks are closed due to harsh weather conditions. We saw an Island today, wow. Land. But only for a short while as we pass between the Andreanof Islands.


Andreanof Islands

Another Saturday 04.05.19.

As we crossed the International Dateline on an easterly course we gain a day, so as Saturday was so good we get to do it twice. This Saturday finds me a lot livelier, meditation, then yoga, then a noon lunch as breakfast didn’t happen. Watched a bit of tv before doing my CV workout of walking up and down the stairs – floors 1-11. I then went into the solarium and had a quick dip in the mineral pool and a sprawl on a sun lounger. It’s still too windy for me to walk outside and again some of the upper outside decks are closed.


Out at 1900 for pre-dinner drinks and watching the ‘Strictly wannabes’ strut their stuff. Joined two ladies for dinner in the formal dining restaurant, on to the café to be entertained by Bryan and then back to the Sailing Mood quartet for the last set of the evening. Clocks go forward again by one hour. The general sea state is now getting rougher.

 If I thought we had a groundhog day everyday on here, to do the same day again is a bonus groundhog day.

 Sunday 05.05.19

Yoga Zen and cocktails

 Sue starts the day with meditation and then an hour’s self yoga practice. Cappuccino in the café before meeting up for another early lunch. A talk with Chris on Zen Buddhism at 1330. Sea a bit calmer today. Watched a bit of tv then went for a walk on deck 11. It was lovely to be outside. Espresso martini as a pre-dinner/pre show drink. Nick Page Les Miserables was the entertainer.


Theatre Theater Celebrity Millennium


A marvellous singer, apparently had lead role in Les Mis in the West End. Then buffet dinner. Bristol Fashion House band and then Bryan until 2300.

I was grateful to see the snow capped mountains of Canada, and my liver was glad of the rest as well from sitting around the bar.

 Monday 06.05.19

Nearly there

Awoke to a very misty morning, off to meditation and then a talk on the Tibetan book of the dead! Coffee, lunch and then a walk around deck 11 with the poles. An episode of Game of Thrones, followed by Bryan at 1500 in the café. Show at 1900 with Antonio Salci a very talented pianist, dinner in the formal dining restaurant. After dinner entertainment was the Blue Moon duo in the Café al Bacio.


Café al Bacio Celebrity Millennium




Café al Bacio Celebrity Millennium


Sue exits at 2300

and I go for a nightcap. Clocks go forward one hour.

 The boat is not like a scene out of the Agatha Christie story, death on the Nile, where we all sit around drinking gin and playing cards, there is a lot to do for most of the day, just a bit cold if you go out on deck. There is a huge theatre that holds around 800 people and some great acts were put on for us.

 Quite posh at dinner, and you are sitting with people you have never met. It is fair to say that UK and American humour don’t really mix. There were a few awkward silences after some of my great jokes were told.

Got Told Off

I got told off by the my cabin steward, I liked to refer to him as the butler, or cabin boy, depending on my mood. Anyway he told me I couldn’t wash my pants in the sink and then hang on them on a washing line in my cabin. I thought he was done for the day but forgot he comes in around 6 pm to turn down the bed and put the chocolates on the pillow. He caught me with my washing line I bought from the pound shop in Sittingbourne and all my stuff hanging up.  You can take the boy out of South London but can’t take south London out of the boy. 

Dirty washing Celebrity Millennium

Being posh I had a balcony but it was so cold out there my pants would have frozen and been more crispy than normal. To be fair I was invited to use their laundry service at $50 a bag. I stayed dirty!

 Tuesday 07.05.19

Still a bit of mist about. Sue off to meditation at 0900, we meet for coffee before the presentation by Dr Gary Kramer. My first taste of this man, albeit I have seen him and his wife about the ship most evenings strutting their stuff on the dance floor. Later I see Retired District Attorney Ronald Bowers.


District Attorney Ronald Bowers

More talks and singing

As a personal aside it’s on these sea days that you realise what a very small speck we are. Days and days of sailing, rarely passing land or seeing any other vessels. Amazing. Very good presentation by Chris on loving kindness- Metta Sutta ( I need to look this up when I get home). A yoga practice dedicated to my back followed. I realise that I need to do a lot more work on my abs/core to assist my lower back weakness. Our evening entertainment starts with Bryan and a set of Eagles songs, buffet dinner and then the theatre for Nick Page.

Back to the Rendezvous Bar

for Sailing Mood quartet with Bryan, again, at 2300 for the last bit of singing and ‘Strictly’ dancing. Clocks go forward one hour for the last time on this voyage. Apparently we are now on Pacific time …. whatever that means.
This particular cruise ship was on a repositioning trip, leaving the monsoon and wet weather of Asia for the relative calm of the west coast of the US. 

Wednesday 08.05.19

Set the alarm for 0800. Feel really tired this morning. All of this drinking and entertainment is taking its toll. I am even saying I could do with a quiet night! How spoilt are we? Anyway Sue goes to the last meditation of the cruise with Chris and I go along for the last presentation from the DA. A quick lunch is followed by a walk around deck 11 where I see quite a few people sprawled out on the sun loungers and in the pools and Jacuzzis. As the sky is blue and the sun is shining I join them


The water in the pool is bath hot and very salty so it was lovely to just float with the warm water on my back and the warmth of the sun on my face.

swimming pool Celebrity Millennium


Celebrity Millennium swimming pool 


What a marvellous way to spend my time. We meet up, by chance, with a couple we met earlier on the cruise before dinner and so we grab a table for four and just gossip or the next couple hours. Bryan entertains us until 2300 when I collect another glass of wine to take to bed whilst watching another episode of Game of Thrones.

Thursday 09.05.19


Land Ahoy!



Arrive at Victoria, looks lovely as we cruise in. Good weather too. We are next to an even bigger cruise liner.


Victoria Town Hall Victoria Canada



Actually have breakfast this morning and off the ship by 0900. We walk through a residential area to the downtown area. All houses are detached, mostly different designs with quite a few blocks of flats. We find the harbour and a few government buildings en route to a WiFi coffee shop.


Chinatown Victoria Canada


Sightseeing Victoria Canada

Get all the admin done there, have a little look in some shops and decide to get the hop on hop off bus at 1230. It’s a 90 minute run through busy city streets, Chinatown, the coastal routes, Beacon Hill park and lots more.

The sun is warm and it is a very pleasant diversion. One of the city’s refurbishment plans is to maintain the old facades of buildings and just replace and modernise the inside, so there were quite a few building sites populated with cranes causing some traffic chaos.

There was also remnants

of a fire which happened on Monday, apparently, and they are still dampening down the debris. Fantastic Fisherman’s Harbour.


Harbour Ferry Victoria Canada


Find a craft beer bar just outside the cruise ship terminal before getting back on board about 1630. Watch a few of the seaplanes taking off as we wait for the ship to push back and head to Vancouver.


Victoria Harbour Victoria Canada


Victoria Harbour Victoria Canada


Café al Bacio.
The evening’s entertainment is provided by Sailing Mood quartet before supper, The Uptown boys in the theatre, finishing up with Bryan in Café al Bacio. Very nice night.

Vancouver Canada


Friday 10.05.19
Today we say goodbye to the Celebrity Millennium and in particular Stateroom 8151.


Celebrity Millennium Stateroom 8151



Stateroom 8151 Celebrity Millennium


Docked at Vancouver terminal by 0700, off the ship and at the Pacific Central train and bus station by 0830. No passport control, no customs. Super.


Approach to Vancouver Island


We were in Vancouver last September  and took a pedal cycle out for the day, an unforgettable experience, for all the right reasons. The cycle paths around Stanley Park, watching all the huge boats come in, the sea food, and not forgetting the gas clock makes an excellent couple of days. 

Greyhound Bus Vancouver to Seattle

Our bus to Seattle leaves at 1100 so I guess I’ll be having a few coffees. Have decided to have a couple of booze free days. We took a coach to Seattle, across the US border. The greyhound bus journey was uneventful, thankfully. Got through the US immigration without too much trouble but I did have to leave an apple behind as it was not declared on the customs form! Bureaucracy, love it.

US Border

Those US border guards are miserable people, and I did have a bit of a run in with one of them over ‘The apple,’ however a local chap on the coach afterwards tried to calm me down by pointing out that the guards are only allowed to operate on a black or white aspect there is no grey.




Greyhound coach Vancouver to Seattle



Arrived in Seattle

a bit before 1700. I’d forgotten about the river/lake/waterways that make up Seattle. Beautiful. After checking in to Hotel Executive Pacific, downtown Seattle we find a bar on the ground floor that sells real ale, so I try the wares. Sue, Diet Coke.

Hotel Executive Pacific Seattle

Sightseeing Canada

We have been in Seattle before so went to the wharf area where it is pricey but nice and have a fish and hamburger supper.

Seattle Sunset



Another healthy Seattle meal.


Fairly early night. Tomorrow is another travel day.

Saturday 11.05.19

Wake up to a sunny and warm Seattle. We do a recce to find our route to the airport using the metro/tram service, get a coffee and a bun whilst strolling around. Take a photo of Starbucks first coffee shop, buy the statutory tourist Starbucks mug and then it’s time to rescue our luggage at the hotel.

Original Starbucks Seattle

Seattle to Los Angeles

The trip to Seattle Seatac International airport is cheap, $3 each, and we’re able to offload our bags for our BA/American Airlines codeshare flight to LA. The frustrating thing with the train was that had we known about it before we could have taken the train from the bus terminal to the nearby station to the hotel yesterday and not had to get the cab. We have taken this part of the journey by land before so to save time we flew. Usual airport activity whilst waiting for the flight and the two hours or so soon passed.

American Airlines AA 6046


Saw some lovely sights from the plane window – blue sky, sunshine and snow covered mountains, one looked more volcano shaped.



American Airlines Seattle to LAX


LA Mirage Inn, LAX Airport

$30 cab ride to LA Mirage Inn, LAX Airport motel Suites and Spa. This ‘airport’ motel is in fact about 9 miles from terminal 5 at LAX.  But we do have a microwave. We’re miles away from anywhere.There is not an awful lot around there unless you have a car. The staff were very friendly and helpful. As is the case at these types of hotels you can order a takeawy/delivery of pizza and wings etc. Not the most healthy of lifestyles, but it is what it is.

Food for less

About 100 metres from the hotel is a huge ‘Food 4 Less’ supermarket which has just about everything you need including all the dregs of society, and is reminiscent of a scene out of Michael Jackson’s thriller. Having said that, all the people were friendly and we got what we needed. We watch an episode of Midsomer Murder of one of their tv channels and before you know it the clock is showing 2300, so time to listen to part of a play before sleep.
Sunday 12.05.19

Mother’s day

It’s Mother’s Day here. That would explain why we saw so many bunches of flowers being walked around the streets of Seattle yesterday. I did wonder who had died! Sunday morning was my initiation into Uber. What a great service, where has that been for all my life! A quick Uber into Union Station, Los Angeles where we’ll board the bus to Ontario near Chino airport for my fighter jet flight on Tuesday.Chino is about 40 minutes east of LA. Very suburban.

The coach company was Flixbus.

Flixbus Los Angeles LA


Hotel Seville Chino

Apparently our hotel there has an outside pool so let’s hope for sunshine. There was a slight delay on our bus departure as the driver was unable to operate a ramp to allow wheelchair access for one of the passengers. After a number of phone calls and another helper it was all sorted and we were on our way. The final destination of the bus was Las Vegas. We were the first stop in a place called Ontario in a shopping mall. Thank goodness for Uber as we used that app again to call for a cab to get us to Hotel Seville in Chino. Seville Hotel, Chino. 


The cab arrived within about two minutes. Very good service. The hotel is very much based on the motel shape with ground floor and first floor rooms, lots of parking places and a very, very small swimming pool.
They used a wide angle lens!



Hotel Seville Chino

Colombo type hotel
The hotel is similar to the type of motel that Colombo used to investigate murders in, in the 80s. However it is a clean, bright, and very nice motel, except for the pool. The photo certainly overplayed it’s hand showing the pool. It is barely bigger than a plunge pool. Never mind! Our room, though, is spacious with the all important fridge and microwave.The locals here look at us like we have just fallen out of a tree as we don’t have a car and therefore walk everywhere. Something the locals here don’t do. It is great, you walk somewhere and the path ends and there are huge signs telling you no pedestrians allowed.

Eating in Chino

Around the area are 2 supermarkets, a 7/11, McDonalds and Taco restaurant. My favourite was Michael Angelo’s, a pizza, pasta, beer restaurant. If you want a taste of ‘local’ then this is the place to go. Looking at the restaurant from the outside, you may be forgiven for thinking it a small rundown, possibly closed, establishment. There is even a handwritten sign in the window saying ‘open.’ However once you enter it is a massive,  fun, family friendly restaurant serving an all American menu.

Michael Angelo’s

Michael Angelo’s, 2467, S. Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA.The pizza place turned out to be a bit of a find as it sells draught beer so we pop in there for a 34oz dark beer for me (a litre I think) and a Diet Coke for Sue before having a picnic in the room.
When ever I come to the states it always amazes me how unhealthy the food is. Loads of fast food joints, unlimited fizzy pop, and now the new one is the craft ales and beers they produce which are slightly stronger than rocket fuels. No more buds lights here. 

American TV

Watched some nonsense on tv then bed.
There are loads of adverts for medical products, tablets and lotions, that sort of thing. Well the advert itself lasts for about 15 seconds then for another 30 seconds they run through all the side effects the medicine can have, ranging from spots on your bottom to all sorts of horrible cancer. Then generally the advert after that there is the local lawyer calling on everyone to support a class action against someone or other, presumably for the medicine that has just been advertised.
Monday 13.05.19

Live on UK Radio

One of my side lines is to present a radio program and a consequent is that when we travel I often call in and conduct a interview of what I am up to in the world. Today is no exception and in order to speak to my lunchtime audience, who are about 8 hours in front, I get up at 5am. My alarm goes at 0500 for my interview. I think the time delay spoils it a little bit but at least I have kept in touch with my listening public! A much slower start to the day for Sue.

Chino Airport

Porridge is made in the microwave and we then set off on the 4 mile walk to Chino airport to get an idea of what goes on tomorrow. Sue has arranged a 1 hour flight in an L39, L-39 Jet. This was arranged through MiGFlug, I think they are based in Zurich and arrange flight sites around the globe.

Long walk

Sue will have to fly out of Chino Airport. Fortunately the road is straight, albeit, long to our destination.  They don’t like walking out here, at several places there is no pavement / sidewalk and we have to walk on the road or through bushes. Only one left turn and we’re there.

Chino Airport MigFlug

Istan the pilot

After a bit of a stroll around we find hangar 50 on B140  but the doors are closed, so we go for a bit of a stroll and when we return to the hangar we find Istvan, the pilot, and the plane. We introduce ourselves and all is set for tomorrow’s adventure and we bid him goodbye. On our way out a car pulls up and the driver asks if we’re lost. We tell him we’re looking for a café and he invites us to hop into the car and he gives us a tour of the little airport.

Nice cafe

Apparently he is a retired fighter pilot and was enjoying telling us about all of the old planes on the airport. Very informative for those in the know! Anyway it was very kind of him to show us around. The lorries and their loads are huge, we find a lorry carrying giant tyres. You wouldn’t get one of them at KwikFit!


McDonalds, Chino

It’s close to 1500 when we get back to the hotel so I have a McDonalds and Sue returns to the room for hummus and avocado. Although the sun is shining by now, after a very cloudy start, there really is nowhere to go here to enjoy it so we remain in the room doing admin, and IT things.

Memory stick

It would seem that Sue has broken the memory stick and the Apple Mac no longer recognises the device so Sue may have to buy the last few episodes of Series 7 that she has yet to see. I guess the lesson here is that Sue needs to go to IT school. It would help if she had an interest in this technology but I don’t so it will be hard. But if that is my greatest worry I’m not doing too bad.

Sue’s on the wagon for 24 hours before her flight tomorrow. I am not, give me beer!
Tuesday 14.05.19

Flight day

Tuesday is flight day, another 4 mile walk, via Starbucks to Chino airport. Bit of a cloudy start to the big day but by the time we leave the room the clouds are disappearing and the sun coming through. 

We get to Chino airport 1330’ish and Steve, the pilot, is already there, so he gets right on to the briefing.

Captain Sue having a look. Captain Steve having a ‘look.’

I have to say all the health and safety bits gave Sue a few heart thumps, especially when he’s talking about throwing yourself out of the plane if they have to bale out. Once briefed and kitted out its time to head to the runway.


Preparing for MigFlug


Fortunately that didn’t happen and the flight was all kinds of amazing.

It’s flight time

In one of the acrobatic manoeuvres Sue reached about 5 G’s, doing the loop, which was a do-able weight on her chest. Bit scary first time round though. Sue did a loop, a Cuban 8, going straight up, straight down, many spins when you don’t know if you’re upside down or the right way up, another loopy, banking move that she can’t remember the name of, some low flying stints with lots of banking left and right along the valleys. The sky was clear and the whole experience was absolutely amazing. Sue would certainly do it again. Me? No!



MigFlug flight over


Sue has the time of her life doing a loop the loop, and flying upside down in the jet fighter over the desert close to Los Angeles.

Michael Angelo’s pizza restaurant Chino

The adrenaline boost of the flight left Sue feeling a bit tired, so after our four mile walk back to the hotel Sue had an hour’s doze before we returned to dinner  in  Michael Angelo’s pizza restaurant. We over ordered and left almost a whole pizza. Great beer and great Margaritas.
So the majority of both pizzas was put into a box and taken back to the room. I’m knackered and am asleep soon after supper. Sue probably had a smile on my face as she dropped off. Wonderful day 


Wednesday 15.05.19

Los Angeles

Wednesday we travel back to the centre of Los Angeles. There is a number 83 bus that stops outside the hotel, and drops you off at the local town of Upland, about 10 miles north of Chino.. The bus takes exact fare only, and 2 tickets were $3.50 the pair. At Upland take the 100 metre walk to the Metro link train station. Tickets were $15 the pair to Union Street Railway station. Approx 30 miles away.


Whilst waiting for a bus I asume this is a dentist’s company car! 

Precision ceramics dental lab

Need a big mouth for this implant.


The train was a double decker so we went upstairs, albeit there wasn’t much of a view.


Metro link train station Upland


A local taxi ride from outside the Los Angeles Union Street station is a set $10 flat fare.


Los Angeles Union Street station

Kawada Hotel, LA.
We stayed at the Kawada Hotel, on 2nd and Hill. Very nice place.  I have incorporated the corner of the bed in order that you can see it is a real hotel view.


Kawada Hotel Los Angeles


Kawada Hotel Los Angeles

One day, if we spend some more money, we will have a good view. Nice room, a tad small but still very nice. 2 nights here then take an Amtrak train to New Orleans.

Next door is the Cherry Pick Café where we enjoy a late lunch. Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel for me with beet and orange juice. My sort of food.

Union Street Station

Do a reccy to Union Station to find out a few things about our Amtrak train on Friday. A very helpful chap tells us that our ticket entitles us to go to a lounge where our luggage will be sorted and we can help ourselves to the hospitality there. We pop up to the lounge and it will certainly be better than sitting with the ‘poor people’ in the public seating area! Having said that the public seats do look comfy, they’re like armchairs not hard benches.


Eating and drinking, LA

Anyway we then go to a bar called Down and Out LOs Angeles and that about summed it up. The national smell of Spain is everywhere. Cannabis must be given away on every sidewalk as you get wafts of the stuff as you walk along the streets. Popped into a pharmacy/grocery store. Full of weirdos! Got involved with a netball/basketball match on tv – Toronto vs Milwaukee. Eventually Milwaukee won.

More food

In the evening there is a local market nearby which has been turned into a trendy food hall. Any hope of saving money by eating and drinking here are sadly dashed when I find a small glass of white wine is $16. The food was better value with a burrito coming in at about $6. There was a huge selection of craft beers.

Craft beer

We walked back to the Grand Central market area for a quick supper to learn that they stop serving food about 2000 so we find a bar called Bernadette’s which sells real ale, wine and a veggie burger so everyone is happy. There is a do playing jazz type stuff from vinyl records. How quaint. Back to the hotel by 2200, watch tv, do a bit of admin.
Thursday 16.05.19

Chinese Theatre

The subway system is easy to use and we took the opportunity to go to the Chinese theatre.


It’s raining.

Raining in LA

Although we knew about the change in weather from the forecast I certainly didn’t plan for it. I thought it would be sun tan lotion, shorts and t-shirts from the moment we got off the boat. We’re only having a lazy day so it really doesn’t matter.

Cherry Pick Cafe

We pop next door to the Cherry Pick café for breakfast and eventually venture outside and whilst looking for the hop on hop off bus decide to get a metro train to the Dolby theatre, the Chinese theatre and all the stars on the sidewalk. The subway is very easy to use. There are some sights on the subway, this chap had a French fries backpack.


 French fries backpack


I buy a baseball cap and we return to Pershing Square and our hotel by metro train. We pop out to Bernadette’s bar Los Angeles, which serves good vodka and beer then a bar which was spotted last night to get an espresso martini. It also sells an IPA beer for me.

More beer.

If you come out of bernadettes and turn left towards the market there is a great cocktail bar that serves a really nice Martini Expresso. It was so nice that Sue had 2 of them.

Not sure if it was a gay bar, but the barman was very kind to act in our mixing a cocktail video!

Bless …. Then onto the Grand Central Market for dinner/supper. Sue had a salmon and rice concoction. Me, a meat and rice burrito thing.


Grand Central Market LA



Grand Central Market Los Angeles


Great food

There is an enjoyable buzz about this place. A food hall with a difference. Wine at $16 dollars ( London City airport prices), whilst  beer is about $8.



LA Freeway

No drive by shootings

Been here for 24 hours and no drive by shootings! No car chases and no sight of the Kardashians! But we do have rain and a cannabis guide map.

California Cannabis guide and map Kush

Well that should come in handy, not! Return to hotel when supper venue closes. Watch nonsense on tv, then sleep.

Friday 17.05.19

Santa Monica

Lovely, sunny day. Pack our big bags and then put overnight essentials in backpacks for our two nights on the Amtrak train. As the train doesn’t leave until 2200 we leave the luggage at the hotel and get the local metro trains to Downtown Santa Monica. It’s about an hour from our hotel at a cost of $1.75 one way. Golden sand, sort of blue sea but very blowy so quite a few waves.

Santa Monica Beach


Beach Santa Monica 

We walk along Santa Monica beach all along to Venice beach, past Muscle beach where quite a few people were putting themselves through their paces.
Santa Monica is the home of muscle beach and weirdos.

Santa Monica Pier


Pier Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier
As you walk along the promenade from Santa Monica Pier to Venice beach there are live bands featuring the oldest swingers in town, who play really well, to people talking themselves, trying to dance completely spaced out, one man was even dancing with a dog.

Surrender your baby Santa Monica

Everyone is good humoured, just a bit spaced out. Lots of bikes, electric bikes and electric scooters are available for hire but we stick to our goal of at least 10,000 steps.

Electric Scooter Santa Monica


There are some weird people ‘chilling out’ the closer you get to Venice beach, lots of over the hill musicians ply their trade. All very entertaining.
The smell of this area is one of cannabis. 

Santa Monica Police

Saw three mounted police strolling around.

Miss Elastic

Miss ELASTIC and Mr MANTASTIC on Muscle beach.


Muscle Beach Santa Monica


Muscle Beach Santa Monica


We pop into the restaurant at the end of Santa Monica pier for a coffee. Once again I have to supplement the kitty as Dick has run out of money. Memories of my 50th birthday treat, in this restaurant, when Dick left all his cash and cards in the room at the hostel. Some things never change.

Amtrak LA to NY

We get back to the hotel a little after 1800, do a bit of WiFi admin before heading off to the Amtrak lounge at Union Street railway station. Have a spot of supper and it’s soon time to board our train.

We will have a couple of nights stop over then make our way to New York where we will have completed the trip.  


Amtrak Union Street Los Angeles LA

We took the sleeper carriage. If you have the money, and there is space available, then take first class Amtrak as the sleeper is very cosy for 2 people. You would be advised to check in your luggage, there is no space whatsoever in the sleeper. Be warned!! If you ever get an Amtrak train ensure you chop about 2 feet off of your height. I am 6 feet tall and trying to wind myself into a top bunk bed with only about 18 inches of head room is not fun.

Small cabin

I suffer from a serious medical disorder called snoring, especially after a couple of local beers, and was told that all the compartments were only separated by a vanity curtain. Fortunately they have now fitted doors so I didn’t keep too many people awake.   The good news is that staying in a sleeper all your meals are provided, and they are of good quality.Our sleeper is small but adequate.

Larger cabin

We do find that there is a slightly larger version but they are all booked. We sit in the observation car for a while until Sue gives in to sleep and  throw herself on the bottom bunk, leaving me to enjoy more beer in the observation car. The distance of our train journey to New Orleans is 1670 miles, over 2 nights.

Saturday 18.05.19


Overnight on Amtrak

Sleep relatively well considering the movement of the train. I am up a tad before 0600 for my coffee fix. I then change our bunk bedroom into our day room. The bottom bunk changes into two armchairs, one facing forward the other back with a big window for the views.

Sleeper day cabin Amtrak

At the moment there is a lot of brown earth, a few short trees and bushes, 8-10’ cacti and mountains.

Amtrak LA to New Orleans


Amtrak Los Angeles to New Orleans

We’re travelling through Arizona and our first stop, where we can get off, is Tucson. Don’t venture too far just in case the train leaves without us.

Rialto cinema Tucson

Whilst there a police car arrives and shortly afterwards a female is handcuffed and removed from the train. I’d seen her earlier in the observation car and wondered how long she would last.

Observation car Amtrak

Drunk woman

Obviously having a wonderful time in her little world, slurping from a bottle of white wine at just before 0700 …. but they do seem to be strict on this train with regard to behaviour and safety. I go for a light breakfast of fruit and yogurt. Next stop, Benson.


Doesn’t even seem to have a proper station so we stay on the train.  Clocks go forward as we enter New Mexico. Very dry ground, little vegetation, mountains in the distance otherwise flat. Just before 1500 we get to El Paso, Texas.

El Paso Amtrak Station


Amtrak El Paso Texas Station

Shortly before we see THE WALL, or a bit of it between USA and Mexico.



The Wall between USA and Mexico



Mexican wall
I don’t think it will keep many people out ….. the Mexican side looks very poor. Able to have a little stroll at this station as some of the crew are changing. A couple more stops at very small towns, not even a proper station to speak of. Still dry landscape, a little more cattle but not much more. The food on board the train is surprisingly good so enjoy salmon for dinner. Follow this with an episode of Sherlock Holmes and it’s time for bed.


Houston Texas
Sunday 19th May 2019.
Considering it was nearly 11pm when I went to bed I was shocked to wake up when it was still dark and only 245AM. That was the start of it, awake and asleep all night. We stopped overnight at one stop for an hour and a half, between 4 and 5.30, if Sue had been awake I might have got off and had a look around, albeit there wasn’t much infrastructure there. Very low cloud today, not the desert weather we have been use to. The clock go forward another hour. Now very green and green fields.

First stop of the day

Houston Texas was the first stop of the day. An Amtrak only station so very little to do there for the one hour stop over.


Houston Texas from Amtrak


Amtrak station Houston Texas


New Orleans

85 degrees at 1130, my kind of town. Have been passing lots of swamp type ground with large lakes and rivers. After Huston there are not a lot of passengers left so no rush for the dining car or observation car. About 1530 we hit the rain, very heavy with thunder, or is it just the wind blowing over the carriages. Mind you there has been forecast of heavy weather in the New Orleans area over the last few days. 



Other stations of note that we visited were Lafayette in Louisiana and, of course, our final stop New Orleans in Louisiana. The de-training went smoothly and we were in a cab in no time at all to the Wyndham Garden hotel Baronne and Common. Our room looks over the corridor so Dick got a good ‘view from our room’ shot. 
Wyndham Garden hotel New Orleans

Wyndham Garden hotel

The in-house bar was not the best. Drinks served in plastic glasses and closes at 2200. We pop out to the local 24 hr pharmacy for water and ginger ale for me. All of the weirdos were in there buying their cheap beers and packets of chips. Popped into Mike’s Cajun food and pub. Again full of strange people. Lots of ‘effing’ and blinding in everyday language, but they all seemed happy enough and welcoming. Back to the hotel , watch a bit of tv then lights out for me about midnight.

Monday 20th May 2019.

We have travelled for 3 days on a train and now find ourselves in the beautiful New Orleans.

 Wake up at 0800, visit the bathroom, return to bed and wake up again at 1045! Slow start to the day, obviously. Get a coffee from the ‘in-house’ café. Won’t be doing that again. The customer service around here seems to follow the Spanish training ..Rubbish!…. After a while we set out to find the Amtrak train station again to see if we can get an upgrade to our next train on Thursday. We’re told there are no vacant sleepers. We’ll try again Thursday just in case there are any no shows. We then amble down to the French quarter.


Bourbon Street New Orleans


French Quarter New Orleans


Sightseeing in New Orleans

Lots of bars, with or without music. The clothes shops are lovely, vintage and designer, so expensive.

Certainly not for wearing but beautiful.

Creole Queen New Orleans

Do a bit of people watching on the Mississippi river. There is a fantastic paddle steamer named Creole Queen that leaves New Orleans every couple of hours.

There is a very old Tram system in place.

Tram New Orleans


 Bourbon Street, New Orleans

We spend the evening in Bourbon Street. Lots of bars with live bands and pianists, all very good.
Steamboat Willie


 Spirits on Bourbon


 Spirits on Bourbon live music New Orleans

Lots of happy, drunk people. I have a Po Boy for supper. 

 This is basically a French breadstick sandwich. Have a nightcap at Cajun Mike’s.

Tuesday 21.05.19

More sightseeing New Orleans

 A slightly fidgety night so I’m surprised it is 1030 when I eventually wake up. An even slower start to this day … then walk to the Sheraton in Canal Street for Starbucks and the hop on hop off bus. We discover the Garden district, the art district, St Charles Avenue, aka millionaire row, where Beyoncé has a home, and even more parts to the French Quarter.


Very good couple of hours. Lunch is taken in a sports bar, a spot of cholesterol infused Nacos which a pint of dodgy Real Ale. Excellent.


Frenchman Street

Decide to explore Frenchmen Street for this evening’s entertainment. Again lots of nice house and bars, all with music. We stop at Boudoulas, or something like that. Very good band, the singer even added tap dancing to his routine and played the washboard-thing. Excellent. Had blue cheese omelette at 2300 before returning to the two piano bar. Not quite as good, but ok. Got home about 0100.

 Wednesday 22.05.19

Jazz Bands

Another very slow start to the day. I leave the hotel about 1145 to go to Starbucks at the Sheraton hotel, Canal Street. We then stroll to the Riverwalk outlet centre and I buy two pairs of Levis. Sue nearly buys some Burberry sunglasses.  We get to the market area close to Bourbon Street and not too far from the Mississippi and have a light lunch whilst listening to a good jazz band.


Regroup at the hotel before returning to Bourbon Street for more musical entertainment on our last night in New Orleans.

A bag of Doritos takes care of supper just before 2300. Another bad eating day. Set alarm for 0445 as we’re booked on the 0700 Amtrak train to New York tomorrow.



Thursday 23.05.19


AmTrak 2nd Part


As expected the alarm went off all too soon and we begin the process of final packing and checking out of the hotel. We arrive at Amtrak station before 0600 and check in our bags and go to the lounge. Not much more than comfy seats. The toilet is very, er, umm, personal!!

Cabin Toilet Amtrak

We do enquire about an upgrade but at a cost of over $400 we decide to stick with our ‘cosy’ roomette! The distance of this journey from New Orleans to New York is 1169 miles. On time departure for New York at 0700. Tom is our sleeping car supervisor. Lovely expanse of water as we leave New Orleans, about 30 minutes into the journey, absolutely huge lake/inlet/outlet ……

Amtrak New Orleans

Sleeping car

As our sleeping car is at the back of the train I’m not getting to see the station names as we stop, so I don’t really know where we are. About 1430 we stopped at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In the meantime we’re going through quite a few towns, all appear very small. There are swathes of forests with tall green trees, some areas look quite swampy too.

Swampland New Orleans


One bit of excitement. We had to go onto some sidings in order to let a freight train through, and then reverse for a while so that we could re-join the main track. Things don’t get much better than that! Managed to get off at Birmingham, Alabama for a quick leg stretch. Nothing to see from the platform though, not even the name of the station.

Birmingham Alabama

Love is

Heard a story from one of the staff. On one journey there was an elderly husband and wife travelling. The husband got off to have a smoke. All people were told not to wander too far as the train would be leaving soon. The train leaves the station and a short while afterwards it is discovered that the husband is no longer on the train. It appears that the husband had had enough of his wife and decided to delay the rest of his trip by one day in order to get some peace and quiet and had left the station. Love is …..


Lovely scenery. Not!

Sloss Furnaces, Alabama was particularly nice.

Sloss Furnaces, Alabama



Start passing through Georgia 1900’ish. Rest of the evening was spent watching Netflix and BBC IPlayer. I’m in the top bunk tonight. Not the most comfortable. Still awake at close on 0200.


Friday 24.05.19

 Get up about 0700. Not sure where we are. Atlanta was the last recognised stop about 2300 last night. Blue sky and sunshine. Passing tall trees, river inlets all very picturesque.



I think we’re going through Virgina, just passed through Culpepper VA station. Because of having to wait for the freight train yesterday we’re running about two hours late. Our friend in New York we are meeting is contacted regarding a new meet time. Lots of stations visited. Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC and many more before our final station on this train of New York Penn Station. Baltimore does appear to be a toilet, well at least the bit I see from the train, I am assured it is nice.

Baltimore from Amtrak Train


During the couple of days on this trip I got chatting to some new potential step mothers for my daughters, I think their undercarriages may be faulty, so quick photo and they leave us at Washington.

Another love lost.
Quick photo of Washington skyline from Amtrak

Washington from Amtrak Train

and we are off again to New York, OUR FINAL DESTINATION.
Finally the skyline of New York, NYC comes into view,

New York from Amtrak Train

we have done it, circumnavigated the globe by land and sea.

Cracked it. NYC.


New York

We get in just before 1600, rush to meet our friend at a nearby Irish pub. In total we have travelled 2839 miles on the trains. I celebrate our circumnavigation with a glass of beer, and Sue, a glass of champagne. Whoopee. A quick snack of hummus, an even quicker catch-up with our friend and then we’re back to Penn Street station to get the 1738 to Boston Bay Back. Due to arrive 2208.

Boston Train

The train is rammed as it is a long weekend here, Memorial Day, so you have lots of people clogging up the roads, trains and planes. Anyway we get a seat so we’re looking good. It got dark fairly quickly so not much to see on our journey to Boston Back Bay, arriving at just gone 2200.

Train and Taxi

A short taxi ride to the Hilton at Logan airport. Lovely room but as the bill for three nights if over $700, so it should be. Hotel view is up to it’s normal high standard.

Hilton Hotel, Logan Airport

We pop into the bar for supper, a couple of drinks and then bed.
Saturday 25th May 2019

A very slow start to the day. Gone twelve before we head down to the lobby for a Starbucks coffee. We are then advised the best way to get into Boston Proper is to take a free shuttle ride from the airport to South Station and then you’re there. We do that, find the hop on hop off stop and are told we need to buy a ticket at Stop one. So, the very nice lady driver takes without tickets to Stop one giving the commentary of her route as we go.

Tour bus

At Stop one we’re told that the buses stop running at 1700 so we don’t have enough time to complete all of the routes and to come back tomorrow at 1200. There is a delayed start tomorrow to the tours as there are two road races taking place.



We wander around the harbour area, view the pop up beer and wine spaces and the Starbucks outlets as we need to get Sam a Boston mug.

Boston Harbour

China Town

All done and we wander towards China Town to find the Corner pub which sells real ale! Stay there for a couple of drinks and make our way back to South Station on foot to get the silver line bus back to the hotel. We’re like locals now …… back at the hotel we have supper in Connoly’s bar, again, and get back to the room for some more rubbish tv.

Sunday 26th May 2019

We watch the Monaco F1 before we head into town for the bus trip. Fortunately we know where were going and buy our tickets with no problem. Very good tour, not too much ribbing over the Boston tea party. Not much history, either, but then we are in America which is still a young country.


Boston sightseeing

It’s a lovely day so I enjoy the sunshine as we’re shown all the sights. I enjoy a couple of beers in a pub called Bostonia, A very nice place to have a few beers. Sue is on Diet Coke Then we head back to the hotel to pack our bags and enjoy yet another good but expensive supper at the hotel. The alarm will be set for 0415 tomorrow as our flight leaves 0730.

Monday 27.05.19



Home James

Too early to be up but we are greeted by a wonderful sunrise which makes it worth it.

Sunrise Logan Airport Boston

No dramas leaving the hotel for the short walk to a Terminal 5 and our BA checkin. They wanted the best part of $300 for upgrade to Premium Economy so we’re stuck at the back. Row 27 for Dick and 29 for me, both aisle seats.

The duck was outside the plane coming over from London to Tokyo, I forgot to mention it!

Boring flight

 I get lucky with no-one in the middle of the three seats. It is cramped, you don’t get any service for about 90 minutes then it is all rushed. You get what you pay for. The flight is just under 6 hours so we’re at Heathrow by 1900 picking up our bags. Adrian our cab driver is there and we walk through the front door by 9pm. Trip over. Globe now circumnavigated over land and sea. A job well done over 9 years, too many laughs and experiences.

What next

What will be next? …….My favourite place on this trip has to be Japan, and some of the cities outside of Tokyo. The people are really hospitable, eating mystery food is fun (Unless you are a vegetarian as you never know what you will get) and just the whole lifestyle, unless you are in business which I understand is still very draconian.


1st August 2010


24th May 2019

Photos of before and after.

Onwards and upwards!!























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