We planned our 10th cruise onboard the new Vista because we wanted to see the newest, biggest member of the Carnival fleet. The itinerary wasn't my favorite: we had already been to each island more than once, but for this one time we would cruise based solely on the ship, not the itinerary. We did have a wonderful time and the ship is beautiful. Here are some photos...

Carnival Vista is a huge ship: it's 1,055 feet long. Over 1,450 hardworking crew members take care of over 3,950 passengers. Here the ship is docked in Grand Turk.

The beautiful atrium on the Carnival Vista: The 3-story center sculpture sits above the bar and reaches to the ceiling above.

The scenes on the vortex are animated, with the fish, stingrays and seas turtles swimming around as if you were in a large aquarium.
Of course like any cruise ship there are numerous places to drink:
Alchemy Bar...

Piano Bar 88...

Skybox Sports Bar...
Havana Bar...(I love the décor in here!)

Red Frog Rum Bar...they brew their own beer.

There are so many places to relax on the ship...

So many fun things to do...

Soak up that Caribbean sunshine...

Swim in the pools, relax in the whirlpools...

For the kids there's the Waterworks fun area...

For the adventurous there's the Skyride...

or the Skycourse obstacle climb...

For the less adventurous there's mini golf and shuffleboard...

Overall Carnival Vista is a wonderful cruise ship.  There is so much to do, so much to eat, so many memories to make and so many new friends to meet.

For more information on Carnival cruises, click on its website here.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me during our cruise in November, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



Housing thousands of species of marine life in over 10 million gallons of water, the Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. Located across the street from Centennial Olympic Park and right next to World of Coca-Cola, the aquarium is right in the heart of downtown Atlanta. The aquarium was the main reason we took our experimental weekend trip to Atlanta.

The area in between the aquarium and World of Coca-Cola is a lovely park called Pemberton Place...named after the inventor of Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola Company donated the land that the aquarium was built on.

And what is there to see in the aquarium...?

Gorgeous coral formations...
Jelly fish...
But the main attraction of the aquarium is its enormous over 6-million gallon exhibit which amazingly houses four (yes, 4!) whale sharks, a swordfish and multiple giant manta rays. The aquarium is the only institution outside Asia which has whale sharks. And they are HUGE!

How about this swordfish? I'd never seen one in person...
And the manta rays, fascinated by the divers' air bubbles, swam in 360 degrees circles in and around the bubbles...
So much else...from delicate seahorses, some of which hang upside down by their tails...
Hundreds of brilliantly-colored fish in all sizes and shapes...

A rare albino alligator...
And adorable penguins...

A benefit of our weekend trip was our aquarium tickets were included in a package deal at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta. This Marriott is within easy walking distance to the aquarium, and it is located near many popular restaurants. Check out the hotel's website for package deals which may include tickets to various Atlanta sites.

To read my post about our stay at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, click here.

For more information on the Georgia Aquarium, click on its website here.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me at the Georgia Aquarium in August, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



On my last post about our quick weekend trip to Atlanta, I gave you a brief tour of Centennial Olympic Park. Since our flight home on Sunday wasn't until late afternoon, we took the opportunity to walk back down to Centennial Olympic Park. It's only a 4-block walk to the park, and the weather on that Sunday morning was perfect.

As we walked through the park I noticed a 2-car tram-like street car stopped right across the street. Our progress through the park led us over to the SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel...

so I took the opportunity to walk over to the tram stop to see what it was. I asked a woman who was working there where did the tram traveled to and how much it cost. She said a complete circuit of the tram route took about 30 minutes, and it only cost $1.00 to ride. We had about another hour to fill before we needed to check out of the hotel so we decided to take a ride.  I mean, for $1.00, what did we have to lose, and it would give us a chance to see a little more of Atlanta.

It turns out the Atlanta Streetcar system is about 2.7 miles long and consists of 12 different stops in the heart of downtown Atlanta. It connects the Atlanta visitor from the area of Centennial Park to the Martin Luther King historical area.

The most famous stop on the route is of course the King Historic District stop.  Here across the street from the tram stop are both of the famous Ebenezer Baptist Churches:

The original church where Dr. King preached...

And the new church which was dedicated in 1999...
Within a block or two of these two churches are both Dr. King's birth home and the gravesite of Dr. King and his wife. I am really disappointed in my lack of research regarding this area. I had absolutely no idea that this historic area was so close to the area we were staying in. Well, a good reason for another quick weekend trip to Atlanta.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me during our visit to Atlanta in August, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.



Living in a major city like Chicago I try to take advantage of every opportunity presented to see an exhibition of art that I find interesting. When I saw an advertisement of a free exhibition of the work of artist Norman Lewis at the Chicago Cultural Center, I knew I wanted to see it for two reasons: the artwork itself, and the fact I had never been inside the Cultural Center, a 1897 building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Norman Lewis was a pivotal figure in American Art, and he was one of the innovators of the post-World War II art movement known as Abstract Expressionism. Unfortunately because he was African-American, racism prevented this talented artist from attaining the notoriety he so obviously deserved.

In his early work during the 1930s and 1940s, Lewis' work focused on what he saw in the area of Harlem where he grew up and lived.

The Wanderer (Johnny) 1933



The Dispossessed (Family) 1934

Meeting Place (aka Shopping) 1941

Hep Cats (1943): Lewis himself was a dapper dresser.

Composition I (1945): This painting was Lewis' first foray into the abstract style of painting. Although these rectangular shapes could depict an urban city such as New York City, this painting showed the painter's departure from his usual subjects of life and people living in Harlem.  He was criticized for this change in painting style.

Jazz Club (1945)
Fives Phases (1949)

Roller Coaster (1946)

Spring (1947)

Untitled (1949) 
Migrating Birds (1953)
Redneck Birth (1961)

Ritual (1962)
Journey (1965)

March on Washington (1965)

Exodus (1972)

Aurora Borealis (1972-1976)

Untitled (1978)

This exhibition was a real treat. I love discovering new artists and learning the struggles they incurred to have their art appreciated. I love the brilliant color Norman Lewis used in his paintings. Although his later, abstract paintings are spectacular, I like his earlier works, showing the people he encountered and their lives in 1930s and 1940s Harlem more.

This exhibition is on display at the Chicago Cultural Center until January 8, 2017. Admission is FREE. For more information click here.

Thank you for visiting.

A Great Europe Trip Planner

All photos were taken by me at this exhibition in October, 2016. Unauthorized use is prohibited.