Onboard the Disney Magic (Part 1)

Joseph and I just returned from our very first real cruise! Technically, we went on a cruise in Egypt, but I can’t really count that since we were only on board to eat dinner and sleep, and we had land on both sides the entire time.

I’m so glad we chose the Disney Cruise Line for our first trip. I would not say Joseph and I are “Disneyholics,” but we enjoy their theme parks and films simply because everything is done so well down to the last detail. The Disney Magic was exactly the same! The staff was amazing (perky, but not annoyingly so!), as was the food, activities, and the ship itself. I had been afraid of going on a cruise because I get bored rather easily and don’t really know how to relax when there is nothing to do. But there were plenty of activities to keep us busy and interested. We went to the movie theater to watch Brave and the debut of Wreck-It Ralph (both were wonderful), watched the Broadway-styled shows in the evenings, took a drawing class, went to a martini tasting, and watched a cooking show-like demonstration from one of the chefs (with samples for the audience!)–just to name a few. I was worried we would get tired of two things on a Disney cruise: children and Disney characters. But there were plenty of adult-only activities and areas, and the character sightings were typically tucked away so those who weren’t interested wouldn’t be bombarded.

Our cruise left from Galveston, TX and went to Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.

The Disney Magic as viewed from Cozumel, Mexico. It is a beautiful ship!

The Magic has over 100 different carpets. I loved this one!

Chandelier by Dale Chihuly, whose work I also mentioned when I went to Las Vegas.

Joseph looks so young in this photo! Is that why everyone assumed we were on our honeymoon (when we are actually celebrating our 5th anniversary next month)?

There was a “character breakfast” where the characters walked around the tables, and the cast members took photos. Again, I don’t really care about characters, but I thought this was a nice touch so that parents don’t have to lug their kids around and wait in long lines! Our servers snuck these hats (Peter Pan and Minnie Mouse) onto our heads.

We loved the “Art of Entertainment” seminars in which chefs made some of their signatures for us. This was an amazing crab and lobster martini!

Joseph modeling his “Who Wants To Be A Mouseketeer?” pin! He didn’t actually win the game, but Disney gave it to him anyway. There would have been an additional prize had he won: a container of Mickey Mouse shaped paper clips. I actually really wanted that prize. Should I be mad at him about this?

Las Vegas Fish

This a scheduled post to keep this blog from being inactive for over a week. Joseph and I are currently on vacation in the Caribbean!

I have been sitting on these photos from our trip to Las Vegas for a while. They are a year old, and I thought finally sharing them only appropriate to get you in the mood for our vacation photos.

Joseph and I both really love aquariums; they seem to entertain us better than nearly anything else. Underwater creatures are both funny and intriguing, and we ended up spending a lot more time staring at fish in Las Vegas than you would imagine. We went to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay and also saw aquariums for free at the Forum Shops and the Rainforest Cafe shop.

Uncommon OBJECTS

During our trip to Austin we inevitably stopped at Uncommon OBJECTS on South Congress–a beautiful antique store full of unique and oh-so-Austinly-weird goods. I couldn’t help but take a few photos.

We were warned in advance to look and not shop due to inflated prices, but we didn’t take the advice. Sometimes on vacation we let ourselves buy things we normally wouldn’t–they make interesting mementos! Joseph bought this weird globe of clocks (that is a window flare in the photo below), and I got a Japanese lithograph that looks perfect in my home office!

InnerSpace Caverns

Do you guys like caving? I absolutely do not. But I agreed to go along with Joseph to InnerSpace Cavern on our way home from Austin. Sorry, Joseph, but that is the last time I’ll be going to a cave with you.

We went to a cave once before in Slovenia, and I have to say the difference was striking. In America everything feels very safe; the pathways are wide and well-paved and have handrails. In Slovenia we crossed a rickety wooden bridge 50 feet above a fast-moving river.

I’m proud of myself for not having a panic attack as we walked in. I was very, very close. Joseph actually bought the picture they took right as we go into the cave, and I look hilariously uncomfortable. He has it sitting on his desk because he apparently enjoys my misery.

Even though it was not an overwhelmingly fun experience for me, I can’t deny the caves were beautiful.

The above photo was from the last top of the tour. It was actually very beautiful with the water reflecting the cave (but not photographing well). When we turned around and made our quick hike back out and the air became more clear, however, I was reassured of my place above the earth.

Joseph enjoyed being in the cave, and I enjoyed surviving the experience (honestly, I was pretty proud of myself for not crying… though I cried a bit in the parking lot when I realized I was actually about to go in a cave).

San Antonio!

For my birthday this summer Joseph surprised me with a trip to San Antonio! Our weekend trip to Austin in July was such a success he thought we should take another. It was of course miserably hot, but we had a good time. It served as a nice break before the end of my busy summer semester this week. I’ve always thought of San Antonio as really touristy, but (with the exception of the Alamo) I didn’t find that at all.

We stayed at Hotel Valencia on the Riverwalk. It is an absolutely beautiful hotel, decorated with raw stones and woods! Above is the view from our window.

My friend Aly lives in the city, and our friend Lauren happened to be visiting that weekend. It was good timing!

Breakfast at Schilo’s. I also feel I should mention the great meal we had for dinner (no pictures) at Boudro’s. It’s rated #1 on the Riverwalk for a reason!

The morning before we left we ate at the Guenther House Restaurant and then walked around looking at the Victorian homes in the area and toured the Edward Steves Homestead.

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