We started our trip today which will be a combination of two cruises, one centered around Greece and the other in the Adriatic. Our two flights went smoothly as we connected through Newark on the way to Malta.
John was looking forward to some good German beer at the Lufthansa lounge during our layover but no alcohol was being served!
Flying domestically during the pandemic is pretty much like flying before except you have to wear a mask full time. Luckily both our flights contained no disgruntled passengers and mostly I just had sore ears. There is a lot of paperwork to be done before traveling internationally and once we reached Malta we had to prove our vaccination status through an app that gives them permission to verify your status and a EU form so they know where you are going and a health declaration. On top of that Viking, the cruise line we are going on, has a rigorous set of protocols and daily testing. Since they have had zero infections since they started up operations again in July, it seems to be working well.
Tomorrow we start our touring in Malta. Today was mostly taken up with getting unpacked and napping. And of course eating! We had dinner at the Chef’s Table and enjoyed fine cuisine and wine pairings. Our sommelier was someone we had met on our Southeast Asian cruise two years ago and he remembered John! So that was fun.
Everything was really delicious and the service was great! We are off to a great start!
We went back up to EDGE in Sonoma for a fancy dinner and overnight. We missed being able to travel to Vancouver to have dinner at Maenam but the pandemic is still keeping us from our normal activities. Nonetheless we had a wonderful time and enjoyed dining out and being together for this special day.
Today we continue our exploration of Carson City, NV and where better to begin than at the Nevada State Museum. The building that houses the museum is an amalgamation of an original older building and a modern section. Ingenuously the architect has made the connection point to look like a mine headframe. We mention that fact to the cashier when we are buying our tickets and she admits to never noticing even though she has worked there for years.
The museum has a large section devoted to rocks, dinosaurs, and ancient mammals all of which are or were plentiful in Nevada. Many fossilized dinosaurs have been discovered in the area.
After the rocks and animals we take a look at settlers’ houses and handicrafts and the evolution of modern Nevada.
We then take a look at a mine mock-up. Mining is a big deal in Nevada and we learn a lot about mining and all sorts of jargon which will be exceedingly difficult to work into every day conversation. Carson City is near to Virginia City home to the gold and silver of the Comstock Lode.
Lastly due to all the silver being generated by the mining, Nevada petitioned the federal government to finance a mint. For about 23 years in the late 1800s, Carson City minted silver dollars with their CC imprint on them. The press is still operational but only mints commemorative coins now.
We pick up a sandwich for lunch and go back to the hotel to eat our lunch and have a little down time. Around 2 PM we venture back out to visit the Railroad Museum. Unfortunately only half of the museum is open but they charge us full price nonetheless.
In the main building there are several engines and cars in tiptop shape. It seems that the Virginia and Truckee Railroad excelled at supplying the movie industry with old steam engines for the movies. The movie studios returned them mostly in really good shape. Here are a few of the trains we saw.
There are interesting maps on the floor showing the route and the time it took to get to Promontory Point where they drove in the golden spike. The track coming from the East took a few months to get from point to point but the track from the west took four years to cover the much shorter distance through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Next we decide to take a look at the Governor’s Mansion a few blocks away. The Mansion is situated in a middle class American neighborhood although it is much bigger than most of the houses near it. It is built in the Classical Revival style. The governor’s home was built between 1908 and 1909 specifically as a home for the governor.
The rest of the neighborhood looks like the kind of neighborhood I grew up in, nice, but not too nice. People have multiple vehicles parked around their houses. A few have dirt driveways and various “antiques” in their yards or on their front porches. Most of the houses look like they were built after WWII. So it is an interesting mix. I also cannot say anything laudatory about the governor’s landscaping. It is early Spring here but maybe someone could have put down some new mulch or picked up the empty plastic bottles that I see here and there.
After thoroughly checking out the Governor’s Mansion we make our way back to the hotel where we loll around until almost 7:30 PM. We guess we better find some dinner. Our choice to night is called Pho Country which the internet says is open until 9PM. Except it isn’t. The sign on the door says only take-out between 7 and 8 PM. Now we are in a scramble to find somewhere that is open. We end up at Miss Lily’s China Bistro where although there is a lot of traffic at the take-out window, we are the only people inside. We order our usual Chinese restaurant order, moo shu pork and Mongolian beef (extra spicy). So much for my good intentions to eat reasonably for dinner.
Today we started a two week road trip, a kind of celebration of being fully vaccinated. Our first destination was Carson City, NV, the capitol of Nevada. The city is named after the Carson River which was named after Kit Carson by his friend and fellow pioneer, John C. Fremont. They came across the area and the river when searching for a way to get over the Sierra Nevada mountains. The pass they found is named Carson Pass and is at an elevation of over 8000 feet.
Here are some pictures from the day.
After lunch we went for a walk in the historical district where the State Capitol Building is. Nevada entered the Union in 1864. The building was constructed between 1869 and 1871 in the Neoclassical Italiante style. It is set in a park with other various government buildings nearby.
After checking into the hotel we took showers followed by a lie-down. For dinner we found a Mexican restaurant, San Marcos Grill, and had various seafoods.
John and I planned a treat for ourselves and went out to lunch, dinner, and stayed over at hotel for the first time since February, 2020. I have to admit that not being able to go to restaurants for over a year probably helped a lot with staying on a diet but now that we are semi-free to do so, I have to figure out strategies to make good choices.
Since we were scheduled for a wine tasting at Imagery we decided to go to Salt and Stone in Kenwood first. For lunch I ordered mussels and John ordered octopus. Seafood, as a long as it is not fried, is always a good choice. Giving John my bread is also a successful strategy for me but probably not for him.
Our lunch was followed by a wine tasting at Imagery Winery. We sat outside and it was a perfect Spring day to do it. Flowers were blooming everywhere and the temperature was just right.
After our tasting we made our way to the BW Sonoma to check in, have a little rest, and get cleaned up for dinner. The hotel is very near the square in Sonoma and it is an easy walk to EDGE, the restaurant associated with Stone Edge Winery.
We had a four course meal paired with wines which had us eating hamachi, a salad, halibut, and buttermilk ice cream. Of course these were not simply the item on a plate but each course was carefully prepared with delicious accompaniments.
It was so great to go out again. We still need to be careful but now that we are vaccinated, we feel much safer than before. We are looking forward to more outings and travel soon.