Bon Voyage!

Well gang, I promised that I’d write you “next year” … so here it is!  But first, I hope that your 2016 has started out in peace and health and that this year brings each of us lots of surprises, stuffed full with love!  Yahoo!!

So you might think the title of this blog, “Bon Voyage” is weird for the first post of the year right?  Well, not exactly.  Most of us think of this word as meaning “Good Bye, have a great a trip!” but it really translates to “Good luck and great wishes for your journey!”  So it’s very appropriate for this post as both the first post of the new year and the journey we all look forward to this year, and as a title for our family trip.  So, here you go!

As for us, we started out with a bang!  We left Chicago on January 1st heading to Miami, just as you all were settling in to watch the Rose Parade.  We met the kids from all their different starting points and began a “Galvan Family Vacation” or as the kids would call it “#galvantravels” with a cruise to the “Eastern Caribbean.”

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 138

Since we arrived a day early (I needed to make sure they would all make it there on time and not “miss the boat” … literally!!), we had Saturday to take a look around the city, eat some amazing food, and enjoy their fabulous culture.  So first … a tour of the Everglades!  We were loaded up on a “fan” boat … it brought back memories of my favorite tv show back in the day … remember “Flipper”?  hahaha!  Yes, Sandy and Flipper, my two favorites … “they call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning, no one you see, is smarter than he …”  Oh come on, tell me you don’t remember that one!!  I can hear you humming the tune!!!  Alright, well, back to the fan boat.  It was a blast, literally!  We blasted through the Everglades on this crazy fast fan boat looking for alligators.  I didn’t see any alligators (TBTG!), however, we saw lots of beautiful native birds, the sea life and plant life of the area, and had a lot of fun on that crazy ride!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 043

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 027

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 033

After the ride, they have an arena where they show you lots of the area’s animals, and they brought out one of the common “loud mouths” of the Everglades.  A huge frog!  The presenter obviously had an eye for Ashley, so he asked her to give the “little guy” a kiss for him to see what would happen … so she did!!  Yes, she did!  But the funniest part about it was the reactions on the young girls’ faces who were sitting behind her!  I probably looked just like them, but I think this is priceless!!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 032

Kudos to Ash for being a good sport with that one!

That was a really fun day and we were all able to check off our bucket list … “See the Everglades.” 

Before we left for the cruise the next morning, the kids presented us with a very cute gift.  They made Eddie the “Captain” and me the “First Mate” and they were all the “Crew.”  We wore these hats all during the cruise and many of our co-passengers would comment on how clever they were.  Even one of the real crew members asked me, “So when did you get promoted?”  It was a great addition to our family vacay!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 021

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 029

The Galvan Family Bon Voyage Party on deck!

Our first stop was Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic.

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 008

I missed the sunrise, but this was about 6:30 a.m., as we arrived to the Dominican Republic

Eddie and I went exploring in the very small shopping village and the kids found the one and only resort!  We reunited later that afternoon at this beautiful resort, that included one of those crazy water slides!  Well let me just tell you … it was crazy fun!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 013

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 015

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 016

It certainly brought back childhood memories of some great slides!  And the view from the top was pretty spectacular!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 009

Sunset as we say goodbye to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

It was a beautiful day in paradise …

Our next day was spent in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.  This is definitely a larger port than yesterday’s, filled with shops, culture, musicians, and beautiful, friendly people.  The mountains and oceans were stunning, colors that we have never seen before … deep, deep greens, blues that were sparkly (is that a word?), and some vivid (and my favorite) pinks!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 002

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 011

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 038

We met up with the kids again at the beach in the afternoon for some snorkeling.  It takes a little getting used to, especially when you’re un-coordinated me!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 025

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 056

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 033

The colors under the water were just as beautiful as the ones above.  This was truly a blessing in seeing the “awe” of the Creator’s hand.

IMG_5808

IMG_6031

It was a beautiful day in paradise …

Third stop was Puerto Rico!  Ai Yai Yai!  That was a fabulous place and we only had time to see “Old” San Juan, “New” San Juan, and the Great Fortress!  This place is a definite do over.  We all loved it and will be back here for sure!  Take a look!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 002

Entering the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico

The famous “Fort” in Puerto Rico was absolutely fabulous!  You can’t imagine a place like this until you walk through its halls and tunnels, on the walls, and in the cemetery.  What stories lie in this place!  It’s actually four “forts” … Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, most of the city walls, the San Juan Gate and Fort San Juan de la Cruz just across the entrance to the bay.  It was continually built and re-built over 250 years by Spain and then the United States to fortify the prized location of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.  This is a place for everyone to experience.  These pictures definitely do not do this place justice, but I’ll try.

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 037

The walls and a look-out area

 

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 038

The cemetery, dating back hundreds of years!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 039

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 052

Looking out from one of the cannon areas.  Look to the middle of the picture and you can see another end of the fort.  

Being the history fanatics that we are, Eddie and I really enjoyed this day.  We will definitely come back to explore more of these walls.

IMG_5934

As we were leaving the fort, someone had to come by to say “Hi” … I very quickly said, “GOODBYE!”  Haha!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 067

This little guy (approximately 4 feet long!!) decided to say hello to us!  

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 068

HELLO!  Yikes!  I ran away, of course!  

After leaving the Fort, Eddie and I took a walk through the “two” cities, and of course, visited their beautiful cathedral.  St. Juan Bautista was simple and beautiful at the same time.  The cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in the “Old” San Juan neighborhood, and is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas.  Isn’t that something?

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 111

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 079

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 082

After a nice walk and a delicious lunch, we made our way back to the kids …

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 125

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 119

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 137

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 133

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 136

Apparently, we “took over” the hot tub as we pulled out of Puerto Rico … and yes, that’s a good old-fashioned Bloody Mary that I’ve been caught drinking!  

If you are planning a get-away anytime soon, be sure to stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I had no idea how beautiful it was and Eddie and I, hopefully with some of you, will certainly be back!
Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 025

It was a beautiful day in paradise … 

Our last port was probably our favorite.  Well, maybe.  Not sure.  The others were so great too!  How do you choose?  I guess we have to go back!  Grand Turks was a beautiful, peaceful, reflective place.  The water was even more spectacular than any of the other places we had seen so far.

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 024

We took a catamaran to one of their smaller islands, and did more snorkeling and exploring.  Edward and Ash took pictures with their drone, and I think you’ll agree with me, that this place was pretty extraordinary!

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 025

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 022

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 002

It looks like someone took a few crayons and went wild with the blues, greens, turquoise, etc.  Well, I guess “Someone” did … when you see places like this, you have to believe that God was having a great time creating scenery like this for us to appreciate, but also to care for.

Cruise Notre Dame Michigan Jan 2016 026

It was definitely a beautiful day in paradise … 

That was a trip full of blessings.  We made some great memories, had some great experiences, saw beautiful places, met wonderful people, and were especially blessed with the gift of spending time with one another.  We couldn’t ask for more than that.

Bon Voyage everyone … may your next journey be guided by God and led by love!

Talk to you tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard

3 thoughts on “Bon Voyage!

  1. Niza De Jesus says:

    Thanks Lani for sharing your post. Jessie and I are so happy for you and your family and the good times you spent together bonding with each other. You are truly blessed. Ten days to go and you will be home in La Verne soon. Dying to see you my dearest Lani. Love you, Niza and Jessie

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s