I Heart Romantic Places

This week’s photo challenge on I heart Faces is My Story in Photos: Places I Love. They are lifting the requirement to see faces this week – they want us to post photos of the most romantic places we’ve been!

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other faces, or to enter a photo of your own!

If you are one of the large group of my enthusiastic fans five people who occasionally read my blog, then you must already know that my husband took me on my first cruise for my 50th birthday. We barely made it onto the ship, and you can read all about that ordeal here. But it was worth every minute of aggravation we went through to get there, as these photos will attest.

We cruised out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Sea. It was a five day cruise to the Western Caribbean. The first port of call was Key West, a romantic place I had always wanted to visit!

Key West has a laid, back, quirky, off beat appeal. The homes are quaint, colorful, packed with personality and have some of the most gorgeous, tropical flowers and trees around them that I’ve ever seen.

This “market” is unlike anything you will find anywhere else. This photo is quintessentially Key West!

A walk down Duval Street lived up to it’s reputation of oddities, variety and a 24 hour party atmosphere. We met some characters, that’s for sure!

Yes, there really are chickens running all over the place in Key West!

Our next port of call was Cozumel. We played golf at the Cozumel Country Club. It was overrun with all kinds of critters. We saw snakes, iguanas, alligators and this large crab was determined to keep me from hitting my ball!

The next stop was Playa Del Carmen. We took a cab to a eco-water park called Xel Ha. It was all inclusive food and drinks, as much as you wanted, all day. This lagoon was full of tropical fish and they offered snorkeling gear, kayaks and rafts for use.

There were chairs and hammocks set up all over the park, walking trails, several wonderful restaurants and bars and even a place to swim with dolphins (for an extra fee.)

We floated down this authentic lazy river on a double raft. It would have been very romantic, but we were having to paddle the whole time against the waves to keep from crashing into the rocks along the shores.

Part of the park had access to the beach and the ocean. This was my favorite photo from the whole cruise. It was  paradise.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the color of this water.

Even the rocks were unbelievably beautiful.

As you can see, it was a great place to loll around in a hammock.

At the time, I had no idea this would become my header photo for a blog!

Our last stop on this cruise was Belize. We had to take a tender from the ship into the small port.

We went into the tropical forest in Belize to visit the majestic mayan ruins of Laminai, which means “submerged crocodile” in the Maya language. It’s also the third largest  and possibly most interesting, archeological site in Belize.

Our tender boat, and the Jewel shared the water with these Belizean fishermen.

Since this post is for I Heart Faces, here are our smiling faces, just before going to a romantic dinner onboard our ship.

We loved getting away on this romantic cruise and I can’t wait to take another one!

Six Words Saturday

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I’m So Ready For Another Cruise

There’s a new forum I’m interested in posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.

I’m So Ready For Another Cruise

Plus I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the shorter a blog post is, the more likely folks are to read it and comment.

Yes, comment. I’m that shallow, y’all.

So here are my incredibly well thought-out six words. Are y’all ready?

I’m So Ready For Another Cruise

I am. Really.

And yes, I know it is Sunday right now. That’s because I’m working night shift and my Saturday started really late and before I could get it together it was Sunday already.

See? I’m So Ready For Another Cruise

A Red Margarita for Ruby Tuesday

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My Ruby Tuesday picture this week is a Red Strawberry Margarita. This photo was taken at Xel Ha, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico; a natural waterpark that we visited while on a cruise to the western Caribbean, aboard Royal Caribbean’s  Jewel of the Sea. Your admission ticket includes all the food you can eat, and all the booze you can drink, and they have several restaurants, bars and buffets set up all over the park.

I think y’all can probably tell from the expression on my face, that I thought this was a wonderful concept. And yes, I had two plates of food in front of me, and, yes, I ordered another margarita.

rubyslippers-copy1Ruby Tuesday is a photo sharing concept, or meme, if you will, y’all. Every Tuesday, you post one of your own  photos that contains something red. It can be a whole lotta red, or a little bit of red. I liked the eclectic collection of pictures I saw over at  Work of the Poet, so I decided to play. And I really, really like the cute little red Dorothy shoes in the Ruby Tuesday button (left). Ain’t they just too cute? If you click on them, you can look at lots of other folks’ Ruby Tuesday photos.

Blue Monday equals Blue Seas

downloadThis pretty little bluejay means that it’s Blue Monday, y’all. This is my second week of participating in this photo meme, hosted by Smiling Sally.

It’s easy to do, and pretty self-explanatory. Post a photograph of something blue, go to Blue Monday, and add your blog. Then sit back and wait for the comments to roll in! Oh yeah, and it helps if you spread some bloggy love by commenting on all the other lovely blue pictures.

If you want to see some other blue pictures, click on over to her site and you’ll be amazed.

Blue is my favorite color, so I have lots of Blue Photos to share. This is another one from my first, and only cruise. We went to the Western Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s ship, Jewel of the Sea. This shot was taken from the beach at Xel Ha, a natural waterpark in Playa de Carmen. I love the varying blue colors of the sea and sky.

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Scenic Sunday Paradise

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This is my third week of posting for Scenic Sunday. Scenic Sunday is a photo meme of the scenery. It can be landscapes, buildings, flowers, or anything you feel is a scenery photo. This meme is held every Weekend. To join, just post your scenery shots on your blog and link back to Scenic Sunday. Please visit every body’s photos and comment. You won’t believe all the beautiful scenery you’ll find.

We stumbled across paradise when we were looking for the beach at Xel Ha, a eco-waterpark in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. On a cruise, celebrating my 50th birthday and our 7th anniversary, my husband and I took thousands of pictures of the local scenery. Every where we looked, the beauty of this place was overwhelming.

I wish I could say we took time to sit in these chairs and enjoy the view, but we were on a mission that day to see and photograph and record every single inch of the park. I guess I’m glad we did, or I wouldn’t have so many beautiful pictures to share!

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Play this meme, y’all.

Shadows In Paradise

shadow-shot-sunday-logo1This photo is for Shadow Shot Sunday. It was made on a perfect, warm November day in Mexico, near the port of Playa Del Carmen, at a surreal place called Xel-Ha, pronounced “Shell Ha”.

Xel-Ha is described as an ecological nature park, but in reality, it is pretty much paradise on earth, y’all.  It has a river and lagoons that you can snorkel in, ride a tube or a canoe in, or you can swim with dolphins. There are nature trails, bridges, tropical plants, hammocks to relax in, beaches so beautiful they will take your breath away, and underground water caves, also known as cenotes.

On top of all that, your admission price includes all the food you can eat and all the alcohol you can drink, and there is a different bar or restaurant around every corner. Now that’s my idea of hospitality!

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Xel Ha Hammocks

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This is for Wordless Wednesday, Sunday’s Edition, and also Shadow Shot Sunday.

We made this picture in a nature/water park called Xel Ha (“shell ha”) that is located near Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  We were on a cruise at the time. I wish I could say we laid around in these hammocks, just relaxing, but the truth of the matter is – we mostly walked all over the park taking as many pictures as we could. I wanted to capture the warmth and the beauty of the place, so I could enjoy it later, on cold winter days. Like today.