Blogging Geography Photography Travel

My Flickr Photostream

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. You know – I’m still on Flickr. I’ve never created an Instagram account. I don’t even know what Instagram looks like. I tried Google Photos for a little while, and I realized that it was too complicated to use, and it’s inferior to Flickr. It was disappointing since I use Google (the search engine) all day every day.

Flickr has been around for 19 years, and I’ve been on it for the past dozen years. I like Flickr. It’s easy to use. It’s relatively glitch-free. I have unlimited storage as a paid Flickr Pro member. I’m approaching 4,000 photos on it. I’ll be on it for as long as they exist.

My goal is to upload and caption at least 10 new photos per month onto Flickr. I’ve done that for the past 53 months in a row – since the end of 2018. I’ve been asked – “why don’t you just do a photo dump of all of your photos all at once and be done with it ?” Well that would be no fun at all. Flickr is my personal electronic scrapbook, so each new photo is meticulously selected, uploaded, researched, captioned, and placed in its appropriate album. I have 65 albums – most of which are public.

This month I’ll be populating my Puerto Rico album. I was in Old San Juan on January 11TH 2023, and I have some very nice photos to share of that wonderful day – courtesy of Carnival Celebration. On the previous day I was in Amber Cove, Puerto Plata, and the surrounding north-central coast region of Dominican Republic. I uploaded 34 photos from that day in February, March, and April. I actually took 81 photos that day, so only about 42% of them made it onto Flickr. I call them – the best of the best. (Check-out my Dominican Republic album.)

I’m not a professional photographer, but it is a hobby of mine when I’m visiting the world. It’s a relatively new hobby of mine since the start of the smart phone revolution – and Flickr. One of my biggest regrets in life is the lack of photos of my travels before I owned a smart phone.

If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page you can see thumbnails of the last 6 added photos to my Flickr Photostream. It’s a good way to keep-up with what I’ve uploaded and captioned onto my favorite photo hosting service.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll head-up to Orange County Florida. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Blogging Driving Geography Military Photography Travel

My Carnival Celebration Vacation 2023

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote about Amber Cove, Puerto Plata, and the surrounding area up to 2,600 feet above sea level along the north-central coast of the Dominican Republic. That was Day 3 of my 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Celebration from Sunday January 08TH 2023 to Sunday January 15TH 2023.

This week we jump to Day 4 of my 7-day cruise – and the 2ND port-of-call in San Juan Puerto Rico.

But First: It’s always good to return back to the U.S.A. – whether it’s stateside or a territory at sea – if only to get full-use of my cell phone (iPhone) back again without any extra International “roaming” charges. Those LTE signal bars look so beautiful after not having any since a few miles offshore Miami Beach.

I pre-purchased a shore excursion for Old San Juan – visiting fortresses. Shortly after arrival and U.S. Customs clearance on the island, I met my group and we hopped on our bus. Our tour guide / driver narrated during our short drive up to the first fortress. She also exhibited a little bit of Puerto Rican road-rage along the way, as traffic was thick and slow due to several cruise ships in port. Cops were blocking roads in an effort to make traffic run more smoothly, but it seemed to be causing more problems than not.

We made it to Castillo San Cristóbal, and our tour guide /driver handed-off to another tour guide who told us a little bit about the fortress. Then she told us to go check it out for ourselves and return back to the bus about 40 minutes later. (This was very unlike the shore excursion that I enjoyed on the previous day in the Dominican Republic as described last #TravelThursday.)

Our next fortress was Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and it was essentially the same situation. Our tour guide told us a little bit about it, and then we went to check it out on our own. After we were done – we walked back on our own to the bus to be there at a certain time.

After the two fortresses our tour guide / driver drove us to the city center of Viejo San Juan, and that was pretty much the end of the tour. She recommended that we walk back to the ship from there (a short walk), as traffic was muy malo. (She essentially gave up for the day.)

While the shore excursion for the Dominican Republic was a perfect 5 stars because of our tour guide and what we saw – this shore excursion was more like 3 stars. It wasn’t really a waste of time or money, but we could’ve had better, more knowledgeable, and more patient tour guides with less attitude. We could’ve also had cold air coming out of the bus vents instead of air.

I took some good pictures from the fortresses. They will appear on my Flickr Photostream in the weeks to come. Here’s one of the 3 cruise ships in port at the time from atop Castillo San Cristóbal. (The Carnival Celebration is in the middle.)

Fun Fact: This was my 2ND-ever visit to San Juan Puerto Rico. My 1ST visit was a little over 12 years ago on January 20TH 2011 as part of a 7-day cruise on the Carnival Glory.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll head over to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to enjoy a fun day on a nearly empty ship, or – perhaps – it didn’t quite turn out that way. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Blogging Driving Geography Nature Photography Travel

My Carnival Celebration Vacation 2023

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote about the food, service, entertainment, and Cruise Director(s) aboard the Carnival Celebration from Sunday January 08TH 2023 to Sunday January 15TH 2023. If you missed it (or any other previous editions of my cruise review) then simply scroll down on this page to read past blog posts.

This week we jump to Day 3 of my 7-day cruise – and the first port-of-call in the Dominican Republic.

But First: Occurring simultaneously I’m also uploading and captioning photos of my cruise onto my Flickr site. Go to my Flickr Photostream to check them out. (The most recent photos are at the top.)

Going into this cruise I figured that I would really enjoy my day touring San Juan Puerto Rico (Day 4), and that I would really enjoy my fun day on a nearly empty ship while docked in port at Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas U.S.V.I. (Day 5). I didn’t really have high expectations of my day in the Dominican Republic (Day 3). But that’s why one shouldn’t “overthink” a cruise beforehand. I tend to do that sometimes. I figured that it would be my least favorite port-of-call of the 3 – for no particular reason other than the fact that it was the only non-U.S. port, and a first-time visit for me.

Fun Fact: This was my 2ND-ever visit to the Dominican Republic. My 1ST visit was a little over 10 years ago as part of an 8-day cruise on the Carnival Valor. That was at La Romana on the southeast coast. This 2ND visit was at Amber Cove on the north-central coast.

This port far-exceeded all expectations that I had for it. I pre-purchased a 3½-hour shore excursion (through Carnival) titled “Mountain Views & City Sights”. Sounds kind of vague – doesn’t it ? As it turns out – that was an appropriate title for the tour – that turned out to be nearly 5 hours.

Here’s how Carnival describes this tour on their web site:

“Take a scenic countryside drive in a safari truck through San Marcos Village and up to Puerto Plata’s highest mountain – Isabel De Torres. Follow the guide on a visit to the botanical gardens and see the famous Statue of Christ. Take in the amazing views of the surrounding area before heading back down the mountain. Explore the historical center of Puerta Plata including Plaza Independencia and enjoy a photo stop at the San Felipe Fortress before heading back to the pier.” (

That’s an excellent snapshot of my day. Our tour guide on the open-air safari truck was fantastic. He narrated nearly the entire time telling us all about this beautiful region (north-central coast) of his country. He clearly loves his job and his country. He was our tour guide on the various stops along the way as well, and he pretty much stayed with us the entire time from start to finish. There was no “handing-off” to another tour guide, or a “go check everything out and meet me back here in 45 minutes”. He led us everywhere. He told us about everything. He was one of the best tour guides I’ve encountered on any recent shore excursion. He was knowledgeable, friendly, and had a fun sense of humor. His catch phrase was “Hola ! Coca Cola !”. (It never got old. I smiled every time he said that.)

That tour – because of that tour guide – was one of the top highlights of my 7-day cruise.

4 days ago on #SundayScripture I posted a photo of El Cristo Redentor (Christ The Redeemer) – a statue that overlooks Puerto Plata – the country’s 3RD-largest city – from nearly 800 meters / 2,600 feet above sea level on Loma Isabel De Torres. Here’s what Christ is looking at – the beautiful city below:


Next #TravelThursday we’ll head over to Old San Juan Puerto Rico to check-out some fortresses. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Blogging Driving Geography Military Nature Photography Travel Weather

Biscayne Bay Tourist Attractions

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. We’re in the dry season now here in South Florida. It started during the middle of last month, and it continues until the middle of May. It’s our 7-month “nice” season here – marked by abundant sunshine, not much rain, cooler temperatures, and lower humidity. We actually experienced a near-record cold day last month on the 19TH of October when a polar-origin cold front slammed through the area and dumped our temperatures down into the lower-60s with wind chills in the 50s from the early-afternoon through the next morning. It was also cloudy, gloomy, and drizzly for the entire day. It very much resembled one of those weird dark, cold, and raw January days that we get once or twice a year (if at all). It was quite the phenomenon to get it so early in the season on the 19TH of October !

So since it’s nice out, and my days remaining here in South Florida are limited – I need to visit some tourist attractions this season and write about them here on #TravelThursday.

I just read a very nice write-up on Biscayne National Park and some renovation work they have recently completed on one of their main walkways to the sea. I haven’t been out there – just 8½ miles away from my home – since May 2016. It’s time to visit again. It’s a nice place to relax and enjoy the scenery of the sea.

It’s been 3½ years since I’ve visited the Charles Deering Estate – also along Biscayne Bay. That’s a fun 2-to-3-hour visit. They do ranger-led boat tours of Biscayne National Park that leave from and return to the Deering Estate. That’s what I did 3½ years ago. I’d like to do it again.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is also along Biscayne Bay, and I haven’t been there since February 2018. As a U.S. military veteran – I get free admission year-round, so I respect that. I need to drive up the road (about 25 miles from home) and check it out again. There’s a lot of great photo opportunities there.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is also along Biscayne Bay, and it’s been 10½ years since my last visit there. I get in for free there too anytime I want. It’s just another 7 miles up the road from Fairchild, so maybe I can visit both Fairchild and Vizcaya on the same day – like maybe during the week when they are less crowded.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll trek across the sea over to England. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp