Lots of pictures!
Friday was our last of 5 straight days at sea. The water has been especially rough the last couple of days, but it doesn’t seem to have bothered Carter. People around the ship keep asking me if it does, and I tell them I have no idea. I’m not sure how I would know if it did!
Here are a some pictures of Carter from Friday. We met up with another family with a toddler in the Fun Factory that morning, which he seemed to enjoy. Here he’s climbing on the table.
Here he’s looking out the window at the wine bar. The water is so blue! It was pretty rough that day, too.
And here he is having his first taste of crème brulee! He loved it, by the way.
We went to check out a disco club in the middle of the day, and Carter liked crawling around in there. The DJ was playing music, and Carter would sit down in the middle of the dance floor and clap, much to everyone’s amusement. That’s something new he’s started doing recently – clapping whenever he hears music. Here he’s climbing in a bubble chair.
Paula babysat again on Friday night, which is awesome. Carter really likes her and lights up when he sees her. She’s been nice enough to stop by and say hello to him a couple of times. Here’s a picture of Doug and I having a night out on our own.
Saturday morning when we got up, there was land outside the window! We had reached the Azores, a string of Portugese-owned islands off the coast of Europe. They’re about as far out from Europe as Bermuda is from North America, to give you a point of reference.
We docked and had our first chance to get off the boat in almost a week. We had bought tickets on a short tour that went up to a crater lake in a volcano, and so we set off on the bus. We hadn’t known before we left that it was actually a 2-hour bus ride on a tiny little crowded European-sized bus. With Carter. Oy. But it turned out to be fantastic. He seemed to enjoy cuddling in the crowded space we had and looking out the window at the towns and villages that went by as we headed up the mountain. He finally fell asleep.
He slept for almost half the tour, and slept through both stops. I stayed on the bus with him at the first stop, and Doug stayed on for the second.
The scenery was really gorgeous, with rolling green hills, dairy cows, and spectacular views of the ocean.
We got off the bus in town and walked around a bit. The town (Ponta Delgado) is a port town, and it was the Portugese national independence day holiday, so there were lots of people out and about. We had the stroller with us, but Carter really wanted to be carried instead. I think it was because it was a little chilly and a new place with lots of people. He prefers to be in the carrier under those circumstances, and he will let you know in no uncertain terms. I love wearing him, so obviously I don’t mind. ;-)
It was interesting to be on that island in the Azores, a place neither of us ever expected we’d be. It’s the sort of place few people visit intentionally. The architecture was Mediterranean, almost Greek-looking, especially from a distance. Doug’s dad visited the Azores when he was in the military many years ago, and I’m not sure how different it actually looks now than it did then. We didn’t see that much, obviously, but it was fun to walk around with Carter.
We found a little café for lunch, where we had what was undoubtedly the worst cheeseburger in the world, second only to a really inedible one we once encountered in Brazil (that we now semi-affectionately refer to as the ratburger). It was so bad that Carter actually refused to eat it. At first we thought he just wasn’t hungry, but then we realized he was actually making the best choice. Doug and I ate it anyway, a week of cruise-ship-dining conditioning at work.
You could really learn something about eating from Carter. If he’s no longer hungry, he simply stops eating. He’ll remove the food from his tray or mat just to be sure you really get the message that he’s through. Sometimes he’ll put more food in his mouth and chew it up, and then spit it out again, like he wanted to taste it but not swallow it. If he’s not hungry, he won’t eat, even if it’s time and he hasn’t eaten in hours. I should be more like him, heh.
Here is a view of our ship from land:
We got back on the boat and Carter took a nap just in time for Doug and me to settle on the deck with a glass of wine and watch the island of Sao Miguel start to fade away.
At dinnertime, Carter got to taste caviar and smoked salmon for the first rime and he really liked them! It made me really happy to see him trying exotic foods like that. We put the caviar (which was actually very nice caviar, by the way) on a piece of bread with some cream cheese to help it stick, and he gobbled it up. He kept signing for more!
One of the best things about this vacation for me so far has been watching Doug and Carter spend time together. Carter has really grown attached to his daddy this last week, and he lights up when Doug walks in the room, or even just when he hears Doug’s voice. While Doug was in the shower, he pounded on the glass door and said “dedededede!” When Doug leaves the room, he emits the same little squeal of protest he does when I leave, with a hurt look on his face like he can’t believe you’d leave the room without him. He loves playing with his daddy and climbing all over him. This will be the longest continuous time Doug and Carter have spent together, and I’m so glad!
Tomorrow we’ll be in Lisbon! I’ve never been to Portugal, so I’m excited. We have a cool tram tour lined up, so there will definitely be lots of pictures of that. Stay tuned!