Cruise with Mona on the Blue Danube: Romania and Bulgaria

Our itinerary from Bucharest to Vienna, sailing along the Danube River for thirteen days.

We flew from New York to Bucharest, capital of Romania for a two-week cruise along the Danube River on Avalon Waterways River Cruises, but first we spent two days in Bucharest. On our first evening, we walked through the wide avenues of the city center and discovered the new place on our own.

The massive statue, cast in bronze, represents Carol I of Romania, the first King of Romania and founder of the Romanian Dynasty. During his reign, Romania conquered its independence from the Ottoman Empire, in 1877, in the course the Russo-Turkish War, known in Romania as the War of Independence.
Posing in the downtown area for a first picture in Bucharest.
Created in bronze in honor of the former Romanian politician, Iuliu Maniu, who served three terms as prime minister of Romania. The statue is located in Revolution Square in central Bucharest.
Kretzulescu Church is an Orthodox Church built
between 1720 – 1722. It is located on Calea Victoriei, at one of the corners of Revolution Square,
next to the former Royal Palace.
We were lucky to attend a wedding while visiting the old church. I was impressed by the elegance of the guests.
The Romanian Athenaeum is a concert hall in the center of Bucharest and a landmark of the Romanian capital city.

On Day 2, our first morning in Bucharest, Avalon Cruises took us on a tour of the city and a visit of the impressive Parliament Building. The former Royal Palace now houses the National Art Museum.

Parliament Building is the world second-largest
government building after the Pentagon.
The Royal Palace Square was the scene of riots in 1989 which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. I took this picture from the balcony of the Parliament Building.
Inside the Parliament Building,
the grand marble staircase
Inside the Parliament Building, one of the formal rooms

 

In the afternoon a short moto coach ride took us to Oltenita where our cruise vessel was docked. Before dinner the crew welcomed us with a reception and then we sailed to Silistra, a port city in Bulgaria. By the way, the blue Danube is far from blue, more like dark greenish black. We were told you see it blue only when you’re young and in love.

On Day 3, after breakfast, we travelled by bus to Varna, a naval base and sea resort on the Black Sea.

Varna is one of Bulgaria’s most popular destinations. While just over 335,000 people call the city home, during the summertime, its pristine Black Sea beaches fill up with over 1 million people, drawn to the sunny weather and fun nightlife.

It was a gorgeous day. Many sunbathers were topless. By the way, the Black Sea was blue, not black, rough with whitecaps and strong currents.

A most enjoyable lunch on the Pirate ship.

We had lunch on a pirate ship in the Black Sea.

The Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral in Varna: we didn’t visit.
Lunch with the pirates!

On Day 4, we continued our bus trip to Veliko-Tarnovo. Often referred as the “City of the Tsars“, Veliko Tarnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famously known as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists with its unique architecture.

The Patriarchal Cathedral on top of the Tsarevets Hill
Standing at a café on top of a hill.

The old part of the town is situated on three hills, rising amidst the meanders of the Yantra. The city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep stones. Tsarevets Hill is home of the Royal Fortress, palaces of the Bulgarian emperors and the Patriarchate, the Patriarchal Cathedral, and also a number of administrative and residential edifices surrounded by thick walls.

Entering the gate to the fortress
The Royal Fortress
A view of the city from the top of the hill.
A view of the fortress from the top of the hill.

We spent Day 5 on the ship sailing through the Iron Gates–A story for another day.

(The Danube cruise blog will be continued on October 1st)

May I offer you my newly released book FAMILY PLANS, (Love Plans Series, book 7) just released on August 25. It’s on sale at 99 cents for a few days.

The plane crash devastated two families and revealed painful secrets. Can a brighter future arise from those ashes at Christmas time?

Family Plans on Amazon

 

Left inconsolable by his wife’s death in a plane crash, Tim Kent dedicates himself to his daughter, Brianna. He allows her to get closer to her best friend Debbie whose father died in the same plane crash. When Tim meets Erin Perkins, Debbie’s mother, he’s impressed by the beautiful, young woman struggling to raise six children on her own while working at an exhausting job. He does his best to help her. Attraction develops between them. While Brianna practically lives with her friend Debbie and shares Erin’s motherly attention, Tim acts as a surrogate father for the six fatherless children. But the sorrowful plane crash that brought them together threatens to separate them when shocking secrets are revealed.

 

Happy Birthday to Me! by Taylor Lee

What do Nancy Pelosi, Donna Shalala and Maxine Waters have in common? Clearly, they are all women. If you guessed that they are older women, you’re right. But how old? In their fifties, sixties? Try in their 70’s and 80’s and you’d be right. We all know Nancy Pelosi is 81. Not to be outdone, Representative Donna Shalala, the former US Secretary of Health, became the oldest freshman in the new House class when she was elected in 2019. (She was 79 at the time.) But Representative Maxine Waters can top that. She became the first woman and African-American to lead the Financial Services Committee at age 80. She is still serving at age 84.

Women

According to a fascinating article by Jessica Bennett in the Jan. 8, 2019 New York Times, older women are doing a heck of a lot more than “roaring”. They’re rewriting the roles they are playing in the US today. Is it just political women who are rewriting the “you’re too old” rules? Hardly! Glen Close, at age 71, broke those rules in an arena that, to say the least, does not value age in their women stars. Close beat out four younger women to win the Golden Globe for Best Actress.

Let’s Face It…

The movie industry is not known for their deference to age. Except when it comes to men. Female movie stars rarely crack the “age ceiling”. According to Time magazine, “male actors hit their professional peak at 46, while female actors top out at 30.” Responding to that report, Helen Mirren recalled that, at 37, Maggie Gyllenhaal had been told she was “too old” for a role opposite a 55-year-old man. Apparently she adds “As James Bond got more and more geriatric, his girlfriend’s got younger and younger. It’s so annoying.”

Even in the business world, it was breaking news when it was announced that Susan Zirinsky will take over CBS News in March, 2019. Ms. Zirinsky was the first woman to hold the job. She was also the oldest person to assume the role, at 66. Amazing! Bennet quotes Ms. Zirinsky when asked about the effect of age on her new job, “Age — don’t worry about it. It’s a state of mind. I have so much energy that my staff did an intervention when I tried a Red Bull.”

Representative Donna Shalala agrees. “Age is just a number. What the women’s movement did was develop generations of strong women. We had professional careers, we were achievers in our fields, and you’re seeing the result of that now. And we’re comfortable in our own skin, and we don’t put up with nonsense, and we have a sisterhood.”

Gayle King, who was 64 at the time, a co-anchor of CBS This Morning, said in an email, “I’ve embraced every birthday … what’s the alternative, bitch and moan? I believe if your body and brain are healthy and you love what you do and the people in your life, what’s the downside of THAT?! So I’ll say it loud, I’m 64 and (oh so) proud.”

Happy Birthday to ME!

Personally, I couldn’t agree more. Point of information. Today is my birthday and I am 78 years old today!  Whoee. I have three extraordinary daughters, four gorgeous grandsons and an 83 year old best friend/lover who’s added even more sparkle to my life these last five years. I work out in some way seven days a week. (Usually 8 miles on the elliptical). I do pull-ups on the chin-up bar. I can now hold my weight for ten seconds with my legs extended at a ninety degree angle. My goal is 30 seconds…

Was my life always this great? Heck no. In fact, in the not-too-distant past, in my late 60’s, it was downright crummy. I needed to do something different. So, I decided it was time to turn my strategic consulting firm over to my daughter. I also left a marriage that was making my then husband and me most unhappy.

Then something miraculous happened. On one of my multi-mile runs, I started hearing voices and envisioning almost movie-like scenes. Rather than checking myself into the loony bin, with the encouragement of my daughters, I did something I had never considered. At the ripe old age of 68, I began writing romance novels. Make that steamy romance novels and sexy mystery thrillers. It wasn’t as if I had a choice. My characters insisted that they come alive on the page. Ten years later, I’m writing my 50th novel. Frankly, I’m amazed and a little more than awed at my gift of creativity.  It’s magic!

So happy birthday to me and all of us older women who are not only “surviving” our age, but “thriving in it”. As we should. We are older women. Hear us roar!

My Birthday Gift to You!

5 DAYS ONLY

FREE – July 1-5

RAMPAGE; Book 1: Mayhem on the Mountain

Rampage by Taylor Lee

*She’s an investigative superstar.

*He’s a formidable county sheriff.

*She’s as determined to reveal the insurrectionist leaders as he is to stop her dangerous exposé.

Calian Begay’s an archetypal rugged county sheriff. Arrogance rolls  off of him in sheets. But then having been elected by seventy-plus percent of the voters justified his cockiness. No small feat for the grandson of a famous Ute Indian chief.

Determined to capture the treacherous domestic terrorists threatening to take over his county, Cal admitted the only thing standing in his way was the media bombshell intent on riding  the simmering inferno to national fame.

From her inauspicious role as a beat reporter, Scarlet Comstock clawed her way to the top of the heap, becoming a local, then regional, and soon, if she had anything to say about it, national investigative media phenom.

She knew all her blockbuster exposé needed was for her to capture the leader of the American Patriotic Front addressing the “White is Might” conspiracy crazies.

Remembering Cal’s fierce warning what would happen if she disobeyed him, Scarlett admitted the formidable sheriff had done what no man had. Made her think twice before she blew him off. Which she concluded only confirmed he was to be ignored.

Face it, which was more compelling? Winning a coveted national award or obeying the arrogant sheriff who, after warning her for the third time, had the temerity to threaten her physically if she “didn’t behave.”

If you like brazen media stars, tough-as-nails lawmen, and scorching passion, you’ll love Taylor Lee’s sizzling new thrill-ride. Discover how challenging exposés can be when sex and violence are in the mix. Grab Rampage: Book 1; Mayhem on the Mountain and prepare to be wowed!

And while you are at it, check out our latest ABB Box Set

Unforgettable Blessings

Unforgettable Blessings: Unforgettable Miracles is just 99 cents.

My Book In The Set is:

Don't Stop Believin

Don’t Stop Believin’

*She’s an accomplished attorney.  He’s an arrogant District Attorney.

*When the sparks start to fly, her past rears its ugly head threatening to take them both down.

Kiera Burke was an enigma.  The super-star District Attorney was thoroughly taken by the beautiful, Mensa-smart woman but couldn’t figure her out. What he’d assumed was aloof superiority, he quickly realized was painful shyness. Which he could have handled.  It was when he saw worrisome signs of a much deeper trauma, that he admitted he was facing his biggest challenge yet.

Grab Don’t Stop Believin’ and restore your belief in the power of love to heal the most devastating wounds.

 

17 Quotes About Truth by @Donna_Fasano

Authentic communication relies on truth. Lies are easy and often more comforting than honesty; however, truth builds trust, and trust allows us to live in peace. Offering truth is treating others with dignity and respect. Here are some wonderful quotes about truth.

Truth and Lies

“Truth is like a lion; it needs no defense. Let it loose. It will defend itself.” ~St. Augustine

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” ~Buddha

“Truth is powerful and it prevails.” ~Sojourner Truth

“There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth.” ~Leo Tolstoy

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.” ~Mark Twain

“A single lie discovered creates doubt in every truth.” ~Unknown

“Beware of the half-truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.” ~Unknown

“If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past. If you tell a lie, it becomes a part of your future.”  ~Unknown

“Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones.” ~Albert Einstein

“The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem

“Hell is truth seen too late.” ~Thomas Hobbes

“The truth will set you free.” ~Jesus (John 8:32)

“Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.” ~Unknown

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ~George Orwell

“Truth costs nothing while a lie could cost you everything.” ~Unknown

“In our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.” ~Dalai Lama

“Wisdom is found only in truth.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Do you have a favorite quote about truth?

This month I’m offering 2 books on sale for 99¢:

Romance Beach Bundle 1

The Wedding Planners Son

Old Age

I read this and laughed. You may enjoy it too even if you’re not that old.

“I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 50 years later. I don’t have to go to school or work. I get an allowance every month. I have my own pad. I don’t have a curfew. I have a driver’s license and my own car. The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant and I don’t have acne. Life is great. I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People get out of the way much faster now.
  Gone are the days when girls used to cook like their mothers. Now they drink like their fathers.

I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes five years in a row. I decided to stop calling the bathroom “John” and renamed it the “Jim”. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.

When I was a child I thought “nap time” was a punishment. Now it feels like a small vacation.
The biggest lie I tell myself is… ” I don’t have to write that down, I’ll remember it”.
I don’t have gray hair… I have “wisdom highlights”! I’m just very wise.
If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would’ve put them on my knees.

Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven’t met yet.
Why do I have to press one for English when you’re just going to transfer me to someone I can’t understand anyway?

Of course, I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice. Old age is coming at a really bad time.
At my age “Getting Lucky” means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.

I have more friends I should send this to, but right now I can’t remember their names.
Now, I’m wondering… did I send this to you, or did you send it to me?”

Join New Cranky Old Women if you love to laugh.” 

Relax with a sweet and sassy romance novel: SAILING AWAY PLANS

“A great love story and a second chance at a new life. It is a very good read and I definitely recommend it.”

A contemporary romance, realistic, sexy, and emotional.
Widower, empty-nester, and successful surgeon, Dr. Steve Winston is fed up with his routine work and announces he’s quitting his Cincinnati clinic, moving to live on a boat, and starting a new health center on a Caribbean island.
Dedicated to her patients, Nurse Lillian Haynes never stops doing odd jobs for Dr. Winston. His decision to resign breaks her heart. No amount of money will convince her to take care of his pets anymore, but when he invites her out to dinner, she agrees and polishes her appearance in hopes of being noticed by the man she’s secretly loved for ages.
Delighted to discover what a stunning woman she becomes once she’s shed her boring uniform, Steve shares his dreams with Lillian and tries to convince her to accompany him to his island—until her son and his children rush into town to protect their father from his own craziness.
Sailing Away Plans is book 1 of the Love Plans Series.