Welcoming Cruisebound Memories

“It only takes one cat – or person – to make another feel welcome and special.” (Laura C. Monteiro)

Overseas cruising often “opens my eyes” to the desirable presence  of welcomeness  in encountering  distant shorelines. Under those favorable circumstances, I can personally attest to my strong need to tear down self- imposed walls of negative doubt  and bigotry and warmly reciprocate with those I meet on such foreign shores. An intuitive glance at a compact physical layout  of a town center, a visible sign of human/animal  kindness or the alluring aura of a unique artifact typically produces an immediate gut feeling of welcome in facing  the unknown during excursions ashore. Thus, I reveal how the following places provide symbolic evidence  of such  “COME ASHORE , VISIT US, AND STAY AWILE” hospitality , as witnessed in our recent cruising travels.
1. The Curaçao Welcoming  Of Vivid Colors
A psychedelic looking bus on dock near our cruise liner symbolized Woodstock friendliness of the late 1960s America  in the Dutch influenced city of Willemstad. Walking to the center of town, colorful “ Welcome To Curaçao” signs similarly caught my attention that cruise boat tourists were welcomed to visit this town.
2. Shetland Island Walking Pleasantries
On the ship approach to the quaint village of Lerwick, I observed a an unobstructed walking path along the coastline of Lerwick, exhibiting ample places to stop for peaceful, shoreline views.  In strolling the coastal walking route, an emerging friendliness emerged. An open gate to a relaxing garden, a flowered  array of discarded shoes, and a large dog laying on a grassy lawn unperturbed by our passing presence further calmed my uncertainties about visitor acceptance here. Clearly, this pedestrian – friendly ambience throughout the city seemed quite hospitable from a tourist perspective.
3. Iceland Imagine Peace Tower Unity
Entering Reykjavik, a  small monument of peace and love in tribute to John Lennon lies inconspicuously to greet visitors on a lonely hill offshore. On Lennon’s birthday each year, it emits a shining beam of light in the sky while peace prayers are given in 24 languages. While  Iceland’s name connotes plenty of inhospitable ice and snow, its  spirit of global awareness provided me with a fresh outlook that such a frozen tundra image could be re-examined  in a much more positive manner.
4. Newfoundland Folk Encounter
The cold air of St. John’s  landing as we stepped ashore could be easily overlooked as we walked down the ship boardwalk to the pleasing sounds of a local string band, a fence lined with rustic welcome posters, and  the friendly dog appearance of a Newfoundland Mastiff. Walking down the dock, we enjoyed our perceived celebrity presence amidst this friendly parade.
5. Not So Dark And Dreary Halifax Citadel
At Halifax Fort in Nova Scotia’s largest city, one would not expect the stoic and stiff presence of a uniformed security guard transform at first greet to  a friendly chap patiently offering his personal tips  for visiting this confusing maze of walled chambers.  Stepping inside to the vast interior courtyard, I amusingly spotted a 1920s Model T Ford coughing and chugging it’s engine to life. The expected gloom of medieval bloody warfare definitely did not permeate the  atmosphere here today.
6. Canary Island Mystical Rocks
In yoga, I practice meditation to find inner solace from my incessant “monkey mind chatter.”  In travel, I accordingly search for vortexes of positive energy to calm my most active mind. In walking among these uniquely  stacked rocks along shoreline Puerto de la Cruz, I made such ample time for such satisfying  self reflection.
7. New York City Nonjudgment Matters
Manhattan  can be an intimidating pressure cooker of frantic human movement throughout a compact and quite densely populated area. Yet this oppressed street person has found his preferred  place to be anonymously alone along Times Square.  Any place where no one cares to judge your looks or actions no matter how important or strange you are seems eminently worth a sustained visit  in my travels.

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