This is my original blog – all my blogs  since I started in 2009 - are here including those from The Ale Archive – all the beers I’ve sampled at home and on our travels since 2012.
 
Since 2012 most of our travel has involved a caravan. I now have a specific caravanning blog called (Get Your) Legs Down which not only documents all our trips but includes product reviews, site listings, storage locations, mobile service engineers and much more. It too is on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Sojourn on the Solstice Pt 2

After a couple of days at sea it was nice to be back on terra firma again, at the delightful port town of Dubrovnik in Croatia. We had already docked by the time we woke and as we peered blearily eyed out from the balcony, the Seabourn Quest sidled in rather gingerly in front of us.

We had pre-booked a tour which included a cable car ride from the top of which were spectacular views of the old town and surrounding areas.

Dubrovnik 26-10-11 (5)Dubrovnik 26-10-11 (100) 

A short walking tour around the old town followed. We had all been issued with a set of those wireless earphones prior to ensure we heard every word the guide uttered, however soon after the tour started I turned mine off. I think the others followed soon after. It's not that she didn't know her stuff because the she did, she liked the sound of her own voice a little too much - still I should be used to that......

Dubrovnik 26-10-11 (113)Dubrovnik 26-10-11 (110)

Clearly having withdrawal symptoms from being on the water, we decided to grab a ride on an old 19th century crate around the harbour which was delightful, if a little hairy at times.

Dubrovnik 26-10-11 (74)Dubrovnik 26-10-11 (124)

We returned to the ship all promising to come back some day. It really is a beautiful place and such a tragedy that it was ripped apart by war not that long ago.

Dubrovnik 26-10-11 (118) Dubrovnik 26-10-11 (76)

More to come soon on a fantastic overnight stop in Venice.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sojourn on the Solstice – Pt 1

Yep, a change in title. Never really liked 'Medriatic Meander' or even 'Medriatic Mayhem' much, so we've settled on the above. Solstice is the name of the ship we are on so it sort of works.

Right. Where and when are we? Well, it is the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday 25th October, somewhere in the Med'. We are on our way to our first port of call; Dubrovnik, and are due to dock early tomorrow morning. We have been at sea since late afternoon on Sunday, when we left Barcelona, passing through the Messina Straits (the narrow bit between Sicily and Italy) early this morning.

The ship is basically the same as the one we were on last year for the 'Heathens in the Holy lands' tour although a year or so older so we know where everything is. To be honest there is nothing too eventful to report apart from two - count 'em - two visits to the gym already by yours truly, although to be honest they were a waste of time, I never felt 'the burn' only the boredom. It's strange in a way - I managed seven or so hours on an old uncomfortable bike six weeks ago, but barely fifteen minutes on a state of the art contraption in a modern well equipped gym. A touch of good old CBA creeping in again I guess!

Anyway, enough about my half arsed attempts to get fit. The flight from Heathrow was ok. We chose BA over sleazyjet because the flight times were better and once you added in all the extras - like baggage and the privilege of paying for your flight - there was very little in it. Anyway, once airborne they proudly announced on the tannoy that they would be serving a complimentary snack and a drink (note the singular) from the bar. I cheekily asked for - and got - a second.

We overnighted in Barcelona, the hotel was a little way out of town but it was fine. It was here that we met up with Ann & Pete who would be joining us for the trip. We've been to Barca before (and loved it) but they hadn't, and so came out a couple of days earlier.

Anyway, by Sunday lunchtime we were at the port. It took slightly longer than anticipated, not because traffic but all the extras that the driver seemingly had to add to the meter.

Three other ships were also in port alongside ours, the monstrous NCL 'Epic', one of the biggest and in my opinion one of the ugliest ships ever built, the smaller Holland America 'Ryndam' and the diminutive Ibero Cruceros 'Grand Holiday'.

We departed at 4:50pm, tem minutes ahead of schedule, no tugs of course with these modern ships; propulsion pods and bow thrusters make them very manoeuvrable indeed.

So, that's about it for part one. The weather has been very changeable - in fact they even closed off the outer decks last night because of the high winds and we have spent most of the last two days chilling out on sunbeds around the indoor pool. This morning was better, but still too cold and windy really to sit outside for long.

So, tomorrow is Dubrovnik. We have a short tour booked around what apparently is a very pretty city, so all being well, the next part will have some photos.

Until then...