A Travellerspoint blog

Bound for Suez

Thursday, 6 October 2016

This morning we are heading South East across a calm Mediterranean towards the coast of Egypt. The sun became visible precisely at the time predicted. With no obstructions there should have been a perfect shot of the sunrise. The lack of any other features must have fooled the auto-focus and I haven't previously played with the manual focus.

After breakfast and with little to do today I planned to study the camera's manual. Imagine my surprise when I found manuals for just about every camera I have recently owned but can't find the one for the DMC FZ300. Will fill in some time experimenting with the camera controls and the various configuration options.

Attended the destination lecture where Lyndon Jolley provided some interesting information on the two significant attractions on our call to Aqaba in Jordan. The marvels of Petra were offset by the significant walking distances. We've booked the less strenuous tour of the Wadi Rum.

Just before lunch, Evon Anderson presented a detailed description of the plot to have the future Queen Elizabeth marry the Greek Prince Philip. From the many intrigues and machinations before the wedding to his many infidelities and misbehaviour afterwards.

Spent time with the Kindle after lunch and wrote most of this entry. Pulled the tuxedo out of the wardrobe and got dressed up for formal night. A lovely dinner for me but Jenny lucked out with her roast lamb which contained a large portion of gristle.

Decided to give the Production Show a chance, it turned out better than expected with an outstanding female vocalist who performed a credible impression of Cher. Stopped in at the International Cafe for a hot water and a Tiramisu. By time we'd finished the crowds had dispersed.

We are scheduled to arrive at Port Said at about 19:00 for an expected 04:00 start of our transit of the Canal.

I can't guarantee a specific image to point to, if you want to see the latest, view my project by following this link to the main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:56 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Messina on Sicily

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


View 2016-09 Southampton to Sydney on greynomadm's travel map.

Arrived to a cloudy morning with some fine rain. Lovely harbour but no sign of Mt Etna or the sunrise. A brief breakfast then back to the cabin to prepare our gear for today's shore excursion. We checked in for the tour and assembled in the Theatre. When our turn came to board the bus we were advised to break out the umbrellas, there was rain in the air. Thankfully the rain was of short duration.

We were equipped with radio receivers so that we could hear our guide both on and off the coach. Surprisingly they actually worked. We set off through the craziest traffic I've witnessed. Cars make extra lanes as the mood and space allows. When you want to park, stop at any angle right out into the line of traffic. The driver threaded his rig through some incredibly narrow gaps.

Traffic was slow until we reached Cape Peloro passing a large saltwater lake used to grow mussels and clams. As is the tradition, stalls are set up almost beside the road to sell the produce. Sometimes these stalls encroach into the line of traffic in which case one waits until there is a break to let you pass. Much of the ancient architecture has been replaced after a devastating earthquake destroyed almost all buildings. When rebuilt, most structures adopted the style of the times and were built to a high seismic standard.

Back towards the city and more feats of precision driving. At one section the driver of a parked truck provided guidance to our driver. We were asked to 'suck in' and cleared the parked vehicles by just a coat of paint. We stopped for a view over the city at Cristo Re, amazing vista over the city and harbour.

Back down to the city to visit the Cathedral of Messina and the 180 foot bell tower. The Cathedral was originally built in the 12th century but has been extensively restored after the earthquake and damage sustained during WWII.

The clock tower houses the world's largest astronomical clock. As the noon hour approached a vast crowd assembled in the Cathedral Square to witness the daily show. Various sections of the clock tower contain automated characters and a very loud sound track. The gold lion starts off with a mighty roar which brings a startled reaction from the unsuspecting crowd. The rooster then chimes in with a raucous crow. Then the music plays whilst various figures rotate in one of the windows. A truly impressive show and for free !!

Great end to the tour and on boarding the coach we were ferried back to the ship. We were less exhausted than we were yesterday and tossed up whether to go ashore again or stay aboard. Thought it over during lunch and decided to stay aboard. Jenny went off to craft and I snapped some images from Deck 19. There was an unexpected activity on the wharf aft of the ship. It took some detective work to figure out that it was a refugee processing centre. There were Red Cross shelters, police and other officials. While difficult to see I guess 100 or more dark African people being processed.

With a 16:30 'all aboard' dinner in the Michelangelo Dining Room was busier than previous. We make a point of being there as close to opening time to ensure our choice of tables. Javier and Chris have a great manner and we have leaned some of their individual background. Javier has a grown-up family and is working to put his youngest son through University. Chris hasn't been grilled yet. In response to the question "Where do you come from ?" answered "My mother !!" with a cheeky grin.

Tonight's show is a repeat of one we saw on some previous cruise and was not considered worth seeing again. Spent the time putting this together. Sea day tomorrow.

I can't guarantee a specific image to point to, if you want to see the latest, view my project by following this link to the main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:53 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Naples

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


View 2016-09 Southampton to Sydney on greynomadm's travel map.

Arrived in Naples to find two cruise ships already berthed. The Norwegian Epic appeared like a city block parked across the street. She's a massive ship but sadly has that characteristic box-like appearance with few of the graceful lines normally associated with ships. The Norwegian Spirit was also in port.

Regular breakfast routine after which I tried to capture some images of Mt Vesuvius with the sun rising behind it. Didn't turn out as expected, too much glare and the perpetual haze robbed the image of any clear lines.

Packed our gear for our outing ashore. Two things today, find a cafe with free WiFi and buy Jen a pair of sandals. The cafe was easy but my skill at ordering coffee was seriously lacking. Somehow I finished up with two small cups of very strong coffee when I was expecting one long black. The WiFi was good and we were able to check the Emails for the first time in almost a week. Nothing in need of urgent attention so obviously the world continues to function

Wandered somewhat aimlessly up and down interesting streets. Many shops were only just opening at 10:00. Found almost as many men's wear shops as women's outlets. Many looked to be well beyond our budget. Finally found a shoe store that had sandals that Jenny liked and more importantly also fitted her. Not sure where we finished up but we had executed a large anticlockwise circuit finally reaching the waterfront near the 'Castel dell'Ovo'. There were many grand hotels facing the water each with extensive street level outdoor cafés.

By the time we returned to the 'Stazione Marittima' it was almost noon and the sun was sapping our energy. Great to be back aboard and able to change into fresh gear.

Lunch in the Horizon Court and Jenny was off to visit with her craft ladies. I returned to the cabin to download the images and compose this tale. Too late for the afternoon movie and nothing better than the Kindle book on offer.

Dinner in the Michelangelo Dining Room was very quiet with many passengers still returning from their excursions. Made a quick dash to the open deck for a grab at the sunset. Arrived at the end of a sharp heavy deluge and a large black cloud blanketing the Western horizon, so no luck there. Joined Jenny in the Theatre for the Comedy Hypnotist David Knight. The name was vaguely familiar and when the 'show' started we recognised the act. Gave him about 15 minutes and left. Watching paint dry would have been more exciting.

So there ended the day. Port Day in Messina tomorrow.

I can't guarantee a specific image to point to, if you want to see the latest, view my project by following this link to the main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:50 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Naples

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


View 2016-09 Southampton to Sydney on greynomadm's travel map.

Arrived in Naples to find two cruise ships already berthed. The Norwegian Epic appeared like a city block parked across the street. She's a massive ship but sadly has that characteristic box-like appearance with few of the graceful lines normally associated with ships. The Norwegian Spirit was also in port.

Regular breakfast routine after which I tried to capture some images of Mt Vesuvius with the sun rising behind it. Didn't turn out as expected, too much glare and the perpetual haze robbed the image of any clear lines.

Packed our gear for our outing ashore. Two things today, find a cafe with free WiFi and buy Jen a pair of sandals. The cafe was easy but my skill at ordering coffee was seriously lacking. Somehow I finished up with two small cups of very strong coffee when I was expecting one long black. The WiFi was good and we were able to check the Emails for the first time in almost a week. Nothing in need of urgent attention so obviously the world continues to function.

Wandered somewhat aimlessly up and down interesting streets. Many shops were only just opening at 10:00. Found almost as many men's wear shops as women's outlets. Many looked to be well beyond our budget. Finally found a shoe store that had sandals that Jenny liked and more importantly also fitted her. Not sure where we finished up but we had executed a large anticlockwise circuit finally reaching the waterfront near the 'Castel dell'Ovo'. There were many grand hotels facing the water each with extensive street level outdoor cafés.

By the time we returned to the 'Stazione Marittima' it was almost noon and the sun was sapping our energy. Great to be back aboard and able to change into fresh gear.

Lunch in the Horizon Court and Jenny was off to visit with her craft ladies. I returned to the cabin to download the images and compose this tale. Too late for the afternoon movie and nothing better than the Kindle book on offer.

Dinner in the Michelangelo Dining Room was very quiet with many passengers still returning from their excursions. Made a quick dash to the open deck for a grab at the sunset. Arrived at the end of a sharp heavy deluge and a large black cloud blanketing the Western horizon, so no luck there. Joined Jenny in the Theatre for the Comedy Hypnotist David Knight. The name was vaguely familiar and when the 'show' started we recognised the act. Gave him about 15 minutes and left. Watching paint dry would have been more exciting.

So there ended the day. Port Day in Messina tomorrow.

I can't guarantee a specific image to point to, if you want to see the latest, view my project by following this link to the main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 05:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Civitavecchia

Monday, 3 October 2016


View 2016-09 Southampton to Sydney on greynomadm's travel map.

Woke up this morning to find that we're already tied up on our starboard side. Always amazes me that they can park this massive vessel so quietly. Went out on the deck in the hope of catching a sunrise. No such luck, large dark clouds covered the Eastern Horizon. There were lots of ships to look at. By the time we'd finished breakfast there were a total of seven in the port. Most of them were smaller than we are but that still brings a lot of visitors to the port.

After breakfast we went ashore and availed ourselves of the free shuttle bus which took us to a purpose built facility outside the port gates. Friendly helpful guides provided a map and directions. Bit of a contrast to the small squad of armed soldiers standing guard. They didn't rally look threatening, but reassuring that we weren't a totally soft target.

A comfortable 15 minute walk had us at our first destination, an ATM. With a minimum of fuss I drew out € 120 and we wandered off to the markets. Jenny was on the look-out for another craft bag and I was after some more disposable razors. She found her bag for € 5, it took me a nit longer to locate the razors in a small 'supermarket' where a pack of six cost € 6.90.

We headed back to the shuttle bus and were back aboard by just on 12:00. A piece of pizza and a salad was all that we required, after which Jenny went off to look for her ladies group and I battled with the Internet again. Managed to post some images to the 365 project but the TravellersPoint site failed to respond.

Managed to snag the same table as yesterday, we like the waiter and his assistant. That's a down-side of the 'any time' dining option, you've got to be lucky to get the same crew.

After dinner we sat in the Theatre and awaited tonight's performance. What a block-buster !! I'm sure it would appeal to No2 granddaughter. The instrument was a bizarre piece named a 'Dulcimer', the incredible instrumentalist was Pingxin Xu. I think it is a measure of his skill that after a solo performance the members of the ship's orchestra joined in the applause.

Port day in Naples tomorrow.

There's no specific photo to point to, if you want to see the latest, view my project by following this link to the main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 04:58 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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