A Travellerspoint blog

Great to be Home

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

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

We sailed into Sydney well before sunrise and it was almost impossible to find a spot on the rails of the open deck. Everyone wanted a front row position. The use of tablets and large format phones made it difficult to take a shot between them. The entry was caught on commercial TV using a number of drones controlled from a boat with a miniature flight deck.

The ship was alongside her berth by 06:00 and the process of disembarking over 3000 passengers started. Each of us was assigned one of 30 or so groups and each group given an estimated time about 5 to 10 minutes apart. On advice from the baggage handlers and ship's agent staff ashore the time for a group to depart was announced at the various assembly lounges. Our was scheduled for 09:25, our colour and number was called about 10 minutes early.

The luggage pickup hall had deteriorated into chaos as not all the earlier groups had yet collected their luggage. As a consequence items for our colour number were scattered over different areas wherever there was some room. We tracked down our three articles which were were found in three places.

Set off to pass through the quarantine inspection where we were passed through but there were many who were sent off to have their articles assessed.

Out of the terminal building and onto a queue for a taxi. The queue was well managed and the allocation of cabs strictly on a first come, first served basis. Quite civilised really. Our coach to Canberra was booked for 12:00 and despite some heavy city traffic across to Central Station we managed to catch the 10:00 service by a mere 5 minutes. The trip is scheduled to take three and a half hours and we arrived about 10 minutes early.

Off the coach and into a cab and 10 minutes later we were home. The growth in the garden has been phenomenal, not only the flowers but the weeds too. My first priority was to unpack the computer and associated cables and power adaptors. Switched on the connection to the outside world and enabled unlimited WiFi and the download of overdue updates. Unpacked our cases and scoffed down some canned food as we'd completely eaten all perishables about two months ago. It will take a day or two to adjust and establish a normal routine.
I was surprised to find many FaceBook notifications!! I don't use FaceBook but had switched an option which links these postings to my FaceBook account. Thanks to those who did the 'Like' and 'Comments' via this media.

The journey is over and it has been a long one. The Captain's Log which records the position at noon each day also provides a summary of the total distance travelled between between ports and for the cruise as a whole. Southampton to Sydney was 16,642 Nautical Miles or 30,821 Kilometres.

I captured the Sydney harbour Bridge before disembarking, you can view my photo by following this link to the image.

Thank you to all who have followed my story for these 48 days afloat.

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

Posted by greynomadm 19:14 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sea Day Bound for Sydney

Monday, 14 November 2016

That dreaded day when we need to gather our clothes and other kit and start packing our cases. The bulk of our luggage will be placed outside our doors before dinner and we won't see them again until tomorrow morning. There is also a need to work out what we need from now until we get home on Tuesday.

The Captain announced that the ship will be welcomed to Sydney with water sprays from firefighting boats as we sail up the harbour. This display is in recognition of the ship's maiden visit to the city. This will occur quite early and may well be before the sunrise.

The act of packing takes no more than half an hour. Deciding what to throw out and what to keep takes a lot longer as does deciding what to pack in which case or bag. There is no doubt that we're taking home more than we left with.

All packing completed at 16:30 and the cases placed outside the door. Last dinner with the crew in the dinning room where Jenny had colluded with Javier and Chris to have a Birthday Cake and the waiters choir to ensure that this half of the room knew that Tony had a birthday. Total surprise. Also our last entertainment in the theatre with a repeat performance by Nathan Foley. This performance every bit as brilliant as his previous show.

All that's left to do is upload this and today's image of the choppy sea, you can view my photo by following this link to the image.

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

Posted by greynomadm 00:53 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Port Day in Melbourne

Sunday, 13 November 2016

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

The waves and the wind had abated as we entered Port Philip Bay on our way into the Port of Melbourne. The sky looked threatening and we fully expected rain but decided to brave the weather and go into the city. We disembarked the ship into a well organised terminal building where all the essential services were on hand. Over all much better than I had dreaded for an early Sunday morning.

We purchased a 'myki' visitor's pack for just $7 each (discount for concession holders). The pack contains a rechargeable access card for all Public Transport services loaded with sufficient funds to provide travel for the day. We used it to board the express 109 bus from the dock to the city centre. Within an hour we were in the heart of Melbourne.

The trams which crisscross the city are free within a rectangular zone which includes many of the popular destinations. We rode the tram to the Queen Victoria Markets where we spent a happy hour admiring the range, quality and prices of the produce. In particular the price of meat was at least 25% cheaper than in Canberra. In spite of the inclement weather there was a good crowd of customers in the various pavilions.

I had not previously visited Federation Square although it is the venue for many significant events and celebrations. When we arrived there we were surprised at the size of the crowd there. The attraction today was the Polish Festival which has been staged there for the past 12 years. Last year's event attracted over 50,000 participants. I was quite amazed at the obvious enthusiasm of the many stall holders and the patient customers who formed almost impenetrable queues.

To round off our outing we boarded the free No 35 City Circuit tram which travelled the border of the Free Tram zone and provided an informative commentary along the way. The tram was packed with people which made it difficult to see many of the attractions referred to. Not the best experience but a fantastic concept that would be more enjoyable on a week day when less crowded.

After finding our way to the 109 bus we were whisked back to the port arriving just after 14:00. The rain which had held off all morning passed over the ship as a light drizzle as we had lunch. Jenny managed to catch up with her sister on the phone as we had network coverage again.
Changed for dinner and enjoyed our penultimate meal in the company of our waiters. We have managed to occupy the same table and have the same team for every night. That's is unusual when one signs up for 'Any Time' dinning. We declined the evening's entertainment and spent the time watching world events on the TV and concocting this description.

We have a final sea day tomorrow as we sail towards our final port of Sydney. The day will be occupied with the task of packing our possessions and sorting through a pile of paperwork and brochures that are unlikely to be relevant once we're ashore.

The iconic facade of Flinders Street Station forms the feature image for today you can view my photo by following this link to the image.

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

Posted by greynomadm 01:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Last Sea Day Before Melbourne

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The early morning showed no sign of the sun, instead delivering rain with a cold strong wind making the open decks unsafe. There was little to encourage people from their beds and there were very few people in the Horizon Court when we went there for breakfast. Jenny joined her group in the nightclub while I attended the two lectures in the theatre. Here too, numbers were well down on previous days.

Jenny joined me for lunch after which I left for the scheduled ice-carving demonstration, no surprise, it was cancelled due to the weather. Decided to hand out some cash tips to the waiters, cabin steward and special people in the International Cafe.

Tonight's dinner was the Italian Night Menu which provided some interesting choices. The entertainment tonight was a spit act with both Marcus Winter and Johanna Hemara sharing the stage. Mark created some beautiful and very clever images by sprinkling sand onto a glass table. Johanna followed him with that amazing voice of hers and repeated the yodelling which was a highlight of her previous performance.

We've a day in Melbourne tomorrow and the weather forecast is for possible showers, it wouldn't be Melbourne otherwise.

The view of the wet glass of our balcony forms the feature image for today you can view my photo by following this link to the image.

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

Posted by greynomadm 02:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melbourne Bound - Sea Day Two

Friday, 11 November 2016

The ship was lively this morning as we rocked our way East across the Great Australian Bight. The wind was up, the temperature down and sections of the open decks closed. There was no visible sun for a sunrise and very few people in the Horizon Court as Jenny and I had our usual breakfast. The tenacious Knitters met again in the nightclub marking yet another day in their continuos association.

Evon Anderson presented another lecture in her series, today her topic was the Rum Rebellion in the colony of Sydney. She provided many details on the amazing plots and counterplots at a time of massive land grabs.

As her session finished the Theatre started to fill for the Remembrance Day Service. Well before the scheduled start time the Theatre was crowded to the extent that there wasn't even standing room. The service was carried out with perfect reverence and flawless presentations by senior officers led by Captain Stenzel. The bugle calls were flawless and I found there were more verses to some of the hymns that I was unaware of. The minute of silence was a time when the names of many of my deceased mates came to mind. The most recent death of my dear, long suffering mate Burt, uppermost in my mind. A deeply moving time and certainly one of the best organised events on this cruise.

The mid-day report from the bridge warned that the heavy weather we are currently experiencing was likely to get worse in the next 24 hours. Despite the state of the sea the ship continues to maintain an average speed of about 20 knots.

Last Formal Night today and the dinning room was slow to fill up. In keeping with the tradition there were lobster tails and pheasant on the menu, Jenny had the pheasant and I chose the braised beef short ribs. Some of the buttons on the formal trousers are showing signs of stress. We will no doubt have an unpleasant reunion with the bathroom scales.

The entertainment is a repeat of a show staged earlier in the cruise so we've decided to retire to the cabin and watch TV. For the third night in a row our clocks go forward another hour to bring us into line with Melbourne and Sydney. Another sea day tomorrow and then Melbourne on Sunday.

An image captured in Busselton forms the feature image for today you can view my photo by following this link to the image.

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

Posted by greynomadm 01:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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