A Travellerspoint blog

Around the World in 80 Days

Costa Rica, Mexico

Costa Rica, Mexico
Had a great day and we were supposed to be back
to catch the boat at 5.30pm.Our bus held the whole ship up ‘cos we did not arrive back on the wharf until 6pm.

It was a great tour as we got out into the country and took a little diesel train ride (2 carriages)up into the mountains. From here you could see the banana plantations and lots & lots of watermelon farms in the valleys below.
During the ride we saw some howler monkeys and at one stage a baby boa constrictor got onto the train. The guide held it up for us to take a photo.
Then a coach picked us up and took us further into the wildlife/mangrove area for a flat –bottomed boat ride thru’ the mangrove channels. We saw some little crocodiles and we were very lucky to see a scarlet macaw. Got a photo so hope I can enlarge it and crop it and get a good photo as they are on the verge of extinction.

We did not see them but there were sugar farms and coffee plantations 35 miles east from Puntarenas on the way to the capital San Jose 70 miles away from the port.

Our next port of call was Zihuatanejo, pronounced zee-what-a-nay-ho. It
is an overgrown fishing village which has extended around a beautiful bay. We took a tour over the mountain to a high class area full of modern tourist resorts. From there we caught a water taxi to a little island off Ixtapa and here we had a swim and I had a $20 ride on a jet ski.
guacamole and chips and also some shrimps. It was a fun day!!!!!

Acapulco is everything that your mind envisages with sun, warm blue waters, wonderful natural harbour, bustling markets.etc. A string of restaurants are available all along the beach, with sun lounges and colourful umbrellas in abundance.
La Quebrada was fantastic and we had a front seat to watch the cliff divers throw themselves off a promontory 130 feet above sea-level.

This is the last blog from me until our next travel excursion. Hope you have enjoyed it. Happy Travelling.

Posted by BerylB 21:32 Comments (1)

Around the World in 80 Days

Barbados St Lucia

Barbados/St Lucia

Barbados/St Lucia/Bonaire/Aruba

Last time we were in Barbados I was not impressed but this time we loved it. Our hotel Accra Bay was everything that you expect a Barbados resort to be like. There was also a boardwalk and boy what a great walk in the late afternoon. My first aid came in handy as that night at dinner one of the waitresses fell and injured her knee so teacher mode in me took over.

This island is what you expect a Caribbean Island to be, with its verdant forests and the skyline dominated by mountains volcanic –like scenery. Last time we were here we “did” the island but this time took a jeep ride around to a few panoramic spots, through the Castries and finally onto a plantation, mainly bananas but had lots of the local plants, bushes flowers, trees etc. – nutmeg, cashews, kalabash ( can’t spell it ). Then we walked to a swimming hole and had a dip and sat under a waterfall to cool off.

Went for a swim at Eden’s beach a couple of kms out from the port.The beach was covered with broken coral and shells and so I put on my rubber thongs to get in. There was beautiful fish swimming around and you felt you could touch them. You did not need your snorkelling gear. The island is under-developed which is in itself an attraction in itself. $2 to share a mini-bus to and from the ship. They take 10 people at a time.

Aruba had talcum –soft beaches -2 of them - real long–Eagle Beach and Palm Beach- very beautiful. It is grossly over-commercialised with all the famous hotels vying for business, American-style. We went to the Holiday Inn to catch a catamaran out to the semi-submersible boat that took us.
Around an old German wreck and then further on to see what they call a reef. Just goes to show how good our Barrier Reef is. We are 18 miles off the Venezuelan coast-line.

After we got back to the ship I went for a walk around Oranjestad –capital of this Dutch Antilles and quite Americanised but also cosmopolitan with a cultural mix of people and foods etc. Delft china,
Dutch cheese, Danish silver for sale. Took a photo of Schooner Harbour with our ship the “Oceana” in the background.

Won’t go into the history as you can look that up on the internet if you are truly interested. It has been a big day and we’ve been up since 6am so we wouldn’t miss a thing.We went through the 3 Gatun locks finally at 7.30am and then we went across Gatun kake for 4 hours before we arrived at the Calebra Cut and then shortly after the Pedro Miguel Locks. After that there was another little lake to cross before we came to the Miraflores Lochs – the last three which take you down to the Pacific Ocean. We saw where they are building another string of lochs on the Panama end. There was a queue up at both ends so a duplication is badly needed. This lot is due for completion in 2014. The total length from the Caribbean side to the Pacific side is only 51 miles but is took us 10 hours to traverse. Only a week to go and we will be homeward bound from Los Angeles.We passed beneath the “Bridge of the Americas” which links North America and South America.

Posted by BerylB 11:45 Comments (0)

Around the World in 80 Days

What a Mess

This is not really a travelogue but worth a go!
!!!Cruising the Mediterranean
I’m probably boring you to death but I’m filling in time while John recovers so thought I’d “do” this bit by e-mail ‘cos I failed to add photos to this part of my blog on http://berylbarrett.travellerspoint.com so if you find it a bit much just delete it. Tomorrow I will visit the hospital and get a book to read. That will keep me occupied. Cruising_t..ean_042.jpg

Athens was fun. John and I had visited before but it was just as good the second time around. Of course the highlight was the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the Erechtheion, Mt. Lycabettus, Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. Cruising_t..ean_026.jpg ,

After this, we walked to the Plaka and the Flea Market and our guide suggested a place that served traditional Greek tucker.

Lisbon was foggy and hard to see anything in the city so we took a ride to Fatima and it was sunny and we had a pleasant day up there.

It is Xmas morning and if John feels up to it we may walk 300m to an English Pub for Xmas dinner at “The Pavilion.” We would love to go to Shepherd’s Bush to the Aussie pub – “The Outback”- this evening at 11pm to watch a bit of the cricket but I daren’t take John out in the cold. It will be hard enough getting him to The Pavilion as it is 1degree here today. Our accommodation does not run to Sky Sports so we will have to see if we can find a radio channel or maybe 1 of our 5 free to air channels that will give highlights.
Xmas Eve, last night, I bought garlic breaded mushrooms for starters followed by Chicken Satay and Special Fried Rice with a little Sticky Toffee Steam Pudding with custard for dessert. I had to make sure that it could all be cooked in the microwave.
Lunching in Oxford Streeet
Boxing Day
What a bloody disaster!!!!! ---the cricket, I mean.
We lay awake half the night listening to the wickets fall. I thought this match would be really competitive.

Finally we turned the radio off and went to sleep and then this morning heard that it only got worse. Lovely to speak to Steven and Jack and Derek and Debra for a few minutes form Melbourne. They are NOT going to the cricket today. We hear though that the weather is good for Melbourne.

John and I walked around the corner to an English Pub called “The Pavilion.” Paid megabucks for Xmas dinner. Never mind- it was warm and pleasant and only 300m in the COLD. John is recovering well and if he continues to improve as he is now, we will meet Enid at the Hilton Olympia on the 31st December, and we will fly to Barbados and take the “Oceana” through the Panama Canal. Enid leaves for Australia just before we leave for New York where we stay o/n at an airport hotel.

This was our first into our winter gear, taken as we waited for our pre-booked taxi from Southampton to London. It was going to cost us 61 pounds each on the train(and we had to get to the train) so we paid 180 pounds to be taken to our hotel in London – good decision.

Somebody took this on Xmas Day at “The Pavilion” at Hammersmith. John is still on anti-biotics so he had a small beer only. Is slowly getting back on his feet after 6 days in hospital.
Cheers to all. Have a happy New Year!!!!!

Posted by BerylB 11:09 Comments (1)

Around the World in 80 Days

Cruising the Mediterranean

Cruising the Mediterranean
What a great day!!!! Did just the Acropolis and the Plaka and it was just right.
Saw, and got a run down from our guide of the most memorable monuments - the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Propylaea. From the area of the Acropolis I took good photos of Hadrian’s Arch and The Temple of Zeus. Also took some great photos of Central Athens with Mt. Lycabettus in the background.
After the cultural bit, we went to a traditional Greek Taverna and had moussaka(can’t spell it) and then wandered through the markets and because it was becoming quite cold we all invested in “hoodies”(warm zip-up jackets with hoods attached)
Our captain has warned us of bad weather starting at 2am tomorrow 11th December.
It was pretty rough but not as bad as from Manila to Hongkong.
Very interesting passing through the Strait of Gibraltar.
Had a pleasant tour up to Fatima when we landed in Lisbon. Arrive in Southhampton on Friday 17th December and getting a taxi to Kensington Plaza Hotel. Having trouble downloading photos so this can go as it is.

Posted by BerylB 02:17 Comments (1)

Around the World in 80 Days

The Pirate Route

The Pirate Route

We have been operating at a higher level of security. This was maintained across the Arabian Sea, up the Gulf of Aden, through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb at the entrance of the Red Sea. During our passage of the Gulf we were in an Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor under the protection of an International Task Force, including the Royal Navy, assigned by the United Nations mandate to protecting merchant ships from pirate attack.

Every evening after dark no-one was allowed on the decks and we had to pull all our curtains so no lights would show. Every evening there was a short broadcast on our cabin T.V. reminding us of our security status and advising us of the precautions necessary.

We even had to do a “drill” simulating an attack. During this time even the cabin stewards and waiters etc. had to join in, and all facilities were closed for services during this exercise. It involved closing the balcony doors and pulling the curtains and sitting on the floor in the corridor.

Our captain has to follow instructions and ensure that all safety precautions have been followed. He is a very educated man – born in Poland, attended Trinity School in Hull. He joined the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company as Navigating Cadet Officer sailing carriers, bulk containers and tankers. Then he did further studies at Hull College of Nautical Studies. Following more studies at the City of London Polytechnic he obtained his Master’s Cetificate of Competencyand was also successful in the Associateship Examinations of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. With a downturn in shipping in 1986, he took voluntary redundancy and did a Bachelor of Science Degree (honours) in Maritime Studies at the University of Wales, Cardiff. In the meantime, he held posts on cross channel passenger and freight ferries and as a Master of a tanker running vegetable oils between U.K. and the continent.
He then studied law at the College of Law in York, then trained qualified and practised as a solicitor in a law firm in London specialising in Admiralty, shipping and shipping finance law. The call of the sea proved too strong and he returned to passenger shipping in 1996.

The other day we went to a classical recital. It really was a bit too high-brow for me and out of my league. Susan, you may relate to some of these. Yukiko was on the piano and Lianna was on the flute. Absolutely great artists – out of Trinity College, London. They played Badinerie and Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach and then they lost me.
Yates – Fire Island (2nd Mvt)
Ravel Pavanne Pair Une Infante Defunte
Piazzolla – histoire du Tango – Café 1920 and Nightclub 1960.

Another first class performance we saw was a whole hour show by an international vocalist called Anita Louise Combe. She played in the current West End production of “Chicago” opposite David Hasselhoff.

John and I have begun “Bridge” lessons. I doubt if we will last too long as I talk too much and everyone is so serious. I have been attending line dancing to keep a bit fit too.

We had a day in Sharm el Sheik – did the “Old Markets” because our St Catherine trip into the Sinai Desert was cancelled because of too many cruise ships in at the same time and it was a special feast day. After the markets we caught a cab to Namaa Bay, which is the Arabian Riviera for foreigners vacationing. Toni Blair used to holiday here. We couldn’t swim as a German lady had been taken by a shark the previous day and the beaches were closed.

Today we were supposed to be seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx but our anchor was fouled up with some wire and so we crawled along at low speed and missed our berth in Suez – very disappointing. We are now traversing the Suez Canal and will be until 7pm this evening.
Happy travels

Posted by BerylB 06:53 Comments (2)

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