A Travellerspoint blog

Limassol, Cyprus - Thursday, 4 April 2019

Visit to Nicosia

semi-overcast 18 °C
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Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047

Today we arrived in Limassol which is the second largest town in Cyprus and its main port. Stretching for 10 miles along the coastline, the Troodos mountains provide the town with a magnificent backdrop. There are castles and ancient sites here dating back 7,000 years!

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Up at 6 am to be ready by 7 am when our room service breakfast arrived. This time I remembered to order everything!

We all met at 8.10 am and were on the bus and ready to go at 8.30 am.

Originally we had booked a shore excursion to Larnaka and Lefkara but a couple of days ago, Phil decided to change it to Nicosia Highlights. Bad move. I should have stuck to my guns and gone to Larnaka and Lefkara on my own. The Nicosia trip was 20 USD more and it was the biggest waste of money and boring as hell.

It was about an hour and a half drive there and back. When we got there, we saw Archbishop Makarios' palace (through the gates) then walked next door to St John's Cathedral that dates back to 1660. It's walls and ceilings are covered with beautiful 18th century frescoes but unfortunately we weren't able to take any photos. And the guard was watching us like a hawk and would fine us 50€ if we even looked like taking a photo!

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We then went to the old town section of Nicosia to Laiki Yitonia where we had some pita bread with haloumi and a lemon drink, that was the colour of lemon but tasted like water.

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Then we were given half an hour to walk around the streets before we got back on the bus and came back to the ship. Total waste of time and money. I won't be doing that again in a hurry!

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Phil bought a new watch band which I believe is too small, but time will tell.

By the time we got back on board, we had missed lunch, so Phil has room service, and I went down for afternoon tea and had a delicious scone, jam and cream. Robin and Chris were there and we shared our thoughts about today's shore excursions. Seems like Robin had the best one to the mountains.

Bye bye Cyprus.

G&T on the balcony watching a beautiful sunset.

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Posted by gaddingabout 01:42 Archived in Cyprus Comments (0)

Camelford, Cornwall - Wednesday, 17 April 2019

semi-overcast 16 °C
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Bowood Park Hotel, Camelford - Room No 302

Nice sleep last night in our 'hobbit house' and no early morning golfers to wake us up. The bed was lovely.

Andrew and Jean picked us up at 10 am for our journey to St Michael's Mount in Marazion, near Penzance.

First Andrew took us to see some of his fields being prepared for the potato planting. These machines are huge and are separating the rocks from the soil. They are worth 160 thousand pounds each and there were five working in the field.

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Then on the road to St Michael's Mount. Phil and I went there 20 years ago, but we sat in the car and ate fish and chips and didn't venture across the causeway to the castle, much to my chagrin. So this time, I was determined to do the lot - cross the causeway and climb to the very top. It took a long time to drive there because there were lots of traffic jams along the way due I think, to school holidays and Easter commencing on Friday.

We finally arrived, parked the car and walked along the beach to the causeway and crossed. The cobblestones are quite uneven and sometimes wet and slippery, so we were very careful. Andrew and I decided to climb to the top of the castle while Jean and Phil stayed at the base. The steps were large and uneven but not too bad at all. We reached the entry to the base of the castle and were stopped by a staff member. Apparently there was a 'medical incident' on the other side of the wall, and no one was allowed through until the para medics had arrived, assessed the situation, treated the patient and then had him air lifted. Apparently he had broken his leg. Nasty.

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This was taking an inordinate amount of time, so Andrew and I decided to go back down to Jean and Phil, as it wasn't fair for them to be hanging around waiting for us. So, I still haven't been to the castle on St Michael's Mount. Disappointing. It is becoming my nemesis!! At least I got a refund.

On the way back down, the cobblestones are uneven, steep and slippery, so I was hanging onto the guide rail. A kid behind me must have said something to his mother and she replied "Old ladies have weak knees so they need to hold on to the guide rail!!!" Was that ME she was speaking about?

By the time we were ready to go back to the mainland, the causeway was almost covered by water, so we had to catch a boat. This service is very efficient and cost 2 pounds per person.

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Back in the car we drove to Penzance and had a light lunch at a delightful little cafe called Mackerel Sky. Then to the icecream shop.

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We had a very delicious afternoon tea at Andrew's sister's home at Newlyn. Sheila (Button) Harvey and David Harvey live in a lovely home up on top of the hill, overlooking the bay. What a view!

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We began the long drive back to Chapel Amble, Wadebridge where we were to meet Joe and Emma Button and their children Harry and Max for dinner at the pub, the Maltsters Arms. The drive back was even worse than the drive down. Lots of long delays, but we finally arrived and had dinner with more Buttons!

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After a very long day, we are ready for bed.

Posted by gaddingabout 14:43 Archived in England Comments (0)

Camelford, Cornwall - Tuesday, 16 April 2019

semi-overcast 12 °C
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Bowood Park Hotel, Camelford - Room No 121

What a difference a day makes! Slightly overcast, no rain and not a breath of wind. 5 to 12 degrees.

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We wake to the news that Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire last night and has incured a huge amount of damage. How terribly sad. It is a magnificent building.

Room 121 is on the second floor, quite spacious with a very large bathroom (with a bath), overlooking the golf course and across the hills, but there is no elevator. We haven't carried our big bags up the stairs but just took what we would need for five days. Phil (in his wisdom) has decided to ask reception if they have a room on the ground floor that is available. Yes, they do, so he takes it. Eeeek! It is around the back of the hotel (!), next to the pro shop (golfers making a noise early in the morning), it has no bath and a pokey little bathroom and shower, no heated towel racks, not much hanging space but has a bedroom and a lounge room, and it's on ground level. Not happy Jan!! So the day didn't start well.

Jean and Andrew have gone to a funeral today in Bristol so we are on our own. After a very lazy start, we decided to drive to Port Isaac (Doc Martin territory), then to Rock to catch the ferry to Padstow to see Rick Stein's restaurant and the Chough Bakery that was featured in a "fix my business" television program, then onto Truro to Marks and Spencer to buy some trousers for Phil.

It is important to remember that these towns, except for Truro, are tiny, the streets are narrow and there is nowhere to park. So when you arrive on the outskirts of the town, there is a reason why the sign says "Park Here and Ride into Town", because there is no parking in the town. The roads are narrow and there are tourists everywhere, wandering all over the road. But of course, being married to an Australian who knows everything, he decides to drive into town. It was a nightmare. People everywhere, narrow streets, cars almost scraping each other and guess what, nowhere to park! So we didn't even get out of the car!

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The one highlight was that we saw Ian McNeice (Burt Large in Doc Martin) getting into his car, so we stopped and yelled out hello and took his photo.

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Next stop was Rock where Andrew had suggested that we might like to catch the ferry to Padstow to see Rick Stein's restaurant and the Chough Bakery. Phil thought Andrew meant a car ferry - no - a people ferry and of course, there was no room left in the car park for the ferry, so on we drove to Padstow.

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Same thing there - "Park Here and Ride into Town". But no, we decided to drive into the port, which was a hundred times worse than Port Isaac. People disembarking off the ferry and were just wandering all over the streets and the footpaths. It was very difficult to drive through the town. I did at least get a photo of the Chough Bakery and there was a huge queue outside, waiting to be served. As my husband doesn't do queues, we drove on to Truro.

Truro is quite a big town and we found Marks and Spencer quite easily and wonderful news - it had its own parking station.

We headed for the menswear section only to find that they don't carry "Big Mens" clothing in the smaller shops. (I'm sure I said let's wait until we get to London and try there). They can order trousers in but without trying them on, that wouldn't be very successful.

So we found the M&S Cafe, had a bite to eat and then headed home.

We deviated into Wadebridge to take a photo of The Old Bridge which is said to have been built from the proceeds of wool sales in the area.

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So, all in all, not a very wonderful day. Though the sun is shining, there is no wind and it was about 17 degrees in Truro.

We had a G&T and then decided to drive the short way to Camelford to have dinner. We were planning to have fish and chips but when we got there, it was just a take away place so we wandered down the street, taking photos. It is really a very nice village/town. We came to a pub called The Mason's Arms that looked nice so we went inside and decided to stay and have dinner. It has an old fire place with the Mason insignia carved into the stone.
We started chatting to another patron, Suzie White, who was here for a few days from Devon, attending a horse camp and dressage competition. She was very nice to talk with and then Cate the owner joined in, with her children and we chatted on and on for ages. It was nice to meet some locals and they use Button meat. Small world!

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This is Cate, her son, and Suzie White.

Alan, Cate's husband, gave us a few tastes of the local cider. Very nice. We will go back before we leave Cornwall and give the kids some gold kangaroos.

The GPS took us the long way home, along narrow Cornish lanes, but we arrived safely. Time for bed.

Posted by gaddingabout 14:37 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Suez, Suez Canal, Port Said, Egypt - Wednesday, 3 April 2019

semi-overcast 24 °C
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Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047
Last night we anchored in the Red Sea at the entrance to the Suez Canal and started to sail through the Suez Canal at 4 am. It will take us 10 hours to get through. We are cruising at 6 knots. We started in a convoy of five ships - two container ships, the Costa Victoria, the Queen Mary 2, followed by another container ship, then 20 more ships joined our convoy.

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The Suez Canal is one of the greatest feats of modern engineering. It represents the culmination of centuries of effort to enhance trade and expand the empires of Egypt by connecting the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. The canal was completed in 1869 amid much fanfare and celebration. When two small fleets, one originating in Port Said and the other in Suez, met at the new town of Ismailia on 16 November 1869, the Suez Canal was declared open and Africa was officially severed from Asia. Ownership of the canal remained in French and British hands until, in the wake of Egyptian independence, President Nassar nationalised the canal in 1956.

After lunch we went to the Planetarium to see the Dark Universe. It was a bit beyond us and I had to close my eyes a lot so I didn't get motion sickness.

Came back to the cabin and watched the movie "Swimming with Men". I had missed it at home and was glad to be able to see it on board ship. It was great.

Phil has a cold (so we'll all suffer)!

Our table had ordered Suckling Pig for dinner, which we shared with Ursula and Pieter at the next table. It was quite the spectacle and very delicious. Whatever we ask for, whether it's on the menu or not, they make it for us.

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After dinner, we went to the 10.30 pm and last show on board of Peter Cutler. He is a fantastic talent, singing and tap dancing as we purposely sat in the middle of the front row to support him, because at his last show, the audience weren't very responsive. I'm pleased to say that wasn't the case tonight and they were much better. He was great as usual, but didn't tap dance, just sang great songs and told some jokes, that didn't go over very well. He should just stick to singing and dancing.

Into to bed by midnight and up early tomorrow as we are going ashore in Cyprus.

Postscript - in the suckling pig photo, notice the lady in the green dress in the background. Well, we believe that she and her husband are the Number One Travellers on Cunard ships, which means that they have spent the most amount of money on Cunard cruises, bar none - probably hundreds of thousands. She is escorted into dinner every night by the Maitre de and sometimes ship's officers dine with her and her husband.

Posted by gaddingabout 11:16 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Suez, Cairo - Tuesday, 2 April 2019

semi-overcast 22 °C
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Queens Suite - Deck 9 - Cabin 9047
Gala Evening - Egyptian Ball
Today is a lazy day at sea en route to the Suez Canal.

After breakfast, we attended a lecture by Captain David Wilkinson, OBE, RN (Retd) entitled "Talking to Pirates". It was very entertaining as he was telling of his private hands-on experience with pirates.

Chris and I ordered dumplings for lunch and we had to return them as the pasta casing was rock hard!

After lunch, Phil and I went up to view the Bridge. Not much happening in there. The ship is on auto pilot. We wandered around deck 13 and 12 taking photos.

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This afternoon we attended a lecture by John Laverick on the Suez Canal. The theatre was full and even though the lecture was very interesting, we both managed to nod off occasionally. The lecturer's voice is a monotone and seems to lull us to sleep!

It is a Gala Evening - the Egyptian Ball - and everyone is dressed to the nines, some with an Egyptian theme.

We went to a pre dinner concert and were very surprised to hear the performer was from Newcastle in Australia. Ashley Caruthers was his name and he was just superb. He holds the Guinness Book of records for the fastest piano player and has just come from performing in a musical as Jerry Lee Lewis. He was SO talented. He is getting off at Limassol which is a shame - I would like to hear more of him.

We had Lobster Thermidor for dinner. Yummy.

We are now anchored at the entrance to the Suez Canal. We have to obtain permission to sail through which probably means after we pay $500,000.00, then we'll be allowed to pass. They expect to get under way at about 4 am and it will take about 12 hours. Tomorrow will be a very interesting day.

Posted by gaddingabout 10:56 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

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