We set sail from Sydney ,several Ports, from Tasmania,across the bottom of Australia to Perth,across to Mauritius , down the coast to South Africa,around the Cape, onward to,Namibia,Senegal, Spain and Greenwich UK. New, wonderful places to discover.
  • Day83

    The Kindness Of Viking

    June 6 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Our journey was significant in giving to so many along the way, these are some of the Officers ,and crew,who made this happen, so proud to be part of such a journey.Here are some glimpses, from the Orphanage, in Dakar, Senegal. Many of these Officers we know remember by their first names.Missing is Rosa, from Uruguay... Cant you just tell how special they are.!Read more

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  • Day63

    Home Again

    May 17 in Hong Kong ⋅ 🌬 29 °C


    Home Again

    Here we are back to sunshine, initially ..and lovely to be here in Autumn, a little strange to come to the dry landscape, after the green of the UK, which is so brilliant, in a completely different time of year, travel is wonderful.. We zoomed across the world, Cathay first, all very comfortable ,new A150/900,Time passed quickly, and you think you don’t sleep but really you do, a little…
    Hong Kong is super efficient, as is most of Asia , we smile as they are quite strict with instructions, as we gathered for our Hotel transport, dressed in uniform, marshalling the troops, and leading us all a distance to the bus ,outside an immediate shock ,of high humidity. From last year, and this is amazing ,they have and are, building a new motorway and huge bridge system, to bypass some of the route from before, to the city from Lantau ,their building ability, especially bridges ,is unbelievable, these are huge constructions ,and of course in the near region, is the new Bridge all the way out to Macau…!
    Progress is swift, and lack of land is no issue, they simply fill and reclaim a new part, and off they go, the population density is mind boggling, and to supply electricity ,water and services must be immense. It is tidy and it all works, traffic is orderly, they have rules ,and adhere to them .
    Arrival to our familiar Hotel in a pleasant neighbourhood, was slightly chaotic ,many people ,security and congestion, it was the Shareholder’s meeting, so many gathered ,and we were shepherded in efficiently, and mentioned we had a bigger room, and it was available ,[it was just 9.30am ,] up.. feeling rather tired ,we had a suite, two large rooms, and powder room ,stunning view right on the harbour, bemused really, but ours not to reason why ,we gleefully settled. Ventured out trying to be awake as long as possible.!
    Much to see but extremely hot…!
    Nice Chinese dinner and rested well overnight, out again next morning, then later, just enjoyed our surroundings of this harbour ,unlike any other, so busy, and people swimming in it, humm, well it looks very clean.!!?? We love Hong Kong, so many visits ,and happily return for our stopovers…
    5pm departure ,on Air NZ , the Airport is simply HUGE, gets more so each time, another whole wing is being constructed, it’s a hike to the gate ,but all efficient and off very quickly, another new aircraft, a 77/200, gleamingly so…Very comfortable in Prem Economy, wonderful service, great food, heaps of leg room, and once again thinking no sleep, but the time vanished ..so there was some…
    Auckland airport overflowing so we had to Park on the tarmac, and be bussed into the terminal, 2 A380s in place, amongst many others, many indignant at this procedure and really one wonders how much our little Country should take… beware I say…too many people is not what we want.
    Cetrece waiting for us , on a sunny day, and home to our warm house, thank you Jo.!
    If we learnt anything from our wonderful journey, and it has been simply that, it is, we live in a very congested, troubled world ,with millions trying to re locate from damaged ,overcrowded countries , to others, now with facilities stretched to capacity, and crumbling economy’s, we seem to be almost the last bastion of normality, slightly removed from it all. I hope good sense prevails and some tough decision’s are made to keep us clean and green, it will be a fight I think…
    Thank you for coming along on this journey, your input is so appreciated and our link to home, we love to hear from each and everyone of you, and to have you all gathered, is my great pleasure, I write too much, I know, but when it’s my book I love to recall it all.
    Viking is a Cruise Line, over and above all others, and we hope to go again, at some time.
    Now I need to adjust to cooking, washing and making the bed…! Back to reality, and good to be here amongst our Family, Friends and Neighbours, who are the most important of all…!
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  • Day59

    East Sussex. UK

    May 13 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    Homeward Bound…
    Just a little more to round off the journey…you have to endure for a little longer….
    Yesterday was a lovely day, but sad ,as we saw our dear elderly friends still mourning their loss ,as we visited their sons grave ,he died in 1990, 2 little children ,in a terribly tragic way..His Birthday yesterday ,so we went, through the beautiful Countryside, to Crockham Hill, a peaceful and pretty cemetery ,looking up to their previous ,beautiful home, high the hill above .Beside is Andrew’s Field, a lovely place ,adjacent, a picnic area, in memory of Andrew. Reminding the loss of a child is a life long sentence ,no matter how long. Very special to see the contribution they made to the Village School ,Hall, Playground and Carpark, by gifting the land. We are reminded again, they are quite amazing people.
    Back to Whitegate’s ,for lunch of fresh asparagus, hollandaise ,and fine cheeses, watching the woodpecker and others ,outside in the sun enjoying the feeders. Later a wander in the garden, with Peter, seeing the trees planted over the years, for special occasions ,now at great heights. His potatoes doing well ,in a large garden.
    Spring in England is glorious , much is still coming out ,the rhododendron’s ,magnolia’s, a yellow one, I hadn’t seen before ,the wisteria is in full bloom on the house ,spectacular.. A large male pheasant, in the field , the cattle ,kept in a barn next door for way too long ,at last ,outside in the sun, with their calves…
    Molly and Peter have decided to stay there now, such a large home, but familiar for them to manage ,help in the garden, and a little in the house. Amazing , Peter walks still a lot ,and good distances ,the stairs they consider good exercise. Molly cooking wonderful meals ,daily..To be greatly admired. Doing intricate needlework ,in new cushions, the tiniest stitches, of “Black Work” I have seen..ever..!
    We laughed and looked at many photos, from years past, the NZ ones featuring us, from so long ago . Early Airport Road days, and more. .Sharing their happy memories.
    Later a wonderful dinner ,of Steak and Kidney Pie ,and fresh vegetables, made by Molly ,an apple, almond sponge to follow, gourmet delights ,she is a wonderful hostess, to say the least.. I won’t touch on the goodbyes, so hard, but I firmly hope we can see them again. Peter drove us back to our hotel.
    Today after a lovely breakfast , we left Tunbridge Wells ,our very nice accommodation ,in the leafy Common ,transported to Gatwick Hilton South Terminal , which is perfectly placed, walk through to the terminal ,and Cathay ,just right there…for our morning check in..
    We have walked around a few blocks , out in the sunshine, on a nice walking path ,light lunch and coffee at Cosco ,in the Hotel. It is slightly jaded in the past 2 years, but so well placed , it will be just fine for the night.. Good to recall the past days, as I have time to write ,and nice photos to share…
    Maybe a closing post from Hong Kong ,we have 2 nights at Harbour Grand ,a nice neighbourhood to roam in..
    Bye now ,as we prepare to endure our first 11+ hour flight , homeward…
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  • Day57

    Tunbridge Wells, UK

    May 11 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Greenwich and Beyond
    We came up the Thames, in the early hours of the 10Th May, one of the largest cruise ships to do this , and you can see why. A close fit in places, not to miss a thing ,I was up just after 4am, when we came through the narrow flood barriers, didn’t look to be space, but there was, a hint of dawn, and further up at the India Wharves, 2 large tugs waiting to turn us completely around, from there on, it was some way, we backed up the rest, around corner’s, until I recognised the landmarks of the Power Station , then The Cutty Sark, where we moored, very nearby. 3 huge anchor buoys at the bow , and 2 at the stern, in the middle of the river… A prime spot.
    Early off, [the Thames ferries our shuttles ,for a 5 min ride..] to see all that offered, we walked along to the Maritime Museum,[with the huge ship in the bottle], at the foot of the Meridian Line, with the Greenwich Time building above, on the hill, where we sat long ago with Lorraine and Norm, during our very happy OE, in 98. London doesn’t really change, the Cutty Sark in its glory ,more closed in now days, and the beautiful garden around the park contains a lovely Herb Garden, the huge trees ,avenues of colour , in various shades of green, on a sunny morning. The centre of the Park is a doggie area, so with ears flying, many were excited at their morning run ,balls being thrown ,and much fun ,for all shapes and sizes.
    The tiny streets of Greenwich, typical old England, zillions of souvenir shops…
    Tied very one, for the Royal Baby Mug ,too soon they said ,but will keep looking ,and we have one more avenue…
    A pretty Market ,with interesting crafts, then a walk along the river front ,many hours later we returned on board to pack…
    Lunch , then dinner and the Show, with our Melbourne friends ,had our Captains farewell the previous night …Many goodbyes to our lovely staff ,and others, what a journey it has been ,enjoyed something in every single day, learnt so much ,and saw wonderful places and things along the way..Sam was asked are you happy to be leaving, and he said ,I would be happy to go on for another month ,and yes we find it such a great way of life, but there will be more adventures in times ahead..Hopefully.
    Disembarked on Saturday morning ,a slow process, but our driver waiting ,and down to Tunbridge wells we came, in pouring rain..
    Our ‘’Olde Worlde ‘,Mt Edgcumbe Hotel, situated tucked away, on the edge of the Common, in pretty surroundings…Bluebells around, and squirrels scampering about…Sam a little un impressed at first sight ,as we waited in the tiny Bar, with the Grotto behind, on rickety chairs ,badger pictures on the wall, owls in various forms ,but once installed above, in our very lovely room, it was fine, not so for the poor Owner who lugged our cases up the stairs…but she smiled.! An “African Theme “in here, the Bathroom is amazing with a Giraffe Head on the wall, we have African cushions ,and lamps ,the décor is very nice..Very comfortable indeed..
    Off to the Pantiles, the older part of the City , Markets of Food ,and veggies ,so a little lunch, and a long walk to explore the town, up hills and down dales, it’s over a wide area.’ Looking for another suitcase…but…369 Pounds and later even more… so on hold for now. This is an expensive, but quality place. We enjoyed seeing all the historic buildings, green spaces ,there are many, cricket on the common, this is England…
    Dinner at our tiny restaurant, which has a large outdoor area as well, but not the weather yesterday ,though much better later in the day.
    It is renowned, so in demand, the food was outstanding, it has recently been reviewed in the Times, and many awards, did not disappoint, Sam’s Mussels in a tomato broth, superb ,I had a vegetable risotto ,that was so creamy and delish… and not far to go home.!
    Today, Sunday, has been a delight, seeing our dear “ Elderly “ friends, Peter came at 10, a little tour of the city, home to Molly, at Whitegate’s ,NZ flag flying, looking simply wonderful in the Spring ,the gardens are a picture ,the birds feeding in abundance , coffee looking out on it all, and a lovely catch up. Molly will be 90 in September ,and Peter in March. They loved their poncho and sleeveless vest ,possum/merino.. so timely for Peter, as his was mislaid on a recent trip, and he was in mourning.. Immediately donned them, and off to lunch we went, through many highways and byways to a Country Inn called The Cat, where we had fish and big chunky chips ,mushy peas with a difference, such a treat…
    Back through the Countryside, which is all narrow roads , huge trees and tiny villages ,which ,on asking, Molly said , remain “English” ,because new residents of the UK, don’t want to be out of the cities ,so they don’t change, except for the thousands of cars that are filling the tiny roads to capacity…
    Cows out in the sunshine, glowing rapeseed fields, of brilliant yellow, huge and beautiful trees ,so thickly forested in many places ,and blue bells underneath ,signs for Deer, these still roam wild.. We stopped at Pooh Corner ,briefly, and I bought, quickly a “twiglet”pen, made from a tiny branch ,so precious, of course I cannot bring rough wood into the country, I was reminded ,so Molly’s Grt Grandchildren will enjoy that…!
    Molly has made me a lovely ,little, lined ,zipped ,purse, from the NZ fabric I gave her last time ,it is simply perfect, and a treasure…she also incorporated the same fabric into a quilt for her Grt Grand daughter ,she recently made three, for each of the children ,amazing at almost 90, also she still does her Black Work, embroidery, in the evenings ,she is making a set of cushions..
    A very special day with these dear souls, and tomorrow another outing planned… Hope it is not too cold for our arrival home at the weekend…Bye now ,from us in real “England”..
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  • Day56

    Special people and places

    May 10 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Just to add a memory of some of the nicest of times ,and the people who made that so...
    Carolyn, Chicago,Final Buffet, such a wonderful spread. Alwyne and Stephen, Melbourne friends. Frances , Port Stephens. Vi, our Cabin Steward,and Egor, from Macedonia.

  • Day54

    Portsmouth U.K.

    May 8 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Portsmouth UK.

    Today our unplanned visit to Portsmouth. Bucketing down this morning ,berthed right in the Naval Base, alongside the Cross Channel Ferries, Brittany, Cherburgh and even Spain..So exciting to drive on here, sail to another country, then drive off into your adventure, that must be so great, lots of Motorhomes going on ,with many trucks, cars, motorbikes and bikes. Naval ships of several kinds, some under construction.. So war is still a big thing…it seems.. Lots to see anyway.
    Fortunately, our Excursion today ,was for this afternoon, when it cleared, the sun shone, but the wind still blew, it was really cold, a shock to our systems really. Arundel Castle was the choice, I remembered Christian going a long time ago, and had good photos. Like a Fairy-tale he said…
    Oh to be in England.. I cannot help but think ,once we proceed into the countryside, glorious ,green ,huge trees, fields of rape, glowing yellow, the villages ,the swans ,just love it all. Through pretty places, like Chichester ,where we had a little look at the very tall spire on the Cathedral. So much history to learn, lost on the Americans, but our guide was a delight, so well spoken and interesting.
    Arundel not so far away, set high up above the quaint old village with its cathedral beside..A little climb ,not suiting some, [lots are so unwell and very crochety] a very solid and huge Castle, an older part ,and then much more ,its surroundings simply beautiful.
    So much to see, a very large place, so with advice of the highlights we were off at speed. Owned by the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, they reside in a private part ,but use the Castle on occasions, recently a christening. There have been many over the years but it is managed well, the treasures well looked after ,and preserved. Nice looking people, as the aristocracy go. The portraits through the years ,numerous. A place of “weapons rooms”..like Windsor ,many swords and killing instruments ,suits of armour etc, and lots of hunting trophies, heads of all manner of animals , even Lions as mats, one hopes, from days well gone by.!
    Dining room , gorgeous, all set up, and in the cabinet, the treasure of Mary Queen of Scots rosary beads, gold, that she took with her to her death…amongst other precious things. Very dark ,huge library ,of enormous proportions, everything behind glass, but two levels…
    The Chapel ,large and apparently divided, as these Norfolk’s are Catholic, but there is a place for Anglicans ,beautiful mellow stone that had to be imported for this to be constructed, from the Isle of Wight.
    Only flint here for building so walls of that, flint features on many older homes, looks like shells ,at a glance, but not so..Quite effective patterns. Beautiful views from the high windows ,to the courtyards below.. The kitchen wear, copper and skillets ,all displayed. Huge wide Hallways, and luckily it had copper radiators for heating, as it would be freezing, with little sun..
    The bedrooms, as in other grand places I have found ,were not actually very nice, dark coloured and a bit dusty looking…
    All manner of beautiful things throughout, but we had to speed onwards, as the Gardens were next…a good walk up, through the glorious spring green trees, all kinds of wonderful things, beeches ,oaks, jacaranda’s ,chestnuts in bloom.. Sadly the spring flowers were finished of course, had been miles of daffodil’s, everywhere ,and a tulip festival at Easter . Dashed into a walled part, and just simply stopped in my tracks, probably the best gardens I have ever seen, that just went on and on, with all kinds of precious views, of amazing things. In here many tulips still in bloom, in pots, the alliums always a favourite, hedges, driftwood forming one part ,Mum would love, it was actually very impressive, it just went on and on to the end where there was the Kitchen Garden, everything imaginable, all the berries, rhubarb, gooseberries ,raspberries, potatoes, silver beet, beans ..everything. Some devoted gardeners here.
    The smaller chapel, had a completely white garden ,so much to enjoy…Some intricate garden structures ,many very old, but some looked more recent , will need to research more. Stunning in everyway, what a find…!
    Seating in lovely places, unusual water features , just around every corner, sights to behold, felt so very grateful to experience such a wonder…Sam enjoyed it too, even at top speed ,I wasn’t going to miss anything. So back down the hill to the pretty village, adjacent, so old and special as well…
    A Romanian , in his nice Ice Cream shop, of a kind ,with special home made cones ,and delectable treats of strawberries ,in first… One year in business, and doing well in his new country , said we are the friendliest people in the world, Brits sometimes are not, and that is true, still reserved to an extent, there are quite a few here . A nice wander in the Village ,for a short time, it has many, many “Tea and Scone” shops… never enough time..! But a wonderful day in Britain… and so much information as well…Hard for photos in the gale, but we will see…
    The naming and pictures of the new Royal Baby, pleasing the Brits ,Archie indeed.!!! Looks a beautiful baby ,with very happy parents ,and will be an adored child.
    On departure we sailed down the coast of the Isle of Wight ,it’s a very large Island, and relatively uninhabited, in places ,on this side, some smaller towns, Osborne House, of Queen Victoria fame ,in a beautiful spot ,ferries cross from Portsmouth ,so easy access. Large tracts of agriculture ,which I didn’t imagine. It was getting dark by time we reached the white chalk cliffs of The Needles, at the end of the Island, dramatic in the dusk… Now we proceed at about 2knts ,to wait for our entry into the Thames ,in the early hours of the 10th.
    All our goodbyes today ,[so many people are sick, it’s really bad, everything crossed we can escape, but thinking that could be a miracle…!]..home beckons ,and we will be pleased to be back ,on the 19th,, after our stopover in Hong Kong, 3 nights in Tonbridge Wells, to see Molly and Peter. A lovely part of the world, so I will have pictures to share..
    Bye from us cruising ,very slowly, in the English Channel…
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  • Day52

    Vigo ,Spain

    May 6 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    Vigo, Spain.

    After missing Casablanca ,as explained ,we arrived this morning, to this pretty ,interesting place ,in Northern Spain.
    Much cooler today ,only 12o to begin with ,rising to 15, I think it is higher, but a cool breeze, as the day passed. We were off early , looking forward to sightseeing on our own. Only us and the dog walkers out to begin with , always nice to see the busy puppies, on their morning journeys…many kinds, a Toby in there ,full of business, all shapes and sizes…they of course understand Spanish…so not responsive…!
    A palm lined , sea front ,walk way, with many statues, always interesting ,a few ultra weird thrown in ,like The Mermaid Man ,situated in the heart of the city at Porta Do So l ,upon 2, 15 mtr granite columns, by a considered exceptional sculptor, Francisco Leiro…hummm… the old ones are very special. Jules Verne features ,in a nice way, his books related to these regions ,and he came back for treasure ,that may be here, due to much pillaging and looting by various thugs like Francis Drake ,Napoleon ,and a few Vikings thrown in, so treasure in the Bay it seems ,gold doubloon’s and pieces of eight.!? A place of many battles and sinking’s…!
    Today beautiful Parks to walk in ,trees in spring glory, chestnuts in flower, roses coming out, with the wisteria ,fountains, that are very old, so pretty ,and some really quaint children’s statues. Impatients surrounding. Many steps , streets going up in stages, like an ancient San Francisco.
    The buildings ,are of lovely granite ,some are related, a little ,to those of La Courna , further North , that we visited and so enjoyed, some time ago, as it rains, they have closed in Balconies ,wrought iron, so old and pretty.
    We covered a lot of ground, finding many delights along the way, ancient olives, mixed with the new and huge, slightly weird statues…beautiful Church ,tiny streets, lined with Basket sellers. This is a special place of basket weavers ,so many different examples, in the narrow old streets. Orange trees growing on the streets ,so nice… Climbed right to the top, then panoramic views. Vigo dates from the 1600’s.
    As we worked down from the top ,we came to many little Plazas,[Squares around the old buildings] All with pretty names and plaques.. A huge and stunning Cathedral ,I quietly popped in for discreet pictures ,many were kneeling ,and had to exit, as the Priest came ,swinging incense ,and there was ringing of bells… It was very special, inside, outside very solid…
    This is a large Fishing Port , so the sardines ,in small cartons ,or like, for sale ,amongst the fruit ,it was actually nice to see, the plentiful fruit shops ,we bought oranges ,the only slight thing to say that is not so plentiful , that is fresh ,large fruit…it is that we are used to having such a lot, instead of our 5 a day, we probably have nearer to 10 ,fruit and veg…! Miles of mussel farms , everywhere in the Bay. Also a Farming area, and Spain’s Gateway to the Atlantic.
    This is not far from the great walk of the Pilgrims, to Santiago De Compostela ,on the Camino De Santiago.
    Spanish people are small, I think we must get Mum’s DNA, as I feel they came to Mull, and the Family were quite dark and small, that there will be some Spanish, in there somewhere…There would have been clothing to fit Mum here, just had a bit much glitz…!
    Long, gently sloping, hillside of a shopping ,a pedestrian Plaza, so like Porto, nearby ,but more spacious ,beautiful things ,many bathing suits of interesting design ,the fashions are a step back to yesteryear, double breasted coats are here, with the pleated skirts we wore then as well…!! Classy fashions ,for men and women ,beautiful shoes ,and bags. There is never enough time , I think I would like to come back to Spain ,maybe a Villa, Thel.?? That can be the next dream…
    We walked a long way ,up and down many hills, before making our way back, we have a 4.30 deadline, as of course we are out -running the storm, that prevented us from stopping in Morocco.
    A lovely day, in a beautiful , charming place .,always with so much more to discover. Public access by ferry to beautiful beaches [The World’s Most Beautiful Beach ,apparently] in the Cies Islands ,fine white sand and turquoise water..we could see from our highest vantage point. Oyster Street ,with the famed oysters, everywhere.
    Bye from us, heading for the UK.
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