A Travellerspoint blog

February 2004

2014 - CARNIVAL MAGIC - TEXAS, ROATAN, BELIZE & COZUMEL


View 2014 CARNIVAL MAGIC - CARRIBEAN on hasbeen's travel map.

ABOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC

THE REASON I TOOK THIS CRUISE WAS THE ADVERTISED PRICE OF $509 US FOR SEVEN DAYS. EVEN WITH THE SINGLE SUPPLEMENT, TAXES, US CANADIAN DOLLAR EXCHANGE RATE & WHATNOT, IT STILL CAME TO LESS THAN 1OO DOLLARS CANADIAN PER DAY.

NOT TOO BAD.

IT STARTED OUT WITH A FLIGHT TO HUSTON TEXAS, & ON TO GALVESTON FOR TWO NIGHTS WAITING FOR MY BOAT TO COME IN.

I ASKED AT RECEPTION WHERE THE NEAREST FOOD COULD BE HAD & THEY DIRECTED ME TO CHILLIES - EXCELLENT..

JUST A WALK AWAY FOR THE HOTEL IS A FREE FERRY FROM NOWHERE TO NOWHERE & I AM A SUCKER FOR FERRIES & FREEBEES SO I WENT ALONG FOR THE RIDE.

THESE BIRDS WERE FOLLOWING ALONG FOR THE FREE LUNCH...

P1120616.jpgP1120624.jpg

large_P1120675.jpg

large_9C62B1BD2219AC681702EADF0CE70BE0.jpg

P1120690.jpg

I THEN WALKED INTO THE STRANGELY EMPTY GALVESTON. ON A SATURDAY AT NOONISH IS WAS VERY QUIET. ALMOST A GHOST TOWN.

I FOUND MY WAY TO THE OCEAN SIDE & A GREAT PLACE TO SIT AND WATCH TO WAVES & CHAT TO THE TOURISTS. TEXAN TOURISTS IN TEXAS

large_9C6E68572219AC681784E64D3BD18038.jpg

THIS GUY CAME FLYING OVER ON A MOTORISED HANG-GLIDER. A FIRST FOR ME...

9C79719A2219AC6817CF9482145C1586.jpg

THERE WAS A LONG LONG WAIT AT THE CRUISE TERMINAL TO GET ON THE SHIP. IF I HAD A PHONE OR USED INTERNET WHEN I WAS AWAY I WOULD HAVE KNOWN THE SHIP WAS STUCK IN FOG OUTSIDE GALVESTON. I GOT THAT BIT OF NEWS WHEN I GOT HOME. CARNIVAL HAD TEXT & E MAILED ME.

FINALLY GOT ON BOARD & THE LUNCH BUFFET WAS A ZOO. THE MAGIG HAS AN INCREDIBLE ARRAY OF BUFFET STATIONS. ALL THE REGULARS PLUS INDIAN & MONGOLIAN.

THIS IS ROATAN, AN ISLAND OFF HONDURAS.

I TOOK THE ISLAND TOUR THAT INCLUDED A LITTLE BOAT RIDE TO SEE SOME MANGROVES & A WRECK.

P1120729.jpg

I NEVER WENT BACK TO THE BUFFET AS I HAD A FIXED SEATING ASSIGNMENT.

THE FIRST NIGHT AT A TABLE FOR 10 THERE WERE TWO MEN & ME.

SECOND NIGHT & THE MEN HAD BAILED BUT JEFF FROM ARIZONA & TERESA & GLENN FROM TEXAS SUBSTITUTED.

GREAT DINNER COMPANIONS & THE FOOD FOR THE MOST PART WAS EXCELLENT.

ON SEA DAYS THERE IS BRUNCH SO I WENT NUTS AND HAD STEAK & EGGS.

P1120734.jpg

ON TO A VILLAGE WHERE THERE ARE DESCENDANTS FROM AN AFRICAN SLAVE SHIP THAT CRASHED IN THE WEST INDIES .
DANCING - MAKING FLOUR - SELLING NICKNAKS.

large_9C8D76132219AC68177690ACFF2399B9.jpg

P1120756.jpgP1120765.jpg

large_P1120771.jpgP1120774.jpg

I HEARD THAT ONE GUY GOT OFF THE BOAT & BOUGHT A PROPERTY. NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL A SHOPPING STOP.

NEXT DAY WE WERE IN BELIZE FOR A DRIVE WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO VISIT A MAYAN TEMPLE AT XUNANTUNICH
( PRONOUNCED - Xunantunich )

SOME HOUSES ON THE WAY...

large_P1120784.jpgP1120791.jpg

P1120797.jpglarge_P1120806.jpg

AND HERE WE ARE AT XUNANTUNICH......

large_P1120808.jpglarge_P1120817.jpg

large_P1120821.jpglarge_P1120823.jpg

large_P1120826.jpglarge_P1120828.jpg

SOME FOLKS CLIMBED TO THE TOP, UP THE STEPS AT THE FRONT.

NOT ME - I TOOK THE STAIRS WITH A HANDRAIL ROUND THE BACK..

large_P1120834.jpglarge_P1120843.jpg

large_9D0A8B5C2219AC6817A83C0CB975CD0B.jpg

THIS IS THE HAND CRANKED FERRY TO GET BACK TO BELIZE CITY...

P1120847.jpgP1120858.jpg

WE STOPPED FOR LUNCH WHERE WE WERE TOLD THERE WOULD BE A CHOICE BETWEEN CHICKEN, SOMETHING ELSE CALLED CHICKEN THAT IS ACTUALLY IGUANA & ROYAL RAT THAT IS NOT A RAT & NOT EVEN ROYAL.

IN THE EVENT WE GOT CHICKEN.

SITTING NEXT TO ME AT THE TABLE WAS A TINY TOT, NEXT TO HER FATHER WHO WAS BUSY TALKING TO HER SISTER ON THE OTHER SIDE. I OFFERED TO OPEN HER BOTTLE OF POP & IT EXPLODED ALL OVER ME, OVER HER, THE TABLE.

EVERYTHING COVERED IN PINK POP.

THE LITTLE GIRL WOULD NOT EAT HER PINK CHICKEN.

DON'T KNOW WHY.

SHE WAS VERY GRACIOUS ACCEPTING MY APPOLOGIES. POOR LITTLE MITE.

large_9D1D359D2219AC68178870FCE805F9BC.jpg

APART FROM THE BEER WE ALSO SAMPLED A SIP OF AN ALMOND DRINK THAT REMINDED ME OF SHERRY. QUITE TASTY

I GAVE THE GIRL SITTING THE OTHER SIDE OF ME SOME CASH TO GET A PROPER GLASS & SHE DISAPPEARED, ONLY TO REAPPEAR ON THE BUS WITH A FULL GLASS OF THE STUFF & EVEN SOME CHANGE.

THE LITTLE GIRLS GOT THE CHANGE AS SOUVENIRS.

NEXT UP IS A WALKING FOOD TOUR IN COZUMEL MEXICO. A MEXICAN PASSENGER TOLD ME THIS IS NOT MEXICO, JUST A TOURIST PLACE.

large_9D2318452219AC68177BD9C5DC1A8C81.jpg

I ENJOYED THE TOUR. WE STOPPED AT FOUR OR FIVE SPOTS, TRIED VARIOUS PASTRIES, GUACAMOLE DIP, CIVITCHE, SWEETS, BEER, PIZZA & SANGRIA, THE COMPANY WAS VERY PLEASANT TOO..

P1120917.jpglarge_P1120918.jpg

9D3529662219AC68177D8EDDB6E69310.jpg

AND OFF THE SHIP IN GALVESTON & A SHUTTLE TO HOUSTON WHERE I HAD TO HAVE A TEXAS STEAK & A BEER IN THIS ODD PUB WITH ALL THESE PLATES AROUND THE WALLS

large_P1120925.jpg

I USUALLY ENJOY THE TIME OFF SHIPS MORE THAN THE TIME ON BOARD BUT THIS WAS AN EXCEPTION.

HAD SOME VERY NICE EVENING MEALS WITH JEFF, TERRESA & GLENN.

SPENT TIME IN THE WEST INDIAN BAR - HOW COULD I RESIST A BEER CALLED RED FROG.

LOTS OF PEOPLE WATCHING ON THE TWO FORMAL NIGHTS WHERE THERE WERE LINE-UPS AROUND THE SHIP FOR POSED PHOTOS.

ONE REGRET I HAD WAS NOT GETING A PHOTO OF THE MISS CARNIVAL MAGIC COMPETITION.

I WAS ON DECK WHEN THEY ASKED FOR 5 CONTESTANTS. I TOOK ONE LOOK AT ONE ABSOLUTE DREAM OF A GIRL & LEFT KNOWING SHE WOULD WIN.

MUCH TO MY SURPRISE, I SAW HER ON THE TV NOT WINNING.

I SPOKE TO HER LATER TO SAY I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DID NOT WIN THE COMPETITION & SHE SAID 'WHICH COMPETITION'.

JADE FROM OKLAHOMA - WOW.. BUT ALAS, NO PHOTOS.

Posted by hasbeen 13:10 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

2014 - STAR FLYER - HAVANA, CUBA

GETTING TO HAVANA.

I GOT UP TO AN UNFORCASTED SNOW STORM & FIGURED I WOULD NOT GET TO HAVANA TODAY.

THE CAB TOOK AN HOUR TO GET HERE & AN HOUR TO GET TO THE AIRPORT. ABOUT AN HOUR AND A QUARTER LONGER THAN NORMAL BUT FROM THERE ON IT WAS SMOOTH SAILING. UNLIKE THE CRUISE, BUT MORE OF THAT ANON.

FIRST THERE IS A COUPLE OF NIGHTS IN HAVANA.

ARRIVING IN HAVANA

OTTAWA TO TORONTO WAS EARLY AS WAS TORONTO TO HAVANA. WONDERS WILL NEVER CEASE.

I ASKED THE AIRPORT INFO GIRL HOW MUCH THE TAXI WOULD BE TO THE HOTEL & IT IS A FIXED 25 CUBAN CONVERTIBLE OR CUC, PRONOUNCED 'COOK'.

I NEGLECTED TO CONFIRM THE PRICE WITH THE DRIVER & HE CHARGED ME 40 COOK.

large_38A6D5772219AC681776963EF43B37CF.jpg

ONE VIEW FROM MY BALCONY...

AND ANOTHER COMFORTING ONE WHEN I REALISE THAT BOMBEROS IS THE FIRE STATION

large_P1120934.jpg

NOT MUCH LEFT OF THE DAY SO A QUICK LOOK AROUND THE LOUNGE

large_P1130306.jpg

PARQUE CENTRAL HOTEL HAS TWO SIDES. ONE OLD & COLONIAL & THE OTHER MODERN. BOTH QUITE NICE. I WAS IN THE MODERN SIDE

EARLY MORNING AND IT'S UP FOR A WALK ALONG THE MALECON BESIDE THE OCEAN...

large_P1120936.jpg

THE NEWER PART OF HAVANA IN THE DISTANCE...

large_P1120937.jpglarge_P1120938.jpg

AND THE OLD PART UP CLOSE WHERE THERE IS SOME RECONSTRUCTION GOING ON & IT CAN CERTAINLY DO WITH SOME...

large_P1120939.jpglarge_P1120940.jpg

THEN I DIVE INTO SOME BACK STREETS...

large_P1120941.jpglarge_P1120943.jpg

large_P1120944.jpglarge_P1120945.jpg

YOU DON'T SEE THESE TOO OFTEN ELSEWHERE, BUT THEY ARE NOT UNCOMMON HERE..

large_P1120946.jpglarge_P1120947.jpg

I STOP AT A BAR & ASK FOR A COFFEE - WHICH THEY DO NOT SERVE. THE WAITER DIRECTS ME ACROSS THE STREET - WHERE I DO NOT SEE ANY CAFES'.

I DO SEE A HOLE IN A WALL, WITH BARS ON IT & ON A CLOSER LOOK, THERE ARE TWO ELDERLY LADIES INSIDE.
I ASK FOR A COFFEE & GET A TINY, TINY CUP WITH A TINY, TINY SAUCER FILLED WITH A DELICIOUS COFFEE.
SHE WANTED ONE PESO & I GAVE HER A THREE COOK BILL. SHE LOOKED AT HER FRIEND AND THE BILL & WONDERED WHAT TO DO WITH IT. I HELD OUT SOME COINS & SHE TOOK THE SMALLEST 25 CENTAVOS I THINK.
WHILE STANDING ON THE STREET DRINKING MY COFFEE A LOCAL CAME BY AND GOT A CUP BUT NO SAUCER. I THINK THE OLD LADY LIKED ME.

THEY SMILED & GIGGLES WHEN I RETURNED THE CUP & SAUCER.

THIS PIECE OF GRAFFITI WAS OPPOSITE..

large_38FAB0452219AC68178DBE02709D6094.jpg

IT WAS VALENTINES DAY YESTERDAY & THE GIRLS ARE STILL DRESSED UP TODAY... LOOKING VERY NICE...

large_38FF44A62219AC6817888D555BE307C3.jpg

I HAD HEARD THAT THERE WERE OLD AMERICAN CARS & EXPECTED A FEW FOR THE TOURISTS BUT THEY ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE

large_P1120950.jpglarge_P1120963.jpg

THERE WAS SOME MUSIC BEING PLAYED ON THE STREET BUT I COULD NOT SEE WITH ALL THE PEOPLE IN FRONT. THESE FOLKS HAD A GREAT VIEW THOUGH...

large_P1120965.jpglarge_P1120970.jpg

MAKING JEWELRY I THINK...

large_P1120972.jpglarge_P1120973.jpg

large_392280252219AC6817CD4B505791C471.jpg

large_392696D52219AC6817BB4833F3C2F33A.jpg

I SAW LADIES & CHILDREN DRESSED LIKE THIS, ALL IN WHITE, & EXPECT THERE IS SOME RELIGIOUS CONNECTION.

large_392BCE6F2219AC68170EE47E50E65768.jpg

BACK TO THE HOTEL FOR THE WATER BALLET PERFORMED ON THE ROOF. I DID GO A LITTLE CRAZY WITH THE PHOTOS....

large_P1120994.jpglarge_P1130007.jpg

large_P1130017.jpglarge_P1130028.jpg

POSING FOR THE TOURISTS..

large_394637952219AC68172C9F3A341393BA.jpg

large_P1130071.jpglarge_P1130091.jpg

large_P1130102.jpglarge_P1130122.jpg

NOW, WAS THAT JULIA ROBERTS? THE ONE WITHOUT THE LARGE POSTERIOR?

NAH!

CAN'T BE..... CAN IT!!!

large_P1130130.jpglarge_P1130152.jpg

large_P1130169.jpglarge_P1130209.jpg

large_P1130210.jpglarge_P1130218.jpg

large_P1130237.jpglarge_P1130247.jpg

large_398000002219AC6817B44E2C012EDC5E.jpg

large_P1130255.jpg

THAT WENT ON FOR TWENTY MINUTES OR MORE. NO CHARGE. NOT EVEN A HAT PASSED AROUND.

large_398A79E02219AC6817F0638BAA29B5E1.jpg

OUTSIDE THE HOTEL.. MORE OLD CARS.

large_398E89FA2219AC6817B6D320779C524B.jpg

large_P1130277.jpglarge_P1130287.jpg

NOT EVERYTHING IN HAVANA IS OLD...

large_P1130298.jpglarge_P1130301.jpg

I SPENT SOME TIME IN A CHEAP & CHEERFUL BAR & THIS IS THE VIEW FORM INSIDE LOOKING OUT TOWARDS A BUS STOP.. NOT MUCH STREET LIGHTING OUTSIDE BUT IT FELT COMFORTABLE ENOUGH WALKING ABOUT AS LONG AS I AVOIDED THE CRAZY PAVING.

large_39AA8A4A2219AC681747043AAF21E601.jpg

Click here to follow me ....

TO THE SOUTH OF CUBA TO CATCH THE STAR FLYER TOMORROW.... for the cruise.

Posted by hasbeen 13:05 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

2014 - STAR FLYER - CUBA & THE CAYMAN ISLANDS


View 2014 STAR FLYER - CUBA on hasbeen's travel map.

Click here to see my pre cruise time in Havana.....

LEAVING HAVANA

I NOW HAVE TO LEAVE THE PARQUE CENTRAL HOTEL IN OLD HAVANA TO GO TO THE MELIA COHIBA HOTEL IN NEW HAVANA FOR MY TRANSFER. (I WILL ALMOST PASS THE OLD HOTEL ON THE TRANSFER SO I DON'T KNOW WHY I HAD TO SWITCH HOTELS. )

I AM IN THE NEW SECTION OF THE PARQUE CENTRAL & AFTER CHECKING OUT I GO TO THE DOOR & WAIT FOR A CAB BUT NONE ARE ARRIVING SO, I DECIDE TO GO THROUGH THE TUNNEL TO THE COLONIAL SECTION WHERE I KNOW THERE ARE PLENTY OF CABS.

large_P1130307.jpg

JUST AS I AM LEAVING THE NEW SECTION, A YOUNG GUY ASKS IF I NEED A CAB & HOW MUCH I WANT TO PAY. THE RECEPTIONIST HAS ALREADY TOLD ME IT SHOULD BE 5 OR 7 COOK.. HE TELLS ME TO WAIT & HE WILL BRING A CAB.
THIS SOUNDS HIGHLY FISHY TO ME SO I DO GO TO THE COLONIAL SECTION, TAKING MY TIME ABOUT IT.

AND, LO & BEHOLD, THE GUY IS WAITING FOR ME AT THE DOOR.

HE TELLS ME THE PRICE FOR HIS TAXI IS 10 COOK BUT THAT IT IS AN OLD AMERICAN CAR. SO I FIGURE I WILL SEE.

WE HEAD AROUND THE BUILDING & BACK TO THE NEW SECTION WHERE THE CAB DRIVER IS WAITING & I AGREE TO GET IN.

MAYBE A BAD MOVE.

MAYBE NOT.

THIS IS THE CAR & DRIVER & WE DID MAKE IT TO THE NEW HOTEL

large_P1130309.jpg

THERE WAS A WAIT HERE WHILE OUR GROUP ASSEMBLED FOR THE 5 HOUR BUS RIDE ACROSS CUBA TO CIENFUEGOS.

2 BELGIAN COUPLES. 1 GERMAN LADY WITH HER ITALIAN MAN. 1 GERMAN COUPLE. 1 SINGLE GERMAN LADY WHO LIVES IN AUSTRIA & ME.

BUT - NO BUS.

THEY HAVE 4 BRAND NEW TAXIS FOR 10 OF US. I TRAVEL IN ONE & MY LUGGAGE IN THE OTHER.

THIS GIRL WAS HANGING OUT AT THE PIT STOP....

large_P1130313.jpg

I THOUGHT THE HORSE & BUGGY WERE JUST A TOURIST THING IN HAVANA BUT THERE ARE LOTS ON THE STREETS, EVEN ON THE 6 LANE DIVIDED HIGHWAY..

large_P1130320.jpg

ARRIVING IN CIENFUEGOS..

large_P1130336.jpg

WE DO MAKE IT TO THE MALTESE FLAGGED, STAR FLYER & AFTER A LOT OF RIGAMAROLE, GET ABOARD FOR THE FIRST NIGHT.

NO TIME BEFORE OR AFTER DINNER TO VISIT CIENFUEGOS. A PITY AS IT LOOKED QUITE A NICE TOWN AS WE DROVE THROUGH..

IF THE FIRST DINNER WAS ANYTHING TO GO BY, I AM IN FOR A TREAT FOOD WISE BUT MAY HAVE TO BRING EAR PLUGS FOR THE NOISE LEVEL.

I HAD A SPARE SEAT ON MY LEFT, THEN AN ENGLISH LADY WHO IS MARRIED TO HER EX-PILOT HUSBAND. A SHIPS PILOT, NOT AN AIRLINE PILOT. I COULD NOT HEAR WHAT THEY WERE SAYING & GAVE UP TRYING TO CONVERSE.
NEXT TO THE PILOT WAS CHARLES FROM BURNHAM ON CROUCH WHO I ALSO DID NOT TALK TO AS HE WAS TALKING TO THE PILOT.
NEXT TO CHARLES WAS HIS PARTNER JIM, THEN A BELGIAN MAN & HIS WIFE, ISABEL.

SO EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS ONLY EIGHT, THE CONVERSATION WAS BETWEEN 2 GROUPS OF FOUR.

ISABEL CONVINCED ME I SHOULD TRY THE BEST DESERT IN THE WORLD - FRENCH TOAST. I ASKED HER TO RATE IT OUT OF 10 AND SHE SAID 'TWO'.

THAT WAS MAYBE THE ONLY FOOD I ATE ON BOARD THAT WAS NOT GOOD.

ISABLE SAYS BELGIAN WAFFLES DO NOT EXIST IN BELGIUM.

large_P1130342.jpg

NEXT DAY SAW US BEING PILOTED TO THE ISLAND OF CAYO BLANCO.

large_P1130347.jpg

THIS IS STAR CLIPPERS DESCRIPTION OF WHAT WE CAN EXPECT.

'Every once in a while Star Clippers find an idyllic private island that offers everything a beach lover could possibly want. Cayo Blanco, located just off the southern coast of Cuba near Trinidad, is just such a Hedonist’s paradise.'

WELL IT IS OFF THE SOUTHERN COAST. THEY GOT THAT BIT RIGHT. IT NOW TRANSPIRES THERE ARE TWO CAYO BLANCOS IN CUBA. THE HEDONIST'S PARADISE & THE ONE WE ARRIVED AT - A ROCK, AN ISLAND WOULD BE TOO GRAND A DESCRIPTION.

WE SPENT A GOOD WHILE WAITING WHILE SOME CREW INVESTIGATES OUR GETTING OFF. IT WAS EVENTUALLY DECIDED THAT WE COULD NOT GO ASHORE.
TOO SHALLOW, I HEARD. TOO ROCKY, OTHERS HEARD.

OUR OPTIONS BECAME

- STAYING ON BOARD.
- TAKING A TENDER AROUND THE ROCK & A SNORKEL TO SEE THE MYRIAD OF FISH.
- SWIMMING OUT TO A BED FLOATING BETWEEN THE SHIP & A ZODIAC.

HERE'S ONE OF ONLY TWO YOUNGSTERS ON BOARD, WITH HER GRANDMOTHER, & INGRID FROM SWEDEN ON THE ZODIAC.

large_P1130349.jpg

ANNE, ANOTHER ENGLISH LADY, TOOK THE SNORKEL TOUR & SAID SHE SAW ONE FISH & SOME BROWN WEED. SOMEONE ELSE SAID THEY SAW TWO FISH BUT WE FIGURED IT WAS THE SAME ONE - TWICE.

large_P1130352.jpg

THE NEXT DAY SAW US DOCKING AT CASILDA. I SAY DOCKING IN THE LOOSEST POSSIBLE SENSE. WE BLEW PASSED THE QUAY & GROUNDED ON A SAND BANK. THIS HAPPENED BEFORE I EVEN GOT ON DECK & DID NOT FEEL A THING. WE MANAGED TO FREE OURSELVES BUT HAD TO GO A LONG WAY BACK TO TURN AROUND AND TRY AGAIN.

SECOND TIME LUCKY.

MOST PEOPLE OPTED FOR THE SHIPS EXCURSION OR A TAXI TO THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE OF TRINIDAD, ABOUT 4 KM AWAY.

large_P1130372.jpg

I OPTED TO WALK INTO THE SMALL TOWN OF CASILDA & FOUND IT VERY PLEASANT.
IT WAS A BIT HOT SO I STOPPED AT A SMALL BOOTH WHERE A LADY WAS SELLING SOME DRINK THAT LOOKED COLD. A MAN WAS ON THE FLOOR, HONING A CANE CUTTING MACHETE.
I ASKED FOR A GLASS OF WHAT I SUPPOSED WAS SUGAR WATER.
SHE ASKED FOR A PESO & AGAIN, JUST LIKE THE COFFEE LADY IN HAVANA, THERE IS THE SURPRISED LOOK WHEN I HAND HER A ONE COOK COIN.
THE MACHETE GUY WAS TRYING TO PERSUADE HER TAKE IT BUT NO, SHE TOOK ABOUT 10 CENTS.

large_P1130384.jpglarge_P1130387.jpg

I WAS SITTING ON A BENCH WHEN AN ELDERLY GUY WALKED PAST WITH A NICE BASEBALL CAP WITH CANADA ON IT. I THOUGHT HE WAS FROM MY SHIP BUT HE WAS A LOCAL.
HE SAT DOWN FOR AN HOUR OR SO & WE CHATTED ABOUT THIS AND THAT WHILE I WATCHED THE WORLD SLOWLY GO BY. HE HAD PRACTICALLY NO ENGLISH & I HAVE ABYSMAL SPANISH BUT WE STILL MANAGED TO CHAT.
HE DOES NOT THINK SOCIALISM WORKS, EVEN THE LOCAL FISHING CO-OPERATIVE IS GOING DOWN HILL. NO JOBS FOR YOUNGSTERS. HE DOES NOT WORK AS HE IS 75 & GETS ABOUT 30 COOK A MONTH TO LIVE ON.

large_P1130395.jpglarge_P1130397.jpg

AND A WALK BACK TO THE SHIP & A SAILAWAY...

BUT NOT TOO FAR...

MAYBE AN HOUR OUT OF PORT, WE GROUNDED ON YET ANOTHER SAND BAR. TWICE IN ONE DAY MUST BE SOME SORT OF RECORD.

THE CAPTAIN TRIED ALL SORTS TO GET US OFF. USING BOW THRUSTERS, ENGINE & SAILS TO TRY TO DISLODGE US, ALL TO NO AVAIL.

PASSENGERS HAD LOTS TO SAY ABOUT HOW THE CAPTAIN SHOULD PROCEED & I AM SURE THAT HELPED.

EVENTUALLY A TUG CAME AND PULLED US OFF & AFTER A DIVE TEAM AND AN INVESTIGATION BY THE CUBAN AUTHORITES WE MOVED ON.

large_P1130363.jpg

NO - NOT THAT TUG. A MUCH BIGGER ONE.

NINETEEN HOURS WE WERE THERE.

THE PILOT WAS SAID TO HAVE BEEN IN TEARS. HERES A CREW MEMBER SWINGING THE LEAD.

large_P1130418.jpg

THE VIEW FROM MY CABIN...

large_P1130428.jpg

A DAY LOST OUT OF OUR SCHEDULE MEANT WE SKIPPED CAYMAN BRAC AND HEADED STRAIGHT FOR

GRAND CAYMAN..

large_P1130429.jpglarge_P1130434.jpg

WHERE I DID NOT DO A LOT...

THERE WERE ABOUT FIVE LARGE CRUISE SHIPS AT ANCHOR SO THE PLACE WAS JAMMED WITH TOURISTS. AMERICAN MOSTLY. I WALKED A BIT THEN WENT FOR A BEER WHERE EVERETT & GENE FROM TEXAS ENTERTAINED ME. THEY HAD LEFT THEIR WIVES ON BOARD THE CARNIVAL MAGIC WHICH ODDLY ENOUGH I WAS ON JUST A FEW WEEKS PRIOR.

Click here for the story of that trip

EVERETT HAD A HARD JOB SEEING THIS LTTLE GUY..MAY HAVE BEEN THE BEER.

large_P1130440.jpglarge_P1130445.jpg

BACK TO CUBA AND CAYO LARGO....

AGAIN WE HAD A LONG WAIT WHILE THE CREW INVESTIGATED HOW WE COULD GET ASHORE.

large_P1130548.jpg

THE TENDER TOOK FIFTY MINUTES TO GET ASHORE. RUMOUR HAD IT THE STEERSMAN GOT LOST. ONLY 30 MINUTES TO GET BACK SO THERE MAY BE SOME TRUTH IN THAT.

large_64CD2FE82219AC6817569932F9B2ECD4.jpg

BUT THIS PLACE LIVED UP TO IT'S BILLING AND IT'S A SHAME WE ONLY GOT 2 HOURS ASHORE.

OUR SHIP ON THE HORIZON...

large_P1130463.jpglarge_P1130468.jpg

SAND IS UNUSUALLY COOL & THE SEA AN IMPOSSIBLE BLUE

large_P1130470.jpglarge_P1130472.jpg

SOME WILDLIFE TO LOOK AT....

large_P1130500.jpglarge_P1130512.jpg

large_64EFC7E92219AC68171C50D5B63948B9.jpg

large_P1130551.jpg

HEADING BACK TO CIENFUEGOS, THIS IS WHAT WE COULD EXPECT..

Archipelago de los Canarreos, Cuba

This chain of 350 islands, both big and small, stretches 100 miles westward from the Gulf of Batabano on Cuba’s South Coast. Ranging from unnamed sand specks to the 850 square mile Isla de la Juventud, it is an unspoilt paradise waiting to be discovered by divers and beachcombers. Star Flyer will sail in the archipelago.

STILL UNDISCOVERED BY US AS I GUESS THE CAPTAIN DID NOT WANT TO RISK ANY MORE SANDBAR INCIDENTS.

WE BI-PASSED THAT AREA AND SAT DOING NOTHING FOR HOURS.

large_P1130561.jpglarge_P1130563.jpg

BAD BOY, GOT THE CAT-O-NINE TAILS.

large_P1130567.jpg

UNTIL THEY LET PEOPLE UP TO THE CROWS NEST.

HERE'S ANNE AND JULIE CLIMBING

JULIE WAS QUITE WOBBLY WHEN SHE GOT DOWN

large_6516C0532219AC681776EBDDA368F2B4.jpg

large_P1130574.jpg

AND THAT'S THAT FOR THE CRUISE.

QUITE THE ADVENTURE.

170 PASSENGERS ON BOARD & I COULD PROBABLY NAME FORTY OR MORE SO I SOCIALISED A BIT MORE THAN USUAL.

COULD BE BECAUSE I SPENT SO MUCH TIME IN THE BAR AS THERE WAS NO WHERE TO LIE DOWN ON DECK. EVERY SUN LOUNGER WAS RESERVED WITH TOWELS.

ONE DAY I WAS ACCUSED OF CAUSING A RUCKUS ON DECK WITH SOMEONE WHO HAD TWO LOUNGE CHAIRS.

ONE IN THE SUN & ONE IN THE SHADE.

NOT ME OFFICER.

HONEST.

LOTS OF HITCH-HIKERS BUT THEY HOLD OUT CASH INSTEAD OF THEIR THUMB

large_P1130592.jpg

AND IT'S BACK TO HAVANA....

large_P1130601.jpglarge_P1130608.jpg

I TOOK AN AIMLESS STROLL ON THE STREET AND A YOUNG LADY WITH A GIRL STARTS TALKING. USUALLY I JUST SAY NO THANKS & WALK ON BUT SHE DID NOT OFFER HERSELF OR HER DAUGHTER TO ME & MENTIONED A MUSIC FESTIVAL, SO I WENT ALONG WITH HER SHOWING ME THE WAY.
I GOT A BIT OF HER STORY AS WE THE WENT INTO THE BAR WHERE THERE WAS INDEED SOME MUSIC GOING ON.

THERE IS A SCAM I CAME ACROSS IN SHANGHAI WHERE GROUPS OF YOUNG PEOPLE OFFER TO TAKE TOURISTS TO A CAFE TO TALK ENGLISH AND THE TOURIST GETTING A 100 DOLLAR CHARGE FOR A POT OF TEA. SO I WAS UNDER NOT ILLUSIONS AS TO WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN HERE.

I DRANK A BEER AND THE GIRLS, MARIBEL & DAUGHTER JENNIFER HAD A JUICE EACH.

I GAVE THE GIRL MY CAMERA AND SHE WENT OFF OUTSIDE SNAPPING EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. PROBABLY A BAD MOVE ON MY PART AS THE CAMERA COST 300 DOLLARS, OR ABOUT 15 MONTHS OF HER MOTHERS WAGES AS A TEACHER

JENNIFER IS 9 WITH 3 YOUNGER KIDS DOWN TO A TWO YEAR OLD. THE MOTHER IS 32 & THE FATHER OF THE CHILDREN DEAD A YEAR AGO.

I OFFERED TO BUY THEM A MEAL BUT THE MOTHER WANTED TO GO TO A SUPERMARKET INSTEAD AS THE MONEY WOULD GO FURTHER.
I PASSED ON THAT BUT GAVE HER A FEW COOK TO COOK SOME FOOD.

I ASKED ABOUT SCHOOLING & WAS TOLD THERE IS A CRYING NEED FOR BOOKS SO I MIGHT JUST SEND HER SOME IF I CAN EVER FIGURE OUT THE ADDRESS SHE WROTE DOWN.

THE BILL CAME TO AT LEAST DOUBLE WHAT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUT STILL NOT A LOT & I WENT ALONG.

THESE PHOTOS JENNIFER TOOK

large_P1130650.jpg

large_6541A2632219AC6817B7DA71E8DFFA11.jpg

large_P1130681.jpg

JENNIFER'S REFLECTION OF HER PHOTOGRAPHING HER WISH LIST

large_P1130720.jpg

large_P1130733.jpglarge_P1130742.jpg

large_P1130761.jpg

MARIBEL & JENIFER.

CUBA HAS THE MAYBE UNIQUE DISTINCTION OF HAVING TWO CURRENCIES. THE CUBAN CONVERTIBLE PESO FOR TOURIST TO USE ( THE COOK ) & THE REGULAR PESO THAT MOST CUBANS ARE PAID IN. THERE MAY BE AN EXCHANGE RATE OF 10 TO ONE BUT I DO NOT REALLY KNOW & DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND IT ANYWAY,
I DID HEAR THEY MAY GO TO ONE CURRENCY WITH ALL THE HEADACHES THAT WILL ENTAIL.

I WILL PROBABLY GO BACK TO CUBA AT SOME STAGE & STAY IN A HOMESTAY. VERY CHEAP - UNDER 30 DOLLARS FOR BED & BREAKFAST & A CHANCE TO MEET SOME LOCALS & SEE HOW THEY LIVE.

Posted by hasbeen 13:00 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

2014 - OCEAN PRINCESS - ON THE WAY, ICELAND

THIS TRIP IS GOING TO BE A CRUISE ON THE OCEAN PRINCESS FROM DOVER.

BUT FIRST, A STOPOVER IN ICELAND.

AS SOON AS I LANDED, I FOUND ICELAND HAS SOMETHING UNIQUE IN MY EXPERIENCE. DUTY FREE ON ARRIVAL. WHAT A GREAT IDEA. I AM SURPRISED EVERY COUNTRY DOES NOT DO IT.
I PASSED ON USING IT THOUGH I SHOULD HEVE PICKED UP A BOTTLE OF SOMETHING & LEFT IT AS A TIP FOR THE CHAMBERMAID.
BOOZE IS EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE HERE WITH A 25.5 % TAX IN RESTAURANTS ON A BEER.
LIKE EVERYWHERE, THINGS CAN BE EXPENSIVE OR NOT. I BOUGHT A THREE DAY REYKJARVIK BUS PASS FOR ABOUT 24 DOLLARS & SNACKS FROM THE SUPERMARKETS WERE REASONABLY PRICED. THE HOTEL BJORK WAS UNDER 300 DOLLARS TOTAL FOR 4 NIGHTS, BREAKFAST INCLUDED. NOTHING FANCY BUT CLEAN & MORE THAN ADEQUATE.

ANYWAY - ON WITH THE TRIP.... WITH A WALK AROUND REYKJARVIK

PASSED A CHURCH

P1130831.jpg

AND ANOTHER UNIQUE FEATURE....

large_P1130836.jpg

large_2861B8A72219AC68175A31DECFF8D729.jpg

P1130840.jpgP1130842.jpg

THIS IS FROM INSIDE A RESTAURANT INSIDE THE TOWN HALL. VERY SWISH.

large_P1130847.jpgP1130851.jpg

MY ONLY POLAR BEAR SIGHTING...

P1130852.jpgP1130854.jpg

AND HERE IS THE PENIS MUSEUM. ALWAYS CLOSED WHEN I PASSED BY WHICH IS UNFORTUNATE SINCE IT SOLD THE FUNNIEST T-SHIRT I HAVE SEEN - IT SAYS ' THIS MUSEUM IS NOT FOR PUSSIES'.

large_288BF6782219AC681781ACAA4E0B653E.jpg

P1130856.jpglarge_P1130857.jpg

NOW I AM OUT ON A TOUR.... THEY PICKED ME UP AT THE HOTEL... GREAT.

large_289B74292219AC681720834CF813E13C.jpg

OUT INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE... THIS IS WHERE THE ATLANTIC RIDGE IS ABOVE SEA LEVEL, WHERE EUROPE & NORTH AMERICA ARE SEPARATING. STAND HERE FOR A FEW MILLION YEARS & THE MOUNTAINS IN THE DISTANCE WILL BE TOO FAR AWAY TO SEE.

large_P1130863.jpglarge_P1130864.jpg

large_P1130865.jpgP1130867.jpg

P1130870.jpglarge_P1130876.jpg

P1130892.jpgP1130893.jpg

large_P1130895.jpglarge_P1130897.jpg

A COUPLE OF GIRLS FROM MONTREAL...

large_28EA76842219AC6817FEB9E2D3535E05.jpg

LOTS OF HORSES ON ICELAND & IT TOOK ME A WHILE TO FIGURE WHY THAT WOULD BE.

FOOD.

P1130902.jpg

28F33B9B2219AC6817A3F63EE49B62B8.jpg

PASSING THOUGH A THERMAL AREA .... ON THE WAY TO A STOP AT...

28F91D0F2219AC68171DDC34DFB504D3.jpg

large_P1130927.jpg

2902F8302219AC68170A2F5ADAADACC5.jpg

.. A RATHER LARGE WATERFALL..

large_P1130934.jpglarge_P1130939.jpg

large_P1130940.jpg

large_291906822219AC6817529D81F8F1DEB1.jpg

large_P1130944.jpglarge_P1130947.jpg

P1130950.jpg

THEN WE BACKTRACK FOR AN HOUR OR SO AT THE THERMAL AREA.....GEYSIRS ERUPTING RIGHT & LEFT...

large_P1130961.jpg

large_P1130964.jpglarge_P1130967.jpg

P1130970.jpg

2945289A2219AC681701E74118739285.jpg

large_P1130987.jpgP1130995.jpg

ALL THE GEYSIRS ARE NAMED AFTER THIS ONE, WHICH DOES NOT ERUPT ANYMORE.

P1130999.jpgP1140001.jpg

P1140005.jpglarge_P1140006.jpg

THIS LADY IS PAINTING VIEWS FROM INSIDE A THERMAL POWER PLANT. IT SUPPLIES HOT WATER TO ALL OF REYKJARVIK, 27 KMS AWAY & ONLY LOSES 2 DEGREES CENTIGRADE OVER THAT DISTANCE.

REMARKABLE.

large_P1140008.jpgP1140009.jpg

P1140010.jpgP1140011.jpg

large_P1140012.jpglarge_P1140017.jpg

NOW I AM OUT ON THE OCEAN FOR A WHALE WATCHING TOUR....

P1140018.jpgP1140038.jpg

AND THAT'S WHAT I SAW OF THE WHALES. A NICE BOAT RIDE, THOUGH IT WAS A TAD CHILLY...

large_P1140050.jpgP1140067.jpg

P1140106.jpglarge_P1140112.jpg

BACK TO REYKJARVIK & A WALK AROUND THE HARBOUR... THIS IS THE CONCERT HALL...GETTING A CLEAN

large_P1140113.jpgP1140130.jpg

LOTS OF GRADUATION GROUPS WANDERING AROUND MAKING LOTS OF NOISE & HAVING PARTIES ON THE STREET..

P1140134.jpglarge_P1140139.jpg

P1140140.jpgP1140144.jpg

THE VIEW FROM THE HOTEL BJORK & A STOP-OFF AT THE BLUE LAGOON ON THE WAY TO THE AIRPORT...

large_P1140146.jpglarge_P1140148.jpg

P1140150.jpgP1140152.jpg

large_P1140154.jpglarge_P1140155.jpg

large_P1140165.jpglarge_P1140168.jpg

large_P1140169.jpgP1140172.jpg

large_P1140173.jpgP1140175.jpg

large_P1140178.jpg

AND THAT'S IT FOR ICELAND. MORE THAN WORTH ANOTHER VISIT BUT MAY IS TOO EARLY AS TOURS TO OUTLYING PARTS OF ICELAND DO NOT START TIL LATER IN JUNE.

ARRIVING IN LONDON THE STEWARDESS ASKED ME TO LET THE ICELANDIC PRESIDENT GET OFF FIRST. I WAS TEMPTED TO SAY NO.

Posted by hasbeen 17:01 Archived in Iceland Comments (1)

2014 - OCEAN PRINCESS - ON THE WAY, UK

PUBS MOSTLY, & A FEW BRIDGES


View 2014 PRINCESS - NORWAY on hasbeen's travel map.

SO - WITH A GOODBYE TO THE PRESIDENT OF ICELAND - IT'S TIME TO SAY HELLO TO LONDON & HOPEFULLY VISIT PLACES I HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE.

USUALLY WHEN VISITING THE UK I TAKE AN EXPENSIVE CUPBOARD IN THE WEST END NEAR PADDINGTON, CONVENIENT FOR THE HEATHROW EXPRESS.

THIS TIME I HAVE DECIDED TO SPLURGE & STAY AT THE TOWER HOTEL WITH A VIEW OF TOWER BRIDGE. THIS IS FROM MY WINDOW...

large_P1140188.jpg

NEXT DAY I MEET UP WITH VALERIE WHO HAS JOURNEYED DOWN FROM YORK TO WANDER AROUND WITH ME. SHE IS ALSO A LONDONER WHO HOPES WE SEE BITS OF LONDON WE HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE.

P1140194.jpg

AFTER BREAKFAST, IT'S OUT OF THE HOTEL, UNDER TOWER BRIDGE & A WALK ALONGSIDE THE TOWER. I ASKED A COLLEAGUE ONE OF THESE SOLDIERS WHAT REGIMENT THEY WERE IN.
"NOT A REGIMENT! WE ARE MARINES."

large_466448392219AC6817B5261C584B2360.jpg

WE CARRY ON AROUND THE TOWER & UP ONTO THE BRIDGE

large_4669DD2D2219AC6817B6391F5B29BA35.jpg

MY GRAN ONCE TOLD ME SHE WALKED OVER THE CATWALK ACROSS THE TOP OF TOWER BRIDGE THE DAY IT OPENED. I DID NOT BELIEVE HER AT THE TIME BUT IT IS POSSIBLE.

NOW IT'S MY TURN.

P1140205.jpgP1140210.jpg

large_467B2B912219AC681774627D13CA1EBC.jpg

THERE IS A PHOTO DISPLAY THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TOWER BRIDGE. HERE'SA FAMOUS FACE FROM MY YOUTH WHOSE NAME ESCAPES ME. SHE WAS ALL OVER THE PAPERS IN THE 60'S. NOT AS A MODEL THOUGH. CHRISTINE KEELER PERHAPS?

P1140220.jpg

WE DESCEND A LEG OF THE BRIDGE & INTO THE WORKINGS THE RAISE & LOWER THE BRIDGE. VERY IMPRESSIVE.

VALERIE TELLS ME THIS IS A VICTORIAN POST BOX. IDENTIFIABLE BY THE 'VR' ON IT AND IT'S HEXAGONAL SHAPE

P1140225.jpg

NOW ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE THAMES WHERE IT IS MUCH WARMER. NOTE THE PALM TREES.

large_P1140235.jpglarge_P1140239.jpg

THIS IS THE TRACK THROUGH WHAT USED TO BE BUTLERS WHARF THAT IS NOW MOSTLY RESTAURANTS AND APARTMENTS. EXPENSIVE APARTMENTS. VERY EXPENSIVE APARTMENTS.

P1140241.jpglarge_P1140251.jpg

BACK OVER THE BRIDGE NOW AND AFTER A BUS RIDE WE ARRIVE AT OUR FIRST PUB - THE PROSPECT OF WHITBY, RIGHT ON THE RIVER.
MANY HOURS I SPENT HERE IN MY YOUTH.

A FIRST TIME FOR VALERIE.

P1140254.jpg

A PINT AND SOME PUB GRUB & IT'S A BUS AND DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAIL RIDE TO THE VERY UNUSUAL THAMES BARRIER PARK.

large_P1140259.jpg

AND A VIEW OF THE BARRIER.

large_P1140255.jpg

HANDS UP EVERYONE WHO KNEW THERE WAS A CABLE CAR OVER THE THAMES...

P1140270.jpg

HERE IT IS .... TO GREENWICH

large_P1140272.jpglarge_P1140277.jpg

AND A FAST FERRY UP RIVER PASSING THE TOWER, TO THE MILLENIUM BRIDGE

P1140285.jpglarge_P1140289.jpg

WHICH WE WALK OVER & GET A FINE VIEW OF ST. PAULS..

large_46E0FE812219AC6817A59B7023CE451D.jpg

BUT IT'S THIRSTY WORK, ALL THIS WALKING. TIME FOR A CIDER IN THE ART DECO, BLACKRIARS PUB...

large_P1140296.jpglarge_P1140297.jpg

BOTH THE CIDER & PUB ARE FIRSTS FOR US & YES - THIS IS STILL INSIDE THE PUB

large_P1140298.jpgP1140299.jpg

MORE PEOPLE SMOKING ON THE STREET OUTSIDE THAN INSIDE.

CONTINUING UP ONTO HIGH HOLBORN, DOWN CHANCERY LANE. PASSING THIS PUB ....

large_P1140302.jpglarge_P1140303.jpg

... AND INTO THE LEAFY SANCTUARY OF LINCOLNS INN. NOT AN INN AS IN PUB, BUT AN INN AS IN INNS OF COURT.

SUCH A LOVELY, LEAFY NON-TOURISTY AREA IN LONDON

large_470BAE042219AC6817A581B90418BBF9.jpg

471216632219AC6817391BEB476C0B8B.jpg

WE HAD A CHAT WITH THIS GUY ABOUT HIS ELECTRIC CAR. SEEMS HE FILLS IT UP FOR FREE. A BIT OF A CURIOSITY..

large_P1140312.jpgP1140313.jpg

ONTO CAREY STREET WHICH I REMEMBER AS A SAYING FOR BEING BANKRUPT AS THIS IS WHERE THE BANKRUPTCY LAWYERS CONGREGATE.. AND INTO A NICE LITTLE PUB CALLED THE FIVE STARS.... I BUY DRINKS AND PEANUTS AT HE BAR AND A GIRL SITTING ON A BAR STOOL MAKES TO STEAL A PEANUT. I OFFER HER SOME & SHE TAKES TWO.

P1140315.jpg

JUST A PHOTO IN THIS PUB WHICH LOOKS LIKE IT ONCE WAS A BANK...

VALERIE IS GETTING TIRED BY NOW. CAN'T IMAGINE WHY. SHE GOES OFF TO HER HOTEL & I HEAD EAST ALONG FLEET STREET TOWARDS MINE..

472B52E82219AC6817502DBBB42C191B.jpg

472F79D62219AC68170EFF8E623DA5B8.jpg

P1140321.jpglarge_P1140322.jpg

large_P1140323.jpg

PASSING THROUGH ST. KATHERINES DOCK AREA, BEHIND MY HOTEL...

4746386C2219AC68172D798025CA2989.jpg

large_P1140326.jpg

TIME TO RELAX AFTER ALL THAT, SITTING OUTSIDE THE HOTEL....

large_47517DEB2219AC68173E1EE2606BFBB1.jpg

A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP TO GET READY FOR A TRAIN RIDE TO COLCHESTER TO MEET A SCHOOL MATE - PAM. WHO I LAST SAW TEN YEARS AGO AND IN 1959 OR 1960 PRIOR TO THAT

large_P1140328.jpgP1140332.jpg

HERE WE ARE IN COLCHESTER. WE MET AT THE CASTLE BUT I HAVE NO PHOTOS THERE, NOR IN THE ART GALLERY WHERE PAM TOOK US FOR LUNCH.

HERE SHE IS SHOWING US AN OUT OF THE WAY RUIN OF AN ABBEY...

large_P1140338.jpglarge_P1140340.jpg

AND NOW PAM SHOWS US INTO A PUB CONVERTED FROM A THEATER - COMPLETE WITH ROYALTY LOOKING DOWN THEIR NOSES AT US FROM THE GALLERY

large_P1140344.jpg

large_477D305C2219AC6817AB512CB46971DF.jpg

THIS IS A WATER TOWER.

JUST BEEN SOLD AND IS TO BECOME A RESTAURANT..

large_P1140348.jpglarge_P1140349.jpg

large_4DEB6C402219AC681730A0B8B74CCD53.jpg

A GREAT, IF SWIFT VISIT WITH PAM & AFTER SAYING GOODBYE TO HER WE HEAD BACK TO LONDON IN TIME FOR THE CEREMONY OF THE KEYS. THE CEREMONIAL LOCKING UP OF THE TOWER OF LONDON. BEST FREE ENTERTAINMENT AROUND.

large_P1140364.jpgP1140365.jpg

large_P1140368.jpglarge_P1140373.jpg

THE FOLLOWING DAY NOW AND TIME FOR ANOTHER WALK ALONG THE THAMES ....

P1140380.jpglarge_P1140389.jpg

A THAMES BARGE & A DISTANT VIEW OF THE MONUMENT TO THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON...

P1140392.jpglarge_P1140394.jpg

AND NOW WE CALL IN TO THE GEORGE BEHIND LONDON BRIDGE STATION. ONE OF THE OLDEST, IF NOT THE OLDEST, PUBS IN LONDON. ORIGINALLY A COACHING INN. WE ATE UPSTAIRS. ROAST BEEF & YORKSHIRE PUDDING FOR ME.

THE WAITRESS IS FROM WEST AFRICA BUT LIVES IN LEYTON, NOT FAR FROM WHERE I WAS BORN. SHE WAS TELLING ME SHE OWNS HER HOUSE IN LEYTON & A PLACE IN WEST AFRICA. I GUES SHE COULD LIVE LIKE A PRINCESS IF SHE SELLS UP & GOES BACK TO GUINEA.
LOVELY LADY.

large_P1140396.jpg

4E2FF3332219AC6817F0ADAD5BF836E5.jpg

large_P1140401.jpg

THERE'S THE SHARD. HIGHEST BUILDING IN LONDON, OR EUROPE MAYBE. COSTS AN ARM & A LEG TO GO TO THE TOP.

large_P1140412.jpgP1140413.jpg

SOUTH BANK ENTERTAINMENT....

large_P1140422.jpgP1140444.jpg

VALERIE SPOTTED THE BRIDGE BEING RAISED TO LET A BARGE THROUGH..

.WHILE WE WHILED AWAY SOME TIME WAITING FOR OUR EVENING PERFORMANCE OF ANTONY & CLEOPATRA BY SOME UP & COMING AUTHOR AT THE GLOBE THEATER.

NOT BAD, BUT WAY TOO LONG AT 3 HOURS, AND OF COURSE WE ALL KNOW KNOW THE ENDING.

large_P1140459.jpglarge_P1140460.jpg

large_P1140462.jpglarge_P1140463.jpg

large_P1140464.jpglarge_P1140476.jpg

A SNEAKY PHOTO OF SOME ACTION ON STAGE. ACCIDENTALLY SNEAKY AS IT HAPPENS. IT WAS DURING THE INTERLUDE & THIS GUY WAS READING A GOATS ENTRAILS SO I TOOK A PIC ONLY TO GET TOLD OFF BY AN USHER.

large_P1140477.jpglarge_P1140478.jpg

A WALK BACK OVER THE WOBBLY BRIDGE & THAT'S IT FOR LONDON & GOODBYE TO VALERIE. SHE HEADS BACK UP NORTH & I GO SOUTH TO ROYAL TONBRIDGE WELLS. NO PARTICULAR REASON, BUT I LIKE THE NAME & IT'S ON MY WAY TO DOVER.

I WENT TO A PLAY OF RISING DAMP AT THE ASSEMBLY HALL. MOST ENJOYABLE. VERY MUCH AS I REMEMBER THE TV SHOW

AND HERES THE OPERA HOUSE - WHICH IS ACTUALLY A PUB OWNED BY WEATHERSPOONS, THE CHAIN THAT OWNS THE THEATER PUB I WAS IN AT COLCHESTER

P1140486.jpglarge_P1140494.jpg

P1140503.jpgP1140505.jpg

A WALK AROUND TONBRIDGE - HERE'S THE AREA KNOWN AS THE PANTILES...

P1140506.jpg

large_4F577F642219AC6817E6E657090F1648.jpg

P1140508.jpgP1140510.jpg

INSIDE A PUB....

large_P1140513.jpgP1140516.jpg

PASSING A CAFE I SAW THIS SIGN SO I STOPPED FOR AN HOUR ON A BENCH OUTSIDE. NOWHERE TO SIT INSIDE AS THE BAND TOOK UP THE WHOLE PLACE.

THESE ARE OF MY HOTEL. THE HOTEL DU VIN & BISTRO. VERY NICE WITH PRICES TO MATCH. QUEEN VICTORIA STAYED HERE, BEFORE SHE WAS QUEEN.

P1140519.jpgP1140521.jpg

4F7C34E72219AC6817793A5425F88EB6.jpg

THESE ARE OF THE MENS BATHROOM. MODIGLIANI ON THE WALLS.

large_P1140528.jpgP1140530.jpg

P1140544.jpglarge_P1140546.jpg

NOTE THE LITTLE BOY POKING HIS HEAD OUT...

large_P1140555.jpg

4FA170892219AC681763E0A1EEA1F426.jpg

IN THE NEARBY PARK. CARE TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY CROQUET? THIS LADY GIVES LESSONS...

large_P1140564.jpg

4FB1B9652219AC6817EE25C98A5D6BD6.jpg

IN AND AROUND A LITTLE MUSEUM. CROWDED WITH SCHOOLKIDS..

large_4FB77DD92219AC681760BA43A48E0CDA.jpg

4FBE6F552219AC6817AF53C74898544E.jpg

P1140583.jpg

large_4FCBFC6B2219AC68172125E737B354E3.jpg

large_P1140585.jpglarge_P1140586.jpg

P1140596.jpgP1140597.jpg

HAVE MOVED ON TO DOVER NOW AND TOOK THE TRAIN ONE STOP UP THE LINE. JUST A SHORT WALK TOOK ME TO TEMPLE EWELL. TEMPLE AS IN KNIGHTS TEMPLAR.

I AM GOING TO FOLLOW THE RIVER DOUR ( FOR WHICH DOVER IS NAMED ) FROM HERE DOWN TO THE SEA.

THE RIVER ACTUALLY RUNS THROUGH THE GARDEN OF THE FOX PUB. NICE COINCIDENCE AS I WAS IN THE PUB ANYWAY. WE HAD A TOILET LIKE THAT WHERE I LIVED IN LONDON. NOT AS FANCY MIND.

large_P1140598.jpgP1140599.jpg

HERE'S THE RIVER...

large_P1140604.jpgP1140630.jpg

large_P1140631.jpglarge_P1140632.jpg

large_502796242219AC6817E40045FD6541CB.jpg

503080B92219AC681749588ADCF3012B.jpg

large_P1140651.jpg

50411DE92219AC6817C6DFC3E550A11B.jpg

504845052219AC68179D332CD95602FA.jpg

large_P1140681.jpgP1140682.jpg

IT'S A NICE WALK ALONG THE RIVER. SIGNPOSTED BUT I STILL ASKED THE WAY OF A LOT OF PEOPLE.

large_P1140683.jpgP1140692.jpg

I MET THIS COUPLE IN MY B & B & TOOK A CAB WITH THEM UP TO DOVER CASTLE. DON & EL. I SAW THEN A LOT OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS AS THEY ARE ALSO ON MY CRUISE & THAT IS THE OCEAN PRINCESS WAITING TO TAKE US ON BOARD.

large_P1140695.jpglarge_P1140696.jpg

THE CHAPEL IN THE CASTLE WAS HOLDING A D DAY SERVICE SO I POPPED IN. THE VICAR HAD PUT TOGETHER A SOUND MONTAGE. SPEECHES. BOMBS FALLING. PLANES ROARING. VERA LYNN SINGING.
VERY MOVING.

507B03402219AC68179A195EC94A8855.jpg

P1140708.jpglarge_P1140709.jpg

large_P1140718.jpg

large_50972B062219AC681764B368533DD75F.jpg

THIS IS MY LAST PUB. NEXT DOOR ALMOST TO MY B & B. THE WALLS & CEILING ARE COVERED WITH NAMES OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE THE CROSS CHANNEL SWIM.

THE CRUISE IS UP NEXT... TOOK TWO WEEKS TO GET HERE.

Posted by hasbeen 17:01 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

2014 - OCEAN PRINCESS - BERGEN

A GREEK CONCERT, OR MAYBE NOT....


View 2014 PRINCESS - DOVER TO PORTSMOUTH on hasbeen's travel map.

FINALLY, I AM ON BOARD THE OCEAN PRINCESS, WHICH IS VERY FAMILIAR AS I WAS ON IT A MONTH IN 2012 & TWO MONTHS ON A SISTER SHIP IN 2013.

THIS VOYAGE IS BILLED AS THE 'VOYAGE TO THE MIDNIGHT SUN', NOT 'THE VOYAGE TO THE NORTHERN LIGHTS' AS SOME, YET TO BE DISAPPOINTED PEOPLE THINK IT TO BE.

HERE WE GO, LEAVING THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER BEHIND WITH NOT A BLUE BIRD IN SIGHT...

large_P1140723.jpglarge_P1140726.jpg

JUST A SEAGULL...

large_P1140731.jpg

AND COMING INTO THE PORT OF BERGEN, OUR FIRST PORT IN NORWAY & MY FIRST TIME HERE TOO.

large_8EDDB4872219AC68177EF9BDD752F533.jpg

large_P1140736.jpg

large_8EE8BEEF2219AC68179A4C0729BD5ACD.jpg

large_8EED7D5B2219AC6817411F7105487AB8.jpg

large_P1140739.jpg

large_8EFCD74E2219AC6817F10586967784C1.jpg

large_8F03F60A2219AC6817D9BB5805A6FF54.jpg

large_P1140742.jpg

AND YOU HAVE ALL HEARD HOW EXPENSIVE NORWAY IS, WELL I BEG TO DIFFER....

8F10234E2219AC6817343689CC4504C0.jpg

large_P1140744.jpgP1140745.jpg

large_P1140746.jpg

8F25BB0A2219AC68175C2C9E0C029683.jpg

P1140748.jpgP1140750.jpg

AND THIS LADY IS THE FIRST OF A SURPRISING NUMBER OF BEGGARS I SEE IN NORWAY...

P1140751.jpglarge_P1140754.jpg

large_P1140755.jpg

SOME REALLY NICE ART WORK ON DISPLAY....

8F43FE562219AC6817203DE34AD58D78.jpg

I WAS TAKING THOSE PHOTOS WHILE WAITING FOR MY TOUR TO START & COULD NOT FIND THE START POINT. I WENT TO ASK IN THE TOURIST INFO PLACE AND SPOKE TO AN AMERICAN TOURIST FROM MY SHIP WHO INFORMED ME HE WAS GOING TO A GREEK CONCERT. WHAT A STRANGE THING TO DO. ALL THE WAY TO NORWAY FOR A GREEK CONCERT.

I LATER FOUND HIM ON MY TOUR WHICH IS TO AN EDVARD GREIG CONCERT.

P1140757.jpgP1140758.jpg

UP INTO THE HILLS BEYOND BERGEN WE GO....

P1140761.jpglarge_P1140763.jpg

AND ARRIVE AT EDVARD GREIG'S HOUSE ....

P1140764.jpglarge_P1140768.jpg

WHERE WE GET A SHORT TOUR & THEN ENTER THIS BUILDING FOR A PIANO RECITAL OF GREIGS WORKS...

8F7DE9972219AC6817E98EBC7F70CF19.jpg

THE LITTLE HUT IS WHERE HE COMPOSED HIS WORKS IN UTTER SERENITY..

large_P1140771.jpglarge_P1140772.jpg

HERE IS THE END OF THE CONCERT & YOU CAN SEE THE HUT BEYOND THE PIANO.. WITH THE WATER BEYOND IT..

8F9074B32219AC68170F40DD914383C0.jpg

AFTER A WONDERFUL HOUR OF MUSIC WE HEAD BACK TO BERGEN WHERE I HAVE SOME FRESH SHRIMP, SOME MUSSELS & WHAT I UNDERSTOOD TO BE A HERBAL BEER..

P1140780.jpgP1140786.jpg

NOT MUCH OF OF A VIEW FROM THE SHRIMP SHACK BUT, .......

large_8F9FB5832219AC6817D214CBC1832DCF.jpg

Posted by hasbeen 17:01 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

2014 - OCEAN PRINCESS - GERAINGERFJORD

IT'S NORWAY, IT'S FJORDS.

CONTINUING NORTH, WE ENTER THE WONDERLAND OF GERAINGERFJORD.

THIS LADY, MARLENE, WAS ALSO IN MY DOVER B & B. SHE CONSTANTLY GOT MY NAME WRONG & I HAD A BLOCK WITH HERS TOO.

SHE SURE DID A LOT OF SWIMMING...

large_9EAF64612219AC68179CF2FB56E39851.jpg

P1140797.jpglarge_P1140798.jpg

large_P1140801.jpglarge_P1140802.jpg

PASSING THE SEVEN SISTER WATERFALLS..

large_P1140803.jpg

large_9ED503652219AC6817A9B2AD496D5A85.jpg

WE ARE GOING TO TENDER ASHORE DOWN AT THE END...

9EDCCB092219AC681781D0AD0D626020.jpg

PASSING SOME LOCALS....

large_9EE501E72219AC6817870CBCA899AA21.jpg

P1140833.jpg

large_9EF26AD62219AC6817EC6FDAC6C9DDFE.jpg

I AM GOING TO WALK UP INTO THE HILLS, ALONGSIDE A WATERFALL....

large_P1140835.jpglarge_P1140837.jpg

P1140842.jpgP1140846.jpg

large_P1140848.jpgP1140857.jpg

large_P1140860.jpg

9F29ECA02219AC68176F1D59A5E85E20.jpg

I AM PRETTY POOPED BY THIS TIME & HEAD FOR THE HOTEL IN FRONT. TAKE OUT A MORTGAGE FOR A BEER & SIT CHATTING WITH AN ENGLISH COUPLE OFF ONE OF THE OTHER CRUISE SHIPS IN TOWN.

large_P1140864.jpgP1140870.jpg

THEN HEAD BACK DOWN AGAIN.. THIS CAR IS IN THE HOTEL LOBBY.

P1140872.jpg

AND THIS SNOWMOBILE AT A MUSEUM

P1140871.jpg

large_P1140876.jpglarge_P1140882.jpg

ANOTHER LOCAL IN TOWN....

AND THE TENDER BACK HOME

P1140883.jpglarge_P1140884.jpg

EMMA, MY LOVELY MEXICAN CHAMBERMAID, TAKING A LITTLE BREAK IN DECK. SHE DOES NOT GET TOO MANY OF THOSE..

P1140885.jpglarge_P1140888.jpg

BACK DOWN THE FJORD...

large_P1140896.jpglarge_P1140898.jpg

large_P1140903.jpglarge_P1140908.jpg

P1140941.jpg

SOME EXCLUSIVE ADDRESSES. NOT TOO MANY NEIGHBOURS

9F8C64582219AC6817E990F59E222226.jpg

large_P1140951.jpgP1140963.jpg

large_P1140970.jpg

AND BACK OUT TO SEA.. AFTER A VERY RELAXING DAY....

Posted by hasbeen 17:01 Archived in Norway Comments (0)