The days sailed by delightfully slowly. Usually a holiday feels like it ‘s gone in a flash but on this one time seemed to slow down and I was glad because I was enjoying every minute of it.
Maybe not every single minute. I didn’t enjoy it much in Lisbon when I was overcome by the heat and had to take refuge in a cafe, pale faced, shaking and near to tears. Even that turned out ok though as we had a brilliant meal of the freshest grilled fish and salad while we sat in the cool airconditioned, characterful surroundings regaining our (my ) equilibrium.
Where did we go then?
Vigo first. What a pretty place. Boofuls was thrilled to see segways for hire at the dock and wasted no time at all in securing us a couple to go and see the sights on. I was so glad he did, all the stuff we wanted to see was at the top of a stupidly large hill!
We had a laugh with one of the ships photographers and gave him a photo shoot to relieve the tedium of endless mug shots.
We loved it, I think it shows us as we really are, elegant and sophisticated. It’ll pop up on the slide show in a minute, what do you think?
We made loads of new friends on the ship. People we wouldn’t engage with in real life became bezzie mates. The young couple dressed in head to toe Gucci with the Armani sunglasses that never left their heads be it day or night, sunny or cloudy turned out to be really good company. They were begging us to go clubbing with them one night. Clubbing. Dear God, it’s been a while since we did that!
Then there was the mother and daughter combo. What a laugh they were. The driest humour ever, just how I like it. What these four people had in common was that they all thought I must be related to Fern Britten as I apparently look and act just like her. What do you think?
Hey!! The sun’s shining and it’s hot, hot, hot so I thought I’d celebrate with a new and summery look for the blog. Fab, innit?
Not so keen on the font though so I’ll have to work our how to change it.
So. Back to our jolly hols:
Having got on the ship, found our cupboar…I mean cabin and did the emergency drill.
Ha. Emergency drill. It always amazes me how people just don’t listen. While they were being told and shown what to do in the case of an emergency loads of people fiddled with or put on their life jackets, despite being told not to, or chatted amongst themselves, gazed around the room and generally ignored what was going on. The there was the other side of that coin – those who stared intently at the crew, hanging on to every word and paying very close attention as obviously disaster was inevitable and why did they even consider coming on a ship anyway. Stupid idea.
I like to think I was somewhere in the middle.
Boofuls and me thought we’d treat ourselves to some nice food in the Marco Pierre White restaurant on the ship. We dashed up to book hoping that we’d be able to get a table. I was a bit surprised to see that it was on an upper level in the atrium, basically a corridor that had been roped off and a few tables and chairs shoved in it.. Hhhm, not what I was expecting but never mind.
We approached the desk.
The very sniffy waiter looked us up and down. “We are very busy,” in a voice that would have frozen water. I’m glad we were sailing in warm seas or an iceberg would have been imminent.
“Oh well, we’ll come another night.”
“Well, I suppose I could sit you over there.”
We were duly shown to our table in the half empty ‘busy’ restaurant.
Having sat down we took in our surroundings. “Is it me or is it freezing in here?”
It was perishing! Me, Boofuls and the other 6 diners sat rubbing our arms (our own arms, we didn’t rub each others, that would have been downright weird) to generate a bit of warmth. Crikey, enough with the air conditioning already!
We perused the menu. being a Marco Pierre White restaurant we were expecting big things. I was a bit surprised when I saw egg mayonnaise and watercress salad on the menu. Egg mayonnaise? Boring, much. Hhhmm or maybe not. If it’s been given the Marco treatment I bet it will taste like manna from heaven. Boofuls agreed with me. “Let’s have that then.” So that was the starter.
In due course, along came Eggy McNasty.
What arrived was a plate with two boiled eggs on it.
A whole egg rolled around the pile of undressed iceberg lettuce and watercress on the plate, it’s coating of mayonnaise making it look like a pale and flabby seven stone weakling.
The other egg had been cut in half and had a bit of mayonnaise piped on the cut halves, creating the look of two very surprised eyeballs staring up at us from the plate.
The whole egg continued to roll around the plate, trying to cover it’s nakedness until eventually it landed in a dusting of paprika. The effect of that was that the egg then started to look amazingly like one of the many Scottish contingent on board, pasty faced, pale skinned and topped with a shock of red hair. A situation which changed for the Scots as the days wore on and they became more and more boiled lobsteresque in their appearance. Not so for our eggy hero though. He remained pale and wan to the end when he was most likely snached up by an unfussy seagull as he was ditched overboard with all the other uneaten food.
However, I digress.
The egg with his new found Caledonian looks and confidence looked up at the watercress and in a voice not unlike one Taggart would have if he was an egg, growled quietly and threateningly:
“Aye. My name’s Eggy McNasty, so it is, and I can see you sittin’ up there naked on your iceberg tower. Don’t you look down at me. I know where you live”
The watercress looked down fearfully, it seemed to be trembling with fear but that may have been the vibration of the ship.
The two eggy eyeballs seemed to get even wider as they waited to see what would happen next.
Boofuls and me stared at each other in surprise.
“What’s all this about, then? Nice food? There’s nothing nice about this food. Take it away, waiter!
It’s afir to say that it’s been a proper bag of poo round here since we got back from our hols. I’ve been trying my best to hold on to my sense of optimism and holiday found joie de vivre but it’s finally given up the ghost and now I’m as pissed off as everyone else round here. Woopy sodding do.
There isn’t a single person I know who isn’t going through some kind of trauma at the moment. The trauma’s in question range from the mildly irritating through depressing right up to downright life threatening.
Jeez, I’m so fed up I could buy a round!
Just to cheer me up – here are a few of my favourite holiday photos.
This plateful of food sounded so exotic on the menu. When it arrived it was in fact fancy fish, chips and mushy peas!
You get no prize at all, but I will be impressed, if you know what the full title is for ‘gay rum’.
Once the boat trip was over we took the water taxi, (so many boats, it’s no wonder I keep finding myself rocking from side to side) over to the town to meet up with Machinegun, C, Baby bunting and the other clingon on the beach.
Incidentally, C has discovered a taste for false eyelashes, she’s swanning about like Amy Winehouse but without the bottle of booze and the bird’s nest hair. From now on, since we have been lacking a decent monicker for her, she shall be referred to as Lashes. That should get the attention of any late comers to the blog who don’t realise we’re actually taking about eye lashes. No chance of that being misconstrued. Hahaa.
As we arrived in the town, a huge black cloud appeared and poured many gallons of water onto everyone, I decided that the best course of action in this situation was to get in the sea and go for a swim. Batty loved the idea of swimming in the sea in the rain. Of course all our clothes were wet through from the downpour so getting dressed agin after was a it icky but it didn’t take long for us to dry off. It’s a bit disconcerting though when you are walking along the street to suddenly realise that you are actually steaming!
Boofuls was a very happy boy that day as he found a shop that was almost paying people to take the cigarettes from them. He almost skipped back to the boat with his haul – at the same time as cussing the British Government for the tax he has to pay on cigs at home (double it, I say! Dirty, nasty cancer sticks)
We saw another Caribbean version of the Hard Rock cafe, as Boofuls and number one clingon dashed up to it muttering, ‘burger and fries yum, yum’ under their breath, we realised that the ‘Rock’ in ‘Hard Rock’ referred to well, rocks. One very disappointed clingon and Boofuls later demanded that I photograph it for posterity, so here it is:
That evening, Boofuls and me were sat on our balcony relaxing and watching the world go by, getting all excited about our renewal of vows ceremony the following day.
After 18 months of planning, about a million emails, shedloads of money and a trip to St Lucia to see the wedding planner, we could hardly believe that it was almost here. We just kept looking at each other and giggling like kids. I think the bottle of champagne that we drank while we were there might have had something to do with that.
That evening we were booked in at the spa for the pre celebration treatments that were included in the package the kids had bought for us. Still giggling like loonies we went for our treatments and were thrilled when the receptionist came through with a glass of champagne each for us before taking us off to our separate rooms. I could really get used to this!
Boofuls and me were enjoying our respective massage and facial, courtesy of the kids, we could feel that the ship had set sail again. ‘Only a few more hours and I’ll be on a beautiful tropical beach, retaking my wedding vows with my soul mate’ I thought.
About a minute after I had that thought an announcement came over the ships PA system:
“Due to hurricane Tomas we will not be landing at St Lucia as planned tomorrow. Instead we will be diverting to Dominica.”
At this point I’m struggling to find words to suitably describe my feelings.
I’m not even sure I had any.
‘Numb’ seems as good a word as any to describe what I felt.
The room was silent for what felt like an age then I was aware that the therapist whispered, “Oh shit.” under her breath. It was hearing that, and the realisation that I hadn’t actually misunderstood what I’d heard that caused the tears to start flowing.
I’m not going to dwell on the next little while as it’s far too distressing to think about, even now.
The kids had obviously heard the announcement as well and within a few minutes, just long enough for the immediate shock to wear off, our mobile phones were lighting up like Christmas trees as they constantly tried to get hold of us.
Eventually Boofuls and me composed ourselves a bit (well, Boofuls did, I was a wreck) and we met up with everyone else who were all gathered together and waiting for us. They all leapt to their feet and ran over to give us huge bear hugs as we arrived. Other passengers must have wondered what the hell was going on.
We’ve always known that our kids and their partners were brilliant but that evening they went waaaaay above and beyond brilliant. Determined that all wouldn’t be lost, they set about making contingency plans for Dominica, Son P had even contacted the ship’s wedding co-ordinator to see if Captain could do the ceremony on the ship if that’s what we chose. There was even a suggestion at one point that he get himself ordained as minister via the internet so he could legally marry us. Ok, I know we are already legally married but the thought was lovely.
Eventually we decided that we didn’t want the ship involved in any of it and if anyone was to do the ceremony we would prefer it to be son P, who from now on shall be know as The Rev – even though he didn’t buy a $30 ordainment (ordainment? Is that a word?) because he thought the website looked dodgy and in any case there was no need.
A location was picked on the island of Dominica, a cake was organised, (that’s worth a whole blog entry on it’s own) Lashes beg, stole or borrowed a battery operated ipod dock, batteries, flower garlands and anything else she could think of that we might need.
As awful as it had all was, Boofuls and me couldn’t help but be delighted at how our family had all pulled together in a crisis to make things happen for us.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about what happened on the day
It was most certainly an interesting holiday. The ship was huuuuuuuuuuuuge.
The family were excited, the food was brilliant. I kept myself on an extremely tight reign though as I had a dress that I needed to fit into towards to end of the cruise. Boofuls however made it his mission to eat as many portions of cake and custard as it was possible to cram in on a two week cruise.
We were a bit concerned about doing the Atlantic crossing, thinking that we might be bored out of our brains. Well. Didn’t we get that wrong. There was so much to do that we couldn’t fit it all in, and not a napkin folding demonstration in sight!! My days started with the zumba class where I made a new friend.
There’s me on the left in the white top and black pants, hahaha.
I did miss one zumba class. Lying in our enormous queen size bed one morning considering whether or not to get up and do a couple of miles round the deck before my class, there came a knock at the door. I was a bit surprised as I’d put on the ‘do not disturb’ sign. ” Come back later, Edwin!!” I hollered to who I thought was the cabin steward.
‘ Knock, knock knock.’
I got up, popped on one of Boofuls’ shirts and stuck my head round the door.
An arrangement of lovely flowers was thrust at me.
“Oh. Er. Thanks.” Shuts door. A quick inspection of the flowers didn’t reveal any kind of message or clue as to who sent them.
“Boofuls, are these anything to do with you?”
“Bloody hell, we’ve got someone else’s flowers, better ring reception and tell them.” Boofuls rang reception.
‘Knock, knock, knock.’
Boofuls answered the door this time.
There was a huge trolley laden with all manner of foodstuffs along with champagne and chocolates
“It’s not for us, take it away, I’m not accepting it till I know why it’s here.” The bemused waiter took it away. ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOO’, I thought, ‘ don’t take away all that lovely food!!!!!’ My stomach grumbled it’s discontent at Boofuls’ decision.
Ring, ring ring. I answered the phone to: “Ah, um, er, can I speak with Mr P?”
It was like a bloody ‘Carry On’ film.
I handed the phone to Boofuls: “My wife ordered it?” I shook my head. “Do you mean Mrs L P?”
“No sir, it was Mrs C P.” OHHHHHHHH! I remembered that the ship had registered our MISS CP as MRS, it was all becoming clear.
The penny dropped. The kids had organised it!
Knock, knock, knock.’
It was the same waiter with the same trolley of food. “It is definitely for you, Sir, may I bring it in?”
“You certainly can!”
A champagne breakfast fit for a king, well actually, several kings, followed.
And so on….you get the idea. The beautiful box of chocolates we put in the fridge for another day.
So, what was that about staying on a tight reign so I wouldn’t get fat (ter)? We tucked in like there was no tomorrow. After we’d finished eating and then slept it all off, we got up to find an envelope under the door containing vouchers for a massage each and a photograph. It turned out that the kids had all clubbed together to buy us the special occasion package. Fantastic!
First stop the day after was Tenerife. Meh.
Last time Boofuls and me were there, funnily enough, was 25 years ago just before we got married. Didn’t like it then. Don’t particularly like it now, let’s move on.
After another five days at sea we stopped at Tortola. The plan for Tortola was to go scuba diving. The taxi, driven by Sam,was due to meet us at the dock. Hhhmm, no sign of anyone waiting for us. Many enquiries later I was directed to a chap outside the port area. Are you Sam?
Are you meant to be picking up a group of ten people?
Ok then, you’re not the right Sam.
Don’t go away, let’s work this out.
After a phone call or two it turns out that it was the correct Sam but the dive centre hadn’t booked him to meet us. Good start.
Getting to the dive centre. Our excited little group of people all filled in the disclaimer forms that basically said, ‘ even if you die through our negligence you can’t sue us.’ Bit of a surprise, that.
An even bigger surprise was when the dive master came over to us and said, “I’m not taking you.” WHAT? “The engine has an intermittent fault, I’m not taking you.” After a few phone calls to try and get another boat, we had to admit defeat and we left in Sam’s taxi, everyone feeling very dejected and more than a bit annoyed. Here is a pic of the dock at the dive centre, ’nuff said.
Sam saved the day. “What about swimming with dolphins?” Everyone perked up instantly, I’ve never felt a mood change so fast! We stopped for lunch at a nearby beach before going off to see the dolphins.
The dolphins were amazing. C has revised her opinion that dolphins are nothing more than gay sharks and not worth bothering with. Everyone had a brilliant time, except big N who opted to go back to the ship, not prepared to waste his time on gay sharks.
All in all it turned out to be a great day, after a bad start.
The following day me, Boofuls and Batty went on a RIB high speed boat round St Maarten. WOW!!!!! It was ACE!
Batty has clearly picked up our love of speed, the boat couldn’t go fast enough for her, as it bounced over the waves, coming down with a crash, she was screaming with laughter. Clearly another adrenalin junkie, we’ll have her flying in no time! When we reached the ‘idyllic and peaceful beach’ (idyllic and peaceful my arse – it was heaving with people selling tourist tat), we had to swim to the shore.
Bit of a dilemma that as Batty can only swim with armbands and the waves were stonking great surfers waves. We lowered her into the water wearing a lifejacket and swam with her to the beach. She panicked a bit but didn’t make a fuss, she was very stoic about it all though she was clearly scared. About a minute after she got to the beach she demanded to go back in the sea because she wanted to snorkel!
That kid’s got some bottle!
Taking her out past the point where the huge waves were breaking, she swam and practiced floating with Boofuls until she got some confidence and then she set off snorkelling between us, after a minute or so she let go of our hands and swam independently. Much kudos. One of the chaps on the boat came over with a ‘floating bar’ basically a float with drinks balanced on it. Batty took a drink and happily drank it while treading water. She didn’t even spill a drop when a big wave lifted her and deposited her up by the beach!
On the return trip we sailed round by St Maarten airport which is reputedly the most dangerous airport in the world. here’s why:
The geeks on the boat – yup, that includes us- were thrilled to watch the planes flying in just a few feet above our heads and wanted to stay for longer. Other people weren’t so keen and one poor woman looked like she was about to part with her lunch. We reluctantly left after half a dozen planes came over. Pity we didn’t get to see a 747 come in, that would have been fab.
There’s loads more to tell you but I’ll save that till tomorrow. Tune in then for the next exciting installment.
Here’s a salutary tale about a hypothetical woman who might have gone on holiday recently.
Yup, men, look away now because this is wimmin talk but before you go….
Do you know how to make a hormone?
Don’t pay her!
Have they gone? Ok, I’ll carry on.
So, this hypothetical woman who may have gone on holiday recently, has hypothetical hormones that you could set the proverbial clock by. A few days in to the holiday, on a day when the ship she was in port her hormones decided to throw in a flanker and summon Mother Nature to put in an appearance a full week earlier than expected. Off course being a whole week early the appropriate supplies were in short….er….supply. I fact they were none existent. The other important element here is that the ship was in a port – meaning that all the shops on board were closed. A fact that our heroine registered with a cry of, “Oh shit! The ships shop’s shut!!!” Not easy to say under any circumstances, I feel.
To make matter even worse the ship was docked in Russia, a country which doesn’t allow cruise ship passengers to wander round willy nilly. Ooohh nooo, if you want to leave the ship you have to be on an organised tour, the next one of which was the following day. All was looking a bit dire for our heroine.
All meagre supplies were utilised which had the unfortunate effect of causing our heroine to walk as if she was riding an invisible horse. Luckily the tour booked for the following day was one that involved a bit of free time, enough time to buy in emergency supplies. Of course before the free time there was the usual guided tour of the town on a dilapidated bus with hard bench seats for two and a half hours. Two and a half!! Our heroine was distraught.
Eventually the sheep tourists were let loose and our heroine and her handsome beau made a sharp escape from the crowd and down a seedy side street to the nearest proper shop. By proper I mean one that sold real stuff not just faberge eggs and matryoshka dolls. Taking a deep steadying breath she marched (gingerly) into the shop frantically looking round for appropriate ‘lady things’ hoping that there would be no need to speak as she wasn’t well versed in Russian. No such items showed themselves. Nothing else for it then.
She plastered a big smile on her face and walked up to the less than inviting looking assistant who had been sullenly eyeing her up since she came in. It wasn’t an unreasonable assumption to think that she may have been a KGB agent or even a wrestler at one time.
“Er… do you have any er…. lady things,” muttered our heroine in a feeble voice while waving her hands in in a downward motion in roughly the correct anatomical area. It was clear to see when comprehension dawned on the assistant as she recoiled with a disgusted look on her face, visibly shuddered and took a step backwards.
“No! No! we no have thees thing! Vodka! We haf only the vaaaaaarrrrdka!”
By that time our heroine, could have done with a stiff vodka, I can tell you.
Slinking out feeling like a leper she made her way to the next shop, a supermarket. After searching the whole store and being unwilling to ask for fear of upsetting the locals again, the lady things were eventually located -right in front of the checkout.
The choice of items seemed to be limited to either extra large or super plus. These Russian women must have some heavy flow going on. I did eventually discover why the limited choice of sizes though. It later became very obvious that the tampons needed to be super plus because they don’t so much work as an absorbent as much as they do a plug – but you know, desperate times, beggars can’t be choosers and all that.
At the checkout our heroine offered a debit card, Euros, Danish Krone, Sterling and Estonian Kroon. “Nyet. Only rubles.” Sod it!!
Luckily there was cash machine only a few feet away. In went the card. Out came the card. In went the card again. Out came the card with a warning; “next time we see it we’re keeping it now pi55 off.” That wasn’t exactly what it said but it was close enough. Near to tears and becoming more shrill by the second out heroine was saved by her handsome beau who’s card was accepted with no trouble at all, He extracted about 6 million rubles, about twenty quid, and all was well.
After purchasing the aforementioned goods they made a sharp exit, much to everyone’s relief a disaster was averted.
And so to the moral of the story: Never trust Mother Nature, she’s a sneaky little bitch who will creep up on you at the most inopportune times and unexpected places in order to cause as much disruption as possible.
Always remember the boy scouts motto. ‘ Be prepared.’
I’m nearly at the end of the holiday tales – you’ll be glad to know.
Since we had a couple of days at sea there were all sorts of activities going on around the ship. Most of them involved spending huge amounts of money. The art auction was very interesting but I didn’t dare even twitch in case I ended up buying something, items were selling for eye watering amounts of money. We popped along to the talk about how art has changed over the years. having more than a passing interest in art I thought I’d find it really interesting to attend a lecture by the onboard art genius.
Well, if he’s an art genius then I’m Stephen Hawking. I could have done the ‘lecture’ which turned out to be in fact a thinly disguised attempt to get people to buy the pictures. The content of the lecture went like this: “Oh yes, in those days they used dark colours and now they use what I call happy colours. Good art is what you like as an individual. The gallery price for this item is $$$$ but the starting price in the auction is only$$$$” etc.etc.etc. Sigh.
Next we went along to the event billed as ‘Dancing with the Stars’ of course we had nil intention of entering any dance competitions but as it said it was an information event and a chance to put your name down we went along to find out what was what. We found out all right!
Sitting quietly in the observation lounge waiting for the appointed time with about 100 other people we nearly jumped out of our skin when a bloke came in bellowing at us to “GET YOUR NAMES IN THE BUcKET.” Uptake was slow to say the least, I suspect most people, like us had gone to find out what was involved and wanted to know before signing up.
Next thing we know the ‘Assistant Cruise Director’ loses his rag and starts to shout “You’re all acting like you’re in an old people’s home. MOVE IT!”
So we did, with a quick flick, ball change right out the door. Cheeky bastid, he’ll never make it to full Cruise Director with an attitude like that!
As it was the event didn’t take place, we’ve no idea why not (but I can guess ) but they did put on a dance competition one evening. It was hysterical. Only 3 couples entered it, a French couple who danced the jive like champions but couldn’t do anything else. A Chinese couple who we think were dance teachers or competitors their smoothness, lack of nerves and total competence in every dance marked them out as professional.
The last couple was a pair from Barbados.
Never in my life have a seen a merengue danced like that. I could hardly take my eyes of their (his) swivelling hips. Abso-bloody-lutely a- fooking-mazing!! I could have watched that all night!! Mind you, when the music changed to a tango it was a different story. They both froze with fear until the chap decided to ham it up BIG TIME!! He flung that poor woman around the floor, swept her off her feet, dipped, lunged and generally played to the audience. putting on a performance that had the audience on their feet clapping and screaming support for them. What a brilliant show. Superb!!!!!!!! From that day on he was known the whole ship over as ‘Merengue Man.’
Stockholm was our last stop on the cruise. Now, when it said Stockholm on the itinerary it actually meant Nynesham (sp). Stockholm was a good hour away on the train but we decided we were going to go and have a look at the Ice Bar. The journey was a bit traumatic. We had to get a tender from the ship to get on the bus. At the bus a large English woman was employing the age old technique of shouting as loudly as possible at any foreigners one may come across in order to make them understand you.
The foreigner in this case was a chap who looked and sounded exactly like the Swedish chef from The Mupptes – sans chef’s hat, obviously but he did have the bow tie and striped shirt.
So this obnoxious woman was bellowing at him “SHOW ME ON THE MAP ( prodding map with her finger) SHOW ME ON HERE. WRITE IT DOWN!”
On and on she went, the rest of us Brits squirming with embarrassment with her onslaught. The poor man, who actually spoke very passable English, couldn’t get a word in edgeways. Eventually she got on the bus and then started shouting at the driver. Then she turned her attention to the passengers. Declaring that we were all pensioners anyway so we should all get reduced bus fares.
A step too far for me, that. “Speak for yourself” I piped up only to be told, “You’re the same age as us, you just look a bit younger.”
I suggested to her at that point that she stop digging as she was quite deep enough. Amazingly, she did.
Getting off the bus then we had to get on to the train to Stockholm. A Finnish woman got on the train with her bike and looked at me as she parked it taking up 5 seats. She was clearly saying she hoped she wouldn’t get charged five tickets. I answered her and she was delighted that I was English. She chatted to me for the whole hour to Stockholm. My God, a one to one conversational English class would cost her a fortune at home! She made the most of of while she had me there as a captive listener.
Actually, that’s not fair, she was really lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed her company. She even told me about the Finnish versio of the tv show ‘Holiday Cruise Line’ (or something) Apparently in Finland it’s the Hertigruten ships they follow. He he who’d have thought it!
In Stockholm we discovered that the Ice bar was literally round the corner from the station. Pity we went round the wrong corner and got totally lost. We wandered around gormlessly for a while and then we spotted a group of Chinese people from the ship. “Ask them!” I hissed at B and he lunged across the pavement without thinking up to the only one he recognised.
“Where have you been?” He demanded to know. The poor woman nearly jumped out of her skin, I’m certain she thought she was being arrested or mugged or something.
“America. I been to America.” She almost shouted in her panic.
“No. no. I mean where have you been today. Have you been to the Ice Bar? Do you know where it is?” B said, looking a lot less like a mad man at this point. I wish the same could be said for me, I was practically wetting myself laughing and drawing funny looks from passers by.
She waved him in roughly the right direction before scurrying off with, I’m sure, her knees knocking with relief.
We did eventually find the Ice Bar. OH OH OH OH OH What an experience. I’ll let the photos say it all.
The big furry capes were excellent. They came with BIG furry gloves which came in handy for holding glasses made of ice. All the drinks came with a straw which was handy for stopping one’s tongue sticking in an indignified way to the glasses made of ice.
Having downed a fairly large vodka in record time – well it was bloody cold in there- we were of course guided back out through the airlock into the shop. Oh dear. Vodka brain. Shop. Bad combination. It cost me a king’s ransom in t shirts and knick knacks.
After leaving the bar we just had enough time to get back to the station – going back in the correct direction we realised we were literally 30 seconds away. Durrrr. Close as we were, we still managed to miss the train as we queued up for 20 minutes to get our tickets. Luckily, I’d have hate to have had to pay for a taxi, the next train was only 20 minutes later and we got back to the bus/tender/ship with time to spare. Phew!
B and me made a booking in the teppenyaki restaurant. Teppenyaki! Food cooked and served by a NINJA!!!! I couldn’t wait.
I forget where we’d been that day but as had quickly become our habit we had a kip when we got back to the ship before showering and dressing for dinner. Now when I say dress ing for dinner, let’s not get too excited about this. B had taken along his dinner suit (tuxedo to you yanks) and I’d taken along a couple of evening dresses. The night for formal dining was announced as…wait for it…. “Dress up, or not. Whatever.”
Excuse me? Whatever?
99% of the people on the ship chose the ‘whatever’ option and didn’t even get out of their jeans and trainers. Some made a bit of an effort and put on a casual jacket. B ended up putting on his DJ and then taking it off again as he felt so out of place. We only saw one man, British, of course, in full evening dress and I congratulated him on keeping up the standards.
Me? I went for the full on bling evening dress. me and B love the formal nights, how disappointing that no one else could be bothered. Wha’ evah.
Anyway, back to the plot.
There was a dance show on in the theatre that I’d wanted to see. Dear oh dear, it reminded me of C’s A level theatre studies project, lot’s of girls prancing in silly costumes and trying to look meaningful. We lasted about 20 minutes in there before we left and realised we’d missed our appointment with the ninja. NNNNOOOOO! Fancy missing a ninja for a crap show like that.
Dashing to the top deck we arrived at the restaurant full of apologies (not least because it was going to cost us $25 if we were there or not) the manager was lovely and told us he’d take care of the fee and to come back on another night. Whta a nice man.
We did eventually make it to the teppenyaki restaurant and it was worth the wait. The chef was brilliant and provided far more theatre with his cooking than that silly dance troupe. He was juggling eggs and caught one in his chef’s hat! Heheheeeee. I’m so easily amused. If you ever get the chance to go to a teppenyaki restaurant you should go because it’s great fun.
Of course B nearly starved to death once again. The snow peas arrived and he looked at them in disgust. The miso soup he looked at, sniffed, stirred and pushed away. The same applied to the salad with the lurid pink dressing. Then the chef arrived and the performance began, he was an engaging young man with a bright smile and and a lovely mannner. He prepared our fried rice as if it was a comedy act. He chopped, sliced, juggled and amazed us with his dexterity – and the fact that he hadn’t lost at least three of his fingers during his career.
I’m happy to report that B did enjoy the steak so he didn’t leave completely hungry. As normal he’d ordered a fillet steak and I was a bit concerned when I saw various oils and seasonings being added to it as he doesn’t normally enjoy food with flavour. To my utter amazement he loved it and devoured every bit. Mind you, he was probably so hungry at that point he’d have eaten a scabby donkey – having turned down everything else on offer. I opted for steak and chicken, I don’t know what magic ingredients that chef put on it while he was juggling and spinning pots and knives but it was absolutely delicious.
Pudding was mango and pistachio ice cream wrapped in rice. Very delicate and the perfect end to a meal that was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
There was another couple in with us, a very nice American couple who told us all about the excitement of the night before. A helicopter had been called to winch a person with appendicitis off the ship. It was all nail biting stuff and it all happened within a few yards of this couple’s balcony. B and me missed all the excitement because we were sat in the observation lounge. I do fully realise the irony of that last sentence.
My favourite destination of the cruise has to be Tallin, Estonia. What a charming place. I haven’t really got a lot to say about it other than we spent a very happy and relaxed few hours there – and I cut my leg quite badly on a pile of slates but hey ho – can’t hold that against it. Here are a few photos:
When we got back to the ship we noticed that a HUUUUUGE great ship, twice the size of ours had parked (docked? moored? berthed??) next to ours. Looking at it though I thought our entrance and exit facilities were a bit more user friendly.
So, having dashed from one end of the country to the other to get on the ship we needed a day at sea to recover.So really the title is totally misleading, it’s actually day two I’m telling you about.
As I’ve already told you we quickly discovered that it was ludicrously expensive on the ship. A complaint that we were to hear time and time again as the trip progressed.
B opened one of the courtesy bottles of water that were in our cabin so he could take his tablets, only to return two hours later to find a bill for $5!!
Here are a few pics from our first stop in Copenhagen which was closed for a public holiday.
It always makes me laugh that people stick a few tables and chairs outside cafes and pretend it’s Italy. It’s northern Europe, and 5 degrees, not exactly basking weather. It’s perishing for goodness sake, get real!!
And get real they have. The Viking tenacity came up with the perfect solution.
Their way of obtaining the cafe culture atmosphere when it’s f-f-f-f-freezing is to provide patio heaters, nice, warm, fluffy blankets to get wrapped up in and lovely sheepskins to sit on while sipping coffee and watching the world go by.
A country like this I can relate to!
Of course at some point you have to come out from under the blanket, sheepskins and heaters to continue on your way. MY GOD!!! You don’t half feel the cold then!!
My dinner was an interesting smorgasbord of….er……smorgasbord. I couldn’t identify everything, neither did I like everything but it was certainly interesting.
We quite wanted to see the Little Mermaid , we hopped on to the hop on – hop off tourist bus. On the way there we were told that the Little Mermaid has been shipped to Shanghai but we could take photos of the rock she usually sits on – and do you know what? People did – in droves.
We found ourselves at the palace in time for the changing of the guard. They do say it’s a sign of age when policemen look young. These boys were just babies!
I just happened to be stood in the right place for this photo, lucky eh? On the spot coverage!!
Rants, raves and ramblings about whatever takes my fancy