There is thick smoke haze covering Singspore, it is from the Indonesian fires and is really bad, like thick fog. Long day yesterday from Frankfurt with a drama at the airport because there was no stamp in our passports to show we had entered Europe. Supposed to happen when we disembarked in Rome but they just waved everyone through – I guess they thought we didn’t look too much like refugees! Eventually ok, then had to sit last row in plane, handy for the toilet but little else. However the Singapore AIrline cabin crew were very attentive. Photos from our room here and the Gardens, I went on the Cloud Walk which was out of my comfort zone but okay. Back to 5 + 2 diet next week, we have both put on a few kilos!
Frankfurt September 26, 2015
we have found Frankfurt city quite an easy place to walk around, lots of nice sidewalk cafes, restaurants, river walks, historic restoration (a large part of the city destroyed in WWII) previous rebuilding was just that but now in many areas they are focusing on restoring some of the historic sites to their pre-war design, results so far very nice. Then there is the contrast of modern buildings and very modern shopping areas with new paved pedestrian areas and all the well known shops. Long wait until we fly out at 10 pm tomorrow but Singapore will be different again.
Rome Day Two and Three September 25, 2015
We had a good time but we all agreed that often you cannot recapture the magic of that first visit. The hop on hop off bus was good, especially as it made us realise that The Vatican and The Spanish Steps were within easy walking distance of our hotel. So we walked to them both through the crowds – so many people. Hotel was very good but our last day was stressful. Shuttle arrived early as I had requested, I thought check in would close 2 hrs before the flight, but we soon ran into heavy traffic in a tunnel, it was hot and claustrophobic. Our driver didn’t speak English but a young man we collected did speak English ( he worked for Foreign Affairs and was flying to Brussels). He said check in closed 45 minutes prior to flight so we were more relaxed even though the trip took an hour and a half. We checked in at a machine then had to drop off our luggage – we were misdirected three times before we eventually went through X-ray etc with an hour before take off. Bussed to plane, then sat on Tarmac for 30 minutes but arrived on time and our luggage was first off. But no waiting driver – he did not turn up until 35 minutes later. Frankfurt is quite cool, 8-18 today so had to wear my rain jacket to add that extra layer. Some Rome snaps attached.
Rome September 22, 2015
lovely and warm, quickly tired after walking around for a few hours, going to do Hop on Hop Off bus tomorrow to refresh our minds. So far noticed a deterioration in tidiness, lots of graffiti, rubbish bins overflowing, beggars everywhere – but still has those magnificent buildings.
So here we are in Rome which was cool this morning but is now very, very warm. We have retired for a siesta prior to going out tonight for a meal. Once we sailed into the med all the bumpy sea was behind us, we had smooth seas and lovely weather. Barcelona was stunning but our tour was a Gaudi tour and took us into the countryside then back into Barcelona, it was really interesting but I think Patricia got the better deal using the Hop On Hop Off Bus. After Barcelona we went to Marseilles where we did a tour into Aix In Provence, a beautiful little town of cobble stone tree lined streets but our guide talked too much and 75% of our group were bored stiff, it was a relief when we finally had some time on our own to explore. Interestingly he was rather suave for a guide and informed us he was once married to a NZ lawyer who appeared for the Crown in the wine box saga – but he was so boring it was like doing penance after spending half an hour in a cathedral listening to him talk. Monte Carlo was fabulous, we did the hop in hop off bus there and saw everything. It was very pretty at night too.
On our last day we took a tour to Lucca, Tuscany – another stunning walled city. It was beautiful and a lovely place of narrow winding cobble stoned streets and ancient buildings.
We had a very good cruise, the previous cruise to ours on Nautuca had been hit by a rogue wave in the North Sea during a Baltic cruise, thankfully it was at 2.00 am so most were safe in bed as it had already been a day of very rough seas. Ice buckets and water bottles flew, tables and chairs in dining room flew around and several large windows in public areas smashed and water came into public areas on 4th and 5th floors – so glad we didn’t experience that! We did have one very rough night but I slept well and in the morning had to hang onto the servery while getting my muesli, it was rocking and rolling quite a bit.
will post photos seperately – free wifi in Rome hotel with great speed compared to the Nautica.
We have all put on weight, started out well having mineral water with meals and we did go to gym five times on the cruise but gave in to the lovely breads, puddings, wines etc. will have to get back onto 5 + 2 when we get home!
Lisbon, Sintra and Portimao September 16, 2015
Andy and I did a great tour up into the hills behind Lisbon to a lovely town called Sintra – you will see it in the photos. Got stuck in massive traffic jam when returning to ship so had no time to explore City of Lisbon, shame as Portimao less than impressive. However I bought some handcrafted Portugese silver jewellery here with the money the family gave me for my birthday. A lovely modernistic angel and a cross and chain – I did have to add some of my own Euros but so far spent more on Internet charges than anything else! Tomorrow day at sea before Barcelona on Friday. We are making good use of our raincoats but it was only chilly when first off the ship. But not hot just comfortable temperatures, same cannot be said about the Atlantic swells, pretty bumpy at times, the wrist bands are on most nights. We are sleeping well but sometimes the cabin gets a but warm at night.