Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Venetian Vistas Cruise, Marella Celebration 20-27 September 2018

Join us for a week's cruise on the Marella Celebration, starting and ending at Dubrovnik. We'll be sailing up the Adriatic Sea to take in six ports in Montenegro, Croatia and Italy.

Each day is shown on its own separate entry, reached by clicking the seven photos below. A link on each page will bring you back here.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Venetian Vistas Cruise Final Night

Wednesday 26 September 2018. It is the final night of our cruise and, having come on an early flight, our return flight is also early. We have to be off the ship by 07:15.

We have a full evening planned - dinner with Tomas and Maris and then singing in Horizons, so the afternoon is spent packing as (sob!). Off the ship for 07:15...? Yikes, will we have got to bed by then?

But we are packed apart from the clothes we are wearing (and a few for tomorrow!) when it comes time to head to the Kora La speciality restaurant for our celebration dinner with Tomas and Maris.

This restaurant provides both Indian and Chinese styles of cooking and we are in for a treat.

A small pot of tiny cubed melon and pineapple serves as a mouth freshener.

Miss Franny nods off for a while... I think she was just in ecstasy at the food, of course!

Ah yes... I was there too! Some exotic flavours and a lovely meal to celebrate Maris's birthday and our friendship which has so far spanned nine years.

Then there's a few last songs to sing - tonight's repertoire includes Billy Fury's Wondrous Place and my sing-a-long for the evening is Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

Then a late night catch up with King in the Lido as we have to say goodbye until our next cruise with these talented people. King gives Miss Franny a hug, "Goodbye Mommy!" he jokes. Bye for now folks. Catch you again as soon as we can!

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Krka National Park, Croatia

Wednesday 26 September 2018. Our final day before flying home tomorrow. Our port for the day is Split in Croatia. We have been here a few times so have booked our only organised trip of the week for today.

We are taken by coach to Krka National Park near the border of Croatia with Serbia. A feast of waterfalls that I have seen described as both "spectacular" and "boring". Make your own minds up as you go through these very selective photos. I took well over a hundred during the day. What a good job we didn't have my good friend David the clicky monster with us - we'd have had to have dunked his camera in the water to stop it smoking...

Our guide told us the usual bits of history and culture on the way here and mentioned the park's wildlife. It has, we are told, bears, wolves and Croatia's most venomous snake, the antidote to which must be administered within forty minutes or death will overtake the ambulance...

"However they tend to keep to the higher ground and all we are likely to see will be ducks and fish..." And breathe... Once at the park we have a quick comfort break and then we are given a map and choose to walk through it on our own, having made sure we know where and when to meet up again. The boats on the river far below will be another part of the tour as we will meet up with the bus somewhere else following a short river trip on one of these boats.

The route around the park was by following a raised walkway made from wood. It was easy to follow and we could make our own pace. In fact despite us setting off first, the rest of the party overtook us at one point and were then overtaken by ourselves once again.

There were large waterfalls and small waterfalls. Some tall, some short. Some wide and others narrow. Some fast and some slow. It was most certainly not boring. There were quite a lot of people walking the wooden trail in both directions and several languages to be heard.

There were plenty of fish to be spotted in pools and streams. From tiny fry to foot-long adults they swam in shoals amongst the lily pads.

And the ducks. That's alright, we don't need to see the wolves, bears and poisonous snakes thank you...!

There's a spell of smaller falls, cascading over short drops.

And then a long drop into a large pool below.

Each rush of airborne water accompanied and set off by luxurious greenery.

The faster moving falls create their own foam even after a relatively short drop.

At this point water flowed in numerous streams under the walkway. There was a large party of young people in these blue sweatshirts. They are from Heidelberg University.

At every large fall there are people standing with their backs to it taking selfies with an outstretched phone in hand. "This is a picture of me obscuring X. And this is me hiding a lovely view of Y. This one is me with a dog's nose and ears..." If anyone is miffed at there being so few pictures of me, please let me know... Well? No? Thought not! ☺

We are getting to the end of the trail and the most spectacular view of all. At this point it is permitted to swim. Our guide had warned that it would be cold but it didn't prevent quite a few people from stripping off and getting into the water.

We are near the meeting point for this last view of the falls. A bridge takes people for a closer look but apart from me and a Japanese girl taking a photo of her friend who hadn't noticed and was busy picking her nose, everyone else on the bridge was staring at their phone!

It was lunchtime. "Fancy a sandwich?" asked Fran. It was crammed full of ham and cheese. We ate 1/3 of it each and admitted defeat at that! On a nearby table a little girl from Nottingham, either two or three years old, was singing "Let It Go! Let It Go!" over and over. The cold never bothers me anyway...

Our meeting point was a pole with a solar panel on top. "You won't miss it..." our guide had said!

From here we make our way to the boats for our river cruise back to where the bus will be waiting.

Even having left the waterfalls behind, there is still some spectacular scenery!

The boat takes us to this small village whose name I failed to hear, see, ask for.

"Follow me, straight to the coach!" said our guide loudly. However... "I've lost my husband!" comes a voice. Had he mistakenly gone off with another group, wondering where his wife might be? No... he had just decided he wanted a drink and thought he was more important than everyone else. The mind boggles! He hadn't even taken his wife!

On the way back in the coach we are coming down the mountain road towards Split and in the middle distance pass a fortified hill - Kaštel Gomilic - which is the location for the city of Meereen in TV's Game of Thrones.

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Wandering Around Trieste

Tuesday 25 September 2018. I'd been excited about visiting Trieste. In the event it was more city than pretty seaside town, but it entertained us for the morning. I had been imagining something like Portofino - somewhere else on my bucket list!

This was a step off the ship straight into the city sort of place. We dispensed with the notion of a guided tour - I can look up dates when we get back - and turned along the seafront.

The main piazza had some spectacular architecture, but for now we will continue along the seafront.

We do so until we reach a canal heading into the city and then we cross the busy road using the pedestrian traffic light crossing. I've found in some places Italians get very excited at the thought of a moving target, but they were very civilised and pleasant here, even waving to us from the driving seat.

More beautiful architecture. This is the museum.

A glass-sided footbridge leads to shopping areas.

At the far end of the canal it is replaced by a square pond with fountains. A market is set up here and around us are churches of many faiths, including Catholic, Serbian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and a Jewish Synagogue.

You can only wonder at the marvellous ambitions of Italian architects. This is, after all, a shop.

Contrast this with the absolutely dire brick monstrosities being built in the UK these days. It makes you want to weep.

We are now wandering with only a bare nod towards any planned destination. The map shows a castle and a Roman amphitheatre and we are heading in that general direction. We reach a junction and a tiny but busy bus station.

We came to a massive (and I mean massive) hill. The castle is on top. The amphitheatre is at the bottom. So we visited that!

It dates from the 1st Century CE and was built by Quintus Petronius Modestus during the rule of Emperor Trajan (his step-son was Hadrian). At the time it was built it faced directly onto the sea.

Around the side. You can imagine the sign: Gladiators and condemned Christians only...

We work our way through shopping streets to Piazza Unità d'Italia, the large square with the civic buildings that we saw shortly after leaving the ship.

Archways and vintage lighting - I'm a sucker for them!

Trieste's Stock Exchange. It was founded in 1755 by Empress Maria Theresa as the Trieste Commodity Exchange. It is therefore one of the oldest stock exchanges in the world.

Oh, excuse me... I've seen some more archways and lighting...

And speaking of lighting, as we make our way back towards the ship the sun is now backlighting the large globes of the street lighting. It's the little simple things that amuse me...

That night in Horizons bar, this simple little thing was trying to amuse an audience, singing Blue Bayou by Roy Orbison and Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa by Gene Pitney.

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