Thursday 15 September 2016. It's another tender boat day today for our last day before flying back to England. We have breakfast and head up to the Medusa Lounge to pick up tickets for the tender boats.
We are in Kefalonia. Thomson Dream is moored in a lagoon and being ferried by tender boat to Argostoli. A steep zig-zag road with hairpin bends climbs the mountain on the opposite side of the lagoon.
Once again we have forsaken the organised tours for getting off and hoofing it. Though one of tours was intriguing as it visited an underground lake at Melissani.
However Argostoli had its own surprise in store for us as we walk alongside the moored boats and find a huge loggerhead turtle swimming happily towards us!
He wasn't on his own. All the way along the side of the lagoon groups of people are stopping to watch and take photos of the turtles. In 2013 a scientific study counted 27 individual turtles. Nothing keeps them here, they are here because they want to be.
Carrying on down the edge of the lagoon we come to a massive market stall loaded down with fresh vegetables and fruit.
Ah... and I'll just check up on my flower shop... Anyone who knows me will know I can't tell a tulip from a sunflower...
I am a bit too late to get a decent shot of the road train passing out of sight, but the church makes a lovely sight on its own.
The bridge across the lagoon, splitting it into two. The half that Thomson Dream is moored in leads out to the Aegean Sea and the side to our right in this photo leads to the Ionian Sea.
Cafe bars stretch along the water's edge, smiling staff asking if it's time for a coffee or drink. I'm standing on the bridge taking this photo when out of the corner of my eye I see something thrown into the water and an instant commotion around it.
A shoal of fish is excited at the unexpected snack!
Walking down I had said a casual "Maybe later..." to a young lady at one cafe. Walking back she said "Is it later now?" and ... why not? Our lagoon-side table is visited by a passing turtle!
Miss Franny points him out as he makes another pass.
Refreshed and feet rested, we turn away from the lagoon to have a look around the town. A short narrow street leads to a marble-paved modern shopping street. It is a long street, but kept traffic free and we wander along the entire length and back again.
Down a little square off the street is a 1964 Ford Taunus, the equivalent to the UK's Ford Cortina MkII.
The back end reminds me very much of Dad's Ford Zephyr 6 Mk IV, which was this very same colour!
It's 25 minutes to twelve and 29 degrees centigrade. Warm, but not too warm. We decide to have lunch off the boat to give us more time to look around. We buy some postcards and magnets to weight the fridge down - so annoying when it floats off... and Miss Franny buys some sandals.
We head back to the same cafe bar we had a drink at and have some lunch, but the waiters are making mistakes and the owner is in a bit of a mood, shouting at them, so it takes the edge off it a bit. There are the same groups of turtle watchers along the side of the lagoon.
The fish too are still swimming up and down, hopeful of a few treats being thrown in.
Palm nuts, growing on one of a row of trees planted alongside the lagoon.
There is a queue for the tenders and we walk past to see what there might be along the lagoon if we walk the other way. There isn't a lot... A small car ferry sets off with a small number of cars that have reversed on, so they can just drive off without any manoeuvring. Looking back it looks like the queue for the tender boats has shrunk considerably and we set off back and wait to board a boat back to the ship.
We had eaten every night in the Orion Restaurant on Deck 4, which gave us waiter service. We had stuck with the same waitering team that we started with last Friday and since the Monday evening our Assistant Waiter, Jayson, was waiting by the door as the restaurant opened to take Miss Franny's arm and lead her towards our table. Many nights we would find Pauline and Brian seated on the next table and with just a small partition between us we were soon chatting to them as our meals progressed from course to course.
And it's our last night aboard for this time, so time to scoot up to the Waters' Edge Bar and listen to 2 Intense, Tomas and Maris.
With Ben playing we have not been able to chat to them between their sets unless we lost our seats and went somewhere else. Tonight after their last set we head off to the Lido Restaurant which is very quiet by now (it's gone midnight).
We spend another hour with them then regretfully have to finish the last bits of packing in order to leave our cases outside the cabin by 1:30 am, from where they will be taken off the ship when it docks at Corfu in the morning and arranged so we can just find them and put them onto a coach for the airport in the morning.
We'll meet again...