Our last sightseeing day before two sea days crossing the Tasman Sea to Sydney was billed as ‘scenic cruising’ in Fiordland. When we rose early and looked out, the scenery consisted of leaden skies, falling rain and mist down to a few metres above the sea. If there were any majestic cliffs out there, they … Continue reading Fiordland – all good things come to those who wait
Two days on New Zealand’s South Island, ostensibly the same timetables and yet completely different experiences. Arrive in port, explore that local area for a few hours then take a bus tour to the main city for sightseeing. And yet one was, for me, the best day of our cruise thus far and the other … Continue reading South Island – the vagaries of cruising
Subtitle - and you didn’t even have to try. Some places eventually get into your affections. Some never do. Others irritate and jar. And then occasionally you turn up somewhere, head out to see what’s about, think ‘hey, this is cool’ and you’re sold. Effortless. That was Auckland for me today. We pulled into port … Continue reading Yes Auckland I’m impressed
Another sea day today, between Fiji and Auckland. There had been many of these on this cruise, more than we’ve previously experienced, so it’s worth looking more closely at what life on a cruise ship is like. When we do make land and are being taken back to our ship by our excursion guides, they … Continue reading Life on board
As we rose and looked out on the approaching islands of Fiji, the scene wasn’t quite as imagined. Rather than sun kissed palm fringed beaches we could see leaden skies, steady rain, a rather industrial looking port ahead and some ominous shipwrecks surprisingly adjacent to our starboard bow! It was more akin to sailing in … Continue reading A warm welcome in Fiji – from the people at least!
Now it’s not that my backpacking days are well and truly over. They never really happened. I didn’t travel extensively when I was young - no family holidays abroad, no gap year of Inter-rail with my schoolmates. I did have the good fortune to travel in my twenties and thirties but it was mainly to … Continue reading Tahiti – should travel really be this easy?
Our second port of call was the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, where we pulled into the capital Honolulu as the sun was rising. It was a peaceful, serene scene as we glided in past the already berthed Ovation of the Seas, as the high rises of downtown Honolulu watched on. The disembarkation onto the coach … Continue reading Scenic drive on O’ahu
So here we finally are - the retirement holiday three plus years in the making, cancelled more times than I care to remember and coming more than two years after I returned to work! Many thanks to my long suffering colleagues who are covering in my absence, I’ll make it up when I return. So … Continue reading Volcanoes on Hilo
So, we’ve seen some of the quattrocento palazzos which typified the family rivalries rife in Florence at the time. But what happened next...? For once, artistic licence trumped politics, and aesthetics took centre stage. A stylistic rivalry developed between an ongoing ‘Florentine style’ and one being developed and championed in Rome. How much Florence became … Continue reading Later Florentine palazzos
The Baroque is not a style with which I am overly familiar. It is, of course, more associated with Rome, where after the sack of 1527 huge swathes of the city required rebuilding, much of which was done in the new style, commissioned by the Vatican from rising stars such as Bernini and Borromini. But … Continue reading Baroque Florence