A Travellerspoint blog

Greenock for Glasgow

Monday, 12 June 2017

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There was no doubt about it this morning - it was raining. We set off at 07:30 on a coach tour of the glens, villages and lochs to the North of Glasgow. There were occasional breaks in the rain but views of anything in the distance was obscured by mist and low clouds. Our first stop was in the village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond. It was difficult to imagine how the words of the song could be inspired by the grey scene.

Further along the tour we climbed up the side of a glen (valley) to the pass named "Rest and Be Thankful". It was an impressive view from the head of the glen but required lots of imagination. The auto-focus on the camera failed to find a clear spot. Umbrellas were inverted and the coach shook in the blasts of wind that accompanied the rain.

The tour continued along the banks of Loch Eck and Holy Loch to Hunters Quay where we boarded the ferry to cross the River Clyde before returning to Greenock and the port. To drive home the point that rain rules the day we were assaulted again as we walked the length of the ship back to gangplank. Safely aboard the ship we ditched our wet gear and had a simple lunch on Deck 15. Because of the early start I figured an afternoon nap was justified.

Jenny went off to see the Scottish Folkloric show in the Theatre which from all accounts was up there with the best. There's a delay in the ship's departure with six coaches caught up in traffic. There was some form of traffic accident ashore causing long delays. We finally sailed about two hours late. Went off to dinner and then the Theatre for the Jo Little show. She was outrageously funny and was able to belt out a song with great gusto.

A day at Sea tomorrow as we continue Northward.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 00:03 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Belfast and Londonderry

Sunday, 11 June 2017

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Grey sky again as the ship settles at its berth in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Our tour today takes us NorthWest across Northern Ireland to the Walled City of Londonderry in the safe hands of Jack the tour guide. We are a small group with only 23 passengers which is barely half the capacity of the coach. The tour is scheduled to take two hours or more to arrive there but as it is a Sunday the streets and motorways are largely deserted and we arrive with time to spare.

Some masterful driving has us outside the venue for out tea or coffee and scones. Compared to the scones made at the cookery school these were equally light but were twice the size. Back on the coach and we park at the Tourist Information Centre. Jack leads us off on a walk around the City Wall stopping to explain the history of the landmarks.

After just over an hour we were escorted into a Pub where we were given a drink of our choice, a seafood salad, a plate of Steak and Kidney stew all topped off with a Bailey's Cheesecake. A lively place with lots of locals showing an interest in these strangers in their midst

After lunch we were free to roam around the city centre for over an hour. This 'free' time was somewhat dampened by some light but frequent showers. Jack explained that this was 'normal' weather and a week without rain is declared a drought. Jenny spent some time eyeing off some clothing but couldn't find a suitable fit in the style she liked. There are more ports and undoubtedly many more opportunities.

The return to the ship went quickly with Jack taking a break from his monologue until almost in sight of the docks. He described the Irish love of songs and music. Listing a number of World Famous artists that have a connection with Northern Ireland. I expected him to play a track over the coach speaker system. Instead he sang a local love song without any musical accompaniment.

We were back on the ship by 17:00 feeling almost as tired as we were yesterday. I did manage to put this lot together after dinner without falling asleep.

Tomorrow is the Port of Greenock the gateway to the city of Glasgow and we have yet another tour booked.
Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:04 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Liverpool and Beyond

Saturday, 10 June 2017

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Today's port is Liverpool on the West Coast of England. Our arrival was delayed due to a miscalculation of the tide conditions. That's the story anyway.

Weather predictions we not favourable but the rain held off while we made our way to the tour coach, Peggy, our guide for today, was a lovely lady with the most cultured English accent and the demeanour of a school mistress. During the two hour drive from Liverpool to Chester she maintained an unbroken commentary of historical facts and a detailed insight to the current state of affairs.

Our driver performed some minor miracles to manoeuvre the coach through the narrow back streets of Chester to deliver us to our first stop. Lunch at a local hotel for three coach-loads was elegantly served and an hour later we were guided through some narrow lanes to Chester Cathedral. This 13th century Norman cathedral has been rebuilt and restored over the many years and contains examples of many different architectural styles. Peggy reeled off the many dates and key features of this grand building.

With the constant threat of rain we were then invited to spend an hour exploring the streets of Chester. The many cobbled streets are mostly restricted to pedestrian traffic. The many and varied historic periods of development make for a spectacular range of photo opportunities. The occasional light shower did not deter our appreciation and enjoyment.

Back on the coach we we travelled to North Wales. From motorways to country lanes we passed through towns, villages and hamlets to the small village of Llangollen on the Dee river. Apart from the picturesque location and the many historic buildings, Llangollen famously hosts an International Eisteddfod. The sun managed to break through briefly and provided a brief view of the spectacular valley setting. White cottages against an emerald green.

Back on the coach and a winding journey back to Liverpool along the narrow country lanes with views to deep valleys and a landscape divided by hedgerows and dotted with sheep.

Arrived back at the ship around 19:15 and managed sufficient energy to make it to Deck 15 for a brief meal. I started this story but the many spelling errors demonstrated my inability to focus on the task. By 21:45 I shut down the computer and retired. Jenny was not too pleased when I restarted this task at 05:10. Sorry if this episode is recorded in a somewhat fractured fashion.

Belfast later today.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 21:40 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Visiting Dublin, Ireland

Friday, 9 June 2017

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There were patches of clear sky as the ship made its way into the Port of Dublin, a busy collection of commercial wharves and ferry terminals. We tied up to a general wharf made secure by parking a number of shipping containers to form a perimeter. There were already two other cruise ships in port and another following us in. The manoeuvrability of these massive ships continues to amaze me.

Our stay here is from 10:45 to 23:00 which resulted in some unusual times for Shore Excursions. Ours was set for 13:30 when we boarded a coach to drive over an hour South of Dublin. We were off to witness a cooking demonstration by Catherine Fulvio at the Ballyknocken Cookery School located on the family farm in a converted milking shed. Catherine is a polished performer and effortlessly produced a batch of delicate scones which she served with home-made jam.

The outing was made all the more memorable when our guide Rosemary and driver Basil attempted to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic on our way back to the ship. Last minute alternatives and occasional U-Turns meant that we saw some unexpected parts of this city.

On our return to the ship we decided on a quick meal and try to get to the theatre in time for the 19:00 folkloric show. We made it with time to spare and were rewarded with dancing, music and song in the best of Irish tradition for the best part of an hour.

PS. yesterday we happened to meet the Food and Beverage Director, an Australian from Western Victoria. He offered us a 'Premium Coffee Card' from his wallet. We've never bothered with these but for coffee addicts they are good for 15 cups of special brewed coffees. Hot chocolate is a free bonus, very nice before retiring for the night.

We'll be in Liverpool tomorrow.
Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 13:03 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

The Port of Cork in Ireland

Thursday, 8 June 2017

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We arrived in the Port of Cork under a threatening sky which quickly turned to an intense rain shower. Today we are booked on an excursion to the Blarney Woollen Mills and a scenic drive through the City of Cork. The countryside in this part of the country is blessed with green field, hedgerows and trees that arch over the road. The roads are narrow and I marvelled at our driver's ability to pilot his coach through some tight turns.

The Woollen Mills contained a wealth of beautiful knitted goods in many colours and styles. All prices were in Euros which caused us some confusion. Some of those garments were in the region of AU$ 200 or more. We managed to restrict our purchases. One of the perks of this tour was a complementary Irish Coffee. Jenny doesn't drink and I enjoyed her drink as well as mine. We managed a short walk through the village between showers.

We returned to the ship while our guide maintained a constant monologue of facts, figures and myths. A delightful Irish accent added to the charm of the trip.

Back on board we enjoyed a quick lunch and then I tried to resolve some issues with the Internet. It continues to be extremely slow. Managed to sort out one but had to escalate the other to Dr Nat. Hope she can sort out the mess I've created.

Still trying to shake off the effects of "jet lag" as I dozed off over the keyboard. Decided to capitulate and just adopt a horizontal attitude. We woke up in time for an early dinner after which I penned these words with heavy eyelids.

We finished off the day by being mesmerised and confused by Magician Sean Alexander who performed to a packed theatre.

Tomorrow's port is Dublin.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 21:53 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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