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Mediterranean Malarkies – Day Three

Published 29/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Aaaaaah that’s more like it. Waking up to a smooth sea and bright sun beaming through the cabin window was much more akin to what we ordered.  Sam was feeling chipper and not at all nauseous (he was rubbing his ear beads every so often just to be sure) and Trevor seemed to finally have woken up.

Today was a sea day and the first chance we had to actually all relax together and work on our tans.  Once we had finished breakfast we wandered out to find some sunbeds to make camp for the day.  Yeah, easier said than done. Once again we spent ages wandering round and round and round and round, initially trying to find four beds together, deciding to settle on two and eventually begging for a small piece of floor where we could lay our towels. There were signs up everywhere telling us not to reserve beds or our stuff would be removed after 30 minutes but every bed was taken. Finally we found one bed on the top deck partially in the shade and leapt on it. Glen wandered off and after a short while came back with another bed which he set up next to the one five of us were sharing.  We sorted ourselves out as best we could and commenced the serious business of tanning.

I am like a lizard and once I’m comfy in the sun with a drink and a book you’re not moving me for hours.  Everyone else came and went throughout the day and as people around me left I swapped beds with two better placed for maximum sun absorption.

Sam and I had our yearly argument with him trying to convince me that he doesn’t need to wear factor 30+ on his very fair skin and that he could use my factor 8 (for 3% Nigerian throwbacks) and be fine.  Reluctantly he relented and spread a very thin layer of factor 30 over parts of himself and laid down with his headphones in for all of 20 minutes before getting bored and wandering off again.

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Sam trying to convince me he’s not fair of skin

As a group we had decided to book a table in one of the speciality restaurants for that night (this is another package that we had to buy in order to save 10 Euros pp on each meal) and we had chosen Chops Grille as most people were in the mood for steak. This turned out to be a brilliant idea as the food and service were second to none. Our waitress with an unpronounceable name was so attentive, funny and friendly that she made our dining experience fabulous. She remembered all our drinks and as soon as a glass was only 1/4 full she produced another one. If we were running low on side orders she brought more.  The food was also outstanding.  Most of us had steak and everyone said it was cooked to perfection, exactly the way they had ordered. I had rack of lamb and again could not sing its praises high enough.  A lovely night of food, drink and hilarity sent us off to bed very happy and VERY full.

But, that is not the end of the Kendrick day 3 story. Oh no. By the time we got back to our room Sam had started to complain that the backs of his legs were sore and sheepishly admitted that he had ‘forgotten’ to put lotion on them.  Stripping off his trousers he was mortified to see the backs of his legs burnt so pink they were reminiscent of the steak he had just consumed. “But I only laid out for 20 minutes” he kept repeating much to my frustration. Lots of cold flannels and fanning of bed sheets later he found some After Sun that he had brought with him that his mate Jordan had left behind in the room when they had been to Rome a few weeks earlier. So I rubbed a generous amount into the poor boy’s legs and a little bit on his back and chest and sent him to bed with paracetamol and a flea in his overcrowded ear about arguing with me every year about the same damn thing.

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“But I only laid out for 20 minutes”

Then next morning….  well you’ll just have to wait for that, but believe me its a good one.

Pip pip

Julie 🙂

Mediterranean Malarkies – Day Two

Published 25/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Waking up and looking out over a beautiful blue sea, nothing on the horizon except serene blue sky; rhythmic bobbing up and down with a warm gentle breeze softly brushing our faces… was absolutely nothing like what we actually woke up to!

Grey, drizzly, choppy waters with a wind that was more than a little chilly whipping our hair nearly off our heads was what greeted us on Day 2. We had reached the Bay of Biscay, a notoriously tempestuous area of the ocean that takes about a day to pass through.  Not having brought any warm clothing or even a jacket meant we were going to be staying inside today.  I was lucky enough to have a massage booked so I had that to look forward. However, everyone else spent the day staggering from one place to the next trying not to fall flat on their faces, or find themselves propelled into shops where their bank balances would be severely depleted. Although a little unsteady on my feet I didn’t feel unwell at all but poor Sam was green and almost continually throwing up.  Trevor, who had been working like a maniac for about 6 months was so tired he just kept falling asleep and when he was awake complained of feeling nauseous.

We went to the  Windjammer for breakfast, hoping that it would settle the boys’ tummies but spent about 20 minutes wandering round and round looking for a free table.  This would be only one of many times we compared this cruise to our Caribbean one with this one fairing less than well.  99% of the passengers were British and in typical Brit fashion pushed and shoved everyone out of the way to make sure “we’re alright Jack”. I have no idea where this thing about the Brits queuing up nicely came from but I certainly didn’t see any orderly queues where the food was concerned. Once we were seated the food was delicious and plentiful and I was more than happy with my full belly. However the poor boys just felt worse and worse.

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Greyness (looking deceptively calm though)

At 12.30 I popped off to the spa for my Swedish massage with a tiny girl from the Philippines named Elsa. She called me Joooooooolie and kneaded and stroked all my cares away until I was powerless to resist the Elemis lotions and potions she told me I must buy just before I left. £90 lighter (that was just the creams) I went back to our cabin to find Trevor asleep and Sam with his green face in the toilet bowl.  I whisked him off down to the spa where I had seen a notice saying that they did acupuncture for sea sickness.  At this point my boy would have rubbed a frog over his face if it meant he would stop vomiting so we went and saw the lovely Dr who laid Sam down and poked him with needles for an hour.  After this she stuck some tiny beads in his ears and rubbed them for a few minutes before leaving him to sleep for half an hour or so.  A short while later he woke up and like magic was cured. Yes, I am serious. He was actually cured. No more sickness just a slightly unsettled feeling in his tummy which the Dr said would go in a coupe of hours.  He was given instructions to press the beads in his ears if he felt sick and we left, with me nearly £300 down!! So no more sea sickness for Sam and the chefs were put on alert that the teenage boy had his appetite back!!!

Not much happened for the rest of that day as we spent our time sleeping or wandering around the boat orientating ourselves. I had to take to my bed to try to recover from spending nearly £400 without getting off the boat or going into a shop; having said that, it was worth every penny to see Sam feeling better.

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First boat pic of me and Diane

Diane and I took our first selfie and once we had eaten our dinner went to bed early. Tomorrow we would be arriving in Gibraltar so sleep was needed to prepare for some walking and sightseeing fun.

Land ahoy

Julie 🙂

 

Mediterranean Malarkies – Day ONE

Published 19/09/2018 by julierkendrick

The date is 12th August 2018 and the day is Sunday. The time is 6am!!!!!!! 6am does not exist in my world as it is the time when I am usually sleeping my deepest but as we are off on our cruise today I don’t mind being acquainted with it just this once. We had finished packing the night before and once we had thrown the final toiletries into our cases we left the house for 2 weeks of sun, fun and relaxation.

First thing’s first… Sleep. All the way to Southampton. I have to admit I am the most boring car passenger as I am like a baby, 2 miles down the road and Zzzzzz. I woke up just as we arrived at the hotel where we were to meet The fabulous Perrymans (I think that should be their moniker from now on). Once we had excitedly said our hellos we went off in convoy to the dock.

Just a few minutes later we saw our fabulous boat and before we knew it our cases were collected from us by a lovely chap in the car park and we were ushered into the terminal and on to the vessel that was going to transport us off to sunnier climes.

Once on board we had to wait a couple of hours before our stateroom was ready so we went to a bar and ordered our first round of holiday drinks.

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£57 with a couple of cokes and a beer!!!!

Now, I just need to pause proceedings here to give you a little explanation of how drinks work on cruises with Royal Caribbean. There is no cash onboard so you have to register a credit or debit card once you arrive. You are issued with a boarding pass which is linked to this card. Any time you buy anything your card is swiped and your credit card charged.  You have the option whether to buy a drinks package or not. If you choose to do so there are three options, 1. Full alcohol package. 2. Enhanced soft drinks package (includes hot chocolate and coffee) 3. Basic soft drinks package. All very simple so far, yes? However, the drinks packages are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. The full alcohol package is, and you’ll need to read this at least twice, £68 per person, PER DAY. Yes per day.  Also they have a rule that if one adult in your room has the alcohol package then ALL the adults have to have it too. This is obviously to stop one person buying the package and then getting drinks for the rest of their party. Makes sense I guess but wow that’s a lot of money. So we decided that we would not partake of the packages but would just pay as we go. HAHAHAHA! Yeah nice idea… The first round of drinks that I bought consisted of 2 cocktails, 1 beer and 2 cokes. Grand total £57. Well once I’d picked myself up off the floor and stopped hyperventilating we had a long discussion about how we were going to afford to drink on this holiday.  Glen and I did some rudimentary maths but the end result was that we were going to have to bite the bullet and get the package. I’ll leave you to work out how much that cost us but it was a tidy sum and we hadn’t even left Southampton!

Once that was out of the way we could start to relax. Our cabin was ready and we unpacked quickly eager to get back to the holiday celebrations.  We set sail at 4pm and Diane and I decided to have a mooch round the shops that are along the Promenade. I bought my holiday perfume (Coco Chanel) and we stopped for one or two, or three drinks along the way.  Dinner that night was in the Sapphire restaurant which is the equivalent of Mozart on the Adventure of the Seas that we were on in the Caribbean.  If I’m honest the food wasn’t that great, pretty mediocre but, hey it’s the first day. It’s all looking up from here right? Right??

You’ll have to wait for the Day Two to find out.

Ahoy shipmates

Julie 🙂

 

 

Mediterranean Malarkies

Published 03/09/2018 by julierkendrick

Well hello again all those who have followed my blog in the past. I admit I am not the most regular of bloggers but I like to think that when I do put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) it is worth reading. So welcome back, I hope you enjoy the next series of posts which will be appearing over a week or so.

As some of you know I have recently been on another cruise, this time to the sunny Mediterranean. We went with Royal Caribbean again and this time instead of  meeting new friends we took the old ones with us. Glen and Diane, the fabulous couple we met on our first cruise in 2013 (see Caribbean Chronicles) have become our best chums with whom we spend many days on lodge breaks around the UK, jumping in and out of hot tubs. We also went to Turkey together in 2016 and travel to each others houses at least a few times a year.  We also had our youngest son Sam with us and Glen and Di brought their daughter Zoe and son Darryl and his husband Austin.

So, I have set the scene, introduced the characters all that remains is to crack on with Day One.

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Navigator of the Seas

Tales from Costa Rica – Part 7

Published 01/11/2012 by julierkendrick

I am so glad that you are all enjoying my travel journal, I love sharing it with you all. So here is part 7.

Saturday 27th October 2012 dawned a lovely bright morning. I was very glad that I had not come home late because I had a clear head and was ready to enjoy the day. As usual in the mornings Monroe and I sat out on the back porch drinking coffee (Costa Rican of course) and chatting. This was one of my favourite times of the day, when everyone else was still asleep and I listened to Monroe telling tales of his treasure hunting experiences. He is such an interesting guy and someone I would never have met if I hadn’t come on this trip.

A short while later, Annie rose obviously a little worse for wear and after a relatively chilled morning we decided to go up the mountain to see Helene who I later affectionately dubbed ‘crazy dog lady’.

Helene is a lovely warm hearted Austrian lady who has lived in Costa Rica for many years. During her time in this beautiful country she had grown tired of seeing so many dogs just wandering the streets, scavenging for food or getting knocked down by cars and left at the side of the road. So instead of becoming hardened to it she decided to open her house to them, provide the medical care, food and love that they need and ultimately try to get them adopted. She started out small but with so many street dogs this just grew and grew. The locals all came to know Helene and many, who can afford it send her money and food to help with their care. Over time this has become a thriving concern for Helene but she still loves each dog as if it is her own. She names every dog that comes through her door and never forgets which is which. So how many dogs do you think she looks after at one time? 10? 20? 50? Nope. not even close. She currently has 141 dogs. Yes that’s right 141. Of these 40 live in her house with her and the rest live on her land in kennels where they have freedom to roam and play.  The ones that are in her house are the ones that are very sick, very young or old or who have just had surgery (she makes sure every dog is neutered to stop the breeding problems exacerbating).

A dog lover myself with 2 lively labradors, I was really looking forward to meeting Helene and her dogs. It only took us about 20 minutes to get to her land and we knew we were in the right place from all the barking we could hear from about 100 metres away. I commented to Annie that it is a good job that Helene doesn’t have any close neighbours or they would all have been driven mad by now.

We pulled up to a large green metal gate and banged heartily setting off a gazillion barks. After a few minutes Helene pulled open the gate and we walked into canine heaven. When I say there were dogs everywhere I really am not exaggerating. Big ones, small ones, puppies, old dogs, yappy dogs, jumpy dogs, lazy dogs of every breed imaginable ran towards us to have a good sniff and to say hello. I immediately fell in love with about 8 of them and wanted to take them home and I’d only just walked through the gate. Some of the dogs were kept separate from the others for varying reasons, some because they trod on the puppies or just snapped a lot but no dog was alone, they always had a friend.

Just a few of the doggies who greeted us

Helene herself was a mass of bright red hair and big beaming smiles. She still had the tell-tale Austrian accent but her English was impeccable.  She led us into her house all the while talking to the dog and calling them by name. I noticed that the place was spotlessly clean, no poop or pee anywhere to be seen and when one dog did a little parcel Helene immediately scooped it up and disposed of it. Inside the large abode there were dogs on the sofas, lying across doorways and following us around tripping us up all the way to the den. As Helene remarked, you could not be sad in a place like that. Just one look around at all the furry faces eager to love you unconditionally has to lift your spirits and I understood then why she was such a cheerful happy person.

Helene the crazy dog lady

One big furry black dog called Pushy took a liking to me and stayed by my side the whole of our visit. He was so friendly and looked at me with his big brown doggy stare and I fell head over heels in love (I think Pushy would even give Johnny a run for his money). I asked Helene about him and she said that he was one of the dogs that would never be adopted because at 7 he was too old. “People want puppies”, she said. “The trouble with that is that when they get to about 2 or 3 they become less cute and the owners don’t want them any more so they get abandoned all over again”. I could see that Helene is fighting a losing battle but one that she is determined to fight regardless of the outcome.

Me with my beloved Pushy

When we left (without my beloved Pushy) I knew that these dogs were the lucky ones, they would get not only medical attention and food but real genuine one on one love and all from this one Austrian woman who has decided to take on the world. I can only wish her good luck and good health. What a wonderful lady.

Annie and I drove home deep in thought and got ready for our evening with Any and Norman, the fabulous Cuban couple that Annie had taken me to see on my first day.  They had invited us to dinner along with Mike and Earl and I was looking forward to spending my last evening in their company.

When we arrived and I had finished hugging Norman and trying to persuade him to squeeze into my case we followed the gorgeous smells coming from Any’s kitchen. She opened the oven and showed us the most massive shoulder of pork I had ever seen. My mouth immediately started to water so Mike and I laid the table while Norman carved the meat. We sat down and prayers were said and then Oh My Lord!! I began to eat the best meat I had ever eaten, so succulent and tender. My mouth is watering again as I type, remembering such a wonderful meal. We had flan for dessert which we had to almost physically wrestle from Mike, it being his favourite and after coffee we all went and sat in the conservatory nattering about this and that. I looked around at these wonderful people that I had only met a week ago and was amazed that in such a short time they had welcomed me into their lives and homes and made me feel like family. I was going to miss these people so much.

All too soon it was time to leave and we had a bit of a tearful goodbye. I promised to return as soon as I could and we left for our last night at Annie’s home. I never could persuade Norman to stow away with me but he belongs to Any so I will just have to get back there as soon as possible, if only for their amazing food.

Any and Norman, the best Cubans in the world

So my travels had come to and end. Or had they? Oh no, I still have an eventful journey home to tell you all about tomorrow.

Pip pip.

Julie 🙂