Sunday, 8 January 2017

Five Ports in Five Days

Queen Elizabeth was to visit five ports, Barcelona, Villefranche, Civitavecchia (Rome),Naples and Cagliari (Sardinia), in the next five days.

Saturday 29th October 2016 - Barcelona

The City of Barcelona is a short walk from the port, even I could manage it.  We were heading for Las Ramblas, when we came across an antique/vintage market which I couldn't resist having a look round.

On either side of the path leading to Las Ramblas were various living statues which were very impressive.

We bought gifts for friends and family, including a few Christmas stocking fillers.  I in particular was interested to note the number of Asian owned businesses (I'm Anglo-Indian), I had not expected to find that in Barcelona.

The Evening was informal and some kind passenger offered to take a photo of both of us

We went to the show tonight as it was Phillip Browne, who had starred in several West End shows including The Lion King.  It promised to be good.  In fact it was absolutely brilliant, Phillip Browne was excellent, and received a standing ovation.

Sunday 30th  October 2016 - Villefranche

Villefrance was a maiden call for Queen Elizabeth. Whilst planning the cruise we had decided we would stay aboard ship for Villefrance and Rome as five ports in five days was too much for me.

As it was a port day there was no art class so I  took my art materials, found a steamer chair on Deck 3 and did some sketching. 

It wasn't going very well, I've forgotten so many of the techniques.  I gave up and visited the sunbeds around the pool.

Meanwhile Mr G, who has tons of energy, discovered from another passenger that you could get a tender to the shore, take a few photos and get the next tender back, so off he went.

Queen Elizabeth viewed from the shore.

After listening to the adventures of our table companions I began to regret not going ashore, but next time......

In the afternoon we visited the Queens Room to sample Afternoon tea.

Unfortunately the Harpist was not playing today so we just had to revisit later in the voyage,  we were quite restrained and shared a scone!

Monday 31st October 2016 - Civitevecchia (Rome)

As mentioned above I did not go ashore.  Mr G however went for one of his runs around the port and took some photos at the same time.

Another informal evening

I bought the shawl and hand fan in Barcelona.

Tuesday 1st November 2016 - Naples

We had booked the morning excursion to Pompeii which meant a much earlier start to the day.  Breakfast in the Lido, by this time I'd given up on cooked breakfasts and settled for cereal, toast and marmalade, followed by fresh pineapple.  We went straight from breakfast down to the Queens room to receive our group number and sticker.   The coach journey took us on a lovely scenic route including a glimpse of the Isle of Capri.   I was a little concerned going on a guided tour as I do not walk far or very fast and hoped I would be able to keep up.    We were told by our guide it takes 3 days to see the whole of Pompeii, we had two hours.   It was a lovely sunny hot day ( we would say a very good summer's day in GB), but our tour guide wore here padded winter coat and boots saying it was chilly.  I found the site very crowded and it was a struggle at times to get past other tourist groups.   Being a slow walker I was often at the back of our group.  When viewing a particular section ie. a beautiful tiled floor in a small room, by the time I got into the room, our guide started to move on to the next point of interest and so I only caught glimpses, when I would have liked to have had a more leisurely look.

I was very tired after the tour so made sure I rested once back onboard.

Wednesday 2nd November 2016 - Cagliari, Sardinia

Although still tired from the day before I was really looking forward to visiting this port.  The Yesterday Captain had mentioned in his daily update that Queen Victoria would also be in port at the same time and they had planned to do a little 'dance' when leaving the port at the end of the day.
So I went of to breakfast anticipating a lovely day.  We were just finishing breakfast, watching the coastline of Sardinia, as we made our way into port, when the Captain came over on the speakers.  This was very unusual, it was the wrong time of day.  He expressed his great regret but the port authorities had given our berth to another vessel.  Whilst QE had been offered an alternative, the Captain deemed it too shallow and unsafe, we would not be stopping at Cagliari and an alternative port would be found.

I was so so disappointed.  I had wanted to visit Sardinia since I was a teenager.  Then I thought of Charles and Chris.  They had arranged to meet up with relatives they hadn't seen before and had a suitcase full of gifts from family in the US to give to them.  Their disappointment must be so much greater.

Our very brief view of Sardinia

It was announced later in the day our new port was to be Cartagena, Spain.

I made use of the extra rest day and remained in our stateroom most of the time.  I woke from my afternoon nap to find a stowaway on our balcony

Informal Evening tonight:

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