Alastair Holden

Al Holden

Alastair Holden

Europe » Italy » Sardinia » Cagliari August 2nd 2018

31st July Cagliari One last push Our fourth port in four days and I think we might be getting a little jaded. Still onward and upward, literally, Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, and sits in the Gulf if Cagliari. Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily. Our walk took us up to the heights of the Elephant and St Pancras Towers. Both towers dominate the city, the Tower of St Pancras has massive white masonry whist the Tower of the Elephant still has its battlements and portcullis intact and has become a symbol of the cities past glories and achievements. A lot of renovations being done and coupled with the number of tourists make it a very busy place. Our goal was the Roman Amphitheatre, elliptical in shape, set in a ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Campania » Salerno August 2nd 2018

30th July Salerno Located on the south western Italian coast and known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean it is the most important city next to the Amalfi coast, with the famous towns like Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Sorrento. It’s history is recognised by her old University of Medicine which was first in the world. Recent history, Salerno was the capital of Italy which was moved from Rome in 1943 during WWII, called the “Government of the South” for a few short months. The Old Town is full of art and culture, it was exploration on foot trying to avoid being run over by scooters and small cars in the VERY narrow streets. Some tours headed off to nearby Pompeii and along the Amalfi coast road. So a bit of culture finding ABC (Another B*****y Cathedral) ... read more
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Europe » France July 29th 2018

28th July Calvi, Corsica Calvi, a town on the Northwest island of Corsica and as we made our way to the port it looks the perfect Mediterranean setting with its marina and cafes along the seafront. A tender port for us today and what do we know about it: Christopher Columbus was born here (maybe) Nelson lost his right eye here Prince Rainier and Princess Grace honeymooned here And there’s a Citadel which has a French Foreign Legion base as well as private residences and a Cathedral The only Tender port on this Cruise and just as well, 11 am before getting off, arrived at 8 am. A good walk up to the top of the Citadel, lots of steps and cobbled roads before heading back into town for a very nice lunch with Corsican wine ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Almería July 29th 2018

26th July Almeria The approach to Almeria is stunning: the town lies surrounded by semi-desert at the foot of a range of mountains and its coastline alternating by long sandy beaches and steep cliffs. As you wander the streets the feel is more Moroccan than Spanish. This part of Spain is one of the sunniest and driest in Europe, other (maybe interesting) facts are that many spaghetti westerns were filmed here and apparently John Lennon wrote Strawberry Fields Forever whilst filming How I Won the War And not forgetting Game of Thrones The major attractions are the Cathedral and the Alcazaba and of course for us some Tapas and local beer. The Alcazaba, a great fortress stands 300 feet above sea level on three levels. It is undergoing continuing excavation and renovation.The first level was originally ... read more
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Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto July 29th 2018

24th July Oporto Located along the Douro river, Oporto lies within the estuary. Arcadia berthed a few miles down the coast in the harbour of Leixões, the Passenger Terminal is one of the finest examples of the architecture of the nineteen-sixties and it has recently been considered a part of the Architectural and Historical Heritage of the City of Matosinhos. So Oporto City Centre is about 8km north and lies on the banks of the Douro. Unfortunately with the traffic the shuttle takes about 40 minutes to the centre where the tourists are out in full. The historic centre was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996 for its continued preservation of its historical sites. And you can see why, you are surrounded by churches, within a short walk we passed the Igreja dos Carmelitas, ... read more
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Europe » Norway » Eastern Norway » Oslo July 20th 2018

19th July Oslo This was a late (but scheduled) arrival for us, berthing at 11 am. But another spectacular cruise for some 60 miles sailing up Oslofjord docking in the heart of Oslo. Any closer and the ship would be berthing in the main reception area of the Radhuset City Hall, a very austere looking building overlooking the port of Oslo. One of the main attractions of Oslo is its museums, and oh boy do they love their museums and galleries. Our daily programme lists 24 museums and galleries and that doesn’t include Sculpture parks, churches and Cathedrals. The museums range from the Resistance Museum to more seafaring based ones which include the National Maritime, the Kon Tiki, and the Fram Museums. The Fram was the vessel that Amundsen and Nansen made their Arctic and Antarctic ... read more
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Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Copenhagen July 20th 2018

18th July Copenhagen Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen, approached on another beautiful sunny summers day. As usual with late morning arrivals the buses are full and queues are the order of the day. As we berthed only a 20 minute stroll into the centre it was the way to see some of this easy going bonhomie of this ‘wonderful’ city. Copenhagen was the adopted home of Hans Christian Anderson, commemorated by the statue of the Little Mermaid, a bronze statue dated 1913 by a Danish artist Edvard Eriksen. It is the most photographed lady in Copenhagen, situated on the Langeline Promenade only 200 metres from where we were berthed, chances of us getting a photo were slim on our way out as the world and his dog (well tourists, mainly Japanese) were crawling (literally) all over her. Hans ... read more
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Europe » Estonia » Tallinn July 17th 2018

16th July Tallinn Capital of Estonia, it’s post independence renaissance has bred new life to this city. The old town has a beautiful tableau of gabled roofs and turrets. The spoiler was the four other cruise ships in, offloading some 12000 passengers plus us into the cobbled streets. Again a few pics to give a flavour of the city. We had a great lunch with local beer in restaurant/cafe and we didn’t hear an English voice. Magical!!!... read more
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Europe » Russia » Northwest July 17th 2018

14th/15th July St Petersburg Day One Russias most European city is the Jewel in the Baltic Crown and was Peter the Greats ‘Window on the West’. The European influence is that Helsinki and Tallinn are only a few hours away but it can take up to 9hours to reach Moscow. Needless to say the first day had the delays of passing through passport control and it seems better that you arrange tours through the Cruise because of visa restrictions. Day One Peterhof palace and Fountain gardens Day Two Catherine Palace and gardens Pictures paint a thousand words and I’ve whittled the photos down to some 30+ for the two days.... read more
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Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki July 17th 2018

13th July This was a change to the itinerary, Mr Trump decided to visit with Mr Putin so we had alter the dates!! Finland Helsinki Finlands capital, daughter of the Baltic its a city that has many Neo Classical buildings, loads of museums. Their very big on museums in the Baltic!! An easy city to walk, the Market Square at the end of the Esplanade where there are loads of stalls selling local produce and souvenirs. The imposing Uspenski Cathedral overlooks the area and the a short walk brings you into Senate Square where unfortunately all the tours from everywhere congregate. A short walk brings you back to the railway station with another austere facade.... read more
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