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Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an May 20th 2018

Our time in Xi’an was shortened by a change in flight times. The visit we experienced was nothing if not frenetic. Having arrived late on Wednesday, after a brief freshen up we began a two hour Xi’an by night tour. This city seems much more beautiful than Beijing to me (which, by contrast, appeared drab and colourless under the ubiquitous leaden and smoggy atmospheric conditions). My first view of Xi’an reminded me of a brightly lit up Christmas tree or the Lobethal Christmas lights display on steroids. We were taken to a big public square where there appeared to be hundreds of people participating in community dancing. The biggest group was performing a fan and umbrella dance in two long conga style lines directed by a man with a whistle who made the lines snake around ... read more
Bell Tower
Warrior massages my neck
The real deal

Asia » China » Beijing May 20th 2018

There was a time, many years ago, when I developed a fascination for the Chinese language. It was because of watching Chinese movies, and no, they were not the Kung Fu kind. Two that made a real impression on me were “Raise the Red Lantern” and “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress”. I attempted to learn Mandarin for two years and loved doing so at the time but then stopped. On Sunday 13 May, I finally made it onto Chinese soil. We had come to China to watch the second Port Adelaide Football Club game in Shanghai which was to take place on the same day a great many people were expected to be watching a certain royal wedding. We were to be in a stadium with thousands of fellow Power supporters cheering on the team. ... read more
More of the Wall
Jade panel

North America » Canada » Ontario » Toronto July 13th 2017

On the morning we left Montreal, I found a five cent coin on the footpath. A little later I found another five cent coin. When we got to Toronto later that day, after an absolutely beautiful train ride, I found two more five cent coins (at two different locations). I’m not sure if that means anything. I figure that, if this keeps happening, I am making money on this trip! Having said that, after 10 weeks of travelling, I have lost all sense of just what it is I actually do in life. It seems that every day it is my lot to walk, a lot (I have been averaging about 20000 steps a day). Usually we go to visit famous, strange or exotic locations. When we get there, we look at things, find out information ... read more
The Eaton Centre
Brookfield Place
Toronto seen from the islands

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal July 9th 2017

We were to be in Montreal for twelve days because we came to attend the jazz festival which runs for eleven days. When I gazed at the street of our hotel I thought “Oh no, more drab grey and dirty beige anonymous office towers”. The weather was also against us. Sombre skies settled in during the first few days of our stay and lingered. We had sporadic rain. When the rain ceased, it was humid and muggy. The sun was rare to show itself. However, as the days passed my appreciation for the city grew. On the first day, we visited the old town which I enjoyed - I do prefer old, historical buildings to most modern ones. The Royal Bank Building on Rue Dollard was sumptuous. These days, you can get good coffees there and ... read more
Just getting to know the locals
Walking around Old Montreal
A crafty beer  lunch at Bar Brewsky

North America » Canada » Nova Scotia » Halifax June 27th 2017

I had always wanted to visit Canada so when, on Thursday 22 June, we arrived in Nova Scotia and we were greeted by pleasant, friendly, smiling and very helpful folk, I knew I had made the right decision. What a contrast this place is after New York! On the flight, I got to sit all by myself. That is, I was in a single seat near a window – I don’t recall that every happening to me before. For a good while before we landed in Halifax, I could see a swathe of endless green below me. A forest covered the land which seemed to go on forever. Where the green ended, there was water – lakes and sea, Mother Nature in all her glory! The city of Halifax is not exactly beautiful, in my opinion, ... read more
Canada is celebrating 150 years since federation
The new public library is a fabulous example of good modern architecture and has its own green roof.
Atmospheric sunset

North America » United States » New York » New York June 24th 2017

We were due to dock early in the morning and when Lisbon appeared on the horizon we were soon aware of its charms. The buildings that we were fast approaching us were very cherry in their pale yellow, apricot, blue, grey and vibrant pink tones. After docking Mark and I spent an afternoon wandering around and taking a long bus ride (on one of those hop on hop off buses) which went to the newer parts of the city. Nothing much to report here. There were industrial areas and urban streets with the usual square towers - a modern city like any other. I was keen to return to more interesting areas. We eventually visited two craft beer bars and just chilled. It was very hot! That night we spent our last evening on board the ... read more
Arriving in Lisbon
Lisbon
The castle Lisbon

North America » United States » New York » New York June 21st 2017

There is a protocol to how to live on a ship with about 650 other people and we are learning all about it. Our first stop was Menorca. This sleepy surprisingly large island was resplendent under the hot sunshine and the brilliant blue ocean surrounding it was worthy of a tourist flyer. We visited the town of Ciudtadella briefly on a shore tour and a few other spots on the island as well. In the afternoon, we spent some time in the capital Mahon on our own, where not a lot was happening (it was the siesta time) In Spain, between the hours of about 1.30/2 pm till about 5/5.30, businesses close down and the streets are pretty deserted. If, as a tourist, you are wandering about, this is the time to get all those holiday ... read more
Ciutadella
A fishing village on Menorca
Alcùdia

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona June 4th 2017

A funny thing happened on the way to Córdoba. That sounds like a good way to start this blog, because actually, we did have a tiny adventure. The day we left Granada we arrived at the station of Antequerra St Ana (which happens to be in the middle of nowhere) and had two hours to spare before our connecting train’s arrival. Mark suggested going into the town to have some lunch. We managed to find the only taxi available but it had no driver. When the driver arrived, he explained the trip would take about 20 mins, which was longer than we had anticipated, but after a quick calculation we decided the detour and lunch could be achieved in the time we had. With my halting, Spanish and his basic English we arranged a place to ... read more
The Mesquita, Còrdob
This pussy gato is not scared of the big, black toro
Baeza

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Córdoba May 28th 2017

This one is long folks, so apologies in advance. You can leave now quietly - I promise not to notice. On the first of our two full days in Seville we walked too much. That can happen when a city is really a maze and you are a little lost. Not that we were really lost for long, but we did do too much walking. We went to see the bull ring. It is the second oldest in Spain. It was sort of beautiful. I say this because I did not expect to be charmed by a bull ring. In the former infirmary, the mounted heads of the bulls were proud and life-like. We were told the story of Joselito, who was a professional matador (the one who kills the bull) by the time he was ... read more
Pretty square in Santa Cruz
Alcázar
Alcázar

Europe » Spain » Galicia » Santiago de Compostela May 18th 2017

Our first rainy day in Spain came on Wednesday 17 May. One of the crew members greeted us with a barely disguised scowl on his face. “British weather.” he said. I am feeling the burden of all these ridiculously mouth-watering meals they keep placing before us. Despite an expanding waistline, I cannot say no to the bread which is always a heavenly revelation, the delicious wines (vino tinto – the red - is my preference) and the array of regional dishes we sample whenever we are at the restaurants. The on-board cuisine is also exemplary. We dined on Tuesday night in a one Michelin starred restaurant, “El Corral del Indianu” in Arriondas where we had “berthed” overnight. I will never forget the bite-sized appetizer I ate first, Bombón de queso Cabrales, chocolate blanco y manzana asada ... read more
How to pour a cider without looking
Favada
The sanctuary




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