Leigh and Eileen


Leigh and Eileen

We are traveling around the world for a year. We are looking to make new friends and discover new places. We plan to dance a tango or two in each country we visit.

Europe » Italy » Liguria » Genoa October 16th 2012

At Genoa, Italy, two pilots came aboard. On account of Lyra's size, we had to sail into the outward bound sea lane to give us sufficient space to turn into the wharf area. Once between the wharf and the breakwater we had to execute a three point turn before the tugs and the ship’s bow thruster nudged us into the wharf to be tied off. It was perfect timing all completed quarter of an hour before lunch. After lunch we headed into Genoa in the company of Captain Aurel, Chief Engineer Constantin and fellow passenger Elisabeth. First we caught the shuttle bus across the container terminal to Voltri and then we took a city bus to downtown Genoa. We arrived at the waterfront area near the Aquarium and the “Il Galeone Neptune”, a replica galleon made ... read more
Torre Grimaldina Genoa
A tight squeeze at the bow
Genoa 5

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Fos-sur-Mer October 12th 2012

We woke to the sounds of a working container ship in port. A quick peek out of our window confirmed what we had been told by the captain, that the container terminal at Fos-Sur-Mer is a long way from the local towns and a very long way from Marseille. We decided just to venture to the Seamen’s Club at the end of the huge wharf, about 1 1/2 kilometres away. The club is closed during the day but there is 24 hour wireless internet access available in the foyer of the building. I needed to access my emails so I convinced Eileen to brave the gangway and we walked the 20 minute route in the hot sun to the small hot building. With our water bottles empty, our emails checked and some blogs posted it was ... read more
Seamens Club at Fos-Sur-Mer
Stunning Sunset at Fos-Sur-Mer
'Romance' of a working port. Fos-Sur-Mer

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona October 11th 2012

We had a few hours before dinner on our first afternoon aboard so we decided to spend some time back in the city. We took the long walk through the working container terminal, dodging huge vehicles, and we arrived at the bus stop outside the gate. The local bus took us to central Barcelona where we enjoyed the atmosphere as we rambled up La Rambla. Hmmm … I returned a lot quicker than General McArthur! Our first night on board was fascinating. We watched the skilled workers moving mountains of containers with great precision and timing. Eventually we succumbed to the need for rest and we had a comfortable first night's sleep. On our second day the ship was not due to sail from Barcelona until the afternoon so we decided to do a bit of ... read more
Waiting for 'the call'
Barcelona La Sagrada Familia 6
Watching the action on the bridge

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona October 10th 2012

Signing up for our freighter travel was a mission! The UK freighter travel agent seemed to put obstacles in our way continuously from our first contact, seven weeks before boarding. We expected we would have to provide medical certificates, yellow fever certificates, various declarations, passports, and visas but we did not expect we would have to provide them repeatedly and after we had been told there was nothing else to provide. Add to this, the difficulty of arranging payment (“No you cannot pay by credit card”), their lack of knowledge of the ships and their schedules, and the (un)timeliness of requesting or providing documentation. Finally, after a month of emails, phone calls and physical effort and with only a few days to spare before boarding (and finally Leigh ‘putting his foot down’), we got the tickets. ... read more
I hate this, Leigh! Fos Sur Mer
It's no better at night! Fos Sur Mer
Regular ships look tiny. Barcelona

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona October 9th 2012

We flew out of Casablanca on Royal Air Morocco. As we boarded the plane, I hoped the maintenance crew had done a better job than the check-in staff. Check-in was a shambles with only one person serving all the flights and the passengers trying to get to the front of five lines of queue. We stayed at the Sunshine Hostel just off La Rambla in Barcelona. It was fairly ordinary and we had the worst bed of any we have slept in on the journey to date. I was pleased that we had to endure it for only one night. After searching for about 30 minutes, we found the recommended “Sinatras” restaurant where we were welcomed with a free glass of bubbly. This got us off to a good start followed by a good meal washed ... read more
Barcelona building 1
Barcelona building 2
Barcelona Catalunya 1

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca October 9th 2012

After my first trip to Morocco, in 2010 with my sister Moira, I began regularly cooking Moroccan recipes, especially Tajines. I attempted to buy a pottery tajine in New Zealand but I could find only expensive non-Moroccan dishes. Fast forward two years ... We bought two tajines from a souk (small shop/stall in the heart of the old market) and we went straight to the nearest Post Office but the postal section was closed. Our only option was to haul them to Casablanca and post them from there. When I say ‘haul’, that’s exactly what I mean. The expression on Leigh’s face was priceless when he lifted the carry bag, quickly followed by an expletive (Leigh says he said “golly!”) On Sunday we arrived at the train station in good time to catch the 11am train ... read more
Looking for the Post office in Marrakech
On the way to the train station
Marrakech train station

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca October 8th 2012

Casablanca had a cold and gritty feeling. Much of our time was spent organising parcels and onward travel. The first night we visited the medina. It is a narrow web of streets and markets that does not possess the character or charm of the Marrakech souks. Most of the products at the market are Asian imports. The vendors sit in their stalls waiting, as opposed to greeting people as they come by. The medina area has recently had the pavements ripped up in strips, probably for service reticulation. Unfortunately the city workers did not repave when they filled-in the trenches, leaving quite a mess. We ate at the café at the end of our street and had the Moroccan equivalent of the Greek Giro. When I realised no one in the café spoke English, I ordered ... read more
Grand Mosque 1
Grand Mosque 2
Grand mosque 3

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech October 6th 2012

We arrived in Marrakech after dark and were met at the airport by a driver who took us to our Riad. After a welcoming mint tea we went to our room to settle in before having our prebooked evening meal. Eileen visited Marrakech two years ago and loved it, barely venturing beyond the medina for her five day stay. For our visit she booked a Riad for us that is in the medina close to Djemaa el Fna and in a quiet lane. We enjoyed walking through the labyrinth of streets and discovering the wonder of the souks (central market area). I would joke with Eileen whenever we got lost that I was finding my way like an exocet missile. As it turned out we did not have too many difficulties and our Riad was easy ... read more
Handmade felt slippers
Carpet salesman
Rhaba Kedma

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens October 1st 2012

When you go to a place with low expectations it is easier to be ‘wowed’. We had only a couple of days in Athens and so I was determined to make the most of it. We arrived after an interesting and at times spectacular bus ride from Vonitsa, a small town near Palairos. We enjoyed the coastal and countryside views and a ride across a very substantial bridge. After we checked into our hotel we visited The Acropolis Museum and, as luck would have it, we arrived on the free entry day which meant that the price was right. As you walk into the museum you look down on excavated ruins. Inside the museum is a substantial range of sculptures and artefacts from the Acropolis. Unfortunately, most ancient sites in Athens have been knocked down and ... read more
Athens Acropolis 3
Athens Guards
Athens Library of Hadrian 1

Europe » Greece » Ionian Islands September 29th 2012

I viewed this part of our journey with a bit of trepidation; sailing as a novice skipper with Eileen as untrained and inexperienced crew. We had hired a skipper for three days to ‘show us the ropes’ but after that we would be on our own with only mooring assistance at the end of each day. Would we survive? We stayed the night at Cliff Bay Hotel, Palairos; a good spot with a lovely outlook. The owner very kindly gave us a ride down to the marina with our luggage. We had to wait most of the day to board “Lito” because the yachts needed to be cleaned. As each group boarded, the Odysseus team worked to complete running repairs and familiarise each skipper with their yacht. To provide a little more comfort, Eileen took the ... read more
Palairos Eileen at Cliff Bay Hotel
Kastos stone building
Rowan Atkinson's house

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