Tracey & Bernie Gaffney


Tracey & Bernie Gaffney

Tracey and I love to travel, but when at home, Golden Retrievers rule.

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Izmir June 6th 2015

We only sailed 69 nautical miles last night, at an average speed of seven knots, to reach Izmir in Turkey. This is the port offering a day trip to Ephesus for those passengers wanting to see the wonderful Roman ruins at Ephesus. Since we have already visited Ephesus not just once, but twice, we were happy to have a relaxing day just mooching around Izmir. After breakfast we disembarked and walked all the way along the waterfront into the historic centre of Izmir. It was quite a hike as the cruise ships share the cargo terminal that is a long way out of town. It is a lovely and flat 'green' walk along the waterfront with well-maintained lawn and gardens the whole way. And when I say well-maintained I mean it - we saw a guy ... read more
Konak Mosque
Izmir Clock Tower
Konak Square

Europe » Greece » North Aegean » Chios June 5th 2015

Overnight we cruised 185 nautical miles at an average speed of 15 knots and this morning found us anchored off the Greek island of Chios. Yes, anchored, rather than berthed, so that meant being taken ashore in small tender boats to one of Greece's largest islands. Chios is known for its citrus orchards, mediaeval villages and groves of mastic trees. Well, yes, the island does have lots of interesting things to see but, being one of the largest islands, they are located all around the island and ... we didn't book the shore excursion. This was one destination that probably would have benefitted from a little bit more forward planning?! We could have looked into hiring a taxi to run us around the island, or been really adventurous and attempted the local bus network, but we've ... read more
Waterfront at Chios Town
Sailing drill off Chios Town

Europe » Greece » Central Macedonia » Kavala June 4th 2015

It's Thursday today so, according to our cruise itinerary, we must be in Kavala! Once again we were oblivious to a smooth night's sailing during which we travelled 157 nautical miles at an average speed of 12 knots. By the time we got ourselves out of bed the Thomson Spirit was at her berth! Kavala is built on the site of the ancient Roman city of Neopolis. After breakfast we left the ship and walked up to the Byzantine fortress that towers over the 'old town' on the Panagia Peninsula. We strolled up the narrow, twisted streets of this old section of the city passing pastel painted houses and the Halil Bey complex on our way. Once a mosque, the Halil Bey complex has been repurposed as an art gallery. After enjoying the amazing 360 degree ... read more
Castle Tower
Castle Ramparts
Thomson Spirit from the Castle

Europe » Greece » Central Macedonia » Thessaloniki June 3rd 2015

We arrived in Thessaloniki, Greece this morning at about 7.30am. Our overnight voyage was smooth and our docking took place without us even being aware that we had made the transition from sailing to stationery! By the time we ventured out of bed the ship had already been in port for at least half an hour. We had a leisurely breakfast before heading off into Thessaloniki for a few hours. We walked along the sea front to the White Tower which houses Thessaloniki's history museum. All the interpretative boards were in Greek and the English audio guide was disappointingly scant on information. Still, it was a tower that we could ascend for a view over Thessaloniki's harbour-side area ... and we hadn't climbed a tower for a week or so!! From the White Tower we walked ... read more
Thessaloniki promenade
White Tower from the park
Arch of Galerius

Europe » Greece » North Aegean June 2nd 2015

A very lazy day at sea as we sailed 402 nautical miles - at an average speed of 13 knots - from Marmaris, Turkey to Thessaloniki, Greece. Tonight it was the Captain's dinner which is traditionally a formal evening. We dressed up to have our photo taken with the Captain before attending a cocktail party at which Captain Nikolaos Chalaris welcomed everyone aboard and introduced the Head's of Department who help him to oversea a crew of 500. The hour long cocktail party - at which we were offered a single canape and just one Buck's Fizz! - was followed by the Captain's Dinner in the Compass Rose Dining Room. I thought this might be a special set menu for the Captain's Dinner, but we had similar fare as last night with choices from two appetisers, ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Marmaris June 1st 2015

Ugh, our earliest start yet. The alarm was set for 3.45am this morning so that we would be ready to be picked up by the mini-cab at 4.30am in order to be at Manchester Airport in time to do the check-in for our flight to Turkey at 7.00am. We weren't active enough yesterday to work up a sweat so we didn't bother showering this morning, just cleaned our teeth and dressed and stuffed our toilet bags into our travelling bags ready for the next instalment of our holiday - cruising the 'Undiscovered Aegean' with Kath and Albert. Because we were going on a cruise we didn't have to join the ridiculously long check-in queue, we were fast-tracked through the 'Premium' queue which was virtually empty. Our bags all came in under 20kg, thank goodness. Kath and ... read more

This morning we made our traditional visit to the Crownpoint Shopping Park at Denton. Over the years we have made some excellent purchases over at Denton. We're a bit worried about the formal night on the cruise and wanted to buy some suitably dressy gear so as not to look too casual on the night of the Captain's Dinner!! Bernie thought that if he bought a jacket to wear with his travel pants that he might be able to get away with it. Hmmn, we looked at some jackets in T K Maxx, but their jackets were expensive ... and, frankly, quite horrible. It also became obvious that a jacket with his very jean-like pants was going to look naff. Our next stop was Marks and Spencer where we found there were plenty of reasonably priced ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » North Yorkshire May 29th 2015

The weather this morning in Whitby was cold and wet, but we really can't mind that too much as we have had some remarkably good weather while we have been on holiday. We had been trying to plan the order of our visits to the next two Cook Museums with there appearing to be some disagreement between our AA Road Atlas and 'Ken'. We finally worked out that this was because there are two towns named Marton in North Yorkshire, but only one Marton-in-Cleveland ... which is the one where the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum can be found! With this sorted out we first drove up the coast to Staithes where James Cook worked as a shop assistant before being apprenticed to John Walker in Whitby. The streets in Staithes are so narrow and so steep ... read more
Tracey and Mrs Robinson
Bernie and Bonnie
Tracey at the Captain Cook Birthplace Marker

Europe » United Kingdom » England » North Yorkshire » Whitby May 28th 2015

Continuing to indulge my obsession with Captain Cook, this morning we headed off to North Yorkshire where James was born and lived until he joined the navy in his mid-twenties. In the past we have headed north-east towards the Yorkshire Moors from Stalybridge by cutting up through Mossley, Uppermill, Dobcross and Denshaw to pick up the M62 at Junction 22. With Bernie being more than happy to take Ken's directions we actually headed west around the M60 ring road before joining the M62 at Junction 18. It's hard to say which is better. I guess the traffic on the motorway travels faster than it does going through all the small villages on the A roads?? The traffic was moving pretty well until we merged with the M1 to the south of Leeds. For some reason the ... read more
Captain Cook Memorial Museum
Dining Room
Whitby Lower Harbour and Breakwater

Ahh, a day with nothing in particular planned. What bliss after five weeks on the go! We slept in before making ourselves a latish breakfast. So nice to be able to choose what to have from the refrigerator and the cupboard without being confronted with a groaning smorgasbord or a full English breakfast. Even though I only needed some fruit and some cereal I couldn't resist a slice (OK two) of toast with lashings of English butter and some marmalade. With access to Kath's washing machine we took the opportunity to freshen up nearly all of our clothes. We have only been rinsing things out in the basins in our rooms since we last machine washed a load of clothes in Avignon so it was fab to be able to give things a proper wash and, ... read more

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