In the Azores - nearly home

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April 4th 2012
Published: April 4th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Hello all – it’s been a while – we had Ports of call all close together therefore no time to write anything and followed by 6 days crossing the Atlantic. It is now Day 5 of the crossing with just Tuesday to go before arriving in the Azores on Wednesday – and it will be great to hit land again.

As I wrote at the end of the last one we attended the cocktails where once again after entering the fray for a couple of free drinks we were invited to leave after a mere 25 minutes but we did admirably, claiming all available passing full glasses on the way out!

We arrived in Key West on the morning of the 25th with yet more fabulous weather and headed on foot up Canal Street, which is claimed to be the longest street in the world linking the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. We found a Starbucks and downloaded the blog and uploaded the Sunday Times – this seemed to take forever but got there in the end. Key West is a nice relaxed place to wander, see the sights and people watch. We passed by a jolly looking bar called Bourbon 801 which turned out to be a Gay/Drag bar and guess who was already in there – the boys – Toni, Joaquim plus their new pals Kenneth and Alastair who they call Kevin and Alison. They are all really good fun to be with so spent a very pleasant and humorous hour knocking back a few of the bars signature cocktails. Hopefully you will find two or three photos attached showing our group, my damaged knee and some of the off duty Drag artists. Then onwards to a very nice restaurant for lunch which was fab and very American – i.e. huge – and, of course, washed down with yet more of the local brew. This satisfied state encouraged Scott to invest in a new lens for his camera once lunch was over from a very unusual but seemingly knowledgeable person in a camera shop close to the restaurant. For those who may be interested (?) he says it’s a 18-200mm zoom lens. This was followed by a walk around the marina and then back to the ship for setting off towards Fort Lauderdale and arriving early on the 26th.

Having been to Fort Lauderdale last year and doing the sights i.e. alligators, crocodiles, air boats etc we decided to take the courtesy bus to the town. The bus dropped us at a shopping centre called the Galleria – and that was us for the day. The shops were fab – dresses, shirts, shoes, trousers, Macys – just loads and loads of sight seeing around all the different shops so not too many photos were taken that day – but a fab time was had!!!

The following day was Nassau and as we arrived we spotted 3 other large cruise ships so the place was fairly busy. We wandered around the main part of the town and visited Parliament Square which was full of pictures of Queen Elizabeth and lots of banners wishing her well – obviously lots of Commonwealth ties with the past!! We then visited the Straw Market but most places seemed to sell exactly the same as each other and none of it particularly interesting other than the jewelery one couldn’t afford, even if one wanted it!! The weather was, yet again, wonderful so we decided to hop on a local bus and go down to the area called Cable Beach. The bus system is just amazing – not sure really how it works as, although the buses have numbers, they tend to go where their passengers want them to and ours took a very meandering route enabling us to see where and how the locals live – it was really interesting. Also passengers just handover money to the driver as they get off the bus – no tickets, no season tickets, no nothing – I think maybe the driver owns the bus and just gets to keep what he earns and perhaps pays a little back for the licence to drive one.

Once at Cable Beach we bedded down in front of the Sheraton Hotel – it was amazingly quiet and lovely sandy beaches as far as the eye could see with the most wonderful coloured water. After a few hours of beach indulgence we took an even more amazing bus ride back. This time there was no meandering whatsoever – it was like being in a Grand Prix race as there were 2 buses going in the same direction and whoever was in front got to pick up the paying passengers, culminating in the other bus taking the roundabout on only his inside wheels!!! It was truly a white knuckle ride and whilst this was going on the people on the bus decided to have a heated debate about politics so the noise pitch was deafening. At one point a police car pulled up and flagged our driver down and I thought thank goodness for that only to realize that one of the policemen just wanted a bus ride back to town – his presence altered nothing at all – still the same crazy driving and the ranting of passengers. It was with enormous relief when we arrived back at our stop but it was certainly memorable and also saw the normal(?) side of life on a Caribbean island! Nassau also has its own Atlantis resort which looks exactly the same as the one in Dubai.

The following day was spent in Half Moon Cay – also in the Bahamas – a small island bought by the Carnival Group who also own most of the cruise companies. We weren’t really expecting too much from this but it turned out to be a great surprise. The ship anchored out at sea in the early morning and most of the crew went onto the island to set up a beach bbq, taking with them all the ingredients they needed, and then it was the turn of the passengers to get onto the shuttle boats. The island is just beautiful, very small, not really inhabited, plenty of wildlife, wonderful beach and not very much else at all. A very lazy day happily spent – it was also great to see the crew enjoying themselves as they all seemed to get time off to play in the sea.

Well, I think that’s us just about up to date. We will try and post this in Porta Delgada once we get there and then it’s one day at sea followed by Vigo in Spain, then it’s all over.

My stitches are now out of my knee and I was able to swim in the sea with them in which was great news – just a bit scabby now. For my Bridge playing pals – I was very honoured this morning when after the class for improvers (which I have been promoted to) I was invited to play in the Duplicate Bridge tournaments which take place in the afternoons. I must say I am not sure whether I have the stamina for this as having seen the folk who go to play, it all looks a lot too scary for me – lots of very serious and very miserable looking people – although my partner and I may risk it the one time – probably the day before we get off!!!

That is for now. Love to all xxxx

Additional photos below
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4th April 2012

Hit Land !
Figuratively I hope. Sounds like a wonderful holiday. :-)
4th April 2012

Looks fab
Well , looks like you are nearly at the end of a fab hol.The weather looks amazing seeing as how we have SNOW (loads) today. total disruption all day. youngest grandson 5today and we were going to the cinema to see Pirates, had to cancel, never mind will try again tomorrow. Bet its raining Vigo apparently it always does!Su, how on earth have you managed to stay SO slim on a cruise!! I need to know, love Wendy and Phil xx

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