Bangkok, Thailand

Our first trip to Bangkok and we won’t be too upset if it’s our last! However putting aside the filth and the original run-down nature of parts of the city we enjoyed discovering the local culture and the facilities at out hotel were excellent. We stayed at The Peninsula  on the river and were fortunate to have a very large suite, great view and we thoroughly enjoyed the pool area where we spent a few hours in the water and at the bar. I visited the Siam shopping mall via the extremely crowded skyrail while Tony had a massage. We both went to the MKR, a large mall of local products where Tony ‘negotiated’ on a replacement suitcase. The night market was a surprise in that it was very modern and clean however the trip there in a very overcrowded local ferry did not help improve Tony’s stress levels. He was sure we were going to roll over. We went to 2 superb restaurants, one being the Blue Elephant and the other being Sirocco. The Sirocco restaurant is on the 64th floor of the Lebua Hotel , it is outdoor with a magnificent setting and view. A warm balmy night and great jazz band made for a unique experience. The highlight of the Bangkok visit was a cruise on a long boat along the river and canals. Seeing how many locals live in dilapidated shacks on stilts over the putrid canals is an eye opener.

On to Singapore. As always, we stayed at The Fullerton Hotel, enjoying the facilities of the club area, the pool and the outdoor dining. It was a very enjoyable boozy final evening to cap off a marvelous 5 week holiday.

We fly to Melbourne tonight where we hope our luggage will be waiting for us. It’s time for a change of underwear!

 

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Rome, Italy

3 nights and days in Rome was certainly not enough. Although we have been to Rome in the past we stayed in a different location and discovered a superb area of cobbled streets, outdoor restaurants and gorgeous shops close to Piazza Del Popolo. We took a walking tour of ‘The Hidden Rome’ with our guide, Dino, discovered the gorgeous local area of Trastevere, rode segways around the parklands of Villa Borghese, drank far too many cocktails at the roof top bar of our hotel and even caught up with Alan and Geraldine for dinner.  A lovely stay in a magnificent city.

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Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the most beautiful city with gorgeous coffee houses, the city parks, the magnificent buildings , an abundance of sophisticated side walk restaurants and the lovely ambiance. We were fortunate to have perfect weather and enjoyed all aspects of our stay. The Sacher Hotel took pity on us being luggage free and we were upgraded to a beautiful suite. I had the best excuse to go shopping and walked the shops but without a lot of success as Vienna shops are stocked in preparation for winter. Tony actually did more shopping and dented the credit card to a larger extent. On Friday Tony enjoyed a dream day, watching the Hawthorn match on his app and Formula 1 practice on TV. The day was followed by dinner at another lovely restaurant and many beers and whiskys in the bar of the Sacher Hotel. Yesterday was a special day attending the 90th birthday for Marinas grandmother at a lovely venue in the Vienna Woods. We were made to feel very welcome by everyone and it was lovely to see Marina recently engaged to a charming man.

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Prague, Czech Republic

4 days in Prague proved to be quite stressful in some ways, especially for Tony. We flew into Prague from Athens via Rome to find our luggage was missing. Alitalia has lived up to its reputation and we certainly wont be flying with them again. Tony was in panic largely due to his missing medication however that was resolved a couple of days later following a trip to the doctor for more scripts. The weather was shocking with a top of 15 each day and the rain never let up. Despite all of this, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of Prague. Our last trip to Prague was in a combi van 40 years ago when the country was under Communist rule, it was dark, dirty and depressing. Such a change now as Prague is spotlessly clean, with beautiful architecture, friendly and sophisticated people who all speak fluent English. We did the usual guided Segway Tour of the city. I only fell off once but found myself splattered across the road with the segway under a parked car. It pays to watch where you are going when driving these machines. We also took a private tour to Terezin, a ghetto from WW11. This was very confronting and we certainly weren’t going to complain about  missing luggage after seeing how people were forced to live and die not all  that long ago.  A guided WW11 walking tour of Prague was also extremely interesting.  We stayed at the Alchmyist Grand Hotel and Spa, very close to the Prague Castle and I can thoroughly recommend it. The historic architecture and elaborate furnishings were stunning.  We caught a train from Prague to Vienna but Tony was shattered after arriving at the station to be told all first class tickets were sold. It was a new experience to travel second class on an international train for 5 hours!

 

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Rethymnon, Crete, Greece

The final day of our 14 day cruise and it ended the way it began, with good weather and good times. We contracted a taxi driver to take us on a guided tour for a short time. We visited a traditional Greek village in the mountains. I enjoyed wandering the narrow cobble streets watching the locals go about their daily activities while Tony kept the driver company in the car. We also visited a beautiful small monastery run by nuns only. The gardens were superb. When back in town I walked to the Fortress while Tony had a massage. Tony is totally over fortresses. We met for lunch at a lovely restaurant.  (Trip Advisor is proving very useful in our travels for locating some great hotels, restaurants, tour, etc.) Once again, Hawthorn was playing so locating a good restaurant with WIFI was critical to the success of the day. Fortunately  Hawthorn defeated Collingwood comfortably so Tony had a good day.

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Gythion, Greece

35 degrees and sunny left us with the logical decision of spending time on the beach. We were excited to be told it was a sandy beach as we haven’t seen a sandy beach since being in Europe. Needless to say, the European version of sand is very different to our version. It was certainly not the typical large rocks we have experienced but was shale, not a dollop of sand in sight. Nothing compares to the Aussie beaches. I felt very out of place in my one piece bathers as everyone wears bikinis regardless of age and size. I later took Tony on another climb to reach the back of the town and take in the lovely view. Tony felt the climb gave justification to avoiding his daily gym visit.
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Sami, Cephalonia, Greece

This was another fairly untouched Greek island town. We wandered the back streets of the town which were colorful, yet mostly unloved. Lunch at a beach side cafe was followed by a return to the ship and time by the pool and spa. Naturally, time at the pool goes hand in hand with more cocktails!
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Corfu, Greece

Corfu would be one of the busiest of the islands we have visited. We took an excursion to visit the Achilles Palace, early in the day before the crowds arrived. Even Tony enjoyed this excursion. THe palace was stunning and the European gardens magnificent. Back in Corfu Town I had a ‘Fish Spa’ where tiny fish eat the dead skin away. Very tickly. Lunch was delightful, at a local family run restaurant in a back street. There was another fortress in Corfu so we had our exercise for the day in climbing it to the lighthouse point. The evening was superb as temperatures are consistently in the high 20’s low 30’s and dining outdoors is ideal. It was the ‘Rock The Boat’ evening where music, food and drinks flowed.
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Kotor, Montenegro

This is one of the most beautiful destinations. The Old Town is one of many on the UNESCO list and tourists arrive in hoards to experience the historic town. We were advised that the cruise into and out of Kotor is one of the loveliest to be seen. It is reputed as the most southern of the European fjords. Surprisingly I was up at 6.00am for the views from deck 9 which was quite an achievement considering the late night had prior! Needless to say, Tony sensibly slept on. We visited the maritime museum which Tony always enjoys. I took myself on the walk to the top of the fortress almost vertically above the town, 4.5 kms and 1350 steps. It was frightening as in many parts there were no walls at all. This is possibly the most challenging walk I have done and I am unlikely to repeat it! Tony enjoyed his massage while I climbed.
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Sibenik, Croatia

Another beautiful yet fairly unspoilt Croatian destination. I have been dragging Tony around the many steep, narrow pathways in the historical centers in all of our ports of call. We found a magnificent new outdoor theatre at the very top of the old fortress and also roamed the gardens of the old monastery complete with every herb imaginable. Our lunch was at a recommended restaurant in the courtyard of the four wells. One of our best local dining experiences to date.DSC04877 (800x600)

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