Thursday, 12 January 2017

Vienna and Budapest December 2016

In the days leading up to new year I travelled to Vienna with my Mum for four nights. There is so much to see and do and we enjoyed our time exploring the city the centre on the first night and following day:

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This is the ceiling inside the Staatoper (Opera House)

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And this is the view after 343 steps to the top of the south tower of St Stephan's Cathedral

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The second evening we went to see a concert at the Musikverein

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On the third day we went to the further away sights starting with the Summer Palace.

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This is Hundertwasserhaus

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And the Danube Canal

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On our final day we took the two hour trip to the capital of Hungry, Budapest. Starting in Heroes Square

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Then heading over to the hilly 'Buda' side and Fisherman's Bastion, giving great views over the parliament building on the opposite side

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Then down to Pest and the incredible views of the Danube and Buda on the opposite side.

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And enjoy the markets outside St Stephan's Basilica

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That night a very packed Vienna enjoyed 'Silvester' the New Year's Trail with free concerts across the city.

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And then we came home.

Next week work is flying me to Santiago, Chile to join Norwegian Sun for my next contract. Providing everything goes to plan it's going to be an incredible six months for travel and I look forward to updating my blog on my return!


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Norwegian Dawn: June-December 2016 "Just another contract"

My last 6 months onboard Norwegian Dawn were as normal as working on a cruise ship can ever be. I left without any major lingering frustrations or overwhelming emotions and confident that I was leaving behind a job well done and ready for a well deserved rest.

Looking back I joined the ship for it's final few days out of water, in Dry Dock in Freeport, Bahamas.

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I had to get 2 suitcases up that ridiculous ramp! I had to find help, jet lagged and wet through from the unfamiliar humidity.

I really did join right at the end of the dry dock suffering only briefly with no air conditioning or hot water (not at the same time!). And it was still awful.

Eventually we made our way to Boston to begin a run that I repeated 15 times... a seven day Boston to Bermuda cruise. I got to know Bermuda pretty well except in August when it was so hot I could barely walk to the end of the pier.

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In the UNESCO protected town of St George's this is St Peter's Church, the oldest surviving Anglican church outside of the UK with it's segregated graveyard from the 1600s.

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This is the view from the Gibbs Hill lighthouse, the highest in Bermuda you can clearly see the horseshoe shape of the group of islands. If you zoom in almost to the centre you'll see the one end of the shape where the cruise ships dock, Royal Naval Dockyard, and the complete opposite end is where St George's is located. Hamilton is the capital, located centrally and ferries are by far the best transportation between the 3 locations (40 minutes ferry verses 2 hours plus on a bus to the other end of the islands).

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And this is the famous Horseshoe Bay Beach with it's pink sand, where I battled with climbing rocks (with my friend Lauren's assistance) to get the perfect photograph rather than having any beach time (I don't love beaches!).

When it came to what the American's call 'Fall Season' we changed direction and went up to Canada. I'd done this previously on the Gem (here) but this time I got to go to Quebec and we were even overnight there so plenty of time to explore. Because of my excitement about going to this famous city the very first time we arrived I had already arranged a helicopter tour and found 5 other crew members prepared to go with me. This was my first and probably last time in a helicopter as I felt a bit travel sick, however probably because I got carried away trying to get good photos!

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Another view:

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And this beauty, taken from the ship as it was sailing away:

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Quebec really was the highlight of the Canada run for me, particularly because I had already been to places like Peggy's Cove before but check out my Flickr to see some of the other stops.

For my final month onboard Dawn everything changed, a 14 day repositioning cruise, then a 9 day and finally a 7 day before I signed off. The reposition was taking Dawn to go out of New Orleans but before that one new port for me, Bonaire, part of the ABC islands off the coast of Venezuela. I made sure I had time for a tour.

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Those yellow buildings were slave huts for those who worked on the salt fields also shown. Bonaire previously famous for its beach lined coast has been heavily affect by hurricanes from afar and are waiting for the sea to return the sand which will take years.

I also got to re-visit San Juan Puerto Rico and Curacao amongst other caribbean islands, two of my absolute favourites!

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And finally, New Orleans. I only got 2 stops here so I made sure I had some free time to get myself a taste of the deep south!

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I definitely need to visit Louisiana not on ship as I need to experience the food and the nightlife but I'm blessed to have seen what I have.

I flew back from New Orleans at the end of November and being home for Christmas has been very busy, I will catch up on that with another post very soon as I only have 2 weeks before I go back!