Oh listen to the band…….

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When all you’ve got to do is sit in the shade and read on your birthday then as far as The Golfer is concerned ‘life’s good’.
Little did he know what was planned for that evening.

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A laugh and smile at dinner with friends on that special day…

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Oh a cake – just for me?? How did you know?

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But wait there’s more….
Here come the dining room waiters to sing a song.
An Indonesian song they sing for birthdays

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And play along to…
using proper instruments and whatever is to hand that makes a noise :)

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Then the dining room erupts in clapping and cheering
Happened for me the week before – and for countless others during the cruise.

The Indonesian Happy Birthday song, Panjang umurnya, has a connection to the Dutch Happy Birthday song “Lang zal hij/zij leven” (Long shall he/she live) – same tune, obviously one version is in Bahasa and the other in Dutch

Bahasa:

Panjang umurnya
Panjang umurnya
Panjang umurnya
Serta mulia
Serta mulia
Serta mulia

Long is his/her age
Long is his/her age
Long is his/her age
And treasured
And treasured
And treasured.

To give you an idea I found this clip on youtube

Another lighthearted post for you…….

If you looked at The Golfer’s ‘sly’ shots of me you’d think I’d spent all my time sitting down this past four weeks.  It’s not really true – well, only sort of true :)

It’s true that I did sit and wait outside The Blue Mosque one day only to have to return on another…

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And I sat and had a few drinks…

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Did a bit of map reading and thinking about things…

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IMG_1094Chased up some free wifi in the only place possible one day which just happened to be sitting on the steps of the cruise port terminal.  And after sitting and doing a bit of contemplating on another day decided that even tho’ I had no idea what was in store for me in the future, on that particular day all was well in my little world :)

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IMG_1053But he also ‘captured’ the fact that I also did a bit of walking…. click on the thumbnails and you’ll see me pottering about aimlessly and looking as vague as I did in the above pictures lol

One of these days I’ll take that camera away from him
Then what would he do :) :)

As always the photos enlarge with a click

A little lighthearted post…….

We saw many families enjoying themselves in the street:-IMG_0564IMG_0565

And there were families to be seen enjoying the grassy areas in the ‘parks':-IMG_0715IMG_0716

There were lots of solitary onlookers :-

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Some with no regard for history :)

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But the ones I liked best were those who looked you right in the eye and said ‘we own this place’ :-

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 We saw so many cats with no obvious home – catch, desex and release was often spoken about but we sometimes wondered if it actually did happen.  This little one can tell you it does.

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I’m sure you all realise we saw these and many more during our recent trip overseas
All photos will enlarge with a click.

I’m not sure where it went to…..

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It was there when I left in September, was very evident the whole of my time away but it doesn’t appear to have returned.  Enthusiasm – that’s what I’m talking about.  I’ve been home nearly 48 hours now and it hasn’t made an appearance yet! :)

We finally arrived at Tullamarine – (Melbourne airport) after our long journey home a little bit later than planned due mainly to our flight out of Athens being delayed.  The plane was late arriving, then had to be cleaned, restocked, refuelled etc for its return – the airline explained it was delayed because it was unable to take off from Abu Dhabi because of military exercises  (read that to mean what you like. Remember my worries before we left about flying over certain areas in that part of the world and the decisions being taken by various nations about how to assist with air strikes?)  Military exercises they are calling it!!

So that made the short stop and change of plane in Abu Dhabi for the next leg an even shorter one involving moving ‘very very ‘ quickly from one gate to another with another two security checks along the way.  After all that, this flight also was late leaving which meant my mood could not be classed as happy!

The second flight was about 13 hours long and with little sleep, unappetising food, lots and lots of turbulence, snarky attendants, lets just say I was glad we when we finally landed.

We have a fabulous system for Australians coming in through customs and immigration now, where if you have a passport with a ‘chip’ you dont have to line up but just put your passport into a little machine to be recorded then go to a camera booth for a facial photo thats compared with the one in the passport.  One good thing to be said about progress – it works if you remember to take off your glasses (unlike The Golfer who forgot one year and had to line up and be verified face to face in the old way)

Then, luggage took an eternity being unloaded, the baggage area was so noisy and busy, there were very tired children (quite a few of them) along with parents trying hard not to lose their cool, other travellers of various nationalities pacing up and down which didn’t help at all, not sure how many passengers there were on the plane but they were all milling round the carousel hoping to see their case drop out of the opening and getting rather pushy when it did.

Finally we were on our way – or so it seemed.  Just had to hand in the immigration form – you know the one where they ask if you have anything to declare.  Nothing this time ‘cept the man seemed to think we needed to be checked for seeds grains etc and soil.  Bummer, so off we go into another line where the lovely sniffer dog walks by and ‘sniffs’ your cases and bags.  No problem there but dog actually parked himself in front of a woman two in front of us – in a flash she’s moved over and the rest of us are let go.  Somehow I think they might have had their eye on her and the rest of us were snap check samples for decoy.

Luck was with us in that the little car parking shuttle was there waiting for another person so the driver rang through and we were able to use his van and not wait for another.  Nearly 7pm by now – about 23 hours since we left Athens.  The Golfer takes the wheel and we are on our way – ‘cept he took a wrong turn, well actually missed the turn off and we end up not on the Ring Road but coming home along Bell Street.  That’s one road I haven’t been on for many years but there was no way we could be angry with each other because I was talking when the turn off appeared and he just sailed right past it – ‘Oh I think I should have gone down there’ was all he said.

Now say what you might about M”accas (golden arches and all that) there are times when a hot cup of coffee and one of their big muffins from one of their Mc”Cafes sounds very tasty after all you’ve had is airline food so we called into one and drove the hour it takes to get home very peacefully.

The other good thing is that the weather has definitely changed from the cold days we had before we left – it was bliss coming out of the terminal and being greeted with warm air.  Warm and dry yesterday as well as today so that mundane task of washing clothes has been done with a smile on my face.  Not enthusiastically but with a smile on my face just the same.

I thought about the gym this morning – gardening appeared to be a better idea so thats where I’ve spent the day.  I’m thinking it might still be in another country at the moment – heres hoping enthusiasm makes a comeback some time next week.  Think it’s going to take me till then to sort myself out.

Bye for now
Cathy

 

Here today – gone by lunch time…..

Today’s stop is just a short one – Sinop Turkey.  Coffee and wifi at a dock side cafe flanked by old cannons!  We walked up hill and down dale to the old castle ruins and through the Main Street then took refuge here.  Cloudy certainly not cold but very humid.

imageMage I’ll post pictures of the ship and activities when we get home – Tim Roberts is captain at the moment.   Very quiet ship compared to the rest of Holland America’s fleet.

On the road again……..

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Yes another day – another port – another coffee shop lol

This time in Trabzon Turkey.  So lovely to be in a small place with not too many people.  Terrace seating beside fountains especially for multiple coffee shops (with free wifi as a bonus). A must for the traveller!

imageAs I said Istanbul was fabulous – then after a sea day we went into Batumi Georgia which was different and now it’s a quiet day here in Trabzon.  The Golfer has a cold so I’ve been plying him with lemon honey and hot water much to the amazement of our steward who’d never heard of that remedy.

We’ve walked miles round the deck – only ‘problem’ is its a very small ship so it takes four circuits to equal a mile!  Round and round and round we go lol. Sailing days are into single figures now, shame as the sun is starting to shine and I’m having fun!

Cool and cloudy but who cares……

Cool cloudy day Istanbul – but who cares!  I’m having coffee in a roof top cafe and that’s the Blue Mosque in the distance.

imageWe went there yesterday but it was closed at the time for Friday prayers so we’ll be making our way across town very soon.  Discovered yesterday it’s not the flattest of cities lol. We kept getting ‘lost’ so saw loads of things the ordinary tourist may have missed – all good fun though!

To work or not to work….

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So we pass some of the crew, life jackets donned, just standing around chatting and looking as tho they are doing nothing.

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Definitely not so – they are taking their part in a practice alert.  All the action is on another floor but they are all allocated a job and a position and must stay there till the alert is over and ‘stand down’ is signalled.  Practise runs of all sorts of emergencies take place very frequently – thank goodness!

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Day in the rain…….

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My home for the next couple of weeks :)

imageMy bed will be made for me , the bathroom cleaned twice a day, and it has a great walk in robe where I can hang clothes.   Food, more than you could ever eat in day is there for the taking and as usual The Golfer is happy he doesn’t have to help out with any of it lol

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Yesterday we were in Volos and took a two hour drive to see the ‘Meteora Monasteries ‘ – a complex of monasteries near the town of Kalambaka.  I struggle with links on the iPad but they were all built on the top of huge great ‘rocks’.  Maybe you could ask Mr G for information just using Meteora Monasteries  A good day except it was drizzling with very very low cloud so even tho’ we saw the fabulous insides of the buildings this is what we saw of the outsides.

We drove through lots of small settlements on the way – to see that somewhere  up there to the left of those trees was s building on a rock!  There are roads to the top but unfortunately no photography allowed inside so I have no photos of the interiors to share.

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Today we are in Thessalonikik – cool cloudy with a chance of rain!  Good job I brought some warmer clothing along as well as the summery stuff lol. I’ll just rug up as we are planning to walk round the little town to see some of the UNESCO recognised monuments.  I’m using the port wifi this morning  – really slow and as we are ‘at sea’ tomorrow Im not sure when I’ll be back.

Sunday morning walk…….

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Out and about Sunday morning in the port of Pireaus.  I’m happy to take my obligatory shot of a bench and a fountain.

imageThe old men are also out and about – wonder what part of the world they were putting right?

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Fish for sale – fresh from the boat!

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The rowing club was open and the girls were out on the water.  No one else was about tho’

image‘Cept for the girl opening up the ice cream stall – I wonder how many little ones will get a go on the merry go round?

imageEven the local police are taking their time this morning!

imageIt’s up this hill to our ‘little’ hotel which I’ll tell you about another day.  It could be a post on its own lol

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The next stage of our trip is about to start.  All aboard this afternoon!  Won’t be many posts as access will be limited.  Will talk to you another day.

 

Time goes by quickly…..

We had our last dinner together in street – in a little village in Cyprus called Kouklia.  In a village square filled with taverns that come alive after dark.

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A square with a church – the heart of the village

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A square where you watch out for the cars passing by – even when you are eating

image A village that has some resident stray cats – caught desexed then released.  Cats who think nothing of playing in the square after dark.  Cats who do earn their keep ridding  the village of vermin.

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Cats who come to say hello – look longingly in the hope to get a tidbit from your plate.  Cats who know their place and move away at the brush of a hand.

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Yes it was a fun way to have our last dinner together – a beautiful evening under the stars at Gabriel’s Tavern

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The Golfer and I on the left and my lovely little sister Patsy with the very unwell love of her life on the right

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In hot water……

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The idea of using the sun as a form of energy is old hat these days. We’ve seen  solar panels on the roof change those rays into electricity to be used for all sorts of things – heating water just one of them.

Driving around  Paphos  the other day I saw this weird contraption on a roof top.

imagePassing by I got a better look!

The solar panel and water tank are the hot water system!  After seeing that one I saw them everywhere.

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I suppose it works – not sure if I’d want them on my house tho’. Not right – not wrong – just different lol

History for all to See and Enjoy

We tried to pack as much into our time in Athens as we could so I used my camera rather than cart the iPad around – ‘cept for one afternoon when we walked to some ruins near our hotel.

So courtesy of my sister’s internet connection I’d like you to

Enjoy some views of the Temple of Olympian Zeus ruins

with the Acropolis in the background

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Olympian_Zeus,_Athens

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New life – new home

We’re leaving home, my little sister said.  Yes, in a few years time we’re off.

Of course what she meant was that when they retired they were going to put their plan into action.  So for the past five years this is where she has been calling home.

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Not sure in the beginning if she and her man would enjoy it – now they love it.

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Buying the corner house was a good move – they are not directly overlooked and  have land to extend the view on one side.

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Room for extra garden furniture and a little garden. ‘ Always wanted a lemon tree’ she said lol

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She also has the benefit of a large utility area and car spot right near her back entrance.

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 Yes my little sister Patsy,  is really enjoying her retirement in the warmer climate of Cyprus rather than the rather temperamental one of the UK!

 

Up in the air again…..

 That’s where we’ll be very late this coming Monday evening :)

This will be a different journey to any other we’ve taken from Melbourne before in that we’re flying out at what to me is the middle of the night!

It’s a bit late now but I’m sort of having second thoughts about this because even after the thousands of miles we’ve flown over the years,  apart from a couple of near midnight flights from Honolulu I’ve never actually begun a ten hour flight that late in the day.

I will have been up since about 7am sorting out all those last minute bits and pieces – cant come home to a dirty house so there will have been a bit of cleaning tidying and clothes washing – making sure my case closes properly – not worrying about Kiera who will have been at her holiday home since the day before – left for the airport about 7pm (drop off car pick up shuttle to departures – check in starts about 9.30pm maybe earlier.  There’s clearing customs and then going through security to airside and then waiting for boarding.  Lets just say there might be some tears or at least sharp words spoken before bedtime! :)

Catherine is usually well into the land of nod at 11.30pm
Which is take off time lol

Abu Dhabi is the first stop, then on to Athens .  That’s another thing I’m up in the air over.  Political events have worsened in that part of the world, Australia will be sending troops to Iraq very very soon.  To get to Athens our carrier flies over Iraq.    There is absolutely no chance of the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Ukraine happening again BUT…………

Talking of political events –  our cruise ports were changed.  The days I thought we were going to spend in Odessa and Sevastapol are no more – at one time the cruise line had us up in the air wondering if the cruise was actually going to be cancelled but now Constanta is as far north as we go and then along the southern shores back to Istanbul.  Shame, as I really was looking forward to them, doubt if I’ll get to that part of Europe again :(

Up in the air I went in the city last Thursday – slippery tiles on the floor of the ladies loo in the Elizabeth Street underpass section of Flinders Street Station means I am now sporting an ankle of many colours.  Luckily the swelling has gone down and there is no pain when I walk – and there I was writing not long ago about being extra careful lol

The ever changing health issues with my brother in law has lots of aspects of our visit with my sister in Cyprus up in the air.  Daily radiation treatment is leaving him fatigued so I can’t forsee any of the ‘remember when’ day trips we had planned between us all months ago.  I’m sure we’ll enjoy it no matter what.

So putting all thoughts of all those ‘what ifs’ out of my mind I’m going to spend the rest of this week practising long forgotten greek words from the time when we looked like this.
Taken in July 1960 – a couple of weeks after I met The Golfer.

Us two 1960
We are going back to the scene of the crime as they say – only we wont be able to recreate this photo because the site of The Roundel Club where it was taken is near the Ledra Palace in Nicosia which is now in the UN buffer zone and out of bounds to all but peacekeeping personnel.

Kalimera – Good morning and Yassou – Hello/Goodbye
I think that  will do for today :)

Which do ‘you’ use – update

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Who what when why

Thank you all for your comments and emails on the ‘who do you use’ post - I really appreciate the fact that so many of you joined in the discussion.

Now blogging isn’t the be all and end all of my life, it’s something I enjoy and like lots of things in life if there is an easier way (to enjoy other’s writings) I’ll certainly be in it :)

The basic blog roll on the sidebar seems to be popular – there is a blogger/blogspot  style that updates when a new post appears.  It was the constant checking blogs for updates that used to annoy me.  WordPress has a reader but doesn’t appear to have the (obvious) updating blogroll facility right on the blog page.

The various ‘ feed readers’ seem to appeal to different bloggers. Some offer just blog feeds, others news feeds as well.   Sometimes I need a fresh look at things so after reading all the feedback on that last post I sat down again and looked at the pros and cons of the feed readers I subscribed to.

Oh, you should have heard the chuckles coming from my side of the room when I realised the one I thought didn’t do it for me would actually function better if I used it correctly – so – I decided to persevere with The Old Reader

Thanks again – Bye for now
Cathy

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