Sarah & i love coffee and we love trying the different tastes especially whilst on holiday! 😎
⇧ Me drinking a nice cup of coffee in Florence, Italy ⇧
⇧ Sarah drinking a iced coffee in Sharkey’s, Barbados ⇧
Sarah & i love coffee and we love trying the different tastes especially whilst on holiday! 😎
⇧ Me drinking a nice cup of coffee in Florence, Italy ⇧
⇧ Sarah drinking a iced coffee in Sharkey’s, Barbados ⇧
Hi all, I’ve taken ages trying to figure out how i add my new photos to an existing gallery…..But now i’m ready and have added a few photos to my Caribbean gallery! I’m now in the process of adding lots of photos and finally updating all my galleries with new images.
I know i’ve only just started updating……But i’m excited to show you all my new photos! 😀 Please click any photo below to go through to the Caribbean gallery.
Also…..Please let me know what you think?! 😎
⇧ The view from our Hotel overlooking Dover Beach, Barbados. ⇧
⇧ Sunset over Dover Beach, Barbados ⇧
⇧ View from the restaurant at North Point, Barbados ⇧
View all Galleries HERE
As a “Blind Photographer” my sight is really blurry but i can just about frame a shot by the lines. I don’t often know what the lines of the objects are, lol. But it’s how i can get some good images now and then! 😀
As i could get my hands on this guitar….I knew exactly what the lines were! lol.
I thought this weeks Photo Challenge was an ideal opportunity to post a photo of my Taylor K22ce acoustic guitar, which is made from the exotic tropical wood Hawaiian Koa. I just love the lines of this beautiful wood and never get bored looking at them.
For this weeks photo challenge “Experimental”, i thought i’d go back a year and a half when Sarah & i were being “Experimental” with the iPhone Panorama mode. I thought i’d try and look calm in the start of the shot….Then run around the back of Sarah to wave in the end of the shot! I managed it eventually, lol. 😎
Wow, i still can’t believe it’s been 10 years since our amazing wedding day!
An unexpected blessing…..
This trip has been such an unexpected blessing, as Sarah had another “Charcot Foot” and was in an air-cast for the last 5 months…..She had it removed a few weeks ago and she’s been strengthening her leg for this cruise. So we are amazed to be spending our 10th wedding anniversary visiting some fantastic places! 😎
We slept really well and caught up on the sleepless night we had yesterday. We thought we’d go to the Compass Rose (waiter service restaurant) for our 10th anniversary breakfast. It didn’t disappoint and we had porridge, fruit, nuts, seeds bacon and bananas (not all together,lol).
After looking around the ship and trying to familiarise ourselves with our fave places, we nipped back to our cabin to get our things ready for a couple of hours sunbathing and swimming. Sarah loves swimming (as you can tell in the photos below) and had an excellent time enjoying her anniversary in the pool! 😎
⬆ Sarah doing handstands in the pool ⬆
The Towel Swan Heart…..
After having lots of fun, we headed back to our cabin where we were surprised to find two towel swans placed in the shape of a heart, with flowers and our cards etc in a beautiful display. We rushed out to find the cabin stewards and thanked them profusely… whilst Sarah took lots of photos!
⬆ Towel folded Swan heart ⬆
Earlier this morning Sarah had found an invitation pushed under the cabin door. “This looks a bit fancy, it’s only an invitation to the formal evening. We have to sign it to say that we’re going, then hand it back to reception…..Seems like a lot of paper work to me.” “Oh right, iI suppose they need to know how many people will be in the restaurant for dinner this evening, it must be the policy for formal night on this ship. It was different on the Dream ship” i replied.
I hadn’t brought my tuxedo this time as it filled half my suitcase the time before and i didn’t want to waste that amount of space again. I did bring my trousers though as we like the waiter service meal in the evenings. “ i hope they don’t chuck me over-board for not dressing smart enough.” Sarah told me… “You’ll be fine, lol, it’s only for one evening and your new black shirt looks smart enough anyway”.
⬆ Me & my lovely Wife Sarah ⬆
⬆ My lovely Wife Sarah ⬆
After listening to the Captain introduce himself and some of his crew, we headed to the Compass Rose restaurant where we planned to have have a lovely four course meal.
We said we didn’t mind sharing, and the waiter sat us right next to a window (yay) on a four seater table. We introduced ourselves to Brian & Anne (more about our new friends in later posts) and they kindly read out the menu for us. After ordering from each section of the menu, we got to chatting.
A huge shadow, from an even bigger man darkened our whole table….. “Steve…..FOLLOW ME” said the man with a really deep transylvanian voice. I looked at Sarah, and then back at the man “FOLLOW ME” he said again. Sarah said “Can i come with him” “yES” he said as we started to stand. We said to Brian and Anne “I think we’ll see you later, we’ve only just ordered our food, and if we’re not back…..you’ll get double, lol”.
As sarah guided me behind this Behemoth of a man up a few flights of stairs, Sarah said “Where is he taking us?” “I think we’re going to the plank, or at least being court marshalled” was my apprehensive reply.
We finally entered a small bar area where Claudia (the social director) greeted us with a glass of Champagne and a smelly fish bite (i don’t like fish, if you’d not guessed, lol) and showed us to our seats. Claudia said “I thought you weren’t going to make it?” “To make what?” Sarah replied still looking bemused. “You got the invitation?”.Sarah said “Yes…..the one to the formal evening”. Claudia then said “No, that was an invitation to the Captains table and an evening with the Captain.” “Oooopps” i misread it as a general evening invitation (easily done as the iPhone magnifier isn’t as good as the large CCTV we have at home)”. Sarah whispered to me “The Captain and his other guests were waiting for us up here, as we were seeming to ignore them and eating our meal already with someone else, lol.
The Captains Table…..
Since Sarah & i already knew the menu (thanks Brian & Anne) this was our easiest food ordering to date. We had a lovely meal and a fantastic time chatting with everyone around the table. It was really interesting hearing everyones stories and experiences…..Sarah already has her next cruise planned in her mind after asking the Captain what place he liked best after 30 yrs of cruising the seas, lol.
Now it was time to leave again for the Show Lounge to watch possibly the worst show we have ever seen (heard for me, lol.). 😎
⬆ Photo of Sarah & i(on right) at the Captains Table ⬆
Wow, What a memorable 10th Wedding Anniversary….
Retiring back to our cabin (making sure we didn’t upset the swans), we talked about our memorable day and how we’d never forget our 10th Wedding Anniversary! Now it was time to sleep, as it’s an early start once we arrive in Corinth. It was also the start of 5 full days of excursions we’d booked and we were really excited, even though we knew the temperatures were going to reach up to 41℃ (ouch).
Sarah & i would like to thank you once again for celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary and for all of the lovely messages you sent us on “Praise, And Thanks Be To God……It’s Our 10th Amazing Anniversary!!!”
Please visit our other tours HERE
Wow, Wow, Wow…..Sarah & i have had a fantastic time away celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary in Croatia, Greece & Montenegro!
AND….. We’ve made it back in one piece to share all of our unforgettable memories and adventures with you all. 😎
Taxi,Train & The Thomson Plane…..
As the taxi was booked for 3:30am, we thought it would be a good idea not to go to sleep as it makes us more tired if we only sleep for an hour or 2 (we were wrong, lol).
There was a little scare as Sarah felt funny, so she did a blood test in the taxi and found it was going low. “Oh no, not already” i thought as Sarah was already sorting it out with a few dextrose. Sarah felt better as we arrived at the airport and with a small struggle to find the suitcase check-in desk, we were finally sorted and heading for the airport assistance.
The assistance took us through security which all went well, until Sarah showed them her insulin pump…..Then (as they think it’s a detonator) they told Sarah to take of her shoes etc. and carefully and slowly scanned her whole body for explosives.
Following the guide to our seats in the departure lounge, Sarah & i were looking forwards to a nice bacon roll and coffee. Her work colleague had told her to try this as we’d not had anything to eat since yesterday afternoon… we were ready for it! BUT the airport assistance were too efficient this time and before we had time to figure out the direction of the bacon, the guide took us on the “Fun Train” and straight onto the plane! 😎
As i sat down after being expertly guided to my seat, i said “Wait a minute”….. I was feeling underneath the window at the up & down dimmer switches whilst stretching my legs out testing the large leg room. “This isn’t an Airbus A320! It’s the 787 Dreamliner. Wow i didn’t think it was going to be this monster for a two and a half hour flight” Sarah said “Wow, you’re still getting excited about flying…. you must really love it” I said “Oh Yeah!”.
Time for a snack…..
Since we couldn’t have our fantastic bacon roll at the airport, we decided to share some chunky potatoe wedges on the plane. Sarah simply couldn’t eat them (and i even struggled)…. they tasted (and were as dry as) a sun dried bath sponge! 😦
Welcome to Dubrovnik airport…..
The airport assistance at Dubrovnik were fantastic and before we knew it, we were on a coach arriving at the dock ready to board the Thomson Spirit. We’d only been on the Thomson Dream which is bigger, so we were excited to explore this different ship.
We were fast-tracked again through all of the check-in procedures and were soon dropping our bags off in our cabin ready to go and explore! 😎
⬆ View of Dubrovnik bay from the Thomson Spirit ⬆
We managed to weave our way through the decks and up to the top which was lovely and quiet to take a look around, take some photos and soak in the view and the hot sun.
We were surrounded by a sea of blue, sky of blue, deck of blue and Sarah’s new “Hokusai” dress …of blue. 😎
⬆ Sarah wearing her new “Hokusai” dress! ⬆
⬆ My lovely Wife Sarah ⬆
⬆ Yay, we’ve made it, now let’s chill and enjoy the view ⬆
⬆ Our beautiful view of Dubrovnik from the top deck ⬆
Swapping sides for a moment, Sarah was taking photos of a unusual bridge she liked, i was also pretending i could see it, lol.
⬆ Me looking at the bridge and surrounding town ⬆
One more pic of my lovely Wife Sarah!
⬆ My lovely Wife Sarah and her beautiful dress ⬆
Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…..
If you’ve travelled with us on our other tours click here to view, you will remember Sarah’s sublime Panoramas……Well she’s back with one (of many) to share with you. 😎
⬆ Sarah’s breathtaking Panorama of Dubrovnik bay ⬆
Coffee, Life Jackets & Dinner…..
After enjoying ourselves on the top deck, we looked around for a place to have a nice coffee. We knew this ship had no “Coffee Port” like on the Thomson Dream, so when we found “Raffles Bar” and ordered a Cappuccino (for me) and an Americano, we were even more excited as the coffee was well-nice and strong!
The assistance was fantastic again and the life jacket drill went really smoothly, i think we’re finally getting the hang of this. lol
We found the “Compass Rose” waiter service restaurant which was very similar to the “Orion” restaurant on the Thomson Dream, we said we didn’t mind sharing a table with others as we always need an unsuspecting guest to read the menu for us, which is always a laugh for all involved and it’s a great conversation starter! 😎
After a fantastic four course meal, it was time to take one last tour around the ship to see if we’d remembered where anything was before retiring to our cabin after a very long day!
I would just like to say a huge thank you(to you the reader and fellow traveller) for staying with us to the end of this day!
Oh did i mention it’s our 10th Wedding Anniversary” tomorrow!!
Please visit our other tours HERE
As ii’m registered blind, this weeks photo challenge “Focus” is very interesting as i don’t have any focus and need to use the camera’s autofocus!
I chose this photo as the lens was going crazy trying to focus on each of the birds, so in the end i pressed the shutter and got this shot! 🤣
While on holiday at the lighthouse Me, Sarah & Brother Ben took a day trip to Castle Rising castle. I gave Ben my big Nikon as Sarah & I were doing an audio described tour provided by the ticket office for £1. It was a fun tour as the audio description was dramatised!
I still managed to shoot the shots above with my little compact camera! 🤣
A few years ago for Sarah’s birthday present I booked a balloon flight as she has always wanted to go up in one. There were a lot of cancellations last minute due to poor weather but finally one weekend we got to go. The weather as you can see was not very clear, but it was amazing…..And great for “Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge”.
“Friend” is this weeks photo challenge…..So i thought i’d share a photo of my best friend and lovely Wife Sarah…..And our(The Late) best friend Bruce THE Boxer. I love this photo of the look of complete adoration in Bruce’s eyes for Sarah! 😊
Today iReminisce about this photo i took shortly before Sarah & i travelled on the London Eye. It rained on both times we’d been on it, so i thought i’d add a dramatic black and white effect to the once colour photo! 🙂
Shortly after i’d made it black and white…..It was chosen as one of the photos to be exhibited in Florence, Italy which totally stunned me! And which sparked the amazing “Tuscany Tour”. If you’ve not joined Sarah & i on this amazing trip, we’d love to meet you there! 🙂
Yay, i’ve decided to try out “Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge” which is a weekly challenge. I have a new zeal for Photography again since my iMac has been repaired and supercharged lol. So sorry if you see a lot more photos here! 🤣
This weeks challenge is the Letters Y or Z. I chose Y(Yellow) and found this Colorsplash image i created a few years ago and thought it would shine out! 🙂
Wow!!! I can’t believe it’s been 9 years since Me, Sarah & Bruce THE Boxer stayed in this log cabin for a week in Acle, Norfolk.
I remember Sarah had bought me the Baby Taylor acoustic guitar a few months earlier for Christmas. I was so happy i couldn’t put it down…..So it came with us! 🙂
It was a lovely relaxing holiday. I played guitar on the porch while Sarah sat in the hot tub for most of the week. Bruce enjoyed long walks and pretending to be a guard dog! 🤣
This is one of my favourite photos of my lovely Wife Sarah, and it shows what happens when she smiles! 😎
My lovely Wife Sarah said that i should post a photo daily. I’ve taken so many over the years we often forget the memories these pictures evoke. So i’d like to share them with you too.
Please enjoy as “iReminisce”.
I will start with(probably not the most exciting photo in my archive) but to be stood in Pisa, and in front of the fantastic leaning bell tower was incredible! 🙂
Please read my full blog post for this day HERE
Wow, another “Photo Challenge” where i could post thousands of photos! 🤣
Here’s a few “Evanescent” moments of my(& Sarah’s) travels.
On a severely rocky train journey through “St Kitts”, i managed somehow to take this photo of one of my fave church buildings! ~ Read about our fantastic journey here!
Now a little about this bird…..🤣 Taken from my older post “In Flight”
“This photo brings back memories of patience for me. This is the longest i’d taken getting one shot. I spent 3 days going down to the local lake and sat patiently on a bench taking about 150 shots per day until finally got this one. I learnt that when you can’t see what’s in your viewfinder, don’t take photos of birds! lol” 😀
Sarah had just a few seconds to take this photo whilst doing a 2 day course at the “Institute of Legacy Management” building. She wanted to show me a cityscape of London as she wouldn’t get this chance again! 🙂
And of course i can’t do many photo challenges without a photo(or photos) of “Bruce THE Boxer”. Our lovely Boxer dog which we still miss loads! But i felt this period in time(14th July 2000 – 3rd Dec 2011) felt like it only lasted a short time and would suit this challenge. 🙂
This weeks “Photo Challenge” left me with so many options i didn’t know where to start!
The photo above is one of Sarah & i’s favourites and is on our side-board. I thought…..”Heritage” – It has the church building which was built way before our time. “Heritage” – The guitar i’m playing(and not worthy of holding, never mind owning) was built by a fantastic Luthier. “Heritage” – And more important than all of this is the Holy Covenant of Marriage that glues Sarah and i together in the power of His promises!
I could go on & on…..But i’ll stop here and go and check out your posts on the challenge! 🙂
After reading this post on Nancy Loderick’s blog, about Nancy buying Mr Ken(her Husband) a Fitbit for his birthday…i got inspired!! I thought maybe i could do this as i’m good at walking, just not so good at seeing where i’m going, lol.
See if the app is accessible with Voiceover(screenreader) on my iPhone? Yes it is, fantastic…now for a little more research. As i take beta-blocker medication having a heart rate monitor was top on my list, and i found the Fitbit Charge HR(on sale too). When i showed Sarah she said”Excellent, let’s buy each other one as an early wedding anniversary present”.
Second…finding a walking route!
As i’m blind, i have to stick to routes like a racing car on a track, and If i veer of course i may crash! Thankfully Sarah & i live on the edges of a local nature reserve which has lots of walking paths. Once i’m shown a route i can normally remember, but i hadn’t walked along any of the paths for a long time…but here goes!! 🙂
When i said Sarah & i lived on the edge of the local nature reserve…it starts straight opposite our drive! This helps a lot.
I didn’t want to try the path directly through the woods onto the stew ponds, as i didn’t want to get lost on my first try. lol. So i decided to walk around the outside on the path i could still remember! 😉
⇧ I had no idea an Audi was in my photo when taking this!! 🙂 ⇧
I had to keep stopping as i couldn’t make out the path from the road, so i thought while i stopped i could take a photo! 🙂 It was further than i remembered(i really need to walk more) but finally i felt the bumps on the path indicating a road crossing. Yes i’ve made it this far, now to find the ponds!
After nearly walking into the first stew pond…i planted myself on the path! 🙂 It’s now starting to look familiar so i can enjoy the ponds.
I have no idea where this path leads but didn’t want to risk killing myself on my first outing! Maybe i’ll check it out next time…what do you think?
Afterr spending a little quiet time at the ponds, i decided to try heading back through the woods.
I found this path and i could hear the cars from the road on my left. I knew as long as i could hear the cars…i was going in the right direction. After i veered of track a few times and navigating some trees…i finally made it out! 🙂
I now could walk in the other direction from home and go to church for a coffee, which is another 2 miles towards my daily goal! 🙂
I walked over 8 miles in total and feel great, i like how i can track my now daily walk while monitoring my health. I think a lot more about eating already…as i know i have to walk for ages to burn it off! 🙂 I’ve been encouraged by reading posts by Ellie at New Creation Ministries, her posts convict me every time! 🙂
I often spend hours indoors daily studying the Bible and listening to sermons and teachings, but now i can be a lot more healthy whilst listening to the Bible on route! 🙂
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Yay!!!! Were off to the Caribbean!! 🙂
I can’t believe we’re getting another chance to see some of God’s glorious creation! We were so blessed with our last cruise “Transatlantic Sunset Tour” even though we had a roller coaster of a ride! 🙂
We were up around 4:30am, packing the final items into our cases. I found out the hard way last year on how impossible it was to find my black suitcase on the carousel among hundreds of other black suitcases!! 😦 So this year i’ve treated myself to a dark purple one. Let’s see if this one is better to find?!
Kate, from the local taxis that Sarah uses for work, arrived and we set off for Gatwick. “Now we can relax” i said “As it’s too late to go back if we’ve forgotten anything”.
Kate was fantastic, and drove us right to the entrance and pointed us in the right direction “Just keep walking that way and you’ll be fine”. We checked in our cases and were given the fantastic airport assistance who guided us through customs and sat us in departures ready to catch the fun train.
The people at the desk said there was a 1 hour delay…”Oh yes!!” Sarah & i said at the same time “We have time to go shopping and have a coffee”. I think this was a new response for them as they looked a little bemused! 🙂
After finding the same italian coffee place from last year(it’s becoming another local), we found our way around a few shops and headed back to the pick up point. It wasn’t long before the handheld thing they give me started flashing and vibrating which meant it is our turn to get on-board the train!
After our fun ride on the train, we boarded the plane and i even got a window seat. The 787 Dreamliner didn’t disapoint as it gave it the beans down the runway!
During the 10½ hour flight, Sarah watched about 5 films(well 10 minutes of each, as she said they were horiffic, and saw firsthand why we didn’t have a TV lisence anymore). We enjoyed the in-flight meals though, and it made up for the poor entertainment.
As i can’t even see who is sat next to me(although i know it’s Sarah), i spent the time listening to the people around me. It helps me understand who is around, where they are, and i get to learn a little about the person by their words and character…as “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart”. 🙂
Yay,we’re back in Jamaica! 🙂
The airport assistance escorted us through customs and to the queue for the coach transfer to the ship. As soon as they realised we couldn’t see, they took us and skipped straight passed the queue and onto the coach where we were shown to the 2 front seats! One advantage of being blind, lol.
Arriving at the ship, the coach driver said there were further delays and the queue for the ship check-in was long and it’s seriously hot out there! But when we left the coach, we met the assistance and again, they led us past the large queue straight to the check-in and onto the ship! I always feel a little guilty when this happens, but it’s a fantastic service for us. 🙂
Boarding the Thomson Dream again this year felt like we were coming home. It took us about a week to figure out where everything is, but this time we remembered and it made life a lot easier! 🙂
The Emergency Drill…
We were now almost experts at the life jackets(well Sarah was) and we needed no help this time putting them on. It was really hot and humid out on deck for the drill, but i handled the heat much better this time. 🙂
Finding our way back to the cabin with our life jackets on, we wanted to try and take a selfie to keep as a memory, as we probably wouldn’t have chance if we ever needed to use them again. It’s really hard to take a selfie when you can’t see the phone screen, but we took loads and managed to find one.
The Coffee Port…
After a full on day, Sarah & i were in need of a proper coffee…and guess what greeting we heard as we walked in??!! Yes it was Cecily! “No way” we both said “It’s so good to see you again”. Cecily then sat us down and said “2 espresso macchiatos?”….No way, she remembered! 🙂 This was really starting to feel like home.
We finished our coffees and headed back to our cabin. Our cases had arrived and we started unpacking as the ship set sail for Trujillo, Honduras…Wow what a day! 🙂
We spent day 2 exploring and seeing if anything had changed since we’d been gone. There were a few changes but nothing that tripped us up. Now it was time to check out the shore excursions for the next 4 islands!
Last year we didnt realise how quickly they sold out, so we got in early and booked an excursion for each of the 4 days, we were excited to have booked a few varied tours, but i was a little worried as we’d booked Kayaking on one tour and River tubing on another. Can blind people really do this without crippling themselves?? 🙂
Either way…back to the Coffee Port to celebrate with a latte! 🙂
Thanks for joining us, it’s great to see you on-board! 🙂
this evening Thomson Dream sails to Trujillo, Honduras. We’ll arrive on Thursday morning after the leisurely day at sea having travelled 515 nautical miles at an average speed of 15 knots.
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
Sarah & i were feeling really run down, tired and a little concerned about what the rest of our dream holiday had in store for us. But now we had a few days at sea, so we decided to get out there and enjoy the time we had left. 🙂
⇧ Sarah relaxing and reflecting ⇧
During our time at sea, Sarah & i loved standing and looking out over the vast ocean. It seemed to put perspective on how majestic and awesome our God is. Also how small we were in comparison and yet he loves each one of us…amazing! 🙂
There’s nothing like being surrounded by handbags to put a smile on Sarah’s face! 🙂
Of all the places…i never thought i’d be in a handbag store, on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. But Sarah seems to find these shops wherever we go… and if it helps her relax, i’ll be right there with her! 🙂
Another fave spot…
Each day we’d find our way up to this spot and just look out over the pool deck and take in the full panoramic view of blue. There was always a live band playing, giving a great atmosphere and a hot-plate thingy where i could get a fresh burger! Mmmm 🙂
After Sarahs last trip to the hair salon she was really pleased with the way the stylist had cut and styled her hair around her eye…. but the hospital adventure had kind of ruined it. So i thought she might like to relax and get it done again. Whilst waiting in the waiting room i took this shot through the window ….That’s the best view i’ve ever seen from a hair salon! 🙂
The evening restaurants…
So far i havn’t said much about our evening meals. For the first few days we really struggled with the buffet restaurants, as the food was placed in big trays under a glass cover with really long fork/tongs to pick up the food. Sarah had no idea what she was picking up as it was just too far away for her to focus and the waiters didn’t understand we couldn’t see properly, which caused a few problems!
At home we try to stay away from self service/buffet style places …not because we are too snooty, lol …but because we simply can’t find anything e.g plates, food, cutlery, where to pay, which causes too much stress and makes us wish we hadn’t gone out at all!
After a few days we decided to try the “Orion Restaurant” which was waiter service. On entrance the waiter asked if we’d like to share a table or sit by yourselves. Sarah said “Sharing is fine with us” (I thought is it really… 😦 The waiter then escorted us to an empty 8 seater table. After he passed us our menus (which we had no chance of reading) our table soon filled up with people. After friendly hello’s Sarah said to the lady next to her “I don’t want to be a nuisance…but we are both registered blind and so can’t read the menus. Would you be able to read it to us?” After the confused look on all of their faces (my imagination from the body language) the lady said “Of course, but i’d never have guessed that either of you had sight problems”. (My thought was “You need to be on this side of my eyes to understand the problem :(“) After we’d heard the menu, Sarah whispered “This works perfectly for us…we get the menu read out, and we get to meet lots of different lovely people” 🙂
Shortly after…we heard the people sitting opposite us say “Did you hear the “Code Alpha” last night?” The others replied “Yes we did, it woke us up…it was after 1am!!” “Yeah i know and there was no need to call it around the whole ship”.
I said “Sorry…that was us.” “It was you two! what happened?” Sarah showed her bruised and bandaged wrists (from where the drips had been attached) and explained everything that happened. We heard this same complaint for the next few evenings…. and even some different, elaborate explanations of what had happened (even one story where Sarah was said to have died and been taken off the boat by helicopter in a silver bullet coffin????.)
We also heard that quite a few people had complained to reception about the 1am code alpha (because they thought it was a call to abandon ship) and how they felt they shouldn’t have been disturbed in the middle of the night!!
If you can remember…on Day 8 there were a couple of people in the hospital waiting room with deep growly coughs. Well today…Sarah’s got it too !! 😦 This deep booming growly cough (reminds me of the Rockford Fosgate subs in the boot of my old custom Nova) is giving Sarah lots of chest pain, a sore throat and a pounding head. We’ve noticed the unique sound of this cough around the ship as we’ve been exploring! ….As if Sarah didn’t have enough on her plate with no sleep, uncontrollable blood sugar, one eye closed and exhaustion…she now has this nasty cough 😦
Keep smiling… 🙂
I have no idea how she does it. But no matter what’s going on…Sarah has a lovely beaming/contagious smile on her face that blesses all who see her 🙂
After about 4 (or is it 5?) sleepless nights (i’ve lost count) we were looking forwards to arriving at the Azores. Sarah was especially looking forwards to getting off the ship and onto solid ground and having the freedom to explore another fantastic island! 🙂
Yippee land ahoy!!!
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) after the Cathedral and the Baptistry. The tower’s tilt began during construction, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure’s weight.
More of my Weekly Photo Challenges
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
After another early start(and you’ve guessed it) a bacon roll, we headed off the ship. The shore excursion lady was at the bottom of the gangway steps, and she showed us where to join the queue. Well i say queue, there were only about 8 of us in total. I thought “I think we may have over reached on this one. Maybe it’s going to be too difficult, and really not suited for the blind”.
We were then led towards the minibus. We were told they’d saved us the 2 seats in the front next to the driver, i said “Sweet”, and climbed aboard. I really didn’t expect what happened next…the driver turned on his CD player which started playing Ed Sheeran “Thinking out loud” and he started singing as i tapped away on my legs to the beat. His voice was incredible, it was like we were having our own concert in the front of the minibus, whilst driving around paradise. Quite a surreal moment. After more fantastic singing to Tarrus Riley’s “She’s Royal”, he pulled up at Fort James Beach where we were to start our horseback trek.
Welcome to Paradise…
We left the minibus and were instantly greeted with a stunning view of porcelain palm fringed sands, and stilted turquoise waters of Fort James beach, also we received a further warm welcome by the “Horseman(sorry, i forgot his name)”. 🙂
⇧ The horseman strolling along the beautiful beach ⇧
⇧ Horses being led to the sea to cool off ⇧
The Horse Ride…
Once everyone was fitted with a protective hat, it was time to line up and meet the horses. He asked for experienced riders first, then one at a time they mounted the horses. It was about this time i started to get a little nervous. I was saying to Sarah “How do we get up there? Are there steps? Which foot do i put forward first? Are the horses big enough to carry me?”
The horseman was out of earshot, but i think he could see my face, he said “Don’t worry, i have a couple of special horses for you two”. This put my mind a little more at ease. Sarah mounted first on the horse named “Sunshine”, what a perfect horse for her! 🙂 Then i mounted easily with the excellent help from horseman onto the horse named “Little Man”,
After a short tutorial on how to hold(and use) the reins, it was time to move on out! We had only walked along next to a road for about a minute, and i’d just got used to the weird motion of rocking side to side whilst not being able to see the ground or the horse in front. When…a huge commotion…Lots of shouting from horseman, and the horses. I thought(at first) it sounded like a car had hit one of the horses. I pulled back on the reins as i saw Sarah(who was in front of me) appear at my side, Yay my horse stopped! 🙂 We found out at the end, that a car got too close and spooked a few of the horses, so no one(or horses) were hurt.
My plan was to take my Samsung WB550 compact camera with me to take photos & video whilst on the horse, but that was soon foiled when i got onto the horse, and my shorts were pulled tight around my pocket, so it had seal it shut. I didn’t want to try and move, as i thought the horse might mistaken my movements and start galloping off!. I did eventually get an opportunity when my foot suddenly got smacked out of the stirrup by an aloe vera plant(it got a few of us), and as my leg was free i quickly grabbed my camera! 🙂 Note to self, next time take my other camera with a neck strap! 🙂
The horseman who was overseeing us said “Welcome to Sandhaven Beach”…
⇧ “Little Man” taking me on a beautiful journey 🙂 ⇧
⇧ Sarah on “Sunshine” & in sunshine, along Sandhaven beach ⇧
⇧ Sarah ensconced in Sunshine! 🙂 ⇧
Words completely fail me when i try and describe the feeling of riding in paradise. The sound of the waves, the feel of the hot sun with the cool breeze, the movement(and sound) of the horse, topped off with the amazing panorama. We really didn’t want to leave our new fave place on earth!! 🙂
We left Sandhaven beach and headed back to Fort James beach. We’d been riding for around 1½ hours, and just before we finished, the man asked for my cameras so he could take a photo of us on our horses.
My horse “little Man” was busy eating grass, i think he had my appetite! 🙂
⇧ “Little Man & “Sunshine” ⇧
Once off the horses, we were given a bottle of water each as they prepared for stage 2. Stage 2 gave the chance for the experienced riders to ride faster(or gallop as i’m told), and the chance to ride bareback into the water. Sarah and another lady paired up together to do this.
Sarah said “I was sat trying to balance without a saddle, when suddenly i was thrown back as one of my legs was pulled up. I looked down to see that the horse had taken a liking to one of my bright yellow laces, and was pulling on it as though it was spaghetti! 🙂
Once stage 2 was over, we had about 45 minutes before the singing taxi arrived. “No way, does this mean you get to swim in paradise again?!” i said as Sarah was already half way down the beach!! 🙂
⇧ Sarah excited to be the only one in the beautiful sea ⇧
⇧ What a way to relax! 🙂 ⇧
⇧ I think Sarah enjoyed her swim! 🙂 ⇧
The taxi ride was just as fun. The drivers stunning voice carried us all the way back to the ship.
Back on the ship…
We now had to say goodbye to the Caribbean. 😦 We took our usual sofa’s in the coffee port, and with coffee’s in hand, we watched the island slowly disappear. We both agreed that this was our fave place of the trip, and the horse ride was our best experience so far!!
Our new friend…
On returning to our cabin, the steward had created a folded towel turtle, and used my hat as the shell, fantastic!! 🙂
Our Route 4 2day…
This afternoon Thomson Dream sails to Horta, Portugal, we’ll arrive on Sunday late morning, after 5 leisurely days at sea. having travelled 2,173 nautical miles, at an average speed of 16 knots.
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
After a quick bacon roll from Lido’s on Deck 9, Sarah & i found our way off the ship, and to the shore excursion point.
St Maarten Island Tour…(excursion details)
Flying under two flags, St Maarten has got something of a split personality. But despite being one half Dutch and the other French, its whole is as Caribbean as it gets. And on this trip you’ll get to see both sides of this two-faced island, with your guide giving you snippets of history as you go
You’ll travel from Philipsburg(Dutch capital) to Marigot(French capital) passing through dinky villages hardly touched by time. Once you reach Marigot, you have some free time to explore this four street-wide city. All patisseries, pavement cafés and designer boutiques, it’s easy to see why it’s known as the French Riviera of the Caribbean.
The Dutch Side…
Our tour started with a drive around the beautiful Dutch side of the island, the air conditioned bus was perfect on this hot day. The guide pretty much told us that this was the place for the profligates. Casinos, night clubs, fast food outlets etc. I instantly thought of Mathew 23 “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean”. Not quite in context, but you get the idea! 🙂
I know i keep going on about the vivid colours, i still can’t put into words how stunning they are, i couldn’t get my camera to do them justice! The Colours will be the main thing i remember about the caribbean! 🙂
Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon…
The driver/tour guide said he’d stop the bus for about 5 minutes so we could take some photos of the bay. “Excellent”, i thought as Sarah & i followed a man with a DSLR who was leaving in a hurry off the bus. I thought “if he is so keen to get off, then it must be a beautiful bay”. But as soon as he had moved to the edge of the cliff, he started saying “Why did he stop here? This is horrible, and a building site! There were much nicer places where he should’ve stopped”.
I ignored his complaining and started taking photos of the scenery i couldn’t see anyway, as i wanted to see what he was talking about when i zoomed in at home after the holiday. I still can’t make out the detail, but what i can see looks beautiful!, and well worth stopping for! 🙂
⇧ Lookout Point – Simpson Bay Lagoon ⇧
The French Side…
Moving seamlessly from the Dutch side of the island to the French side, Sarah started to feel a little more at home as the guide said “You won’t find any Burger King, KFC, casino’s etc. You’ll find cafe’s, restaurants, small independent market stores etc”.
After more fascinating history of the island, we pulled into Marigot(French capital), and now had 45 minutes to have a look around!
After leaving the bus, we headed straight for the open space where we found another lovely bay
⇧ Marigot bay ⇧
After standing a moment to absorb the beauty, it was over to the market to see what we could find.
The smell of the locals cooking on the market was amazing, but Sarah had found a sweet little craft stall. The lady created items from the coral found off the shores St Maarten. “Oooooh, i could have a necklace made from St Maarten”. I knew that to mean “i’m getting one, i just don’t know which one yet?!” 🙂
⇧ Sarah’s St Maartens Coral Necklace ⇧
Sarah really was starting to feel at home here, but we had to get back to the bus! We enjoyed our stop in Marigot, and we said we’d love to spend a week here to investigate more! 🙂
Back On The Ship…
After finishing the island tour, we went back to the ship to get some lunch. We had a few hours before the ship sails away, so we decided to see if we could find a beach!
Sarah always says “The holiday hasn’t properly started until our feet are standing on the sand!!” 🙂
After a frustrating hour walking from one end of the dock to the other, trying to find transport to take us to a beach. We started heading back to the ship defeated. When.. suddenly a “Water Taxi” sign appeared! Fantastic, lets go! Eventually we got on-board a very busy(yet cool) boat that took us a short distance across the bay.
After just stepping out of the boat, i heard “Hi Steve and Sarah”. It was Martin, a kind man i sat next too on the plane over to Jamaica. We’d got chatting on the plane about sight loss and coping etc, and he has a Nephew who is suffering at the moment, so i was giving him some resources that may help etc. We Sadi “Hi Martin, are we anywhere near a beach?” He chuckled a little and said “Yeah it’s right here, just walk down this short pier and you won’t miss it” “Fantastic!” “Don’t be long though, you don’t want to miss the ship” Martin said, as he boarded the water taxi.
Great Bay Beach…
⇧ View of the cruise ships from Great Bay Beach ⇧
The afternoon sun was getting hot now, which must have been why most of the people were inside the bars. But we had been in air conditioning all morning so didn’t mind a bit of sun.
It also meant that, not only did we get to walk on the powder white sands, but Sarah got to swim in the turquoise waters with hardly anyone around! An amazing experience! 🙂
Sarah couldn’t believe she was swimming in paradise, and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day! 🙂
⇧ Sarah relaxing in paradise ⇧
⇧ Beautiful! ⇧
It really was getting hot now, so we nipped into a small bar for a cold soothing drink. I thought i’d try a Rum & Coke(though i didn’t taste much coke), and Sarah had her fave Mojito.
We had a last walk up and down the beach before boarding the water taxi back to the ship. What an amazing day! This whole holiday has been simply breathtaking for us, and Sarah still can’t believe she got to swim in the beautiful, warm Caribbean sea! 🙂
Towel Folding & Beyond…
You’ve already seen the fantastic towel folded Elephant on Day 1, and each night the cabin steward folded our bed in amazingly straight lines, but he went one step further. We found Sarah’s nightie folded in this fantastic pattern.
⇧ Folded nightie and bed, with chocolate mints on pillows ⇧
Our Route 4 2day…
This evening Thomson Dream sails to Basseterre, St Kitts. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 59 nautical miles at an average of 4 knots.
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
Sarah & i were excited to arrive at La Romana, Dominican Republic, and we were really looking forwards to our shore excursion. After applying strong suntan lotion, deet bands to our wrists and ankles and finishing off with our hats, we went to see if we could find where the excursion actually starts!
Using my knees as suspention, i slowly navigated down the treacherous gangway steps until i reached land. yay! The hot sun was shining, I could hear a local band playing, and then i heard Jo’s voice, she is part of the excursion team. We homed in on her voice and she said that she was coming on the same excursion so we could wait for her and she’ll take us to the coach. Fantastic, we can now relax! 🙂
⇧ Sarah’s lovely Caribbean outfit! 🙂 ⇧
After a short coach trip, and hearing about the history of the island by the tour guide, we arrived at Casa de Campo,
Roman-styled 5,000-seat amphitheater…
⇧ Sarah relaxing in the sun, sat on the amazing steps. ⇧
⇧ My new hat kept my head nice and cool, thanks Suzanne ⇧
After briefly taking in this fantastic amphitheater, it was a short walk to the lovely fountain.
I had no idea that Sarah had stopped sitting down and was now walking towards me, but it’s made a lovely photo! lol. 🙂
Another short walk around this beautiful place until we reached the church and river.
St. Stanislaus Church…
⇧ Me walking around wondering what to shoot next! ⇧
Whilst looking at the stunning church, at my 6 o’ clock was the stunning Chavón River. What a beautiful place, and such a blessing to be able to be here.
The Chavón River…
Just as i finished taking this photo, Sarah said “quick, take a photo of those ladies wearing the beautiful red dresses”. I span round and said “Where are they?” They were about 10 feet directly in front of me(i told you i was blind! lol). But just then they stood either side of Sarah and posed for the photo…
Some of you more experienced travellers will probably know what i’m about to say?!!
After the photo the ladies said “Tip…tip”, i was about to say “No, it’s ok you don’t need to tip me for the photo, i’m not that good!”. But then as we realised it was they who wanted a tip for posing for the shot, Jo(our Thomson excursion leader) quickly gave them a tip as we had no change at all. That was a lesson learned for Sarah & i, and we will be a little more discerning next time! I still think it was worth the mix up as the photos are lovely. 🙂
At the bottom left of the photo above…you can just make out the paddle boat. That’s where we are heading next! 🙂
Paddle Boats & Palm Trees…
⇧ Me reflecting on God’s beautiful creation ⇧
⇧ Sarah feeling relaxed in the sun ⇧
The whole excursion was amazing. I’ve never seen such vibrant colours, breathtaking scenery and a chance to travel along the “Rambo River”.
Back on-board the ship…
We went straight to the ice cold water machine, and then out on deck to get some last shots before we sailed away.
Wow,what a day! The south east corner of the Dominican Republic. was labelled “The fairest land under heaven” by Columbus. I don’t disasociate myself from his opinion!! 🙂
Our Route 4 2day…
This afternoon the Thomson Dream sails to Road Town, Tortola. We’ll arrive tomorrow afternoon having travelled 277 nautical miles, at an average speed of 14 knots.
🌴 Day Navigator 🌴
⇧ Sarah & i at St Kitts ⇧
From stunning, breathtaking views, horse riding in paradise, dancing with dolphins, River paddle boat trip, various island bus tours, 4×4 volcano ride, cable cars, OH…. and Sarah’s medical emergancy in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, it’s been an unbelievable few weeks on our cruise holiday to the Caribbean, Azores & Spain.
Sarah & i arrived back on Saturday, but after going to our local A&E on Monday, we both have been suffering with respiratory tract infections for a couple of weeks now.
So please be patient with me as i’m trying to import all of my photos and sort them out ready for posting here for a daily tour of our trip. But the computer is burning my eyes at the moment so is slowing me down a little, also the headaches, coughing and loss of energy is not helping, but that won’t stop me! lol.
I’m not sure how long each post will take, and still not sure whever to post on Rebus Photography & iChristian or just on Rebus Photography…I don’t want to duplicate, but i know i have different friends on each blog, so also don’t want anyone to miss the posts. What do you think??
Please join Sarah & i on this incredible journey:
As Sarah & i were walking around Hampton Court Palace gardens, i stopped to take this photo of what i call “The pathway to paradise”. I could feel the warmth of spring while the “Fresh” scent of the flowers ensconced us. 🙂
During another sublime breakfast, Sarah & i wondered if there was a walking tour around Firenze?! We now have a love of walking tours after our hugely successful one yesterday (see Day 3). It’s much easier for us to just follow a group instead of getting lost and wondering around aimlessly, and it’s a great way to learn the history and culture of the area.
They did do a tour and it started just after lunch. We booked on it and then decided to go for a walk to see if we could find the starting point by ourselves. It was in an area we hadn’t covered yet so we knew it was going to be a challenge…..We failed, but we found a lovely cafe! We sat outside with the sun blazing down, it was fantastic! 🙂
The image below shows me staring at the sun. Since being registered blind and having no central vision at all, i can now stare at the sun without squinting or blinking. Didn’t know it made me look this weird though, lol. 🙂
We then spent a couple of hours enjoying finding new and wonderful shops, before heading back to the hotel. The reception had arranged for someone to walk us to the walking tour meeting point, fantastic! 🙂
Firenze Walking Tour…
The group met up in a different square than the one we found earlier, and gave us another one of those radio thingy’s, Yay! As the guide was talking about the square, i captured some shots!
Moving from the square and through some little side streets, we stopped at the “Basilica of Santa Croce” founded by Saint Francis. Sarah said “Wow, it looks like someone has iced it like a cake! It doesn’t look real”.
Walking through the streets we were told of a local artist who’s adding figures to road signs.
Continuing with more fantastic Medici family history we found ourselves in a familiar square (Piazza della Signoria).
As we didn’t have lots of time to walk around and take photos, Sarah & i revisited on Day 7 to get some more interesting shots. Now it’s onwards to the river. 🙂
When we accidentally found the river Arno during the Firenze marathon, Sarah had said that the river looks dirty, like brown sludge. But today with the sun shining bright, it glowed gold like nothing i’d seen before! 🙂
Then finishing our tour at the Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore). Yay another amazing bell tower! 🙂
I’ve heard of “Knocking’ on Heaven’s door” but now i was stood at “The Gates of Paradise”.
Sarah then said “Go and stand in front of the doors of the Cathedral, we need more photos with you in them so people will know you were here”. I really don’t like this side of the lens, but this is for you guys! 🙂
Wow! Were these doors made for the Nephilim?!! 🙂
After this amazing tour, we felt that we could now spend a few days exploring with a little more confidence, starting with a trip to our fave coffee (and cake) place which is right next to our hotel. The cherry on top of the cake below really sums up our day. It’s been another unbelievable day that always leaves me saying “How am i here? This is like a dream! I still can’t believe i’m here?!”
You’ll be very pleased to know that my next post (Day 5) is the opening day of the exhibition!
I’m so blessed that you’ve stuck with me on this incredible journey. God bless you. 🙂
The dark cloak of night consumed us, light had escaped the dungeon of darkness but had vanished..…Sorry, just trying to set the mood for the final destination on our amazing Tuscany in a day tour.
Chiara had been telling us of the year 1348 when the black death had wiped out over ⅔ of the walled medieval town of San Gimignano, the majority of the people who survived the terror had left. Continuing on this theme, and the fact that it was totally dark outside (due to this time of year) set the scene for what we were about to experience!
Welcome to San Gimignano…
After a short walk uphill, the group arrived at the main entrance of the walled town. We then had about 45 minutes free time to explore, then meet back here. Afterr the group dispersed, Sarah & i entered…
No amount of photos could ever get across the feeling of this place! The black windows towering over you from each side, the silence and the shadows following you everywhere, generated a smothering atmosphere that had flavours of Fear, Death, Sorrow for the people of old, Awe and a weird taste of Joy and amazement. You really can only experience San Gimignano by physically being here!
As Sarah was checking out the few little shops on the main walkway, i’d stay outside and just stand, soaking up the atmosphere that my words can’t describe. Sarah says “They only sell pottery or Knives”.
As i was stood (see above) it was completely silent. Then all of a sudden i heard heavy footsteps from behind sounding like they were headed straight for me. I expected to see a blade sticking out of the front of my chest as an assassin wearing a monks tunic (from the video game (assassins creed) shot out of the shadows sending me to paradise.
As i turned though it was just a person leaving the church behind me, although i’m still not sure how they managed the booming footstep thing. My imagination really doesn’t help my heart at times like these! 🙂
As we met back up with the group having felt we’d been to probably the most special place of the trip. We were so grateful we hadn’t decided to stay in the coach as it was just too dark to risk having accidents.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed joining us on the “Tuscany in a day” tour?!
Which city was your favourite?
The Siena Cathedral with its humbug bell tower, is my favourite church building of all time (so far).
What is your favourite church building? And why?
While approaching Sienna, we were given a fantastic little radio thingy that you put around your neck. It has a single earphone so you can still hear the tour guide within a large radius,or if it gets noisy. We then met the new Siena tour guide who would guide the group and share interesting stories and history of this stunning place.
Welcome to Siena…
We were very happy to meet in a little square around a huge Christmas tree (see above). I am now only wearing a thin shirt as it is like a summers day and it’s December!! 🙂
Walking through the narrow streets and hearing more about how the Medici family slaughtered and captured Siena, we arrived at the famous medieval square (Piazza del Campo). Yay another tower! 🙂
After a walk around the banked curves of the square (feeling like an Indy 500 car), the group then left the square and headed towards (what has now become my favourite bell tower of all time) Siena Cathedral!
Walking under a narrow archway, the group made a collective sound, it went something like (wooaaahhhhooww), Sarah said “Wow! A humbug tower!” I said understatedly “Oh right” as i could only look at the ground to try and navigate, and i can’t see the tower or any of it’s detail anyway. But when i got back, and was able to zoom into my photos to see what i was pointing my camera at…..”Wow, Wow Wow”.
Sarah was very happy when we went inside and found more humbugs! 🙂
The group then sat down to hear the final part of the tour guides history. Just after i said to Sarah “Wow, isn’t it amazing to think that all of this unbelievable place was done for Jesus?! It all points to Him!”. The tour guide said “And this was all done for Mary!”. I was not amused at all!
We then had some free time and was told to meet back at the medieval square, now which way was that??
We did eventually find it, and we met back up with the group. to then return back to the coach, but on the way we passed the Christmas tree where we had first started and it looked beautiful! It finished Siena off nicely! 🙂
After quite a scare of nearly getting lost and left behind as the group disappeared into the darkness, Sarah and i boarded what we hoped was our coach (it was). Now it’s off towards our final destination. 🙂
As we left the amazing Pisa, Chiara (our tour guide) gave us some more interesting yet gruesome Tuscany history about the Medici family killing everyone again and taking over more villages and cities. She also mentioned a man called Leonardo Da Vinci, “no way” i said to Sarah “I thought he was a ninja turtle, not a real man!” She gave me a swift elbow in the ribs, and Chiara continued.
Welcome to Vinci…
The image below is of the landscape that greeted us from the coach.
After taking in the amazing scenery, we headed off on foot to the Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci.
I really like bell towers!! 🙂
Sarah & i found inside the museum much too dark, so we struggled to see any of the fantastic creations on display. Sarah was using her iPhone 6 Plus with it’s wide aperture of f2.2 to view each design as it showed much brighter on her screen, rather than the dark blob in front of her (she’s a genius).
We did find a cool bike though!!
Now it was back outside to have a wonder around and see what we can find. It wasn’t long before we found a familiar object!
Sarah wasn’t happy with the “Vitruvian Man” and thought Leonardo had missed something out. So we added something extra……The Vitruvian Man & Woman! 🙂
Now for Chianti…
After another trip on the coach through amazing rolling hills, olive grows and vinyards, the coach parked right up at the top in Chianti where we were to do a little wine & local Tuscan food tasting.
I didn’t have time to take any photos as we were guided straight to our table and greeted with a lovely plate of local baked bread, olive oil, cheese and spicy meat.
The lady first pour a little Chianti Simple (table wine) into the huge glass and as she was going into great detail of how to hold the glass etc, i continued on the food (i couldn’t see anything she was doing, so her over complicated directions were wasted on me, lol). As i don’t really drink alcohol except a very full bodied glass of red wine on special occasions (normally 1 bottle a year and that’s usually Châteauneuf-du-Pape i receive as a Christmas gift). My thought is that if i’m only going to have one glass on rare occasions, then i would like one that i enjoy! 🙂
I really know nothing about wines, only that some are red and some are white, and some are watery and some are thick (like coffee, lol) and i only like the thick ones, which now i know are called full bodied! 🙂
Then she poured a little of the Chianti Classico (full bodied..Yay!) and that was much better!
But probably my favourite taste of the day was the 30 year old Balsamic Vinegar we got to taste! Wow, now that’s amazing, but expensive so didn’t get any to bring home! 😦
As we finished there was a mad rush to the little shop area. I stayed at the table as Sarah went to have a look and take a few photos for us!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip so far?! Next stop Siena!! 🙂
I forgot to mention in my older 2 posts in this Tuscany Tour series, that i didn’t take any of my DSLR’s with me to Italy (you’ve probably already noticed, lol). All of the photos taken were using my iPhone 5s or Sarah’s iPhone 6 Plus.
I’d like to split Day 3 into 4 separate posts, as i don’t want them to get too long, and dare i say boring! If you’re just joining the “Tuscany Tour” for the first time then you can click here to start from Day 1.
Sarah & i were up bright and early, excited yet anxious for today’s big adventure. As we were in the reception area admiring the beautiful Christmas tree (see image above), the entrance doors opened as our taxi driver entered and escorted us to his taxi. It was still very dark (especially down the narrow side street) and already raining, and when i noticed the black minivan with blacked out windows (which only appear on episodes of 24) and the voice of the driver say “Get in”, i had a funny feeling that this could be anyone and we were in some kind of movie (this didn’t do my slight anxiety any good at all, lol).
The driver was very friendly and nothing like the man i was imagining, he dropped us off at the exact collection point for the ‘My Tour’ coach stop where we were met by Chiara, the tour guide. She already knew we were blind & partially sighted and said it would be easier for us if we sat on the front 2 seats of the coach. “Yes!” i said as they’re our fave seats too, good start! 🙂
It took about an hour until we arrived at Pisa, Chiara was telling us lots of interesting facts and history of the Tuscany regions we were passing through, this (and my excitement) made the journey seem really quick. The coach parked right near the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) and after a short walk in the group Chiara said “Now you have one hour free time, then meet back here”. This was just perfect for Sarah & i as we now have a point of reference to go from and to return.
Welcome to Pisa!
First for my tourist pose! 🙂
And now it’s Sarah’s turn! 🙂
Everyone was rushing straight for the tower, so we hung back and got a few photos of the Baptistry and the Cathedral.
Sarah sneakily snapped me tower gazing and trying to soak up the atmosphere, and the fact that i was actually in Pisa, looking at probably the most famous bell tower in the world! 🙂
There was only one small cafe opposite the tower, so Sarah & i went to check it out. We ordered 2 Cappachino’s and to my delight, a slice of pizza. I know you might laugh, but i just had to try the Pizza at Pisa! 🙂
The image above is the view from the open windows at our table, it was just amazing being sat with the leaning tower of Pisa as the backdrop. 🙂
After this final panoramic photo, we met up with the group and headed back to the coach.
This visit already made my day and i’d of been happy if that was the end, but this was only the beginning!!
Oh by the way…..The pizza was fantastic!! 🙂
Hope you’ve enjoyed the first stop of this “Tuscany in a day tour”. Please take your seats and see what’s coming next! 🙂
As Sarah & i were about to leave the room to try our first breakfast, we suddenly heard a faint sound of bells. We quickly rushed to the window and opened the inner windows and the outer shutters, and the sound was immense! I wanted to record the sound but the video below doesn’t do it justice.
Breakfast, i can only describe as an amazing taste sensation. The chef must have only had one knife though, as everything was sliced about an inch thick! What seemed like a block of cheese to us, was a slice to them. lol, but i didn’t want to seem rude and waste any! 🙂
The search for the Palace…
After filling up with breakfast, we started out on our primary objective for the day…to find the Palazzo Medici Riccardi where my photos will be exhibited in a few days time.
Once out on the main street, i stood facing north (towards the Cathedral) and opened the Blindsquare app on my iPhone. I had save 2 locations to the favourites – the hotel and the palace, so they would b read out instantly and hopefully tell me (if the cellular network is good) where the locations are using a clock face description. It said “Palazzo Medici Riccardi is at 11’o clock at 350 yards”. Right let’s go! After passing the Florence Cathedral it was just a straight road until the Palace was on our left. Now to find the entrance which was another mammoth task for us …
We started walking around the outside of the whole building finding everything including a cash machine (very useful, clothes store & even a McDonalds (the poshest one we’ve ever seen). Finally we found it but we couldn’t see any sign of the Art Senses posters anywhere. We went inside anyway to have a look around where we’d maybe stumble across a tiny room being set up for the exhibition.
Inside the Palace…
As we were walking around, we both kept saying “I think we’re in the wrong building, there is no way the exhibition will be in here somewhere. But this place is amazing so we’ll keep looking”.
⇧ We totally need to get door frames like these!! 🙂 ⇧
Then a few minutes later i found a ceiling design for our home too!! lol.
As we entered the next couple of rooms, Sarah was oooing quite a lot, and now as i’m looking back over the photos to see what i was actually looking at, i should’ve known there were shoes!
After being amazed for a while longer, we decided to double check outside to see if this really was the Palazzo Medici Riccardi….It was!
I said “There is no way my photos are being exhibited in there, just no way”.
Then as we turned to find our way back to the hotel, we suddenly realised there was a marathon going on!!
Yes a marathon, actually the 31st annual “Florence Marathon (Maratona di Firenze)”. Now the streets were not only packed, but worse still for us, blocked off so we couldn’t get back the way we came.
After a few hours of getting lost, trying different coffee shops and of course the clothes and shoe shops, we found ourselves by the river. Sarah said “oh, this is the river!!” I said “But isn’t the river south, way past the hotel in the other direction?”
We both realised we had no idea which way to go and we were both really tired from dodging people and with all of the noise, so we just decided to pick a street and walk up it. Then to our complete surprise as we were getting really fed up, Sarah said “That’s the sign to our hotel”, “No way, i had no idea we were here, now let’s get a takeaway coffee from our new local and rest for a while”.
After an eventful and tiring day, we decided to try heading east but only down one street as it’s dark now and we really don’t want to get lost again. The hanging street lights were beautiful and we found lots of clothes shops and a nice little sandwich/coffee bar to relax in for a while.
As we returned to the hotel we booked a “Tuscany in a day” tour for the morning. We knew it was a lot in one day but it will be ideal for us. Now we were getting even more excited. I could be stood next to the leaning tower of Pisa!! No way!! 🙂
Please join us on day 3 to see how we got on!!
A blog about Apologetics, Philosophy, Theology, and anything else rattling in my mind.
This blog is about my walk with God and my love for photography. And just random things too.😜
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. -Rumi
Thoughts On Lessons Learned
God's Perfect Purpose in a Chaotic Cosmos
A MOSAIC OF BITS AND PIECES ON TRAVEL, LIFE AND TIMES
The gentle art of balancing marriage, parenting, and triathlon
Let's seek the truth. Let's share in Christ.
when Jesus meets me in the park
My recovery from obesity and mental illness
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
Travel & Photography
Looking at life through writing and photography
Teaching the art of composition for photography.
Practical Daily Devotions for the Real World
My experiences in Italy and the world
Learning to forgive others as Jesus has done.
Sometimes faith. Sometimes life. Always whatever's in my head.
Writer/Poet/Christian Apologist /Creative
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou
Fully Embracing God's Gift of Love, Grace, and Hope