Saturday, 24 December 2011


At sea today on route to Madeira; weather warm but quite cloudy. Mike brought me a roll to have with a banana in bed – didn’t fancy the restaurant today. A trip around the boat offered us a quiz – I was useless. A debate on the paranormal which I sat through in silence as I did not want to embarrass Mike if I got involved. Then a lecture on the Canary Islands.

Lunch in the dining room today – steak, with onions and salad in french bread – which we both left. I indulged in a sweet – just could not resist – dark chocolate truffle with raspberries. Heavenly. Mike was good and had ice-cream – again.

The first ice show was on this afternoon and we got tickets; human nature is a wonderful thing to observe – we sat on the side whilst people stated turning up over an hour before the start. All hoping for the best seat you see the same people day after day in the front of every queue. As it was ticketed everyone would have had a seat regardless. We wandered in eventually after the main rush and went to sit on a couple of seats only to be told that they were taken by a typical American matriarch.  As you are asked not to save seats in any of the venues I told her that only an American would be audacious enough to try and save 5 seats. She accused me of being rude – you have to laugh don’t you? Anyway, a couple next to us were annoyed by this woman's actions so the jumped over into two of her seats – magic. She was so put out it was really funny. Slowly her family turned up and one of them pointed to the now vacated seats next to me – “ Sorry” said I “ they are taken!” Poetic justice or what?

The show was fabulous – such speed on such a small rink and the costumes were spectacular. There was a violinist playing throughout the show – a girl from New Zealand who was a brilliant musician. Her name was “something Primrose” must look her up.

Formal night tonight so the usual dilemma – what to wear. my orange dress I think with the brown silk jacket. That’ll do.

No! I wore my purple and black silk skirt , a black top & my purple silk jacket………. and flip flops. Pretty flip flops.

Neither of us fancied the theatre show as we’ve seen it before so we went back to the cabin and read. I awoke from a sound sleep to go to the loo, looked at the clock and it was only 10 p.m. Could not believe it.


It’s Madeira. We knew it was hilly but did not expect it to rise out of the ocean so steeply. My heel / calf was still painful so I took some paracetamol before we set off on the shuttle bus to town. We were dropped close to the cable car so decided to do that first.

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very pleasant 15 minute ride over shacks, ruins, expensive villas and lovey apartments all huddled together on the hill side. We arrived safely at the top and had a drink in a cafe with panoramic views across the town to the sea, The ship looked quite small from up there. We then went to find the baskets and walked along uneven cobbles which really tested my leg. At the top of a very steep incline were men in white and wearing boaters. On the side of the road, were all the wicker sledges lined with a flowery curtain type material. They looked quite flimsy – the baskets not the men and we watched several people go off  pushed by the men who held onto ropes on either side . God knows what would happen if they lost their grip or stumbled – it must happen. Stupidly, or perhaps not we had bought return tickets on the cable car so we  wandered back very slowly my leg more painful than ever.

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The trip back down was fabulous and the scenery great. It must be sensational in the Spring and summer when all the flowers are out. Definitely somewhere I would love to come back to to explore the island.

Back in town we found a pharmacy & I took some ibuprofen and hobbled, even more slowly back to the coach. Climbing the stairs of the coach  I heard a pop and this searing hot pain shot up my leg – everyone  had to wait until I could move into the nearest seat.

I managed to get off the bus without too much difficulty but then began the  long walk back to the ship. Once inside we took the lift to the Windjammer and Mike got me some lunch and the pain receded a bit. Then another long walk along the length of the ship to get to our cabin where I am now writing this up – in bed.

After some more Ibuprofen I managed the walk to our restaurant fro dinner but wished I had not bothered. First time this cruise I have been disappointed. Cannot remember what I had for a starter but I ordered gammon as my main course. When it arrived there were three thick very pink, very shiny slices of ham on the plate. It looked like plastic and tasted remarkably similar. Never mind, I really was not hungry so I just picked at it hoping it would go un noticed. No such luck. The head waiter said I must have something else – “ did I like lamb?” Within      a minute a plate was put before me with a t-bone lamb steak on it and various veggies. It tasted lovely but I still was not hungry so I left much more than I ate.  Eta, the girl on our table who only likes KFC or McDonalds decided to try a jacket potato and some fish. She sliced open the potato, smothered it in butter which she mashed in until the potato was plastered all over her plate. It looked dreadful but at least she eat something.

We went to the theatre to see a speciality act and I ordered a vodka & tonic. The waiter brought vodka and coke for which he apologised and gave it to Mike. He then brought me a V & T. for free.

The speciality act was a juggler with a strange name although he was Welsh. He looked a bit like Alud Jones. Well, he was brilliant – not at the juggling but his comedy was unusual and very very funny. Best show yet. He even rode a unicycle on stage ………………………… ON A MOVING BOAT. Brave!.

DAY SEVEN = Grand Canaria

Awoke to more blue skies although a few clouds high above the mountains. 21C promised today so we must go ashore. My foot, leg, hip still playing up but some relief from the ibuprofen. Just along the dock from the boat was a Hop On Hop Off bus which seemed very good value for 16euros each.


We lined up in the sunshine waiting for a seat on the top to get the best views. OMG! what a town – traffic lights every few yards, manic Spanish drivers and it was quite cold in the narrow sunless streets. It soon became apparent that there was little of interest to see, we just accelerated and braked up one road and did the same down another. The couple behind us put their camera away – nothing worth photographing; an American family in front were, like us, bored silly but we all had a laugh and a joke about it . At one point I said I had intended staying on the bus whilst Mike went shopping but the pain in walking was preferable to this torture on top of the bus. They all laughed.


There was a large shopping Mall near the ship which we went into to get a drink. We searched, floor by floor and finally, when we got to the top there was a Mcdonalds. Poetic justice I guess. Mike went off in search of coffee and I sat at a table, glanced down to see umpteen cafes and bars serving everything! Mike took ages as no one understood “decaffeinated “coffee but he finally got some – a sachet and a mug of milk. Lovely – not.

Back on board for quick snack and then I had to lay down as my foot was so swollen.

Dinner was Ok – I think I am fed up now with all the fancy stuff. Surf and turf with lobster and fillet steak should have been marvellous but I wasn’t keen. The show was a let down too – an American pianist who had zero personality and he played some rubbish music although the ships band were brilliant. We have never seen so many people walk out of the theatre.

Then there was a Rock & roll party on the deck with one of the groups – that was good but it got a bit chilly for us so we went to bed but it was after 10.30!

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