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My New Blog “FitBlitz” Please Like & Follow!! 💪🏼 😀

Hey friends! I’ve been a little quiet on here for the last couple of months, as i’ve been losing weight, eating healthy and exercising…And i wanted to start a new blog to share all of my adventures in the health & fitness area without bombarding you with too many topics on here! OOooo you can follow my advent walking challenge over there too!

As a blindman, please could you check it out for me to see if i’ve missed anything, need to change anything please give me some suggestions. Oh you could even like, comment and say hi which would be fantastic! 😀

Please click the photo below to visit my brand new blog….

The FitBlitz About speed…

Me portrait Jamaica 2

I want to stop digging my grave with my own knife and fork…🍽

Hi, i’m Steve. 

People who already know me (from my other blogs) know I’ve been struggling to beat all kinds of obstacles since I was registered blind 20 years ago, at age 24….. BUT now it’s time to face my nemesis… Health & Fitness and it’s many enemies – overeating, obesity, excuses not to exercise and many more…

This year (2020) I finally said “enough is enough” and I’m arming myself with the knowledge about the right nutrition, exercise and learning how, as a blind man, I can break free from what feels like inescapable immobility – So that I’m ready to stand up and fight back for my health…AND i’ve never felt better and more energised …..despite being on beta-blockers that slow me down but help keep my blood pressure low enough not to cause more health problems and further sight loss.I know from personal experience that any “diet” is often short lived. I’ve always enjoyed eating super processed, high calorie  foods and my love of burgers, bacon, kebabs and pizza is well known amongst my friends and family …this has continued and my seemingly endless attempts at dieting over the numerous years I’ve tried and failed to lose weight, have resulted in me often putting on more weight than I lost…Read more

❤️Love At First Sight…Village – 16 Years On!!!

Red Love logo with reflection

 Today i’m celebrating 16 years since i met my lovely wife Sarah at “Sight Village, Birmingham, UK” 

This is a major Sight Village show in Birmingham which is held in July each year. Exhibitors throughout the world take part and welcome many thousands of visitors, including people who are blind or partially sighted, professionals, business people and family members.

I was there (from Derby) working for a charity called LOOK and Sarah was there (from Surrey) working for RNIB. She came to my table as she had a magazine which she had just published an article about LOOK and wanted to show me. Sarah opened the magazine and said here are the pictures and the article, i said “Wow, fantastic, it all looks great” which made Sarah quite proud of her work. I then said while laughing “you know i didn’t see any of what you’ve just shown me, as i’m blind!”. Then as always, a brief pause as Sarah checks out my eyes to see if i’m joking, then Sarah laughed and said “No way, me too!”. We both approach blindness in a similar way and love blossomed from that point. 🙂

Photos Throughout The Years….

Sarah  i 2005

 ⇧ 2005 ⇧ 

Sarah  i 2006

Me Sarah  Bruce 2006

 ⇧ 2006 ⇧ 

Sarah  I Wedding photo

 ⇧ 2007 ⇧ 

Me Sarah  Bruce 2009

⇧ 2008 ⇧ 

Sarah  i 2009

⇧ 2009 ⇧   

Valentines heart

 ⇧ 2010 ⇧ 

Steve sarah at friday street1

⇧ 2011 ⇧  

Sarah  i 2012

Me  Sarah in Church

 ⇧ 2012 ⇧  

Sarah  i holding hands 2014

 ⇧ 2013 ⇧ 

Me  Sarah at the river Arno

 ⇧ 2014 ⇧ 

Me on the left in my bright orange shirt hugging Sarah on the right with the beautiful panorama of volcanic hills and blue sea behind us

 ⇧ 2015 ⇧ 

IMG 0270

 ⇧ 2016 ⇧ 

MIL 6290

Me  Sarah

 ⇧ 2017 ⇧ 

Sarah as my Backpack

IMG 3598

 ⇧ 2018 ⇧ 

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

1 Me and Sarah gugging at room 112

 ⇧ 2019 ⇧  

📖 Bible Verse

Ephesians 5:25 Easy-to-Read Version

Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.

🤔 My Thoughts… 

This is one of my favourite Bible verses that i try desperately  each day to live up to. As soon as i first read this verse it convicted me straight away and i knew i wanted to be a husband like that!

🙏 Prayer

Holy Spirit, thanks for being a constant guiding presence in my life. Give me the faith to take practical and radical action to keep in step with You, so that You can love my spouse through me in a way that will sustain a fun, loving & trusting relationship. Amen.

❤️ Yay…It’s Our 13th Wedding Anniversary! ❤️

There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage. – Martin Luther

Sarah i wedding photo

⇧ Me & Sarah ⇧ 

Each time our wedding anniversary comes round, i can’t believe how much our marriage has grown more and more fruitful. Our love keeps blossoming through every season and i thank God for Sarah.!

My heart overflows with love for her, she encourages, inspires and loves me in spite of all my faults, She is the sunshine that warms me along my journey. I really don’t have enough words to fully express how blessed i am to have my best friend as my wife to cherish and share every moment of this amazing life.

Sarah Sunflower Rounded

This is the chorus for the song i wrote for Sarah….

You’re the love I thought I’d never find,
Your smile is like the warm sunshine,
As our souls, slowly entwine!
You light the heavens in my mind!

God’s Word…..

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love that Jesus Christ has for His bride, the church..

FullSizeRender

“Your love delights me, my treasure, my bride. Your love is better than wine, your perfume more fragrant than spices.” —Song of Solomon 4:10

“Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.” —Song of Solomon 1:2

“You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace.” —Song of Solomon 4:9

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” —1 Corinthians 13:4–8

1 Me and Sarah gugging at room 112

I thank God for sustaining our marriage in Purity and Truth. And look forwards to more of this Brobdingnagian adventure!

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

Sarah & i in Love Heart

☀️ #65 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #3” 🇧🇧 (2019)

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends!  

Room 112 Southern Palms

Palm tree on the left with an empty picture postcard view of the caribbean beach and seaNope..I just can’t get bored of the view! 😀  

Breakfast and bathing…

Nope…I can’t get bored of this breakfast either, lol! 🤣  

Then it’s time for Sarah to have a swim in the pool whilst i try and not get fried. ☀️   

Sarah in the empty pool enjoying the sun

Me sat in blue Caribbean shirt next to the swimming pool and the beach

 Sarah showed me where to get the lovely ice cold water (with cucumber or lemon) so i could refill while she was in the pool. Once i’ve been shown i’m pretty good at remembering where to go and what to do. The water was on a table underneath a tent like thing…And i could just make out a shape of a palm tree above it but i didn’t know it was glowing! ☀️ 🌴 

Palm tree in the sunshine  with the water tent in view

The beach and Bajan blast… 

Photo of the pink hotel taken from the beach with palm trees around

Wow…I don’t think we’ve ever been anywhere that is so accessible for us. It’s so much easier for us to be independent and do everything that we want to without too much hassle or struggle…And everything is so near by and we find it hard to even leave Southern Palms.

Speaking of which…”Steve let’s go on the beach” Sarah said as she blew pas me! I love this time of day and i’ll never get bored of seeing Sarah run, splash and play on this empty Caribbean beach. My only struggle is trying to point the camera towards the happy sounds! 🤣   

Sarah on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah on Dover beach in Barbados

 After another fantastic time on the beach, it’s time to dry off and cool off…And what better way to cool off than a iced coffee at Sharkey’s! 😀  

Sharkey’s Tropical Cafe…

Sharkeys cafe in Barbados

Sharkey s Tropical Cafe Sign

Sarah sat with an iced coffee in the very colourful Sharkey's Tropical Cafe

 Surf and turf… 

 And guess what?? It’s time for  the ‘Southern Burger’ and the ‘Shrimp Cocktail’ again, Sarah says the shrimp are as big as your face and she’s never seen anything like it before! 🤣  

The shrimp cocktail

Southern burger

Sarah’s beautiful new green dress…

Sarah was excited to wear her beautiful new green dress, and as our room was right on the front facing the beach i said i’ll stay on the balcony and get some photos…No pressure, lol! 🤣 I didn’t have my ‘Big Burtha’ (Nikkor 80-400mm lens) or any of my DSLR’s but i did have my iPhone and tested the digital pinch zoom range! 😀  

Sarah and the green dress on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah and the green dress on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah and the green dress on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah and the green dress walking on the beach

Sarah and the green dress

Sarah and the green dress walking on the beach

Sarah and the green dress

Sarah and the green dress on Dover beach in Barbados

 Hey look who’s back…?

Sarah, Cynthia and George

Just as Sarah was walking back from the beach we heard “Sarah…Hello we’re back” it was George and Cynthia! They’d had a lovely time visiting family in Saint Vincent and you’ll never guess…?

If you remember when we stayed here last year and i had ‘The Coconut Slice’ in Speightstown on Sarah’s birthday island tour…Well obviously i was telling George about it and he said “We have a local one like that can Saint Vincent called ‘Red Belly’ and it sounds the same”. 

Then…

George said “Put out your hand” and continued to place a ‘Red Belly’ coconut slice into my hand! I couldn’t believe it…His kindness was ineffable. He continued I went to the bakery on the island and they only had 2 left and were not making any more, i got one for you and one for me”. 😀 I don’t have the hyperbole to describe the coconut slice, and sorry i don’t have a photo as it disappeared so quickly…Not sure where it went, lol! 🤣  

The Bajan sunset…

me stood in front of the amazing sunset

 Wow what a relaxing day on this incredible holiday. Thankfully we have 1 more full day at this beautifully colourful place before we head back to Gatwick and the cold, wet and grey London hue! 

To be continued… 

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☀️ #64 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #2” 🇧🇧 (2019)

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends! 

Breakfast and braides…

After the consistently delicious, fresh and tasty breakfast we headed off to the salon. It was the same lady from last year, so she knew exactly how we liked our hair and we had a good catch up too! 😀   

My braides and Caribbean shirt

Me and Sarah's braides

Our new friends George and Cynthia…

Me Cynthia Sarah and George

If you remember the 1st day of our cruise in Aruba, we met George and Cynthia at the evening meal when we’d shared a table. We had no idea that they were also staying at Southern Palms for a week too. They had stay here 20 years ago and wondered if it had changed and to get a photo at the same spot they’d had a photo back then. George and Cynthia were going to Saint Vincent to visit family for a few days and we’d meet back up with them for the last couple of days. 

But before they left (as they are so loving and kind)for Saint Vincent they knew it was our birthdays and as a complete surprise present they bought us a top each with Barbados written on them. Yes mine is the stupendous blue Carribbean shirt i’m wearing! 😀   

Me and Sarah with our birthday tops

 Right now we don’t have to fight against the wind all holiday…Let’s see what we’ll be doing on this cool excursion. 

Harrison’s Cave…

Go deeper underground with a visit to Harrison’s Cave. All limestone stalactites, caverns and grottoes, it’s like taking a trip to the moon. Add rock pools, streams and some red and orange mood-lighting, and it takes on a volcano-like edge. It’s easy to see why the locals call it one of the seven wonders of the island. Boarding a little electric tram, you’ll take a mile-long tour through the chambers, passing pillars formed by stalagmites and stalactites that have met in the middle. At the bottom, you’ll see the star of the show – a mighty waterfall below the ground.

The hard hat…

First off, take a comedy picture once you’ve put on your hard hat…Check! 🤣   

Me with Harrison's Cave hard hat

 We’d just listened to about 15 minutes of history inside a mini cinema type place before boarding this cool little tram, then it was into the darkness to find some light. 😀  

Harrison's cave in the dark with the lighting and running water

Harrison's cave in the dark with the lighting and running water

Harrison's cave in the dark with the lighting and running water

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

 Wow what a ride! We had a fantastic trip and were very thankful that we’d not had to walk as it would’ve been impossible. But sitting back and relaxing in the tram was fantastic and the guide was knowledgable and we learned lots! 😀  

Bac at room 112…

Wow i could stay here for the next 40 years, lol! 🤣  

Sarah stood at room 112

Sarah sat at room 112

Me stood in room 112

Me and Sarah sat at 112

Me and Sarah gugging at room 112

 The sea and the sunset…

“Quick Steve there’s still time to play in the sea before the evening meal and sunset” Sarah said as she blasted past me and ran for the sea, lol! 🤣  ☀️  

Sarah on Dover beach

Palm trees sunset

 Wow what a sunset on another blessed day! Thanks so much for taking the Barbados underground with us on this monumental adventure. 😀 

To be continued… 

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☀️ #63 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #1” 🇧🇧 (2019)

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends!

Welcome to 🌴 Southern Palms 🌴…!

Yay, it’s also my birthday today! We’d managed to book this cruise and stay which covered both of our birthdays, and after Sarah’s ‘Unimog Birthday Blitz” i knew this would be a little more relaxed! After our amazing time here last year…We’d said if ever we had the chance to come back here we’d try and book room 112. Last year we had a side room which had no window at all but 112 faced directly south and looked out over the stupendous beach, palm trees and sea. I’d messaged Southern Palms to ask if they could hold the room for us…And they did! 😀 ☀️ 🌴

Walking into the room was simply breathtaking and we couldn’t believe the view from our room…And also from our balcony…  

Room 112 Southern Palms

Room 112 Southern Palms view from the door to the balcony with the beach and palm trees as the landscape

 Wow we have a week of this view, i think i’m going to have a hard time leaving the room, lol! 😀  

It didn’t take long for us to unpack and make this our new home, then we quickly walked up to the reception to see if we could book ourselves to get birthday braides. The staff were incredibly friendly and knew we’d be back! The on site salon didn’t open until the next day so we didn’t have long to cope with fluffy hair, lol. As we are the ‘Blind Sightseers’ we also booked an excursion to ‘Harrison’s Cave’ tomorrow as we missed doing it last year. 😀  

Before we had a walk along the gap to see if our favourite cafe was still there, it was time tfor Sarah to put her feet on the sand and have a paddle in the sea. As you could tell from the photos of our room (above) it wouldn’t take long! 🤣   

Sarah and the Bajan blast…  

Sarah running on Barbados beach

Sarah playing Bajan blast

Sarah playing Bajan blast

Sarah playing Bajan blast

Sarah playing Bajan blast

Sarah playing Bajan blast

My birthday treat…

I know it looks like Sarah is having all of the fun, but for me to watch (well listen) to Sarah laughing, playing and totally enjoying herself without having her insulin pump attached is one of my best feelings, and it’s certainly a birthday treat for me…Well one of them as i’m hoping they still do the ‘Southern Burger’ tonight. 😀  

Palm tree taken from our balcony

Southern Palms with me stood on our balcony on the bottom right of the hotel

The Gap…

Right…All of that standing still and taking photos of my lovely wife Sarah whilst being burnt to a crisp is really thirsty work, so let’s go and see if the ‘Sharkey’s Tropical Cafe’ is still there.  

Sharkeys cafe in Barbados

Sharkey s Tropical Cafe Sign

Sarah sat with an iced coffee in the very colourful Sharkey's Tropical Cafe

 Southern Palms…

IMG 1851

After a couple of hours on the gap it wasn’t long before the sunset would be blessing us with it’s slow descent, then it’d be time for the evening meal until we could sit on our balcony to watch the sun completely disappear! We did this every night and it was stunning every time! 😀  

 Evening meal…

DING DING DING DING” Although it was my birthday Sarah’s ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ bell went off…It was for the best ‘Shrimp Cocktail’ she’d ever tasted, anywhere! 😀  

The shrimp cocktail

 And guess what?? They still did the ‘Southern Burger’ and it was consistently stupendous for the whole week. As you know this burger hit the top of my leaderboard last year so no bell this year for me…Just the amazing taste! 🍔  😀 Oh and it’s my birthday too…What a time to have the ‘Magnum Opus’ of the southern palms.! 😀  

Southern burger

Fruit

 Sunset and the rocks…

Now it was time for us to walk off some of that delicious food, and take a lovely slow walk along the Barbados beach until we reach the rocks for the sunset. We needed to get back to our room before the sun set totally as it would be too dark and our eyes really don’t work in the dark! We had just enough time for Sarah to say hello to you guys!  

Sarah sunset

sunset behind lots of palm trees

 The balcony of 112…

I asked Sarah if she could take a monumental birthday panorama for me from the balcony… 

Room 112 balcony view

 After i thanked her and we were sitting down enjoying the sunset, saying hello to the other guests as they walked by Sarah said “Wait a minute…I’ve never seen that before?!” She stood up looking to the right and then to the left. “Steve, the moon is shining over there on the left, and the sun is shining over there on the right, let me try and get them both in a panorama”. 

Panorama with a sunet in the far right and the moon on the far left

 Wow…I have never seen anything like this before! Have you? 🤔

Thanks for joining us today, and What a way to end my birthday and begin our Barbados blessing. 

To be continued… 

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☀️ #62 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Castries, St. Lucia” 🇱🇨 (2019)

St Lucia logo

🇱🇨 Good morning friends!

Sarah & i booked a Catamaran cruise to the Pitons…What a stunning trip. Last year we had booked a trip through the multiple layers of the rain forest (read post) so we thought we would see Saint Lucia by sea this time. Let’s see what we’ll be doing…

Pitons Cruise…

Beaches. Mountains. Rainforests. Volcanoes. Springs. When it comes to natural beauties, St Lucia’s in a league of its own. This trip takes you on a tour of some of the island’s best bits and, because they can all be seen from the sea, you’ll get to enjoy them from the comfort of a catamaran.

Setting off from Castries, you’ll glide along the island’s west coast, passing mangrove-lined beaches and lush forests. And then it’s time for the star of the show. As you enter Soufriere bay, the twin mountains of Petit and Gros Piton will rise out of the sea before you. Topping over 2,000 feet each, their summits have only been tackled by the most daring of climbers. We’ll circle the bay for some great photo opportunities, before heading to one of the scenic bays along the coast. We’ll make a quick stop, and you’ll be served snacks, drinks and get the chance to dive into the Caribbean Sea for a quick swim. Last up is Marigot, the most famous cove on the island. This was a favourite battleground of the English and French back in the 18th century and, more recently, was the setting of Dr Doolittle.

The catamaran…

Once again we din’t need a coach as the catamaran was waiting for us at the dock. My main concern was actually getting on board the catamaran. I had movies playing in my mind of the catamarans from ‘JAWS’ an it’d be hard to climb on board, never mind staying on top of the net thingy in the centre as it bobbed up and down. “Wow…That’s massive i didn’t know they made catamarans that big” i said as Sarah expertly guided me (step by step) on board . Now that was over and i was sat down i could simply enjoy the fantastic ride! 😀  

The Pitons…

The guide was great and told us all about the Pitons (see Sarah’s video above) as we just marvelled at this beautiful creation. 😲

View from our boat of the Pitons

View from our boat of the Pitons with Sarah in front

View from our boat of the Pitons

View from our boat of the Pitons

view of the Pitons from our boat

view of the Pitons from our boat

Summer bay…

Beutiful bay with our boat anchored

Upon leaving the Pitons we travelled to a small bay and stopped for about 30 minutes. The guide told us we could have a swim in the water if we wanted, Sarah said to me “Don’t even think about it! You’re staying right here as you’re banned from swimming” We all know why this is!! (read Martinique drama post)

Beautiful bay from our boat

The guide also told us the locals would paddle up to the catamaran and try and sell you small crafts they’ve made themselves. This was a main income for the people so don’t worry we are not being invaded, lol! 😀  

view of our Beautiful bay from our boat

We love getting a small souvenir from each place we’ve visited, so when he paddled to us we said “Wow we don’t even have to move and risk tripping up, the crafts are coming to us”. 😀  

Sarah bought a small turtle ‘Timothy The Turtle’ that lives on our sideboard.

Timothy the turtle

view of our Beautiful bay from our boat

We had a few more minutes to soak up more memories of this lovely bay, when a nice lady asked if we wanted a photo together?!

Me and Sarah on the boat

Me and Sarah on the boat

Leaving the bay…

Leaving the bay we had a nice long ride back to the dock…But just when you’d thought you’d finished, Sarah (having already blessed us with a video) surprised us with a stupendous panorama! 😀  

Sarah panorama of the beautful coast line

Back at the dock…☀️  🌧

As we were here a year ago on the ‘Bread fruit tasting mission’ we knew exactly where to go. This is great when you’re blind as it instantly familiarises you with your environment. We were walking along the right hand side of the road when Sarah spotted a very colourful market stall up one of the side streets. “They might have a Caribbean shirt for you” Sarah said as we stopped in front of the stall to have a look. Although it was overcast the sun was burning as we tried to edge our way closer to the small shade of the stall.

Sarah found a shirt with both her favourite colours but it was tiny as it was for a small child. We said hello to the lady and she told us her daughter was living in England and we got chatting further.

After about 5 minutes…

“Do you have a shirt in his size” Sarah said whilst pointing at me. The lady started looking around her stall and said “Wait a minute, i think i can get one of those. Do you have time to wait here while i’ll go up the road and see?” “Yes of course we’ll wait here” Sarah said as she was stood like she owned the stall behind all of the products. Sarah said as the lady disappeared up the road “Steve, it looks like i own my very own Caribbean shirt stall in Saint Lucia!” 😀 I still can’t believe i didn’t take a photo of this monumental moment! The lady returned after about 10 minutes, nobody came to the stall but the lady did bring back the right size, and it is now Sarah’s favourite shirt! 

Saint Lucia Caribbean Shirt

We walked away from the lovely lady with huge smiles on our faces, my smile as i had a fantastic new shirt and Sarah’s as she’d owned a stall in Saint Lucia for 10 minutes. Then it starts raining but it was nothing like the rain in England. The mixture of the burning hot sun and the slight cooling rain gave it a soothing feeling. “It’s liquid sunshine” i heard a few people saying as we walked our familiar route back to the ship after looking at all of the stalls. Yes ‘Liquid sunshine’ is exactly what it felt like! 😀  

On the ship…

We couldn’t believe it was the last day of the cruise, although we’ve had a fantastic adventure and we’ve still got a week stay on Barbados! We had another excellent evening meal and decided to have a last walk around the ship. Sarah had seen these circular seats earlier on the cruse but they were always taken, so she jumped on the cushions and said “Steve take a photo of me on my favourite seats”. 😀  

Sarah relaxing on a cool circle seat thingy

Walking around even further Sarah captured a lovely photo of the dock and the island all lit up at night. This was a perfect image to end our cruise in Saint Lucia, as the sun would rise upon our next week in Barbados! ☀️ 🇧🇧 😀  

Island by night

Thanks for joining us on our trip to Saint Lucia! Have you been here before? 🤔 

To be continued…

☀️ #61 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “St. George’s, Grenada” 🇬🇩 (2019)

Grenada logo

Good morning friends!

One of my first attempts at a Time-Lapse video…

The Marella Explorer

Yay, Safe On The Dock….🛳

Upon leaving the ship it felt like coming home, as we knew exactly where we needed to go as we were here last year (read post). Once we found and boarded our coach ready for our excursion to the nutmeg factory, then on to the chocolate factory, we settled back and enjoyed the view. We had visited the Nutmeg factory last year as it’s Sarah’s fave place, as the incredible smell of nutmeg fills her with warm memories of her Nan Peters when she used it in her legendary rice pudding. And now we knew what to expect…We could find and buy more nutmeg. 😀  

The nutmeg and chocolate factory tour…🚌

We were blessed once more with the stunning beauty of this place as we drove around the coast and the luscious hills. ☀️  

Island of Grenada from the sea

View of the bay of Grenada

The Nutmeg Factory….

Inside Nutmeg factory

Inside nutmeg factory 2

Inside nutmeg factory 3

Inside nutmeg factory 4

This time we were the first ones in the gift shop and ready to get some of the amazing nutmeg that fills all kinds of products. Sarah bought an omnifarious mixture of products including…Aloe Vera oils etc (wow nutmeg and aloe vera)…She had missed getting some of this last year when we had a similar tour. We really didn’t think we’d see this place again (never mind the first time) and it was such a blessing to be here…Aawww that smell! 😀  

The Chocolate Factory…

This was very educational and interesting. The local guide took us around the beautiful grounds and factory showing us different plants they grow, including the cocoa trees and how they harvest the beans, dry and ferment the seeds, crack the shells to emit the cocoa nibs (the actual cocoa their chocolate is made with)…Watch video below. 🍫 😀  

IMG 4915

Sorry but didn’t get any photos or videos of the factory. But the local Mango & Lemon punch was amazing and refreshing…But that was a shadow of the ginger & dark chocolate bar! I saved it until we were back in the UK but i now wished i’d bought about 10 of them instead of 1, i think we need to go back next year!!   

Thanks for joining us on our trip to Grenada! Have you been here before? 🤔

To be continued… 

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☀️ #60 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Kralendijk, Bonaire” 🇧🇶 (2019)

Bonaire Logo

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!!!

Welcome to Bonaire on this fantastic occasion…I wonder what surprise is in store for Sarah?

Arawak Off-road Safari… 

This trip is all about getting to grips with Bonaire’s historic best bits. Clamber aboard one of the 4x4s, and in a couple of minutes you’ll be whizzing along the off-road trails.

First, you’ll climb into the Subi Rincon hills, where the convoy will stop at a set of time-worn Indian caves. Then, it’s on to one of the island’s only two towns – Rincon. Keep an eye out for the honey-yellow church tower as you pass through, then hop off the truck when you arrive at pretty Boca Onima. This rocky stretch of coastline is home to some of the best cave art in Bonaire, which gives you a real glimpse of the island’s past.

One of the best bits is saved ‘til last – the beauty spot, Seru Largu. This cross-topped monument sits on a raised platform, setting you up with panoramic views of the capital, Kralendijk.

This shore excursion was a second choice as the first choice was sold out weeks before we’d even started our cruise. We were thinking about the 4×4 Land Rover trip we’d done in the Azores(see here) but couldn’t really get excited…As it was much hotter here and the thought of being crammed in the back of a Land Rover really wasn’t doing anything for us today. So what we thought was going to be an anticlimax…Turned out to be the best trip of the whole holiday! Oh and i’d just travelled in my best vehicle of all time! 😎 

The 1961 Yellow Unimog…

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

Awww friends….Let me introduce you to this Yellow, 1961 Unimog…..have you seen the tires, lol! It threw us around like crazy and i still can’t believe that he didn’t slow down for anything. There is no way a vehicle can hit rocks, huge pot holes, climb cracked hills and go around tight bends whilst travelling at break neck speed, it would have destroyed anything else and left them in a pile of spare parts, lol. I’m not sure they issued these with brake pedals! 😎

Subi Rincon hills… 

 Bertrand was our fantastic guide, and even better rally driver, lol. He said he had a PHD(pot hole dodger) although he didn’t dodge anything but drove straight over everything which made the ride so much fun…We were all hanging on for dear life as our bums were ‘getting air’ as they lifted off our seats!!   

We  climbed higher and higher into the Subi Rincon hills, where the amazing yellow Unimog stopped at a set of time-worn Indian caves. This place had lots of rocks to walk over and Bertrand told Sarah “You’re a fantastic guide” as she was expertly weaving me through the rocks! He told the group how the first explorers crawled through these caves in the pitch black, an inch at a time without knowing what was coming. 😨  

Cave in Bonaire

 Back on the Unimog…

Bertrand put the ladder in place at the rear of the Unimog so we could climb in and out. I was very careful the first time as i was feeling with my feet to find out how many (and where) the steps were. But after a few times i was flying off them! 😀   

He kept slowing down and then (klunck) slamming it into low gear as he climbed ludicrously steep and rocky slopes until we got to a high viewing point. Ikept forgetting it was Sarah’s birthday and not mine, lol! 

view overlooking the island of Bonaire

 The Bonaire Donkey’s… 

The Bonaire Donkeys

We were screaming down a dirt track when Bertrand hit the breaks. He jumped out of the Unimog and tried to call out to the Donkeys to see if they’d come over. He told us:

Donkeys have been around on Bonaire since the 17th century. The Spanish brought the donkeys for transportation. When modern vehicles became available like pushcarts, donkeys were redundant and left to their fate.

Bonaire is a predominantly rugged and arid island, making it difficult for the donkeys to survive. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of donkeys on Bonaire present. Because the donkeys can move freely on the island this regularly leads to traffic accidents. 

Fauna ezel thumbThe donkeys live in small herds of about 20 animals and can be 40 years old. During the day they seek the shade of the trees. In the early morning or early evening the donkeys are usually active.

Since 1993 injured, sick and orphaned donkeys are cared in a shelter, called Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. Volunteers take care over 400 donkeys in a closed area. The shelter is open to visitors and is located south of the airport on the Kaya Ir.R. Statius van Eps. 

I heard “EEEYYOOORRREEE, HONK, HONK, HONK) and Bertrand said “Ok i hear you” to the donkeys and “They don’t want to say hello” to us as he climbed back into the Unimog and drove to our next stop…

Wait a minute…How did Sarah take a panorama whilst sat in the Unimog? “Nobody likes a show off, lol” 🤣  

Panorama of the lakes and saltflats with the wind turbines in the centre on the horison
 
After another blitzing ride we parked at the beauty spot, Seru Largu. We walked up quite a few steps to get to the top, but it was worth it!
 
Sarah & i overlooking the island of Bonaire
 
This beautiful place sits on a raised platform which set Sarah up with panoramic views of the capital, Kralendijk.
 
Panorama of the island of Bonaire

 Bertrand stopped in many interesting places, he even fed lizards by hand as we stood on a sandy park burning to a crisp.

We’d had a simply breathtaking trip on the fantastic yellow Unimog and we were really sad when we pulled back into the dock.

Back at the ship…🛳

After the incredible and mind bending ride in the Unimog, we quickly went on board and had an iced coffee before heading out into the town to see what goodies we could find.

It was absolutely scorching so the first place was a tiny local bar where Bertrand told us to try the locally (and traditionally)  brewed beer ‘Bonaire Blond’. Sarah sat me down at a small table and soon came back with a birthday celebration drink…The 2 bottles of ice cold Bonaire Blond. The bottles were soon empty as the room was just too hot and we needed to get back outside. 

Yay, we managed to buy another bauble for our Christmas tree…Oh and i bought another bright and colourful shirt that you’ll see at a later date! 🎄  😀   

The Evening Meal…

 As we walked into the usual evening restaurant we were guided to our seats. Sarah said “Steve i think we’ve sat somewhere we shouldn’t, it looks much posher here and even the napkins are red instead of white”. After a few more seconds Sarah continued “Oh have you done this? Have you booked me a surprise birthday meal? I bet you’ve done this!” I’d kept quiet so far wondering myself what had happened, and wondering if i should tell Sarah that i had booked a special table for her birthday even though i hadn’t, lol!
 
“No i havn’t booked anything special but i wish i had now” i said as the waiter brought Sarah the menu. Sarah used the built in magnifier on her iPhone to read the menu aloud “It’s the italian restaurant, you’re going to love this” “No way i thought you had to book for this one” i said wondering if they did Arancini (they did). 
 
The Italian restaurant was free like the main restaurant, the only difference is that you had to specify that you wanted to eat there which we hadn’t. We still think they knew it was Sarah’s birthday and sat us there without saying…But we still don’t know and it was a lovely surprise for Sarah’s birthday. 😀  
 
Then…

Profiteroles
 
 “DING, DING, DING, DING” YAY, It’s Sarah’s bell from her ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’. Moving straight to the top of her ‘Desserts’ leaderboard were the sugar free Profiteroles. Sarah said they tasted amazing and never seen any of these anywhere that were sugar free and didn’t mess her blood sugar up. We told the waiter how good they were and soon the chef came over and chatted to us as we thanked her too! 😀  
 
Now that was a fantastic ending to an even greater day! Happy Birthday Sarah!! ❤️

Sarah Happy Birthday Cards
 
 Thanks for joining us on this fantastic day on Bonaire! Have you been here before? Have you ever been in/on a Unimog? 🤔 
 

☀️ #59 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Willemstad, Curacao” 🇨🇼 (2019)

Curaçao Logo

 🇨🇼 Good morning friends!

 Welcome to day 2 of this ‘Tropical Delights’ cruse. Wow what a colourful place! Let’s see what shore excursion we’re doing today?! 😀  

Discover Curacao Island:

You’ll get to see two of the island’s biggest attractions on this tour, starting with a drive past the island’s salt flats and on to the Hato Caves. They were formed below sea-level and today they’re full of stalagmites and stalactites.

Next up, we’ll head over to the Chobolo Liqueur Factory, passing the Queen Juliana Bridge on the way. At the factory, you’ll get to see how the island’s famous Blue Curacao Liqueur is made. The drink is distilled from the dried peel of bitter oranges, and you’ll get to taste it for yourself.

Lastly, you’ll head back to the ship via downtown Willemstad – you can get dropped off if you’d rather stay and have a look around. 

Our ship in the dock looking down from the bridge with the surrounding town

On the coach…🚌

After we boarded the coach and met our tour guide, we drove up and over the dock and had a fantastic view of the ship!

Hato caves…☀️  

Leaving the air conditioned coach we walked into a wall of heat and made our way to the bottom of the steps for the Hato cave. After a steep, difficult and gruelling climb up lots of uneven and twisty steps, we finally made it (super sweaty) to the top which is the mouth of the cave. 💪🏼  

Upon entering the cave we were quickly ensconced with darkness. Our torch could not pierce this blackened world so we stopped, turned around and let other people squeeze past as we walked back out. We told the guide (who was waiting outside) that it was way too dark and dangerous for me and Sarah, so we made our way carefully back down the steps on a tactical withdrawal.

On the plus side, We found a fantastic small yellow cafe which served local coffee. We walked to a table with a beautiful view (and breeze) and it was so quiet with only a handful of locals sipping their drinks and chatting. 😀 We heard the group arriving and it wasn’t long before we were back in the coach. 

The Chobolo Liqueur Factory…🍹

bottles of Curacao hanging on a display wall

Sarah was excited to learn all about the origins of this drink and how it was made, as she and her friend Caroline used to like this drink back in the day! The guide also gave us little testers of each flavour to see which ones we liked and disliked, then we could buy the ones we wanted in the gift shop. Sarah bought a small 3 bottle selection to send to Caroline as she’s never had one from the actual place before and we thought she’d love it…She did! 😀 

Back at the ship…🛳

After a lovely iced coffee and quick refresh we thought we’d have a little walk into the town. It was pure midday burning sun and it seemed to take about half an hour just to walk the length of the ship. But we kept going and finally got to the stunning bridge, and knew we were heading in the right direction. 

Me stood on the right of a panorama with the boat in the centre and the colourful buildings behind me.

This was Sarah’s favourite place as she could gaze upon the vivid colours of the buildings that lined both sides of the dock.

View of Curacao colourful Buildings 1

View of Curacao sock 1

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The town…🌇

We had a little walk around this beautiful town to see what we could find, and first of all we found a clothes shop! “Ooohhh i wonder if they sell a caribbean shirt for me” i said as Sarah was trying to find the most colourful section. Sarah then pulled out a fantastic orange and black shirt with Curacao written all over it (see image lower down). “Yes i’ll have that one” i said with a huge smile on my face. Sarah also bought a top with Curacao on the front and we left the shop to find more souvenirs. We didn’t have to wait long as we found another bauble for our Christmas tree, yay! 🎄  

The sun was burning hot and microwaving my bones as i walked round like the ‘Ready Brek’ man causing a heat haze around me. So Sarah stopped at a small bar and got us a bottle of ice cold ‘Amstel’. 

Then…

“HOWDY!” Both Sarah and i spun around and faced the american man from yesterday as he continued “Oh Sarah, I love your trainers they’re so colourful” we said “Wow how amazing that you’re here, we thought we’d never see you again. How are you?” He said that his cruise ship had to wait a long time for the big bridge (one we’d just walked over) to lift and let us into the dock, so we arrived a lot later than you. Shortly after his wife turned up and we started chatting for a while, before saying “Maybe we’ll see you tomorrow? I can’t believe you’re here today”. 😀

After parting ways (again) we started on the long trek back, but we did get to walk back over the bridge with the colourful buildings, yay!  

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 On the ship…🛳 

We quickly nipped back to the cabin so i could put on my new shirt, then we walked out on deck as i wanted a photo in Curacao whilst wearing my new Curacao shirt. 😀   

Me stood in front tof the colourful Curacao buildings wearing a Curacao orange shirt

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Towel creature… 

 On our return to our centre front cabin we found our first towel art. Sarah thought is was a rabbit sniper…Please let us know what you think it is in the comments below?! 😎 

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 ⇧ Sarah on her tranquility seat ⇧ 

 And finally we were blessed with a beautiful sunset from our cabin window, wow what a day!

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Thanks for joining us at this wonderfully colourful place…Have you been here before? 

To be continued…

☀️ #58 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Oranjestad, Aruba” 🇦🇼 (2019)

Aruba Logo

🇦🇼 Good morning friends!

Thanks for joining me and Sarah on another Birthday celebration cruise and stay in the Caribbean, it’s great to have you guys along for the ride.

Marella Explorer (Apr 2019)…

Unbelievably this is the Blind Sightseers 6th cruse! We have never been on the Marella Explorer and Sarah had booked cabin 8001 which is dead centre and right at the front of the ship. She chose this cabin as she thought the views from the window would be fantastic….She’s right again! 😎 

All it was missing is a steering wheel, lol.

A view of a sunset from our cabin on the Marella Explorer looking directly forward and centre at the front of the ship

⇧ View from our cabin Nø 8001 ⇧ 

Sea logo

Sarah stood on the deck looking out to sea with a cargo ship in the far distance

Before getting to Aruba we had a day at sea. We were pleased with this as it gave us time to walk about 80,000 steps to find out where we could get Breakfast and the evening meal…But most of all find the Coffee Port to see if they made lovely strong coffee? They did! 😀  

 🇦🇼 Aruba…

As usual we had booked an excursion for each of the 5 islands we were visiting and todays excursion is: De Palm Island – Full Day, Aruba.

De Palm Island has got it all. Set adrift off the Aruban coastline, this private reef offers up pristine waters and a huge variety of exotic marine life, it’s a first-class spot for an underwater exploration. Your day will start off with a short boat trip over to the island, where the friendly staff will be waiting to meet you. After a short safety briefing, you’re ready to slip on your mask and wade into the warm, clear waters. Expect to meet friendly blue parrotfish and angelfish. Back on dry land, there’ll be time to sprawl out on the sand, take your seat for a banana boat ride or visit the island’s small waterpark before heading back to the ship. Don’t forget that a full buffet lunch and refreshments throughout the day will be included. 

On the dock…

Marella Explorer over the sea whilst stood on the dock

 We had a short walk around the dock until we arrived at the place to get the little fun boat. 

The little fun boat…

 Yay, it didn’t disappoint as it bobbed up and down spraying us in the face with nice cool sea water. 

Me bottom right with a view over the little boat filled with our group

De Palm Island…

My lovely wife Sarah

 ⇧ My lovely Wife Sarah catching some long awaited sunshine outside the cafe ⇧ 

When booking this shore excursion we had visions of excitement and adventure from the amazing Xel-Ha island in Mexico, unfortunately this wasn’t like that. This place was tiny in comparison which worked well for us not getting lost but there wasn’t much to do either. The weather was overcast and muggy, until the clouds parted and gave the sun chance to burn a hole through your flesh! 🔥 

I was well impressed by the solid wooden walkways that curled around the whole place, and i marvelled on how long it must have taken to construct this very accessible path. When i was fully sighted i worked as a panel beater in a bodyshop so i know a little about sanding etc. I was enjoying the smoothness of the wood when Sarah pulled me from my reverie…“Steve! Come on stop touching everything to see how smooth it is, lol!” 🤣  

We found the cafe first (funny how that happens) and use it as our starting reference point. We found a souvenir shop (we’ll be back) then the toilets (useful) and passing the bar and food court (Mmmmmm) we stumbled upon the sun bed area. Seeing that all of the sun beds were taken and we’d only just got here, we walked back to the cafe to see if they had iced coffee?! 😀  

Walking around the cafe looking at the assortment of food we suddenly heard an american man with a bright and cheery accent right behind us “HOWDY” Sarah and i turned to face him and he continued “I hope you don’t mind me interrupting? But i saw you have an insulin pump and wanted to ask about it” Sarah talked to him about how long she’d had Type 1 diabetes and how long she’d had the pump. The man was a chemist/Pharmacy person and his niece was debating whoever to get one or not? After Sarah talked about how much of a life saver the pump has been i think his niece will be getting one! The man (sorry forgot his name) had arrived on the ‘Celebrity Silhouette’ cruise ship that we’d noticed towering over ours in the dock, and it was also his first time in Aruba, then we finished up our coffees (no iced coffee, just a machine) and parted ways with the lovely man. 😀  

Me stood on the left in a orange caribbean shirt carrying a black backpack with views of palm island, Aruba in the background

 Yay…It was the first time in a while that i’d been able to wear the bright orange shirt i bought in Saint Kitts from our first cruise…Read all about it here.

We quickly figured out that this place was mainly for snorkelers, and that wasn’t an activity the ‘Blind Sightseers’ could do (yes even we have limits, lol). We managed to secure 2 sun bems ( nobody wanted them as they were in the shade) and as i sat down Sarah went to see if she could have a paddle in the sea?! Sarah quickly returned looking sad as they’re were rocks pretty much all the way round and lots of ‘Beware of Jellyfish’ signs. More clouds came and lowered the temperature so we walked into the food court place as it was lunchtime already.  

Yay…I was happy as they were mainly serving burger and chips (well french fries which are fake chips) and Sarah said they served salad too! 🤣 Once again (like the sun beds) every table was taken except the only one in the blistering sun no-one wanted…So we sat down and i placed my ‘Tactical sun hat’ on my frying head and enjoyed the burger, although i wasn’t sure which one of us was barbecued, lol!  🍔  ☀️  😀  

“HOWDY” the man said whilst walking past, i said to Sarah “I don’t have to ask who that was as his accent is fantastic” as we waved in his general direction. As Sarah and i can’t make eye contact it’s almost impossible to make friends or start a conversation unless people come over to us. So it felt great to make a friend here who always says “Howdy” when seeing us! 😀  

Sarah & i had a great time wondering around this beautiful little island and we found lots of little places until stumbling into….The gift shop! We love to find souvenirs that help us remember the amazing journeys/adventures we have conquered, and Sarah bought a fantastic t-shirt with “Biba Dushi” written on the front. Biba dushi in Aruba means “living the sweet life”. The language is actually called Papiamento and is one of Aruba’s two official languages spoken by many on the island. Papiamento is a Creole language derived from Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, and African languages.

Back at the ship…

After another fun ride on the little boat back to the ship, we had enough time to get changed, leave our bags and have a well needed iced-coffee before heading out to explore as much as we can without getting lost before the ship leaves.

We walked up one street and turned right before Sarah stopped and said “Wow, that lady is having her photo taken in front of that cool wall art/sign. Quick get one of me” “Ok my lovely, you’re wearing your new yellow Michael Kors t-shirt too, i hope i get everything in”. Sarah had bought this t-shirt for our holidays and couldn’t wait to put on the lovely bright colours and flowers.

Sarah stood on a surf board in her new yellow Michael Kors t-shirt.

 This is one of my fave photos as it shows Sarah’s smile is as bright as her t-shirt. 

Walking back to the ship we finally found a local Bauble maker…Her daughter makes and paints them herself. We bought a beautiful one which even had a cruise ship painted on with the Aruba island and even 2019 on it. 🎄 😀  

We’ve started collecting Christmas Tree Baubles since i started going abroad 5 years ago. We love unpacking them at Christmas and filling the tree with all  of the places we visit. We think its a lovely idea to fill the tree with our lives journeys and give thanks to God for everything.

Our wonderful new friends… 

Photo of 6 of us after a lovely evening meal. Sarah & i meeting 5 new friends

Sarah & i like to share a table with other passengers, mainly to take this opportunity to try and be sociable( being blind and trapped in your very small world & not having any eye contact it’s almost impossible to be sociable. or start conversations). So asking someone to read the menu for you because we are blind is a great ice breaker, lol! 

We met 2 lovely couples that night and you will hear a little more about them throughout this trip.

Thanks for joining us on our visit to Aruba! Have you been here before? 🤔

To be continued… 

⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day ➡

☀️ #57 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Blindman Tough Mudder” 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (2018)

The Blind Sightseers logo

Tough Mudder 5K

Good morning friends! 

Adie, Me & Josie at the start with smoke covering the landscape

⇧ From left: Adie, Me & Josie ⇧  

It was amazing to have my friend of nearly 30 years Adie Monk join our “Hard As Nails” team. I thought we’d sit and catch up over a coffee….I didn’t have this in mind, lol! 🤣  

Adie on my back as i carry him on the hero carry

 ⇧ Me carrying Adie on the “Hero Carry” ⇧ 

After jogging a little, we came to this…….

“At over 2 stories high, this is one of the most impressive obstacles in the UK. It is a giant A-shaped cargo net that you and your team will have to scramble up and over it. Working together will be the only way to overcome”.

Adie, me & Vini on the scramble net

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This was easily my favourite obstacle of the day as i could get my hands on it. Also it’s where my new trainers just hooked perfectly around the rope and it felt completely solid.

My blindness helped me out for once as i couldn’t see how high i was climbing and scrambling over the top. I heard a lot of fear from other people and a few of them froze going up and were glued to the spot. 😨

 Then….When getting to the bottom i hear “Yay, Whoop Whoop, Steve, Steve, Steve” and the sound of the plastic clapper hands were going crazy! What a feeling to know my lovely Wife Sarah and the Crazy Clappers team were cheering me all of the way, a great feeling! 😎

Me, Vini & Ashley cheering

 ⇧ Me, Vini & Ashley biggin’ up the cheering team ⇧ 

More jogging….Adie and the team were excellent at guiding me when jogging. Moving low hanging branches, telling me of tree roots and pulling me in the right direction. Adie said “I tried running with my eyes closed for a few steps…And there is no way i’d try any of this if i couldn’t see”.

Then….. 

“We’ve taken the 10′ Hero Walls and tilted them right at you. By removing the ability for you to climb up and over this wall, you will have to form a strategy with your team, work together and boost each other to the other side”.

Vini on top of the wall and me trying get my leg up to get grip for my pull up!

 ⇧ Ouch, my leg hasn’t bent that far in about 20 years, lol! ⇧ 

More Jogging…..

“This obstacle will have you crawling on the ground, pinned down by a giant cargo net. Working your way through this one will require lots of communication, teamwork and a strong will”.

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You’ve guessed it…..More jogging and then….

“The aim of the game is to get your team up and over this stack of super-sized hay bales. There is no right or wrong way so boost, shove or yank every last team member over the other side”.

Ashley helping Josie

⇧ Ashley helping Josie in a display of team work ⇧  

Next…….

“Can’t go through it, can’t go round it, you’ll have to go over it. Work together to boost and shimmy your teammates up and over this 10′ Tough Mudder staple”.

Ashley at the top of the wall

Josie on the top of the wall with all of us cheering at the bottom

Vini helping Josie at the top of the wall

Yep, more jogging…..

Time to get swinging. Grab on, hold tight, feel the momentum and swing yourself from ring to ring like a regular Tarzan. This obstacle will test your strength, coordination and flow. Hang in there, you got this”.

Really didn’t do well on this one…And i can’t really blame my sight for lack of strength, lol!

Me on the rings

After a little more jogging…… 

“One of the most teamwork-inducing obstacles in the Tough Mudder portfolio, this obstacle is difficult to complete alone. You’re going to have to work together to form a human pyramid and, like its namesake, climb up and over your fellow Mudders on the way to the top”.

As Vini was making everything look so easy…..It was great to look at the photos afterwards and see it wasn’t all too easy and he had to struggle too!! 💪🏼 🤣  

Vini & Ashley pulling Josie up the pyramid scheme

Vini, Ashley & me pulling Josie up the pyramid scheme

Pyramid scheme 1

Pyramid scheme 2

Pyramid scheme 3

AND NOW……MY NEMESIS!!!!

 “A true Tough Mudder legend. Everest will challenge participants to run up a quarter pipe to reach the summit. Can’t do it alone? Not to worry – teammates are encouraged to hang over the top to pull their new friends up and over” 

I knew this was going to be difficult for me as i needed to try it and get hands on before i could calculate what exactly i needed to do. Adie and Ashley kindly explained the process….But i knew i just had to do it before i would really know….As running at a half pipe wall thingy when blind is going to be interesting!

Here Goes Nothing…..

Me running at Everest

Me and Everest

I thought i’d feel the incline of the ramp and know roughly where i needed to jump and reach out for the top. But i took 1 step too many….And before i knew it the hard wall was in my face! 🤕 

“Awwww i was so close to reaching the ledge”.

Me crashing into Everest

After hitting the wall i dropped down hard on both knees, and as the obstacle was made of hardish tyre rubber, it simply burned and ripped the skin off both knees….”Wow that stings!”

Time to regroup and recalculate! I could sense the crowd went very quiet, and i heard a couple of people wonder how i’m going to get up there?

“Ok Steve, just do the same (not the face plant and flesh stripping knee thing) but with 1 step less”. Here i go again! 😲

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Yay!! Now that’s better, and once i had my talon trainers gripped to the ledge i was solid, now i  could just heave myself up. Wow i made it! 💪🏼 

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18JA3400⇧ Ashley showing how it should be done! ⇧😎  

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The team were fantastic and we all made it up. No-one was being left behind and you could just feel the team growing closer with each obstacle, it was amazing.

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Now the final obstacle was overcome, it was time for a short jog to the finish line,Yay!

The Finish Line & The Headbands……

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Yay…..We did it!

 

With more than a week past….My knees are still scabbed and bruised…..But i’d like to give an Elephantine amount of thanks for everyone involved! 💪🏼

 

A photo of the hard as nails team with our headbands on and our arms around each other

 

⇧From left: Adie, Vini, Me, Josie & Ashley ⇧ 

 

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⇧ When words fail to say how thankful you are!!! ⇧ 

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⇧ Me, Adie & the headbands ⇧ 

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⇧ Adie, Vini & Me for a final photo ⇧ 

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Wow what a journey! 

First…I’d like to give a stupendous amount of thanks to my lovely Wife Sarah….The amount of love and encouragement was mind-blowing! And for the “Hard As Nails” team…..”“my muscles were fading but the sense of team work was overwhelming and no matter what…..We were getting over those obstacles”.💪🏼

Second… I’d like to give a monumental amount of thanks to the “Crazy Clappers” team. “When i’d finished an obstacle and was about to collapse……I’d hear the Cheering Team and you’d put a big grin on my face to remind me it was alright and to keep going! 😎

 Third…I’d like to give a gargantuan amount of thanks to all of you guys for your donations to “World Cancer Research Fund” and encouraging me (and the team) every step of the way! We passed (and smashed my target) the whopping £1,000. “Intention isn’t Prevention……And you all have helped me spread the good news with everyone so we can all be aware and empowered to start fighting the cancers we can prevent.”

Finally…A colossal amount of thanks to John and Sarah Atherton (from the Epsom Camera Club) for giving up your Saturday and taking the amazing photos of us all….We’ve got fantastic memories of the day which we simply wouldn’t have without you!

Thanks for cheering me on around the course! Have you done anything like this before? 🤔

Now i need a holiday! Wait a minute…The ‘Blind Sightseers’ havn’t finished yet, Yippeeee! 😀  

To be continued…

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☀️ #56 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #4” 🇧🇧 (2018)

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends!

This is our last full day before we have to fly home. 😭 We’re going to miss this view!  

Dover beach with a palm tree on the far right

Breakfast…

Me and Sarah at breakfast in Barbados

 We had our penultimate breakfast (yes sausages…I mean fruit) and i was wearing my new ‘Birthday’ t-shirt. Sarah had seen it in the little gift shop (on site) and knew she just had to get it for me. It says “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and has a surf board with a large bite mark out of the side, it also has Barbados written on it…Fantastic! Sarah was wearing her ‘World Cancer Research Fund’ t-shirt which is the charity she works for, and it’s the reason for my impending doom…Let me explain…

The Blindman Tough Mudder! 

People who know me?! know that I’ve been struggling and fighting all kinds of obstacles for the past 18 years since being registered blind…..BUT I‘ve never faced obstacles such as these.

I was recently challenged (strong-armed) to do the Tough Mudder 5K by Sarah’s nail tech/artist Ashley, who works at Ooh La La Hair & Beauty Salon. I chose the team name ‘HARD AS NAILS’ and I’ll be competing and raising funds for one of my favourite charities  -World Cancer Research Fund

My lovely wife Sarah works for World Cancer Research Fund and I was stopped in my tracks by one of the statistics she showed me – That 40% of cancer cases are preventable ….that’s around 147,000 cases each year in the UK alone. And that after not smoking eating a healthy diet, being more active and maintaining a healthy weight are the most important things you can do to reduce your cancer risk. This totally blew my mind!

“What??? There are cancers that I can prevent? I thought cancer was something that you just got!” 😱 

The light switched on for me and I thought “Why didn’t I know this? 

I want to share this good news with everyone so we can all be aware and empowered to start fighting the cancers we can prevent.” 💪🏼  

Since then I’ve been following World Cancer Research Funds recommendations and have never felt more healthy and energised (even though I’m on beta-blockers). Most of all I know I’m helping to not dig my own grave with my own knife and fork!

Can a blindman do a ‘Tough Mudder’…? (post coming tomorrow!)

Now it’s time to spend our last full day on the immensely packed beach! 🤣  ☀️  

Sarah stood on the beach in arbados

Sarah stood on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah cooling her feet in the sea at dover beach

 After our 1st wave (see what i did there, lol) of beach fun it was time for a cool down, but first i had to try and get Sarah off the beach. 🤣  

Sarah looking out to sea on dover beach

 Just as i’d gotten comfortable in the shade…”Steve let’s play some crazy golf! I bet you can’t beat me, lol!” Not another challenge! 💪🏼   

Me lay back on a sun bed chilling in the shade

 Putting (pun intended) the ‘crazy’ into crazy golf…

This hotel and beach club was just fantastic for us as there were no steps to trip us up. Walking out of our room…The main swimming pool was about 10 meters away, the restaurant/bar was about 20-30 meters away, and the crazy golf course was about 30 meters and just around the back of the hotel in the beautiful grounds. 😀  

Sarah taking a shot on a lighhouse crazy golf course at Southern palms in Barbados

 We were happy straight away as the course had a lighthouse obstacle…Sarah loves lighthouses and we stayed in the ‘Old Hunstanton Lighthouse’ for our honeymoon and then for the following 5 anniversaries! 😀 ❤️ 

We didn’t have the course to ourselves as there were also some children playing, this really helped us out when Sarah did her ‘Happy Gilmore’ impression and smashed the ball off the course and into a load of bushes! The children (who were a lot smaller kindly returned Sarah’s ball as they could fit under the bushes! 🤣  

Sarah crazy golf

Me looking towards the camera whilst taking a shot on the lighthouse crazy golf course at southern palm Barbados

We had no idea who’d won the game as we were having too much fun! 😀  

 Back to the beach…

As the hotel is great and accessible for us…The empty beach was fantastic. When you’re registered blind you hardly ever get to walk freely without millions of obstacles coming at you from every angle. So once Sarah plonked me by the sea and said it’s safe to just walk up and down and follow the edge of the sea, i got moving. It’s a freedom i never ever thought about when i was fully sighted but now i love these brief moments!

me walking along the beach with my feet in the shllow water

Me on the beach

Sarah volly ball

Sarah beach running

 After spending lots of time playing in the shallow water and being splashed (blasted) by the waves, we walked as far as we could along the bay (east), then we walked all the way back to Sarah’s favourite place…The rocks (west). You may recognise this place as the sunset location, as this is the place we always come to every night to capture a sunset. 😀  

Sarah on the rocks

Sarah on the rocks

Sarah on the rocks

 It was a beautiful place to stop and listen to the sound of the waves crashing and to sit  (or stand) in reverie. 

Well now that’s out of the way it’s time to try and catch up with Sarah. I really need to take more video clips as the auto focus isn’t fast enough to keep up with Sarah, lol! 

Sarah on the beach

Sarah running on the beach directly towards us

 Goodbye Sharkey’s…

After our scorching day on the beach we headed off to our local for an iced coffee! 😀   

Sharkey s Tropical Cafe Sign

  Farewell Barbados… 🇧🇧  

 We’ve had such an amazing time staying at the Southern Palms Beach Club, playing on Dover beach and enjoying Barbados! So i thought there would be no better way to leave this place as to let the beautiful Bajan sun set on our holiday. 😀 

Bajan Sunset

 To be continued… 

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☀️ #55 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #3” 🇧🇧 (2018)

Barbados logo

Good morning friends! Yay we’re still at the 🌴 Southern Palms 🌴 

Photo of the pink hotel taken from the beach with palm trees around

 Southern palms breakfast…

“Wow, how nice are these bananas with a little fresh orange juice drizzled over them!” i said as Sarah puts some fresh water melon next to me. “What a way to start the day, they taste so much fruitier and juicier than back home”. Sarah loved going over to the numerous tables and getting fresh fruit, nuts and best of all…The coconut bread! We then walked over to the cooked food table where we ordered our fresh omelettes.🍌🍊🍉🌰🥥

But then…

DING DING’ yes that’s the sound of my (not Sarah’s) ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ bell again. This time it was for the nicest sausages i’ve ever tasted. I have no idea what herbs and spices they used but it’s right up at number 1 for sausages! 😀  

After being dragged (kicking and screaming) away from the sausages, we had a monumental walk back to our room (about 30 meters) as Sarah wanted to go for a swim. The pool was fantastic and not very busy! 😀   

Sarah in the empty pool enjoying the sun

 There was always a cold fresh jug of water (with cucumber or lemon) available under an umbrella for guests to drink. It was a life saver for me who just boils to death the second i leave the air conditioned room. Being sat under an umbrella next to the pool, hearing Sarah splashing around and having fun with the view over the beach (see image below)…It wasn’t the worst place to be, lol! 🤣 ☀️   

view taken from my seat next to the swimming pool looking out onto the beach

Sitting still is not the usual Blind Sightseers way of doing things but suddenly  i heard an airplane pretty close to us. I just pointed my phone towards the noise and i didn’t expect to capture anything, but to my surprise i managed to get the plane. My ears must be well calibrated! 🤣  

photo of a airplane flying through a fluffy white cloud in the blue sky

 Sharkey’s Tropical Cafe…

 You may remember from my ‘Barbados #1‘ post that we’d had a walk up the ‘Gap’ from our hotel to explore. We walked past Sharkey’s and thought we’d try it another day…Well now we are here! 😀 We absolutely loved the incredibly bold and vivid colour scheme and it wasn’t long before we’d sat down and had our iced coffees. We chatted with the man (making the coffees) and when he found out Sarah was diabetic he said “Hey, i can make a special one for you! It’s good that you told me as nobody dies on my watch, lol! 🤣  

Just when i thought this place couldn’t get any brighter…Sarah hits me with that amazing smile!  

Sarah sat with an iced coffee in the very colourful Sharkey's Tropical Cafe

 The Birthday Bajan Braides…

As we were on a ‘Full Day Island Tour‘ yesterday, we didn’t have time to book Sarah into the on site hairdressers to get her birthday  braides. As you may know the wind here is quite strong (and cooling) so i already had my hair in braides, as it’s my birthday 4 days after Sarah’s. It was the same lady who’d done my braides and Sarah looked fantastic! 😀 ❤️ 

photo of Sarah and her new braides with her smiling in the mirror

Me on the left getting a kiss on the cheek from Sarah

 The evening…

Southern palms by night

We’d already had another lovely day but it was time for the evening meal. The hotel had a different band playing every few nights, and sitting in the restaurant next to the perfect postcard beach was stunning.  

Southern palms house band

 ‘DING DING DING DING’ Yes you know what this means…It’s my ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ and something has just smashed it’s way to the top, i wonder what it could be??

This one isn’t for the faint hearted but i don’t have enough hyperbole to do this justice! So i’ll just introduce you to my favourite burger of all time…The ‘Southern Burger’ This is hard to write about without drooling. 😀 I must confess that i ordered this on the first night and then for all 7 nights! Once you’ve hit the top there’s nowhere else to go! 😀 🍔   

The Southern Burger

 The sunset…

Thankfully we walked along the beach for the sunset before we had the evening meal. We always knew exactly what time to leave for our daily beach sunset walk as the ‘Bajan Whistling Frog’ would start singing at the same time every night! 😀 

🌴 The ’Southern Palms’ and Barbados was already our fave place and island and we’d not even been here a week. As the sun set on another fantastic day i wanted to leave you with this stunning view.  

me stood in front of the amazing sunset

 I’d like to say that i’d set up a tripod, set the self-timer and walked into position, But (you guessed it) Sarah ‘Top Trumped’ me again with this beautiful photo! 😀  

Thank you so much for taking time to join us in Barbados, but it’s still not over yet! 😀  

Have you ever been to Barbados? I’d love to hear about it! 

To be continued… 

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☀️ #54 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #2” 🇧🇧 (2018)

Barbados logo

Good morning friends! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!! 😀  

Wow what a view to start your Bajan Birthday whilst eating an amazing fresh and juicy breakfast. 🍍 🍌 🍉 🍊 🍇 🥓 We could’ve stayed here forever…But we have a fantastic birthday trip starting in a moment! 😀  

Palm tree on the left with an empty picture postcard view of the caribbean beach and sea

 The Barbados 360 Island Tour…

 The Barbados 360 Island Tour is a great way to see BarbadosYour incredible experience begins with pick-up at your hotel by a friendly local guide/driver.

Southern Palms…

We didn’t even have to leave the hotel as the coach pulled right up to the entrance. We were one of the first on the coach and it was nice to get the chance to see the other hotels as the driver stopped to pick the other people up.

Bridgetown…

You’ll be driven through our bustling capital city of Bridgetown which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here the architecture and charm of a bygone era merges with the beauty of a modern city.

The tour guide told us lots of history as we drove through Bridgetown. It looked (and sounded) fantastic and it’s a definite place for us to go and explore at a later date! 😀 

Speightstown…

And speaking of lovely architecture and colonial towns, your first stop is at Speightstown. Here you’ll enjoy seeing historic buildings and beautiful tropical beaches.

The tour guide kept talking about the PRC Bakery at our first stop, and said she was going in to get something for the trip. “OOohhhh maybe we could get a small cake for your birthday” “Yes let’s follow her and see what goodies they have?” As we walked in to the little bakery the guide said “Oh yes a lead pipe” as she picked one up and went to pay for it. “What’s a lead pipe?” i said to the guide “It’s a local cake but it can be used as a weapon too as it’s very heavy”. Sarah then passed me a bag with a cake in and said hold this “Wow this weighs about the same as a 16lb bowling ball” “everything is so heavy in here, nothing has fluffy cream like in England as it would melt instantly, lol”.

Sarah told the baker that we loved coconut and did e have anything with coconut in them? We only got 1 coconut slice as we didn’t know how sweet it was or even if we liked it?! 😀 

Me stood outsede the shop holding the coconut slice with my thumb sticking up and a big grin on my face!

 I never (ever) stop talking about this coconut slice as it’s the nicest cake i’ve ever tasted! The bell on the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ was destroyed as this flew to the top of the cakes list! If i’d have known i would’ve stayed in the bakery and continued to eat every single last one of them! But we only had that one and we’ve never been able to go back since this monumental occasion. Oh yes…This monumental occasion is my lovely wife Sarah’s birthday! 🤣 

me stood unwrapping the coconut slice in front of the sea and a wall

 “If i can just break this cake in to small pieces then i could hide it in my pockets. I’m sure this cake is too sweet for Sarah and she just won’t like it!” 🤣  

e stood looking towards the camera in front of the sea

“Nothing to see here, i hope i havn’t got crumbs all over me!” 🤣  

Me and Sarah cuddling with the sea behind us

A kind person from our group asked if we’d like a birthday photo together? I’m sure she must have noticed us fighting over the coconut slice, and thought she’d better break us up, lol! 🤣  

sea view over a sea wall

Oh yes, this beautiful place wasn’t just about the coconut slice…Who am i kidding? Yes it was! 🤣  

But it’s not my birthday and it was time for us to get back on the coach.

view of the town from the bus

Morgan Lewis Windmill…

Get your cameras ready for the stop at Cherry Tree Hill, our favourite look-out spot on the island! Sugar cane fields and the lush countryside lead down to a beautiful coastline.

Sarah with a beautiful smile

Me and Windmill

Me and Windmill

Sarah stood in front of the windmill moving her arms to the sails of the windmill

 Oh wow, it’s not my birthday but Sarah treated us all to a stunning stupendous panorama! 😲 

A beautiufl view of the bay with me on far left

Palm trees 

North point and Saint Lucy…

After a short drive we ended up at North Point, the most northern part of Barbados. Instead of flat sandy beaches this place had cliffs and big waves. But first Sarah had to have her photo taken with Saint Lucy. 😀   

Sarah and saint lucy

Sarah north point

Waves crashing on the cliffs at north point

 We walked inside the cafe/bar area as we had enough time for a cold drink, and then lots of noise and singing…It was the tour guide and a few of the staff singing Happy Birthday (stevie wonder style) bouncing and dancing around whilst carrying a bowl of flying fish with a sparkler sticking out of the top! It was a special moment for Sarah and we’ve never had anything like this before, a lovely thing for them to do. 😀  

It was an amazing place and totally different to the postcard beaches we’re used to at our hotel. ☀️

Bathsheba & the soup bowl… 

Next you travel along that coastline to the seaside village at Bathsheba, to see fascinating rock formations standing strong against the battering waves. You might also see surfers enjoying the white surf of the world famous “Soup Bowl”.

 Leaving the coach we realised why this was great for surfers…The wind was really strong and we had to be really careful not to get blown away!  

The soup bowl

The soup bowl

The soup bowl

The soup bowl

 Hey Sarah has tried to sneak another monumental panorama! 😀 

The soup bowl

Sarah at the soup bowl

Sarah at the soup bowl

 This place was beautiful and wild and also very different from the normal beaches. Just before we arrived at the next location our driver treated us by singing (with a great voice) “All of me” by John Legend. Every time we hear this song playing it takes us back to this stunning place! 😀  ☀️  

 Sunbury Plantation House… 

By now you might be feeling a bit hungry, so it’s off to Sunbury Plantation House, for a delicious local buffet lunch and a tour of this beautifully restored historic home.

Wow what a place packed with so much history. We had a short walk around looking at the antiques then sat down for a stunning buffet birthday lunch. We tried an omnifarious amount of local foods and it was so tasty! 😀  

View from the restaurant

 This was the view from the table…Stunning! 😀 

View from the restaurant

 We were sad to leave this place but the ‘Bajan Birthday Tour’ hasn’t ended yet. 

St. Johns Church…

After enjoying the beauty of nature it’s time to visit St. Johns Church, a gothic Church that boasts amazing views from its hilltop location. 

 This was the last stop on our epic tour of the island and it was beautiful.  

Church

Inside the church

Inside the church

 The day ends as you are safely returned to your hotel…

After a long day filled with excitement, surprises and beautiful scenery, the coach pulled up outside our hotel. We said our goodbyes and headed back to our room.

And then…

As we opened the door to our room we were greeted with this lovely surprise for Sarah’s birthday from the hotel staff.😀   

Champagne in a bucket for Sarah's birthday

 But the birthday isn’t over yet. Sarah then dragged me out on to the beach for a lovely walk before it gets too dark. 

Sarah with arms in the air on Dover beah Barbados

Palm tree on dover beach

Southern palms hotel from the beach with palm trees and me in the front

Sarah leaning on a palm tree

 Wait a minute…Is Sarah getting tired…Impossible! 🤣  

 Today was a perfect day and Sarah really enjoyed her bajan birthday. It’s been great having you guys with us to celebrate too. Have you enjoyed Barbados? 

To be continued… 

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☀️ #53 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #1” 🇧🇧 (2018)

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 Good morning friends! Yay we’re in Barbados! 😀  ☀️  

After our relaxing breakfast (as no excursion today) we had a couple of hours on the ship. We were excited not to be flying home as usual but to be staying a week on Barbados. We’ve never done a cruise and stay before so had no idea what to expect. But while we are waiting…How about a game of blind crazy golf? 😀   

Sarah playing crazy golf on the top deck of the ship

 We made sure there wasn’t many people playing as i take too long on a shot. I can’t see my feet never mind a golf ball, lol! To take a shot i bend down and place the ball on the floor while holding the club against it. Then slowly rise up whilst at the same time trying not to move the club or the ball at all. Hopefully the wind hasn’t blown my ball away from the club (happened a few times as i swung and just hit air) then i swing. If i make contact with the ball it’s a bonus, but sometimes i just fluke a hole in one! 😀 💪🏼  

Me playing crazy golf on the top deck of the ship

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 After a very hot round of crazy golf (i think Sarah won) and a farewell iced coffee it was time for us to leave this lovely ship. 

me stood on the dock next to the massive marella dicovery

 🌴 Southern Palms 🌴…

 After a short ride in a minibus with the driver telling us some great places to visit if we get the chance, we pulled up a the hotel. We were welcomed by a steel drum band and Sarah just had to get a video of this place! 😀  

Once we’d been shown around our room with lovely air conditioning, we unpacked our case and went for a little walk round which included the beach. ☀️ 😀 

Welcome to our perfect Caribbean postcard beach…

Palm tree on the left with an empty picture postcard view of the caribbean beach and sea

Me stood on the beach with my thumb up in Barbados

 We couldn’t believe how empty the beach was and had a walk up and down up to the limits of our hotel (the hotel was wider than we’d thought) and there were not many people on the beach at all. We walked around the whole bay (which wasn’t very big) and there were more people on the beach in front of the next hotel down, but hardly any in front of our hotel..Excellent. 😀  

Sarah shadow across the beach looking over the whole bay of Barbados

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The sunset photo…

As the Southern Palms faced directly south we headed right along the beach so i could find a lovely sunset photo, i knew the sunsets must be amazing here so wondered where we could stand to get one?! Wow i think this looks like the place! We couldn’t believe it as this place was about 50 meters from our hotel, and it was the end of the bay so we couldn’t walk any further anyway. Sarah quickly found her new ‘Happy Place’ on the top of the rocks. 😲

Sarah sat on rock in front of a beautiful Barbados sunset

Sarah sat on the rocks in front of the beautiful Bajan sunset

 It was beautiful and we stayed as long as we could before it got too dark for us. It had rocks, coastline and trees for composition and we were happy to come here for the next 7 days!  

The beautiful bajan sunset

 We knew instantly that this place was something special and we’d love it…And i havn’t even mentioned the evening meals yet!! Oh the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ is going to get busy! More about that on a later date. 😀 

The following day…

We had breakfast and evening meal included at the hotel, and wow what a breakfast (tell you later!) So when we’d filled our tanks we headed out of the hotel for a short walk. As the hotel was located on St Lawrence Gap we thought even if we get lost, someone would always know about the gap and take us home, good plan. 

St Lawrence Gap…

It was scorching hot (and then some) but there was a sprinkling of stalls, shops and cafe/bars along the gap, so i could stand underneath in the boiling hot shade, lol! Then walking further along the gap we found (which is now) our favourite and most colourful cafe…‘Sharkey’s Tropical Cafe”. 

Sharkeys cafe in Barbados

 We didn’t have time to stop at the moment as we were on exploration mode. The gap then turned 90˚ to the right until we hit the main road. We knew we could just turn back and get back the way we came, but we’d read about the legendary public buses and wanted to try one! 

The bus…

Wow, let me tell you a little about the bus! Remember how i was telling you about my favourite cars of all time back in Corsica, yes the insanely fast ‘Group B’ rally cars…Well when we’d walked along the main road a little, on some tiny paths that took some navigating…One of these blasted past (i enjoyed the breeze,lol). “Wow that was close” i said whilst trying to sort my shirt out as it had been blown violently around. Climbing on board one of these missiles (it was heading the way of another coffee shop i’d found on Facebook) the first thing that we noticed was the noise! It had a hugely loud raspy exhaust (like Group B cars) and it only accelerated hard and fast. There were no cruising and just hard braking for anyone else brave enough to get on. It took us about 7 seconds (maybe 10 minutes) before we could breathe again and the g-force came down to normal and we could step off.

It stopped right outside the ‘Victoria Coffee Shop’ and we were greeted with this fantastic sign as we walked in… 

Victoria coffee shop sign

 The coffee shop was beautiful and we had a lovely strong coffee with some local banana bread, Mmmmm.  😀  

Me stood outside the coffee shop with my thumb up

 After another dizzying blast on the rocket fuelled bus we managed to get back to the hotel after a good time exploring. Sarah said (i think she’d seen my hair after the bus ride) “Shall we book you in to get your hair braided as the hotel has it’s own hair salon?” My hair did look like a cross between ‘Aslan’ and ‘Worzel Gummidge’ so i was happy to get it out of the way for a whole week! 😀    

photo of my long hair taken by the lad who is about to braide them

photo of my braides from the back taken by the lady who did them

 The lady did a fantastic job and we had a great time chatting to her and learning more about Barbados.

Sarah’s Birthday in Barbados…

Tomorrow will be Sarah’s birthday and we’ve booked an excursion that will take us all around the island, showing us the different coastlines of this beautiful place. We’re really looking forward to it and can’t wait to share Sarah’s birthday with you in Barbados. 🇧🇧 😀    

To be continued…

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☀️ #52 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Grenada” 🇬🇩 (2018)

Grenada logo

 Good morning friends and welcome to Grenada! 😀  

 Sarah’s really looking forwards to Grenada and visiting the nutmeg factory, she loves nutmeg! It reminds her of lovely memories of her even lovelier nan, and the beautiful smell of her legendary rice pudding.

After yesterdays post (short story) i thought we’d have a lovely gentle coach ride…What can go wrong, lol! 🤣   

Where are we going today… 

All cinnamon, cloves and allspice, it’s little wonder Grenada’s known as the Caribbean’s Spice Island. But they’re not the only treats that grow here. There’s plenty of citrus, bananas and cocoa beans too. In fact, the menu of plants that call this place home reads like the ingredients for a Nigella recipe, so it’s easy to see how this place came to be one of the world’s leading spice suppliers.

You’ll wind through the rainforest to the Grand Etang Lake viewing point. A giant volcano crater filled to the brim with cobalt water, it’s certainly easy on the eye. And its volcano-top location makes it all the more breathtaking. From here, you’ll travel to Annandale Falls, a fairytale paradise of cascading water, hanging ferns and dainty orchids that’s like a secret Caribbean garden. Then it’s of to the nutmeg factory!

 On the dock…

Wow you can smell the lovely warm spices even from the dock! Oh and what a beautiful place! 😀 

Me on the dock with the sea behind me and the cliffs slowly drifting into the sea behind me

Island of Grenada from the sea

 We boarded our air conditioned coach and met our guide who was very knowledgable about the history of this incredible island. The first thing we noticed is just how green it was. Massive fruit and all kinds of food just grew along the roadside, it was just lush with life! It wasn’t long before we were getting off the coach for our first stop of the day.   

 Annandale Falls…

Sarah expertly guided me down steep paths and large steps to get down to the waterfall…And it was totally worth it. 😀  

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 Wow i really hoped you could feel how fresh and cool it was when stepping nearer this waterfall, i could’ve stayed there all day but it’s back to the coach. 

the bus rear whell is so close to a sheer drop off the cliff

Wait a minute…That’s a sheer drop! I kept asking if they wanted me to drive?? 🤣   

Grand Etang Lake viewing point and national park…

Every time we stepped off the coach we were greeted with the amazing smell of the spices, and walking through the national park there were a few stalls where we could finally buy some! 😀  

It was so beautiful up here. 

Beautiful green landscape of trees and rolling hills

Beautiful green landscape of trees and rolling hills

me in my blue chequed shirt in front of the green landscape and rolling hills

 Back on the coach… 

We were driving past many nutmeg trees when the coach slowed and came to a stop and the guide jumped out, picked something and jumped back on the coach. 

He held up the freshly picked spice and told us all about the nutmeg and it’s various uses, he was showing us their yellow apricot-sized fruits, that were often split open, showing the red mace covering the hard-shelled nut with the seed inside. He also told us that Grenada is one of the biggest producers of this spice in the world, after Indonesia from whose Banda islands this nut originates. 

The coach then pulled away and we had a beautiful scenic drive until we reached the nutmeg factory. 😀  

View of the bay of Grenada

The nutmeg factory…

 Wow…What a delight for the senses! The wonderful aroma ensconced us as we walked into the factory and it never let us go until we were back on the coach.

We were shown and told all about the process from farming to distribution around the world. The ladies were smiling (some even singing) which gave a lovely feel to the place. My favourite part was the snapping and popping of the used shells under our feet, it was so loud. The guide told us that not even the shells are wasted as locals put them on their paths and around their gardens so they know if someone (or something) is coming!

Inside Nutmeg factory

Inside nutmeg factory 2

Inside nutmeg factory 3

Inside nutmeg factory 4

This nutmeg factory industry is an essential part of the island economy and it’s gratifying to contribute in some small way to its continuance.

The shop… 

At the end we went to a souvenir shop, where nutmeg products are sold in all kinds of forms, from powder and jams to syrups. Most of our group were already on the coach and we only had a few minutes. It smelt amazing and we wanted to take everything. Sarah bought an incredible smelling cream then we rushed back on to the coach.

We later found out the Sarah had bought an insect repellent “No way i thought it was a moisturising cream…But it smells so amazing!” We used it lots but made sure to save some as it really does smell incredible! 😀 

Me in a bright yellow t-shirt waving my arms in the air in front of the cruise ship

Back on the ship…

I was happy for the refresh as the plaster on my leg (from yesterday) wouldn’t stick as i was so hot my legs felt they had custard drooling down them. 😀  

Well we’ve sadly made it (mostly intact)  to the end of another cruise (Seven Isles Cruise) but the adventure doesn’t stop here! This is the first week of our 2 week cruise and stay, so tomorrow we head for Barbados. We are staying for a week at ‘Southern Palms Beach Club’ and hope to meet with you there! 😀  

To be continued…  

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☀️ #51 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Martinique” 🇲🇶 (2018)

Martinique logo

 Bonjour mes amis (Good Morning My Friends) and welcome to Martinique! 

Sorry but Sarah & i took no photos at all on the very wet shore excursion. Yes even i was in my wet gear (last time ever) and we had no water proof cameras. But this is a must read and a gripping drama of an adventure we’ll never forget! 

Side note…Although it’s called a post it’s actually more like a short story. So settle back with your favourite beverage and enjoy the drama! 😨  

Let’s have a look and see where we are going… 

Kayaking Mangroves Martinique

Had your fill of sunbathing and swimming? This is one for the more active crowd. You’ll first travel to a nearby islet to pick up your kayaks. And with paddles at the ready, you’ll head off into the quiet mangroves. You’ll be in the water about 40 minutes, gliding under tropical canopies. And red and black mangrove trees sprout from the water. Guides are on hand to make sure you get the most out of the day and help you perfect your technique. Plus there’s plenty of time to chill with a fruit juice, or swim in the sea before taking the boat back to the ship.

On the dock and boarding the boat…

After another lovely breakfast we left the ship and joined our excursion guide on the dock. We stood waiting for a while and started talking to a lovely man and his grandson who he was taking on our trip. When the man knew i was registered blind and still kayaking and swimming he seemed to relax a little. Yay i can help without helping! 😀  

We were then guided onto a small fun boat, it had a totally flat and wide floor (like a dance floor) so was easy for me to get on. We took our seats around the edge of the boat and it pulled away bobbing across the sea. The cool sea breeze flowed briskly through the boat (which i enjoyed) and before long we were pulling up to a small islet. Sarah unplugged her insulin pump and stored it safe in our bags that we’d left on the boat, then we stepped off the boat and after a short lesson on kayaking we were ready to get in. 

The kayak and the mangroves…

 As this was the second time we’d tried kayaking (see 1st time in Mexico) we thought we knew what to expect. Sarah climbed in the back seat and i sat in the front waiting for the navigator (Sarah) to direct. The guide took us across the open sea and we swiftly pulled into line about half way up the group. We were kayaking across the open Caribbean sea and it was incredible, it’s such a lovely feeling being out in the open sea. Then we started to turn towards the mangroves. The group pulled in tight as we made our way along the stunning narrow waterway. 

Then…

I heard a commotion a head of me and a screaming/shouting. As we pulled nearer a woman had fallen in and her husband was still in the kayak trying to help her. The woman was freaking out and on the verge of hysterics and could not be reasoned with. As a side note…During our boat ride from the ship the guides showed the group huge photos (about A3) of the omnifarious types of creatures out there including huge crabs that lay on the floor and the sides of the mangroves, and i think the woman had those photos still etched in her mind. Sarah said the woman was up to her shoulders in water and couldn’t get back in to the kayak. Her paddle had hit the side of our kayak so we stopped to give her support and save her paddle for when she gets back in. 

 With the woman safely back in the kayak (she was fuming) the group continued along the amazing mangroves until we stopped for a rest before heading further along for about 20 minutes until it opened back out in to the Caribbean sea. Now we could test the top speed as we flew back to the little dock thingy. I wouldn’t say our kayaking always went smoothly and we have had a few crossed paddles along the way, but we had fun and made it back.

The boat and the short beach break…

 We sat back down on the boat (tired) after a fantastic kayak trip and the guide said “It’s about half an hour until we get to the beach, so relax and come and have a fresh cold drink at the bar area at the front of the boat. I said to Sarah “That was the Blind Sightseers 2nd kayak trip and we made it without sinking or capsizing again” “Yeah i know” Sarah said very slowly and quite slurry. At firs i thought she was just tired as it took a lot out of us with all of the paddling, and how could it be a hypo as she hasn’t had her pump attached? But i said “Are you ok?” If it is a hypo then i need to hear her speak so i know it is for definite. “I think i’m having a hypo?!” Sarah said as she looked at her pump to clarify the very low reading. I knew Sarah really wanted to enjoy the beach we were heading towards but this was going to be a big hypo! 

I jumped up and headed for the juice bar and asked for any full sugar orange juice if they had any? They did and Sarah was just with it enough to be able to drink it…Now we wait to see if the sugar kicks in or Sarah passes out. I do not enjoy this bit at all, but i just think about how Sarah must be feeling and stop complaining! The music on the boat was loud, the people were chatting away while i was trying to keep Sarah sat upright. About 15 minutes had passed and the juice wasn’t really working, so i got up and asked for another one. I knew Sarah really wanted to go on the beach and would be upset if she missed it, but i also knew she’d be absolutely freezing after this hypo…The T1D’s who read this will know exactly what i’m talking about, the bone chill that happens is like your bone themselves are frozen and the only way to get warm again is to have a hot bath. 

With about 5 minutes to go Sarah’s speech became much more normal again and she asked if we’d already been to the beach. “Not yet my love, we are about 5 minutes away but we can just stay on the boat where it’s safe” I said with my arm around Sarah trying to get her warm. “Now way it’s freezing on here and it’s in the shade, at least the beach will be in the sun and i can warm up” “Good thinking” i said as people were getting ready to leave the boat. “Hang on” i said as i heard a couple of people splash into the water “It sounds like we are not on land” “No we’re not, we are in a beautiful film set looking place but the beach island is a long way over there” The guide said we have about half an hour until the boat sounds it’s 1st of 2 horns then you have a few minutes to get back on board, the guide continued You can swim over to the  beach if you want to as we have permission to use the bar there etc but make sure you’re back on the boat shortly after the 1st horn blast”. Sarah said “The sea should be warmer than being trapped in here and lots of people are getting off so we can have a swim over to the island and get warm” “Sounds like a plan, let’s go”.

The sea and the island…

Sarah guided me to the back of the boat and there were steps leading down to the sea. “Steve you can sit on the bottom step and then push yourself off” “Which way is the beach?” Sarah pointed at a 90˚ angle to her right “Ok thanks if i can’t tread water i’ll head that way until i hit land”, here goes…

As i slid off the last step i went straight under and started to sink like a stone. At the same time salt water filled my lungs as i panicked and i seemed to stop breathing. I kicked my legs and frantically thrust my arms in a a swimming motion with little effect…At first. More water filled my mouth and lungs and finally my head poked out of the water. I think the panic of drowning was overtaking me as i couldn’t keep my head above water long enough to spit out all of the salt water. Treading water was out of the question but if i swam i seemed to stay on top. I only know 2 swimming strokes Breast stroke and doggy paddle (doggy paddle really wouldn’t work right now). I said to myself “Steve you’re not drowning here and leaving Sarah all on her own…Just swim to the beach” I knew if i stopped then i’d drown , and i knew roughly which way the beach is so i started the breast stroke (i’m really good at breast stroke). The faster i went the less likely i was going to drown so i kicked and pumped my arms as hard as i could!

I seemed to be swimming for quite a while and i couldn’t hear Sarah at all, i thought Sarah wouldn’t leave me out here alone? But maybe she is next to me or behind me as i can only hear the water forcing it’s way into my ears, either way i’ll meet up with her on the beach as she is an amazing swimmer”. There was no beach or island getting any closer and i tried looking and i thought i could see a shadow of something to my right (it was just blue everywhere else) so i steered myself towards the shadow and kept pumping my quickly tiring arms and legs.

“YES” i said whilst spitting out another mouthful of salt water “This looks like an island. OUCH” i said as my knee hit something sharp and hard, it stopped me dead and i kicked my legs around to try and get purchase on something. I was so thankful that i’d bought some ‘Hot Tuna’ beach shoes with heavy rubber tread, as all i could feel with my feet were lots of points like hundreds of tall pointy pyramids trying to pierce me. As i’m blind i’m really good at feeling with my feet to compensate my sight loss, and after a few attempts i managed to grip on with a foot either side of the huge point. I was crouched and wobbling as i tried to counter the waves hitting me constantly but i was glad of the rest. Looking straight ahead (where i thought the boat would be) i saw nothing but blue. “Wow no boat or people” i could also hear nothing or no-one. “How far have i swam” i thought whilst looking to my left, i was using and straining my very blurry sight to it’s limit but i could make out that this islet i was on continued further along. Realising i couldn’t stay hear (especially as my foot slipped and my left shin is stinging like mad) i pushed away. 

Finally after swimming around those nasty pointy things  i crawled my way onto the beach. “I thought they said there was a bar here” i thought whilst hearing nothing as i sat down to catch my breath and to think about what had just happened. I expected to hear Sarah calling me…But nothing. I looked out again straining until my eyes burned but couldn’t see a boat either. My left shin was really stinging and i knew it was bleeding and had salt water in it,…

Then…

As i was rubbing my hands to get the sand off i noticed my wedding ring was missing. My heart dropped through the floor so i checked again…Still missing. My first thought was “Sarah’s going to kill me” as i dropped to my knees to search around the sand with my sweeping hands. I couldn’t find it and knew it probably flew off in the mad panic from the boat, so i started walking up and down the beach at the sea edge and thought, “if people were looking for me at least they have a better chance of spotting me if i’m up and moving”. The beach was only about 50 meters long and i’d done a few lengths already and still heard nothing. I walked another time up and down the beach with the realisation of my predicament setting in. I was tired, i’d lost my wedding ring and i was lost on a Caribbean islet, i’d stopped walking at this point and was just looking out into the vast blue sea deep in prayer and thought when…

“Steve?” i looked a little to my right where i’d heard the noise and thought “That’s not Sarah’s voice” “Steve?” “Yes” i said as the man continued “Sarah (your wife) has sent me to guide you back to the boat” I was almost in tears of relief as i started to walk into the sea and join him. He continued “How much can you see?” “Very likktle” i said “Ok just follow my voice as i keep shouting at you”. I was back in the water and swimming along behind my navigator as we arrived at the rear of the boat. My mind was picturing me swimming into the propellers and slicing me into a thousand pieces just as i thought i’d made it, but i hit the bottom step instead. 😲

Here is a photo of my wedding ring that is still in Martinique! 

Wedding Rings

Climbing the last step and into Sarah’s arms she said “You’re not swimming ever again!” i replied “I do not disassociate myself from that statement!”. Sarah continued “Do you have any idea how terrified i was that i’d lost you?!

I heard you enter the water as i was looking down to make sure i didn’t trip on any of the tiny steps. A lady who was smashing around with an inflatable lilo and another person were totally distracting me with another inflatable they’d pulled out of nowhere, so when i’d looked up…You’d disappeared. I quickly looked to the right (towards the beach) to see if i could see anyone swimming in that direction, nothing. I looked straight ahead and still nothing. For some reason i looked out to the open sea, and just caught sight of your head bobbing up and down, The woman on the lilo kept chatting and chatting really loudly, people were behind me getting more drinks and some were trying to get into the water, it was really confusing. I tried asking the woman on the lilo to help but she wouldn’t leave her lilo, so i asked a man behind me for some help, and when i turned back around…You’d vanished again! More time passed and my thoughts didn’t get any happier. I was still freezing and feeling a little sick after the hypo, i just wanted you back and to get a hot shower back in the cabin to get rid of this bone chill.

I continued asking for help when this kind man came over to me and i told him how you were heading for the beach, but i’d seen you in the opposite direction heading out to sea! The man looked out to sea and couldn’t see you anywhere, then he looked towards the beach and couldn’t see you there either. A few more minutes went by and the man said “There he is!” “Where?” Sarah said “He’s on the beach walking up and down the beach” “Is he ok?” “he looks fine” “Steve is registered blind and won’t be able to see the boat never mind how he’s going to get back. Could you please go and guide him back?” I was so relieved when the man left to go and get you…And now here you are! You’re banned from ever swimming again and you’re never leaving my sight! 😡 

Safe on the boat…

We’d sat back down when i was about to tell Sarah about losing my wedding ring when she said “What have you done to your leg?” I lifted my throbbing leg up for her to see “Wow it’s cut and bleeding” “I know it’s stinging like mad” “Ibet it is, how did you do that?” I thought about a reply but it would be too long, and i’ll tell her the details later “I’ve got even worse news than my leg” “What could be worse than this?” I held up my hand and said “My wedding ring has gone, it must’ve come off in my blind panic (pun intended)”. I was expecting a drilling but got a hug instead “That’s ok i’m just glad to have you back” ❤️

Back on the ship…

Me and the marella discovery

⇧ Photo of the Marella Discovery from a later date ⇧   

After a refresh and a very strong coffee, we went to reception and asked if a nurse could take a quick look at my leg to make sure it wasn’t infected. We went down to the hospital deck and had my massive gaping wound (large cut) cleaned and got lots of large plasters to keep it covered for a couple of days. 😀  

We decided not to get dressed up for the evening meal and just go up and get a snack from the buffet restaurant. We were just walking in when…

The man,  his wife and his grandson walked up to us. The man was really limping as he approached and Sarah said “Oh no what happened? Did you enjoy the adventure today?” The grandson said he’d really enjoyed himself and the grandad said “I stepped onto a sea urchin and it pierced straight through my sea shoes and deep into my foot”. Sarah & i made the noise together “Aawwwww” “Yes it really hut and when i stepped backwards after the first sting, i stepped onto another one but luckily it didn’t get me as bad! Did you 2 enjoy the day?” Sarah relayed the story of what happened and showed him my leg. As we said our goodbyes i was in need of a chip butty! 😀  

As we sat down and chatted about the usual Blind Sightseers adventure i said “I didn’t know i could swim that fast?!” “Don’t start” Sarah said with a smile lighting up her face. 😀  

Thank you…

If you are still reading this and can’t quite believe what ’The Blind Sightseers’  can do on a simple shore excursion…Then we thank you profusely for coming along for the ride! This is still an abridged version but i know i can’t go on and on and on like Sarah says i do, lol! 🤣    

We’ll see you in the morning for another (hopefully less dramatic) shore excursion.

To be continued…

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God’s jewels are often found buried in the worst filth!

Grace logo

God’s jewels are often found buried in the worst filth!

(James Smith, “Exhortation and Encouragement” 1859)

“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10 

What kind of a city was it?
Corinth was one of the most worldly and immoral cities of the east. Here was the temple of Venus, with its degrading and disgraceful services.

What kind of people were they?
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers norswindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God!” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. 
This is the apostle’s own reply to the question.

Observe: 

  1. The Lord’s people are often found in the most unlikely places! Who would have expected to find God’s chosen people–a multitude of them–in a place so foul, so polluted, so degraded, as Corinth? 
God’s jewels
 are often found buried in the worst filth!

   2. The Lord chooses the most unlikely people! Who would ever have thought that the Lord would have chosen the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers–to be saved? But He did! 
God’s people
 are picked off the foulest dunghills!


O the wonders of sovereign grace!

☀️ #50 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Saint Lucia” 🇱🇨 (2018)

Saint Lucia logo

Good morning friends! We are in Saint Lucia! 😀 ☀️ 🌴 

Wow…It’s our 50th day of our trip. I can’t believe we’ve hit this milestone already time is cruising by and i hope you’re still enjoying this adventure?! 😀  

What a day yesterday! As we had to focus on not falling to our death we didn’t get to see much of the rain forest canopy…So we thought we’d book this excursion today at a more relaxing pace. Wait a minute…Did i say relaxing? This can’t be right we’re ‘The Blind Sightseers’ lol. 🤣  

Aerial Tram: Scenic Tour

Soar above a tropical rainforest reserve on this sky-high tour. Hop on to an open-air gondola and rise up through Castries Waterworks Reserve, where you’ll have a bird’s eye view over the rainforest. With towering trees, tangled vines, and brightly coloured hummingbirds, this exotic jungle is Mother Nature at her best. As you glide through the canopy, your experienced guide will share their knowledge, point out unusual plant life, and identify the calls of local birds.

Once your feet are back on the ground, your guide will take you on a short walk through the forest, so remember to wear your walking boots. And, of course, you’ll need a camera to capture the colourful sights around you.

 On the coach…

We sat at the front of the coach (thanks excursion team) and even though our muscles were hurting from yesterdays zip lining and from walking up a million steps through the rain forest, we sat back and listened to the guide tell us about Saint Lucia. I was excited as our excursion involves an arial tram…Could i call it a cable car? If so then it’s the 4th cable car of our lockdown memory trip! 

We heard a lot of people worrying about heights and if the arial tram would be safe. This is where another of our blind perks help us. As both me and Sarah have severe sight problems we don’t know how high we are, which works great as i’m scared of heights…And it worked brilliantly yesterday walking and zip lining above the rain forest canopy! So it should work well today too! 🤣  

 The arial tram… 

Me waiting for the Gondela

 Standing at the start of the arial tram circuit we had a few minutes to wait for our turn to begin. 

Me and Sarah sat in the arial tram

 Yay we are on board and ready to go! Unfortunately we didn’t take many photos as we simply didn’t want to drop our phones out of the arial tram and onto the floor miles below us. 

close side profile of my face as Sarah is sat right next to me and the rain forest behind me

Hey…That’s a sneaky shot, lol! 🤣   

We continued to travel through the multiple layers of the rainforest in our open air ride, we travelled all the way from the forest floor and all the way to the top (and beyond) of the canopy!

Our new car was sturdy and felt very safe, and our guide continued to tell us about the incredible trees and plants we were passing, then as we climbed a little higher the leaves of the trees began to overshadow us and block our view…

And then…

I’m not sure what just happened? But it seems like we’ve just travelled through a classic literature portal in our arial tram which has just trasformed into a ‘travel box’ and we seem to be travelling through ‘Brobdingnag’ as we glide through the pages of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ part 2.

This is my roundabout way of saying the leaves were enormous! I’ve never seen leaves this big ever, 1 leaf easily covered the whole tram and was so wide it was beyond belief!

We were coming up to the half way point where the tram turns around to make the return trip down, the breeze up here was lovely and there is a nice view of the northern part of the island and both oceans come into view…If you could see them, lol! 😀  

Sat looking from the arial tram looking over the top of the rain forest

view over the huge rain forest

Very close up of me looking near the camera with the rain forest behind me

 The rain forest floor…

After the tram ride, our guide took us on a 20 minute walk and continued our education of the fascinating trees and beautifully vivid flowers on the forest floor. The path was treacherous and laced with tree roots, rocks and hidden holes, so when i’d engaged my knees into full suspension mode i was ready to go! The combination of my warrior wife and my super duper sandals protected me once again…Thank you Sarah! ❤️ 

A complimentary (and very tasty) glass of non alcoholic punch  was welcoming us upon our return from the all terrain walk. There is a nice gift shop with locally made sauces and spices. We bought the photo of me and Sarah sitting in the tram from here (2nd photo in this post) which is a lovely memory for us. 😀

Back at the dock…

Right we were on a mission to try and find (and eat) some Breadfruit. This was our 3rd cruise in the Caribbean (5th in total) and the guides always talked about the Breadfruit but we’d never got the chance to eat it. But today is the day. We walked out of the dock and we were instantly greeted by a street with shops, market stalls and men trying to arrest you (i mean sell you things). Our plan (so we didn’t get lost) was to walk up the right hand side of the street as far as we could go, then return by crossing the road and walking back down to the ship…Sound simple enough. 😀  

We didn’t have to walk far before we stumbled upon a fruit and veg stall, and after a while of Sarah looking at each vegetable she said “Steve i don’t think i recognise any of the vegetables at all?!” The man on the stall asked if we needed any help? Sarah said “Your vegetables are amazing and look nothing like anything back in England” “Thank you and that is Dasheen you were just looking at, it’s local to Saint Lucia” he said as Sarah continued “We are looking for some Breadfruit to try, is there anywhere here we can try some? We’d also like to try Dasheen too?!” “If you go over the road into the indoor market there is a place who cooks it all day” “Wow thanks very much” Sarah said and we crossed the road.

Breadfruit & Dasheen… 

We found the little cooking place and it had a few tables outside. The lady said “ Hi Can i help you?” Sarah said “We’re looking to try some Breadfruit and Dasheen if we can pleas?” “What would you like them with?” “Just some Breadfruit and Dasheen on their own please” “What with?” “It’s ok we’d just like to try them to see what they taste like, so on their own please”. The woman getting a little impatient said “You have to have them with something they’ll be too dry on their own” I thought it wouldn’t be too dry for me as i can eat dry toast without butter for some reason, but i digress. Sarah asked “What would you have with them as we can’t see well enough to see your menu?” “I’ll make it nice for you, take a seat”. 

The lady placed the food down in front of us and we got stuck in. Sarah said “Wow it looks like Tipex” We both tried some Breadfuit and decided it tasted of absolutely nothing! I said “I didn’t think something could taste of nothing?!”  After we both decided it was used as a filler like a potato we started on the Dasheen. “Wow, now that’s nice” we both said “it’s so herby and really tasty we should’ve just had a plate of this” i said “Yeah but there is no way i’m asking the lady, lol!” 😀  

The bird feeder…

We left the indoor market discussing Breadfruit and Dasheen as we walked back towards the ship, when a really funny and cool guy walked over to us. He said with his thick Caribbean accent  “Would you like a bird feeder?” Sarah said “No thanks” we had only slowed our pace down a little ⇧This bird feeder is the one you want” “We’re good thank you we don’t need a bird feeder” The man had walked in front of us now so we stopped “I made this bird feeder and it’s just $30 US” “£30 dollars, we are fine thanks and that’s too much” “ok, $25” the man said as he was making us laugh with his humour “That’s still too much and we don’t have room in our suitcases anyway for a bird feeder” The man made a small laughing sound and said “Watch this…You see this is a special bird feeder” he continued as he pulled a couple of wooden bits off the bird feeder and made it smaller “This is a special travel bird feeder as it comes apart” Oh man i thought he’s got us on that one, lol. Sarah continued “It’s still too much for us” Afterr another 20 minutes chatting with this man (we really liked him he had such a cool character) Sarah bought the bird feeder for $15. 😀 

The bird feeder

Back on the ship…

 With another relaxing strong iced coffee we chatted about the fantastic day we’d had and the experiences we’ve shared, and it wasn’t long before we had the photo shoot and the lovely evening meal.

The food photo quiz…

I wonder if you guys could help us? We’ve taken this photo of a fantastic plate of food but we have no idea what it is? And we can’t remember? Could you have a go at describing it for us? We just know we must have loved it as it inspired a photo. 😀   

IMG 0352

 The photo shoot…

We had such fun messing around (i mean being serious) during the shoot. The photographer was great and kept talking so i could have some idea where they were standing. Now we have even more photos together that we’ll cherish. ❤️ 😀   

Sarah and me touching foreheads

Me and Sarah both looking at the camera

Sarah * i looking at each other and Sarah has her hand on my cheek

Sarah with arms aound my shoulders

Sarah with arms aound my shoulders

Photo of me in a suit and a purple spooty bow tie

Sarah with head laying on her arms and a huge smile

 We’ve had another memorable day, isn’t Saint Lucia beautiful? Have you got any rain forest experiences? 

Thank you once again it’s such a blessing to have you guys join us on our adventures. 😀  

But the drama, fun and exploration hasn’t stopped yet!

To be continued… 

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☀️ Start From #1 🏝 Or join the adventure at:

☀️ #49 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Antigua” 🇦🇬 (2018)

Antigua logo

 Good morning friends…Wow we’re in Antigua! 😀 ☀️  

Well the trip is still going ahead (i knew they wouldn’t cancel this one) but let’s remind ourselves what we’re doing today?!  

Antigua Zip Line Canopy Adventure:

Hear the distant sound of running water, exotic chirps and the whistling of birds flying over the canopy. This is an adventure playground with a difference. It all takes place 50 to 300 feet off the ground in Antigua’s rainforest canopy, including a series of 12 zip-lines – some stretching lengths of over 300 feet, a leap of faith, 3 aerial walkways and a suspension bridge. Not forgetting the hidden tree house where the world seems to stand still.

This thrilling journey includes 26 elements and 9 typical challenge course features, with water stations along the way. This really is an adventure in the sun! Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands, all the rangers here are trained to world challenge course standards and before you set off in your harness you’ll have a full safety briefing, to learn all about the equipment.

On the dock…

Yay we’re back in Antigua! If you remember the last time (our first time here) we did horse riding across the beach (click here for the post). We love that all of the assistance people on the dock wear bright yellow t-shirts too. After following our assistance person to the taxi place we got in a nice minibus that took us to the deadly zip lines. 😨

The safety harness…

Our small group went inside and had a short safety briefing and as they know i’m registered blind i got my own assistant. They let me hold the harness and the huge carabiners. I started to feel a little better after holding the super heavy duty harness. The assistant strapped it on really tight and i was ready. I checked that Sarah was still next to me and had everything sorted too. Sarah often gets neglected as the people see that i’m the blind one and then leave Sarah to carry on without help…But Sarah is also registered blind but not quite as severely as me (totally different eye problems). 

The ranger dude…

Walking out and onto the start of the wooden bridge with thousands of steps leading up and through the rain forest and above the canopy Sarah and i was greeted by the amazing ranger guide (forgot his name unfortunately). He was simply fantastic and guided me up every step by calling out when a step was coming etc. He said “I’ll clip onto the cable behind you and fly down with you” i said “Thanks as i won’t be able to see the end and when i need to brake, i’ll just fly straight into the tree at the end like a cartoon character”.

Here goes…

Me on the zip line with te zip line dude attached to me

He used really clear instructions and before long i was lifting my feet up and landing on the platform at the other end. “Wow that was cool” i said whilst laughing and trying to find the rail to lean against. I wonder where Sarah is…Sarah was last and all on her own to figure out how to do it all, she of course managed it somehow! 😀 The ranger asked if we were both ok and if we enjoyed the little zip line to start with.

I said “Little one? Yeah it was amazing, so is there longer and higher ones?” “Oh yes the longest one is called the screamer and i’ll let you know when we get there as it takes a video of you too”. 

I remember wishing i had a camera up here as it was beautiful, and i still can’t believe we only had 2 photos and 1 video of the day…But that’s better than nothing. 🤣  

We had much more fun on the longer zip lines, climbing higher and higher steps with the guide passing us cups of water at each water station, wow i needed that. 

And then…

We finally arrived at ‘The Screamer’…It’s the highest, fastest and longest zip-line in this place. It stretches 328 feet across a ravine and is 350 feet above the rain forest floor.

I stepped slowly to the edge of the platform, my heart was trying to pound its way out of my chest…Even though i’m on beta blockers and my heart rate cannot go over 120bpm no matter how hard i try. I reached above my head and clipped my carabiner onto the cable and took a deep breath as I sat my whole weight into my harness. “Are you ready to make some noise?” the ranger dude behind me said “Oh yeah” and we stepped of the incredibly high platform…

Yay!! We’ve done it!! Sarah flew down too and even did a couple of spins (nobody likes a show off, lol) we both laughed lots and with just a couple of zip lines left we could safely say ‘The Blind Sightseers’ have conquered another challenge! 💪🏼  😀  

Me on the zip line with the zip line dude attached to me and we are high above the rain forest

 The cafe, bar and gift shop…

Finishing the last zip line and then walking across rope bridges we ended up in the gift shop. I thanked the ranger profusely as he left to guide another group. 

“Wow it would be fantastic if we could buy something from here to remind us of this monumental day. Sarah found a beautiful Antigua bauble for our Christmas tree and she bought a really cool t-shirt (Sarah modelling it below) that says “For a good attitude, change your latitude”.

Photo of the back of Sarah's t-shirt

Returning to the dock…

We had a quiet ride back as we both were reflecting on managing zip lining as blindies and the relief that i didn’t die today. 😀 The minibus pulled in and we started walking back towards the ship for our iced coffee refresh when…

Sarah said “My hat” “What do you men?” i said “I’ve lost my hat?!” “What your really cool one that you’ve had for years” “Yes that one, i think i’ve left it at the zip lining place or on the minibus. I lost my sunglasses yesterday and now my hat today”. We walked back to the taxi rank and asked the man who then phoned one of his drivers. About half an hour later another minibus arrived with the second group from our tour and the driver had Sarah’s hat! Sarah must have left it in the cafe after all of the excitement! Phew! 😀  

Back on the ship…

“Aww now that’s a  nice cold coffee” i said whilst sitting back in the lovely big arm chair in the coffee place “I can’t believe we’ve done it, a blind man (and woman) have done zip lining!” “I knew we would do it and i still get to keep one of my fave hats”. 😀  

We’ve booked a photo session tomorrow like the one we had last year when we were at ‘Olympia’, it’s a colour shoot this time instead of black and white. And of course as it’s another lovely new island we have another shore excursion booked too. 

Did you enjoy your time in Antigua? Have you ever done zip lining before?

To be continued…  

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☀️ #48 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Guadeloupe” 🇬🇵 (2018)

Guadeloupe logo

Bonjour mes amis (Good Morning My Friends) 😀  

With your detective hats on did you guess we were landing on Guadeloupe? Sarah & i had never watched any of the ‘Death in paradise’ TV shows so didn’t have a clue that it was filmed on this island….When we returned home we watched (and loved) the whole series! 😀 There was even a shore excursion visiting all of the places from the show…We want to come back here now and do that excursion, maybe one day! 😀  

 Anyway let’s see where we’re going? 

Botanical Garden & Deshaies Beach Walking: 

Locals used to refer to Guadeloupe as Karukera – the Island of Beautiful Waters – and this trip shows you exactly why. You’ll start by visiting the island’s vast botanical gardens, which sprawl out for 17 acres. Packed with everything from tropical palm trees to colourful lotus flowers, it’s one of Guadeloupe’s most-prized possessions. It’s even home to flamingos and a huge parrot aviary. From here, you’ll drive to the biscuit-coloured beach at Deshaies. This long sandy number is tailor-made for lazy days in the sun, and the glassy waters are great for swimming. Head to the waterfront food shack when you’re done tanning, and you’ll get to tuck into spicy fish fritters and handmade coconut sorbet.

On the coach…

After another bowl of porridge, a lovely omelette and a banana we made our way off the ship and onto the coach. Yay the excursion team had booked the front 2 seats for us again. The sun was already hot and i thought it might get a little cooler as rain started to hit the windows of the coach. But the guide was telling us that the climate changes as we drive into the centre of the island, then gets hot again at the coast. ☀️  

Botanical Gardens…

The first thing that hit us (no not the sun) was the vivid and saturated colours! I’m also colour blind but these colours were something else!  

Super clourful parrot

Super clourful parrot

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The whole botanical garden was full of massive trees with fruit, pinecones and other things that were as big (or bigger) than your head. Walking around this incredible place was like nothing else we’d seen especially at home.  

Crazy tree that Sarah liked

Garden

 Cafe & Waterfall…

After a while it was time for a short break and we stopped at a little wooden hut type thingy. The whole group sat down but we found this fantastic waterfall next to the rail. The air suddenly turned fresh the nearer we came to the waterfall…It was lovely. 😀   

Waterfall

Me wearing a vest in the garden

Small digression…

After returning home and watching the whole ‘Death in paradise’ TV show, there was an episode where the detective inspector stood exactly where i am now next to the waterfall! As you can imagine…I don’t stop talking about that either! 🤣  

Moving on we found these beautiful flamingos.  

IMG 3540

Flamingos

 We had about an hour free time to walk around this incredible place and to be wowed some more! 😀   

Tree and fruit

Tree and fruit

Tree and fruit

 Wow did i mention we were in Guadeloupe, colours so bold and vivid and then some more flamingos!  

Flamingos

 Sarah and i managed the hot walk back to the coach but all the way wondering if we could grow any of the trees back at home. We decided it just wasn’t hot enough and it was pointless trying! 

The coach slowed down on the way to the beach and people started getting up, talking and taking photos. I said “I’ve just heard them say that it’s the police station from Death in paradise” Like i said we’d never seen a single episode at this point…But if i did i’d be jumping off the coach by now and trying to get my photo taken, lol! 🤣 I think we need to go back!

 Deshaies Beach. 

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The guide said this was not the beach where the detective inspector lives but it’s not too far away…Man i need to let this go! 🤣  

I’d brought my rucksack with towels, sun cream and other things ready for this moment of Sarah playing in the sea, and it wasn’t long before she got to put her feet in the Guadeloupe water! 

The sea Embrace…

As you may have read on the older posts Sarah loves to splash, play and walk around the edges of the sea where the waves crash in and push her around, making sure she doesn’t go too deep as the current is very strong and doesn’t want to get her eyes wet or damaged.

Sarah was playing with the waves, smiling and laughing when…

A man grabbed her and pulled her further into the sea and past where the waves crashed which was Sarah’s fave. By the time Sarah was stood back up and not impressed she realised her special polarised Oakley Embrace sunglasses had flown off when the man grabbed her! There was no way of finding them as they had disappeared straight away into the sunglasses graveyard! 😭

I obviously didn’t see any of this as i was on the beach with the bags and towels but i knew that those special sunglasses helped Sarah see better than usual. When you have severe sight problems every small increment helps and Sarah said with the polarised lenses and the brightness of the sun her sight was at it’s best.

Beach and sea landscape with the coast line entering the sea

Well the fun was over prematurely and we headed off the beach. I gave Sarah my sunglasses but i knew they wouldn’t help much but at least they’d keep the harmful rays off her delicate eyes. 

The handmade coconut sorbet…

Stepping off the beach Sarah said “Wow that’s a lot of coconuts! Steve there is a table filled with coconuts and then there are piles of coconuts on the floor and the man has and huge machete in his hand” “Oohhh i’ve never had fresh coconut like that” i said as we walked over to the table. Sarah then said with excitement in her voice “They are making fresh coconut sorbet would you like one as i bet you’re roasting?” 

Whilst one man was hacking, whacking and smacking the coconuts the other man was passing Sarah the handmade coconut sorbet. As i tasted the first little spoonful i heard the sound of the bell as this dream food hit the top of the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic leaderboard’ for ice cream and sorbet! It was the best i’d ever tasted and seriously nothing comes close…And still hasn’t! 😀 We’d hit the low (losing sunglasses) and the high (coconut sorbet) in the space of about 20 minutes!

Back at the ship…

You’ve guessed it…We had another iced coffee during our refresh on the ship and left for the dock. We found a small market and slowly browsed each stall until…

A man from the upcoming sandal stall caught sight of Sarah’s ultra bright Asics triathlon trainers. Sarah has to wear these trainers all of the time whilst on holiday because it keeps her feet secure and safe as she needs protection from another ‘Charcot’ foot becoming active. The man lept out from the store and folded in half and said “Wooaahhh i love them! I have a pair of sandals like them that you’ll love, come and look!” We stopped at the stall and Sarah said that they were beautiful and brightly coloured but i can’t wear them. 

He said “I make the best sandals on the island look at the quality” “I know i can see they are good quality and i love the colours” Sarah said as the man ran around the stall with a pair of the sandals “I know feet and i guessed these are your size” They were the perfect size and he kept saying try them on whist Sarah was saying i can’t wear them as i need protection and can’t wear sandals. This good natured banter kept on for about half an hour until Sarah finally managed to get him to understand a little of the problem. 😀  

 Back on the ship…

After a lovely sail away coffee it was time for me to start thinking of the shape my squishy mangled bones would be in if i fall off the zip line tomorrow, and continue to fall all the way down to the hard rain forest floor. 

But first we’ll think about our memorable day in Guadeloupe. 😀  ☀️  

I hope you enjoyed your little tour around this stunning island?

To be continued… 

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☀️ #47 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Tobago” 🇹🇹 (2018)

Tobago logo

 Good morning friends, welcome to Tobago! ☀️ 😀 

 Yay we’ve made it onto another cruise ship and it’s in the Caribbean! ☀️ We have booked a 1 week cruise (Seven Isles Cruise) and then a week stay on Barbados at the Southern Palms beach resort. Wow we are excited! 😀  

It’s time to see what the Blind Sightseers(and you) will be doing today…  

Tobago South Walking: Easy Scenic TourThis tour offers up Tobago’s natural beauty and history rolled into one. After travelling through Scarborough, you’ll arrive at the Mysterious Tombstone, the burial place of an 18th-century woman called Betty Stivens. Her gravestone bears an enigmatic epitaph, which has puzzled people for over 230 years. You’ll also see nearby Fort James, built by the Latvians in the 1600s to guard Great Courland Bay. Next comes a drive along Mount Irvine Road, following the scenic northwest coast to the famous Mount Irvine Bay Hotel and Golf Club. Its undulating fairways are carved from an old sugar plantation and serve up wonderful panoramas over the Caribbean Sea. From here, it’s on to Store Bay, one of Tobago’s most beautiful beaches, where white sands mingle with glossy palms, crab-n-dumpling stalls and light blue seas. We’ll also call in at Fort King George. Built by the British in the 1770s, its old buildings and cannons sit in manicured lawns high above Scarborough, giving you breathtaking views over the coastline and capital.

 On the coach…

“Ooohhh it’s nice on here” I said whilst tilting my head up towards the air conditioned vent above my head. I’d forgotten about this oasis away from the burning laser beaming sun. The coach stopped at fort King George and the guide said “Leave any bags or belongings on the coach so you don’t have to carry them around. I said to Sarah “I think i’ll stay here” Sarah quickly responded “Get up and get off the coach it’s freezing on here, lol!” 😀  

Fort King George… 

Me in Tobago with my thumb up

Me in Tobago

I loved walking around and touching the old cannons, it reminded me of a touch tour back stage at the theatre before a play would start (another blind perk, lol).

Sarah at Tobago

Sarah at Tobago

 My lovely wife Sarah enjoying the view, she said you could see all around and was a perfect spot for a fort!  

Sarah underneath the special tree

 Sarah stood underneath the great Saman tree.  

Portrait of me wearing my sunglassesPortrait of me wearing my sunglasses

The mystery tomb of Betty Stiven…

After hearing the story of Betty Stiven we walked down to see more of the coast line. It was such a shame it had a fence in the way but it was there for good reason…I’ve forgotten why it’s there though, lol! 🤣  

Landscape shot of the island shore line with a steel fence arond

me capturing Sarah taking a panorama

 Wait a minute…That’s not Sarah taking a panorama is it??

Panorama of the coast line through the fence

 Scarborough and the necklace…

We had some free time to explore the market and town. We headed straight for the market stalls  as Sarah loves all of the crafts and necklaces hand made and sold by the locals on the market stalls. Walking around the tables Sarah found a few necklaces that she liked…But one she loved! She asked how much it was and they said “$70” “Thank you” Sarah said whilst smiling as we walked away. Sarah continued “Wow it’s expensive here and all i wanted was another pendant on a thong to remember this place” We walked up to a shop selling scarves and they were about $100! “Woooaah” I said “That’s really expensive” Sarah started to walk back to the market stall with the necklace and looked at the necklace again. “No…It’s not worth $70” I knew she loved this necklace and i said “Well…Maybe you could get it as i know you love it and we won’t be here again?!” As we hummed and hawed over what we were going to do i said “Ok let’s get it but that’s taken our budget for this island but i know you love it”. 

When the store owner came and put the necklace in a bag and said “$70 please” we handed him the money. There was a slight pause and i felt something going on he continued “Wow…I meant 70 Trinidadian dollars” We only had US dollars for the trip as the exchange people said the island all take US dollars so you’ll be fine. I think i had heat stroke or something but the man continued “We generally get a bad name from tourists for ripping you people off and it’s simply not true. There are 7 TD to the US dollar so the necklace is $10 US”. Sarah started beaming and i was so thankful to the man and thanked him profusely! 😀 Another teachable moment that we’ve never forgotten…But what a lovely Haematite necklace! 😀   

Haematite  Necklace with a star

  Back at the dock…

After a refresh on the ship that now includes an iced coffee. It’s not a coffee port like the ‘Dream’ ship as that is the best place ever we headed off the ship and into the town. Oh did i mention it was hot (for me). ☀️  

iPhone app showing Tobago at 29˚C

There were only a few stalls in a small market where we stumbled into a fruit and vegetable store. After Sarah had walked around the stall looking at crazy vegetables she’d never seen in England before she said “Would you like a banana from Tobago?” “Yes please i’d love to see if they taste any different?!” i said as Sarah bought 1 each and we walked down the street towards the ship.

The bananas were smaller than a normal sized banana and…

“Wow” we both said as we’d just put the banana in first place on the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic BananaLleaderboard’ “Now that is the best banana i’ve ever tasted” we both said together! 🍌 😀 

Back on the ship…

Sarah & i enjoyed a coffee as the ship pulled away from the shore (we’ve done this on every cruise) and we have a relaxing time thinking about the day and the excursions we’ve booked that are cruising towards us quickly. 

Oh did i mention that we’ve booked to go zip lining high above the rain forest canopy? Have the ‘Blind Sightseers’ stretched a little too far? We are also going kayaking through mangroves and across the Caribbean sea?! I’m a little unsure about some of the excursions we’ve booked but it wouldn’t be an adventure if it was easy, lol! 🤣  

Thank you so much for joining us in Tobago it’s great to see you’re still with us! You might have to put on your detective hats to figure out where we are going tomorrow? 

To be continued…

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☀️ #46 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Minorca” 🇪🇸 (2017)

Minorca logo

 Buenos días (Good Morning) 😀  

The ‘Blind Sightseers’ have arrived in Minorca! I love the way we’ve had 3 different languages in 3 days..Italian, French and now Spanish! 😀  

Today was a beach break on one of the south coast beaches. Let’s hope it’s a relaxing one but you never know, lol! 

On the dock…

After another lovely breakfast 🥓 we headed out onto the dock to get the coach. 

row of coaches in front of the ship

Beautiful town of Minorca

IMG 3207

Me in Minorca

The beach…

This beach was much easier to find (unlike the one in Corfu) and Sarah instantly walked across the sand and into the sea, yay! 😀   

Sarah walking in the sea ath Minorca

Sarah walking in the sea ath Minorca

 Sarah then came back and found a place to put our towels, sit and put our bags…Then walked straight back into the sea! 😀  

Sarah walking in the sea ath Minorca

Sarah's head just visable in the sea in Minorca

Me on the beach in Minorca

Sarah in the sea in Minorca

Photo of me burning on the beach

IMG 6839

Map on the iphone of a GPS location in Minorca

 Although it wasn’t really a hot sunny day and it was very windy and cloudy, i still was boiling and had to go for a cooling off. 😀  

Me walking up from the sea after cooling my feet holding my sandals

Me walking closer with my new Amalfi vest on

 We had a lovely time although sand blasted and totally covered in sand. it was a lovely place and it was good for me and Sarah to chill out for a while. 😀   

view of rolling hiss joining the sea with the beach in the front

 Back at the dock…

After a quick refresh on the ship we were sand free and ready to explore. The main street ran parallel to the ship so we couldn’t get lost. We found a few shops and in one of them Sarah found a lovely necklace, yay! We continued walking up the street until we reached the end. “Ooooohhh palm trees” i said.  

me stood on th main street of Minorca dock

row of palm trees along the street in Minorca

Long row of palm trees along the road

Sarah just crossed the road beofre getting run over

House on top of a cliff

 The cafe and the storm…

 The black clouds were moving in quickly so when we found a lovely cafe i said “As these tables are 3 deep and completely covered, if we sit in the middle the rain will never get us here”. We sat down and waited for the waitress.

And then…

I’ve never witnessed rain like this ever. It gave no warning and came down (sideways) very hard, very heavy and very fast! Even though we were sat a long way from the end of the shelter we were getting soaked. The waitress ran out collected something off the tables and ran in. I thought “She’s done this before, lol! Sarah grabbed me and we flew inside. 

The whole point of coming to a cafe in a Spanish country…Was we wanted to ask for ‘Patatas Fritas’. Sarah’s dad and brothers spent a lot of time in Spain and can speak fluent Spanish, so when the waitress came over to ask us what we wanted…Both Sarah and i said ‘Patatas Fritas’. The waitress looked at us and said “So you want chips!” ☹️ Although we didn’t get the Spanish language…The chips didn’t disappoint. 

We could still hear the thunderous rain storm outside and we had to get back to the ship soon…I think we were going to get soaked….We did! 😀  

On the ship… 

Wow what a beautiful sunset…  

Beautiful sunset over Minorca

 Yay we finally have a photo of my lovely wife Sarah in the evening restaurant and she’s wearing her new necklace!

Lovely wife Sarah whilst having our last evening meal on the ship

 Now we know why this ship is called the Thomson Majesty..Such a beautiful piano set in a lovely part of the ship with my lovely wife Sarah (meaning Princess).

Lovely wife Sarah and the piano

 The Blind Sightseers have had another lovely day exploring yet another island…And although it’s the end of this ‘Treasures of the Mediterranean’ Cruise it’s not they end of our monumental tour during this lockdown. 

So let’s jump from this Thomson Majesty ship onto the Marella Discovery. Thomson were also bought out by Tui and now the ships are called Marella instead of Thomson.

I wonder where this ship is heading??

To be continued… 

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☀️ #45 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Corsica” 🇫🇷 (2017)

Corsica logo

Bonjour mes amis (Good Morning My Friends

No way we’re in Corsica! My lovely wife Sarah is going to kill me for ruining this post with another of my digressions…But my fave cars of all time raced here and i can’t contain myself….Yes it’s Group B rally cars!  

Awwww i can hear that ferocious engine sound (and the monster dump valve) of one of my favourite cars…The Lancia Delta S4. It had an Abarth-designed supercharged and turbocharged 500bhp 1.8-litre engine, it could hit 60mph in just over two seconds…And this was 1986! 

But…After a fatal accident (here in Corsica) Group B rally cars were banned and a FISA investigation later proved that drivers’ reactions were too slow to keep up with Group B cars, and drivers’ eyes could not adjust their focus between the fast corners, which caused tunnel vision. Now that’s fast…And insane!! 

They said the cars had so much raw power but with little containment…I have a wife like that, lol! Sorry Sarah! 🤣  

What is the ‘Tour de course’ for the blind sightseers today…

A visit to Corsica’s most southern tip is on the cards on this tour. On the drive over, you’ll stop at Roccapina, where you can see the lion-shaped granite rock that looks over the Genoese tower – it’s an opportunity for some great photos. Once you arrive in Bonifacio, the mini train will take you past the ruins of three mills, and the Church of St Dominique. You’ll also be treated to panoramic views over the neighbouring island of Sardinia. You’ll continue on foot to the citadel – your guide will tell you all about the chapel of St John the Baptist, and the 14th-century Church of Saint Marie Majuere. The walking tour finishes up in the marketplace. From there, you can brave the 100 steps down to the marina. Or, hop back on the mini train and it will get you there.

Next, you’ll be boarding a boat for a tour of the Bonifacio caves. From the sea, you’ll have views over the town, perched on top of 230-feet-high limestone cliffs. You’ll see Sdragonatto cave, meaning the little dragon – it’s shaped like Corsica. The tour wraps up with some free time – you can sit in a café, or do some shopping.

On the coach… 

After another lovely breakfast we started our exciting tour. The weather was hot but very windy so a little unpredictable today. After a while the coach stopped at the side of the road and we got off to take some photos.

Rolling green hills of Corsica

 Wow what a view! Hang on…Fasten your 5 point safety harness as Sarah is drifting towards another stupendous panorama! 😀    

Sarah panorama of the whole field and hills of Corsica

Sarah on a sunny day with the Corsican coast behind her

 Then…The wind started to blow really fast (or was it an old Group B rally car screening past)  and Sarah took this funny photo of me. 

A funny picture of me on the right of the poto with y hair bowing all over the place behind me

 Whilst watching us taking photos of each other a kind person from our coach took a photo of me and my lovely wife Sarah! Yay one more i can cherish!  ❤️ 

me and Sahar in front of the beautiful Corsican hills

 The crazy boat…

Arriving at Bonifacio we were meant to go on a boat ride alongside the legendary cliffs and even steer through a small cave/rock but the weather was too windy and the sea too rough and choppy. 

But this is a ‘Blind Sightseers’ tour so we climbed on board. Some of the group opted out and stayed behind to make their way for the town. We were initially disappointed when we sat down in the middle of the boat…But we soon appreciated being sat here! Suddenly a choir of voices shrieking, shouting and laughing as the waves came over the side and drenched everyone except me and Sarah! 🤣    

Selfie of me (bottom right) on the boat with the mountains behind

large hills and beginning of caves

 The boat was bobbing up and down lots which was great for me as i can’t see what’s around us but i like the tactile fun bobbing and splashing…Thankfully i don’t get sea sick! 😀  Then we entered this really dark narrow rock. 

Dark photo inside the caves in Corsica whilst still in the boat

Inside the caves in Corsica with darkness all around and the light in the centre

Inside the caves in Corsica with darkness all around and the light in the centre

Inside the caves in Corsica with darkness all around and the light in the centre

Back on the waves with a island sticking out of the water.jpg

 The stunning cliffs of Bonifacio…. 

The fantastic cliffs of Corsica

The fantastic cliffs of Corsica

The fantastic cliffs of Corsica

 The fun train…

After the memorable bumpy boat ride it was time to be escorted to the top of the cliffs by…”No way it’s not a Lancia Delta S4 is it?” I said “No but it’s a fun train similar to the one in Hunstanton that we like” Sarah said whilst pushing (i mean guiding) me into a seat. 😀   

Yay the fantastic fun train to take us to the top

Me stood in the centre of the photo in the town

Me stood in the centre of the twon in Corsica

Me stood in the centre of the twon in Corsica

 Then…

Whilst heel toe shifting, maintaining perfect balance and keeping up turbo boost pressure Sarah manages another monumental panorama

Super Sarah panorama of the Corsica coast ond hills

Photo of the shadows of me and Sarah

Me stood under a huge palm tree

Photo of Sarah under a tree with the Corsica hills in the background

The steps going down from the top of the cliffs

Beautiful view of Corsica from under a tree

Sarah sat against a wall with the hills of Corsica behind her

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View of Corsica

me stood far right with a eautiful Corsica behind

Me stood with Corsica behind me

view of Corsica town

 We had such a lovely time exploring the upper city in this special place. First we found a cafe and quickly ordered coffees and a coissont (no it didn’t beat the Amalfi coissont but it came close) then found a souvenir shop. We bought a fantastic bath towel with beautiful photo prints of Bonifacio! After exploring further it was time to catch the fun train back down and meet the group ready to head back to the ship. 

Back on the ship…

After another lovely evening meal we stumbled upon these creations made out of fruit an vegetables! 😀   

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

 We hope you’ve enjoyed Corsica? We’ve had a fantastic time and made so many memories. 

We are not out of fuel yet…I wonder where we’re going to end up tomorrow?

To be continued… 

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☀️ #44 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Rome, Italy” 🇮🇹 (2017)

Rome logo

   Buongiorno amici (Good morning friends)  

Yesterday we visited Sorrento, Amalfi and Pompeii all in 1 day (we don’t mess about, lol) it’s time for 11 hours of a gladiatorian excursion…I hope you don’t think you’ve come on holiday to relax! 🤣  

Where are the blind sightseers going today… 

Rome & The Colosseum shore excursion…

From the toga-wearing days of Julius Caesar to the artistic boom of the Baroque, Rome is a city that catapults you through time. It’s as if history seeps from every cobblestone, and traversing it all is no mean feat. And that’s where this tour comes in. It showcases the very best the Eternal City has to offer – plus it gives you an inside view of two if its biggest attractions.

The trip follows a classic itinerary through the heart of the Italian capital. You’ll get to see global landmarks that need no introduction – places like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. But one of the biggest highlights has to be the Colosseum. Head inside and relive the days of the gladiators as you wander round this ancient landmark.

This is going to be a clash of the Titans, i wonder if the Gladiators have met my ‘Warrior Wife’ yet? Sarah (dressed in her new camo skirt) is ready! Ok i’ll start being serious now. 🤣  

The walking tour…

First our guide gave us the radio ear thingy so we could hear him over the noise of the crowds as Rome is a busy city. Then it was time to get walking! Once again i’ll shut up for a while as you enjoy this beautiful and majestic place. 

Sarah walking towards the camera down the centre of a busy street in Rome with tall building s on either side

Sarah walking towards the camera down the centre of a busy street in Rome with tall building s on either side

Beautiful old building in Rome

Old buildings in Rome

Sarah drinking a coffee at a cafe/restaurant outside

A really tall ponty tower with a large building at the bottom

Me at centre front of the photo wearing sunglasses stood in the large main square in Rome

Walking along the left hand side of a street behind our group

Old church building

Crowded square with buildings all around

The Spanish Steps… 

Me stood on the many steps

Really busy lane with lots of tall buildings all around

Inside a huge building

Beautiful old building 

my face in the bottom right corner and a colourful sign with the old building on

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Wow we’ve been walking for hours but then a kind member of our group asked dif we’d like a photo together.  😀   

Me and Sarah

Then a street artist type dude…  

A random colourful street artist

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The Pantheon… 

The panthyon

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The front of the panthyon

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Old buildings

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Selfie of me and Sarah

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main square in Rome looking cloudy

Free time…

Just as the guide had told us we had 40 minutes free time…The clouds moved in and darkened the whole place. It started raining and instantly umbrellas sprang up from nowhere, stall workers flipped over their items and were selling umbrellas all of a sudden and we ran into a shop! I’d never seen anything like it, it was like somebody had hit the secret bookshelf and it’d flipped around without anyone noticing. 🤣  

“Ooohhhhh” Sarah said as she picked up and tried to show me a massive hand made intricately designed Christmas tree bauble. “This would look wonderful on our tree this year”. 😀   

main square in Rome looking cloudy and raining

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looking upwards at a fantastic building stood at the entrance

Ancient building

The river in rome taken from the coach

portrait of me on the coach

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The Colosseum…

Wow what a piece of history and to think what went on in this arena was sobering….Especially after just finishing the audiobook ‘Foxe’s book of Martyrs’ by John Foxe. 

The Architecture is simply stunning.

The outside of the Colosseum with all of the arches

Sarah taking a photo over looking the iside of the Colosseum

more ruins of the Colosseum

more ruins of the Colosseum the main ring with the large walls around

Colosseum arch

Colosseum ruins

Colosseum ruins

Colosseum arches

Colosseum arches and ruins

More Colosseum ruins

More Colosseum ruins

The outside of the Colosseum with all of the arches

The outside of the Colosseum with all of the arches

The outside of the Colosseum with all of the arches

More ruins of the Colosseum

 I thought for a moment that Sarah had found a gladiator to fight…But she was lining up one of her mighty panoramas…Lucky for the gladiator!  

Sarah panorama of the whoe inside of the Colosseum

Sarah panorama of the whoe inside of the Colosseum

Ruins of the Colosseum

Back on the ship…

Wow what a day and what an incredible place. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as us? Have you been to Rome before? 

After the ship set sail and we were thinking about all of the places we’d seen today,..There was just enough time to… 

Sarah in a black and white dress stood in front of lots of hand bags in the ship shop

I wonder where we’re going tomorrow? 🤔 We’ve already seen some fantastic ‘Treasures of the Mediterranean’ and there are still more gems to see.

To be continued… 

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☀️ #43 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Sorrento, Amalfi & Pompeii Italy” 🇮🇹 (2017)

Sorrento logo

  Buongiorno amici (Good morning friends)  

We are really looking forwards to todays excursion. It’s going to be a long one but Sarah’s dad always talks about how beautiful Sorento and the Amalfi coast is, and if we ever get the chance to visit…You’ll love it. 😀  
 
Well the blind sightseers have arrived in Sorrento and after a lovely breakfast we’re ready for the excursion.

Amalfi & Pompeii…

You’ll tick off 2 of the Neapolitan Riviera’s heavyweights on this tour. We’ll start with a camera-worthy journey along the Amalfi Coast, one of the most scenic drives in the world. We’ll snake along dramatic cliffs, passing castles that cling to the hillsides and pastel-painted villages that tumble down to the Tyrrhenian Sea below. When we arrive in Amalfi, we’ll tour the town’s historical heart and you’ll have some free time to explore and grab a bite to eat.

UNESCO-listed Pompeii will be our next port of call. Sitting in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, the town was buried for centuries by ash and pumice after the volcano blew its top in 79AD. You’ll have almost 2 hours to explore the ruins, starting with the Forum and meandering past mansions, temples and amphitheatres.

On the coach…

You’ll be pleased to know i don’t need to write much as  you’ll just see how beautiful this place really  is.

The Amalfi coast…  

Beautiful rolling hills and mountains of the Amalfi coast

Beautiful rolling hills and mountains of the Amalfi coast

Beautiful rolling hills and mountains of the Amalfi coast

Sarah looking out across the beautiful bay of Amalfi

The beautiful Amalfi coast and te town buldings and rolling hills and mountains

Amalfi town… 

After a lovely drive along the wonderful Amalfi coast, time seemed to just fly by as we arrived in the town. We had quite a long period of free time to enjoy this incredible place. We headed straight for the sea, and after a while we managed to find this tiny dock thingy.

The beautiful Amalfi coast and te town buldings and rolling hills and mountains

Sarah sat on the very small dock with her feet off the end taking a photo of a ship that is fust in shot

 It was a little oasis away from the crowds and we could either look out to sea or look back and see the town…Wow. 😀   

Sarah stood on the edge of the small dock with sea all around her and mountains in the background

 Wait for it… 

Sarah stood on the edge of the small dock with sea all around her and mountains in the background.jpg whilst showing her guns again in the bicepts pose

Yay…Now we’ve arrived! 💪🏼 

Before exploring the busy part of town (the centre) we thought we’d try walking up the hill to see how far the town goes, Wow it’s beautiful up here!

Sarah looking out over the beautiful Amalfi bay

 The Cafe, Coffee and THE Ccissont…

Yay we found a little coffee shop and Sarah said “we have to try the croissants with a black coffee”. We sat outside and i said “Wooaaaahhh have you tried your croissant yet? It’s the best one i’ve ever tasted” “Mmmmmmm” Sarah said and that’s all i needed to hear. 😀  

Every croissant we’ve had since eating this one 3 years ago has had to be compared with this one. It’s still the remaining champion as no other croissant anywhere has even come close!  

Me sat in the sun outside the cafe eating a coissant and drinking an espresso ith the road right in front of me

Me sat in the sun outside the cafe eating a coissant and drinking an espresso ith the road right in front of me

The centre of town….

This town was good for us as it wasn’t very big and we thought it’d be hard for us to get lost. Walking into the town we found a lovely gift shop, both me and Sarah got a souvenir. Sarah bought another t-shirt with Amalfi across the front and i bought a great Amalfi vest. 😀  

We left the shop and found the natural spring fountain the tour guide was talking about and Sarah went over for a drink. 

Sarah drinking from the natural water fountain in the Amalfi square

Sarah walking away with wet hands after Sarah drinking from the natural water fountain in the Amalfi square

Sarah was soaking and was walking towards me…Yes she spun around like a helicopter and soaked me through. 🤣  She said she wanted to cool me down as i was too hot again…But she also enjoyed soaking me too, a win-win situation. ! 🤣 

Now time to explore the backstreets… 

Me walking down some stairs in a built up town

Me walking down some stairs in a built up town

Me walking down some stairs in a built up town

Me looking out to sea aurrounded by the Amalfi town

Time for another attempt at a selfie with my lovely wife Sarah… 

Me and Sarah in a selfie with our sunglasses on and the mountains in the background

Then Sarah stretches and lines herself up to take some stunning panoramas… 😀  

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background and me in the centre of the photo

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background

What a beautiful place. 

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background and me in the centre of the photo

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background

Back on the coach…

Wow what a lovely town., it’s now time to head towards Pompeii.

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Ancient building

rolling hills from the coach

rolling hills from the coach

Pompeii…

We followed the group towards a square near the main gate entrance. The guide said “Now it’s time for you to try the amazing local Margharita pizza. Wow…This was the best Margharita pizza i’ve ever tasted and also sets the bar at the top of the ‘Blind Sightseers Pizza Leaderboard’. 😀  

Moving swiftly on we walked through the main gate on onto the excellently preserved ruins. I’ll shut up for a moment whilst you sit back and enjoy the photos, lol! 😀 

Long line of ancient pillars

Long line of ancient pillars

The guide was really knowledgable and gave us a lot of history on this place. 

The ancient town

The ancient town

The ancient town and a line of pillars

the amphitheatre

Why struggle and take lots of shots when you can fit everything into…A stupendous Sarah panorama! 😀  

Sarah panorama of the whole row of ancient buildings

The walking…

Yay the blind sightseers have found the worst walking conditions to date, it was horrendous! As many of you know i can’t see much and i certainly can’t see my feet never mind the path. I have no idea how Sarah guided me around this place…But she managed it. I owe all of my holidays to her as i couldn’t do anything without her…Never-mind get to see some of the most beautiful places in the world! ❤️ 😀

My new walking sandals were great and protected my toes from being stubbed at least a few times. They allowed my ankles to roll over without snapping and had great grip when i needed it. 

The main road which is crumpled and cracked but nicely maintained

The main road which is crumpled and cracked but nicely maintained

another row of ancient buildings

another row of ancient buildings

A row of clumns on the left and a narrow path leading straight forward

We finally managed to go inside the beautiful buildings and hide from the burning sun. ☀️   

insdie one of the buildings

insdie one of the buildings

We were coming to the end of our walking tour of Pompeii and after a few more statues we ended up at the Centaur statue.  

Our group crowding around a statue

The statue of Centaur… 

Statue

One last Sarah panorama… 

Sarah panorama of group

Back at the ship…

Wow what a memorable shore excursion! We talk about this trip all of the time…Oh wait, we talk about all of our adventures! 🤣  

After the excursion (but before the evening meal) we enjoy going out on deck to enjoy the fantastic coast line whilst looking back on the day. It’s also a great time to take a few shots of my lovely wife Sarah! ❤️ 

Sarah stood on the ship with the coatline gehind he

Sarah with arms out stretched welcoming you to Sorrento

Then Sarah spotted a boat which looked like it was heading towards our ship. I said “It’s not ‘Gibbs’ again and the NCIS special agents looking for the blind sightseers? They must have followed us from Montenegro, lol!”  “No i think it’s just a tender boat” 🤣   

A little boat zig zagging across the sea with the town in the background

Close up of the little boat now pulled up alongside the ship whilst leaving lots of frothy waves behind

Quiet reflection… 

Sarah (on right) leaning on the ship rail and looking out over the sea to the land ahead

Being blind and guided (expertly) by Sarah throughout each day normally gives me a massive headache as there is just too much external stimuli. My sight is super blurry and walking around quickly whilst listening intently to Sarah (as don’t want to break my ankles, legs or worse) and trying to learn lots of history from the guide is simply too much to process. It’s like trying to use modern day apps when i can only process things as fast as an old Commodore 64. Awww i remember my dad breaking lots of joysticks trying to beat me on ‘The way of the exploding fist’ game…But i digress! Oh yes i was trying to say i really enjoy everything being quiet as i lean on the rail and give thanks. 😀     

Sarah taking a photo of the sunset and landscape from the ship

Just when you think you’ve had another incredible day…You’re blessed with a beautiful sunset. 

Sunse over the coastline

Sunse over the coastline

Sunse over the coastline  with arches in the front

sunset over the coastline

Me and Sarah trying to take a selfie with the sunset behind us from the ship

Beautiful sunset from the ship

Beautiful sunset from the ship

Beautiful sunset from the ship

Wow…What a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for joining us again on our incredible, breathtaking and above all memorable tour. 😀  

I wonder where we’re going tomorrow? 🤔

To be continued… 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 50 – “Remember Me” ❤️

Bruce THE Boxer

july 14th 2000 – Dec 3rd 2011

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Thank you all so much for helping me keep Bruce THE Boxer and his legacy alive by joining his Boxercise classes. It’s been great for me to use the photos of him i’ve taken over the years and share them with friends.

I can’t believe we’ve made it to 50 days!

But with great sadness i have to announce we’ve come to the end of the ‘Boxercise’ classes…Also can’t believe it’s nearly 9 years (Dec) since Bruce died. 🐾 ❤️

But it’s not over quite yet as i’ve also created a video of Bruce, Sarah & our loving home so you can see him in action…😀  

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☀️ #42 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Trapani, Sicily” 🇮🇹 (2017)

Trapani logo

 Buongiorno amici (Good morning friends)  

No way…We’re in Sicily! One of our favourite places to eat is Sicily Restaurant and we always say when speaking to Grace or Dora “We come to Sicily but we’ve never been to Sicily!” Now that has changed, yay! 😀  

Now we’re here let’s see what we’ll be doing…

To see the best of Sicily, you have to climb to great heights. And on this trip you’ll do exactly that. After a coach drive to the cable station, you’ll take the cable car up to the top of a mountain. Take in the view out over the Trapani salt pans, the turquoise sea and all the way to the Egadi Islands – it’s breathtaking. While you’re up here, you’ll explore the Medieval town that is Erice. Wander the winding cobbled streets. Visit the Mother Church that’s stood here for over 700 years. And admire the Castle of Venus where the son of Athena, goddess of love, built a temple in his mother’s honour. But save some sighs for the gorgeous Balio Gardens in all their rainbow bright glory. Last but not least you’ll have time to enjoy the atmosphere in Erice’s dinky plaza, before you take the cable car back down to the ship.

Yay…I love cable cars, and we’ve already been on 2 during this lockdown memory tour (see Gibraltar and Matlock Bath).

Leaving the ship…

The breakfast on the Thomson Majesty didn’t disappoint and we stepped out into the warm sunshine. It’’s September so it’s not boiling hot (28˚C) but it’s much warmer than England. 😀 Boarding the coach was fine and it wasn’t long before we we’re driving through the beautiful Sicilian streets and hills. 

The cable cars…

The cable car seated about 10 people (all in a circle) and we all instantly started chatting about our experiences on cruise ships, other cruises and if we’d been to Sicily before? As this is now our 4th cruise (unbelievable) we sounded like seasoned professionals, lol! 🤣  

Then it fell silent as we climbed higher and we all caught sight of the view… 

view from the cabe car looking down the rolling hills down to the sea

I’m not sure i’d like cable cars half as much as i do if i was fully sighted. I think it’s because i can’t really tell how high i am as i’m actually a bit scared of heights! 😀   

Sarah said “Steve stop looking out of the window, face me and have your photo taken”. 

Me smiling at the camera sat in the cable car view from the cabe car looking down the rolling hills down to the sea

Beautiful land and secape looking down the rolling hills and into the sea

 Surely it’s not that time already?? It’s much to early to be stunned by another blisteringly stupendous Sarah panorama…

Stupendous panorama Beautiful land and secape looking down the rolling hills and into the sea

Hang on…Here’s another…

Stupendous panorama Beautiful land and secape looking down the rolling hills and into the sea

Eris…

Wow this place was incredible. It was quite surreal to have climbed so high in the cable car to get to this beautiful town. The colours were so vivid as the bright buildings contrasted the deep blue sky.  

stunning buildings at the top of the cable cars in Trapini, Sicily

Narrow road with building either side really tall

Following the guide was hard work as the narrow lanes/walkways had large stones (about 4 inches) and were fantastic at tripping you up or stubbing your toe on, if you were lucky you’d do both. But the blind sightseers  don’t let little details like that stop us, lol! 😀  

Once we’d walked (and walked) to the very top of the town a Sicilian man came with a horse (maybe donkey i can’t see it or remember, lol) and carriage and played some traditional Sicilian music on his Harmonium.

The plaza…

We had about half an hour free time and Sarah & i quickly went to find a souvenir shop. The main item of sale was the Sicilian nougat which we didn’t really want as Sarah is diabetic. The plaza was beautiful and we spent some time wondering around until we got to sit down.

Sarah sat down with the stunning buildings behind her

Eris was a stunning place and we’re so blessed to be able to visit…But now back to the cable cars. 

Sarah in shadow on the left looking out of the cable car to the sea below and the coastline of the right

 Back at the dock…

After a quick refresh on the ship we were ready to explore! The dock was nice and flat and had lots of multi coloured boats in long rows so we looked around here first. Wait a minute…Did Sarah buy one of these little boats in the souvenir shop at Eris, lol! 🤣   

Sarah bent down and looking into one of the boats in a long row at the dock

Sarah stood in front of lots of colourful boats in the dock at SicilySarah stood in front of lots of colourful boats in the dock at Sicily

Of course we can’t leave Sicily without Sarah’s Sicilian victory pose… 

Sarah showing her guns in a victory pose stood in front of lots of colourful boats in the dock at Sicily

Trapani town…

We left the dock and started walking along the first street we came to. We noticed that the streets were in a big square and if we walked all the way round we’d end up back here without getting lost…Here goes.

“Oh it looks like all of the shops and cafe’s are closed” Sarah said sounding a little disappointed. We continued along the second street and still nothing was open. “We might as well return to the dock” Sarah said “I only wanted to try some Arancini in Sicily” We always order these in ‘Sicily Restaurant’ back home so i thought whilst we were here i’d try one too. 

Turning right again onto the 3rd street of the square i was increasingly despondent and crestfallen.

But suddenly…

Sarah says with plenty of excitement “Steve look, i think…Yes i’m sure it is…Let me go and see if i’m right” Sarah walks quickly ahead and upon her return says “Steve you’re going to love this” taking my hand (as i was heartbroken) she led me into a little shop (which is the only one open around here) which only cooked Arancini!! I simply couldn’t believe it! We ordered a couple of different flavours and an espresso too! 😲 

me sat outside the Arancinu place with the arancini on a plate with a coffee

Wow…Now all that is left is the taste test…  

Me sat outside eating a Arancini wearing my sunglasses

Awww unbelievable now that tastes great! Yet another moment i won’t stop talking about. 🤣  

After a lovely time relaxing, eating Arancini and drinking espresso in the sun it was time to head back to the ship. walking around the last corner of the square we noticed a tiny market stall selling hats. I said “I wonder if they sell a hat with Sicily on for Vini (Nephew) who loves collecting baseball caps?” They did (i holding it in the image below). 

me stood on the dock carrying the blue sicily baseball cap i'd just bought with the seascape of boats behind me

Yay the ship is here… 

Sarah in a ruined wall with the ship in the background

Oh no i don’t think i have enough energy left to be able to  take another stupendous, Magnificent and sublime Sarah panorama… She keeps top trumping my photography, lol! 🤣  

Sarah paorama of the whole dock from behind a wall

Back at the ship…

Me stood underneath the front of the ship with Thomson MAJESTY WRITTEN ON THE SIDE ABOVE MY HEAD

ME STOOD UNDERNEATH THE FRONT OF THE SHIP THAT LOOKS HUGE AND IS TOWERING OVER ME

Sorry guys but no towel folding creatures on this ship!

The blind sightseers had a lovely time in Sicily and we’d definitely return (if we get the chance after lockdown) as there are many more shore excursions for us to try all over Sicily.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Sicily and this new ship? It’s such a blessing to see you here.😀  

To be continued…  

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☀️ #41 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Kotor, Montenegro”🇲🇪(2017)

Montenegro logo

Good Morning friends! (dobro jutro) 😀  

Are you ready for a scorcher today? It’s going to hit 41˚C as the heat wave moves in! ☀️ Also i had no idea (until looking) that it’s our 41st day of our lockdown memory tour, fantastic! 😀   

We booked the “Blue Cave Speed Boat Tour” for today but this tour was cancelled (last minute) yesterday evening. The excursion team told us the Montenegro officials read that your were blind and said “A blind person cannot board a speed boat” so they cancelled it! We said “We’ve done much more challenging things than stepping onto a speed boat” but we acquiesced and asked if there were any other tours left.

They only had “Highlights of Montenegro” a 10-12 hour tour with lots of walking. I said “Wow this is going to be magnificently burning hot”…I wasn’t wrong! 😰 

Well let’s see what we’ll be doing… 

The port of Kotor finds a home on the world’s southernmost fjord – or the ‘Bride of the Adriatic’, as it’s also known. As places go, it’s beautiful. Think blue seas. A stony shore. Green mountains. All drenched in the heavenly scent of lemons, oranges, mimosas and camellias. And here’s your chance to explore this gorgeous part of the world.

First you’ll stop at the mountain village of Njegusi to taste the region’s delicious smoked ham and cheese. Stomach full, you’re ready for…

Cetinje. Known as the ‘Valley of Gods’, it was once the smallest European capital and it’s filled to bursting with beautiful buildings. Here you’ll visit the King Nikola’s palace before having some free time to stroll around. Next you’re off to…

Budva – the most popular tourist destination on Montenegro’s map. And quite rightly so. Beautiful architecture meets seductive sandy beaches in this spot. Perhaps that’s why lots of millionaires decide to live here.

Leaving the ship…

After another lovely breakfast we stepped off the ship. “Woah” i said whilst leaving the lovely cool ship and walking into a hot oven. “How can it be this hot already?” Sarah quickly replied “Oohhh that’s better the ship was freezing”. 🤣  

On the coach…

A photo of the narrow road taken from our front seats on the coach

Yay, the Thomson excursion team has made sure the tour guide saved us the front seats on the coach. The first challenge (for the excellent driver) was to climb the famous Kotor serpentine road. The road was simply amazing, and witnessing the driver expertly navigate the hairpin turns and narrow road was incredible. The guide passed a picture (see below) around the coach and Sarah took a photo of it so i could zoom in on my iMac at home…Thanks Sarah 😲 

The Kotor serpentine road winding up the side of the mountain.

Arriving at Njegusi…

 The serpentine was pretty quiet and didn’t have much traffic as it was still early morning. I’m not sure how he guided this massive coach up and around those bends without flying off the cliff, but i’m glad he did, lol! 😀  

We reached the top and the view was simply breathtaking! Sarah was stunned on it’s beauty and said “Wow you can just make out our ship all the way down there”. 😀 

Photo of Sarah stood in front of and incredible landscape of mountains and a valley looking right down to our ship in the sea a t the bottom

incredible shot of the surrounding mountains and then looking down to the ship at the bottom of the valley

Me in my tactical sun hat stood in front of the mountains and valley

Yay…I’m here too! I thought i’d add a photo of me just to make sure you knew i was here, and didn’t collapse into a pool of molten flesh after leaving the ship, lol! 🤣  

Sarah stood in front of the mountain top bar/restaurant

 The group headed into the mountain top restaurant and sat down at tables overlooking the stunning view. I don’t think anyone was hungry as the waiters place a humongous baguette filled with the legendary local ham and cheese in front of all of us. Everyone kept saying “We’ve only just had breakfast about an hour ago on the ship”, even i was struggling and i’m never full! 😀 The ham and cheese was super tasty and it would’ve been nice to take some home with us…But it was time to go!

 We had a few more minutes to take some photos of this stunning place as people were filtering onto the coach.

Me stood with the landscape of hills and the valley behind me

Beautiful landscape of the hills, mountains and down to the ship in the sea at the bottom of the valley

A view throught the mountains

Sarah waving stood in front of the ship right down in th bottom of the valley

 Ok just one more shot of Sarah waving and saying hello to you guys, then we really do have to get back on the coach. 😀  

On to the next stop…

It was late morning now and the serpentine started to get a little busier.

And then…

Photo to taken from our front seats in the coach of the very narrow road with a coach facing us and having to reverse

The coach hit the brakes, our group said “Wooaahhh” and the drivers sorted out a way to carry on. Our coach had to reverse (no idea how he did it) up the hill and around some corners until he found a little pull in. It had taken our driver over half an hour to pull off this manoeuvre, and after a round of applause he drove on.  

We arrived in Cetinje… 

Leaving the air conditioned coach and stepping out into the centre of a bubbling volcano (that’s what it felt like to me)we followed our guide towards the museum, but on the way he quickly stopped to talk to us about a church building.

Vlah church…

Old churh building amongost some trees

Walking along a track the guide pointed out this lovely old church building and started talking about it’s history.

From Wikipedia

The church was initially made of “plot” (Serbian: плот), i.e. of sticks, switches and mud. It was rebuilt three times. First as “suvomeđa” (Serbian: сувомеђа), which means of stones without mortar; then of “klačena” (Serbian: клачена), which is stones with lime mortar; and finally, in 1864 the church received its current form. A guard rail around the church was built in 1897 using barrels of Ottoman rifles captured in 1858 during the Battle of Grahovac. 

The part about the guard rail using barrels of Ottoman rifles captured in 1858 really stuck out to me. I hope my two quickly taken photos showed the guard rail? We didn’t get any closer as the guide was moving fast! 😢

a closer shot of Old churh building amongost some trees

Walking towards the Museum of King Nikola…

Wow it was hot, i’ve never experienced heat like this  before! The Caribbean heat is much different and there is always a cool breeze, but here there was no breeze and it just felt like my bones were being steamed in a cauldron of boiling water, whilst my skin was being attacked by a million angry wasps with mini switchblades  cutting into me! 🔥🔥🔥

Then out of nowhere…

Photo taken behind a secret black police car with the door open and in front is the president of Montenegro

I heard cars whiz past and stop close to us, car doors flew open and there was lots of commotion. 
 
I said “What’s happening? It sounds like the NCIS team has just pulled up and Gibbs and his special agents have just rushed out of their cars?!” I wasn’t too far wrong as it was the President of Montenegro and his bodyguards.
 
a little further away from the rear black car and looking round to the right at the president
 
The guide told us to stop and take shade under a tree for a while and he’ll go and sort out what to do next. He was away for quite a while and whilst he was gone Sarah said “Hey Steve there’s a statue over there let’s go and take a photo” i replied “it’s boiling out there i’m staying under this tree”, of course this reply didn’t work and Sarah stood me in front of the statue, lol! 😓   

Me stood under a statue in montenegro

The guide returned and told us that the President will be inside the museum we were about to be guided around. So we’ll have our break now of about an hour as another group was before us and will be first to go inside the museum. We won’t be able to go back to the lovely air conditioned coach but there is the main square just over there, and there are some shops and a cafe. As the group separated we walked towards the square.

Sarah said “There is not much here but this looks like a souvenir type shop. Let’s get you out of the heat before you explode”. It was a souvenir shop and we bought a lovely painted plate with Montenegro written on and it hangs above the doorway to our kitchen. 😀  

Montenegro plate

Heading out of the shop we walked around the corner and Sarah said “OOooohhhh look at that dress!!” I knew exactly what the noise meant (as i can’t see what i’m looking at, lol) and we walked towards the shop. The dress was hanging up outside the shop and Sarah was completely taken with it. she said “look at the design…it’s all handmade stitching, the colours are beautiful and it’s simply exquisite…I love it! 😍 

Inside the shop…

Minding the step into the shop Sarah had a little look around to see if she could see the dress (the one outside) anywhere inside the shop. The local woman behind the counter said “You like the dress?” as she held up a black dress that Sarah didn’t want or like. “No i wanted to ask about the dress outside” Sarah said whilst pointing out of the window. “This dress would look really nice on you!” the woman insisted, “no i don’t like that dress it’s too dark for me, do you have the orange and red flower dress that’s hanging up outside in my size?” 

The woman continued in her heavy accent “You don’t like? Why do you not like? It look lovely on you!” Just as I was thinking that we’d never get out of here without even looking at the dress the woman said “There is only 1 of the dress outside but this dress (the one she was holding) we have many. Sarah said whilst looking a little disappointed as there was only 1 of those amazing dresses “Could i have a look at it please and try it on?”

The woman finally put down the other dress and got the one from outside and passed it to Sarah. “Wow this is amazing but it’ll never fit” Sarah said whilst trying not to get too excited anymore, but she went over to the changing rooms and tried it on anyway.

“Wow, you look stunning” i said knowing she’s about to tell me i can’t see it very well anyway, lol! “It fits perfectly, i thought there would be no way it fits…I’ve just got to have it” Sarah said with a beaming smile on her face. 

Leaving the shop with Sarah (she’s super excited) still stunned that she’d got the only dress of that kind available and it fitted perfectly, we headed back towards the cafe.

The cafe…

It was really busy and it was the only cafe open around this square and everyone seemed to be here. There was a man selling cold bottles of water under a sheltered bit so we went and bought a couple. Sarah found the only 2 chairs left which were in the sun. As we sat down with a bottle of water each…

Sarah shouted “AArrggghhhh” and flew up out of her seat like i’d just pushed the ejector seat button! At the same time half of the contents of her water bottle hit me in the face and covered mostt of my shirt (i was glad of the cooling down). But i said “What’s just happened?” “Awww the burning hot arms of the chair scorched my forearms as i sat down!” Ouch…I can still feel it as i’m typing this! 🤕 

Leaving the cafe it was time to meet up with the group to have our guided tour around the museum. On the way Sarah found some art and a fantastic building.

Sarah stood in the bottom left of the shot of the old house fills the rest of the shot with a tree on the right

Museum of King Nikola…

This fascinating Museum used to be the royal palace of the Montenegrin King for more than 50 years. So once the president had left we had our chance to see it. 😀  

The museum guide took us around the house and explained the significance and rarity of many of the items on display. She brought it all to life with a passion and pride that left a lasting impression.

The museum has many rooms which were presented as they would have looked when used as a royal palace, including the king’s and queen’s bedrooms, reception rooms, official meeting rooms, etc, and the various displays included clothing, weapons, furniture, medals and flags and other regalia from this historical royal house.

The temperature outside was 41˚C but inside it felt even hotter. We were told not to lean on any hanging wall paintings but the heat coming off any one of our group could’ve melted the painting (and the frame) from 10 feet away! The museum was incredible but everyone was so hot they all just wanted to leave. 

Just enought time to take one more photo of my beautiful and lovely wife Sarah! ❤️  

Lovely Sarah walking towards us inf front of a lovely old building

Back on the coach…

“Aww feel that air conditioning” i said whilst trying not to melt Sarah with the heat emanating from me! ☀️

Wait a minute…Yes it’s that time again! 

The coach stopped just long enough for Sarah to take a couple of wonderful panoramas. 

Sarah panorama of the rolling mountainous hills

Another Sarah panorama of the sea surround by mountainous hills

Arriving in Budva…

The guide flew off the coach and continued walking at breakneck speed for about 10 minutes. Sarah and i were tripping up little curbs, dropping down slopes and even started falling away from the group at one stage…But then he stopped to  show us this beautiful place…

The church with the bell tower on the left

the sea with the coast line on left

The guide said we had an hour free time and to meet him back in the main square ( i think i know where that is, lol).  

Sarah instantly found a coffee shop and wondered if they did iced coffees like the ones we’d had in Greece? They did even better than that! Sarah got me a massive one and said “If you stand here in the shade of the coffee shop, i’m going to go and see if i can get onto the beach. “Ok i’ll not move”. I didn’t need to move as this iced coffee was incredible…It even had 2 scoops of vanilla ice-cream with a double espresso poured over the top. I talk about this coffee as many times as i can. Wow…The ice cold coffee contrasting that scorching sun, mmmmmm. ☀️ 

Yay, Sarah managed to get onto the beach and put her feet on the sand so we were both very happy! 😀  

Not sure why i took this photo of the path?

A squared stone pavement in the town

We met up with the group and followed the guide back to the coach, the air conditioning wasn’t even cooling me anymore i was just too hot. I’d been boiled for about 10 hours and i think it’s going to take about a week to cool down. 😓 

Back on the ship…

Wow what a day! 41˚C is the hottest Sarah & i have felt so far on our travels, and we always talk about this day. But first it’s time to meet Brian & Ann for the final time on this cruise .

You’ll never guess…??

During our lovely 4 course evening meal Brian & Ann gave us this lovely Montenegrian design wooden box as a gift. Ann said “We didn’t go on any trips today so we looked around the town. We found a craft store and found this lovely box, i knew you’d love it and we just had to buy it for you! We were blown away with their kindness and friendship and we keep this box on our sideboard in our living room. Oh we also still have the 2 chocolates inside which Ann was handing out on her birthday! 😀  

Montenegro box.jpg made from wood with an amazing colourful picture all ove the top

Back in the cabin…

We were disappointed not to find a folded towel creature on the bed on our last day of this wonderful cruise. But this was the first of 2 cruises Sarah managed to book at the same price as the Barbados cruise and stay we had to cancel. Sarah managed to book them a couple of months apart…But we’re going to jump ship (Thomson Spirit) and climb a board the Thomson Majesty and sail away to our next destination! 😀 ☀️ ☕ ⛴

We hope you’ve enjoyed being on this ‘Classical Greece’ cruise with us? Did you have a favourite place?

To be continued… 

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☀️ #40 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Corfu, Greece”🇬🇷(2017)

Corfu logo

Good morning friends! (Καλημέρα φίλοι) 😀  

Wow what a day yesterday, it’s time for a little relaxing today….

Glyfada Beach is a Blue Flag strip of sand on Corfu’s west coast. You’ll have three hours to enjoy it during this trip. The soft, golden sand unravels into a crystal-clear lagoon. While behind it, dramatic, tree-peppered cliffs tower over a smattering of shops and restaurants. You can be as relaxed or active as you like – top up your tan as you lie on a sunlounger*, or get stuck in with watersports*. There’s windsurfing, waterskiing and pedal boats up for grabs.

How does that sound for a relaxing day at the beach! ☀️  

On the dock…

After another lovely breakfast we got off the ship and met up with the excursion team who kindly showed us to our coach. This excursion is a really short one  and is only 3 hours long, but we thought that Sarah could swim and play in the sea whilst i had a lay down on a sun bed and go to sleep . 😴   

The coach dropped us off miles away from the beach and we had no idea which way to go. Sarah quickly guided (dragged) me as we needed to follow the other people from the coach. The other people soon split and went in multiple directions and we were soon left on our own. After a few wrong turns (about 15 minutes) we were walking along a path parallel to the beach. “This looks more like it” Sarah said as we were walking down the side of a white hotel looking place. “Wait a minute, they said there would be lots of shops and cafes etc and there are none here”. We continued walking towards what appeared to be an empty beach and Sarah said “No, not this way either, we’ve already been off the coach for about 30 minutes”. 

We started heading back to the parallel path and back down the side of the hotel when…

We heard “There’s Sarah and Steve” and a few seconds later Brian and Ann (friends we met on the captains night evening) were stood in front of us. “No way” i said “Fancy meeting you here?! How areyou doing?” They were not impressed and said “We were on the bus before yours and we’ve walked around the whole place and nothing is open! We’ve paid good money to be on this trip and there is nothing here worth while, we’ve wasted our money”. Sarah said “We’ve also been walking around for ages and your right…There is not much here. Shall we walk down here and see what’s on the beach?”. 

Shortly after reaching the beach Ann said “There’s a cafe type bar over there, let me treat you both to a drink and we can chat for a while and then see what else we can do”, “Wow thank you so much”. ☕ 😀  

The Cafe… 

The cafe overlooking the beach with lots of umbrellas outside for shade on the sun beds

It was a lovely little cafe/bar facing the sea (i think that’s what the photo shows above?) and when the waiter had put our drinks down on the table, Brian said “We enjoyed the meals you left when that huge man stole you from our table, lol” Ann said “Ooohhh yeah tell us what happened. Did you get arrested?” 🤣  

We had a great time unfolding the events of that evening and told them it was also our 10th wedding anniversary. they both said “We’ve been married 42 years this year, we married in 1975 as teenagers”. “Wow” i said “Congratulations…I was born in 1975 and it’s amazing to be married for that long”. 😀  Brian and Ann were from Yorkshire so when Sarah said she grew up in Yorkshire and her family were still there, the conversation kept flowing and we connected really well! Time also flew by as we were chatting, laughing and having a fantastic time after the day had started badly, and we were already half way through our excursion time.

Ann said “Hey…We’ve been chatting for ages don’t let us stop you having your time at the beach. Go and have some time to yourselves. You can leave your bags with us so you don’t need to carry them”. Brian added “I’ll get my iPad mini connected to the internet and show you some Facebook photos when you get back”. Sarah replied “I’m also on Facebook so we can add each other as friends too and stay in touch”. 

The beach…☀️  

Sara at the very bottom walking out to sea with the huge seascape in front of her

I love this photo of Sarah (above) i can spend ages just soaking it in. Sarah works in London and commutes for 3 hours (round trip) into the dull grey and back into the lush greens of home. Her eyes get burned out with all of the close built up areas of London, and they work hard focusing on all of the close up objects and this results in lots of eye strain…But when she is on the ship or on the beach she says “My eyes totally relax as they love not focusing on close up objects but they rest whilst looking into the distance”. 😀  

Knowing all of this, i don’t need to tell you that Sarah really enjoys herself when in the sea… 

Sarah lay down in the sea with a pier in the background

Oh yes I forgot to let you guys know…I’m actually here! I’m burning hot again but my tactical sun hat is working well! 😰  

selphie of me in my tactical sun hat with my face in the shade from my hat but the sun is shining all around

Back at the cafe…

We returned to the cafe after rinsing off the sand under a tap attached to the wall. Ooohhh that was a lovely cold tap, lol!  Brian said (whilst looking sad) “The cafe doesn’t have Wifi so i can’t connect my iPad to the internet” as Sarah said “Oh that’s a shame i was looking forwards to seeing some of your photos, and also searching for my profile and adding you as a friend”. I thought for a moment…”Wait a minute! I think i can do a ‘Personal Hot Spot’ on my iPhone if i have a cellular connection…I’ll just check”. 

I sat down a pulled my iPhone out of my pocket, plugged in my earphones and listened to my Voiceover screenreader. “Hey Brian, it says i have 3G so you’ll be able to connect and use my connection” “What? I don’t understand what you’ve just said?” After Sarah talked him through connecting via hot spot “Wow thanks, i’m not sure what you’ve just done but thanks” and he opened up Facebook! 😀  

Ann turned to me and said “How did you just manage to use your phone?” I turned down the speaking rate to normal and unplugged my earphones, i said “Can you hear it reading out the name of the apps on my home screen, it even puts a box (Voiceover Cursor’ around the app it’s reading out so you can follow along if you have low vision too. “Wow” Ann said “that’s amazing how it does that”. I said “And if i tap 4 times with 3 fingers it puts on a screen curtain “It’s gone off” Ann said “No, it appears that way but it has just made the screen black so i can have privacy too while i’m using my phone”. “Can you read messages too?” Sarah said whilst laughing “Oh no don’t get him started, we only have about an hour left and he’ll go on for ages”. We all started laughing. 🤣  

Time was simply flying by, and after more lovely conversations on an omnifarious amount of topics…It was time for us all to head back to the coach.

Back at the dock…

Walking off our coach(Brian & Ann had a different ticket)  and towards the port shop. Sarah said “Maybe this shop will have some souvenirs as all of the beach shops were closed?!” “I hope so” i said whilst following Sarah into the incredible air conditioned shop! “Hello again” Brian and Ann said “We’re looking for souvenirs as the beach shops were all closed” I said “Yeah that’s why we’re in here too, lol”.

The hand…

Brian, Ann and Sarah had already exited the shop, i was following a few steps behind as i let a man through as he seemed in a rush. I heard Sarah say “Come on Steve” and then a huge fit of laughter burst out of Ann…Then Brian…And finally Sarah! They were still doubled over in giggles as i got there. “Wow what happened” i said as i’d just carefully navigated the step upon leaving the shop. Ann said whilst giggling “Sarah just grabbed that other mans hand and pulled him out of the shop thinking it was you” Sarah still with an embarrassed laugh said “Come on you, you’ve caused enough trouble , lol!” Now we all burst out laughing! 🤣

Back on the ship…

Before heading back to our cabin Ann said “It’s my 70th Birthday today” “What?? You kept that quiet” Sarah and i said together whilst both in shock. Brian said “We booked this cruise for Ann’s 70th Birthday treat! Would you like to eat with us later to celebrate at the usual place? We meet you at 7pm outside”. Sarah said “Yes of course that will be lovely…And Happy Birthday Ann!” 😀  

Sarah instantly crafted a plan…The plan was to wait until the ship leaves the port so that the shops can open. Then we can find a birthday present for Ann before we meet them at 7pm outside the restaurant…She executed her plan perfectly and the present was lovely, Ann loved it! 😀  

Ann’s Birthday meal…

Photo of Brian and Ann taken from their Facebook page

⇧ Brian & Ann ⇧ 

We met up with Brian and Ann and sat down at a table for 6. There were another couple sitting down too (sorry forgot their names) but they were also from Yorkshire. Sarah & i thought they must be Brian and Ann’s friends but Ann said they’d just met them before we came in and we asked them to join us. 😀  

Brian whispered “Don’t say anything but i’ve arranged a special birthday cake for Ann and she doesn’t know.” “Aww fantastic” i said. And after our starters and main meals…It was time!

A small group of waiters led by a guitar player and all singing ‘Happy Birthday’ they arrived behind Ann. She started laughing as they played (and we all sang a long) the birthday song, and when we’d all finished another waiter placed the cake in front of Ann. She was beaming and happily surprised and thanked Brian profusely! ❤️

After a while Brian and Ann said “We can’t have the rest of the cake as it will make us ill, and the others don’t want it…Would you like to take the rest back to your cabin?” Sarah said “Wooahhh it’s pretty much all cream…Steve you’ll love it” i said “Well what can i say? If it will help you out then i’ll take this burden from you!” 🎂😀 

Back at the cabin…

We returned once more to our cabin and were met with yet another folded towel creature. 🐊 

photo of a towel creature lay on the bed

What a fantastic day! We thought this day would be one of the worst, as we only book a beach break when there are no other excursions available. But today was great and spending it with Brian and Ann was lovely…Oh they are also our Facebook friends now too. 😀    

Thank you all for joining us in Corfu. I hope you had a lovely time? But…We’re not finished yet,

To be continued… 

Our Route…..

On Tuesday evening Thomson Spirit sails to the port of Kotor, Montenegro. Where we’re expected to arrive on Wednesday morning having travelled 185 nautical miles at an average speed of 14 knots

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☀️ #39 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Olympia, Greece” 🇬🇷 (2017)

Olympia logo

Sarah raising her arms in victory stood in front of the Thomson Spirit ship

Good morning friends! (Καλημέρα φίλοι) 😀  

We booked this cruise as i really wanted to visit ancient Corinth and Sarah really wanted to go on todays excursion….Olympia! 💪🏼   

Within half an hour’s bus ride of the small fishing village of Katakolon, you’ll find the site of ancient Olympia. Thousands of years ago, the park-like grounds of Olympia were crowded with athletes, preachers, merchants and philosophers. The backdrop was the impressive Temple of Zeus – famous for its 40-foot statue of the god himself, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The temple lies in ruins today, but you can still imagine how its structure would have looked in its heyday. With some help from your guide, the remains of temples, treasuries, porticoes and statues help to bring the site to life.

On the dock…

Meeting our local tour guide off the ship (after an olympic breakfast) we followed her to the coach where the 2 front seats were saved for us again, we really like this Thomson excursion team looking out for us!

The coach had lovely air conditioning again which was great for me, but Sarah had her tracksuit top on as she was freezing, lol! 😀  After about half an hour we arrived at the site of Olympia and stepped off the coach into the blistering sun. Sarah didn’t have her tracksuit top on anymore, and i instantly started overheating! ☀️  

We started walking through the areas where the merchants would have been and the workers and cooks etc. “Wow, how one earth did they do anything in this heat, they were hardcore” i said wishing i had more water. 💧

The guide was incredible and very passionate and knowledgable about the whole area. 

Olympic park in Olympia with lots of trees and sandy paths

Me stood on the right hand side with my tactical sun hat and wearing a black shirt in front of the Olympic park

Olympic park in Olympia with lots of trees and sandy paths

The gym…

Soaking up the blistering heat and more history, we slowly shuffled along to the gym. 💪🏼  

The guide was talking about how the athletes would train (naked) and cover themselves in oil to help collect the dirt, salt, sweat and anything else that stuck to them. Then they would use a strigil as a tool to scrape it all off before bathing.

The guide then said “Does anyone know why this place is called the ‘Gym?” The group fell silent but before the guide continued i said “Gymnós (Γυμνός) is Greek for naked” The guide happily said well done to me and seemed really pleased as Sarah said “How did you know that and none of the others did?” is said “I only know a handful of Greek words (bible study and apologetic books)…And that’s one of them, lol”. 🤣

We then continued walking to take a look at the temples and the ancient lighting of the torch place.

sand paths leading u p to the temples

Ancient piller of the temples

 The guide stopped to read an ancient inscription…

Our tour guide reading some ancient greek carved in a stone on the floor

 Lighting of the torch…

The guide talked all about the history of lighting the olympic flame and carrying the torch around. She then used her shadow to act out the lighting of the flame at the exact point! 😀   

A shadow across the sandy floor of our guide pretending to light the torch from the ancient games at the exact spot

The ancient olympic track…

Totally dehydrated (note to self…One little bottle of water isn’t enough) and my skin felt like it was blistering, we approached the archway to the original ancient olympic start line. 

The ancient archway that leads to the track which you can see through the archway

I thought the huge crowd were cheering away and welcoming us in the true olympic style, but i realised it was the thunderous sound of the cicadas again! 🤣  

The start line…

I thought the heat was blistering already but it didn’t prepare me for the inferno when we walked underneath the archway and onto the track. 🔥🔥

Sarah said “Steve you’ve got to get a photo of me at the original olympic start line! I’ve only been out of my aircast for a few weeks and it would make a great photo…Zena (Sarah’s friend) will comment straight away and tell me off, lol (she did). 😀  

“Here goes” i said “No pressure at all for this shot…It’s only a one off picture” But it worked and Sarah looks fantastic! Sarah had gone for months with an aircast, and now seeing her on the start line looking like a true olympian was another emotional moment for me. She really is my warrior princess wife! ❤️❤️❤️ 

Sarah doing a

Water…I need water…😰 

With our new appreciation of these ancient athletes we slowly made our way to the next stage. 

Me stood listening to the the tour guide

Sarah stood on the bottom right with the whole Olympic village behind her

The archaeological museum…

You’ll now proceed on foot to the Archaeological Museum, which is one of the most important of its kind in Greece and hosts an impressive collection of artefacts. The new museum was constructed in 1975, and eventually opened in 1982, re-exhibiting its treasures. Following some time here you will join your coach for a drive back to your ship.

Photo of the sign at the village camp

Ancient statue of

It was so crowded inside the museum and we couldn’t get many photos, sorry. 

The shop…

We now had about half an hour free time so we went straight for the shop. Yay Sarah managed to find a red t-shirt with the winners reef on the front. I just wanted a bottle of water and stood drinking it whilst trying not to collapse with more heat exhaustion! 

Sarah said “We can’t leave without buying Suzanne (our friend) something from here. Suzanne is mad about the olympics so it would be great to buy her a souvenir from the actual place”. We did! 😀  

Back at the dock… 

the Thompson Spirit in dock

With the ship in sight we had enough time to explore the dock. The dock was great for us and really accessible as it had flat walkways and no surprises. It had a few shops that we could have a look around and see if we can get anymore souvenirs.

rows of the little boats in the dock

rows of the little boats in the dock

And then…

Sarah walking away from the camera along the dock with the Thomson Spirit ship in the background

My beautiful wife has just told me to stand here and is walking away along the dock. “I wonder what she’s seen? Oh wait a minute…She isn’t going for one of her stupendous panoramas is she? She certainly is”. 

A Sarah panoramaa of the whole dock with me stood waving on the right

We don’t visit many docks with a clear view to the ship, so now we have, we’ll make the most of it, lol! 😀   

Sarah doing a i have conquored pose on the dock with the ship in the background

Sarah stood in front of the ship

Photo of me in front of the ship

me stood directly in front of the ship

“I see no ships!” 🤣  

On board the ship…

I was absolutely exhausted as we returned to the cabin…And after drinking about 100 litres of water, cold shower and a change of clothes…I was ready for the fantastic evening meal. 😀  

The photographer…

Our new friends Brian and Ann (met then on the captains night) told us that they had done lots of cruises and had the on board photographer take some photos of them on every cruise. They have a drawer at home full of photos and look at them for lovely memories. “They are not cheap but you can select as many as you like.”. they said as they left the stairway where we had a chance meeting.

Walking up a couple of decks we ran straight into the photographer who’d set up lights and umbrellas at the top of the stairs. “Would you like your photos taken?” “No thanks we’re so tired after todays trip” i said.

“Well we’re doing a special black and white photo shoot this evening if you are interested?” the photographer continued as Sarah and i considered it. I said “I can only just stand up as i’m so tired, nevermind trying to smile and look energised, lol! Sarah told the photographer “Yes ok we’ll give it a go”. The photographer said they’ll meet us back here in 30 minutes, and could i change my shirt into something more suitable for black and white photos (i had a Caribbean shirt on). Thankfully i have 4 identical black short sleeve shirts and i still have a clean one back in the cabin wardrobe! 😀  

We are so glad we had the photos taken! We love them and have them set as desktop wallpapers and iPhone lock screen images…Yay more photos of me and Sarah i’ll cherish. 😀     

Sarah hugging me from behind in black and white

Black and white image of me and Sarah back to back and laughing our heads off

me behind Sarah and we're both laughing

Sarah resting on her hand in a portrait

After the crazy photo shoot, we walked along the deck and it wasn’t long before we bumped into these fantastic creations.  

fantastic carved fruit

Back at the cabin…

I almost collapsed onto the great towel creature that was waiting for us on the bed… 

Towel folded lobster looking at the camera

Wow…What a day! We’ve had an incredible time with so many lovely memories. We hope you’ve enjoyed it too?!

To be continued…  

Our Route…..

On Monday evening Thomson Spirit sails to the port of Corfu, Greece having travelled 165 nautical miles at an average speed of 13 knots.

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☀️ #38 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Itea, Greece”🇬🇷(2017)

Itea logo

Good morning friends! (Καλημέρα φίλοι) 😀  

Let’s see where the ‘Blind Sightseers’ are going today…  

 You’ll visit the glorious mountain setting for this monastery with outstanding Byzantine mosaics. Osias Loukas (Holy Luke) settled here in the early 10th.century and the church was built over his grave around 963 AD. It is the earliest extant domed-octagon church, and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

On the dock…

The Thomson excursion team didn’t disappoint again and were waiting for us as we stepped off the ship. The kind man (sorry forgot his name) walked us to the correct coach as they have booked us the front 2 seats again. He also climbed aboard and said “I’m coming on this tour too and i can keep an eye on you both so you don’t get lost or have any disasters”. “Fantastic” i said to Sarah as it makes us less stressed knowing there is one of the excursion team (and not just the local guide) on the trip with us.

On the coach…

“Wow…There are loads of goats in a field. Steve if you could see you’d really like this, lol!” 🤣  

lots of goats in a field of yellow grass

Yay we’ve arrived…

As the monastery was set in the hills there was not much to see as we stepped off the coach. The guide then led us to the top of the steps that circled round and down to the monastery.

“Steve we have lots of long steps going down, i’ll let you know when the next one is approaching” Thank you my love” i said stepping down the first step. Sarah continued “Step down now…then 1, 2 , 3 flat steps and then step down” I obviously have to slow down because if i slip or fall just once i could twist or snap my ankle (especially with my weight, lol). “1,2, step down, 1, 2, 3 step down” isn’t my wife amazing?! 

There must have been about 2,000 steps as it took ages, but we wer’nt last and the Thomson man walked with us all of the way, i told you he was a kind man! 😀

At the bottom of the steps… 

Reaching the bottom of the steps without tripping or slipping once (thanks to my amazing guide Sarah) there was a small cafe, shop, monastery and a museum. “Wow you’d neve guess all of this was here when looking from the top” i said whilst looking at this beautiful place.

IMG 5858

The guide said we have about 10 minutes before we can go inside the church. It was lovely in the courtyard and looking over the valley down below.

Rolling hills and olive rees

olive trees and rolling hills taken under a over hanging tree

As i was taking the 2 photos above i knew i couldn’t get the whole landscape in 1 photo…But i know someone who can!!! 

You’ve guessed it…A stupendously sublime Sarah panorama.

Breathtaking panorama of the rolling hills and olive trees

Then as we were looking out (arm around each other) soaking up the hot sun, the Thompson man walked up behind us and asked if we’d like a photo together? “Wow yes please”. Another photo of me and Sarah i’ll cherish…

Me and Sarah with arms around each other and the rolling hills of olive trees etc behind us

The church…

The guide said we had to wait for the monks to disappear as they don’t want to be around us, so they have to leave and not be seen. “That’s evangelism” i said as the guide was passing Sarah an ankle length skirt. “You have to put this on if you want to go inside”.

Entrance to the church

As we walked inside the church it was a lot cooler (i was thankful for that) and it also had a peaceful atmosphere. The knowledgable guide told us all about the architecture of the church and the golden mosaics of the saints and apostles. I didn’t start a discussion on the Iconoclastic Controversies…I just enjoyed listening to the guide whilst Sarah captured a couple of photos. 😀 

inside the church looking at the arches

Inside and much darker image of the iside arches and roof

 Back in the courtyard…

There was a little shop where you can buy local honey, olive oil and some other lovely souvenirs. Sarah bought some honey (we thought it would be good for hypo’s) and olive oil for us to try on salads (Oopps, i accidentally said salads…I meant steak, lol) when we get home.

The queue was pretty long in the shop so unfortunately we didn’t have time to have a proper Greek coffee in the cafe. We met back up with the group and headed towards the mighty steps.

I am much better walking up steps as the step casts a shadow and i can just make out the contrast and figure out where the steps are…And it’s much easier to fall upwards than fall down and keep rolling head over heals until you’re left in a crumpled, crushed and broken mess at the bottom…Left to exsanguinate as your life slowly slipps away, one blood drop at a time! 🤕

Returning to the dock..

The coach dropped us back right near the dock and as the excursion was only a short one…We had time to explore a little of the town, yay! 

Oh did i mention it was burning hot?! ☀️  

iPhone weather app showing Itea, Greece at 36°C

I know for most of you (and especially Sarah) that 36° isn’t that hot…But for me who wears cargo shorts all year round (even through the winter) it is burning. ☀️  

We started walking and noticed their wasn’t many people around, as not many places were open. So we turned back and headed up the other street. We found a huge cafe/restaurant and headed inside. The place was empty but we could hear a coffee machine and some pots in the back rattling. “I’m not sure where we can order from? And i’m not sure if this place is open?” Sarah said whilst trying to find anyone at all. We walked back outside and Sarah said “There is a woman serving coffee to those people right over there (on the dock overlooking the sea about 100 metres away) but it’s much too far to be part of this cafe”.

We walked around a little further and made sure there were no other shops in the area, then we headed back to the dock to get a table and wait for the barista. ☕ She did walk all the way back to the cafe we’d just been in to get the coffees…Wow i’d collapse of heat exhaustion. 🤕 

The view of the sea and dock from the coffee shop seating area...I am right in the bottom right hand corner of the shot

Wow…This was the view we had from our table! We had plenty of time to just chill (burn) and relax and just soak in the view. Sarah and i love being beside the sea either like this or on a beach, as we live in a super green area near trees, village greens and conservation areas…So we love having holidays with sea and sand! 😀 ☀️ 

Yesterday we had our first ‘Fredo Cappuccino’ in the cafe in Corinth, so when the barista placed 2 of them down in front of us we both grinned. 😀 “Wow” we both said “this is the best one so far” i said whilst trying not to drink it all in one go! We had about 2 hours before we needed to get back onto the ship, so we ordered 2 more fredo  cappuccinos. After a while i asked to order 1 more for me and the barista said “No you’ve had 2 already and you’re not having a 3rd” i thought she was joking until i tried asking again! 😢

After the amazing coffees we decided to have a quick walk up and down the empty dock before heading back on board. 

Sarah taking a panorama of the dock area

panorama of the whole dock with the sea in the middle and i am over on the right taking a photo with my phone of Sarah

 Back on the ship..

We had time to refresh and change out of our sweaty clothes and make our way out on deck for a couple more shots before we leave the port.  

Sarah's panorama taken from the ship with the island in the background and the ship in the right hand side

Wow…After another stunning Sarah panorama, i thought i’d show you my new t-shirt…It’s archangel Michael fighting the war in heaven from Revelation 12:7-9 (for the record…I don’t worship God through the use of icons, statues, mosaics or my t-shirt. There is one mediator between man and God…The Lord Jesus Christ).

Me atood on the deck with my new shirt on with arch angel Michael fighting Satan

We had a lovely evening meal again and when we returned to our cabin…Yay a fantastic towel elephant! 🐘 😀  

Fantastic elephant folded towel

Wow what another interesting, beautiful and  scorching day, i hope you enjoyed it as much as us?! See you tomorrow for the day Sarah has been waiting patiently for! 😀 ☀️  

To be continued… 

Our Route…..

On Sunday evening we travel to Katakolon, Greece. We’ll arrive on Monday morning having travelled 109 nautical miles at an average of 9 knots.

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Corinth logo

Me stood on the right with my arms out stretched and waving as the Thomson Spirit shit covers the whole background

Good morning friends! (Καλημέρα φίλοι)😀  

I love the fact that we’ve just sailed to Corinth on the ‘Spirit’ and we’re now going on a trip along the Corinth canal, then to walk around ancient Corinth in the historic footsteps of the Apostle Paul. To say i was excited is an understatement! 😀 

But first…☀️  

I’m not good in the sun but Sarah comes alive in the scorching hot weather. So i sloshed on my sun cream as it was already 36 degrees outside (ouch) I’ve also bought myself a ‘Tactical Sun Hat’ to try and keep myself cooler in the sun and provide a little shade with the wide rim…It worked really well but i was still dripping like a candle in a Salvador Dali painting! 🤣  

Corinth canal…

Get ready to be impressed. The Corinth Canal marries up the Gulf of Corinth in the northwest with the Saronic Gulf in the southeast. It’s 3.9 miles long and its width varies from 69 feet at the bottom to 82 feet at the water’s surface. Before it was built, ships sailing between the Aegean and the Adriatic Sea had to circumnavigate the Peloponnese, adding another 185 miles to their journey. On this fascinating tour you’ll drive to Isthmia, around 1 hr’s drive, where a boat will be waiting to whisk you off. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views as you sail through this famous canal. Along the way, your guide will tell you interesting facts about the way it was built.

 We stepped of the air conditioned coach and just as i said “Argghh now that’s hot” Sarah said “Wow that’s better, it was freezing on that coach” we followed the group to the boat.

After Sarah excellently guided me onto the boat, we took our seats. The whole trip was just stunning and we were blown away by the walls of the canal and the sheer size of it. The guide was telling us all about the history etc over the loud speakers (my fave part as i can’t see the scenery until i get home and really zoom in for a blurry look). I do listen and hear Sarah’s detailed descriptions of the landscapes and any other points of interest. I also take in the other people around me and their reactions too. 

Another photo taken from the front of the boat looking up the canal with tall walls either side and a bridge on top crossing over.

photo taken from the rear of the boat with the beautiful blue water with hight walls either side

Photo of rear of boat showing people sat looking down Corinth canal.

 The Peloponnese…

Now for a blistering Sarah panorama!  

A Sarah Panorama of the end of the canal where it expands into the vastness of the sea, with land touching each side

Another Sarah panorama with the sea and land stretching from end to end with rolling hills and mountains in the background

After doing a 180˚ turn we headed back down the canal, fantastic! 😀   

Me stood right at the rear of the boat with the beautiful Corinth canal in the background

 Ancient Corinth…

You’ll now take a short drive to ancient Corinth, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the ruins of the “Agora” marketplace as well as the Temples of Apollo and Aphrodite.

We shot off the coach and followed the guide closely from the front, the path was all uphill and did i mention it was scorching hot?! ☀️ I kept saying to Sarah “Wow the Apostle Paul actually came here!” and after about the 10th time…We’d reached the top.

Me stood in front of the ancient Temple of Apollo wearing my tactical sun hat

Sarah and the Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

After a brief history lesson all about the temples and the culture as it was back in the day, we headed along another hot dusty path and ended up at the Synagogue. “Wow” i said “Paul would’ve visited this actual Synagogue several times…It’s simply amazing that i’m standing in biblical history”. 

Upon leaving the synagogue the guide stopped and pointed to an ancient hebrew marking on the wall. Sarah quickly took a photo of it to share. I continued “Wow, Paul may have walked under this very arch, wow!” 😲

A remain of the Jewish Synagogue where the Apostle Paul teached and preached

The Agora…

Moving further down and heading towards the agora, the sound of the cicadas were deafening, they were almost drowning out the voice of the guide…It sounded like i was walking around with a massive bee hive stuck on my head but less sticky and much less painful! 🤣  

“Wow…the beema  seat” i said whilst trying to get excited but actually about to collapse due to heat exhaustion. “The agora! This is where the Apostle Paul would’ve been making tents..No way!” i kept going “Did you know Paul stayed in Corinth for about 18 months and he would’ve have frequently visited and worked around here!” Sarah replied “Yes i know Steve it’s incredible, but we’re getting left behind as you keep stopping and making wow noises, lol!” 🤣  

“Sarah could you take some photos of me in the Agora and in front of the beema seat? I’d love to have a photo as a keep sake…Oh and have i mentioned that the Apostle Paul would’ve been around here?!”. Sarah puts up with a lot! 🤣   

Me and the Agora

Me stood (centre) in front of the ruins of the Bema in ancient Corinth

Me stood (centre) in front of the ruins of the Bema in ancient Corinth

The cicadas were still singing their thunderous lament as we walked deeper into the Agora. The guide stopped to show us the ruins and described how it would have looked and what would be happening back in classical times.  

lots of stones which are the ruins of the Agora in Corinth

A portrait view of the the ruins of the Agora and Bema at ancient Corinth

 And then…

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better…Sarah managed to fit the whole place in one monumental panorama!  

A Fantastic Panorama taken by Sarah of the Agora

At this point i was so exhausted, head and shoulders stooped forward and my mouth was dry and frothing. I managed a slow shuffle back to the air conditioned coach. Sarah said “Oh it’s freezing on here! 

It still blows me away when i think of this excursion to ancient Corinth and how we were actually there. 😲

Back at the ship…

After freshening up back in the cabin, we still had a few hours before the ship left port. We’ve found that if the excursion leaves us with a few hours to spare we can use the ship as the starting reference and go and explore the town nearest to the dock (any further and we’ll get lost). This makes for a full day as we can go on the excursion around the island and then visit local shops and markets around the dock area…Yay! 😀 

Wow…Did i mention it was hot! ☀️ 😰

iPhone weather app showing Corinth at 36° and sunny

“Yay…Steve a beach!” Sarah shouts as we step out of the dock, she continues “No way, holidays don’t start until i’ve put my feet on the sand…Come on!” I was just about to protest (as i’d left my beach shoes in the cabin) when Sarah dragged (i mean guided) me onto the powdery sand. 

The boiling hot sun, the powdery white sand and the gentle touch of the sea rolling over Sarah’s feet educed a wonderful smile. 😀  

My new Microfibre towel…

We were now wet, frazzled and covered in sand and we walked for a while before we found a bench under a large tree. “Yes…Here you go” is said as i unclipped my new microfibre hand towel from my carabiner loop on my BDU shorts. I bought this little towel just before this cruise as i wanted to be more prepared as we learn a little more what we need from each holiday…And this time it worked beautifully! 😀  

After a while we were both sand free, dry and ready for a cold drink. We walked down a few streets then Sarah said “Steve, i think this looks like a cafe? I wonder if they do iced coffees?” “I hope so” i said feeling like a pulsing nuclear reactor. 

They did the best iced coffee (Freddo Cappuccino) and even a sugar free one for Sarah… 

Sarah enjoying an iced Cappaccino outside the Cafe in Corinth

As we were sitting outside drinking our amazing coffees…The man we’d met at the Captains table last night walked past and said hello. “Wow” i said to Sarah after a brief chat with the man, “We’re even making friends and it’s only the first day off the ship”. 

Sadly it’s now time to return back to the ship…

Me stood in the middle of the road with buildings either side in Corinth

As we were walking towards the ship and the dock was empty…We stopped for a few photos… 

Sarah stood in front of the Thomson Spirit shipwith both arms in the air

Sarah stood in front of the Thomson Spirit ship

Me stood on the right with my shadow filling the rest of the photo

Then…

As we were taking lots of photos, another nice person from our ship walked up behind us and asked if we’d like a photo together?! “Oh yes please that would be so kind of you” i said as i passed her my phone. 😀  

Sarah & i in front of the Thomson Spirit in the background

Back on ship…

We’d had a fantastic day and had lots to talk about with  the people sat around our table at the evening meal. It’s lovely to hear other peoples stories from what they had done throughout the day, and to hear the adventures from the other excursions.

Finally…Just when you think the day is over, we have another fantastic folded creature.

A towel folded into a puppy dog with chocolates as his eyes

 Hope you’ve enjoyed travelling with us today? We’ll meet you tomorrow ready for our next excursion!

To be continued… 

Our Route…..

On Saturday evening Thomson Spirit sails to Itea, Greece. To arrive on Sunday morning having travelled 59 nautical miles at an average speed of 6 knots.

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10th Anniversary

Sarah i wedding photo

Wow, i still can’t believe it’s been 10 years since our amazing wedding day! ❤️❤️❤️ 

An unexpected blessing…..

This cruise holiday has been such an unexpected blessing, as Sarah had another “Charcot Foot (diabetic problem)” and was in an air-cast for the last 5 months. We had to cancel our Barbados cruise and stay we’d booked for our birthday celebrations in April…But Sarah 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 (July) visiting some fantastic places! 😎  

Sea logo

Breakfast…..

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, omelette, fruit, nuts, seeds, bacon and bananas (not all together,lol). 🥓 

Swimming…..

After exploring (getting lost) in the many different stairways, corridors and decks  around the ship, we were trying to familiarise ourselves with our fave places so we could find our way back much more easily. 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 laughing and really enjoying swimming in the pool on the ship

Sarah doing handstands in the swimming pool on the ship....Herr feet and legs are outside the water sticking up and her body is underwater!

⬆ 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! 

two towel swans together in a love heart shape surrounded by our anniversary cards, on the bed of our cabin on the ship

 ⬆ Towel folded Swan heart ⬆ 

The invitation…

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, i 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”. 

Formal Evening…..

As Sarah & i were queuing up to enter the show lounge, the photographers were taking our photos. 

Me on the left wearing a black shirt and Sarah on the right wearing a beautiful while dress with a black ribbon tie

 ⬆ Me & my lovely Wife Sarah ⬆ 

My lovely wife Sarah wearing her stunning white dress

 ⬆ 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 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.

AND THEN…..

An enormous 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 (not joking, he was about 7ft tall and 5ft wide) 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.

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.). 😎  

Me stood behind Sarah on the right of the photo stood in front of the staff captains table with 4 other people(including the captain who is sat next to Sarah)

⬆ 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℃ because of a heat wave across south east Europe (ouch). ☀️  

Thank You…..

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.

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