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iReminisce: The Unimog

The 1961 Yellow Unimog…

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! 😎

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

View our full day (Sarah’s Birthday) at Bonaire

iReminisce: Surf & Smile

Back at the dock…🛳 

After a short boat ride 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, she’s 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. 

View our full day at Aruba

iReminisce: The Coconut Cake

Speightstown, Barbados…

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! 🤣

View our full day (Sarah’s Birthday) in Barbados

iReminisce: The St Maarten Necklace

The smell of the locals cooking on the market was amazing, but Sarah had found a sweet little craft stall. The lady created items from the coral found off the shores St Maarten. “Oooooh, i could have a necklace made from St Maarten”. I knew that to mean “i’m getting one, i just don’t know which one yet?!” 🤣  

close up photo of Sarah's neckolace she bought fromm a market stall in Marigot, St Maarten

⇧ Sarah’s St Maartens Coral Necklace ⇧  

Sarah really was starting to feel at home here,  but we had to get back to the bus! We enjoyed our stop in Marigot, and we said we’d love to spend a week here to investigate more! ☀️ 😀 

View our full day in St Maarten

iReminisce: The Blind Sightseers 1st Cruise

Sarah  i in Caribbean

⇧ Me & Sarah at St Kitts ⇧ 

From stunning, breathtaking views, horse riding in paradise, dancing with dolphins, River paddle boat trip, various island bus tours, 4×4 volcano ride, cable cars, OH…. and Sarah’s medical emergency in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, it’s been an unbelievable few weeks on our cruise holiday to the Caribbean, Azores & Spain (2015). 😲  

Please join us (The Blind Sightseers) on this incredible journey:

Transatlantic Sunset Tour: Day 1 ~ London – Jamaica

iReminisce: Ilfracombe, Devon

A black and white photo of ilfracombe bay

A photo taken from our new years eve (Dec 2011) holiday with friends (Rob, Shelley, Tom, Abbie & Ella)  in Ilfracombe, Devon, England, UK. It was very windy and very wet! We had a fantastic time as the holiday home was overlooking this bay so we enjoyed lots of coastal walks and enjoyed local restaurants.

 Camera used – iPhone 4s (as it was raining i was too scared to take out my DSLR’s) 😨 

iReminisce: V8

Pickup Truck

While on holiday last year in Hunstanton, Norfolk I kept hearing a fat american V8 driving around the town, and one day it was parked up so I could snap it with my camera! 😲  

My friends dad always had american cars  and vans and I’ve enjoyed them for most of my life, so I was excited when I could finally put a picture to that beautiful sound. 😀 

Camera Used ~ iPhone 4s

iReminisce: Twinkling lights 😲

A whole building completley covered in sparkling blue lights

The twinkling lights on this department store in Florence, Italy were simply amazing to just stand and look at, but it soon became dark and we didn’t want to get lost on our first day! All of the streets were decorated beautifully with illuminated stars, borbals & bells so we quickly headed back to the hotel. What an amazing, exciting and tiring first day. 😀

View our full Tuscany Tour 

iReminisce: Sarah’s Favourite Seat

Sarah sat in the window of the lighthouse looking out over the sea

This photo of Sarah sat in the window of the Old Hunstanton Lighthouse is a lovely memory for us. We rented the lighthouse for our honeymoon (2007) and then for the next 5 wedding anniversaries, and this is Sarah’s favourite seat! 😀 

Sarah works in London where it is very fast paced, crowded,  built up and very grey, she always looks forward to escaping the stress and relaxing by the sea. 💪🏼 ❤️

iReminisce: The Old Lighthouse

The old lighthouse2

As you may already know from my previous photos of “The Old Lighthouse” this is our favourite place to hire for a holiday in Norfolk. 😀  

“The Old Lighthouse is a holiday home with a difference! Built in 1666 on the cliffs of North Beach in Hunstanton, The Old Lighthouse was fully restored and converted to holiday accommodation in 1997.” 

 

 Camera used – Samsung WB550

iReminisce: Carousel Horse

Brighton 031

This is one of the first photos i’d taken since being registered Blind. I only had a compact camera back then as I didn’t know I would be any good at all at taking pictures, I thought it was a silly idea as it is a sighted person’s thing to do! 🤣  

This photo was taken in Brighton, Uk, and is of the carousel horse that is right on the beach front.

 Camera used – Fuji F10

iReminisce: Elephants Foot

Elephant s Foot

After being back in my home town of Derby this weekend, i didn’t want to leave without having an ‘Elephants Foot’ from Birds. Other bakers around the country do similar styles of cakes, but never taste anything like one of these beauty’s, they simply can’t be beaten! My sister got me a box of 4 to take back home and Sarah & i can’t thank her enough! 😀  

If you visit Derby or Derbyshire then i recommend that you try one!

iReminisce: The Cross

The Sun on the Cross  PNG

During our 5th wedding anniversary at the Lighthouse, Hunstanton, Norfolk. (2012) while walking into Hunstanton along the cliff top  we spotted this cross that had been put there by surveyors and as it was only a few hundred yards from the lighthouse we thought we would try and get a nice photo whilst the sun was setting. 🤔  

If it wasn’t for digital camera’s it wouldn’t be possible for me to enjoy photography and after about 50 photos later and a wait of a few days until i could get home and download the images onto my computer i was shocked to find this waiting for me. 😲  

 Camera used – Nikon D2Xs

iReminisce: What’s Happening? 😨

Me looking Terrified in front of the river with volcanic rocks behind

When i found this photo which Sarah had taken in the Azores, we both started laughing and thought this was probably the best photo of me ever! 🙂  Don’t ask me what i was up to, i can only imagine that i heard a T-Rex or a volcano erupt!! 😲  

Please let me know in the comments below if you have any great captions to add to this photo??!! I look forward to hearing what you come up with! 🤣

View our full day in Sao Miguel 

From The Archives: The Finish Line

Hi all…This is my first post from my ‘From The Archives’ series, i hope you enjoy reading some of the classics, lol?! 😀 

The Finish Line…

As a blind gamer, i was excited to be recommended(by my brother) a brand new racing game called “Project Cars” for the PS4. I’m able to attempt to play a few racing games, If they include Grand Prix tracks, i can often remember each corner from my sighted gaming days, playing F1 97 etc. 

When i sat down to play for 15 minutes last night, i was surprised to be taught a lesson on being over zealous, while lacking wisdom! 🙂

A close up photo of the amazing Ford Capri Touring Car

⇧ Screenshot of my 1980 Capri (Group 5 – Team Zakspeed) ⇧ 

I chose the rather extreme Capri to drive and chose a familiar track. After leaving the pits i span off on nearly every corner as my tyres were cold and not up to race temperatures. An influx of thoughts filled my mind,….

Over Zealous…

It reminded me of when i first became a Christian and first had revelation of the Truth when reading the Bible. I couldn’t believe what i was reading, and how it described me…yes me! I then did what normally happens, and become over zealous like a screaming twin turbo engine and had to tell everyone, and point out the right and wrongs with everything and everyone around me! 

I was making a lot of noise and using a lot of power and energy,  but was lacking something vital, i failed to slowly warm up the tyres of Godly Wisdom!

As we mature, and grow in step with the Holy Spirit, we are given all we need to finish the race. And when we get the balance right, we can stay on track until the end, and if our tyres stay hot, even the storms won’t be able to slow us down! 🙂

Making Doughnuts…

photo of a racing sierra cosworth with smoking tyres doing doughnuts at Donington race track

⇧ Screenshot of my 1988 Sierra RS500 Cosworth (Group A) ⇧ 

After selecting “Donington”, my home town track in Derby, i decided to take the Sierra Cosworth for a ride. I stopped to make some doughnuts, and thought “Here we go again, all that power and energy…and i’m just going round in circles”.

🙏 I want to thank God for not leaving us in the pits! But instead He empowers  instructs and steers us towards the finish line! 😀 

Fire Up The Quattro…Both Of Them!!! 😨

Hi all! Today’s post is a little different, as i rarely get the opportunity to experience a proper car…Never mind get to talk all about the engine, tyres etc with another proper petrolhead! 💪🏼 🤣 Well it all started at the end of Eileen’s funeral last week when we needed a lift to the train station to head back home. Ben (ex brother in law and friend) said he’d give us a lift and disappeared to go and get his car?!

What is that visceral rumble outside?? 🤔 

Audi $S4 1

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

  Please meet the RS4…😲   

Ben: “Firstly, the RS4 was hand built by quattro gmbh (Audi’s in-house performance arm). The B7 RS4 is powered by a direct fuel injected (FSi) 4.2litre V8, producing 420bhp and revving to over 8,000rpm.

Mine is around 450bhp and revs to 8,500rpm due to some minor modifications. It has the quattro all wheel drive system with a 60:40 power split with a rear bias to aid handing. Front brake are floating discs with 8 piston callipers (also used on the Lamborghini Gallardo). As with all B7 RS4s, it’s a 6 speed manual (has to be manual).” 

Audi $S$  2

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Fire up the Quattro…

As Sarah was getting into the back seat she said “You’ve got to be in the front for this one” i said “Fantastic” as Ben kindly guided me around and opened the door as i got in. I said “Awww these Recaro bucket seats are amazing, and i can fit in them properly now i’ve lost 5 stone, lol!” 🤣 

Audi RS4  Dash

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

I was listening to the rumbling beast ticking over as Ben slipped into the drivers seat. “Awww i love a V8 it just sounds amazing and it’s only just ticking over!” Ben then blipped the throttle a few times (to widen my smile even further) and pulled  away.

Sadly the train station was only about 10 minutes away, but when we reached the duel carriageway…Ben wound the windows down and floored it!! 😲

I’m not sure if it was the instant force of being blasted back into the seat, or the symphony of the 450 angry beasts filling my ears that gave me that feeling like nothing else…I simply couldn’t stop the huge grin from leaving my face! 😀

“Wow that was immense” i said whilst pealing my head off the rear window, lol. “That was only 6500rpm as we keep running out of road, we have 2000rpm left” Ben said as he gifted me with another blip of the throttle to evoke the awesome symphony!

The tunnel…😲

Audi $S4  4

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

We even had a tunnel moment where you can really hear the deep growling boom of the V8 through the open windows, awwwww…I’ll pause for a minute for you to imagine the beautiful sound of the V8…😲
The exhausts…

2 Audis

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Pulling up outside the train station (oh no the car experience is coming to an end) we all got out. I was wondering why Ben had left the car running as i knew he’d already said he’d come inside to check everything was ok and our tickets worked in the gates etc…Above and beyond kindness! 😀   

When…🤔 

Ben walked me around the rear of the car on the nearside about level with the tyre. He then placed Sarah in a similar position on the offside, “Stay there a minute and listen to this!?!” 

It all happened at the same time…My ears were blessed and blasted with the massive sound of the V8 from the rear, then my lower half of my trousers blew backwards from the wind (tornado) blitzing me from the tailpipes…And as the revs lowered we could hear the huge pops, bangs and explosions coming from the exhaust! Wow what a finish, and now we understand what you were up to, lol! 🤣 

I can’t thank Ben enough for giving me and Sarah this amazing experience, and Sarah was happy that i got to talk all about cars without boring her to death, lol! 

Oh just one more thing…This monster has 275mm tires and 20 inch rims! 💪🏼 

The Audi 4.2 V8…

Audi 4 2 V8

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

 

Fire up the second Quattro…😲 

2 Audis 2

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Please meet the Audi 90 quattro 20v sport…
Ben: “The old one is a 1991 Audi 90 quattro 20v sport (One of only 92 ever built), it’s a rare car. Powered by a 2.3litre 5 cylinder twin cam engine. It has a 5branch exhaust manifold and fully electronic multipoint fuel injection (very advanced for its age). It was an early adopter of catalytic converters but as mine is pre 1992 I’ve removed mine (totally legally).”

“Along with some internal engine work it’s power is up from original 170bhp to around 220bhp and this revs happily to around 7,400rpm now. It too has Quattro all wheel drive with TORSEN centre diff and lockable rear diff. It has cast front suspension arms and is considerably lighter than a normal Audi 90. I’ve had this for about 15years.”
Audi 90 Quattro 2

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

About 5 years ago on another trip to Derby, Ben kindly gave me and Sarah a similar blast in this classic Quattro. It sounded and felt fantastic and it was a real blast back from the past! I remember Ben opening the sunroof and windows to get the full exhaust tone playing in our ears…What a beautiful sound! 😀  
Audi 90 Quattro 5

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

What’s under the hood?!
Audi 90 Engine

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Audi 90 Engine 2

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Audi 90 Quattro 7

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Audi 90 Quattro 6

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Audi 90 Quattro 8

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

 My story and a little about my “Novadose”…🤔 

As you may know my last car before i went blind…Was my custom 1991 Vauxhall Nova 1.4SR resprayed in dark pearlescent purple (bottom half) and white for the top half after i’d fitted a full Zender body kit. . As i worked as a panel beater in a bodyshop, my fave part was hammering out the rear wheel arches, filling them for a slightly wider arch…So i could squeeze in the 205mm tyres on the 17 inch rims. I’d only ever seen 16 inch rims on a Nova in Derbyshire before, so i had to see if i could fit the 17’s…That’s why i called it the “Novadose”. 🤣   

I’ve always been interested in cars as most of my family are/were mechanics…I think that’s why i get so excited whenever i have a car experience like the one above…And why i’ll always share it with you guys! 😀

Do you have any car experience stories to share? 🤔 

❤️Love At First Sight…Village – 17 Years On!!!

Red Love logo with reflection

 Today i’m celebrating a brobdingnagian 17 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, Mmmm, Awww and 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 tries to check 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. ❤️💪🏼 😀 

Our 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 ⇧ 

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 ⇧ 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 ⇧  

1 Sarah snow walk

Me Winners Trophy

 

2020 ⇧ 

1 Sarah Doughnut

Me Engand Shirt

21 ⇧ 

📖 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 14th Wedding Anniversary! ❤️ “Sunny Hunny”

1 sarah i wedding day

Hi all! 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.! ❤️

Sunny Hunny…☀️ 🙌 

For our 14th wedding anniversary we decided to visit Hunstanton, Norfolk, and stay over for one night in the Golden Lion hotel. This was ‘The Blind Sightseers’ first trip away from home since Jan 2020 so we were ready, lol. 

As you may know Hunstanton is where we had our honeymoon (and then 5 consecutive anniversaries) in the Old Lighthouse, so we were interested to see if anything had changed?! 

After leaving home at 7am we knew it was going to be a long day, especially after a 5 hour journey…A taxi, train, underground train, another train and a bus we arrived at Hunstanton a little past lunchtime! 💪🏼 

NO WAY THE DOUGHNUT VAN IS STILL HERE!!! 

1 Sarah Doughnut

DING…DING…DING…BOOM!!! 😋 

The sound of the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard Bell’ exploded as we quickly devoured the doughnut. 

We managed to get 1 each of the consistently perfect doughnuts…And it was even the same lady who’d served us 14 years ago on our honeymoon! 😲 As we walked up to the van she said “Your usual?” 🤣

After eating the best doughnuts in the world we started our walk around Hunstanton. We only walked about 200 yards when we found??? 🤔 

Willy The Wash Monster L.A.R.C. XV…

This beast is a 1967 Landing and Recovery Craft and is ex USA Army and used in Vietnam. It now gives sea tours in Hunstanton Norfolk and is classed as a ferry…Oh and it’s also powered by 2 Cummins 920 V8 engines! 💪🏼 😀

We had been on this beast years ago and knew it went up to the lighthouse and back…And since we can’t go on a cruise ship, this was the nearest thing, lol.  

1 lighthouse

⇧ View of the lighthouse from the wash monster ⇧  

 The boat ride didn’t disappoint and shortly after we needed to check into the hotel. There was only 1 room left and it was at the rear of the hotel…But the shower was hot and powerful (rips the skin off) so all was well, lol! 🤣

Now i’d dropped off my heavy backpack it was time to explore to see if anything had changed?! No…It was all exactly as it was 14 years ago, the only thing (our fave shop) Surface had closed. This was our place to buy surfer clothes each year…Well i say we, Sarah used to but i was always too big…But i’d lost 5 stone now so was looking forwards to finally buying a top…Oh well, lol! 🤣  

After a long day of walking around the place about 5 times, drinking coffee, eating chips, doughnuts and scones we were sipping a glass of red wine and watching the sun set over Hunstanton.

sunset looking out over the beach and the breakers

The walking…

I have no idea how we managed it as Hunstanton is a very small town…But we’d managed to walk around 10 miles over the afternoon and evening! This was a blessing after what we’d eaten on our mini holiday…Now it’s time to rest after a full day as we only have the morning to go!

The next day…

After a small breakfast we were excited to go for another walk. As it was also early there was hardly anybody else around…And as this walkway is one of my fave places to walk in the world (empty and very wide), it was a good start to the day. 

IMG 3637

 As i was walking up and down on my own unaided and free, it felt fantastic to just pretend i could see where i’m going for a while, lol! 🤣

The funny face???

Not sure what i’d just heard (maybe you could leave me a funny comment with your suggestions) but i just had to give you a comedy moment! 🤣   

IMG 3667

 Ooohhh a helter skelter…

FullSizeRender

IMG 6833

 More walking… 

IMG 3644

 Wow i think Sarah is going to bless us with one of her stupendous panoramas…

IMG 3669

IMG 6843

 The chips…

DING…DING…DING…BOOM! 😋 

Now these are the best chips anywhere on earth! Seriously i’m not using any hyperbole. It really is a good job i don’t live here as these chips are dangerous! 🤣 

1 Me and chips

 After another coffee and a quick walk around some souvenir shops, it was time to say goodbye to Hunstanton and catch the coast hopper bus. Wow what a ride, time has just flown by on this short 14th wedding anniversary holiday.

Striving to be a Godly husband…

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

I strive daily to love Sarah biblically and extravagantly, but to love her biblically i always first ask “What is God’s love for us like?” 

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..

“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

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

Sarah & i in Love Heart

Yay…1 Year…-5 Stone & Size XXL To Medium! 🙌 💪🏼 😀

Me Winners Trophy

Hi Friends!!

Can you believe it’s been a year today, since i started my epic adventure aka “June time to prune?!” I wanted to put this post on my blogs as a milestone for me and to share my good news with you all! 😀 

My mind is still having trouble adapting to the body it’s now living in, lol. 

-5 Sone…

I’ve gone from overheating all of the time, wearing shorts through the winter and staying out of the sun as it felt like pins and razor blades cutting my skin…To feeling cold most of the time, wearing normal clothes in the winter and like yesterday…Spent time sitting with my lovely wife Sarah enjoying the sun without the stabbing pains in my skin.

Size XXL to a Medium… 

I’ve also gone from a size XXL t-shirt to a size medium. I have never been a medium throughout my whole adult life. I’m loving having to get a new wardrobe and ordering a medium size and it fitting like a glove…Not much beats this feeling! 😀 

My Engine & Body Analogy…

As i used to be a panel beater in a bodyshop, the engine analogy just seemed to click for me when thinking about my nutrition etc. As i needed to be in a healthy calorie deficit to lose weight, i needed to find out what kind of engine i had and how much fuel (calories) it burns.

Hang On…

I’ve just realised i’m going to go on for ages writing about my year of transformation. So before i bore you all to death, i thought i could write about it post by post for a while. This way i can slowly bore you to death and you may not notice, lol! 🤣 

Yay It’s My Birthday! ☕️🍔🎶😀🙌

1 Me BP Trophy Circle 001

 Hi WordPress family! As it’s my birthday today (2nd in lockdown)…I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to raise a coffee and take a little time to thank you for your continued love, encouragement, inspiration and fantastic comments between all of you on this blog. I always talk to Sarah about all of you guys and how amazing it is to have  this blog read and commented on from all around the world. 😲 

After my incredible 1st lockdown birthday last year, i was stunned by how you all commented with your fave coffee and drinks, and where in the world you were from whilst you were happily mingling with other friends here through the comments section. 😀 

So what i’m trying to say is…As my birthday gift could you please comment below with your country and this time…let me know your fave foods etc? I can’t believe that i’m 5 stone (70 pounds) lighter than this time last year, and i’m interested to hear about foods from around the world…I love food, lol! 😋 

It would be a lovely birthday present for me to hear all of your fantastic responses…I’ll make another coffee here in Surrey, England, UK, grab my fave snacks…Propercorn Peanut Butter and Almond Popcorn and a Grenade Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Protein Bar…And look forwards to seeing (and sharing fave foods and stories) with you guys! 😀☕ 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 61 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Grenada logo

Good morning friends!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-6pkbgL3Ho&feature=youtu.be

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. 🍫 😀  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJIjTbbuKpM

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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? 🤔

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 60 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

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.

On the dock…🛳 

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! 🤣  

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…

☢️ HEALTH WARNING…😲 

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd0phsrO6V4

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…

 DING…DING…DING…DING…BOOM!!😋  
 
Profiteroles
 
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!! ❤️❤️❤️ I LOVE YOU!! ❤️❤️❤️  

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)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 59 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

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 fire (i mean 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 bottle 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?

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 58 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

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? 🤔

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

Tough Mudder 5K

Good morning friends! Are you ready for a challenge?

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 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! 😀  

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 56 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

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

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 55 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….

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…DING…😋 

Yay…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! 

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 54 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

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!

DING…DING…DING…😋   

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

☢️ HEALTH WARNING…😲   

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

☢️ HEALTH WARNING… 😲  

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?

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 53 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Barbados logo

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

After our relaxing breakfast (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! 😲    

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms6f0NgnzMI

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…I can’t remember what it said though, lol…Maybe a super kind reader could enter the text in the comment section below?! 😀 

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. 🇧🇧 😀    

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 52 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

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. 😀  

IMG 0356

IMG 0357

 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! 😀  

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 51 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….! 

Martinique logo

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

Sorry but Sarah & i didn’t managed to take any photos at all on the very wet shore excursion. Yes even i was in my wet gear (last time ever Sarah has commanded) 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 from what seemed like a beautiful film set!. 😲 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 (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.

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 50 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….! 

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. 😀   

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 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!

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 48 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….! 

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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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR-MVblYeyY 

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. It was like everything was larger to help us blindies! 🤣  

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.  

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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 ‘Death in paradise’ thing 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 when…

DING…DING…DING…😲  

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…But this is completely normal for the Blind Sightseers!

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 (diabetic problem) 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?

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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🇫🇷#45 The Blind Sightseers Power Slide To Corsica! (2017)

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 45 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!  

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

☢️ HEALTH WARNING…   

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…

☢️ ANOTHER HEALTH WARNING… 

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? 🤣  

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀

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☀️ The Blind Sightseers Melt In A 41˚C Heat Wave In Montenegro! 😓

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 41 of this monumental, inconceivable and definitely memorable blind sightseers tour….!  

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 (i thought i’d accidentally pushed the ejector seat button like in James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5). 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. 

☢️ HEALTH WARNING… 

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”.

DING DING DING…🙌  

Yes it’s that time again…The sound of the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ bell has just rang as this iced coffee hits the top spot! 💪🏼 😀 

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

Hope you’ve enjoyed the adventure today…Let me know your favourite part?! 🤔 We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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☀️ The Blind Sightseers Have Coffee, Cake & Conversations in Corfu!

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 40 of this monumental, inconceivable and definitely memorable blind sightseers tour….!  

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”…And we have! 😀 

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. 😀    

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

Hope you’ve enjoyed the adventure today…Let me know your favourite part?! 🤔 We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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