A while ago, Sol asked me if I would write more about my travels. I haven’t done – mainly for two reasons – firstly, because these days my travels are mostly limited (through choice) to lazing about in a nice hotel in the sunshine with a cocktail in one hand and a book in the other. Which doesn’t make for very exciting reading. Secondly, because most of my ‘proper’ travel took place in my early 20s in the days before digital photography, and the majority of my photos from those days, rather than being of the amazing places I was lucky enough to visit, were of myself and my shipmates having raucous parties in our cabins or the officers’ wardroom! I believe that times (and alcohol regulations) have changed vastly since my days at sea.
Anyway, I was thinking about number 1 (below) while I was in bed this morning, for no particular reason at all, and the fact that it was one of the things that always sticks out in my memory from my travels. And so the idea for this blog post was born. Well, this one and a couple more for some other Fridays, as I came up with far more than five, and even five was too many for one post!
If you’re still with me after all that waffle, here we go:
1. Meeting of the Waters, Brazil
The Amazon is just amazing – the river itself contains one fifth of the world’s fresh water – and the towns and ‘cities’ (I use the word loosely) we visited on our trip up the Amazon really were from a time gone by. When we got to Manaus, I was blown away by the Meeting of the Waters, where the Amazon meets the Rio Negro, but the waters don’t mix. A-may-zing. Look:
2. Landing on a Glacier On a Seaplane
Being sent to a ship which was spending the summer season in Alaska was always considered a bit tedious, due to the weather (rubbish, v similar to an English summer) and the tedium of 7- or 10-day cruising on a continuous cycle, with the same ports on every cruise.
However, there were upsides – amazing scenery, great bars (some of my most memorable nights out have been spent in Alaska, believe it or not), and Vancouver every 7 or 10 days, which is one of my favourite cities in the world.
I spent two summers in Alaska, and highlights included seeing a killer whale in Glacier Bay, a seaplane trip with a glacier landing, almost 24 hours of daylight when we got up as far as Whittier, panning for gold, eating a hell of a lot of salmon, and seeing a real live wild brown bear. And having my photo taken with it. As you do.
3. My First Glimpse of Sydney Opera House
February 1990 - Docking at Circular Quay, Sydney on board Canberra, during the 1990 World Cruise. My first ever trip to Australia. We all got up ridiculously early (before 5 am, I think), so we could be up on deck for Sydney arrival, one of the most stunning port arrivals by sea in the world, in my humble opinion.
I remember feeling quite emotional at the thought that I had travelled by sea from Southampton to Australia, as far away from home as it is possible to be on this planet, and just being absolutely blown away by Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
We stayed in Sydney for three days, and although we were working hard (Sydney was a major disembarkation/embarkation point for passengers travelling only a part of the whole world cruise), we all managed to get some time off to see the sights and shop – oh, and to party during the evenings of course!!
Waking up in the morning to the sight of Sydney Harbour Bridge out of my porthole was pretty amazing, too!
More of my favourite amazing sights next Friday. Hope you enjoyed it, Sol!