Whew! We did it! Eight cities and five countries (if you consider Ireland and Northern Ireland to be two separate countries) were visited in 18 days. Twelve of the 18 days were spent aboard Celebrity Cruise Lines ‘Century”. Over 1,000 photos were taken, several hours of video, hundreds of wonderful meals eaten, washed down with many bottles of fine wine and pints of beer, etc. – so it took a while to ‘digest’ it all and get something posted to the blog. Here ya go:
Starting out on day one in Amsterdam..”Are we lost yet?” The local sitting behind us is probably thinking “What a bunch of brain donors! Why don’t they just ask for directions? We all speak at least a little English.”
We made contact with an old friend that I had not seen since we performed together at the Red Banjo in Rome in 1969! Tom (in blue shirt) and Arlette rode their motorcycle up from The Hague to have dinner & drinks with us in Amsterdam.
We were fortunate to visit Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on a Sunday morning during mass. Note the smoke from the incense in the hand of the priest to the right.
No trip to London is complete without a visit to Buckingham Palace. But what I want to know is how do these guys manage to stand stock still for hours, nary a twitch or a scratch, then suddenly turn and march across the front wall of the Palace, turn and march back – at the exact same second, in perfect coordination. Maybe they are not human! Had to use a telephoto lens on this shot – so I was not close enough to tell if there was any breath there to fog my lens.
Talk about a prime place to dock your cruise ship! No ‘tendering in’ or long taxi rides into town for the passengers on this Silversea Expedition ship. They just sailed up the Thames, under Tower Bridge (in the background) to the center of town and tied up to the World War II era cruiser, the HMS Belfast – a permanent floating military museum. (During the war the Belfast had a key role in tracking down and sinking of the German battleship Bismark, as well as participating in the Normandy invasion.)
Piccadilly Circus is just that – a circus of bright lights, flashing animated billboards, heavy traffic, both on foot and in various and sundry types of motor vehicles – all driving on the “wrong” side of the road as far as we North Americans are concerned – which just adds to carnival-like atmosphere.
Of course we had to see the obligatory tourist sites in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. But, being that it was a Sunday, long lines of tourists were waiting to go up. So naturally we stood in the shortest line. Only when it was too late did we find out WHY it was the shortest line…it was for the STAIRS – not the elevator. So, long story short, we CLIMBED the Eiffel Tower – to the second highest level. Then, because we were both out of breath and out of time – plus there was ANOTHER long line of people waiting to take the elevator all the way to the top – we stopped at the mid-platform – took in the view and snapped many great photos – testimonials to having (almost) conquered the “French Mount Everest” – on foot, no less!
The London Eye is a relatively new attraction – a quick and convenient way to get great views of the city of London. Up to 20 people ride in weather proof, Plexiglass bubbles. The view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament is spectacular – especially on the downhill side of the ride (see photo below).
The next-to-last port of call for the Century was St. Peter Port on the Isle of Guernsey, Channel Islands. While belonging to Britain, these islands are actually closer to France – which makes for a rich and varied cultural experience. (The Channel Islands have the unique reputation of being the only sovereign English territory occupied by the Germans during World War II.) All in the group agreed that this stop would be added to their “must return” list.
As you can see, dinner time on the ship was a VERY SERIOUS affair, even on formal nights. Everyone had to try the “spoon-on-the-nose” trick. Eventually, Savannah trumped all of us by somehow managing to get a FORK to stick to hers – a talent that will serve her well throughout life, I’m sure.