Sunday, 23 June 2013

First stop Bergen

We woke to a sunny morning, with great views from our room of little shore settlements on the way into Bergen.

These two tourists to Bergen decided to do their own thing.  With good maps and guides, we chose a walking route through the town centre, admiring the many fresh fish stalls on the quay side.

We inspected and admired a number of public sculptures

They were in tune with their surroundings, on this warm sunny day,

this lady looked set for a dip in lille-Lungegardvann just by her.

We made for the Hakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower, a very short walk from the central quay.

We were greeted by two young women, who spoke excellent English, and gave us all the pointers which would help us enjoy our visit, which included free tea and coffee at the little inner courtyard café.

They were very well informed and we met up with one of them later and were given a guided tour of the tower.

The main hall was really impressive, and was rebuilt after the being badly damaged when a German ammunition ship exploded in the harbour just below.  The Hall is huge, measuring 37 x 16 metres.  It is used for ceremonial occasions and for concerts.  I loved the intricate tapestry along the front of the Royal High Table.

Alongside the hall's wall opposite the arched windows the wall was lined with woven wool with subtle tapestries above.

Between the Hall and the Tower, a pretty inner courtyard house .

Still alongside the Key, we explored an area with old painted wooden houses and shops,
with interesting details

Around many corners we found delightful buildings and townscapes

The town was quite quiet, but everyone was outside enjoying the sunshine.

The town was very smart, and we explored down many pretty roads.

First Cruise

We spent a week away on our first Cruise on board the Ventura.  Its not the first time I've been on a long sea journey, as I travelled with my family on the Union Castle ships from Mauritius via South Africa  to the UK, a couple of times before the BOAC flights started in the early 1960's, so thereafter the journeys were made by plane .

Our car journey went smoothly, and we were truly impressed by the car parking arrangements.  As we came to a halt just outside the embarkation point, we were met by the car parking company, driver and checker, and a porter appeared and all our luggage was taken away.  Twenty minutes later we were on board!  As our cases would not be at our room for an hour or so, we went exploring.  We went and had a look at the swimming pools, both inside and outside.

By the time we had found our accommodation for the journey, our cases were by our door, and after unpacking, we make ourselves a coffee.

We were delighted by the spaciousness of our suite, which had a large living room as well as a balcony, and we loved the flowers, chocolates and champagne too.

We sat on our balcony as we left Southampton, and waved as we overtook Queen Mary as we sailed between the mainland and the Isle of Wight.

After a wonderful nights rest, no noise of any engines, no fumes, and very little motion, we spent the day exploring the ship, and getting used to what was going on in different areas.  We also got ready for our first formal evening.  Here I am in my white lace dress with hand knitted shawl.  I ended up wearing the wrong dress to the wrong evening!  We were to have two formal nights, and later that week we had our black and white theme, but I was not the only one not in white on the second evening, and Mr S said I looked lovely anyway.

We had elected for 'freedom' dining, which meant we turned up to our restaurant when it suited us.  If we wanted a table to ourselves and had to wait, we were given a bleeper, and after a little while at a cabaret, our bleeper let us know that we could go into dinner.  Otherwise we accepted to share and met some great fellow diners, each time sitting with different people.

The staff were very courteous, efficient and seemed to read our minds as to what would please us.  The meals were better than I could have hoped for, and the entertainment was better than most I have enjoyed during my whole life.  Our cabin was 'seen' to several times a day, and although we could have had a full choice of meals brought to our room, we elected to 'walk out'.  Each evening we went to the theatre, as well as some dancing and cabaret...we were really spoilt.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

May going going gone

Its just not like me not to post for so long, so what have I been up to during May.  Lots....too much really, and not enough time to blog.

I've very nearly finished knitting a jumper which has been on the pins for too long.  I have a cushion project on the go.  In the meantime this month I knitted a made to measure bespoke tea cosy for my friend Marie-Claire.  It took me several attempts to get it just right, starting with a clever little stitch called rick rack.


 Plenty of baking of course, mainly bread, including a batch of muffins, sourdough spelt, wholemeal, white and baguettes, and this great batch of pizza for his and hers, with enough for three meals at least, some in the freezer for busy days.  For me a layer of pesto, then roasted red peppers, topped by buffalo mozzarella, goats cheese and olives, roasted tomatoes some squashed for him.

Its been a very cold late spring but the garden looked a picture.

During the last few very wet days, the slugs has eaten my little courgette plant right down to the ground, and my runner bean plants are just hanging in.

Had a few days away exploring around Frome which has some interesting streets

Had several friends round during the month, last ones included Penny with her daughter and new grand-son...