Friday, 9 November 2012

The Cruise

The Cruise was good.   Not great, not fabulous, not life-changing.   But good. I am still not entirely sold on cruising.   Everything is superficial; shore visits are hurried and just scratch the surface of a place;  I hates the endless dressing up for dinner.  But I was determined to enjoy it and I did.   We saw places I wouldn't have normally seem;  the Queen Elizabeth was elegant and classy; I met a good crowd of fellow passengers;  I was able to relax totally;  it was good.

We boarded the Queen Elizabeth in Venice after a fascinating couple of days in the city. We then visited Mykonos, Olympia,  Istanbul, Odessa, Yalta, Nessabur, Izmir and Santorini.    Some I had been to before, some were new to me.   Andrew and I were quite adventurous and took local transport rather than organised shore excursions.  That worked well and got us away from the endless series of coaches and away from the crowds.   We had coffees and beers in local cafes, and spoke to locals.   Odessa and Yalta were much nicer than I had expected.   The weather throughout was great.  And we had a good couple of days in Athens before flying back to to the UK.

Going with a gay group from Pied Piper Travel gave us a ready-made crown of like-minded friends.   Not having to pack and unpack was wonderful.  Our cabin was spacious and had a balcony.   So yes I would go on a cruise again.   I certainly came back feeling refreshed and invigorated.

Flooding in Spanish apartment

We were actually in the Ukraine (of which more later) when the email came in. From the administrator of the block in Malaga in which we own our ground floor apartment. The one we are proposing to sell. Water has apparently been pouring out of our front door as a result of recent rain. Well there was little we could do until we got back to the UK. Then I did an emergency visit to Spain. By the time I arrived, the floor was dry - but caked in dirt and mud. There certainly had been a flood. So I cleaned it up as best I could and returned to the UK. A week later we received another email. More dirty water was pouring out of the flat. This time Andrew went over. This time there was indeed dirty water all over the floor. It obviously had not been the rain but in fact was a leak from a pipe hidden behind our bedroom wall. We suspect that it is a pipe from the kitchen above and that the flooding occurs when they use their washing machine. Andrew has returned after leaving a key with the administrator. She has confirmed that their insurance policy will cover this and that she will get in a plumber to fix the leak. But the flat will at best need redecorating. The bed and carpets are ruined. It will be some time before it is sorted and some time before we can sell the flat. Frustrating.