Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday – Day 9: Gibraltar

False alarm – the promised storm didn’t materialise...or was it that I was so tired I slept through it all? Anyway, first stop, is the shop to get my money back on the rope we used to lash ourselves to the mast over-night!
Winking smile

7.00am: We were up early today as for some bizarre reason, the ship’s only in Gibraltar until lunch-time – perhaps they’re afraid the Brits will sail-away with ALL Gib’s duty-free and sink the Ship!!!

8.00am: So, it’s breakfast in the trough Lido where ten-gazillion other people were all doing the same thing – presumably thinking like us: ‘It’ll be quicker than the restaurant, so more time to spend ashore...”

8.45am: And we’re off! We soon discovered that Gibraltar isn’t how we remember it – it’s probably 10 years since we were last here, and the port area has been completely redeveloped. What was immediately noticeable, was the sheer number of apartment buildings that seem to have sprung up – literally  everywhere. Because of the extensive redevelopment, this meant that instead of docking fairly near the shops (and the duty-free!), there’s now a longish walk to civilisation. Mind you, we walked faster than normal because it was so cold (preparation for our return to the UK?) - and then we were soon into recognised territory. Well almost recognisable!
The new whizzy Port building!
...and buildings for business
We certainly recognised the shops, but there didn’t seem to be many people. Where is all the hustle and bustle that we remember from all those years ago?

Clang!!! That’s the sound of the penny dropping as we realised that the reason that the whole place was so quiet, and why most of the shops were closed, was because it’s a Sunday. Doh!!! So, after all that, no duty-free then! Bizarrely though, all the jewellers and perfume shops seemed to be open (so we got some stuff for Lee in return for housesitting).

9.20am: Bored, bored, bored with walking past endless shops that were closed meant that we quickly gave up and returned to the Ship. By now, the weather was warming-up, but we were on a mission to find a hot coffee on-board.
A welcome sight on a cold wintry day!
10.15am: Safely tucked-up in the Commodore’s Club on-board in a nice comfy chair soaking up the sun through the large window. The unique view allowed us to see the hundreds of others who were all about to make the same mistake as we did earlier!

We tried lunch in the pizzeria – fresh pizzas made before our very eyes – scrummy!

14.00: Ann toddled off to a lecture about nutrition – nice! I sought a more practical route!

15.00: Siesta time!

18.00: Time to get ready for the evening meal – we won’t be visiting the restaurant tonight as the dress-code is semi-formal. In Cunard language, that means a tie, and for some strange reason we hadn’t packed one. We looked in the ship-shop and they wanted nearly £50  for one..and they weren’t that inspiring from a design point-of-view. So, we’ll have to ‘slum-it’ in the Lido Restaurant

19.15: We’re glad we did as the food there was excellent – it was a themed French menu.

20.55: We slipped into the Commodore’s Club for a cocktail. Is it me or is the ship rocking a lot more now!

20:30: Off to the Theatre, to see Adrian Walsh again. He was even better than when we saw him earlier in the week – and the audience were a lot more appreciative too.

21.45: OK, just one more drink then...

22.15: Bed!!!

And finally...
So, that’s almost it for this holiday. In short, Rome was just as confusing, expensive and dirty as we remember it – but still very enjoyable. Cunard’s Queen Victoria exceeded our expectations in every respect. From the professionalism of the staff, the quality of our cabin, the sheer number of things to do and get involved in, as well as the variety of food - it certainly got top marks from us, and I’m sure we’ll be returning

Re-runs of series 1 of ‘Fawlty Towers’ and series 1 of Torchwood (in 21:9 format) on one of the in-room TV channels was an unexpected and added bonus for me!

Additionally, for a self-confessed tech-head like me, the fact that  the ship seemed to maintain a mobile signal wherever it was, was something I wasn’t expecting (but I’m not expecting it to work when we’re between Gibraltar and Southampton on the two-days-at-sea return leg – we’ll see!).

This, therefore, will be the final blog for the holiday, as we’ll be at sea now for two-days before returning to Southampton. It’s been a great break and that’s going to make it even more difficult to return to the arctic conditions of the UK and going back to work!


Summary of the Holiday...