Tag Archives: St Vincent

Cape Verde and northwards to Tenerife

IMG_381415 February

We have arrived in a sunny Cape Verde Islands and in particular the town of Mindelo on the island of St Vincent.

We were supposed to get in at 8am but what with the unscheduled stop in the Amazon for fuel which caused us at least an 8 hour delay, the head wind of about 25mph and the continual swell hitting us we were 90 minutes late arriving which was very good going which under the circumstances is pretty remarkable.

 

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Porto Novo on Santo Antao

An early morning sprint on the port side, past the island of Santo Antao with its rugged coastline, barren tall mountainous appearance and the village of Porto Novo stuck by the coast.

 

Roads or more likely tracks wend their way up to the very sparsely populated mountainside, we are too far away to make anything out though.

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Torre de Belem

 

A Shuttle bus is provided into town through the working dock area and we opt for a leisurely walk along the coast road past a few fishermen, a few guys playing cards, difficult in the wind, towards the sea museum in the Torre de Belem, and a craft square that didn’t really have anything in it.

 

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Fish guarding by a cat

The fish market nearby had the catches of the day being poured over by locals (with a well trained cat guarding the catch) then headed inland to the blue tiled market area.

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Blue tiles near the market

 

The wooden souvenirs in the market were claimed to be made by the individual sellers but surprisingly, the same products were generally on sale around the square and later in some of the shops.

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Market stalls

 

The women’s clothing on sale was very colourful and dramatic but we didn’t see much evidence of them being worn around town by the locals.

A few women were walking along with baskets balanced on their heads and some of the stall holders were hard at work on their sewing machines or chopping up some of the fruit but there were a few pockets of people standing around not doing anything. Not many though.

 

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Colourful side streets

Back to the sea front and up some side streets past a few squares until we get to the Hotel Prassa 3, a modern hotel with an inside courtyard which was happy to provide us with tall capachinos and free wifi for €1.50 each.

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John & Sally enjoying some rest outside modern hotel

As we had been without wi-fi for over a week, it took some time for the emails to download and I came away with at least a further 29 not yet downloaded from a week ago.

 

The town has some buildings that are very modern interspersed with some quite old buildings and some that need a lot of TLC.

 

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Building requiring TLC

From a distance, the houses are generally of the box sort seen in Africa with only a few that have sloping roofs.

 

Many bright colours have been used as outside wall paint, not everything was white which has given it a different look.

A few beggars were in evidence, all of them elderly as the population is generally quite young but they left you alone if you said “no”.

The island was reputed to be good at producing ukuleles but we saw no music shops and, leaving John & Deirdre to wander further, Sal and I take residence back on board in the shade past a lovely mural.

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Wall mural

 

An interesting port of call which is being developed more as a tourist destination in recent years.

Entertainment tonight is Jimmy James (without his Vagabonds) and from my position standing at the back – in between doing a final wash – the sound quality was much better than at the front. Think he is not at his best now.

16 February

A sea day on the way up to Tenerife and Entertainment manager, Elaine Coles gives talk on primates of Cameroon, a passion of hers but we miss talk on ships by Ken Vard, and a talk on Atlantic Volcanoes by Ken MacTaggart.  We do however get to the talk by John Lyons, the actor who played a detective, Jack, in A Touch of Frost. No notes, all off the cuff – very good for someone of his age.

There is a tug of war between various departments of the ship at the rear of the ship which usually means some of them getting wet, much to the amusement of the passengers but good news, the sun is out today so there are more bronzed bodies in evidence.

Entertainment tonight is by 3 West End leading ladies, The Patriot Girls who sang items from the Swing era, some modern versions (such as That Man by Caro Emerald) and Jenny Williams, a Stockport female singer with a mixture of classical, musicals and a couple of film songs, a very powerful voice with a bubbly personality.

Tonight is the last time the clocks change – we must be nearly home.

 

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Awaiting the last passengers before departing Cape Verde

17 February

 

Another sea day and the entertainment is running out of steam, nothing his morning and only a variety show at 3:30 to keep us away from the cooling temperatures of the North Atlantic as we head towards Tenerife.

No decent entertainment this morning so it is book reading time, Sally finishing her 5th and me, well I have finished the book I got for Christmas 2015 – The Blackest Street by Sarah Wise.

This is about the area of Bethnal Green called the Nichol in the late 1800s with references to the Reverend Loveridge whose photo I found a few years back and who I think, was the vicar who married my Grandparents on my father’s side.

Afternoon entertainment was a variety show with some of the Headliners singers and The Patriot Girls and after a stupid film in the evening, “It had to be you”, we were entertained by the International Piano Duo with as well as some opera songs, performed some lively pieces and an exceptionally long solo by Matthieu Esnult.

Northwards to Tenerife.

St Vincent (without the Grenadines!)

IMG_316830 January

St Vincent, our 4th new country visited since retirement and we all just aim to walk to the churches of Kingstown, the Capital which are some way through the bustling town with its market stalls, shops and every type of office represented; banks, dentists, insurance companies and the like.

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Kingstown

Probably what we should have done is get a taxi to the Tropical gardens and then walk back or get a taxi back to the churches, but we didn’t!

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St George’s Cathedral

The first church – St George’s Cathedral – needs some renovation work inside but seemed to be clean outside.

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Stained Glass window in St George’s cathedral

A stained glass window exists that was rejected by Queen Victoria as it had red angels and is in need of some repair as well.

Nearby is the Catholic cathedral, the outside appearance of which is one of neglect with a lot of dirty stonework but inside it was completely different with some nice simple decor and sporting what could be a 50″ TV inside the church.

We were not allowed into some parts of the building but we were able to walk through a lovely courtyard although here again, the stonework is in need of cleaning.

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Catholic Church from St St George’s Cathedral grounds

Walking back slowly (John and Deirdre walk up to the Botanical Gardens) we stop and look in the Methodist church, again well decorated inside and awaiting a visit from school children some of whom we saw outside the church who were probably aged about 4 in their smart uniforms.

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Courtyard in Catholic Church

Sadly the front of the inside of the church was spoiled, from my perspective by a big screen that has been inserted for the purposes, I assume of showing films, pictures and the like.

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Methodist church

Just a restful afternoon and tonight’s entertainment was courtesy of Ida (Idagirls.com) in the Pacific lounge and Ukebox in the main theatre.

Both were much better than their first concerts, especially Ukebox with their dancing around the stage.

Tomorrow we will be in Barbados and a submarine adventure beckons.

Settling into our cruise for 50 days

3 January

IMG_3126We are now situated on the P & O ship Oriana and in about two hours time we will set sail on an epic 50 day cruise (yes, 50 days of cruise!) that takes in the Azores, Bermuda, 4 US ports (should have been 3), Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, St Vincent, Barbados, Tobago and 3 stops up the Amazon before returning via the Cape Verde Islands and Tenerife.

This is one hell of a trip and is at least a week longer than our cruise back from Sydney two years ago.  Will we survive?  Will we go crazy?  Only time will tell.

As with all cruises run by P & O, one of the first things to do even before your luggage arrives in your cabin is to attend the usual safety drill and this cruise is no exception, cabin staff checking all cabins and public areas to ensure all have attended before releasing us from our bright orange life vest.

We then unpack, hanging carefully those clothes that might be needed for the formal nights on board – there are 14! but our main case won’t fit in the cupboard or under the bed so our cabin steward takes it from us for us to see it hopefully in 50 days time.

 

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Our cabin for 50 nights

We do have to complain about the configuration of the cabin as there are two bunk beds folded up which restrict our movement somewhat.

 

That is not what we expected when we booked and we can not even stand up straight beside the bed. Reception not helpful but to be fair it was in the small print on the brochure he showed us (you would realistically need an extremely large telescope to read the small print though!) so we will have to make do.

Sail away a bit of a damp squid as we are late leaving so opt for dinner early, a good move as restaurant is virtually empty.

We have opted for Freedom dining although in practice will turn up at just after 6pm each time – sadly though there is no sign of Raj, our friendly waiter from the last two cruises.

Our friends from earlier cruises, Brenda & Mick are on the cruise and they get seated next to us, along with their other friends, Colin & Wendy,  just as we are finishing: we will catch up later.

Headliners opening show is OK as is the singer but we are all tired and opt for an early night afterwards.  The Bay of Biscay tomorrow and you know what that is likely to be like.  See you on my next post.