Apologies for the radio silence over the past week or so – I had intended to start up another 30-Day-Challenge, this one horror-related in honour of October being Halloween season, but I got a bit sidelined.
BY A CRUISE!
Tonks, my long-suffering spousal unit, has finally handed in her thesis after 4 long years of blood, science and tears. To celebrate, her parents took us with them on a cruise up to Holland, Germany, Sweden and Denmark! We’re both hugely grateful for this, as it’s been a tough year (or two) (or three) and we badly needed to let off steam.
We sailed on the CMV flagship Magellan, a luxurious ship with everything that we could ask for – except free wifi, of course. We managed to snatch a few minutes here and there to keep in touch and let everyone know we weren’t dead. Pirates could happen to anybody, you know.
The ship was wonderful – the staff were super-friendly and the food was AMAZING. There was a choice of the all-you-can-eat buffet (or the ‘bearpit’ as it came to be known) or the rather more posh Waldorf Restaurant, a sit-down meal with waiters and napkins and multiple sets of knives & forks. I felt very intimidated eating there the first time, but after that it was a breeze. Even if I did eat dessert with a soup spoon once. I AM A REBEL. The food was sumptuous and pretty much perfectly cooked. Even the more down-market buffet was great. The kitchen staff worked very very hard.
There were outdoor swimming pools, which I did not use because ARE YOU KIDDING WE WERE IN THE BALTIC SEA. There was a gym, which I did not use because, well, you’ve met me, right? And if you haven’t, you should just know that one doesn’t get a physique like mine by going to the gym, dahling. I earned this figure with lots of pizza, I’m not burning that off. I did keep fit by eschewing the lifts and using the stairs wherever possible – there were a lot of elderly and disabled folk on the cruise, and their needs were greater than mine. There was, however, a spa which I did use – I had a lovely massage that loosened muscles that had been tense for years.
First stop was Amsterdam, city of canals and chips. And other things as well, but we didn’t indulge in anything dodgy because, you know, the in-laws were there. It’d be a bit rude to nip into a coffee shop and come back giggling and craving chocolate. It’s just not done. We did visit possibly the oldest café (and actual café) in Amsterdam, which is a nice 17th century building with sawdust on the floor. Fantastic coffee, as expected. After some strolling and the mandatory giggling at the sex shop windows (we are mature adults) we picked up some Gin and headed back to the ship.
Hamburg! Home of hamburgers! That is, of course, why for lunch we had … ice cream. Ok, well, that may not have been the most appropriate lunch, but it was exceptionally good ice cream. More town exploration, but it was a public holiday in Germany the day we were there so most of the shops were closed. As with all the places we went to, though, the architecture was beautiful.
Next stop, Helsinborg in Sweden … where we immediately jumped on a ferry and left to go to Helsingor in Denmark – otherwise known as Elsinor, home of Hamlet, pictured right at the top of this very page. I couldn’t pass up the chance to see that place, could I? We walked through the incredibly pretty town to get to the castle, which was actually a surprising distance away. We were pretty knackered after that, but on the way home we got a small bus tour of Helsinborg itself so that was nice.
Copenhagen! Land of mermaids! This is, of course, not the famous Little Mermaid statue, but I like it just the same. Can’t imagine why. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with that. Get your mind out of the gutter, this is art. Anyway, Copenhagen was wonderful – it was very cold and windy and blustery, but everyone seemed smiley and happy nonetheless. We also ate in town rather than on the ship, as we were visiting an old school friend of Tonks’. We had something called Stegt flæsk, which was a sort of deep-fried pork belly that was gorgeous – and the serving was massive! I was very happy that evening.
After that came Aalborg, where I didn’t take pictures because it was a bit gloomy and drizzly – the first properly bad day of the trip, in the last destination. We did really well, weather-wise. Aalborg is nice, also quite small, and doesn’t seem to be very tourist-centric, though it does have a lot of pubs. Definitely the sort of place to visit if you want to avoid tourist traps.
And then it was home sweet home, terra firma, no more swaying decks and rich food. It was a wonderful time, but it’s good to be home.
And what will I do for Halloween? I’ll probably do a couple of horror themed posts, just to keep things going. The wind is howling and the shadows are growing longer…