A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about sea

The Road to Rhodes

Rhodes

sunny 29 °C
View Rhodes on kmmk17's travel map.

When it came to our summer holiday this year we were pretty open minded - all we wanted was somewhere warm, a nice hotel with good food, and not in Spain.

Nothing against Spain - they do what they do really well, but after going to Gran Canaria last year, and having been to Spain 11 times before, I really wanted to go somewhere new this year.

We looked around for a while and started to settle in on Greece. I had been to Athens 10 years ago, but that was all. Visiting one of the islands would be a different experience, and we started to settle in on Crete. Nevertheless, we didn't want to book anything too far in advance - all the Covid related cancellations and reschedulings had scarred us, so we waited until relatively close to the time.

Then just as we were ready to book at the hotel I had found, I had a thought - is Crete the island we wanted to visit? I started to think about Rhodes, and realised it had more to see. Last minute change of plan!

We looked at the flights and they were all pretty awful timings. Looked at hotels and last minute bookings meant a small choice that met our wants. In the end it worked out better to go on a package with Tui than to book everything independently. Going All-Inclusive with Tui was no more expensive than our usual Half Board independent trip, so we decided to make our lives easier and do that. Let's treat ourselves - after all, we had scrapped a holiday in August anyway!

The hotel we found looked pretty good - but there were some sketchy reviews - ants, dodgy WiFi, smelly nearby sewage works. But the reviews for other good places we'd stayed before had sketchy reviews, and did some of this matter anyway? We took a punt and decided just to go with it!

The Kresten Royal

The Kresten Royal

Several weeks later, it was almost time to head off. Then two days before we were due to leave, the Queen died. How annoying - all the drama, special TV programmes and general excitement of this generational event was taking place whilst we were heading out of the country. We had talked about going down to London - maybe to see the lying in state. Then there was the funeral - when would this take place and would be able to see it?

As our flight wasn't leaving until mid afternoon, we got to see the official proclamation of the new monarch on TV that morning. We had heard rumours that the funeral would take place on the Monday after we returned, which would give us time to head down to London the day before (the day after we got back) but this wasn't yet confirmed

Mourning

Mourning

It was soon time to head off. Once arriving at the airport there was no mistaking the country was in mourning. There were images of the Queen everywhere, as well as a Book of Condolence, which we had signed as we didn't have time to visit one at home.

Book of Condolence

Book of Condolence

By the time we would arrive in Greece, we would miss dinner so we grabbed food from the recently opened Burger King in the departure lounge, before boarding our plane.

It was a four hour flight, so we'd got some newspapers, puzzle books and music to keep us entertained. Some beautiful views en route over the Alps and Italy and then just after sunset we arrived at Rhodes Airport.

The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn

Frustratingly most of the UK flights were arriving at the same times, and so there was a lot of hanging about. Baggage reclaim took around an hour, and then we waited ages for our transfer coach to leave. It then decided to reverse the drop off route and so we were one of the last to get dropped off. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was just after midnight - even accounting for the loss of two hours, this still meant 10 hours end to end. Being late there was just one poor man on he reception dealing with all the new arrivals. Eventually we managed to get our key and head to the room.

The bar was still open for another half hour, so we decided to go and get a drink so we could at least do something on our first day!

The following morning we headed down to breakfast, had our fill and then headed to the nearby supermarket to get some supplies. We sussed out the local buses and headed back to the hotel. It was then finally time to start enjoying ourselves! We made our way to the top pool - just next to the hotel where there was a bar. Found ourselves some sun loungers and grabbed some drinks. All-inclusive meant free, so we started working our way through the cocktail list.

By the Pool

By the Pool

After having dinner we headed down to the bar and then sat and enjoyed some evening entertainment.

The following day we decided to head down to the lower pool, which we realised we didn't enjoy as much, despite being closer to the restaurant with the Souvlaki. We briefly went to the beach, where the pebbles hurt our feet, before heading back up to the top pool.

After two days in the hotel, on the Tuesday we had a day out - heading south to visit the ruins at Lindos. After breakfast, we headed to the bus stop and got on a direct bus to Lindos. It took around 90 minutes and picked up more and more people until there was no room left, but eventually we arrived at the very busy tourist town.

The buses stop on the outskirts of the town, and everyone then walks down the hill, passing numerous stray cats, towards the quaint, traditional Greek town.

Streets of Lindos

Streets of Lindos

Many winding streets made this very busy, but before long we arrived at the entrance to the ruins. We bought out tickets online so we didn't need to queue for ages and headed straight through.

Lindos

Lindos

To be honest, these ruins were no more special than any other set of Greek ruins, but nevertheless they were still pretty and had beautiful views over the nearby bays.

Lindos Bay

Lindos Bay

We had a nice look around, before we headed back down through the beautiful town and eventually back to the bus station.

Arriving back at the hotel earlier than expected, we had time to go into the main restaurant for lunch (normally the effort to get dressed meant we opted for the Souvlaki and Pizza at the outside restaurant). We then had some more sunbathing before dinner and a visit to the bar that night.

After a day out, Wednesday was spent chilling in the hotel. However we overdid it a bit on the alcohol today. Too many strong cocktails too quickly. I had aimed to beat my record of 7 earlier in the week - but with 5 before lunch I ended up feeling queasy all day and gave up! A lesson for the rest of the week...

Cocktails Galore

Cocktails Galore

That afternoon there was a big changeover at the hotel. Many of the nice courteous (and mostly German) guests headed home, to be replaced by bus loads of Israelis who can only be described as "pushy". They made their presence known instantly and it meant and end to the nice orderly queues in the restaurant and the peaceful relaxing by the pool for the rest of the holiday...

The following day we again headed out of the hotel - making our way up to Rhodes Town. There is a lot of history here and it was a beautiful place to visit.

Site of the Colossus

Site of the Colossus

We started around the harbour - heading past many of the old buildings before reaching the site where the Colossus stood before being destroyed in the earthquake in 226BC, and now graced by a pair of Does. Pretty, but not quite on par with one of the seven Wonders of the World.

The Doe

The Doe

We then headed around to the other side of the harbour, passing three beautiful traditional windmills.

Mandraki Windmills

Mandraki Windmills

Just past these was a man looking after numerous cats, and finally at the end of the harbour entrance is another doe statue, and from where the Turkish coast can be seen, just 12 miles away.

Cats

Cats

We then headed south, entering the Old City, to where many of the most important old buildings on this island are located.

Grand Master's Palace

Grand Master's Palace

We walked past numerous souvenir shops, cafés, defensive and religious buildings of different types, representing the history of the rule of this island by the Romans, Ottomans, Italians and Greeks.

Old Town Streets

Old Town Streets

We then headed back towards the bus stop and eventually our hotel. Once again, being back at lunchtime we headed into the main restaurant for lunch. It was outside the entrance where we noticed one of the new guests, a young girl from Britain was hurriedly buying a T-shirt from the neighbouring gift shop, so she could enter for lunch - apparently dismayed that this 5* resort won't allow their guests to enter (barely) wearing a bikini...

The following day was our last full day. We again spent it around the pool, with cocktails and snacks before heading for dinner. Tonight the entertainment was "International Night", which basically meant getting out the bouzouki.

Bouzouki Time

Bouzouki Time

I decided to take a nice evening walk around the resort, taking a night time walk down to the beach and around the complex.

Evening view from our room

Evening view from our room

Our final day was now upon us, and thankfully our All inclusive wristbands weren't taken off us at check out, so we could again enjoy some drinks and snacks - particularly useful as our pick up was just before dinner time.

The airport was again full of faffing - lots of delays and extremely busy. A particular 'highlight' was the boarding of our flight at the exact same time as those at the gate next door. Everyone must get on an airport bus, and as there wasn't room to board both at the same time, we had to wait for all the stragglers heading to East Midlands before we could even start. In the end it meant boarding the flight 90 minutes later than departure was supposed to be - at around midnight - with estimated arrival back home at 2am (accounting for the time difference). Great...

This essentially made this a short haul overnight flight, and we eventually arrived home at around 3am (5am Greek time).

As planned, the following day we got up and headed into London to see the interesting, but busy and hectic funeral preparations - thank God for the extra bank holiday giving us chance to finally rest... even if my Out of Office was completely wrong...

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 11:45 Archived in Greece Tagged sea architecture history airport memorial sun pool tourists drunk Comments (0)

Sunny Sussex

East Sussex

sunny 32 °C
View East Sussex on kmmk17's travel map.


Having had a short weekend trip to Jersey in July, we were tempted to have another weekend away in August. But by leaving it too late we ran out of time to go anywhere, and instead decided to just enjoy a day trip.

Thankfully as the day we'd planned for our day out neared, the weather got good and it was going to be a lovely and warm! We had decided to head down to Sussex, and visit a few different locations we'd not been to before.

We headed down the western side of the M25, and made our way to Seaford for views of Seven Sisters, the beautiful chalk cliffs along the English Channel. These cliffs are 'cleaner' than the White Cliffs of Dover as these ones are allowed to erode and therefore prevent the build up of vegetation.

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

The best place to see them is from the Coastguard Cottages on the edge of Seaford, where the headland allows a beautiful side shot of the cliffs. After parking at the car park at Seaford Head, we took a short walk down the hill through the nature reserve towards the cottages. There were a lot of people here already, heading down to the beach for a swim or relax, but we headed back to the car as we had other places to go.

A short drive around the corner, and we made it to Beachy Head, the highest sea cliff in Britain. Consequently, it is the third most common suicide spot in the world, and as soon as we had parked we could see the signs reminding people to speak to the Samaritans instead.

Beachy Head

Beachy Head

There were however beautiful views over the nearby area and we took a short walk along the coast towards Seven Sisters.

On our return we stopped at the small museum before heading back into the car and driving through Eastbourne. We then headed inland to the village of Battle, where the eponymous Battle of Hastings that changed England forever took place.

Battle Abbey

Battle Abbey

We had booked our tickets in advance, and after parking up walked to the gatehouse, which is now the entrance and gift shop. We then wandered into the estate, and started our tour with a look inside the Exhibition Building, where some background history to the battle was explained, before we wandered around the corner to the battlefield.

The Battlefield

The Battlefield

As it was hot, we didn't walk around the field, instead looking from the hilltop. We then walked through the remains of the Abbey, which had been built by William the Conqueror on the spot of Harold's death spot.

Having done a loop of the complex, I then took a walk through the gatehouse itself, including visiting the roof for views down the High Street, which we then took a walk down.

Battle High Street

Battle High Street

By now it was already mid afternoon, and so we headed back towards home - but not before stopping by the Bluewater Shopping Centre outside Dartford, for dinner at a restaurant.

It had been a lovely day, seeing some new things in the glorious weather.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:16 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged sea cliffs history summer Comments (0)

The Scenic Spice Isle

Honeymoon - Grenada

all seasons in one day 30 °C
View Honeymoon on kmmk17's travel map.


After a very long and stressful day yesterday, this morning was another early start as our tour was leaving at 7:30am. We had arrived on our final new island, and the most southern on the trip - Grenada, and we would be going on an exciting tour for the tastebuds.

After getting up for breakfast, we headed out to yet another dark cloud, and braced ourselves for some possible showers whilst watching the MSC Sea View (the same ship we had seen back in Naples a few years earlier) park up next to us.

MSC Sea View arriving

MSC Sea View arriving

Before long our tour guide arrived, we boarded a minibus, and started heading into the town. We drove past the bus station, market and stadiums before heading up a very steep and windy road into the mountains.

The Winding Roads

The Winding Roads

Grenada was exceptionally lush, with green vegetation everywhere. Although only around 5km from the sea, we were now at around 600m above sea level and we stopped at the Grand Etang National Park, where there were views of the lake in the crater of the volcano that formed the island.

Grand Etang Lake

Grand Etang Lake

There was also a little museum that gave a bit of history to the national park, and detailed the effects that Hurricane Ivan had had on the ecosystem back in 2004.

Visitor Centre

Visitor Centre

We then began to head down the other side of the mountain, where the sun finally began to shine. We headed past the river tubing sites before eventually arriving at the Belmont Estate in the north of the island.

This former plantation is famous for it's chocolate, which they both grow and produce. We saw all the stages of chocolate from growing on the trees, to harvesting and production.

Cocoa Pods

Cocoa Pods

We were shown what the cocoa pods look like, we tasted the pulps, and then saw how they roast the beans to produce the cocoa powder, before being offered some hot chocolate from their own site.

Cocoa Roasting

Cocoa Roasting

Then we headed into the factory and saw how they turned the powder from the beans into chocolate, before finally getting to taste the different types on offer which they also sold.

Mixing the Chocolate

Mixing the Chocolate

After this interesting stop, we headed along the east coast of the island, stopping off en route for a rum punch.

Our tour guide and driver used to work as a chef on Grenada, and had the nickname 'Soup'. Everywhere we went everyone seemed to know him, and shouted out "Hi Soup!"

After a refreshment, we headed south to a rum distillery, where they showed us how they turned sugar cane into alcohol. Sadly these days, they don't actually grow any sugar cane on Grenada anymore, and instead this is all now imported from abroad. We had a tour of the rickety old factory, which was a little unnerving and must have broken several European safety standards!

The Distillery

The Distillery

We then headed into the shop where we had the opportunity to taste the rum they produce, at various different strengths, and infused with many different flavours. 35%, 70%, pure, passion fruit and chocolate cream amongst others.

Rum Tasting

Rum Tasting

It was a really interesting experience, and after a lot of scenery and beaches, it was really nice to get a different feel to the Caribbean here on the Spice Island.

We had a brief chat with the owner of the factory, who told us she used to live in Enfield(!), but had left and moved to Grenada as her husband owned his own rum factory! We then headed back to the minibus, where we drove back through parts of the capital, which was incredibly hilly!

Grenada had been one of the strictest Covid islands, with only excursions being allowed for cruise tourists. However a few days earlier, they had relaxed their rules and so we were able to have a quick wander around unaccompanied. We headed out of the port building and went for a short stroll around the portside streets.

The Sendall Tunnel

The Sendall Tunnel

By now it was only mid afternoon, but with the early start we had already been out for around 6 hours! We had had a very good tour encompassing the island, and after buying some souvenirs in the terminal building shops we headed back to the ship. It then began to hammer down and so we made a run for it back to the ship. A rushed end to what were going to be our last steps on dry land before the end of the trip.

Tonight was also the last of the four black tie events. We once again went for a fancy meal, this time finally managing to get ourselves an Amuse-Bouche!

Tonight's Menu

Tonight's Menu

Posted by kmmk17 14:44 Archived in Grenada Tagged sea chocolate lake scenery caribbean meal rum Comments (0)

Beautiful BVI

Honeymoon - British Virgin Islands

all seasons in one day 27 °C
View Honeymoon on kmmk17's travel map.


We were now headed back towards the Eastern Caribbean, and the next place we'd be stopping was the British Virgin Islands - the eastern half of the Virgin Islands archipelago.

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands

We had another excursion lined up for today, and so after grabbing breakfast we headed out to the ferry terminal. After hanging around for only 10 minutes or so, we then headed boarded a catamaran that would sail across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the island of Virgin Gorda.

Like yesterday, the weather was a real mix - sometimes beautifully sunny, and at other times pouring down with rain. We decided to sit inside as the only space on the boat left was upstairs (and we'd felt sick enough on some of the boat trips already this last week!), and thank God we did! The sea was pretty rough and about halfway to the island it started hammering down.

We had got caught in a huge rainstorm, and the next thing the doors opened, in walking all those who had been sat outside, absolutely drenched - a huge wave had just covered the boat, with all those sat outside getting caught beneath it!

Watching the poor souls all shaken up had taken my mind off the sea sickness for a while, and thankfully the skies were now brightening up as we made it to Spanish Town. We then boarded some minibuses that took us to Devil's Bay on the south coast of the island, passing many beautiful murals en route.

Murals

Murals

The sun was shining as we made our way down through the vegetation to a beautiful white sandy beach and had a bit of a swim.

Heading to the beach

Heading to the beach

Devil's Bay

Devil's Bay

After this it was time to visit the most exciting and unique attraction on the island - The Baths. These are huge boulders of granite eroded by the sea which have piled up to create beautiful caverns on the beach.

We were the first ones in the group to wander through, and therefore got to enjoy the sights without a huge crowd in front of us. It started to rain as we entered, but that was fine as the caverns provided us with shelter!

Inside The Baths

Inside The Baths

It was a little bit dangerous, and for certain if this was western Europe, we'd have needed helmets (if we'd be allowed in at all). But hey, this is the Caribbean, so we just watched our heads and wandered across the slippy rocks!

Before long we made it to the other side and another beautiful beach, which The Baths imposed on. It was really beautiful here and the sun came out once more

The beach at The Baths

The beach at The Baths

However by the time we were about to leave, there was once again another rainstorm, we we hid under the covers of the café on the beach.

It didn't last long and once it ended we rinsed out all the sand from our shoes, before heading back up the hill to the minibuses. We then took an open-top minibus back to the port, where our guides had an honest conversation with us about the difficulty growing up in places like the British Virgin Islands, where there are little good opportunities for ambitious youth.

Getting back on the catamaran, as we were the last bus back there were now no spaces left in the indoor area of the boat, and so we sat outside. Thankfully it was much calmer on the way back and we were able to enjoy our rum punch.

After getting back to Road Town, we went for a little wander around the town. We began by heading off to the ferry terminal, where we managed to secure a passport stamp. "Happy Birthday for later this week" said the lady who'd seen my date of birth as she found a blank page to stamp.

We then headed back out towards the supermarket, hoping that the ominous black clouds heading this way wouldn't arrive too soon!

Road Town

Road Town

Having bought some drinks, we then made our way back to the ship, and chilled for a few hours before grabbing dinner. That night there was a silent disco being held on the decks, so we went along for a laugh.

Silent Disco

Silent Disco

There were two radio channels to choose from, and it was quite funny hearing tonnes of people (badly) singing along to two completely different songs, whilst others are sat there reading a book or sipping a cocktail!

After staying here a little while, we then headed back to the cabin to call it a night before tomorrow's next exploration.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 14:05 Archived in British Virgin Islands Tagged sea beach caribbean geology Comments (0)

Glorious Grand Turk

Honeymoon - Grand Turk

all seasons in one day 28 °C
View Honeymoon on kmmk17's travel map.


Having travelled through the Bermuda Triangle, we arrived at our westernmost destination on the trip, the beautiful island of Grand Turk.

Grand Turk is a relatively small island making up part of the larger Turks & Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory. The name 'Turk' coming from the name of the locally grown cactus that looks like a Fez hat, historically worn by the Ottomans.

The Grand Turk Cactus

The Grand Turk Cactus

So it turns out it's a rather old school racist name rather than actually having anything to do with the Turkic ethnic group!

Despite this island being only the 7th largest in the territory, it is the second most populous and home to the capital. As it also has a recently built cruise terminal located on the south of the island, this island is the focal point for the cruising industry in the territory.

Grand Turk

Grand Turk

The complex features shopping areas, cafés and restaurants, a swimming pool, surf simulator and luscious beaches. We didn't need to leave the terminal, and so we didn't! - not that there was much outside the complex anyway!

The Cruise Terminal

The Cruise Terminal

After having breakfast we left the ship and headed for the short walk over to the complex along the jetty. This was certainly one of the most beautiful locations on the trip - with white sand and clear blue seas, and it's a shame we were one of the last visits P&O will do to this island. We had a little wander around the shops before finding some sun loungers on the beach.

Grand Turk

Grand Turk

We spent some time between both the beach and in the sea, enjoying the glorious views before we started getting hungry for lunch. Whereas usually we'd have been out and about, as we were next to the ship we simply headed aboard, grabbed some food and then made our way back to the cruise terminal. We then had another wander around before again finding a place to lounge.

On the beach

On the beach

Having spent much of the day enjoying the sunshine, after a final walk along the beach, we headed back to the ship to prepare for dinner. We started sailing away from port just before dinner opened and we watched as we sailed around the west coast of the island and past the island's lighthouse.

Sailing around the Lighthouse

Sailing around the Lighthouse

We were also informed that this evening's performance had been cancelled, along with all others for the foreseeable future. We had already booked a performance for a few day's time that we would now no longer be able to watch. Although no specific reason had been given it is likely this was Covid related, with the rest of the performance troupe being forced to quarantine.

Thankfully we had already been to see a performance a few days earlier, and so we had got to have that experience on board, and with there not being a replacement for tonight as yet, we instead spent the evening watching some of the on-demand movies in the cabin.

The next day was another sea day, heading back towards the Eastern Caribbean. Whilst the weather on the trip had until now generally been pretty good, it was starting to turn, and we got caught in one of many showers that would linger over the next week.

A wet day

A wet day

We once again spent the day around the pool, (trying to) sunbathe and doing the quizzes. That night was again a black tie night and we again went to the restaurant for an à la carte meal.

After having finished my Champagne Sorbet at the end of the meal, whilst walking out of the restaurant we saw our quiz friend from a few days earlier. We stopped to say hello, and asked how she'd done in today's quizzes - of course better than us, and she had also won the bingo this afternoon!

Dinner Time

Dinner Time

We then headed back to the cabin to chill for the evening, before our next port day tomorrow!

Posted by kmmk17 13:03 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Tagged sea rain beach sun caribbean Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 21) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 » Next