Tunis, Tunisia – Cruise Day 4

Waking up and getting dressed for our trip in Tunis we were a little unsure of what to expect. We had done some research of the other destinations on our cruise and had a good idea what it would be like, except for Tunis. All dressed and breakfast eaten, we headed with the other Dutch couple off the cruise ship to share a taxi into the city centre. Right from the start it was a bit hectic since the taxi driver didn’t speak much English, but we arrived safely and had a few hours before having to get back to the ship.

We took off straight towards the markets and cafe areas, with my bag around my front and my sunglasses on. We all decided to meet back up with the other couple after some exploring to share a taxi to the next location, which gave us all a sense of personal security to stick together when travelling together.

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img_2708We visited a beautiful location Sidi Bou Said, but it was filled with beautiful unique gifts, jewellery and decorations for houses. The whole area was also painted perfectly white with light blue windows and doors. It was so hot in Tunis we must of drank easily the 8 litres of water needed a day, within the 5 hours of being in the city!

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It’s a beautiful place to walk and visit, however due to the lack of time we had before getting back on to the cruise ship we missed out on seeing many unique and interesting locations.

Valletta, Malta 2010 – Cruise Day 5

Arriving in the harbour we took a place at the front of the cruise ship to watch the boat manoeuvre into the port of Valletta. Looking over at the people watching us dock, we couldn’t wait to get off board and explore the old city of Malta. It was our fifth day of our cruise. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were very interested in how the city has been rebuilt after World War II, and to see some ruins like the Royal Opera House. Below you can see the ruins and then a photo from the museum of how it used to look like.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe decided to walk around the walls edge of Valletta to explore what the city had on offer. Walking towards the city from the cruise ship we checked out the beautiful Lower Barrakka Gardens and the Siege Bell War Memorial. The gardens were beautifully designed and with music playing from a local artist it gave off a very romantic place to sit and relax. The memorial was also impressive to see, with a bronze figure representing the 7000 who died at the bottom of the memorial tower. Additionally a great place for a photo opportunity.

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Reaching the National War Museum as our next destination, we paid the entrance fee and went straight in. It definitely wasn’t where all the tourists were so we enjoyed our peaceful visit, being able to read all the information signs and closely look at the object. Everything was beautifully displayed and well explained, strongly recommended to visit!

The city was beautiful, long straight streets and flourishing flowers hanging over people’s balconies. Luckily the cruise ship wasn’t departing until the late afternoon so we had plenty of time, as we felt that Malta had so much to offer us we could of easily spent a few days there.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother pit stop was as St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Walking slowly on the marble floors and trying to take in all the beautiful baroque architecture which was completed in 1577. We listened to the free audio guides, while avoiding other tourists standing in the middle of the pathway and not looking where they were going. We didn’t listen to it all entirely as we were on our time schedule not to miss the boarding time again, but we enjoyed the visit and now had a great understanding about the history and the artwork.

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Steadily wandering towards the cruise ship we came across the National Museum Of Archaeology which we had just enough time to visit.  More busier than the National War Museum, but expected as it was situated on one of the busier streets of Valletta. They had some unique pieces that had been found.

It was definitely one of our top destinations of our cruise and likely a location to visit again!

 

Departing Genoa, Italy – Cruise Day 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter digging out the biggest suitcase from the closet and packing all our much needed summer clothes, having our passports in our hands and relevant travelling tickets needed, we were ready to leave. Our journey started at the bus stop where our coach would pick us up for the overnight journey to Genoa, where our cruise ship departs. It was a 16 hour drive through the south of the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland and finally in the north of Italy. We had the whole back seat area of the coach as it wasn’t completely full, and could luckily get some sleep across some of the chairs. For me was easy, but Lennart sure did struggle with his 196cm length!

Waking up to the early morning sunrise in Switzerland was beautiful, seeing the snow on the mountain tops and the houses hidden on the mountain side. Stopping at the gas station we bought some breakfast before crossing the border to Italy. Most other guests on the coach were 50+ and we had our speculation that the cruise would also be filled with the older generation, but we didn’t mind as it was a brand new travelling experience for us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArriving in Genoa at the cruise terminal was an exciting feeling, checking in our bags and receiving all the information needed for when we were on the ship, like our dinner time schedule and room key. We had a few hours to wait before we could actually get on the cruise ship, so like most other guests we headed into the city of Genoa to start soaking up the sun.

Beautiful city, and much bigger and busier than expected! We knew that we would have a few more hours in the city when our cruise returned for the home journey with the coach, so we had no rush to see the city now. While waiting for the time to board we found a little café for some lunch. We were very nervous and excited that we didn’t actually eat much!!

It was time and we were ready. Finally standing next to the ship was amazing, warmly greeted by the personnel while others rushed around with taking peoples suitcases to the correct room, cleaning the whole ship and making all the preparations to depart. It wasn’t the biggest cruise ship on the sea, but to us it was breathtaking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur first day and night was towards our first destination of Marseilles, France. We had to take part in the safety routine emergency drill, grabbing our life jackets from our room and heading straight to our safety point. Definitely made us realise the seriousness of being on a massive ship with up to 3500 people in an emergency. However it was like being in a comic scene seeing people in life jackets, wondering around lost and taking selfies, making the best of the routine emergency drill. It all added to the excitement as our cruise ship departed the docks of Genoa.

Joining in with our first sit down dinner at our time schedule we learnt how we would have the same table every week, with the same guests on our table. It was very organized and new to us. To our delight we had a lovely older Dutch couple who had the same interests as us, and also the same charming waiter every day, making our dinner time’s very ‘gezellig’.

We had an inside cabin, which we didn’t mind as it had plenty of space for us to unpack and make it cosy. Couldn’t feel the ship moving at all and once we turned the lights off it was perfectly pitch black and couldn’t hear a thing from other guests in the hallway. Our first nights sleep on our cruise was a delight.

Check out Day Two where we arrived in Marseille, France.

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Mediterranean Cruise 2010

In 2010 my partner and I took a last minute Cruise which docked at five different locations in the Mediterranean sea. We had a rather cheap deal for the Greek Louis Majesty cruise ship at roughly €500.00 per person for 7 days all inclusive, as a few months prior it made headline BBC news for an 26ft wave crashing into the ship killing 2 people and injuring at least 14 others.

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We toured the Mediterranean anti-clockwise. Check out the itinerary below as each destination I have created a separate blog post (Some still WIP):

Departing Genoa, Italy – Cruise Day 1

Marseilles, France – Cruise Day 2

Menorca, Spain -Cruise Day 3

Tunis, Tunisia – Cruise Day 4

Valetta, Malta – Cruise Day 5

Palermo, Sicily – Cruise Day 6

Back to Genoa, Italy – Cruise Day 7

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Overall Experience

Thinking back to 2010 seems so long ago already, but the experience hasn’t been forgotten. A cruise vacation is definitely something we would invest in again, giving you enough time to visit more than 5+ places during a holiday. The downside of course is not having enough time at those places to do and see everything we wanted, and really only visiting the touristic things.

We met some great people, explored all new locations and the cruise ship experience was very enjoyable, especially with the swimming pool/jacuzzi and the all you can eat buffets from more than 5 different types of restaurants!!

Munich, Germany 2016

We have just got back from a spontaneous long weekend away! We booked only 2 weeks ago for the autumn break, to the beautiful Bavarian capital Munich. A last minute KLM flight and a few nights at the Hotel City Munich were booked.

Day One

Flying on Friday morning we had a quick breakfast and caught the intercity from Rotterdam. No delays which is always good. We started our KLM flight separated in the aircraft, but we were allowed to sit together after take off due to space available (in the extra leg room seats too!), Thanks KLM!

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We decided to start our weekend with a free walking tour by SANDEMANs NEW which took around 3 hours of all the main places within Munich. Tom was our tour guide and showed us the most interesting points of interest within the city centre. Some places included the City Hall, Royal Palace/Munich Residence, the Bayerisches National Theatre, the open markets at Viktualienmarkt, the Hofbräuhaus beer house and the St. Peter’s Church.

The church had something rather unique, a skeleton named Saint Munditia, who has  a transparent body stocking which is covered in gold and jewels, with glass eyes. Apparently beheaded with a hatchet.

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Day Two

We spent our 2nd day enjoying a buffet breakfast, followed by a morning of shopping. After a quick lunch we decided to head to the Olympia Park. We watched a movie before we left the Netherlands about the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes and coach at the 1972 Olympics, called Munich.  So it was strange to be walking there through the olympic park housing area where the tragedy happened.

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dsc_3037dsc_3057We went up the 291.28 metre tower for the 360 views of Munich. We could just see the Alps in the distance. Definitely a recommendation to do for only €7.00 per person!

For dinner we headed back into the city to the Restaurant Zum Spöckmeier for a delicious meal and washed down with you guessed it… a nice cold beer!

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Day Three

Dachau was our main destination for day three. First checking out of our hotel, storing our belongings, and heading to the SBahn train. Arriving at Dachau station we walked the 40 minute journey to the concentration camp following the Path of Remembrance. The camp is free to enter and we paid only €3.50 each for an audioguide, which has over 300 numbers of information to listen to. I found that the 22minute film was the most interesting as it really tells the story with photos, videos and personal stories to explain what it was like at the concentration camp, which you can then walk around to the barracks, bunker, the grounds and the crematorium building. We also went inside the gas chamber, which was actually never used at this concentration camp.

dsc_3112dsc_3120The Jourhouse to the concentration camp and the famous gate with the words “work will set you free”.

The bunker with its long corridor.

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dsc_3163The gas chamber and crematorium.

dsc_3153The liberation of this concentration camp by US Army troops was April 29, 1945. This memorial site is very intriguing to visit and worth a few hours of your time.

My visit to Munich ended with quite a rather funny/stressful ending! I was scheduled to fly home on the 4th morning of our trip, while Lennart would stay longer for work. I wanted to check in with my KLM app but to my surprise I had to wait another 27 days until check in! I don’t know how I had not seen it earlier when booking my flights, but I had somehow paid to fly back home 1 month later!! But it’s safe to say I managed to travel back to the Netherlands with Transavia, my second favourite airline (with costs 3 times less than the last minute KLM flight!).

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