Friday, 8 July 2011

My Wrap-Up

Three things surprised me on the cruise.

The first surprise was that I  could order room service for breakfast -- at no cost.  At the appointed hour, there came breakfast – whatever my heart had desired and my pencil had checked (plus a few other items added by Wyona). There it was on the tea-tray, wheeled in at the appointed hour.  Then Wyona showed me how to take the lids off of every tray, one by one until there was no room left in our 4th floor cabin space.  That is when I burst out laughing. 

Holy cow! 

All that food, all of those dishes, and no place in the cabin to sit and eat it once it is unpacked. 

Now I understand why Wyona is negotiating with the Royal Caribbean for a balcony on the next cruise.  We need the space so we can order breakfast in.

My second cruising surprise came when Wyona and I were exchanging pleasantries at mealtime with some couples who were at the same table with us, and in response to some question, I heard myself say, “Oh no.  We are sisters.  We have husbands.  We just left them at home.” 

The next question was, “And how do they feel about that?”  


I am always afraid of what Wyona is going to say in surprise turns-of-conversation.  She came through sounding like an angel.   “Well, my husband was quite happy that I was going, since he wanted to stay home and do some maintenance work on the house.  He did made me promise to take this cruise a second time, the next time with him.”  Mmm.  Maybe it is Greg who came out sounding like an angel.

Now there is a hard promise to keep.  She is going to have to go on the Baltic Cruise again when what she really wants to do next time is see the fiords.

My reply was easier. “My husband has limited mobility and is thrilled that I can get out and do things.”

I told Kelvin later, "I wonder what people thought I would say.  Oh, I left my husband at home, madder than a hatter.  He wants to me stay at home with my face turned to the wall so I will have no fun."

He said, "No, your reply was just fine." 

My third general surprise is how little time there is in my day, even when someone else is making my bed, preparing my food for me, and doing all of my cleaning.  I was thinking about that fact this morning when I was making my own omelet for breakfast.  The chives and green peppers were sticking a bit when I was taking the food out of the pan and the thought crossed my mind, “This wouldn’t be sticking if  you had put the same amount of oil in the pan to fry the batter in, that you saw the cook put in the pan when you watched him make your omelet-to-order on the boat.”

Yes.   I just about had a heart-attack just from seeing how much oil went into the pan.

That is just about the best reason I know that a person should cruise less often.   

Cruising -- hard on the arteries!

Monday, 4 July 2011

More Baltic Cruise - Last Day on Board

We stayed up late last night to go under the long bridge again, the one that takes people from Denmark to Denmark, but in reality takes them to another country more quickly.  There was little wind on deck.  It was late, but still light enough to see the jagged silhoutte of the land in the distance, the lights of half-tons as they rolled across the bridge, and the concrete pylons flashed back to the water, the glare from the splotlights that were on them.

Wyona and I had been soaked on our first trip under that bridge.  The rain was falling, and try as we might (by standing on deck chairs under overhang of the floor above) all of the passengers were wet.  The Irish were singing songs we didn’t know and the Brits joining in.  They asked us for a Canadian song to sing.  I couldn’t think of one off hand … until I remembered teaching new ones to Mary’s kids this winter when I stayed with them.  Of course – “Four Strong Winds” – hard to get more Canadian than that and all of them knew the song.  There was even part singing, thanks to Wyona.

I walked the same deck we were standing on that night, but in the morning and not with any impulse to drive my steps forward. A long morning walk.  I stopped to look over the starboard side at the islands as they passed by.  Then I stood on the bow to see if I could find a way to turn my back to the wind so that I could both see ahead and backward and not be windblown. 

A small sign on the side of the ship reminded me that that six laps around the track make a mile and I count the first six, then the next six, but on each way around, when I pass a ship that says Goteborg on its prow I wonder if I have done a couple of loops without counting, for I am busy watching the seagulls pick up fish that the engine of the ship has churned to the top of the water.

A thirteen story building proudly holds a sign that says Volvo.  Containers full of cars line the dock, as well as about 120 Volvo’s lined up in groups of 20 on the dock.  The Volvo museum is a five minute walk from the gang plank.  “Who would want to see a museum full of old cars,” Wyona and I hear a woman complain to her husband on her return from the museum.”And we didn’t need to hire a bus or have a tour guide.  It was right across the street,” she went on to say.

Wyona and I didn’t leave the ship that day for we were so tired.

“Did you stay on your beds and rest?”, Bonnie Wyora asked.

Heavens no!   

That is not what we do when we are tired. The ship was empty since so many people had taken tours. Wyona and I went from floor to floor, lingering to look at the art work on the walls where the stairs turn on each flight and read the accompanying artist’s statements.  We never get a chance to do that when people are walking up and down the stairs, obstructing our view. 

We rode the glass elevator, looking at the water-fall installations that are 6 stories high.

We tried the line-dance class and then came back to the cabin to practise the steps we had learned.  I write down the moves, but Wyona makes me put down the pencil and practise.  Sachet, sachet, heel, heel, toe toe, heel-toe-stomp-stomp, heel-toe-stomp-stomp and that is where I get mixed up.  Just before grape-vine to the left starts. for we have switched legs. 

I practise at 20 minute intervals, dropping the packing we are starting to do and work again on heel-toe-stomp-stomp. 

We are going to teach this to our grandchildren, at least those we can manage to corral, for it will be a lot of fun at the next wedding, or baptism, or seasonal holiday celebration. 

The money that is being sorted out between us has to go in different envelopes for this is the last day to use any of that currency: the euros, the pounds, the Canadian dollars, and then we sort out the train tickets back from Harwich to London and the plane tickets to go back home. 

We have lunch in the Windjammer, a buffet style restaurant.  I take along my handout from the Bridge Lesson about “Defensive Signalling”, still excited to find that there are other ways to tell one’s partner the contents of my hand, other than by humming, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

We are doing two on-board-ship shows tonight.  The same show really, catching MoTown, not once but twice.  Last night was a Tango Duo: Luciano & Rocio.  Our friends at dinner aren’t really fans of dance, saying it was good, but a little two much Argentinian tango.  One tango dance would have been enough they said, though they had no idea what they wanted to see on the rest of the programme.  Of course that made me laugh.  The programme was billed as Argentinean Tango.  They didn’t like the night before, either:  ABBA Night.  Their complaint about that was there were only 5 ABBA songs.  

Too much tango.  Not enough ABBA.  I don’t care either way because I am enjoying everything.

Now, that was a restful day.