23. 03. 2018.

Le Charme à la Française

I am curious about myself right now, and the reasons why I've chosen to send this postcard from Monaco...my guess is (as my memory does the usual fail) that the view cards were similar to what I already have. I do remember the little cute shop though, and other sweet things they were selling - I ended up with a lavender soap souvenir in a kitty box :) 
I was in Monaco once before but suuuch a long time ago, it was the high-school excursion and we stopped there on our way to Barcelona. Needless to say it was all new to me...It is possible we didn't venture to the old town back then as we were in the Casino Monte Carlo area; this time I only walked around the old town. Let me see if I have any interesting photos to show...none that don't require editing for sure..! Oh yes this place was positively surprising, the sea side of the Oceanographic Museum:

22. 03. 2018.

(Puffin) Iceland Flag

Plus a supercute puffin :) Iceland (and Scotland) were definitely the highlights of the 2nd contract. First stop Reykjavik - a puffin tour! Boating around nearby islands, we didn't come too near the coast but you could spot them in the air flying around with fish in their beaks. Again I didn't have a zoom lens...I do own a decent pocket camera but...I left it on board?! I am so silly sometimes. Nevermind, here are the superfriendly cats of Iceland (told ya!). (One for each port: Reykjavik, Ísafjörður and Akureyri)

Kirkwall, Orkney

We were in Kirkwall twice last summer, yay. The first time was a tour and a walk around town, and I have absolutely no record of the second time - must have stayed on board. I was told before going on the ship I'll be so tired on some days I'll just skip ports and stay in bed and/or do chores; I did think it almost impossible at the time, but here it is...I did want to see the Heart of Neolithic Orkney but those tours were always taken. Can't complain about my first tour though, and I think the photo will tell you why ;) Kirkwall was also the place of another great cat encounter - I'd even say it was the start of a streak of such encounters going up north. I don't think I'll be able to refrain from posting some photos lol

(Oh and while in Kirkwall I peeked into the local museum and saw a guy working there stamping something for a kid, I asked could I get the same, the man just looked at me like 'how old are you dear? Heh)

21. 03. 2018.

Isle Of Lewis

The full name of the island is actually Lewis and Harris; the northern part of the island is called Lewis, the southern is Harris, but both are frequently referred to as if they were separate islands. It is part of the Outer Hebrides, and is the largest and the most populous of the Scottish Isles. Stornoway is the main town, and the civil parish, including the town and various nearby villages, has a population of about 12 000.

The ship was docked in Stornoway, but first I had a nice little tour to go through, encompassing a few important sites. The Callanish Stones were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. They are standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. The Gearrannan Black House Village  consists of nine restored traditional thatched cottages, which were lived in till 1974 and were the last group of blackhouses to be inhabited in the Western Isles. The buildings were generally built with double wall dry-stone walls packed with earth, and were roofed with wooden rafters covered with a thatch of turf with cereal straw or reed. There was a tweed-weaving demonstration - Harris Tweed is a tweed cloth handwoven by islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. Well why not throw in a photo while at it :) (oh and later on I had the most delicious sandwich in Stornoway, in a small tucked-away deli. I regret not buying the caviar crisps! Never found any anywhere else.)

20. 03. 2018.

Isle Of Skye

Skye is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillins, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. The island's largest settlement is Portree (bottom right), known for its picturesque harbour.
Having gangway photo shoot that day I stayed in Portree; just a short walk away lots of green and picturesque nature. This was one of the ports where one reaches it with tender boats from anchored ship.

18. 03. 2018.

Scottish Wildcat

'Britain's population of this very rare native carnivore found mainly in the Scottish Highlands, is only around 100. Inter-breeding with the large population of feral domestic cats poses a serious threat to the future purity of the species and its survival'

Beautiful creature isn't it? As sad as it is that the purity of the species is in peril, I'd be happy to know all cats, feral and domestic, pure or mixed breed, are appreciated and well taken care of. There used to be the time when you knew February is the month for cats to mate, but now they mate all year round, and many feral cats have kittens basically non-stop, like some sort of breeding machines :( Sadly in my surroundings (and generally in more 'southern' cultures) it is still acceptable not to spay cats despite this problem...Will people as a race ever improve in this regard, I wonder.

17. 03. 2018.

Dublin, Ireland

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! My first time in Ireland was while working on the ship, yep its true..! Three times in Dublin, with quite a longish ride to/from the port, higher prices than expected, very touristy esp in the bars area called Temple Bar (and one of the most famous pubs there being The Temple Bar, not confusing at all). I can only imagine how lively it is there tonite..!

La Rochelle II, France

I was in La Rochelle twice, both times for a stroll around town as tours were not to be had. It is one of those ports that require shuttlebuses as means to get to the town/city centre. It was the 2nd time around that I realised we were so close to Île de Ré, home to these adorable donkeys in trousers! Alas still not enough time to organise myself for a visit, if indeed a visit is possible - perhaps another time? I surely wouldn't mind coming to the north French coast again, La Rochelle is a lovely town, and I had one of the more memorable cat encounters there heehe ;)