A Travellerspoint blog

Yalta, Ukraine

Day 34, 30 April 2009

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No problems with visas or passports in the Ukraine.

A private tour started with the Livadia Palace. The summer residence of Czar Nicholas II was in February 1945 the setting of the Yalta conference between Allied leaders Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt. Then onto the “Swallows Nest” – perched high on a cliff is a turreted fairytale building built in 1911.
The afternoon was spent wandering the streets of Yalta – people watching. A few things that stand out in this region of the world are how vibrantly green all the plants are and how well dressed the woman are.
Sights included Lenin Square and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

Posted by dpedler 23:20 Archived in Ukraine Comments (0)

Sochi, Russia

Day 33, Wednesday 29 April 2009

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Sochi is Russia’s equivalent to Queensland’s coastal resort region – but with black pebbled beaches on the surf-less Black Sea. The city has been selected to host the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Visa restrictions in Russia have been the strictest so far. Access to Russia was only available through the ship’s tour unless a Russian visa for Sochi had been obtained before commencing the cruise. So a ship’s tour it will be…
First a visit to the hilltop of Mount Akhun then onto Stalin’s dacha (ie villa) in Sochi’s Health Resort “Zelenaya Roscha” (The Green Grove).
An interesting building still in its original camouflage green. Visits to his study (with its wax statue of him and the bullet proof horse hair leather lounge), billiards room (original balls that they let us use), dinning room (where we ate and drank muscat wine) and his private toilet (you could use it if you needed too, and yes I did). Most items are still the original.

It’s hard to believe I have visited Russia. As for Sochi, an interest place – although I’m not likely to return.

Posted by dpedler 23:18 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

“Day at sea”

Day 32, 28 April 2009

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Rest day. Needed…

Captain’s Dinner tonight being the start of the next leg. And as such we get six courses instead of the usual five (with 2 to 4 choices on each course). This leg we are joined by a group called Maritime Memories who cruise on MV Discovery every year – so an extra special menu with choices as served on board “Cilicia” on August 28, 1954! The special selection:

Appetizers: Haggis Layered with Potato and Pumpkin Mousse with a Whiskey and Vegetable Sauce
Soups: Beef Consommé Royale with Herbed Egg Custard Cubes
Sorbet: Champagne
From the Hot Galley: Medallion of Beef an Jus – with Balsamic and Strawberry Sauce on a Think Pan Fried Potato Pancake filled with Leeks and Herbs, Cauliflower Polonaise and an Egg Plant and Tomato Tower
Desserts: Plum Pudding with Brandy Sauce and Hard Brandy Butter
Tea and Coffee (with Petit Fours)

Pass on the haggis…

Posted by dpedler 23:16 Tagged cruises Comments (0)

Istanbul, Turkey

Day 30-31

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Day 30, 26 April 2009
I took the ship’s morning tour of Istanbul that included Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) and Topkapi Palace (including the Topkapi dagger and a 63-carat diamond). I could have spent all day at the palace.

That afternoon I walked to bigger mosque called Suleymaniye Camii built in 1550 – most of it was closed for renovation. Then a walk around the edge of the bazaar (Grand Bazaar closed Sunday) – still a lot of shops were open.
That night a group of us caught the tram to Sultanahmet to have a real Turkish dinner. Very nice.

Excellent day – great city

Day 31, 27 April 2009

The trams are great so another trip on the tram and a wandered around the back streets looking for a recommended Turkish bath house. On these travels had my hair cut (by a master of the art) and an hour at an Internet Café (hasn’t been Internet on the ship for about a week).

I finally stumbled across the Turkish Bath house (Gedikpasa Hamami) as I was heading back towards the tourist area. What an experience! It’s up there with a hot rocks massage. This hamami was very old being built in 1475.
Then a wander through the Grand Bazaar with over 4,000 shops it’s very easy to get lost.

Back to the ship and it’s up the Bosporus into the Black Sea. It’s the Bosporus and the Dardanelles that separate Europe from Asia Minor. The Bosporus being only 36km long and a minimum width of 660m, the Bosporus was a wonderful sight as the sun set.

Posted by dpedler 23:13 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli

Day 29. ANZAC Day, 2009

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It’s Anzac Day and it’s about the half way mark for the cruise.

Arrived at Anzac Cove at 12:30am – one of the last buses to arrive (bus number 195) – and most seats/places are already taken. Found a spot and waited in the freezing cold. The service started at around 5:30am.
It’s wasn’t the service that moved me but after, when reading a quote at the nearby grave site, that produced a tear:

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You, the mothers, who sent your sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives in this land they have become our sons as well.” (Ataturk 1934).
Ari Burnu Cemetery (at Anzac Cove - 400m from the Anzac Commemorative site)
Seems like a good place to end today's blog. It’s also the end of the second leg – the half way mark. Hope you all had a good Anzac Day and said a prayer.

Posted by dpedler 23:01 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

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