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An avid reader in my teens, place names from Greek mythology, the dramas of Sophocles and Euripides,  poetry and literature were familiar to me, but I did not have a real sense of where these places were located in the world  beyond my home country. Now as an adult, visiting sites of ancient cultures, I feel the need to situate these ancient cultures...

Before Istanbul became Constantinople, it was known as Byzantium. The town established  in 657 BC by Greek colonists from Megara, was named for Byzas, legendary king of Megara. Megara was an ancient Greek city state on the Northern shore of the Isthmus of Corinth. Legend has it that Byzas founded the town at the entrance to the Black Sea on the western (European) shore of the Bosphorus. In 330 AD it was renamed Constantinople for Roman Emperor Constantine, and in 1923 when...

Madeira is a lush green island, the largest in the Madeiran Archipelago west of Morocco and about 280 nautical miles north of Gran Canaria. Ilha da Madeira translates from Portuguese as Island of timber. 

Madeira holds a special sentimental value for me as I noted in a previous post (Cape town to Southampton: cruise days 12 to 16).

We docked in Funchal, the capital city, on...

While the last post was weighted in favour of dining - no pun intended- in this one I will post more formal pictures. 

Monday 21st, 2013 Las Palmas at Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is an island approximately 150 kilometers west of the north-western coast of Africa, at the border between Morocco and Western Sahara.It is the second most populated island of the Spanish archipelago, the Canary Islands. Tenerife has the highest population. Gran Canaria has so many different micro-climates that it is sometimes called a...

Vigo, Spain. Last port before Southampton

The fourth and last port stop on this 16 day cruise between Cape Town and Southampton was Vigo, in Galicia- the north-west region of Spain. I again picked a short excursion, around 4 hours, that would give me an overview of this port city but not mean hours sitting in a bus.

Our guide began the tour narration...

While many people prefer port-intensive cruise itineraries, I absolutely love the days at sea.  This itinerary from Cape Town to Southampton has many days at sea. In fact 10 of the 16 days are sea days.  There is so much to do on board that it is impossible to get to do everything I would like. Another difference for me from the majority of...

10 April 2013 Cape Town, South Africa

We embark on the Queen Mary 2 and overnight on ship in Cape Town, before sailing out the next evening.

The Peninsula  Hotel  in Sea  Point runs a complimentary shuttle, and six of us booked transfers to the Queen Mary 2 on the shuttle.  Because...

During our week-long journey on the waters of the Peruvian Amazon on the river boat, La Turmalina, our group was treated each evening, to musical entertainment by crew members. They sang and played a variety of instruments, wind, string and percussion. And also played quite a range of music.

Among the instruments that they played were a  guitar and a smaller stringed instrument, charango, a...

A view of the Kapok Camp in the Peruvian Jungle

t’s 23:40 according to my glow-in –the dark, battery operated alarm clock. I have been sleeping fitfully since around 10 PM, tossing and turning under a thin sheet on the narrow camp bed in my tent in the Kapok Camp. The tent is square, approximately 12 x 12 ft., and is covered with a thatched roof.

In the cabin to which I was assigned there are two camp beds against each side, with a low wooden table made out of segments of tree trunk separating them at the head of the bed. At the foot of each bed is a...

Suspension bridge for traversing dense jungle territory

In the afternoon of the third day of our Amazon adventure, we made our first actual foray on foot into the jungle. Rather than viewing the vegetation and the birds and critters from the boats, we were actually going to hike to the Kapok Camp where we going to spend the night.

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