Monday Sept 29, 2014

If you’re meticulously following our progress and have spotted what seems to be a two-day gap, give yourself a pat on the back and let me explain.

  1. We were supposed to spend Friday on the island of Sicily – which hangs off the toe of Italy’s boot, and is separated from the mainland by sea and by centuries of history. And arrive in Sicily we did … but from that point on our best-laid plans got hijacked. The sun was shining and the sky was blueing, but strong winds and rough seas conspired against us, making dropping anchor and tendering ashore too risky. Eventually, the captain called off the scheduled Sicily visit, and (with much apologising) announced that we would sail on slowly towards our next port-of-call.
  2. We were supposed to be at sea on Saturday – and that’s exactly what we did! For the second day in a row, we kicked back and blobbed-out, enjoying shipboard-life to the max, while the Nieuw Amsterdam cruised gracefully on, around the bottom of Italy, and then across the open waters of the Adriatic towards the west coast of mainland Greece.

We woke this morning to find our ship navigating its way through the stunning Ionian Islands, in waters claimed by Greece. Popular Corfu, or Kérkyra in Greek, is where we finally docked (check the map) – a green and mountainous isle, much loved by the likes of Homer, Odysseus, Shakespeare and Milton.

We got to spend a full day in this gorgeous place, enjoying a scenic drive into the countryside for a nose-around the 100-year-old Achillion Palace, built by Empress Elizabeth (‘Sisi’) of Austria (who adorned the place with fabulous statues and mementos). Later, on our way to lunch, we passed through Corfu Town, eyeballing the Old Fortress and the elegant Palace of St George and St Michael – before stopping at a beautifully situated private villa – where we sat down to a generous Greek feast (including ouzo and wine) and some live toe-tapping music and folklore dancing. Yeehaa!

PEOPLE NEWS: Yes, another ever-popular, hotly sought-after Quacky Yellow Duck has found a new home:

  • Vic picked up his second win, our ‘Can’t Find My Speedos Award’ – for creating mayhem on deck after a soak in the outdoor spa. En route back to their cabin, Vic discovered he had lost his togs – and, suspecting he had dropped them by mistake in the wet-towel bin, he returned and (almost climbing inside the thing) he emptied the large bin, scattering wet towels all over the entire ship. Well okay, slight exaggeration – but his wife did admit he made a mess – which she then made him tidy up. Oh, Vic found his missing togs, by the way – so he hasn’t had to carry out his threat to swim au-naturale!

TOMORROW: A sight-for-sore-eyes awaits us – the magnificently-walled medieval town of Dubrovnik, a Mediterranean favourite with me and Mrs Cooney …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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