Old friends are always wanted . . .

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Will, John and I first met in September of 1960, and we had kept in touch – on and off – over the years, so when we had the opportunity of sailing together we jumped at joining Azamara Quest for the South American cruise.

When Will & John found out that during the cruise Maureen and I would be celebrating our Golden Wedding Anniversary, they insisted on inviting us to dinner at Prime C, which is a specialist restaurant on Azamara Pursuit that specialises in meat dishes.

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Prime C  – starboard side, aft, over looking the sea.

The booking had been made for the evening of the 22 nd February, which was the evening of our day in Punta del Easte, Uruguay, and also the date of our anniversary.
Fortunately, by late afternoon of the 22nd, Maureen had recovered from the excess amount of exposure to the hot sun.

Knowing that Maureen is a coeliac, and that I was not fussy on spaghetti, the Italian specialty restaurant was not a consideration.

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The six of us around the dining table.

The restaurant has limited seating, so seating can be at a premium, especially when at sea, as against being in port.

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The entrance to the restaurant was at the end of this area – on the left hand side of the picture is the galley (kitchens).

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Same area different angle.

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Our table was the far end of the restaurant, beyond the support pole.

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Once the dining staff realised the reason for our celebration, they produced a cake with ‘Happy Anniversary ‘ iced across the centre – and from memory it was GF!

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I’m not sure if you will be able to read the menu, but I can say that all the food was beautifully cooked and the steak done perfectly for me – medium – rare, knife went through the meat without any strain!

We were offered a menu of various wines at an additional fee, but we were also asked if we wanted the daily wine special – after checking the prices, we stuck to the daily special.

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Old friends from 57 years ago . . .

It was June 1962, after two years at HMS Conway, that we left to go to sea, we joined different shipping companies, so sailed in different parts of the world.
Will (who now lives in NZ) is on the left, John (UK) on the right, and the daft one in the middle is yours truly, now living in Australia.
I’d just turned 18, and was the oldest of the three of us, I think Will & John were still 17.
I extracted the above from the photograph of the thirty six cadets leaving HMS Conway that time.
Excuse the pun – but a lot of water has passed under our ‘bridges’ since we left the ‘Conway’.
Once again I close with Golden Wedding a different version than the Woody Herman 1939 version.

 

 

 

 

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22nd February 1969 – it was cold wet day in Liverpool, UK.

What to do to celebrate fifty years of happy marriage? We like cruising so how about a cruise around Cape Horn at the bottom of the world?

So be it . . . . .

Our plan was to fly to Santiago in Chile, have three nights before joining a ship in San Antonio for a sixteen night cruise to Buenos Aires, with three nights in BA before flying home.

Everything had to be just so – so we required a hotel – after checking various hotels in Santiago we decided on the Crown Plaza, and we would stay on the Club Floor.

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We mentioned our plans to friends with whom we’d traveled before, and one couple from New Zealand decided to join us, and another from the north east of England also joined us.
The two males and I had joined HMS Conway in September 1960, and we’d kept in touch over the years, so the trip would also be a mini-reunion. They had both retired from the sea as Master of their own vessels, and had previous experience around the South American coast during their working life at sea.

Maureen & I and our NZ friends flew out of Sydney to Santiago on Tuesday, and arrived about 90 minutes before we left Australia, thanks to us crossing the dateline. The flight was actually over twelve hours.

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We flew with Qantas in one of their last remaining B747s, a comfortable flight in premium economy.

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Our hotel room on the 20th floor.

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Views from our window

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In the early evening we went for a short walk around the area of the hotel – the UK couple would not be joining us until the following afternoon.

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A short walk from the hotel and we found  Plaza Baquedano, with a statue of  General Manuel Baquedano on his horse.

The General had been commander in chief of the Chilean army during the Pacific War of 1879 to 1884, which was also known as the ‘ten cents war’ or ‘Saltpeter war’ when Bolivia tried to tax Chilean mining of the rich nitrate of coastal Bolivia, even though they had agreed not to tax the Chileans.
The war escalated and Chile found herself fighting both Peru & Bolivia. The first five months of the war was a sea campaign, which Peru lost. Bolivia didn’t have any ships, but relied on issuing certificates of marque to anyone who would be willing to fight for Bolivia at sea.

Britain, the US and France stood by the Paris Declaration of 1855 which outlawed privateers. The sea war was now between Chile & Peru – which Peru lost.
Bolivia lost her coastal nitrate strip to Chile, which is why Bolivia today is landlocked.

Plaza Baquedano is also used by the people as rallying place when they wish to make a point – I don’t know what the rally was for in the short piece of film.

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 As the sun set over Santiago I just had to take this photograph of the snow capped mountain. We had just passed Plaza Baquedano.

The following morning we decided to use the hop on hop off bus to get a ‘feel’ of the city, plus it was getting to hot to walk around.

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As you see it was 11.00 am and already 31.2 c outside.

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Santiago is a pleasant town with modern buildings mixed with the older historic buildings, and quite a few parks.

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The roads were clean and traffic was orderly.

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Santiago looking to the future.

The Costanera Center Torre, also known as Gran Torre Santiago, – sixty four storey tall making it the tallest building in Latin America. It is the second tallest in the southern hemisphere, the tallest being in Melbourne, Australia.

DSC04187r In the city centre the old still has an attraction – The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago can be seen (the two small towers). Construction began in 1748 and was completed in 1800. The square is the Plaza de Armas.

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The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago entrance.

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Inside the cathedral

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Plaza de Armas – the main square of Santiago. The building with the flag flying is the central post office.

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I took the above from the bus . . .

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Plaza de Armas – being good Aussies we moved from shadow to shadow to keep cool.

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Giant flag of Chile flying over Citizen Square, Avenida La Alameda.

The flag pole is 61 meters (200 feet) tall the flag itself is 27 meters (88.5 feet)  by 18 meters (59 feet) and was erected to celebrate the bi-centenary of Chile in 2010. The square is beyond the flag. I took the photograph from the top deck of the bus, a quick point & click.

If you have a  golden wedding you need some music and the obvious choice is something called Golden Wedding

Turn the sound UP!

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Silhouette to the Baltic

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The last time I visited the Baltic area was in 1965 when I was a cadet in the BI ship Dunera, which at the time was a school ship. This time Leningrad was no more, and St Petersburg had been resurrected.

We considered flying with Garuda International, who had just gained a five star rating, but after various checks in to the logistics of the trip we decided to fly with Singapore Airlines. A little more expensive, but their reputation for service trumped the extra cost, plus in a few months time we will be celebrating our Golden Wedding – try this version in Sydney.

For those who prefer the original by Woody Herman, which was recorded in 1941, Oh! those drums.

I booked us to fly 03rd July from Sydney to Singapore, daylight flight, stay overnight at an airport hotel and fly daylight to London. The ship would sail from Southampton.

The booking was for business class, after all at our age our holidays may come to a halt due to our health, because various bits are already failing.

We checked-in and within a short time we were in the business class lounge.

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DSC01954rThe flight had a schedule departure of 11.00am, which required Maureen and I to be at the airport at 8.00 am, which meant that we had to be picked up from home at 7.00 am, and up and about around 5.00 am. I was tired out before the holiday had started.

We knew that the lounge would be in breakfast mode, so along with a small glass of  Champagne and a bowl of muesli (for health reasons of course) our holiday began.

DSC01956rWe had a window seat in the lounge, which allowed us to watch the early morning airport landings and take-offs.

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DSC01959r  In the maintenance area we’d spotted an SQ A380 and thought that this might be our aircraft – we were correct as an hour and a half before departure we watched it being towed to the passenger area.

DSC01966rWe were fortunate that the 11.00 am departure aircraft had all the new seats that SQ had designed and were slowly installing in all of their aircraft. Heaps of room, entertainment system was very easy to use – easier than the next leg, which had the older seating.

DSC01973r.jpgWe left on time and queued with others for the runway.

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As we raced down the runway the air, as it rushed over the wing, could be seen. I’m sure someone will send me an explanation of what is happening – please make it simple . .

DSC01987rGoodbye Sydney – not a very good shot, but the best I could get without it blurring.

DSC01990rWe both like window seats, and as they are single seats I sat behind Maureen.

DSC01991rThe centre seats have the ability pull up a ‘wall’ so that both passengers can have privacy. You can just see the top of one ‘wall’ behind the seat on the right. The ‘wall’ can be dropped if you are travelling with a spouse or friend.

DSC01992rBrunch began – first course, I enjoyed the delicate light taste.

DSC01994rMain course – beef in Thai red curry, not as good as I expected.

DSC01995rHokey Pokey ice cream

DSC01996rEnd the meal with a glass of red and a little cheese – I was glad that I hadn’t pigged out in the lounge.

DSC01997rA light snack and a glass of wine a couple of hours before landing in Singapore.

DSC02005rComing in to land at Singapore – and the crest of air is back . . .
at least it wasn’t On a Wing and a Prayer.