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 ;) 

16. 03. 2018.

UNESCO - Agave Landscape, Mexico

A wonderful surprise during my last year's absence, one of quite a few from dear Bryon who went to Mexico in the spring - Santiago de Tequila is a Mexican town and municipality located in the state of Jalisco about 60 km from the city of Guadalajara, best known as being the birthplace of the drink that bears its name.
As for the WHS, it is a 34,658 ha site, between the foothills of the Tequila Volcano and the deep valley of the Rio Grande River; part of an expansive landscape of blue agave, shaped by the culture of the plant used since the 16th century to produce tequila spirit. The area encloses a living, working landscape of blue agave fields and the urban settlements of Tequila, Arenal, and Amatitan with large distilleries where the agave ‘pineapple' is fermented and distilled.
And oh such great stamps, thanks so much B.! Needless to say I feel so guilty now for hardly sending anything in the last year, I hope to compensate for that some time soon...

14. 03. 2018.

Nature Views Of Serbia

Nope, the cruise ship didn't go up the Danube for this one :D Rather I got a bit tired of posting about my ship life, as some others possibly are too, so a break is needed (and the 2nd contract postcards will be posted at some later point) - and what better break than a nature break, and from two very dear fellow postcrossers! Two Anas met in Belgrade last autumn (as some of you will know it is already a sort of a tradition, cheesecake included ;)) and sent me this beautiful card. You are right girls, the cat on this stamp IS a bit psycho, but it had to be sent, and I love you for it :))

13. 03. 2018.

Cádiz, Spain

Cádiz is an ancient port city in the Andalusia region of southwestern Spain. It was founded by the Phoenicians and is regarded by many as the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe. It has been a principal home port of the Spanish navy since the accession of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century.

My first visit to Cadiz was on Easter Monday and the overall number of visits is 8, which made it a fairly familiar port (the only more frequented port was Gibraltar with 9 visits). Gradually I've discovered its charming streets and architecture as well as well-priced shops.
This was the first European cruise and the first cruise without my first manager and assistant manager...it all kind of went downhill from there. I never again felt the same support or creativity, in retrospective I wish I have left the ship on the same date...yeah its true despite some of the nice ports I still managed to visit. In a way I am still paying for my decision to stay on, literally so. The most unprofitable job I could have found at a turn-around point of life. This is why I shudder a little bit every time someone says how cool it was, how lucky I was, etc. In the end how much of a reward is it to spend a few hours in different ports, when you don't have a supportive team, when you witness first hand the unfairness of management, when you have to watch your pennies and have no real friends around you, that is the real question..!

10. 03. 2018.

UNESCO - Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, Saint Kitts And Nevis

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a remarkable example of European military engineering dating from the 17th and 18th centuries in a Caribbean context. Located on the Island of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) the country’s largest island, the fortress was built to African slave labour to the exacting standards of the British military to protect the coastline from a sea attack and to provide a safe refuge for the island’s citizens.

I was really lucky on this cruise with the tours, to see three WHS sites. My theory is, all those youngsters working on board weren't really in the race for cultural stuff,  having all those beaches around. Visit to this site was nice and easy, among other things I'll remember asking some Canadians from another ship if they'd like a photo lol, didn't dare asking anyone else after that. This tour also encompassed a visit to the 17th-century Romney Manor, home of Caribelle Batik, which has acquired an international reputation for fine batik products made of quality fabrics. There was a display of the manufacturing process, and of course a lovely colourful shop with somewhat out-of-reach prices. I also remember there being a fascinating 400-y-o Saman tree. Here is one photo of the drying batik fabrics: