29. 03. 2018.

Naveta d'Es Tudons, Menorca

The Naveta d'Es Tudons (literally 'nave of the woodpigeons') is the most remarkable megalithic chamber tomb in the Balearic island of Menorca, Spain. It is located in the Western part of the island, approximately 3 miles out from Ciutadella. Navetas  are chronologically pre-Talaiotic constructions; this is a funerary naveta that served as collective ossuary between 1200 and 750 BC.

Now if I only knew this place is so close to town...I mean it was totally walkable. I had an early gangway - set off with first tender in pitch dark, and the ride did take a while so I witnessed the sunrise once in situ. The thing about having gangway while tendering - it takes too darn long to go back to the ship to change clothes and back again, so you end up walking around in your uniform. Ugh. On few occasions gangway was the only way to get off board, so yeah. You take what you get..! My postcard said 'finally someplace new!' but it wasn't only that, new (for me) was also the postal system by - Swiss Post? Got these self-adhesive stamps in a souvenir shop, got a special mailbox there to mail them too, and I just wondered if these (this and the donkey one coming next) will even arrive...I mean it IS the Swiss, they are always effective, right..?! (I was still remembering the unsuccessful try with 'special post' in Barcelona, those never arrived :/) Anyways, they're here, yuppie.

28. 03. 2018.

UNESCO - Le Havre, The City Rebuilt By Auguste Perret

The city of Le Havre, on the English Channel in Normandy, was severely bombed during the Second World War. The destroyed area was rebuilt according to the plan of a team headed by Auguste Perret, from 1945 to 1964. It is exceptional among many reconstructed cities for its unity and integrity; it combines a reflection of the earlier pattern of the town and its extant historic structures with the new ideas of town planning and construction technology.

I had the morning off in Le Havre - the tours were a few, gangway totally non-picturesque, and the ship close enough to the town centre so you don't have to worry too much about time restrictions. Plus a new place and a whs, perfect! As a fan of interesting architecture I had a sort of a 'field day', and going to France was always a bit more special as French ports were not that often on the list, AND were most prone to being cancelled due to weather. So altogether a big yay here :) (also perhaps an interesting momentum with cancellations, as there is an extra one next to the standard mechanised one, though I cannot make out the letters...)

27. 03. 2018.

UNESCO - Archaeological Ensemble Of Tárraco, Spain

First I thought Tarragona is WHS, then I couldn't find it on the list, and now I realise parts of it are under a different (ancient) name. Tárraco (modern-day Tarragona) was a major administrative and mercantile city in Roman Spain and the centre of the Imperial cult for all the Iberian provinces. It was endowed with many fine buildings, and parts of these have been revealed in a series of exceptional excavations. Although most of the remains are fragmentary, many preserved beneath more recent buildings, they present a vivid picture of the grandeur of this Roman provincial capital.

This postcard shows some of the mentioned  remains, but also the 12th-century Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Mary and the magnificent adjacent cloister. As Tarragona is a Catalonian port on Costa Daurada it is near Barcelona, and that's where the ship actually anchored. I was happy to go the first time; when I got exactly the same tour the 2nd time I was confused (to say the least) and wished to have more relaxing time for Barcelona. Too fussy eh? :P

25. 03. 2018.

A Pint Of Guinness

At least I think its a pint..! Once you get into a Guinness store you are spoilt for choice, not only regarding postcards. I have tasted Guinness once, and that was a long time ago (13+ years) so maybe now I wouldn't find it as odd as I did back then lol In fact I prefer darker brews these days. Cheers!

23. 03. 2018.

Le Charme à la Française

I am curious about myself right now, and the reasons why I've chosen to send this postcard from Monaco...my guess is (as my memory does the usual fail) that the view cards were similar to what I already have. I do remember the little cute shop though, and other sweet things they were selling - I ended up with a lavender soap souvenir in a kitty box :) 
I was in Monaco once before but suuuch a long time ago, it was the high-school excursion and we stopped there on our way to Barcelona. Needless to say it was all new to me...It is possible we didn't venture to the old town back then as we were in the Casino Monte Carlo area; this time I only walked around the old town. Let me see if I have any interesting photos to show...Oh yes this place was positively surprising, the sea side of the Oceanographic Museum:

22. 03. 2018.

(Puffin) Iceland Flag

Iceland (and Scotland) were definitely the highlights of the 2nd contract. First stop Reykjavik - a puffin tour! Boating around nearby islands, we didn't come too near the coast but you could spot them in the air flying around with fish in their beaks. Again I didn't have a zoom lens...I do own a decent pocket camera but...I left it on board?! I am so silly sometimes. Nevermind, here are the superfriendly cats of Iceland (told ya!). (One for each port: Reykjavik, Ísafjörður and Akureyri)

Kirkwall, Orkney

We were in Kirkwall twice last summer, yay. The first time was a tour and a walk around town, and I have absolutely no record of the second time - must have stayed on board. I was told before going on the ship I'll be so tired on some days I'll just skip ports and stay in bed and/or do chores; I did think it almost impossible at the time, but here it is...I did want to see the Heart of Neolithic Orkney but those tours were always taken. Can't complain about my first tour though, and I think the photo will tell you why ;) Kirkwall was also the place of another great cat encounter - I'd even say it was the start of a streak of such encounters going up north. I don't think I'll be able to refrain from posting some photos lol

(Oh and while in Kirkwall I peeked into the local museum and saw a guy working there stamping something for a kid, I asked could I get the same, the man just gave me a 'really, how old are you dear?' look heh)

21. 03. 2018.

Isle Of Lewis

The full name of the island is actually Lewis and Harris; the northern part of the island is called Lewis, the southern is Harris, but both are frequently referred to as if they were separate islands. It is part of the Outer Hebrides, and is the largest and the most populous of the Scottish Isles. Stornoway is the main town, and the civil parish, including the town and various nearby villages, has a population of about 12 000.

The ship was docked in Stornoway, but first I had a nice little tour to go through, encompassing a few important sites. The Callanish Stones were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. They are standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. The Gearrannan Black House Village  consists of nine restored traditional thatched cottages, which were lived in till 1974 and were the last group of blackhouses to be inhabited in the Western Isles. The buildings were generally built with double wall dry-stone walls packed with earth, and were roofed with wooden rafters covered with a thatch of turf with cereal straw or reed. There was a tweed-weaving demonstration - Harris Tweed is a tweed cloth handwoven by islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. Well why not throw in a photo while at it :) (oh and later on I had the most delicious sandwich in Stornoway, in a small tucked-away deli. I regret not buying the caviar crisps! Never found any anywhere else.)

20. 03. 2018.

Isle Of Skye

Skye is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillins, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. The island's largest settlement is Portree (bottom right), known for its picturesque harbour.
Having gangway photo shoot that day I stayed in Portree; just a short walk away lots of green and picturesque nature. This was one of the ports where one reaches it with tender boats from anchored ship.

18. 03. 2018.

Scottish Wildcat

'Britain's population of this very rare native carnivore found mainly in the Scottish Highlands, is only around 100. Inter-breeding with the large population of feral domestic cats poses a serious threat to the future purity of the species and its survival'

Beautiful creature isn't it? As sad as it is that the purity of the species is in peril, I'd be happy to know all cats, feral and domestic, pure or mixed breed, are appreciated and well taken care of. There used to be the time when you knew February is the month for cats to mate, but now they mate all year round, and many feral cats have kittens basically non-stop, like some sort of breeding machines :( Sadly in my surroundings (and generally in more 'southern' cultures) it is still acceptable not to spay cats despite this problem...Will people as a race ever improve in this regard, I wonder.

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..!