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rafinmd

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    Crystal, Blount Small Ship Adventures
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  1. rafinmd

    Around the Horn in 80 days.

    Thank you Krazy Kruizers and puppycanducruise. I hope this will post in the few brief moments Cruise Critic is working. Day P15, Saturday, January 19, 2019, Iquique, Chile With sunrise now after 7 I walked my 6 laps in the dark. I have visited Iqueque once before (Last year on the Crystal Symphony) and it is one of the least attractive ports around with an ugly factory of some sort sitting on the pier almost next to the ship. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/iquequedock.jpg There were 4 tours available, a 3 hour Iqueque Highlights tour while the other 3 went to the ghost town of Humberstone. A 7 hour tour added a Pica Oasis (a tablemate was not pleased with that tour), a 6 hour tour with Geoglyphs, and a 5 hour tour that was just Humberstone and a quick look at Iqueque. I visited the Geoglyphs last year and while they were nice didn’t think they justified the extra driving for a second look so I just took the 5 hour tour. Chile is one of a few countries where fruit flies are not an issue and they aim to keep it that way. They have agricultural controls as strict as Australia and New Zealand and there is some kind of an inspection at every port. I was carrying quite a bit of food (UHT milk, cereal bars, and cheese and crackers) (plus a bran muffin on Sunday) and all were cleared without issue. Sometimes you must open all back packs but in Iqueque all the bags were run through a scanner. We left about 9 and soon after entering the city started climbing a plateau with a nice view of the city on my side of the bus. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/iqueque.jpg Saltpeter (nitrate) production began in the area in about 1872. The town we visited went bankrupt about 1920 but was acquired by new owners and re-opened in 1934 with the name of Humberstone. Production under the new owners continued until 1960 when the operation ceased and the town abandoned. There is an annual reunion of former workers and family members each year in November. As we entered the site we walked up a wide street with pieces of old rail equipment spaced along the avenue and elsewhere around the complex. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/hmbrolling.jpg Our first stop was the school. It was one of a relatively few places where all strata of Humberstone society were together and the school ran through grade 6. To continue their education beyond that children would have needed to board in Iqueque. . https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/hbrschool.jpg The theater was home to mostly movies with the occasional play or concert. Apparently westerns were quite the popular item. It is used today for the occasional concert or other event. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/teatrohumber.jpg There was quite a nice looking swimming pool complete with diving board. It looked liked it could easily be filled with water today but I am sure that is not really the case. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/humberpool.jpg Parts of the original Company Store are restored to lifelike condition while other parts are now used for displays like the scene with a miner breaking up the ore deposits. Train cars could pull into the building and offload new merchandise. Payment was with company script under the original owners but cash was used after the reopening as Humberstone. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/humberstore.jpg The church is pretty small but well maintained. It is near a market place where occasional vendors had shops and a clock also graces the area. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/eglisehumber.jpg On the way out I popped into a house which would have been used by a mid-level employee. Housing was segregated by marital status and position. Single workers had very simple accommodations while laborers with families did better and engineers and technicians and management had the best arrangements, all in separate areas of the town. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/midlevhouse.jpg We left Humberstone about 11:45. On our return to Iqueque we drove along the ocean front. The beach was very nice but the surf was quite heavy and I understand the water was quite cold. It was a good beach to lie on but probably not so good for swimming. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/iquequebeach.jpg We had a final stop in the center of town where there was a drink and a bit of a snack waiting. It was also the shuttle stop and I decided to just return to the ship, getting back about 1:40. We were all back at table 19. Everyone enjoyed Humberstone and the reports from the Geoglyphs were good but the was a lot of disappointment with the Pico Oasis, apparently including the ship escort who was not impressed with the tour. I chose the fruit cup, the pasta, and the mango blueberry crisp. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dishes19.jpg The featured entertainment was comedian Martin Beaumont. I have seen him perform before both on Holland America and on Crystal. In fact, as another bit of entertainment irony, the last time I saw him was a year ago on the Crystal Symphony the day we were at Iqueque. He is very good, clean, fresh, and funny. While we often watched the sunset from table 19 with the clock change there was still some color in the sky after the show. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/beaumont.jpg My parting shot will be a word of thanks for people participating in acts of service on Martin Luther King day in the US. Roy
  2. Wow! CC is awful today. I had hoped to get my post up for yesterday in Iqueque but if things don't improve it will be quite delayed. I must leave in about 10 minutes for Bolamos second show. Roy
  3. No worries. I think there was a time when all that was mentioned was the fact that the ships were sailing and if we know that these ships are going here and there we are way ahead in the game with the matter of which one is going where really only mattering to a few people. Roy
  4. rafinmd

    Zaandam in Buenos Aires

    I boarded 2 years ago and we had the Pampas Devils Gauchos the night we sailed as well. I expect you will see it. Roy
  5. rafinmd

    Around the Horn in 80 days.

    Day P14, Friday, January 18, 2019, Matarani, Peru This was an early day and in different ways long and short. I was up at 5 and had walked 6 laps around the Lower Promenade deck by 6. While I was walking we were approached by the pilot boar and a good 6 to 8 people boarded–I imagine the others besides the pilots were Immigration authorities stamping our passports to leave Peru. I am not sure of the reason but our departure had been moved up from an original 5PM to 4 and our tour departure was moved from 8AM to 7. The apparent attraction for Matarani is the city of Arequipa, some distance away. It is reported that Matarani has essentially nothing to offer and a shuttle was offered to Mondello, a 40-minute hair raising drive away and people reported there was very little of interest there. There were just 3 tours offered at Matarani, 4 hours to the Meija National Wildlife Sanctuary and 8 hours to Arequipa, one “Sightseeing and Shopping” and the second primarily visiting a convent. I was on the tour to the convent. We had 2 buses for the tour, about 30 people on the first and 24 on the second one (mine). The port of Matarani has just a narrow bit of land at the bottom of about a 300-foot cliff. After ascending the steep road out of the port we passed through the town of Matarani which really did not entice me. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/matarani.jpg The ride to the city of Arequipa was somewhat over 2 hours on a winding highway through a high desert terrain. Along the way we passed some settlements with tiny buildings laid out in a grid pattern. People bought lots with a promise that water would be brought to the settlement but that does not look like it will happen anytime soon. I saw very few cars and assume most are seldom if ever visited. We saw an oasis or two and looked down on a copper mine. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/highdesert.jpg The Santa Catalina Convent was founded in 1580 and is the size of a small city. We entered at a lovely courtyard for a tour by a Convent employee. In it’s almost 440 years it has changed many times with changing society and changing winds from the Vatican. In the early years it was just assumed that for each family the first daughter would marry and the second would enter the convent while the first son would join the army and the second become a priest. Our first stop was a room where in the early years a novice would spend her first year. It sounded to me a lot like solitary confinement where the girl would return to her room after worship with the closest thing she got to human contact would be her meals passed in through the window. The guide pointed out that the beds were placed under little archways as that was the safe place to be in an earthquake. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/noviceroom.jpg After the first year the girl would live a somewhat less austere life. In a later phase of the Convent the nuns actually had individual houses and had servants (funded by their families). We stopped at the laundry, a series of vats with a little trough with water in the middle where the servant could block the trough and cause water to flow into one of the vats to wash the clothes. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/laundry.jpg In that area we also got a peek at one of the nearby volcanoes. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/volcano.jpg The use of individual homes and servants ended and another phase which ended just in the latter 20th century had the nuns all sleeping in a dormitory, shaped like a cross, bedding on cots suspended from hooks on the ceiling. The former dormitory is now used as an art gallery and occasionally the site of classical music recitals. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dormitory.jpg Various buildings have served unexpected uses over the years. One of the early church buildings was converted into a community kitchen following a particularly bad earthquake. There is one very nice square in a public area. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/maincourt.jpg There are about 20 nuns today. They are free to resign their status and leave the convent at any time but while still active they are allowed outside under only limited circumstances. The Convent is closed to the public in the morning and opened only after the nuns have attended Mass and returned to their quarters. We left the Convent a little after 11 and walked 2 blocks to the main square. On one side of the square sat the Cathedral although it was not open and we would not have had time to enter anyway. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/cathedral.jpg We had lunch in Arequipa at a local restaurant, the Sol de Mayo. There were 2 long tables set up, one for each bus and a musical combo was playing at one end. The guide said buffet but to me the term was more like family style with large plates of various dishes being placed on the table for about each 4 people. We left the restaurant about 1:30. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/lunchsoldemayo.jpg All aboard was at 3:30 and we were back at the port at 3:45. I think others were behind us but by about 4 the crew had quickly removed all the furnishings from the gangway. I think we started moving about 4:20. We were all back at table 19 and our people had done several different things during the day including staying on the ship. I opted for the cirrus delight, pork chop, and cherry crisp. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dishes18.jpg The featured entertainment was flautist Andrea Amat. She put on a very nice show. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/amat.jpg I’ve talked about the long day and my parting shot will be the short. It really was a short day. In going from Peru to Chile we not only transitioned from Eastern time to Atlantic time but in moving towards summer in the Southern Hemisphere we also entered an area where Daylight Savings time is observed, losing not just one hour but 2. A miserable way to end an evening. Roy
  6. rafinmd

    Around the Horn in 80 days.

    I'll bet they did. Also, one of my pieces of luggage is a rather large backpack. The waist strap had a cut and was almost sliced completely through. The tailor knitted the ends together beautifully. Roy
  7. Hope Oostie's show continues. Pdam put out several toots waiting for late PAX, then again on sailaway, and more in exchange with the pilot and tug boats. ROy
  8. rafinmd

    Connecting cruises

    I would in a heartbeat if it was a North American train with checked baggage but I don't think I am up for that in Europe. Roy
  9. rafinmd

    Connecting cruises

    Doesn't Business also provide some priority at the screening stations at the connecting airport? Roy
  10. rafinmd

    Around the Horn in 80 days.

    Thank you everyone. Jacqui, most of the menus on the Navigator and listed on my menus page: Hopefully Sherita will have more to say about it on Kathi's thread, My menu page: https://morethangetaways.wordpress.com/menus/2019gsa/ Day P13, Thursday, January 17, 2019, At sea, MS Prinsendam I thought the foot was coming along well enough to get in a 5-mile (20 lap) walk. I was on lap 17 when I diverted up to the lido for my second cup of coffee with plans to include 3 additional laps on the way to breakfast and lunch. It was a cloudy day but the sun did find a little break in the clouds. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dawn0117.jpg I had planned to get an omelet in the dining room at 8 and then go up to the lido for something else at 9. I walked around the bow and stern to the dining room and was there longer than planned. The omelet came with potatoes and I cancelled the 9AM lido visit and completed laps 19 and 20 right after breakfast. When I returned from the dining room my cabin had not yet been made up. I walked another 3 laps when they came by and one more on the way to lunch for an eventual total of 6 miles. There was supposed to be coffee chat with comedian Russ Stolnack at 10:30. Linda admitted she had forgotten to notify him (and he apparently did not read his When and Where or listen to the morning announcement) so she did an impromptu Q&A. I asked her about the passenger count she said it was somewhere around 630 with 100 getting off in Buenos Aires and 100 more getting on. I think there are quite a large number of solos so there are probably not many vacant cabins. In his noon update Captain Jeroen talked a bit about Matarani and the Amazon. I have been on the upper Amazon out of Iquitos on a river cruise.. He indicated that on an exceptionally rainy season Prinsendam would be able to go up the Amazon to Peru (perhaps once every 15 years). Tim Calvert had a talk at 2 on Sir Francis Drake and Errol Flynn. After the talk I walked through the Ocean Bar. On the Grand Voyage there are dance hosts and the dance class appeared quite well attended. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/danceclass.jpg For the third Gala Night plus Black and White Ball the dining room was set up beautifully and the penguins had very fancy vests. With the late ball the late seating had a pre-dinner show. Table 19 was very full as Kathi (Scrapnana) joined us as well as having the table hosted by Crystal from Guest Relations. She is the one who takes care of our passports and visas. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/bwpenguins.jpg I opted for the Apple Pear, and Cucumber Salad, the Turf from Surf and Turf and the Almond and Orange cake. When I returned to my room the next pillow gift was a nice map of the Cape Horn area. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/dishes17.jpg The featured entertainment was Bailamos, a trio of very energetic young Canadian lads doing a wide variety of music. I had seen them perform once before on the Zaandam, ironically then on the sea day after leaving Lima as well. They will do a second show in the next few days. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/bailamos.jpg The showroom also hosted the Black and White Ball where the officers all made themselves available for dancing. It started off with a song by the Prinsendam Singers, followed by the arrival off the officers. Captain Jeroen and the future cruise consultant danced briefly, and then invited others to cut in, and soon the other officers followed suit. I stopped in only briefly and then headed to bed since my Matarani tour leaves at 7AM. https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/ball3.jpg My parting shot will be a wish for as smooth a transition as possible without massive disruptions as the UK seems to be headed for a hard Brexit. I am a bit concerned that the move will add some customs hassles to my next trip as I have a bag being shipped from Amsterdam to Southampton on my next journey. Roy
  11. We lost 2 hours overnight so I will be around only if she can squeeze departure in after dinner and before the show. Sadly, with the Oosterdam I will likely miss a good sow. Roy
  12. rafinmd

    Connecting cruises

    I am on a river cruise ending in Basel November 3 and continuing on an ocean cruise out of Barcelona November 5. Crystal is offering transfers to Basel airport. The choices I am looking at are Basel to BCN via either LHR (90 minute connection on BA) or LIS (70 minute connection on TAP). My third option would be a transfer to Zurich (probably would need to be private with my luggage) where I could get a non-stop. I might do coach out of Zurich but would definitely want to have Business if there is a connection involved. Suggestions? Thanks Roy
  13. Not sure if she's fully gone yet. Just back from 3 live toots courtesy of Staff Captain PaulMassolt. Roy
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