Flashback cruising and clocking up the countries

Wow… looking back at my last post, I’ve got a LOT of trips to catch you up on! So much so that I need to break from my usual format (again) and go all the way back to the start of May. 
Another African country; a crazy, old-people filled cruise; another trip to Deutschland; country number 40; and a little local delight.
This is travel…
Tunis – Tunisia
Our second trip to the continent of Africa and the wonderful country of Tunisia. It was sunshine, fabulous shopping, and the affectionate (if not slightly creepy) attention of a random on the beach. Oh, and who could forget the delight that is all inclusive. All food and drinks included. Yes, all drinks included… and no one judged you if you ordered a gin and tonic when the bar opened at 10am. I didn’t, in case you’re wondering. No really! I didn’t!
We arrived late at night to our wonderfully 80s hotel and woke up to bright blue skies and many hours spent relaxing by the pool. We decided that with all our travels, we never just ‘do nothing’ so that’s what we did and we got really good at it by the end. We did leave the poolside a few times, mostly to take a trip to the Medina and to go shopping. We bought even more amazing trinkets, bowls and souvenirs to fill up our future home. So many in fact that when we got back, we couldn’t find anywhere to put them so they’re in a pile, next to the bed… three months later.
Tunisia was wonderful and the people were so lovely. Even the slightly creepy man who appeared out of nowhere the second I stepped onto the beach without B by my side and wanted me to be his girlfriend. He wanted to know my name, where I was from and how old I was. This last question I queried, why did he want to know that? “I want to know if you will be my girlfriend,” he said. When I told him I was married, he vanished almost immediately. I was slightly curious to know if I had have told him my age, would he have said I was too old? 28’s not old… is it?

The colourful Medina
Tunis, Tunisia – May 2013

View of the hotel, from our balcony
Tunis, Tunisia – May 2013

The beach, trying to shake off my
new admirer by taking photos.
It didn’t work…
Tunis, Tunisia – May 2013

Cruising good times
Oh the cruise. What an epic weekend it was! For the second May Bank Holiday weekend, we went on a mini cruise with our friends R & P and friends they’d recently introduced us to, S & R and S’s sister S (I know, two S’s is confusing, sorry). After the initial shock of being kept in a room before boarding the ship where the average age was 65, we hit the bar, followed by a ‘snack’ at the all-day buffet. Our snack ended up being a little more than your average afternoon nibble and when we arrived for our actual scheduled dinner (8.30pm – we had the ‘late’ shift while all the over 65s were in bed after their 6.30 sitting) the thought of food made me feel a little ill. R, P, B and R (oh, two R’s as well!) hit the nightclub while S, S and I took the sensible route of going to bed at a reasonable hour. Apparently the nightclub crew carved up the dancefloor and set a precedent for everyone for the rest of the trip. We had a lot to live up to.

The Balmoral
Cruising weekend, May 2013

The cruise took us from South Hampton to Honfleur on the coast of France. A sweet little town famous for cider, with little shops filled with caramels and all kinds of French delights. We taste tested our way around and stocked up on all kinds of deliciousness.

Cider delights
Honfleur, France
May 2013

Pretty Honfleur, France
May 2013

That night at dinner, the wonderful crew (who referred to B & I as The Murpee’s) didn’t judge us (well, not in an obvious way anyway) when we decided that one main each just wasn’t enough. Yes, we ordered ‘back up’ dishes in case the mains we chose weren’t nice. Next, we all hit the nightclub with one of the worst DJ’s ever who forced us to dance to songs that were seriously crap. We perfected gangnam style and had various signature dance moves that had us ‘known’ among the other cruisers. The rusty flagpole and the Cypriot wave were just two of the magical moves we shared and made famous.

Ready to get my dance on
May 2013

Feeling a little dusty on day three, only two of the seven of us made it to breakfast (yes, it was B and I… they had pancakes! You have to get out of bed for pancakes!) yet we managed to find each other when we all got off to explore the less than thrilling town of Guernsey. It was pretty… just a little bit boring. Sunday night, after we’d had a massage, a bit of a snooze and an outdoor spa, we were re-energize and ready to go again. The night began with drinks with the Captain (whose hand you weren’t allowed to shake for fear of him catching something) followed by our final dinner together and a comedy show with a comedian who didn’t make me laugh once. Woeful yet looking back, this is what made it so funny!

May 2013

Sunshine happiness
May 2013

Cocktail night
May 2013

We finished the night (or more like morning) at who knows what time and were then rudely awoken by the daily wake up call that boomed through every single cabin at a hideous 7am. Any of my cruise people reading this will remember that voice! Like nails down a blackboard.

It was one of the best weekends ever. Yes, we went on a cruise. Yes, we were surrounded by old people but it was absolutely awesome and I reckon a reunion is definitely in order!

The cruise crew – what an awesome bunch!
May 2013

Düsseldorf and Cologne – Germany

As we clocked up our fifth trip to Germany, I’m pretty sure you’re all sick of hearing me talk about how much I love this country. The efficiency, the food (don’t knock pork knuckle until you’ve tried it) the beer. It’s just love. Düsseldorf and Cologne were no different. Both beautiful cities, we had a great weekend trip. We don’t usually travel in summer due to flights and accommodation just being so expensive so this was a rare treat, to be in Europe, in a singlet top and wearing sunglasses! This trip was all about the food and the beer. In Düsseldorf, many of the pubs have their own micro-brew. Dangerous stuff… And yes, I am aware that my blog, Facebook and instagram is littered with photos of alcohol. Rest assured, as I write this, I am drinking a cup of peppermint tea. My liver always gets a break, tea just isn’t as interesting to photograph as beer is. 

Enough about Germany, it’s just going to make me sound like an alcoholic.

Gorgeous Cologne, Germany
June 2013

Cologne, Germany
June 2013

We found a pop-up micro-pub. Someone is happy!
Dusseldorf, Germany
June 2013

Luxembourg – country number 40!

Yep, we just clocked up 40 countries visited and what a surprising little gem it was. Luxembourg was so pretty. With live music and bands in lots of squares around the city, pop-up beer and champagne bars, bike rides all around the city and the best chocolate icecream I’ve ever had in my life, Luxembourg was another sunshiney weekend away with great times and great memories.

Pretty little Luxembourg
July 2013

The bottom of The Grund
NOT a fun hill to walk up!
July 2013

Cycling around Luxembourg
July 2013

Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Lymington & New Milton – New Forest

Ok, we’re almost there, I promise! The last of our recent trips was a weekend closer to home to the lovely New Forest. Last year, I read an article about a restaurant which grows their own fruit and vege, rears their own animals and selects only local ingredients within a 25mile radius. And it was called The Pig. Ever since then, I have wanted to go there. After J&L visited last December and a friend from work also went and raved on about it, I was determined to go. So yes, we booked a weekend away, just so I could go to a restaurant.

Totally worth it – everything about the food can be found in my next blog post, coming soon (I promise!) The rest of the weekend we spent exploring the wonderful countryside. Horses roamed freely (as in actually hanging just outside the shops) we visited a cider farm, met local pigs and slept like logs thanks to two massive walks that really took it out of us. The towns we visited were so sweet and I found what I think to be the most picture perfect cottage I’ve ever seen. It’s what you read about in Enid Blyton books – it was gorgeous! And the vintage shopping was so good, I couldn’t contain my excitement when I picked up a crystal whiskey decanter; blue saucepan with a wooden handle; hand painted plate; pewter beer mug and a mini le crueset frying pan for a grand total of £6.50. Vintage shopping heaven!

The sweetest cottage in the world
New Forest
July 2013

The Cider Farm
New Forest
July 2013

Horses roaming the New Forest
July 2013

Local piggy!
New Forest
July 2013

Oh – and just one last thing before I finish. Magnet check! 

  • Tunisia’s selection was pretty good – we picked one with a palm tree and a camel. Despite the fact that we didn’t see any camels.
  • Our magnet from Honfleur is a basket of apples and cider bottles – rather fitting for me I’m sure you’d agree.
  • Guernsey, famous for it’s cows, was of course a giant cow’s head.
  • No magnet from Germany, we did look but the German’s have a very poor magnet selection so no purchase was made.
  • Luxembourg, again a little disappointing but for a country that small, you’ve got to cut them some slack. A huge 3D replica of the city ruins and the Gründ (like a big valley smack bang in the middle of the city) make for a pretty impressive magnet to add to our collection.
  • And New Forest – we don’t always get a magnet in every city, town or area we visit but a magnet decorated with a squirrel, deer, badger and rabbit can’t be ignored.
I’ve lost count of how many magnets we currently have but yes, our fridge looks awesome. 

Next up… the bits I’ve skipped – life, love and food.

4 thoughts on “Flashback cruising and clocking up the countries

  1. LOVE IT Danni, you're blogs are always so entertaining and of course I loved re-living our AWESOME cruise!! NF brought back some shocking memories on my part (will tell you about in person next time). I'm glad you enjoyed it 🙂
    See you soon, most likely for beerfest, or should I say teafest, so no one really thinks you drink THAT much beer ha ha x


  2. Thanks for being my biggest fan Rosie! Can you send on to the rest of the cruise crew – so they know they're being blogged about! Intrigued to hear about your NF stories! Can't wait to catch up again for tea-fest ; ) x


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