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Dave’s Live from Zuiderdam Voyage of the Vikings, July 30 – Sept. 3, 2019

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Aug. 18, Cobh (Cont.)


At the 4 p.m. happy hour in the Ocean Bar, we sat at a table by a window that overlooked the pier.  Starting about 4:30, we saw bus after bus come driving up the pier, and then spawn.  Sorry, but the imagery of the shore excursion passengers getting off the buses made me think of salmon, for some reason … must be a Pacific Northwest thing.


Here are tonight’s dinner and dessert menus:






Here is the Lido dinner menu:





More tomorrow,


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Aug. 19, Dublin, Ireland


We are approaching Dublin harbor, and hoping for the good weather that the Captain predicted last night.  The Accuweather forecast is for sun and passing showers, high of 64F/18C.  We have been in Dublin before, including a stay of several days’ length, years ago.  Today, we plan to see Dublin from a different angle (no, not on hands and knees).  We have booked a ship shore excursion called “River Cruise & City Sights” which starts with a guided cruise along the Liffey River.  That sounded like a unique way to view the city, so we booked it.  The tour continues with some bus touring to and by some things, including the obligatory stop at Guiness.  We’re looking forward to it.


Here is today’s When and Where:











Here is the Dublin port guide:







More later,


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I've noticed only about 2 or 3 solo events over the past few weeks.  I wonder if this is because there aren't many single people on board or are they cutting it out?  I will be sailing as a solo in April and look forward to meeting others, so I hope this won't be the case.  Love your posts and photos.


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Aug. 19, Dublin (Cont.)


We had good, mostly sunny weather through our 4+-hour excursion.  We left the pier pretty much on time at around 8:45 a.m.  Our bus did the window tour first, followed by the boat trip.  We started by joining dozens of city and tour buses, and Dubliners on their way to work in the heart of the city.  It took a while to wend through the Monday morning rush hour traffic, but it soon got better.  Our excellent guide pointed out many things and provided background as we went around.  Here are some the shots I got through the window on the window tour portion.  First, the Post Office.  It’s a nice building, but its importance is that it is the site of the failed Easter 1916 Uprising that tried to free Ireland from British rule.





Here are photos of the Duke of Wellington Memorial, and the President of Ireland’s house, both in Phoenix Park:







I misunderstood the Guinness portion, as we did not stop and tour, but I got a couple of shots as we went by:







And, of interest to me and several other men on the bus, we passed The Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland, founded in 1198.  We didn’t stop there, either. 😢





More in the next post,


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Aug. 19, Dublin (Cont.)


We did have stops where we could get off the bus.  The first was at Phoenix Park café, to use the restrooms, possibly get a coffee or snack, and stretch a bit.  There was a large walled garden featuring vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers:





We also stopped at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but not long enough to go inside:





And we stopped at a street in southeast Dublin to see the famous Dublin Doorways.  I had noticed that many doors in some parts of town had colored doors, most of them different colors from one another.  This street is the most famous one.  Here are some photos:











More in the Next post,


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Aug. 19, Dublin (Cont.)


We then drove to the CHQ building, site of the Irish Immigration Museum (which we did not visit) and of public restrooms (which we did).  Across the street was the pier where we boarded the Liffey Voyager.  I did not expect it to be like the boats on the Seine in Paris, but it makes sense, as it also passes under low bridges.    Here is a picture of our boat, and of the interior:







We went upstream, passing under several bridges while a guide narrated.  After a while, the boat turned around and stopped long enough to take a photo back downstream:









We then sailed back downstream, passing interesting sights, including businesses, the old Customs Building, and a replica of a sailing ship that took many Irish to America:









We went downstream to the last bridge, turned back and then sailed back to the boat’s pier. A few left the excursion at that point to stay in town, while the rest of us took the bus back to the ship, arriving about 1 p.m.


This was an interesting an enjoyable day, and while we had seen some of the sights from previous walks about Dublin, we saw some new ones, too, like Phoenix Park, and we got a different view of the city from the river.  If you are not looking for in-depth visits to specific places, but rather would like an overview tour, this is a good choice.  You would need to be able to get up and down bus stairs, and walk a ramp and some stairs to the boat.


More later,


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I enjoyed your review of the tour, which I took when the Amsterdam was there in May. I, too, thought the tour a good one for people who can't get around as easily as they once did.

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Aug. 19, Dublin (Cont.)


It was a quiet afternoon on board.  What with the 10:30 p.m. all onboard, I think a lot of people decided to see what was on offer in Dublin this evening.


Here are tonight’s dinner and dessert menus:







Here is the Lido dinner menu:





More tomorrow,


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57 minutes ago, bandlady74 said:

Great reports, Dave. We embarked in Rotterdam-how do I find you to say hello?



We tend to hang out at the Ocean bar at happy hour (although we may be late today due to a long shore excursion).  I've posted a couple of pictures of me on the blog, and I do look like my avatar.



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Aug. 20, Belfast, Northern Ireland


The skies were mostly cloudy at dawn, but as we got closer to Belfast, they started moving away, and we approached Belfast in sunlight:









We are moored near the end of the port area, close to the bay, which will make it an easy departure this afternoon, but it also means a longer way to the city center.  Like yesterday in Dublin, shuttle buses are available, as of course are taxis.


We have a ship’s shore excursion booked this morning.  DW and I discovered on this cruise that we both have an opportunity to see something we remember reading about when we were in grade school and thinking it would be something we would like to visit someday.  For me, it is today.  We are going to see the Devil’s Causeway, a formation of rock columns on the coast north of Belfast.  DW’s we hope will come when we go to Qaqortoq – we have booked a tour to the Hvalsey church and farm, the last Viking Greenland settlement to be abandoned.  It looks like we should have nice weather for today at least – sunny, with some clouds here and there and a chance of spotty showers.  But, as Pacific Northwesterners, we don’t go anywhere without both sunglasses/sunscreen and waterproof jackets.


The tour departs at 10 a.m., and last 5+ hours, as the Causeway is a 90-minute drive each way.  So, I will probably be later than usual to post an account of the tour.



Here is today’s When and Where:












Here is the Belfast port guide:








More later,


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3 hours ago, RetiredMustang said:

We are going to see the Devil’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway, Dave!  The Devil is in the detail!! 😉


p.s. lovin' the review.  Someday I hope to do this cruise, but as you have reported on the inclement local weather so much you can see why it isn't high on my list of 'must do's'. I do like a change!

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Aug. 20, Belfast (Cont.)


We were on the first of at least two tour buses going to the Giant’s Causeway.  We drove on freeways and divided highways most of the wat, and eventually arrived at the town of Portrush, which may be familiar to golf fans, as the English Open (or as they call it The Open Championship) was recently held on this golf course.  Our guide said it would run you 260 pounds for a round of 18:





We then took the coast road past Dunluce Castle, where we had a photo stop.  It is an interesting pile, with a lot of history, but also of interest to those of my age cohort – it was where Led Zeppelin took the photo for the cover of the Houses of the Holy album.





A short time later, at about 11:45 a.m., we arrived at the Visitor Center.  Our guide recommended the following course of action: restrooms first, walk downhill or take the shuttle to the Causeway, then shuttle back uphill to the visitor center.







We were allotted and hour and a half to be back on the bus.  We followed our guide’s advice.  There were three cruise ships in Belfast, and it was a glorious sunny morning, so we joined what seemed like thousands of people at the site.  But, the restroom lines ran quickly.  In fact (practical info follows), DW reported that the center has just about achieved potty parity.  The line for the ladies loo went as quickly as the gents’ because there were lots of stalls. 


We were thus more quickly ready than we thought.  We decided to walk the half-mile/800 meters to the Causeway.  There were many people, so we often had to step into the street to get around people stopping for photos, etc. 





Of course, I stopped now and then to take snaps of the rugged coastline, and the heather which had come into bloom along the path:







As we got closer, we could spot people on the Causeway rocks:





Our guide told us that the current thinking is that the basalt hexagonal spires were formed when a volcanic eruption sent slow-cooling lava over the top of chalk formations.  But he said that story was rubbish, as everyone in Ireland knew that it was built by one giant from Ireland to attack another giant in Scotland, a relatively short distance away.  The second giant was (short version) frightened by a ruse committed by the first into fleeing back to Scotland, destroying the causeway behind him to escape.


Here are several shots of tourists on rocks, and the hexagonal rocks themselves; they are about a foot/30cm or so across:











After our visit to the causeway, we took the shuttle back uphill to the visitor center, and got a quick sandwich lunch at the café before getting back on the bus. Our bus left at 1:15 and we drove some very pretty coastal roads to a viewpoint overlooking the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge:





We had a 10-minute stop at the parking area, where was also parked an ice cream truck.  Most of us went to the viewpoint to take pictures of the bridge.  But a lot of us then went to the ice cream truck, me included.  The soft-serve cone with a flake (a chocolate stick) that used to cost 25p in 1980 when we lived in London has gotten more expensive – the truck operator nicked me for three pounds, but I suppose location, location, location (it was worth every shilling)!


We then drove back to Belfast through some amazing countryside – it is easy to see why they call this the Emerald Isle:





We really enjoyed this trip; quite apart from it being something I had wanted to see for decades, it was good on its own merit.  The bus was comfortable, and the drive was not overlong either way.  You had to be mobile to clamber on the rocks, but you could enjoy them from the shuttle parking areas.


More later,


Edited by RetiredMustang
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Aug. 20, Belfast (Cont.)


We arrived back at the port at 3:15 p.m., which allowed us enough time for our usual happy hour in the Ocean Bar before dinner.  The captain announced in his usual 5 p.m. talk about the sailaway and course we will take, etc. that he expected the weather to deteriorate by early morning as we ran into a storm, but should be better by tomorrow afternoon.  Luckily, tomorrow is a sea day.  Also, we lose another hour tonight, as we set our clocks back to Iceland time.


Here are tonight’s dinner and dessert menus:






Here is tonight’s Lido dinner menu:





More tomorrow,


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