18.07.2015 - 20.07.2015 37 °C
Well, it is steamy here on the the verandah of cabin #5076. It is Monday morning, the start of a work week for some of you. For us the dawn brings us closer to Dubrovnik, Croatia which is our stop for today. Now, you probably know that most of Europe is enduring a heat wave this summer and we are in the middle of it. It was about 35 degrees yesterday in Zadar and the forecast is for 36 or 37 today. You could feel the humidity in the air last night as we took a walk around the Promenade Deck. However, this morning (at 5:30 AM) I head to the verandah and was met with a wall of steam. Not humidity, but steam. Glasses fogged up, iPad covered in condensation and the sun beating down. It is going to be melting hot weather again today. I will remember this heat in the middle of January.
So, a little bit about our day yesterday. The Queen Victoria made her maiden voyage to Zadar, Croatia yesterday. And what a lovely port of call. The old walled city dates to the 9th century and with most cities in the area has been ruled over by many. In 1409 Zadar was sold to Venice and the Hapsburgs of Austria (yes, the same who took over Trieste) held the city until 1918. The Italians took over in 1918 and then the Germans took control in 1943. Liberated in 1944, after 70% of the city was destroyed, Zadar became prt of Yugoslavia. Zadar endured shelling by the Serbs between 1991 and 1993. Today it is a thriving community of 90,000 on the northern Adriatic part of Croatia.
The number one sightseeing attraction (according to Trip Advisor and us) is Morske Orgulje. Now this is a 'sea organ' which is best described as a set of cement step at the edge of the water. The sea water forces air through the 'pipes' to produce a unique, melodic chords and notes. Quite possibly one of the most unique things we have EVER seen.
Our day was spent walking the streets of Zadar, visiting some of the many churches and wandering through the Roman Forum. The coffee culture here, as everywhere is Europe, is strong so it was nice to have a great coffee complete with free and fast WiFi. Thr handsome Croatian waiter was just an added bonus! Then it was on the try the local beer. Two thumbs up for the local Ozujsko beer and the friendly Brits we ended up drinking with. While the stop was intended to be one beer it may have been extended due to the lively conversations with some fellow passengers.
One comparison for today is that the people are not the assertive sales people of some other countries. Rarely did they try and sell you something, rather them seemed happy when you left! This will be a drastic contrast to the Turks who will be doing their best in a few short days to sell us everything!!!!
Last night we had our first of two formal nights on board the ship. It was quite the spectacular site to see most everyone in tuxedos and fancy dresses. We saw a few kilts but the funniest comment came from a passenger who said, "you must not have brought any other clothes in your suitcase because that sporran weighs a ton." Indeed, it was a mighty sporran! Imagine packing that in your luggage. We took in the entertainment show and I must say that it is a step up from the "cheesy, Vegas entertainment" on Holland America. Then it was off to the Cunard 175 Ball. Cunard is celebrating 175 years as a company and they do it up in style. The ballroom dancing was just short of an episode of Dancing with the Stars. They even have a group of 'gentlemen' hosts, dressed in their finest white dinner jackets to dance with the ladies. Classy!
One last thing, in our daily newsletter we got a breakdown of the guest nationalities. About 50% (1044) of the passengers are from Britain, 212 from Australia and 147 Americans. The interesting numbers for me are 26 from Chile, 46 from Korea and 69 from Mexico. We have yet to meet any of the other 52 Canadians. Quite an International mosaic.
That is it for today, my man servant and travel buddy should be back from his walk and delivering my coffee soon. I may need some iced coffee to stay cool in Dubrovnik today, but the again, there is always Croatian beer.