Our ship and Trieste

 

by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

Splendid birthday 1

 

The Ungardener celebrated a big birthday in 2023. I met him when he had travelled down Africa in a Land Rover. We repeated that journey, at sea, down the East coast of Africa. After the lockdown years, I was daunted by ... travelling ... and crowds. We flew via Addis Abeba and Rome. Where they put me in a corner, (swabbed hands, shoes and bags) to wait, for an instant COVID test! Shoes OFF at every security control.

 

Israel and Gaza changed our itinerary. (One evening at sea, I saw a rocket, rise, and fall). Alexandria and Petra were cancelled. More sea days instead. In Trieste armed soldiers patrolled 24/7 to protect a Jewish school near our hotel.

 

Castle of San Giusto in Trieste
Castle of San Giusto in Trieste

We boarded in Trieste. Where we met the Ungardener's sister from Frankfurt - not seen each other since 2016. A few days with minimal Italian, before 5 weeks of German. Up and down hills to the Castle of San Giusto. From where our splendid ship is humungous.

 

James Joyce - left my soul in Trieste
James Joyce - left my soul in Trieste

James Joyce wrote - I left my soul in Trieste. We enjoyed the food - asparagus risotto. Supermarket next to Roman amphitheatre. Hop on hop off bus.

 

Trieste
Trieste

Only when I saw the building did Lloyd-Triestino click into place. Shipping company based out of Trieste. We departed as sun set.

 

MSC balcony and batch 23
MSC balcony and batch 23

Our balcony and the Red Sea
Our balcony and the Red Sea

For me the deal breaker was our own balcony. Repositioning cruise from the Med to Durban. Four weeks. Half full - would NOT like to be on the ship when it is full full! We disembarked in batches. And we were batch 23!

 

MSC Splendida
MSC Splendida

Our cabin was on the other side, towards the stern. Deck 12, two decks below the overhang - so we didn't get roasted, rained on, or noise from above. Always met at the next port by an ambulance, even diverted for a medevac to the Seychelles - where the ship is too big for their port. Much coughing and sneezing, and the four of us went down, one by one. We sat on our balcony looking out to sea - this is the Red Sea.

 

MSC Library No books!
MSC Library
No books!

First stop on board was the 'library' - where there is not a single book. Someone organised a book swap. We met each day, brandishing our book (like a drug dealer). No not French or Cyrillic. But I did read German and English. Found myself in conversation with a burly rugby looking man - who revealed himself as an interested reader - Jersey during the German occupation.

 

Freshly baked at sea
Freshly baked at sea

We tried the formal diningroom - that Sachertorte. First on the mezzanine gallery - perfect. But after they put us at the third table on the third evening - we had all our meals at the buffet. (Have food, but, where did I leave my husband??) Where we had space - a table to ourselves, wide windows with a view, and very many choices. Freshly baked - croissants, Danish, brioche and cake (for breakfast!) Tea - needed two sad teabags for each mug. Freshly baked biscuits for afternoon tea. Stairs - no lifts and coughs - from deck 12 to 5 and back again - with deck rounds (once I had 4 rounds all, to, myself!) - kept us fit. Disconcerted as the ship rotated in the harbour, when I was deck walking.

 

Swarovski crystal staircase
Swarovski crystal staircase

If you have Swarovski crystals, use them to fill the treads of the staircase. Bling, mirrors and marble. Camp like Elton John. Entertainment was thin, but the best was Ian von Memerty and his wife Viv - piano, singing and how she danced!

 

Durban with Cyril for new cruise terminal
Durban with Cyril for new cruise terminal

Back to Durban a day early so Cyril Ramaphosa could open the new cruise terminal. We were stage setting, an Actual Cruise Ship. Durban is our busiest harbour so pilots travel by helicopter.

Part 2 Katakolon, Heraklion and Rhodes in Greece

 

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Comments

  1. That sounds interesting, if also more than a bit unnerving, Diana. Beautiful photos. The crystal stairway was something!

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    Replies
    1. Not SO unnerving, as we didn't have internet access so couldn't doom-scroll. But my sister burst into tears when she saw me safely home.

      Delete
  2. Wow, sounds like an amazing trip, but what a shame about the places that had to be cancelled. Love your T-shirt! Look forward to reading about Greece, one of my favourite countries.

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  3. If that came up as Anon, it is Millymollymandy aka Chateau Moorhen here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. your latest post
      https://chateaumoorhen.blogspot.com/2024/01/butterflies-in-provence-june-2023.html

      Delete
  4. What a fabulous adventure! Thanks for taking us along. You truly captured my attention with the fresh-baked goodies...well the entire post was fascinating. Glad you had such a fun trip, and I'll look forward to your post about Greece.

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  5. Oh it works! Thanks for commenting on my blog - yup I hadn't added the https bit in front of my blog address!

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  6. Let's hope everyone clicks on your link to the article in the Guardian; 'peace talks are the only way forward'.

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  7. I must say, your post makes me want to get straight on a cruise ship! I've heard of Trieste - it's always sounded like a town I'd like to visit.

    Your balcony sounds amazing - it would be a deal breaker for me too

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  8. It's nice to see you were celebrating the Ungardener's big birthday in style.

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  9. Wow! I'm impressed by how 'professional' all of this looks. (And if anything I do here seems strange: this is my first time visiting and commenting on a blog...)

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