Archives

When Is A Walk Not A Walk?

Exploring England #17

With the forecasters predicting sushine and record breaking warm temperatures, the day seemed ideal for a trip to Liverpool. Rather than braving the traffic and trying to find a car park, we decided to travel by train and spend the day on a self guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage listed city centre and docklands. That was the plan…

It was overcast when we arrived – not the sunshine we were expecting, but perfect for walking. Lunch was our first priority and the menu at the busy Pump House restaurant was enticing. A local lady dining at the next table gave us some friendly advice. “Have the fish and chips,” she said. “They’re the best in town.” We did, and she was right.

20160913_135434

We weren’t so sure about her next statement. “It’s going to rain this afternoon,” she said. “It’s going to pour at 2 o’clock.” That’s not what the weather forecast said, we were thinking, although we were too polite to say so.

Fortified by our delicious lunch, we set off to explore Albert Dock. Opened in 1846, Albert Dock was once the centre of a bustling port for sailing ships from around the world. As these ships were replaced by modern vessels, the docks and warehouses became redundant and they finally closed in 1972. After a restoration project lasting six years, Albert Dock reopened in 1988 with cafés and restaurants, galleries, shops and museums bringing people back to the old warehouses along the River Mersey.

p1140045

This part of the river is more than a kilometre wide and the buildings on the opposite bank looked like doll houses. Undeterred by the heavy, grey clouds gathering low in the sky, we wandered along Kings Parade where hundreds of engraved love locks decorate the path by the river.

p1140041

p1160432

Even on this dull day, tiny ferries were busy on the river and we thought a cruise would be a pleasant way to see the city. But just as we turned towards the ferry terminal, it began to rain. Our lunch time companion’s prediction was correct. It wasn’t just a light shower – it was pouring!

p1160442

Even with our raincoats walking was no longer enjoyable, so we decided to see Liverpool from a different perspective and boarded a CityExplorer bus. We sat downstairs, where the view wasn’t as good but the seats were dry. The driver’s live commentary was as entertaining as it was educational and for the next hour we listened to his stories of Liverpool and her beautiful buildings.

Eventually the rain eased enough for us to start walking again. We left the bus on Victoria Street and went around the corner to Mathew Street, home of the Cavern Club, where the Beatles performed nearly 300 times in the early 1960s. One benefit of the rain was the lack of people and we walked straight in…or down, as the steps went below street level to the basement. It was warm and dry and a great band was playing Beatles music – it was fun to stop for a while and enjoy  the vibrant atmosphere.

p1160458

p1160476

p1160467

After browsing in one of several Beatles shops, we headed once more towards the River Mersey.

p1160459

The city’s maritime history is commemorated at Liverpool Parish Church where a weather vane in the form of a golden sailing ship sits on top of the tower. In the Church gardens, the Liverpool Blitz Memorial depicts a young mother taking her children to shelter during a bombing raid. On the roof of the Royal Liver Building, once the tallest building in Europe, sit two mythical Liver birds, medieval symbols of the city.

Our last stop was St John’s Garden, a terraced sculpture garden featuring statues of well-known Liverpudlians including Prime Minister William Gladstone and a memorial to the King’s Liverpool Regiment.

p1160505

p1160506

We arrived back at the train station just as the leaden skies opened again. We’d had enough of walking in the rain and, as the Beatles would say, we had tickets to ride!

 

Go for more Monday Walks with Restless Jo.

A Loo With a View ~ The Cruise Edition

Goin’ Cruising #10

Tropical loos with ocean views

Along the Queensland coast.

With palm trees, sand and sun all round

Which do you like the most?

P1110991

P1110982

The Lagoon, Airlie Beach

P1110987

P1110988

Airlie Beach

P1120090

P1120085

Cairns Esplanade

P1120133

P1120132

Market Park, Port Douglas

P1120152

P1120158

Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

~

And if you need to find a loo

when you’re back on board the ship,

There are loos with views on every deck

to get you through the trip!

P1140950

P1140952

Pacific Ocean, The Dome, Pacific Dawn

In The Kitchen

Goin’ Cruising #9

Day Six – Willis Island/Sea Day

After enjoying our visits to Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas, a day at sea provided a welcome opportunity to relax. We shopped at the duty free stores, lost yet again in the tie break of the Cake and Coffee Trivia competition and went for our morning walk around Deck 14. To maintain this demanding schedule we needed sustenance,  and it was provided by the delicious food at the Waterfront Restaurant.

P1150096

We ate almost exclusively at the Waterfront during our cruise, and every meal was excellent. We were delighted by the efficiency and grace of the restaurant staff and amazed at how quickly we were served. We wondered how all this food was created day after day; with more than 1500 hungry passengers on board Pacific Dawn the demands would be enormous.  So when the chance came to experience first hand how all this wonderful food is created, we joined in with equal parts enthusiasm and curiosity.

First we went to a culinary demonstration in the Marquee Theatre. Executive Chef Alexander Keck and Maître d’Hôtel Darren Cholerton entertained us with a humorous commentary, often poking fun at each other while creating Broccoli, Scallop and Bacon Risotto and Crème Caramel.

P1120197

While the dishes were cooking, we learned that all the food served on board Pacific Dawn is sourced in Australia and, for a seven day cruise, 250 pallets of supplies are delivered to the ship.

P1120207

The scents wafting from the cooking station on the stage were enticing and we eagerly raised our hands when Entertainment Director Zoltina-J asked for taste testing volunteers. Mr ET was among the lucky ones to be chosen and he joined the others on stage for a close up view of the cooking.

P1120200

His verdict on the risotto: “10 out of 10!”

P1120204

P1120205

When the demonstration was finished we headed to the Waterfront Restaurant for a behind the scenes walk through the kitchen, where staff members were busy preparing the lunch menu.

P1120242

P1120243

Of course, when food is consumed, there is always washing up to be done. Around 32 000 plates and 30 000 pieces of cutlery are washed every day. We made sure not to stop in the cleaning area in case we were conscripted!

P1120247

Later, when we returned to the Waterfront, we sat down for lunch not just with healthy appetites but also a deeper appreciation of those who helped to bring such delicious food to our table.

P1120246

A Speck in the Ocean

Goin’ Cruising #8

Day Six – Willis Island/Sea Day

We farewelled Port Douglas and sailed overnight in an easterly direction, out into the Coral Sea. Our destination was Willis Island, a tiny speck of land 450 km from the mainland. From our vantage point on Deck 7 of Pacific Dawn, the island seemed completely alone in the open ocean, but it is actually one of three small sandy coral cays.

P1150092

The whole island is 500 metres long, 150 metres wide and at its highest just 9 metres above sea level, although from  a distance it didn’t even look that big.

P1120239

A cluster of buildings house a weather monitoring station for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and the four meteorologists who live there provide vital weather data, especially during cyclone season.

P1120240

The sky above the island is filled with dozens of large seabirds, one moment soaring high and the next swooping low over the water. Some came close to the ship, flying over and around us as if they were inspecting the intruders in this isolated place.

P1150089

A Morning in Port Douglas

Goin’ Cruising #7

Day Five – Port Douglas

Port Douglas is the gateway to the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest and, even on a sunny morning, the distant mountains are dark with a dense covering of forest. We’ve been to the rainforest before so this time we stayed in town.

P1120131

Our walk began from the Reef Marina, where small boats were moored alongside luxury yachts and fishing trawlers.

P1120190

It was a short walk around the waterfront to Market Park and the Church of St Mary’s by the Sea. Inside the church, the window behind the altar created a real life artwork.

20160629_104701

P1120141

Leafy Macrossan Street begins at the end of the park. This bustling street is lined with souvenir shops, cafés and pubs and we wandered along, stopping on the way to admire local arts and crafts.

P1040696

Macrossan Street leads to the Esplanade and the northern end of Four Mile Beach. Our goal was Flagstaff Hill, where an easy walking track leads up and over the summit to Trinity Bay Lookout.

P1120155

P1120154

P1120167

From here, the view was breathtaking: Four Mile Beach curving away to the distant mountain range, Pacific Dawn resting at anchor in the Coral Sea and beyond her, the fringes of the Great Barrier Reef showing dark blue on the horizon.

P1120166

P1120164

P1120170

We continued walking down the other side of Flagstaff Hill, past luxury homes hidden behind tropical gardens. We envied their million dollar views and debated which home we would buy should we ever win the lottery.

P1120171

P1120180

At the bottom of the hill we left our daydreams behind and joined the tourist crowd on Macrossan Street. We retraced our steps back to the marina, where a little orange tender was waiting to carry us back to the ship in time for a well-earned lunch.

Join Jo for more Monday Walks

 

Riding The Waves

Goin’ Cruising #6

Day Four – Cairns

After three days of perfect weather and calm waters, it was surprising to hear the captain of Pacific Dawn announce a delay in launching the ship’s tenders for our visit to Cairns. The windy conditions had whipped up a large swell and safety was always going to be the first priority. Finally, after lowering a tender and testing the waters, the first group of passengers left the ship.

P1120074

We waited for our turn to go ashore and watched as the little orange tenders bounced over the waves. We were expecting a wild ride but, instead of a tender, we boarded a large catamaran which sailed effortlessly across the water to the mainland. We landed at Yorkeys Knob, a beach suburb 20 minutes north of Cairns and this time we did take the bus into town.

P1120114

P1120093

Our bus stopped at the beginning of Cairns Esplanade, a 2.5 km walking track along the foreshore lined with cafés and shops, memorials and works of art complemented by beautiful views of the marina, the forest covered mountains and the calm waters of Trinity Inlet.

P1120086

P1120077

We wandered along the walkway past a memorial commemorating the start of the torch relay for the 1956 Olympic Games.

P1120080

We learned about the Yirrganydji People, the traditional owners of this land who lived along the coast and fished in the tropical waters.

P1120081

We dipped our toes in the warm salty water of the Lagoon. It’s the perfect swimming spot all year round, safe from the marine stingers and salt water crocodiles which inhabit the ocean here. Large metal fish, representative of the small fish woven from palm leaves by Torres Strait Islanders, fly effortlessly above the swimmers.

P1120082

P1120084

Our return journey to Pacific Dawn was on a tender. It was a rocking, rolling ride over the choppy water – so much fun and better than a roller coaster. I felt like one of those flying fish, skimming over the waves to our ship.

20160628_141836

Join Jo for more Monday Walks