Cyprus sights

Driver on the other side of the road, Cyprus.

Speaking Greek on this side of the island, were once British colony till 1960, 16 August. Turkish invasion after. In 1974. Now 37 percent of island under Turkish occupation, not recognized as a republic by any country or UN … Only Turkey.  

  United Nations still peace keeping buffer zone. Demarcation green line is 180 km long, military fence. 5 check points to cross. Need passports. 45,000 Turkish troops.  

There is a Military airport on island that belongs to Great Britain.

Trying to find peaceful way to live. Negotiation ongoing.  

Lots of Russians come here and stay here. Third largest island in med. 9000 sq km. close to Turkey. Less 900,000 pop. Dialects different from Greece. Ancient words and Italian etc spoken by Greek Cypriots. ( means they were born in this country as it presently is configured after occupation). 

Taught English at school from first year primary school. French is also compulsory, age 12-16 years old. All boys have to do compulsory 24 months military service at 18 years old. After that, they can go to university.  

Nice beaches. Few years ago had financial difficulties due to investments in Greece gone bad.  
Kalimera means good morning
Limassol 180,000 pop. Port, second largest city. Lots of festivals including wine celebrations.

Zero humidity in mountains … Lot of nature trails. Pleasant.  

 No industry here. Before 1974 was agriculture. Now tourism. Mostly British visitors. And Russia. Not so much from Europe now due to financial crisis. Closed 27 hotels. 27 percent unemployment. 

First inhabitants 11 million years ago. Wow! to hunt animals unique to area.
2008 took on euros. Used to be Cyprus pounds.

Birthplace of Aphrodite born of sea foam, goddess of fertility… Aka Venus 
“Holy prostitution” 3000 years ago.  

Today I go back to Cyprus. I was here a few years ago, on a cruise and loved it. Again I was with my mom and we had driven around the island to a few interesting and scenic spots. This time we signed up for an excursion that takes us to Nicosia ( the divided capital) and Lefkara.
Nicosia I remember hearing about from my friends when I was in the armed forces reserves so many years ago. Many went off for peace keeping activities in that exotic sounding destination, Nicosia. My father also did a time there, I believe.  


The sun is high and hot already as we cruise into the port of Limassol Cyprus. Many of the gals on this trip are on different tours and it is their first time on the island. Mom and Jim and I and a few more are going to see similar sights together. We meet at 815 in the lounge for our ticket exchange and to receive our bus number.

35 days a year it rains for only a few hours a day. That’s it. Rest is sunny! Snow on top of some mountains. Water reservoirs in few key areas. Now desalination places for shortage of water issues.  

Lefkara high in mountain, means white hills. Limestone structures. Vineyards and olive trees. Also almond trees. Carob trees. 700 population … Used to be few thousands.  

Previously Local made cottons and linens. Also pomegranate trees. Fruit symbolizes fertility. Grapes. Now they use Irish linen and French thread. Men make silver filigree. 

Fires here every year destroying what little forest they have. They ask for help from italy, Greece, Israel.  

Driving back to port of Limassol now. No purchases except a suitcase to replace my broken one … I purchased Italian luggage in Nicosia. I would have liked more time in Lefkara.  

I travel with my powdered shakes from Univera, plant based protein, very tasty and satisfying when I can’t get back for my meal on the ship. Antonia is the guide and she has strong accent, seems very knowledgeable and pleasant to share seat with and listen to her on the tour! She has lived here her whole life.  

This should have been a full day tour with more time in the two areas. So much time driving between. It was very good I thought. And enjoyable day.

Tomorrow, Alanya Turkey!
Wish you were here, 


Acre, Akko Israel

Good morning, 
Today Acre and something about Crusaders. Pronounced Akko.

Nice hot sunny day again, great bus ride, fabulous guide and driver. Very interesting place. Perhaps not as life changing as Jerusalem! I have been to Israel before in this area and have seen some amazing sights … It is old and the stories are so interesting. Such a contrast again, of the people from various religions living together in close proximity.  

And yet … The visual of the young soldiers and guards dressed in casual civilian clothes with very large weapons . … Even today, escorting a class of young school children. Of course teachers were also there … The presence of guns makes it uncomfortable for me. I don’t feel threatened, just uneasy that conflict is such a part of everyday life in this part of the world.

I had a shorter tour today and there were 7 of us from our group together for the five hours. It was nice to go down to the lounge together and get our tickets and get on same bus. I liked it …. Enjoying watching the others enjoying the sights. And it is always a fabulous day with my mom.
A little shopping, had to spend the few Israeli sheckles as it was the last day here. On the ship, some quick lunch and a shot lounge in the thalassotherapy pool on the spa deck.  

All in all, very satisfactory and a slower pace and more relaxing I think … As I finally settle in to the time zone and structure of this port intensive and exotic sunny destination cruise.
Tonight dining in main dining room, I think … And up tomorrow for Cyprus! I have been here before, with my mom on a previous cruise and we loved Cyprus. Tomorrow I will be seeing Nicosia and Lefkara. New places for me.

One of the gals had a fall a few days ago and yesterday went to a local doctor to get checked out… Apparently her elbow broken so her roommate worked overtime into the night to get flights and transfers arranged for her to go home. Too bad, she was in a lot of pain and the doc suggested surgery will be needed soon.  

That is two of our twelve travellers who have had unexpected medical issues arise that affected their attendance on our cruise. Please please always remember to purchase medical and cancellation / interruption insurance. It is always important part of any vacation planning.
Do take care, and wish you were all here to enjoy this voyage and stay in the Med!

Ciao Pamela 

Jerusalem in a day!

Kind of a strange morning with security, passport pickups, getting passes for the day and navigating the process and queues. We have arrived in Haifa Israel and en route to spend the day exploring Jerusalem.
Many busses out front, lined up for the cruise passengers. People being pulled out of line and questioned by local authorities. Some people can’t locate their tickets for the bus, have not followed all the written and verbal instructions.  
I ask to have a front seat and next to the tour guy. I am in it for now and hopefully it will be fine. A few of the gals travelling with me had come early and taken the other front seat. 
Bus is getting ready to go. So must I. 
Familiar sights from last time, golden dome and Baha’i garden in Haifa. View from ship and balcony.  
NOTES FROM THE 12 hour tour.  
9 million people in this country: Israel 

We start out with Bananas and beach view, corn and ancient sights.  
We hear History stories, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Saul, David, Solomon.  
We see Big water reservoirs visible from road… Some 700 plus of them
The people here Grow fish in water lakes, like tilapia, covered with nets to keep birds out.  
We Drive through Tel Aviv. Sabbath Saturday so no traffic. Beaches, walking and parks … Means spring hill.  
Big diamond and gold industry, Silicon Valley IT
Roads beautiful but lousy public transit is very bad / due to traffic congestion

Large tax here

Biggest industry is high tech. Second is agriculture. 3 is petrochemicals, war machines 4

Maalish … Means relax, no rush
Every ten feet is something to talk about. History and so many cultural and religious centers in one place. Amazing. I have teared up to being unable to hold it in as I listen to the story of crucifixion …. Our tour guide tells the stations as we see the sights
The holy site of to wailing wall, the western wall. We sat in silence for a while, left a note. Watched. Touched the wall. Waited in silence and witness the vibration of the prayers and wishes of all the others.  
Moshe Tal is our guide. Means Moses.  
Shopping. Items from olive wood. Roman glass made to necklace decorations, pendants and bracelets, earrings made of ancient coins.  
Equally as interesting as the scenery and historic sights, is the stories as told by Moshe. He brings the heart to our tour. He loves this land and his country.  
We ate lunch in a kibbutz.. Philosophy is everyone works as ,much as he can and gets as much as he needs. Does not work. Light industry is how they make their living today. For example restaurant and hotel on kibbutz.  
Garden and church of gethsemane. 
Bells toll and chanting are some of the sounds of religions being practiced around us today.
Elvis coffee shop outside Jerusalem, we stopped for use of facilities and for those who drink coffee, a free souvenir mug. Lol
We stopped to see the dessert, the bordering countries and he explained more of the political situation from his perspective. Interesting and sad, the level of violence that is life in this country.  
We received a pilgrim certificate for our visit today in Jerusalem!  
At times feeling lonely as no one friend or partner to share stories of the day with and my ah-ha moments.  What is missed when climbing and journeying alone? So glad my mom is here on the bus … Even though she is sharing with Jim and I am happy for them both. The other 8 gals all have roommates and friends to share the adventure.  
Large beetles on the sandy soil.. Big raven like birds with light brown bodies, black wings. Baby tiny olives growing in the plentiful trees, ready for harvest in the fall.  
Jewish people, Christians and Muslims all living in cities together. Live together and work together. We see a wall, electronic and imposing. If you try to get close, you get warned in three languages and if you persist, you can be shot. Such contrasts.  


What does your fate look like?

Janis, new beginnings, new year, new hope … The bridge between yesterday’s and tomorrow’s 
The artist in residence in the ship is unique. He brings his love of art, history and sculpture to our voyage. He is a guest lecturer and speaks on some very interesting topics. He seems quite entertaining, smart and humorous. I am enjoying his energy.

He has placed his Janis sculpture, neither or both male and female energy, huge balloon type sculpture of a head … Travelling around the world. It carries a kind of message of connection between the past and future. He says “art, where you least expect to find it.”  

A few more quotes from his talk …. “Jerusalem is nothing. That nothing is everything”. I found that interesting to ponder. He shared why he feels that way. He describes himself as a generalist and provocateur. He speaks, he offers a thought and an idea. No wrong or right and no agreement required. Intriguing!  

Art, he says, is part of the process of creating and inspiring dreams. I agree. From beginning of time, written word, artistic expression not only educates us on what is and a conversation of how the artist interprets it …. And also leaves with is each a thought, an inquiry and an inspiration of what could be and …. So our future is inspired.

More to come as my day fills up with other provocative speakers and conversations.

I love,the enrichment offered on Oceania! History never felt so fun before! Looking forward to hearing from Dan this afternoon. I was introduced to Dan through our mutual friend Jane by email before we travelled on this cruise.  

Interestingly coincidentally we met around the huge sculpture of Janis in the lobby on the first or second night of the cruise. We have eaten together and I look forward to more fun and getting to know of Dan and his travel companion, Jane. Woo hoooo.

Wish you were here …. What does your Janis look like?…..

Love p


today a sea day, appreciation

Today is a sea day … Phew!
This has been a whirl of a trip so far. Kind of hard to keep up and today is the first day at sea. So far I have been to two lectures, made a collage, had breakfast with mom and Jim, and Jeanette, sent text messages to the travel gals about today’s plans …. Stood in line at Reception, completed my initial feedback questionnaire … And arranged refunds to all the gals travelling for their new tours booked in Cyprus and or Turkey, replacing Egypt. I also gave quick assistance to my mom with Facebook messenger so we can send text messages at sea. I enjoyed art collating with Janet, Gerry, Jeanette and many others who filled the room inspired to learn a new artistic expression. How fun!  
I am back in my room for a quick minute and then for lunch and some pool time.  
Here is my plan for the day …. Hope to see you around! 

945 lecture in lounge

11 collage in artist loft

Pool and lunch noon to 2

2 line dancing

230 artist loft

3 enrichment lecture with Dan

4 tea in Horizons

5 happy hour in Horizons
Dinner 630 polo grill
Show 945 pm

Dancing horizons at 1030-12 midnight to the live band, who are fabulous!
Tomorrow is an early start and a long 12-13 hour tour of Jerusalem.  
Before I get to that, let me say that last nights dining in the main dining room and the show that followed in the lounge were the best on this ship and maybe any ship … In terms of service, food selection and presentation, then entertainment and talent at the show. Amazing really. I am sorry some people missed any of it. Extraordinary!  Maybe the best on any ship of any cruise or even better.  It was a world premiere of their show for singing and the voices, selection and the result brought down a standing ovation and strong applause to a full audience.  WOW!  
I have completed my feedback and discussed with Jim who has a suggestion that staff have a pocket of their name on cards to hand out … So when we give feedback we can give credit to the right person. Great idea Jim and I have walked around today asking people their names so I can respect and recommend them to the feedback survey which gets read in detail.
Giving credit for an exceptional service is my personal responsibility and I think the staff and officers on this ship remember me because I do it freely and often. I don’t wait for the survey, although I always sing praises in any questionnaire, I also try to give immediate feedback of a positive nature in the moment I receive it.  
Hugs, words of affirmation, note cards, tips, and speaking to a supervisor or manager on behalf of a great service are all ways we can honour each other.  
Why not? Don’t we all love to be appreciated? Seen and witnessed as well as celebrated for our efforts. Of course we do and it makes us strive harder to succeed and to love our job even more!  
Join me in the great celebration of these fantastic staff who are so far from home and their loved ones sometimes for six months or more at a time.  
I know how it is to travel and be away from my main supports. Sometimes it looks easy to be me, however, I too appreciate words of kindness from my friends and family who do travel with me on trips. 
 I believe I work hard to cover the details that are background and many people never notice …. Just sayin …… I think we can do more to support each other every day in as many ways as we can.
Off to lunch and then I will write more later, with stories of travel destinations and happy memorable moments of this incredible cruise and stay in the Mediterranean region.
I miss you all, sending big love, 
Thanks for witnessing my journeys and for being my support system. Wish you were here with me!  
Love Pamela 

Argostoli Greece and our great fun journey

Argostoli Greece! A lovely piece of Cephalonia!  
Wow! Hot sunny, nice little town we could walk on shore. It was nice to be a large group of tourists today. Most of the group stayed together shopping, walking and snapping pictures of the sights. We made some Greek purchases. It was the first day in Greece for many, ouzo was a hit in the hot. Ha ha.
Wine purchases for some local whites. I sat at the end of the day and had a cold Strongbow Cider. It was refreshing and lovely … The only cider available here. It was nice.  
The flowers are spectacular, bright unusual and everywhere the eye can see. Interesting shaped palm trees line the streets and boardwalk by the sea.  
Back on the ship for a cool down, shower, bevy and chat with friends, preparing for our first specialty dining reservation at Toscano. Many hellos and hugs from the familiar staff.
Deb, the cruise director from Insignia is on this ship and we chatted. The cute young Italian fellow in the Toscana was over to talk to me a few times over the dinner time …. Fausto, Roger, and the girl who taught needlepoint and more …. So many more, smiling wide when they see me and remember my time not so long ago on Riviera. It is fun. I have connected a few times with new friends from Ontario, Jane and Dan. They are lovely and joined us for dinner a few nights ago … I hope tonight as well.
Well, time to post some pics. Some of these posts will be out of order waiting for sea days to catch up with earlier ports …. I hope you are enjoying following along.  
Last night we closed the dance floor and Horizons. Life music, a duo with some great tunes and very dance-able! Woo hooo, the Womens Travel Club having a great time in Greece and on the seas! Tomorrow I think we head for a sea day and toward Israel.  
Catching my breath and sleeping a bit better every day, trying to keep up to the fast pace. Travelling with my mom is great fun!  






  Ti Amo to all …thanks for following the blog, 
Pamela-J in Greece! Ola!

Two days in to cruise

i have much to write, and many stories to tell.  So busy catching up on sleep and touring this fantastic voyage … Need to find time to write!  In the meantime, here is some pics of our fantastic day yesterday in Sicily…. We started with a great tour around Milazzo and then through the countryside around Messina, the beautiful breathtaking drive to Taoromina and a few hours to enjoy that stop.  Followed by a visit to the lava River …. Amazing sight!  Walking on the crunchy black volcanic soil.  And then to a winery for tastings and purchases after a great tour from the hosts.  Fabulous day … More to follow 


Travel to Rome May 2015

En route to Roma
I started out early this morning, picking up gals and heading to the airport in Victoria.  
I had packed a few days ago and collected some last minute toiletry items this morning. I also completed some last minute emails and sales. Yes, right up to the last minute I was contacted for future travels by past loyal customers and friends. I love my “job”. Although it is difficult to imagine this is actually work, compared to what I used to do for government. Ah well …..
Now, on the long nine hour second leg of this journey to Rome. It is about 6-7 hours in to the flight. I must have slept some. 
 I had a lovely gluten free meal and now I have just replenished my water …. The airline concierge has left a cart of beverages in the section right in front of where I am sitting. Free to help ourselves, on Air France.
Just as we arrived in Vancouver at the airport, we found the departure gate, D66, and I was able to get leg room, bulkhead seats for no charge. On this airline they do charge for selecting the exit rows. The plane is lovely and spacious from here and I am very grateful they had this seat available for me.  
Eight of our travelling pack of women met at the Milestones restaurant in the departure wing very close to our departure gate and had a wee lunch. The ninth gal, Sherry, my roommate is still in hospital in Vancouver. She went in a few days ago with severe pain and discomfort and she is still waiting for diagnosis and treatment. She is very sad to be missing this trip of a lifetime. I am going to miss her wonderful company.
Alas I will have no roommate for the full 21 travel days that I am on vacation. I will send her posts on Facebook and hope she enjoys the trip, as well as possible, for her recovery bed.
In total twelve of us were booked to travel together, alas we are now 11. Two are flying in from Nova Scotia and one went to New York over a week ago to start her vacation. We will collect all together in Rome, drop our bags at the carefully selected airport hotel and head in to Roma for sightseeing. Perhaps the hop on bus for this afternoon and an early evening to try to adjust our sleeping pattern for the nine or so hour change in to the future.  
It will be lovely to sleep and let time catch up with us! And in the morning we have a shuttle arranged to pick us up and take us to the pier in Civitaveccia. Then boarding the stunningly beautiful Oceania Riviera ship. I will be on deck 11 nestled nicely between the Penthouse Suites in my solo concierge veranda stateroom, alone, and next door to my wonderful mother and her friend. It will be great to see her and share this travel journey. We love to travel together!  
Well for now, I think I might listen to an audible book and wait for the last few hours to pass. I suppose we will have breakfast soon and then touch down in Paris before we head out on the last leg to our destination.
Very excited and anticipating a wonderful cruise. Travelling with friends and family is one of my favourite things and Italy one of my favourite destinations.  
Ciao ciao tutti, Ti amo

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