Mediterranean Cruise, October 2010

For our third and probably final Costa cruise my mother selected a less punishing itinerary: just a little taster of Italy, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Libya. The company certainly excelled itself in taking every precaution to ensure that we had none of the problems encountered on our previous excursion. As I have already explained, the 2009 cruise had been the subject of vociferous complaint; I suspect, however, that part of the improvement may have been due to our choice of dates and itinerary, ensuring that we avoided any end-of-season bargain basement ambience and had more opportunity to rest between destinations.

While I was in Egypt earlier in the year, doing a recce so to speak, one of my travelling companions asked me whether we took a carer/nurse along when I travelled with Mum. “No”, I explained proudly “there’s just me”, but the query got me thinking about just how I did manage. Well, I suppose it is all very hard work with a medication routine that begins at dawn and finishes at lights out, constantly being on the alert for wheelchair access and other services but the secret has got to be one of attitude. We both want to make it a success. We share a love of history and the classics, wine, good food and the Mediterranean ambience but, perhaps most of all, a sense of fun.

In order to get the best out of the limited time that I have available for myself I did a bit of background study on the destinations both before and after the cruises; nothing grand just a couple of museum visits and catching up on some history DVDs. Yes OK: they included the the wildly inaccurate blockbusters Troy and Alexander but a girl’s got to have some relaxation. I’ve always harboured a secret educational inferiority complex over my lack of ancient Greek but, the truth is, if it really mattered that much to me I would have done something about it a long time ago. Fast approaching my free bus pass, I find myself not only capable of finishing Xenophon’s Anabasis in translation but of actually enjoying it. That will have to do.

On one occasion I thought that an excursion would be too much for Mum and arranged to leave her in the care of the shipboard activities organiser while I had a quick glimpse of Cyprus. Big mistake. She never let me forget it. Even though some of the historical sites were pretty inaccessible, it was just as important to her to be able to get off the ship, enjoy a drive through the landscape and listen to the commentaries, some of which were surprisingly informative. How could I think to deprive her of a capucchino or ice cream stop? Although, quietly, I think Mum has always enjoyed the shopping destinations nearly as much as the cultural ones.

Here are some pictures from our 2010 cruise. I’ve certainly revised my view of cruise ships as a preferred mode of travel and can see that there are some destinations for which they are probably the most appropriate way of getting around. There is something about not having to pack and unpack at each stop, taking your hotel room with you, that I could definitely get used to.

Categories: Europe, Mediterranean

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