Day 7 – Dubrovnik

April 30, 2010 in CROATIA | Comments (0)

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In the night we navigated past Corfu, which our daily cruise newspaper tells us has a Byzantine, Venetian, French, Italian history (many cultural influences, like all the countries and island states in these waters ). I woke to a glorious sunrise in an iridescent pink in a wide band over the horizon. The day dawned clear and cold (some 12 degrees). Breakfast did nt work well as I went alone, sat without being told where  to sit and thus had no waiter in charge of my needs. Asked by Aleah to bring her a gluten free croissant, my attempted order brought me plates of gluten free cakes, but still no breakfast. Tea, yes. Juice (not very fresh in taste), yes. But nothing on the menu. I felt abandoned, hungry… finally as leaving met Jose, the special needs man, and told him I was looking for a gluten free croissant for Aleah.  Waited, feeling the day pass…brutal to feel a day pass waiting when it is the last day of a trip. Finally the very obliging man returned to report the gluten free croissants were unfortunately finished. Thanks you I said.

Next I tried to get my totally marvelous coffee. Bar closed he said – it opened at 9. I did not look at my time – it was probably only five minutes to wait, but I went to Sahara buffet/coffee bar, and ordered my usual latte macchiato. Hot I said, not strong. I think they thought I said not hot. For the first time I got lukewarm coffee as they serve it in Sweden – unfortunately. They kindly called a waitress to take me to a table outside, as I told them the buffet was too noisy. It is. Very noisy. The a la carte restaurant is a hidden corner of sobriety in comparison. I think all the most impatient, volcanic natured people go to the buffet and must communicate with equally forceful eruptions of words.

The covered deck was a bit quieter but I did watch in amazement as this Italian (?) family communicated all talking at the same time, and the man projected his voice with a constant stream of words and the mastery of an Italian tenor.

Blue sea. Beautiful blue sea swishing past. Our cabin is so peaceful. Sun illumantes our very own balcony. This cruise could have been wonderful if the weather had been kinder, with most time spent on the private balcony to the harmonious sounds of the sea.

We came into the port an hour later than expected, so I tried to phone Calvados Luxury Club who have organized a hotel inspection and a tour. No connection. Finally at the 11th hour used Aleah’s phone to send SMS.

We were met by a driver in a BMW.

Taken up to Hotel Bellevue by the Calvados Luxury Club driver. Very attractive position, light lobby and beautiful views from every level, with the hotel lift taking you down to the sandy/pebbly beach, where one corner is private. The public can get to the beach down some steep steps. The gorgeous view through glass walls was the main feature of the spa pool (included for guests).  The terrace adjoining the restaurant and bar, where you can take a drink or eat breakfast, was also uplifted by the view of cliffs, greenery and turquoise water.

For images of Hotel Bellevue see the page under Luscious Luxury (images by Binah Creations).

We were shown the presidential suite and various categories of room all graced by sea views and the little turquoise bay. The standard category does not have a balcony, while the superior and deluxe all have balconies where you can soak in the Mediterranean (Adriatic) sun and landscape. The furnishing is minimalistic and in quiet tones. Seemed very plain after FS Bosphorous of course… not many hotels  can compete with that.

Our guide Al arrived … Al….

Two hour tour – lots and lots of history … saw a very baroque church from the 1600s before the earthquake, a Franciscan monastery (6 still live there upstairs) downstairs cloister around a garden, and the house of government also built in the middle ages. The rector was voted in and had a month long term of office (locked in). Pink room….

Exhausted now— sitting in the lilac lounge by a coffee bar… string quartet Spanish or Italian traditional songs, explains Aleah…the listeners in easy chairs clap.


WHY NEW BLOG

April 5, 2010 in CROATIA,CYPRUS,France,ITALY,SOUTH AFRICA | Comments (1)

Today we are putting a little of my recent travel writing into blog format for greater interactivity.  See the articles on Croatia (sailing), South Africa (safaris), French Riviera & Cyprus (short breaks)

Most of it is informative rather than narrative – written as travel reports for my colleagues in the luxury travel business. We have a very usable definition of luxury. It’s not just marble and gold, private pools and personal butlers. It’s access to unspoiled beaches, cultural treasures, ravishing views, exuberant nature. The hotels and cruises do not all get five stars but they have something  special…

 Thanks to Binah Creative Arts for adapting a standard blog format to my needs. And thanks to Pelle (Per-Olov Broddeson) for his lovely images…