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Cruise to Mozambique

"I'd like to spend some time in Mozambique, the sunny sky is aqua blue." ~ Bob Dylan (Mozambique)

sunny 30 °C
View Cruise to Mozambique on Anja Fourie's travel map.

All the videos from this trip can be viewed on Youtube: MSC Sinfonia Mozambique

On a humid day in Durban, South Africa, we arrive at Durban Harbour ready to board the MSC Sinfonia. The MSC Sinfonia was built in 2002, with 9 passengers decks (12 in total), and a length of 252 metres. She is one of the newest ships in the MSC fleet and cost approximately $245 million to complete and furnish.

As we arrive at the port, we can only see the ship peeking out from behind the waiting hall. The next few hours are made up of waiting and some more waiting. Passengers are sent to the waiting hall, a hell of people, heat and humidity, to wait for their numbers to be called out. As soon as your number is called, you can proceed to the next part where passport check and hotel check-in happens.

1. MSC Sinfonia and the Waiting Hall
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As all food is included on this cruise, so the first thing we do as we hop onboard, is head down to lunch. The weather is a bit cloudy, but this does not make Durban lose any of its humid charm. After lunch, we head to the top deck to view the ship leaving Durban harbour. A crowd of people are already dancing on the deck as they introduce the so-called "Dream Team", the entertainment staff and take the crowd through music from the different countries onboard.

2. Leaving Durban Harbour
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3. MSC Sinfonia Stern
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As all food is included on this cruise, it should be no suprise that a massive amount of eating was done. With two buffet meals, a formal dinner at night and burger and pizza snacks between meals, no one will go hungry on this cruise.

4. Eating and drinking..that is all
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5. The Kardashians?
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The Christmas Cruise is a six night cruise from Durban Harbour up the east coast of South Africa towards Mozambique. Our first night onboard we had a formal dinner and introduction to the crew and captain. We all dressed up into our formal outfits and made our way to the ship's theater.

6. Formal Time
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In the theater, champagne and snacks were served. The captain came down the stairs to a very Afrikaans song, called Kaptein by Kurt Darren. The song name means Captain in Afrikaans, and has apparently become Captain Ciro Pinto's favourite song.

7. The Captain and his Crew
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The first port of call for the MSC Sinfonia on this cruise, was Inhambane. This is a city located about 470km northeast of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. As there is no harbour to speak of, the ship docks a distance away into the ocean. Boats are then taken to shore. You climb off into the waves and everyone and everything gets wet as you somehow fall off the boat and into deeper water than you expected. Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on the East Coast of Mozambique as Muslim traders already inhabited this area as early as the 11th century.

The resort on the beach was called Barra Lodge and is situated on Barra Beach. Scuba diving is very popular in this area as Manta Rays, Whale Sharks and Turtles are plentiful in these waters. We opted for no exploring and rather chose a day of relaxing on the beach.

8. Inhambane / Barra Lodge Beach
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The weather in Mozambique was boiling, with beaches so hot they gave you blisters under your feet. As a result I burned into a crisp and couldn't even stand being out in the sun. Me, deck chair, wet orange towels to make sure no sun gets to me, and lots of shade was how I spent my next day.

9. Orange Towel Baby
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10. Christmas aboard the Sinfonia
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At the end of the trip, all bags are to be placed in the hallways at a certain time. The baggage checkers will then proceed to remove your bags and take them down ready to be taken off the ship. All the hallways were crowded with bags as people scrambled to get them out by their specific times and also to have all the necessary clothes out for the next day. In the morning, we had our last breakfast and then proceded to wait yet again in for our numbers to be called out so we could leave the ship.

11. Waiting Bags and Just Waiting
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Before leaving to go home, we had one day in Durban. We spent this day visiting Ushaka Marine World and seeing the Dolphin Show. Durban was wet, but unfortunately still humid and sticky.

12. Durban and Dolphin Show
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13. Finally Home - Cape Town International
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Posted by Anja Fourie 21:35 Archived in Mozambique Tagged ocean ship cruise summer heat white_sand maputo mozambique sinfonia inhambane portuegese_islands Comments (1)

The little town of Wagon-House-Cliff

Arniston, South Africa

semi-overcast 25 °C

The first half of our Saturday we spent at Agulhas, before returning to Arniston. At Arniston we went to the hotel to warm up with Hot Chocolate with a beautiful view of this dangerous ocean in front of us. Arniston is a tiny coastal village.

1. The hotel and beach view
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2. Me, being extremely excited about something
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Arniston derives its name from the Arniston ship that sank there in 1815. She was part of the British East Indian fleet and was rounding the Cape to return wounded soldiers home to England from Ceylon. A chronometer was a very expensive instrument at that time. The Arniston didn’t have one, so her Captain had to rely on the other ships in the fleet to know where he was. When a storm separated him from the other ships, he had to rely on his own intuition to navigate himself home. When the captain rounded Waenhuiskrans, he thought that is was the Cape of Good Hope and started to steer the ship north. This meant that he ran the ship ashore onto the rocks at Waenhuiskrans. Of the 378 people on board, only six managed to swim ashore. They started to make their way to Cape Town when they realised their mistake. They were found on the beach by a farmer’s son. A memorial was erected on the beach by the wife of Colonel Giels. Their four children died on that fateful day.

3. Arniston memorial
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The inscription on the memorial reads: Erected by their disconsolate parents to the memory of Thomas, aged 13 years, William Noble, aged 10, Andrew, aged 8 and Alexander McGregor Murray, aged 7 (the four eldest sons of Lieut. Colonel Andrew Giels of H.M. 73rd Regiment) who, with Lord and Lady Molesworth unfortunately perished in the Arniston Transport, wrecked on this shore on 3rd May, 1815.

4. At Arniston you can also do some whale watching
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While at the hotel we decided to take a walk to the nearby cave. Arniston’s other name is Waenhuiskrans. This is an Afrikaans name which literally means “Wagon House Cliff”. The reason the town was given this name is because the cave that can be found here is big enough to house an entire wagon and its oxen. This is a limestone cave and can be found to the right of Roman Beach, which is about 2km south of Arniston. The cave can only be accessed at low tide as the cave is under water during high tide and thus very dangerous.

5. On our way to the cave
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6. Steps down to the cave
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According to the pamphlet we got at the hotel, it is best to plan your trip to the cave at sunset. The reason for this is that the darkness of the cave makes the colours outside even more spectacular which means that sunsets seen from inside the cave must be amazing. When the last ray of sun sinks below the horison, a green flash can be seen. This 2 second flash is caused by the dispersion of the blue light. Unfortunately we weren’t there are sunset, but the cave was still pretty spectacular. It really is as big as described with the prettiest rock formations inside. The roof is spectacularly grooved as a result of the water erosion. At the far side of the cave, the rocks and sand are still wet. Kelp was also lying here and this is proof that the ocean does completely fill this cave at high tide.

7. Almost there
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8. The Cave
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That night we made dinner back at the house and then decided to go out for a drink. Arniston has no pumping nightlife and this we found out on the Saturday night. We wanted to go out for a drink, but finding the hotel closed for a private function, we had no choice but to go home. There are no other bars or restaurants open in this little town that time of the night and it was only nine o’clock!

9. Dinner time
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The next day we decided to explore the white washed and thatched roof houses of Kassiesbaai. This is a 200 year old fishing village and it has been declared a National Heritage site and South African Monument. At some of the houses you can enjoy a traditional meal consisting mainly of fish. An arts and crafts shop is also set up. Most of the residents here still make their living from the sea.

10. On our way
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11. Welcome to Kassiesbaai
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12. Arniston harbour
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13. Cute cousin playing on the anchor outside the hotel
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After that we headed back to Roman’s Beach again for some ice-cream. At this ice-cream stand you can only choose between strawberry and vanilla or a strawberry/vanilla mix. If you don’t like any one of these flavours, then you’ll just have to do without ice-cream.

14. Roman’s beach: path to The Cave can be seen at the far right
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15. Ice-cream on the beach
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16. Soft lime stone at the beach makes for interesting sand art
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After that our weekend at Arniston was finished. After lunch and some careful packing, with me still managing to forget things, we headed back home.

17. A Goodbye sunset
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Posted by Anja Fourie 15:22 Archived in South Africa Tagged food beach memorial ship cave south_africa ice-cream arniston Comments (0)

Fly me high, Ibiza sky

"Woah, we're going to Ibiza!" - Venga Boys (We're going to Ibiza)

sunny 29 °C
View Mediterranean Cruise on Anja Fourie's travel map.

Quite appropriately the island of Ibiza was named by the Phoenicians after their god of music and dance, Bes. The original name was Ibossim. This seems very fitting as this island is know the world over as a party island. And that is exactly what we did. Party. For that reason this will be my shortest post yet.

Four people fit into a taxi which takes you to Bora Bora beach. The beach is lined with bars, but it is too expensive to buy your drinks like that, so we stop at the local supermarket and buy alcohol, juice, water and cups. Down at the beach we find a spot for our big group and everyone strips down immediately. Here, the girls are mostly semi-naked and guys wear tiny hot pants. Most girls just go topless and dance around like that on the beach with everything swinging around. The DJ’s play their music loudly from the bars next to the beach and people are just dancing everywhere.

1. Massvie bottle of vodka
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2. Panoramic Ibiza
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3. Girls on the beach
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The San Miguel yacht was also parked right outside the designated swimming area and they would then send a rubberduck with girls who throw beers to the people who are swimming. This differs from South Africa where we are not allowed to drink on most of our beaches. Here people stand in the ocean with a beer in the one hand and a cigarette in the other. There are absolutely no waves, just little tiny bumps in the water. By 9pm we were still going into the water as the Mediterranean feels like lukewarm bath water even at that time of night.

3. Some more Bora Bora beach
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Eventually the beach started to clear, so we took our bags and moved towards the dancing area. This beach is famous for thieves and a few people have had some valuables stolen here in the past. The dancing area is where the DJ has been playing all day. We just danced into the sunset and eventually decided to make our way back to the ship.

The ship looked beautiful at night and I realised this was the first time that I was seeing it after sunset. I tried to take some photos, but the driver was going so fast that I couldn’t get any. Then I almost got blown off the harbour by some really strong winds which mean that those photos were also blurred.

5. Result of a crazy taxi-driver
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6. Blurry ship at night
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On the ship, we continued the Ibiza party..

Next stop: Malaga

Posted by Anja Fourie 07:28 Archived in Spain Tagged taxi beach ship drink dance music party alcohol ibiza Comments (0)

Ahoy Mateys!

Embarking on the Grandeur of the Seas

sunny 29 °C
View Mediterranean Cruise on Anja Fourie's travel map.

While waiting for the taxi to arrive I sit outside the hotel on the little wall and do some people-watching. Men wear small speedos and women only wear bikinis as they walk down the road. Liberal Europeans are definitely not afraid to show their bodies.

1. I am half-naked on the street and I can, because I am European
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At 11am the taxi arrives at the port. I go through the security check and board the ship. I look at the ship map and quickly take the lift up to Deck 9 where the spa is situated. This is where Laraine works. She takes me down to the room, but it is not long before she calls me up again. Having a friend who works in the spa does have its benefits. On the first day of the cruise, they have demonstrations and a tour of the spa for the guests. She arranges that I be the girl who the facials are demonstrated on. Turns out, it's a hot stone massage and I'll only covered with a little towel while guests have a look at the spa. But... it's a free hot stone massage. I'll take it.

The dry, salty air does work a number on your skin. Sometimes your skin feels really dry and sometimes it feels sticky from the sea air. The key on a cruise: Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

2. Laraine hard at work in the Spa
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3. Some cathedral in Majorca you could see from the ship
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4. The ship's centrum (fancy word for the middle open part)
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5. More of Majorca from the ship
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On the first day I watch the ship leave the harbour and explore the different decks. If you walk in the opposite direction than what the ship is cruising in, it feels like the ship is moving at the speed of light. N At 9pm, the sun is still high in the sky. I also have no sign of motion sickness yet. I have a stronger stomache than I thought.

Next stop: Cannes/Monte Carlo

Posted by Anja Fourie 18:56 Archived in Spain Tagged sunset ship cruise fruit spa cannes ice_cream burger monte_carlo grandeur facial Comments (3)

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