Hello, Little Granny again, it’s Sunday evening and we are off on our cruise.
Entertainment On P&O Aurora
I left you last time with our first evening meal on board. After dinner on P&O there is always lots to do from spending time in the casino, watching a film, dancing, listening to a piano playing etc. We love the entertainment and on our first night went along to the theatre to hear Will Martin, a New Zealand born singer. In addition to a wonderful voice he was also very funny and, unbelievably, only looked 12 years old although in reality he was 33! I had explained to Grumps that Will was a classical crossover singer so I was surprised at the end of the concert when Grumps stated that he thought he would have spent some time in a dress. No, crossover not cross dresser.
At the end of a long day we returned to our cabin to find chocolates on our bed together with the news sheet which gives a run down on all the events taking place and the dress code for the following evening. After a cup of de-caff coffee we settled down into our comfy bed and with the ship gently rolling soon drifted off into the land of nod.
We had two full days at sea before we reached the first port of Travemunde in Northern Germany so we tried to get a handle on the layout of the ship. For some reason we found Aurora confusing and often ended up at the end of corridors with nowhere to go. However, after various false starts we managed to find the various venues where there were either talks on the ports we would be visiting, the lives of various celebrities from olden days, the history of Faberge, or the Russian dolls etc.
G20 Summit Shenanigans
We had booked some of our excursions from home and for our first port we had decided on the trip to Hamburg. At the morning’s lecture we were disappointed to learn that the G20 summit would be taking place and roads could be shut with demonstrations. P&O were very accommodating and offered to change this trip, which we decided to do and opted to visit Lübeck instead.
Grumps Tries To Gatecrash
The evening before we arrived at Travemunde was a black tie night. Now, we had been invited to the Captain’s cocktail party but Grumps and I are not interested in getting free drinks and hobnobbing with the officers but prefer to have an early meal and go along to the theatre, which is what we did on this particular evening. Will Martin was doing a second show and we knew seats would be at a premium. We came out of the restaurant and Grumps said he needed to pay a visit to the Gents (which was virtually opposite the theatre), I said I’ll grab a couple of seats and see you in the theatre. Now, the problem is Grumps is getting a little hard of hearing and doesn’t always pay attention. So he made his visit and came out of the loo turning left instead of right. He kept walking until he came to a queue and promptly joined it – well, we are British. In the queue he noticed there were various Officers with their wives and thought it had certainly gone round the ship how good Will Martin was. The queue slowly moved forward until Grumps found his way being barred by the First Officer asking for his invitation. Grumps: ”What invitation? I didn’t realise you needed one to see Will Martin. My wife’s in there waiting for me.” “Not here, she’s not. This is the Captain’s cocktail party – invitation only. “ While all this is going on I am sitting in the theatre wondering where the heck he is. The theatre had rapidly filled and I was now being asked to give up his seat. Thank goodness in the nick of time he arrived and we had a great evening.
The next morning we docked at Travemunde (a coastal resort enjoyed by thousands of Germans and Scandinavians each summer) and we joined the coach to travel the ten miles to Lübeck, where the Old Town has been decreed a World Heritage site. We were so glad that we had changed our excursion. Lübeck had the most beautiful buildings, with a 15th century town gate which looks like oast houses and the old salt barns from the 16th century next door. There was also an interesting Town Hall dating from the 13th and 16th centuries built in a variety of styles from Gothic to Renaissance.
Lübeck is especially known for its famous Niederegger marzipan. I am not usually a marzipan lover but this was an incredibly light and delicious cake served with an equally good cup of coffee. After our mid-morning break, we visited St Mary’s church, the third largest church in Germany, which was bombed in the Second World War. The bells lie smashed on the floor where they had fallen to commemorate the soldiers who had died. Our guide laboured over this point and I felt slightly awkward. Our tour ended with a visit to a 13th century hospice which still had medieval wall paintings. The end of our first port and the next day would be another full day at sea before we reach Tallinn in Estonia and I lose Grumps.
More to follow ….