December 6th, 2020Kyle’s rant
I speak of the ships that look like ships, stately affairs with minimal kids’ activities – after all little folk should be seen but not heard or not seen as well. Particularly when I have just dropped a rather large hunk of “Cyril Ash” on the trip of a lifetime.
So, it is was with bated breath and trepidation that I convinced my better half to raise the $500 deposit for a trip around the Mediterranean for 2022. The last trip was booked for May this year around Japan and we all know how that turned out. But back to my love of cruising.
Part of my infatuation stems from the fact that you never have to worry about what’s for dinner or doing the dreaded Coles shuffle at 5.30 each night trying to come up with some culinary masterplan. Onboard there is always half a dozen prepaid restaurants welcoming you, not those horrible petri-dish buffets, I am talking about good quality menus that change every day and service with a smile.
The last cruise I was on a few years back started and stopped in Amsterdam after heading up the Baltic Sea and visited quite a few Eastern Block countries with their names ending in “stan” or “ainia”. I must admit it was a huge history lesson sprinkled with a bit of horrific genocide, but that is a story for another day. On this particular boating holiday, I was secretly hoping the Baltic would live up to its name as a ferocious stretch of water that would have us heaving up and down with 60-metre northern swells.
But alas, my reputation of Captain Calmweather followed us. This was the name my counterparts, a lifetime ago, gave me on the sail training ships I used to ply as first mate around New Zealand. We would always go out of the harbour on a 10-day voyage hoping for some extreme conditions to stretch the vessel’s capabilities and most times come back disappointed.
But back to my Baltic adventure. After copious amounts of grog and five kilos heavier in the bow, we came back into Amsterdam to do the final tour of the agenda. It was the windmill tour and looking outside it was going to be a ripper as the wind, for the first time on the journey, was howling. Unfortunately the rest of my travel party had had enough of tours and convinced me to skip the tour and head into the hotel for a quiet, restful afternoon.
We checked into the 16th floor of the boring-est hotel by the airport and it was shaking with the windspeeds over 100 kilometres per hour. Some of the building’s façades were crashing around on the outside of the hotel, making for a racket in the room, so I requested to be moved to the leeward side of the hotel. One of the staff made it to my door and handed over the key to the next room and after raiding the minibar (jokes) I packed up my bag and went to check out the new room.
I threw open the door to my new chamber and the door quickly locked behind me. But my attention was quickly fixated on a giant construction crane spinning around outside. It had broken free from its bonds and its trajectory was very clearly my room. I backed up against the door and just a few seconds later the arm of the crane missed the corner of my room by a little under a metre. It was as if the windmill tour had come to me, a kind of Muhammad and the mountain scenario.
Another change of rooms (and another minibar raid – jokes again) and it was time for a restful afternoon.
I love travelling rant over…