Liz and John's South American Grand Cruise 2014 travel blog

Our formal night

Chan Chan Citadel

Monday 13 January

Day 13 Sea Day

We had a later start because of our late night. After breakfast in our cabin we did our exercise. The swim was quite rough, probably the roughest yet so it was interesting doing all my exercises to say the least! Still I managed most of my program. I had a glorious spa afterwards while John was walking around the deck, climbing the stairs from deck 4 to 12 and doing his Pilates.

I went to the choral practice after that and some of it is becoming quite musical now. However the program is really ambitious and I have no idea how she'll get the concert together in just ten weeks. We played our usual Trivia and came third despite only getting 9 points but it's always fun.

We went to a travelogue in the Showroom at Sea about Chile. It was interesting and gave us some idea of some of what we may see. Chile is a really interesting country. It is the longest country north to South, in the world. It has deserts, fjords, mountains and several climatic zones. It is incredibly diverse and rich geologically, archeologically and historically. It's the part of the cruise that I'm really looking forward too. However tomorrow we reach Peru and that too has an amazing archeological history. John will have a chance to see some of the ancient temples tomorrow when we reach Triujillo but I'll be staying back on the boat because all the tours require a lot of walking and steps without handrails. At four we both went to the briefing for the Machu Picchu 3 day excursion which John goes on on Wednesday. It looks as though the days are really packed but I'm still so jealous of John going without me. I've accepted it but it's sad that I have come half way around the world and can't see it. After the briefing we went back to our room and had a cocktail on our verandah. I saw a spout of water which almost certainly belonged to a whale but never saw the creature itself. However when we went down to the Oasis Bar for Trivia we saw a large pod of porpoise and that was great.

At six we did Trivia again and came second, which wasn't bad since we were a team of two and the picked up a couple of Americans from Colorado who had never played before. We only got 9 points but the winning team only got ten so we didn't do too badly. We chatted for an hour with the couple and they were very nice. They do regular house swapping with people in Australia so actually knew quite a lot about our country. They had an Australian couple living at their property at the moment. It might be worth considering something like that in the future. While we were talking we saw a wonderful red sunset but couldn't get over how quickly it occurred. One minute there was this brilliant red globe and the next minute it disappeared and it was pitch black!

At seven we went back up to our room to change for the formal dinner. I've been informed that my purple silk dress is permanently damaged when they dry-cleaned it but the Service Manager has promised that we will get compensation. They have been very apologetic and helpful but it does limit my formal evening choices to one now. Still there are only nine formal evenings in 68 so that's not really a problem. John wears the same shirt and suit !! John scrubs up pretty well as well and we have at last had a photo taken of us in our evening gear and it wasn't bad. We joined our English dentist friend and his wife (Mike and Carol) and it was quite a fun evening and afterwards we went to the show and it was absolutely amazing. It was called Forbidden Broadway and this Musical Review was direct from its record breaking run in New York where it won a Tony Award and was judged to be in the top ten musicals of the year. The five musicians (four singers and a pianist) were brilliant with multiple spoofs of existing popular musicals. They were very funny and the music was wonderful. It's such a shame we won't have the opportunity to see them again! It didn't finish until eleven again so it was another late night.

Tuesday 14 January

Day 14 Salaverry, Peru

We had an early breakfast in our room because John was going on an excursion at eight. I really envied him because he was going to see some amazing archaeological digs but he promised to take lots of photos so I could share some of it with him. I had a relaxed morning with a long swim at ten. I decided to walk up to the pool rather than take the scooter and I managed quite well. The pool is getting cooler as we go further south so I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to swim in this part of the trip. I'm trying to swim for about 45minutes and I go through all the usual exercises I do at home. I certainly feel better afterwards. After getting dressed I went up to the Crows Nest and tinkered on the piano. I could remember quite a lot of what I used to play although my left hand doesn't always work as I want it to. It was lovely to get back to some music and my ukelele isn't getting ignored either so that's coming along as well. I also went over some of the music for the choir and I'll try to do that daily while we are in port in Callao as well.

John got back at four after an amazing day. He'd visited the renowned Moche Temples called the Temples of the Sun and Moon. They were built many hundreds of years ago out of the lava dust made into bricks and there were multiple intricately painted walls being preserved. It's still a work in progress and a lot of the Archeological team were actually working there at the time of the visit. He then visited Trujillo and there was a tour around an old colonial house of the Urquiga Family. There were some wonderful art treasures and artefacts there as well as being a beautiful example of colonial architecture. He then went to visit the Reed Boats which were the same type of boat used in the Kontiki Expedition. They are traditional fishing boats made of reed. This was followed by a typical Peruvian lunch and John wasn't actually sure of what he was eating but he enjoyed it anyway! Then there was the highlight of the trip with a visit to the UNESCO Citadel of Chan Chan. This is made up of multiple compounds which they are still in the process of discovering. It was initially found quite by chance. They are digging out whole areas of complex living areas, multiple rooms and homes with intricate passage ways. Again it was built out of the lava dust and sand made into a solid type of brick and concrete like material. He took a wonderful series of photos and we were able to enjoy them together after downloading them to the iPad. I'm not sure we'll keep all 76 of them but most of them are so good it'll be difficult to know which ones to get rid of to make a usable number to show!

Poor John was tired after such a long day of walking in the heat but he still took part in the Trivia, managed a three course meal and then went to another excellent show featuring an amazing violinist, Michael Bakala who played a wide range of music including classics, gypsy serenades and Bluegrass! He was followed by a Scottish singer, Mark O'Malley who also had a wide repertoire of cabaret, classics, folk, Elton John and the Beatles! It was an incredibly enjoyable hour but John just collapsed into bed afterwards and was asleep in minutes. He has a big three days starting tomorrow when he goes out to Machu Picchu. I'll be staying on the boat but will do some touring around Lima while he is away.

Wednesday 15 January

Day 15 Callao, Peru

We didn't dock in Callao, the Port for Lima in Peru until half nine and John was leaving for his expedition to Machu Picchu at half ten. We were up early because John had to pack an overnight bag and we both wanted some exercise before he went. I had my swim and he walked around the deck a few times. I was so sorry to see him go but I'm sure I'll get some great descriptions from him when he gets back. And again he's promised to take lots of photos.

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