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The Baltic States and Russia, 9th to 24th September 2010

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Although we, Pat and I, had booked this holiday with Milestones, we found ourselves with two coach loads of fellow travellers on Insight Tours. 

Chopin Memorial Park

 Of the 35 on our coach, we were the only two English, our very agreeable fellow travellers being Americans, Australians, two NewZealanders and two from South Africa.  Karri Anne Rossum was our Guide and she was Superb.

We started the tour in Warsaw, Poland where the Mermaid is the symbol of the City, and Chopin their most beloved citizen and the zlotto the currency.   Of course one of our visits was to a Chopin Concert.  As usual for us we booked for all the optional excursions and therefore had a very full programme.  After Warsaw we travelled to Vilnius in Lithuania where the currency was The Lits, then Riga in Latvia, currency Lats, next Tallinn in Estonia, currency the Esti, then on to St. Peterburg in Russia, currency the rouble, by the bullet (fast) train to Moscow and finally Minsk in Belarus, where the currency was the Belarussian Rouble, after which we returned to Warsaw and a flight back to Heathrow where a private car would meet us to drive us back to Pat’s house in Coventry.

PERU – 9th to 24th October 2009

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
Aerial view over the Nazca Lines

Aerial view over the Nazca Lines

PERUOct09 275

Our Hostess Maria dressed us for our visit to her home
Our Hostess Maria dressed us for our visit to her home
The Cathedral in The Plaza Mayor, Lima
The Cathedral in The Plaza Mayor, Lima
The Folklore Dance during Dinner Evening.

The Folklore Dance during Dinner Evening.

This was a fabulous holiday with Travelsphere.  Pat and I were driven to Birmingham Airport  for 3 a.m by Andy, when the roads were absolutely deserted.  Our flight to Schipol Airport Amsterdam with  KLM, took off a little later than scheduled. However the 1hour 20 minute flight arrived just a bit early at 8.20 am, so that we easily made the connection.  Our luggage was booked through to Lima at Birmibnghan International so we had no problems as the next flight took off at 10.00 am and took 12 hours 15 min to arrive in Lima.  The journey was very comfortable and we were constantly being plied with drinks, meals and snacks  I watched the film “The Reader” with Kate Winslett and Ralph Fiennes and music so the time just sped by.

We arrived at our hotel some hours before the rest of the group who travelled via Heathrow, Madrid, Lima.  We met the Travelsphere Tour Manager, Ian Magnall the next morning.

The  tour would take us to the Hotel José Antonio, Miraflores, Lima, the capital of Peru for a two night stay.Then we would visit in turn, Ica, Nasca, Arequipa, Chivay, Puno, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and back to Lima.

A lot of travelling was by coach and the scenery was spectacular.  We had not expected to see so much desert.

I now have about 432 photos and Pat has also sent me a CD of her photos.  I would like to insert a photo of me with a fellow traveller, Angela, dressed in the typical garb of the women on the Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca.  The women of Lake Titicaca cooked delicious little pan cakes for us to sample.

One particularly interesting event for us was a flight in a 12 seater aeroplane to see the rather mysterious Nazca Lines.  At present there is a great deal of study regarding these symbols etched into the barren landscape and a great many theories are on the internet and discussed on the radio.

Visit to Spain 22nd to 30th April 2009

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Andrew drove me to Birmingham Airport for 5.00 am for 7.00 am flight. All was very plain sailing and Angela was at Malaga Airport to meet me at 11.45 a.m.  The first new item I was shown was the Children’s new Shed, 4metres by 4 metres made of wood.   It was to house their dressing up clothes and toys to make the cleaning of their bedrooms much simpler.  Angie drove us to Ikea the next day.  Francesca was feeling nauseous and Angela explained that there appeared to be a bug causing this at school because losts of the pupils at Sunland had suffered the same symptons.  Thus, Fancesca had to come with us which was quite useful really.  The most important item to buy was a hanging rail for the dressing up clothes.  We also bought an easel with black  and white board plus the special pens and chalks.  Angela had wanted  to buy bean bags for  seats but Ikea had none so we settled for four metal stacking stools in bright orange, called Mario.  Also we bought a new bed  for Millie.

1st April 2009. C.A.M.E.O. at St. Helen’s Church.

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

lichjanehol08-023This afternoon we had over 50 members to hear Mr. David Cadney give us a talk on Thomas Hardy and Margaret Cadney read some on Thomas Hardy’s poems.  He gave an excellent presentation and I do not think many succumbed to slumber.  A good number of members had just enjoyed an excellent lunch so could be forgiven if they nodded off mementarily.

19th -29th December 2008 – Andrew and I stayed with Angie, Vernon, Fran and Charlie in Las Perdices, Alhaurin El Grande, España.

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

We were welcomed by Fran and Charlie.  Charlie was the compére and Fran sang us a song.  They have both grown so much since April when I last saw them.  On the 21st December we were all invited to a party at Jo and Brian’s property.  Megan their daughter is a friend of Fran’s at Sunland International School.  It was a fabulous party and lots of the children, but only one adult, entered the talent contest and Charlie was the outright winner with his Hula Hoops Act.  Jo and Brian have a vast acreage and have already tranformed the house and outhouses, together with a new swimming pool.

C.A.M.E.O. Visit to Highgrove House Gardens, Tetbury and Cirencester on 28th August 2008

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008


Twenty-three members and friends left from St. Helen’s Church in a Hollywood Travel Coach at 8.25 a.m. We were to pick up two more of our members, as 25 was the full quota, in Tetbury where we would make a stop for a cup of coffee and arrive at the designated time of 11.00 am Mobile phones ensured that we met Michael and Pippa as planned and we arrived spot on time at the Highgrove Police Post for the security check and then we progressed to the Orchard Room where we met our guide par excellence, Mrs Pile. It is a a pity we were unable to take any photgraphs of highgrove but we did all enjoy the experience even if we cannot keep a record for posterity . We next went to cirencester and had a wonderful afternoon there.


C.A.M.E.O. 2nd April 2008, A Journey in the Middle East with Alistair Caldicott.

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Alistair Caldicott, an intrepid traveller and author of six published travel books with another to be in the bookshops this year, entertained the C.A.M.E.O. club with his experiences in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Iran, and Egypt.  Now we are hoping for a return visit next year, when Alistair can fit us in between his travel schedule.

Alistairs web site is at



C.A.M.E.O. Wednesday 9th January 2008

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Our planned speaker had fallen and injured her back making it impossible for her to talk to C.A.M.E.O. about her work with Swan Rescue.  Fortunately, Nikki Cockayne, a falconer and daughter of one of our members had a spare afternoon slot and came to fill the gap.  Nikki brought with her four Birds of Prey, Pedro, Shylock, Popsa and Gregory.  So many of our members wanted to hold the birds and observe them close up, as these pictures will tell you.

Christmas 2007 at Burley in The New Forest

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Andrew drove us to Burley on Christmas Eve morning arriving in record time for lunch. Angela , Vernon and the children were already  installed.  Doreen distributed the Rolex and one Omega watches and the Chops (Seals) to the Francesca, Charlie, Angela and Vernon and the articulated serpent toys from China.  After a superb lunch and short walk we had afternoon tea and got ready to go to the Christingle Service at Burley Church which was filled to capacity.  Next we all piled into Andy’s bus and went to have Dinner with Barbara a good friend of Jon and Jeremy.


Christmas Day was another full programme as the children were allowed up at eight o’clock to open their stockings to which Andrew had supplied some brilliant little toys which kept Charlie in particular amused all over the Christmas period.

After lunch everyone was allowed to open Christmas presents and Francesca wore her “Belle” Dress for the rest of the day and Charlie wore his “Blue Prince” costume.


All watched the Queen’s speech and soon it was time for tea and Christmas Cake.  In no time at all it was time for Christmas Dinner of turkey and all the trimmings to which Barbara joined us


On Boxing Day, six of us went  to Bournemouth to see the Pantomime “Sleeping Beauty”, a treat from Angela and Vernon.  Francesca and Charlie were quite exhausted at the end of the day and had a reasonably early night.

After a full English Breakfast on Thursday morning, we all went our separate ways.

Pictures from China 2nd to 16th November 2007

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

dscn2160.JPGForbidden City Beijing.


Summer Palace Beijing Temple of Heaven


In Park Ribbon work Tea Tasting


Shanghai Bridge Shanghai at night


Xian With the warriers In Pit One with warriors