After all this writing about the Second World War I think it is time I try to produce a more cheerful story. Ron and I made up our minds some years ago that we wanted to ‘see the world’ and visit foreign lands while we could still afford it and were fit and well. After all, seeing new places and meeting people with different customs and outlook would be exciting and beneficial we felt. I always dreamt about tropical countries as a child so this would be ‘a dream come true’ for a lass from Norway. The book that made me want to travel was one called ‘Betty on a Coral Island’ which I read as an eleven year old girl. Fancy that – I still remember, and in my mind I can picture this girl and wanting to experience her adventures.
We lost our beloved dog Mac in 1996 and felt sad and upset. So we decided to treat ourselves and have a very expensive and different holiday. The Daily Telegraph had an add in the travel section about a cruise on board a small 120 passenger ship. This cruise originated in Bali and ended up in Cairns, Australia sailing through Indonesia. (It was quite safe at that time). I don’t like the big ‘monster-ship’ they have these days – too big and impersonal for my liking.
In late November, when the weather was horrible and wet in England, we flew to Bali from London. Hilton Hotel, in the exclusive resort of Nusa Dua, was our home for three nights. What luxury!! It was so grand and big and warm. Yes, we thought, we like this! Various trips were arranged from the hotel and we saw as much as possible. We sat under the palm trees and listened to the birdsong and enjoyed a drink or two. Bali is full of temples and shrines and the people worship many Gods. Everywhere we went people were welcoming and friendly.
This was our route – sailing through Indonesia and entering the Barrier Reef.
On Wednesday the 20th of November, late afternoon, we boarded our ship MS Caledonian Star and were escorted to our little cabin. I must say, this ship was quite old and not as grand as some, but the places we visited made it all worth while. Many of the passengers had come straight from the airport and were tired after the long flight. We were served coffee in the lounge, had the lifeboat drill, and relaxed for the evening.
As you know, Indonesia is full of islands, small and large. We left Bali and headed for a tiny island called Medang. In the next instalment I will carry on with our various stops!