I have to keep this brief as we will leave Vigo soon and then that’s it, no more nice data roaming in the EU.
This Christmas was certainly memorable.
Christmas eve we did our schooling as usual, and then relaxed in the afternoon before a festive dinner followed by Pannetone. After this, instead of everyone disappearing to their cabins, all the passengers congregated in the lounge and played table football and finished off the communal jigsaw to the soundtrack of my special Christmas playlist. This was followed by a ping pong tournament, which I begged off so that I could finish last minute preparations for the big day while Lauren was occupied.
We arrived close to Vigo during the night of 24th, but as the next day was Christmas day we were forced to spend the night and all the 25th going in circles out at sea. The plan had been to drop anchor but we had to keep going in slow circles due to very strong wind.
This didn’t bother us at all and we had a wonderful day.
We even saw our first bit of sun since London….
After breakfast, which featured Christmas treats such as biscuits and doughnuts, Lauren and I spent the morning in the lounge, playing an adapted version of snakes and ladders that I had devised to make her presents more fun and to spread then out a bit.
If she landed on a blue square she had to do a challenge – anything from sit ups to French translation to beating me at table football to dancing to a song of her choice (bad move that, had to sit through a full Justin Bieber song). If she failed she went back to square one. If she landed on a red square she got a present, but her main present – a smartphone which will double as our spare phone while travelling – she only got on completing the game. If she landed on a yellow triangle she got a sweet. It was a fun way to do the presents – after all there weren’t that many as we’d have to carry them – and we had great fun, often with a full complement of curious passengers and even some of the crew popping in to watch.
There is no way Lauren would get a phone at nearly-9 years old at ‘home’ but after much agonizing I figured she deserves a way to be in contact with friends, to take pictures of her own and to have a device just for her music (at least I get Justin Bieber off my phone!) and it’s a backup should anything happen to mine. She has been told if she starts obsessing with it then it will get taken off her.
After presents we had a reception on the bridge – very cool to visit the bridge and chat to the captain who even let Lauren hold the wheel. She was so terrified she later admitted to not actually moving it, even though he said she could! We had a little punch and some antipasti and it was good to have everyone finally together, as life on board is usually very segregated.
After this we had a long drawn out lunch, with all sorts of fancy food (9 or 10 courses, plus the mince pies and bakewell tarts we’d contributed!) produced by the chef – it must be the hardest day of the year for him and his staff and they did a sterling job. I made a point of sending some of the very expensive chocolates we’d bought for everyone through to the kitchen as a thank you – I’m not daft! There was music playing, and wine flowing, rather more at our table due to the addition of the two most junior officers, the cadets, who clearly enjoyed being released from the ‘grown up’ officers table and regaled us of tales of misspent youth in Naples in a mixture of broken English and Italian. They seemed quite enchanted by Lauren, telling her to study hard so she wouldn’t ‘end up like them’ having only ‘read a book for the first time aged 20’. She seemed similarly captivated, and at 19 these guys are closer in age to her than to me. They were a good laugh and polished off all of my ration of wine as well as their own, despite the odd frown from the Master (captain).
After lunch we watched a film and then reconvened for a light dinner.
This morning, Boxing Day, we hiked into Vigo, in the pouring rain, bought some vegetables, had a coffee and raced back to the ship having been only given 3 hours shore leave. It was just good to get some oxygen and really stretch our legs, as there is only so many times you can walk up and down the deck.
I can hear the engines starting, got to get this posted, the pictures speak for themselves, it was a great day made even better by picking up a cell signal as we came close to shore on one of our loops and being able to call my parents and brother.
Hope everyone had a wonderful time over Christmas and Happy New Year !