Moving Pictures On-board Azura

This weeks header challenge has been chosen by Sandy and she has chosen Moving Pictures as our theme. So I’ve decided to to tie in my header with a quick introduction to our holidays next port of call on-board P&O’s Azura. After La Palma we had a day at sea, in which they laid on a Galley walk through…

galley

so we could see just how huge the kitchens are (and there are different kitchens serving the different restaurants.

galley

Afternoon tea to follow was entitled “Chocolate Delight” and yes it was, from chocolate fountains to chocolate cakes of every description, it certainly was a delight.

chocolate

The evening was a formal dress one, as it was the Black and White Ball.

Harriet

When it’s black and white themed night, because it is also a formal night with all the men in tuxedo’s, P&O add a James Bond element to the evening as well and all the film showings were of Bond films. We finished the evening by going to watch the 10:30pm showing of Casino Royal on the Seascreen a truly moving picture. The picture and the screen were moving with the gentle movement of the ship as we steamed to our next port of call Lisbon.

Lisbon6

It is this port of call that I have given you the preview of as a moving picture header. I’ve stitched together 23 photos to form a moving picture for you to enjoy of the sun rising over the suspension bridge as we came into Lisbon. I’ll tell you more of our journey into Lisbon and our day around Lisbon in a later post.

Remember to look to see what moving pictures the other headbangers have come up with for their headers this week. Just follow their links in my right hand menu bar.

Azura Sailaways

Its my turn this week to choose the header theme for our little weekly header competition. I decided to keep the theme in tune with my on going blogging about our trip on-board P&O’s Azura. So this week I’ve gone for “Flags”.

What might you ask does that have to do with our trip, well as we sailed away from each port for those that wished there was a sailaway party put on by the ships entertainment team by the Coral pool.

flags-8

This involved lots of flag waving and singing and dancing and generally having a good time.

flags-7

All ages joined in.

flags-9

Lots of people were waving their flags whilst soaking up the sun on the sun loungers.

flags

They were even joining in right at the top of the ship, looking down over the coral pool.

flags-2

The Azura is a British ship so the Union flag was the flag of choice as you can see. P&O even supply them for all the passengers.

Have a look to see what flags are flying high in the headers of the other headbangers just follow their links in my right hand menu bar.

Go on wave your flag!

 

Day 7 P&O’s Azura makes her 4th stop, in La Palma

Well Azura’s next port of call was to be the furthest west of the Canary Islands that we were to visit. The island of La Palma.

La Palma1

It had been decided by the family, that I’d go off on a tour by myself on this island, camera in hand, and let Mel and the girls have time to look around the port town together.

I chose an excursion called the Heart of La Palma which was scheduled, according to the brochure to take about 4 and half hours.

So knowing I was going to be out until early afternoon I had a good breakfast before heading down to my coach for the day, for my tour into the Heart of La Palma.

The tour started with a short drive to Santuario Virgen de Las Nieves. It is the religious centre of La Palma and one of the oldest places of worship in the Canary Islands, dating back to 1423.

church virgen de las nieves

The Church holds a terracotta statue of the Virgin Mary of the Snows, the patron saint of the island.

church alter

She sits on a marble throne covered in silver as you can see in the above picture.

It is not a big church, in fact it is a very modest one in size, but it makes up for it in it’s ornamentation.

church balcony1

I’ve stitched a few photos together in this post to try and help you see either the panoramic view, or more of the interior or exterior of buildings.

We moved on from here in the coach, climbing higher and heading towards the centre of the island, stopping for a quick photo stop on route.

yellow tree plants

As we did our guide explained more about the island, it’s inhabitants it’s history, climate and eco-system.

guide

What I did find on this tour was that unlike the other Canary islands La Palma is a lot greener…

green hills

We arrived at La Caldera de Taburiente, designated a National Park,

calderade taburiente

and headed up through the pine tree boarded roads deep in to the middle of it.

pine roads

The National Park has been created inside a 5 mile wide volcanic crater. It’s rims reach right up to the mountain ridge that runs from the north to the south of the island.

rim

There was time for a walk through the National Park, soaking in the grandeur of the setting, it was fantastic.

walk

grand hills

With the Canary Pine trees growing all around us.

canary pine

Unfortunately it had to end and with one last look…

last look

It was back on the coaches. We had a short comfort break at the visitor centre just outside the National Park. I was disappointed to find though that the visitors centre had no shop or cafe. There was nowhere to buy a souvenir or even a quick coffee. The only option you had was a drinks machine. So remember to take some change.

Part of the tour was a final stop at a little cottage for wine tasting with an assortment of chutneys. The coach stops in a very scruffy looking parking area, and the guide escorted us across the road in to a garden completely hidden from the road.

For those who didn’t wish to sample the various wines there was fruit juice and the option to wander around the gardens.

garden

Before it was back to the coach and back to Azura…

Azura

It had been a fabulous excursion. The guide had been excellent, very funny and very informative. The scenery had been breathtaking well worth the money paid for the excursion. Well done P&O.

I got back on board just in time for the end of the BBQ on the open deck by the Coral pool and very nice it was too. I certainly needed something after my busy morning out as well.

Mel and I spent the afternoon just relaxing in the gorgeous sunshine on our balcony. The girls were busy with their various activities and friends around the ship so we didn’t see much of them during the day, but we all met up for our evening meal.

The dress code this evening was Semi- Formal.

Two of the ships Headliners theatre company put on their own stage set in one of the lounges at 8:30pm so we went to watch them following dinner. They were very good although Nyna was obviously very new as she was very nervous when not singing. As soon as she started to sing though all signs of her nerves vanished.

We rounded the evening off with Asa Murphy’s tribute to swing in the Playhouse Theatre. He certainly has a fantastic voice.

Another great end to a great day I hope you’ll agree. See you soon for more from Azura.

P&O Interlude

Todays post takes the form of a delicious interlude from the diary of our cruise aboard P&O’s Azura. Instead concentrating on the delicious food that we had served on board.

As part of the Header Challenge I take part in each week, Lanny has chosen for this weeks theme “Delicious”, which I think sums up all the food on-board Azura perfectly.

The dining room was immaculately laid out. The waiters assisted you to your seats presenting you with your napkin and menu.

It was the food though that was the pièce de résistance.

Such as this Avocado Pear Salad with Crumbled Goat’s cheese Crottin and Raspberry Vinaigrette

starter

Or this Bury Black Pudding with a Fried Free Range Duck Egg and Bacon Crumble.

starter-2

When Harriet our youngest daughter ordered this main meal she wasn’t expecting the chips to be quite the size they were…

chips

She said they were delicious though.

As did my one of my other daughters Esther who ordered the next dish…

chicken tikka

the Chicken Tikka Masala with Pulao Rice, Poppadom, Naan Bread and Condiments.

 goose

(sorry about the poor picture)

And my choice the Gressingham Goose Roasted Two Ways with Potato and Parsnip Croquettes, Savoy Cabbage and Redcurrant Jus.

(Yes our family does have very eclectic tastes, but then the menu was so wide we felt we had to try out lots of different dishes).

As for the desserts well they were certainly “Delicious” with a Capitol “D”.

You had Summer pudding with Devonshire clotted cream…

summer pudding

and chocolate puddings that oozed out chocolate as you cut into them.

Warm Dark Chocolate and Praline Fondant with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Cappuccino Anglaise.

pudding-2

Or the Delicious Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake with Honey and Spiced Blueberry.

pudding

So as you can see; but unfortunately you don’t get to taste, technology has advanced but it’s not quite that advanced yet, the food we had on-board P&O’s Azura, was certainly “Delicious”.

I hope that was what you had in mind when you conjured up your theme for this week Lanny. I’ve created a header with just a few of the delicious delicacies highlighted here. I hope I’ve wetted your appetite a little bit, if so call back soon for more from on-board P&O’s Azura.

In the mean time have a look and see what the other headbangers have come up with for their delicious headers this week. Just follow their links in my right hand menu bar.

See you soon.

Continuation of Day 6 of Azura’s stop in Tenerife.

Readers of my blog yesterday will know, that I left you high up the top of the volcano in the middle of Tenerife, well now it’s time to head back to the coaches…

coaches

We soon started to head back down the mountain again, although we were still high enough to be above the cloud layer, so we could see right across the sea to the island of Gran Canaria in the distance.

clouds and gran canaria 

We descended all the way down to the Orotava Valley where nestles the market town of Orotava one of the oldest settlements on the island. Here, after a short walk through the town, we visited the Casa de los Balcones or, the house of balconies.

balconies

In here they make and sell fabulous works in lace.

lace

and pottery…

pottery

We headed back to the coach again and on to our next stop, lunch!

We expected it just to be in a restaurant but when we got off the coach and the guide started paying our entry through the gates of a park, we knew it was something different. When we rounded the corner we found out just what. They had recreated Tenerife in miniature, from its historical roots…

The Guanche.

caveman

The Settlers

Settlers

and modern day Tenerife…

airport

At the end of the miniature Tenerife experience was our Restaurant, with soup followed by half a chicken in a special Tenerife sauce accompanied by new potatoes. This was all followed by ice cream, a very nice lunch.

Following lunch, with of course the compulsory cup of coffee, it was back to the coach, to head on to the coastal town of Puerto de la Cruz just a short journey away.

Here we had some time to ourselves to just wander along the seafront, go in and out of the tourist shops or just sit and relax and watch the world go by in the sunshine.

There isn’t much of a natural beach in the centre of Puerto de la Cruez, it’s just a tiny bit of black sand…

black sand

To get around this they have created their own beach complete with secluded lakes and terraces right next to it…

beach resort

Unfortunately you have to pay to get in to this bit though what a surprise.

Other than a few tourist shops and the promenade there wasn’t a lot to see in the town so we were glad we only had 45mins to spend looking around there.

From Puerto de la Cruz  the coach took us back up and across the island to Santa Cruz.

We went past the striking wave shaped Auditorium designed by Santiago Calatrava which is one of the top music venues on the island.

Music hall

and back to where our ship the Azura was waiting for us.

Azura Tenerife

It had been a long day out, but I’m sure you will agree, a really good one. The scenery had been stunning, the information given to us by the guide was brilliant and the weather had stayed perfect a great combination.

Captain Keith Dowds gave the order to cast off the lines that secured Azura and we left Tenerife aboard Azura at 5:36pm enjoying the sunshine as we went.

tenerife harbour

Tonight's menu…

menu day 5

Tonight’s entertainment was a bit of a mixed bag. we went first to the Malabar lounge where Andrea Dickinson was going to be performing.

Malabar

With it’s gold trim and palm trees the lounge has a very Eastern feel. There are lots of soft, loose cushions everywhere making it very comfortable too. We therefore got our drinks in and settled down to listen to the acclaimed Andrea Dickenson. Unfortunately when she did come on neither of us really appreciated her singing. Her style just wasn’t for us, so we decided to go up on to the deck and join in the Tropical night party. That was much better and we had much more fun up there. Although we were on deck it wasn’t cold, the atmosphere was good, with good music, good company and great surroundings. A great way to end the day.

Thanks for touring around Tenerife with me, please stay with me as we continue our cruise on-board P&O’s Azura and we dock at another of the Canary Islands.

Day 6 P&O’s Azura’s next port of call - Tenerife.

It was still quite dark as we arrived in port in Tenerife, the second of our Canary Island stops. That meant photos of the port would have to wait until we were leaving.

Today our itinerary was scheduled to be a very full one, as we had booked the whole family to go on one of P&O’s all day excursions. It was called, the Beauty of Mount Teide and was set to take about 8 hours.  An early breakfast was therefore called for up in the Verona restaurant, before heading down to the dock side, to board our coach. Although getting on and off coaches using crutches isn’t the easiest thing to do, P&O have a system of reserving the front seats of their coaches for those with mobility problems, so that helped getting on and off the coaches during the day.

The journey started by the coach snaking up through the Esperanza Forest, full of tall pine trees only native to the Canary Islands.

esperanza forest

The landscape suddenly opens out from the trees in to light shrub land.

road to teide

This in turn quickly changed to a landscape of lava, long hardened leaving a much more barren and sparsely vegetated terrain.

road to teide-2

Our first stop was at the Ortuno Viewpoint, where we got our first good look at our destination, Mount Teide.

Mount Teide

Mount Teide is the third highest volcano in the world with a height of 3718 metres (12,198ft) above sea level.

We continued on in our air conditioned coach higher and higher before stopping for some mid morning refreshment at the Restaurante Bamby, in the shadow of Mount Teide.

Restaurante Bamby

The coffee was lovely and Mel and the girls said the Hot Chocolate was really thick and creamy and very, very nice.

The tour continued with the guide giving information about the islands history, it’s people and culture, as well as its peculiar climate. All whilst we continued to climb through the dramatic landscape around Mount Teide.

dramatic mount tiede

We passed through to the inside of a massive volcanic crater presided over by the still domineering Mount Teide. The whole of the area inside the crater is now the National Park of Las Canadas.

If you want to get to the very top of Mount Teide then you need to use a cable car which unfortunately this tour didn’t have time for as it would have added another two hours to the day, just in queuing.

cable car mount tiede

Instead we went just along from there to a spectacular viewpoint, where we could get out and take some pictures looking down into the crater or up to the volcano.

Crater pan

Mount Teide and standing stones

As you can tell there was a lot to see and do on this tour, too much I think for one days blog, so join me tomorrow for the continuation of our tour on Tenerife.

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