Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Eurocruise 29/05 Newcastle and a bit about the boat

The next morning, our first full day in Newcastle, began with washing five weeks worth of clothes. Drying was a problem though, with no heating on to dry things on radiators, no clothes dryer and the weather a bit damp. We went off to the largest shopping mall in Europe, the Metro Centre and wandered for a bit and had some lunch.

My camera card was nearing full and while I had daily downloaded photos to my note book, if I deleted the photos on my card, I would only have one copy and that is just not wise. I had brought along a memory stick to back up photos, but I had picked up the wrong one, only 2gb, which won't help with 7gb of photos. The quest was on to buy a large enough one at a reasonable price and it was a struggle, with most shops wanting over £10.

The back of R's Sister 1's house is the street entrance. From the street there is a good view down to the Tyne River valley where the Metro Centre is located.


Looking up the hill from the back of their house. Not everyone in Newcastle gets around by horse.


The front garden with the front gate and a park.


Launching kiddies into the air at the Metro Centre.



Then we noticed an Argos shop. I don't know why this has not been tried in Australia. Argos used to be a mail order company with a large paper catalogue. It is now an online shop but has 'shops' at various locations. They are not conventional shops. You browse through a huge online catalogue in the store, and find the product you want, check stock availability, note down the product number and take the ticket to a counter to pay. Then take a seat and a few minutes later, what you have bought will appear at another counter. I had my 8gb memory stick very quickly, for less than £8.

Little else of note was done that day and we stayed in for a home cooked meal by R's Sister 1.

As that was a short post, I will add in some boat information and photos.

It is powered by two double diesel engines.......no, you don't want to hear that and I don't know. The AmaReina was a nice boat and brand new.

There was an emergency alarm system, which I think was more than this bell ringing. We were told what to do in case of emergency and it quickly left our heads. After all, it is a river. I can jump overboard and swim to the river bank. No, remember now, follow instructions of staff, yes, like those on the Korean ferry did. I don't want to be a smarty pants, but I would judge the situation at the time and trust my own instincts.


Twice during the trip we were given the opportunity to fine dine at the rear of the boat, and very nice it was too. The boat kitchen with its 11 staff had no microwave and very little was brought onboard all ready prepared. Bread was baked daily on board, as was everything else made fresh.

The wines were always explained, as was the food.


The tv was a computer. We had endless trouble with it initially and had to call staff to fix it until I realised it was actually a computer. Control Alt Delete, well it was an Apple, so I worked out the equivalent, worked. This is the bow of the boat camera view.


There was a toilet for the use of the public.


The forward lower deck.


Ring in photo. Not sure where this was. Generally coffee in Europe was filter coffee, and that was so disappointing to me. I often had espresso coffee and that was always good. But a long black, not filter,  as I drink in Australia, was generally not available.


The basin in our bathroom.


The AmaReina was long and narrow and a maximum size to travel the rivers and canals we used.


The main entrance and foyer. Upstairs to the posh level, small downstairs to our mid priced level and a longer downstairs to steerage, that is rooms with a porthole and no view.


Yes, I did use the lift a couple of times, just for the fun of it.


The dining room, on the lowest level at the front.


Nothing special, just a room off the main dining room for overflow. We had breakfast there one morning.


The aft end of the boat, a quiet place to relax and see where you have been and where fine dining happened in the evening.


The stairs up to aft end from our level. Many is the time I walked up and down these stairs.


I think this was pate from a fine dining evening...maybe.


The lounge on the entry level had the bar, and lots of varied and comfortable seating. Informal meals, snacks and cakes were always available on this level and it where social events took place and daily briefings happened.



This was used one day, and one day only. At the far end is a bar. I am sure it is used at times.


The coffee machine on the lounge level. There was one at the aft end of the boat, but the labels were not in English and I could never manage to get a normal black coffee from it and had to make do with espresso.


The bar and the lounge.


The food available was absolutely amazing. Every night at dinner was like dining in a fine restaurant with huge choices from two different menus. Breakfast was buffet, but if you couldn't face getting up and manoeuvring among other people, you could order your breakfast brought to you table. Lunch was huge too, served in the dining room, or a more casual buffet on your knee in the lounge. We did really restrict ourselves and with the combination of that and lots of walking, we did not put on weight during our overseas travels. I think only one night I had dessert. Perhaps you can see why.



18 comments:

  1. Argos is a great place as it has such an extensive range of goods that you can choose from. That boat is Enormous. Can't have been any narrow bends or you would never have got through. Such will power with the food. I don't think I would have held back.

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    1. Fun60, no narrow bends. The rivers and canals were designed for very long barges. I can assure, after a few days of so much food, you do hold back.

      Yes, I was impressed with Argos.

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  2. Love the rose in the public toilet. And the view from Sister 1s yard.
    In my limited experience food on board ship IS amazing. And very, very generous.

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    1. EC, the rose looks real. I wonder if it was. If you a big eater, then ships must be heaven.

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  3. Andrew, your boat was great and fantastic. It looks so comfortable and elegant. I have never heard before about Argos but I think is a great opportunity to buy there. The houses are typically British but the garden is lovely and the flowers blossom. The next so busy and rich in activities day.

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    1. Gosia, very typically British, two up (rooms) and two down.

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  4. We travelled on the Amabella which was new then and very well appointed in a similar manner to your photographs. Nevertheless the company obviously are continually improving their vessels and despite the similarities your vessel looks to be better.

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    1. Victor, I note they are now using our boat in their advertising. I think another is to be launched later this year and a couple more next year.

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  5. Well I read your post but the pictures have gone on strike, my computer is a bit crazy at the moment maybe too cold, I will try again later.
    Merle..................

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    1. Merle, I had trouble getting it to load this morning after it was published.

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  6. How nice to have a front garden opening onto a park.
    I like the boat photos, everything looks so modern and sparkling clean. That dessert looks yummy.

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    1. River, the park grass was quite long, but moved on our second last day. It looked better when is was long and natural. Yes, the boat really was spotless.

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  7. Hello Andrew,

    It is amazing that you were not the size of a house, no a street, after all this cosseting with fabulous food. So many things to tempt one, you must have a steely willpower to have resisted.

    But, how wonderful to have been able to include a visit to Newcastle. R's sister must seem very far away when you are 'down under' so we expect that it was all quite emotional when you actually all got together in reality. It is great that she has the park at the bottom of the garden, such wonderful open views and yet in the middle of a city. Perfect.

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    1. JayLa, I did easily avoid the bircher muesli every morning and mostly avoided any fruit on offer. Actually, that is not true. I did often have some nicely sliced up fruit for breakfast, before the bacon and eggs, or variations on such.

      Of course I don't have R's feelings when we join his family in Newcastle, but I can see signs of emotion at times, especially after they have all had a glass of wine.

      Some time ago, after R visited them in 2000 on his own, one sister, I forget which, decided that non recognition of me was absurd, after R and myself had been together for over twenty years. I was welcomed into the family. I am probably more emotional when we say goodbye than R is, but that is my cry at a tv show character, rather than true feelings. R does miss them a lot, but his life is here in Australia.

      Not quite in the middle of a city but somewhat on the outskirts. His family are proud Scotswood types, which is meaningful if you are a Geordie.



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  8. The boat is very swish indeed, I am impressed. The food also looks marvellous.
    I adored Argos and I loved leafing through their catalogue quite often!

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    1. Fen, I remember going through the catalogue in 2008, and I don't think they were online then. It seemed to be terrific concept, but even better now that it is online and with shop fronts too.

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  9. I like seeing the photos of the ship. Do you miss it? I found it hard to leave the ship-life.

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    1. Not at all Dina. I'd had enough of being surrounded by people all the time, having to be polite and sociable all the time and I was missing 'normal' food a bit.

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