Thursday, 11 April 2013

Carry on Cruising!

I've been a bit focused on running this year and Easter kind of crept up without warning, so it was I found myself being marched to the travel agent 4 weeks ago by Ann.

You will take some time off at Easter
You will book a holiday
It will be somewhere hot
You will be paying for it

Apart from that it was entirely my choice, 3 weeks later were heading to Glasgow airport for our flight to Tenerife and a week cruising round the Canaries, with my bank account somewhat lighter.

I'm 6'1" so a typical charter flight with a "generous" 30" seat pitch is usually about as much fun as sharing a 6 person elevator with 5 fat blokes, add in the track suited weegies, fuelled by early morning lager and a clutch of obnoxious screening weans and a 4 1/2 hour flight is not necessarily a prospect I relish!
My first small victory was turning on the Ainslie charm and asking for a seat with extra leg room, "sorry" quoth the check in lady, I have to charge for extra leg room seats, but I can give you 13F for free, which has nothing in front of it as long as you don't mind sitting in row 13?

Thomson Majesty
Never having read a newspaper headline that ran MIRACLE AIR CRASH - EVERY ONE SURVIVES EXCEPT TALL BLOKE IN ROW 13, I decided to risk it.
Result in more ways than one, I could actually stretch out my legs, it was almost a grown ups only flight and there were only two or three shell suited NEDS, an acceptable ratio on a 250 seat aircraft, even for me.

The only minor black mark was the £5 Croque Monsieur which betrayed its mouth -watering photo in the menu  by Turning out to be a tooth shatteringly over cooked ham and cheese toastie which had been heated to a mouth searing level by an industrial blast furnace, well you can't have everything I suppose.

Day One - Deck 4 cabin, not quite on the slave deck, but right at the back of the boat, not the best cabin, not the worst or so we thought. It was a bit noisy!, No it wasn't just a bit noisy, it was unbelievably noisy, and bear in mind that my normal working environment is a 100Db plus sawmill.

Gran Canaria Running Club
Our cabin was right next to the winch drums for the mooring ropes and right above the engines, noisy and vibrating all night. So the following day a cabin move was on the cards, promoted to the dizzy heights of deck 7, only downside is a window that overlooks the promenade deck and although its allegedly one way glass, I won't be jumping out the shower bare bum, just in case.

Day Two - Gran Canaria, nice and sunny discovered a sports shop that was stacked with Salomon and Raidlight running gear, pure running pornography!
Decided that despite the sunshine and 26C I could manage a 15 mile run along the promenade without any form of sun cream, fail!. I managed the run and another 5 miles on the gym treadmill no problem, but joined the ranks of the beetroot faced, excessivly sunburnt stupid jocks. Only in the cool of the evening did we notice the local running club, running laps up and down the sea wall, possibly the longest bit of flat ground on the island and probably wondering why the big dafty in the Dumfries Harriers T-shirt was running up and down the hills in the midday sun?

Day Three - Funchal, cable car up the mountain, and a trip back down on what can only be desribed as a wicker backet on wooden runners, steered by two local worthies and sharing the road with taxi's, vans and every other road user, interesting and unique. Funchal is all hills so my 10 miler today, was challenging.
Scary Bunny
Day Three - Day at Sea, bit windy on deck so put in 10 miles on the dreadmill, minor hill session as the boat rocked up and down, houskeeping left a slightly scary looking towel rabbit in the cabin.

Day Four - Fuertaventura. One of the few downsides of cruising is the never ending food supply available, today's highlight was the rather large lady at the table next to us moaning to her partner "I don't know why I put on weight, I'm only eating salad?". Possibly, maybe because you've eaten 4 heaped plates of salad covered in dressing and washed it down with two pints of lager and a cocktail. I'm just guessing but..... Punished myself with 13 miles on the treadmill, iPhone podcast gave up after 40 minutes, due I suspect to being excessivly drenched in sweat.

La Gomera Beach

Day Five - La Gomera is the least developed of the Canary Islands and the town itself is mixture of quaint peasant houses and farms, empty shops and semi-industrial areas. A nice stroll round the town and a walk along the black sand beach. Followed by a 10 mile run on a deserted cactus lined, cliff top coast road with a view across to Teneriffe, 1 mile on the flat, 4 miles uphill, turn round 4 miles down and then back to the boat, great stuff.

Total mileage for the week 63 miles, most of which was hot and hilly, a really pleasant change from cold and snow round Mabie Forest.

We've done 4 or 5 cruise holidays now and I regularly get asked what it's like?, would I recomend it etc. Put simply the answer is yes. The service is excellent, the food abundant, the cabins are tiny (but you're only using them to sleep in); the entertainment is varied and good, you wake up somewhere different every day, you can do as much or as little as you want. Ann likes sunbathing, I like running an ideal division of labour.


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