Blog Intro and Update – Rivers and WiFi – Grrrrrrr

I should have learnt by now that Rivers and Wi-Fi are rarely compatible!!   Certainly the Dnieper is no exception, so will try to post this as text only and when we get back to the joys, (or are they perils ?) of Internet access I will upload an avalanche of photos etc.

I suspect that some of you may need a “nudge” to let you know that I am up and blogging again.   Apologies if you get it more that once and feel free to ignore it etc…..

Flew from Malaga to Instanbul on Thursday with Turkish Airlines – whom, I have to say, have some of the most miserable and unfriendly crew that I have ever encountered.   They make EasyJet ground staff (a distant memory for me since they dumped me in Madrid Airport overnight on my birthday a few years ago without so much as an apology) positively welcoming!!

Anyway, I arrived at the new Istanbul Airport, which in April, replaced overnight the old one.    A logistical feat that makes anything that RWP may have achieved in the past seem relatively insignificant!!     A magnificent facility which once they can work out how to use it, should be a huge improvement on its predecessor!!    Cavernous terminals with every sort of electric vehicles zooming around in all directions – Buggies, Wheelchairs, Seways, scooters, luggage carts, etc – potential for total carnage once they add pedestrians to the mix  !! All driven/ridden by young volunteers wearing purple “Can We Help You ?” tee-shirts, which of course if you manage to stop one and ask, without getting run over – they can’t,  as they don’t know how it all works either !!     Plenty of room for improvement and I am sure – as with Terminal 5 at Heathrow a few years ago – will get better with time.    No lounges open yet so took refuge overnight in Yotel (an offshoot of Yo Sushi but without the fish !) another brainchild of my old mate Simon Woodroffe – compact, clean, comfortable and inside the terminal.

Up at dawn for the onward flight to Kiev – more unsmiling Turkish Airlines personnel – who I managed to navigate without any frustration induced strangulation!!!    Arrived in Kiev and connected with the Viking Cruises Team and Viking Sineus {which I am sure means something in Ukrainian} – my shipboard home for the next 10 days.     All excellent although with 200 passengers – my largest yet, and a reminder of my Southampton induced vows never to “cruise on large ships” – and, for my liking, slightly too many fellow passengers.    Its taken a couple of days to identify and target a couple of dinner companions – hopefully for the remainder of the cruise who hail from somewhere called Fargo {N or S Dakota?} in the US – great company so far and a taste for fine wine and the good life.   Needless to say I can’t remember their names so will need a memory jog when we reconnect later!!  OK it’s a fair cop I have has to slide “off the wagon” for a few days, though fully intend to clamber back on board when I get home in a couple of weeks !!

Kiev was – as expected – amazing.    Golden domes and mosaics – also the holiest Lavra (monastery to you and me) in the Russian/Ukrainian  Orthodox Religion with caves full of dead saints and monks.

Am starting to realise that any exploration of matters historical, seldom avoids some pretty gruesome stuff – and Kiev is no exception – with WW2 German and Russian atrocities including the horrors of the gorge at Babi Yar.     Once I get this blog up and running there will be a posting dedicated to Babi Yar which those of you of a squeamish nature may want to avoid.   Suffice it to say, that for someone who recently got back from the Cambodian killing fields, it makes them seem like a “walk in the park” which of course is how all these atrocities seem to start out !!!     Man’s inhumanity to Man never ceases to astound, and reinforces my belief and appreciation that my lifespan has indeed been blessed – never having to deal with, or witness any of that shit !!

I have decided to forego today’s shore excursion in Kemenchuk as it was destined to be a day of “home visits” (think Dachas and Dumplings) which with 5 x 40 seat coaches crammed to capacity, is my idea of hell !!!    So have stayed on board to catch up on blog text and sorting out photos etc.     Also hoping that Wi/Fi may reappear now that 200+ iPhones and iPads have “left the building – though not holding my breath as the crew will probably give it a good hammering now that the “guests” have pissed off for the day !!

It looks as though I may be about to get this text version posting so watch this space and I will attempt a more photo inclusive version later………..

R

2 thoughts on “Blog Intro and Update – Rivers and WiFi – Grrrrrrr

  1. A great start to your latest trip Robbie.. loved your des ription of Istanbul airport..good to have the heads up as off there myself shortly. Cruises definitely not my thing but I am sure you will make the most of it and winkle out kindred spirits along the way. Enjoy!

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