Roaming in Rijeka

When we woke up this morning, the Queen Victoria was docked in another maiden port, that of Rijeka, Croatia.  Rijeka is the country’s principal sea port, located on the Kvarner Bay.  It is Croatia’s third largest city after Zagreb and Split.  Because of Rijeka’s strategic position and deep waters, the port was historically significant, formerly serving as the Kingdom of Hungary’s largest and most important port.  The city is well-known for shipbuilding and maritime transport.

We didn’t have any excursions booked today, preferring to do our own exploring.

Up in the Lido self-service restaurant, we shared our table with Billy and Carole, and enjoyed a good breakfast from the usual large selection of delights.  I had cold meats and cheeses with fresh pineapple and melon, washed down with cranberry juice and coffee and finished off with a bran muffin.  We then decided to reconvene ashore, in half an hour’s time.

After disembarking the Queen Victoria into the bright morning sunshine, we boarded the complimentary shuttle bus into the main town, where there was a wide, fully-pedestrianised street with many shops either side.  However, because it was Sunday, most of the shops were closed or were opening later on.  We were therefore limited to window-shopping, but in any case it was just pleasant strolling along.  The shops and buildings looked modern and typical of those in any developed main town, and we came to a large open market, with rows and rows of colourful stalls selling herbs, fruit and vegetables, doing a roaring trade with the locals buying the fresh produce to eat for dinner later on.  The produce stalls gave out to clothing stalls, but the types of things on sale could be bought anywhere, so we didn’t spend much time browsing there.

We continued on our way and soon found ourselves along the main seafront, where there were many large and small craft moored up, including a number of luxury private yachts.  The four of us spent quite some time looking at the yachts and choosing (dreaming of!) which one we would have if only we had enough money!  Even a jackpot win on the lottery wouldn’t be enough to buy one of these vessels, some of which had five decks and even their own tender dinghies.  Ah well… you can only dream.  😊

The sun was shining hotly so we decided to get a cold drink and sit on a bench in a nearby park.  A small newspaper/concession stand was selling cans of cold beer and bottles of Schweppes tonic water (so Carole could have a G&T on their balcony!), so we bought two of each and made our way into the park.  Sitting on the bench, we just watched the world go by, chatted and enjoyed our beers before taking a slow stroll back to the shuttle bus stop.  We thought we’d go back on board for lunch, then take a swim in the pool and sunbathe up on deck, as we guessed that the Queen Victoria would be fairly quiet as a lot of passengers were away on day trips.

Back on the Queen Victoria we returned to our respective staterooms, dumped our stuff then Trevor and I went to the self-service for a light lunch, just some cold meats and crisp salad vegetables for me.

Afterwards we sat out on our balcony in the sunshine, then I did some of this blog, had a half-hour power nap, then we decided to go and do some laps around the deck to get our step count up.  We then went up to the very top deck to look for Billy and Carole, but we couldn’t find them anywhere.  We therefore just pottered around a bit, whiling away the time with other passengers and just enjoying being on board this lovely ship.

The afternoon passed in its relaxing and pleasant way, until once again it was six o’clock and time to go to dinner.  By this time the Queen Victoria had set sail once again, and we watched the passing shoreline from the Britannia Restaurant window as we set off for our next exciting port of call.

We were out of the restaurant in good time tonight, and we had about an hour before show time.  We therefore went along to the Golden Lion for a post-prandial drink; the pub was packed and we couldn’t find a table for the four of us, so we went and sat on bar stools instead, half-heartedly doing the Wipeout Trivia quiz.  We then made our way to the Royal Court Theatre where we wanted to be sure of getting good seats for tonight’s performance, the “Magic of the Musicals”, featuring classical-crossover tenor Roy Locke, who has appeared in the West End as the Phantom, in the famous Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera.

Roy Locke was a fantastic singer, and did numbers from Les Misérables, West Side Story, The Lion King and, of course The Phantom.  For the All I Ask Of You song, he enlisted the help of one of the female soprano singers from the show company, and they performed the duet brilliantly.  All in all, it was a great show.

Then it was the nice, relaxing, winding-down part of the day; a visit to the Commodore Club to sit in the comfortable, dimly-lit lounge listening to the pianist and enjoying a cocktail (or two).  Then, around 11.30pm, we returned to stateroom 5130, enjoyed a nightcap on the balcony, read for a short while then settled down for the night.  We had a full day at sea to look forward to tomorrow, as well as a very special day.  😊

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