An afternoon in Cambodia

There are few things in life which I enjoy more than a holiday aboard a Thompson (TUI) cruise ship. That little blue plastic card is the ticket to two weeks of paradise! The first stop on our trip was in Cambodia – not the most obvious choice of a tourist destination but interesting nonetheless.

Our first trip out from the boat was to Sihanoukville on Cambodia’s south-west coast overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. With only an afternoon free in this port we boarded a tuk-tuk (complete with smoking engine and decorated with green astroturf) around a couple of areas of interest, including the famous ‘golden lions statue’ and the Wat Leu Temple on the outskirts.

There is a lot of poverty in Cambodia and it is impossible to ignore people living by the roadside and children begging for money in the streets. There is also massive construction work of luxurious apartments and it seems that every other renovated building is a casino, which is a shame.

Cambodia has a terrible history as I am sure you are already aware, and any decent tour guide will point out the killing fields and the legacy of the Khmer Rouge 1975 -1979, when Buddhist temples were destroyed, desecrated and used as mass graves. Even before this, the country was bombed consistently in the Vietnamese War with America.

The country is trying to rebuild and establish itself as a tourist base, and it does have a lot to offer, although there is such a lot of work needing to be done. Should we visit Cambodia again in, say, another ten years’ time, I am sure that it will look very different…

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The last cruise from Limassol

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Haifer
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Haifer

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Santorini

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Santorini

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Come this time of year the population of my Cypriot village, Oroklini, tends to diminish due to the Thompson cruise liner which lands for a day in the nearby port of Limassol. With no flights to buy, no weight restrictions on luggage (hurray!) and a mere 40 minute drive from the village this cruise is a definite favourite with many friends and village residents – some of whom manage to get really good last minute deals!

Me and my family climbed aboard for many years as the cruise fitted in with my daughters school holidays and it had great kids and teenager clubs, which seem to work brilliantly until your child decides they are far too cool for such organised activities…

The itinerary changes slightly from year to year, often depending on what is considered safe at the time. This year Egypt is off the menu, although we have had some really amazing trips out there the past. Israel is always interesting and this time we stopped at Haifer, before visiting the gorgeous Greek island of Santorini.

I had been to Mykonos many times before, but Santorini proved to be a real treat with its stunning cliff top views, sensational white washed stone buildings and cobbled alleyways of enticing little shops containing art, bronze sculpture and traditional handicrafts. We were lucky in having a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the views were amazing and we had lunch in a lovely little place with excellent Greek food and wine.

There was more fun to come, but this was certainly the highlight of the cruise for me!