Throwing shade on the tyranny of ‘always’

“Telling ourselves the story of “always + undesired outcome” wreaks havoc, not just on our ability to succeed, but on our lives. We begin to see failure and pain as a matter of fate. We stop believing a successful outcome is possible. That disbelief in possibility leads to inaction, which in turn seals the inevitability of our past becoming our future.” So says Jonathan Fields and he’s absolutely right. Have caught myself doing exactly that on more than one occasion and I bet you have too.

Wearing my career transition expert hat I often hear my candidates exclaiming ‘I always freeze in interviews’, ‘I always get rejected’, I always…(insert any number of negative job search fears) and no matter how much encouragement I invest in helping them reframe such statements, there are times when I realise they are simply mired in what Jonathan describes as ‘false negative absolutes’.

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    Wanna be dessert queen?

    Want to be front and centre hero at your Christmas soirées this year? Here’s a perfect poser dessert that will reward your ego with grateful accolades, a champagne toast or two (or three) and requests for the formula.

    My friend Jen presents this fabulous dessert at her Christmas luncheon to the delighted applause and plate licking pleasure of her guests. I picked up the baton and posted the recipe several years ago, had fun playing with the formula recently and, for the requesters, here’s an update. Plus a variety of options. Perfect for entertaining 8 to 10 of your nearest and dearest any time of year and ever so easy to knock up between those pesky household chores the day before serving.

    Click here for Recipe

    Need:
    2 x 220g bottles chocolate Ice Magic

    2 litres Cookies & Cream ice cream

    1 litre Vanilla ice cream

    2 packets Oreo Cookies

    Oil spray

    500g Strawberries for decoration

    Do:
    1) Spray a 22cm springform pan with oil spray then line the sides and base with a double layer of baking paper, extending 6cm above the rim of the pan

    2) Squeeze one bottle of Ice Magic over the base of the pan and spread to cover surface. Tap on bench to settle then pop in freezer until set

    3) Scoop 1/2 the Cookies & Cream ice cream into a bowel and stand at room temperature or until slightly softened

    4) Spoon the softened Cookies & Cream ice cream over the Ice Magic layer and press into an even layer with the back of a spoon

    5) Freeze for one hour or until firm

    6) Gently pulse one packet of the Oreos until coarsly crumbled

    7) Sprinkle Oreo crumbs evenly across the layer and return to freezer

    8) Soften Vanilla ice cream in the same manner and spoon over Oreo crumb layer

    9) Freeze for one hour or until firm

    10) repeat steps 6 and 7

    11) Spoon remaining  1/2 of the Cookies & Cream ice cream over the Oreo crumb layer

    12) Cover and freeze over night, until ready to serve

    13) Remove the side of the pan and carefully transfer cake to a chilled platter or cake stand

    14) Top with strawberries and drizzle with the remaining Ice Magic

    15) Serve immediately to the grateful hoards

    Enjoy!

    PS: Have fun experimenting with different flavours! A few to get you started:

    • Substitute Cookies and Cream for Caramel or Chocolate ice cream
    • Substitute Oreo Cookies for Maltesers or crushed choc mint biscuits
    • Substitute Strawberries for tempered chocolate shards and Maltesers or mint cookies

    Choices, choices!

     

    20140111-084054Thank you Australian Woman’s Weekly for the concept.

     

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      Blanc ‘n Spanx 

      You’re gonna be blogging about “Dîner en Blanc” right? Asked my fellow revellers. ‘Natch!’ said I between sipping bubbles, savouring our Hors d’oeuvres and quelling potential table envy. ‘Oh look! They’ve umbrellas dripping with fairy lights! How plump are those oysters? I want a pair of those fabulous wings! How sharp are those white Venetian masks? Row upon row of white swathed tables, their owners tweaking a flower here, rearranging  candles there, trailing fairy lights, settling in. A white linen napkin wave signalling the evening’s commencement. My god that table has an entire Eiffel Tower! Mon dieu! Je’adore!



      The scene, viewed from afar, is quite spectacular. White on white enhanced by lush spotlit greenery and a city skyline backdrop bathed in the glowing warmth of a setting sun softly shrouded by a misty sprinkle making for a slightly surreal air. This year the Botanic Gardens. Sparklers optional. Ok! ok! Enough of the waxing lyrical, let’s take a look at the practicalities of this gig.


      Name into a Ballot, fingers crossed, yea, accepted! Pay membership fee, entry fee for self and partner, make sure buddies are doing same at the same time, must have gang on the right bus, in the right departure location with the right leader at the right time. To where exactly? Well that’s a surprise, discovered upon actual arrival on the eve. The logistics associated with simultaneously ferrying all 3,000 participants into a sizeable venue requiring a fleet of mega buses and a strategy that positively makes my brain bleed.

      But wait! Supply own table and chairs – must be white. So too table cloths, napery, picnic basket, table decorations. (Umbrellas too for the gig takes place regardless of weather) Real linens, crockery, cutlery. Plastic and paper a no-no with just one exception – glassware. Wine preordered and collected at the event. Complete package can be hired. So too extravagant picnic baskets but hey! Where’s the fun in that when several pre DeB Champers fuelled luncheons to bespoke our menu, decor and attire will do it. Now speaking about that attire!

      White! Formal attire. White. Blanc. Damn the French! Yes, white can strike fear in many a heart belonging to a voluptuous body. But fear not fellow squidgy bit worriers! Spanx to the rescue. I’m talking ‘suck it in garments’ and I’m pretty sure the company itself could be sponsoring this insistence on white apparel! Department stores anticipating a heavy run on squidge corralling garments in the weeks leading up to the gig. I grabbed mine, felt like a trussed Turkey on thanksgiving but just look at that form!

      Now many have asked why one would bother going to all that trouble to attend a gig where you’re paying for the privilege of bringing your own everything?

      Well it’s the sheer fun of the planning, the trauma of finding the perfect white outfit, the thrill of an unknown destination. Assembling a pop up party, sharing food and wine with loved ones and table neighbours, admiring everyone else’s own ingenuity, dancing on bare grass to a cruisy band ’till your feet blister. Then dismantling and disappearing back into suburbia leaving nought but a footprint and a fond memory.

      It’s about being a member of a secret, coveted fine dining flash mob that meets just once a year. Originating in Paris, now held in over 70 cities across six continents, Brisbane the first to debut the gig in Australia, Canberra and Melbourne soon following suite. Hats off to the fabulous folk who make it happen: Diner en Blanc Brisbane
      Now what a clever Parisian was François Pasquier huh? A man who, over 25 years ago, simply wanted an elegant and special night with old friends. With a garden too small to entertain at home he invited them to meet at a public place, wearing white so that they could readily find each other. Thus was born Dîner en Blanc;  the anniversary of which recently attracted 15,000 guests to the event, held in its founding city.

      Did you attend? Tell us about your favourite memories..

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        Off the beaten Parisian path…

        Friends heading to Europe for Xmas recently asked, ‘Jane, how long should we spend in Paris and what’s to do?’ ‘Why at least two weeks, ideally six months, a year, forever; so much to see in this fine city!’ Pondering my frankly unhelpful Francophillian response, I actually gave the query serious thought:

        Three days?

        Big red bus city highlights recon to get the bearings. The Eiffel Tower’s pretty sparkles viewed from the Trocadero. The Arc de Triumph. The Champs Élysées for fabulous Xmas fairy lights, Laudree Macarons, Louis Vuitton Flagship store, Ferrari, Mont Blanc, Sephora. Oh! And the beautifully buffed semi naked eye candy guarding Abercrombie & Finch on the other side of those magnificent gold tipped black gates.

        The Grand and the Petite Palais for palace awesomeness. Palace Opera’s ornate mirrored glitz and bodaciously luxe tassles. The Louvre – Mona’s wing. Notre Dame point zero and those pretty stained glass windows. Sacre Coeur up there on the hill. Galleries la Fayette for that stunning dome ceiling. Fueled with plenty of fortification while seated on those cute little red wicker chairs on the Bistro footpaths of course.

        Five days?

        Add a day trip to Chateau de Versailles for an even bigger palace fix. Napoleon’s Tomb, Place de Voges, the Musee de Orsay, L’Orangerie and Pompidou for extra hits of visual culture. A wander in the Jardins des Tuileries and Jardins des Luxembourg to park your green chair wherever takes your fancy amidst the lush gardens, ponds, statues and Sunday boules players. The Latin Quarter. Bon Marche for the pure pleasure of feeling your credit card’s sphincter muscle contract. Fueled by still more French fare and people watching over a wine or five.

         Already ticked these boxes? Time to dig a little deeper into the less touristy fare. My top 10 suggestions:

        1) Rue de l’Abreuvoir –  it would be remiss to neglect this picturesque road as you wander around Montmartre, followed by Avenue Junot, very chic and along here you will find ‘Pass-muraille’ – the man who could walk through walls.

        2) The Je t’aime wall – while still in the region, wander Place des Abbesses, find the small public garden (Square Johan Rictus) and admire ‘Le mur des Je t’aime’  where you’ll find ‘I love you’ written in 311 languages…tres romantic in the city of…well um…romance? For more detail: Jacques and Jane discover the Je T’aime wall

        3) Le Moulin de la Gallete – while still in the Montmartre region you’ll find this elegant sister to the Moulin Rouge. One of only two other windmills left in Paris, this one houses a rather elegant restaurant.

        4) Space invaders – always, always look up as you traverse the more densely populated Arrondissement for high on the walls you will find pixel art mosaic space invaders. Over 1,182 in Paris alone, brainchild of an anonymous French artist known only as Invader. A tiny buzz each time you find one and a lot less embarrassing than chasing Pokemon. A previous post: Who loves Space Invaders?

        5) Porte Saint-Denis and Porte Saint-Martin. Aside from the well known arches on the ‘Triumphal Way’  (Arc de Triomphe Carrousel, Arc de Triomphe, La Defense), these lesser known arches are slap dab in the middle of densely populated streets and worth checking out just for their sheer audaciousness.


        6) The Louis Vuitton Foundation – oh yes, architect Frank Gehry stretching our minds yet again with one of his most magnificent pieces to date. Right up there with the late great Zaha Hadid.

        7) Rue des Rosiers for the Falafels – in Le Marais, my fave Arrondissement where the effortlessly minimalist chic Parisian hangs, particularly cool on a Sunday when the closed streets fill with said chic as they wander the many wine bars and boutiques.

        8) Rue Montorgueil on a Friday eve – closed to cars, the street filled with French food open market specialties, from rare fromage to giant meringues, rare chocolate to escargot. Speaking of; check out L’Escargot Bistro for the delicious molluscs for which the restaurant is named.

        9) The Passages – some quaint, many architecturally magnificent, a few in states of disrepair and all really quite special. Check out Passages du Grand Cerf, Galerie Vivienne, Passage Jouffroy and Passages des Panoramas for starters. See more here:   Coffee, cats and more Passages and Loving Parisian Passages


        And for a very special kind of bliss:

        10) A concert in Sainte-Chapelle – within the Palais de la Cite, on the Ill de la Cite and in the heart of Paris. Lazy afternoon light filtering through the most magnificent stained glass windows suffuses an atmosphere that, combined with the pure acoustics of the Chapel itself, may just bring a tear to your eyes. Pure joy.


        Enjoy my friends, enjoy. And come back safe.xx

        P.S. If you’d like to take in the most magnificent view that actually includes the Eiffel Tower, head to the Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck, spectacular!

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          Sweet mantra ‘o mine

          As most of you, my lovely readers, know  – I get myself into crazy messes, don’t seem to do things by halves, but do believe in grabbing life by the…um…’testicles’…this year an absolute classic.

          My home makeover for instance. Executed by my lovely friend James who morphed my humble abode into such a creative realm, friends were left grasping for platitudes…’um, wow, er?… no wait!  I LOVE that mirrored door!’ A home with a ceiling of midnight blue, where white Picasso mistrals drift across bedroom walls of forest mulch, where voluptuous vases of pink peonies and dusky roses require 6am, puffer jacket clad Rocklea flower market forays in search of the perfect bloom. (About to be photographed by some magazine, stay tuned for images). Oh yes, this house is certainly not for the faint of heart.

          So too, leaving the country for four weeks with just $4 in pocket (something to do with that interior design gig and a holiday application mix up) to indulge in a holiday  in ‘cash preferred’ corruption central Greece. The Greek islands to be exact. Where a 5 minute cab ride might cost €25 and a 25 minute ride €15. Oh yes, where tax dodge cash is king and credit cards cause consternation, an environment not one for the timid negotiator.

          And then there’s the quest for romance. The search to find THE one. Where 25 date site frogs, kissed in an effort to find a ‘Prince’ has resulted in a number who remain great friends, a couple with whom I may  just have fallen a little in love;  still more where a mental ‘damn where’s my wing man when I need her’ has verbally translated to ‘Oh! Sooo sorry, must run, parking meter about to expire!’ And possibly, just possibly, a match. Oh yes, this game definitely not for the ego sensitive.

          When life gets beyond sane, I remind myself of the late great Lou Reed’s words ‘She said hey babe, take a walk on the wild side’. And with that mantra, comes wonderful life lessons. An interior makeover that encouraged me to think beyond mainstream decor;  the holiday ‘credit card or nothing’ necessity that encouraged me to demand ‘ya’ want the sale or not!?’ The sweet dating match who mentally encouraged me to reconsider my 10 ‘must have’ deal breaker characteristics for the 20+ ‘nice to have’ on offer.

          Lou Reed, I intend on keeping those words alive if that’s ok with you sir. So too my friends, I just know it.

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            ‘O Sole Mio’…or not?

            Venice. How can one visit this mystical city without stepping into one of those sleek black Gondolas at least once? Quietly gliding beneath one or two of the 409 bridges that span the 150 plus channels, linking the 117 small islands that constitute Venice while enjoying the soothing baritone of your Gondolier’s narration. Admiring the softly decaying brick facades with petticoats of lush green moss while trailing fingers in the clear aqua marine waters as your Gondolier croons a sweet ballad. Sigh! While standing atop one of the bridges watching the many Gondolas gliding deftly beneath, I became a tad curious. Why are they all black? What does that pointy thing on the stern symbolize, and why are the Gondoliers male?

            image

            A spot of sleuthing later and here’s the low down:

            Although always black (six coats) – the result of a 17th century law a doge enacted to eliminate competition between nobles for the fanciest machine – each Gondola has unique upholstery, trim and detailing but with just three flourishes – a curly tail, a pair of seahorses and a multi pronged prow. The six horizontal lines and curved top of the prow represent Venice’s six districts and the doge’s funny cap. Each one weighs 700g, has 280 components and uses eight types of wood. Interestingly they are slightly lopsided and bow out on the left, this asymmetry causing the Gondola to resist the tendency to turn toward the left at the forward stroke and compensates for the weight of the gondolier who stands in the stern and rows only on the right side.

            image

            Just as the Gondola is an iconic symbol of Venice, so too the Gondoliere, or the traditional oarsman, each one sporting a jaunty black and white striped shirt and straw boater. Whereas once a male dominated industry, in 2010, Venice finally appointed its first ever female gondolier Giorgia Boscolo. Go girl! Jostling amongst the chunky Vaporettos (water bus), sleek timber speed boats, produce movers, the odd cruise ship and 400 fellow Gondoliere is not for the faint of heart but the Gondoliers nail it. After all they’ve had extensive periods of training and apprenticeship, six months including 400 hours of instruction in using the distinctive single oar that is used to propel the gondola, to be exact, plus an exam which tests knowledge of Venetian history and landmarks, foreign language skills and the practicalities of manoeuvring the Gondola through narrow canals. Interestingly, when a Gondolier dies, the licence passes to his widow.

            image

            Now that you’ve popped a Gondola ride on your Venetian agenda, here’s a few things to consider before you blindly take that Gondolier’s hand and settle into his sleek machine. Some might offer narration or conversation and if this is important to you, it pays to conduct a little interview with your potential Gondolier to see how you relate and whether you can understand him, at the same time reviewing the map to discuss the route for some are crowded and chaotic; the duration of the trip and the price. The latter is usually fixed however there’s room to haggle when it’s quiet or in off season.

            Oh! And despite depictions in the movies, not all gondoliers sing. If you are hankering for a serenade, ask first. If you’ve had the good fortune to hire a musician and are yearning for a spot of ‘O Sole Mio’ (which comes from Naples), well that’s like asking a Jazz singer to sing Waltzing Matilda. Instead try requesting  ‘Un canto Veneziano? (sing a Venetian song?) – ‘Venezia La Luna e Tu?’ (a Venetian song), and you may just be rewarded. Enjoy!

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              Sailing the Adriatic – a blogger’s pit stop diary

              Dear Blog Diary…about this Athens – Venice cruise. How are we to share the excitement of seven days aboard a snazzy ship with Greek Island and Croatian pit stops when on board wifi is so damn satellite exy? FB snapshots backed up with a spot of diary musings for later free wifi gratuitous blog over-sharing natch! A good thing lovely readers for I suspect excessive complementary cocktails may just compromise a girl’s writing skills (sorry – not sorry). For the curious, here are the outcomes:

              Tuesday: Throw the ropes off, good bye Athens, 4.30pm, 235 fellow passengers, heading for the Corinth Canal. Rather spech boat the Le Lyrical, brushing up on French, the ship’s first language. View the ship being gently guided through the canal by the ‘tiny tugboat that could’ on top deck. Accompanied by a Violinist. And French champagne. And a great deal of oh la la! Hit the cabin doona 11pm a little bit tipsy on excitement and exhaustion…and champers…and that nightcap in the piano bar.

              Just a little curious about the Corinth Canal? Well the canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. Cutting through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, it separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island.

              The canal is 6.4 kilometers in length, only 21.3 meters wide at its base, earth cliffs flanking either side reach up to 63 meters in height. A dream that dates back over 2000 years, finally accomplished 1893.  Ironically, aside from a few modest sized cruise ships like the Le Lyrial, the Corinth Canal is unserviceable to most modern ships. Damn fine place for bungy jumping though! There you go.

              Wednesday: Anchor off Zakinthos, Greece. Leisurely breakfast on pool deck, board the shore excursion boat, wander around with vague intent on buying a hat, nope, shops closed, it’s siesta time. Substitute with a G&T or three, free wifi in a hip little cafe and a snap shot or two.

              The interesting stuff: Inhabited from the Neolithic age. Homer, the famous Greek poet mentioned Zakynthos in his masterpieces the Iliad and the Odyssey. Lots of conquering along the way.

              Tolmides, the Athenian military commander concluded an alliance with the Island between 446 and 459 BC during the First Peloponnesian War to source tar from the island’s lakes to protect the planking on their shipping fleet. Better than pitch which is made from pine trees.

              And did you know that during Nazi occupation of Greece, the Mayor and Bishop at the time refused Nazi orders to turn in the town’s Jewish community for deportation to the death camps, instead hiding all 275 of them in rural villages. All survived.

              Also prime nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles. Also known for the beautiful Navagio beach and limestone caves. We’ll be checking out similar tomorrow.

              Finish day with cocktail of the day (Apple-Tizer), Captain’s own welcome cocktail (free for all – choices, choices!), Gala dinner in posh restaurant, check out the pianist (stardust memories), crash.

              Thursday: Paxos ‘n Antipaxos smallest group of Ionian Islands, brilliant azure blue waters, pretty villages, wall to wall yachts, sunburnt snouts. 

              First up fresh juice, bespoke omelette, coffee then grab ship provided Palms (fins) face-masks and snorkels, towels and water, slap on sunscreen and swim-suits and jump aboard a smaller boat to explore Paxos and Antipaxos. Limestone caves, startlingly clear aqua waters, beach pebbles that tickle underfoot, bombs straight off the back of the boat and a bunch of sun crazed water lovers making for a fun, pleasantly exhaustive day.

              According to Greek mythology, Poseidon created the island by striking Corfu with his trident, so that he and wife Amphitrite could have some peace and quiet. Peaceful. Quiet. Poseidon nailed it.

              Edit

              Dodge dancing classes, dine a la carte, hit top deck where the place is going off like a frog in a sock (pardon pun, boat is full of French folk after all), fall sleep in Albania, wake up in Montenegro. The water a millpond.

              Friday: Squeezed into Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor (or ‘the Bokor’ as known by the locals) to the strings of Tchaikovsky; greeted by the monastery’s delicate bells in response to three brash honks from the ship’s horn, as is customary. Held my breath, what if the bell ringer neglects his duty and blows this age old tradition? He didn’t, phew! Next stop Dubrovnik. 

              Croatia! First up – Dubrovnik.

              Sooo…really did climb all over Dubrovnik – my new favourite European city for quaintness, and cats, and Game of Thrones déjà vu moments, and that drawbridge, and, and…

              Another UNESCO and no surprises for this distinctive medieval city is surrounded by 2klm of massive stone ramparts built between the 11th and 17th centuries. Well-preserved buildings ranging from the baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum, the Stradun (or Placa) paved with limestone and lined with shops and restaurants. And tourists. Must. Walk. Wall. Backdrop for G.o.T ‘King’s Landing’ and many, many movies.

              Skip mariner swim off the back of the boat, snuggle into bathrobes, pour G&T, dine in with a movie.

              Saturday: Quick coffee, jump on board shore excursion boat, quick hike to Mjlet’s crystal clear lakes, more coffee, back on board and on to Korkula.

              Korcula equals brilliant medieval town planners! Curved streets one side, straight the other in a fishbone zigzag to capture best breezes and all leading to bell tower at the top. Bit of a story about Marco Polo. Impossible to get lost, here’s proof we didn’t:

              We have the port to ourselves and it’s no mean feat swinging the ship into her station but of course the captain nails it! Straight on shore for a quick explore followed by a soothing G&T before wandering back to our floating home.

              Did you know that during the First World War, the island (among other territorial gains) was promised to the Kingdom of Italy in the 1915 Treaty of London in return for Italy joining the war on the side of Great Britain and France? Just one of the many takeovers Korcula and her counterparts have experienced over the centuries.

              Skip every kind of class back on board, throw back a ‘Le Fruit Defendu’ cocktail of the day, dine posh, sup a particularly pleasant Merlot, check out dancers, wind down with a soothing tea (yes! On the odd occasion we drank non alcoholic beverages, very odd indeed)

              Sunday: Hvar! Small medieval fortification, big reputation, three UNESCO heritage listings – greedy huh? (more on blog when free wifi kicks back in). Crisp green waters against a backdrop of dusky Olive and rich purple Lavender, and just a spot of foliage persistence.

              But first up and at ’em with Birchers muesli, fresh baguette smothered in lurpac, coffee; followed by liberal sunscreen and sensible shoes (no, that’s a fib, sneakers don’t work with my silk numbers) and off to explore. This place:

              Consistently listed in Conde Naste’s top 10 islands, the most popular tourist destination in the Croatian Islands thanks to excellent marketing in its early days – ‘come for seven days and if it rains or snows on one of them, you’ll get your money back’. Given it’s the sunniest of them all, temps rarely below 13 degrees, a pretty sure bet! What’s more, a harbour of brilliant aqua makes you want to dive in boots and all.

              A quaint Franciscan monastery, it’s walled sanctuary centering on a Renaissance cloister, with a 900 year old pine tree in the courtyard. The museum is home to a magnificent 17th-century painting of the Last Supper. A large limestone paved public square (St Stephen’s) that’s anchored by a Renaissance-era cathedral and open to the sea. Oh! And a port filled with Yachts. Big ones!

              Back on board in time to watch a serious ‘I demand to speak to the manager’ scrabble for Laduree Macarons, attempt a quiz with our swelling bunch of friends (mostly Australian – you know – the noisy ones) and lose most in translation, casual dinner on deck, check out dancers and sneak off to bed.

              Monday: Opatija…try saying that with a mouth full of cracker! The city feels like Cannes, like the riviera of Croatia, the place where the Russian Oligarch spend their vacations. Pretty.

              A sleep-in, breakfast of kings, then off to explore ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’, renowned for its beautiful architecture, quality hotels, well tended botanical park that protects over 160 species. Particularly enamoured with Vila Angiolina built in 1844 by Iginio Scarpa, once hosting a myriad of famous guests ranging from Albert Einstein to James Joyce, now a museum.

              Snapshots of the ‘Maiden with the seagull’, a statue by Zvonko Car (1956) positioned on a promontory by the Juraj Šporer art pavilion, a wander along the promenade to view the luxurious hotels, a G&T and toast to this our last excursion. 

              Tonight our grand captain’s farewell dinner, a chance to swap FB and email addresses with our new friends Pascale and Brigette, Debbie and Peter, Jenny and Ann and our lovely US friend Marjorie, now in her late 70’s, a party reveller hell bent on spending her kid’s inheritance by inviting them along, effectively guaranteeing their attention. Couldn’t think of a better way to do so than take a cruise along the Dalmatian coast, could you?

              Tuesday: Venice, a perfect opportunity to say farewell to the Le Lyrial via the bow as we make our way into port…

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