Tag Archives: SchoolCruise

Athens, Greece

For background please read The Educational Cruise for all related posts select SchoolCruise tag. (Post 8 of 8)

Log book extract

Thirteenth day. Date 10th May, bound from Istanbul to Athens.
I woke up at 7:20 am and I got dressed and had breakfast. Today we had lessons they were classroom (write up folder) assembly hall (talk about Greece) deck games (it was rounders). After dinner I packed most of my junk into my case and then we had a bridge visit. I really enjoyed myself today. This evening I went to the disco it was on till 11 pm but I left at 10:30 pm.

Fourteenth day. Date 11th May, bound from Athens to Gatwick.
I woke up at 6:30 am and got dressed and had breakfast. We got rid of my case and got ready to go on a tour of Athens. We also went shopping. I checked in my luggage at about 4 pm and the flight was 5 pm. We landed at Gatwick at 6:30 pm English time, cleared by customs at 7:30 pm, I got on the coach, and got to Gisleham School at about 12 midnight. Got home at 12:30 AM
Athens Latitude 37°59’N Longitude 23°43’E
Gatwick Latitude 51°9’N Longitude0°10’W

Work folder report


When we got off the boat the heat was intense. There were lots of cars trying to hurry to their destination. We got on a coach which took us for a quick tour of Athens and then to the Parthenon, where we were allowed to roam around the Parthenon looking at the sculptures. I looked over the side and I saw the Greek theatre or the remains of anyway. We then made the way back to the ship. On the way back Alison and I were exchanging thoughts about the Acropolis and I said “I am very disappointed, only half a ton of columns, bit of wall and a heap of rubble”.

We were told that first thing in the morning the Parthenon is a pale pink, midday it is white, in the evening it is a subtle golden colour. When we looked across Athens there was one big grey thick cloud of pollution hanging over the place.

When we got back we were allowed to do some last minute shopping, I got a gold and silver ring, a leather belt and some fruits to eat. In the afternoon we left the SS Uganda, it was very sad as we all had had a really exciting and memorable experience.

That’s all folks! Revisiting my old book’s has been quite the memory trip. I wish I’d taken more photos and kept more detailed journals but it did kick start a habit of documenting travels.

The following year the Falkland Islands conflict erupted and SS Uganda was commandeered as a hospital ship. After her war work attempts were made to refit her for educational cruises but things had changed, package holidays were becoming much cheaper. In 1986 she was decommissioned and sent to Taiwan to be broken up, a typhoon caused her to slip her moorings and she ran aground and rested there until being broken up in 1992.


Posted by on April 15, 2022 in Life


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Istanbul, Turkey

For background please read The Educational Cruise for all related posts select SchoolCruise tag. (Post 7 of 8)

Log book extract

Twelfth day. Date 9th May, bound from Trabzon to Istanbul.
This morning I went on a coach tour we went to Saint Sophia church, blue mosque and a museum. I was very disappointed when I went into the blue mosque because it wasn’t very blue as I thought. The museum was great especially the jewelry in there. But the afternoon was even better because we went to the world famous Bazaar, it was a laugh. I bought my mum a tray, he wanted £15 so I said £10, he said £13 I said £11 and that’s final, so he said just for you I will take it. Mr Jones got a tray like mine only slightly bigger. After that the man gave me a pendant.
At 9 am there was an announcement over the tannoy that Prefects were to get the mail, I stayed in the dormitory as I knew I shouldn’t get a letter, then Baggot said Caroline is looking for you she has got a letter for you. I went into Greene classroom and I was the only person in the morning who got a letter. It was a very big surprise to me and it was from most of the family. I have enjoyed today and I am dog tired. I’ve got to bed at 9:45 pm.
Latitude 41°0’N. longitude 28°58’E

A Letter From Home

Work Folder report


Istanbul has a population of over 5 million and in the city the size of Istanbul it is very very easy for people to get lost because you have teenage boys trying to sell you Turkish delight, postcards or hats and old ladies and gentlemen (not gentle very rough man!) trying to sell jewelry or carpets or hats and you can hardly see your party leader.

In the morning we went on a tour first of all we went to Ayasafia (Saint Sophia) we didn’t have to take our shoes off because it was a Christian Church in the shape of a mosque. The mosque (as they call it) has got four minarets (small towers) one at each corner. Inside the chandeliers nearly touched my head, they were very low. The Ayasfia mosque is famous because it’s dome is the largest in the world, it is approximately 100 feet across and it is 170 feet above the ground.

Next was what I was waiting for, the blue mosque, but I was very disappointed when I got in after taking my shoes off, because it wasn’t very blue at all, well the odd bit of blue were being replaced by thicker and more standout blue but still, the completed side of the mosque was very much brighter than what the really old blue. When I got out I was about to put my shoes on, I had got my left foot in my shoe but this man kept moving my right shoe away, so I was hobbling along trying to put my shoe on.

After that we went to the Topkapi Palace where I saw the plates that had special paint on them. This ruler of Turkey would only eat off these plates because legend said that if there was poison in the food then the plate would turn blue.

Also we saw jewelry but it looked too good to be true, so I didn’t feel as if there was millions of pounds around me.

In the afternoon we went to the Turkish bazaar. Mr Jones and I went together to get my mum a tray. I saw this one I really liked Mr Jones asked how much it will cost and £15 I said no the man said £13 and I said £10 no more, the man said no, so I said £11 no more no less, it was yes or no, so he took the tray away and wrapped it up and I gave him the money. I walked away with a smile on my face.


Posted by on April 11, 2022 in Life


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Trabzon, Turkey

For background, please read The Educational Cruise and for all related posts select SchoolCruise tag. (Post 6 of 8)

Log book extract

Tenth day. Date 7th May, bound from Trabzon to Istanbul
We arrived in Trabzon at about 8 am and we docked at 9:30 am. I got up and had breakfast and I went on deck to see the dancers on the shore. The first thing we did was independent sightseeing and we had to go in groups of six, (three boys, three girls), I went with Mr Jones and Mrs Reed. Mrs Reed bought a lovely pair of earrings and a little silver tray and a glass of dish to match. In the afternoon we went on a tour to a house which belonged to the man who brought Turkey up to the 20th century, also we went to the Museum of Saint Sophia (just a dome half derelict) and large mosque, where we had to take off our shoes. When we got back to harbour, we were able to buy some things from the stalls at the dock. I brought four boxes of Turkish delight but one was bad so Lynn and Richard will have to go without. I myself have never liked Turkish delight or de-yuck so I am okay. Tonight I went to the disco, it was great fun. I’ve got to bed at 9:40 pm.
Latitude 41°00’N Longitude 39°43’E

Eleventh day. Date 8th May, bound from Trabzon to Istanbul.
I woke up at 6:15 and got up at 7:25 am. I had breakfast. This morning I had lessons and they were, assembly hall (about Istanbul) private study (Writing up log book) classroom (writing up folder). I had dinner after dinner I wrote my piece of work for the competition. Then I’ve got my costume ready for the fancy dress competition. After tea I got dressed into my gear and put my make-up on and went to the Veranda as a Saint Trinian School Girl. When I was on stage I caused havoc, it was great fun. I’ve got to bed at about 10 pm.

Work folder report


As we came into harbour there was four sets of dancers and a horde of man, the man stare at you and it makes you feel all creepy. Trabzon made the arrival of SS Uganda a great visit, the man on the tannoy said that Trabzon is visited about once a year and due to our visit there was a full scale cleanup.

In the morning we went independent sightseeing, Mr Jones and Mrs Reed, Alison, Jane, Marianne and I went together into a jewellery shop and Mrs Reed bartered for a pair of earrings but she couldn’t get the price low enough so she went somewhere else.

In the afternoon we went on a tour. We went to a house that belonged to a man called Kamal Mustafa Ataturk. He was the man who brought Turkey into the 20th century and the Turks wanted to give Kamal a token of gratitude so they built him a villa. The villa had three floors with quite a modern bath and toilet. It had a balcony on both sides looking onto the front garden, the front garden had paved round a very large fish tank in the middle and the gardens around the edge.

After the villa we went to the Saint Sophia museum there was a big dome in the middle with four other domes around it. It looked half derelict to me. We went to a mosque and had to take our shoes off then after looking round the mosque we had to put them back on again and drive back to the ship.

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Posted by on April 5, 2022 in Life


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Constanta, Romania

For background please read The Educational Cruise and for all related posts select SchoolCruise tag. (Post 5 of 8)

Log Book extract

Eighth day. Date 5th May, bound from Varna to Constanta.
We arrived at Constanta at 7 am. We all got up and went to breakfast, then we disembarked for the tour which took us to an aquarium, an archaeological museum and Roman mosaic and a British seaside resort called Mamaia, our guides name was Dana. In the afternoon we went independent sight seeing and Terry Moore missed the bus. I had a doughnut it cost me 25 Bani. We missed the bus back so we walked back. This evening I went to a dance, got to bed at 9:40pm.
Latitude 40°40’N Longitude 39°30’E

Ninth day. Date 6th May, bound from Constanta to Trabzon
I woke up at 7:30 am. The lessons I had were deck games, assembly hall (talk by Ronald Hope) and then classroom. For dinner I had meat pie and mash potato with a drink of grape fruit. This afternoon I watched hockey and then I did some writing. After that I had tea, I went to the film it was called A Hard Days Night. Then I went to bed at 9:30 pm.

Work folder report


Constanta is in a communist country same as Bulgaria. We went to an aquarium, where we saw the type of fish that we make caviar from. The people in Romania are much more friendly than people in Bulgaria. Romania lets European countries trade with them so there is much more freedom there.

The tour our party went on went to an archaeological museum where it showed you what instruments the people used in old times before the engine was invented. We also saw a carving of a thing, it had a snakes body, an antelopes head and human ears, it was very strange. Then we went into a building where the floor below us was a Roman mosaic. A Roman mosaic is like a tiled floor only the tiles are made from different stones and are about 1 cm square. It was very intricately done and surprised me how perfect it was and to think that thousands of years ago it was done it was amazing.

Houses in Romania are rather dull coloured compared to the British houses and the houses in Bulgaria were all grey and look half dead.


Posted by on April 1, 2022 in Life


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Varna, Bulgaria

For background, please read the blog post The Educational Cruise and for the full series of posts select SchoolCruise tag. (Post 4 of 8)

When we were on a port visit our group would wear a red sweatshirt, made us easier to spot in a crowd. That red sweatered fuzzy figure sitting by the fountain is me! The only picture in all my books that I am in.

From the log book

Seven day. Date 4th May, bound from Volos to Varna
We arrived at Varna at 7 am and we were all up by 7:10 am, I got dressed and washed and went to breakfast. Then I went to our classroom and we disembarked, then we walked into Varna to the government shops, I’ve bought a cigarette holder for my sister. It cost £1.05 but they wouldn’t take coins, so I gave £1. This afternoon we went on a coach tour and we got a little bottle of perfume and some weaving as a token of gratitude. The place was a museum of costume. I went to bed at 9:30 pm.

The work folder report


Varna is ruled by Russia and because of this it is a communist country. All the cars in Bulgaria are Ladas and monkazetes [Moskvitch] which is a Russian fiat. The streets are very dirty and unclean. There are two parts for shopping, there is the shop that will take Bulgarian money and the shops that will take English sterling. When you go to purchase something you ask for what you want, the lady behind the counter will write out two receipts for you then you go to a counter and pay but the lady at the till won’t take English coins and your change is in sweets or if you spend £3 and give the till lady £5 you will get £2 back. When you have paid you go back to the shop where your goods are and you give the receipt back and she will give you your goods and your change if any. I went to buy a cigarette holder and it cost £1.05, so I gave the till lady £1.05 and she shushed the 5pence back into my hand, so I gained 5pence.

Varna makes me feel creepy because of all the gunships and the thought of soldiers with machine guns ready to fire at you. In the afternoon we went sightseeing. We went into a museum which was like an old house with old clothes and furniture also archaeological remains of a Roman bath.

I do remember that our departure from Varna was delayed because a Russian warship had docked and blocked the port and we could not leave until after they had moved.

Varna was the one port we had to individually show our identity cards and have them stamped by very authoritarian uniformed men, all very intimidating.


Posted by on March 28, 2022 in Life


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Volos, Greece

For back ground please read The Educational Cruise for all related blogs select the SchoolCruise tag. (Post 3 of 8)

Although we docked in Volos, really it was the stopping point to visit the monasteries of Meteora. The area was also used as a location for the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.

Log book extract

Fifth day. Date 2nd May, bound from Volos to Varna.
Today I woke up at 6:30 am. I got up and went down to breakfast. We went to our classroom (Greene) and we got our Dracma. Then we disembarked and on the way picked up our packed lunch. We went and saw two monasteries and on the second one we had to climb 260 steps, then we went into town for lunch. Then we had the two hour coach journey. When we got back there was a thunderstorm and the rain was pelting down. We set sale at 6:15 pm. We had a rough night Brigata felt seasick. Also I washed my socks.

Sixth day. Date 3rd May, bound from Volos to Varna
I woke up at 6:45 am. This morning we had assembly hall and it was very boring, then we were going to see the bridge but it was cancelled, so we sunbathed. For lunch I had fish and chips, this afternoon we had a classroom and after that Alison and I sunbathe and this evening I went to the funfair, but it wasn’t worth it. For tea I had shepherds pie, mash potatoes and baked beans. Got to bed at 9:45.
Latitude 40°25’N longitude 26°42’E

Work folder report


Volos has a population of over 100,000 people. We disembarked and we had the delight of a P&O packed lunch: we got on a coach and had a 2 1/2 hour journey to 2 monasteries in Meteora.

They were perched on top of very large rocks and we had to drive up there. The road was very windy and steep. We got to the first one at 10:45 am and as we went towards the door the guide told us that in self defence they would draw up the drawbridge, but none of the chains were safe and the bridge is now fixed. We went into the church and it was split up into three parts they are the entrance or foyer, the nave, and the altar. The altar is thought to be the most holy part of the church so it was covered by a wooden screen. We got back into the coach and had a short journey to another monastery. To get to that one, we had to climb up 260 steps. When we got there we saw another church but this time the altar was being cleaned so we saw the cross but the shadow was on it and we were not allowed to take photos. In the nave the wood work is brightly painted with the scenes of Jesus’s life.

Next we went into a large room with a very large barrel which holds 247 Liters of water, and beside it were some small barrels to hold the wine.

Also we saw how people used to get up and down on a hoist. They used to lower down a rope with a net on and people or provisions would get into the net and the monks would wind up the net by holding a handle and walking round in circles. Then they would put it on a trolley on wheels and were be able to release the net, so that the people could get out or the monks could put the provisions away.

After visiting the monasteries we went into the village of Kalambaki. Then we had the journey back and during that journey we saw some stork nests perched on top of a church tower. I was very tired when I got back to SS Uganda but I had enjoyed my day.


Posted by on March 25, 2022 in Life


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SS Uganda at Sea

For back ground, please read The Educational Cruise for all extracts select SchoolCruise tag. (Post 2 of 8)

THE SHIP (work folder report)

My first impressions of the ship when I got on board was that it was very big, it was just as the booklet said “it’s just like a large school on water”. When I got to the dormitory I found it was very cramped considering how much space there was in the common room and covered deck space.

When we set sail for Volos we had our first emergency drill. We had to run to our muster station, mine was on the port side of the paying passengers swimming pool. We were told where to get a life jacket, how to put them on and what to do if we were in the water. Then we had a full scale emergency drill, we had to get to our muster station, grab and put on our lifejackets and get prepared for when the lifeboats were dropped but the captain decided not to do that bit.

The life-saving equipment the Ship took was 24 lifeboats, 12 life raft and a life jacket for every person on the ship.

What I learned about the ships routine was early rise and early to bed and a day jam-packed with things to do.

The different departments necessary for the running of the ship are; deck officers, engineers, radio officers, purses, medical, matrons, school desk staff, bridge officers, and cooks.

We had to alter our watches back by two hours out of Malta. Then forward one hour at Volos, then forward half an hour at Varna, then back half an hour to Athens and back two hours at home.

Log Book extract.

Third day. Date 30th April, bound from Malta to Volos.

I woke up at seven and got dressed. I had Ricicles for breakfast. We had lessons this morning they were; assembly hall, private studies, classroom. After dinner, assembly hall, deck games and classroom. For dinner I had chicken and chips. This evening Alison and I went to the disco. At 9:45 pm I went to bed.

Fourth day. Date 1st May, bound from Malta to Volos

I got up at 7:30 am and went to breakfast. Our lessons today were, classroom then assembly hall and then deck games. After lunch it was classroom, assembly hall and private study. For tea I had pork chops and baked potato. Tonight I stayed in and had an early night. We arrived at the Volos at 7 pm, I got to bed at 10 pm.

Latitude 38°39’N. Longitude 24°13’E

Visit To The Bridge. (Work folder report)

The most interesting part about the bridge was the amount of space there was, when we went up the ship was on autopilot. I saw the two radar screens and the echo.

The echo is a device that measures and records the amount of space between the bottom of the ship and the bottom of the sea bed. The ship’s wheel was made of brass, there are two compasses, one an ordinary car compass only larger and a compass that uses magnetic North. The flags that were used during the cruise are; P (Blue Peter) “I’m leaving in 24 hours” Q “I am healthy” G “I require a pilot” and H “I have a pilot”.


Posted by on March 22, 2022 in Life


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Valletta, Malta

For back ground, please read The Educational Cruise For the full series of blogs select SchoolCruise tag. (Post 1 of 8)

Log Book Extract

First day, date 28th April, bound from England, to Malta
We set off from Gisleham School bound for Gatwick Airport.
We got to the airport an hour early at 4AM. I was going to telephone Lynn at 6 am but the phones were busy.
We got on the plane at 7 am and landed at 11 am,
we had a short journey to the docks and embarked.
I got my suitcase at 1 pm. The food was unbearable so we
finished our sandwiches. In the afternoon we went into
Valletta to do some shopping, I got some postcards. When
we got back on board I wrote my postcard, bought some
stamps and posted them. I got to bed at 9 pm.
Latitude 35°50’N Longitude 14°20’E

Second day. Date 29th April, bound from Malta, to Volos
I woke up at 6:50 am. I got up just after 7 am. We were
called for breakfast, I had continental. When I got back
I made my bed. We then went into Malta sightseeing, we
saw the armoury and a Saint Johns Cathedral, the
paintwork was immaculate. We had to be back by 11:30 am
so we could sail by 2 pm. At 3:30 pm we had a muster
station exercise and at 4:30 pm we had a full emergency
exercise. Then Alison and I went sunbathing. For tea I
had chicken wings, sweetcorn and mashed potatoes. In the
evening I went to the film it was ‘the Mirror cracked’
by Agatha Christie. I got to bed at 10 pm.

We flew from Gatwick at ridiculous o clock in the morning to Malta to join our floating school. I vividly remember watching from the deck all the suitcases being bundled onto a large barge and then various ropes being pulled and copious amounts of shouting to ease it to beside the ship. Then crew members taking the cases off and placing them in sectioned areas where we could go and collect our case to take to our dormitory and unpack into the small locker.

This was an educational trip, lectures were held about the port, as well as talking about it in our classroom sessions. We had large work folders and after each port visit we had to write a small report, the folder had a few genetic questions to help the creative juices flow. Reading them again to transcribe, at thirteen I wasn’t the most competent or imaginative of writer, but it did begin a habit I carried on for all my adventures, keeping a journal of my ‘big’ adventures.


Valletta was a busy sort of place.

There were buses, old cars, motorcycles and horse and
carts as transport. The shops had a lot of sale goods
outside the shop. In one place postcards were 5 cents
equals 6 1/4 p and in another they were 2 1/2 cents
equals 3 1/4 p. The roads were paved and so were the
pavements. The goods people were selling were Maltese,
but there was a co-op shop there as well.

In the market place there were more clothes and music
tapes than a fruit or vegetable stalls as in English
markets. The currency of the country was the Maltese
pound and cents, the shopkeepers would take English
money but only pounds. A Maltese pound is worth £1.10 in
English pound and a Maltese cent coin are very much like
English coins, the 50cent is the same shape and size as
an English 50p, the 25cent was a bit smaller than the
50p, 10cent is the same shape and size as a 10p, a 5
cent was slightly bigger than an old sixpence and one
cent is the same size and shape as a penny.

We went to St John’s Cathedral and the ceiling was
immaculately painted with little scenes in the life of
Saint John, the floor was covered with graves and on top
of the graves the family had made patterns containing
whether they had been good or bad and what family they
had come from and a piece of writing to remember them
personally. The cathedral is the richest cathedral. Also
we went and saw an old palace with armoury and as we
entered there was wax models with the armour on and a
carriage before that and a very large cannon, opposite
there was a room with the swords and arms and some small
cannons. They showed you how many pieces of armour were
on a body. The people in those days were about 5’8″ at
the most.

The streets of Malta are very busy with traffic and
people trying to sell their goods. Malta is a very
English feeling country by means of cars (mostly minis
and buses), language, names, signs and some sales goods.

After leaving we had two days at sea….onto the next enthralling edition.


Posted by on March 18, 2022 in Life


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The Educational Cruise

Back in April 1981 (don’t do the math, it’s startling, allegedly that’s 41 years ago) I was able to go on an educational cruise organised by the local schools. The SS Uganda following in the waves of other vessels (SS Dunera, SS Devonia and SS Nevasa) took approximately a thousand students and some ‘proper paying passengers’ on voyages about the Mediterranean Sea during the Spring and the Baltic Sea during the Summer. Imagine waving off your thirteen year old (definitely don’t do that math!) in an age of no mobile phones, no computers, no tracking devices, with a bunch of nervous strangers and two teachers, to far flung foreign places, that’s just what my parents eagerly did, but they had history, they had done the same to my sister!

My voyage was to depart from Valletta Malta, steam (well diesel but that doesn’t sound nearly romantic enough) towards Volos Greece, pootle through the Dardanelles and the Bosporous towards Varna Bulgaria, calling in at Constanta Romania, before crossing the Black Sea to Trabzon Turkey, returning to Istanbul Turkey and finally reaching Piraeus Greece and flying home. Remember now, this was in as era of the USSR and it’s communist grip behind the iron curtain.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to bore you, dear reader, with the extracts from my work folder, log book and photo album project that I’ve recently been revisiting and remembering. It was a voyage that had much impact on me, I wanted to work on the sea, on ships, as what I knew not, but I was entangled, enchanted and beguiled by the sea.

Our ‘at sea’ days were timetabled, each morning there were three 45-minute lessons and after a two hour lunch, three lessons again in the afternoon, these were a rotation of Assembly Hall, where lectures were given about places we were due to visit; Classroom, where we would write up about our port visits; Deck Games such as deck tennis (using quoits as frisbees), deck hockey, water polo, continuous cricket, crab football and deck quoits; or Private Study where we kept our log books up to date, write home, or read quietly. We also had to clean and tidy our dormitory for Captain’s Inspection, within the dormitory of bunk beds and lockers there were sinks, the showers and toilets were elsewhere. My dormitory Hunt had twenty beds, girls were on the port side and boys on the starboard side, and yes there were ‘passion patrols’ to make sure kids were where they should be.

I don’t remember being home sick, which could have been quite likely as only four students went from my school the remainder were from a couple of other middle schools in the area, I knew none of the other students nor either of the teachers. I wasn’t sea sick, and we did have nights of strong weather with the ship pitching and yawing and our dorm was in the bow. I do remember hearing others heave their innards into the sink, but nothing would keep me from my scran!

Oddly I cannot remember or visualise areas of the ship, like the common room, library and deck veranda but I can the dining hall, corridors, classroom and dormitory. I wish I had taken lots more photos but, again, this was the era of reels of film and sending them off to be processed.

I do remember having a pair of small gold hoop earrings, which I took out and put in my little trinket box when I put others on. For the disco night I changed earrings when I went to put the hoops back in I couldn’t find one. A few years later, I was clearing out the small trinket box of earrings to clean them and there it was, the missing hoop! Fortunately I had not thrown out the partner.

Anyway…..more later……are you excited?

First of eight extract posts Valletta, Malta


Posted by on March 14, 2022 in Life


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