Sometimes opportunities come along and you just have to take them. Thus was the case with this amazing trip - the longest break I've ever taken - but it was absolutely the right decision - no regrets.

But now I'm back!

During 37 days my husband and i visited 18 ports of call – plus a 3 night inland trip to visit Arequipa, Cusco and Machu Picchu (on 14th Feb, a Valentine’s Day we’ll never forget) - 8 countries and traveled over 8,000 nautical miles – including transiting the Panama Canal - phew!

The Silversea’s Silver Cloud delivered us safely and in the lap of luxury throughout the whole trip – excellent service, accommodation, facilities and food – we instantly felt completely at home.

Every climate from under 10 degrees C to over 30, Glaciers and Fjords to Rain Forest and Tropical Beaches, Snow Capped Volcanoes to Fertile Green Valleys, Penguins to Parrots, Catfish to Crocodiles, dazzling Spanish colonial architecture designed to intimidate and dominate to stunning Inca temples dedicated to the sun, moon, earth and sky, fascinating fish markets to stylish Alpaca stores, Orient Express style luxury train to James Bond style canal boat, rolling seas to millpond calm (the majority).

Add to that the drinking, dining and dancing; cocktail parties, shows, poolside BBQs, lectures – including 2 given by that Art Historian you all know and love Stephen Richardson!

(All part of Stephen’s longer term plan to expand his lecturing career and perfect for me as I already have the frocks ready and packed to go - www.stephen-richardson.com)

Needless to say we have had the most amazing time – seen spectacular natural and manmade sites, met interesting and fun people, learned a lot and kept fit.

Now the focus has to be working towards the next one..........