Saturday, 25 September 2010

MacBrayne's car ferry Columba

Recently, senior members of the Royal Family holidayed in the Hebrides aboard the chartered cruise ship Hebridean Princess. This was once of MacBrayne's trio of 1964-built car ferries, named the Columba. Recently, I acquired an old MacBrayne brochure showing how the vessel and her two sisters looked onboard when first delivered.

The original interior design was actually the first work of a Glasgow School of Art interior design student called John McNeece. Many years later, McNeece because a leading designer of cruise ship interiors.

The Hebridean Princess anchored off Mull.

Flashback to 1964...

The bar and the restaurant.

Flash forward to 2010 and the scene onboard is very different - there's even a fake open fireplace (yes, on a ship!).


Jadrolinija's 1965-vintage Croatian coastal ferry Vis was originally built as the Danish-owned Sydfyn to connect Faaborg in Denmark with Gelting in West Germany. She was designed by Knud E. Hansen A/S, the famous Copenhagen-based naval architects, and is essentially a rather cute miniature version of their typical ferry designs of the era. The Vis has spent most of her long life on the Dalmatian Coast - but is shortly due for replacement. Onboard, not much has changed since 1965.

MS Vis at Vela Luca.

Til Salon.

The forward and aft saloons.

A mural of Southern Denmark and parts of the North German Coast with 'Nordisk Faergefart' flag

Details of the mural: peasants, trees, an old harbour and the Copenhagen skyline.

The snack bar servery and the galley on Boat Deck.

The bridge.

Famous Copenhagen manufacturer of navigation equipment.

Signs in German and Danish.

Curved stairs leading beneath the car deck.

Ingen Adgang/Kein Zutritt.

The sun deck and a capstan, manufactured by Thomas B. Thrige of Odense.

Berthed at Ulbi.

Leaving Vela Luca once again.


Now that the evenings are drawing in and it is beginning to feel autumnal, it is time to reprise the summer adventures - so here are photographs taken in Palermo, Sicily in late-June 2010:

Palermo's answer to the Royal Albert Hall.

Horses' Entrance.

Kiosks from La Belle Epoque

Art Nouveau ironwork.

In front of the opera and a branch of the Banco di Sicilia.

Mosaic and decorative metalwork on the Banco di Sicilia's facade, depicting one of Palermo's major sources of wealth - shipbuilding.

Swish 1950s interior decorations - this is the 'TN Andrea Doria' of banks.

Luncheon break


Another branch of the Banco di Sicilia - this time a 1930s example.

Period shop sign.

Crack'd Temple of Thespis.

Amazing Art Nouveau park.

Trees and naturalistic ironwork in perfect harmony.

Oriental pavilion.

1970s 'space age' restaurant - alas, closed.