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TOFF  trips taken in 2006

In February 2006 we joined groups of other older people staying at the 4* Barossa Park Hotel complex in the beautiful Bay of Cadiz.

Our terrific band of TOFFs took classes in (among other things) Art, Swimming (Carlie learnt the backstroke!), Spanish (of course), computing, music, ( Katharine Bligh joined a choir for the two weeks ), and curling on a wooden floor. We ate (and drank) very well, and went on outings to various locations of interest.

Evening get together

During our two weeks the TOFF team won the quiz competition against all comers from the 200 plus people staying (first prize 6 bottles of wine, very handy for our traditional end of trip party). Steve was asked by the (Welsh!) teacher of Spanish and his wife to join them for a comic turn at the end of holiday cabaret night.

Tony, David, Jack, Denise and Steve performed (a suitably amended for the occasion) version of "There is nothing like a dame" at the same do, to what we think was universal appreciation! The choir that Katharine joined performed a selection of songs. It was an interesting mix of learning and leisure.

In May we took a group to the European Parliament in Brussels, via Calais for lunch on Day 1. We toured the sights of Brussels on Day 2, then visited the Parliament sponsored by Mary Honeyball MEP and had a meeting with a number of London MEPs before going out to a splendid dinner courtesy of Mary.

Toffs at the European Parliament

Day 3 was spent in a charming town called Leuven. On Day 4 we had a very interesting visit and discussion with officers from the European Parliament at the Mayor of London's European Office in Brussels.

On the last day we came back home via Calais, trying and buying wine and delicacies en route to London.

Leuven

In November we took 22 brave souls to Cuba for two weeks on our "Rest and Revolution" trip. It's a fascinating place, lovely people. The scenery is amazing scenery and there are beautiful beaches and very interesting, if rather decayed, Spanish colonial towns going back to Columbus.

We had hoped to meet Fidel Castro but he was very ill at the time of our visit and not available. However, we met a very knowledgeable, (and totally committed to the Cuban ideals), group of retired Trade Unionists who organise pensioners. We learnt about their lives, activities, healthcare, education and financial provision.

Retired trade unionists
Socialising in Cuba
Streets of Havana

We spent our first week staying in Havana and our second on a beach near Trinidad. The TOFF group visited the magnificent gothic Havana cathedral, and, as a complete contrast, a rum Museum! Then we went on to have lunch in one of Hemingway's favourite restaurants.

Ernest Hemingway's house and estate have been very well preserved. The (now empty) swimming pool in which Ava Gardner swam evoked the past glories of Hemingway's time there.

We also visited Cienfuegos and some amazing botanical gardens.

In Trinidad we saw a pottery and a sugar refining plant which had an extraordinary enormous working model of how it operated many years ago complete with a train that ran around the model site!

Three different small groups of us went to Cuban homes and had a lovely lobster meal with wine for the equivalent of 7-20 each including the taxi!

Conclusions. very glad to have had the experience and met the people. After Castro eventually goes we can only wish them good fortune.

So that was the TOFF year that was, see our newsletter for details of 2007's delights to come.


View other previous TOFFS trips Strasbourg
    Russia
    China
    Eurotrip 2003
    Cuba / Italy 2006
     
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