Best day this week
Difficult one – possibly Tuesday, in Venice.  We were up at 5.30 to catch the sail-in through the lagoon, which has to be one of the best approaches to port in the world.  Sadly the weather was stormy and overcast, with periodic flashes of lightening and torrential rain.  However, it cleared up and we enjoyed a tour to the islands of Murano (famous for its glass) and Burano (famous for its lace).  I’d never heard of Burano but it’s a lovely island with brightly coloured houses, and shops selling handmade lace and other local souvenirs.  We were then dropped off by St Mark’s, but rather than stay in the centre and go back to the ship by boat we elected to walk back to the port ourselves through some of the less famous areas.  I wanted to see La Fenice, the opera house, plus a church that was mentioned in a novel I read recently, that was set in Venice.  By the afternoon the weather was scorching and we were rather regretting not having applied sunscreen but we made it back to the ship not too red and glowing.

Sight of the week
A toss-up between St Mark’s Square in Venice, always a breathtaking sight, and the Bay of Boka and city of Kotor in Montenegro, which was surprisingly charming.

Best decision of the week

Possibly to go ashore in Corfu before starting our journey home on Friday.  Our flight was late evening so we had all day in port.  However, we were both feeling rather tired, and I was fairly emotionally drained after speaking to my mother (for reasons explained later) so we kept putting it off.  Eventually however, we decided it would do us good to be occupied for a few hours, and it would be a shame to miss the town anyway.  It was a blazing hot day but we got the bus into town and enjoyed a tour on a small land train before treating ourselves to iced coffee and baklava at a pavement café.  I was glad we’d done it afterwards.

Favourite meal of the week
Not a whole meal, but an excellent and thoroughly welcome iced coffee in the charming little island town of Trogir in Croatia, which we visited on an excursion from our port of call in Split.

Mad purchase of the week
Actually, this is rather the opposite.  I resisted the charms of the hugely expensive Murano glass workshop that we visited, and instead bought a rather modest necklace from a small shop up the road.  I am assuming it was made in Murano but even if I wasn’t I can still say I bought it there!

Walk of the week
From St Mark’s Square back to the port in Venice, via the smaller canals, streets and passageways.  With diversions, ice-cream stops and a leisurely pace, it took us a couple of hours, but it was nice to get away from the bustle of the tourist areas and discover some less well-known districts.

Sad moment of the week
No doubt about this one: the shocking news that my sister-in-law had died on Thursday.  She’d been fighting breast cancer all year but appeared to have responded well to the chemo, and had had a successful mastectomy.  More worrying was the fact that she had developed a heart and breathing problem, with fluid on her lungs and no-one seemingly able to explain why.  It eventually emerged that the cancer had spread throughout her body and was the cause of her other problems.  There was nothing further the medical team could do.  At least she died peacefully.  But I hadn’t caught up with the latest developments, so when I rang my mother to wish her happy birthday on Friday, the last day of our holiday, I was stunned to learn the news.

What have I learned this week
I’ve learned there are some wonderful hidden gems in the Balkans.  Kotor is charming, and our guide told us enthusiastically how varied a country Montenegro is.  Split is nicer than I expected, and the nearby island town of Trogir is wonderfully picturesque.  We didn’t visit the old town in Dubrovnik this time, having been to it previously, but enjoyed a tour of the local vineyards and were surprised to sample some extremely good wines.

And on a more sombre note, I am renewing my acquaintance with the probate application process – having been my dad’s executor a few years ago – so I can try to ease some of the load for my brother.  I’m glad there is something useful I can do.