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Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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25th Anniversary Cruise Part 9

In case you missed it: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5 Part 6  Part 7  Part 8

June 13

The island of Corfu was our next stop.  We took a tour of the Paleokastritsa Caves by boat and had a panoramic view stop at the top of Corfu’s peak to see the harbor below.  I loved Paleokastritsa, because of its stunning green water.  The reason the water is so green is that the sand is white and the depth of the water is 80 feet or more even close to shore.  The landline is dotted with caves that small boats can navigate (we were in a larger one, so we did not get that good a view of it, nevertheless, we really did enjoy the beauty of this tour). Our guide threw a loaf of bread into the water and the fish came to the surface to eat the bread.  I did manage to get a few good shots of the fish. Corfu is probably my favorite stop of the Greek islands that we visited.

The one downside to Crete was the fact that there was a garbage strike, so dumpsters were overflowing littering the streets a bit.

Pictured: Best of Corfu, Paleokastritsa Caves, Fish, also of interest here is where they filmed the clashing rocks in “Jason and the Argonauts”

Next stop Crete, Greece


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25th Anniversary Cruise Part 8

In case you missed it: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

June 11 and 12

June 11th was at Sea.  Following are pictures of the sky and ocean throughout the cruise not just the 11th.  Sunrises and sunsets at sea are worth watching.

June 12 Kotor, Montenegro

The approach to Kotor is worth getting up for.  How a ship maneuvers through a narrow channel to arrive at this beautiful location is something to experience.  David and I decided to stay on the boat and just take in the scenery because we wanted another day of relaxation.  Kotor reminded me of Austria – beautiful hills surrounded the bay.  We woke early enough to watch the sunrise as we approached.

Pictured below: Sunrise as we approached Kotor, Montenegro, scenery, relaxing on the balcony, panorama off back of boat, and other scenery pictures.

Next Part 9: Corfu

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25th Anniversary Cruise Part 7

In case you missed Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6

June 10

Port Salerno, Italy  Tour of Pompeii

This was a morning I woke up with a sore throat and watery eyes – NOOO, I don’t want to get sick!  I had packed some airborne that I had started taking the day before when I first felt a touch of a sore throat.  I had packed cold and flu meds as well as Benadryl in the event that we would need them.  I read the symptoms of the box and decided my symptoms were more in line with those of allergies. I took two Benadryl tablets and went to breakfast.  My head felt in a fog and we went to our tour meeting point on the ship.  I was so sleepy!  If David had asked me again if I wanted to do the tour I would have said no, but because he did not ask… we went.  I fell asleep on the bus and missed the beautiful countryside on the way to Pompeii.  When we arrived, I was feeling slightly better and as the tour wore on, I was almost back to normal again.  David said joked that I was a living corpse – or a character from the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s”

I was overwhelmed by the size of Pompeii.  I guess I never really thought about the fact that this was a city that had been completely buried by ash – and seeing it in person made it become real.  Large market places, temples, and even a structure similar to a Colosseum all here!  What made it real was the fresco on walls , and beautiful ornate tile floors- these were people who appreciated the arts and had public bath houses and kitchens; even restaurants.

We saw a few bodies that had been surprised by the volcano.  Even a dog who looked curled up in pain and agony – frozen in time.  We could see Mt. Vesuvius off in the distance the top covered by clouds.

Our tour guide Jose, made this tour interesting and gave a lot of background to the history and beliefs of those in Pompeii.  I think Pompeii was one of our favorite tours.  We only saw a fraction of the city – we could have spent all day there to see more, but we came away having a better idea of Pompeii.

Pictured below some of the drive between Salerno and Pompeii and the wild flowers that grew around Pompeii. The tall trees are umbrella pines that grow throughout Italy and they are the source for pine nuts and used in their regional dish of pesto (basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese with olive oil)

Pictured below: Pompeii Ruins, Art, Tiled Floors, Mt. Vesuvius through an Arch, Bath houses.

Next: At Sea and Port of Kotor, Montenegro

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25th Anniversary Part 6

In case you missed it Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5

June 9

Civitavecchia was our Port (pronounced Chi-vita-vechia) nearly an hour from Rome where we toured St. Peter’s Basilica, Trevi Fountains, Colosseum, and Roman Catacombs.

Florence was a long tour and this day promised to be an equally long day.  Our first stop was St Peter’s – which was beautiful and ornate with lots of gold and painted art.  I suppose if I was a Roman Catholic this stop would have been more interesting.  I found little in this church that pointed to a risen and living Lord.  It was completely about the Popes.

We next visited Trevi Fountain.  Dave and I stayed back from the crowd to avoid pick- pockets.  There was no need for me to throw a coin in the fountain.  We enjoyed a few scoops of gelato at a shop nearby and took in the sights from the sidelines.

The Colosseum was large and imposing, everything I expected it to be.  It was amazing to see the levels of the structure and the arches.  The Forum was nearby but we received little information about it on this tour.

Our final stop was Roman Catacombs a 17 mile maze of graves – photography was strictly prohibited, so we do not have pictures of this stop.  We had a guided tour through the catacombs and saw roped off passages to the sides that were closed to exploration.. I guess they frown on losing tourists in the catacombs for fear they may become part of the attraction.  It was interesting to see though.

Pictured below: the Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica (3) Colosseum, nearby Forum, Gelato, and Trevi Fountain.

Next stop: Pompeii

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25th Anniversary Cruise Part 5

In case you missed it: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

June 8

We docked at the port in Livorno and took a tour bus through the Tuscany region to Firenze (Florence, Italy) which is an amazing city to visit.  We had a tour booked through Princess once again and walked our feet off in this city.  My phone told me we walked over 4 miles in Florence.  The time we had in Florence did not give the sites the appropriate time to properly take this city in.  We sped through the museums so quickly that I was taking shots of art as I was walking by at 3 miles per hour.  It really is too bad that we could not savor our time to really take it all in.  But the beauty of cruising is that you do get a taste of a lot of different places and maybe someday you can return and take things in at a more relaxed pace. Our tour guide Sophia was wonderful. We started with the Uffizi Museum and Gallery and saw works by artists like Botticelli. We were grateful for relatively shorts waits to get into the museums as once again it was hot and humid. From the Uffizi museum we got a great shot of the Ponte Vecchio bridge which captured the Old World charm of Florence. The statues at the Piazza della Signoria were impressive.  We loved the Piazza del Duomo, but no angle on our camera could capture the  full beauty of this church.  We loved the stunning design of the Baptistery and the beautiful bronze doors.  After a refreshing lunch in a restaurant, we continued to the Accademia museum to see Michelangelo’s sculpture of David.  I loved the detail of the veins on David’s hands and feet.  We were so grateful for the opportunity to see these amazing works of art in person.

Next: Rome

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25th Anniversary Cruise Part 4

In case you missed Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3

June 7

Italy! Hello, beautiful Italy!  I love languages and how they sound.  Growing up bi-lingual, I tend to have a knack for imitating the sounds of languages I am not fluent in.  Italian has a wonderful sound – I amused myself pronouncing words like Firenze, Portofino, Bella with my best Italian flair! I think poor David got tired of my interest in getting the sound right!  Italy is charming!  Our tour to Portofino was lovely and HOT and HUMID! We took a ferry from Santa Margarita to Portofino, which was, and still is, the playground of the rich and famous and is therefore overpriced.  Vendors were selling various goods, and I got suckered into buying a hat for 20 euros.  I am sure he picked them up for a song compared to what I paid.  But I needed a hat!  As the days passed by that overpriced hat became more and more valuable to me.  It gave me the much needed shade and unfortunate hat head bangs. David found a hat he liked in Portofino that was 15 euros.  These hats became our friends.

Portofino means Port of the dolphins (but it is too crowded with showy yachts to be a welcoming place to dolphins – as a matter of fact we did not see any dolphins or whales the entire trip.)

In Portofino, we enjoyed pizza and an ice cream treat called Paciugo which was vanilla gelato with strawberry sauce and fresh berries with whipped cream.  Our tour guide had recommended it and called it a “mess”.  The pizza came with four toppings – each of them on a quarter, separated and by the way I found out the hard way that the olives had pits – I nearly broke a tooth discovering that!  We enjoyed a short climb to see a beautiful view of the harbor.  The yachts were in a battle for one-up-man-ship like not seen before.  Portofino was much smaller than I thought it would be, but the beautiful painted buildings were charming and photogenic.

Pictured below: David and I in Santa Margarita, Paciugo, Pizza, narrow alleys, charming colorful buildings, cute row boats, lovely flowers, pricey yachts, and overpriced hats!

Next: Firenze (Florence)


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25th Ann. Cruise Part 3

In case you missed part 1 and part 2

I am writing this at 2 am because jet lag is not a kind friend… so excuse errors, I will do my best to catch them.

June 6

After another relaxing day at sea, we were in Marseille, France.  To be honest, I did not have very high expectations of this city.  And much to my surprise this city was enchanting and completely captured my heart.  The highlight of the trip was a 10 minute photo stop at Longchamp Palace and Fountains, which is now used as a museum;  the buildings and fountains are amazing! From there we stopped at Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, where we had quite a few stairs to climb to get there. Our reward: breathtaking views of the city and port below! The tour we took was arranged through Princess Cruises and our guide Olivier was informative and helpful.  I scoured my brain to remember the few French phrases that I had learned in 9th Grade.  French people have a reputation for being aloof and uninterested in speaking English, but I found that if you smile and make an effort to speak to them that they are very accommodating.  The few phrases I knew came in handy when we ordered Nutella Crepes for lunch in the city center.  We had 20 minutes of free time and I had scoped out a little crepe shop from the bus as we passed through.  We returned to our ship and were still a little hungry so we indulged in the afternoon tea that was available on the Crown Princess.

Pictured below: day at sea, Longchamp Palace (3), Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille,  wild poppies, enjoying Nutella crepes, a drive past an Arc the Triumph, yachts, afternoon tea on board the Crown Princess.

Next Part 4: Portofino, Italy.