Rome June 16, 17, 18

Traveling with Gail is a great experience … Here are some shared stories and pictures … Thanks Gail!


Disembarking in Rome June 16/15
We got off the ship earlier than planned, so about 8:15 am and went outside to wait for our prepaid shuttle. We wait and waited and waited. After calling the office of the limo company, found they were on their way only to wait and wait and wait some more. Then some more calls found that the driver was waiting outside the port. Oh yes now we remember that you have to change busses to go to boat so it’s the same in reverse. We did finally connect …… At 10:15.

After arriving at our hotel for the next 3 nights…the “Yes” hotel ….very near the Termini station, we trek off to see the Coloseum. Jim has a tour there and heads off on his own. Marion, Joyce, Jeanette, Pamela and myself have a walking ” food” tour. We run into Margrit, Gerry & Janet…

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The trip home

Is it morning or night? I think it is 832 pm Rome local time and perhaps 1132 am same day, 19 June 2015. I have gone back in time.  
After a long flight starting in Rome, via Paris and now heading in to Vancouver, it is difficult to say what day it is and certainly what time it is or should be! We have gone back in time, so in theory perhaps I can find some extra hours of sleep when I get home …. 
The shuttle picked us up at 330 ish this morning outside of our boutique and quite satisfactory, Yes Hotel near Termini Station in Rome. 8 of us travelled to Fiumincino airport to catch our 645 am flight and begin the end of our fabulous Mediterranean vacation cruise and stay.
The total group size started at 12. One fell sick prior to the trip and cancelled only a few days prior to the departure from Canada. One of the gals fell while taking a photo in one of our first few stops on the cruise and was flown home early for surgery to repair her broken elbow. The remaining ten enjoyed sunshine, travel experiences, sight seeing and eating way too much for general health.  
The cruise was fantastic, the excursions, tours and days of walking exploration of ports for 15 nights was really great. Following the cruise, we explored Rome together for another three nights stay. We hopped on and off busses, took taxis, attended a walking tour and guided tours of some of the sights. We shopped, walked and laughed. We snapped photos and iPad pics.  
We bonded more as a group, we made new friends and enriched each other’s lives by sharing our stories and witnessing each other’s adventures on this journey.  
I return home a richer person in terms of time with friends, family and the world.

Collective Highlights of our trip, the Women’s Travel Club and more 

Highlights of our trip, Women’s Travel Club. As we gathered on our last night in the hotel in Rome in one of the small boutique hotel rooms, to share and consume any left over beverages and or foods we had purchased, and to chat about our trip, I managed to begin a list of our collective shared experiences and trip highlights.
Bling bracelets, Pam had them from previous trips, almost all the gals have them now.

Jewish ghetto on the food tour in Rome, the stories, our guide, gluten free food.

Freedom of speech statue of the man who would not relinquish despite torture.

Pantheon magnificence, brought tears to the eye to imagine the dream it once was.

Colosseum magnitude. Several took tours, everyone took photos. The ancient sight.

Prosecco limoncello and wine from the local wine tastings along the trip and shared.

Skyline sailing into Malta, a sight none of us will forget and many will want to return to.

Master card usage, currency exchange, getting extra Euros on the ship. Money well spent.

Baha’i gardens in Haifa. We stood in awe at the sight, the view and how vast and peaceful.

Swimming in the Dead Sea in their t shirts, two of the gals got to experience this in Israel. They also visited the ancient Masada unesco world heritage sight.  

Jerusalem centre of various religious expressions co existing- visiting the Wailing Wall.

Being moved to tears.  

Last day in Rome shopping frenzy in Jewish ghetto quarter of Rome. Clothes, bling. Laughter.  

Gerry and the cute guys, inviting pictures and photo of poster of guy with garbage can lids in jumping pose.

Diving in the sea off pirates cove ship, Cleopatra beach. Alanya Turkey, a fave spot.

Swam in sea four times

Salt water pool water

Service on cruise ship

Corey dance party at horizons, dancing divas close it down twice!  

Floating in sea, listening to the chanting of the Muslims, feet floating bouyant. 

Greece Turkey Italy Cyprus Malta Israel …. Countries we have visited this trip. 

Gythion was the first swim.  

Jim’s patience with the women and shopping, he waits quietly, he opens wine bottles.  

He really was such a good sport every day with travel with several unknown women.

Exploring Rome on bus and walking through alleys.

Taking pictures of doors, people, flower boxes, balconies, steeples and the sky.

High Tea

Red Ginger and other specialty dining restaurants on Oceania Riviera

Vatican City and Sistine chapel. Spanish steps, piazza navona, piazza del popolo.

Wine tour and lava river, time in Taormina was our first excursion

Erice town top of mountain in Sicily. The view.  

Ancient sites of Aspendos and Side in Turkey. We will go back there.  

Watching and listening to Janet and her bargaining powers. Power shopping.  

Chania Crete, swimming, walking, shopping, having wine, walking together as a group of ten.  

Turkish carpet, three for ten euro!  

Laughing with the gals, big laughs!  

How the group managed different personalities, ten in the group from 12 started.

Some deep conversations and good friends relationships developed and strengthened.

Helping each other. Janet helping Jean after the fall. Caring for each other.  

Bulgari bath supplies from the luxurious Oceania Riviera ship.  

Dress up in our finest to dine together, glitz and bling, laughter and food.  

All of us met together at the Emmanuel II bridge last day in Rome, from three groups.

Tiramisu and many desserts, 

Searching for and finding and a blue scarf for Margrit.  

Mdina castle above Valetta on island of Malta.

Oceania robes and slippers, luxurious concierge veranda staterooms, salt water pool and heated tiled beds in spa.  

Balcony rooms linked for visiting between two rooms

Travelling with my mother is always a highlight!  

Missing the disasters in Egypt, demonstrations, bomb threats on ship, fire in Trapani Sicily, Rome airport fire before we get there.  

Sherry able to get help before the trip. Jean home for her surgery 

Spectacular sunshine, nice breezes, fantastic weather the whole trip

All the J and G letters, names sound the same. Jamella and mamma J….

Ship board credits, trying to spend 

Alanya Turkey, amphitheatre, pirate ship boat ride, beach area beautiful, walking the boardwalk, a swim in the sea, Turkish carpet and new friend for Gerry and Pam.  

Lighthouses in port cities and as we cruised in and out of the port areas. Chania.

Gluten Free food and walking tour, Roma!

June 16. We have left the ship and settled in to the YES hotel for three nights. We walk to colosseum to check it out. Then five of us walk to meet our walking tour.
Food tour, started with Allessio …. Alex. Born and raised Rome. Been to Victoria whe. He lived for a time in Seattle.
Our meeting place was Piazza Mattei 16, Pane Vino e San Daniele 
Sformato: di Verdure. Sformato of vegetables …. Spinach asparagus artichokes and potatoes covered in mozzarella cheese, gluten free bread, from region. Italy near Venice, furthest north east region of Italy. Red and white wine, both. Yummmm. Cheese with just a taste of honey on fresh bakery bread, broken like regular people eat it !  
Love this piazza Mattei. Mattei square. Beautiful fountain of the turtle. 15 century. “Make haste, but do it slowly.” Is message. Think slowly, when you have the plan, execute plan.  
1581 built. Jewish ghetto area walk.
1871 king of italy frees Jewish ghetto. Knocks down walls. 1903 built Jewish synagogue. Only square dome in Rome. Good till Mussolini in power. Discrimination. To be Jewish was to be Forbidden. Nazi took over Rome. 16 October 1943 stormed place and 2091 taken. 12 survived. 8000 Jews in this area. Poor people collected and gave gold. 6000 sheltered or did whatever they had to survive. Such a story of history!  
Pavements 1700-1800 year old cobblestones. Parts of structures hundreds years bc. Wow. Built on. Then fish market due to close to river. 
Second stop pizza spaghetteria voglia di pizza on via Della pieta. 2 different type of pizza. 

Can’t build anything higher than St. Peter’s. So no skyscrapers in Rome 
Pandali gluten free bakery … Pies, meringues, cookies, sweets, savoury, macaroons, …

Suppli is deep fried rice ball with cheese and tomato. 
Main meal, restaurant gluten free on left side of pantheon. Pantha Rei is name – Greek for everything flows. Everything in life changes … Impermanence.  
Italians are not great philosophers … They take care of the wives of the great thinkers? Lol. 
Red wine for us all. Merlot from latzio region in italy.  
Our guide was the Irish bartender in movie Gangs of New York! He picks up human ear …All of this movie was made in Rome. All his friends were extras in that movie! It was cheaper to make that movie in Rome. In 1999.

Also he had appearance … Stand in for two weeks for the actor …. in English Patient, 

He was also in talented mr ripley, the exorcist the beginning. Now filming zoo lander here. And in Florence the third Dan Brown book movie being filmed there. He is no longer in films.  
Pasta with basil pesto then pasta with cheese pecorino Romano hard cheese, with pepper and olive oil and little mint. Fabulous! Another bottle red wine, merlot. Oh my! 
Pasta with olive oil, chilli pepper dried, capers, olives, tuna, garlic, 
We go to a chocolaterie or something like that ….. Two each. The Sorrento lemon in dark chocolate is Devine.
Next stop for cappuccino or ? Limoncello for me, coffee for others at la Ciambella. 
Alex is translating a Book, “run until you are 100”. I want to read it. Accelerate, then glide.  
Then Gelaterie for the most scrumptious gelato EVER! Two flavours each,
We walk to taxi stand and find one that will take five of us back to YES Hotel on via Magenta, 15. 
So tired and completely satisfied. Great friends who came with me on the tour, wow. I am so grateful. 
Pamellllla of Roma! Ti amo!

Erice, Sicily

Erice western Sicily 
8-12 century bc. Built walls high in mountains above sea level. Maybe came from Troy. 
Maybe from Liguria area italy. 
High mountain climb today in bus. Beautiful old stone walls and roads. 
Cooler up here than in trapani which is very hot mid day in summer, forty degrees. Stores all close. 
Just a few hundred pop in this small town of erice. It is beautiful and quiet
Church bells ring as we stroll through a grove of trees and walkway lined w itch benches. Made for meditative sitting, relaxing, contemplating. 
We can see salt pans from the high view by the castle. 
Olive and vineyard flourish here. Windy. Dry. 







This is a new port for me. Spectacular sail in to the port with amazing skyline of interesting shapes from cathedrals and churches, fortress walls and building tops. If ever you get a chance to see it, get up early. It is worth the view. Maybe one of the most spectacular entrances I have seen, maybe second to Venice 🙂
Four went on tour and six of us met together to check out the sights with help of a hop on bus and walking. Right off the ship we had to run the gauntlet for three separate companies selling hop on hop off bus for Malta, all trying to out yell the other. It was so confusing and hard to know what to do. We grabbed the City Sightseeing bus and selected to do the North loop first.  
It turned out that is all the time we had if we wanted to also walk around Valletta – which we did.  
We saw some spectacular sights, stopped for an hour in Mdina which was amazing at every turn. An old fortress town, high and deep with stone structures. Beautiful windows and doors grabbed my attention and not too many people had arrived just yet when we were there. We wandered, keeping an eye on each other so we would stay as a group. Little windy alley roads, only a small number of people live within the town limits, and only a few cars parked on the narrow roads. Little shops selling glass works, jewelry and ceramics mostly. Some linens as well. Very nice arched doorways and stone work walls.  
We all loved the town, got back on bus and went around the island of Malta. We saw beaches, incredible views, marinas, buildings, steeples, ancient walls and fortresses.
We also drove through the handicraft centre and saw where the glass blowing happens and ceramics are made. Lovely and quaint.
It took a few hours, a bit longer than expected, to get around the bus loop and to Valletta. There we got off the bus at the city gates. Another spectacular sight!  
We found the gardens, a MUST SEE, mostly for the views of the island and sea coast from the lookout areas. Wow!  
We walked the shopping street a bit, returned to the gardens and took the free vernacular to the port, boarded our ship, Oceania Riviera.
We are going to clean up and meet together for a wee drink of wine before dinner.  
It was a lovely day in Malta. I would do it again!