The European cruise adventure 2016

Monte Carlo today. I have been on this cruise ship, Oceania Riviera for about ten days now. No days at sea, some days more relaxed than others.  
The Grecian Delights cruise began in Athens and moved through Heraklion, Santorini, Katakolon and Corfu. Greece is peaceful, and has delightful port towns.  
Santorini is spectacular and offers stunning scenery for those who take the cable car or taxi to the top. We selected a private ferry boat to Oia ( pronounced ee-ah). We shopped and then took a bus ride back to Fira (also pronounced Thera) and walked down the donkey trail to the ship’s tender docking station. White washed buildings, cobblestone streets, local wine selections, art galleries, painted blue domes, shops and cafes.
In Katakolon we enjoyed local wine, ouzo, Greek feta cheese and olives, swimming in olive oil. After lunch we found our way to a little piece of beach and cooled off in the sea. Many of our traveling friends went to explore famous Olympia.
A port stop in Messina Sicily was about 50 km to the old town (founded in the sixth century) of Taormina, by negotiated taxi. Off we went to explore this beautiful little town of incredible views, ancient ruins, quaint shops, enchanting architecture, cobblestone streets, bright flower boxes, ornate doors, small alley ways and great look off points. Many of my friends took in the famed Greek theatre and then we enjoyed rooftop dining and people watching before heading back to the ship.
Probably the highlight of this trip for me was a short visit to Positano and Sorrento, with lunch at the agritourismo, lemon farm where I stayed a week a few years ago. The weather was perfect, the scenery was breath taking, the lunch experience was personal and satisfying. I love this place and the family who run it.  
Mid cruise was a stop in Civitavecchia, the port city for Rome, Italy. Two dozen of our group went in to Rome and were treated to time to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain.  
Portofino was the next stop and a visit to that colorful and scenic little town nestled in the coast of Italy, was the starting point for our purchased Oceania tour to Genoa city. Genoa was new to me.. and we were shown some amazing architecture and famous paintings an art sculptures from a different age in Italy. Our guide was lovely and very knowledgeable. We also saw Santa Marguerita and I was reminded of some previous cruises to this area.  
Yesterday a nine hour guided tour of three of the Cinque Terre towns that dot the coast of the Italian Riviera. Although the weather was cool and wet, it seems there is never a bad time to visit here. This is my third cruise to this area and I never tire of the colors and beauty of this coastline. We stopped a few times for warm up drinks and then a little meal midday. We began in the Tuscany region port city of Livorno, and drove through LaSpezia to visit Monterosso, Verrazano and Manarola. We rode on bus, several little local ferries, we walked and took a train ride. Pretty spectacular! I love this area of Italy and never tire of seeing it.
Back on the ship we enjoyed a relaxing soak in the thelassotherapy pool on the spa deck, reserved for suite and concierge guests. And then some time to warm on the heated tiled beds. Room service selected from the Red Ginger menu list. And then dancing in Horizons.
The sun rise this morning took my breath away. Stunning colors and the skyline of beautiful Monte Carlo, Monaco still lit up from the night before. This land is a destination playground for the very wealthy. The boats in the marina attest to the opulence of life for residence and visitors alike.  
Today the twin Oceania ship, Marina is also docked with us. And a Holland America ship, with its black hull, that has been keeping pace with our cruise throughout, is also here with us.
Tomorrow is Saint-Tropez, France, for a day, followed by a stop in Provence, Marseille, France. We have a tour booked on Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Soller Vintage Train Ride) and then disembarkation in Barcelona, Spain where I begin my flight home.
My friends on the cruise line, Dan Ostler and his sister Jane have been on cruises with me previously. Dan is a guest lecturer and an interesting fellow. Graham Denison is the artist in residence and joined us in Civitavecchia. I hope to have time to spend with them all. I stopped in to the artist loft today to catch a glimpse of his amazing paintings, done with a palette knife technique. Fantastic art of textured strokes and vibrant colors bringing his images to life.  
More later, 
Ciao ciao for now
Pamellllla of Italy

One comment on “The European cruise adventure 2016

  1. Debbie says:

    I felt like I was with you while I was reading your blog. Loved it.

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