Joined June 2017 Message
  • Day15

    Fiumicino, Italy

    October 16, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    We left Jewel of the Seas this morning and are now at Academy Hotel, a day hotel near the mouth of the Tiber river in Fiumicino. Mim and I are not real Pizza lovers but decided this was our last chance before we leave Italy. We came across a small Pizza shop that had so many customers we thought it must be good. We tried a cherry tomato pizza and the sandwich pizza of ham and Philly, delizioso, and washed it down with a lemon Radler.
    We continued along the river where men were lined up with there long black fishing rods hoping to catch a fish. At one spot we saw a lot of maggots wriggling on the ground, someone’s bait was trying to make a fast getaway. We saw the fishermen slingshot bait into the spot near where there float is bobbing hoping to entice the fish to bite. The trawlers come in through the Tiber mouth to unload large buckets of small cockles and other shells for market.
    It has been a wonderful three month trip with a great travel companion, Mim. We have had plenty of laughs, managed to visit 17 countries and walked lots and lots of kilometres.
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  • Day14

    Naples, Italy

    October 15, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    After a relaxing day cruising at sea from Athens we arrived in Naples today. We decided not to take a tour off the ship as we had been to Pompei before the cruise. We thought about doing Capri but it was very hazy today so just wandered around the city. The port area of Naples is full of old apartments and lots of graffiti and rubbish not the prettiest part of the city.Read more

  • Day12

    Athens, Greece

    October 13, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Today I took a tour off the ship, A Taste of Athens, Mim Lawson stayed on board as she has been to the Ancient sites of Athens previously. We spent some time at Athens Acropolis which means the highest point of the city. On the Acropolis a number of ancient sites are found. Firstly you climb the slippery marble steps, both formed and unformed, to walk through the Propylaea, the entry gate with its imposing columns. Once through the entry gate the Parthenon, a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, overwhelms the site. The Parthenon construction began around 447 BC so understandably today they are undertaking repairs to maintain the buildings integrity. The other building on the site, which is still in good repair, is the Erechtheion which was a Temple dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. On one side there is a large porch with six ionic columns, and on the other side is the "Porch of the Maidens", six draped female figures (caryatids) used as supporting columns. After visiting the Acropolis we had a bus tour of the town finishing in the Pláka, the old historical neighborhood which sits beneath the Acropolis. This area is a great spot for everything Greek, food and of course the tourist shops.Read more

  • Day11

    Santorini, Greece

    October 12, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Santorini what a magnificent place. Another perfect day of blue skies, blue seas, and white buildings which sit precariously along the rim of the remains of the volcano. Santorini Island has a number of villages that cling to the top of the volcano rim overlooking the Caldera or crater of a volcano that erupted 3,600 years ago. I was surprised that most of the housing and buildings cling to the cliff tops and only a small number of houses use the lower side of the volcano.
    We visited Oia, one of the villages, in the morning and meandered through the streets to find the iconic blue domed buildings for our photos. We then spent the rest of the afternoon in the capital, Fira wandering through the streets. We enjoyed a traditional chicken Gyros at lunch very similar to our doner kebab but much tastier. To get from the port of Fira to the top of the cliffs you can either walk the 600 steps or take the cable car up the steep slope or if you must, ride the donkey.
    The climate is very dry and the Island receives no rainfall for five months of the year, this makes good growing for a unique grape which produces a sweet wine called Vinsanto. The grape vine grows close to the ground with the vine wrapping around to form a basket which protects the grapes that nestle inside.
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  • Day10

    Mykonos, Greece

    October 11, 2017 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    After a very restful sea day yesterday we were looking forward to walking through the many little alleyways of Mykonos, Greece today. We were tendered ashore to the seaside port of Chora where the 16th Century windmills overlook the harbour. Mykonos was quite windy today but the blue sky reflected the blue of the water and the blue trim on the stark white houses. There were lots of well fed cats in Chora lazing on doorsteps or under bushes happy for the tourists to give them a pat. We tried the Greek spanakopita, baklava and almonds covered in toasted sesame seeds and the Greek version of Turkish delight - delicious.Read more

  • Day8

    Valletta, Malta

    October 9, 2017 in Malta ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    We sailed into the Grand Harbour of Valletta, Malta with enormous fortified walls of cream limestone surrounding the harbour. Very pretty from the water with the old cream buildings and fortifications highlighted against the blue sky and blue sea. Today we toured the Blue Grotto, limestone caves that capture the iridescent blue of the water. We had perfect weather with the sun shining for our small boat tour through the limestone caverns. The sun reflects the blue to give it the phosphorous blue colour. We travelled through various villages on our trip and noticed the land lots are terraced off into paddocks with the limestone rubble for the family plots for farming. The paddocks are terraced to stop the topsoil from washing away. One of their main crops, which is everywhere, is the Prickly Pear.
    From the Blue Grotto we went to the second port of Malta, Marsaxlokk, a small fishing village that has brightly coloured boats and a marketplace that sells fish and local produce and has a number of small restaurants. We then headed back to our ship docked in Valletta.
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  • Day7

    Mt Etna and Taormina, Sicily

    October 8, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We arrived at the port of Messina, Sicily today. Decided to take a tour to Mt Etna and then to a small mountain village of Taormina. We travelled up 2000 metres to Crater Silvestri. This crater formed in 1892 after a massive eruption of Mt Etna. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, there have been at least 10 eruptions since 2000, the most recent in March 2017. We walked around the rim of Crater Silvestri.
    Taormina is a small village built on one of the mountain tops in the Messina region. We walked down the centre of the village which has an abundance of tourist shops, Sicilian ceramic shops and lots of restaurants. A very pretty place.
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  • Day6

    Jewel of the Seas Greek Island Cruise

    October 7, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    The last leg of our three month journey, there’s no better way to finish than on a cruise. Cruising on Jewel of the Seas, Royal Caribbean line around the Greek Islands for the next nine days. We caught the train this morning from Rome to the port of Civitavecchia then onboard for a leisurely afternoon before departing the port at 5.00pm.Read more

  • Day5

    Pompeii, Italy

    October 6, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Mim and I have taken a bus tour from Rome to Pompeii and Naples. It's a three hour drive from Rome to Pompeii with lots of farming land along the way. Pompeii is very hot and dry, the Ancient Roman city covered about 64 hectares and was buried under 4 to 6 metres of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The city was rediscovered under the ash around 1599 and excavation of the site commenced in 1748 and has been ongoing since this time. We saw the Ancient City's amphitheater, the baths and sauna, Temples, bakery, shops and homes. We saw the brothel area of the town which was easily identified by the phallus over the doorway or pointing to the brothel house from the footpath. You could still see the erotic drawings on the walls of the brothel. It is amazing how much of the site was preserved under the ash. After an Italian lunch we headed to Naples for a Bus tour of the city. It was a shame that they were having with the audio but we still saw the Bay of Naples and the surrounding city that are still overshadowed by Mount Vesuvius. A long day arriving back around 8.30pm.Read more

  • Day4

    The Piazza's of Rome, Italy

    October 5, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Set off early to wander around Rome today, 13 km walked over many cobblestoned streets. We visited the Trevi Fountain, missing the crowds, then onto the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are a set of steps that climb a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base up to the Trinità dei Monti Church at the top. We then meandered through the backstreets past the Piazza Di Pietra, which has the remains of enormous colonnades from a temple which dominates the Piazza, onto The Pantheon, which was a former Roman Temple but is now a Church. The Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome, which is amazing as it was built around 1900 years ago. After a well earned Italian coffee with corneta (croissant) we headed towards the Piazza Navona, which has the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Obelisk of Domitian, in the centre of the Piazza. Our trek took us back past the Piazza Venezia, near the Roman Forum to Santa Maria Maggiore Church. We went inside the Church which has amazing 5th Century mosaics and gilt gold ceilings.Read more

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