Monday, May 29, 2017

Mediterranean Cruise 2017

These Kind people were in our tour group in Rome Italy. They are both artists and brought their 79 year old mom along on the trip. She was a trooper. Here we are standing in front of the spot in Rome where they held the chariot races.

 This was a delicious restaurant in Rome that our Tour Guide Dominico took us too. 

 Before we left L.A. we were lucky enough to catch and Oilers vs. Ducks Hockey playoff game. 

 Here is our plane ready to take us to Barcelona, Spain from Philidelephia. They are so large but they sure cram a lot of people in them.

 First glimpses of the Spanish country side.
 Huge jet propeller.
 Arrived on the cruise ship and we are admiring the view of Barcelona from the ship. It was a little complicated getting to the ship from the airport due to the language barrier. 
 Golfing on the ship
 Enjoying the nice weather and relaxing atmosphere.
 Jons favorite spot on the boat was in the hot tub with a virgin Pina Colada in his hand.
 Every night we had a beautiful view of the sunset while we ate our dinner. It was so breathtaking.
 Our first night on the boat.
 Colorful bridge on the Promenade ( main activity floor if the ship)
 View our our bedroom window. I loved waking up each morning and looking out the window to see where we were or where we had arrived. It was so exciting and each view was remarkable.
 Marseilles, France
I should have written the names of all the churches/cathedrals/castles we saw on our trip because now I forget. This was the first big church we came to in France on our walk to a little fishing town in Marseilles.

 This is the castle in France that is found in one of our favorite movies The Count of Monte Cristo

 We took a little train up to the top of a hill that overlooks the city where a church called the Notre Dame sits.

 Of course we wanted to stop and get the local cuisine. These crepes were delicious however the fish soup and clams were hard to swallow. I could tell the couple sitting next to us were finding it funny we didn't know French.

 We tried a Macaroon that was so good from local baker.

 We took this one for the kids because they love the movie Ratatouille.

 Fancy dress up night for dinner on the ship. Being 22 weeks pregnant meant this was as fancy as I got!

 The ballroom/Dining room where we ate had a beautiful stair case, chandelier, and grand piano. It was gorgeous!

 Had laugh at the funny animals the housekeeping made of our towel each day. 

 Next stop was Villa Franche, France. It was the closest dock to Nice, France, and The French Riviera.

 It was hard work trying to figure out the train station in another language. Luckily we had friends Jonathan and Coleen  from the ship with us to help navigate. Jonathan is from London and is used to taking trains and knew a little French.
 First stop after Nice was Monaco. The were setting up for the annual Grand Prix so it was fun to see that! It was crazy to me how close the track is to the buildings and people with those scary hair pin turns. The yachts were huge and the building ornate and grand. We stopped in to the Casino Royal just to take a look and see where one of Jons favorite James Bond movies was filmed.

 Its crazy to me that Monaco is its own country right smack in the middle of France. It is beautiful and there is so much to do and see.

 A delicious Torte and chocolate Crescent we had in Monaco. All the food here was so fresh and good!

 A Eastern Orthodox church in Nice.

 We stopped to get lunch with our friends in downtown Nice.  We had these delicious ham and cheese sandwiches.  
 Something I noticed about France is how clean everything was. There might have been a ton of smokers but the cities were on top of the trash in the streets!

 Beaches of Nice. The shore was a bunch of smooth stones. We were expecting sand but most of the beaches we saw were smooth stones. Jon was so sad he didn't bring his swimsuit because this crystal blue water was calling his name!

 I guess some Gelato will do instead!

 Me Narrating the little town of Villa Franche.

 We couldn't believe how narrow the streets were and loved seeing all the buildings so colorful placed  up the hill side. No wonder people walk, slash ride bikes because the cars have to be tiny to fit up the streets and traffic is crazy!

 Next stop La Spezia, Italy. We took a train to La Pisa to see the landmarks there and especially the leaning tower of Pisa.
 Along our ride we couldn't help but notice the huge Granite and Marble sided Mountains, lush green hills, and intricate farms. These people are so industrious and have there gardening down to a tee. They provide some of the most beautiful stone out of these mountains and vegetables from their gardens.

 Leaning tower of Pisa. It was built on Marsh lands and they are hoping this is where it will stay instead of tipping more.
 Giant gorgeous church

 Fountain of Youth. I was too scared to drink from it. haha

 Delicious authentic Italian lunch on the cutest street in La Pisa
 It treated myself with this large lasagna. It was a fun trip but kind of started and ended with being lost. Glad we made it back to the ship. We could find no one who spoke English and could point us in the right direction. Finally after about an hour this sweet lady came out of no where and said are you lost. I speak English and this is not an easy city to navigate. She helped us and we were so grateful!

 We attended a fun Ice show on board the ship that night. We got great seats and it was one amazing show!

 Entering Rome! One of my favorite days. Our tour guide Dominco was awesome and so knowledgable. He was able to drop us off and pick us up at the front of every line. I almost felt like a celebrity. 
 He knew the city so well and was a pro with the insane traffic and tourists. First stop was the Colosseum.
 It was so much bigger than I imagined and I just kept thinking how did they build such a strong sound structure way up high and way back in the 1500! Crazy is all I can say. It was so intricate and the reason so much granite and stone is missing is because the church took it for the building of churches. Now mostly just the brick base remains.
Arc De Triumph is a major landmark at the center of a lot of European Cities.

 Here is Jon in front of the Gladiator and animals sleeping quarters. The Romans entertained themselves back in that time with watching brutal murders and fights between men, men vs. animal, and ship versus ship. The filled it with water to allow for the ships to fight. This seated over 70000 people. Women and children of any class had to sit near the top. There are no bathrooms so it kind of makes you wonder how that all worked out with so many people!

 There were a lot of military in France and Italy with guns just standing there and watching every thing.

 This was an area where the pope came to get away. A sort of hiding spot away from the vatican. however he still wanted to see the Vatican so he had someone build him a beautiful garden that overlooked the Vatican. Through the peep hole in this big green door you can see all the way to the Vatican. 

 Myth is that if you stick your hand in the mouth of this big circle guy he will bite it off if you are dishonest. 

 This is known as the Forum. This is where people gathered to discuss politics and rules for there city.

 This building left was an apartment building so to say for back in that time. It also shows that the level of ground use to be a lot lower than it currently is.
 This is a policeman guiding the traffic. There are no lines and this was a 6 way intersection!
 They don't change the outside of the buildings  so this is a pharmacy and the only way you can tell is by the little green plus sign in the window.

 This post was so orange and the carvings have withstood time very well.

 Trevi Fountain. Myth is that if you throw a coin in and make a wish this fountain is good luck and will hopefully make your wish come true. It was so crowded that we didn't stay long.

 The restaurants place there meat in the windows so people can see what is on the menu for the day. 

 The "Spanish Steps"
 Pricey shopping district in Rome.

 Jon with our tour guide Dominco. He was hilarious and a great driver and tour guide.

 I loved the architecture of this church.

 The Vatican. We didn't want to wait in line to go inside but we saw the Swedish guards in their colorful outfits guarding the entrance.

 Up on a Hill over looking the city of Rome

 Statue of a general who created peace between the political system and the military.
 Gelato break
 I loved the little canopy trees they have in Italy.
 Came home to a monkey in our room

 Beautiful painting on the ship that reminded me of the cities we were walking through each day. If it weren't so expensive I would have brought it home.
 Castle right at the shore line in Naples.

 We took a tour to go see the city of Pompeii
 Field where the Gladiators practiced in .
 Gladiator quarters. Their trainers stayed in the rooms above them.
 Amphitheater where locals of that day read poetry, performed, and told comedy.

 These three stones allowed the people to cross the busy flooded and dirty streets without having to step down into them. Notice the imprints of the chariot wheels that were able to still pass through.
 There fast food set up back in that time.
 This was a main street where vendors gathered and sold their goods.

 The spa baths buildings were some of the ones that still have the few remaining colors of that time on the walls. Red, Blue, and Yellow.
 This body was found buried after the volcano and earthquake tore this city apart. The people were so little back then. The door ways are small as well as this body that was found.
 This was their water system. They were genius when it came to building back then and getting hot water to the baths. and also light.

 One of the only remaining second story building in the entire city was knocked down in WWII by a bomb so they recreated it for tourists.

 The forum of Pompeii
 They had many temples built to honor the different gods like Jupiter and Venus.

 Cool Statue.

 There were so many beautiful flowers.
  Next we went on a tour through the Amalfi coast. We went through Sorrento, Naples, and other villages. It was breath taking. Even with the fog we had such beautiful views.

 They are known for their Lemons and Limoncello (alcoholic drink) in this area. It smelt so good with all the gardens growing and fresh sea breeze.

I love their ingenuity with farming along the steep hill sides.

The Pixar characters were on board.
We got to attend a well choreographed Broadway and different take on the popular Disney stories.

Only day we had to relax on board. I did just that. Read a book and relaxed in the sun and beautiful breeze.

Yummy desserts

Our friend from Ireland that was celebrating her 40th anniversary with her husband.

Touring spain.

Getting lost in spain was awesome because there was so much to see around every corner. wE loved discovering little shops up small alley ways and touring the gothic district.

They sure know how to make their desserts and pastries there! Jon couldn't get enough of the Cannolis.

Delicious Chocolate maker

Beautiful Violinist in near the church.

Oh the detail was indescribable.

Fresh churros dipped in chocolate

La Familia Segrada. A Church that has been under construction for decades. The architect was only 30 years when he started this project. He wanted to make it look like a living bible.

Yummy filled churros

The market on the main walk in Barcelona.

One last Crepe breakfast! It was delicious with the fresh juices.

And.... back to reality. airport frustration, missed flights, waiting, and then finally home to our beautiful kids. It was so hard to get over the 9 hour difference and the jet lag made us do weird things. Happy to be home and grateful to have made such wonderful memories with Jon in Europe!