The Second 10 Days

Read more slice of life stories at Two Writing Teacher’s blog.

The travel monologue continues. If you missed the first ten days, click here.

We are docked at Civitavecchia for the the day. Some passengers disembark and new people arrive with a sparkle in their eyes imagining the adventures before them in the next ten days. After a leisurely breakfast, we take the bus shuttle to the edge of the port. My goal is to find some free wi-fi. We wander the streets and discover a local farmer’s market. I have never seen red peppers so large. They are bigger than my hand with fingers extended! As the temperatures heat up, we look for the wi-fi. Ahh . . . McDonald’s advertises free wi-fi so we decided to get a beverage only to find out the wi-fi is not working. So no wi-fi on this foray into town.

Livorno, Italy is the first port of call. Many take the excursions to Florence and Pisa, but we opt for something different. Our

Overlooking Manarolo, notice the terraced gardens on the right

travel agent suggested Cinque Terra (pronounced chenk-uh tair-uh). There are five towns along the coast of Italy that are accessible by walking paths, train, or boat. We visited three of the towns and used all the previously mentioned modes. Words are not enough to describe the beauty of these villages. At times I felt like I was on a movie set. It was a fantastic trip!

The land of rich, casino is behind us.

There is nothing like Monte Carlo, Monaco to make you feel poor. We walked from one side to the other, continually surrounded by expensive cars and yachts. My husband’s head was continually spinning as he watched the cars. Unfortunately, I failed to appreciate the vehicles.

Next port of our journey was Barcelona, we have two days there. We did a bike tour of the city on the first day. What an interesting city! Our tour guide was from Florida. He came three years before and loved it so much, he stayed. On the second day we toured Antonio Gaudi’s contributions to the architecture of the city. He had concepts in his mind that were far ahead of his contemporaries.

La Sagrada Familia, they’ve been building this for 130 years.

Parc Guell, I thought I stepped into Flinstone’s world here

The plaza of Parc Guell with the mosaic bench

Palma de Mallorca is an island off the coast of Spain. They are known for pearls that are created there. Yes, I did get one. Our excursion involved wine

What a place to relax!

tasting. We were taken to a family vineyard via a very narrow and twisting road. There were times I wondered how we would make the bend. These bus drivers must have nerves of steel. A very enjoyable time was had by all on this excursion!

Finally, a sea day! Time to rest and relax as we make our way across the Mediterranean Sea to Tunisia.

Camels are being led onto the dock, this is not the usual site that greets us as we dock in La Goulette, Tunisia. An incredibly hot day was before us, 105 degrees. We visited the ruins of Carthage and an artist’s village of Sidi Bou Said. The village was not what I imagined. It was booth after booth of stuff.

All I could think was, really?

The vendors were aggressive and you were expected to bargain with them. That is not the form of shopping I enjoy. Tell me a fair price, don’t make me guess what the real price is. I’m glad I was there, but I have no desire to return to that port.

We now return to the island of Sicily. Palermo is on the western edge of Sicily. We once again decide to walk through the town on our own. I think it is just as hot as Tunisia. We see the cathedral, but then decide to head back to the boat. It is a Sunday and not a lot of businesses are open.

Our final port is Naples and we are part of a tour up the Amalfi coast. That scenery is incredible! I’ll just let the pictures do the talking for me. Wow!

See the road?

What if you woke up to this every morning?

The town of Amalfi

It was a sad day to depart from the boat, but the adventure wasn’t over yet. It was my husband’s birthday, so we decided to spend one night in Rome and

Overlooking the Colosseum from near the top

tour inside the Colosseum. Fortunately I had pre-purchased group tickets that would take us behind the scene. We were able to walk around the mob of people in line for tickets to collect our tickets. This tour was great! We went behind locked gates to get an up-close look at restricted parts of the Colosseum. Since it was my husband’s birthday, we did visit the gelato store twice. Yummy!

Suspended reality was over and home awaited. I was good to be home, but life smacked us in the face the morning after we arrived. Our air conditioner quit putting out cool air sometime during the night. The temperatures were to be in the 100’s. We were rescued later that afternoon as the temperatures in the house were nearing 84 degrees. Fortunately, it was a simple fix and not too costly. Welcome home!

I love visiting new places and I’m ready to go again, but home is a good place to be too.

Back to SOLC

Read more slice of life stories at Two Writing Teacher’s blog.

It’s Tuesday, I am home, and I can resume my blogging life. All is right (or should I say write) with my world. You may be wondering where I’ve been and why I couldn’t blog. I’ve been on a cruise ship . . . in the Mediterranean Sea . . .  for the last twenty days. What an adventure it’s been! Reality of life was suspended for those twenty days. It is so nice to step away from life and live in a fantasy for a short period of time. I savored the luxury of no shopping for groceries (lots of other shopping opportunities), the only decisions concerning food was what did I want to eat, no chores at home to complete, and no political ads on TV. We were in a protected cocoon of the cruise ship and it was lovely to have someone else responsible for the mundane bits of life.

So the next few entries to this blog will give you a glimpse into where I’ve been, what I’ve done/seen, and interesting people I’ve met.

The trip began with an overnight flight to Rome. That would be great if I could sleep on the plane. Every seat was occupied, fortunately I had an aisle seat. There was a huge group of high school students on this flight, so the chatter was loud and constant since the entertainment system was not working. Nine hours later I was glad to be back on land.

A transport service was to meet us and deliver us to the boat in Civitavecchia (port for Rome). We exited from the secure area to a  bedlam of people. At first we did not find a person holding a paper with our name, but finally we spotted her. We were sent to sit and wait as there were more passengers arriving. Forty minutes later we  boarded a bus to head to the port. Once at the port we  collected our luggage from one bus and transferred to another bus to bring us to the check-in.

The check-in was a disaster! Too many people in a too small space and most had traveled all night so they weren’t in a good mood. Later we found out the reason the check-in was disorganized was they were not in their usual space. There were too many boats in port this day.

Once on board all cares melted away. The adventure was about to begin. The following is a short summary of our itinerary for the first ten days.

Our first day was a sea day. It gave us a chance to catch up on sleep we had missed.

First port was Dubrovnik, Croatia. Our excursion was a kayak trip around an island, past a nude beach (not a pretty sight), and along  the city wall.

We joined several other couples and chartered a boat for a day of swimming along the island of Corfu, Greece. The captain grilled fish, his wife prepared several Greek recipes. This became one of the most enjoyable days of the cruise. 

In Katakolon (Olympia), Greece we visited a farm where they raise olives and other vegetables.

When you are in Santorini, Greece you feel like you are stepping into the movie Mama Mia!

The excursion from Kusadasi, Turkey found us in a small village where we sampled fruit wines, drank Turkish coffee with a fortune teller to read our cups, and had lunch in a villager’s home. The meal was delicious! This really made us appreciate the comforts of our own home.

Eagerly we anticipated Athens, but this was one of our least favorite stops. We went to the Acropolis and it was so crowded! 

Another sea day gave me a chance to finish reading Catching Fire.

In Messina, Sicily, Italy we went to see what a volcano looks like up close. Of course we couldn’t get too close to the crater of Mt. Etna, but we did go up about 6,000 feet. It was interesting to see how the landscape changed as we drove up the mountain.

Back to Civitacecchia to send some passengers home and pick up new ones. We wandered around the market of this town marveling at the size of the red peppers and all the wonderful produce.

Visiting other countries makes me appreciate the ease of life we have in the United States.