Leaving for home

April 14, 2022

These evil warm freshly baked sticky buns called my name every day at breakfast and I resisted. But we are leaving today. So does that make it net zero with my usual fruit? Servers and wait staff say yes! We will miss you all. Till next time, bye Oceania Marina.

Alps spotted from the road!
Vineyards as far as the eye can see.

Posted in April, Europe, Spring Cruise 2022, World Cruise 3 | 2 Comments

Trieste, Italy

April 13, 2022

First the good news.  Our Covid tests were negative this morning.  And we saw the sunrise from the balcony.

Today we are exploring Trieste.  This is our port of call instead of Venice which does not allow cruise ships into the city anymore.  We sailed in there when we visited years ago, but they are prohibited now.  Oceania is looking for permission to dock closer to Venice but that has not been approved yet.  So Trieste it is, and we haven’t visited this city before.  Venice is a 2 hour trip from here and many passengers are going there.  We will need to travel to Venice airport tomorrow so our flight has been changed to a later one on a different airline.

Our tour today is Trieste and its Miramare Castle.  Our guide was Katya.

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On our way to the Castle, she gave us a lot of information about Trieste.  The population here is 200,000 and the city is bordered by Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east. Croatia is only 19 miles to the south.  There is a long coastline and its location from a plateau to the Adriatic Sea keeps it physically and psychologically isolated from the rest of the Italian peninsula.  It preserves its own culture and dialect, a mixture of Italian, Austrian-German, Croatian and Greek. It has one of the highest standards of living among Italian cities and was named one of the 25 best small towns in the world for quality of life and one of the ten safest cities in the world in 2021.

Actually, we felt pretty safe on this whole trip, no pickpockets or any kind of threat at all.  Of course the crowds were not here both because of Covid and the early part of the season.

The city has mostly one way streets which makes it challenging to travel through.  Our driver is of course familiar, so no problem.

The 17th century was very important here, the Empress Marie Therese made a lot of positive changes and she is much loved by the people.

We went to the lovely Miramare Castle which was the home of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximillian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium, later Emperor Maximillian of Mexico.  He supposedly chose the site after taking shelter from a storm in the harbor.  The castle has a surrounding 54 acre park. It was only accessible by sea. It means “look at the sea.” It was finished only after he went to Mexico in 1864 and reigned there as Emperor until he was executed in June 1867.  During the construction he  lived in the Castelleto which still stands on the grounds but is closed to visitors.We spent 45 minutes touring the castle and another 45 minutes walking around the grounds.  The area is isolated and very serene.

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This is the view as we approach the castle.

We heard so much history about Marie Therese, Maximillian that it is hard to capture it all. 

Here are pictures of the beautiful interior with original silk wall coverings and intricate furniture. There are 5000 books in the library.

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This is a piano forte, an early version of the piano.

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Later, the residents of the castle were the family of Duke Amedeo of Aosta and they had simpler tastes!

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And here are some shots from around the grounds.

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After the castle, we went up to the San Guisto area which is high on the hill overlooking the city.  There we toured the San Giusto Cathedral which is a Roman Catholic cathedral and the main church of Trieste. The first building on the site was in the 6th century and was completely destroyed by the Lombard invasion.Between the 9th and the 17th centuries, two basilicas were erected and in the 14th century the two were joined. Inside you can see the difference in the architecture and décor between the two.

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There is an old fortress on the hill with the church and some ruins. The brick is newer, the white is the original.

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We didn’t have free time in the town but since we are here overnight and our ship will change locations, we may do a last dinner in Italy. The comedian Mark Palmer will perform again tonight.

We THINK we filled out and uploaded all of the required forms for our flight back to the US.  We are flying on Iberia and we change planes in Madrid, then back to Miami and home. 

Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022 | 1 Comment

Koper, Slovenia

April 11, 2022

Slovenia is another country we have never visited so we were looking forward to today. Our sail in was beautiful as most of these Mediterranean countries are, but a difference today was that when we looked down from our balcony into the sea, there were literally thousands of big jellyfish!  We never saw so many before.

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We arrived at 10 AM today and our tour was at 10:45 and was a walking tour of Koper.  We could get right off the ship and met our guide on the pier. This was the only place they stamped our passports.  Most ports did not even require that you have them with you, only Croatia and here, and they never checked or stamped them in Croatia.

Marajita was our guide today.  We walked into the old city first.  As we walked, she gave us some of the history of the city. This city was built on an island surrounded by swampland that was later drained. .  It was called Goat Island because of the many goats that lived here.  It was controlled in the 1400s and 1500s by the Venetian Republic and many of the buildings date back to this period.  The main square in the city is called Tito Square. The country is only 10 miles from Italy and both Italian and Slovene are taught in school and spoken by most of the population. Because Italy is so close, many people travel there to work as the salaries are higher.

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The country is bordered by Austria to the north and to the east, Hungary.  Croatia is to the south and Italy to the west. Slovenia has barely 30 miles of coastline.

We visited the museum and the Pretorian Palace. The museum is celebrating 110 years. In the museum there were letters from people whose relatives lived through WWII. The exhibits were in Slovene and Italian and occasionally there would be a laminated sheet in English.  It was still interesting, though.  Some of the letters were in English.

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Here are some of the sights of the city.

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The city is shaped like a shield and Marajita pointed out all of the places we visited on this map that is in one of the squares.


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The winged lion is the symbol of Venice and is seen all around the city. The large homes have wells outside to guarantee that they will have water. The sun represents the jellyfish and Medusa.

After our walking tour we went to a restaurant, Kapitalita which was along the harbor and we were served wine, potato chips and olives. The corner has the trunk of a vine and you can see the shadow of the vines on the roof.

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Next door was a salt shop. They have a lot of salt flats here and the salt is famous. I bought some to take home.

Marajita said that the cyclists and other sports figures are excellent here and greatly respected. Of course she also mentioned Melania and Fiorello LaGuardia who were both born here.

Tomorrow is our last day of the cruise and we will visit Trieste Italy which is a short distance away.  We don’t leave here until midnight which means the shops and the casino will be closed.  It is a nice treat for the crew to be able to get off and walk into town.

I had a lovely facial today and tomorrow morning we will get our Covid tests.  We have a tour of Trieste and then sadly, we will need to pack because we leave for the Venice airport early in the morning for our flight home.

Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022 | 3 Comments

Dubrovnik, Croatia

April 11, 2022

So many people have told me how beautiful Dubrovnik is.. well it certainly lived up to expectations and then some! George Bernard Shaw visited the city in 1929 and said “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik”. Just sailing in was spectacular.

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Our guide today was Tony, who was born in 1986 and grew up in the Old City of Dubrovnik.  His English was amazing and we noticed he counted in English which in our experience is rare.  People usually count in their native languages.  It is compulsory to take both English and Croatian in school here from the age of 6.

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Croatia is a country of 56,000 square kilometers. The population is 3.8 million with 43,000 living in Dubrovnik and only 1000 living in the Old City. Croatia borders 6 countries and the longest land border is with Bosnia. Dubrovnik is a UNESCO heritage site so no changes can be made to the buildings here.

They are not on the Euro yet, they will be next year but their currency is the kuna and 1 Euro is equal to 7.5 kuna.

The country is mostly Catholic but there are 45 Jewish people in Dubrovnik and they do have a synagogue but no rabbi. The patron saint of the city is Saint Blaise (Catholics know of the blessing of the throat which dates back to St. Blaise.) The most beloved church here is dedicated to St. Blaise.

The third oldest European pharmacy dating back to 1317 is located here and is still operating.

Few of Dubrovnik’s Renaissance buildings survived the earthquake of 1667 but there are enough left to understand the architectural heritage.

We went by cable car to the top of a mountain where the War Museum is located.  It is in the old fortress and is lined with pictures and narrative of the war with Serbia and Montenegro.  There is also a short movie about that war and the extreme damage it did. They have meticulously reconstructed the city after both the earthquake and the war. The images of the current war in Ukraine came to our minds.  What a tragedy.

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The views from both the cable car and outside of the War Museum were amazing.  Tony told us that the roofs of the buildings in the Old City will let you identify the buildings that were destroyed and rebuilt because their roofs are orange and the old ones are brown.

Then we were invited to a café overlooking the city for a refreshment.  The servers were so friendly and we were served either blueberry juice or orange juice and what they called a muffin.  They were more like cupcakes with icing and were delicious.

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We took the cable car down and then walked to the Old City. There are so many wonderful sights – I will just post photos of some of them.

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There was one church that survived the war and there are bullet holes on the outside.

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One church is called the “cat church” because of the many cats that congregate here.  The cats are fed by local restaurant owners and in return they keep mice and rats away.

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One item of interest was the first orphanage, from the 1400’s.  Women could bring babies they either couldn’t care for or were products of a relationship they wanted to keep hidden to this window and simply hand the baby into the box.  No one was allowed to watch so it was anonymous.  If the mother wanted to later be identified, she might leave a note or a necklace with the child.  Then when the children reached 6 years of age while in the orphanage, they could be adopted or returned to the mother.

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Much of the HBO series Game of Thrones was filmed here and of course many shops sell items related to the series.

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This gargoyle is said to guarantee a wonderful love life if you stand on it and take your shirt off.  No one that I saw did it, but the walls are dark from the people who try to hold on.  It is slippery and slanted which makes it almost impossible to keep your balance. IMG_0623~photo

We walked through the Old City and then had free time on our own.  We chose to climb and walk the City Walls.  They are 2 km long and are famous around the world.  They were protection from the enemy in the past but now they are an attraction that is sort of a city museum offering views from above the city.  The walls are so thick!

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We had to have a gelato before we left the city at 2.  I guess you could call it lunch.

Both weather and scenery made this a real highlight of the trip for us.  Tomorrow we arrive in Slovenia.

We saw this sailboat as we relaxed on our balcony before sail away.IMG_0643~photo

Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022 | 1 Comment

Corfu, Greece

April 10, 2022

Our port of call today is Corfu, Greece. 

We arrived while it was still a bit dark outside but you could still see one of the forts as we sailed in.

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Our guide is Zita who was born in Hungary but has been working here for 23 years.

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Locating Corfu on the map – if you picture the heel of the boot of Italy and the west coast of mainland Greece, Corfu lies just between them.  It faces Albania on the east, and we got a notice on our phones “Welcome to Albania”, that’s how close it is.

The position of Corfu at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea makes it a strategic location as well.

First, we traveled through the town and heard from Zita that the population of Corfu is 100,000.  It is very fertile and is called the Emerald Island.  It has a wonderful climate and many beautiful beaches.  Before Covid, Zita said that about 78 planes a day landed here in summer.

We stopped for a view of a small island called Mouse Island due to its small size.  Mythology says that it was the ship of Ulysses that was stoned by the god Poseidon. It is near a church and monastery called Panagia Vlacherna which is linked to the land by a small bridge. 

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There is a forecast for some rain today but so far it is sunny.

The Venetians occupied Corfu during the period when Christianity was introduced and most of the so called pagan structures were destroyed and the worship of the gods decreased.  Many stories remain though. 

We visited the Mon Repos Palace which was actually the birthplace of Prince Phillip of the UK.  He was born on the dining table in the villa which belonged to Greek Royals in 1921. There is a plaque marking the site as his birthplace. Mon Repos is now an archeological museum. We had a tour through the museum and learned the importance of olive oil and wine in the country.  Much of the old pottery was used for oil or wine.

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One room had these paintings of local flowers.  The large one is the so called Judas tree where Judas hanged after betraying Jesus.  It is plentiful on the island.

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The grounds are beautiful and we saw lots of runners on the roads around the palace.

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There are two large forts on Corfu aptly named the new fort and the old fort!  The old fort on the east side of the town overlooking the sea was built in the 15th century by the Venetians and is one of the most impressive fortifications in Europe.  We didn’t go in but had lots of photo opportunities.

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The new fort is also called the Fortress of St. Mark and was built  between 1576 and 1645. You still see the winged lion, symbol of Venice, on many of the buildings.

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So you see, they are both quite old!

We had time to walk around the old town.  Even though it is Sunday, many shops were open.  Apparently a big thing here is Donkey Milk soap, so we had to buy some.

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We also saw these men load this large object into their small car.  No idea what it was or where it was headed.

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We visited a small ornate church and the man inside gave us candles to light and also some bread. 

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Just as we were getting ready to return to the ship, there was a rain storm so we got kind of soaked.  It wasn’t too cold though, and we did have our waterproof windbreakers on.

We say goodbye to beautiful Corfu and Greece.  Tomorrow we visit Dubrovnik in Croatia and we are really excited to see it because everyone says it is so beautiful.  Our clocks go back one hour tonight.

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Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022 | 3 Comments

Katakolon, Greece

April 9, 2022

We arrived at our first port in Greece this morning.  The village of Katakolon is on the western coast of Greece’s largest peninsula, the Peloponnese.  It is best known as the gateway to one of ancient Greece’s most notable historic landmarks ancient Olympia.  It is famous as the location of the first Olympiad, and that is the site we visited today.

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Our guide was Marietta, and she was really terrific.  She says she is close to retirement and our whole group decided she should not retire, she was that good!

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Greece is made up of 3000 islands, the largest is Crete.

As we traveled the countryside, Marietta told us about all of the many things that are grown here.  The largest is olives and this peninsula has 22 million olive trees.  Second is watermelon and we passed several farms on our route. 65% of the fertile land in the country is found in this area. The prize in the early Olympics was an olive tree branch, a symbol of peace.

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96% of the population is Greek Orthodox.

1700 years ago, Olympia was buried by an earthquake and a tsunami and the site of the Olympiad was buried under 15 – 30 feet of land and it is still being excavated.

The last Olympics to be held here were in 393 AD. Back in the day, no women were allowed to compete, only Greek born males could compete, later Romans were allowed.  I didn’t know that the men competed naked! The games lasted 5 days and after the games ended in those days, women were allowed into the site to honor the goddess Hera.

The games inspired the Olympic truce when all hostilities were temporarily suspended in honor of the games.

The Olympic torch is still lit here and carried by a series of runners.

The 5000 acre site was made a national park in the 1970s.

Here are some pictures of the site:

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This is where the torch is lit.

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Norm did a start and a finish, but didn’t run the length of the course, we both walked it!

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The red bud trees and other flowers combined with a nice clear and warm day with few tourists made this a wonderful day.

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After our visit to the site, we went to the modern city of Olympia for shopping and strolling. There will be a big motorcycle race here soon,  Here’s the banner that is all over town and also some of the bikers.  Check out the boots!

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Marietta gave us information about the prices and inflation in the country. It seems to be the same in most places that we visit.

In 2007 there was a big fire and 3 million olive trees burned.  60 people died.  Marietta and her husband had 1000 trees and lost them all.  There was another fire in 2021 but no lives were lost.

Tomorrow we head to Corfu, our second Greek port.

Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022 | 2 Comments

Cruising the Ionian Sea

April 8, 2022

Today was our last sea day of the cruise unless we have a port cancelled, but the weather has been nice so I think we will make all of the next ports. 

Today we were invited to a wine tasting which was called “the battle of the reds” , Bordeaux to California and was kind of like the Judgement of Paris challenge when the French were appalled that the California reds won the competition.  It was very interesting. We tasted 6 wines and each two were paired.  We learned about each in a blind tasting and then had to guess which came from each region.  They were delicious and I learned a lot.

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The wines we tasted were Chateau Valandraud Virginie De Valandraud (Bordeaux) challenged by Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot (Napa)  (France won).

Chateau Bouscaut Grand Cru Classe De Graves (Bordeaux) challenged by Shafer Vineyards TS-9 (Napa)  (France won).

Chateau Lunch-Moussas 5Eme Cru Classe (Bordeaux) challenged by Camus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa) (Napa won).

The sommelier said that it doesn’t always turn out that way, each group that does the tasting may score differently. 

The line dancing was held in the Marina lounge so I got to see what the room looks like from the stage!

I thought I might give a few facts about the ship.  It is the Oceania Marina which was built in 2011 and completely refurbished in 2021.  It holds 1250 guests.  The last segment had about 900 and this segment we have about 600.  I am sure that at the Oceania Club parties on Saturday and Sunday I will hear the exact number.  There are 800 crew members from 52 nationalities. I love meeting them and hearing about their lives when they are at home.

I made the finals of blackjack and did not win – one player got blackjack on the final hand when we all had big bets on the table and he wiped us all out!

Here is a picture of the ship:

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It was windy and cool today and here is the ADDA band on deck with their wooly hats on.

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We had another dinner in Red Ginger tonight.  They start each meal with edamame and give you a dry small towel which they pour hot water on to expand it, this is to clean your hands after the edamame. I tried to take a video of it but it didn’t turn out.

I had the tempura sweet potato and avocado as an appetizer.  Delicious.

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Tomorrow we visit our first port in Greece, Katakolon.

Posted in April, At Sea, Europe, Spring Cruise 2022 | 1 Comment

Syracuse, Sicily, Italy

April 7, 2022

As I wrote in my previous post, instead of Messina, Sicily, because of dangerous winds, we were rerouted to Syracuse which is located in the southeastern coast of Sicily.  I am not sure if the local authorities were not accustomed to ships or it was just bureaucracy, but we were supposed to leave for our tour at 8 AM and the authorities did not clear the ship until almost 9:30. Our cruise director, Peter, said they just kept asking for more and more paperwork that no other ports had requested.  We even had to show our ship card to authorities as we left the ship which hasn’t happened up until now.

Anyway, we got on our way by 9:40 for our trip to Taormina and Mt. Etna. Our guide was Nadia and the first thing she told us was that we needed N95 or KN95 masks and if we didn’t have them (we did), she provided them.  We had to wear them in the bus too. But by now we are well used to that.

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The port of Syracuse did not impress us on arrival, but apparently there is a very impressive old city. It was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC. As with many European cities, subsequent wars and takeovers by Romans, Byzantines, North Africans, Normans and others left their influence on art and even cooking styles. It is hard to imagine now, but in its heyday this was the largest city in the ancient world, bigger than even Athens and Corinth.

As we left Syracuse, Nadia gave us some other information about Sicily.  (in Amalfi, Alessio told us that their biggest export was the Mafia, but Nadia didn’t mention that!!)

Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean and also borders the Ionian Sea.  The population is 5 million.  It is generally temperate all year but of course on Mt. Etna there is snow from about October to May and there is skiing during the winter months.

Because of the lava from Mt. Etna, the soil is very fertile and many crops are grown here.  Lemon and orange (including blood orange) trees line the roads and wheat, almonds, olives, cherry tomatoes, peaches, prickly pear, fava beans and cherries are some of the many agricultural crops found in the area.

Nadia would have been a guide leaving from Messina if we had docked there, so she had to get up at 3 AM to get to Syracuse to meet the ship.  She never complained, though, the guides are all happy to have tourists back.

Here are some views of the coastline as we approached the road leading up to Taormina.

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We drove to Taormina which is located high on a cliff  (200 meters above sea level) just below Castelmola. Here is a view of that town.

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Taormina is a really charming town, 12,000 population,  with many winding streets, several squares usually build around the churches, and one of the main attractions, the Greek and Roman Theater.  Here are some of the sights we saw on our walk to the theater.

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We are so lucky to have a clear day.  Mt. Etna views were wonderful.  And it is really the beginning of the season, so there were no crowds and the weather was about 65 and sunny.  It can get over 100 degrees in the summer.

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By the time we were ready to leave  Taormina at 1:45, I just had to get a gelato because “lunch” wouldn’t be until about 3:15!

We headed to Mt. Etna where we would first have lunch at a restaurant near the Crater Silvestri (1300 feet from the top) and then visit one of the 200 craters on the 11,000 ft. high volcano.  This is an active volcano  with 4 active craters and it last erupted two months ago. Nadia said there were 50 eruptions last year.  They have warnings and ways to divert  the lava so it is very different from 1669 when the lava reached the sea and destroyed the city of Catania, which was rebuilt. It is the highest active volcano in Europe.

I had to really admire the bus driver as the roads up Mt. Etna are narrow and very winding.  In fact, for this tour, there was a printed warning for anyone who gets motion sickness to avoid the tour.

We had lunch at the restaurant La Cantoniera.  The hospitality was great and the mushroom risotto was perfect. The wine, not so much! Those who eat meat also had a lasagna and we all had a salad and dessert.

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I bundled up because it was 40 degrees and very windy at the crater.  Here are some photos which of course, cannot accurately show how deep it was.  The wind could almost lift you off your feet and I was the only one of 20 on our tour who walked down AND around the rim of the crater.  I guess I am a true badass!

We arrived back at the ship at 6:30 and were the last to return. We canceled our reservation at Jacques for tonight and after our showers to remove all of the lava dust, we had a casual dinner in the Terrace Café.

It was a tiring but really wonderful day.  Our entertainer tonight was Mark Palmer, a comedian in the style of Jerry Seinfeld – using every day experiences to make us laugh.

Tomorrow we have our only sea day of this cruise and our clocks move another hour forward tonight.

Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022 | 1 Comment

Valletta, Malta

April 6, 2022

We had not booked anything for Malta as we had been here several times before.  I was interested in a tour called Maltese food and wine and signed up, but we were waitlisted.  When I called destination services to book something else, they said they did have one seat available.  Norm said that I should go and he would walk around the city or take the hop on hop off bus.

We arrived in port at about 11:45 today.  Originally we were told we had to download and complete information on the VeriFLY app or we could not get off the ship here.  But late yesterday, the cruise director informed us that Malta made an exception due to the short time we would be here.  It took a long time to download and populate the app and I imagine there were many complaints by less tech savvy people and the slower internet also made it tedious to do. We did get it done though.

We were told we could use paper vaccination proof or digital, so I relied on digital which I have in many formats.  But when I got off the ship, the officials said digital was not acceptable, so I was glad I did VeriFLY because that worked like a charm.

For those who blame the cruise line about almost everything, they really need to realize that things change all the time and it is the local regulations that are hard to keep up with! Oceania does a great job in spite of all the changes they need to deal with.

Sailing into Valetta is really quite spectacular.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The city is less than half a square mile.  It is located just south of Sicily and just north of Africa.  There is a large concentration of churches, palaces and museums here.  The population of Malta is 500,000.

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Anyway, this tour started at noon and to my surprise there were only 14 people and it was a large van rather than a bus for this tour.

Our guide was Martin and our driver was Victor. They limit the number of people on this tour because it is a very local one and a small group works the best.  Martin is a professional photographer and a Knight! He is originally from Malta but lived in Melbourne Australia for years and returned to Malta 9 years ago.

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Our first stop was a sheep farm in the village of Santi.  Interestingly, there is no grazing here, the sheep are kept in pens.  These sheep produce the milk to make an amazing cheese called Gbejniet.  It is sold locally only as it is not pasteurized so can’t be shipped.  We had a walk through the farm and a cheese tasting.

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There are a lot of “rubble walls” which are made of stone, some from ruins.  If any walls are built here, they must be in the same style.  You see them everywhere outside of the towns.

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We then drove through Rabat and Imdina and got to see St Paul’s Cathedral where Pope Francis visited just a few days ago.

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Martin said there are a lot of festivals held here and people are really missing them due to Covid.  Things are easing up, though and some festivals are back.  They even have horse racing in the streets!

Like everywhere else, cost of living has increased dramatically and tourism is just beginning to return.

Our next stop was a small bakery in the village of Qormi.  It was so small that we had to split the group in two to fit in.  They use a small wood burning oven.  We had two kinds of pastizzi, one with cheese and one with peas. They are filo pastry with the different fillings.  There was a school across the street and when it dismissed many moms and kids headed to the bakery. I said the pea filled ones (which were wonderful) would be a good way to get kids to eat their vegetables without them realizing it.

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Here is one of the cars covered with the sand from the recent Sahara sand storm.  Martin said that the people normally keep their cars really clean but as soon as they clean them, more deposits seem to happen.

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We proceeded to Bingermma where we visited a family compound with lovely ponds, beehives, lots of vegetation and a small olive grove.  We had an olive oil tasting and then went to a terrace adjoining their home  where we had the cheese and bread (brought from our other stops by Martin), a kind of hummus with crackers and carrots, wine (of course) and a dessert made from the cheese with a fig sauce, fresh strawberries and some homemade cookies.

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This is the beehive.IMG_0273~photo

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It was a truly wonderful afternoon and I had no appetite for dinner so had a small green salad.

Norm’s day was  OK, he took a hop on hop off bus that he thought would be a ride of 1 1/2 hours.  It turned out to be 3 hours and he actually went out to the country and to some of the villages we either passed or visited.  So his pictures were similar to some of mine.

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The countryside is covered with wildflowers at this time of year, unfortunately, on the winding, narrow roads, there wasn’t a good shot of them.  They also have a lot of prickly pear cactus which the local people love.

When the Captain comes on the intercom we know it is not good news, and due to 25 knot winds, our port of Messina was cancelled and we will now go to the port of Syracuse tomorrow. We are lucky that our tour to Taormina and Mount Etna will still take place from that port.  We are eager to see Mount Etna and are prepared to bundle up because the weather report says it will be 30 degrees there with some possible snow.

Posted in April, Excursions, Food, Spring Cruise 2022 | 1 Comment

Amalfi and Positano

April 5, 2022

This was probably our fourth visit to this area of Italy and it never loses its charm.  Today we took a ferry from Amalfi (which was an anchored and tender port) to Positano.  Our guide was Alessio and he was really fun and a good guide. The highlight here is the amazing coastline and while it was hard to get good pictures, here are some of them.  Many homes and hotels are located right on the cliffs and there are terraces where people have gardens.  I would not want to weed those.

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The first thing he did when we got off the ferry in Positano was give us a coupon for gelato at the “best gelato place” and he wasn’t wrong.  A good way to start the morning at about 10:30! I got the stracciatella flavor, Italian chocolate chip.  Delicious!

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We got back on the ferry and went to Amalfi.  Here we visited the St. Andrew Cathedral which was really magnificent.  We toured through the museum and the catacombs then went into the main cathedral. 

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We wandered the streets of Positano and enjoyed the many ceramics shops and people watching.  Positano has a population of 3000 and Alessio says the main occupation is gossip!

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We had free time to wander around the streets.  One of the main attractions is the limoncello and you see it in every shop.  There are even ices sold in a lemon.IMG_0210~photoIMG_0211~photoIMG_0206~photo

The weather was really perfect so it made the day both picturesque and delightfully warm.

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This picture was painted by my new friend Laura and what a surprise when she gave it to me before she and her husband Thomas got off the cruise and were spending several days in Rome before heading home.

Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Food, Spring Cruise 2022 | Leave a comment