Its impossible to do either of these cities in a day…but we attempted both. We met a group on Cruise Critic and signed up with them for a private tour in a van. It was great fun as we had all been communicating thru CC for a few months prior to cruise with online iDs and now we get to learn real names. such a fun way to get to know a few of your fellow passengers.
Florence was grand and crowded, as usual. As we have been here a few times, we took advantage of it and skipped going to the museums. Instead walked the streets and took in the city. We Sat and watched the people and children in the Piazzas. Never been to Lucca before and lved the ancient walled city. Must return. Rubbed the hogs nose in the Florence market again so we can return…guess it works. Wonderful full day..7am-7pm…now out to dinner with friends and sail away to Sardinia!
…Were clouded over and unavailable by local boat as water was choppy. So sad for those who had not visited these lovely spots. Brian and i had been here before but never to Portovenere. We had signed up to go explore this smaller and lesser known village. Surprise! Everyone came due to the weather cancellation! Tons of stairs and difficult for many to navigate. Brian and i broke from throng and had fun even as his headcold continues. He is a good sport!Still had fun with new friends from Palm Springs Gay and Larry eating pizza.
picking out his Yacht in Monte Carlo this morning !
One of the best things about Oceania Cruises is they give you tons of info by well qualified local guides then send you off to wander and enjoy yourself. Today we visited Arles and St.Remy, two beautiful Provence towns near (1.2 hour drive)our port in Marsellies. Arles was Home to Van Gogh for awhile until he checked himself in to the very beautiful abbey and hospital for insane after lopping off ear and then painted a few masterpieces and then killed himself ..hospital still operates. Who knew? Gorgous courtyards, lavender fields and iron bars on every whitewashed window. Had to remember not to talk to myself outloud. We visited the hospital, abbey and gardens as well as the towns and local spots he made famous in so many works of art. Wished Terry Cooper was with me for art inspiration! Found a small courtyard for a truly amazing lunch as only France can offer. Indescribable.. Only took photo of the Melon mint gaspacho because we were both busy dying at every bite. We decided should we ever find ourselves back in St. Remy…(we were in this area on our honeymoon) we would need to stay for a day..or two. Bullfighting is banned in Spain but tis the season here in Provence. Provence flag is almost the same as Catalonia Spain and they share a deep history. The local guide showed her hand at her disdain for Paris . A true Marseille resident to badmouth the Parisians. Also enjoyed a lavender honey ice cream. Perfection. Happy birthday Brian.Special Wine Spectator dinner on board tonight in La Reserve on ship . I think its 4 hours of culinary excellence paired with wine.
Sleeping in tomorrow with compress over eyes!
Van Gogh bedroom
Ship day is the best! Ships usually leave port around sunset so you have most of the day to get to the ship. In Barcelona you can even walk as the Port is just steps from the city center. Oceania is our favorite line and Marina is a fairly new ship to its fleet. We were in same suite in 2014 when we traveled to Balkans and loved it. How could Med be anything but glorious?? Walked the Barcelona Market and had early breakfast as stalls opened. Ship by 1 pm and dinner with new friends from Ottawa! Next stop France!
Basilica Familia Sagrada
Yummy Paella with cold beer
I was concerned that our only full day in Barcelona would be a Sunday. Most places closed but the result was perfect. We strolled through beautiful neighborhoods full of young familes picknicking and playing outdoors in warm September weather. Children dressed up for church and cathedral bells tolling everywhere. The Gothic area is amazing with narrow streets and cafes everywhere. People watching was at maximum and i learned three things.. 1. Very white skinned people really should not get big tattoos. 2. You must be a flat chested young woman to wear a tube top correctly . 3. To the guy i saw smoking a pipe like my grandfather used to… ” it still looks stupid so please stop”
Brian and I have done some pretty intensive traveling these past years. Undoubtedly, there are travel advise tidbits that would be far more helpful.. But this just needs to be said. As in Vegas.. Where I always put 20.00 on Black 24… And never win, I am forever hopeful and do assume someday ship will come in. I also ONLY book seats on flights on right side of plane. Never.. And i mean never.. Has anything ever been seen on this side of plane by me. Eiffle tower, statue of liberty, grand canyon at dusk AND in morning light ( return ticket)…and today.. The Matterhorn as we depart Zurich… All left side Really? Well my view was pretty.. But saw no ALPS at all. I dont know how all the Alps were on left side..is that possible????so travel often. Sit LEFT!
Late Saturday night in Barcelona eating Tapas and drinking cold beer ( 90 degrees!) on Ramblos. There will be alot of food photos.