Sunday, December 9, 2012


From Vernazza we took the train to Monterosso.  Again mainly through tunnels.  This is the last village we visited.

 Looking up the hill as I got off the train.
 Starting to walk into town.
 Decided that for future reference I needed to know where I was.  Notice the tunnel.
 Walking into the village along the coast.
 Nazi pill box left over from WWII
View from the top of the hill as I start down into the village.  There was a road and tunnel through the hill but I opted to take the pathway up the hill.  I think the views were worth it.
When we got into the village the tour included a stop at the bell tower, and the old church built in the 1200's and then the finale.  We had a wine and olive oil tasting a a local shop.  Both the wines and the olive oils were grown and processed there.  They were delicious.
After our tasting we were on our own for about 90 minutes before we had to meet back at the train station and catch the bus back to the ship.  The restaurant recommended by our guide was closed for a private party so I wandered around and found this trattoria.  The pizza was excellent.
 Street scene
 Another street scene
 On the beach looking toward the train station.
Same scene different angle.
 I just liked these two shots.

Cinque Terra is definitely a place to revisit.  What I would like to do is hike from one village to the next seeing all five and spend as much time as I like doing it. I would also like to eat and drink my way through the villages taking time to enjoy the wines, olive oils and local seafood.  Walking time between villages is under 2 hours.
As of now however some of the trails are still closed because of the mud slides 2 years ago.  When I go back it will be in the fall.  You can see in the pictures that there weren't any crowds anywhere. Also maybe I lucked out but the weather was excellent.  It was cold in the morning in the shade and I needed a jacket.  The jacket came off as the sun came out and it was very comfortable.  It was a grand day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


From Manarola we took the train to Vernazza.

I sat on the sea side of the train so I could take pictures.  I had no idea almost all of the trip would be through tunnels.  This is the only picture I got.
 I think this village was the most picturesque of the three we saw on the tour.
 Notice the difference in the lighting in these two pictures.

If you'll notice just to the left of the last tree there is a stairway.  That stairway and later a pathway goes all the way up to the radio tower.  I climbed all the way up there.  The view was spectacular but the sun was in the way and pictures weren't very good.


The bus parked at the top of the cliff and we walked down into the town.  There was no way the bus could go any further.

On the way into the village.
 A small stream through the village
A Nativity display on the hill.  From 12/8 to the end of January the hills in Manarola are illuminated with more than 200 figures and 12,000 lamps making their display the biggest lighted Nativity scene in the world.  Also notice the terraced hillside.
 Still walking into the village.
 Notice the building in the upper right hand corner.  That's where the cemetery is located.  I walked the path along the cliff on my way up to the cemetery.
 Taken along the path up to the cemetery
View from the cemetery.
This is a poster  near the train station showing what the Nativity scene looks like when it is illuminated.
I went to You Tube and found this video.


After leaving Civitavecchia (Go ahead, try to pronounce it.) the port for Rome, our next port of call was Livorno.  During my first visit to Livorno I took the shore excursion that spent the day in Florence.  This time I opted for a day in Cinque Terra.  These are pictures out of the bus window as we approached the first village on the tour.

Tunnel through the mountains.  Also a terrace with grape vines
 Better view of the hillside terrace.

View of the first village we visited.
Try to imagine yourself working those vineyards.  Walking up and down those hills all day long.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I have been to Rome four times and like Frank Sinatra now I do it my way.  The first time was with a church tour.  It was a whirlwind three days of seeing many things but not able to spend time really looking at things.  The second time was with my friend, her son, my daughter and me.  We rented an apartment for a week just across the river from the Vatican.  We got to see almost everything we wanted to see.  The next two times were on cruises and I took the excursion "Rome on your own".  The bus dropped me off in front of the Vatican and I was free to explore on my own.

The front of St. Peters
 The main altar of St. Peters
 The Bernini Columns
Another view.  For more information on Bernini go to's_Baldachin
 The Pieta by Michelangelo.  This is right inside the door over to the right as you enter the basilica.  I first saw this at the New York Worlds Fair in 1964 and said "Gee that's a nice piece of work."  I've seen it every time I've been in Rome and I am more amazed each time.  I saw his David when I was in Florence but I think The Pieta is his best work.
 The Pantheon. It is one of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" but informally known as "Santa Maria Rotonda."[5] The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda.  For more information on the history of the Pantheon go to,_Rome .  One of the amazing things with this building is that there is a hole in the roof and there is an area cordoned off if it rains because the floor is wet.
 The Trevi Fountain
 A different view
View of the Vatican from where the bus picked me up for the trip back to the ship.

Doing Rome on my own I spent several hours in St. Peters and actually attended Mass that morning.  Then I walked from there to Piazza Navona and from there the Pantheon.  I had lunch in a little restaurant called Antonios. My favorite restaurant in Rome.  It's on a side street off the Partheon.  Papa Antonio welcomed me with a glass of white wine as I sat down.  Lunch was gourmet.  From there I walked over to the Trevi fountain and tossed some coins in the fountain to insure I will return to Rome.  It was a wonderful afternoon doing my thing in Rome.  I walked back to the Vatican in time to catch the bus back to the ship.
I've been to Rome in March, May,and twice in December.  I recommend going in early December.  The weather is possible rain with temperatures in the 50's but there are no crowds at the attractions.  March was cloudy and rainy but uncrowded.  May was hot and crowed.  The Trevi Fountain looked like an ant hill and St. Peters was wall to wall people.


We had two sea days before we got to Rome.  Here are a few pictures around the ship.

 A sea view from deck 16.  It has deck chairs for lounging, Movies under the stars, and several bars.  You walk down the open air stairs to the pools on deck 15.
 Christmas tree in front of the Crown Grill, one of the upscale restaurants on board.  I had dinner there one night.  It was delicious.  All the food on board was gourmet quality.
 Classical quartet playing in the atrium on deck 5.  I was on deck 7
 Same thing, different angle.
Christmas decorations deck 7.


When my first cruise ended in Venice I had to buy a round trip ticket from Venice to the States.  It was much cheaper than a one way ticket from Venice to Phoenix.  While I was looking at ways to use the return portion to Venice I came across a re-positioning cruise leaving Venice and sailing to Ft. Lauderdale.  It was on the Crown Princess, the same ship I was on for the first cruise. It was a perfect way to use the second half on my ticket.  I left Phoenix December 1, 2012, flew to Charlotte, N.C. then on to Frankfurt, Germany and arrived in Venice around 4:30pm Dec 2nd.  It was cold, rainy and dark.  My plan was to board the ship and sack out as I had very little sleep on the flights.  That was not to be.  My mandatory life jacket drill was scheduled for 7:30 that evening.  Any how we were scheduled to sail at 11:00, so I stayed up to watch us sail out of Venice.  These are the only good pictures of us leaving.

 I think I got a bit of the rail in this picture.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It was a wonderful day in Venice.  There was sun shine and warm temperatures for most of the day.  As the tour ended the sky clouded over and rain threatened.  Here are a few scenes from our boat ride back to the ship.

 I think this is St. Marks
 The Bell Tower in St. Marks Square.
 Different view
 Waterfront church
Waterfront housing
Venice is a city where I would really like to spend more time.  One city tour doesn't do it justice.  That's why cruising is a great way to travel.  You get to see many places for only one day but you can decide from that one day tour if you would like to back and spend more time.  Venice is a place to definitely spend more time. Maybe rent an apartment for a week.