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Italy

Rome before and after cruise 2018

Rome October 2018

Getting there is never fun. We had a direct from Chicago O' hare to Rome. I watched several movies and watched Jim my DH sleep the whole way. How do guys do that? Arrived at 0900 and driver Roberto was there and took us to our first Air BnB in the Monti area. He left us at door and I thought oh no now what. We pressed the buzzer and Marisa's husband opened the door. Our room wasn't ready so we left our stuff and started exploring! We had seen the Coliseum before so just wanted to explore the area more. We found a Villa Aldobrandi and had a great overview to see the area.

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View from street corner of Air BNB

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We were close to Piazza Navona. We walked to trevi fountain and Spanish steps.

We stopped for lunch at the place our Air BNB recommended down our street

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Back out after we got checked in at air bnb. Went looking for the church San Pietro in Vinvoli and found the beautiful Moses statue that was completed in 1515

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on the ceiling, you find a beautiful fresco by Giovanni

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The church has the layout of a much larger basilica as it is divided by 20 ancient marble columns in the interior

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The chains of St Peter, according to tradition when the two chains used to fetter the Saint in Jerusalem

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Views of Forum

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Coliseum

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Had reservations at Cuoco E Camica in a cosey alleyway right by a flight of stairs. We sat in a quiet spot only a few steps from the heart of the historic borough of Monti
We had the seafood tasting menu, Rome is always a city by the sea. salmon tartar, cucumber cups, Lobster packets, Octopus, Squid and more. Mango ice cream and two pastries. delicious and waitress explained everything in detail! Two years we had eaten Amore hotel and this meal surpassed it by far and was one third the price.

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Went to leave and it started pouring. We laughed as we sloshed through the puddles and ran back to our room.

Saturday, October 6th
In the morning, I used a hotpot for tea for the first time Jim brought back a pastry we were up and ready and had our head stuck out the window looking for our driver to pick us up. We heard him holler Mr. James

We used all off ship tours from cruise critic forum with a group that was traveling on our ship the Jewel. I started working on excursions in Nov 2017 and was all done planning in Feb2018. I joined some tours with others and was in charge of two tours. The people on cruise critic were very seasoned travelers and easy to work with. We ended up seeing many throughout the ship.

We had booked a Pre Cruise Rome Countryside Tour through Stefano's ROMECABS
Barb and Dan from Pennsylvania
Daveen and Don from Washington

Castello Orsini-Odescalchi is a castle in Bracciano in the province of Rome located on the southern shore of Lake Bracciano. Opened in 1485. It is the most impressive castle in Italy. It was built by powerful Orsini family as both a private residence and defense fortress. The castle host important cultural events and high profile weddings, The price for the castle was 8.50 Euros per person. We did not get a guide and enjoyed seeing it on our own and reading placks in each room.

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We stopped at and walked the boardwalk

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Monday day ten leave the ship and go to Rome

We shared a ride with Dawn and Tom. We were dropped off at Primo Suites We rang the buzzer and Fabio the owner came down to greet us. Our room was not ready so we were given a choice of two rooms. We picked # 5. He gave us a map and many suggestions for places to see since we had been to Rome before.

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I loved that we had no agenda and just planned on wondering Rome. We walked to Trevi fountain but it was so busy decided to get up early and come back in the morning. We then walked to Spanish steps

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Lunch

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We met Dawn and Tom for supper

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Tuesday up early togo to Tevi fountain

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Market

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Capacino break

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Jewish Gettho is the oldest Jewish settlement in all of Europe. It is very pedestrian friendly and a great place for a stroll.

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lunch

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Piazza Navona
Fountain of four rivers in the middle with an Egyptian obelisk, the Northen end has a fountain of Neptune, Southern end four Titans, Church of Sant Agnese

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Supper was a small place off the beaten track that Fabio recommended. We would meet a young couple who also vacationed in Switzerland that we enjoyed talking to. I had ravioli with spinach sage butter and ricotta cheese. Jim had spaghetti with a hole Bucatini with tomato sauce and bacon

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Wed Papal Mass with Pope Frances

Jim had gone on Tuesday to get free tickets you get them directly from the Swiss guard in St Peter's Square at the bronze door. We arrived at 0730 to a huge number of people and went through security took us about a half hour. We then went and found a seat in chairs set up and tried to get in the aisle where the Pope goes through in Popemobile. They had several large screens set up in the square. He arrived a little before 10 and went up the aisle and middle where we were. Pope Francis stopped several times to bless people. I was overwhelmed and it brought me to tears. So Happy to experience Pope Francis in person.

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We decided to take a walk. Rome is known as the city of seven hills, but actually the Gianicolo or Janiculum the hill that provides one of the best views of Rome to go down we went down to TRASTEVERE. We stayed here the last time and love the location. We had time to wander around and found a great stop for lunch

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At Noon

the quiet is momentarily broken by the single shot of a cannon to mark the exact time, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. We saw a bunch of people waiting and wondered what was happening and BOOM. the cannon went off. We just happened to be in the right place at right time to see it

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We went down the steps to TRASTEVERE and wandered around. Found a great place for lunch. I was a little too happy after sharing a bottle of Chanti with Jim and had to get a picture with the bartender!

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We spent time exploring

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I had to rest my ankles, sat on the square and enjoyed people watching after all the walking.

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We walked back along the Tiber River and I went to the room and rested while Jim checked out a few more churches and Lego displays.

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Legos

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For our final night in Rome, we picked a restaurant Fabio had recommended, Osteria de Memmo

I had mushroom tagliatelle and Jim had seafood tagliatelle. We shared a cheese plate and bottle of wine.

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Thursday the dreaded travel day home. Started day off scary our driver did not show up. Fabio came through again and called them and they said our driver's car had broken down and they were sending another driver. 25 min later the driver arrived. He drove like a racecar driver and we made it to the airport with a few minutes to spare. The first leg of the flight to London. We ate a great burger at the pilots club there. Next long flight home to Chicago. Landed and pulled into our driveway at 1130 at night. Awesome trip and met some wonderful people.

3

Posted by Cindygad 11:15 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Rome,Italy, Sicily ,and Greece on the Jewel October 2018

Rome, Sicily,Malta,Mykonos, Santorini & Athens

Rome

Getting there is never fun. We had a direct from Chicago O hare to Rome. Arrived at 0900 watched several movies and watched Jim sleep the whole way. How do guys do that? Arrived and driver Roberto was there and took us to our first Air BnB in the Monti area. He left us at door and I thought oh no now what. We pressed the buzzer and Marisa's husband opened the door. Our room wasn't ready so we left our stuff and started exploring! We had seen the Coliseum before so just wanted to explore the area more. We found a Villa Aldobrandi and had a great overview to see the area.

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View from street corner of Air BNB

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We were close to Piazza Navona. We walked to trevi fountain and Spanish steps.

We stopped for lunch at the place our Air BNB recommended down our street

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Back out after we got checked in at air bnb. Went looking for the church San Pietro in Vinvoli and found the beautiful Moses statue that was completed in 1515

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on the ceiling, you find a beautiful fresco by Giovanni

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The church has the layout of a much larger basilica as it is divided by 20 ancient marble columns in the interior

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The chains of St Peter, according to tradition when the two chains used to fetter the Saint in Jerusalem

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Views of Forum

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Coliseum

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Had reservations at Cuoco E Camica in a cosey alleyway right by a flight of stairs. We sat in a quiet spot only a few steps from the heart of the historic borough of Monti
We had the seafood tasting menu, Rome is always a city by the sea. salmon tartar, cucumber cups, Lobster packets, Octopus, Squid and more. Mango ice cream and two pastries. delicious and waitress explained everything in detail! Two years we had eaten Amore hotel and this meal surpassed it by far and was one third the price.

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Went to leave and it started pouring. We laughed as we sloshed through the puddles and ran back to our room.

Saturday, October 6th
In the morning, I used a hotpot for tea for the first time Jim brought back a pastry we were up and ready and had our head stuck out the window looking for our driver to pick us up. We heard him holler Mr. James

We used all off ship tours from cruise critic forum with a group that was traveling on our ship the Jewel. I started working on excursions in Nov 2017 and was all done planning in Feb2017. I joined some tours with others and was in charge of two tours. The people on cruise critic were very seasoned travelers and easy to work with. We ended up seeing many throughout the ship.

We had booked a Pre Cruise Rome Countryside Tour through Stefano's ROMECABS
Barb and Dan from Pennsylvania
Daveen and Don from Washington

Castello Orsini-Odescalchi is a castle in Bracciano in the province of Rome located on the southern shore of Lake Bracciano. Opened in 1485. It is the most impressive castle in Italy. It was built by powerful Orsini family as both a private residence and defense fortress. The castle host important cultural events and high profile weddings, The price for the castle was 8.50 Euros per person. We did not get a guide and enjoyed seeing it on our own and reading placks in each room.

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We stopped at and walked the boardwalk

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Now the chaos begins we had received an email stating not to arrive before 1 because the previous cruise had norovirus 250 people had been sick. We arrived around 2. We checked in quite easy because we are diamond level. There were hoards of people at the terminal. We got in line and was on board at 3.

Everyone was heading to the dining room. Windjammer. There was no place to sit. We had our carry on suitcases so waited on a table to open. I Sat down while Jim went to get his lunch. When there has been a virus they have to serve you your food from the buffet and get your drinks. None of the staff seemed to know what was going on. I got a salad and we ended up sharing the table with some great people from Alabama that had never cruised. that helped to pass the time. They came on the speaker and said the rooms still are not ready. We left and tried to find a place to wait. All the chairs were taken and the hallways and stairs were covered with people.

The doors finally opened before fire drill at 515. Rooms were not ready but we dropped our suitcases off and went to drill. The rain had stopped and it was hot waiting for the drill to be completed in the sun.

Since we are diamond members we get free drinks from the bar from 5-830. We went to eat at 0815 any time dining and had a great waiter Joel from Philippines and Vineesh from.
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They would end up being our favorite team we have ever had. Danced and to bed at 1000.

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Sunday, Oct 7th.

Sicily was a tour I had arranged we did not arrive until 1100 am. We went down to the main dining room and had to wait in line. Talked to a young girl in a wheelchair who was a senior and travel to Greece with her Mom and Dad to explore for her school studies. She was an amazing young lady we would run into throughout the cruise.

I had a sign when we got off the ship and everyone was prompt and it was good to see people I had talked to online and put faces with names.

Dawn & Tom Chicago
Jane & Mike
Ute & Oliver from Germany

Our Driver was Carmela. We were picked up in the port of Messina. and we were off it was the Taormina and Winery tour we chose through Sicily life. Anna was easy to work with the booking of the trip. We drove through seaport of Giardina Naxos which was the first Greek settlement in Sicily.

Our first stop Gambino Winery along the slopes of Mount Etna overlooking the sea. We were taking in the view and our wine guide came out and gave us a glass of wine while he explained the grapes.
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They are special due to volcanic minerals in the soil. We went inside to be seated for the tasting combined with Sicilian food tasting of dried tomatoes, etna mushrooms an olives, local salami, types of cheeses and homemade sausages.

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Jim has always liked wine and would share a glass but he enjoyed all of them and joined the wine club here. I think he really fell in love with wine today.

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Carmela got them to bring us a taste of his favorite a reserve wine

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Next, we had a panoramic drive to reach Taormina. We had time to explore the village and stroll the mean streets and narrow ways with hidden corners and nice shops.

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We walked to Belvedere square with its unique breathtaking view over Messina coastline.

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We walked down the hill to a beautiful view

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We met our driver and drove back to the port.

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Valletta is the capital city of Malta Malta is a southern European island consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean sea. Valletta, The Fortress City, "a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen" is Malta's capital city: a living, working city.

We were up on deck to watch the Jewel sail into the walled city. We met off the boat and met tour guide, Brigitte.

Daveen and Don had arranged the trip
Dawn and Tom
Cindy & Steve
Cindy & Jim
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We walked to overlook L-Isla, Malta Xlokk, Malta, Malta

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A walk down Merchants street

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View of Blue Grotto and the massive arch. We took a boat trip around caves for a spectacle of colors a result of the reflections. The phosphorescent of colors of the flora on the seabed as well as the minerals in the rock.

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We stopped in Marsaxlokk a picturesque fishing village on the south-east side of Malta, with it's traditional brightly painted boats having the origin in Phoenician times.

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It was a really hot day so only three people went to the Tarxien Prehistoric Temples are a 3 temple site ranging between 2,500 and 2,900 B.C.

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Mdina is one of Europe's finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture. These late medieval villages were built when the in habitants of Mdina stopped feeling the need to be living behind walls. Perched on a hilltop, Mdina has an irregular plan of narrow winding streets to confuse the enemy.
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Tuesday, October 9th sea day,

Went to breakfast in the dining room. I went to napkin folding class. Ate in the dining room for lunch. Jim said he had the best salmon he has ever had. They gave us free bloody Mary's and mimosa. We went to deck four to listen and dance. We went to see oncore of Gary Williams sings the hits of Frank Sinatra. Such a good performer.

Wed October 9th.

We had no tours planned here, We planned on taking it easy and just walking in Mykonos.

Mykonos may be one of the smallest islands in the Cyclades. According to Greek mythology, it was here that Hercules slew the Giants; the large rocks that are scattered about are said to be their petrified corpses. The rocks are stunning sight against the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Loved strolling the town through winding streets and a maze of shops.

To get there you need to take the sea bus

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We started to walk to windmills. It was very windy but sunny out. We walked through Little Venus IMG_E0695.JPGDSC_0541.JPGDSC_0542.JPGDSC_0533.JPGDSC_0538.JPG

the iconic windmills are an easy walk

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Loved the winding streets

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Thursday 71 and windy

Santorini is a vision of whitewashed villages and bright blue sea. The whitewashed cliff-top villages against the azure waters. To get to top need to take the cable car, ride donkeys or walk. When you get to the top of Fira for the first glimpse of the stunning caldera. This natural wonder is what probably was the biggest volcanic eruption in history. Believed by some to have caused the disappearance of Atlantis

Caught first tender at 0730 met our group at top of the cable car.

Dan & Barb
Bob & Deb
Phyllis & Don
Liz & Mike
Mike & Jane

We met our guide at 0830 Kevin Mike had been the group leader for this excursion. He also made the wonderful online roll roster and excursions list for our trip. We took the first tender off the boat at 0730 and then went to cable car entrance.

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Fira is where you get off cable car at top of the main stunning cliff-perched town. It is one of four villages on the crescent of the caldera. We took obligatory pictures of the view.

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There is a push to stop the Donkey rides to top that has been providing transportation for years prior to the cable car. Animal warfare groups are trying to stop. They feel that the animals toil in poor working conditions and are abused and mistreated by handlers.

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Kevin our guide

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Santorininalso known as Thera in Greece

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Oia is a photogenic town with a maze of small shops. The best part about Oia is it is a small village easily walkable and around every corner is views to die for

The Three Blue Domes this is the shot you see on postcards and our famous

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Three Bells of Fira which is part of the iconic church. The Catholic church is famed for its three bells, blue dome, and picturesque views
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Pyrgos built in the heart of pre volcanic hinterland and at the foot of Mt Profitis Ilias.

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Megalochori is a quaint village sitting on a hill. It has retained much of its history ancestry

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Athens full day tour with PK travel

Phyllis & Dan group leader
Daveen & Don
Mike & Liz
Dawn & Tom
Mike & Jane

We met Christine at 0720 12 people. She was a great guide and gave just the right information and made me enjoy the historic places and museum.
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It was built by Romans in 161 AD and still used today for classical concerts — at Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
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Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens. It
includes the Parthenon, the Erechtheum

Parthenon

Parthenon temple that dominates the hill of the Acropolis.is built entirely of marble.It is a temple dedicated to goddess Athena

Entasis provided an illusion of straightness that counteracted the human eye's tendency to see straight objects with a concave curve.

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Erectheion
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The `Erecthion sits on the most sacred site of the Acropolis where Poseidon and Athena had their contest over who would be the Patron of the City. — at Parthenon, Erechtheion, Temple of Goddess Athena, Athens Greece.

Maidens The porch of the maidens or Caryatids which now copy the originals 4 of which are in Museum of Acropolis and the 5th taken by Lord Elgin who put it in the British Museum more than a century ago — at Acropolis - Ακρόπολη.

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When leaving there was a group of dancers to honor a political dignitary
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Temple of Olympia Zeus originally had 104 columns today only 15 remain

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Panathenaic stadium

Only stadium in the world built of marble. It hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first Modern Olympics in 1896, It was also used in 2004 as the Olympic venue.

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Old palace changing of the neoclassical trilogy

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To be continued on part two

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Posted by Cindygad 11:47 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

the Papal Mass part 3, 2018

Wed Papal Mass with Pope Frances

Jim had gone on Tuesday to get free tickets you get them directly from the Swiss guard in St Peter's Square at the bronze door. We arrived at 0730 to a huge number of people and went through security took us about a half hour. We then went and found a seat in chairs set up and tried to get in the aisle where the Pope goes through in Popemobile. They had several large screens set up in the square. He arrived a little before 10 and went up the aisle and middle where we were. Pope Francis stopped several times to bless people. I was overwhelmed and it brought me to tears. So Happy to experience Pope Francis in person.

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We decided to take a walk. Rome is known as the city of seven hills, but actually the Gianicolo or Janiculum the hill that provides one of the best views of Rome to go down we went down to TRASTEVERE. We stayed here the last time and love the location. We had time to wander around and found a great stop for lunch

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At Noon

the quiet is momentarily broken by the single shot of a cannon to mark the exact time, a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. We saw a bunch of people waiting and wondered what was happening and BOOM. the cannon went off. We just happened to be in the right place at right time to see it

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We went down the steps to TRASTEVERE and wandered around. Found a great place for lunch. I was a little too happy after sharing a bottle of Chanti with Jim and had to get a picture with the bartender!

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We spent time exploring

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I had to rest my ankles, sat on the square and enjoyed people watching after all the walking.

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We walked back along the Tiber River and I went to the room and rested while Jim checked out a few more churches and Lego displays.

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Legos

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For our final night in Rome, we picked a restaurant Fabio had recommended, Osteria de Memmo

I had mushroom tagliatelle and Jim had seafood tagliatelle. We shared a cheese plate and bottle of wine.

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Thursday the dreaded travel day home. Started day off scary our driver did not show up. Fabio came through again and called them and they said our driver's car had broken down and they were sending another driver. 25 min later the driver arrived. He drove like a racecar driver and we made it to the airport with a few minutes to spare. The first leg of the flight to London. We ate a great burger at the pilots club there. Next long flight home to Chicago. Landed and pulled into our driveway at 1130 at night. Awesome trip and met some wonderful people.

3

Posted by Cindygad 11:43 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

2016, Rome and 15 night Transalantic on Celebrity Reflection

Rome, Villefranche, Marseille, Barcelona, Teneife

I had booked this trip in May 1015. Would we like a Transatlantic??? Jim wanted to return to Rome and this trip started from there. October Monday 17th after Jim left work at 11am. We got subway sandwich and drove to Wally Park to park car for 19 days. Our flight left at 6 pm from Chicago.

This trip would have a few miscues right from the beginning. Would this trip be a disaster? The night before we left I heard Jim yell out from the shower oh NO!. Yes he had full blaze case of poison Ivy starting on his arm. Ok we will deal with this call and get prednisone pills from Dr. Only thing that helps him.

When going through airport security I unfastened my st John bracelet that had a charm. Key word here HAD a Gold charm. I forgot to fasten when finished and walked 100 yards when I noticed it gone. Jim stayed with luggage and I went back and searched for it with no avail. Ok I am not going to cry. Our fabulous trip is just starting.

Jim asked for charger for phone and ooops I brought charger for, computer, nook, Kindle, camera but not the right one for the phone. Jim loves his Sudoku and only has the one he likes on his phone. I thought the Amazon connector would work. Who knew. obviously everyone but me.

The electric converter did not work we had borrowed from our Son. Ok I will go with wet hair. No problem Hotel Maria has one we can borrow.

We downloaded offline maps for Rome and could not get it to work the first day. We get lost endless times the first day

Flight was uneventful except how could the seats get so hard in a 9 hour flight. We had a in flight supper and we gobbled it down like hungry kids, Tried to sleep but unable, listened to gently snoring of DH. Oh well I watched a couple movies and the picture of the plane inching across the Atlantic. I felt like I was doing yoga poses to get comfortable .Arrived and our bright suitcases were first to come off conveyor. Now to find hired guy our Hotel had sent for us. Looked one end of area to the other a couple times and finally the guard said most drivers are outside. Out we go and there is a sea of signs, Hundreds no less and finally we find a man with our name on a sign. Not the friendliest fellow or maybe it was because I had two carry on's , 1 large and 1 med suitcase. I heard him mutter under his breath Americans! To my defense I had everything packed in 2 carry on's and 1 large suitcase and then Jim said where are you going to put anything if you buy something. Good point hence the 4th suitcase. Well to say our ride to Hotel was quiet was understatement. He never said another word.

We arrived at Hotel Maria safely and fell in love. What a quiet place in such a busy city. It used to be a monastery and was converted into hotel in 2000. The hotel is located in a historical area of central Rome in the heart of one of the most ancient and characteristic neighborhoods of the city Trastevere It is a labyrinth of colorful and bright narrow streets.We arrived at 10 am and were pleased to find they had a room ready for us and had upgraded us to a room that had a bed and a extra single bed to place our suitcases on,

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Ok I just don't get the European way of bidet. Is it just me? I gave it another try and just do not get IT! And Europe does not use wash clothes. I miss my wash clothes.

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We started off with rain jackets in case of rain. We headed out of Trastevere and got lost. The phone GPS was not working..We found the river Tiber and were on our way for a quiet lunch at Mordi & Va ia gastronomia romanesca found in Testaccio market, The sandwiches are 450 E, Jim had a meatball and I had Americano. and a beer

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Today is just a wondering day did I tell you we got lost again, checked out churches, and St Clement the one I really wanted to see I guess there are three churches built on top of each other was closed till 3. Went up and looked at Colosseum and vast area and hope tomorrow is better weather. Gloomy and drizzling today. I had a rain jacket and umbrella and at least 100 peddlers asked if I wanted to buy umbrella. Are they blind? Jim is usually very good with directions but with no sleep we got lost again. I had a meltdown my ankles were killing me the little cobblestone streets raked havoc on my arthritic ankles.

San Giovanni in Laterano Today it is one of the oldest surviving Christian structures in Rome

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We hopped in a cab and was soon back over the Tiber River to Trastevere. I took a hot shower while my lovely husband went to seek out our restaurant so we can get there without getting lost. He also bought a phone charger. I love this guy!

We walked about mile and half to Da Enzo. A highly recommended restaurant by locals and trip advisor. In all the research I did it said to have several restaurants picked out and stick to researched list. Too many tourist have bad experiences getting sucked into a tourist trap

Da Enzo would end up being one of my favorites.

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We got back and looked forward to getting a good night sleep. Jim said if I woke up early he was going out to wander around. I woke up at 0630 and went to breakfast area and had the best coffee of the trip. They had a barista that greeted you when you walked in I started with a Americana. I waited till about 745 and went back to room and asked my sleeping husband if he wanted to sleep more or get up. He was shocked he had slept in and jumped in the shower. We enjoyed the European breakfast of meats and cheese, fruit, croissants and pastries, scrambled eggs, toast, bagels, cereal and juice. Jim loved the jelly croissants. I liked the choc croissants.

Today is Colosseum overload. We had booked the hard to get in underground Colosseum on line. We got there early and walked around. What a difference a day can make the weather was beautiful.

The Colosseum or Coliseum also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre is an oval amphitheatre ... This name is still used in modern English, but generally the structure is better known as the Colosseum. ..... , covering an elaborate underground structure called the underground.

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We had booked our underground tour online. It fills up because they only let 25 in at a time. Our underground tour was for 1140 we got in line at 1030 make sure you are in correct line to the far left. It took about a 1/2 hour to get through security. Then you need to trade voucher for ticket. The line for girls bathroom was huge. There were about 10 ladies in line at men's. I joined the line there and was in no time.

Shows how stones used as wedges to build and aqueduct system

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Your pass from Colosseum gets you into forum and Palatine hill. This is a very vast area. The line to get through security was about a half a hour We could of benefited from a walking tour here to better understand what you are seeing. We spent a couple hours here

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We walked back and took a cab to Amore to have our Michelin star restaurant with a view of the Colosseum
We wanted to try the tasting menu it would end up being an adventure good but not worth all the hipe of Michelin star. The view made it a once in lifetime experience.

MENU Tasting

Octopus served in a glass with foam

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Iberian pork flavored with Gin Mare with fermented garlic and almonds

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Ravioli filled with buffalo mozzarella and sea anchovies on carrot extract

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Sauteed scallops on red swiss chard with vegetables and olives

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Suckling pig with apricot compote and fennel potatoes

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GUANAJA 70% CHOC brownies with wild berries,false lavender marshmallows

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We had a great time visiting with couple next to us. We started at 0730 and finished at 1015. Bad ending to meal asked for bill 3 times finally paid at 11pm and walked back to hotel leisurely along Tiber. a Romantic ending to meal and arrived back at Midnight.

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Thursday was the Vatican We are getting the hang of Rome and not getting lost anymore. We walked about 1/2 hour and arrived at the Vatican, You have to walk clear around for the entrance. Always get tickets ahead the line was already two hours to get in. We walked right up to security once through security you have to trade your voucher in. I got my purse off the conveyor and looked around and no Jim. It was a sea of people in there. It does not help being so short. I started looking for a white haired man but there were so many. After about 10 min I saw Jim walking towards me. He already had exchangedour voucher for ticket.

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The Sistine chapel is an amazing piece of art by Michelangelo ,WE spent our time just being in the moment and taking it all in. We sat along the side to listen to audio guide then went out side to right with groups. WE could then get in line forthe cupola. it was 7 euro for the elevator and then only had to climb 320steps. Due to my sore ankles we took the elevator. What an opportunity to enjoy a fantastic city panorama all around Rome. When you get out you can go outside on middle area use restroom and there is a very nice souvenir shop there.Climbing the spiral staircase climb some narrower steps and sloping steps. At the top you are treated to spectacular 360 degree views.St Peters square and the gardens.

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You then enter St Peters

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When we were leaving we caught the changing of guard. We then walked through the square

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Walking to Pantheon we passed

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Stopped for some gallotto

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Pantheon

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WE walked back to the hotel along Tiber River

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We asked girls for advice for someplace to eat locally, If you pay for a drink at the hotel they have nice appetizers. We only had them one night but enjoyed sitting outside in courtyard and talking to another couple who had been in Rome all week.

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Perfect ending in Rome last night walked to local restaurant

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Cruise port is about a hour from Rome. We were sharing van with Neil, someone I had met on line on Cruise Critic. We enjoyed our last breakfast at Hotel St Maria. I can not say enough about this place loved it. It felt like a quiet retreat in a bustling city after a busy day touring.

I loved walking in for breakfast and Barista would greet you with a big smile. The fresh juices and croissants and pastries were the best I have ever had. Cereal, European meats and cheese, fresh fruit scrambled eggs and we were set for the day.

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large_90_IMG_3961.jpg This uneven cobblestone is everywhere in Rome. It caused me to have great pain in my ankles. I had pain with each step I will be prepared and get ankle splints for future travels.

Reflection here we come!!! This was our 25th cruise. We started cruising for our honeymoon in 1979, Cruising is such a easy way to see

When we got to ship at noon no long lines. We got up to desk and the girl could not find our room cards. We waited about 20 minutes while she got her supervisor and they searched and searched. Finally she came back and said your room has been changed, What???? when I book I always want a certain part of the ship. '''we were now on deck 7 and the upgrade fairy had upgraded us from inside to balcony!!!!!Sweet and what a surprise! Love hearing the ding of sea cards as enter ship. Makes me feel like we have returned home.

Posted by Cindygad 10:51 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

October 19 Salerno, Sorrento, Amaifi Coast and Pompeii

Ported in Salerno and was met by RIL driver Geovanti .Our first stop was Sorrento, Then we would head down Amaifi Coast to picturesque town ofPositano. Eat at a local restaurant at top ,Then off to explore the ruins of Pompeii.

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Come ashore to Positano and explore the narrow streets, trendy boutiques and local cafes. Walk down and dip your feet in the ocean.

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I had fell in love with mountain top restaurant when preparing for this trip.Gatorgirls trip report had been my inspiration to finally
going to Mediterranean . I was so excited to finally be stopping at Restaurante Da Costantino on the coast of Amaifi We had pizza, Caprice salad, brochette, 7 cheese crape, spin age and cheese turnover

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On the twisty Amaifi coast back to Pompeii our driver busted out in a Dean Martin song thats Amore which helped to break the tension of the close quarters of the road. Pompeii is the Roman City destroyed by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. Buried under ash and pumice the city is frozen in time, making it one of the world's most fascinating archaeological finds.

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Posted by Cindygad 05:52 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

October 22 & 23 Venice overnight

Venice is something I have always wanted to experience.We were here 24hrs so sailed in and out of Venice. A hour before docking they started piping music La Serenissima and other beautiful Italian music on Deck 15. What a breathtaking experience to sail in to the majestic and serene city of Venice. It was a unforgettable Day. After this year they are no longer allowing big cruise ships to come down main canal so I was glad to experience coming into Venice on the ship. This was on my bucket list and why I picked this cruise.These shots are from up on Deck.

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Transportation is half of the fun in Venice. From the ship we had to do the people mover for 1Euro 30. Then we walked to Vaporetti for 20 Euros for 24 hour pass. We started at Piazzale Roma to St Mark's taking the #1 slow boat. We worked our way to front.

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We got off and walked back part of Rialto. Loved walking the back streets and just taking our time wondering around.When we got back to the small canals decided that is where we will take our gondola ride later.

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You can not come to Venice without doing the Gondola ride. Romantic in every way possible our driver even sang to us. I feel so blessed to have been with Jim for 35 years.

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Second day in Venice headed to St Mark's square and then wandered back into the Jewish ghetto area and markets.

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We had a special invitation to watch sail away on the He lo Pad of the ship, What a great way to say goodby to the magical Venice.

Posted by Cindygad 05:49 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

October 18 Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy

Our RIL guide today was Andrea. He picked us up at ship at 0800 and we were off on our world wind day. So much packed into a short time. Most important is we all had our tickets we had gotten before trip for Colosseum 14 Euros apiece and Vatican entry 12 Euro and 19 apiece for private guide.

On our way went by a very large park in Rome. Saw Tiber river and Angel Castle. Went to Pantheon 27BC started ti build as simple temple became tomb of kings .270_DSC_2271.jpg270_DSC_2272.jpgDSC_2274.jpg270_DSC_2275.jpg270_DSC_2291.jpglarge_DSC_2292.jpg270_DSC_2296.jpglarge_IMG_2058.jpglarge_IMG_2060.jpg270_DSC_2299.jpg270_DSC_2301.jpg270_DSC_2303.jpg270_DSC_2304.jpg90_IMG_2049.jpgDSC_2298.jpgDSC_2279.jpgDSC_2277.jpg

90_IMG_2063.jpg Andrea our guide for the day We stopped but both Tevia fountain and Spanish steps were under renovation.
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Andrea took us to a great place for a cannoli DSC_2328.jpgDSC_2330.jpgDSC_2331.jpgDSC_2332

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The Colosseum started in 2 AD and took till 80 AD to build.The Colosseum represents Rome at its grandest.
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Vatican City

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We fit in a local pizza place that Andrea recommended. IMG_2085.jpg41E0CF10F2D87075222F73593D0B1616.jpg90_41E21120ACE6EB85E855A652794C4786.jpg41AD97BA95BD3420446A1041E094E13D.jpgDSC_2394.jpglarge_DSC_2393.jpg

Posted by Cindygad 03:23 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

October 17 Livorno Italy

Today would be the start of our Rome in Limo tours. I had researched and knew I wanted to do Rilo tours while in Italy. A year before going Melody on our cruise critic page wanted to do the same. Rome in Limo specialize in luxury car hire and tailor made personalized tours in Rome, and throughout Italy.Melody said she would take charge and in no time we had our group of 8 set for 3 days. Connie from Pennsylvania and Ava her exchange student from Switzerland from 20 years ago. Melody and Dan from Nova Scotia she is a nurse and he owns his own lobster boat. Jack and Lori from Pennsylvania, Lori is Connie's younger sister.We ended up getting along great. Everyone was prompt in getting back at meeting times.

RILO was such a great way to see alot in one day and you could structure what you wanted to see. Sabrina would be our driver for today.Livorno is in the Tuscany region of Italy is ideally located for exploring some of the most beautiful cities in Italy, including Florence and Pisa. Tuscany is made up of hills, fertile valleys and sandy beaches that follow along the West Coast. Pisa is located in the central Italy on the Arno River 12 miles from Livorno. It is most famous for the leaning Tower of Pisa.Sabrina checked what our plans were and we were off to see the leaning Tower of Pisa before all the tour groups arrived.

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Our group chose to go to a winery next.IMG_1998.jpglarge_DSC_2206.jpglarge_DSC_2212.jpgDSC_2177.jpgDSC_2163.jpgDSC_2166.jpgDSC_2173.jpglarge_DSC_2189.jpg90_IMG_2007.jpg

We headed to Florence next.Florence is the home of the Renaissance and birth place of modern world. Noted for Uffizi gallery and the Accademia home of Michelangelo's David.

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Sabrina took us to this whole in the wall Fratellini is a informal eatery where the little brothers have served peasants 29 different kinds of sandwiches since 1875,Sabina ordered and we sat on curb with locals to eat 4 Euros a sandwich.

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We headed to Accademia to see Michelangelo's David
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Sabrina had one last stop for us a Gellato local shopDSC_2269.jpg

Posted by Cindygad 15:26 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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