Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Gary trying to hold up the leaning Tower of Pisa
Gary and I on a Gondola ride
Gary and I at Sultans Palace
On June 27, 2008 Gary and I returned from spending 27 days in Europe. It was an adventure of a lifetime. We flew into Paris then on to Italy it took about 24 hour time during the flights and airports. We choose to do back to back cruising. That way we could enjoy being catered to along with nightly entertainment. We arrived at the airport in Rome, Italy and got a taxi to take us to a hotel for the night. We made arrangement with the taxi driver to take us to the ship the next day. We started our first cruise in Civitavecchia the port of Rome, Italy where we boarded the ship Carnival Freedom. The first port of call was in Naples, Italy where we visited the Island of Capri, Sorrento, and the ruins of Pompeii. After departing from Naples we had a day at sea. The next port of call was Dubrovnik, Croatia where we toured the old city of Dubrovnik. The next port of call was Venice, Italy where we spend 2 days and rode the evening Gondola ride. Upon leaving Venice, Italy we had another day at sea before arriving at your next port of call in Messina, Sicily where we did a city tour. Upon leaving Messina we had another day at sea before arriving at our next port of call Barcelona, Spain where we did a Barcelona highlights and shopping. We found Barcelona to be a very beautiful and clean city. Our next port of call was Cannes in the South of France where we motor coach a sightseeing tour. The next port of call was Livorno, Italy where we toured the Leaning Tower of Pisa. What an adventure we had in Pisa when we got lost and couldn’t find our way back to our tour bus. We walked and walked but all the buildings looked the same. We finally had to get a taxi to take us back to the ship, and boy was that fun trying to communicate with people that couldn't speak English and we couldn't speak Italian. Anyway we found a girl in one of the shops that understood when we said taxi and called a taxi for us. That was an experience that neither of us will soon forget. The next day we were back in Civitavecchia port of Rome where we started the second cruise. The neat thing here was we didn’t even have to leave the ship and we stay right in the same cabin. The first port of call was in Naples, Italy again and we just stayed on the ship and relaxed. After departing from Naples we had a day at sea before arriving at the next port of call in Marmaris, Turkey where we did panoramic tour in an air conditioned motor coach, but the air conditioning didn’t really work and it was 100 degrees with about 80 percent humidity which made it not very enjoyable. The next port of call was Izmir, Turkey where we did a discover Izmir tour and again it was very hot. The next port of call was Istanbul, Turkey that sits on 2 continents of Europe and Asia. In Istanbul we toured the Blue Mosque and Palace of the Sultans. We also when to the Grand Bazaar and bought 3 Turkish rugs. That was an experience as the guy would take no for an answer. He wanted 30 euros each which is about $45 US. We told him no but he finally came down to $20 US and we bought 1 rug. Then he kept trying to sale us the other 2 rugs he had. We kept telling him no and finally he came down to $20 US for both rugs and we bought them. However, this means that we got ripped off on the first one we bought. Upon departing from Istanbul we had a day at sea before arriving in our next port of call Athens, Greece where we did panoramic Athens and Plaka tour including the Olympic Stadium and Acropolis. The next port of call Katakolon, Greece where we toured the Ancient Olympia Village and Temple of Zeus. Upon departing Katakolon we had day at sea before arriving back in Livorno, Italy where we just stay on board the ship and relaxed. The next port of call was back in Civitavecchia the port of Rome, Italy where we toured St. Peters Square, the Vatican, and Sistine Chapel. The next morning we had to be up at 3:00 AM to get to the airport for our flight home departing at 7:00 AM. We had previously made arrangement with the same taxi driver to pick us up at the ship and take us to the airport. Amazingly enough with the communication issues he was at the ship at 4:00 AM. The taxi ride was really expensive $160 euros each way which totals about $480 US, but it was the best way for us to get to and from the ship. We thought the shore excursions would be the best way to go, and let someone else drive us to our destinations, but believe me the way they drive in Italy is very, very scary.