Monday, June 23, 2008

Home again!

It's good to be home. We want to thank Ben & Cindy for picking us and all this luggage up at the airport. Next time we're packing lighter! Thanks also to Gina and Randy who filled the kitchen with balloons and a Welcome Home sign, our fantastic neighbor, Shelly who watered & took care of the yard, and wonderful friend Karla who tended the roses and managed this blog. We owe you all! As much fun as it was to vacation, it's always nice to come home.
Dan & Shirley

Saturday, June 21, 2008

PS. A taste of the chocolate party

French Riviera

1st day of summer and a perfect day on the French Riviera! We anchored out in the harbor and took small boats called tenders into port. From an ancient fortress in Villefranche we boarded our coach and headed off to visit Nice. After a bus tour, we stopped at the flower market near the beach. No wonder the "rich and famous" come here. It's stunning! After strolling around soaking up the local atmosphere (including watching a wedding party in a courtyard), we got back on the bus and were off to the mountain top to a small medieval village of Eze. Only 20 people still live there but there are lots of shops with local artisan's wares. You have to park at the bottom and hike up winding ancient cobblestone paths and stairways about 1/4 mile to reach the village. No wonder only 20 people live there. Can you imagine carrying groceries? Anyway, again, a very charming place! Today was probably the most relaxed tour we've been on since all was within a short distance from port and not as crowded as the Italian tours.

We can't believe this is the last night of the cruise. Tomorrow we disembark at 9:15 am and will be in Barcelona for another day, leaving the hotel at 3 AM! We've enjoyed everything this week! The food is delicious---last night for example, the chocolate party was mouth-watering! We have picture of the chocolate sculptures as well as some samples of what we ate. Next week will be a diet, I fear! We've heard some great music, met some lovely people from all over, and enjoyed spending time with each other! Who would have thought that a construction guy and a teacher would have this opportunity! Thank-you again to our wonderful son, Randy for this gift!
Anyway, no more postings unless we have a couple of minutes in the morning. We look forward to boring you with the over 1200 pictures we have! Ciao! :>)

Friday, June 20, 2008


The city of Michelangelo's David as well as his tomb. Many masters are from here. At the church we saw the tomb of Dante, and Galileo along with Michelangelo's. It was hot today (34 C) and the air conditioning on the bus didn't work but Dan's sweat glands did! Never enough time but after lunch, on we went to Pisa. It's still standing....we didn't have time to climb to the top (as if we would have) but saw others who did.
Tonight there's a chocoholic's dessert party at 10:30. We'll do our best to defend our reputation and eat enough for all of you!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Eternal City

Rome is about 1 1/2 hours from the port city of Civitavecchia which has a rich history of its own. We have been impressed with each of our guides, who are always local and passionate about their heritage. It makes us appreciate even more the wonder we are seeing.
One day of course, was not enough but we had a driving tour first of several ancient places such as the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, the Appian Way, Forum, and many, many churches, etc. Then we stopped at the Trevi fountain, where legend says if you throw a coin in over your shoulder, you will return to Rome. Guess we'll be back! We also had a walking tour of the Pantheon, Piazzo Navoanna-the fountain of the Four Rivers, and then to St. Peter's Square. We only had a little over an hour to go into the church but were amazed at its opulence. Our tour didn't include the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum but we did see some works of Michelangelo. We'll have to see the rest next time. :>)
They are long days but full of once-in-a-lifetime sights!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Amalfi Coast/Pompeii

The ship docked at the port in Naples early this morning and we started on another adventure heading towards the Amalfi Coast in a fog---literally. The drive took about 1 1/2 hours up through beautiful Italian countryside, terrifying though it was (for some of us), Dan enjoyed it! The EXTREMELY steep, narrow, winding road was filled with hairpin turns and we were on a 40-foot long bus! (And remember, it was foggy!) I mean, this road was about the width of a small alley back home but had 2-way traffic which often had to stop and back-up to allow larger vehicles to maneuver, sometimes it was a problem when both lanes had large vehicles! A particularly long and harrowing delay occurred when a truck hauling lemons got stuck between us and a rock wall! (We were on the side of the step drop into eternity!) The steep road had traffic backed up for quite a while. What a sight with all these drivers getting out to "express" themselves! Our guide told us they were probably discussing the weather! :>) Although Shirley was sure this would be our last day on earth, eventually the expertise of our driver got us out of the situation and we continued on. After visiting this area--it really is gorgeous---we went to Pompeii. First, we stopped for a lovely authentic Italian dinner -several courses even. Stuffed, we went on foot to explore the city of Pompeii. Again, incredible! I'm running out of descriptive words but we will never forget the sights of this day! Unfortunately, our camera's battery went dead before we were done with Pompeii so from now on we'll take both cameras.
Love to all!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The island where Paul was shipwrecked was fascinating! As Dan said, "This place is OLD!" Our Maltese guide gave us details of her proud rich heritage including that of the knights dating to the order of St. John from Jerusalem. Amazing sights and history!!Did you know the 8 points of the Maltese Cross represents the 8 countries (then) the knights were from that came to Malta?

Our tour explored three cities as well as giving us a boat ride around the Grand Harbor. There were just 6 of us at a time in a traditional Maltese Dahajas (boat). And not one life jacket!
We'll try to send a picture to post, but yesterdays pictures didn't go through. What a feeling to have the sea splash your face! Although we were only given 1/2 hour for shopping at an outdoor market in Marsaxlokk, a fishing village, we managed to part with some Euros. (The bargains must be in Mexico--they aren't in Europe, but we had to help the economy.)

We are enjoying our trip of a lifetime---Thanks again Randy!

Monday, June 16, 2008

1st Day at Sea

There's something so right about waking up and looking out the balcony door at the oh-so blue Mediterranean Sea! (If you hadn't heard, Dan got a last-minute deal on an up-grade!) Although the rest of the week will be sightseeing in various ports, today was all about fun and sun. The fun included Shirley winning a beach bag full of goodies and Dan winning a beautiful pair of earrings! Which he says are not his color, so his bride will get them! Both were won in free raffles. We relaxed in the sun but never far from the food! It was German-Austria buffet at lunch complete with authentic band. Speaking of music, we've heard a rock n' roll band, jazz band, classical string quartet, and piano soloist. And yes, Gina...we're adding to our girth with desserts! Wish you were all here!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


"Barcelona was amazing! Walking through medieval streets, churches,
and palaces was one highlight. Architecture and history here are
Despite Shirley falling and becoming intimate with the
sidewalk, we walked about 10 miles each day (per pedometer reading)
and took bus tours and saw several museums. Las Ramblas and La
Boquiria (sp?) were fun too. So many people to watch!
We took a tram to an ancient military lookout which overlooked the city.
Unbelievable views!! It's Sunday now and we're onboard the GEM! We
sail this evening and Gina....we've already started our way through
the desserts like you requested! :>) Love to all!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We're ready!

Shirley asked me to let everyone know they won't be boarding the ship until Sunday and they most likely won't post until then. Guess I should have mentioned this sooner. ~K
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Getting Ready

This is a test to see how this blog thing works. We'll try to post along the trip. Stay tuned . . . .