Sunday, October 13, 2013

2008 on the Costa Concordia, Sicily and Rome

We arrived in Palermo Sicily to a chilly week.  I did not have my luggage.  We found the city to be interesting, and we had a nice apartment.  This is John in the Botanical gardens.

This is at a tiny restaurant in Palermo where we had Pasta alla Norma and the buffet from the Tavolo Freddo.  Sicily has great food, and Palermo deserves to be visited.  People often fear Palermo because of mafia influences, but you only see them in "The Godfather Part Three".  I suppose it may be my heritage showing, but my favorite restaurant in Rome is run by a Sicilian man.
Here is John on the ramparts of the town of Monreale where the famous Cathedral of Roger II is located,  The view is south to the City of Palermo and the sea beyond. 
Nothing is colder than a warm place on a cold day, or in this case a week.  It was very cold with plenty of wind in Sicily.  Not freezing mind you, but cold.  This is Cefalu on the north coast.  I guess this is as good a time as any to say that neither of us is particularly good in front of a camera.  I look like I am up before a firing squad, and John mugs for the camera.  Neither works out well.  Still, Sicily was a nice trip.
Taormina has to be one of the most spectacular spots in Italy.  This is John before Mount Etna from the Greek theater.  We had a modest but truly wonderful little apartment there.
Our apartment is just out of the picture to the left.  We had a very similar view up the coast toward Messina and to the tip of the toe of Italy across the channel
 Syracusa was a rushed side trip, and we got few pictures.  Unfortunately, we were not there at a time when the ruins were open, so we just wandered and found little to photograph in the city.  It offers a lot more, but not enough time.  This is along the west shore of the city near the famous springs in the city sea wall.

This is Mount Etna from the train between Messina and Syracusa.  I guess that Etna is always smoking a bit.
In front of the Parthenon in Athens.
This is the Acropolis from the Areopagus.  This is a very highly foot polished rock outcrop where Saint Paul was said to have preached.  This is dangerous to climb, especially with a shopping bag, but we always have to shop in the little maze of streets of the Plaka at the base of the Acropolis to the left in this picture.  
I found Cyprus to be singularly uninteresting, but we did not see much in our few hours there and might find more with more time.  The weather was lovely though.
This is inside the castle of the crusader governor in Rhodes.

Rhodes is a fascinating, but rather colorless city.  I just love this location.  It is one of the few spots of real color in the city.  I have a picture of me in an earlier trip in the same spot.  Of course we needed a similar one of John.

We went to Alexandria, Egypt in 2008 as part of a cruise around the Mediterranean on the Costa Concordia.  This is the same ship that partially capsized off the Italian island of Giglio last year.  All the pictures in this post are from that trip.

  We went to the Pyramids with a friend from on board,  a smallish blond woman who seemed to be OK with us until she was carried away by a camel owner on her own unwilling tour of the pyramids. 

As for Egypt, I had had a wonderful time there just after 9-11, but this time it was a madhouse of people trying to squeeze money from us.  It was just enough to sour John, I think, on the "Egyptian Experience". We had a long drive from Alexandria to Cairo and back with a short time at the site and trying to avoid going to the tourist traps that the taxi driver wanted to stop at.

A shop on the docks at Alexandria Egypt.  you look very comfortable in that John. 

Inside one of the famous mansions of Genoa on the same cruise.
Unfortunately, most of the photos of the interior of the ship are in movie format, but here are a couple of minor pictures of it.
The Costa Concordia was spectacular.
John entering the stadium at Olympia, Greece on the same cruise.   He is with two of our table mates and the blond woman is the one who was spirited away on the camel ride.

John in the ruins of the temple at Olympia.
John with our guide through the archeological site at Ephesus in Turkey.  It is unfortunate that many of the places we docked at were pretty far from what we wanted to see.  This guide was great.  He also took us to the Temple of Artemis not far away.  On the way back, we stopped for a Turkish bath at a local Hammam.  It was nice,, but rushed.  It was also, nothing like the Hammam in Istanbul.
The guide tried to tell us that this stone was the source of the Nike symbol on the sports equipment....well this may be a Nike, but I don't know if this stone was the source.
Dining aboard the Costa Concordia was always a nice experience.  We met wonderful people there.  There was only one meal I was not happy with, and the service staff was great.
I wish I could remember the guys' names.  They were so good to us.  The scenes of the dining room when the ship was capsizing a couple of years later, are so very spooky when you have had such nice times there, like this.  It really was a lovely ship.  I am not into Glitz, but no mistaking the style of her.  There were blown glass ceiling sculptures in a number of locations that would just take your breath away.
 This was the passage through the Aeolian(Eolian) islands  on our return to Rome from Alexandria.  This is the Volcano(Stromboli) that my Grandmother used to look at during the night from her bedroom window.  It has been erupting constantly since Roman times at least.  Her island was Salina, to the west of this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.