29 Aug 2015

Livorno, Italy, 2015




Most people left the ship for 12 hours or so to round trip Florence, a wonderful city. May others visited Pisa, also a fun day.



Since today was the last full day on the cruise anyway, and we have already done all that, we decided to hop on, hop off, around Livorno, which is always a good low-key way to get a city overview





The day way perfect for an open-air drive.




 Beaches are scarce here. They do their best though.




They have a Venice canal thing going on here.





Jews thrived here in the 17th Century because the powerful Medici’s welcomed them, openly acknowledging how good they were for the community.


Unfortunately the old synagogue was destroyed during WW II. This new modern one was built in the 60s.

28 Aug 2015

Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, 2015




After docking in Monaco this morning we headed to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, an old medieval town on the French Riviera, well known for its modern and contemporary art museums and galleries.





The drive itself along the Cote d’Azur alone makes the trip worthwhile. Here we are passing Eze Village.









We saw lots of weird stuff.








We saw fun stuff.







The highlight definitely was Marc Chagall’s Le Vie, an enormous canvass that recaps his life. It was painted in 1964 for the opening of the Maeght Gallery that we are visiting here.


27 Aug 2015

St. Tropez, 2015




It’s official. I’m getting old. I have been to St. Tropez countless times and never before have I not gone to the beach.







But I sure had a great day with Allyn, my model. She shopped. I tagged along for a while.





Later we went back in for dinner at L’Escale.

26 Aug 2015

Cassis, France 2015


Driving through Marseilles on the way to Cassis.


Although we docked in Marseilles, we decided to visit Cassis today. Since we have been to Marseilles several times, I suggested it might be fun to learn about Crème de Cassis. Little did I know that they are not related whatsoever. Oh well.




We took a cute little tourist train in from the outskirts of Cassis.




Cassis is a former quiet fishing village turned into a busy, yet not crazy, tourist spot. As August is coming to the end we can feel the crowds dissipating in the South of France.


25 Aug 2015

Palamos, Spain 2015


Today’s stop was Palamos, Spain on the Mediterranean, almost at France.


For years I have been intrigued with Salvador Dali and jumped at the chance to visit the castle he built for his wife, see some of his things, and learn more about him.




Although the guide was quite terrific, she was not forthright about the ultra-strange relationship he had with his wife, Gala,  – and it is the story.


They met while she was married, and immediately not only dumped her husband but abandoned her child as well. Husband OK. Child, not cool.


To entertain her lovers, his wife, Gala, obliged Dali to give her a castle, part hideaway, part love nest. The artist was not allowed to set foot there unless he had a written invitation from her. And that was when she was already 70. Imagine the earlier years!



There is so much symbolism on this sculpture that I don’t remember any of it. It must be worth a bunch though, because it had its own elaborate security, way over and above the rest.