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19 Aug 2017

Marseille, France 2017

 

Marseille is by and large a slum. The second largest city in France, and its biggest seaport, is old, ugly, and dangerous. Drug gangs and local mafia thrive here as does tourism now. I would have much preferred that we stopped in either St. Tropez or Cannes.

However there are a few pretty old buildings and they are working at cleaning up the “Old Port”

 

 

 

 

And the Provencal food served here is the BEST. I’m talking mussels, sardines, fish soup, and their untouchable bouillabaisse, which originated right here.

 









17 Aug 2017

Sorrento, Italy 2017

 

Arriving by sea sets the stage for a great day in Sorrento. It is a great tourist city in the Southwestern Italian coast where the weather is wonderful, and it is within easy distance of the Amalfi coast cities, Naples and the Isle of Capri.

Although a free shuttle to the top was provided we took the stairs knowing we needed the steps and what was in store.

We did not feel any need to venture out of town today.

We had already decided to go local with pizza, tomato salad with arugula, and beer. After all we are just down the street from Naples (home of pizza), you cannot find better tomatoes anyplace and either local beer or wine generally hits the spot when traveling.  And Allyn bought a new hat made out of paper.

The squares are lovely, but their narrow shopping alleys are even more charming.

 

Even the local art is unique and interesting. That can’t possibly be that goof from North Korea, can it?









13 Aug 2017

French Riviera, 2017

 

Today we finished cruise segment two in Monaco and started segment three. While passengers were leaving and arriving we chartered a car and driver/guide just to take in the beauty of the area and visit the famous Fragonard Parfumeur to learn about perfume making.

After learning that an ounce of perfume requires about 1,000 roses (for example), I better understand why it is so expensive. Much of the production is a distillation process similar to liquor and a blending process similar to wine done by a person called “le nez” (“the nose”). There are only about 50 nose experts in the world.

 

We took the scenic water route to Nice to start our day.  It is always fun to walk through their outdoor market.

 

Villefranche-sur-Mer, beauty, lies between Eze and Nice. 

Eze Villiage is a small medieval village perched high above the sea between Nice and Monaco. It is a long hike up but worth it when you reach the top.

 

Returning home on the upper cornice (high road) we had a photo-stop of the Monaco port with our ship.

I highly recommend our guide for today Mr. Georgi.Bagri (georgi.bagri@yahoo.fr). A great guide really adds value to the day.









12 Aug 2017

Genoa, Italy – 2017

  

Today’s stop was scheduled to be Portofino, an elegant Italian seaside port. The waves were too high though making the tender boats to shore unsafe.

Instead we went up the coast a bit to Genoa where we could dock at the port.

Many people consider Genoa a slum that used to be lovely 500 years ago. That is because the old town is a series of narrow dangerous alleys known as Caruggis. We wanted to take a nice walk though just because.

 

We actually did find our way all the way to the Piazza de Ferrari, the center of the upscale shopping area. What they didn’t tell us was that almost all stores were closed because this is the time of year when Genoans are on holiday.

 

 

Still, we stopped for lunch and, like the kids, took a silly selfie, (See top photo)

 

 









11 Aug 2017

Bolgheri (Tuscany), Italy 2017

 

Today we docked at Livorno, which for many is a jump-off point for Florence, or at least Pisa. Florence is great and Pisa is a nice day trip. Looking for something new we decided to check out Bolgheri.

The city is cute and tiny. It takes about 10 minutes to walk it completely and that includes time for Allyn to peak into every store.

Even the approach through “Cypress Lane” makes for nice sightseeing.

Then we went to a winery where we tasted and learned about this relatively new but extremely popular wine region. The climate and soil is quite similar to parts of Bordeaux and they are growing many of those same grapes.