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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.

 

 









09 Aug 2017

Taormina, Sicily, and the Amalfi Coast, Italy 2017

 

Taormina - Just 10 weeks ago Trump was here for the G-7 Conference. That was where he proclaimed that he wasn’t sure that the U.S. could support the 195 nation Paris climate Agreement.  Indeed he followed through and our great country now sits with an august group of three along with Syria and Nicaragua. But this is a travel blog and not a political one.

Yesterday we revisited this area. Several years ago we wandered the lovely city and explored the “important” sights. Since we opted just to take in the beautiful scenery, we enjoyed the views from the hop on, hop off bus.

  

 

 

 

Amalfi – We have spent lots of time on the Amalfi Coast taking in Positano, Capri and Sorrento. They are all gorgeous. Today we just walked around Amalfi Town. This whole area is very hot and crowded this time of year.

 

 

 

 

 









05 Aug 2017

Athens (Piraeus), Greece at O Giannis Fish Tavern

The first segment ended this morning in Piraeus, the major port of Greece, just outside Athens. Virtually everybody disembarked, but we are on for two more segments.

Instead of running into Athens for the day (we have been here a couple of times), I decided to find a great locals seafood restaurant in this town famous for some nice restaurants; however many are extremely expensive and major rip-offs, especially along the water.

After significant research, I found the perfect place – O Giannis Fish Tavern  at Leof. Chatzikiriakou 107, Pireas, about a mile from the port. You would never confuse it for a tourist place. In fact their website and cards are all in Greek and they don’t even have an email. What they do have is GREAT fish and seafood, service and friendliness. (They do have English translations on the menu.)

Although it was almost empty when we arrived it was jammed when we left. Nevertheless the chef invited us into her kitchen to show us drawer by drawer the fresh fish she had today from which we could choose since so many types were foreign (literally and figuratively) to us.

 

 

 

 

 

Since we have been quite good on the dieting, we decided to try (too) many various items to give them a good test. We started with a wonderful Greek salad along with water, toast, and wine.

 

Then they brought a great octopus (which I almost forgot to photograph).

 

And then a plate of mussel for another appetizer.

 

And then the best monkfish I ever had.

 

After we were done the brought us some Greek digestif complementary. The entire tab with tax and service was 57 Euros. What a deal, and definitely the best meal of the trip so far. And, but for overdoing it on the toast, it was quite healthy.