Well, it’s back to reality now that our fabulous 12-day Mediterranean cruise has come to an end. What a journey through several countries, all aboard an excellent vessel that provided all we could imagine - and more.
We began in my favourite Venice and the overnight docking allowed us to see it in daylight and atmospheric evening glow – a wonderful introduction to our travels. Daughter Vikki and I were delighted to hear we were having a Venetian Masked Ball onboard and of course we bought a hand decorated mask each in Venice! Since my next book is called Midwinter Masquerade, I convinced hubby it was essential.
That was the beginning of a wonderful itinerary that took us to fascinating Dubrovnik where we walked round the city walls. Then we were off to the beautiful Greek islands of Corfu, then Kefalonia (setting of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), where we saw turtles eating the fishermen’s excess catch of the day, and Santorini where we took the cable car up to the white-washed village on the ancient volcanic mountain top. On the sail between Greece and Italy, we watched flying fish leap from the sea as we ate a sumptuous dinner - many of us thought at first they were young dolphin.
Next stop was Naples and we went straight for a hydrofoil to Capri. Island of the rich, famous and beautiful people, it was a hive of tourists and we took the funicular railway to the higher town where we enjoyed much needed drinks overlooking one of the most gorgeous views. I was delighted when a little lizard came to observe us on the nearby garden edge.
We knew the next day would be one of the busiest so had an early breakfast as we docked in Civitavecchia. This is the port for Rome and most passengers (if coming from far away) take the ship tours. We usually do our own thing, so we walked the 10 minutes along the attractive waterfront to the railway station and took the regional train right into Rome. To say it was hot and busy is an understatement! Walking until we dropped, we saw the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and various other fountains and ancient buildings. And we decided the only way to see it properly is to return off season.
Our last full day ashore was at Livorno. Many passengers chose to take tours to Florence or Pisa but we were relieved to stay in the attractive port town itself and just wander around the wide, slightly cooler streets. We found the Venetian Quarter which was much quieter and prettier, then marvelled at the wonderful indoor food market that made us wish we had even a tenth of their glorious fresh produce. An outdoor market provided plenty of touristy browsing.
We welcomed our final day at sea, as we were exhausted with the heat and walking by then, but the ship more than made up for it providing lots of cool public rooms, a deck pool, and copious drinks. We even went to the cinema to watch a film in the afternoon – and they provided popcorn!
We’ve cruised a lot and, overall, it was a great experience, enhanced by having the company of our daughter. No doubt some of the venues might feature in future stories, once I assimilate all the sights and sounds. It’s going to take a week to catch up on emails, all online activity and the washing!
On the writing front, I had an email to inform me my children’s story, Jeremy Jones and the Jungle is now published online by Knowonder (I had already been paid for it) and I believe it’s also available as an App. If anyone is kind enough to read and rate it, I’d be very grateful.
Hope everyone has been having a good summer!