North America, Europe · 16 Days · 31 Moments · October 2017

Anniversary Cruise thru the Med - Oct 2017

31 October 2017

This trip was a dream of mine for a long time. I was so fortunate to have shared this adventure with my loving husband, Phil. I tried to live every single moment of this adventure to the fullest, enjoying the beauty of this great big world and the beauty of life itself. ✅ I achieved my goal. There is beauty around us all everyday if we only take the time to look for it. People who live in Paris probably don’t see the same beauty that I saw because they see it everyday. Try not to miss the beauty of everyday that many times goes unnoticed. 🌷 I had to be at Mayo Clinic at 7:00am this morning for labs, a visit and my 29th chemo. I say this because yes life has challenges for me but life has challenges for everyone. My advice to you is don’t let this life’s hardships steal the beauty of everyday and the beauty of the people in your life. I thank God so much for each of you and the beauty you add to my life each day. 💕 Thank you Lord for all my countless blessings.💝✝️

30 October 2017

Say hi to Phil in coach!! P.S. notice small child in front of him.

29 October 2017

Everywhere you look there are grand things to see.
Did I mention the Boulangeries, (bakeries) are excellent?
Most of the buildings have very interesting architecture. I could so happily live in this building, one block from the Eiffel Tower.
Next we were off to a few more iconic sites in Paris, the Arc de Triumph, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower. These are all bigger than I had imagined. Everything in Paris seems bigger and grander than most cities. It is very clean and I felt safe but there were crowds around all the “must see” sites even in late October. We took an Uber down the Champs Elysees just to see the famous avenue. We aren’t a fan of most French food except for the baked goods and the French Onion soup. Phil ordered a pasta dish and they served it with a raw egg right on top. The only way he eats an egg is in an omelette so it went back but reappeared as the same plate minus the egg yolk but part of the egg white remained. French fries in the US are much better than France but the baked delicacies are délicieux (delicious), the bread, the croissants, the sweets! Scrumptious!
Sunday was all about Paris! We had only one full day to see all we could on our own and we made the most of it. It was a cloudy cool day (mid to low 50’s) and we did have a light rain for part of the day but that didn’t discourage these hard core tourists at all. We headed to Notre Dame first, after all it was Sunday and we needed to go to mass. After standing in a very long line to get in we were able to attend a beautiful mass in French and because all Catholics celebrate our faith universally we fully participated. It helped they had a handout with the Bible readings for this Sunday printed in English. After mass we walked through this massive cathedral and marveled at the exquisite stained glass that was everywhere. The artwork and sculptures are also stunning. When you consider that construction began 850 years again without major construction machinery it truly is incredible and no wonder that it took over 200 years to complete this masterpiece cathedral.
St Pope John Paul II memorial park at Norte Dame.
The Seine River runs through the middle of Paris
There are many other places of major interest that would be great to explore, we were just so limited with time. By the day’s end we had clocked over 8 miles-and squeezed in everything we possibly could see. I would go back in a heartbeat to see more. We flew home Monday on a 777, the plane Phil flies out of Miami now. Paris-Miami (9.5 hrs) and then Miami to JAX (55 min). I was able to score a 1st class seat all the way home, sadly Phil did not. My seat was a comfy recliner in a pod setup that allows your seat to lay flat like a bed. I watched 3 movies and had a nice nap. The food was good (French not my favorite) but the service was outstanding. Poor Phil was in coach behind a child who cried 3/4 of the way back. I think it was a good for him to see how his passengers experience a journey on his flights. We made it back safe last night, pretty tired but I am not complaining. Trust me I wouldn’t change a thing except maybe to have another 1st class seat next to me for Ph
Discovered the Olympics will be held in Paris in 2024.
The Hotel Da Vinci
We found this very quaint boutique hotel in the St Germaine area of Paris , the Hotel Da Vinci. I Millay say our suite on the ship was twice this size

28 October 2017

The train was a great ride through the south of France. We followed the coast line for a while then went through the countryside with many wineries. We also made a friend! He kept speaking French to us but we had no clue what he was saying.
We enjoyed this spectacular sunset view from the train.
We were on the high speed train in France on our way to Paris so I took this print screen from WAZE to show the train speed and the place.
Monte Carlo, Monaco was our debarkation point of our cruise on Saturday morning. It was a sad day to leave the Explorer but alas, all good things must come to an end. We had a few hours to see Monte Carlo on our own and where do you think we went, the infamous Monte Carlo CASINO, of course. The city itself is just so picturesque and you can understand why the rich and famous play there. It is also the setting for many movies over the years but the James Bond movie Casino de Monte Carlo was probably the best known one. Luckily for Phil, the casino was closed until 2:00pm so we were unable to partake in their games at 11:00 am but we were able to take a self guided tour through this opulent place.

27 October 2017

After visiting AIX we entered into Marseille for a tour of some of the major sites. There are many grand monuments and gardens to see. The main focal point is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Guard that sits high on a mountain top and can be seen from anywhere in the city. It is a grand Byzantine style church that you have to walk up 160 steps to enter it but is is worth the effort. The views of the Mediterranean are stunning too as this was a very strategic port during many wars over the centuries. Today I fell in love with France...
On Friday we pulled into the port city of Marseille, France. We selected an excursion that included a trip to the small town of AIX-en-Provence and later a tour of Marseille. AIX is a beautiful town where the artist Paul Cezanne grew up and also lived most of his adult life. The Provence region is famous for growing many flowers especially lavender. AIX has a big fountain in the city center and has two main areas, one part built during the medieval times and the other during the French renaissance period and both areas are so well preserved. Phil and I fell in love with this place. I was even looking at real estate books. These are just a few pictures from the streets and Saint Saviour’s Cathedral in AIX.

26 October 2017

Today we are at the Paris airport starting our trip home It has been an amazing trip. We have visited so many beautiful places on this adventure. I have not done a good job at keeping up with my journal everyday but I am going to try and update it today. On Thursday we were in Barcelona. What an historic time to be there. Barcelona is located in Catalonia, an area of Spain. The citizens are considered Catalonian and there is an large number that want to break away from Spain and have their independence. There was a huge protest in the city center and tons of police everywhere. Luckily our tour was at a winery 45 minutes outside of the city so we missed the chaos. Our tour left at 8:45am so before we left for the winery we went to the highest point in Barcelona and took some pictures of the city. It was a little foggy but still you could see the massive size of the city. We did not make it to the big church designed by Gaudi but it was ok because of all the craziness.

25 October 2017

So sorry I have not been keeping up with my journal daily. It is hard when so much is going on. On Wednesday we were in Palma de Mallorca, which is an Island off the coast of Spain. It was beautiful and very clean and safe and the weather was spectacular. It is a very popular vacation destination for Europeans. Lots of beautiful shopping areas and a rich history. We visited the old castle at the top of the high mountain that overlooks the coastline and the town. We also visited the Cathedral and it was stunning. We were told it seats 16,000 people. There is so much to see inside. The stain glass is stunning and there is so much artistic work everywhere. Antoni Gaudi the artist who designed the Segrada Familia Church in Barcelona has a few pieces here too. We enjoyed exploring it so much with our guide. Mallorca is also very famous for their pearls and at the end of our tour our guide raffles off a pearl bracelet and guess who won it, me!! I was thrilled. I love to win!

24 October 2017

Today was all about the relaxation. It was a sea day and a very rocky one. We had huge swells some as high as 12’feet. Many high waves made for kind of a lazy day because it was hard to walk straight any where. We did make it to the restaurants to eat (of course!) and we sat in the hot tub for a long time. We also made it to the casino after dinner for a fun night of roulette and black jack. Funny how the ship was rocking and I felt nothing sitting there. It was a good night. We ate at the Pacific Rim, a specialty Asian restaurant and I had the most gigantic prawns I had ever seen. They were really good. I did want to share some pictures from our state room and the ship since this is our home away from home for a few more days. The size of the bathroom and closet is amazing considering this is a cruise ship! Tomorrow is supposed to be back to calm seas as we pull in Palma Mallorca. We have an early excursion planned so I am off to bed. Buenos noches!

23 October 2017

This ship is so beautiful. There are chandeliers everywhere but I thought this one was particularly pretty with the colors of blue. I will share some other shipboard photos tomorrow as we have our only sea day. We plan to do a lot of relaxing since we have really been going nonstop since we boarded ship.
Today we were in Palermo, Sicily. Our excursion was a tour of the city which included a lot of history and culture of the area. It is an ancient city with a rich history of many civilizations from the Romans, Normans, Muslims and the Christians. These photos show some of the architecture of a few beautiful churches. We also wandered through a long street of open markets where vendors were selling all kinds of vegetables, meats and spices. There was a lot of graffiti all over the city and not very clean compared to other cities we visited.

22 October 2017

The waiters sang to us tonight for our anniversary and presented us with this beautiful dessert!
We visited the Church of Michele dedicated to the Archangel Michael. It was stunning with a mosaic floor that depicts the garden of Eden. We had lunch in a ristorante that overlooked the port and ate a delicious Caprese pizza, a real authentic Neapolitan pizza. We later sipped ice tea made with lemons grown on the island while enjoying the surroundings of the Piazza Piccolo in Capri. We did a lot today and I was so tired so I took a nap when we got back to the room and am now preparing myself for dinner. Did I mention the food on here is spectacular? Happy Anniversary to us! Also there is a casino on board and to my great surprise I can afford to play with table minimums of $10! I felt so lucky tonight. I was playing Blackjack and having fun but decided to call it a day. I told Phil this was my last hand and when the cards were dealt I won the one dollar side bet I made at 120:1. So far all I can say is WOW about everything. Palermo get ready, we are headed your way.
Today we pulled in to Sorrento, a beautiful Italian city built into the cliffs if the Mediterranean Sea. Today is also our 34th wedding anniversary! It will be hard to top this year’s celebration! We started the day by joining an excursion that left Sorrento by boat and then took us to the beautiful Isle of Capri for a day of touring this beautiful place. This Island is made of limestone and is quite scenic. The city of Anacapri sits high above the port city of Capri and offers breathtaking views. We rode a one seater chair lift that took 15 minutes to get to the highest peak of the Island. The ride up was quite peaceful and offered gorgeous views but unfortunately when we got to the top, we went into the clouds and it was too cloudy/foggy to see all the way down. Still definitely worth the trip up.

21 October 2017

Arrived in Rome safely and took an hour ride on Uber to the cruise terminal Today we embarked on to the beautiful Regents Seven Seas Explorer. 🚢 We were pretty tired after the long flight to Europe but it is all worth it. Our room is incredible and our first Italian sunset from our balcony is amazing. Heading out to dinner soon at the specialty steak house, Prime 7. Arrivedurci!

20 October 2017

Rome here we come!! Oh and thanks Phil for carrying my travel bag! No 1st class seats available in this flight. Oh well we managed ok during the 8hr 40 min flight ok. A little stiff at the end but ok nonetheless. No complaining for free guaranteed seats on an international flight
And here we go! JAX - PHL, the first leg of our trip an then on to FCO (Rome) to catch the trip.

16 October 2017

We are preparing for our big trip that starts on Friday, October 20, 2017 when we fly to Rome. I have treatment today and hopefully will recover quickly enough to start enjoying this adventure right away. I have not used this app before but I thought it might be fun to see how it works to capture this amazing trip.