Italy, Monaco, France, Spain · 13 Days · 24 Moments · June 2016

Europe Cruise 2016

10 July 2016

First day in Barcelona. Got off the ship and explored the port area with Todd while Katrina and Payton explored the flea market. We then strolled up and down the Ramblas looking at shops. Had some tasty tapas and skillet chicken with rice at a cafe on the ramblas. Stopped later and had some sangria. Had dinner at a buffet place with bbq meats. It was just ok. Got back to our ship about 9:30.

9 July 2016

Carcasonne - At the port of Sete I took a full day tour to the Medieval city of Carcasonne. Beautiful walled city that was first fortified by the Romans in 100 BC. Tour included a nice lunch and then free time to explore.

8 July 2016

Marseille - Took a shuttle bus into Marseille France. Explored the port looking at the shops and cafes. Rode the ferris wheel. Had lunch at a harbor side pizzaria. I had a salami and onion pizza. Todd had a mushroom pizza. Katrina had a 3 cheese pizza. Payton had ravioli.

7 July 2016

Sea day. Hung out pool side for a while. We went to trivia and line dancing. We played some scategories after trivia and also played ping pong and cards in the evening.

6 July 2016

Ceuta - It was foggy this morning when we arrived in Ceuta on the Northern coast of Africa. Walked around a bit before the shops opened. Saw the House of Dragons and the Cathedral. Went back and did some shopping. Todd and I went to a cafe and had some cappuccino and used the wifi when Katrina and Payton shopped. We looked for a place for lunch but couldn't find anything that looked good and ended up eating at McDonalds (ugh). After lunch I split off to explore. Found some interesting buildings and some nice beaches on the other side of the peninsula. Found a shaded spot on the beach and had a cervesa while people watching. Back on ship we played some cards. Todd and Payton played ping pong in the tournament and lost in the 1st round. Todd lost to the eventual winner.

5 July 2016

Almeria - We took a tour of Almeria to start the day. We saw the Cathedral, old town and the fortress La Alcazaba. It was impressive. Several films were shot there, including one of the Indiana Jones films. We went to a restaurant recommended by the ship. Had some tapas including monk fish, Serrano ham, marinated pork and cheese. Continued wandering around town for the remainder of our time in port. Many of the stores were closed. It may have been the afternoon siesta time. Had a good dinner back on the ship and watched a good movie "August Rush" in our room since there weren't any interesting activities. On to Cueta tomorrow. A Spanish colony in the north of Africa.

4 July 2016

Sea Day. Slept in a bit. Grabbed some coffee at 9:00. Met Todd for breakfast around 9:30. Played trivia after lunch and walked the promenade deck for a while.

3 July 2016

Ajaccio - Ajaccio is a port on the island of Corsica. Todd and I got off the ship to explore, planning to meet Katrina and Payton later. There was a small market with clothing and other items just off the boat and a larger market nearby that had a variety of food items. Todd and I saw some statues of Napoleon and saw the house where he grew up. When we went back to the markets with Katrina and Payton, I bought some wooden spatulas, a selection of honey from a beekeeper, and some strawberry preserves. We walked across to the other side of town where there was a nice open square and a nice view of the water and a beach. We shopped some more and walked back to the harbor where we had lunch at Le Forum. I had a pizza marguerite, Payton and Katrina had chicken stir fry. Todd had a chicken pizza. We explored some more, shopped, and had some gelato before getting back on the ship.

2 July 2016

More St. Tropez - After lunch I split off to explore, while the others continued to shop. I walked uphill and found the citadel, a cemetery by the ocean, and a secluded beach. The road above the citadel provided great views of St Tropez and the bell tower below. I walked downhill back into St Tropez and headed out to where the beach reports were located. It was a long walk. I found a public beach which looked nice. After walking a bit more, it appeared that many of the beach resorts were private and I decided to head back into town. Met back up with the rest of the group and we have drinks at a couple spots before boarding the ship. Had a delicious St. Tropez Blonde beer (actually brewed in Belgium) that came in a cool black bottle.
Tendered in to St Tropez France. First time in France for all of us, other than a stopover at an airport. Port was pretty with a lot of big yachts and artists along the harbor. Spent some time shopping in the shops around the port area. Bought some macaroons (vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, salted caramel, lemon). They were delicious. Walked through a nice large Farmers market. There was very little breeze, though and it was very hot in the market. We had lunch at a restaurant near the harbor called Madeleine's. Our waiter, Pierre, was funny and helped us understand the items on the menu. Pierre convinced Todd to order the fish of the day which was a Breen. Pierre removed the fillet from the fish body, discarding the head, skeleton and skin. The fish was very tasty. Kevin had spinach ravioli. Payton had a cheeseburger and Katrina had herb chicken.

1 July 2016

We were in Monaco on 7/1. We left the ship and saw a hop on, hop off bus, so we bought a full day ticket. The bus took us through Monte Carlo and through some of the roads used for the Monaco Grand Prix. Todd and I remembered one of the tunnels from a racing video game we had played. We saw the famous Monte Carlo Casino from the bus. The bus took to the old town of Monaco, where we got off the bus. We did some shopping. Payton got a cute stuffed animal. A dog, who she named Claude. We visited the Oceanographic Museum which was an aquarium that was previously run by Jacque Cousteau. I also went into the Cathedral which was very nice. The tombs of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace were in the Cathedral. We had a great lunch in old town. I had gnocchi with pesto, Payton had chicken nuggets, Katrina had lasagna, Todd had spaghetti. We watched the changing of the guard at the Prince's Palace. The lights of Monaco were beautiful as we pulled away from port.

30 June 2016

Our tour of the Cinque Terra started in Manarola. Charming village. Walked up a trail to get a breathtaking view of the village. We then took a boat to Vernazza. Had a piece of focaccia with procuito. Left via boat for Monterossa. Had lunch at LaCambusa. Had some delicious pesto lasagna. Todd had pesto linguini. Katrina had ravioli with meat sauce and Payton had lasagne with meat sauce.
Boarded our bus at 7:15 for our tour of Cinque Terre. Our tour guide was Luca. He provided a lot of information about Italy. Stopped at a highway station. Todd got an Espresso. Bathrooms were co-ed. Before entering the Cinque Terre, we picked up a local host, Karen.

29 June 2016

Left early for the Cruise ship. Didn't have to wait at all and got on the ship right away. Had a good lunch at the Lido deck buffet. Payton and Katrina got facials at the spa. Hung out on our balcony and watched as we left port. Went to trivia night at the ocean bar. Had dinner at the Lido.
Beautiful day. Went to the market in Civitavecchia. Lots of fruit, vegetables, spices, fish, meat, clothes. A little bit of everything. Getting ready to head to the port to board our ship.
Had breakfast at Miramare hotel. Lots of pastries and a griddle to make ham and cheese.

28 June 2016

Todd and I walked around Civitevecchia. Talked to a young guy and his daughter from Tampa. He was staying for 3 weeks. His daughter was very friendly. We had a Peroni beer at a couple sea side cafes. We went to Da Baffone for pizza for early dinner. Went back to DaBafonne with Todd Payton and Katrina. Katrina and Payton had a 4 cheese pizza. Todd and I had a pizza with ham, salami, artichokes and olives. The olives weren't a favorite.
Landed at Rome airport about 9:24 on June 28. Katrina Todd and Payton's flight was delayed and arrived about 10:45.