This is my original blog for all our non-caravanning trips since 2009 and more recently posts about coming to terms with being single again having been widowed in 2018. And anything else too really!

My caravanning blog is (Get Your) Legs Down and all our trips in the caravan are there. My grog blog is The Ale Archive where I list every beer I’ve ever tried.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Sojourn on the Solstice – The End

Right, where were we? Yes, after the day at sea we were back at Naples, barely a year after we said we wouldn't mind if we never came back again!

Vague plans to catch a ferry somewhere we soon discarded. I was feeling a bit below par and needed a pharmacy. Pete had been unwell and unable to come ashore in Kotor. Soon after lunch Trev too was feeling rough. And Naples was still as dirty and smelly and noisy as before. Not a great day.

Next stop was Civitavecchia. A much cleaner place than Naples but pretty non-descript really. There's no particular reason to come here unless it's to join or leave a cruise ship or go into Rome, which many did. The only problem with that though was that it was All Saints day - which meant that the Sistine Chapel, St Peters Cathedral and many of the shops were shut. Oh dear, a lack of planning by the cruise line methinks! Anyway, the three of us strolled along the front of Civitavecchia to grab a coffee and stretch our legs in what was a lovely day. Trev remained in the cabin still unwell. The ship later confirmed, by their actions, not words that the Norovirus was onboard. They never like to admit that they have a problem but it's always obvious.

Yesterday we were in the Tuscan port of Livorno, the gateway to Pisa and Florence. Time was limited as always so we elected just to go to Pisa to see the old leaning tower. There would only be three of us again as Trev still wasn't feeling great. The shore excursions offered by the cruise line were extortionate for this popular stop, so we decided to do our own thing. Having taken the obligatory ('nominal' fee) shuttle from the dock we soon had our journey planned. A short hop on the number one bus to Livorno Central, then a fifteen minute train ride to Pisa. From the station it was a pleasant twenty five minute walk in warm sunshine, crossing the River Arno until the Leaning Tower came in to view.

And it is impressive, much more so 'in the flesh' than on the telly or in pictures. The white marble gleams in the sunlight and along with the nearby baptistery and cathedral it is an impressive sight. Pisa is a nice city too, a world away from the noise and filth of Naples.

Today we are in Toulon, in the Provence region of France. We should have been in Marseilles but the captain made the decision to switch as the weather forecast for Marseille was poor and it may have been unsafe for us to dock.

At the time of typing it is persisting down outside so I doubt we will go ashore today. A day of relaxation - and then later packing - beckons.

Well, it's been another good one, although really a cruise of two halves. Kotor in Montenegro just shaded it as the favourite destination on this trip although Venice came close, and Dubrovnik was good too.

I haven't said much about the ship - it's the sister ship to the one we were on last year for the Holy Lands cruise and the food, service and entertainment have been largely the same - excellent. It amazes me how the crew keep so cheerful and polite when confronted daily with some frankly quite rude and ignorant people. Some passengers seem to leave their manners and common sense at home (assuming they had any in the first place of course) and feel that it is ok to be obnoxious and treat the those that serve them like shit, simply because they will be leaving them tips. Appalling behaviour, by people who are old enough to know better, but there it is.

So, in at Barcelona tomorrow, than back home via Heathrow by late afternoon. Back to work and those bloody parcels on Saturday (shudder!). So, until next time........

Pisa (3) Pisa  Pisa (2)

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