Ruth and I embarked on a grand trip to the Mediterranean August 13- 23. We went to some amazing places, met some great people, made some good friends, ate some excellent food, and drank (a lot of) really good wine.
FIRST DAY: NICE, FRANCE
The first full day in Nice, recovering nicely (snicker) from 13 hours on airplanes the day before. A full day of activities: tour of and a tasting at a local winery, lunch at an outstanding small restaurant, an afternoon Rose tasting, a walk through the old town, and dinner at the hotel restaurant. The day was a Bank Holiday in France; everything shuts down and everyone goes partying. For us, the evening ended with a beautiful fireworks display over the water that we watched from the roof of the hotel.
SECOND DAY: A morning in Nice and on to Monaco to board our ship, the Sirena.
Late in the afternoon, we left Nice by bus taking "the back road" to the Principality of Monaco. The back road consisted of working our way down the coast, mostly on smaller twisty roads to Monaco.
Some detail about Monaco care of Wikipedia: "Monaco has an area of 2.020 km2 (0.780 sq mi), making it the second-smallest country in the world after the Vatican. Its population was about 38,400 based on the last census of 2016. With 19,009 inhabitants per km², it is the most densely-populated sovereign state in the world. Monaco has a land border of 5.47 km (3.40 mi), the world's shortest coastline of approximately 3.83 km (2.38 mi) (regardless of the coastline paradox), and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 m (5,577 and 1,145 ft). The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires Ward, which is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level. Monaco's most populous Quartier is Monte Carlo and the most populous Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. Through land reclamation, Monaco's land mass has expanded by 20 percent; in 2005, it had an area of only 1.974 km2 (0.762 sq mi). Monaco is known to be the most expensive and the wealthiest place on Earth, Vatican City excluded, due to its tax laws. In 2014, it was noted that about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires.
ANTIBES, FRANCE. Saturday was our only day with no shore excursions. It was a lazy day onboard, meeting our group later in the day.
TOULON, FRANCE. Two wineries, one very small and one very large. Lastly, a visit to a medieval village, Le Castellet, perched on top of a big hill.
MENORCA, SPAIN. Another large island. No wine tours today. Instead it was a rocky day: visited two archeological sites and then a beautiful old monastery at the highest point on the island.
CORSICA, FRANCE. The day started with a visit to the Ajaccio Public Market; think of it as an upscale farmers market with sausages, cheeses and pastries. A bus ride took us to the prestigious Domaine Comte Peraldi winery. Then it was off to lunch at a local restaurant perched at one of the highest points in Corsica. The road was so narrow and winding that we had to walk up the last hundred or so yards because the bus couldn't get there. Lunch lasted until sometime after three, so it was back to the ship with an intermediary stop at an amazing local wine store (samples of homemade Limoncello).
PORTOFINO, ITALY. Our ship anchored in Portofino Bay. We tendered to a small pier beside the village and decided to walk up to the very scenic Castello Brown, high on a hill. The information sheet said a fifteen-minute walk, it neglected to say it was a fifteen-minute climb up narrow steps. The castle just reopened so it was worth the climb (we found out while on the top that there was a very nice ramped walk back down). We walked the village and I abandoned Ruth to shopping in favor of going back to the ship to take a nap.
INTERLUDE: Honig Dinner on board ship, next to the last night of the cruise
Editor's note: these images were taken with my small Canon, so image quality is not quite as good; but the food, wine, and company were outstanding.
PORTO SANTO STEFANO, ITALY. Our last port of call. No planned shore excursion today. We walked the town, absorbing the flavors and enjoying the atmosphere. The following day we docked at Rome and flew home.
That's our trip. It was an amazing experience, made more so by the folks we met and traveled with.