Ruth and I embarked on a grand trip to the Mediterranean August 13- 23, 2019. 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. 

So, as they say, it starts at the beginning. Tuesday evening flight, Tampa to Nice, France by way of Frankfurt, Germany.

Unsurprisingly, Ruth made a friend at the Tampa airport. Her new friend tried to stay with Ruth in the Frankfurt airport, much to the consternation of her parents.

First destination: Nice, France. We arrived late afternoon, severely jet-lagged. Dinner with our group and this image were about all I could manage.

First night menu. The Floating Egg was amazing.

First night menu. The Floating Egg was amazing.


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.

Obligatory scenic's of Nice.

  • View from our hotel room balcony

  • Yes, the water was almost that blue. I shoot through a polarizer but did not push contrast or saturation.

  • Up the street past our hotel

  • A busy day at the beach. No sand, small smooth rocks instead.

The Winery

  • Waiting for the minibuses

  • On the road through Nice

  • Path to the vines. The vineyard was at the top of a very narrow, winding road.

  • Kelly and the winemaker, Gio, explaining the vines on the hill behind them. Wilson, for once, paying attention.

  • Looking out over vines. Brangelina's winery is out there someplace.

  • The wines

  • The Wines, the Winemaker, and our Leader.

  • Remnants

  • Tools of the trade.

  • Waiting for wine

  • Wine Baskets

  • Hot sunny morning. The sun zeroed in on my Lensball and started lighting a barrel on fire. Moved everything before the winery burned down.

Touring old town Nice

  • A very orange building.

  • Pastries and...

  • ... Pizza.

  • I liked this image but couldn't decide how to finish it. So, two visions.

  • Umbrella overhead shade.

  • Wilson, of course, required police protection.

50 Shades of Rose: A Tasting

And, lastly, an homage to my ongoing addiction to images of doors.

  • Very small shrine. There is a little statue of the Virgin Mary in the alcove.

  • Door humor.

SECOND DAY:  A morning in Nice and on to Monaco to board our ship, the Sirena.

A Morning Walk...

  • Probably the most photographed spot in Nice

  • Morning run.

  • NO noisy games.

  • 2nd floor apartment. I like the blues and the three segments of the image

  • A rocky street corner

Nice War Memorial

  • The Nice War Memorial is built into the rock face.

  • There are small memorials dedicated to each of the military types.

The Park at the highest point in Nice. Long stairway to the top from the level of our hotel; we took the elevator.

  • View from the park. I fiddled a bit with HDR and like the way the colors pop.

  • This is what was originally where the park is. Very little remains.

  • The waterfall was amazing.

  • I didn't notice the bird at the top of the falls watching me.

  • It looks like a cave entrance but is actually narrow steps up to the next level.

  • Can't leave highest place in Nice without some scenics.

  • Lensball scenic

  • A marker for early tourists and visitors?

  • Hooked on Lensball lens. I like the colors, even if it is upside down.

  • Rock snakes

  • Some of the walkways had interesting detail work.

  • Earlier pictures were from the bottom of the waterfall. This is from the top. The birds perched on the very edge. The rushing water did not bother them.

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.[6] 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.

  • Three images of comparative boat sizes, starting with VERY big. This was, according to several people, Prince Albert's yacht. His castle is in the background.

  • Big in back, smaller heading out and small coming in. Of course, the size of some of the yachts made everything look smaller by comparison.

  • BIG and TINY. The little sailboats are all tied together nose to stern and pulled by the lead boat. Some of the sailboats are crewed by very young kids.

  • Evening arriving in Monaco.

  • All the Monaco pictures were taken from the veranda of our room onboard ship.

ANTIBES, FRANCE. Saturday was our only day with no shore excursions. It was a lazy day onboard, meeting our group later in the day. 

Views from the ship

  • Morning fog blowing out

  • Moon over Antibes

  • Color editing

  • White house

  • Ruth showing Wilson what France looks like (note Honig pin on Wilson's hat... his support of the cruise sponsor)

  • Antibes and a small boat

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.      

  • Early morning arrival

  • Repurposed naval ships. Retired and blocking off a section of the harbor.

Domaine Pieracci

  • Winemaker and Kelly

  • "This strange little thing is a what?"

Domaine Fregate

  • Barrels F17 and F16 behind our guides.

  • Barrel #19

  • BIG wine containers

  • View from lunch

Small Medieval Village perched on the side of a big hill.

  • More narrow strreets

  • 1744

  • 23 x 2

  • Do not go this way

  • Do not go THIS way or you will fall off a cliff.

  • Gallery

  • The nicest police station entrance ever.

  • View next to the police station.

Leaving Toulon

  • Last view of Toulon

  • End of Day

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. 


Rocks, rocks and more rocks... with a few scenics

  • One of the early island inhabitants makes a subtle appearance.

  • Do not climb!

  • Mandatory Door Image

  • Taking a break. The area was beautiful but it was VERY hot.

Interior of a beautiful old monastery, Monte Toro

Sailing away to the end of the day

  • House on a hill with its own dock.

  • Supervised swimmg

  • Place to get away from it all?

  • Strange little underground structure just on the water's edge at the bottom of a step hill.

  • Land's End

  • End of day

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). 

Ajaccio Public Market

  • Napoleon, in a toga, keeping a close eye on the Market

  • Sliced sausage and dried meat samples: salami, prosciutto and several I have no idea what the names were. All were good!

Domaine Comte Peraldi

  • Several of the outside walls had detailed murals

  • Complicated wine machinery. A bottler?


  • Wilson being passed among sommeliers and chef to be strangled for inappropriate comments about a superb meal.

Views from the restaurant...

Doors in the village

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.   

Castello Brown

  • Steps... sooooo many steps.

  • Approach...

  • Assault

  • Wilson decided to change his name to Brown and is seen overlooking his kingdom. Notice his long-suffering servant is beginning to lose patience with his antics.

The Village of Portofino

  • Denizens of Portofino. A hanging rhino?

  • Pink... Lemurs?

  • See the gentleman in the yellow vest? Just after I shot this image he walked over, told me not to take any more pictures of the yacht and to move along.

  • Two images of our ship, Sirena (it's the one on the left :) )

  • Look at the small boat to the left of Sirena moving away from the ship. It is one of the ship's tenders used to ferry passengers to the dock and back.

  • This is how you drive a tender. Using the windshield is not cool.

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.

  • Shipboard Menu

    Shipboard Menu

  • View from the Dining Room

    View from the Dining Room

  • Honig Wines

    Honig Wines

  • Appetizer


  • Salad


  • Soup


  • Pasta


  • Dessert (nope, no pictures of the entrees; the Osso Bucco appeared and I lost focus)

    Dessert (nope, no pictures of the entrees; the Osso Bucco appeared and I lost focus)

  • The Chef & Kelly (ignore the bottom of the image)

    The Chef & Kelly (ignore the bottom of the image)

  • View after Dinner through the window

    View after Dinner through the window

  • Retiring to the lounge after dinner (Wilson doing what he does best... four fisting). No flash & low lighting; the graininess gives "authenticity"

    Retiring to the lounge after dinner (Wilson doing what he does best... four fisting). No flash & low lighting; the graininess gives "authenticity"

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.

A walk through town.

  • Flip flops were for sale every where we went!

  • World War II memorial

  • Two sidewalk images. The center of this one was metal that must have originally said something, now eroded through time and the elements.

  • A Menu and three signs.

  • Two signs a little behind the times

  • As with Nice, no sand on the beach.

  • Bucket List Goal: Ruth wanted to put her feet in the Mediterranean.

That's our trip. It was an amazing experience, made more so by the folks we met and traveled with.

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