Mediterranean CruiseMS Koningsdam April - May 2016
Civitavchecchia Italy (Port for Rome)
We found this cattle ranch with motel accommodation when we sailed out of Rome in 2014. It's a working cattle ranch with a motel with 25 rooms. The view from our room gives us a panoramic vista of the Tyrrhenian sea and the port of Civitavecchia. In the centre photo you can just see our ship as it arrived at dawn on the day I took this snap.
We caught the fast train from Civitavecchia to Rome and spent the day on a hop on hop off bus and found the same street cafe where we dinned with our friends Carol and John in 2009.
MS Koningsdam - our home for 24 nights
The Ms Koningsdam (Kings Ship) was just one week old when we sailed. It accomodates 2650 passengers and approx. 900 crew.
Yasuo from Katakalo. Most passengers headed to the ancient site of Olympia but as we had been twice before we opted to stay in the small seaside village. Peter (Papoo) who I work with was born not far from here and his sister lives in Katakalo.
Before heading into Athens our tour headed to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion about an hours drive south of Athens. I did not take shots of the Acropolis as it was under renovation and covered in scaffolding.
The port of Kusadasi is the gateway to visit the ancient Roman ruins of Ephesus. We had visited the port in 2014 so opted to just hang around Kusadasi rather than revisit Ephesus.
Our cruise ship was one of the last to call at Istanbul due to the recent terrorist attacks. Included in the photos is a picture of the obelisk next to the Blue Mosque. Two weeks before our visit several german tourists were killed there by a suicide bomber. 850 passengers on our ship stayed onboard rather than risk taking in the sights of Istanbul.
This was our second visit to Rhodes and we enjoyed the visit so much. I have done really well in photo comps with the photos taken in Rhodes
Heraklion Crete - Greece
Our visit to Heraklion was really nice. We walked the 20 minutes to the town harbour from the dock and spent the morning walking around the harbour district. Had a great coffee in a small cafe overlooking the harbour before heading back to the ship for lunch.
We visited naples on our 2009 cruise and had seen Pompeii. We opted to visit the city of Herculaneum that was also buried at the same time as Pompeii. We naturally had to have a customary stop at a cameo factory first up before heading to Herculaneum. It was home tho the auristorcrats and was buried in mud and not hot ash at the same time Pompeii was destroyed. The city once excavated was found to be in much better condition.
Ostia Antica - Italy
On our return to the current port for Rome, Civitavecchia we organised a tour to Ostia Antica (an hours drive south) which lies at the mouth of the Tiber river and served as the Port of Rome in ancient times. At its height there were 5000 people living in the old port city. We were taken by its size and the ruins in many ways were much better than old Rome. The city although in ruins is intact and we spent over two hours traversing the many streets and venues.
Palermo - Cefalu Sicily - Italy
The next Port was Palermo Sicily and as we had spent time on a previous cruise in this city we took a shore excursion to the seaside town of Cefalu, an hours drive along the coast to the east of Palermo. We had a very lucky escape when the front tyre or our tour bus blew at about 120 kilometres and hour on a straight section of the freeway. It sounded like a bomb going off and the driver did a fantastic job to keep the bus upright. It could have been much worse as ten minutes later we had left the expressway and were on a very narrow winding road around seaside cliffs.
Cagliari - Sardinia - Italy
We both loved Cagliari. We went ashore and found a great coffee shop before we split up. I went to find and photograph the old city and Jewish quarter while Yvonne went shopping. I took over 200 photos and in some ways the above photos does not do this city justice.
It was blowing a gale as we sailed into Gibraltar harbour. We walked into town and as Yvonne hates heights I orgainised at tour to the top of the rock that included a visit to St. Michael's caves. The famous barbary apes were up to their usual tricks and driving any tourist who had food in their bags mad. Gibraltar is very unique as it's airport in right next to the city and its main runway directs the only road in and out of town. There are traffic lights that stop all traffic while planes take off and land.
We both fell in love with Spain. We had visited Barcelona in 2009. We found each city clean and basically graffiti clean although we did see a few more beggars and people sleeping rough. Spain is a photographers paradise and I would like to spend more time visiting the rural areas.
We just feel in love with Malaga. The city was alive and vibrant and I went crazy taking so many photos.
We were greeted with rain showers as we arrived into Cartagena. The rain put a damper on activities so we just went into the town and walked the main street before having a coffee and heading back to relax onboard the Koningsdam to rest up as we were heading to Barcelona for two days our next port of call.
We had a two day stay in Barcelona so I opted for a shore excursion to visit the Monserrat Monastery about a two hour drive west of Barcelona. The monastery is perched atop a huge mountain and the coach drive up was quite scary on the very narrow road to the top. The monastery is famous as it houses the Black Madonna. Hundreds were queued for and hour or more to walk past the Madonna. The second day we encountered a a few showers and we spent our time walking the length of the Las Ramblas. We really enjoyed the colour and atmosphere of the fresh food market half way along Las Ramblas.