Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Mediterranean Cruise!

Hi, Friends!

Things are getting back to normal here after returning from our Mediterranean Cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary.  I'm so happy that we did this one on our 40th instead of our 50th due to having several walking tours and a heat index over 100 in several towns.  This ole gal is not a spring chicken anymore, lol!  But, we did enjoy every minute of it!  So, grab your favorite beverage and relax while I share some of the photos from our trip!

We flew into Barcelona, Spain, which was a nine hour flight.  We stayed on the boat to relax and unpack.  Our first excursion was to Gibraltar, which is owned by United Kingdom.  It is at the southern tip of Spain.  The rock of Gibraltar is made out of limestone. It has caves and tunnels.  We visited the cave area...St. Michael's Cave.

I haven't downloaded the hundreds of photos from our two week trip from our camera, but did download some photos from my phone.

Rock of Gibraltar

My hubby at the end of the stairs of St. Michael's Cave

Another part of the excursion that day at Gibraltar was visiting the Barbary Apes.  I call them silly monkeys, but they are actually apes since they don't have a tail.  Here is a photo of the one ape who tried to take my purse...

But, I must admit it was my fault with him trying to take my purse.  When I reached for my phone to take a photo, the part of the baggie with wipes in it stuck out.  Even though I was towards the back of the group, the monkey spotted it quickly.  I held on very tightly for my purse had all my life in it, lol!  The tour guide said not to reveal any baggies for the monkeys because they think there is food in them.  The monkeys jump on the buses and try to get in the buses, too!  They have been known to jump on people.  They are wild monkeys and I do have mixed feelings about it, but the monkeys are very well taken care of and are vaccinated.  They feed them a diet of apples, etc.

Our next stop was in Marseille, France...

We visited the Notre Dame de la Garde.  We climbed the 167 steps to the 
top of the gorgeous cathedral.  

An inside view of the church.

Marseille is also known for their soap that they have produced for about 600 years.  The soaps are natural and gentle with various fragrances.  I bought soap for my sisters and myself ...rose, lavender, magnolia, peach, and fleur de lys.  

We saw many markets on our excursions in France, Italy, and Greece
filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers...

I wanted to buy a few of these gorgeous flowers and take them back to the ship,
but we are not allowed to bring any plants or flowers onto the ship.

Many cobblestone streets, so one had to wear comfortable shoes and
be careful when walking...

Our next excursion was to Genoa, Italy.  I enjoyed this town for the narrow
streets and wonderful architecture.  It was our first stop of many to
enjoy some delicious gelatto!  The flavors are so rich and yummy!

Another view of Genoa...

We went to Pisa, Italy to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
It was built and completed in 1372 for the nearby Cathedral
as a free standing tower bell. It was built on soft ground and by
the third story the tower began to lean.
It's height is 183.3 ft. and it's style is Romanesque.

Vatican Museum

We went to Rome to see the Vatican museums, St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel,
St. Peter's Square, and Colosseum.

We scheduled a full day in Rome with a wonderful tour guide, Antonio.  The area of the Vatican is wall to wall people.  They have thousands of visitors each day.  The artwork is truly amazing!

The Holy Door(Porta Sancta) to St. Peter's Basilica

The Holy Door, which is made of bronze is opened by the pope every 25yr.
  The last time was in 2000.  On the first day of a holy year, the pope strikes the wall with a
silver hammer and opens the door.  The message of the door is to convey
that God's mercy reaches out to mankind's frailty.

The altar area of St. Peter's Basilica is stunning!  In front of the altar area down below
is where St. Peter is claimed to be buried.  This is the largest church is the world
and can hold 60,000 people.  They were very strict with clothing.  Women must have
their knees and shoulders covered.  Men cannot wear shorts.  One girl had a sleeveless
dress and the guard came over to tell her to cover her shoulders.  She didn't have anything
with her so she took down her hair and covered her shoulders with her hair.  Men who
had shorts on were wearing scarves covering their knees.  I'm happy that I came
prepared with my dress and sweater, lol!

We saw the Sistine Chapel...truly amazing!  I have no photos of it since one is
not allowed to photograph it since it is copyrighted.  Also, we are to be silent while viewing
it.  When we were there viewing it, a baby started crying.  A guard came up to the father
for them to quiet the child or to leave.  It is truly a place that deserves respect.  Many times the
guards would says...."Silence, pictures please"...

Pieta(Pity) ...Mary holding the dead body of Jesus. 
It was made by Michelangelo and it is in the St. Peter's Basilica.

St. Peter's Square


Hello?  You still with me?  I hope so...

We continued on Sorrento, Italy where they are known for lemons, lace, woodworking, etc.  We went to a winery and had sampling of five different wines, bruschetta, and meats.  

We bought our son four handmade coasters with each one slightly different than the other.  They do gorgeous woodworking  of music boxes, furniture, coasters, etc.  If you wish to see more, here is the link to the store...Lucky Store.  We were given time to shop on our own and we managed to get lost for a short time.  It is so easy to get lost in these small towns with narrow streets.

We went on to the country of Montenegro and enjoyed lunch at Vlasta's house.  She showed us how to make gnocchi.  She fed us fresh olives, tomatoes, bread, salad, beef and gravy with gnocchi...very delicious!  Kotor, Montenegro is very picturesque!

We enjoyed our time in Corfu, Greece where we visited Theotoky Estate.  Wonderful wine tasting, olive oils, cheese, fresh bread, and olives.  On the island of Corfu there is known to be about 4 million olive trees.  I don't normally eat olives, but these were delicious!

We ate our lunch at this lovely quaint setting outside.

Another Greek island that we visited was Crete...

We drove up to a Botanical Park and took a tour of the many plants from
all over the world.  It was a 45 min. winding walk up and down along the
mountainside.  This old gal made it...yeah!  We enjoyed a light lunch
with the beautiful mountain view.  A cooking demonstration of Cretan
cruisine.  They use lots and lots of olive oil.  The speaker said that they use
1 litre of olive oil a day.  They pour it over fresh vegetables.  The don't
follow a recipe and they eat what is in season.  They rarely eat meat except
maybe on Sundays for a family meal and it would  usually be lamb.

Our last stop of the cruise was Mykonos, Greece.  The churches and homes are all white and some churches with blue or red domes.  There are about 900 churches in Mykonos.  Many are for a family where after five years they bury their family member's bones in the church.  They have family get-togethers at the ten year, fifteen year, or more often to remember the family member.  It is also a way to bring families together.

Our tour guide told us that at one time there was a ruler in Greece who ordered all the houses and churches to be lime washed.  Also, the shutters and domes were to be painted blue.  The white color helps to deflect heat.  And, the Greek flag is white and blue, also.  The rules have since subsided, but they continued with the tradition because it is a great selling point for tourism.

We enjoyed a special dinner at the Crown Grill on the ship to
celebrate our 40th anniversary!

A lovely sunset!

Well, if you have made it here, I thank you so much for viewing my photos of our wonderful cruise!  We love to travel and learn about different cultures.  We hope to do more travelling once my husband retires.  If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer!  Have a wonderful day!  Take care, hugs!!


  1. Wow--the trip of a lifetime, I'd say! Such a wonderful way to celebrate your 40th, Maria--big congrats! It's our 40th this year, but we'd both have trouble doing any walking tours, so you're smart to do it while you both could enjoy it. Totally loved seeing all your pictures while I had my afternoon latte--thanks for the lovely post!

  2. Wonderful trip! You are so lucky to have seen all this. Happy Anniversary!

  3. Now that was one very special holiday/celebration. Many congratulations on your 40th Anniversary x It looks like you made tons of memories and had a super time x. Thank you for sharing your fabulous photos and thank you too for bringing back some wonderful memories for me too x

  4. Oh what a wonderful post and I'm so glad you had such a special anniversary! You brought back some meories for me too... I loved Gibraltar and Italy, especially Rome. Never got to Mykonos though and we saw slighlty different places like Corsica...

  5. Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures with us. I have to say the picture of Mary holding Jesus body brought tears to my eyes. The beauty all around you was magnificent. Congratulations on your 40th and what a terrific way to celebrate it.

  6. Happy 40th! LOVED all the memories you brought back and once my husband retired we started traveling and staying in those place! LOVE your photos! You two looked so HaPpY!