Sunday, April 25, 2010

Taormina, Italy

Taormina, Italy is a quaint little town to just walk around on your own. You start on one end and walk all the way to the other, until you reach the grand theater. I spent most of my time at the theater because it offered spectacular views of the blue mediterranean waters with the ship drifting peacefully in the background. 

This is an nice view of the theater from the back. 

I did a lot of climbing up and down those steps!  I tried to shoot from all angles and had to work around the sun - and the ship drifting.  I was there in August of 2008 and it was very hot.

Little shops line the streets to and from the theater.

Love the blue hues of the Mediterranean.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Barcelona - Park Guell

Park Guell in Barcelona is an amazing place.  I had one day to spend in Barcelona and something had happened to my Canon Rebel so I only had my point-and-shoot camera.  I knew I had limited time and limited battery.  I did what I could!

Park Guell was designed by Antoni Gaudi and all the mosaic is so hard to describe unless you have actually been there to see it.  The two buildings (above) on either side of the entrance bear a striking resemblance to the houses from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.  I was dying for my other camera and a good zoom lens, these buildings were so fun to photograph. 

I wish I could have spent more time in the park, but my battery ended things for me.  I also had to get back to the hop on hop off bus to get back on the route that picked me up and dropped me off in front of my hotel.  One day is not enough in Barcelona.

In the park "marketplace" there are 86 columns, with mosaic rosettes of suns and moons in the ceiling. 

Barcelona - La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was the project to which Antoni Gaudi dedicated the last 43 years of his life.  His sole objective was to make La Sagrada Familia the perfect temple.

I had one day to spend in Barcelona and I specifically wanted to see La Sagrada Familia.  I had been on a cruise and made a detour on the way home to spend one night in Barcelona.  I had one day to see as much as I could.  I was having camera problems and had to rely on my point-and-shoot with it's limited battery.

The detail on this building is absolutely amazing.  I could have stayed there all day and photographed this beautiful place, it was stunning.
 The inside of this building is also stunning.  This is the view looking up - the vaults in the ceiling and the amazing stained glass. 
I was fortunate enough to have gotten an upgrade on my hotel room on my one night in this amazing city.  Unfortunately, I was by myself - because that room was more like an apartment - and included a wonderful bottle of champagne.  But I had a wonderful time on my one day in Barcelona despite my camera problems and limited time.  I plan to go back whenever I can.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The walled city of Dubrovnik is also known as "the Pearl of the Adriatic".  The Old Town of Dubrovnik is a neat place to just stroll through at leisure. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Edinburgh, Scotland

My day in Edinburgh, Scotland was spent at the castle, and then some free time to walk around the city.  I love the Scottish kilts.  Our Captain on the ship - Captian O'Neil - was from Scotland and he wore his kilt in the evenings. 

I bought a few things, some jewelry with the Celtic design.  The family symbols or clan coat of arms was prominent here, and I found the coat of arms for "Fletcher" which is my mom's maiden name. 
This "castle" in Scotland is where I made the important distinction between castles in Europe and castles in the British Isles.  I was envisioning gold and grandeur, and was a little surprised by these old ruins.  But beautiful in their own way, and full of history. 

The Edinburgh Castle houses the crown jewels of Scotland.  On display were the crown, sword, and sceptre. 
Other cities visited in Scotland were Isle of Skye and Portree.  There was a group of us from the office onboard, and we all met at a local pub for fish and chips. 

And, of course, you can't leave Scotland without seeing the Loch Ness monster.

Belfast, Ireland

The thing I remember most about Belfast was the graffiti.  The shots I did get were taken through a bus window.  All of the guides spoke of the political turmoil this country has gone through, it was quite interesting.

I also remember a small park area where people "hung out" and there was a memorial to the lost lives of the Titanic.

I visited the British Isles in September of 2007.

Dublin, Ireland

I had a day to walk around  Dublin and it was much too big of a city to try to walk it.  I spent more time walking and it took forever to get anywhere.  I walked to St. Patrick's Cathedral (left) and went inside. 

I saw the Book of Kells on display in the Library of Trinity College.  The Book of Kells contains the four gospels of the New Testament - St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John, written in Latin.

During all that walking, and being in Ireland, I did see a few pubs along the way.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Nice & Eze, France

I have flown into Nice several times as it is the airport to catch the ship when it sails out of Nice or Monte Carlo.  The airport is right on the coast, you fly in from the water.  I spent the day one time, with friends.   Nice has the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean coast.

On our day in Nice we traveled a short distance to Eze.  Cute little place to walk around.  It is a little hilltop city, right on the coast.  Lots of little shops and cafes, a neat place to visit.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo is a turnaround port for the ship, so several sailings left out of Monte Carlo. 

You fly into Nice and drive to Monte Carlo.  There is enough to walk to, right at the port.  I've walked around the port of Monte Carlo several times.  The landmark is the grand casino and the little plaza there.  I've been inside, but casino's aren't my thing so I kind of walked in, looked around and walked out. 

I had a glass of wine with a friend at the Hotel de Paris (next door to the casino), it is special just to be there.  I was with a group one time and we also stopped into one of the local cafes to enjoy a drink and good conversation. 

London, England

We spent an overnight in London before catching up with the ship in Monte Carlo. I was with Dale (brother), and we walked and walked and walked that entire day.  We were exhausted.  I learned later about the red hop on hop off bus, but we walked it.

We went to Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and rode the London Eye for it's specatular view of the city.

I so wanted to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace but there was a sign saying it was cancelled for that day.  I was disappointed, but it gives me a good reason to go back again someday.