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Old 07-25-2010, 09:35 PM   #1
Have Camera, Will Travel
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Trip Report! ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Part 6 - IMAGE INTENSIVE!

Day 7 - Sea Day #2

So after our amazing and VERY full day in Rome, it was really, really nice to have that extra sea day that the 11-night cruise had! I slept in (No alarm! No showing up late!). I managed to just catch the end of brunch at Lumiere's. I really felt like doing a late breakfast/brunch because jedijill (from the DIS & table 32!) had invited me to join her for Tea at Palo's that afternoon. Breakfast, lunch, tea AND dinner would just be too much!

I ordered this fruit dish that totally didn't end up being what I thought it was. If I remember correctly, it was called a fruit "comfit" with some sort of jelled sauce. I think I'd pictured fresh fruit with a little bit of jellied sauce on top of it. This is what showed up:

It was strange looking, but actually pretty good. Not overly sweet. It's all about trying new things, right?

Today was just a lazy day. Finding spots here & there to read from my ebook, wandering the ship, etc. The weather was beautiful.

The coastline from my veranda.

My artsy shot of the sun glinting off the water directly below my cabin. It was quite gorgeous!

Finally, it was time to meet Jill at Palo's. I really liked the tea. Jill is very fun company, and the food was very tasty. It's definitely not High tea; someone said it's "afternoon tea". Small sandwiches on different rolls, scones (which I *love*) and lots of various tiny desserts.

The atmosphere was casual but special (the view from Palo's is beautiful). And since there's relatively no distance between Civitavecchia & La Spezia, the ship was barely moving much of the time. (I believe they actually cut the motors at one point). So I was feeling much less "off" at this point.

Next up was a hand massage/manicure at the Ship's Spa. It was heavenly. Very relaxing, and bright red fingernails! And once I told the gal I didn't have room in my suitcase for any products, the sales pitch stopped, too.

Next on the agenda was the ABD private animation lesson. It turned out that Robyn had trained as an animator for Disney. I believe she said that by the time she'd qualified, they'd pretty much stopped doing hand animation, so she never actually worked as an animator. But she was a very good teacher! I don't think my drawing sucks too much! ;-)

And then Pinocchio showed up to autograph our drawings & pose for pictures. It was a very fun activity!

That night, the show was "Villains Tonight", which I guess is a relatively new show. It was very cute, and managed to showcase a whole range of characters. Everyone loves the villains!

Today's towel animal.

I woke up in the middle of the night, and noticed something gorgeous. I'd gone to sleep with the veranda door open again, and saw *this* when I walked out onto the balcony!

May I just say, I took this picture, super-zoomed, with no tripod! Have I said before how much I love my camera!!??!

Day 8 -- La Spezia & Florence

Today was our day in Florence. It's quite a shlep from La Spezia to Florence, and La Spezia is a Tender port. So we were up & out early to catch one of the first tenders (yay ABD!).

Looking back at the Magic from the tender.

A shot of the lovely countryside from our motorcoach, heading to Firenze! (Florence in Italian).

This little book/art shop was right across from where we were standing in line at the Galleria dell'Accademia. (If you look carefully in the window, you can see the reflection of some of us, including the photographer...)

We have come to the Accademia to view Michelangelo's David. Unfortunately, this is also a place where no photographs are allowed. Although, honestly, no picture I've ever seen conveys the reality that is Michelangelo's David. It's breath-taking. The size of it is made to impress. And the attention to detail... OMG, the veins, the musculature, the insane detail of this masterpiece defies description, and is totally not conveyed by photos. This photo of his hand gives you a tiny inkling of what it's like:

I was completely & totally gobsmacked. Florence itself was "OK", but I wouldn't have missed the chance to see David for anything! I googled images of the David, and found most of them didn't rate posting here. I'm posting the one below because it shows one of the most amazing aspects of this sculpture for me. If you look at most of the photos, they show the statue with the body facing forward, and David looking off to the side. This is the view you see as you walk up the hallway of the Accademia towards the David. David's face looks rather determined, and even almost serene (accentuated by his seemingly casual pose). But if you move around to the side and look directly at the face head on, his face turns into a mass of uncertainty and questioning. I'd never seen a picture from that angle. And if you keep going around, his face actually becomes determined. It really was amazing.

Have I said how much I love this statue? How truly phenomenal it is, and what a total genius Michelangelo was? I could have stayed there for ages, just studying the details. We *were* given a nice, long time to observe & take it in. If we'd've left Florence at that point & returned to the ship, it still would have been worth the trip to Florence!

But we didn't leave! The next thing on our agenda was the famous Duomo of Florence. It's amazingly detailed, wonderfully colorful, covered with sculptures and paintings and mosaics.

It also has a wonderful bell tower and dome.

In the same plaza, and done in the same style as the Duomo, is the Baptistery of St. John. Besides its lovely hexagonal shape, it has beautiful gilded bronze doors. I believe these are reproductions, as the originals were damaged in a flood.

Very lovely, and spectacularly detailed 3-D panels!

After some free time to wander the Piazza del Duomo, and take a kazillion pictures, we headed off again. Next on the agenda was --- *more* gelato! This is another instance in which the reality really didn't fulfill the description in the ABD itinerary. This was advertised as "a behind-the-scenes tour of the Grom Gelateria" where we would "learn how all that marvelous gelato is made!" What we actually got was 2/3 of us crammed into a tiny room off the gelato shop (the other 1/3 of us had to go into the shop & peer in through a glass wall) where a woman told our local guide Samuele some things about how they made the gelato (in Italian, and Samuele translated) and then she drew some gelato out of a machine that looked like the soft-serve machines you see at any ice-cream place. It was hard to hear from our perch in the other room. It was no tour, and we didn't learn that much. The gelato was, once again, fabulous, but the activity was more than a little disappointing. But they didn't have that much planned for us in Florence, so it wasn't like the time spent there cut into our touring time.

OK, so I got bored & took this cool shot in the building kitty-corner from Grom...

Yes, they have a Disney store in Florence! We of course walked past it!

We then did a walking tour around some of Florence on our way to the restaurant for lunch.

An open air market place. I never did find out the name of it.

You can barely see that there's a statue of a boar in the picture below. If you rub its nose, it's supposed to bring good luck. His nose was exceptionally shiny from all the rubbing!

Continued below:

Last edited by sayhello; 08-13-2010 at 12:32 PM.
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