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Old 06-16-2011, 10:14 AM   #31
bibbidibobbidibecky
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I have been enjoying your report! I love getting a sneak peek at what we are going to see in just a few short weeks! My kids (and I) are counting down the days until we leave.

Keep 'em coming!
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:21 PM   #32
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Port of Call - Sicily

Our second port of call, this was a replacement for Tunis, Tunisia following the turmoil in that region in the early part of 2011. I was still disappointed
though we understood the reasons. I had really looked forward to seeing the historic ruins of Carthage as well as stepping onto the continent of Africa… rats!

We planned to do a whole lot of nothing today. There was not much that excited us to hop on a bus and go off to see and the weather was
spectacular (75F/24C and Sunny)


Renee did get off long enough to shoot some pictures near our berth in the port of Palermo,

There are. perhaps, more points of interest on the eastern shore of Sicily but this location was too far to visit Etna for instance..
Here’s a couple links that may be of interest to those on upcoming Mediterranean cruises:
Palermo, Sicily: http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=159
Private Tours:
http://www.bestofsicily.com/sicilytours_shore.htm
http://www.prestigerent.com/palermo-port.phtml
All-in-all this was the ugliest, most industrial port I recall being in during the trip. We berthed next to a monstrous grain (I think) storage facility.

I really enjoy the smarty-pants humor Renee has.
She spotted the fact that the Disney Magic had berthed in a no-parking zone with 24-hour towing



Here, we can see that they need to get a bigger tow-truck. I think they
were trying to put a boot on the anchor until they could find one…




Since that didn’t seem to be working………


At about Noon, Captain John had to come on the public-address system
to advise his crew that they needed to be prepared to remain aboard for
safety inspections (that went over well <sarcasm>). We heard from some
sources later that this was very unusual to have to announce it publicly.
It turned out that the Italian authorities had popped a surprise safety drill
on the ship and were requiring all the port-side lifeboats to be run out and
for the crew to actually lower a couple away, crew them, drive them
about and recover them! While they have the authority to do this, it’s
really rare to call for it in such a fashion. We think the tow-truck incident
played a role…












“Downtown Palermo off the Port bow!”





:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Finally, late in the day as we departed, Renée did capture a couple very nice city scenes…
She does a lot of cool photography work with growing commercial success.
If you’ want to follow her work, become a friend of Renée Peoples Photography here:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Renee-Peoples-Photography/92744637355
“Do you have a Renée?”



As we sail away from the island, I say “Sorry” to those who may have
wanted more info about Palermo, Sicily.
If you have done any Port Adventures here before (or since) or you have
visited near Palermo recently, please post up a response or three… we’d
love to hear about your experiences, good or bad.

We’re off to the Italian mainland and the next Port of Call… NAPLES!! Sweet!
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:29 PM   #33
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Awesome! The pictures are fabulous. Had to laugh at the tow sign. LOL!
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:26 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenercam View Post
Awesome! The pictures are fabulous. Had to laugh at the tow sign. LOL!
"7days" egads we just left a week ago ourselves. You must be SO excited!!
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:42 PM   #35
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Jason & Gabriel

Our fun, exciting, most EXCELLENT serving staff for 11 nights...
:wors hip:
JASON - Our Head Server.
He took care of our dinner orders and food. He is from the Philippines.


GABRIEL - Our Assistant Server
He handled our wine and beverages. He is from India.


If any of you have sailed on the Magic and had these guys as your serving team, we'd love to hear about it... They were brilliant as far as we were concerned!

Last edited by DVC2042; 06-19-2011 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:44 PM   #36
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Great trip report so far!
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:03 PM   #37
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Great trip report so far!
Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it. Looks like you're off to do the same in August! Very sweet!!
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Old 06-19-2011, 12:33 PM   #38
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Thanks for posting, looking forward to the rest.
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Old 06-19-2011, 12:36 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by heatherbelle View Post
Thanks for posting, looking forward to the rest.
Glad you are enjoying it... From the looks of your signature, you'll be there in just a couple months. Woohoo 4 you!

Naples Port of Call coming later today!
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Old 06-19-2011, 03:06 PM   #40
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Port of Call–NAPLES / Sorrento

Early in the morning as we approach the Port of Naples, the remains of Mt. Vesuvius dominate the horizon as I look eastward from the veranda of our room:


It’s 8:00am now… we have visited the COVE CAFÉ (or at least *I* have) and brought back a large latte for Renée and I am enjoying a triple-shot Americano.
We have a cloudy day and about 72 degrees expected for a high temperature. The weather forecast from the bridge is a little uncertain for today with a bit of a chance for rain.

~~~~~

We have a double tour today, first we are off to the lovely city of Sorrento near the Amalfi Coast and then to the ruins of Pompeii. Although we didn’t know it at the time, here’s what the geography of the trip looked like.
We would leave from the port at 8:30, drive around the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius, past Pompeii and along the coastal highway until we reached the city of Sorrento.
After lunch, we would return the way we came and go to Pompeii for the afternoon and return to the ship late in the day

Here’s the scale of this picture courtesy of Google Maps

Driving directions to Piazza Tasso (Central Sorrento)
1 hour 9 mins A3 and SS145 51.6 km

…something to keep in mind, often nothing is close to the ports!
~~~~~~~~~~
Since Renee is carrying some really expensive photography gear and my DSLR camera is not very weather-resistant, I’m toting my KATA R-103 backpack which is fitted out with sectioned, padded areas for cameras, lenses, etc. It’s moderately weather resistant and has an additional rain-proof sleeve that can be used if needed. Better safe than sorry. These are stock shots to give you an idea…

Occasionally you’ll get to see some really superior photos. I’ll call them out when they appear. These are taken by Renée with some pretty sweet equipment.

I’ll have a special posting of camera pr0n when my Kung Fu is better…later on

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here’s a shot of Vesuvius I took through the bus window as we drove past it towards Sorrento. Things are looking a bit ominous!

As we neared Sorrento, our lovely tour guide ‘Julia’ arranged for us to pull off the winding two-lane road that was working down the cliff-side towards the city.
It offered some interesting shots, which I did a lousy job of capturing.
Renée’s will be much better… but they aren’t ‘ready’ yet (smack!) ow!!



The Hotel Mega Mare was off to the right of this little look-out


…and this was below it. It seemed somebody had a bad idea for this location, whatever it was supposed to be.



Renée caught this rather spectacular vision of that hotel hanging off the cliff-side :
(which is why it's worth waiting for her pictures!)


It’s just starting to spatter some rain, so it’s back into the bus and head down the road to Sorrento:


Julia, our tour guide, calls us ‘her family’ and gathers us all together as we get off the bus to make sure we know where and when to meet. This is an ‘on your own’ tour, which we like.
The service gets us reliably back a forth to the destinations, but doesn’t clutter up our time for soaking up the local flavor. She offers to walk us down to the beach entrance so we can see the Mediterranean from here.
This is an awesome shot Renée took, looking back at the cliff-side we stopped on above.
It’s about halfway up the slope and off to the left of the hill you see in the offing.
As you can see it’s already raining back where we came from and looking a bit threatening here.

After a bit of gawking about, Julia points out the way to the center of the town and then we were off…
…just as it started pouring-down rain! The skies opened up on us at this point. I’d already secured my less durable camera in the KATA and stopped to wrap it’s ‘raincoat’ onto the backpack. Renée has planned ahead and brought a large Ziploc bag in her shoulder bag, so she shoves her Nikon into it. She had also thought to bring a Totes umbrella, clever girl!
A few vendors saw an opportunity and stuck small boxes of little, collapsible umbrellas out. 3 Eurolater I am the proud owner of a floppy, but rather serviceable, rainbow umbrella.


Things started getting a bit too wet even for Rene’s camera!

So now we were off to see the town. Due to the rain, there’s little evidence of this part of the trip, but we had a fun time walking through this picturesque place filled with folks going about their regular midday lives.
We decided to find a place to grab some lunch. We knew we had about an hour and it was starting to rain even more with a rumble of thunder in the offing.
Renée navigated us to the city square and spotted a little pizzeria with outdoor seating tucked under an awning. We dove across the street and slid into a seat.
Unfortunately the seam for the awning was right where I sat down and it kept squirting me in the back every once in awhile. Not that I wasn’t already pretty wet, but still…
Our server came by and we asked if there was a drier seat available and he offered us a snug place towards the back.


Piazza Tasso courtesy of Street view on Google Maps. This would be standing at the square looking back towards Pizzeria Aurora where we had just been seated. We ate just under the awning a couple table behind the maître d’

We knew we were staying for a leisurely lunch and have learned not to be in a rush when eating in most places in Europe. I saw more people spoil either a pleasant atmosphere or an otherwise great meal by being pushy and impatient.
Slow down a bit, relax, enjoy your holiday!
…and if you can’t, please stop following me around

We asked our server for a bottle of a local red and thoroughly enjoyed this one:

In the meantime, Renée ordered a small Margherita pizza, a specialty of the house at Pizzeria Aurora http://www.pizzeriaaurora.com/en/

I had a slice and wished I’d ordered a pie for myself. Thin, but not crunchy-crispy crust, olive oil, basil, the ‘sauce’ was nobody’s paste from a jar. It smelled and tasted like crushed, fresh tomatoes… just… tomatoes, and finally the most delicious buffalo mozzarella in small slabs, just melted enough.

MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

So while we are drooling over the pizza and sipping this nice local wine, it’s still pouring down rain. By this point there’s thunder and lightning and WOW!
I glance over to my right were a couple has just stepped under the awning awaiting a table and become very envious of this great umbrella this guy is carrying.

Renée! Check out this really nice golf umbrella. This white one with a Disney Cruise Lines logo on it. I wonder if I can get one aboard ship?”

She got that impish look on here face I know so well…“Ummm, maybe… maybe not… check who’s carrying it.”

I look up just as the server is coming to seat them… and it’s Captain John!!!, Master of the Disney Magic along with his wife who is sailing with him on this first trip in the Med for him.
Egads!
We greeted him and he recalled us from the formal night, as I was apparently the only one in a kilt aboard this entire ship, imagine that! We chatted for just a minute and then let them head in to their table.
With all the places to go to, they decided to come an hour and a half out from the ship to this little restaurant. Guess we picked the right place to eat!

I hope they had a bit of anonymity to enjoy a meal ashore. And I still want an umbrella like his!



It was lovely, but we had to make our way back to the meeting place for the bus ride to Pompeii. The rain had eased up a tad but was still coming down as we walked back. On our way back, Renée caught this nice shot from under the umbrellas:



Here I take a pause…
We’re off to see the ruins of Pompeii next.

… in the rain
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:18 PM   #41
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Hi - was the Pompeii and Sorrento one of the DCL tours? Was Pizza Aurora the restaurant you ate at? I wish Renee was on our cruise, I always hoped to be lucky enough to have a pro photographer on one of our excursions. Thank you for posting, we will be sailing in 1 month.

Jill
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:44 PM   #42
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Quote:
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Hi - was the Pompeii and Sorrento one of the DCL tours? Was Pizza Aurora the restaurant you ate at? I wish Renee was on our cruise, I always hoped to be lucky enough to have a pro photographer on one of our excursions. Thank you for posting, we will be sailing in 1 month.

Jill
Hi Jill!

Yes, This was a Disney package here: http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cr...ompeii-adults/

We did the 'Adults Only' edition, but there's another one that includes kids. The Pompeii bits (which I'll be posting soon) require a fair chunk of walking about, cobblestones, passageways, etc. Not what I would call 'stroller friendly' though some of the all-terrain stollers I've seen might do just fine.

This was a 'Value Package' tour so the meal wasn't included (just fine by us) but it's a great place to get to, just leave a solid hour to order and enjoy!

Yeah, I think I'm amazingly luckyto have her. She apparently has no good sense though, sticking with me for a quarter century (so far)

Glad you're enjoying it... Pompeii soon!
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:55 PM   #43
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Lovely photos! Looking forward to hearing about Pompeii.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:26 PM   #44
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Lovely photos! Looking forward to hearing about Pompeii.
Wow! Taking a Med Disney Cruise as your first time aboard... EXCITING!
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:43 PM   #45
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Port of Call - NAPLES ... Pompeii! Pt 1of2 (too many pics!)

When we last left our heroes, the were leaving Sorrento in the rain, hoping that they had gotten their 30% chance out of the way…







No Such Luck! The intrepid ‘Family’ of Tour Guide Julia, popped their umbrellas, and donned the very stylish and fashionable ‘Purple Trenchcoat’ that is all the rage of the Pompeii circuit… at least according to the street vendors at the facility entrance. These lovely 5-Euro items are designed as the ultimate in biodegradable wear, as they immediately begin to shred as soon as they are worn.


The ruins of this Roman city from 79AD are rather spectacular. I’d expected something with columns and some buildings and such, but this places SPRAWLS over a large territory. As Julia tells it, the city was actually a port town on the Mediterranean. As you may have noticed from the prior map, it’s now about 5 kilometers inland. This is not due to the seas sinking but rather the huge volume of volcanic ash and material that settled over the area in a few days and raised the land well above the sea where it remains today.

It’s raining pretty steadily here so most of the time Renée had her camera safely Ziploc-ed away. Most of these photos I captured with the camera on my trusty iPhone4, so please excuse the rather poor quality.





Here, to open the section of photos, is one that Renée captured during a brief respite in the rain:


The approach to the small gladiatorial stadium, seen in the offing:




Here we are standing in the center of the stadium. The seating has been renovated for actual use in years past, but not any longer. At the lowest levels, where the wealthiest would sit, you can still see the carved marble seats and steps. And guess what? It’s still raining!!


This is a close-up of one of the main entry streets. It lead down to the harbor. These streets were open gutters/sewers that carried the city waste out and down to the sea. These raised stones are at the level of the walkways on either side of the ‘street’ so people could walk across without having to step in the muck. The spacing of the stones was designed to easily allow chariots and carts to pass up and down to the port. You an clearly see the worn groove of those iron-shod wheels from 2,000 years ago. Cool!!


Guess what this building below used to be for?


If you said ‘bakery’ you win a prize! Sure, sure, it just *looks* like they had large, brick ovens. How do they *know* it was a bakery?

Unlike most ruins, this one spent 1,900 years buried in volcanic ash. When they dug the place out they founds THOUSANDS of loaves of bread in this and other bakeries around the city. They were more ‘toast’ than bread, but there was no doubt about it… I wonder if they made pizzas here on weekends?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

This was one of the people on our tour group. As you can see he also had donned one of the “PURPLE TRENCHCOATS”. He was shooting pics with his Nikon and trying to keep it under cover in-between… brave soul!

BTW: The inscription on the wall is not part of the original building but was placed there in past years. It reads (if my Latin is any good at all…) “House built in the second year of Augustus”… or something similar.

Looks like in-town accommodations were rather small


More pictures along the way…



…still raining


As this was the ‘Adults Only’ tour, our guide took us to one of the more unusual areas of the city. Just off the main port road we saw earlier was a series of smallish rooms like this one pictured below. Here you can see a local neighborhood German Shepherd has spotted a likely location out of the rain for a nap. This was one of a number of pups we saw during our travels. They were all collared and tagged and evidently belonged to folks that lived near the ruins.

So the archeologists weren’t certain what these rooms with a rather permanent bed-looking area were..


…until they started cleaning up the frescos that were still painted on the walls above the doors…



It turns out this was the the city’s brothel area, conveniently located near the harbor. Since this was an extremely busy port that served many different cultures, there were many different languages spoken by the sailors and merchants. The frescos made it easy to select what… ummmm… services you wanted. It was kind of like going into a McDonalds in another country, just point at the picture of the Big Mac and you knew what you were buying.


It was a busy street!


By the way, notice what looks like a pipe revealed in the stone to the right of the street scene above? This is actually a water pipe ‘main’ that server water to the homes throughout the city. When archeologists first examined these pipes, the found they were made of LEAD. Egads! They speculated that this might have been the cause of many of the dead in the city before they knew more about the actual history. On further examination, it was found that the water was so ‘hard’ that it coated the inner portion of the lead pipes with a solid wall of calcium, completely insulating the water from the lead and making it quite safe. Talk about lucky!



This mosaic floor is at the entrance to one home, I really liked it and didn’t see something similar elsewhere as we walked through the city.


Every once in awhile, you get lucky.
This is an iPhone4 picture I shot of part of the central plazas of Pompeii. It’s still raining, but it’s finally letting up a bit.

The mountain you see in the background just breaking free of the clouds is Vesuvius… imagine what it looked like.. THREE TIMES HIGHER than today!




........ and here I am required to STOP because this post has 'too many pictures' so it continues on the next post as Part 2of2
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