Back to the Med Greece/Turkey in 2013! Complete!

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by MinnieDiva, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    Hmmm....my thoughts exactly....I wonder if you know anyone who you can convince to do that with you????:worship::worship:
     
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  3. USUKMama

    USUKMama Mouseketeer

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    We did gold panning through DCL in Juneau. We loved it. It was in a river underneath a hill where gold really has been found. Theory is if the gold is in the hill, it might be in the river....Not too sure about that but there were locals there panning away as well. It seemed more low key and a bit less touristy than Liarsville. My kids loved it (but the sunshine, warm weather and wading in the river might have had something to do with that:dance3:)

    We are on the June 15th Med cruise as well. Thank you so much for the pre-cruise report - I wasn't on one of the earlier cruises (Alaska was our first cruise ever) so it is wonderful to be able to read about some of the places we will be going to!

    Sophia
     
  4. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Glad you had a good time panning. In Skagway, it was really cold, and we weren't at a river...we were at stands where they'd dump in rock for us to sift thru. It didn't help that we were STARVING! It would have been nice had they'd stated that pre-packaged food would have been ok, but nooooooooo.....

    The historical part was interesting, but only 4 of us lasted long enough to get to it.

    Glad you're finding my chatterings interesting! I can't bug my friends here locally too much; they just don't understand my obsessions. I'm enjoying this outlet for my thoughts!!
     
  5. USUKMama

    USUKMama Mouseketeer

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    My DH just doesn't understand. He'll get interested the day before we leave and then wonder why everything is planned without his input :rolleyes: Hey, at least he agrees with most of my choices once we get there!
     
  6. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    You're DH seems a lot like I was...I think that's why kim starting writing the pretrip to get me more interested now...so I'll discuss and take seriously excursion and hotel decisions...:rotfl:

    I think it's working..she is getting me more excited about it...only problem is I have to get through the other things in my life happening before that...like, where will I be living when I go on this trip and I also have 2 cruises prior right now..maybe only one.:dance3:
     
  7. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Last time, Sean wasn't really into it either. At least not until the last few months, when we had to decide on excursions. His only request was Cinque Terre, other than that, I really think I could have booked anything and he'd have been happy. He's much more in to the planning process this time around. I really want to make sure my dad enjoys himself this go-around. I know we will, but I want to have him see as much as possible without wearing him out too much ;).
     
  8. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    My creativity gene was stymied yesterday. BOTH of sewing machines are broken, my old faithful and the newer-ish one I inherited recently. Very frustrating, so today I ended up taking them in to get fixed. So why am I boring you with this minutiae? I'm getting to the point, I swear!

    In the meantime, I worked out as a way to de-stress (it's very traumatizing to have my creative outlook put on indefinite hold!) then went to retrieve the husband from what ever he was doing, and found him replacing caulking in one of the bathrooms while listening to Rick Steves' app on his iPhone! I found this rather ironic as that was what I was planning on listening to on the drive into town!! So yes, I'm referencing Rick Steves AGAIN. Probably going to keep doing it, too. This app allows you to download small portions from his radio show so as to learn about whatever topic you find amusing. After listening to 2 different Spain topics, we switched to one from Provence. Sigh. I felt myself relaxing.....

    So now that there is a solution in the works to my sewing fiasco, I can refocus my energies to travel!! Hmmmmmm.....what to ponder next? Any suggestions??
     
  9. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    So tonight was our first foray into our Instant Immersion Spanish language program. I announced that it might be a nice idea to do this after dinner, and after DH stammered out a few unintelligible syllables and couldn't think of a reason why not to, and DD's eye rolling and huffing of breath, we all congregated around the computer. I broke out flashcards and handed out pens. DD still with rolling eyes whined that her pen wasn't working, so after a replacement, we got started with some basic vocabulary. DD actually really started to get into it! We tried to guess what the word might be before we had the people on the program tell us. Some of it was new to us, but a lot was familiar. We now have a working knowledge of how to ask where our suitcases are: Donde estan las malletas? I can actually see up using that phrase!

    If that wasn't enough, I then broke out the DVD from the Naples book I posted pics of yesterday and we began to watch that. It was interesting, but not a very professional video. Not quite done with it yet, but as DD has a cold and fell asleep on my lap, we decided that maybe that was enough for today.

    Tomorrow is a quick day trip to Vancouver for some tubing, and I can see some audio instruction in spanish happening in the car.....mwahahahahaha!!!:scared1:
     
  10. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    You are too much :rotfl2::rotfl2:

    I was wondering why the thread title changed...confused me a bit:confused3

    I can just picture Sean giving his "all" with the Spanish course and I'm literally rolling with laughter...I could have taught you how to say that...my spanish is rudimentary but probably enough to get by...however, from the 10 weeks my kids are getting of Italian in school...they are picking up an awful lot...so perhaps we'll have some Italian translators for Italy.
     
  11. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    So with Kim off tubing in Vancouver and learning Spanish in the car (yes she is really doing both of those, I talked with her this morning) and me feeling creative, I've decided to hijack her pretrip report and keep it moving in her absence, since I was with her the whole evening after Sorrento, as well as the next day. Since I wrote a personal, never published, trip report, I am going to paraphrase from that. So the next morning, we arrived bright and early in Civitavecchia.
    The view coming into port from our room.
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    Today we would be on a tour arranged by Kim with Limo in Rome to see the city of Rome. This was a group that Kim put together with friends from the Disboard, included were the aforementioned Jel0511 and Cliffside. While this tour included all the highlights of the city, there was one very important fact that we learned (PAY ATTENTION - you're going to want to know this) When you hire these tour companies, for most of the tour, all you are getting is a driver, who is only expected to drive you to each place, not to give you a tour. Sometime you get lucky and get a talkative one, but don't count on it, because apparently in Italy, one must have a license to be a tour guide. So you may want to think about paying the extra money and getting a tour guide as well - we missed having one.
    The ride from the port to Rome was about an hour. Our driver dropped us off at the Palatine and suggested we buy our tickets there which would include admission to the Coliseum. By walking through the Palatine, the paths lead you right there.

    Some of the amazing sights of the Palatine:
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    Then onto the Coliseum:

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    After the Coliseum, we went to the Trevi Fountain

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    Of course we all tossed our coins and look we'll be going back in less than 3 years. :yay:

    Our drivers than dropped us off at a small restaurant for lunch. We had some of the most amazing pasta ever. I ordered the carbonara and the waiter was very excited that someone ordered it. I think if I would have let him, Sean might have eaten it all :)

    continued in next post
     
  12. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    I'm losing track, but I believe after lunch we saw the Pantheon:

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    Next up on the tour was the Vatican. On this part of the tour we actually had a guide. However, she was a last minute replacement guide, since apparently ours had fallen ill. She was abrupt, talked really fast with a heavy Italian accent and was very hard to understand, so we were essentially on our own. She was annoyed that we expect her to give us a Vatican tour in an hour when she thought a proper tour of the Vatican should be 4 hours.l We went through the various rooms of the Vatican Museum.

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    We saw the Sistene Chapel - you are not allowed to take any pictures in there...but we did manage to lose my son in the crowd there. Some anxious moments until we found him.

    Then to St. Peter's and the Square

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    For those of you into the Dan Brown books..you'll understand the following picture:

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    We then went to a small gift shop for souvenirs and returned back to the ship.

    All in all we saw alot, in a small amount of time - the heat was a big factor in the kids enjoyment of Rome, but I think next time around it will go smoother.

    Back to Kim.
     
  13. HermanTriplets+1

    HermanTriplets+1 DIS Veteran

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    When we were in Rome with kids ages 10 and 12 ( I think, maybe 9 and 11), they LOVED this, the Torre Argentina cat sanctuary!:cat::

    http://www.romancats.com/index_eng.php

    There is so much to see in Rome, but I have to say, this is what they remember! It's walking distance from Piazza Navona, and there's a McDonald's nearby too with a good bathroom, just sayin'....:rolleyes:

    Enjoying the Med trip report of sorts! Thanks!
     
  14. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    Was that in the square by the Pantheon? If so, we actually used that bathroom...:rotfl2:
     
  15. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    I never saw the Mc Donalds. I used the restroom in some cafe...
     
  16. mindelmouse

    mindelmouse Rabid Disnoid's Spouse

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    Yes - Lori, Haylee and I used the rest room in the basement of the McDonald's while JIm got something to drink...we had to go down a spiral staircase and I stood in front of Lori in case she lost her equilibrium
     
  17. gailg3horses

    gailg3horses Mouseketeer

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    Speaking of bathrooms I've heard we should plan to bring our own toilet paper. Did you find that to be the case? Just trying to plan ahead. Ive started reading the Rick Steves books. Enjoying them.
     
  18. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Mindy's hit the highlights, but I'm going to go over a few more details. We had a fun trip to Vancouver yesterday and thank you Mindy for filling-in (hijacking, whatever...:rotfl:) while I was gone. I really did play the audio Spanish stuff in the car. It went well until they started conjugating...then I started getting sleepy..

    According to the navigator, we were scheduled to be able to go ashore at 8 am, with an all aboard time of 8:45pm. I had used Limo in Rome to arrange our tour. There were a total of 16 Dis'ers that joined in, and I believe we pain $550E for each minibus, with an additional $150E for the whole group for the "art historian" to join us at the Vatican. I have already spelled hour how disappointing the art historian was, but I do have to say that I was very impressed with Claudio, the owner of the company. Emails were always very promptly returned, and he tolerated the endless questions from what he probably assumed was a "crazy American". At some point, he figured out that Jel0511 and I were friends and co-touring, as at one point he got details of one of our tours to the other person (recall that Jel0511 arranged the Pisa tour). Kinda funny!

    Anyway, we had 2 minibuses (VW's I think, maybe Mercedes, but very new-ish) and 2 drivers awaiting us as we disembarked. I don't make note of what time we actually got off the ship; Mindy may have that somewhere. We loaded in and were transported from the port to Rome thru some lovely countryside:

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    The drive took an hour-ish. We were taken to a side entrance of the Forum area and started there instead of at the Coliseum. This is where things got a bit confusing and where we figured out that we weren't going to have a guide with us the whole day. Oops. We had a map of the area, but no one nearby spoke English, and we had a bit of an issue getting on the right path. I took a LOT of pics, but I'll share only a few here:

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    The bonus of starting here first was that it was pretty warm. The navigator says 80 was supposed to be the high, but no WAY that was correct. The Forum area wasn't horribly shaded, tho there were trees, but with the large area that needed to be covered, it was nice to get to go there first. The only difficult part was that with the placement of the sun, I had to do a LOT of editing of pictures one we returned home.

    Will continue with the Arch and Coliseum after a short lunch break...
     
  19. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Good question! Even with all my planning, that was one tip I completely forgot about at packing time. However, I didn't have any issues the whole trip! In Malta, I don't think we had to ever use a restroom...no we did! We used one that was in the military museum we were at. In Tunis, there was an area by the ruins area that was ok and had paper. In Pompeii, there was one in the ruins area and then again near where we got gelato. In Sorrento, we used the one at the farm. I'm pretty sure there was an area by the Coliseum, but I'm not 100% sure....Min? Sean?? We talked about the Pantheon area already, and then at the restaurant for lunch, of course. Also no problem in the Vatican. In Cinque Terre we had to use the one at the restaurant we stopped at (one of the ones Rick Steves recommended, BTW), and then no issues in Villefranche.

    What I would remember, is hand sanitizer. 'Nuf said. :sad2:
     
  20. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    Now that I can focus without my stomach growling, I pulled out the ticket we got at the Forum. It was a combo ticket for the Palatine, Forum, and Coliseum for 3 people for a total of $36E. So $12E each? I don't think there was a kid's discount. So, when we finally made our way over toward the Coliseum, we already had our tickets and didn't have to stand in the long lines!

    Walked past the Arch:

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    And just slightly thereafter were the Gladiators that you hear about posing for pics. Didn't do it...maybe $10E/pic?

    I never tire of looking at these pics! I'm still amazed by the sheer size!

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    Looking up as you enter into the Coliseum:

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    Wow! We met our driver right outside the Coliseum, then did a little more driving around town before heading for the Pantheon. Now this is an amazing building! The 1/2 that isn't scaffolded had already been cleaned/renovated:

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    I'm hoping it's all gone next year so as to get an unobstructed picture. Inside:

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    The Piazza outside the Pantheon:

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    Then, over to the Trevi Fountain. It's kind of hidden, or at least that's how it felt to me. Our drivers parked behind/besides some buildings and told us where to walk. It was right around the corner, but you didn't realize you were there until you were right on top of it! It was very, very crowded, so much so that I held DD in front of me and told DH to walk right behind me so that I could concentrate on taking pictures and not on people trying to pickpocket me. The fountain is huge. HUGE. Pictures don't do it justice.

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    There were DCL photographers there and we were able to get our pics taken and see them later on at Shutters. There were some mean people there too...one of the kids was scratched at by some mean little old Italian lady. Can't remember what the exact circumstances were, but still, scratching a kid?

    We headed for lunch at this point. It was early, like 12 or 12:30? Anyway, when we got to this little place, we were the only ones in there. The food was good, there was a bathroom, and we were able to get some water!

    It was located right by the Vatican, so after lunch, it took no time at all to get where we needed to be.
     
  21. MinnieDiva

    MinnieDiva Obsessive Trip Planner

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    This place is massive. I could compare the Vatican, I think, to the Smithsonian. So very much to see and nowhere near enough time to see even a fraction of it.

    We pulled over on a side street after entering Vatican City, right across from the Museum.

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    I believe they said this was the original main entrance, but there had been renovations not long ago for some occasion (the year 2000, maybe?). Our historian was not organized enough to have the whisper-thingy headsets from us, and was trying to get $$ from us to pay some guy on a Vespa. NONE of that had been mentioned by Claudio in my reservation of the tour. We somehow settled the issue, as none of us had the right form of Euros for this, and eventually were guided inside and we got our tickets. Again, I seem to recall her having to do this and us having to give her money for it. Like a bad memory....the details are beginning to fade. This was in the lobby to give us an idea of the terrain we were about to cover:

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    I could post picture after picture here of what I was able to capture in the Vatican, and while I'll do a few, please go here:

    http://s1236.photobucket.com/albums/ff449/skamerrill/Rome/?start=all

    if you want to see them all. There were many different themed rooms: a map room, a quill room, an "art on the ceiling" room. Our historian rattled off information at lightening speed, but it was so difficult to understand her. You could follow along, and you could tell if you were dawdling when your headset would become static...then you knew you needed to hurry up and catch up. As mindy said, we lost her son for a few minutes...but he was found and lived to go to Alaska !:good vibes

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    For me, it was surreal to be standing in the courtyard of the Vatican. How many times have I seen this on TV? And I was THERE! In the teeny-tinest country in the whole world!!

    At this point, we were led to where our guides would be meeting us. We got back on board, and were taken back to the port. We had agreed prior to going (all 16 of us), that we'd prefer to be safe and be back at the port early. None of us had done a tour on our own at that time and we all were a bit worried about not making it back. We got back to the port about 5:30-6-ish, I think? Early, definitely, and kind of nice because the ship was empty still. We pooled our money and paid the drivers. We did add a tip, as they were friendly and helpful, and in no way was that historian any fault of theirs.

    Dinner that night was cruise casual, and we had characters coming to the tables!

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    We were really tired after this excursion. At this point, had this been an 11-night cruise, we would have gotten a sea day the next day. But no...tomorrow held the Port of La Spezia and for us, Cinque Terre. Off to dreamland:

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