Cruising The Med
Update: In less than 12 hours .....I will be embarking on a trip booked 14 months ago! I will be incommunicado for two weeks...well kind of....I won't be blogging..but I will be checking email occasionally. Mostly...I'll be CHILLAXIN! Not too worry - I 'll have great stories to share, when I get back, and after two weeks of NO STARBUCKS and NO SOY CHAI TEA LATTES....my RANTABILITY FACTOR will be VERY HIGH!!
This summer, I'll be taking a 12 night Mediterranean Cruise departing from Barcelona.
I fell in love with much of Europe in my early 20's, so much so that even though I only booked a 3 month summer jaunt, I ended up staying for 3 yrs. I travelled extensively during that time,working when ever I needed to supplement my finances,and even managed to visit the Middle East for about 6 wks spending time in both Israel and Egypt.
Apart from cosmology and quantum physics, I have a passion for ancient history and comparative religion, and on this trip I'll be exploring ancient ruins, and the birthplaces of religion, as well indulging in my love for Impressionist and Renaissance Art.
From Barcelona we will be going to
Villefrance (Nice) France
Livorno (Florence) Italy
Civitavechhia (Rome) Italy
day at sea
day at sea
day at sea
I' ve been to almost all of these ports of call except Kusadasi, yet each place holds SOOOO much to see and explore, that there remains so much that I haven't seen. I look forward to visiting some new places and revisiting some of my favorite haunts, this time thru slightly older and far more wiser eyes, with a wealth of knowledge I didnt have initially.
I'll be doing all the highlights in Rome: Vatican City, St Peters Basilica, The Bernini Pulpit, Michelangelo's Pieta, and in St Peter 's In Chains Catherdral which houses Michelangelo's Statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, and of course, The Colosseum, a masterpiece of classical architecture, and one of the most important monuments of Ancient Rome. And there's plenty of time to explore the rest of Vatican City, and wander the streets of Rome before the ship pulls out.
During my initial three yrs in Europe, most of my journey included pilgrimages to Holy Sites. Those experiences shaped my worldview, and my 'religious" worldview, they framed the way I understand and appreciate the spiritual journeys people of all faiths take, the impacted on my spiritual journey, and they added depth to my personal relationship with God.
I look forward to revisiting these sites because you never see them in the same light, twice. The energy that emanates from these ancient cities of the Bible, these places of historical and religious importance, is unlike anything I've experienced elsewhere. The land in Israel vibrates; I can see why Islam, Christianity,and Judaism all claim it as their own. I understand the spiritual pull that resonates deeply within people of each of these faiths, so much so, that each feel the land belongs to them exclusively. Jerusalem, the Wailing Wall, The Temple Mount, St Peters Basilica, the walk along the Via Condetti, these places impacted on me viscerally; both spiritually and intellectually.
I'm very excited about my time in Kusadasi: we will be exploring the Ancient ruins of Ephesus.one of the most magnificent excavations in the world! The Odeon, The Fountain of Trajan, the 5 terraces of the Apartment House, The Steam Baths of Scholastika, The Temple of Hadrian, and The Library of Celsus, adorned with columns and statues, considered to be one of the most magnificent ruins in the ancient world. We'll also visit the Grand Theatre where one of the most influential voices of Christianity preached: St Paul! We'lll leave via The Arcadian Way, where Marc Anthony and J.Lo... errr sorree Cleopatra..once rode in procession before reaching the 3rd largest library in the ancient world....The Library of Celsus!
In Florence, each building is a work of art, so I'll be enjoying a walking tour thru city admiring the ornate buildings , The Piazza, Cathedral Square, the David, with plenty of time to just wander thru shops, stop at cafes. My parents are heading off on a wine tour of Tuscany!
In Mykono's, we'll be nestled at the private beach of a resort I found, enjoying food, wine and swimming on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Med!
Santorini will be spent exploring Oia. Legend has it that the volcano eruptions that destroyed life in Ancient Santorini caused Atlantis to disappear! Both Mykonos and Santorini are scenic beauties! I explored much of Greece on my own during my three yr travels, but the islands call me back time and again.
Athens will be spent exploring on our own. I have fond memories of watching the fishing boats come in from a day at sea with their catch..and the fisherman would cook the fresh catch on a Hibachi on the pier, bring out some wine, and share their meal with me. Im looking forward to exploring Athens again, this time with my family since my Greek is rusty, but both my dad and uncle speak it fluently!
Since I've been to Nice Cannes and Monaco many times during my tenure in Hollywood, for the Cannes Film Festival, and since we have ALL spent some time in the Cote, we're still deciding what we want to do...the ship remains in port until late at nite, so I 'd like to find a great restaurant with outdoor seating where we can enjoy a great meal, wine, good conversation, and watch the sunset, beyond that exploring Cap Ferrat might be nice.
In Naples, I had planned to go to Isle of Capri again...but Im sad to hear that its gone downhill and is no longer the quietly beautiful island is once was. TOO MANY TOURISTS.....so instead my sister, bro in law and I are going to explore Sorrento Positano and Naples...the Amalfi Drive is considered to be one of the most spectacular sceneries anywhere. Pass Mt Vesuvius, and the Pompeii ruins, we'll make our way into Sorrento, where legend has it that "Sirens" atttempted to lure Ulysses onto the rocks. The town is quite pretty to explore, and then we'll contine to drive along the steep( REALLY STEEP) winding coastal road to Positano, a fishing village and home to a colony of artists and writers. It reminds me alot of Laguna Beach in So.Cali. Lots of religious and spiritual sites to visit, as well as shops and boutiques, then we'll head back to Naples to wander about before rebording the ship.
What I love about travelling with my family is that collectively we speak English, French, Italian, Greek, and Arabic ....so its a great way to connect with the locals....to speak their language combined with a knowledge of regional history...makes for interesting and enlightening conversations.
Since ancient history and comparative religion are passions of mine, as I'm exploring these ruins and spiritual centers, I find myself being transported back through time, sometimes I feel like I've lived in these places before! (Yeah... I know Im channeling Shirley MacLaine!)
I'm really excited about this trip - not just because I love to travel, and to visit places that indulge my passions and interests - but mostly because this time, I'm doing so with my family!
The trip will only last two weeks, but the memories will last forever!