Thursday, October 22, 2015

Azamara Nice to Athens Autumn Cruise

colorful fruit stand, Livorno market
What a perfect way to end the summer:  with a cruise  aboard the luxurious  Azamara Quest  from Nice  to Athens.  It was a working holiday for I was aboard to give  a series of enrichment lectures about  the  ancient civilizations  that once thrived  in the Mediterranean.

sculptures adorn Livorno market
At the first port, Livorno,  most passengers  travel to Pisa and Florence since it is their first time in Italy. We enjoyed staying in Livorno for a   canal boat tour  and  a visit to  the Art Decò market, one of Italy's largest . Write "Livorno" in the search box at the top of the page  to find the many   articles about Livorno and what to visit there.
art dèco architecture of Livorno market
sign in Livorno market
Rain kept us aboard the ship in Civitavecchia but many  passengers  went off  to Rome and some spent the day cooking  at Fontana del Papa,  atop the nearby hill at  Tolfa. 
 The situation at  Civitavecchia  has become ugly  with local police  being called in to stop harassing  of  visitors at the  cage like “visitors’ center”.     Cruisers and crews are fed up with the  exploitation  and paying for the unnecessary  bussing in order  to take the train to Rome.  
No wonder  the port has such a bad reputation and is  considered  one  of the most "tourist unfriendly"  in the Mediterranean.  For more  articles about the  problems at Civitavecchia,  use the search bar. If you have experiences and comments  please leave them at the bottom of the page and use the icons to share  on social media .  
Our classic Mediterranean  itinerary  continued  on to a sunny  Sorrento  and then to  Messina where  we visited  a lovely  ceramics shop near the port and  munched freshly made  cannoli at the pasticceria   near the Duomo.
I Particolari, ceramics shop, Messina

The  Azamazing Evening  went as scheduled but instead of transferring everyone  to Taormina, the  singers  and orchestra  braved  the weather and drove from Catania to perform aboard for the passengers .  
arriving in Chania port, Crete
tourist carriage, Chania port

selling honey  at the  Saturday  market,Chania


Chania and  Santorini offered sunshine, markets,  folk dancers  and a night time marathon.
Late departures and overnights in ports makes it possible to see  how people  live in the different countries after the sun goes down.

On Santorini the cable car brought us up the cliff to visit the town of Fira and its  Prehistory Museum where frescoes and pottery date from before the  volcanic explosion that created the caldera where our ship was  anchored.

Arriving at Santorini  and the  zig zag trail up to Fira town
the cable car wheel
plaster casts of 3000 BC furniture

blue monkey frescoes (3000 BC) at Thera Prehistoric Museum

buskers at the Orthodox Cathedral, Santorini  

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