Category Archives: Europe

Dublin

I’ve never developed much of an affinity for Dublin. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that there’s nothing to draw me here. It’s a city of writers: Joyce, Wilde, Shaw, and so on. But frankly they’re … Continue reading

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Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast is a visitor center opened in 2012 adjacent to the Belfast docks where Titanic was constructed. It is, without doubt, the best visitor center I’ve been to. Our day began with a short tour of downtown Belfast, a … Continue reading

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London

After Linda’s push to get “Tree” (AKA “A Bug’s Life”) open at Animal Kingdom, we were able to slip away for a transatlantic cruise. On Friday we picked up a rental car at Disney and on Saturday we packed it and … Continue reading

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Porto

Porto isn’t far from Vigo—just 84 kilometers—but it’s a different country and different wine-making. Our shore excursion took us to the Douro Valley, two hours away, where port comes from. Although port is named after Porto, the city has nothing … Continue reading

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Vigo

Vigo is one of the southern most cities in Northern Spain, located only 20 miles from Portugal. It is Europe’s main hub for shipping fish, and the 10 mile long harbor is filled with platforms used to raise mussels, oysters … Continue reading

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Bilbao

After a workout Friday morning we spent a restful day on the ship. originally we had a dinner scheduled in a Michelin-starred chef’s kitchen, but it was cancelled, and since it was rainy we decided to spend the day on … Continue reading

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Margaux

I’ve been struck on this “wine themed cruise” by how little the other passengers know about wine: basically that it has alcohol in it and isn’t beer. Today’s excursion to Margaux included a few passengers who seemed to know their … Continue reading

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Bordeaux

The last time I was in Bordeaux, I stepped off the ship onto the main street along the waterfront. This time our ship is larger, and we are docked two hours away, in Le Verdon. This obviously makes every shore … Continue reading

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Livarot and Calvados

Linda’s birthday! Morning workout in the gym and then buffet lunch. Salad bar is okay, nothing spectacular. Our tour today is all about fermented apples and cheese. First stop is the Graindorge Fromagerie, which by coincidence is an Alcorn McBride … Continue reading

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Etretat

We got up at 10:00 am, but I’m going to use the one hour time change between England and France as the excuse. They have a nice assortment of workout machine on the gym, although I realized that when Linda … Continue reading

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Southampton

Eddie Manning’s limo service provided our transfer to Southampton, and despite the skepticism with which we viewed the mountain of luggage for the five of us, it fit easily into the back of the seven-passenger Mercedes van. We were at … Continue reading

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Natural History and Pied-à-terre

After a lazy morning Linda and I took the tube to Kensington for an Indian lunch at the lovely Bombay Brasserie, then walked to the Natural History Museum to visit the dinosaurs. The Natural History Museum is BIG. It must … Continue reading

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The Phantom of Westminster Abbey and Clos Maggiore

Linda and I spent today on our own while our friends were off doing other stuff. We slept in and then found a nearby teeny tiny Japanese restaurant, Ichi-Ricki, for lunch. I’m glad the reviews I’d read warned me it … Continue reading

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London

We’re off to London for a few days before heading out of Southampton on a twelve night wine cruise. This was Linda’s first experience with the airline beds that recline all the way, and they certainly make a difference; we … Continue reading

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Barcelona, Spain

Disembarkation in Barcelona is amazingly easy. We simply strolled down the gangway, pointed out our bags to a porter, and were ushered to a taxis. No immigration, no customs. By 10 am we were at the Hotel Condes de Barcelona. … Continue reading

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Aix-en-Provence, France

Our final shore excursion of the cruise took us from the dock in Marseilles into Provence. Our first stop was in the Luberon region, at the Val Joanis winery. We toured their award winning gardens and the cellar (a 200,000 … Continue reading

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Monte Carlo, Monaco

I’m never sure whether to call this place the city of Monte Carlo or the country of Monaco, because they’re almost the same thing. The city nearly completely fills the valley that is this country. In fact, from our cabin … Continue reading

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Livorno, Italy

Two quiet days recuperating on the ship, with not too much to look at, since Livorno was heavily damaged during WWII and hasn’t been rebuilt with anything but functionality in mind. The first day was raining all day, so our … Continue reading

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Civitavecchia, Italy

Well, Rome’s port isn’t the most attractive place in the world. It’s also not particularly close to Rome, almost 2 hours away in traffic. As it turned out, it didn’t matter, because I got sick and had to get some … Continue reading

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Amalfi, Italy

Today we arrived in Amalfi, a picturesque city on the Italian coast that shares its name. Contrary to reports, the shops were almost all open, even though it was Sunday, a last chance for the shopkeepers before the season ends. … Continue reading

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Taormina, Sicily

We spent a pleasant couple of hours in Taormina, a medieval city converted to a pedestrian tourist shopping street, on top of a hill in Sicily. The weather has warmed up to 71, and we had an alfresco lunch at … Continue reading

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Santorini, Greece

Today we visited one of the most scenic places I’ve ever encountered, the Greek Island of Santorini. We arose at sunrise to discover the ship sailing into the caldera of a giant volcano. We were tendered to a remote spot … Continue reading

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Patmos, Greece

Patmos is a small Greek island in the Southeastern Aegean. It wasn’t on our itinerary, but because of a strike in Rhodes to protest the Greek financial situation, that port was inaccessible, and Patmos was substituted. I don’t know what … Continue reading

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Kusadasi and Ephesus, Turkey

The port in Kusadasi was certainly busier than the last time we were here, when we were the only ship. Either things are quieter in the Middle East or people have just gotten used to it. No circling gunboats this … Continue reading

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Filippi and Kavala, Greece

The ship was rockin’ and rollin’ last night, I guess still feeling the effects of a cyclone over the Black Sea. It was still raining when we docked a bit late in Kavala, a hillside community in Macedonia (Northern Greece). … Continue reading

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Istanbul

This is our first time on Oceania, although they are owned by Regent, a high end line Dani and I once took for an enjoyable Mediterranean cruise. The Insignia is a beautiful ship, with by far the nicest finish work … Continue reading

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New York to Istanbul

With a lull in Linda’s projects for Disney, she was able to get away, so for her birthday we booked a cruise in the Mediterranean. When Delta changed their flight schedule, our connection through JFK became dangerously short, so we … Continue reading

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Qaqortoq, Greenland

Greenland is a land of small towns, and this one’s population is about the same as the cruise ship’s. It was pretty funny watching 3000 passengers try to fit into the town’s only gift shop.  

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Polar Ice Cap

That dirty snow you see in the gap is the beginning of the polar ice cap. Check it out before it melts.

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Ice Field

We traveled up a fjord in Greenland and found this ice field.

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