Sunday, August 9, 2015

Barcelona Mediterranean Cruise July 2015

Street Performer in Aix-on-Provence
This was a cruise on the MSC Fantasia.  MSC is an Italian line that has few Americans aboard.  The appeal of this cruise was the ports of call:  Barcelona, Marseilles/Aix-on-Provence, Genoa/Portofino, Naples/Pompeii, Messina/Sicily, Malta, and Palma de Majorca in Spain. 
Fountain in Aix-on-Provence

Typically, this blog is about the photography.  Before I get into that, I will say that the MSC cruises may be rough on Americans used to a certain level of customer service.  This is for Europeans, mostly southern Europeans, on holiday with their entire families.  That means screaming kids EVERYWHERE.  Just go into it with your eyes wide open.  Go for the ports of call.  And, oh by the way, they do NOT serve coffee in the dining room.  Do not ask me why.  Just little frustrations.  Go for the ports!
Barcelona Fountain

Barcelona.  Getting there very early the best thing to do was to jump on a hop on hop off double decker bus that are everywhere in Europe.  It’s a quick way to see the sights. 
Wow, I come to France to see an APPLE STORE!

One surprise to me was the town of Aix-on-Provence, near Marseilles, France.  In the center of town was a water fountain, of course… but look!  There’s an Apple Store!  People hung around the front of the building because, as our tour guide told us, they have free wi-fi.  That was fun going in the store and looking around; everything written in French.  Plus, there were break dancing kids outside.
Break Dancing Outside the Apple Store

Next up was Genoa and the lovely resort town of Portofino.  To get to it, you have to take a water taxi. 
Portofino Home, Up the Hill
From the Port of Genoa, off to Naples and a skip over to Pompeii.  I studied Pompeii in grade school, like most of you did.  It was HOT that day.  I mean HOT.  95 degrees and about 95% humidity.  Please don’t tell me Phoenix is hot.  This was so hot sweat went into my eyes.  Plus walking on those cobblestones was difficult.  But it was POMPEII!  And there was Mount Vesuvius, ready to blow at any minute. 
From the Port of Naples we sailed to one of the reasons I wanted this trip:  Sicily.  My dad spent considerable time in Sicily during World War II and always spoke highly of it.  I wondered while there… did my dad walk these streets?  See these sights?  I’m sure he did.  And now, so did I.  Of course, much of Messina was bombed during the war.  The cathedral we saw had been mostly rebuilt.  It’s funny too that when you tell locals where you are from they often answer “Oh I have a cousin in Philadelphia!” or something similar.  We have such a strong tie to Italy and Sicily.  Did you know Sicily petitioned the USA to become the 51st state during World War II?  It’s true. 
Messina, Sicily
From Sicily we sailed to the little nation island of Malta.  Malta endured terrible hardships during the 2nd World War by the Nazi’s.  The people were truly heroic and received the George Cross in April of 1942 by King George VI of the United Kingdom.  More churches to see, jewelry stores, and of course British style telephone booths.  They say Malta has more of those red telephone booths than the U.K. now! 
Malta Jewelry:  They Love Knights!
And from Malta, we sailed to the Baleric Islands to the east of Spain.  Our port of call was Palma de Majorca and we visited at night.  We saw night life there and flamingo.  Flamingo was great but oh my the colored spot lights were difficult to handle in post processing. 
Time for Flamingo

Then we returned to Barcelona.  I was able to enjoy a cerveza at an outdoor cafĂ© and made friends with a young baby girl and some local workers (who bought me endless drinks, by the way). 

Until My Next Adventure, 

Now, I’m off to Photoshop World in Las Vegas for a few days of pure photography. 

See You On Down The Road!

Chicos y Chicka in Barcelona!

…and my collection of photos from this trip!