11/28/09 Hello from Barcelona. We have just returned here after 7 very nice days in the Mediterranean. The ports of call were good. Cannes was just a quiet town last Sunday and good for a stroll. Genoa was a lot more interesting than we had been led to believe and we greatly enjoyed walking around and admiring all the fabulous old buildings and squares. They have a lot of old palaces and a whole block of them have been put on the UNESCO world heritage list. When our ship docked in Livorno, we were really annoyed that they docked in the industrial port because then we were so far from the city center that we had to pay for a shuttle bus to get to the place we should have docked in the first place! We went with another couple who had rented a car and it was a real lesson in patience for us. They had never been to Pisa, so we went there to the leaning tower, of course. When we were there in 1989 with our kids, we made them climb it and it cost nothing to do so. Now it 15€. Then we drove to Lucca, a very nice walled city where we had several hours of walking through the charming town and also along the walls. Then Barry & Kathy decided they just had to drive through more of the Tuscan countryside. We barely made it back to the ship in time and they pulled the gangplank in right after us! On the day we docked in Civitavecchia, the port near Rome, we took the day off and stayed on the ship. We worked out in the gym and enjoyed some down time. Naples was the highlight for us, as we had not been there before and we were anxious to go to Pompeii. So we walked to the train station, took the train which dropped us right outside the site, and spent 4 hours wandering all over the city. Of course, you all probably know that when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79AD, the city was buried in ash and all the residents perished. It has been well excavated and lots has been learned about how people lived in Roman times from these diggings. There are some good murals and mosaics still there, and some sculptures, and they have made some plaster molds of how the people looked as either the gas fumes killed them or they were buried by ash.
Of course, we took lots of pictures everywhere, but because we are in an internet place, I can´t add pictures until we get back to the USA. We also had a nice time on the ship with some people we met, especially in Michael´s Club. This was one of the perks of our Elite status on Celebrity. It is a lounge where we got to go everyday between 4 and 6 for free drinks and wine before dinner. Most of our dinner companions were also very pleasant although we only ate in the dining room 4 nights. They served sushi in the buffet restaurant so Elaine wanted to go there 3 nights. Of course, they also had other good choices. I´m sure we did not lose any weight on this trip!
Our friends David and Diane Wilson are arriving in a few minutes from the airport and they are staying at our hotel. So I must close for this time. If we get some internet minutes on the ship, I will post another update in a week or so. The ship is the Voyager of the Seas and we will be arriving back in Galveston on Dec. 13.