Our first stop was in Marseille, France where we took a taxi and did our own walking excursion around the city. We had been here on the previous cruise but did not get a chance to stop in the Notre Dame basilica. We did this time and took many pictures from both inside the basilica and on top of it where you saw amazing views of the city below you. We also walked to the complete other side of the port that we were unable to get to on our last stop and take some pictures from a different perspective of the cathedral that we had not previously seen.
Our second stop in Villefranche, France we went to both Monaco and Nice. Since Diana and Robert and not been to Monaco before we took the train to the city and walked up to the palace to show them the sights and where Princess Grace was buried. We took some pictures of the city and the casino on the other side of the port but elected to take the train over to Nice as opposed to seeing the front entrance to the casino since it really wasn’t as impressive from the front side except for all the fancy cars that were kept there. We arrived in Nice and walked down to the beach area and roamed around to see the many restaurants and shops in the area. We had a little snack there before finishing our sightseeing at the panoramic overview of the port.
On our third stop in La Spezia we had decided not to go into Florence due distance to get there (2 hours each way by train). Instead we took a ferry that would take us to “Le Cinque Terre” which was 5 small fishing villages and valleys that are filled with vineyards that have made this area so famous. It is located off the west coast of Italy and has been turned into a National Park and a UNESCO site as a heritage to mankind. They were all very quaint little hamlets set inside small inlets or hanging off cliffs by the sea side. They were extremely picturesque and fun to walk through. There were a few shops and restaurants in each but they were very small towns. In the last village, Monterosso, we had a nice Italian lunch with some wine. Although we did this trip on our own for a small price we were fortunate to get some of the trip narrated in English by some tour operators who had their tour groups on the same ferry we were traveling on. This allowed us to learn more about where we were going.
Our next stop was in Rome where we had arranged a 4 hour private bike tour. In 4 hours we traveled around the city seeing most of the sights and learning a lot about Roman history. We were able to see much more going around the city on the bike than we would have if we had walked. It is amazing though how many of the real tourist attractions are under restoration such as the coliseum and Trevi Fountain. Our final port visited was Naples where we had made arrangements with a private driver, Antonio, to take us all day to the Amalfi Coast, Positano and Sorrento.
We are only including pictures of Marseille, Monaco, Nice and Le Cinque Terre in this blog since we have included pictures of the other cities in previous blogs. Our next blog will include Rome and surrounding areas in Naples.
Greg & Sharon