(For some reason this didn't download where I wanted. See photos below! Sorry!)
Tuesday, April 21
Civitavecchia Italy: This is the seaport that we dock at to make the drive to Rome. An hour and a half of driving thru Wisconsin Dells type countryside brings us to downtown Rome and the Vatican City. The whole of Rome is spattered with ruins of 3300 years of different stages and ages of Rome’s history. We hook up our museum headsets so our tour guide can easily communicate with us and off we go to the Sistine Chapel. This huge chapel depicts the origin of the world and life of Christ in many frescos and paintings on the ceiling. With a couple of thousand people at a time constantly slowly flow thru the chapel from one end to the other, it’s pretty moving--no cameras and no talking, just looking up and thinking how could one man do this 600 years ago. The 500-year old St Peter’s Basilica can fit two Notre Dames of Paris in it. Big and beautiful, just like the square outside where the Pope addresses the people twice a week. Next we get to walk up and around the Colosseum where many poor men and animals met tragic fates for the amusement of other folks for hundreds of years. Constantine outlawed this barbary in 313 AD. Like many of the places we have been, a week is needed to explore and experience it all.
Wednesday April 22
Cannes France: A huge crescent-shaped bay with homes and businesses line this port, too shallow for the ship so we must use the tenders again. Sue is so talented, on the way to shore she starts singing Love My Tender Cute, Hun. We hop off and onto a bus that takes us to Nice and see the sights. This area is the home of high grade olive oil, many fragrances for perfume, the hugely successful Cannes movie festival, the flowers that are shipped daily around all of Europe, and the Monte Carlo Casino. We can see the leading edge of the southern Alps from here. Snow capped and all. They have outlawed cars in many downtown areas and turned them into green spaces. Only walking or electric tourist trains. Good idea. The highlight is a visit to St Paul, a perfectly preserved, medieval walled city perched on a high hill in the middle of Nice. It was the 16th, 17th and 18th century refuge and inspiration for many famous European artists. A beautiful little church sits in the middle of this maze of 8-foot wide streets. We have a nice romantic lunch at a open air café complete with a roaming singing minstrel. Later we have some ice cream and watch a group of men playing Bocce ball in a dirt yard next to another café. Very relaxing day.