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LitaArn

Cruise Review: Venice, Bari, Corfu, Athens, Mykonos, Dubrovnik - Splendour - Aug 2012

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PORT EXCURSIONS

 

What our family feels about port excursions (especially in Europe so rich in culture and so far away from home) is that we should take in as many tours as possible... like “tour as much ‘till we drop” kind of thing. We figure that we can rest when we get home, but we surely won’t we able to see and experience the wonders of Europe sitting at home :D

 

 

Aug 26th, Sunday - BARI, POLIGNANO a MARE, ALBEROBELLO

 

The three sites we wanted to see on this port stop were Polignano a Mare, Alberobello, and the town of Bari. To go with Royal’s excursion, we can only do one of the three. Aside from that, according to Royal website, they do not offer the Polignano tour during the month of August. I have no idea why they would not :confused:

 

I did my research and found a private tour guide from the Viator tour company (we’ve used them before in our land tours of Germany’s Romantic Roads and we were happy). His name is Vito Maurogiovanni (he was named after his grand uncle, one of Bari’s well-known

journalist, screenwriter, and author who had written 30 books, 32 screenplays, etc).

 

We signed up online and paid the deposit to do his “Best Apulia Tour” http://tourguides.viator.com/sightseeing-tours-italy-bari-5690.aspx

 

This private tour included Bari, Polignano, and Alberobello. Tour duration was from 12 noon - 7pm, and as previously arranged, he picked us up at the port right at the agreed time (as we were going down the port escalator, we immediately spotted him holding a sign with our last name clearly written on it). We then we proceeded to his air-conditioned, comfortable car.

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BARI

 

When we met our guide Vito, I mentioned to him that if we could see Polignano and Alberobello first before the town of Bari. My reason being that just in case we didn’t have enough time for the 3 sites because of our limited time on this port, our family would be alright missing it, but not Polignano and Alberobello. It was a good thing that Vito, being a wonderful tour guide that he is, said that he felt we will enjoy the old town of Bari very much, and that not to worry, there’ll be enough time to see the other 2 sites as well. We are so very glad that we listened to him. Also, I read from Cruise Critic that Bari has the longest seafront in Italy and one of the prettiest http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?id=497

 

We had a lovely walk towards the Old Town of Bari, adjacent to the port. On our right was the sea front dotted with attractive street lamps and palm trees. On our left are buildings of beautiful architecture with many mini parks in between. Vito said that instead of one huge park, Bari has many mini parks instead. I have to say that those mini parks made our walk to the Old Town very pleasant indeed.

 

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Edited by LitaArn

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Teatro Margherita, built between 1912 and 1914 is one of the historic theaters of the city of Bari and is currently being restored.

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THE OLD TOWN of BARI or BARI VECCHIA is definitely a must see! It is a beautiful medieval town, a maze of alleys and small squares that we could have happily spent a whole day exploring, with a stop here and there at one of its many charming trattorias.

 

Note the beautiful stonework on the streets of the old city of Bari from Piazza del Ferrarese, Piazza Mercantile, then onto Via Venezia.

 

 

PIAZZA del FERRARESE is the entrance to the old town of Bari or known to the locals as Bari Vecchia. There are several cafes and bars, an old section of roman road roped off in the middle, and the Sala Murat on the left.

 

Wiki Photo of Piazza Ferrarese

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The rounded arches of Sala Murat which holds contemporary art exhibitions

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With the sea front on the right, Piazza Ferrarese merges gradually into another piazza, PIAZZA MERCANTILE. Historically, it was the political centre of the old town and a significant public space, notably the Column of Justice.

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Edited by LitaArn

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“Column of Justice” - a stone column, to which debtors were tied and lashed in the olden days. It is mounted by a globe and flanked by a crouching lion holding the city’s coat of arms in its front paws and with the words translated in English means Guardian of Justice.

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To the left of the Column of Justice is this charming alley

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Photo taken from the back of the alley

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Hostaria Re Manfredi - looked it up on Trip Advisor ... 4 stars out of 5. The owner encouraged me to get closer to the table closest to the front door where a batch of home-made pasta was just made.

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Freshly made pasta drying on a rack

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At the end of the alley, a tunnel on the old city walls

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VIA VENEZIA - on the right side of this lovely promenade is the sea front.

 

Climbing up on one of the stairs to Via Venezia

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Via Venezia, a lovely promenade up there!

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With Vito, our guide

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Still on Via Venezia, the top of the fort of St. Anthony Abbot, a 14th century tower

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If these gates were open, we would have seen the best panoramic views in Bari!

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More lovely views from Via Venezia

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Edited by LitaArn

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MORE of VIA VENEZIA

 

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A couple of the subterranean alleys in Via Venezia

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Still on Via Venezia

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Looking back, the seafront on the left

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Walking down to see the Basilica

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Edited by LitaArn

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A wedding party beside the statue of St. Nicholas (also known as “Father Christmas”)

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BASILICA of ST. NICHOLAS - built between 1087 and 1197 to house the relics of St. Nicholas

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Wikipedia photo of 13th century ciborium over the altar

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17th century wooden ceiling

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Edited by LitaArn

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On the way down to the crypt. In 1087, sailors transported the remains of St. Nicholas which were stolen from Turkey.

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The shrine is beautiful, lit by many hanging lamps.

We noticed a movie was being filmed when we were there. The man on the left (a star of the film?) whose make up was being applied.

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Relics of St. Nicholas taken from Myra, Turkey

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Leaving the basilica

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Will post more tomorrow of excursions to Polignano and Alberobello, also of the excursions to Corfu, and maybe Athens.

 

Good night and Thank You for tuning in.

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Hi Lita - loving the review -just a quick question as trying to post my review. How do you get your bigger photos on? Been trying to do mine but just coming up as thumbnails but then some on them failing. xx

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Hi Lita - loving the review -just a quick question as trying to post my review. How do you get your bigger photos on? Been trying to do mine but just coming up as thumbnails but then some on them failing. xx

 

Hi Christine :)

 

Glad to hear you're writing a review. I look forward to reading it and viewing cruise photos taken by a professional photographer like you and the many activities we've missed on the ship.

 

Here are the steps that I use to post pics here on CC:

 

To post from photo bucket it is best to have both windows open, Cruise Critic and photo bucket.

 

 

This way you can switch website to website.

 

 

To post from photo bucket you start with photo bucket and select your picture.

 

 

Click on your the PICTURE you want to post.

 

 

On the RIGHT of your PICTURE you will see image link code.

 

 

Click on DIRECT LINK and you will see a yellow box appear that says copied. The box will disappear but don't worry.

 

 

Click over to the CC board and click on the REPLY button.

 

 

Then click on INSERT image (the little mountain picture)

 

 

A box will appear with http it. DELETE that because what you will copy over already have the http in it. In my computer though, I don’t have to delete.

 

 

Then right click and hit PASTE button.

 

 

When you click on CC’s “Submit Reply” button, the photo/s will appear on your post.

 

Hope this works for you.

 

Hugs :)

Edited by LitaArn

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I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to post last night. I had a headache and the glare from the computer screen would have made it worst. Thank goodness though that it wasn’t a migraine which render me unable to do anything except lie down.

 

POLIGNANO A MARE

 

From the town of Bari, we then settled for a comfortable ride to Polignano. Vito’s driving was excellent and our family felt safe at all times. In less than an hour, we arrived in Polignano. I should also point out that because we were there on Sunday, traffic was very light which made it possible for us to do all the excursions we wanted to do during our limited time.

 

Here is the description of Polignano a Mare from a public link, italyTraveller, http://www.italytraveller.com/en/r/apulia/s/polignano-a-mare

 

“ An enchanting seaside destination, Polignano a Mare is an ancient town built on a spur of rock directly above a magnificent, clear blue sea. The rocky coastline of Polignano is characterised by an incredible number of inlets and natural caves, many of which were inhabited in prehistoric times.“

 

Also, Mr. Domenico Modugno, a popular Italian singer who became famous all over the world with his song “Volare” was born in Polignano.

 

 

First things first... - a stop for a gelato the “Polignano way": fill the cone or cup with whipped cream, gelato next, then more whipped cream. YUM! So very rich, and so verrrry delicious!!!

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This lovely young lady invited me (in Italian) to get behind the gelato counter so I could take better photos without the glare from the glass (she can’t speak English so our guide Vito translated her nice invite to me).

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The gelato store “Bella Blu” http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g635875-d2243908-Reviews-Bar_Gelateria_Bella_Blu-Polignano_a_Mare_Province_of_Bari_Puglia.html

4.5 star rating out of 5.... We would rate our experience a 5 star!

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Edited by LitaArn

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Note the bridge on the right. It overlooks a stunning cove. According to CC member Karysa, from the bridge there are steps down to the cove. Here is the link to her review, post # 39 describes her family’s awesome experience http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1387851&highlight=bari

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The Cove

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Later on in our tour of Polignano, we arrived at a lookout point on the other side of the Cove. The swimmers and divers were having so much fun, I took several photos of them.

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There’s a swimmer climbing up the rock and another walking on a ledge to get ready for their dives

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A diver (on the left side of the photo, wearing light blue speedo)

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A swimmer (in navy blue swimming shorts) jumping mid-air

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Another diver (in navy blue speedo) just took off diving

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After taking photos of the Cove from the bridge, we walked over to enter this archway to see more Polignano sights (we also exited out of this archway later on)

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On our way to see the Cliffs

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Edited by LitaArn

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We've reached the end of our tour in Polignano

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Edited by LitaArn

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ALBEROBELLO

 

From Polignano, we continued on to Alberobello (the drive took no more than 20 minutes).

 

Alberobello, a World Unesco Heritage site, is the capital of the Trulli District in the Puglia region of Italy. A trullo is a building with conical roof constructed without mortar with symbols painted on the cone roofs. One theory for the design is that in the 17th century, due to high taxation on their properties, the people of Puglia created dry wall constructions so that they could be easily dismantled when inspectors were in the area.

 

Many of the trulli are still used today as a place of residence by the locals, and some as stores, restaurants, and lodging.

 

 

On our way to see the trulli which can be seen from a distance

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The Rione Monti district

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A look back of where we’ve walked from

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Edited by LitaArn

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Going to see the inside of a trullo, where a motorcycle is parked in front. Our guide Vito was able to arrange for us to have a quick look inside. I think he knows the couple and they were kind to allow us to take photos.

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There's a loft in this trullo, I just didn't get a photo

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Partial photo of the bathroom

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Edited by LitaArn

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When we arrived back in Bari, it was raining and the wind was strong. Vito parked the closest that he could to the pier. We said our goodbyes and thanked him for a great job. We tipped him and he was appreciative of it (we’ve paid his fees earlier). He didn’t need to walk us back to the check in point and get wet from the rain but he did. We said our goodbyes again, thanked him again for a wonderful tour. He was kind and patient, and excellent as a tour guide and driver.

 

 

Vito with our family at Polignano - (even with his eyes closed on this pic, my darling Arn is still handsome) ;)

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My dinner that night at the MDR. I took very few dinner photos on this cruise; I kept forgetting to take them. All meals were good though especially the escargots (I had 2 servings) :D

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At dinner that night with Christine and family

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Will continue posting later when I feel better. Unfortunately, the blasted headache is back! Thanks for tuning in... and I hope I haven’t bored you too much with my ramblings...

Edited by LitaArn

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Oh no you are not boring as I enjoyed to read it and love to see photos

 

Ah I see that you had a headache last night and I had that too last Saturday at my husband cousin's 30th birthday party. I had to leave early. It was horrible feeling and I felt throw up but didnt. I had terrible migraine few years ago and it was just one off .

 

I was looking at your trip story this morning and wonder where are you? Now I realised that.

 

Anyway, your photos are absolutely beautiful and what a lovely place and lovely photos of you three together and driver looked handsome too...:D

 

I look forward to read next one:)

 

Scottishwee35

Edited by scottishwee35

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Lita, I have to say that you must be the kindest and most thoughtful person. You have such a sweet disposition, I hope our paths cross one day.

 

I truly enjoy your review and pictures and can't wait for the next segment.

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