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jamona2311

WOW a million times wow! 9-26-14 on the Reflection

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Ok before I even start posting my report/book, I should warn you!!! ITS LOOOOONG! Very long, possibly boring, a bit too much detail about too many things, too many pictures(?). Also, Im just a girl writing a trip report as fast as I can, so, I didn’t really watch grammar, punctuation , run on sentences, capitalization, any of that. I did use spell check when it was available to me.

 

I wrote this trip report all over the place. At work, on my kindle, when ever I had time I was working on it. I work a job and a half so free time is short. Once I was finally done it was like a puzzle putting all the documents in the right order so I could cut and paste them to CC. It’s a labor of love. One that I hope helps someone here on CC, a memoir for me and my mom, and hopefully a way to tell our story to our family and friends.

 

We were gone 18 days…theres a lot to say and I took over 3000 pictures ( not posting all 3000 silly...;) )

So if youre wondering if this review is the one youre looking for, this is where we went :

Venice- 2 nights

Florence- 1 night

Rome- 2 nights

Rome embarkation day

Messina

Day at Sea

Kusadasi

Athens

Mykonos

Rhodes

Santorini

Day at Sea

Naples

Disembark in Rome/ Fly home

 

Sounds good?? Ok come along and relive our trip of a life time with me.:D

 

PS If you could please dont "quote" a post with a bunch of pictures in it. I know its hard for others to read the review when this happens, especially if their computer is slow. Thanks and enjoy :):)

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All my favorite places, we did this starting on November 12th, 2010 on Equinox. Looking forward to your report and also on Reflection as we will be sailing her in January.

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sorry i thought I had the picture thing down but Im having problems transfering them from snapfish to CC. Ill be back later once I figure out the problem.

Any suggestions??

Edited by jamona2311

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Subscribing. This is a very similar itinerary on the Reflection that we are booked for our 30th anniversary during August 2016! Thanks for doing this.

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Wow! Great start where are the pictures?

 

i had practiced last week uploading pictures to CC but not its not working. I wanted to be ready to go to put it all up at once and now this...grrrrr:(:confused:

 

ill be back when I figure out the problem

 

sorry

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Looking forward to the review. We just booked August 2016 reflection for our next cruise. Can't wait to read all about it!!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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Hi JAMONA2311,

 

Really looking forward to reading your Review.

 

Here is a tip, regarding picture posting... Not sure if you are aware but there is a TEST Forum on CC where you can try out things til you get them right / effect you want. You will find the TEST Forum listed on the Forum Directory page at the very top in the Blue Banner

 

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/index.php

 

Cheers!

Edited by Sloop-JohnB

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WOW a million times wow! Every day was a wow day, every day my mouth dropped at the beauty, the history the life that is my bloodline. This is all part of where Im from….well at least on my moms side. That’s how this trip was born. My mom is Greek and Italian. This was an important trip for her and so she asked me if I wanted to go. Umm Yeah!

So since mom was paying I was in charge of planning and plan I did! For two years I planned. I was ready to go a year before we ever even booked the cruise! And after booking I still found stuff to plan for and research. The idea of doing the Cruise Tour came up but then I was reading that Italy is really easy to travel on your own and save a ton. Rick Steves then came into my life and I used the Cruise Tour schedule as a blue print for Venice, Florence and Rome on our own.

 

I learned about slash proof bags, bus routes, when is the best time to get train tickets, what to see, to buy tickets ahead, how long of a layover was reasonable , you name it I read about it. I watched movies and read books with stories taking place where we were going I printed off maps, down loaded maps, downloaded audio guides, translation aps, money conversions aps, airport aps, subway aps, pedometer ap…already had the Shipmate and Cruise Critic ap. J

 

As our CC roll call started to get active I met new fellow cruisers and booked some excursions and transfers with them and some on our own. We didn’t do a single ship excursion but I never do. If you research enuf you can find more than reliable enuf private tours that really save you money when booked with others. Its also a great way to make new ship friends. I loved just about everyone we had booked with! What a great roll call group. Seemed like everywhere we went there was someone to say “hi” to and chat about eachothers day with. It was like living in a small town.

Edited by jamona2311

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All that planning and obsessing ( yes I admit I was obsessed) didnt do me an ounce of good when, the week of, I found out that Air France was having a pilot strike when we would be traveling. Yes I got an email that we would have 24 hours notice if our flight(s) were cancelled. That wasn’t worth anything when at 1:30 am day of departure ( 10:30 am flight ) I found out our entire flight was cancelled. I was on the phone with Delta asking them to at least get us over the pond! :O I figured we could then take a train to Venice. Europes got a great rail system right?

Well they got us to Rome by noon Sunday ( considering it was supposed to be Venice 9am) so we took the Leonardo Express from Rome airport to Termini and Termini train to Venice. It was a 2nd day wasted traveling but we were in Venice by 7:30 pm and WE WERE IN VENICE!!!!!!! OMG as soon as we walked out of the St Lucia train station and I saw that water, all the planning and dreaming became a reality and I started bawling. Like out loud, tears, cant talk overwhelmed happy relieved bawling! Lol My mom was laughing at me. :/ hha

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mom and I finally on our way!

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We are in Rome! Finally on the other side of the pond

 

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Ahhhh Venice at last!

 

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I booked us at the Hotel Dalla Mora. A small, not fancy lil 2 star hotel that had the right price and good reviews on trip advisor and was close to the train station. And for about E110 a night we also had a canal view in a quite non touristy neighborhood. Perfect for us. They also served a very nice, simple European breakfast.

Once we got settled in our room and took showers ( oh gosh that felt good!!!) we decided to head out. We were tired but we were in Venice, we had to go out for a little bit, if only to get some food…..or gelato….which was actually our first stop, hhe. As we continued to walk along we came across a lovey restaurant on the water. We decided to stop for some wine and aps. I had to get some caprese salad. Nummmmm! Nothing like fresh motz. Yeah and a guy with an accordion singing in Italian!! Hello!! What a way to start our vacation….aaaahhhhh, Im in heaven.

 

Oh and I will say here Venice does have mosquitoes! I had my share of bites the first night. To be fair tho I usually am a mosquito magnet. Ok, so that part wasn’t heaven, hha, but in all I would say that I loved Venice the most. It was everything I always dreamed it would be. Beautiful, elegant decay! Right up my alley :D I will defiantly be back for a longer visit someday….Geeze all that gushing and I haven’t even gotten past the first night! Lol

 

After our snack we walked back to our hotel for the night and went to bed. We had a big day planned with the start of our planned tours.

 

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Beautifully elegant decay!<3

 

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On our way to our hotel

 

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What a wonderful way to start a trip of a lifetime.

 

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Mmmmmmmm I could live off of this!

 

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Edited by jamona2311

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Up at 7 , with some breakfast in our tummies we were ready to go. We decided to walk, so we just followed the signs on the corners of the buildings, the general population was moving in that direction too. My camera was going crazy! Everything was picture worthy to me. This would become the trend for the most of the trip as I usually exhausted my camera battery and had to resort to taking pictures with my phone. Sometimes, I would exhaust that too!! So much beauty!!! Plus I could always delete later. In the end I took over 3000 pictures. J

Ok back to our walk to Doges Palace. Eventually we realized we were running out of time! Ok no more pictures for now. Over the beautiful Rialto bridge and on to St Marks square. A bit of Aqua Alta must have been starting as they had the elevated walks ways up, or some of them anyway. We made it on time for our Doges Palace Secret Itinerary tour. We booked this online directly with the palace and not through and outside tour company.

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Our room at Hotel Dalla mora. Small but clean and a good breakfast and...

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.....a canal view!!!

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Pictures from our walk to St Marks Square

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The Rialto bridge

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A view of the Grand Canal from the Rialto.

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We had a lovely guide whose name I cant remember but she was very nice and informative. Actually all of our guides were wonderful. Knowledgeable but obviously loving what they do and anxious to share. I know it must be difficult to do the same thing everyday so it meant a lot that we had such wonderful people.

On the tour we saw prison cells, including graffiti the prisoners left behind, learned about Cassanovas escape and saw his cell, saw office and the Doges office, the attic and collection of weapons, torture chambers. Some of the flooring, walls and ceilings were the originals. Ill let the pictures do most of the talking but it was very impressive.

In the end our guide freed us and we were sent out on our own to

cross the bridge of sighs if we wanted to. We did and I found it funny taking pictures of people taking pictures of the bridge.

 

Bring water, its very stuffy in there with plenty of steps and crowded at times. I didn’t and couldn’t wait to get to the café after the tour to get some yummy peach tea and a fruit cup.

 

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In the courtyard of the Doges palace waiting for our tour to begin

 

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Government offices. I guess they didnt require much.

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Cassanovas cell

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In the weapons room

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Ceiling art

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Loving the review so far.... great start to your trip. Look forward to the rest as we're doing a similar itinery next summer and are keen for any tips:)

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The Golden Staircase

 

 

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Stunning ceiling reliefs

 

 

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View from the Doges palace

 

 

 

 

 

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Mom making her way to the Bridge of Sighs

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Taking picture of them taking pictures of us on the Bridge of Sighs

 

 

We walked back onto the square and took more pictures and then my battery died! My backup battery was dead and my phone was about half. I was going to have to be careful. Note to self: Make sure to charge everything every night!

We purchased our vaporetto tickets and took the number 1 back to Ferrovia ( train station) stop, as we had a “Original Gondola Tour” booked with Artviva Tours soon. We grabed some pizza and gelato from a café and sat next to the water under the Scalzi bridge.

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St Marks Square bell tower

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I was really loving the street lamps!

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Doges Palace and the beautiful pink marble

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The Bridge of Sighs...wonder if they are taking pictures of us taking picture of them..lol

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On a Vaporetto ride back to the Ferovia stop I got a picture of the Accemedia bridge

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Cant get enuf pictures of this city

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The Rialto from the Grand canal

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Are you enjoying the pictures? I hope so! I really think I need to do another post of just pictures hha..bear with me...

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Just in case you were wondering what a Vaporetto stop looks like. hhe

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I watched "The Tourist" right before we left and Johnny Depp jumped from the porch on the right onto the tents below! So cool to actually see this now.

As soon as we finished our lunch we saw our group forming so went over to check in. Jennifer would be our guide and we were set up in 3 or 4 gondolas, only 5 of us per Gondola. We had headphones with transmitters so we could listen to Jennifers narration as we moved through the canals. No one was singing here but it was still a wonderful ride and a new look at Venice than walking around. We saw where George Clooney would be getting married that weekend, a building that I recognized from “The Tourist” movie, small canals and the grand canal with a wonderful view of the Rialto bridge.

To be a Gondolier you have to prove you can handle the Gondola and so far only one girl has passed the test. She actually only does the Traghettos which are kinda like Gondolas but are basically people movers to get across the Grand canal at certain points. Also, gondoliers always start from the same home pier and where your pier is, is like a social standing among them. The closer you are to San Marco square the more prestigious. Closer to the train station or Piazzale Roma, not so much. That’s ok our gondoliers may not be as high ranking but they sure were cute!

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My favorite picture from the whole trip

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Time for a Gondola tour

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George Cloney would be getting married here that weekend.

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Dinner by the water?? Yes please!!!!!

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Our gondolier

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Our Gondola tour left us off at San Marco and Jennifer took us to the spot where we would meet our next guide for the San Marco tour. We had some time so mom and I went in search of an ATM, some coffee and a bathroom. I really grew to love Italian cappachinos. Yum! Im gonna ask for a machine for Christmas

Brenda from Art Viva was our guide for Saint Marks Basillica. I found this church very dark and hard to appreciate all the golden mosaic. It was interesting to learn there is a Necopolis under ground but because of the water its not a place people can visit. The art on the outside was much more interesting to me as it showed the two men brining Mark to Venice and what the old Basillica looked like. I was sad that we didn’t get to go upstairs to see the Horses. I guess I was thinking it was part of the tour but it wasn’t. Ill get there next time!

After the tour we took our picture of the outside of the Bridge of Sighs and did some shopping. I got a nice painting of Venice at dusk with a gondolier. I love buying art on my trips. Nothing big or expensive just a little local art that I can appreciate all the time once I get home.

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St Marks Square

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The ancient horses that welcome you to St Marks Square.

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The famous residents of St Marks Square hanging out n a lamp post.

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Hopping back onto the Vaporetto, we headed back to the hotel, good thing to cuz my phone just died so no more pictures for now. We got off at Piazzale Roma, got some more cappuccino and went to enjoy some wine on the terrace of our hotel. Um nope maybe not. Big thunder and lightning and it started pouring down rain, like torrential rain! Noooooo!!!! We need to go back to San Marco Square!!! The lights in the evening, the quartets playing in the cafes, the vaporetto ride down the grand canal listening to Rick Steves tell us about the beautiful old buildings, more shopping!!!! Noooooo!!!! Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, infact we just made it to dinner at Al Bacco Felice when it started raining AND hailing.

We had a great dinner here ( CC recommendation ). Chicchetti app, Spaghetti Cabonara, house wine, all very good and reasonable. Looks like a well loved place as there were tons of notes from all over the globe from patrons who enjoyed their meal here.

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Dinner at Al Bacco Felice. I love Cabonara!!!!! mmmmmm

 

On the way home mom and I walked together under the umbrella and gawked at the huge piles of hail making Venice look like it had snowed while we were at dinner. Good night Venice.

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Tuesday, September 23

Rise n shine at 5:30, we have an early train to catch to Florence! I settled our hotel bill the night before so off we went back to the train station. We hauled our own bags over the huge bridge and rewarded ourselves with some cappuccino and chocolate croissants from a near by café, oh, and beautiful views of Venice as the sun was coming up. Good bye Venice, you have my heart!!!! xoxoxo

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Early morning Venice on the way to the train station

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Yes we carried our luggage all the way up and all the way down this bridge! eek

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Venice train station

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Mom on the train to Florence

Edited by jamona2311

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Thankyou -- please keep going , this is the trip we are doing next September , including stay in Florence and Venice .

Seems we will need mosquito repellent in Venice in September !? :eek:

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Loving your review, We are doing the exact same trip next June/July and can not wait. Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous.

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