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Long Review of Reflection October 1-12, 2018 Western Mediterranean Cruise

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More pictures outside Sagrada Familia...

 

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Note:  For those of you adding pictures to your review, I am sometimes able to load so many and other times it

gives me a warning that I can only add 48.23mb.  This group of pictures above is not that many, but it seems

it collects from the prior posts until you get out of it.  If I go back to my page 1 and then come back to this page 2 and start to post again that seems to clear it.  New system glitches apparently.  I have to say I do love the new system for picture adding even with this glitch.  I use to have to put my photos in Google photo, which took forever,  and then do fancy downloading.  Now I can just add from my computer iphoto after I put them on my desktop.

 

Edited by ROWSE

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Outside of Sagrada Familia...

 

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Gaudi was on his daily walk to confession in 1926 and was hit by a tram on June 7 and later died on the 10th.  He was 73 years old and is buried in this masterpiece of a church.  Sad end to such an amazing man!

 

After our time at the church we decided to go explore more at Placa de Catalnya and we found the metro right in front of the church.  This was our first time on the metro so we had a steep learning curve but was finally able to get on the right side of the track for the direction we wanted to go.  This is underground so hard to tell.  Finally on the train.

 

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We had to switch trains at one point and it was such a long walk down this tunnel that we thought we might be walking there.

 

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Once at the stop we had a devil of a time getting back out of the metro.  We did not realize you go back out a turnstile.   We thought they were only going in.  After some odd elevator rides and ending up back where we started we realized our mistake.  It was a bit of a panic feeling, as asking for help did not seem to get us anywhere.  Looking back it was so easy if we realized about the turnstiles. 

 

Some pictures from the Placa de Catalunya area and Las Ramblas.  By now we had blue skies! 

 

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Wandering this street we decided it was time for some lunch.  We love out of the way places and wandered down this little alley type area. 

 

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This was our waiter and possibly the owner I was talking to.  We hit the jack pot here!  He later told us they usually just have local families come in not the tourists.  He treated us like royalty and included so many things for us that we didn't even order.

 

This is the menu...

 

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We chose the vegetarian menu choice.  This included wine and I had red my husband white.  He brought us soup even though it wasn't part of our meal but it was amazing!

 

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Then our salad was white asparagus, orange, cherries, dill and citrus mayonnaise dressing. 

 

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Up next was pasta with truffle cream, crispy onion and roasted cherry tomatoes.  Love those home made noodles!

 

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He brought us champagne in there as well.  Then he told us to trust him on the dessert and brought us two instead of one of a banana cake with chocolate and a cheese cake.  IMG_1734.thumb.jpg.e5da46cebafe866174783bad88ec523a.jpg

 

This feast was only 15 Euro a person.  We will remember this time and this place forever!

 

 

Edited by ROWSE

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3 minutes ago, singinalot said:

still following along and loving your review.

Oh thank you for letting me know!!!  I wish I was doing this all again, it was so fun! 

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This is a menu that is outside the la lluna.  It is a true treasure and I hope more of you can find it.

 

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We wandered the rest of Las Ramblas having so much fun people watching.  This was our last view before we headed for the port shuttle T3.  This is slightly less than the cruise ship shuttle. 

 

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We left port at 5:00 and watched off our balcony as the darker clouds were coming in again.

 

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That night we played trivia followed by a little nap and then hit the 7p.m. show of magician, Matthew McGurk which included his wife Kateanna doing aerial acrobatics.  They were an adorable couple! 

 

Dinner followed where we had to have a beeper for the longest wait of the cruise.  The dessert tonight was this tasty Baked Alaska.

 

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Tomorrow would bring our one and only tender port of Villefranche. 

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On 11/5/2018 at 3:21 PM, Silkroad said:

Rowse, I just found your wonderful review, and I’m following along😊

Thank you so much!  This is definitely a work in progress! 

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We were greeted on October 10, with the port of Villefranche and beautiful sunshine as we anchored out in the bay.

Our plan today included a ship's tour of a visit to Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo, and finished with Eze.  It was an eight and a half our tour so I felt better using the ship's tour this time.  

 

Off our balcony.  This was the most beautiful port area of the cruise! 

 

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We met in the theater today at 8:45.  It wasn't long before we were headed to the tender and a look back and we saw

Sarah, one of the ship's officers we had dinner with in the Tuscan Grille.  She is adorable!!

 

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Photos as we rode the tender.

 

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We were directed up a hill to our waiting bus and it is beyond me how they fit in that tiny little spot, but that was the case all day long.  Kudos to Patrick our bus driver for fitting in to tiny spots.

 

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Our first tour was a walk around Nice.  Our tour guide Natalie gave us some information and walked us around, then

we had a good amount of time on our own. 

 

This is Natalie.  Of course she was french, but I could understand her easily.  I loved her accent!

 

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This was our tour bus and they were very comfortable, but I did get stuck at a spot that was hard to view out the window.  I could tell that once we were in a seat others on the tour felt that was your assigned seat.  Would never want an argument over something like that, so we took "Our" seat every time. 

 

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WELL, there seems to be a glitch as I had these pictures in the saved but took them out as they are for father ahead in the review.  Ignore the last two pictures!!! 

 

 

 

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Edited by ROWSE

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Nice, France was our first stop and literally it was just over the hill from Villefanche. 

 

Natalie brought us to a beautiful square that seemed the center of town.  Then we walked toward the ocean.

 

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The streets here were lovely and there was a farmer's market.  IMG_1764.thumb.jpg.d0aa93b420544bd9692f2bce8c93a1db.jpg

 

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When it was free time we headed to the water!  IMG_5463.thumb.jpg.a098deb5b8af115ad428ef98bc38fa65.jpg

 

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The water here was the bluest we had seen in any of the ports.  It was starting to get windy and storm clouds were moving in.

We then walked toward a beautiful park area.

 

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There was a double decker carousel.  I have never seen one quite like this!

 

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We went for a yummy apple turnover at a eatery and was able to use their bathroom.  Again, it was hard to find one.

We walked back toward the open square we started at.  There was a beautiful fountain area with water changing all the time.

 

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The metro runs right through town.

 

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Why yes, we did love Nice!!!

 

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I stumbled upon your review today and have so enjoyed it so far.  I've jotted down quite a few tips that I will keep in mind for our cruise next year.  I plan to find the restaurant where you ate in Barcelona - it looks DIVINE!  Thanks for all of your details and pictures.  Keep 'em coming!

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48 minutes ago, cricketgirl said:

I stumbled upon your review today and have so enjoyed it so far.  I've jotted down quite a few tips that I will keep in mind for our cruise next year.  I plan to find the restaurant where you ate in Barcelona - it looks DIVINE!  Thanks for all of your details and pictures.  Keep 'em coming!

I am so glad you found my review!!  That restaurant was so fun!  I hope your cruise is as wonderful as ours was!

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5 hours ago, floridaag said:

Love Nice and Eze

I loved them too!  It was a shame our weather was so bad at Eze as I would have loved to see that Botanical Garden.

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After leaving Nice, we had some traffic to contend with but we slowly made our way to Monaco.  There was no border crossing here, it was just that you were suddenly in Monaco.  Wow!!! 

Our bus parked in this huge garage and we went up some very iffy elevators.  Lucky we made it to the top!

 

Such a beautiful view.

 

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There was a huge Oceanographic Museum, which I would have loved to explore but not enough time.

 

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Lovely church where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier was married

 

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We walked up to the Palace area

 

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This was the view off that area

 

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Monaco continued...Another picture of the palace and you can make out the guard in the little room beside the door.  I think they have a changing of the guards which would have been fun to see.

You are not to step past that chain and we witness someone cutting across getting quite a scolding and for once it wasn't me.

 

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We went down a couple streets and they are so cute with shops.  There are vary narrow cut throughs as well.  

 

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Time for a bite to eat.  This tour did not have a lunch stop it was a grab and go thing.

 

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We walked the cliff edge park and it was so windy!  IMG_5526.thumb.jpg.23758982991f7d736dadb9d4a27f3998.jpg

 

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Now it was time to move on to Monte Carlo.

 

On the way up to the Grand Casino we could see the skid marks on the road from the Grand Prix.  IMG_1835.thumb.jpg.7bf4b20223c6f6746e6aef90c9d17aae.jpg

 

The Grand Casino entrance and area around it...

 

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We were able to go into the foyer of the Grand Casino after having our bags checked but to go into the gaming area was a 17 Euro charge we were told.  We passed.

 

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Apparently you can rub something on her for good luck! 

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We wandered and found a nice little park then headed back to the bus to meet everyone.

 

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Our last stop of the day was the village of Eze which dates back to the 4th century, and the weather had really turned ugly.  Huge winds and rain.  We did make it without a down pour at least.  Just such a cute place and I would have loved to see it in the sunlight.  I had read it was quite a walk up to the village but it was fairly easy! 

The walkways in the village did get very slick however.

Our leader Natalie walked us through much of it and then we had free time.

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At the top was an entrance to a botanical garden which is what we see below in this picture.  It was so windy we

were actually afraid to go try to see it.

 

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We loved this little church!

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It was time to head back to the port to tender back to the ship.  The white boat with the blue is our tender.

 

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I missed the welcome sign earlier in the day so it was a goodbye sign for us today.  Loved

everything about our tour!

 

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That evening on board we had a lovely dining room dinner, went to the 9:00 show which was a Tom Jones type

singer impersonator, and I forgot to write down his name, my apologies!  Next up is our much awaited La Spezia, which we would see the amazing Cinque Terre. 

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Enjoying your descriptions and photos very much😊 We’ve been to Villefranche sur Mer twice, but haven’t taken a tour. The first time we hopped on a train to Nice, and headed to the Chagall museum (one of my favorite small museums in Europe). The second time, we had torrential rain, which made our exploration of Villefranche sur Mer’s hilly, cobblestoned streets less carefree than we’d hoped😉 Your photos of Eze are lovely. The little church is a charming gem. It’s too bad you had less than ideal weather. I guess that means you’ll need to return😁

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14 hours ago, ROWSE said:

 

 

Lovely church where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier was married

 

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I believe they are also buried there

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On 11/5/2018 at 4:27 PM, singinalot said:

still following along and loving your review.


That goes for me too!
I particularly love the photos from Nice etc as the one time we had a stop there, on our Emerald Princess cruise in October 2015, the Captain heeded the weather conditions ashore and sailed on by. Several people died on land due to flash floods.

I hope to visit the area on a future cruise.

Thanks for sharing ROWSE!

Norris

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14 hours ago, Silkroad said:

Enjoying your descriptions and photos very much😊 We’ve been to Villefranche sur Mer twice, but haven’t taken a tour. The first time we hopped on a train to Nice, and headed to the Chagall museum (one of my favorite small museums in Europe). The second time, we had torrential rain, which made our exploration of Villefranche sur Mer’s hilly, cobblestoned streets less carefree than we’d hoped😉 Your photos of Eze are lovely. The little church is a charming gem. It’s too bad you had less than ideal weather. I guess that means you’ll need to return😁

I always want a do things again!  That botanical garden in Eze is just calling me!!!  LOL

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1 hour ago, floridaag said:

 

I believe they are also buried there

Yes, I believe they are.  The church was not open the day we were there, sadly. 

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7 minutes ago, Bimmer09 said:


That goes for me too!
I particularly love the photos from Nice etc as the one time we had a stop there, on our Emerald Princess cruise in October 2015, the Captain heeded the weather conditions ashore and sailed on by. Several people died on land due to flash floods.

I hope to visit the area on a future cruise.

Thanks for sharing ROWSE!

Norris

That must have been BAD weather!  We had terrible winds and still went in, so I can imagine to not go in must have been bad.  I am so glad you are still hanging out with me!  I have taken my time on this one and relishing the memories. 

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9 hours ago, morbihan said:

I have just caught up. Enjoying your trip very much.

Thank you for reading along! 

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Our 7th port was La Spezia, Italy.  We arrived on October 11, at 7 a.m.  Our plan today was the Cinque Terre, and I had pre purchased the tickets that included the trains, trail, free wifi at the station, free bathroom use at the station and the shuttle up to Coniglia.  This had been one of the ports and thing we had most looked forward to.

We ate in the buffet and were ready to get off at 8:45.  We caught a taxi for the Central Train station.  A couple just in front of us were doing the same thing but the taxi driver would not let us a share a cab.  This was very odd, but it is what it is.  Taxi was 15 Euro.

Once at the train station we checked in with the welcome center for the Cinque Terre National Park.  Sadly, since it was slightly rainy they had closed all the trails.  OH NO!!!

We had a choice to not go at all even on the trains and they would later refund our tickets or use the train and void the tickets for refund.  Well, travel between the villages by train would be fun too, so that is what we did and it was fantastic! 

 

This is one of the train reader boards.  We are headed to Livorno and will get off in Monterosso. 

 

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The trains pull in and we hope we are on the right direction!!!

 

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Inside the train there is an upstairs and they are super comfortable!!!  IMG_1875.thumb.jpg.3eac9a1dfff48be8988f532ff9ec4114.jpg

 

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Once at the station of Monterosso we use the bathroom.  My dear friend had told me that they are horrible BUT they must have been updated because they were clean and new! 

 

They are just to the left of this picture

 

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Men on one side women on the other. 

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One spout for soap, one for water, and one for blow dry!

 

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Back out and a picture up the tracks at Monterosso.

 

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Our first village which was the farthest away from La Spezia which was Monterosso.  It has two areas that are separated by a tunnel.

We walked both areas. 

 

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I loved the different plant life

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Look at the purple flower!

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It was quite stormy as the dark clouds attest to. 

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Whoops, time for the umbrella!

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I used the umbrella off and on.  The water was beautiful!

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Edited by ROWSE

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In our walk we saw the area that the trail to Vernazza started.   We wanted to see if we could walk a little of the trail just to see what it was like. 

This is the entrance area back toward where we had come from.

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The picture cuts off the V, but on the ground it points to way on the trail.

 

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We were able to walk about a half a mile and then came across an actual booth with an attendant that told us no farther and we would have to go back.  At least we got a taste of the trail, and with the rain it was a bit slippery so they were wise to close it.

 

We walked back and were in the other side of town.  With many buildings and small little cut throughs.

 

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We found ourselves on a trail upward and we knew there was a church up at the top of this hill so we walked it.  We saw the terraced areas behind the village. 

 

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This was a gate to a winery that I wish would have been open. 

 

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At the top we found a massive vaulted graveyard.  IMG_1887.thumb.jpg.c6ae96cbaf434d10f8b28513544612b5.jpg

 

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There was a little church but we must not have taken a picture.  We did get this statuary. 

 

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We had a beautiful overlook back at where we had tried to go on the trail.  It begins just at the base of the hotel in the far distance at the center of the picture.

 

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We knew we had better move on so we could see the next village.  We headed back down the hill.

 

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Next up will be the village of Vernazza and it will have to wait for a few days as we have other things planned away from the computer.  See you in Vernazza. 

Edited by ROWSE

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Too bad about your weather in Cinque Terre.  My wife and I spent a number of days there and it is wonderful (albeit much more crowded now than it used to be).  We did the entire hike between all the towns and took the ferry back to Monterosso where we stayed.  

 

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On 11/9/2018 at 4:31 AM, jimbri said:

I am really enjoying your pictures.  Thank you.

I'm so glad you are still hanging in with my slow review.  Life just keeps getting in the way.

 

On 11/9/2018 at 4:49 AM, floridaag said:

Too bad about your weather in Cinque Terre.  My wife and I spent a number of days there and it is wonderful (albeit much more crowded now than it used to be).  We did the entire hike between all the towns and took the ferry back to Monterosso where we stayed.  

 

You are so lucky to have gotten to do that!  How fantastic!  Even if we would have been able to do some of it, there were still some of the trail closed for repair and not for weather I was told.  The weather we had closed all ferry travel as well that day.

 

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We never had very long to wait for a train, they really have a great system!  Vernazza was up next and it was wonderful!

This is a picture they have displayed that shows how devastating the damage was during a storm and mudslide in 2011.

I can't even imagine how hard this was to clean up. 

 

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This was what it looked like today.

 

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Areas off the main street climb upward!

 

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The colorful fishing boats just makes the villages so charming!   Too dangerous for them to be out so everyone had them tied in at the dock our anchored in the bay. 

 

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Time just keeps ticking so we were off to visit Corniglia next.

 

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Our ticket included a shuttle in Corniglia, as the village is a long walk up the  hill.  At this point, time wise, we were very grateful for that.  It happened to be there right when the train came in.  So up we went.  I don't know why, but I loved this village the most.  Maybe it was the Gelato I got there! 

 

This is the area the shuttle stops. 

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The view of the area off a deck at this area.

 

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We start to explore.

 

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I find a Gelato shop with the most chocolaty Vegan Gelato, and I have a LARGE please!!!  They were so wonderful they even gave me a coupon for a free one later which I passed on to someone as we were of course headed back to the ship.  I can just taste it now!!!  YUM!!! 

 

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After covering myself in chocolate, I likened it to when I eat mustard, that stuff gets everywhere!!!  We walked through the adorable village.  Narrow little walkways! 

 

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There was another balcony area to view this...

 

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Corniglia continued....

We just loved all the sites and sounds and seeing people just sharing bottles of wine and cheese plates together in this village!

The little church was beautiful!

 

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My husband loves to see all the unique doors that are on all these buildings.  Here is a selection of the many photos he took.

 

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Sadly, we only really looked at one side of Corniglia as time was not our friend.  We caught the shuttle back down and got onto the train.  We really did appreciate the wifi at each station included in our ticket! 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, floridaag said:

The Belforte Cliffside restaurant in Vernazza is amazing - the views are incredible

Reviewing all this makes me want to head back to here right now, what about you!!! 

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We had a decision to make at this point; one of us, me, who is a worry wart about missing the ship, felt like we could only see one more village.  It was between Manarola or Riomaggiore.  I chose Riomaggiore.  I have no idea what we missed in Manarola,

but I loved seeing Riomaggiore!

 

After the train, this is the tunnel walkway you go through.  It is filled with mosaic art. IMG_1944.thumb.jpg.f124d5740ecfdcf1df56fccd38986502.jpg

 

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Another decision, go left up to the village or go down to the waterfront area.  We are all about the water, so we chose that.

 

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28 minutes ago, ROWSE said:

Reviewing all this makes me want to head back to here right now, what about you!!! 

Most definitely.  

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The waterfront area of Riomaggiore was just breathtaking!

 

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Riomaggiore actually has a little beach area.

 

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Time was up, for my comfort level it was time to take our last train ride back to La Spezia, catch a cab, and head back to the ship.  Funny thing, we had the same driver that we did this morning.  Earlier, he was rather quiet on our ride to the train station, but I guess this made us old friends, and we had a wonderful conversation.  We boarded easily within our all aboard time.  Silly me, but I have ran to a cruise ship nearly missing it one other time while cruising with a dear friend, and it is NOT fun! 

 

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Doesn't look like you hit the Lover's Walk between Manarola or Riomaggiore - too bad but you covered an impressive amount of ground

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