I’m fresh off a wonderful cruise experience with Azamara Club Cruises and while I have a lot to say about my time onboard, I first thought I’d share my first photo impressions of the amazing destinations we visited during the week. From Barcelona to Rome, this is a remarkable part of the world, but these moments were amongst my most favorite.
Our first port of call was the amazing Mallorca – my first time there but I hope not my last. Of the many highlights was a stop at the impressive circular castle on top of a mountain – the Bellver. Meaning “beautiful view”, I soon discovered that the ancient castle was well named as I enjoyed panoramic views of this stunning city.
I debated whether to share this image from Mallorca but for whatever reason it just really appeals to me and I hope you all like it too. I hesitated because this beautiful architecture and subtle Spanish design is in an arena where bull fights are held. I’m not going to defend the practice, I think it’s barbaric and I’m not going to romanticize it by quoting Hemingway or invoking images of the Paso Doble. No, I don’t approve but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist – it does and it is part of the cultural life in some areas of Spain and South America. When we travel we have to accept what we like and what we don’t like, that’s all just part of the experience. But if we can find quiet moments of beauty like this gorgeous hallway, then at least we will have walked from the experience with something positive.
While Corsica has been part of France for more than a couple of centuries, they’re simply the latest in a long line of rulers of this rocky island in the Mediterranean. Walking around Ajaccio on a perfect day, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the soft pastel colors of the buildings and the light sea breeze that seems to coat everything in a salty glaze. I stopped by the city’s daily market at first just to window shop, but I walked away with all the ingredients for a perfect picnic lunch. Sitting there looking out across the city, I couldn’t help but be in awe of being part of a long line of people who have admired this same coastline, starting well before the Greeks and continuing on to the travelers of the 21st century.
I can’t imagine a better port of call than the south of France and Monte Carlo was the perfect backdrop for the Azamara ship as we anchored just offshore. Since I’d never been to the French Riviera before I spent the day touring around visiting villages, Nice and of course Monte Carlo. It’s easy to see why this part of the world is called the Côte d’Azur, the Blue Coast. The sky and seas seem to meld into each other creating a landscape that can only be called perfect. And that was my day – perfection in every way and once again I was reminded of the magic that only travel can provide.
So many times when we see photos of iconic places around the world, we don’t see the whole picture, the context of the site. To help provide that background I thought I’d share a photo of the entire Miracle Square in Pisa and not just the oh so famous Leaning Tower (all the way on the right). Not only is the square beautiful, but all of the buildings are important – the Cathedral, the Baptistry and of course the Tower. It signaled the power and wealth of Pisa and the lands it controlled, it was a statement piece and while many folks know the city today only because of the faulty tower, the city’s long history is important to learn.