Thursday, May 26, 2011

Catching Up

We're in Livorno, and I'm sitting in the Panorama Lounge, up on deck eight. This is at the rear of the ship and has large windows giving views on three sides.

I won't burden you with the outside views as Livorno is an industrial port, with containers, ferries and ship repair facilities. It's not what you would call pretty, but it's the nearest port to Florence, Pisa and Tuscany in general. We're staying on board, because although Florence is a lovely city, it's also a two hour bus ride away.

But we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. We spent the first half of yesterday at sea, en route to Ajaccio, the principal city of Corsica. The morning was misty, so the Veranda view shows less than usual.

The mist cleared as we reached port, then caught up with us as we docked. We were between two enormous ferries, the one on the left, being in Corsica, had the only name possible.

The other, with a refreshing originality, was called the “Mega Express”.

This is the Captain, on the left, as we docked.

We found Ajaccio to be the usual tourist trap, with the usual gift shops (no, we didn't buy anything this time). It was also a bit scruffy, in that southern French way. I suppose you could call it local colour. Sometimes I'm glad we take these cruises for the experience and not the destinations. Still, tomorrow is Portofino which promises to be much better. Last night for example was about as good as it gets. We were in the restaurant and the sun was setting. There was a slight mist on the horizon, which gave the sky a sort of pinkish hue, which in turn made the sea a very very light blue with splashes of gold, punctuated by dolphins leaping out of the water right beside the windows.

As you might expect, the food has been as good as ever. We've dined on venison, wild boar and sea bass, but we gave the frogs legs and the eels a miss last night. For the rally adventurous (and rich) there is a premium dining experience which provides seven or eight courses, which a vintage wine matched to each. Yours for $200. The venison and wild board etc. is good enough for us.

So today we are in Livorno, and on getting up and looking out of the veranda we found a water tender alongside. Not sure if we are taking on fresh water, or unloading waste, or both. Just as long as they don't get the hoses mixed up ..

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