Published: May 27th 2012
May 27th 2012
CARNEVALE DI VENEZIA
The masks of Carnival
We have never been to Montenegro before and were we ever in for a surprise. Kotor is the port we were headed to but before reaching this ancient city, we got to traverse the most southerly fjord in Europe right as the sun was cresting over the tall peaks. Because these towering limestone cliffs weren’t carved out by glaciers, it isn’t technically a fjord, but it is as dramatically beautiful as any of the landmark Norwegian or Chilean fjords. It took several hours to cruise up the deep river canyon to Kotor and what we found when we got there was a gorgeous Medieval walled town which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first thing I noticed from our anchorage was the ancient wall climbing straight up the mountain for several miles. It resembles a more famous wall, that great one in China.
We took the tender to shore and went right to the local market located along the ramparts of the city wall. The architecture reflects the Venetian influence in this lovely corner of the world. We explored the town on foot and were quite grateful that unlike many of the narrow, cobblestoned villages we had recently
THE FAUX FJORD
been to, Kotor does not allow cars and, more importantly, motorbikes inside its walls. It felt like we had stepped back in time in this charming enclave.
For the sail-away that night we got a table outside on the Veranda and were joined by Tish and Dan and Gudrun and we all enjoyed the cruise back down the fjord out to sea.
Our next stop was at another piece of the former Yugoslavia. Dubrovnik is one of the most famous destinations on the Adriatic both for its beauty and its prominence in maritime trade. Although the city suffered extensive damage from shelling during the Serb-Croatian war in the 1990s, it has since recovered and repaired itself and is now a full-fledged tourist spot. It happened to be a long holiday weekend, so the town was bursting at the seams with visitors. We enjoyed our visit and covered practically every narrow alley in town. The Voyager docked several miles out of town and shared the pier with two yachts of the Sultan of Oman. Qaboos bin Said al Said always travels with his main yacht which is the third largest in the world and his supply yacht which carries
Neri at the tender helm
his many Mercedes Benz cars all painted different colors. It is amazing what a little oil can do for a Sultan.
We had a nice dinner with Willie Aames, the Cruise Director. Willie was a child star on “Eight is Enough” and several other shows. He has gone through some rough times and is now thoroughly enjoying his new job on board the Voyager. He is very talented and is seen everywhere on the ship, always out and about meeting guests and checking to make sure everything in his department is running smoothly. Willie is also very funny.
Ancona, Italy is a busy seaport filled with container ships and ferries. Since it was May Day, a very important workers’ festival in Europe, the city was on holiday. We hiked from the port to the top of the city which is several miles. The street was lined with artists and food stalls the whole way. There were also a few hardware and shoe booths intermixed. Because of its strategic port, Ancona was heavily bombed during the war and basically leveled. Only a few of the remaining churches reflect some of the history of this important town.
many names: The Floating City, City of Bridges, Queen of the Adriatic and La Serenissima. The last title means very serene and that is what I think of when I picture this canal city. In spite of the large number of tourists who want to love this city to death, it is still one of the most bewitching and enchanting places in the world and definitely one of our favorites.
We cruised up the Giudecca Canal just as the sun was rising over a sleeping Venice. There were a few ferry boats out as we passed San Marco. Regent had hired some ferries to transport us from the dock area to the heart of Venice. There was no time to waste since we just had one day to enjoy the sights and sounds of Venice. We decided to take a gondola ride as that is the best way to explore the small canals and the back streets. We joined up with Rick and Shirley and were fortunate to have a guitarist and singer on our gondola to serenade us as we made our way around Venice. Since it was Shirley’s special day, we all joined in a round of
Cruising on the Gulf of Kotor
“Happy Birthday” along with a few Italian favorites like “O Sole Mio,” and a rousing rendition of “Volare.” Many of the tourists lining the canals applauded the musical show.
We walked around Venice just soaking up the atmosphere, visited a museum which featured pictures of Venice done in a Sumi-e style which is the traditional Chinese brush stroke art form. After a visit to St Mark’s Square and a nice lunch we headed back to the Voyager for the last time to finish packing, have a birthday celebration for Shirley in their Master suite and get ready for our long flight back to the U.S.
We left home in November and here it was May already, so it seemed about right to be winging west to San Francisco. We thoroughly enjoyed this whole trip starting with our cross-country drive and visiting five continents via two beautiful ships and our sojourn in Turkey was frosting on the cake. A most memorable adventure and one that we will savor for a long time to come.
There are more photos below