Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Cruising the Adriatic

In my last post I talked about our cruise last year to the Norwegian Fjords and said I would nest cover our cruise to the Mediterranean. Again we set sail from Southampton, but this time we headed south to the Mediterranean, where our first port of call was the Island of Sicily, and the port of Messina, which is protected by the Madonna Della Lettera.
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Madonna Della Lettera
The Madonna della Lettera, or Golden Madonna, which protects the port of Messina, Sicily. The inscription translates as “We bless you and your city”. It is a quote from a letter the Virgin Mary sent to the population of Messina in the year 42. It was inscribed on the old fort San Salvatore which now serves as a plinth for the 60 metre tall octagonal column that carries the statue of the Madonna della Lettera.

While on Sicily we took a taxi to the picturesque town of Taormina, where we had this view of Mount Etna.
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Mount Etna.
Taormina is a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It sits near Mount Etna, an active volcano with trails leading to the summit. The town is known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-­Roman theater still used today. Other Roman ruins may be seen in the foreground.

After leaving Sicily, we sailed around the boot of Italy and up the Adriatic to the romantic city of Venice.

I first visited Venice well over 40 years ago and never tire of walking around there. I find the back streets (I should say the back canals) as interesting as the more popular tourist attractions and below I have shown typical examples of each.

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Washing Day
Washing Day in a back street canal in Venice

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Grand Canal
The Grand Canal in Venice as seen from the side of the Rialto Bridge. You can view more photos of Venice in my Italy Gallery.

Leaving Venice, we sailed down to the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. The 'Pearl of the Adriatic', situated on the Dalmatian coast, became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict, it is now the focus of a major restoration programme co-ordinated by UNESCO.

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Dubrovnik Old Town Port
Situated at eastern part of the Dubrovnik City. The walls of the old town can be seen behind the roof tops.
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Side Street
A typical side street, leading up from Stradum, the central street in Dubrovnik Old Town. 
More photos of Durbrovnik may be seen in my Croatia Gallery.

We completed our cruise by sailing to another Italian Island, this time Sardinia, where we docked in the island's capital, the city of Cagliari.
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Cagliari is known for the hilltop Castello, a medieval walled quarter situated high over the rest of the town. Architectural highlights include the 13th-century Cagliari Cathedral. Housed in a former arsenal, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Cagliari displays bronze objects, Roman ceramics and artifacts from the Nuragic age to the Byzantine era.

On leaving the Mediterranean we called at Gibraltar, and I could not resist including this image of Barbary Apes. Again you can see more photos from The Rock by visiting my Gibraltar Gallery.
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Barbary Macaque
Otherwise known as the Barbary Ape, they are the only wild monkeys in Europe, and unlike those of North Africa, they are thriving. At present, some 300 animals in five troops occupy the area of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. 

A popular belief is that as long as Gibraltar Barbary macaques exist on Gibraltar, the territory will remain under British rule. In 1942, after the population dwindled to just a handful of monkeys, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill ordered their numbers be replenished immediately from forest fragments in both Morocco and Algeria.

I hope that you have enjoyed this short tour around the Eastern Mediterranean and the Adriatic. Yo ucan see many more photos from Europe and Africa by clicking on the Galleries tag above.
As usual, my work is available to purchase as original  Wall Art, in a variety of formats from stretched canvas or framed prints, metal or acrylic prints,or simply as standard prints for you to mount in your favourite picture frame. They are also available as greeting cards or printed onto iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, throw pillows, duvet covers or tote bags. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

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