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S: Our Mediterranean Voyage NOV/DEC 2010

FC: Our Mediterranean Voyage

1: Our Mediterranean Travel Itinerary Nov. 22: SFO - Barcelona Nov. 23: Cruise Ship Leaves Port Nov. 25: Day in Palermo, Sicily Nov. 27: Day in Athens, Greece Nov. 28: Day in Rhodes, Greece Nov. 30 - Dec. 1: Arrive in Alexandria, Egypt Travel by bus to Cairo; Tour Cairo and return to Alexandria Dec. 3: Day in Valletta, Malta Dec. 5: Return to Barcelona Dec. 7: Return home | 2010

2: La Pedrera, Barcelona | In 1988, I left Rome on a train bound for Barcelona. Due to a train strike and I never made it to Spain... until today!

3: La Pedrera is an apartment complex designed by the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi in the early 1900s.

4: Royal Caribbean | Brilliance of the Seas Our home away from home for 12 nights Nov. 23 - Dec. 5 | Our Travel Itinerary

5: Brilliance of the Seas | Sunset off the coast of Spain | BUCKET LIST In early February, I picked up a Royal Caribbean catalog to daydream about places that I have never been. When I got to the page with the 12-night Mediterranean cruise with stops in Greece, Spain and Egypt I knew this was the trip of a lifetime. Three destinations on the top of my "bucket list"! | Towel Sculptures

6: Palermo, Sicily | Monreale

7: Piazza della Cattedrale | Even though November 25th (Thanksgiving) is just an ordinary day for the Sicilians, we ended the day with a Thanksgiving feast on board the ship.

8: Athens, GREECE | Athenian Sunrise | View of Athens from the Acropolis | Areopagus Rock - We stood where Paul preached. | Temple of Hephaestus Since 449 B.C. | Athens National Library

9: University of Athens | Academy of Athens | Greek Guard (Evzones) | Greek Parliament Building | The Zappeion Conference Center

10: The Acropolis Imagine all the great thinkers who walked in this same spot for the past 2,500 years!


13: SINCE 447 B.C.

14: Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Zeus | Hadrian's Arch is a monumental marble gateway that spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens to the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Built around 130 A.D. | The Temple of Olympian Zeus, is a colossal ruined temple in the center of Athens that was dedicated to Zeus. Construction began in the 6th century B.C.

16: Rhodes, Greece

17: Rhodes is the fourth largest of more than 6,000 Greek islands. It is located in the Aegean Sea just 18 miles off the coast of Turkey. | Palace of the Grand Masters of the Knights


19: Street of the Knights | RHODES | RHODES | Street of the Knights

20: EGYPT | Our cruise excursion into Egypt was the highlight of our trip. We opted for the overnight stay in Cairo which gave us the opportunity to experience as much as possible in the short amount of time we had. We traveled by motor coach with the best tour guide ever! Our guide, Hany, was Obama's official tour guide when the president visited Egypt in 2009. He made the 2.5 hour bus ride to Cairo and the next two days entertaining and educational. We couldn't have asked for a better experience! | AMAZING! | HANY

21: Alexandria | Because we opted for two days in Cairo, we unfortunately didn't get any time to spend in Alexandria. The only part of Alexandria we got to see was the sights out of our window as the bus passed through the city on the way to Cairo.

22: Alabaster Mosque of Muhammad Ali | Muhammad Ali Pasha is regarded as the founder of Modern Egypt. The mosque was built within the Saladin Citadel from 1830 - 1848 in memory of Muhammad Ali's oldest son who died in 1816. The walls of the citadel were erected in the 1100s for protection from the Crusaders.

23: STEP PYRAMID OF DJOSER In Saqqara, the oldest of all Egyptian pyramids stands to this day. Built in the 27th century BC, this design would later influence the building of the smooth-sided pyramids of Giza. | FUNERARY COMPLEX OF DJOSER

24: Alabaster Sphinx MEMPHIS

25: Statue of Ramses II

26: Absolutely breathtaking!

28: Bucket List: A list of things you want to do before you die

29: #1 Ride a camel in the Sahara Desert...Check!

30: Camel ride to the pyramids $20 The best 20 bucks I ever spent! | The one thing our Cairo excursion did not include was a camel ride. Our guide Hany made special arrangements for all of us to ride camels to the Pyramids. Hany showed us the proper way to get on and off a camel.

34: Our tour package included the Pyramids Sound & Light Show on our first day in Cairo.

35: The Great Sphinx of Giza


38: St. John's Co-Cathedral MALTA

42: Great Siege Bell

43: Our Aussie Friends and Table Mates | Spencer and Bev David

44: Our Last Day at Sea

46: Montserrat, Spain | Montserrat ("Serrated Mountain") is a mountain range about one hour northwest of Barcelona. It is most famous for the Benedictine monastery and the Black Virgin, La Moreneta.

48: La Sagrada Familia | La Sagrada Familia is one of Gaudi's most famous works in Barcelona. It's a giant Basilica that has been under construction since 1882. The church was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2010, just one month before our visit.

53: Inside La Sagrada Familia

55: Park Guell Entrance Pavilions

57: The Gaudi Museum at Park Guell where Gaudi lived with his family from 1906 - 1926. | The famous colorful mosaic Serpentine bench may be the largest bench in the world.

58: La Boqueria is a large open market along the famous street, Las Ramblas.

59: We spent only 24 hours in Barcelona before embarking on our 12-night cruise. During that short visit, we fell in love with the city. I can't count how many times we talked about how excited we were to return to Barcelona before heading home. Several people told me that Barcelona was their favorite city in all of Europe. I found that very hard to believe. After spending a total of four days in Barcelona, I completely agree! I seldom have a desire to return to places I have already been to but I can't wait to return to Barcelona. It was well worth the 22-year wait!

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