Eastern Mediterranean - GREECE, MALTA, CYPRUS, ITALY
16.01.2017 12 °C
SATURDAY 7 JANUARY 2017 - On board the MSC MAGNIFICA
SUNDAY 8 JANUARY - GENOA
Genoa, the capital of Liguria is located in the Gulf of Genoa in front of the Ligurian Sea and is the sixth largest city in Italy with a population of 588,688 within its administrative limits on a land area of 243.6 km2. The urban area of Genoa, coinciding with its metropolitan city, has a population of 862,885. Over 1.5 million people live in a wider metropolitan area that stretches all along the Riviera. Genoa is one of Europe's largest cities on the Mediterranean Sea and the largest seaport in Italy. Genoa is set in a mountainous area with large elevation changes in its urban area.
TUESDAY 9 JANUARY - VALETTA, MALTA
Malta officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy, 284 km east of Tunisia,and 333 km north of Libya. The country covers just over 316 km2, with a population of just under 450,000,making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union. Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.
Malta's location has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French and British, have ruled the islands.
King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the George Cross to Malta in 1942 for the country's bravery in the Second World War. The George Cross continues to appear on Malta's national flag. Under the Malta Independence Act, passed by the British Parliament in 1964, Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom as an independent sovereign Commonwealth realm, officially known from 1964 to 1974 as the State of Malta, with Elizabeth II as its head of state. The country became a republic in 1974, and although no longer a Commonwealth realm, remains a current member state of the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004; in 2008, it became part of the Eurozone.
Malta has a long Christian legacy and its Archdiocese of Malta is claimed to be an apostolic see because, according to tradition dating to around the 12th century and the Acts of the Apostles as interpreted by the faithful, St Paul was shipwrecked on Malta. Catholicism is the official religion in Malta.
The old fashioned and the new fashioned - old telephone box and electric cabs.
Napoleon stayed here. The current Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Tradition - the firing of the cannon at Noon.
WEDNESDAY 11 JANUARY - At Sea Rough conditions so we could not dock at Kolokoton.
THURSDAY 12 JANUARY - Piraeus and ATHENS
Piraeus is a port city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens urban area, 12 kilometres southwest from its city center (municipality of Athens), and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf.
Piraeus has a long recorded history, dating to ancient Greece. The city was largely developed in the early 5th century BC, when it was selected to serve as the port city of classical Athens and was transformed into a prototype harbour, concentrating all the import and transit trade of Athens. During the Golden Age of Athens the Long Walls were constructed to connect Athens with Piraeus. Consequently, it became the chief harbour of ancient Greece, but declined gradually after the 4th century AD, growing once more in the 19th century, especially after Athens' declaration as the capital of Greece. In the modern era, Piraeus is a large city, bustling with activity and an integral part of Athens, acting as home to the country's biggest harbour and bearing all the characteristics of a huge marine and commercial-industrial centre.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years, and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennia BC.Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus, which had been a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC incorporation with Athens. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, and in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, maritime, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2015, Athens was ranked the world's 29th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study.
Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Zeus
The Acropolis with views of the Parthenon. THe Acropolis can be seen from many vantage points around Athens.
Parliament House and the guards in traditional uniform.
Street scenes with many yellow cabs and lots of traffic.
FRIDAY 13 JANUARY - At sea between Piraeus and Limassol, Cyprus
A beautiful day where we were able to sit out on the balcony. We still needed to wear a coat. Colleen took these pictures of sunset and a n island we slipped past through the day.
SATURDAY 14 JANUARY - LIMASSOL, CYPRUS
Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey. After Sicily and Sardinia, Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Although the island is geographically in Asia it is politically a European country and is a member of the European Union.
The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern part of the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. The island (and capital city Nicosia) is divided with Turkey to the north. Known for beaches, it also has a rugged interior with wine regions. Coastal Paphos is famed for its archaeological sites relating to the cult of Aphrodite, including ruins of palaces, tombs and mosaic-tiled villas.
14 degrees Celsius today. Limassol has a beautiful promenade and many fishing boats.
We walked through the Old Town Centre.
The 11th Century Medieval Castle was the Sed in 1191 for the marriage to f Richard the Lionhearted and Berengaria the f Navarre.
The Cathedral in Limassol and dancing in the square.
SUNDAY 15 JANUARY - RHODES, GREECE
Rhodes is only 19 kms off the Turkish Coast, it is the main island of the Dodecanese, which literally means "12 islands" in Greek. Rhodes is the name of the main town as well as the Island and actually consists of three different cities: Ancient, Medieval and Modern.
The main tourist attraction in Rhodes' fabulous walled old town, Europe's largest inhabited medieval city. The history of Rhodes' Old Town is fascinating. Divided into three sectors - the Knights', the Turkish and Jewish - it contains the island's entire chequers history.
Enter via St Catherine's Gate and head right to discover the Avenue of the Knights, a magnificent medieval thoroughfare which houses the immense 14th-century Palace of the Grand Masters. This was partially destroyed by a gunpowder explosion in 1856 and reconstructed in Grand style by the Italians. It is now a Museum, containing fine antique furniture, sculptures and mosaics.
The Street of the Knights and the Grand Master's Palace.
It was thirsty work walking down the Street of Knights where Knights from various countries had their own houses along this street from the 5th Century AD.
MONDAY - 16 JANUARY - HERAKLION - The Minoan Palace of Knossos and the fabled Labyrinth f the Minotaur. These ruins are 3700 years old.
Heraklion is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete. It is the fourth largest city in Greece.
We had a little light rain today.
All in all, there are s not much happening.
We have another 40 hours from Hareaklion to Civittavecha, the port for Rome. So, I will post this blog now and then the second part of Rome next Saturday before we fly to Malaga, Andaluca, Spain.