Cruise

We spent a week on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea, from Malta to Sicily to Greece.

Thus concludes our cruise of the Mediterranean from Malta to Sicily and on to Greece and Athens.    We were incredibly lucky with the weather – blue-sky sunshine every day, unusually warm for October, and perfectly calm seas. On board our ship Le Bougainville, which is only five months old, the staff was friendly, the accommodations comfortable, and the food fabulous.  (French chef; need I say more?)

The highlight of our time on-board, though, was a series of lectures and panel discussions on the topic of “World Affairs”, organized by Washington & Lee University’s office of lifelong learning.  (Although we were part of the W&L group, we comprised only half of the passengers; they were also welcome at the events.)   The speakers included Fareed Zakaria from CNN, John McLaughlin retired from CIA, Daniel Mendelsohn from Bard College, and Provost Marc Conner from Washington & Lee.  Every lecture and panel was a fascinating reflection on world affairs from the time of the ancient Greeks and Persians to the dramatic news of this week (notably, involving Washington, Ukraine, and Syria).

See the photo gallery for a few photos of the ship, the gallery of “favorite photos” for the entire cruise, and the blog posting from each stop on our cruise:

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Taormina

We anchored in the bay of Naxos as the first rays of the sun struck the steam billowing from the craters of Mount Etna.

I rose early to watch the sunrise over the Mediterranean sea, sitting with my tea and pastries in the café at the rear of the ship as it cruised slowly into the port of Naxos, Sicily.  The sky was totally clear and the wind completely calm.  As the day brightened and the lights from seaside Sicily towns faded, Le Bougainville dropped its anchor in the harbor, where Mount Etna dominates the surrounding hilly landscape.  When the sun finally rose above the sea behind us, its first rays illuminated the cratered peaks of Etna’s 10,912’ mountain summit – and the steam clouds emanating from its five active craters.  Read on, and check out the photo gallery.2019-10-13-73192.jpg

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Siracusa

A quick visit to the ancient Greek city of Siracusa (Syracuse) in Sicily.

After a calm overnight cruise from Malta to Sicily, we arrived just before sunrise in the port of Catania, with the aim of spending the morning visiting Siracusa (Syracuse), the modern capital city of Sicily and the site of ancient Greek and Roman cities.  It was colonized by Greeks in 734 BC, and “for some time stood as the most powerful Greek city anywhere in the Mediterranean.” Read on and check out the photo gallery.

2019-10-12-73183.jpg Continue reading “Siracusa”