Monthly Archives: October 2016

Florence Italy, What a Day – Day 0.5

the gang (jpeg)

I woke up this mornig in yet another port city in Italy. Livorino. I laid there for a bit and realized that this was just a jumping point.port france (jpeg) The place to pick up a bus and head 45 minutes to Pisa to visit the Leaning Tower. That was the plan and a good plan it was.

So we got up early and waited for the ship to get everyone off for their tours and waited for the announcement that they were offering a deal for transportation to  Pisa. They seem to do that when they get all the $180.00 per person people off the boat and then offer a deal for those of us that are left. Today’s was a trip to Pisa for $27.00 round trip. Sold. We finished our coffee and headed to the dock to get our tickets. The adventure had begun.

We go our tickets and waited for the last 11:30 a.m. bus and jumped aboard. We took a seat and off we went. Out of the port and across the countryside seeing the fields and landscape of the area. Once in Pisa, we pulled up to a transportation area and were told to be back so the bus could leave at 2:30 p.m.

street (jpeg)

We looked around for the shuttle bus to take us to where the tower was a short 5 minute ride. Once off the shuttle bus, we were bombarded with street venders with umbrellas, purses, sunglasses, ponchos, toys, jewelry, watches, ALL brand name. Yea right. I mean Rolex watches for 25 euro. Now that’s a good deal. Rows and rows of booths and most of the vendors were from Senegal. Very aggressive. Wow. I loved their style. They would hand you an item and then step back and you couldn’t hand it back to them. They would just start haggling the price and pull their hands back. You finally had to poke it at them or put it under their arm. I learned so much.

We walked the street and enjoyed the excitement of the open market.performers (jpeg)Very cool. There was even a couple of street performers performing an illusion that I’d heard about, but never seen. Yep, my money hit their can.

We turned a corner and looked through an arch in a great wall. There it was. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. What a view along side of the other buildings and museum such a site. History. Right there in front of you. All my history memories were coming to life, not just visually, but the energies I’ve experienced will only be mine. All I can do to share them is shoot a few photos and write a few words. 

arch (jpeg)

The rest of the magic just boils inside of me. It feels great. No regrets. In fact I’ve often said, “If not now, when?” I would recommend everyone to say that to themselves when a decision is looming in their world. Never miss a chance to live.

So after our stay, we were back in the crowd and moving in the direction of the shuttle to go back to the bus to go back to the ship’s port. Another few hours of life packed full of Love, Joy and Experienes that will enhance my life forever.

plaza (jpeg)

We made it back to the Vista. Safe and sound with a couple of trinkets and memories.

Tomorrow Marseilles, France.

capt. paul (jpeg)

Capt. Paul

tower (jpeg)

Really? Rome… Really? – Day 0.4

the gang (jpeg)

Really? After all the pictures I’ve seen, All the posts I’ve read? Maybe all the stories I’ve been told or even the facts as they are? All of the information that I’ve been given over the course of 65 years, could it all be wrong?Did I misunderstand the information? Did I forget to do recent research on the country that I’m visiting? I don’t think so. I mean, yes, people have come over here and then come home to the USA and told me stories, but, maybe, just maybe, they didn’t tell me the truth, or maybe I was not even understanding what they were saying. Where did the communication get mixed up? Why did I not know the consequences of being overwhelmed and ill prepared.

Okay, I’m going with that. I’m an idiot and I didnt’ know what the hell I was doing. Not a clue.

How was I supposed to know that when we jumped on a bus and took the 1.5 hour trip from the cruise ship port to Rome that what was there was not a town that had an ancient monument. It was a town that was history itself. I think this is where time started here on earth. I think it is a place that is the hub of civilization.

Not just a monument here. Oh no, a city of monuments. Of history. Of crazy, old stuff that means a lot to us all. All protected and on display with pride. Not just for a money making endeavor, It’s here and enjoyed by every walk of life, worldwide. We are all here with our mouth open, in awe at what our ansisters acomplished thousands of years ago.

The cool thing is that there can be a 1500 year old building right between to 50 year old buildings and it blends right in. These guys know how to build things that stay together. In America, we are preserving 250 year old structures very carefully, but we also just blow up old, 50 year old, buildings and build another one that will only be there for another 50 years or so. Look at Vegas. If a building needs a facelift, they blown it up and start from scratch. Interesting.

But here in Europe, it smacked me up the side of the head that they know how to construct a structure that will last the test of time. It is truly amazing.

We jumped on a Hop on Hop Off Bus today. It was raining and cool and we wern’t dressed for it, so on an open air, covered, double decker, we cruised around the city. They gave us headphones and a choice of languages to listen to the stories of the city of Rome. Even their new buildings, 150 to 200 years old, looked like they are going to last just as long as the old ones. The streets were like driving around in L.A. Two to four lanes, bumper to bumper with drivers that really know how to drive. They scare me, but it was a ride I won’t forget.

I shot a lot of photos of the Coliseum. That structure is pretty remarkable as well as are all the other structures, fountains, streets, chruches and stores. Watching the people of Rome was interesting too. From my perspective, it was like they live in Disney, but it’s all real. School kids are the same as we have here. Business men and women busteling about, just life as usual.

I loved the stores and we found a great restaurant that put up with our lack of Italian speech. We all made it because they had enough English to help us out. Great food and wonderful people. The store we found was very nice. Cheeses and wine and real food abounds.

So it was a great day for us. More to ponder these photos are a choice of about 75 that I shot. It’s hard to show what really goes on in our day, but at least you can see a few snapshots here.

Tomorrow, Florence…

Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up and leave your comments below. I’ll be in touch.

capt. paul (jpeg)

Capt. Paul

(Don’t forget, there are no phones injured during the shooting of all these pictures. Yep, hanging over bridges, out of windows of moving vehicles, over water, off balconies, poking through holes in ancient wonders. All thanks to CellGrasp. This is the device that your phone provider does not want you to know about. They want your phone to break. They want it to fall out of your hand. They want you to buy a new phone or spend hundreads getting it fixed. Check it out at Your going to love it. Shipping after November 5, 2016.)

Good Morning Naples… Day 0.3

It s been a ride. The ports are coming fast. Day after day. I knew our itinerary, but I didn’t realize the speed of how fast things were going to be coming. 

Every moment that I have, every turn I make I see new and remarkable things. That’s why I’m writing them down so that I can look back and see what I’ve done. Other wise, I’d be sitting here next week saying, “What did I do last week and could not put it in perspective.

So many beautiful things that I couldn’t ever imagine in my wildest dreams. People that I didn’t even know existed. New friends that I’ve collected. New energies that I’ll be able to ponder. Sights, sounds, smells and feelings. Magic! That’s all I can say, is that this is truly a trip of a lifetime. Thank you Pat for putting this together and making it happen. I’m such a better person for this experience. Well maybe not the better person thing. I think I’ll be the same old guy, but I’ll have a load of new thoughts that I’ll have to deal with that’s for sure.

We took a tour with a great guy named John. A GREAT driver. I mean if he didn’t have those electric mirrors, there would not be any mirrors left on the car at all. The roads across the mountains, with all the switchbacks and such with busses and trucks. Oh my. But not a scratch.

We were off to the Amalfi Coast. Three stops along the way and beautiful scenery, towns and of course churches.

We stopped for lunch and hit a fruit stand along the coast too. The roads hung on the cliffs and Iva kept spinning her head saying “Oh my God.” She seems to be okay going down hills, but not up. She did just fine. I’m very proud of her.

The coast? Well the pictures will never do justice to what my brain was seeing, but here are a few just to give you the jist of what our day was like. We are so blessed to experience this part of the World. But in truth, it boils down to the people that live here. They are the ones that have made up most of our experiences. The general public. What they share with us can not be put into words. That’s why I’m putting it here.

In my own life that I live, I have always connected pretty well with people, but now that awareness has been taken to the next level. This is what this trip is doing for me. New priorities, also new meanings and understandings of Gratefulness and Thankfulness. What a gas. Just when I thought I had everything all figured out, the game moves to another level. How cool is this. Unlimited lives. The game continues.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to ramble. Also keepin mind, I shoot about 50 plus photos on reach little trip we take each day. At this time of night, I have to choose about five or six to post here. So the snapshots are really just that. I’d love post them all, but that’s not going to happen, maybe I’ll do a slide show in the future and slap on an Italian soundtrack and then you’ll see them all. Maybe, just maybe.

Well I’ve got to get going. Take very special care of each other and don’t miss a turn in life. Every moment needs to be cherished. Every person you meet and know needs to be focused on and accepted as one of your master teachers. Even if it’s only for a couple of seconds. Also take your alone time so you can reflect, plan and smile at yourself, your World and everything in it. It’s a good life. Be aware of your lessons and cherish them. Share them. Use them and Thank YOU for being a part of my Life. A part of what I am. We are all great together…

Later. Rome tomorrow.

capt. paul (jpeg)

Capt. Paul

Wonders Are Everywhere, Sicily – Day 0.2

What a way to wake up. Looking at the coast of Sicily moving slowly across your window at sunrise. Pulling into the port and docking at a heck of a long dock.bp & P (jpeg) Of course this is one heck of a long ship. Carnival Vista. She’s a big one. Today, we get to explore the island of Sicily, right at the toe of Italy. I just have this feeling that we are going to have a great day.

coast (jpeg)

I’ve looked at the books. I’ve looked at the photos. Neither of which has prepared me for what I was going to experience today. Once we were up and docked, we cleaned up and headed down early to catch up with our driver that was going to take us up into the mountains to see very magical places where only dreams could be invisioned.

We docked in the port of Messina and found our driver Giovanna Fasano. The car was small and we started off not knowing if we were going to like what we were doing. But within the first half hour, things started to smooth out and we became comfortable with the cramped space, mostly because Giovanna was one amazing person. She was strong, but one of the most likable ladies we’ve met on this trip.

view (jpeg)

We learned something about Iva on this trip. She is afraid of heights. Who knew? So once we knew that, we slowed Giovanna down and gave Iva some Rescue Remedy and we all became friends again. We were on roads with switchbacks and very narrow curves as our driver weaved her way half way to heaven. A very beautiful ride.

Our first stop was Castelmole a very beautiful place with views of the coast line from a couple thousand feet up and buildings and a short walk up to the Castle which was only a wall at this point, but still standing after a couple thousand years. Amazing to say the least.

lady (jpeg)

The gardens were wonderful and we had time to connect with each other and learn about who each other were and what our thoughts of things are. It was a special time of connection. We made a plan. We would drive slowly down to Taormina and have walk through the town, have lunch and top it off with ice cream and then head back to the ship.

Off we went back down the roads and curves, missed all the oncoming traffic and busses and dropped in altitude. Once at Taormina, Giovanna dropped us off and she went to park the car. After that she met up with us to walk the streets and allies. So much history. We were walking through the centuries. Really unbelievable times we experienced through our guides words and stories. It blew me away.

She asked us where we wanted to eat. We asked for a suggestion. She said she knew of a place that is run by family and not very expensive, great food and not what we would get any where else, so we were all over that. It was a great place. We shared our dishes and everything was great.

After lunch, we went and found a place that had ice cream, gelato and beautiful deserts. We topped off the walk with some sugar and Giovanna went for the car and we headed back down the mountain to the port. We gave hugs and went our separate ways, all knowing that we all were better for this experience. It was one heck of a day.

Back on the ship, we headed to our rooms and took care some business and napped a bit. It was a very peaceful feeling to know that we got a taste of the Island of (jpeg)As we left the port, the sun was dropping. We watched as the night became dark and then… The full moon came out. What a topper to the day…

Tomorrow, Naples.

capt. paul (jpeg)

Capt. Paul

http://www.CellGrasp.commoon rise (jpeg)

Malta, I Heard About This Place, But… – Day 0.1

At 5:30 a.m. a full ship alarm went off and the captains voice blasted us in our room, “All personal, code Alpha Charlie on the starboard side.”Vista (jpeg) That was it. About a half hour later, he came on again and said everything was fine. We’ll never know what that meant, but we were up and ready for the day.

Someone told Pat to be sure and watch as we enter Malta by sea. Sure. I get it. Cool port and such, BUT! It was more than I ever expected.Malta Port (jpeg) As we got within a mile of the mouth of the port, I noticed that I’d better get out the camera. I was glad I did. What an amazing sight. Words can’t explaine it, so I’ll just post a couple of photos. I’ve seen some pretty cool ports coming in by boat, but I really never knew the feeling of “Breath Taking” until we came into Malta.

All the limestone walls, buildings and towers really did take my breath away. In fact, my daughter Nadine shot me a note on WhatsApp as we were experiencing this and as everyone knows, our relationship has grown amazingly in the last few months. If I get a note, I answer. If I get a call, I pick it up. I would never hesitate to get right back to her, but I found myself texting back saying, “Just coming into Malta. I’ll get back to you soon.” But ended up sending her photos of what I was seeing and then called her on the spot just to say WOW!

pat boat (jpeg)

I knew that today was going to be something special. Magic was happening. So up to the Lido Deck to grab a bit of breakfast and then off the ship with Pat, Pete and Iva. We had a driver waiting for us to show us around her homeland. We looked for the sign for Patricia West and there it was. A nice car, guide and driver ready to take us around the Island of Malta.

After introducing ourselves and getting loaded in, we headed away from the port and kicked back listened as we learned about the history of Malta and details about all the great things we were seeing. Always more information than we could ever digest, but like watching a documentary unfolding right before our eyes. What a wealth of information.

malta street (jpeg)

We pulled over at the fishing village. Lots of very cool boats. Fisherman were coming and going and working on their stuff. Pretty much like any marina in the world. Boats love to be worked on. It was Saturday. It was explained to us that most people work Monday through Friday and then spend Saturday and Sunday with the family. Going to the beaches and parks, playing together and connecting with real family time. On Saturday they may open businesses for short hours, but almost all businesses are closed on Sundays. I like the sound of that.

We enjoyed the fishing village, bought some real fig cookies and other treats and a couple of trinkets. They were just setting up a bizarre with booths that had a lot of hand crafts and bake goods. Jackpot! We fount a Costa Coffee Shop. We found these guys in London and fell in love with their coffee. So another treat was here too.

window garden (jpeg)
After we left there, we headed to the inside of yet another walled city. We were taken for a walk and were shown the buildings and VERY small streets with houses and window gardens. Beautiful views of the bays and marinas as well as stairs, angled sidewalks shops and churches. We were told that they have 400 Roman Catholic Churhes on this island. One for each day of the year the guide said.

Once back on the road, we were off to the Blue Grotto. This was over on the coast that was a rock formation with beautiful caves and blue water. We had planned to take a boat ride to the caves, but weather conditions (wind direction and strength) were not on our side, so we shot some photos from the cliffs and trail and we’ll have to come back to do the boat adventure.

blue grotto (jpeg)

Now off to an area of historical beauty. Like we haven’t seen any of that so far. The time of day was getting to the point we were catching up with tour busses, so traffic was getting pretty crazy. They drive British style here. On the wrong side of the road than us in America. So when the driver pulled out, my butt tightened up much more than it has in a very long time. I’ll have sore mussels in the morning. But he was a great driver and hit nothing all day long. I’m not sure how he missed stuff, but he missed it all.

He dropped us off, with our guide, and we walked the complex of shops, hotels, private homes, an amazing church, and historical buildings along side of modern ones. Of course the modern ones were 50 to 75 years old. In America, we would have blown them up and built something else, but they call it the modern buildings and they are built just like the ancient ones, so they will be here for hundreds or even thousands of years. What a concept.

the crew (jpeg)

At this point, it was time to head back to where we started. Our 4.5 hour tour was coming to an end. Time to head to the ship. Once aboard, we had a bite to eat and headed to the room to relax and get ready for the evening. We had a cocktail party to go to at 5 to 6:30 then Pat and I had some sushi, walked the decks, listened to some music and checked out some places aboard that we haven’t seen yet then back to the room. What a day.

Tomorrow, we are going to be in Italy. We’re moving fast at this point of the cruise.

capt paul (jpeg)

Capt. Paul

church (jpeg)

Oh, Oh… I Took a Real Day Off – Day 0

Today was a sea day. We left Rhodes Greece last evening and have been scooting across the Mediterranean Sea for 30 plus hours now heading to Malta. We’ll be in tomorrow morning.

dive in movie (jpeg)

As for this Day 0, it’s been a real kick back day. We got up late. Took our time pulling it together and the only thing on our schedule was a lunch party with the captain and crew. They do a special lunch for people that have a Diamond card. Pat has one and she checked and could take me along…

So off to lunch at noon and spent a couple of hours mingling and enjoying a very special lunch of pumpkin soup, grilled Main lobster and other specialty goodies that I can’t pronounce. It was a great date with my wife. Yep, that’s Pat with the other guy, the captain of the Vista. I hope he’s not the one that blasted the marina a few weeks ago. 

Pat & Capt (jpeg)

After lunch, she went to the casino and I went to the room to get our laundry together for pick up. I played my ukulele and took a couple of naps. Pat came home and joined me. She surfed the web and took care of business and I napped off and on.

After one of them I noticed it was getting dark, so I got ready for dinner and after dinner, came home and thought I’d blog my day. This is it.

Tomorrow is Malta. We have an early tour at 9:00 a.m. for a pick up and then we’re off for a 4.5 hour tour around the city and the beachs, caves and blue water. I’m excited.

capt paul (jpeg)

Capt. Paul

Love Abounds in Rhodes Greece – Day 0.1

Man-o-man, did I get a great nights sleep last night. The seas were calm and the winds were comfy, so the waves were small which means the ship was just slipping along a beautiful sea.Rhodes dock (jpeg) When I awoke this morning, the ship was in port, tied up and disembarking. How cool was that. Well, I thought it was great, and it was all up from there.

Rhodes… I opened up the curtains in our cabin and Pat was on the balcony sippin’ coffee. I went out and the weather was like a great day in April back home. Warm, a touch of humidity and puffy white clouds. Just out side the ship was the end of one of the walls of the city. This is the Walled City of Rhodes Greece. We could see the wall across the bay and in side was the bustle of the old city with ancient towers, sculptures and arches.

 crew (jpeg)
wall (jpeg)So after breakfast, we headed out to find a cab to take us around a bit. We found one that had an hour tour and then drop us off at the top of the city and we could walk back to the ship through the city. Perfect. If you ever get here, look up Nikos Platis with or call 0030 6932231480. You’ll like the guy and he is loaded with all the historic facts you’ll need to know to get you around this beautiful place.

The water is beautiful. It really makes me wonder how all these other countries that we visit keep their coastlines so pristine. Maybe they they don’t work that hard at it.Med Sea (jpeg) Maybe they let nature be nature and take care of itself and then maybe, just maybe, they just don’t fight the laws of nature and don’t throw a bunch of crap in it and try to change how nature works. What an interesting concept. Just do nothing to change the way the Earth works, work with it, enjoy it and it will protect itself. What a great idea. Just don’t do anything and make it better. Of course that means, “Don’t do anything.” That includes putting poison or any contamination in the water, no waste, nothing. Just let it do what it has done so well since the beginning of time. Don’t change the way water flows. Don’t dredge and change the bottom contours. If you don’t have a natural place that has depth for boats, that translates into: “If you don’t have a natural place that has depth for boats, work with what nature gives you. Period… (Okay, I get it. I’ll step off my milk crate and put it away. But seeing the beautiful waters around the world, just makes me wonder why… Okay. I’ll stop, for now.)

iva (jpeg)

So we piled into the cab and off we went, learning as we rode. We stopped at a beautiful church at the edge of the port. Around the island, along the coast and past the beachs. It was an enlightening ride. We were taken to the top of the hill to get a good pano of the area and then dropped off at the ruins and the ancient theater.

After that walk, we were taken to an entrance to the Walled City. We left our new friend Niko and began the walk through he city. But, we had to pee. After walking for a bit through the wall, we found some restrooms. We had to put coins in to open the doors. We had no change. Dang. So we walked to the first restaurant and decided to sit for a bit and buy a drink and use their free restroom. (Family Taverna – Mama Mika) That was the plan. So we used the restroom and had a great lunch too. I mean a great lunch. I didnt’ order anything but a cold coffee, but I had bites from everyone else. Iva was the winner. We all ate well and Iva took a bag back too… She knows how to order.

wall 2 (jpeg)

After walking a mile or so of the street, loaded with shops, we came to the exit to the port and just a quarter mile more to the ship. An incredible day in port. We sat on the the sea wall for a while just watching the water, boats coming and going and swimmers in the sea. I could have sat there for a long, long time.

gate (jpeg)

Back on the ship, we kicked back on our balcony. I nodded out a few times in the sun and then gave up and went to lay down and watch the tv. Nope, I napped for a bit.

We headed out to sea again a t 7:00 p.m. and are heading to Malta. But it will take us two days to get there. Tomorrow a glorious day at sea. So guess what, that’s right, it will be Day 0 tomorrow. Now you’re catching on. (Ref: Earlier blog, The Partly Brothers Calendar.)

Laundry day tomorrow…

capt. paul (jpeg)

Capt. Paul

dolphins (jpeg)