Portoferraio Elba

Our cruise ship, The Azamara Pursuit was a small luxury cruise liner. Because of that we could visit smaller ports that can’t be reached by the large cruise ships.

hen The Pursuit docked in Portoferraio it was the largest ship in the harbor and the only cruise liner there on that day. This made our stay on Elba more enjoyable. Portoferraio is one of the most beautiful natural harbors I have ever seen. The mountainous island has an interesting history dating back to the Etruscans. The town of Portoferraio is beautiful and filled with shops, cafe’s and beautiful beaches.

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Portoferraio

Portoferraio

Portoferraio

Porto Azzurro Elba

On our cruise we were excited to visit Elba. It is of course the famous place of exile for Napoleon and we were excited to see Napoleon’s residence. To be honest I was glad we took the tour but Napoleon’s house was the least inspiring part of our trip to Elba.

Our cruise ship docked in Portoferraio which is one of the most beautiful natural harbors I have ever seen. The mountainous island has an interesting history dating back to the Etruscans. The town of Portoferraio is beautiful but as we traveled across the island we saw many other gems. For me the tiny little commune of Porto Azzurro was one of the highlights.

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Porto Azzurro Elba

Porto Azzurro Elba

Porto Azzurro Elba

Porto Azzurro Elba

Porto Azzurro Elba

Porto Azzurro Elba

Porto Azzurro Elba

The Trevi Fountain

We were there at the totally wrong time of day for photography. It was extremely crowded and impossible to get a wide shot of the entire fountain. It was actually difficult to walk because everybody is pushing to get a shot of a person or a selfie in front of the fountain. It was also the wrong time of day for October. The best time would be early in the morning.

That said it is an amazing structure to see any time of day including nighttime. It is 86 ft high and 161.3 ft wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. It was built in 1762 by Nicola Salvi.

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The Trevi Fountain of Rome

The Trevi Fountain of Rome

The Trevi Fountain of Rome

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple which is now a Catholic church, in Rome, Italy. It was originally commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus. It was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. The oculus in the ceiling is open to the sky so sometimes it rains inside like it did the day we visited. It was built as a sundial to illuminate the emperor as he entered on important occasions.

It is also a basilica since Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known as Raphael is buried there, He died April 6th, 1520, and had asked to be buried in the Pantheon. His request was granted, making him the first artist to be accorded such an honor.

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The Pantheon

Pantheon Interior

Pantheon Interior

The Pantheon

The Tomb of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbin

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

Beauty at The Picasso Museum

Sometimes when you visit a museum you are overwhelmed by the beauty of the art. That was certainly the case at The Picasso Museum in Barcelona. While admiring the pottery of Picasso i was also struck with the beauty of this young woman. She struck me as a vision of Catalonian Feminism.

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Catalonian Beauty

The Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona

The Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona was built in the sixth century and is the oldest saving synagogue in Spain and one of five medieval synagogues in the world. It was built underground because because no house of worship was allowed to be taller than the smallest Catholic church. Of course then came The Spanish Inquisition 1391 and the Jewish quarter was sacked and over 300 were killed. Jews were forced to turnover all their possessions to the King and permitted to leave the country. The alternative was death of conversion to Catholicism. The Nazi’s didn’t invent this stuff they were just more efficient at it.

Today the synagogue is a museum. Barcelona has two working synagogues and a pollution of around 15,000 jewish people with about 45,000 in Spain. Of course like jewish people all over the world they face anti semitism but in Spain like the United States they are now free to practice their faith.

The Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona

The Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona

The Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona

Aboard The Azamara Pursuit

We had never taken an ocean cruise before but after taking a river cruise we decided to try it. We selected the Mediterranean because we figured it would be calmer than the Atlantic or Pacific. Research was discouraging because either the ships were too big or if smaller than real expensive. We selected Azamara because they seemed to offer the same sort of luxury that Regent,Viking and the other small ships but at a better price point. The Azamara Pursuit was their newest ship and completely refurbished.

Azamara is a brand of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines aimed to compete in the small ship luxury market. The ship had 770 passengers and 450 crew. We were upgraded to a small suite and the service was exceptional. The ship had everything you could want want and because of the small size able to go to smaller ports like Elba and Port Vendre in France. We were always one of the smaller ships in the harbor. One of our guides pointed to an MSC Cruise Ship and told us it had 7000 plus passengers. We I sw that ship I knew we had chosen wisely and now we are thinking about our next adventure.

Aboard The Azamara Pursuit

Aboard The Azamara Pursuit

Aboard The Azamara Pursuit

Aboard The Azamara Pursuit