I had planned to post the entire Mediterranean trip in one big blog post. Turns out it would have been a REALLY BIG blog post. So the trip will now be divided into three posts. You can view the Rome portion of the trip which includes Day 1 through Day4 at the link Rome Vacation.

DAY FIVE

Our first morning at sea greeted us with a wonderful sunrise. Maybe the best of the entire trip.

The sunrise on the Mediterranean sea viewed from the balcony of our room on the Holland American ship ZuiderdamThe first port of call on this eleven day portion of the cruise would be Messina, Italy. As you enter the port you are greeted with a large statue with the Latin words “vos et ipsam civitatem benedicimus” beneath it. If my Latin is correct the sign says, “We bless you and your city”. Of course since I took French while in Junior High, my Latin could be a little off.

This 7 meter tall Gold Madonna statue in Messina, Italy port.

The day’s excursion was to the town of Taormina and the ancient Greek theatre. The trip there afforded views of Mount Etna which is an active volcano and depending on the current eruption has a height of 10,922 feet.

The active volcano Mount Etna - Sicily ItallyArches that are hundreds if not thousands of years old, and as always surrounded by lots and lots of shopping for the tourists.

Arch in the town of Taormina, ItalyThe rules for driving are a little different in Italy than there are here in the states. If there is a road, you can drive there no matter how many tourists are walking on that road.

If there is a road you can drive on it in Taormina no matter how many tourists are walking on the road.Even if the church is small, it’s done up big time.

Even very small churches have amazing designs - Taormina, Italy

 

DAY SIX – Malta

Day Six began with the beautiful views of the Valletta, Malta port. What I learned cruising around the  Mediterranean is that if you have a wonderful port location, somebody at some time has tried to invade your county over the last many thousands of years. To prevent those marauding hordes from invading you either need your city/port to be protected by walls, or a castle, or a fort on the hills. The port city of Valletta, Malta is protected by walls that look glorious in the early morning sun.

Early morning sunlight on the walls that have protected the port city of Valletta Malta

The early morning light hits the many boats in the port of Valletta, Malta

After you take the about 7 story elevator up to the town you are greeted with a wonderful view of the port and all the cruise ships docked their. Our ship the Zuiderdam is behind the Wind Surf ship and has the dark blue hull.

A ride up the lift gives you a view of the port and the cruise ships docked there.

If you see just one thing in Valletta, Malta, you must see St. John’s Co-Cathedral. So as you walk in the breath taking beauty and splendor of the church amaze you. From a review of the church by afeeney, “The Knights of Malta were not a modest bunch and once the Baroque Era started, they set out with a firm will and a tremendous fortune to make this one of the most stunning and splendid cathedrals in the world. They succeeded.”

First view upon entering St. John's Co-Cathedral

Amazing ceiling at St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta

Gold on the all the arches in St. John's Co-Cathedral Valletta, Malta

View of St. John's Co-Cathedral showing the Alta and organ

Every building should have canons in front so that you can pose with them for photos.

Canons in front of building in the city of Valletta, Malta

This is what you would tell the ship’s doctor when you make that emergency visit complaining of stomach pain, “It seemed like a good idea at the time”. Sorry, but if you have another 20 days on the trip of a lifetime, trying the Rabbit Liver salad is a bad idea. Same goes for the Pasta Seaurchins.

Rabbit liver salad, pasta seaurchins and other interesting foods available at Valletta, Malta cafe.

 

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