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MSC Cruise

Just a Side Note: As most of you know the reason I came to Italy was to join my boyfriend on the cruise ship he worked on. He paid and we had a great time and even got engaged. A few months later I was contacted by, what I discovered, was ONE of his girlfriends. I considered leaving this post out completely, but I did have a good time and met some great people, so am going to use mostly photos for this entry… I hope you all understand

Finally The Day Arrived

I was so nervous and excited when I woke up and wanted to make sure I got the good shower of the 3 in the hostel. One guy was ahead of me, but he took one look at the bathroom (apparently the location for the previous evenings’ rather intense amorous encounter between 2 fellow travelers, turned to me and said “Screw that, its all yours”.

Perhaps its the years of staying in hostels, or the time I spent managing one and having to clean up things way worse than this. Either way, I went in, used the mop to shift a rather undesirable item into the corner, hosed the already soaked place down and had a shower. Got dressed and went to say goodbye to my 2 friends… who were both naked in her bed totally oblivious to the roommates getting ready for breakfast. It was all rather amusing actually.

Soon it was time to head over to the ship that was literally berthed across the street from the hostel. The MSC Orchestra was HUGE!!

The ship reminded me of the Love Boat in it’s decor, it was so cheesy and almost tacky in some areas. But very cruise ship like.

I had been given a table for 2, in case he got time off to join me which he never did. Of course this meant for a lot of the dinners I was alone, the food was good for the most part, the service a bit slow but the staff fantastic.

I only went to a few of the entertainment shows in the theater, preferring instead to do the dance classes in one of the bars.

Luckily there was great perk to having a boyfriend who was a bartender, he had made sure all the bartenders knew I was coming and to give me free drinks or charge him.


When I met some fellow American’s they also gave them a free drink


I met some great staff, and made some good friends.

Priscilla from Brazil in Entertainment

Ivan from Ukraine, bartender

The American Students

The housekeeping staff were phenomenal, although it was a little weird to find my nighty laid out every night.

I got to try my hand at the slots for the first time since I was 21.

The buffet room had some very strange, and downright sinister decorations.

Over the Salad Bar

Over the American Hotdog and Hamburger section

Over some kind of food

I went ashore twice, once with the Americans in Valencia, to the beach Playa Del Salar.

And once on an actual ship excursion to Tunisia, with and paid for by the now fiance. It was a remarkable place to spend a few hours, but the markets were the most intense, in your face, I have ever been to.

At Port

Part of the welcoming committee

Most of the houses were white with blue doors and windows, very beautiful

Stunning Mosaics



Ancient City of Carthas

Cute Kittens

Essential Oil Perfumes

There were carpets of tremendous beauty and skill, he even bought a small one for my parents


The insanity of the markets in the Medina

On the last night there was the Magnificent Buffet… and so much food!




Slightly Inappropriate, but funny

So Much Food

I saw some incredible views.

And no matter what the outcome was, he and I had some good times, plus the cruise was free.. got to look at the bright side.

Gala Night

Tunisia Excursion


Hanging out during his work hours

The Last Day

Two months later I would discover his 3 other girls. If he had been the man he pretended to be, the man I fell in love with, I would have been happy. Instead I am off on more adventures in Korea and Thailand.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Italy, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Friday The 13th…

Friday the 13th…

If ever there was an ominous day to travel my choice would be it. I also left at the butt crack of dawn, flying out at 5.35am. Luckily it seems as if I got all the good luck from the 13th vs the bad. Everything was on time, I got aisle seats, soso food, great seat mates who took melatonin and then drank 2 complimentary bottles of wine each… good times.

View of Mt. Hood as we flew into Portland, Oregon

I have always said as much as I love travel, it’s the actual traveling part that I dislike, but at least I get to catch up on the latest movies, especially since I can’t sleep on planes. This trip I got to see Sherlock Holmes 2, Hugo and Machine Gun Preacher. The last one was phenomenal, disturbing and inspiring at the same time. Based on a true story about a criminal turned preacher turned guardian to thousands of kids in war torn Sudan. I highly recommend it! I have seen it 3 times now and even though I cry every time at the horror man can inflict on each other the triumph of the human spirit amazes me.

Roman Landing

Managed to get a bit of sleep and despite the gentleman walking up and down the aisle after apparently drenching himself in cheap cologne, it was a good flight. My seat mates and I exchanged information and hoped to meet up for dinner and wine at some point.

Deboarding was a breeze, didn’t even have to fill out a immigration card, first time for everything. Got my stamp and then headed to the gate. Really wish countries would get more inventive with stamps, I mean, my Italian one is barely visible, I know they are official and everything but come on, lets have a little fun!

Old Friend!

Nicola was the new vet that arrived at Amazoonico wildlife refuge 2 weeks before I left. I wish I could have had more time to work with him. So I was thrilled to find out he was living in Rome and was willing to meet me at the airport! Always a bonus having someone meet you, I am perfectly capable of figuring it out, but having someone take that load off makes landing all that more pleasant.

I am renowned for having a terrible memory when it comes to faces, and I was concerned I would not recognize him after a year, but I needn’t have worried. There he was with his girlfriend (also a vet) and their cute 6month old lab puppy.

They adopted the pup after a complication in surgery caused her to go blind and what a sweet heart she was, also completely adapted to life in the dark. She has no fear and just bounds forward, learning as she goes.

We did a brief city tour and saw some of the sites, even though it was a bit of a misty grey morning, it was still stunningly beautiful. If anything the weather added to the history and ambience of old Rome.

View of Rome from Parco Gianicolense

We walked down little alleys and side streets all glistening in the fine rain. The cobble streets and window boxes were simply breathtaking. I love cities a lot of history.

Alleys and Side Streets

When in Rome, Eat like a Roman

For breakfast Nicola gave me the option of either an American style or Italian style breakfast. I figured I may as well try my first cappuccino, so Italian it was.

Yummy!!

On the way back to the car, the little pup found a friend and they frolicked all over nearly knocking over a few people. No one could have guessed at her lack of sight.

Seeing is Believing

Heading to my friend Kate’s apt, my couch surfing host from Australia who kindly offered to put up with me… put me up again :), one of the most amazing historical buildings came into sight. The Coliseum!

Just Coming into View

It’s Bigger in Person

We could only drive by it this time, but planned to come and visit it the next day. I asked Nicola if he was awed every day he drove past it? His response “No! It is just part of the city!” (Please add in your own Italian accent to truly appreciate the sentence). I guess it’s kind of like growing up with monkeys in my garden in South Africa, they were just part of the scenery.

Before getting to Kate’s, Nicola helped me buy a SIM card and then we went and found their apartment.

Nap Followed by Food

It was fantastic seeing Kate again and meeting her boyfriend, Svet, but it was sad saying cheers to Nicola. He worked nights at a local vet and we weren’t sure we would have a chance to catch up again. Oh well have to make another trip to Rome.

I was absolutely worn out and exhausted, got to learn how to sleep on planes! So passed out for a couple of hours. Then Kate and Svet took me out for beer and pizza, I had a potato and rosemary one that was amazing!!

Something I loved from the first time I saw it, was the little parks where the locals came and hung out. There were also water fountains everywhere and the water was crisp and clean.

Our final item for the evening was to go to a famous Tiramisu shop. I LOVE tiramisu and couldn’t wait to try a true Italian one.

Pure Deliciousness in a Personal Sized Box

We decided to join the locals and went and ate our little piece of heaven, we got one each, in the park. A great ending to a great, yet exhausting day.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in RTW, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Lounging in Leipzig

Side Note: As you may have read in my previous post, A “Love” Story…Spoiler Alert!, my budding romance did not turn out as I had hoped, in fact involved serious betrayal. However, the lies he spun still remain a central part of my travel story through Germany and so I shall not leave them out… however painful.

5th December 2011

Relaxation Day

Today was a day lounging and recovery after the crazy first few days exploring Hamburg and Berlin. I received a call at 8am from Buddha saying the power was out and he was unable to skype as planned, but would contact me as soon as he could. So sweet…not! (You may notice a few sarcastic comments when this topic comes up, I feel I have earned the right!).

Cathleen and I had a nice lazy morning with some fresh pastries for breakfast, I REALLY love German pastries. I could move here just for those. Cathleen studied and I worked on my blog and uploaded some photos.

Skyped

Around 11am I was “bleeped” on skype and he was on. I was really nervous because I felt I might have developed real feelings for this petite, cute man from Nepal (always knew there was a reason I preferred the strong strapping kind). Before when he had contacted me with numerous phone calls and texts after arriving in Germany it had almost annoyed me, it seemed too intense. Now I found myself like a jittery school girl. He talked about starting to apply for the US cruise ships to get a 5yr visa to work in the states (another lie apparently) and how much he missed me, he sang me the song “Beautiful” by James Blunt (An ironic choice considering it is the song I associated with another guy who strung me along for 2yrs while dating another girl, who he married, for 3yrs) and finally I had to ask for clarification. I am 34 and playing the game was just going to be too exhausting. So I asked where we stood, what we meant to each other. His reply was a heart stopping sentimental one “I feel pain, I feel pain that you are not here.” Well if that just didn’t take the old ovaries and twist them in a knot. In the end we decided to call ourselves a couple and see where it would go.

Par for the course, the “power” cut out at that moment and he texted me to say he missed me and would try skype later. (Of course months later I would discover he had already moved in with another girl the day after I left and the “power cuts” were a lie).

But oblivious to the web that was being spun, I ran to the kitchen and told Cathleen, basking in the glow of having a boyfriend. You might say I am a late bloomer, and considering I won the award for service to the school in highschool… you might understand why this seemed like such a big deal. I had been wearing an Irish Claddagh ring for years, it almost defined me, always pointing out that I was single and lonely. Turning it around felt fantastic.

The rest of the day was spent going to the store, and discovering that even the super cheap chocolate tasted amazing! Speaking of which the perfect movie for the evening was “Chocolat”.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Germany, RTW, Travel

 

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