Voyage of Traveler / Blog

August 23, 2009

Traveler Postcard Roma to Portofino

Hi, Everyone,
We had a blast in Roma, the Eternal City.  On board Traveler with Barbara and me were special guest crew Chris and Bob Kays (my mother and stepfather), who joined us in Sorrento, and Kellie (my daughter), who joined us in Dubrovnik. We left the boat in Porto Roma Marina, after staying aboard there the first night, and taxied into the Pantheon del Sol Hotel.  This was, they claim, the first hotel in Rome, or at least the oldest in continuous use, but it has been nicely renovated and upgraded over the years and is luxurious (four stars). It was quite the treat for Barbara and me to be off the boat to celebrate the fourth anniversary of our first date.  Barbara and I rented a motor scooter, which is a great way to get around to see the many sites of Rome: the Coliseum, Spanish Steps, Vatican (where we climbed to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica) and more.  Chris, Bob, Barbara and I went to an outdoor production of Carmen by the Opera di Roma at the Carcula ruins, which was spectacular.

Chris and Bob left the boat in Rome, as planned, to go on a cruise to Croatia and other ports in the Adriatic, so it was now just Barbara, Kellie and me on Traveler headed north to the Island of Elba, made famous when Napoleon was exiled there in 1816. The main town on Elba is Portoferraio, and its harbor is packed in the summer with about 50 yachts tied stern to the wharf, including a half dozen mega yachts, which makes it a fun place to stroll after dinner while eating a gelato.  We were “stuck” (but really a very nice place to be) here, at anchor, for an unplanned second night due to a wind storm that blew through, but the weather was fine after that.

Our next stop was Viareggio, just north of Pisa.  This marks the beginning of the Italian Riviera and is a convenient place to visit the inland cities, villages and countryside of Tuscany.  It is also where Kellie got off the boat, as planned, for a couple of weeks to join her friends, the O’Deskys, the Weiners, the d’Pollitos and others at an extraordinarily gorgeous, upscale and spacious (sleeps 24) villa in the hills outside of Lucca, surrounded by vineyards and old farmhouses.  Barbara and I got to stay there for two memorable and enjoyable nights.  The first night a chef come to the villa and made pizzas for everyone, with a wide variety of toppings to choose, in a wood-burning outdoor oven.  We drank many bottles of very good wine made by the villa’s owners from grapes grown on their property, and swam in the pool both before and after dinner.  It was magnifico! and certainly a highlight of our trip to Italy.

With our rental car, Barbara and I toured Lucca, Florence, San Giminagno, Siena and Pisa. At the famous Leaning Tower, Barbara set her purse down for just a few seconds to pose for a photo and a thief snatched it.  In the purse she had her wallet (credit cards, cash, ID), her passport, my cell phone and other valuables.  We filed a police report, with little hope of recovering anything, but that is a requirement to get a replacement passport, which we were able to do on a return trip to Florence at the US Consulate office there.  What a bummer!

From Viareggio, we motored north along the stunningly beautiful Cinque Terra coastline, with its five villages, each spaced about a mile apart and built on steep cliffs, to Portofino, where we anchored for two nights.  Portofino has got to be one of the most charming harbors in the Med, perhaps in all the world.  And how wonderful to sail there on your own boat, with the one you love.

Livin’ the Dream,
Michael and Barbara

1 Comment »

  1. I really enjoyed stumbling into you and your daughter in Elba. Crazy to think that the world is so small that you run into someone from your home town while enjoying some beautiful italian island! I hope the rest of your trip goes well…

    be looking to Jesus…


    Comment by David Downs — September 12, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

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