Monday, May 18, 2015

Cruise Day 2 & 3

April 27

The first day of the cruise was supposed to be spent in Nice. We woke up to a very foggy, misty, wavy day. It didn't seem that bad to me, I'd been on worse waters (San Juan, Puerto Rico, Feb 14, 2012 for example). However, Nice is a tendered port, which means the cruise ship parks a bit away from the city and smaller boats transport people in.

Shortly after the pilot boat came by, the captain made an announcement that there would be no tenders to Nice that day. I was pretty heartbroken, I was ready to explore and really wanted to see the city, as well as the small nearby town of St. Paul de Vence. The captain explained that the waves were only predicted to get worse. She stated that although the water was technically calm enough for tenders to be able to leave the cruise-ship, there would be no guarantee that they would be able to handle the waters later in the day to return the passengers.

So we waved goodbye to Nice and the surrounding areas. There were a few additionally activities put on by the cruise entertainment staff. The boat we were on didn't have a lot of other types of activities, so it wasn't the most exciting day. And unfortunately since it wasn't that nice out, we couldn't enjoy much of the day outside.

The trip to Corsica was supposed to take 11 hours overnight, however, now we had an additional 10 hours to get there. This meant that the captain went slightly off course in order to find a patch of sunnier skies. Once she found it, she stayed there a while. That's one of the nice things about being on open water, if the storm systems aren't too large, you can move to the nicer weather.

After dinner, we headed to one of the lounges and watched the evening game show- Majority Rules. It was pretty entertaining. They would read off a question and all of the groups would submit what they thought the popular answer would be. We guessed the majority answer most of the time, but inevitably there were some odd ball answers that got a few laughs. After that we returned to the room to find elephant towel art.

The sea, as the captain had predicted, definitely was rockier overnight. It was nice to be lying down as it was pretty easy to accidentally walk into something when on the move.

April 28

We woke up and checked the views outside from the balcony. It still was a bit misty/foggy, but knowing that Ajaccio was an actual port city, I knew that no matter the weather, we'd be able to get on land!

We headed to breakfast at the buffet. While there, it started pouring and then there was a rainbow. I didn't have my camera then, but it was nice to start the day with a sun-shower and a rainbow.

We had no excursion booked in Ajaccio so we got off the boat and started wandering along the coastal boulevard. There are several older buildings and sculptures all over Ajaccio. Several spring flowers were also in their prime.

Once we started our walk, the sky started to look extremely stormy again. I had worn my raincoat and was glad I did as it started pouring!

In lots of the smaller port cities, there were these comical looking tourist train trolleys. I was amused, so I took a photo of course.

The sea was still anything but calm. Definitely not a good day to go for a wade at the beach.

On our way towards one of the plazas, we decided to take temporary refuge from the rain in a small grocery store. There are definitely times when the no food on or off board rule is too bad. I understand why it's a policy, but when you see all the beautiful fresh produce, it's almost disappointing not be able to purchase some. I guess we'll just have to go back for a longer stay!

I love how the rain droplets looked on the orange tree. It was so awesome to see citrus trees everywhere!

We slowly made our way to Place de Gaulle.  It was a beautiful plaza filled with lots of flowers, fountains, and sculptures.

Another thing that was interesting about most of the places we visited was the artwork. There were detailed murals and graffiti all over the place- even on toilets that were no longer available to be used. One of the somewhat annoying things we learned about the Mediterranean- there really aren't many public washrooms. Once we learned that these ones weren't open, we decided to make our way back to the boat for a mid-day break.

 We enjoyed a quick lunch back on board, sat a bit in the room, then after a shoe change (my first pair of the day were a bit water logged), we headed back out to explore the city!

These sunglasses were part of a display on a public, busy, touristy street. The shop clerk told me no photos after I had taken a few, I said sorry and kept on going. Really, you can request that people not take photographs within a store, but when your merchandise is out on the walkway in the prime tourist area it's hard to say "no photos".

By this point, the rain had all disappeared and it was quite hot and sunny! I was determined to find macarons, but all of the boulangeries only had fresh bread. I decided I'd go without and we decided to stop for some gelato. I decided on salted caramel and a stracciatella. They were both so good. Even more fun- they had macarons! I got a whole box, making sure to get all the flavours.

Other purchases that we brought back- some pop (it's not included in the cruise price and David had a hankering), some Nutella (we were told it's better from France), and a baguette!

I thought the no food rule applied to only bringing food off board, however apparently bringing bread on board is a no-no as well... The security person scolded us a bit, but then told us to hide it a bag so no one else saw. So they aren't too strict after all... It's not like we were planning on letting the mould grow and infect everything. We wanted to eat it, it's fresh French bread for heaven's sake.

We rested up a bit before dinner. We logged another 7 miles of walking that day! Dinner was a relatively early 6:30 that night. It was a formal night so we had to get a bit dressed up. I enjoyed a Roman salad, beef tenderloin and lemon meringue pie. David had bay scallops (which were almost comically tiny), shrimp ravioli, and cheesecake.

After dinner, I grabbed a cup of tea and then we went off to enjoy our first visible sunset of the cruise. We called it an early night. Wednesday we would be going to Rome, which had a very early arrival time of 7:45! We put out our breakfast room service order so that we could get ready as early as possible.