Seabourne Cruise 2011 (ebook)
Touring the coast of France and Spain
After five flights we arrived in Monte Carlo with just enough energy for an extensive walking tour before/after locating our hotel. We were in bed by 7 p.m., which was a half hour before restaurants even open for dinner.
We attempted to get an early morning bus to the Village of Eze but found ourselves at the wrong stop, having left the correct one by mistake. Later on we took in both Rothchild Villa (fair walk) and Villa Kerylos. (Day 1)
Next day we were scheduled to go to Antibes, but stormy weather forced a most fortunate stop at Villefranche (Day 2) where we managed to take in the beautiful and charming Nice Market before heading off by local bus to St. Paul de Vence. Unfortunately I mistook Villeneuve for Villefranche and had us almost miss the last tender. I won the first race to the pier but not the second.
The full day on Porquerolles Island (Day 3) involved renting bicycles and traveling as far and wide as we could while enjoying the scenery of the many cliffs, vineyards, olive groves and beaches. It was refreshing to see so many healthy, slim, families walking miles together just to enjoy a beach picnic and the beautiful weather. Bonjour!
A hectic day in Barcelona (Day 4) included seeing various Gaudi creations by foot, bus and subway ranging from Casa Battlo, Casa Mila, the Palace of Catalan Music, Guell Park and the amazing La Sagrada Familia cathedral. We also visited the central Boqueria Market, the Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter and hiked along many of the wide boulevards including the pedestrian-centric La Rambla.
While all shipboard meals where superb, we especially enjoyed the on-deck BBQ overlooking the Barcelona cityscape, as well as the company of the many friendships we made onboard.
From Palamos (Day 5) we travelled by tour bus to Girona with the Virtuoso group where, after a walking tour of the old city,we visited a Jewish history museum and a medieval church before stopping for a gourmet lunch.
Embarking on our next day's guided excursion from Port-Vendres by bus (Day 6) we travelled first to Salses Fortress and then for a wine-tasting event at a peacock friendly restaurant and vinery.
Busing away from the shops of St. Tropez we took in Port Grimaud, Saint Maxime and Grimaud Village (Day 7)