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Monday, December 3, 2018

Our Cruise Begins

Dear Family and Friends,

The four of us took the train from Rome to Civitavecchia, about a thirty minute train ride. Civitavecchia is the port city for Rome. I have one complaint about the train station there.  There are no elevators from the platforms to the underground walkway that takes you from the tracks to the station.  People, including us, were lugging their heavy suitcases down and then up the stairs to get into the station.  

It seems to me the city of Civitavecchia would add elevators, knowing that many people arrive by train to board cruise ships.  If the city is too poor to do this, then it seems that the various cruise ship lines, that use that port to begin and end their cruises, would band together and make that improvement to the train station for the convenience of their passengers.

We took a taxi from the train station to where our ship, the Holland America MS Koningsdam, was waiting.  Once we were there we got aboard with the least effort we have ever had boarding a ship.  I guess our timing was perfect, no lines anywhere.

The Koningsdam is one of Holland America's newer ships and we found that the state rooms are improved.  The bathrooms are larger and the showers are big.  Another difference is that the theater has surround seating.  No balcony.  Good viewing from most anywhere.  The theater didn't seat as many people, however, they performed three shows a night instead of two.  Chuck and I both really liked the improvements to the ship's design.

We set sail about 6:00 pm and after an early dinner, Chuck and I were in our cabin sawing logs.  

Our first port of call was Dubrovnik, Croatia.  The next day was a sea day.  This was perfect for us, we were glad to have the much needed down day after the previous two weeks of non-stop touring.

During the night I came down with a stomach virus.  I called the desk and they sent up the ship doctor.  He gave me medicine and also quarantined me to my cabin for the next 24 hours.

Since I could not leave my cabin, I could not go ashore in Dubrovnik.  It was a bummer, but to be honest, I didn't feel much like walking the old city of Dubrovnik anyway.  Luckily, Chuck was not quarantined and he was able to go ashore.  That evening, I was feeling much better and the quarantine was lifted.  

Our next port of call was Kotor, Montenegro.  I woke up feeling great and eager to get off the ship.  

Here is Chuck standing in front of the welcome to Montenegro sign.

Kotor is on a bay so we decided to begin our trip with this tour bus that took us around the bay to the other side.

Even though it was an overcast day, the sights were lovely.

This is a man made island in the Bay of Kotor.  It has a church, Our Lady of the Rocks, built on it.

I don't know the name of this church, but it is lovely, sitting right on the bay.

Below are the domes of a Serbian Orthodox Church.

After our tour around the bay, we ventured into the old town of Kotor.  The fountain below is located just outside the walls of the old town.

Once inside the stone walls of the city, the first church we saw was St. Tryphon Cathedral, which dates back to 1166.

We wondered through the streets of old Kotor.  They wind so much that one could get lost.  There were many nice plazas like the one below.

And there were many tunnels.

Another plaza.  Notice the wash drying on the balcony of the building.

It was at this plaza we noticed steps going up.  We decided to climb them and see where they went.  After climbing up, up, up, we met some people coming down.  We asked them how far to the top and they said about 45 more minutes.  Whoa, not for me.  

We did climb a little further and I was able to get these shots of the bay.

If you look closely in this picture, you can see our ship in the bay.

Kotor has a large population of cats that have become a symbol of the city.  They city has several cat stores and a cat museum, as well as the Cat's Square.  Water and food is left throughout the city for the cats to feed on, and cardboard boxes are often arranged to be a place for the cats to sleep in.

After touring the old city, Chuck and I found a wonderful little restaurant on the bay.

Chuck scored with a nice size bowl of mussels.

As we were going back to the dock to get back to our ship, I saw a tourist saying goodbye to one of the cats of Kotor.  

We had a great day there.  I was full of gratitude that I was healthy enough to enjoy it.  

Our next stop was Corfu, Greece.  I will share about it next time.


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