A word about the meals!  Excellent food and lots of it.  I was amazed to find that I could eat three LARGE meals a day, and actually lose weight - all that walking.  I never had fewer than three courses ...  Dinner was formal every night except when we were in port, and although it was a bit of a drag getting all dolled up each evening, the sight of all the ladies in their best attire and the men in evening dress was a pleasure.  In order to escape the formal dress requirements, one can dine in the Lido - it is a really pleasant buffet-type restaurant with a large variety of foods.  Specially good for a leisurely breakfast, but unfortunately WAY over there at the other end of the ship - a LONG walk.

Luncheon menudinner menu

Here are sample menus - click on the thumbnails if you want to drool over the contents.
The first port of call was Barcelona.  I was eager to see some of Gaudi's imaginative architecture and was not disappointed ... the Segrada Familia is not even finished yet but it is absolutely stunning.
Gaudi's Segrada Familia
As we approached each port, among the activities offered were lessons in the appropriate language! Every morning we received under our cabin door, with the newspapers, a list of the activities on offer that day. There were so many tempting possibilities but far too much for one body to cope with! Here are some pages from these... click on the thumbnails to read them. (One thing that puzzled me greatly at first was the notice put in every day - "Friends of Lois and Bill W. meet in the Princess Grill at 4 pm." - What hospitable people, I thought, until I learnt that this was the code for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings!)
Gaudi architecture

Shipboard NewsWelcome to Palermomorning activities

evening activitiesShopping

Click the images to read the details.
We looked forward to the arrival of each day's programme with eager anticipation!

So we came to Palermo.  Traffic is amazing - motor scooters everywhere and distinct lack of courtesy on the roads! I had opted for a tour to the seaside village of Cefal�.... it is a place of steep little streets and interesting streetscapes.  Many shops had little marzipan sweetmeats for sale - apparently a speciality of the area.
Arriving in Palermo

From Sicily we continued to Turkey.  The first call there was the port of Cannakale - the port for Gallipoli.  I went on an exploratory walk and was lured into a carpet shop where I was held "hostage" while carpet after carpet was flung before me with a flourish, unrolling to show the jewel colours.... "Madam does not like this one - what about this one? of bring that one to show her..."  I sat there for some time unable to escape, but luckily managed to hold out and not buy anything until I reached Istanbul.
CannakaleThe ruins of Troy

Each afternoon the officer of the watch made an announcement, about weather, speed and such things.  One day I heard a Rhodesian accent!  Well, I sent him a note, he wrote back inviting me to the Officers' cocktail party, which was fun. (ok, ok he was about the age of my sons!) Another special occasion aboard was my birthday - a big fuss is made of passengers' birthdays, with all the diningroom staff standing round one's chair, singing, a special cake, and a card from the captain!
Letter from the Bridge

Invitation to Officers' Cocktail PartyBirthday card from the Captain

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