December 7

Docked at Sète, near Montpellier, but Mom and I took a bus trip to see “a medieval city and abbey winery”, then we did a walking tour of Sète in the late afternoon.

Pézenas, the medieval town where Molière made his mark.

L’abbaye de Valmagne, previously a fully working abbey, now owned privately and turned into a winery (hence the wine barrels in the chapel alcoves).

The Canal du Midi in Sète, where they have an annual water jousting competition. It also artificially connects the Mediterranean to the Atlantic at Bordeaux.

December 6

Docked at Marseille, and we did a bus trip to Cassis and Parc national des Calanques.

One of the limestone cliffs of the calanques – really amazing.

Just an example of the ochre and yellow houses with clay roof tiles and the cobblestone streets in Cassis, a long established fishing village near Marseille.

December 5

Monaco and Nice

We docked just at breakfast in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Sunrise on the Mediterranean

Henri Matisse lived in this building, and parts of it show up in his paintings.

Flowers, cacti, palm trees… So different from home. ;)

Baie des Anges, named for the sharks that used to frequent these waters, when there were more fish here. An ecological statement from our tour guide that the waters here have been so overfished that it doesn’t have a fishery anymore.

At the Matisse museum, an example of the stained glass he did as a part of his designed chapel for the Dominicans in Vence, which he called his masterpiece.

And leaving Monaco after a short 8-9 hours docked.

December 4

I’ll gradually catch up. I don’t want to overload the blog with posts tonight.

Here’s my post for December 4th, our outing to Lucca and Vinci.

An example of an interesting regional architectural style on the first church we encountered upon entering the medieval town walls of Lucca.

Someone’s gorgeous “window box” of plants and succulents.

Then we headed up to Vinci, and learned about Leonardo da Vinci’s (Leonardo from Vinci) life.

The beautiful countryside in Tuscany around his birthplace.

There were olives on the olive trees lining the path to the house.

Then we went to the Leonardo da Vinci Museum to look at his designs and machines. Such brilliance.

Rainbow angles on a piece of marble showing Leonardo’s hoist.

And as a bonus – The olive groves around Vinci.

December 3

My trip to Pisa, Italy in a few shots:

The Square of Miracles

The dome in the Baptistery, which has amazing acoustics.

The 24 karat gold ceiling of the Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta.

The bones of Saint Rainerius, patron saint of Pisa.

The slightly-less-Leaning Tower of Pisa (viewed from the side it is leaning to).

Technical difficulties

Sorry for the lack of posts. I’m hoping this will go up. The wifi I’ve been using hasn’t been allowing me to do any uploads in the past day. And the day before, I was kind of a mess of no sleep from my trans-Atlantic flight, and my body was in emergency shutdown mode that had me trying to nod off every time I sat down.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post something later today. We’re off to Florence for our Da Vinci excursion!