NC State flag flies over alumni Mediterranean cruise

July 5, 2012
By Bill Krueger

The Alumni Association’s Ginny Hall is with a group of NC State alumni and friends on a Wolftreks cruise along the Mediterranean, exploring the shores of France, Monaco, Italy, Greece and Turkey. Here is a dispatch from their journey:

We completed the Italian leg (or should I say “boot”?) of our voyage, having visited three Italian ports in four days. The first port, Livorno, is Italy’s second-largest port and serves as a gateway to the Tuscany region and the great art centers of Florence, Siena, Lucca and Pisa.

We spent two nights in Livorno, with our group heading off in many directions, taking advantage of the fifteen tour options offered over the two-day period. Apart from the privilege of visiting the many museums and historic structures in this region, it is also a pleasure to ride through the countryside and see the many acres of sunflowers (a cash crop), and to visit the plethora of shops in Florence, specializing in the area’s most popular products, gold and leather goods.

Our second Italian port was Civitavecchia, serving Rome, the “Eternal City.” Our tour included visits to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, as well as St. Peter’s Basilica and the ruins of the Coliseum. We were in town on the holy day of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul and the Pope had actually celebrated Mass at St. Peter’s the morning of our visit, though we did not see him.

We had a wonderful guide in Rome and were grateful she had made reservations for our group at both St. Peter’s and the Coliseum, allowing us to skip the long lines of people baking in the hot sun.

Our final two ports were Positano (serving Amalfi, Positano and Ravello), and Taormina (serving Taormina and Sicily). I have to say these were my two favorite ports in Italy, somewhat because the pace of each visit was slower, but also because they are stunningly beautiful.

Amalfi is known for many things, but nothing more so than its lemons, cultivated on terraced cliffsides, and the locally made apperitif known as “Limoncello.” The word “Sicily” immediately calls to mind visions of “The Godfather” (and there are tourist shops playing to this theme), but it is a gorgeous city, with ornate wrought iron balconies on its building facades, cascading boughs of brightly blooming bougainvillea everywhere, and bushes of wild capers growing right out of the walls.

Following our tour of Italy we spent a day at sea, enjoying a bright, clear sky, cool breeze, smooth seas, and a wonderful view of our NC State flag flying in a place of honor alongside Oceania’s own flag.



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