Nancy calls at Taormina, Capri and Ponza

Nancy has been writing about her summer travels. Celebrating 46 years of marriage, she and her husband Joe left the city of brotherly love and landed in Venice, Italy, to begin their journey. She is sailing the Mediterranean aboard Royal Clipper, and was kind enough to share her experience with us. Below are some excerpts from her blog. For her whole story you can visit her personal blog Nancy Near Philadelphia.

As our time aboard Royal Clipper drew to a close, we came to the southern part of Italy where we visited three ports. First was Taormina; from there we could see Mt. Etna.

Taormina was a relatively quiet place with some beautiful buildings and not a lot of activity. We liked it. We visited two churches and at one point I watched a gorgeously dressed young girl posing for photographers against the scenic town. My guess was that these pictures would appear in an Italian magazine.

Next came a place we'd heard about since about forever: Capri. We learned that the correct pronunciation is actually KA-pri and as we drew near we could see how lovely it was, with all of the pastel buildings climbing up the hillside. To get up to the top, we had to take a tram.

Once there, I found that Capri was my least favorite port on our trip. There were more people there than we had encountered anywhere else. The streets were crowded to the point of sometimes being impassible. Everywhere were ultra expensive shops with very famous names: Prada, Ferragamo, Armani, for example; stores I had no interest in and certainly no budget for.

We had a late sailing that evening, and some of our shipmates stayed ashore and had dinner high up in Capri; they said that once the crowds had dissipated and the sun had gone down, it was actually very, very lovely.

Finally we come to Ponza! As unimpressed as I was with Capri, Ponza was simply delightful: a pretty seaside town on a hill.

We wandered around, seeing the sights, exploring the shops, and loitering for a long, long time at a hilltop cafe sipping iced tea and looking down at the water, the bustle of activity on the docks as huge ferry boats came and went, and gazing fondly at Royal Clipper at anchor.

Our time on Royal Clipper was growing very short indeed. All too soon we would bid farewell to the captain, the crew, our charming stateroom, and the wonderful friends we had made. We would be pulling into port the next morning, ready for the final phase of our adventure!

To visit Nancy's blog, Nancy Near Philadelphia click here.

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Ellie's Journal: 'See You'

Hello, my name is Ellie! Some of you may remember me from three years ago... That's when I blogged last, when I was on Star Flyer in Costa Rica. I'm fifteen years old now, and I'm back again, just on a different ship, Royal Clipper, and having more fun than ever. I'm from Oregon (in the USA) and my favorite sport is sailing, so this is a really fun experience for me.

Hey, so culpa mea!, I apologize for how long it has taken me to write this final entry... but you have to understand, I was always doing stuff and running around having fun, and I never really got the time to sit down and write one last time, but now I can!

A couple days ago, my parents, my friend Ryan, and I climbed on the tender together to begin our adventures in Capri. My mom had done a little bit of research about Capri, and told us that we needed to get on the funicular (cable car), which would take us to the saddle; the docks are on one side of the mountains, and the swimming beaches (a lot of them) are on the other side, so you have to take the bus or the funicular to the top, then ride or walk down the other side to the beach. Anyway, we looked for the “Biglieteria” sign, which pretty much translates into English as “ticket booth”. We soon found it, bought our tickets (biglietti) and climbed to the upper town in the cable car. The view was simply amazing. The higher we got, the more we could see. The happy blue ocean spread-out in front of our eyes.

[caption id="attachment_12713" align="aligncenter" width="345"] Ellie and Ryan shopping in the Ferrari store on Capri.

We reached the top, and so began our journey down the other side. It was a medium-length walk, and we were on a road, but it wasn’t busy. We saw a bus or moped every 5 minutes. At one point, there were two buses, coming from different directions, and it was so narrow a road that they had to stop, back up a little bit, and reposition the buses so that they could both squeak by... The bus nearest the wall of rock scraped up against it and the side of the other bus; we saw this happen multiple times, it even happened when we were riding back up the mountain at the end of the day.

After 30 minutes of walking and drinking lots of water, we finally saw the beautiful beach. It would’ve been more beautiful if there weren’t hundreds of people there, but it was still super nice. We climbed down countless stairs to the rock beach, and found a little space of ground that wasn’t covered by another person’s towel. We set our stuff down, and Ryan and I jumped in the water. It was the coolest place ever... There was a tunnel made by this huge mass of rock, and it got deep a little farther out, so people could jump off of the taller rocks into the water. I didn’t jump, though, because I’m too chicken.

[caption id="attachment_12714" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Making friends everywhere we go....Ellie and our friendly waiter at the Marina Piccolo on Capri.

We headed back to the ship after a couple hours at the beach, knowing that soon our holiday would be over, and that we would all have to say goodbye. I’ve found that the saying “goodbye” part of every cruise is the hardest. Everything seems perfect until you have to say that one word... “Goodbye.” So I’ve made a rule for myself (feel free to apply to your own self, too): don’t say “goodbye”, say “see you”, because who knows? There’s a good chance that you’ll see again all of the people you’ve met. This world really isn’t that big, but sometimes it seems like it is because we haven’t gone out and seen what’s in it.

Having the privilege to cruise on Star Flyer and Royal Clipper has opened up new doors for me. I now have a better understanding of what the world is: beautiful. These cruises are special because, unlike those huge ships, you get to know everyone, including all the wonderful people on the staff who make the voyage so special. I've also learned that a ten day cruise can form friendships that last a lifetime. And furthermore, on every one of these cruises that I’ve been on, I’ve learned one thing, and each time I board the ship again, it seems even more true: the world is one, and no matter what country you come from, what social standing you have, who you are... We all stand as one, because We Are the World. And when we sing that song at the end of each cruise, in the dining room, it always gets me. Because it's true!

I hope that everyone who has read this blog (and, of course, everyone who hasn’t) gets the opportunity to go on Star Flyer, Star Clipper, or Royal Clipper... They're amazing, and something you don’t want to miss. Have a great rest of your summer.


Ellie VanDevelder
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