OUR RETURN TO THE SPECIAL TOWN OF PORTO VENERE, ITALY
We have added the embarkation Reflection Program for this voyage.
Also adding the Reflections Program from today.
Menus from last evening from the Crystal Dining Room.
We enjoyed a wonderful evening on-board Crystal Serenity last evening. We had a pre-dinner drink in the Crystal Cove. Keith tried another new drink. This one is called Martin's Mint& Tonic which comes with Martin Miller's Gin, Fever TreeIndian Tonic Water, Fresh Mint Leaves. He really enjoyed it. This is another light drink. The bartenders explained to us what makes this gin unique and how it is distilled.
We listened to Richard Pucci on the Piano and Irina Guskova on the Violin.
Next stop was dinner at the Crystal Dining Room and we were joined by Jaque Brown. We both had a Crab Appetizer, Salad and Fresh Sea Bass. The Crab Appetizer was very tasty and we both thoroughly enjoyed the Sea Bass.
Afterwards, we attended a Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle Party. When we first arrived there were several officers already there and just us. In time about ten members of Cruise Critic arrived as did other officers. This included Hotel Director, Cruise Director, Head Housekeeper, Crew Officer, Chief Financial Accountant and a few other members of Team Crystal.
We slept well as Serenity made its way to our next port of call in Porto Venere.
We began the day with the same routine including a workout for Keith and breakfast for the two of us as we got ready to explore this unique place.
Our first and only visit to Porto Venere was in 2014. It can be described as a hidden gem. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The little medieval town is charming and it is located near Cinque Terre. The harbor is lined with brightly colored houses and narrow medieval streets.
Some of the major attractions include:
Castello dei Doria. This castle was built in the 12th century and in 1448 a portion of the castle was turned into a church.
Chiesa di San Lorenzo. This church with a Romanesque facade was built in the 12th century.
San Pietro. This is another church and dates back to the 6th century.
Porto Venere is also a gateway to Cinque Terre. The area is comprised of five towns Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The towns are known for their colorful houses and their vineyards.
We took the tender from Serenity over to Porto Venere. The tender drop off is within a few steps of the town. On our last visit it was overcast with some rain. Today the sun was out. The temperature began in the high 50's and during our walk it rose into the 60's. It was a perfect day to go for along walk.
There are multiple levels to this town. The first level includes restaurants, stores and hotels. The second level is mainly restaurants and shops. The third and fourth levels have many apartments. We also saw homes.
We visited the various attractions during our walk including the churches and former fort as we took in beautiful views of the surrounding area. While Keith did some additional hiking Anne Marie waited by The Church of San Lorenzo. While waiting a nun spoke with Anne Marie. She has been here a few months and is from India and works with two other sisters and a priest. Anne Marie asked about her home town. She speaks her native language, Italian and English. She escorted us into the church.
We also explored the other side of town which we didn't get to on our first visit. We stopped by a store where we had purchased a couple of wooden items made from Olive Wood on our first visit and did the same today.
There are some very intimate towns that are part of Italy that we have been fortunate to visit over the years and this is clearly one of them.
Once back to the ship we enjoyed lunch at the Lido Cafe. It was very quiet with many guests off the ship. We made the rest of the day a sea day.
We both walked together on the outside on the Promenade Deck enjoying conversation and beautiful views of the scenery all around us.
We both read, wrote and enjoyed conversations with members of the crew and fellow guests.
This evening we will be dining at the Vintage Room.
Anne Marie & Keith