October 30, 2008
Today I walked into Barcelona early in the morning with the intention of seeing Goudi’s architecture around the city, but took a detour and found myself at the museum of Picasso’s work instead. It was about a 30 minute walk from port to the beginning of the main city, and another 20-30 minutes to the museum. I was really inspired and moved by his art. The museum added on to his biography with a step into each new room. His home base was Barcelona, which is why the museum is there. He was educated in Art, but during his last years at University he dropped out because he felt he had hit a plateau. I was able to see his art in the first half of his life, which was detailed, emotional, full of color schemes and realism. He went through a phase of using blue, because blue and dark green were thought to represent the lonely sea, and through It wasn’t until his later years when he started using geometric shapes in place of realistic features, and random colors and designs. The paintings he is most well known for are very whimsical, vibrant, and even flirtatious – while still seemingly simple, it looks like a lot of thought was put into them. The picture of the stone building is of the museum. It was kind of hidden in an alley way but was quite a big building inside. I love today!
at 8:53 AM
October 29, 2008
Today I went on my first land excursion. I’m able to go on them as an escort, and I basically just make sure everyone is accounted for and follows the tour guide. I did a 4 ½ hour trip that started with a 45 minute bus ride from Sorrento to Pompeii. We drove along the coasts and through mountains flooded with lemon trees, that will produce the famous Italian liquor Limon cello. Olive trees had nets hanging beneath the branches to catch the fruit before it hits the ground. Once almost to Pompeii, I could look back and see my ship and town of Sorrento (pictured). The tour guide was very well studied and did an awesome job of explaining Pompeii to us. The city was ruined by a volcanic eruption, so what is left is remains of stone. We were able to see where the rooms were people lived in, and the sizes of the beds, which were outlined in stone and built into the walls. The beds were very small, about 4 1/2 feet long, because the average height of the people was much shorter then today. We saw two theatres, both of which were ‘in the round’ where the stage is at floor level and the people sit in a circle/semi-circle in an arena sort of manner. Outside of the theatres were little ‘fast food’ places that had round pots build into counters that were said to keep food hot. I walked through a small house which could be called a “whore house” with karma sutra paintings still on the wall and visible today(pictured!). In the main square and center of the city it was very open. There are still fountains and columns and the roads made of uneven stone are still in tact. One of the houses still had colors on the wall and a staircase, kitchen, and dining room could be made out. In one part of the city, there were casts of people in glass boxes that were a little disturbing. The guide helped us use our imagination and explained to us how archeologists have been able to figure out what the city looked like before it was destroyed. It was about a 2 mile walk through the city, and still didn’t see everything – it’s pretty big. I’m so glad I was able to go on the tour and learn about what I was looking at, it really pays to have a guide! After the tour I met Lindsay and Marsha for lunch in Sorrento. Had bread, minestrone soup and caprese salad = my favorite! Then ran into Gary, and him and I did some shopping – where I found the biker jacket I wanted last time in Sorrento at Diesel, on clearance for 49 euro. I love it!!
at 8:34 AM
October 19, 2008
The past 3 days have been spent in Venice. We had 2 overnights, one of which was taken full advantage of. The first day I went with a group: Lindsay, Alex, the Mikes, Marsha, and Jerome. We walked through the beautiful stone streets, churches, and stores. I didn’t want to blink because everything was so beautiful! Thin rivers run through the streets like alleys, laced with gondolas and boats for transportation. One of the boats had an accordion player and an Italian singer with a very robust deep voice. Walking through the town is as beautiful as you can imagine it– to the point it’s unreal and you have to literally pinch yourself. We found a restaurant in small square for lunch, toasting to the farewell of our bass player Jerome. Every cruise I find myself saying goodbye to someone and hello to another, with all of the contracts overlapping. Already, some goodbyes are much harder then others. We all had traditional Italian fare and wine, I myself had a grilled veggie calzone the size of my head. Afterwards, we all split off, the girls and Alex, who bought us single roses like the gentleman he is, roamed around through St. Mark’s Square and the main waterside shops. We even spotted the pirate ship which gave me inspiration for [one of my] Halloween costumes (typical yeah, but I’m on a ship!). The next day Lindsay and I ventured into town on our own agenda and freedom. We walked in from the ship which took about an hour, and stopped at a stand up café for a cappuccino and a pastry. We shopped all day, trying on lots of designer clothing that was way out of my price range…someday… We sat outside for a quick lunch, followed by a small wine tasting and a visit to the dollar store for Marsha’s birthday decorations. It was quite an exhausting day, but we had planned to go out for a night on the town, so we knew it was far from over. The girls and Gary had a night of bar hopping. Again, walking into town, we stopped at a small little café/bar Gary had been to before – and then next door at a place with dogs and peanut shells on the floor. When we finally got to the center of town (which had transformed from tourists to local hipsters in day to night fashion) we hit our main attraction which was a ‘jazz’ bar. The ceilings had rows of bras hanging from them in a rainbow of colors and designs… very classy! And the walls were hung with pictures drawn by regulars and photos of jazz greats. We met with Kelsey (activites manager) and the Mikes and hung out there for the rest of the night chatting and hanging out. The last day in Venice, we only had a few short hours, and with waking up so late from the night before, I just wandered around and took in the beautiful sights one last time. It’s a city you can really get lost in just walking around for hours, because even the apartments and stores are made of gorgeous stone. This has been one of my favorite cities so far… I think I say that about every city. Tree Tattoo ideas for Barcelona?
at 10:22 AM
October 12, 2008
The street taken from the water to the town. Taking a breather! One of the many gelato shops! This one had amazing smelling waffle cones. I had some yesterday, so I just looked and drooled today. Kitties by the sea. Wish i could adopt one. The weather has been immaculate lately, I don’t know what I did to deserve such wonderful times the past few days. I’m so thankful and happy for sunshine, friends, and amazing sites! The ship was tendered today, meaning you have to take a small boat from the ship to the shore. There are usually a couple of ports each cruise that are tendered, because there’s not a big enough space for the ship to dock at some of the ports. The town of Sorrento looks over the water, and is on a mountain, so there are quite a bit of steps and streets that take one there. The streets are made of stone and are hard on the feet to walk on! They are also very narrow in the town and it’s quite a site to see some of them pass as 2 way streets. I went today with Lindsay and Gary (we make the Taurus trio) and we started out window shopping at amazing European shops. Thank God I haven’t gotten paid and everything was too expensive, because it was all beautiful clothing. I found a bunch of biker chick jackets that I became infatuated with and decided if I still want one I’ll get it when I come back on the next cruise. Next we grabbed a quick cappuccino in a small café, squished between two small tables of chic little boys with designer sunglasses and 3 little girls giggling while smelling a bag of cheese puffs. We continued to walk down the entirety of a long street dressed with designer clothing, souvenir shops, cafes, gelato stands, and hidden alleys smothered with more boutiques and stores. The town was booming with energy and livelihood that we all soaked in. My favorite smell of the day was the fresh waffle cones from a particularly busy gelato stand. Kind of like how McDonalds somehow makes the block around them smell like French fries…but 3,000 times more amazing. After building up quite an appetite we made our way to the center square, and sat outside at a busy restaurant. I had wine, a piece of brushetta, and a ½ and ½ plate of pizza margherita and raviolo with spinach and ricotta. There were few ingredients used but it was obvious they were of high quality because the dish was flavorful and fresh. We spent a couple of hours sitting, eating, and talking, all on a very happy food/life high. We finished the day with more walking, talking, and looking at buildings and the view of the sea. It was a relaxing day in good company, and I got a hearty taste of the town and culture.
at 1:49 PM
October 11, 2008
Hello! from inside the Pantheon.Making a wish at the Trevi Fountain. Looking straight into the sky at the Pantheon. Vatican City. Today I had the most amazing day. I went into Rome, which was about an hour train ride, with only about 3 hours to spend to see the city. The weather was sunny and very warm. I walked the city with Jared, Mike, and Michelle who had been there before, so they knew where to go for the day. They are such fun company! We first started at Vatican City and walked around looking at the huge columns and statues. Then we walked along a river and among beautiful old buildings with rustic walls made of stone. Every picture taken looks like a postcard. While passing through narrow alleys with lots of small shops (I didn’t shop today!! Be proud of me!), Michelle and I grabbed gelato – the man serving us could see how excited we were and gave us about 3 gallons each in a cup. I had dark chocolate and a vanilla with chocolate chunks in it (amazing – doesn’t compare to ice cream, so refreshing and delicious!) and it was the best lunch I could’ve asked for. The boys downed some wine while we ate the gelato, and they made for quite a hilarious day with their buzzes on. I spotted a musical instrument shop and bought a harmonica, and Michelle and Mike were inspired to get recorders, and Mike also bought a jaw harp (a bluegrass tradition). We walked Rome for the remainder of the afternoon attempting to play our fun little instruments. My harmonica is in the key of C so I’m going to write a song “When in Rome” with a harmonica solo (to be added when I learn to rock out on it). Then we marched to the pantheon, a dome shaped building with a huge hole at the top to see the sky. It’s almost surreal it’s so big and breathtaking. Our last stop of the day was the trevi fountain, and of course we each threw a coin over our shoulder and made a wish. I had such a great time with really great company. The ship is going back a few more times so I’ll check out other sites I can’t wait to see. Rome was beautiful!!!!!! Delicious!! Breathtaking!! Musical!! Open, Free, Lovely, Fun!
October 9, 2008
A metal street structure in Barcelona. What wonderful architecture. I can't wait to go back! Casablanca was my least favorite so far, I felt very uncomfortable. Lindsay and I were sticking out like sore thumbs with light skin/hair/eyes and got lots of stares and comments and such. There was also lots of young children trying to sell us Kleenex and other random things, and I was worned for them distracting us to pick-pocket. I felt uptight holding my purse close to me all day. We stopped in a little bar with the band and cast and had a drink, and it was good to relax and get to know everyone. I mostly just walked around a lot and looked at little souvenior shops. We are going back again, and next time I want to take a tour to really get to know the city. Yesterday was embarkation day, where a new group of cruisers board. We were in Barcelona, and I walked into the city with our drummer Jared, and Mike, our audio/visual manager. The walk into the main part of town was about a half hour, so I had about an hour to myself to walk and shop before heading back. There were tons of souvenoir shops, street musicians, and people posing as statues (who surprised me a few times!!). The market was full of lots scary meat!
October 8, 2008
Valencia is vibrant! I loved the colors of these buildings - the photo doesn't do them justice. The market was full of more fresh foods then I could have imagined. People shop daily and buy just what they need for a day or two! So Healthy. All of our shows are open! Last night we put on “Sing it and Swing it.” The first audience was kind of dead, and we had a lot of mistakes. Not incredibly noticeable, but for ourselves we knew. The second show was MUCH smoother and we all did very well. I got a lot of great feedback personally, and met more people from Maryland! I’m amazed at how many people are from Maryland on this cruise, it’s kind of weird. I hung out with the band after the show at the upstairs dance/night club while my next door cabin neighbor, Michelle, DJed. She’s leaving in 2 days when her contract ends, but will return in late December. All of the contracts of people on the ship are very staggered, including with our band (half of them are leaving in the next few cruises), so it’s hard to make close friends sometimes when they can be leaving shortly. In honor of Michelle, we danced up quite a storm. She is the environmental officer, and has been introducing me to people outside of the entertainment department. We ended up at the crew bar in the late hours of the night to dance and party with the staff – they are all so much fun. We also went to the very top deck which is quite exhilarating – you can see far into the sea and it’s very very windy! But very beautiful. I feel much relief that all of the shows are opened and I’m looking forward to improving and growing into them more. Today the ship was docked in Valencia, Spain. It was my first day off from rehearsals/trainings this cruise, and I still managed to get up early (10 a.m. hehe) and go out to explore the port. Marsha, Gary, Lindsay, and I walked around the city all day. It had great shopping! I discovered Zara, a mix between Express and H&M. Lots of hip/trendy/classic/and also basic things. It was again, a beautiful day. I went to a great market full of fresh produce, meats, nuts, spices, and anything wonderful you can imagine. I got a massive apple. I love getting a feel for the city by walking around but I should start doing more touristy things to learn the history next time.
at 7:59 AM
October 5, 2008
October 4, 2008
Last night was a very… very rocky night. I heard from most of the crew it was one of the worst nights they had had on their contract. The girls watched a movie and headed up to the top deck for a “captain’s club” meeting with v.i.p. cruisers. After meeting the captain Marsha and I were handed gingerale’s - I think the look on my face was actually scaring more people then entertaining. I then returned to my room and slept for a few hours… and preceded to get officially sea sick. This morning our dress rehearsal was the similar rockiness, except this time we were handed pails instead of beds. Luckily no one got sick, but it was awfully rough and tough to get through. Finally, the waters calmed down for our two shows of “Twisted TV” and they were the best performances we’ve done of them. The show is quite different from the other 2 shows we perform – it has a lot of lines and acting, and parody songs with lots of wordy lyrics. It was a really fun show and we all did well!
at 7:58 AM
October 1, 2008
The way to a girl's heart is through dark chocolate gelato. I will also love you if you give me vanilla with dark chocolate chunks. The oldest and the youngest know how to party! Yay for Gary. Gary and I had gelato in Italy. Then we celebrated the opening of our first show, That's Hollywood, in the crew bar.
at 8:15 AM
Last night we had our first shows of “That’s Hollywood.” They went really well! I say a line about how I love a good ol’ Maryland crabcake, and a little group in the audience responded. I met some people from Chestertown and Baltimore, and it was nice to feel some love from home. The band is really great, and it really helps getting energy from them. There’s a drummer, bassist, pianist, and horns – trumpet, flute/clarinet(1 person), saxaphone and trombone. I am kind of sad there is no guitar player. After the shows we went to the “Looking Glass,” a club on the top floor of the ship, with our producer Mike. We had celebratory champagne. Afterwards I went to the crew bar for Pilipino karaoke, where I stuck out like a sore thumb in my pencil skirt and stilettos… but I danced the night away and made lots of new friends. People recognize us around the ship from the show, and keep asking us when our next shows are. We are also easy to spot because we are much younger then everyone else. So whenever we go to eat or walk around the ship, it’s usual a long drawn out ordeal because we end up talking to everyone! We are encouraged to have a lot of ‘face time’ so that as entertainers we are proactive and make the guests feel special. The ship has been quite rocky at times, and it even wakes me up at night sometimes when it’s really rough. I don’t notice it much of the time, now that I’m used to it, but sometimes it’s extra hard to work out at the gym because you have to work double time to hold your balance. I had my first case of “sea legs” when I got off the ship today. I went to a grocery store and some outdoor markets, and felt like I was still walking on the ship. It was really bizarre feeling. I did however get some sweet shoes and a bag. We’ve already started rehearsing with the band for “twisted TV” which we’ll perform on Saturday. It’s a much harder show for me with all the lines and comedy. It’s our longest show as well. P.S. I am still working on my wireless internet connection. It’s not very reliable in my room. So I haven’t been able to get skype up and running yet.
at 12:00 AM