120527 Messina 27 May Sunday

Even though we were out of site of land all day yesterday, we felt we were on land.  The sea has been so calm.  Not even a rolling motion.  We sat in the sun most of the morning and early afternoon and then did 3 mile walk around the deck in support of breast cancer.  Lyn walked for her work friend from before we were married, and I walked for Vicki from Spartans Gym where I work.  The Holland America Line do this each day they are at sea and have collected over $3 million.  Other cruise lines have taken on the charity too and do it on their ships.

The night’s entertainment, put on by the Noordam Dancers, was a summary of Las Vegas.  It was very well performed and all the glitter and glamour of Las Vegas was there.

After the show, the chefs put on a 10:30pm dessert.  The atrium area was decorated with brilliant cakes and other delicious but rich, desserts.  Only a small taste of a few was enough.  There must have been an enormous ‘throw-out’ after that brilliant display of food-art.

Today we are in Messina, just off the toe of Italy.  We arrive early in the morning and because it is Sunday, there are not too many people in the streets until after 10:30am.  Messina is a port city opposite the Italian mainland.  It has industries producing foodstuffs, silks, muslins, linens and chemicals.  The city was founded by the Greeks in the 8th century BC and occupied by the Roman forces in 264 BC.  Messina has been ruled by various powers, which in turn shaped its vastly diverse culture.  The University of Messina, which was established in 1548, was rebuilt extensively along with the rest of Messina after the earthquake in 1908 that destroyed almost the entire city and killed some 84,000 of its people.

Many of the passengers take a 5-hour excursion into the hills and to a volcano that had erupted a while back.  Lyn and I walk the streets a bit but the town is basically closed except for a couple of coffee shops where we upload the last post.  I have a hot chocolate – the STRONG Italian style.

We sail away at 1:00pm on the last leg of a fantastic cruise.  The sun gets warm enough to get a bit of a tan-touch-up ready to show off back home.  At 3:00pm, we decide to ‘start packing’.  This is always the worst part of any holiday.  At least, it is not camping gear.  At 4:00pm we have a session with the cruise director who goes through the disembarkation routine on our return to Civitavechia.

Those of you, who followed our trip through Vietnam, would remember that each post contained a Senior’s Moment of some kind.  I haven’t noticed any Senior’s Moments to include in this trip’s posts that were on somebody else.  Well, I must reveal, I haven’t had time to find or notice any.  As travel agents, we can’t impress our clients enough to take care of their travel documents and NOT to loose their passport – it is an important document.  Should I go on?  Well, I shouldn’t really but my conscience is getting me.  At Dubrovnik, 3 days into the cruise, we passed through boarder inspection, and thought we may need to show our passports.  We held them up to the taxi window and put them away.  I thought I had put mine in my vest pocket as usual, but……………….. I hadn’t.  And it must have slide to the floor and I didn’t notice my predicament until we were getting ready to go ashore in Corfu, the next port of call.  I didn’t say it – I think! But I meant to say sh………eye…….t.  How lousy it has been –oooooooHHHHHHH! You all say.  I reported it to the front desk and the security guy searched the room for 30 minutes.  Then it was to communicate with the NZ Embassy in Rome.  To cut to the shorter version – I now have – oh good grief, where is it?  A New Zealand Emergency Travel Document.  Man, it is nice.  Please, no flowers or Kiwi jokes.  For the longer version, I will need to collect the costs of the ordeal.  200 Euros, 205 Euros accommodation, train and taxi fares, and a delay of 24 hours leaving Rome for Singapore.  So, any takers – the highest bidder hears the long version.

I am in a hotel room at Rome Airport doing this post after collecting my Emergency Passport.  It took 40 minutes to process and so I missed the flight with Lyn and the rest of the group by just 2 hours.  Oh dam.  I am booked to fly direct Rome Singapore tomorrow, Tuesday arriving Singapore Wednesday morning 6:00am.

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