By Corey Sandler
One of the tropes of cheesy mystery stories is a gathering of suspects, family, or other interested parties at which an unexpected letter is read aloud. “If you are hearing this letter, that means that I am…”
No, not dead, in our case.
If you are reading this blog, it means we have been at sea, at last, after two years of unplanned isolation.
And we did it in high style, sailing on the pre-Maiden shakedown by-invitation-only cruise of the beautiful Viking Mars, right out of the shipyard. Viking Cruises does a fine job delivering well-above-the-middle voyages, and one of the reasons is that it took a beautiful design and has replicated it–a little bit better with each try–for all of the ocean vessels in its fleet.
We met the ship at Civitavecchia, the ancient port of Rome. Our island-hopping itinerary took us to Palermo and Siracusa on Sicily, then the marvelous nation of Malta, on to Cagliari on Sardinia, and Palma, Mallorca before finishing in Barcelona.
Italy, Malta, Spain. Grazie, Grazie, Gracias.
I was one of several guest speakers on this special cruise, and we enjoyed just about everything. If only we could have done the trip without having to endure the sorry state of airline travel these days, especially on the U.S. airline whose name is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet.
Siracusa, Sicily (Italy)
Everywhere on Sicily is special, with its Greek history and its Sicilian culture. Our new ship fit in very well in the old harbor.
A Visit to the Second Island of Malta
Malta is one of our favorite places in the world. If you can’t take a great, or at least good photo there it is time to retire your camera. I’m keeping mine.
On this visit we took the fast ferry from Valletta harbor on the main island of Malta for a visit to the second island of the nation: Gozo, a place less visited by modern tourists but one very familiar to the ancients.
After our ferry ride, we took a tuk-tuk expedition from Yippee Tours circumnavigating the island. Here’s some of what we saw:
Cagliari, Sardinia (Italy)
We doubled back to Italy for the day to the salt water-infused city of Cagliari on the island of Sardinia, which sits just below the French island of Corsica.
Palma, Mallorca (Spain)
Mallorca is the major island of the Balearics, a sun-drenched outpost of Spain. The minor island is Menorca, and the even-lesser rock is Ibiza. Mallorca is dominated by La Seu, the dominating cathedral of tall spires, gargoyles, and gothic arches.
Up close to La Seu. Photo by Corey Sandler
All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image, please contact me.