Next, MS "Amadea" took course direction east to the Port of Civitavecchia, approximately
50 miles away from the Eternal City of Rome. This formerly Ethruscan settlement evolved to be one of the principal naval harbors built by Emperor Trajan in the Second Century. Again, severe rainy conditions prevented us from visiting this interesting city in its own right. Nevertheless, rainy or not, whatever remained of ancient Civitavecchia was impressive enough in the eyes of historians.
Not much later, MS "Amadea" docked for a few short hours in Crotone. This noteworthy place exists since 530 B.C. and served as Pythagoras' school for philosophy and mathematics.
Its Byzantine Castello now houses a museum for provincial and contemporary art.
Although, possibly not the most impressive of Rome-based edifices, we were, nevertheless, quite impressed the Pyramid of Cestius. This pyramid, 37 meters high (when constructed in 12 B.C.), serves as tomb of Gaius Cestius. This gentleman had been appointed Roman adviser to the ruler of Egypt on matters of Roman law and enforced judice prudence. In this capacity, he had become a true Egyptophile, who, upon his death had decreed to be entombed in a manner practised by the god-like pharaos of the great land on the Nile. And that, imagine, in Rome, giving us at least one example of practised Roman tolerance, whenever it felt like it. :-)
Because of the overall inclement weather conditions on and around the entire
Mediterranean Sea during our cruise time, we have limited ourselves to a brief rendition featuring principal highlights of our November voyage.
Starting with Nice, France, where we lodged for two days prior to our embarkation.
Outlasting the massive rainfalls that had menaced the entire Mediterranean coastlines,
we enjoyed, nevertheless, a comfortable post flight rest in one of the hotels close to the picturesque thoroughfares of this beautiful city.
From our hotel, when it was not raining for a few moments, we photographed another hotel at a time when it was blessed by a beautiful rainbow.
Next port of call: Naples.
1) Approaching Naples, one is immediately forced to recognize the Vesuvius mystically looming in the background. 2) Official administrative building of the Harbor of Naples.
3) Castell dell'Oro, oldest and stunning fortress in downtown Naples. In the foreground an Italian frigate, and in the distance a hillside historical edifice. 4) Italian Coast Guard and Naval patrol vessels that are present in most Italian ports, as we frequently noticed.
The following represent just a few examples of monuments, buildings and streets in Trieste, making the points indicated above.
Our distinguished readers will undoubtedly notice our staying on board of MS "Amadea" during less than pleasant weather periods or only moderately interesting places on the Eastern Mediterranean. There is no reason to be concerned or even sad about that, because being on shipboard of this tremendous vessel is always delightfully exciting and never ever dull. Quite to the contrary!
Frequently, places like Miramare Castle are a treasure trove of history, even international/ intercontinental history.
Directly after World War II, the Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito had annexed Trieste. However, the Western Allies in general and the United States of America in particular forced Tito to return the city to Italy. The reason for this action was that the U.S.A. had promised Italy possession of South Tyrol as well as Trieste, if Italy would quit the Axes (German, Japan and Italy) and subsequently join the Western Allies in their combined quest to defeat Germany on the Italian peninsular.
The transition of Trieste from Yugoslavia to Italy was supervised by the 88th (Blue Devils) U.S. Infantry Division. A historical marker in the castle's garden confirms this historical fact.
Arriving at Miramare Castle on the Gulf of Trieste. During the first half of the 19th century it served as the happy home of Their Imperial Highnesses the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian von Habsburg and the Archduchess Charlotte formerly of Belgium.
Our Eastern Mediterranean Cruise 2019
Colonel Prof. Dr. Paul W. Gulgowski-Doliwa, The Duke of Lower Silesia (Glogau) and
Grand Dame Heide A.M. Gulgowski-Doliwa, The Duchess of Lower Silesia (Glogau), also
Principal Photographer and Editor.
The eighth destination on our agenda: Zadar, Croatia
For all intents and purposes, the Archducal Couple was exceedingly happy while residing at Miramare Castle.
Bowing to uncompromising prompting by the Imperial/Royal House of Habsburg and the unrelenting arm-twisting of Napoleon III, they finally acquiesced to becoming Emperor and Empress of Mexico, 1864-1867. The entire world knows just how tragic this illfated venture ended.
And last but not least: Trieste
There is really no doubt in the minds of informed visitors to Trieste that this Adriatic city, simply alone by testimony of its substantive buildings, was and will remain an ethnic Austrian municipality. Just one historic example should suffice as fundament for this premise:
Austrian Archduke Maximilian, before becoming Emperor of Mexico, presided here when he was instrumental in establishing a reputable Austro-Hungarian Naval Force in and around Trieste.
We felt right like at home here, first and foremost, because our hotel had welcomed us in the spirit of Christmas, which we would not have expected one day after the First Advent Sunday.
In Civitavecchia, we boarded our bus to Rome. It may interest our readers to know that we had been to Italy at least eight times and we had visited the Vatican definitely four times. It goes without saying that both of these nations had made a tremendous and lasting impact on our hearts and our souls. Just alone for that reason, it felt good inside to visit Rome again, rain or not. Still, for inclement weather reasons, we shall report on only a very few on our most recent impressions by pictorial means. The photos will speak for themselves, as well as reveal their known identity. Exception: Mussolini building-style of the thirties.
DUCAL/PRINCELY HOUSE GULGOWSKI-DOLIWA
Over night, we reached Kerkyra, Greece.
As we approached Greece, all of our Greco-antique knowledge crept back into our minds. No doubt, we were in Greece. We enjoyed the distant scenery of this peninsular nation; however, we stayed on board waiting for still better things to come. After all, we had been in Greece quite some time ago, and that for at least two weeks.
Our second to last port of call: Venice
There is hardly anything that has not been said, written or musically composed with charm, sophistication and elegance about Venice. And all of that was right, proper and true. The last thing we wish to do is to take anything away from that. Nevertheless, as MS "Amadea" entered the harbor of Venice, considering the dampness, cold, fog and drizzling rain, we could not help but feel dismal pity for this once jubilant and happy metropolitan city of special renown, architectural splendor, grace and joyous expression of life. What we perceived then, sad but real, was a city that could be liked to a once lovely, beautiful and desirable lady that had become an old and frail woman, as of late destined to drown in sorrow and despair.
The following short photo reportage depicts our entry into the harbor of Venice. We find it superfluous to singularly identify individually all the buildings, palaces and houses of God, because our readers know those things already by heart from movies, television programs and publications like National Geographic and the like. Beyond that, many of our friends and acquaintances have visited this northern Italian totally out-of-the-ordinary city.
Crowns are much more than those who are entitled to wear them. They are a symbol for the entirety of a cultural whole and the idea of enlightened statesmanship
Kotor, Montenegro, represents the second true jewel of our Eastern Mediterranean cruise. Stormy seas, heavily rained-in coast lines and a fog-disguised sky, eventually and dramatically gave way to a brilliantly sunny afternoon.
Kotor deserves a few more historical explanations than we previously applied to other, better known Eastern Mediterranean sightseeing attractions, simply because it exudes a special geographical ambiance when compared to other locations.
Here are a few special introductions. Kotor benefited from the fact that it was able to advantageously employ its Adriatic fjord. It utilized this strategy already since the fourth century before Christ. This geographic blessing became in particularly handy when preventing the Turks in their attempt to conquer it. During the 13th century, Kotor was part of the Principality of Zeta. Still, in order to culturally and economically survive, it had to embrace a close association with Venice in the 15th century.
Later, in the 18th century, it belonged to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, allowing Austria-Hungary to employ its fjord as an anchorage for up to 600 ships. Although, we do not wish to deeper dig into Kotor's more "recent" past under Napoleon and after World War I, we still don't want to be remiss in mentioning its association with Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and the People's Republic of Yugoslavia. In the end, it re-attained its independence on 3 June 2006. Hurray to that!
After this narrative, we are delighted to share with our highly appreciated readers a selection of our pictures relating to this magical place.
1 and 2) Approaching the Adriatic fjord leading to Kotor. 3) Sparkling villages with ascending church steeples along the way. 4) Dead ahead, shrouded by rain and fog, the Cloister of St. Petar on the small island of St. George. 5) MS "Amadea" safely docked in Kotor harbor.
6) Proof of Venice's protection over Kotor. 7) Sixteenth century clock tower with "column of shame" in the center of Kotor. 8) Plaza in city center. 9) Plants and flags decorating houses and public places, humble but very nice. 10) St. Tryphon Cathedral from 1166.
11) Modest welcome manifestations saluting visitors from all over the world. Streets were designed in a narrow manner for early military defense purposes. 12) Kotor enjoys a never ending fresh water supply from its surrounding mountains. 13) This marvelous little city is not just protected by mountains but also by tactically emplaced walls and watchtowers on them. 14) Inside view of St. Luke's Basilica, 14th century.
15 and 16) Kotor, the "Cat Paradise." We are not kidding!
17) Obviously, it was very hard to say good-bye to this enchanting, fairytale-like city on the Adriatic Sea.
Utilizing the sun as our selection criteria, Messina (Sicily) emerged as our first destination of true delight with summer-like temperatures, which, at this time, we most certainly and deeply appreciated.
1) As devout Catholics, we definitely appreciated being welcomed to Messina by three beautiful churches, right from the start. 2) Heide enjoying the morning light while
MS "Amadea" was in the process of docking. 3) Courthouse manifesting its true Roman origin. 4) During our bus trip, we were able to enjoy many pictorial sites from elevated vantage points. 5) As historians, we took particular note of a Basilica dedicated to Emperor and King Charles V. 6) While being driven through Messina, we observed a true assembly of all sorts of Christian edifices and beautifully designed residential villas. 7) The straight of Messina, partially blocked out by Paul. 8) The Cathedral of Messina, ornamented with world renowned chimes that were created in Strassburg. 9) We departed from this tremendously interesting city with a little bit of sadness in our hearts, a sentiment reflected in the last photograph of our visit there.
Good-Bye Trieste, Hello Munich
Hardly ever are international airports considered a proper destination for vacations. Munich, however, provided us with a noteworthy exception to this understanding. Here, our airport hotel provided us with much deserved rest and relaxation, allowing us the welcome opportunity to eternalize genuine Southern Bavarian Christmas traditions, sentiments and emotions. Although, we missed the opportunity of photographing the lovely harpist and that wonderful children's choir that blessed our hearts with the unique Christmas carols that are typical for Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria.
During one of our taxi rides along the Mediterranean coastline in Nice, we noticed the Carlton Hotel, a few years ago one of the primary movie set sites for the James Bond picture
"Never Say Never Again." Because of the incessant rain, we allowed ourselves the privilege of borrowing the following picture from another source.
The first stop of MS "Amadea" was Ajaccio, Corsica, Napoleon's birthplace.
Although, we had the pleasure of seeing Corsica during our previous Western Mediterranean voyage we, nevertheless, looked forward to visiting Ajaccio, the Capital city of this historical island. However, viewing pending stormy conditions, we decided to be satisfied with appreciating whatever presented itself on the port- and starboard sides of our vessel.
Correspondence of Maximilian convincingly reveals that his foremost purpose for going to Mexico was primarily to help the lower class Mexicans to get rid of the shackles that kept them in economic bondage. This lofty objective could only be realized by providing the downtrodden with a solid primary and secondary education. To make this historical point short, we can report to our readers that during this author's extensive travel through Mexico, many places still offer unrefutable evidence to the fact that many school constructions started by Maximilian were never completed.
The overarching truth governing all of that is simply this: Most ethnic populations will never accept outside leadership, regardless their talents and skills. History proves time and again that such people rather prefer being governed by local individuals, even if these persons lack in quality and experiences. Example: The British in India. Lesson:
No one should be master in someone else's home.