Friday, July 17, 2015

the splendid MSC splendida - Mediterranean cruise (part 3)








Cruise ships not only allow for one to experience the lavish lifestyles of the rich and the famous on board their ships, but what we really enjoyed was the idea of travelling without any of the fatigue attached to travelling. discover a new place and while we sleep, overnight we were transported to another part of the world.Night or day , we managed to pack in as many adventures as we could. dancing on the cruise liner, drinking champagne at the Gala nights or getting drool worthy portraits taken.

Day 5: Tunisia

Tunisia is a place we were most intrigued by, for one none of our friends or family had been here, also it would be our first foray into Africa (It's in North Africa). With us almost missing our ship in Barcelona, we decided to play it safe in Tunisia. we took the ship's pre planned tour and LOVED it!
we chose one which took us to a palace, a small souk (bazaar) and still get us safely back in time. Tunisia was so tourist friendly, their port had shops and camel rides.




Beautiful blue and white ceramic crockeries were simply eye catching, and I got to really flex my bargaining muscles here. to be able to buy 5 Euro plates is a refreshing change from the 20 Euro souvenirs we bought in Rome. colourful bags and jewellery. colour I think is what diffrentiates the Europe from Africa. where in Rome and Italy we saw most people dressed in blacks and greys , this place was a profusion of colours.





We were taken to an Attar store. Being from India we had a fairly decent idea that Attar was perfume concentrates in a purer form without the alcohol content, and was used on pulse points.
We decided to buy the night cactus attars, which were supposedly the base aroma of Channel no 5. they had everything from the base of Davidoff to David Beckham perfumes, and if nothing else it was an interesting tour.

Attar bottles


cactii and white washed homes with blue doors and windows. Picture perfect tunisia.





I couldn't get enough of the white washed buildings with the sapphire blue trimmings, the gates, lamps, staircases, and windows, like ornanments of the house. When one tthinks of blue and white on houses most think of Greece, but Tunisia just goes to show there is more to this mediterranean colours.
I do wish one city or town in India decides to go blue and white, it makes such a startling contrast, not to mention great photographs.



Most people on the ship shied away from the spicy african cuisine, which was expected since most of them hailed from European countries , but we as Indians love our spices. the spice boxes being sold in the shops were quite similar to the Indian spices, cumin and curry and paprika and saffron, familiar flavours all.
We tried a North African sandwich on the go, and it was fantastic! All those spices marinated with the chicken, held together by fresh sewwt bread rolls. Yum!





day 6: Palermo
another day another city, and yet again time to play safe. we were warned that Palermo is a volatile city with people quick to anger. Home of the Italian gangsters, made famous by movies like Godfather and the whole American televised versions of the Italian Mafia, Palermo was going to be fun.
Almost all the souvenir shops sold Godfather movie merabilia, and we picked up a funky Godfather inspired chef's apron for Edy our personal attendant at our dinners on the ship.
Christmas was drawing nnear, and nearly every place had NOEL inspired decor.
ginger bread nativity scene.


sinister looking monuments, just added to the Italian Mystic of Palermo



my trip in Italy had me falling in love with my new interest, artichokes!




The blogger in action. I dont know where the mobile pics are because we just had so many pictures on so many devices.first world problems. :)

Lemons are THE flavour of this place, pick up limoncello the local liquor , or a lemon sorbet, or a gelato within a brioche. to have a sandwich icecream with bread and gelato was kind of a new experience with the brioche gelatos.




That night was our last on the MSC Splendida. : Edy made a special bun bunny for our table holding the MSC flag. overwhelmed by our gift of the chefs apron for him, he made lovely tissue roses which we carried back from our trip. This night was all about goodbyes. We went in search of all the people who made the trip special, our dance instructors, the gorgeous dancers part of the troupe, and Israel who was the photographer on board.
The ship has many photographers who stand at strategic places waiting to ambush you into taking pictures. Every night we would pose our way through the staircases, grandpianos, lounge chairs. I had read in my various 'cruise ship reviews' that spending on pictures was asheer waste of money and the best way to get out of it was not to get pictures taken at all. And then we met Israel. He was a magician with his camera. He took pictures which made us look like movie stars, all soft glow, blemish free, and flawless. There were perhaps 10 photographhers all over the ship, but after the first few nights we realised he was the best. After that we started to dress up for our pictures, even stalk the man, ask every other person where Israel was posted that night. Sure every picture cost 30 euros, but those pictures are the best 300 odd euros we spent.


Israel our photographer. we plan to choose pur next trip on MSC depending which ship he is sailing with :) 



A whirlwind trip crammed with so much adventure, interesting cities, gorgeous locales, extravagant entertainment, delightful food, endearing people. before this I considered cruise ships an extravagant if not over the top way to travel, best suited for the old and the wealthy, but we couldnt have wished for a more amazing choice for a honeymoon. Hope you enjoyed this virtual trip as much as we did.