My Viking Journey: A Grand Finale In My Favorite City of Rome

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50My Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land, was about to come to an end. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* Our last stop was Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. We would spend our final day touring my favorite Italian city. L had never been to Rome. I was so excited to share the famous landmarks, piazzas, and most of all the pizza.

“I can’t wait for you to see the spectacular sites in Rome,” I told L as we prepared for our 10 hour excursion. “I know you will be exhausted after walking around town but you can rest on our plane ride home tomorrow.”

Rome; Colosseum

I was glad to show Rome to my boyfriend L, a first-time visitor.

The Large Port of Civitavecchia
Ciao everyone,” said our guide Monica. “We are in Civitavecchia, a port built more than 1000 years ago. It takes about 90 minutes to get to Rome.” On our way, Monica provided a history lesson.

Civitecchia, Rome

Arriving at our last port in Italy.

Civitavecchia is a large city for Italy. It means the ‘old city.’ During World War II it was bombed to ruins, ” said Monica. We approached the 255 miles long Tiber River, which divides Rome into two halves and flows out into the Mediterranean Sea. We drove by the countryside lush with olive trees and vineyards. Tuscany is only an hour from the port. Continue reading

My First-Ever Ocean Cruise On The Luxurious “Viking Star”

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Are you ready? It’s time to embark, as I share highlights from my journey aboard my first-ever ocean cruise on the luxurious Viking Star. It was a “star-studded” 15-days traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* My lucky, lucky boyfriend L was my companion for the trip.

Our voyage on the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land took us to Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Italy. During the two weeks, we spent time exploring the cities of Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, Limassol, Naples, Rome and visiting the holy land in Jerusalem. (Note: We missed visiting Crete due to weather conditions.)

Viking Ocean Cruise; ocean cruises; Greece; Israel; Viking Star; boomer travel; post 50 travel

Our Viking Ocean Cruise took us to Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy.

An Elegant Vessel For Ocean Cruising
Having been on two previous Viking River Cruises — on the Douro in Portugal and on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland — I was familiar with Viking Longships. With its Ocean Cruises, as they say, Viking has taken “that same small ship, destination-focus experience to the seas with an elegant fleet of vessels setting sail in Scandinavia and Baltic, the Mediterranean, North America and the Caribbean.” The ocean itineraries have been carefully designed to access the best destinations up close, with more time in the port than other cruise lines.

Viking Ocean Cruise; ocean cruises; Viking Star; boomer travel; post 50 travell

Viking Star is an elegant ocean liner designed for small ship destination cruising.

Accolades Galore For Viking Star
With Viking, I knew our ship, the Viking Star, was going to be special. Viking was named a #1 Ocean Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards 2017 and 2016. Plus, Cruise Critic editors honored Viking Ocean Cruises with two awards in 2016: “Best Luxury Cruise Line for Value” and “Best Luxury Cruise Line Spa,” (Ooh, ooh, ooh, wait until I tell you about my treatments at the spa. I had to try a massage and facial. It was part of my duties as a blogger. Did I say I love my life? I do. I do.)

Viking Ocean Cruise; ocean cruises; Viking Star; boomer travel; post 50 travel

The spa has a relaxing warm water pool with jets.

Cruise Critic editors also selected Viking Star as the “Best New Ocean Ship” of 2015, noting “the ship is so beautifully designed—with terrific al fresco restaurants, a beautiful pool area, a superb spa and the two-level Explorers’ observation lounge—that you’ll be hard-pressed to go ashore.”  (We spent three days at sea and it was so relaxing to walk around the deck and sit on lounges looking out over the Aegean Sea.) Continue reading

My Fabulous Vacation to Italy: A Fun Day In Florence

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50On Sunday, we headed off on a day trip from Rome during my family vacation to Italy this past June. Despite rainy weather, our train from Termini Station to Santa Maria Novella Station took about 90 minutes. We bought roundtrip tickets in the machine with return reservations for early evening. The best thing about arriving in Florence by train is that you can walk into town.

The Duomo and The David
Our team of six divided up to see the sights. Unfortunately none of us bought passes in advance — so we missed the opportunity to climb the 400 steps of the Duomo church. We admired the exterior which is as beautiful as ever. The piazza is also a great place to peruse paintings from local artists. My son D and I each bought watercolor art.

Florence; Italy; Duomo; boomer travel

The Duomo is a landmark in the center of Florence.

My son D and his girlfriend Jo, and my daughter A and her friend J ventured around the city since Jo and J had never been. They were eager to go shopping for Italian leather goods in the open-air marketplace.

My sister N and I walked to the Galleria Dell’Accademia where Michelangelo’s David stands tall. Although we had both visited Florence previously, we had never seen the David. Sadly there were no more online passes available so we stood in line for more than an hour to buy our entry.

Was it worth the wait? Yes, yes, yes. David is an astounding masterpiece and well worth oohing and ahhing over.

Michaelangelo; The David; Florence; Italy; boomer travel

Michaelangelo’s masterpiece.

More Sights and Shopping In Florence
With little time left to shop after the David, N and I stopped for a quick pizza break near the piazza that’s home to a carousel, then met up with our fellow travelers to shop for Italian leather goods. A and J bought leather jackets, Jo bought an orange leather tote, and with little coaxing, convinced me to buy one in eggplant. (Note: The link provided offers a very similar tote to the ones we bought.) Continue reading

My Fabulous Vacation To Italy: More To See In Rome

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50If you didn’t buy your ticket to Italy after my last blog post (First Stop Rome), I think this one will make you hit the purchase button.

Rome was the first stop on a fabulous family vacation to Italy this past June. I traveled with my sister N, my daughter A and her friend J, and my son D and his girlfriend Jo. The first day in Rome we walked more than seven miles. On the second day we added another nine.

Rome; Italy; boomer travel

Day Two In Rome
On Day Two in Rome, we divided up to conquer the parts of Rome that we hadn’t seen on Day One. The four millennials left early to go to Vatican City to see the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, (it’s good to go early to these areas and buy tickets for tours) and then to Trevi Fountain (one of my favorite tourist’s spots in Rome). They also stopped at Bonci, where they had what looked to be a best-ever pizza. (Wish I hadn’t missed this pizza. Adding it to my “to eat” list for my next trip to Italy. You should too!)

Italy; Rome; Vatican City; Sistine Chapel; St. Peter's Square and Basiclica

Vatican City includes the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica and Square

Italy; Rome; Bonci; pizza

I missed this best-ever pizza from Bonci.

Since my sister N and I had already seen these landmarks on a previous trip to Rome, we took off in a different direction to do some window shopping and see other historic monuments.

Continue reading

My Fabulous Vacation To Italy: First Stop Rome

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Are you ready for a world wind tour of Rome? By the time you finish reading this post you’ll want to book your ticket. Rome was the first stop on a fabulous family vacation to Italy this past June. It was an adventure of a lifetime and I can’t wait to share the wonderful memories with you.

Traveling to Rome
The six of us — me, my sister N, my daughter A and her friend J, and my son D and his girlfriend Jo — left in early June for 10 glorious days in Italy. The trip was in honor of a big birthday celebration for my daughter A. We headed out via Alitalia from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Rome; Italy; travel; Capri; Amalfi Coast; Positano

We were six gladiators ready to explore the sites, sounds, and tastes of Italy.

 

Alitalia; Rome; travel; Italy

We flew to Rome on Alitalia.

An Apartment for Six
After about eight hours, we touched down at the Rome airport and were picked up by a car service with a van large enough to fit six and all our luggage. I was so glad we had pre-planned pick-up with our VRBO hosts. It went so smoothly. Zip zip and we were at 59 Via Mecenate in a great three bedroom/two bath apartment on a beautiful tree-lined street near the Colosseum. Owners P and V let us freshen up before we ventured out on the town.

Rome apartments; VRBO; Ancient Rome; travel; Italy

Our apartment in Rome was near the Colosseum.

A Seven Mile Walk Around Rome
Despite being exhausted, we were on an adrenaline high, like gladiators ready to conquer the eternal city in all its glory. With only two days in Rome, we wanted to hit all the hot spots, especially since J and Jo had never been. N had visited once, I had been twice, and A and D were our go-to guides since they both lived in Rome during their college semesters abroad.  (Note: It is interesting to read my blog posts from my first trip to Rome  in 2007 pre-50 and my second trip to Rome in 2011 post-50. My blogging skills and my life skills have changed a great deal since those days.) Continue reading