Arista & Mauritson 2018 Wine Cruise
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Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia as well as Spain’s second largest city. Dominated by Montjuic, Vallvidrera and the Tibidabo Hills, sophisticated Barcelona is rich in ancient and modern architectural and artistic treasures. Many talented artists, sculptors and architects lived here, including Picasso, Miró, Mares and Barcelona’s best-known architect, Antonio Gaudí.
Barcelona’s beginnings as a major port can be found already in Roman times. However, the most significant period was during the Middle Ages when the city's wealth equaled that of the whole Catalunya province. Splendid buildings from the Middle Ages and a unique ambiance still make Barcelona one of the most attractive cities in Europe, drawing scores of visitors to see and enjoy the sights. In addition to its medieval setting and narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter, there are magnificent avenues through the modern part of the city, which are particularly noted for their landmark buildings of Gaudí’s design.
Lying on a natural harbor on the French Riviera, Toulon is France's principal naval base, and the waterfront is always full of life. Designed around stately fountains and small squares, the Old city is tucked between the harbor and boulevard de Strasbourg, and its Cathedrale Saint-Marie-Majeure is noteworthy for its Romanesque architecture. The city is also rich in history, much of it on display in the marine museum and the Museum of Toulon, celebrated for its Provencal paintings. For the ultimate view of Toulon, ride the cable car to Mount Faron.
Set on the blue waters of the Golfe de Saint-Tropez, this modern version of a medieval town is most popular for the line of luxury yachts in her harbor and the facing line of terrace cafés, divided by a parade of strolling tourists and slowly cruising sports cars. Night life
is very lively and often one can see helicopters bringing elegant guests to private parties, in one of the many luxurious villas in the bay. "People watching" is a favorite sport in Saint-Tropez in the summer. Visitors like to sit in the outdoor cafés, hoping either to be seen or to see someone else.
Florence / Pisa / Tuscany, Italy
Livorno is Italy’s second largest port after Genoa. It also serves as a gateway to the Tuscany region and the great cultural centers of Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Siena. Tuscany delights visitors with its picturesque small towns and classic landscapes. The gently rounded hills, accented by clumps of slender cypresses, have been immortalized in numerous paintings. Lush vineyards are the source of the famous dry, dark-red Chianti wines.
From this part of Italy the national language evolved with Dante and other great Tuscan writers of his period. Even more important is the impact this area had on the culture of the rest of Italy and Europe, adding immense wealth to the architectural and artistic heritage. The Italian Renaissance, with its most active center in Florence, lasted from the 1400s to the 1700s. Its greatest support came from the all-powerful Medici family who commissioned Italy’s most talented painters, sculptors and architects to create some of the most outstanding works of art. Names such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Giotto, Vasari, Botticelli, da Vinci and Donatello come to mind, all of whom worked and lived in Florence at some time in their lives.
Sprawled across seven legendary hills, romantic and beautiful Rome was one of the great centers of the ancient world. Although its beginning is shrouded in legend and its development is full of intrigue and struggle, Rome has always been and remains the “Eternal City.” Its greatest splendor was experienced during the 1st and 2nd centuries when art flourished, monumental works of architecture were erected, and the mighty Roman legions swept outward, conquering much of the known world.
Today’s Rome, with its splendid churches, ancient monuments and palaces, spacious parks, tree-lined boulevards, fountains, outdoor cafés and elegant shops, is one of the world’s most attractive and exciting cities. Among the most famous monuments is the Coliseum. As you walk its cool, dark passageways, imagine the voices that once filled the arena as 50,000 spectators watched combat between muscled gladiators and ferocious animals. Stop to see the remains of the Forum, once the city’s political and commercial center. In later times, Rome’s squares were enhanced with such imposing structures as the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, the monumental Trevi fountain and Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, to name
Lying on Spain's radiant Costa Blanca, Alicante exudes a rare beauty. Lovely Baroque buildings cluster around the historic central district. Marble plazas grace its broad waterfront boulevard, the illustrious Explanada de Espana. Pristine beaches like San Juan hug the shoreline. It's no surprise that Alicante is popular year-round. Venture to the grand Castle of Santa Barbara overlooking the city and walk from its high towers down into the dungeon. Stop for a glass of refreshing sangria in the Old Quarter. Behold the masterpieces hanging in the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts, a former 18th century palace.
The Malaga Port is an international seaport located in the city of Malaga, Spain. It rests on the Costa del Sol coast, along the Mediterranean, in the southern portion of Spain. An interesting fact about the Malaga port of call is that it is the oldest, continuously operating port in the country and one of the oldest in the Mediterranean. The Malaga cruise terminal is in fact, a large cruising port currently, though it also serves as a center for manufactured goods transport. In addition, a small fishing fleet operates from the port itself. It is a large port, with 10 operational wharfs. Visitors may make their way into the city of Malaga by bus or taxi.
Malaga port and the city surrounding it offers visitors a range of things to do. The beaches line the coasts and make for an ideal getaway. Tourists often visit Alcazaba, a palace in the heart of the city. There are three courtyards within, including the Patio de los Surtidores with numerous fountains. The Torre de la Armadura Mudejar is an area within the building that features a 16th century carved wooden ceiling. Throughout the Malaga port, there are fantastic locations to eat, including street side vendors. In addition, stop in La Posada de Antonio, featuring outstanding seafood dishes. El Pimpi's, Clandestino and Las Papas are also idea restaurants to visit for local, traditional cuisine. For good tapas, visit Gorkis, in the center of town. For those in the old center of the city, Larious Street offers Café Chinitas, an excellent location for a drink and fast lunch that is inexpensive.
Cadiz (Seville), Spain
Located in southern Spain, Cadiz sits on a sliver of land jutting out into the bay. Almost entirely surrounded by water, Cadiz is believed to be the oldest city in Europe. Formidable walls still stand, protecting and providing Cadiz with a skyline like no other. The old quarter is composed of picturesque buildings, parks, and gardens intertwined with narrow cobblestone streets and squares. A relaxed and easygoing city, Cadiz is easy and fun to explore. Museums, restaurants and quaint shops are plentiful. In the spring, the normally quiet city erupts with a carnival celebration considered to be the liveliest and most important in Spain. For 10 days the streets are filled with people singing, dancing and celebrating in colorful costumes.
Beyond Cadiz, is the beautiful countryside of Andalucia and Jerez. The legendary Bodegas of Jerez produce some of the finest Sherry wine in the world and the city is also known for its magnificent horses. To the north of Cadiz is Seville, considered one of the most beautiful cities in all of Spain. This historic city is rich in architectural masterpieces. Magnificent churches, plazas, and meandering alleyways grace this spirited city.
Lisbon is Portugal’s capital and is the country’s largest city. It dates back some two centuries BC. While Lisbon has modern areas with long wide boulevards shaded with large trees, gardens and lavish residential areas, it also offers a wonderful old section that is built on its terraced hillsides. Lisbon is both ancient and modern and offers superb shopping and sightseeing.
This port city is home of numerous wine shops offering the best in Portuguese port and other wines, as well as some excellent Italian wines also. Women and men’s fashions are everywhere as are shoe stores and other leather products. Prices in Portugal are much lower than in France for the same products and many of the same stores that are in France have locations in Lisbon. If you are going to be clothes shopping, Lisbon is the place to do it.
A hike up to the remnants of St. George's Castle is well worth the investment of energy and time as the views of Lisbon are spectacular. If you have been to Lisbon before try heading out to the villages on the Atlantic Ocean. Sinta is especially beautiful and offers incredible beauty among its narrow and winding medieval streets with lots of charming shops and boutiques.