Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Cruise - Part IV and my Blog Birthday

Firstly, I can hardly believe it,  but 'twas on 5 February 2010 that I wrote my very first blog on My Life in the Charente; 4 years of blogging!!  When I first started, I thought it would be interesting to  write a diary to inform friends and family.  Somehow it just grew and I now have 282 followers officially, but there are several others who comment and follow, but who are not officially registered.  I have made so many friends, some of who I have met up with, and many who I still hope to meet one day.  Thank you to all my followers who have shown so much interest and kept me motivated to keep this blog alive.  I have also now got two other blogs, but that is another story!

Returning to our cruise.... The night after we returned from our excursion to Pisa, I started coughing very badly.  This cough I should add, has been under treatment for a number of years; sometimes it is worse than others, but this was really at its worst.  I have had pneumonia twice in the past, so Nigel was really worried that I was heading for another dose.  So the next morning, instead of taking the tender to the port of Civitavecchia and a coach trip to Rome, we headed down to Deck 1 of the ship, where the medical quarters were.  To cut a long story short, after seeing a fantastic Italian doctor and having had a few x-rays taken, I spent the whole morning there on a drip!  I did not have a true pneumonia, but it was certainly heading in that direction, and caused, it was thought, by the ship's air-conditioning.  By the afternoon I felt much better, although the trip to Rome was missed and the cough continued.

 We had to be content with staring at the view of "what might have been", the port of Civitavecchia, the main seaport for Rome.

 Civitavecchia coastal ferry

Our West Indian cabin steward was so sad that we had missed the day in Rome and so sorry that I was not well, he made this towelling elephant to cheer me up!!

After another overnight sail, we docked at Naples and I reported to the medical centre for more treatment in the morning.  Luckily, the trip to Herculaneum we had booked was only in the afternoon! The weather was quite cold, most unusual for the area in summer. The doctor agreed that I could go on the trip, as long as  I wrapped up warmly.    I was still coughing quite badly, and I did get a few irritated looks from passengers on the coach, but the doctor had assured me that I was not infectious!

Early morning arrival at the port of Naples, with the towering presence of Vesuvius in the background.

Looking down on the harbour and dockside area of Naples.

 Mount Vesuvius taken from the bus en route to Herculaneum. Apologies for the reflection! Herculaneum and Pompeii, built at the foot of the volcano, were ancient Roman towns totally destroyed by different kinds of volcanic flows when it erupted in 79 A.D.


The tour guide told us that the volcano was far bigger before the eruption. If you extend the left and right hand slopes upwards in the picture, to meet at a point, that is where the original peak of the volcano would have been!

Herculaneum is famous as one of the few ancient cities that can now be seen in almost its original splendour, following many years of painstaking archaeological excavation. It is better preserved than Pompeii, as it was buried deep enough to ensure the upper storeys of buildings remained intact, and the hotter ash in which it was buried preserved wooden household objects such as beds and doors and even food!!

Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii, with many fine houses, and far more lavish use of painted finishes and marble cladding. The discovery in recent years of some 300 skeletons along the seashore came as a surprise, since it was assumed that the town itself had been largely evacuated. These unfortunates are thought to have sought shelter in what might have been boat houses on  the beach (see photo below) and were overtaken by poisonous fumes and ash, which swept down the slopes at unbelievable speed.

I took many, many photos of Herculaneum, but here I have picked a few of which I think are perhaps the best.


Looking down at the excavated town from the outer banks. The arches at the bottom of the picture are possibly boat houses, where many of the skeletons were found. The difference in level between this point and the arched openings at the bottom (the old beach) represents the enormous thickness of the ash which covered the town. Quite staggering.


Walking through the streets of Herculaneum.

Neptune and Salacia, wall mosaic in House Number 22.  A magnificent mosaic picture on what was once a beautifully painted wall.

More painted wall murals on plaster.

A mosaic floor.

Another mosaic floor!

Presumably there were 3 statues of Roman gods in the these niches at one stage.

Cast plaster on one of the archways near the forum. 

I loved this sculptured marble frieze, but  cannot now remember the story behind it!

Another beautifully decorated room behind the gateway.
There was so much more we would have like to have seen, but time was at a minimum and we had to return to the ship!

Finally back on the ship in the evening (still coughing), having dinner with Gunter. You can see the bandage on my right arm where the 'butterfly' was in place to allow me to go back on the drip in the morning!

The last day of the cruise was at sea, passing between the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, heading back to Barcelona.  Sadly, the weather was still not very good and the pool deck had to be closed due to high winds. Many activities were arranged on the ship and there were plenty of interesting things to see and do at all times.  After the medical treatment, I went on a course to learn how to make animals out of folded towels. It was great fun, but I have still not got the hang of it!

Having docked at 6 a.m. on a very quiet Barcelona Sunday (people in the centre of town would probably have been partying all night if our experience was anything to go by!), we made the day's drive back home to the Charente. Our local doctor prescribed another course of antibiotics and the dreaded cough vanished for the first time in many years :-)))).  

Driving home, the  Pyrénées mountains between Spain and France, still snowy at the end of May.


and my daily blog

79 comments:

  1. Bonjour,
    Well done for 4 years of very informative and interesting blogging. Looking forward to many more !!
    Béatrice

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    1. Merci Béatrice, j'apprécie le commentaire et les bons vœux. J'espère que vous allez bien. Bonne semaine Diane

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  2. The reason that you are so popular is quite simply is that you and Nigel are just such a nice couple. How doe we know. We've met you and look forward to catching up again late this year.
    Fantastic effort.
    Leon and Sue

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    1. Thanks so much Leon and Sue, what a lovely comment and so much appreciated. We are also looking forward to meeting up again later in the year. Keep well and have a fabulous week Diane and Nigel.

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  3. Gorgeous photos Diane and congratulations on your 4 years of blogging:) Hope you are keeping well!
    ~Anne

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    1. Thanks so much Anne. Yes I am keeping well at present thanks. Have a wonderful week Diane

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  4. What a trip Diane. I am so glad to read that your cough has vanished, but you had me worried there for a moment. No one wants to be sick on vacation, but you did the right thing to take care of yourself first and foremost. Your cruise sounded magnificent and I love the photo of the two of you in formal attire. Congratulations on your fourth blog anniversary. I look forward to more lovely posts. You and Nigel go to the most incredible places.
    Sam

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    1. Thanks Sam for the kind comment, I find it hard to believe that it was 4 years ago that I wrote my first post! We are lucky I think living in Europe as there are so many historical places to see. Have a great week and take care Diane

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  5. sorry to hear you were sick for part of this wonderful cruise but at least they kept you from getting worse! i loved seeing every bit of the trip and thank you so much for showing it. happy blog birthday!

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    1. Thanks so much for the good wishes and I am glad that you enjoyed the trip, Sorry that we all had to miss out on Rome! Have a good week and take care Diane

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  6. Congratulations on this special 4 year anniversary! I am not crazy about Rome but I would love to visit Naples. Fascinating ruins and amazing photos.

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    1. Thanks Nadege. Seems like we missed the right own then and still had a chance to see Naples :-) Hope all is well in the world with you. Diane

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  7. Glad you had a good trip, and hope that you are now well.

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    1. Thanks Vera, yes no more problems at the moment thank goodness. Hope all is well with you. Diane

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  8. Your posts are interesting, and so beautifully illustrated with photographs.

    Congratulations on your four years of blogging. Hope to catch up with you again in 2014.

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    1. Thanks so much Gaynor. Perhaps we will meet up at the end of the year when Sue and Leon are here. Take care Diane

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  9. Your photographs are just so wonderful. You really do give the next best thing to actually being there! I'm sorry you were taken so ill, but kudos to the Italian doctor for getting you up and about and able to enjoy what must have been a fabulous day in Herculaneum. And if you can stay rid of that cough, I suppose it was worth it in the end!

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    1. The Broad the Italian Dr was great and so very caring. I am so glad that we did not miss Herculaneum :-) Thanks so much for your kind comment. Keep well and have a good week. Diane

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  10. What beautiful photos!!! So sorry to hear you weren't feeling well for some of the cruise. The towel elephant was such a sweet gesture!

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    1. Thanks Linda, it was disappointing to have missed Rome but the Dr was terrific and got me back well pretty quickly I loved the elephant :-) Have a good week Diane

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  11. Congrats on your 4 years, Diane! Glad you're over the dreaded cough! Your trip sounds great, you visited so many beautiful sights with interesting things to do. The last pic is gorgeous, but the murals, frieze and all are amazing! Here's looking forward to many more interesting posts of yours!

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    1. Thanks so much Pam. I hope I can keep up with interesting posts, but time is not always on my side now we live in France. I do not intend to stop though if I can help it. It is great not to be coughing all the time, it drove us both mad!! Have a great week. Diane

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  12. I've been to Herculaneum too and your photos brought it all back beautifully, sorry to hear you were suffering though. Congratulations on your blog birthday!

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    1. Glad to have brought back good memories for you rusty duck. It was sad that we missed Rome but it was obviously meant to be! Thanks for the good wishes. Have a good week Diane.

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  13. Happy blogging birthday - time does fly. I'm sorry to hear that you weren't well during the cruise. I've never seen an elephant made from a towel before but that's a very cheerful thing.

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    1. Thanks Phil for the good wishes, much appreciated. You are right time does fly, even faster now than it used to it seems!! Hope you have a good week Diane.

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  14. Happy 4th Blogging Birthday Congratulations and thankyou for entertaining us all. As you can imagine I have loved the posts on your cruise, just so sad that you were not well and that you missed Roma this time.

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    1. Thanks Linda we were very sad to miss Rome but c'est la vie! I hope that you are doing well, take care and enjoy what you can out of life. Diane

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  15. Hi Diane , Wow how can it be 4 years?? Amazing isn't it , when we start , we think how can we fill it in ? But you have more to look at in your garden and on your trips than I do. so I am sure you are going to be blogging for another 4 years and more :-) .. I love the trip into Naples. The Italians I met in Oxford the other week come from that area. And one of the girls (yep in their 20's) sees Mount Vesuvius from the family home , she showed me the view from the balcony. They live Torre del Greco .. Happy Blogiversary ,, have glass of vin to celebrate xoxo

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    1. Thanks Anne and cheers :-) We loved what we saw of Naples and Herculaneum was amazing. Just short on time to see all we would have liked. Take care and see you later this year. Diane

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  16. It's a shame that you missed Rome, but the rest of your trip was amazing! You and Nigel made a very striking couple at dinner that night.

    Herculaneum was amazing! It really is unknown; Pompeii gets all of the attention. It's astonishing that the artwork has survived for so long nearly undamaged. It must have been amazing in its heyday.

    And Happy Blogoversary! I'm pretty certain that I found you fairly close to when you started your blog, and I've enjoyed all of your photo tours of places I'll surely never get to see, but would undoubtedly enjoy.

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    1. Hi Marjie, thanks so much for taking time out to comment on my post when you have so much on your mind at the moment.

      I am amazed that Pompeii gets all the attention, maybe because it is such a vast area. I am so glad that we chose Herculaneum to go to. It was amazing and the people who went to Pompeii all said to was too big to appreciate and it seems the art work in Herculaneum is much better and better preserved.

      I think you are right Marjie that you have been following me from almost the beginning. It has been an honour and a privilege to get to know you and your family, all be it that we have not met in real life. Take care and look after husband, out thoughts are with you. D & N

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  17. Hi Diane .. your photos of Herculaneum are just wonderful - I went to the British Museum exhibition on Pompeii and Herculaneum last year and must do a write up .. and would love to see the place myself.

    Sad you missed Rome .. but at least you were able to do this trip .. and then that cough 'vanished' beaten by Italian and French doctors ... I'm glad you're feeling better though ... pneumonia is really rather nasty .. something I've not had I'm glad to say.

    Four years of blogging .. and yours is so interesting .. I love the travels, the sights, the history, the food and the educative facets in between ... I'm so pleased Gunter invited you on this trip .. you look as though you've had a marvellous time ...

    Congratulations ... and cheers and here's a drier spring soon I hope ... Hilary

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    1. Thanks so much Hilary, I would love to spend more time at Herculaneum, it was amazing. Oh I hope we have a drier spring. We are not in a flood area thankfully but the garden is like a swamp, nowhere for the rain to go any more. Roll on summer :-) Take care and have a good weekend. Diane

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  18. I enjoyed this post so much! Since learning about Pompeii and Herculaneum in Grade 10 Latin Class, I've longed to see them in person. Your lovely photos made me almost feel I was there, so I thank you for that.

    And congratulations on your Blogoversary! I started at about the same time, but have fallen off of late. Time to pull up my socks and jump in again. Do have a wonderful weekend...:)

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    1. Thank Lynette for the good wishes. It is easy to let the blogs slow up when you have so much to do. Mine are not nearly as often as they used to be but I do keep the photoblog going daily. If you ever get the chance to go to Naples do go. Herculaneum is certainly worth seeing and if I had the time Pompeii also. Have a good weekend Diane

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  19. Dear Diane, Happy Blog Birthday!! Time flies quickly when we blink!
    I am sorry that you were not feeling well on this beautiful vacation. It is good though that you did not have pneumonia and were able to have the doctor treat it early.
    Your picture looks beautiful.
    Hope you are feeling back to new.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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    1. Catherine thanks for the good wishes, yes time does fly.... where to I often wonder. Yes I feel fine at present and after coughing for so many years it is a relief to have got rid of it. Long may it stay away. Have a great weekend. Diane

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  20. Hello Diane,
    What a great shots of your fantastic trip. That must be nice to go for a cruise. It's a long dream of me to go with.
    Wonderful shots of the old places of the city all there. This is enjoyment. Wonderfull!!

    Best regards,
    Marco

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    1. Thanks Marco for the comment, we had never thought about a cruise before but I must say we did enjoy this trip very, very much. Hope you have a good weekend, best wishes Diane

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  21. Wonderful follow-up of this cruise Diane, you make us feel like we were there with you! :)
    Congratulations for these 4 years on the blogosphere, I shouldn't be far from that either!!
    A blog is a great venture, a note-book essentially, but also a means to be in contact with great people as you say, some of which we eventually meet.
    I hope one day we can meet up but it is still a long shot for us!
    Cheers keep well and enjoy your WE!

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    1. Thanks Noushka, yes I hope we will meet one day but as you say it is a long shot. Thanks for the comment. Have a great weekend Diane

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  22. Happy blog birthday Diane. Great photos but I especially love the towel elephant x

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    1. Thanks Kerry, that guy was a master at making towelling animals, Hope all well and we will hear more news very soon. Diane,

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  23. Hi Diane, happy blog anniversary. Keep up the good job, looking forward to see more wonderful posting from you.
    Thanks for the wonderful tour, fantastic and excellent cruise. Very spectacular pictures.

    Hope you're better by now, take care. Have a wonderful week ahead,regards.

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    1. Thanks Amelia yes I am well now thanks to the Drs. Glad you enjoyed the cruise. Have a great weekend Diane

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  24. Your blog soared in four years, congratulations! I love that toweled elephant, so nice of her to cheer you up.

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    1. Thanks Rose, I thought that elephant was so cute and it did cheer me up. Keep well and warm. Diane

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  25. Brings back fond memories of Italy. Too bad you were sick but so glad you are ok. You have to look after yourself, even on vacay.

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    1. Sarah it was sad we missed Rome but we enjoyed the trip so that was the main thing. Glad to have brought back memories :-) Keep well Diane

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  26. Αγαπητή μου Diane, λυπάμαι που ταλαιπωρήθηκες από τον ενοχλητικό βήχα και χαίρομαι πολύ που πέρασε:)
    Με τις υπέροχες φωτογραφίες σου, ταξίδεψα κι εγώ κι εντυπωσιάστηκα απ' αυτές!
    Σου εύχομαι να είσαι πάντα καλά !
    Με αγάπη

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    1. Thanks Magda, at least I feel fine now and the outcome was good that the cough has gone now. Glad you enjoyed the photos, Have a good week Diane

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  27. Oooo, im sorry, Happy Birthday for your wonderful blog!!!
    Many kisses

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  28. Congrats on so many great years of blogging... time does fly. Love your tour of the lost cities... they are so amazing, aren't they?
    Mean to give you so little time to see them.. They take a while to look over. Don't you love that red they use? I am mad for it!

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    1. Thanks so much Deana. I would love to return to Herculaneum and spend more time there but I doubt if it will happen. So many other places we want to see! It is a great colour slightly toned down, I also love it. have a good week. Diane

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  29. I've just spent a long while reading over all of your cruise posts. What a fun adventure! Your cabin/deck was beautiful & eating dinner with the captain must have been fun - you looked really pretty. I always learn so much about the different places you travel to Diane - thank you for sharing your trips.

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    1. Thanks Pam for the comment, so glad that you enjoyed the photos of the cruise. It certainly was a lifetime holiday for us. Take care and have a good weekend Diane

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  30. Howdy Diane! I know I'm late....yet still managed to rush over to wish you & your loved ones a blessing Valentine's Day and too Happy Blogoversary to you as well. Sounds like you're having an absolutely wonderful time on the cruise. Enjoy & have more fun ! :o)
    Blessings, Kristy ((hugs))

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    1. Thanks Kristy for the comment and the valentine wishes. Wishing you all the best for tomorrow as well. Take care Diane

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  31. Diane, I'm so sorry to hear about your cough. I'm glad you're better now. If the doctor had given you antibiotics in the first place you might have avoided this whole agony. In Italy we believe that the sea air cures a cough but in your case it got worse. It could also be because you were moving around a lot and your immune system was down. It sounds like a fantastic cruise. You look gorgeous in that picture with your husband. A big hug, Francesca

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  32. Ooops, it looks like my message didn't go through. I was saying what a shame that the doctor didn't give you antibiotics earlier, you would have avoided the agony. In Italy we believe that the sea air cures a cough, but in your case you must have been very tired from travelling and your immune system was low probably. Anyway, the cruise sounds fantastic. I have been to Civitavecchia but only to take the ferry to the Island of Giglio. I've been to Pompeii a couple of times but I find it depressing. Apparently now it's in real need of repair. Happy blog anniversary and happy Valentine's day. Take care. A big hug, Francesca

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    1. Francesca the doctors had tried antibiotics before, but I am allergic to many drugs so they are very careful. Antibiotics in the past only worked very temporarily. I think the difference this time was they were intravenous and cortisone with them. We think on the ship what triggered the problem was the air conditioning. Thanks for the kind comments. Have a good weekend Diane

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  33. I've been to Pompeii but haven't been to Herculaneum. After this post it is now on my bucket list. So sorry you were ill on your cruise but it sounds like you were given good medical treatment on board the ship. I'm looking forward to another year of your posts, they are always so very interesting.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. The people on the cruise that went to Pompeii, after seeing our photos said they were sorry that they had not gone to Herculaneum. I apologise for my posts being few and far between but there just seems to be a shortage of time in my life since we both retired fully. How did we ever have time to go to work!! Have a good day Diane

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  34. I hate aircons. I think they make more people sick than anything else I know. You must take care of yourself Diana.

    I have not been to Italy but have friends who live an hour away from Venice and they have asked me many times to come and visit. Wish I could. :) There are so many ancient cities there so it is wonderful to read your blog and see some of it.

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    1. Joan I refuse to have the aircon switched on in the car regardless of the weather, I am so scared of pneumonia after have had two bad doses of it! We would loved to have spent more time seeing Italy but,...... This year we are visiting Spain and Portugal. We have decided that we must travel as much as we can while we are able. I would so love to return to SA having lived there for 50 odd years, but flights for Nigel are expensive as he needs leg room. Travel in Europe is so much easier with a car and he can stop and walk when necessary. Maybe we will make it though one day. It would be lovely to have a tour with you. Keep well Diane

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  35. Merci Diane de nous avoir fait partager cette magnifique croisière. Vous êtes une excellente guide! Bravo pour vos 4 ans de blog, c'est une manière très agréable de voyager pour vos lecteurs à travers la diversité de vos posts!
    J'espère que le printemps vous trouvera en excellente santé.
    Bon dimanche à vous!

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    1. Merci Lucie, j'espère que la pluie s'arrête bientôt si nous sommes en mesure de profiter du printemps! Bonne semaine. Diane

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  36. Air conditioning always make me sick. Just what do they pipe through those things. Glad it was caught right away. Love the elephant towel. I am totally amazed by all the details that survived in Herculaneum.

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    1. Gaelyn, I am sure that they are better ways of circulating air, I refuse to have it on in the car! If you ever get a chance to go to Italy do not miss Herculaneum it is amazing. You sound like you have had an amazing holiday, wish I could have joined you and Joan. Take care Diane

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  37. The ancient town is remarkable the way even wall paintings survived. great shots of your cruise. I'd say you didn't have a very happy birthday with that cough. Another similarity between us. I often get a bad cough when I travel. I have been treated in a hotel in Prague and a hospital in Locarno. Both times were hard to get rid of it. Many different courses of antibiotics before one worked. It was diagnosed as Bronchitis with asthma. Now when I travel I always carry a box of the antibiotics and take precautionary asthma medication every day.(in winter and on trips) It seems to help I haven't had it since 2011. I don't get the usual problem with breathing type of asthma just the cough.

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    1. Diane my cough started about 8 years ago with pneumonia and it has pretty much lingered ever since. I have a big problem with antibiotics so they will not give them to me readily and I am also allergic to many drugs. The latter I think is a result of many drugs as a 7 year old when I was given 24 hours to live!! As you have gathered it never happened then! I have though had pneumonia again since the first bout, and it brought the cough back in force. Since the Dr on the cruise ship put me onto a drip I have only had a minor problem with my throat since so fingers crossed. Have a good week Diane

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  38. Great serie and pretty place, best regard from Belgium

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    1. Thanks retriever and the best of wishes to you from the Charente.

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  39. Gorgeous details on the walls of Pompeii! I don't remember seeing so many when I was there...

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    1. José you would not have seen these on the walls of Pompeii because this at Herculaneum!! Diane :-)

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  40. Your photos are absolutely breathtaking! Hilary sent me over, and I'm glad she did. Last year we visited Pompeii. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to see Herculaneum. After seeing your photos, I hope that we'll be able to visit there someday. Sorry that you had that terrible cough, but it seems like you didn't let it slow you down too much.

    Julie

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    1. Thanks so much for your visit and very kind comment. I have to admit the people who visited Pompeii all said afterwards that they were sorry they had not taken the tour of Herculaneum. The cough was a nuisance that we had to miss Rome, but we were lucky that was all we missed. Hope to see you return, have a great weekend. Diane

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