Monday, 14 October 2013

Toulon, a Cruise Port in Provence

Toulon, a view from the cruise ship
It was a glorious day when we arrived in Toulon. The ship docked right in the town, beside the yacht harbour. Here expensive boats were moored alongside little fishing boats where men sat repairing their nets in preparation for the night's fishing. Following the wide promenade around the harbour, it was only a five minute walk to the cafes that lined the bay and to the main square with its wonderful market.
The market at Toulon
There were many street entertainers out to entertain the crowds of shoppers which added to the bustling atmosphere. We'd seen a lot of buskers in our travels but this one, the man in Georgian dress with two cats sitting on his arms, had to be the most unusual! The cats didn't even flinch when a little yappy dog ran up to them.

A street entertainer in Toulon
Another attraction for us in the city was a ride on a little white 'train' that took us along the coast to a lovely beach and park. It was an opportunity to see a little more of Toulon.

Back to the cruise terminal then, with its array of stalls selling local handicrafts, and on board to sail away to our final port - Barcelona! 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Livorno, Cruise Port for Pisa and Florence

The rooftops of Livorno, Italy, as seen from the cruise ship
This cruise port of Livorno was new to us. We had traveled to Pisa and Florence several times before so decided to stay the day in Livorno rather than go back to those more famous cities. And what a surprise this town was!
  A complimentary shuttle bus from the port dropped us in the centre of town near the tourist information office. Just across the road was the stop for the 'hop on, hop off' bus. 
  The tour on this bus was excellent. We trundled around the inner city which is criss-crossed by canals, thousands of little boats tied up along them.

The canals of Livorno
  The city has big piazzas and imposing buildings and on this sunny Sunday, many of the citizens were out at the markets and walking or jogging along the magnificent seafront promenade.
The seafront promenade at Livorno
  Along the coastal part of the city, there are huge mansions in walled gardens with fancy wrought iron gates and lush planting. The whole town looks well cared for and very pleasant. We were glad we stayed the day ashore there.