Oct 27th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Western Mediterranean Seaports Beckon Seniors

Venice, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome — the names alone inspire images of art and architecture, exotic seaports and classical cities, romantic cafes and quiet walks. The Western Mediterranean is a magical world brimming with history, beauty and adventure. Explore ancient ruins by day and casinos by night. Browse exotic markets or designer boutiques. Opt for sun-blessed beaches or the shade of a cafe umbrella. So seniors, jump on board one of your favorite cruise lines and check out the Mediterranean.

I learned once that Medi means the center, terre means earth and that né means born… so Mediterranean = “Born from the center of the earth.”  That’s true.  At one time in history every city of any importance was located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Let’s check out a few of the most notable.

Lisbon offers an array of fascinating historical finds, particularly in the Alfama, the city’s oldest neighborhood. A must-see is the Castle of St. George, a 10-towered structure built in the 12th century, and the Lisbon Cathedral.

A visit to beautiful Barcelona, capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, should include a tour of the Gothic Quarter and Sagrada Familia Church, designed by famed (and famously eccentric) architect Antonio Gaudi. If time allows, travel the 45 minutes to the striking Montserrat Monastery, surrounded by towering crags and unsurpassed Catalan landscapes. I wrote an earlier blog on this site.  It is outstanding.

Visitors to Cannes (famous for its film festival), artsy Nice (visit the Matisse and Chagall museums) or dazzling Monte Carlo will want to drive the coastline to ooh and aah over its spectacular views of land and sea.

The sunny skies and bikini-filled beaches beckon along the French Riviera, as do the fashionable nightclubs and casinos. When visiting the Riviera be sure to try such legendary dishes as bouillabaisse, ratatouille and salade niçoise that are all tasty and very provençal. Not far from the coastal hot spots is picturesque St. Paul de Vence,  a medieval village brimming with colorful shops, cafes and galleries.

Seniors, It’s On To Italy

Then it’s off to Rome,  so much to see and do — start with a tour of its most famous attractions. At the top of the list, of course, the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square and Sistine Chapel. Next, take to the streets or stairs, as the case may be, at the Spanish Steps and then wander from shop to market to cafe to museum.  I was there in October, 2011, and I visited each one of them with my daughter.

Historic Venice, too, offers a host of unsurpassed sights, sounds and smells.  Think canal! Climb aboard a gondola for a serenaded cruise through the ancient city or hop on a speedboat for a tour of Murano called the Glass Island. The Piazza San Marco is another for your “bucket list” — its stately expanse is filled with sidewalk cafes and the strains of a live orchestra.

To end this adventure seniors, I’ll toss in an exciting strategy game called Seaports of the World Online Game. It gets kinda wild but may keep you occupied for a while, having a little fun too.  You just can’t go wrong visiting any of these seaports for a memorable vacation. Just take two suitcases…one for your clothing and another smaller one for your cash.  jeb

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