If you've got Mediterranean cruises on your holiday agenda this year or next, you'll find a fantastic array of itineraries that stop at some of the Med's most beautiful locations.
The Spanish coast and the Balearic Islands make up some of the most popular Mediterranean ports of call. Here you can enjoy traditional bucket and spade destinations and sun-drenched beaches, or take on a more cultural experience by spending the day in cosmopolitan Palma - Majorca's capital. This gorgeous coastal city is home to designer boutiques, cosy restaurants serving up sizzling Spanish cuisine, and stunning historical sights. Why not spend some time exploring the beautiful historic quarter, the superb gothic style cathedral, or the lovely 14th century Bellver Castle?
Perhaps your Mediterranean itinerary will include a stop in Ajaccio, an attractive Corsican port town. From here you can explore the rugged mountainous peaks and rolling hillsides of Corsica's interior, or spend some time in Ajaccio itself - a charming little spot that's home to soul-stirring sights, traditional architecture and lovely restaurants serving up delicious local delicacies.
In Italy, you can alight and join an organised coach tour to visit some of the most beautiful places in Europe. Alight in Civitavecchia and travel to Rome for a day to remember, packed with such landmarks as the haunting Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the stunning frescoes of the Sistine Chapel.
Southern France is another Mediterranean gem. Head to the celebrity-packed town of Cannes and St Tropez to soak up the jet-setting lifestyle and A-list yachts, sip a frothy cappuccino in a swanky cafe or browse the eye-watering prices in its designer boutiques. If that's all a bit too much, you could always just stretch out on the sands for a few hours' of real St Tropez tanning.
Whatever you fancy, there's a bit of Mediterranean cruise magic with your name on it...
When I started university last September and got the routine talk about life at university in Fresher's Week, one thing stuck out for me - study abroad! Right there and then I knew I wanted to do it. Research and discussions with lecturers led me to the perfection location, the beautiful south of France. Three quarters of the way through the piles of application forms and contracts and thinking of strategies to learn an entire language over the summer (yeah, right!), it is becoming more and more of a reality everyday...
After receiving my nomination from the French university, I went home for the Easter holidays, determined to actually tackle some of these essays due a few weeks after. It was when I was nearly finished with my final essay that I noticed I had been sent an email from a name I didn't recognise. Intrigued, I opened to email - my plans for summer were about to change..
"Gabrielle, you have been selected to come to Latvia for a three month film-making internship..."
After reading the email at least a hundred times to check that I wasn't imagining it and running to my mum to tell her the news, I did the typical thing and wrote a Facebook status about it with a shocked face emoticon. This shocked face literally resembled my face at the time. I really didn't know how to feel.
Confession time! I have never been abroad before so this is going to be my FIRST time going abroad and by MYSELF. So this random but amazing email told me that I will have to be in Latvia on June 1st, giving me just over a month to prepare and of course this seemed like ages away. I mean, going abroad can't take that much time and effort... can it?
As each day goes by following this email, more and more questions and things to remember keep popping into my head. I need to buy suitcases. What's the currency over there? I need plug adaptors. How will I get to the airport? So me being me, I get the notepad out and write down EVERYTHING. Whilst these thoughts floated into my brain and onto paper, one big question lingered: how exactly am I going to pay for all of this on a student budget?! It was then I contacted the right people about funding this short trip through university as an Erasmus work placement.
Little did I know how much paperwork, chasing up academics and printing this will involve.
Today I was thinking about what effect traveling has had on me my personality my existence. So I thought I would list them out and list the things that I have taken with me from countries. Just to give some context all the first countries in Europe in the list below were visited by a young me in elementary. Though it didnt stop me from trying a lot of things for the first time.
Belgium -Their I learned to appreciate real food rich cheese, dark chocolate, a real Gyro, real ice cream and delicious bread. When I came back to the states I couldn't help but stare sadly at American cheese it now tasted like plastic and served better as a play-doh. The ice cream now tasted like whip cream, giving a kid food that rich then taking it away is the equivalent to giving someone who likes energy drinks crystal meth then taking it away.
France - Before my family trip to Europe I was a bit sheltered no soda no Simpsons and plenty of church. In France after 8pm porn comes on half the channels, it was surprising to say the least. More then that though the culture there is just comfortable with nudity. There I learned that the nude body has other purposes then sex or comedy. The memories I still have of that lend to my self esteem etc helps my mind fight the culture here.
The Netherlands - My brother got kicked out of a coffee shop there for trying to steal all the roaches out of an ash tray or at least thats how the story goes. It was amazing that people could get together and puff on a joint instead of drinking. There I learned that some laws just don't make any sense and they are not absolute. Later I learned that if anything doesn't make sense with the government just follow the money and it will start making sense, sad but true.
England - While in England we visited a lot of the castles in Dover and Canterbury made me think about my history, my bloodline etc. I had a revelation like a Eddie Izzard show all of sudden I was like America doesnt have shit were to young we cant compete. Also I stayed at a little BNB there which also happened to be hosting a wedding. I could not understand a fucking word from these liquored up Brits. I hadmuch more fluent conversations with the French.
Japan - Tokyo what a city Japan what a culture I have never been more amazed by the scale of a nation. I have always been kind of a technology and internet nerd. Which I learned can be part of a culture it was amazing to see how plugged in the youth was. I learned to have more respect for people who are quiet shy and didnt seem to have the need for boastfulness. Once you take that out of the equation your left with a lot of love and good vibes.
Philippines - Interesting place and a far cry from big city nights in Tokyo. When I was young I didnt have a lot of views on gay people until my friend came out and it was put in my face. I was suddenly presented with a choice and I chose to embrace people that are different. I didnt have a lot of views on poverty, prostitution and desperation until it was put in my face. It made me realize how much you can get lost in your luxuries and lose site of what real pain is. A girl their who basically offered me sex for free, but told me not to tell her pimp. I respectfully declined but it made me realize even someone as devious and sexually permissive as me, can still has lines that I dont want to cross. Dont get me wrong im not harping on prostitution I actually think it should be legal and regulated everywhere. This though is a different story and a lot of people take an advantage of these girls or lets themselves be taken advantage of by their lustful wants or naivety or both. In the Philippines I learned to appreciate the good things in life despite how I may be feeling and experienced my own character growth as a man.
Costa Rica - Man the stars at night can be a beautiful thing especially in the middle of the jungle. As I said before I like the indoors technology the internet etc. Here though I wanted to be outside so much to look at nature wise and to interact with like the fruit farms or coffee fields. Since then I still eat fruit with my breakfast everyday I also learned thats one thing you can depend on in most counties they might not have Pringles but they probably have something natural. In Costa I learned to truly appreciate the nature earth and everything that comes with it.
At first, Cancale in France's Brittany wasn’t on my list of places to visit. I was planning to visit Dinan and St Malo. However, while I was doing my research on where to eat and what food shouldn’t be missed, Cancale came up and it wasn’t that far from St Malo. Then I realized it’s the town known for oysters. I’m not a big fan of oysters, however those who traveled with me are. Honestly it’s not easy to find good and clean oysters at a decent price in where I live, so I figured we shouldn’t miss this place out.
I read that the place to be for eating oysters would be at the port. I made a mistake of not finding out where eactly is THE PORT. I thought if we go into the town of Cancale, we should find the oyster bed and restaurants by the water, especially if we head to the “Rue du Port”. I was so wrong. The town of Cancale is like a residential area, there aren’t much around besides happy french people preparing for a day at the beach or a barbecue. We got so lost around town, and I couldn’t get myself to ask people “where are the oysters?”