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Mobile Countries

ITALY | Friday, 9 August 2013 | Views [243]

I have spent the last two weeks in two separate "countries" which you won't find in th Atlas. The first was called "Armonia", which means Harmony. It is only small - about 2000 people, and it has five official languages - Italian, English, German, Spanish and French. There are two main classes of people - "workers" and "holiday-makers" - the workers range from a "Captain" who is the supreme commnander - to "Cleaners", who work hard but are poorly paid. The job of all the workers is to make the "Holiday-makers' happy. Yes, of course, "Armonia" is a Cruise ship. But for the week of the cruise, it is its own little world.

The fifteen hour journey by train from Prague to Venice is best not dwelt on. But, sailing out of Venice was magnificent. We all stood on deck and watched as we sailed past St Mark's Square, and the other canals and bridges. How beautiful. In the next week out little world docked in Ancona (Italy), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kotor (Monenegro), and Corfu, Cephalonia and Gwythion (Sparta) in Greece. The scenery was spectacular - Dubrovnik and Kotor both have beautiful walled cities to explore, - and the Greek scenery was - well, as Greek scenery is - magnificent beaches, clear water, set off by rugged rugged mountains. My dinner companions were a mixture of Australian and English couples and Noah - the cutest 4 year old you'd ever see.

The second "country" - another Cruise ship, was call "Orchestra". It was much larger and a different crowd altogether. The official language here was Italian, and that suited the majority of the "holiday-makers". The age demographic was considerably younger and they were there for the partying! Both onboard and at the ports of Palma, in  Mallorca, and Ibiza. In Palma I went to a show called Son Amor, which featured spectacular Flamenco Dancing, and, as a finale, a Dancing Horse. Very much a highlight of the trip. We visited Rome, Palermo (Sicily), and Villefranche (France), in addition to the two Spanich islands. To continue the horse theme, I was intrigued at Palermo to see the horse drawn carriages (waiting in ambush for the tourists coming off the ship) because all the horses were wearing head decorations. This included hats (with earholes cut out), triangular ear covers and sometimes coloured wigs. I was torn between thinking that they all looked cute, and thinking it was a bit demeaning to the horses. But the horses didn't seem to mind - and they were beautiful and obviously cared for. 

This ship was much more chaotic - or maybe right-brained and creative. Still, creative aside, it would be logical in the Buffet to put the bowls with the cereals for breakfast, rather than having the bowls with the bacon and eggs, and the bread 'n butter plates with the cereal. Just saying... No, I won't get started on that!   It was noisier, and busier than the first ship, and I've never felt so Anglo-Saxon! And, to be honest - by this time I was missing all the family. So on to the final adventure.

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