It's 12:30pm Venice time. Our taxi pulls up on the dock beside the super liner Celebrity Constellation. We will be soon joining our Pied Piper group for an eleven day voyage, leaving Venice, cruising along the Dalmatian Coast and ending in Rome. Seasickness already? Or is it just immense excitement and anticipation making our stomachs rock and roll?
Whether it is pasta, pizza or pizzaz Rome has it in absolute abundance. The 'eternal city' also has magnificent buildings like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the famous, romantic Trevi Fountain, Vatican City, boundless basilicas and our favourite monument dedicated to Victor Emmanuel at Piazza Venezia. Rome in summer is hot and there is a vast number of tourists. Planning to visit the city out of peak tourist times is a very good idea.
Sardinia is renowned for its beautiful beaches and some of the most sensational are found in the east of the island around the small town of Villasimius. Our top discovery was Porto Giunco Beach about four kilometres from Villasimius. We have travelled the world in search of great beaches and certainly Porto Giunco would be right up there with the best. In fact, Porto Giunco could easily take its place in the top ten beaches of the world. The water is so amazingly blue and clean that it is like looking through glass, the sand is powdery, white and soft. This is all set against a backdrop of sand dunes, rugged boulders and wild hills. It's truly a masterpiece.
If you are visiting Cagliari in Sardinia, head straight to Poetto Beach, the heart of this coastal resort city. The beach is one of the largest city beaches of Europe stretching for almost eight kilometres. Poetto Beach is hot and busy in summer and in the months of May and September warm and much less crowded. In winter it is quieter but some restaurants are still open.
We last visited Venice almost ten years ago and when we arrived this time we quickly felt not a lot had changed. The magic of the canals was still very much on display for all to see and the Vaporettos (public water taxis) continued to heave thousands of tourists a day up and down the Grand Canal to St Marco Square, just as we remembered.