"The only real voyage of discovery consists not
in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
Story by Ringo Boitano
Photographs by Deb Roskamp
tand by to set lower top sail," shouted the captain. Backlit
by a late Mediterranean sun, he made a striking figure in his maritime
attire. "Pull sheets, lower top sail coming out!" I
gripped firmly on the rope. "Heave! Heave! Heave!"
commanded the first mate. My group of eight joined in unison as we pulled
on the rope. I felt that the 70-something man in front of me could have
worked a little harder, but the German boy at my rear was quite literally
pulling up the slack. A few minutes later, the magnificent sail was
towering in the wind above us. With images of Sir Francis Drake and
Ferdinand Magellan, I had often dreamed of working on a real sailing
vessel. This was a life-long fantasy come true. I made a mental note,
though, never again to have two helpings of crème brûlée
first at the lunch buffet before participating in the drill.
The Royal Clipper
The five-mast 439 foot Royal Clipper is the largest
and fastest sailing ship on the sea today. Modeled after the turn-of-the-century
Tall Ship, Preuseen - itself once the world's fastest sailing ship -
the Royal Clipper is a hybrid, like today's new baseball stadiums, embracing
the best traditions of the past with state-of-the-art amenities of today.
It is the real deal and does not use computers for sail handling.
Passengers can participate in sailing drills, climb
the mast to one of the 'crow's-nests' for panoramic views, or even take
their hand at the wheel. Contemporary creature comforts include luxuriating
in the spa and three swimming pools, unwinding in the Captain Nemo Lounge,
sunbathing on 18,940 square feet of open deck, and dining at the world-class
(no tie dress code) Clipper Dining Room. A popular spot for reading
and napping is the secret Widow's Net - a blanket-like braided net that
hangs over the side of the vessel. There is a marina which offers snorkeling,
sailing, waterskiing and windsurfing. What I liked best, though, was
that with a maximum of just 227 passengers, you could really get to
know your traveling companions in a low-key, casual atmosphere, and
even make some life-long friends. I had such a great time aboard that
it was almost hard to leave the vessel each morning for the day's adventure.
Destinations - Sun Hats, Water and Comfortable Shoes
Civitavecchia - Port of Rome Your journey will begin and end in the Eternal City,
and it is essential that you spend time either before or after your
cruise in this Italian capital where each step forward is also a step
back into history. From the Roman Forum and Colosseum to the Sistine
Chapel and St. Peters Cathedral, the attractions are endless. The Royal
Clipper offers three-day add on packages, which include accommodations
and sightseeing tours.
Ponza Easily the most low-key of all the destinations, the
archipelago of Ponza is an oasis of sea and sun located 20 miles from
the coast of Latium. The historic island is a good venue for light hiking
through vineyards and small farms with the reward of panoramic views
at the top.
Pompei and Sorrento On August 24, 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering
the Roman provincial center of Pompeii with more than 20 feet of ash
and stone. Many of the city's 20,000 residents were killed by sulfur
fires or struck by lava and stone. Pompeii was frozen in time until
excavations unveiled this remarkable archaeological site. Plaster was
poured into the empty spaces in the lava to make body casts - a man
stretches out to protect his mother, a dog lays tethered by his chain.
Also on display are luxurious mansions, ancient baths, temples and markets,
offering an amazing insight into over 2,000 year-old Roman life.
Sorrento is situated above sharp, towering cliffs enroot to Pompeii.
The streets are lit up at night and lined with quiet sidewalk cafes.
It was the most magical destination of the entire trip. Lemoncello -
a sweet liqueur made from local lemons - is the defining product of
the area and is served complimentary at the end of meals.
Amalfi Coast Cancelled - On to Naples There was a collective moan among the passengers when
we were informed that the water was too rough for landing on the Amalfi
Coast. We had been warned beforehand that this can be the case aboard
the authentic vessel. The moans became even louder when it was announced
that the alternative would be a day in Naples: aka 'the city that Italy
forgot.' Naples is the most densely populated city in Italy. The traffic
is so intense that a simple stroll across the street can be a brush
with death. I believe I was the only person on the vessel who was happy.
For a trip to Naples meant one thing: I could finally sample Naples's
gift to the world - an authentic Pizza Napoletana. Thin crusted, easily
foldable and 14 inches in diameter, with a high outer wedge to contain
the almost soupy tomato sauce and dollops of buffalo milk mozzarella,
I was not unhappy to have the experience under my belt.
Taormina, Sicily The day began with a Sicilian brunch and wine tasting
at the estate of a real baroness. With Mount Etna and the Mediterranean
as a backdrop, all wine and food products came from the estate. Next
to the hospitality and setting, the highpoint was a simple pasta dish
made with only three ingredients: olive oil, diced translucent eggplant
and a dry ricotta cheese. Next stop was a bus trip on the coast road
to Taormina. Perched on a terrace overlooking the sea, it a great place
to sip an espresso and enjoy the local medieval character. On the edge
of the town is an impressive 3rd Century BC Greek theater.
Lipari and Capri Both Lipari and Capri are majestic world-class destinations
known throughout the globe. Their beauty is stunning, and both justifiably
touristic, so be prepared for large crowds. Did I mention bring sun
hats, water and comfortable shoes?
My Irish roots understand terrible beauty. So do my
human roots. The concept has such a ring of truth to it, doesn't it?
Great article, Ringo. I hope to get to Ireland eventually, and thanks
for blazing the trail!
Sandeee Bleu, Seattle, WA
* * * *
No wonder I've been hearing all these wonderful stories
about Ireland. I used to think that it was just for Irish Americans
seeking their ancestral roots but your article seems to call out to
the non-Irish like me. Fascinating and intriguing.
Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA
Thanks for this great post wow... it's very wonderful.
Key Logger, New York
* * * *
Lets not forget that the Marriot Harbor Beach is within
walking distance to the world famous Elbo Room - Fort Lauderdale's oldest
Jeff, Fort Lauderdale, FL
* * * *
Thanks for taking the time
for the message and reminder. Indeed, I had a quick drink at the Elbo
Room. My trip to Ft. Lauderdale would not have been complete without
a visit to this historic institution.I have been reading about it for
years, and was not disappointed. It felt like a real local's hangout.
thoroughly enjoyed your article about Dick and Liz. I remember seeing
that article back in the heyday of Life Magazine.
To remember the "behind-the-scenes" stories
like that makes you genuine fan of the 60's. The famous couple's turbulent
relationship was just a precursor of today's headline-grabbing media
stars like Britney Spears and her colleagues. Life was simpler then.
The paparazzis still had some sense of decency. You "coulda"
been a good paparazzi. I say "coulda" because you kept this
to yourself all these many years.
Looking forward to other media trivia you can remember.
Peter Paul, South Pasadena, CA
Enjoyed your article on Antarctica --- cool photos,
too. One thing, you mentioned that Ushuaia in Argentina is considered
the most southern city in the world. I read that Chile lays claim to
that distinction, with Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world.
Mick, Greenbay, WI
* * * *
Now that football season is
over --- Ive often wondered what you Packer fans did in the off
season ---- its great that you took the time to visit TravelingBoy.
Great question, unlike my older brother, I adore all lamb products,
and Patagonian Lamb --- cooked in a restricted area at the restaurant
in an opened wood-fueled fire pit --- is amazing. The chef actually
uses an ax to carve it. Frankly, I found it superior to Norwegian fjord
lamb, Irish Burren lamb and even those much esteemed creatures down
in New Zealand. The crab in Ushuaia is the other thing to eat. Wait
a sec, you asked about Punta Arenas vs. Ushuaia as the furthermost city
in the world. Well, they both have little disclaimers re populations
--- you know, whats a city, which one is a town, ect so
better let Chile and Argentina brass it out. They seem to be able to
argue about any subject.
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the
White Continent of Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are
some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is
one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination
is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more,
but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages.
Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.
Treasures of Ireland: Food, Fun and Falconry at
Ashford Castle (Dispatch #18)
The Palladian Traveler soars above the crowd with
a gal named Lima, cruises across a lake dotted with hundreds of islands,
and feasts like a king in a regal dining room.
Would You Believe She Can Carry 800 (Yes, 800!)
As she came around the corner we could not believe
how big she was. Massive, and yet incredibly beautiful almost elegant
in fact. Her lines were so symmetrical she seemed to blend into a classic
example of astonishing good looks. The other fact that amazed all of us
was how quiet she was. We felt sure that with the obvious overwhelming power
she evidenced, she'd be extra loud. It's a cliché, but she was as
quiet as a church mouse or "as quiet as dreaming trees."
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.