Exploring Croatia's Coast Aboard the Norwegian Jade

"It is not that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better."

Sir Francis Drake, Sea Captain George

I do love cruises!  I really like seeing the coast line when I arrive at different destinations.  I also like exploring different areas that I'm unsure if I would like to visit for a week or two versus just a day trip.  During my seven day Mediterranean cruise we visited two cities in Croatia including Dubrovnik and Split.

I had thought that immediately going on a cruise after a 12 1/2 hour overnight flight from Florida to Italy would be a good idea.  I was really jet lagged during the majority of my seven-day Mediterranean cruise.  One would think that with how much I travel that I am good at dealing with jet lag.  That is not the case!  I know that it is not a good idea to take a nap immediately after arriving in Europe where the time is six hours ahead but I just can't seem to stop myself.

I learned that going on a cruise immediately after arriving in Europe after a long overnight flight is not the best idea - at least for me.  There are too many opportunities to nap and eat too much which makes me want to sleep even more.  Upon reflection, I would spend a couple of days near the port before boarding the ship and do my best to acclimate to the new time zone.

Here are a few snaps I took of Dubrovnik Croatia from the balcony of my cruise ship.  Thank goodness I splurged on a balcony which really wasn't that much more sailing with Norwegian.  I flew into Venice and went directly to the port to board my ship.  Luckily I was escorted to my room soon after arriving at the port and was able to take a nap - I am a BIG baby when it comes to long flights and dealing with jet lag!




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"Venice Never Quite Seems Real, but Rather an Ornate Film Set Suspended On the Water." ~ Frida Giannin


 I was fortunate enough to visit Venice for the second time in two years  during July 2016 and this time it didn't rain the entire time!  I was there for five days following a Mediterranean cruise that left from Venice and visited Greece as well as Croatia.  I've never been really excited about the thought of visiting Venice and wasn't overly impressed with this incredible city after my first visit but definitely fell in love with this area that is like no other during my second visit!

Here is one of my very edited HDR images that I took two years ago when there was a slight break from the rain that happened most of the time I spent there:


Going on a Mediterranean cruise was at the top of my bucket list at the beginning of the summer.  When I started to do research into this trip I realized that leaving from Rome, Athens or Venice were some of my options.  I chose to leave from Venice for two reasons.  I thought it would be easier to get to the cruise ship and I plan to spend some time at whichever port I chose to leave from.  I was most drawn toward Venice as Rome and Athens seem like a really large cities to me.  I was traveling solo and felt more comfortable in a smaller city like Venice versus Rome. 

For those of you who are interested in a Mediterranean cruise leaving from Venice it costs 45 euros to get from the Venice airport to the port.  I gave the driver a €5 tip which I could tell he was quite shocked!  I was unpleasantly surprised when I exited the ship one week later and learned that a water taxi was my only option to get to my hotel.  The water taxi cost me €80.  I didn't let it bother me too much as there was no choice at that point. 

I stayed at a wonderful hotel right on the Grand Canal that had a balcony and an amazing view.  The view was so incredible I had to drag myself out of the room to go do things as opposed to just watching the action on the Grand Canal.  The sunrises and sunsets were not a disappointment either!  The name of the hotel I stayed at is called Hotel NH Collection Venezia Palazzo Barocci.  This hotel is in the San Marco area of Venice.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to stay on the Grand Canal.  The location was great as I could walk everywhere I wanted to go, the breakfast was good, the Wi-Fi was reliable and the beds were comfortable.  The staff was also very friendly and accommodating!



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My Earth Day Post: How Becoming a Vegetarian Can Help Our Planet

Retaurant-411940_960_720I took the above photo while I was in Oia on Santorini island in Greece eating a meatless dinner.

First of all I want to say I am not trying to talk down to people who eat meat or convince everyone who reads this to become a vegetarian tomorrow.  Maybe a few people will start thinking about becoming a vegetarian one day or eat less meat such as trying "Meatless Mondays".

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The Venetian Hotel is the Next Best Thing to Visiting Italy


December (1 of 1)-48The above photo is of the ceiling of the enrance to the Venetian hotel.  It is a replica of Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy.

The Venetian is probably my favorite hotel in Las Vegas.  There are so many wonderful hotels in Vegas including the Bellagio and Caesar's Palace.  Think I like the Venetian the most because I love Italy

I enjoyed strolling through the interior of the Venetian and watching the gondolas in the canals.  It reminds me of the time I sent in Italy.  I enjoy their mall as well and the big Christmas tree that changes colors during the Christmas season.  You can see the fire show or fake volano that shoots fire 100 feet into the air over at the Mirage from the balcony at the Venetian as well. 

I  find the Venetian to be much more reasonably priced and the Bellagio.  I don't think you can really go wrong with staying either of these gorgeous hotels.  They are very nearby each other and a hotel as grand as these in most other places especially in Europe would be A LOT more expensive!
December (1 of 1)-48The above photo is a restaurant I had dinner at one night
December (1 of 1)-48The above shows the "volcano" erupting at the Mirage

December (1 of 1)-92There are many cafes and gelato shops in his hotel as well

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December (1 of 1)-48The above is a view of the strip in front of the Venetian
December (1 of 1)-48Here is the very large Christmas tree that changes color all night
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December (1 of 1)-48Thanks so much for stopping by!  I will leave you with a short video of the very big Christmas tree changing colors at night.  Enjoy the rest of the holiday season my friends :)! 

~ Michelle


"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go." Truman Capote

 During my visit to Florence Italy last week I took the fast train for a day trip to Venice.  This was my first time riding the fast train.  I did like it, but  I'm not sure I like it more than flying.  It was nice seeing the scenery along the way.  The only drawback is it takes a little longer because obviously it doesn't go as fast as a plane and it stops along the way to pick up and drop off people.  We stopped four times between Florence and Venice. 

Getting to see Venice in person was really incredible! it's amazing to see a city in the water. Venice is known to be sinking.  This is not something new.  Venice has been sinking over the years and reinforcements have had to be placed under  the buildings.  Venice is often been referred to as elegant decay.

The Grand Canal is their Highway.  There are no cars only boats of one type or another.  Their ambulances are boats, their police ride around in boats, and the mail is delivered by boats.   Another thing that I was surprised to learn is they speak Venetian in Venice which is nothing like Italian. 

While I was there it did rain for part of the day.  I will say that I recommend to anyone visiting Venice to try and go on a sunny day.  It's a lot more beautiful in the sun in my opinion.  I would like to go back again someday and spend a night!

Below are some photos of the Basilica San Marco which is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.  It is under construction in these photos which is understandable since it's more than 600 years old :)

You can use any of my photos for free and they are free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0.  They are available in a variety of sizes HERE


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Fl (1 of 1)-45  Fl (1 of 1)-52This photo is not crooked.  This is a well known leaning building that was built in 1400.

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   There are streets without water on them, but NO cars.

"I don't want to be in my car all day. I love getting up in the morning in Venice and walking my dogs down to the cafe to get my tea, and then perhaps going to a bookstore and sitting and reading, then walking to the beach"

~Jessica Chastain

Fl (1 of 1)-5 There are many stores that sell some very colorful souvenirs.  I wanted to buy one of the beautful masks, but most of the ones I liked were about 50 euros or $75 USD and I didn't think it would survive the journey home in my typically overweight luggage.

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  No Walmarts in Venice, but many beautiful farmers markets :)

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Fl (1 of 1)-35It takes five years to study and or practice to be a gondolier.  The least expensive gondola costs more than 30,000 euros or about $45,000 USD.

Fl (1 of 1)-60The busiest time in Venice is June through August.  Even though I was there in April, most of the streets were very crowded like in the photo below:

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This would be where people park their cars  boats:

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This is a well known building that belonged to a wealthy family.  There is a spiral stair case going up the tower.

Fl (1 of 1)-51"Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water."

~Frida Giannini

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 Thank you so much for stopping by.  I will leave you with a very brief video taken while I was watching the traffic in one of the canals.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!