We’re home, but here is the last portion of the trip!

(Thane here) When we last left you, we were in Nettuno about to voyage to the islands to the south and to Amalfi coast. Our first stop was Ponza, a crowded island that was obviously a vacation stop for half of Italy. Tons of ferries coming and going right by our anchored boat. Argh. Pretty town, though.

Ponza

Our boat at Ponza

Ventotene

Then we ventured on to Venotene, a cool little island that the Romans used for boat maintenance. They actually CARVED a marina out of the rock.. and two thousand years later, it is still being used… and costs $100 a night to stay in. We anchored out for free. Interestingly, there is a penal island (Stefano) about a mile away. Naturally, we ignored the no trespassing signs (couldn’t decipher them anyway) and checked it out.

Roman version of Alcatraz

A marina carved out of rock by the Romans in Ventotene

Originally carved to repair Roman Ships

Then it was on to Procida, a lovely town but not very friendly.

Procida

We left early the following morning.. no wind.. and motored about 8 hours all the way to Positano.. a town on a steep hillside that Jimmie Rysdon said we shouldn’t miss. We were glad we didn’t.

Lovely Positano

A bit of a blow at the Positano anchorage

View of the beach umbrellas at Positano

Thane goes wild during a full moon! Positano

The full moon at Positano

The covered street in Positano

Brenda at Positano

We stayed in Positano two nights.. when we arrived there was a chance of thunderstorms so we took a mooring ball.. at 60 euros it was the most expensive mooring ball in our lives, but in an hour the wind had piped up to 35 gusting to 40. We saw lightning in the south, but it barely rained on us. The next morning we moved closer to shore and dropped our anchor in 20 feet of sand. Safe and secure. And free. We found a good eating spot right on the beach.. Chez Black.. where we ended up eating dinner both nights we were there.

The following morning we motored to Capri, and checked out the arches in the rock formations prior to heading to the marina. A fun island, but again, packed with tourists and ferry boats which tried to slam our sailboat into the dock in front if it.

Just a couple of "small" boats at the Faraglioni Arches at Capri

A view through the Faraglioni arches at Capri

The red tram to get to the top of the hill in Capri

Capri

The marina we stayed in at Capri--Naples is in the background

We left the marina early the next morning and circled to the south side of the island to an anchorage. Beautiful.

Our anchorage at Capri

There we met the one celebrity we saw on the trip.. our American flag on the transom our boat attracted the attention of Shawn Marion, an NBA forward with the Dallas Mavs, who came by to say hi..! We we happy just to speak English! He had chartered a sailboat with a captain, a cook, (and of course his girlfriend) and he was impressed with our story of coming from America to sail. We encouraged him to learn to sail to discover the freedom that comes from Bareboating. I hope he does it.

Our famous person encounter--Shawn Marion plays for the Dallas Mavericks

The walking path from the top of the hill to the beach in Capri

(Brenda here) We had bypassed the island of Ischia on our way to Positano, and we were glad to have made the effort to stop on our way back to Rome.

The Castle at Ischia

It was Sant Anna day–the day honoring the patron saint of the island. The major event is the retelling of the time the island was ruled by the French and the English attacked the castle with bombs destroying the church among other things. Prior to the fireworks beginning that night, the castle was “afire” from the “bombs” (aka fireworks) to this effect.

The reenactment of the British bombing the castle in Ischia

At the castle on Ischia

The view of Naples from Ischia castle

One unusual thing we learned about was the Nun’s Cemetery (spoiler alert–this may be gross) which did not look like a cemetery at all. At first we thought these were unusual latrine chairs with crosses above them. A blessed bathroom with bowls in the seats of the chairs. Actually, when the nuns died, they were seated on the chairs and the fluids from their bodies seeped into the bowls in the the seats. They remained there until they were bones. The gross part is that the living nuns were brought here to pray in order to be mindful of their own mortality. Some died from exposure to the process. Strange practice.

The Nuns Cemetery at Ischia

The way out of the castle at Ischia

[caption id="attachment_722" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="The causeway approach to the castle at Ischia"][/caption]

Time to head back to Anzio and begin the process of getting the boat ready for storage.

High speed ferry near Anzio. We did not travel this fast!!!

Our final marina was Porto di Roma, close to the mouth of the Tiber river. I’ll let the pictures tell the details.

Sunset at Porto di Roma Marina

The process of putting the boat away for the season

Yummy mussels and rosemary foccacia bread at Porto di Roma

The inside of the boat for awhile!

Our final mooring--right next to the sewage plant discharge!

A tight fit on the last mooring. All along the river, boats are tied up 3 deep.

Greeted by swans at our final mooring in the Tiber River by Rome

Getting ready to lift the boat out of the water

Our boat's a swinger! Crane lifted!

A nifty remote controlled unit moves the boat to its place in the yard

Patrizka was a great help and knew where to find stuffed pizza!

Asylum's spot for the next 9 months

Patrizka has an office at the boat yard and is a boat broker. The two brothers who own the yard and work the crane are Simone and Frederico. Great people. We feel really good about where the boat is staying for the winter.

After the exhausting days of getting everything buttoned up for the winter, it was nice to have a few days to relax–or at least try to relax. Touring in Rome in 90 degree weather is not very relaxing, but it is worth it. We made it to the Coliseum this time and toured a few of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica where the picture of Michaelangelo’s Pieta was taken. I was also able to take in the Keats/Shelley House Museum next to the Spanish Steps. We finished our shopping in Rome including two roller cases for the airplane!

The Coliseum

The underground rooms for the gladiators at the Coliseum

Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

Rome to Home in 24 hours!!!

Every corner of our bags was filled, and we were, too, with wonderful new memories. But new adventures await us at home as we anticipate the arrival of our first grandson! As Ellie from UP says: “Adventure is out there!” Yes, it is. And as the movie reminds us, adventure happens wherever you are–if you look for it.

Thanks for following us on this journey. We’ll be back in the Mediterranean next summer making our way to Gibraltar.

Thane and Brenda

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Levezza, Corsica to Anzio and Nettuno, Italy

When we left Bonifacio, we went to “The Baths” of the Mediterranean. If you’ve been to the British Virgin Islands and visited “The Baths,” you’ll recognize a similar phenomenon. (If you haven’t been to “The Baths,” give yourself a treat with Google Images.) We did a little exploring and basically read and swam and ate! Pretty much what we have done every day when we’re on a hook!

Our anchorage at Levezza

Sailing bums! Happy hour on the water--literally!

The island group with Levezza in the center

The rocks and the lighthouse at Levezza. Where's Brenda?

Sunset at Levezza with a seagull friend posing.

We left the islands for an overnight crossing to Italy. Brenda finished the Italian flag while we were at Levezza.

Brenda finishing the Italian flag on the boat!

Sailed about 6 hours of the 28 hours with a placid sea at night. We arrived at Anzio and could not get the harbormaster to answer us. Finally, someone came on the radio and told us he was at lunch. Lunch in Italy is from 1:00 to 3:30. Most businesses are closed–except the restaurants! Dinner is the big meal of the day in Italy, and takes place during the heat of the day! The man on the radio told us to go to Nettuno, which was a good idea!

The Nettuno marina was much larger and had better accommodations. We settled in and began exploring.
One of the reasons we chose to arrive at Anzio stems from something my dad told me about my Uncle Jack. Jack was at the battle of Anzio–which lasted 5 months–and survived. We did not know it at the time, but the American WWII Cemetery is located at Nettuno while the British cemetery is located at Anzio. We spent a morning at the cemetery and met Tina who is the American in charge of the cemetery. She told us that there is an Italian man–in his 80′s now–who brings flowers to the cemetery every Monday. As a young man, he was “adopted” by American soldiers during the Anzio campaign, and honors their memory every week. A military cemetery is a sobering reminder of the cost of war.

The entrance to the American Cemetery in Nettuno

The names of the missing American soldiers from WWII battles at Anzio and Sicily

Brothers memorial at American cemetery at Nettuno

The American Cemetery at Nettuno

One of the maps in the chapel area at the American Cemetery in Nettuno

The WWII marker at Anzio harbor

At the WWII marker in Anzio

Anzio harbor is located next to the Roman remains of Nero’s harbor. Now it is beach front property! Thane tried to take the dinghy in to sit on the beach, but was unable to land the dinghy. So, he made the best of the situation and put up the umbrella on the dinghy and read for a spell!

A view of Anzio from the marina

Thane enjoying the dinghy at Nero's beach!

Remnants of Nero's harbor at Anzio

One of the things we have enjoyed the most about our time in Europe this summer has been the old medieval streets associated with most ports of call. Nettuno has a great old walled city area with a lovely piazza. Here’s our favorite.

One of our favorite piazza's! This is in Nettuno.

Our favorite piazza at night!

Every night ends with a triple flavor gelato in Nettuno

Another pleasure of being in port is the sound of the bells announcing the times of the day to all. Some places peal the bells by hand at noon and 6:00 pm. Other places peal single tones on the hour and the three quarter hours. Handy when you don’t wear a watch or a phone!

We rented a car to check on locations to possibly leave the boat for the time we are home, and Brenda thought it would be a good idea to take the coast road to the Tiber River leading to Rome. It was Sunday. EVERYONE went to the beach! And there is beach front the whole 26 miles to Rome! It was a bit slow! People parked in every possible place, and Thane’s excitement was shifting from second to third gear! We spent the morning checking places and then the afternoon and part of the evening in Rome!

The drive to Rome on a Sunday! Lots of people head to the beach!

Just to tease you for the next post!

We found a place to haul out the boat near Rome and will be completing that task by Aug. 9th with flights home on Aug. 13th! We plan on spending our last two days roaming Rome!

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Adjaccio to Bonifacio

(this is the third of three posts made today. You may want to scroll down to “Crossing to Calvi” and work your way back to here….)

On July 1 we left Adjaccio to cross the bay to anse St. Barbara.. a short hop but nice to get out on our own again. A boat likes to shake loose those restraining dock lines now and again. Rum and coke on the bow, anyone?  The following day we sailed to Campomoro bay in a very picturesque anchorage.  We went ashore for a dinner of Corsican meats and wine.  The sunset was shot from the dink as we returned to the boat. Amazing.

Sunset at Campomoro

On July 3rd we sailed halfway, then motored the final two hours to Bonifacio.. the southern tip of the island. Wow. The photos begin to tell the story, but don’t do it justice….

Approaching Bonifacio Harbor

Asylum in Bonifacio

The oldest Tower in Bonifacio

The beginning of the pathway to the city on the hill

Happy Fourth of July from Bonifacio

Panorama of Bonifacio Harbor

Brenda had read about a tunnel that was hand dug prior to the occupation of the island in WWII. We took steps down and down and there are still “tracks” where a big gun wheeled into position looking out over the sea. Quite amazing.

The hand dug WWII tunnel to the sea

The rail to the opening in the cliff

WWII Tunnel to the channel

The french know how to celebrate Happy Hour.. with Ice Cream!

Thane's Happy Hour!

An anchorage in Bonifacio Harbor framed by the ramparts of the fortification

187 steps--or more!! King Aragon tried to take the city by building a staircase from the sea to the town in the 1500s. The effort failed. But the staircase is cut into the limestone still today.

Tomorrow morning we will leave Bonifacio and head to small islands between Corsica and Sardinia. The adventure continues….

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From Calvi to Adjaccio and the Tour de France

We thought we were leaving Calvi on a nice benign day, June 25th–the bay was like glass and looked like a good time to go. And you know this foreshadowing does not mean good tidings for these two travelers. As soon as we turned the corner, we had white caps and Brenda wondering what was the closest anchorage. We were able to duck in to Galeria and as we were heading into the bay, Thane noticed the bilge pump spitting water out of the back of the boat. As we discovered once we anchored, the watermaker had a split in one of the filter canisters which sent 20 gallons into the bilge where the tools and stores are kept. So our first day away from the dock was spent in clearing water out of the bilge. Sound familiar Karen, and Rod and Ranae? At least, now we have clean bilges!

Our next stop was Cargese. The seas were too rocky to enjoy the stops Francis had pointed out to us, but the coastline was beautiful. Cargese is noted for the two churches that “stare” at each other on the top of the hill overlooking the sea. Greek refugees built the Greek Orthodox church, but eventually the Catholic population wanted their own church and built their church across the ravine facing the Greek Orthodox church. A charming seaside town with an intense climb up from the marina.

Two churces on the hill faciing one another in Cargese. The Catholic on the left and the Greek Orthodox on the right.

The boat harbor at Cargese. Asylum in in the middle of the photo.

The bay at Cargese

On to Adjaccio where we were able to see the end of leg 2 of the Tour de France and watch the beginning of Leg 3 of the Tour. One of Adjaccio’s claims to fame is that it is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. We toured the birthplace home and learned more about French history than we knew before!

Adjaccio, Corsica

Adjaccio from the jetty wall

Napoleon in all his finery.

One of the rooms in Napoleon's birth home.

Then it was time for the race legs. We purchased our Tour de France gear thinking we would blend into the crowd. Actually, the Europeans did not have the merchandise frenzy that we thought there might be, but we proudly sported our gear and draped our US flag on the rail for the racers to see as they went around the corner! While we were waiting for the riders to come through, we visited with Pere and Francine from the north of France. They were on holiday on Corsica and came into the city to see the race. Francine helped me with my French, but needed very little help with her English. They hope to visit the US next year. We showed pictures of SD on the iPad as we kept track of where the racers were with live updates on the Tour website. We also met a group of bicyclists from the Boston area who were on an extreme biking trip. They had been to several Tours before and were helpful in letting us know more about what happens in the race. Unfortunately we did not get a photo of the group, but we enjoyed speaking English freely with others from the US!
The next morning, we lined up early to witness the beginning of leg three. This time we met a family on holiday from Belgium. Thane taught the boy how to play Farkle with the app on my iPhone while we waited. Prior to the racers coming through, the sponsors have a parade with presents! They throw all kinds of things into the crowds lining the streets! The riders came through in one fell swoop and it was done! (Reminded us of waiting for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade when Kate and Amanda marched with the Lincoln Band–wait four hours for two minutes of parade time!)

All decked out for the Tour de France

Pere and Francine waiting for the Tour de France riders

Here come the Tour de France riders!

Adjaccio is known as an Empirial City hence the crown suspended over Napoleon Avenue

The Belgium family we visited with for Leg 3 of the Tour to start.

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Crossing to Corsica

Thane here.  Once again, we are a bit tardy getting up to date, but we will blame bad internet this time.. even cyber cafes often don’t have the bandwidth to download photos.. but here goes…

We crossed from Mallorca to Corsica on June 17 with a benign forecast that turned out to be a bit “off.” We have discovered that all Med forecasts are a bit suspect, but winds of 30+ with gusts to 40 as night fell was a bit of a surprise. But after 54 hours, we made landfall at Calvi… totally by chance. We picked a spot on the map and aimed for it.  It was the right choice, as we spent the next 10 days hopping down the west coast of Corsica.

Panoramic of the Calvi Bay

We quickly fell in love with the feel of the town; the citadel, the narrow streets, the people.

View from the Citadel in Calvi

We had a chance to be "escorted" to the police station at the airport by these friendly Customs officials

We got to experience mooring with boats right along side.. (no dock fingers) on our port side was Michael, who was on a powerboat but a wealth of information and an ex DJ from Australia. And on the starboard side was Francis and several friends who were kind enough to mark up our chart with all of the places we needed to see while in Corsica. (thanks, Francis and all, as you will see, we followed your advise. )

Dinner with a view from the Citadel with our boat neighbor Michael

Calvi--the birthplace of Christopher Columbus

Helpful Francis and friends from Lyon

Asylum looking at the quay in Calvi (Francis)

The French like their glaces!

Sant Marie.. I love this shot..

Thane's wish fulfilled--eating at a cafe in front of our boat. Note the shelving unit we modified into a boarding ladder...

We discovered Jazz Fest was going on while we were there.. with multiple stages. We were wandering around the citadel and happened upon this performance...

Sunset from the Citadel in Calvi

Moonrise at the Citadel in Calvi

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Cutting loose!

Finally!  After literally years of planning, months of preparation, (and a dose of anxiety) it was time to release the dock lines and let Asylum FREE to do what she does best. After all, a boat is not made to stay in the harbor.  But before we left,we hit a bit a snag; two actually.

1. Looney, our trusty 20 hp Honda outboard that propels our dinghy, started.. but the needed stream of water coming out the back to show the cooling system was working… was absent. Odd, since I had a new impeller installed a month ago in Newport RI, and it was working then. A mechanic who spoke very limited English took a quick look at it and shrugged. I called several outboard repair shops and no one could service it for over a week. Our answer was to buy a small outboard ….we had to be able to get to shore and rowing our dink is not an option if there is any wind at all.

2. So, with check out time as noon and it being 2:30 in the afternoon, we decided to drop off the docklines and head out. As I attempted to pull away from the dock, our keel snagged the mooring line of the boat beside us and spun us perpendicular to the bow of that boat, with the wind pushing us against his bow pulpit. Hmmm.  The mooring line is a chain that came off the nose of his boat and heads down diagonally to a large anchor in the middle of the channel between docks.  After much frustration we were able to free ourselves… and away we went.  After an expensive refueling at the gas dock, we motored upwind to the western shore of Mallorca, to a harbor called Puerto Andratx.  The sights along the way were stunning.

off the dock

Of course, arrival to a new port is cause for a tot of Rum!

Puerto de Andratx

5 o'clock and on a mooring ball

We approached a mooring ball and a dinghy appeared from nowhere with a nice young man to help us get situated. The local yacht club installed balls throughout the harbor.. to you can’t anchor, but for our first night out we were fine on a ball. We filled out the paperwork and even ran the credit card transaction right at our boat. Amazing.

We had a wonderful French dinner at Mar Blau .. Thane had calamari!.. really really good calamari; and it was a serene meal and view.

gosh this is beuatiful

that's our boat out the window

During dinner, Brenda was twisting her adventure ring we got in Mexico, and it dropped to the concrete and proceeded to roll right of the edge of the platform we were eating on, and into the rocks below. We heard it bounce and “plunk” into the water. I climbed down and searched with my flashlight, but could not find it. The following morning we returned the scene and searched to no avail. We started moving rocks around to see if it was hiding.. and after we agreed to give up hope, we used a piece of driftwood to leverage one more big rock out of the way and WaLa.. there was the ring!

we found the ring under this rock

Heres a photo of Looney Bin with the new little Honda 2.3 HP motor… so cute! And so undersized! Brenda named him ScrewBall. We hope to get the big brother back in action at some point…

looney bin with new screwball (middle dink)

Then it was off to an anchorage known as Sa Foradada. It’s really just a notch in the high cliffs, but on the way we saw more majestic scenery…

cliffs of insanity

Most of the time we had no wind, or wind at our nose, so we motored. We looked behind us at one point and couldn’t believe it….I think someone is following us!

inconceivable

When we arrived there were a few other boats there, and we struggled to find a spot that was free of big underwater rocks (anchor eaters) and shallow enough to be effective.

Sa Foradada

We finally anchored in 60 feet of water with 200 ft of chain.. and all was well. There is a path to a top rated restaurant on top of the hill, and this shot we want to make postcards out of.. it was SO unbelievable.

Our postcard shot

find the smily face

now that's a kitchen

Turns out, all of the other boats left later in the afternoon, leaving us all to ourselves in this little piece of paradise….!

all by ourselves

And we leave you now this this final shot. Brenda rocks at sunset shots.. and as we toasted the end of a wonderful day on the water.. we were treated to this sunset as we floated motionlessly in the quiet of the twilight..
till next time…

it doesn't get any better than this

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More sights of Palma

Before we reclaimed Asylum, we had a couple of days to discover the city.  The Cathedral is the iconic symbol for the city and we took the typical touristy picture!

The trees were in bloom. Here's one vibrant example.

Fishermen's nets

Windmills in the city and all over the island. Time to read Don Quixote!

The Cathedral of Palma

We also took a side trip to the factory outlet where they make the original Majorica 1890 pearls and jewelry. We called for a free shuttle to take us the thirty miles to city where it is located. It was nice to see the countryside–also dotted with windmills. I read later that there is an effort underway to restore the over 3000 windmills on the island, not so much to be used for grinding grain and pulling water from the ground, but as a national emblem of the island. I downloaded a free copy of Don Quixote and started reading! Yes, tilting at windmills on Mallorca would have kept Don Quixote busy!
At the factory–which we can no longer tour, but they had people demonstrating the process–we learned about the process of making the pearls. The base of the pearls are a special glass from Germany that is heated and formed by women into the shapes called for by the jewelers who are men. A definite separation of duties between men and women that has existed since the beginning of the work.
The glass beads are dipped 31 times in the “pearl” mixture made from components from the sea including shells and other natural colors. They have 13 different shades of pearls. Strings of pearls are strung by hand and knotted after each pearl is added so if the string should break, only two pearls will be affected.  It was fun to look at the pieces in their display cases and to shop.

Majorica Pearls

Making Majorica pearls

Dipping Majorica pearls

The sangria and water are the same price!

The next post will have us on our way on Asylum!

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Time to claim Asylum: Palma, Mallorca

(Disclaimer: OK, as I – Thane- write this, it is June 22. We flew to Mallorca on June 5; so we admit we’ve been having so much fun that we have not kept up with sail asylum.com. However, the wind is blowing like stink today as we are safely tucked in a marina in Calvi Corsica. So it’s a good time to download a ton of photos and get caught up, at least a bit.)

Sunny Mallorca

In the last posting we were in France.. we drove back to Barcelona, checked in our car at the airport (we only added one scratch in over 1500 kilometers of touring) and flew to Palma. We again used airbnb to secure an apartment… just a couple blocks off the waterfront.. lined with marinas. This “flat” was marvelous… two bedrooms with a balcony overlooking Joan Muri street. Newly remodeled. Lovely times ten.

Our "apartment"

Could stay here a month

We had a couple days prior to Dockwise arriving with Asylum, so naturally we scoped out the area. First up was finding a marina.. and a berth.. to hole up in when Asylum came so we could recommission the boat. We walked to Club Del Mar only to learn they could not assure us of a spot.. hmmm. So we walked out and came upon the Bavaria office and stopped in to say hi. There we got valuable advise as to where to find a berth (Real Club Nautico) and various other tidbits.

Finally the fateful day arrived: June 8. At 7am we were to be in the captains office of the transport ship Super Servant 4.. the DockWise ship with Asylum aboard. We had not seen a cloud in all of Palma since our arrival, but that morning.. of course.. it was raining. Mr. Worrywart was concerned that getting a cab may be harder because of the rain.. and at 6:30am on a Saturday morning.. there was no traffic on the street. We went downstairs to street level and.. zoom.. a cab went by. RATS. If we’d only…
Needless to say, another cab came by within minutes and the world was saved.

arriving at the ship

and there she is.. in the sardine can

men in wetsuits pull the jackstands out of position so we can "float off"

We waited for the ones behind us...

..then we were told to "reverse.." Notice the intense concentration of the captain and the carefree wave of the dockhand

...successfully backed out of the stern of the DockWise ship!

We radioed the marina for our berth location.. and were told we’d have to wait until noon, when our slip would be vacated. Noon? It was barely 10 am. We had no sails on, no anchor on, were low on fuel (since DockWise didn’t want to transport boats full of fuel.. more weight) and the prospect of motoring in circles in a choppy bay with more rain on the way .. was less than exciting. Being Saturday, the marina was understaffed, but a man in a dinghy came up to our boat and told Brenda that we could occupy Slip R11 54. Horray. He asked if we needed assistance or if we could med moor ourselves.. (squeeze in between two boats without a dock on either side, secure the stern without hitting the dock, then taking a line that is attached to the quay and taking it, hand over hand, to the bow and securing the front of the boat. Easy. Never done it (except in Greece in 2000 and we had the help of the Sunsail floatilla guides.) Brenda said we’d give it the old college try. Pretty sure the guy didn’t speak that much English, but off he went. We then had to FIND dock R11 slip 54, then back into it. Fortunately, Brenda grabbed a map of the layout of the marina the day prior when we visited… The wind was clocking up and more rain was about to start as I started my reverse approach. I would have done an even better job of docking.. except that Slip 54 was occupied. We were being blown downwind badly.. so we bailed and headed toward Slip R11 50.. turns out that was the one we were supposed to be in anyway… Asylum is one of few boats under 40 feet long with a bow thruster. I gave Cal and Linda some grief about that prior to buying their boat.. but I was assured there would be times in ugly tight situations that the bow thruster would save my butt. This was certainly one of them. As I slowly wedged the 13 foot wide butt of Asylum into the slot that looked 8 feet wide, I was able to keep the bow from being blown off downwind .. via the bow thruster. Whew.

Once tied in, and the rain passed, Brenda and I started the three day chore of recommissioning the boat.. installing solar panels, filling water tanks. Plugging into the 220v power and discovering I’d forgotten to unplug a power strip of chargers first (oops, my BOCSH charger is no more) Grocery shopping. Putting on the sails at midnight when the wind subsided. Figuring out a boarding plank or gangplank to bridge the jump of the dock to the boat… All kinds of work.. but in a sunny, hot location and lots of great food to be discovered.. more on that later.

Asylum safely moored stern to. A bit of a jump to get onboard...

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Avignon and then Aix en Provence!

Kate recommended that we stop in Avignon to see the city square and the Palace of the Popes. So, we did. The square is supposedly the largest public square in France. We shopped at a 2 Euro store to buy playing cards (we needed to get our Yanif card games going for the season!). The Palace of the Popes was interesting, but not as opulent as I thought it would be. Still spectacular, but not the Vatican.

We arrived in Aix in the late afternoon and met Angelina who was to let us in to the apartment we rented through Airbnb for the next three days. The time was way too short, but we were able to enjoy all of the things we remembered from visiting Kate when she lived there for a year. We took a side trip to Marseille for the day and a boat ride to Chateau d’If of The Count of Monte Cristo fame.

Highlights from Aix: listening to Hilary practice prior to church on Sun. night. Hearing Dom preach. Meeting people who were friends with Kate when she worked with the church. Paul and Jacobs(bakeries!). Cafés at the street side restaurants. Watching people come and go. The market at Place Richelem. Spending time with Hilary and Dom and Louise. And last but not least, Crepes a Go Go!

We made our way to Perppignan for our last night in France before heading to Palma to retrieve Asylum.
Our Airbnb stay was with Eric and Laurence. Eric treated us to his homemade bread and jams. My favorite was his fig jam. We had an interesting dinner at a winery 10 km from their home. I had grilled snails. Last time for snails for me! Think chewy underdone pasta! They were lovely hosts and this post does not do them service.

Everywhere there are poppies in bloom. In eighth grade, I had the honor of memorizing the poem “In Flanders Field” for the annual Memorial Day services in Hartford, SD with the placing of poppy wreaths by the 3rd grade students on the “crosses row on row.” The poem begins each time I see the poppies blowing. I recited it many times in my mind as we drove through France and Spain which was fitting as it was Memorial Day back in the U.S. If you know the poem, take a moment to find it and recite it. We remember. Thanks for all who serve. Thanks mom and dad for making me take part in the ceremony each year. I remember.

Enjoy the photos. We will be posting more on Facebook, but join the RSS feed to receive emails when we post on sailasylum.com

Two goofy travelers.

The Palace of the Popes in Avignon.

Another view of the Palace of the Popes in Avignon.

Our place in Aix en Provence for three days.

The organ grinder at the market at Place Richelme, Aix en Provence.

The clock Tower in Aix en Provence

Lovely people from Kate's time in Aix--Louise Lawson from the UK, and Maddie from Australia.

It's not a day in Aix without some yummy gelato from Amorino's.

Thane and Hilary and Brenda at the ICCP church.

Chateau d'IF--Infamous prison of the Count of Monte Cristo!

Inner courtyard of Chateau d'If.

Brenda and Dominic and Thane at a great café in Aix.

Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde in Marsellies

View from Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde in Marsellies

Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde in Marsellies--the mariner's church.

Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde in Marsellies--the mariner's church. Notice the boats!

Mina came for a sleepover--we wish!

The last moment in Aix at the Rotunda Fountain with the BEST crepes in the world from Crepes a Go Go!

The vineyards are everywhere, but these are at Perppignan.

The snow-capped Pyrennees on our way back to Spain.

Eric at his home in Perppignan.

Poppies are everywhere!

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Lyon, France and the Puppets

Our time Lyon was spent looking for and at puppets.  Lyon has an international puppet museum and is the city, which the puppet Guingol originated.  Guingol is to the French as Punch is to the English.  We were unable to see a puppet show, but the old town area is certainly host to things Guingol.

We toured the museum and found some intriguing puppets.  The most interesting one has four bodies controlling one another.  So cool.  I was itching to figure out how it all worked.

Lovely city.

Our hotel in Lyon right on Victor Hugo street.

Thane's dad would have loved this major marionette--four figures in one!

Children playing with shadow puppets.

Puppets at Lyon

Puppet heads of the characters from the Tempest

Thane with the puppet Guingol.

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