Category Archives: vacation

Mediterranean Cruise 2022 — Ibiza; Santa Eulalia del Río

Our next destination aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Vision of the Seas was the Spanish port of Eivissa (town of Ibiza) on the island of Ibiza. In case you’ve lost track, Ibiza would be our nineteenth day aboard Vision, including the preceding transatlantic cruise. This also represents the nineteenth day of a 68-day journey, excluding travel to our port of origination and the day of return travel. So, as you can see, we have quite a ways to go on this travel series.

Decorative water wheel in Santa Eulalia del Río

As is often the case with Ursula, she had us booked on a tour of the island since our previous trips to Ibiza never saw us leave the port city. Our first tour destination on this glorious Wednesday, 18 May 2022 was the resort town of Santa Eulalia del Río, or in Catalan, Santa Eulària des Riu.

The beach at Santa Eulalia del Río

Santa Eulalia del Río is the third largest town on Ibiza, and it is the only town on the island that has running through it a stream, Riu de Santa Eulalia, flowing into the Mediterranean. As you can see, however, it’s the beach that appears to be the main draw:

Santa Eulalia del Río beach

As with many beach resort towns, Santa Eulalia del Río also has a boardwalk of sorts:

The beach “boardwalk”

Of course, this wouldn’t be Europe without the outdoor dining option:

Along the boardwalk

Did you know that Ibiza has its own native dog breed? It’s the Ibizan Podenco (Ibizan Hound), and it was originally bred to hunt small game, such as rabbits. On the boardwalk, just west of the southern end of Passeig de s’Alamera, you’ll find this playfully rambunctious Ibizan Podenco family:

Ibizan Podenco

Now let us leave the boardwalk and head north along Passeig de s’Alamera. Here, just past the correos (post office) you’ll find:

Street art in Santa Eulalia del Río

At the north end of this street you’ll find the Santa Eulalia del Río Town Hall:

Santa Eulalia del Río Town Hall

On Wednesday it’s time to move on to Ibiza’s famous Hippie Market. So, until then.

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Mediterranean Cruise 2022 — Napoleon Bonaparte House; Ajaccio, Corsica

Maison Bonaparte — Bonaparte ancestral home

We’ve left behind Ajaccio Cathedral, headed north east along Rue Saint-Charles, and have arrived at Maison Bonaparte, the ancestral home of the Bonaparte family and the place of birth of Napoleon. It may not look like much, but it’s a busy destination. I had to wait out the throngs to get the shot you see above. And that marble plaque above the door? It reads in Corsican “NAPOLEON | EST NE DANS CETTE MAISON | LE XV AOVT M·DCC·LXIX,” which translates to “NAPOLEON | BORN IN THIS HOUSE | THE 15 AUGUST 1769.

“Napoleon born in this house the 15th August 1769”

Check out the fun little boutique to the left of this museum house. It’s a nifty little shop with a lot of Napoleon-related trinkets and souvernirs, and it is affiliated with the Maison Bonaparte museum.

Napoleon themed tourist store

I don’t usually recommend souvenir shops. Indeed, I can’t remember ever having done so. But I’m making an exception today. This place was not only fun, it was cheap! I picked up an engraved, locking Corsican pocketknife with wood grips and a thumb stud for what I thought was a decent price. It turned out later that it was an exceptionally fair price. The same knife was going elsewhere for anywhere from 50% to 200% more. And it even came with a belt-loop sheath. But there’s more here than just souvenirs. Casa Bounaparte itself offers up some fun photographic subjects not found on the museum next door:

Casa Buonaparte is affiliated with the Maison Bonaparte museum

Indeed, it’s worth walking by just for a snapshot of this wonderful sign:

Casa Buonaparte

From Casa Buonaparte Ursula and I started slowly back to Vision of the Seas, but along a very indirect route that would take us well north of Plaza Foch. Here we found a pedestrian street that was fun to walk — Rue Cardinal Fesch. Lots of shops, street vendors, cafés, and restaurants in this area.

An Ajaccio café scene
Walking along Rue Cardinal Fesch

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Mediterranean Cruise 2022 — Ajaccio Cathedral, Corsica

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Ajaccio

Today I present to you yet another of the three ABCs of European travel (Another Bloody Castle, Another Bloody Church, Another Bloody Cathedral). Old joke and, yes, I’m just kidding. Both Ursula and I just love these things. Today it’s another cathedral — Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Ajaccio, otherwise known simply as Ajaccio Cathedral. This structure was erected between 1577 and 1593 and is credited to famed Italian architect Giacomo della Porta. While the exterior may not appear all that imposing in comparison to other cathedrals I have shown you on these consecutive Vision of the Seas voyages, just step inside. Doing so will change your mind rather quickly.

Ajaccio Cathedral, Corsica, France

Time to look up and admire that arched ceiling and dome:

Ajaccio Cathedral, Corsica, France

Let’s more along for a closer look at that altar:

Ajaccio Cathedral Altar

Napoleon Bonaparte was baptized in this cathedral in 1771. Later in life, during his exile to St. Helena, he said, “If they forbid my corpse, as they have forbidden my body, a small piece of land in which to be laid, I desire to be buried with my ancestors in Ajaccio cathedral in Corsica.” A marble plaque inscribed with that quote remains today at the entrance.

More ceiling details

You may have noticed that behind the altar is an impressive painting. Alas, I’ve been unable to find anything on it. Nevertheless, here’s a closer look:

Ajaccio Cathedral altar painting

The cathedral’s pipe organ was built in 1849 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. It has since been restored and electrified.

Ajaccio Cathedral organ pipes

We’ll call it quits for today, and on Monday we’ll stroll by Napoleon Bonaparte’s childhood home. Before we go, here’s one last look at that incredibly ornate cathedral ceiling:

Ajaccio Cathedral ceiling

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