Trains and boats for a cruise around Italy and the Adriatic

Caroline’s mum wanted to go on a cruise. Some of her friends had been and had told her all about it, so knowing that we’d done a few cruises as well she asked us to arrange it all.

Finding a cruise was simple, one week - Genoa to Venice. The problem was that she didn’t want to fly. So car or train. Car would have been fine with us but Caroline’s mum didn’t want to be away for the extra days it would take, so train it was. Actually it was 14 trains, 2 hire car, some taxis, a few buses, the Venice people mover and lots of vaporettos (water buses).

A couple of useful links if you are thinking about trying something similar. How to travel by train from the UK to almost anywhere How to travel from one place to another by a variety of transport methods.

I find that Seat61 gives a good overview, especially for longer, international journeys, while RometoRio is good for individual sections and working out alternative timetables.

Too long: didn’t read

Taking Caroline’s mum on holiday.

  • Eurostar to Paris
  • Sleeper train to Nice
  • Car for a trip to Torre Ratti
  • Cruise to Venice, via Rome, Corfu, Kotor and Split.
  • Three days in Venice
  • Trains back home via Mestre, Verona, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and finally the Eurostar from Brussels.

There are lots of photos here:

Taking Caroline’s mum on holiday.

MSC Poeesia

Our cruise ship, MSC Poesia, docked at Kotor in Montenegro. Our cabins are circled.

Cartouche of torre ratti arms

This is something we found in the old part of Torre Ratti. On a building that appears to be part of the original Castello di Torre Ratti.

Caroline’s grandmother was a de Ratti and this is possibly where that part of the family originated

Caroline and mother at a cafe in Venice

Sitting in the sunshine at the Paradiso cafe,  Giardini Biennale, Venice.

A few highlights

Little things that we liked, your tastes may differ.

The Venetian Arsenal on Corfu. Apparently the Venetians used to own Corfu and one of their shipyards is still there. It’s a hundred yards inshore now and you can wander around the berths.

Paleo Perithia on Corfu. Try the Ognistra Tavern if you go there. The oldest village in Corfu, now a heritage site.

Paraguyan musicians with Hilary and CarolineParaguyan music. Harp and guitar in the Poesia’s Le Rendex Vous Bar.

Great performers, very friendly and playing lovely music, we ended up there on most evenings.

A lion’s head drinking fountains Hilary with oldest drinking fountain in Split in Diocletian’s Palace, Split, Croatia.These were part of the city’s water supply and many of them still work. This is the oldest one, about 1800 years old.

Public art, a giant glass abacus on the island of Murano, Venice.Public art, a giant glass abacus on Murano

The notice says. Do not touch please. Extremely fragile. And it’s in English not Italian. Did an English person, or speaker, really try and use it?

Countries visited

The European Grand Tour in two weeks

France. A trip on the Eurostar to Paris, then a taxi to Gare d'Austerlitz for the sleeper service to Nice. Then on to Ventimiglia in Italy.

Monaco Passed through on the train

Italy Arrived in Genoa, then took a side trip to Torre Ratti, staying overnight at Il Fiorile. A lovely little hotel with fantastic food.

Then back to Genoa to board MSC Poesia and an overnight cruise to Cittavechia and a train trip to Rome.

A day at sea next, with close views of Stromboli before sailing between Italy and Scicily and on around the south of Italy to Corfu.

Greece. A day on Corfu. We hired a car and visted a few places that the organised excursions don’t get to.

Montenegro. An overnight cruise from Corfu to the walled medieval city of Kotor. Leaving that evening on our way to;

Croatia The city of Split. The thing to see here is Diocletian’s Palace. It’s been built in, on and around, but is still recognisable and full of interest.

Next is Italy again and three days in Venice. Leaving by train and passing through;

Austria.The Brenner Pass, amazing views and something going on. Delayed train, lots of Police around, including some looking up and down the train. Nobody would say what they were looking for.

Germany Change at Munich and then overnight in Stuttgart. The next day, more trains, change at Frankfurt and then off to:

Belgium Brussels, for the Eurostar back to London.

9 countries, 14 days, and we made all the connections.

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