Day 1,056: Mediterranean Cruise 2. Bormes-les-Mimosas,France.

With a local guide, Laetitia led a day trip from the ship docked in Toulon to Bormes-les-Mimosas.  It’s a picturesque medieval village on the southern slope of the French Alps with a view of the Cote d’Azurein the distance.  Since it was shortly before Christmas, the town was festively decorated for the season.  An elaborate nativity scene in a small local church followed a tradition in Provence of including figurines of local townsfolk inthe display.

The place, Bormes-les-Mimosas,
Is at Christmas, a place that will awe.
Crèche scenes of renown
Include folks from the town
‘Tis a village that rates a hurrah.

Day 1,055: Mediterranean Cruise 2. Toulon, France.

Toulon, France was and is a major military harbor.  The hills surrounding it bristle with defensive towers(batteries) that were built during the era of wooden ships.  In 1793, artillery officer, Napoleon, distinguished himself in a battle here and began his ascent to emperor.  In 1898, much of the French fleet assembled here before escorting his army to Egypt to begin that campaign.  Afterwards, Admiral Bruey’s fleet’s fatal encounter with Nelson’s ships at Abukir Bay altered the course of the war.

Toulon’s a French place of import
As both naval harbor and port
Ringed by hills that embower
Many a defense tower
That bristled with guns like a fort.

Day 1,054: Mediterranean Cruise 2. Monaco.

With a local guide, Laetitia led a day trip from the ship around Monaco and environs. The establishment of Monaco occurred at the end of the thirteenth century when a political struggle between the Genovese Guelphs and Ghibellines ended with the Grimaldi family in control of the fortified monolith, now called the Rock of Monaco, on what is now the south coast of France.  The Grimaldi heirs (Princes) continue to preside over this small principality to this day.  The government of Monaco collects little in taxes from its residents, many of whom are wealthy.  Tourism and the casino at Monte Carlo provide funds for much of the support of the infrastructure.

If along France’s south coast you choose to go
‘Tis likely you’ll come upon Monaco
It’s not for the poor
It has big yacht’s galore
And the famous Casino Monte Carlo.

Day 1,053: Mediterranean Cruise 2. Pisa, Italy, Baptistery.

In addition to Pisa’s cathedral and famous bell tower, its baptistery is associated with Galileo.  He was baptized there.  Similar to the baptistery in Florence, it is a building of circular design with the baptismal font in the center.  In past centuries, an opening in the roof above the font would allow it to fill with rainwater so that newborns could be baptized with “water from God.”

The classic Tuscan battistero
Is circular, not long and narrow
With font open to sky
Through a roof hole on high
Filled with rain from God who minds the sparrow.