A tale of two great cities

Salvador, in Brazil.
Salvador, in Brazil.

Would the thought of starting a holiday in Rio de Janeiro and ending in Venice, two of the greatest cities in the world appeal to you? It did me.

Plus the Costa cruise itinerary included six places in Brazil then to Europe for visits to five more Countries. This had all the ingredients of daydreams but the attractive offer from Thomas Cook turned it into reality.

We joined the Costa Fortuna in Santos, heading north; first stop Rio, sailing into this magnificent city sets your pulse racing in anticipation. Well planned tours take you to Sugar loaf Mountain by cable car and then by train to the top of Corcovado to the imposing monument of Christ the Redeemer embracing the City and the emblem of Brazil. The panoramic views are simply breathtaking.

From there we headed to Copacabana beach, walked down its famous black and white walk way and felt its vibrancy. Adjoining is Ipenema beach, sophisticated and scenic. We walked through Ipenema village to the lake which offers you different views of Christ’s statue from ground level.

A day of indelible memories.

The next sunny day at sea we explored the ship; it was obvious that Costa Fortuna was a liner of refined surroundings and amenities to suit everyone.

After five more ports of call in Brazul, the next stage was to sail the Atlantic Ocean. The weather was glorious; Costa Fortuna seemed to glide over the water. Crossing the equator was fun and every day there was activity to suit all needs or just relax and enjoy the wide open space.

Back on dry land it was sunny spring in Santa Cruz Tenerife. Our tour included a stroll round La Laguna a world heritage site, a drive through the luxuriant nature of the Orotaua valley with the imposing Mount Teide Volcano as a backdrop.

Final stop, Icod d los Vinos; a tiny village which boasts a 3000 yr old tree. Oh yes and the calamari for lunch, the best I’ve tasted, only six Euros for a large portion.

A beautiful day’s sea journey gave us time to enjoy Costa Fortuna’s hospitality. Birthing in Malaga, Spain we revisited the village of Mijas. Quality leather goods is a speciality and again handbags were the order of the day, herself bought four, well she said ‘they only cost eight Euros each’. I bought a leather belt for three Euros!

Entering La Valletta Malta is an experience in itself; its imposing fortified harbour immediately tells you this is a place of unique history. A 15 minute drive through the country side and you arrive at Madina a former capital perched on a hill. Back in Valletta you stroll through its centre absorbing places of interest. It is said Ulysses stopped off here on his epic journey, I can understand why.

Corfu, for us was deja vu and Paleokastritsa with its wooded hills, crystal clear bays has hardly changed.

You are excited entering Dubrovnik, Croatia, this charming port is set in front of a picturesque hillside. When you sail into Venice at sunrise and pass a deserted St Mark’s square you know you are in a special place in the world.

This Costa Cruise itinerary leaves indelible memories of a wonderful adventure.

* Chris Hutchinson

Cruises to and from South America are available with 19 day fly & cruise from £1539 pp.Costa cruises also offer itineraries in the Mediterranean, Dubai, Far East and Caribbean.Contact Costa Cruises on 0845 3510552, www.costacruises.co.uk or book through your local travel agent.