I’ve selected a few pictures to post on this blog.  Couldn’t figure out how to attach it to the appropriate blog after the fact.  Wasn’t interested in encountering anymore Danger and White Rabbit messages from my computer security system.  So, I figure this was the easiest way.  Enjoy!

Rialto bridge from gondola

Roman ruins from 4 AD in Trieste

Village in Hvar Island, Croatia

Silver Spirit on the Adriatic Sea

Adriatic Sea and Sky while cruising!

Street in Old Town Corfu, Greece

Corinth Canal connecting Aegean and Ionian Seas

Shopping district of OLD Corinth (women weren't allowed)

Lunch selection in Nauphilon, Greece

Chinese Chocolate Dragon on board!

At the Acropolis

Overlooking Athens

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The Return

Physically arrived home yesterday.  Today is laundry day, complete the unpacking, and restock food supplies.  Oh yes, and rearrange things for the latest home decor purchase.  Pinocchio, the marionette, arrived home safely!

Departure from Athens was not without event.  Firstly, the taxi from the hotel to airport was costly – $60.  That meant we had to get more Euro.  The airport is new and was built to handle the recent Olympics, but if I didn’t know, I’d think differently.  Among other things, there’s no place to buy food or drink once you go through security.  That brings up my wonderful experience with security.  I got selected for the thorough check.  So after waiting 1/2 hour for them to search me, they spent 20 minutes going through literally everything in carry-on bags, wanding, and patting.  Barely had time to get on the plane at that point.  Fortunately, the rest of the trip was uneventful in comparison.  Although we were a bit delayed, we and luggage arrived in Ft Lauderdale together.  Funny, but delays were due to France air traffic controllers on reduced staff due to the World Cup!

Once again, I’ve been spoiled by an extraordinary adventure, thanks to Bob and Silversea.  The itinerary really made sense, in that the trip starts in Venice and the Venetian influence is part of the reasons for visiting these other places.  Also, these are UNESCO sites, which means they are part of our world heritage.

There are a lot of pictures and video on the camera.  I guess I can post a few after the fact.  The local folk will see the choice selection, eventually.  Now, it’s back to the challenges of life in Florida!

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It was an incredible stay in Athens.  The hotel was lovely and we had a view of the Acropolis!  It is lit up all night.  The hotel shuttle took us to walking distance of the Acropolis.  From there we could hike around the various sites and hike to the top where the Parthenon is located.  It’s a hot hike.  The heat reflecting off all the marble makes it extreme.  In fact, all the places we’ve visited in Greece have a lot of marble street areas.  It’s got to be deadly walking when the marble pavement is wet.

Absolutely awesome describes the Acropolis.  It’s one of those wonders of the world that boggles the mind.  How did they do it?   Seeing it makes it even more incredible.  At the top, the view of Athens is amazing.  5 million people live in this city.  Just as in the other places we’ve visited, it’s so bizarre to experience ancient ruins in the middle of a modern city.  There is a subway system in Athens that has displays of artifacts uncovered during excavation of the subway.  It’s pretty strange to look at an ancient grave and skeleton by a subway stop.

Had plenty of good Greek food.   Skipped the octopus in Athens, but had yummy squid.  It was a very large squid!  There are tons of places to eat, literally one right after the other.  I saw very few non-Greek cuisine places.  At any rate, it’s a wonder all these places stay in business, especially since they’re all Greek.

New and last  post tomorrow.  Got home last night and prefer to reflect on that experience later.

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The tour of Nauphilon was very interesting.  We drove out of town to the Corinth Canals and ruins.  On the way were major orange and olive groves.  This area is produces oranges for export (Russia) and juicing.  The canal connects the Aegean and Ionian seas.  It’s not very wide.  Big enough for a 2 decker touring ferry, sailboats, but no cargo or cruise ships.  The ruins are quite interesting and my head is full of historic trivia.  After the tour, Bob and I wandered around the city and had lunch.  Nauphilon was the original capital of modern Greece.  The seafood was wonderful.  Again, I had grilled octopus.  Finally, I had the red mullet that I’ve heard so much about.  Think large smelt since that’s the closest description I can give.  The local grouper and Greek salad were also superb.

After all that wonderful Greek seafood, I impressed myself dining on the ship’s poolside BBQ.  They did an amazing job.  The whole suckling pig was from Italy.  I had to know.  Plenty of meats, seafood, veggies, salads, desserts.  Somehow, we managed to eat.  I took a picture of the chocolate carved Chinese dragon gracing the dessert table.

This cruise has really been international.  There are more people from all over than I could originally tell.  The ship’s crew comes from all over the map, too.  Everyone has been very nice.  The crew is just as super as always.  Our suite was nice with a nice veranda.  It’s been great being able to sleep with the veranda door open.  The weather couldn’t be nicer.  Pretty hot during the day, but considerably cooler at night.  That also means the seas have been amazingly calm.  Didn’t realize the seas could be that way.

We get off in Athens, so probably no more time to blog till home.  We’re staying at the Intercontinental Hotel with a room supposedly looking out at the Acropolis.  It’s amazing to see ancient ruins in the midst of modern civilization.  Apparently, walking to the Acropolis is normal.  Oh, yes, and the Parthenon, too, I think.

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Corfu and Sea day

Yesterday, we visited Corfu.  It’s the biggest Greek island.  The Italian, French and British influence is everywhere.  We only visited the city via horse carriage and by foot.  We had signed up for the cooking and food tour, but there wasn’t enough interest, so we had to change.  Darn!  Oh well, there’s enough food goodies to find in town.  Besides the expected olives and olive oil, there are plenty of kumquats and lemons to be found, even in the gardens around town.  Lots of flowers in bloom everywhere, so it’s quite spectacular.  Aromatic, too

The carriage tour was charming and somewhat funny.  The guide didn’t speak much English, so points of interest were school (!) and movie theatre (!).  The walking tour was very nice.  Old town is quaint.  As is true of most of the sites we’ve seen.  14th century and older is normal.  We had a lovely lunch in town.  In keeping with my current theme, I had octopus salad.  I’ve had it in every place we’ve visited!  All prepared differently, but exquisitely!

Today is a day at sea.  It’s nice not to rush off to explore a new port.  I don’t think I can post pictures from these ship computers.  Everything works off satellite and is a bit slow.  Bob has been taking pictures of and on the ship.  We’ve met some nice people and other journalists.  There are a lot of Germans on board as well as other Americans and Europeans.  We’ve seen a fair number of children.  I guess because it’s summer for some people, but also because this is a shorter cruise than my previous cruises and therefore more affordable.

Weather has been super.  The Adriatic and Ionian seas have been incredibly calm.  Don’t hardly notice the ship moving.  We’ve seen some fish jumping and leisurely cruising along with the ship.  Unlike our Asian cruises, we are in constant view of land in the distance.  But we’re still far enough away to see lots of stars at night.  Tonight is another formal dress wear attire.  This is the second formal attire.  Yeah, that meant lugging 2 fancy dresses.  Fancy meaning something we don’t normally wear, even on dressy occassions back home.  Oh well.  Just another costume!

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We are leaving Hvar, Croatia.  Our tour trip was a fantastic experience.  We drove through the country and visited some very old sites.  Again, we’re visiting places that have been around since before the 1500’s, which is like modern times.  Hvar grows  figs, grapes, olives, lavendar.  Not so much anymore, but we still saw plenty of farms.  Lots of wildflowers and butterflies.  Wish had more time to explore this place.  There is a area here that is part of UNESCO.  Beautiful!  What a terrific opportunity to have visited this part of the world.

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We made it to Venice and Trieste.  Quite the adventure considering Italian inconsistencies!  Quite funny!  Customs not big deal; no paperwork, they don’t even look at your luggage.  But getting to the ship from the port was really funny.  Security couldn’t decide when or how to let people on the ship.  Almost like they’ve never done it before; go through security, then go out and come back in when the time is correct….  Got dizzy just going round and round the security!

In Venice, we bought all day water taxi passes.  Unlike a subway system, there are no turnstiles and no agents to check whether you have a pass or not.  We were beginning to wonder why we bought passes when, finally, on our last water taxi ride, 2 agents decided to check everyone’s passes.  I guess they only check when they feel like it.

Had wonderful food in Italy.  Terrific seafood, pasta, pizza, and espresso and fresh peach juice Bellini. 

Venice a terrific city.  Lots of tourists, quaint little streets, and historic sites.  We took a gondola ride from a 4th generation gondolier.  Some places, strangely, can’t take credit cards (broken machines?) or they don’t take credit cards.  Seems funny in this day and age.

Both cities we’ve visited have a lot of history.  It’s funny to hear about renovations being done in the late 1500’s!  And visit places that are from 4 AD!  Trieste, in particular, is a lovely Italian city, not very touristy.  It’s a city that James Joyce used to live in.  The building he used to live in, houses a cafe.

Cruising has been exceptionally smooth.  The Adriatic is really calm.  Most of the time, we can’t feel the ship moving.

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This ship is the Silver Whisper from our 2008 trip.  We were returning to the ship from Jayapura, Indonesia.  What a fabulous cruise that was!  Now, we are getting ready to cruise on the new ship, Silver Spirit.  First, the agonizing task of packing.  This cruise line is dressier than most, so casual means business casual.  That means more options for packing because I’m not dressing up to sightsee!  Tomorrow, everything moves to Bob’s for the interim stop before the airport.

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