A Travellerspoint blog

Greece

Mykonos and sea sailing

Alright! Finally able to get a post up! This is from Saturday and Sunday.

sunny 88 °F

On Saturday morning, we arrived in Mykonos, Greece. The views from the ship were gorgeous – Mykonos is such a cute coastal town, with blue-accented, white-stucco houses lining the cliffs and beaches. We observed the docking from our balcony and were excited to get out to see the town, although we had no formal excursions planned. We got in a quick spin class/ workout before boarding the bus that would take us into the city center. Once we got there, the views were incredible, and we spent a while taking pictures. Look at these octopi hanging from the ship – gross! Honeymoon_..-30_017.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_018.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_021.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_023.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_024.jpg

We spent the day in Mykonos walking around, enjoying the views, strolling through the narrow, cobblestone streets lined with shops (I bought the turquoise and pink necklace that you see in the pictures!), and having lunch at a seaside restaurant. Kev had Mythos, the Greek beer (which clocks in at a disappointing 0.5% alcohol by volume!), and I had Greek house white wine, then we shared a Greek salad and tzaziki with brown bread (we had snacked before). Honeymoon_..-30_028.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_030.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_033.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_041.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_046.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_054.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_056.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_057.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_059.jpg

There was nothing significant to report, but we had a great day getting to know Mykonos. When we came back, we stopped in at a bar and relaxed on the ship before heading to dinner. It started with a beef and vegetable soup for Kev, and an unpictured vegetable broth for me, followed by salads for each. The main course was coq-au-vin for Kev (too salty, but good), and shrimp kebab with fruit salsa for me (awesome!) We finished with peach melba for me, and I think he must have just had vanilla ice cream, because we didn’t take a picture. We stayed out a bit late and had a lot of fun, which included a photo shoot of me in the elevator – I’ll spare you the whole thing and just share one. It was a very fun day and we hope to return to Mykonos sometime in the future! Honeymoon_..-30_068.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_070.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_071.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_072.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_074.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_076.jpg

Sunday started off by sleeping in, enjoying breakfast, and heading to the gym. We had signed up for a wine tasting and were excited to learn a bit about what we liked and didn’t like, how to act appropriately in tasting the wine, etc. The class allowed us to try a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a Chardonnay from Kendall-Jackson, a Pinot Noir from Sonoma, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia, and a dessert Sauvignon Blanc (can’t remember where it was from!). We both really liked the first Sauvignon Blanc, and definitely preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon to the Pinot Noir, but red wine really makes my stomach hurt! I don’t know how people do it! I liked the dessert wine, but it was too sweet for Kev. Anyway, it was a fun experience and we got a handy-dandy card telling us everything you could ever need to know about wine. We’ll pull it out at our first cocktail party at Kellogg and let you know if it gains us new friends or not! Honeymoon_..-30_091.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_092.jpg

After the wine tasting, we had a snack of shrimp salad and grilled vegetables, and then read on the balcony and took a short nap. We eventually headed to dinner, where we got the best seat in the house – right by the window! It was a perfect time to be sitting there, because our ship was actually passing around the bottom of the boot of Italy, through a strait that separates Sicily from the mainland. We could see the mainland from our table, and then we got to see Sicily later. It was gorgeous! We slowed down in the middle of dinner, and a small motor boat scooted right up to the side, the pilot (who steers us into narrow ports) hopped on in about 2 seconds while still moving, and the motor boat sped off. It was so cool! Anyway, dinner was vegetable soup for me, asparagus/ tomato/ bacon appetizer for Kev, followed by a tomato soup (Kev) and house salad (me). We each had the lobster tail and grilled jumbo shrimp for dinner, and it was excellent! Honeymoon_..-30_093.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_094.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_095.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_098.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_099.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_101.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_103.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_104.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_106.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_109.jpg Honeymoon_..-30_114.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_116.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_117.jpg

We didn’t have time for dessert, so we grabbed a chocolate cake from the buffet line and headed to a bar that was showing the World Cup Final. It is amazing how SO many people are interested in the World Cup, and it was really fun to watch. Go Spain! Now I can return to my cluelessness of soccer before getting into the World Cup again in 2014! Right before we sat down, we noticed a gorgeous sunset over the coast of Sicily, so we took several pictures. It was absolutely gorgeous and a great way to end the day! It was our last day at sea (sad!) and it was a great chance to rest up for the 3 FULL days of tours coming up! Honeymoon_..-30_133.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_140.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_146.jpgHoneymoon_..-30_149.jpg

Posted by megandkev 21:19 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

Still having fun, but internet is slow...

sunny 90 °F

Hi all! We just wanted to let you know that we are still having a blast, and are continuing to document our journeys through daily blog posts, but we have been having a bit of trouble uploading photos, so the past couple of blog posts have not gone through. Rest assured, the days in Mykonos, Greece, day at sea, and in Naples/ Pompeii/ Sorrento/ Capri, were AMAZING, and we are looking forward to Rome tomorrow! As soon as we get better internet, we'll get it all uploaded!
-Megan and Kevin

Posted by megandkev 13:52 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Democracy and marathons

sunny 97 °F

Hello! We are just getting on the boat after touring Kusadasi, Turkey, today, but this post will be about Athens. I tried to upload it last night, but it didn't work, so I'm trying again!

So … who noticed yesterday that Kev has shaved his beard?? Doesn’t he look so amazing! (He did before also). Can’t believe I forgot to write that last night!

Anyway, we had a great day in Athens today. It started off this morning pulling into the port (watching off our balcony), which is actually Piraeus. Athens is not a port, but has relied on Piraeus as its port for hundreds of years, so much so that Athens and Piraeus have kind of meshed together into one huge city – MUCH bigger than Kev or I would have imagined! We took a quick peek off our balcony, had a quick breakfast, and headed out to our tour. Honeymoon_Day_25_002.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_006.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_154.jpg

We had chosen the most popular excursion – a combination of a guided tour of the Acropolis and walking around the Plaka (city center/ shopping area) on your own. Once we met our group and boarded the bus, it was only a 30-40 minute drive to the Acropolis, and we arrived around 11am. Little did we realize (or focus on the fact that) the Acropolis is THE destination in Athens, so EVERYONE on our ship, plus the three other cruise ships that were in Piraeus today, would be heading to the Acropolis at the same time. It was PACKED! Our tour guide estimated that 120-140 busloads emptied out at the Acropolis today. Walking up the 80 ancient marble stairs to the Acropolis itself took about 30 minutes because the crowds were so dense. But the views were worth it! Here are a few shots from our walk up, and showing how big the city is. Honeymoon_Day_25_018.jpg Honeymoon_Day_25_042.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_036.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_064.jpg Honeymoon_Day_25_045.jpg

It was so incredible to be standing on, in, and around the ruins of such an elaborate structure, some of which was built as early as 437 BC!!! The Acropolis was initially built to house the government, when Athens (which was the first place to establish a true democracy) was governing other city-states of the ancient world. The Acropolis contains the Parthenon (the largest building you’ll see), Erechtheion (smaller temple), the Propylaia (the entrance), the Temple of Athena Nike (smallest temple), and several other ruins. Currently, they are doing a good bit of restoration, especially on the Parthenon and the temple of Nike, but even despite their efforts, it is amazing to think that we were looking at the exact same slabs of marble that people were looking at 2500 years ago! Here are a few shots of the Parthenon … Honeymoon_Day_25_051.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_055.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_057.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_070.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_074.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_093.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_095.jpg
Erechtheion …Honeymoon_Day_25_048.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_049.jpg
The ruins… Honeymoon_Day_25_054.jpg
And the restoration…Honeymoon_Day_25_039.jpg
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We spent a few hours looking around the various ruins, including the aforementioned ones, and a large theatre that is still in use today, seen below. Here’s an incredible story … as we were wandering around, looking for our tour group (which we’d lost about 45 minutes before), we stumbled into one of Kevin’s friends from the Harvard Cross Country Team, Tom Benson! He is traveling around the world with his sisters and just happened to be at the Acropolis today. What a small world! Honeymoon_Day_25_026.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_030.jpg

Did I mention that it was HOT? It was 97 degrees today (we had to look it up, since of course they use Celsius/ Centrigrade here), and it definitely felt like it! Anyway, once we finished touring the Acropolis, we boarded the bus and had a quick city tour. One of the highlights was the first stadium of the modern Olympics – first used in 1896 and also used in 2004 for archery and the MARATHON! It was really cool to be standing on the same grounds that the Olympic marathoners ran on a few years ago. Hopefully it gave Kev some good luck for the Chicago Marathon in October! Honeymoon_Day_25_119.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_121.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_126.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_128.jpg

We also saw Hadrian’s Arch, which is famous but was relatively plain (I want to look up the story on it – all I know is that Hadrian was a very romantic ruler and built the arch to woo some girl – but I could be making that up so don’t use that in your next Jeopardy game! We passed by the Parliament building, with guards that are changed every hour in a somewhat elaborate ceremony (that we didn’t see). Honeymoon_Day_25_140.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_150.jpg

After our tour, we parked at the Plaka, which was basically just a handful of cobblestone streets packed with stores selling tourist goods (Athens postcards, Athens pictures, etc.) We didn’t buy anything, but we had fun looking around. We also had lunch at an authentic Greek place – doesn’t Kev look hot (as in sweaty hot)? I had a Greek salad and a pita, Kev had chicken kebabs (which he swears were undercooked but ate after I assured him they were fine). We also had a scoop of gelato each, but I forgot to take a picture of that. Honeymoon_Day_25_144.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_147.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_148.jpg

By the time we got back to the ship, we were tired and exhausted! The heat really drains you, and our tour was almost 7 hours! There is one cure for that – the ship’s LIBRARY! I spent almost an hour perusing their selections – I’ll let you know how I like my new book once I dive in! We tried to sit on our balcony to watch the sailaway (which was supposed to be at 6:15pm), but several of the tours got delayed somehow, and the ship waits for all of the tours, so we didn’t end up sailing away until 8pm. By that time, we were already at dinner. Another good one! Kev started with Aegaen shrimp, and I had <insert Greek name that I forget here> chicken, lemon, and mint soup. He had red lentil soup next and I had house salad, but we didn’t take pictures. For our entrée, he had the grilled filet medallions, and I had chicken braised in <insert second Greek name that I forget here> wine. For dessert, we each had the Love Boat Mousse, which was SOO good – we were moaning of fullness for a while after that. Honeymoon_Day_25_155.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_156.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_157.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_158.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_161.jpg

After dinner, we headed to the pool deck, where they were showing the World Cup game on the outdoor big screen. We got chairs with a pretty bad view of the screen, but were happy to be there anyway. It was such an experience to watch the game outside, in the middle of the ocean, and there were SO many fans! Embarassingly, we left early, but Spain is up 1-0 and I hope they win! We have a 5:45am wake up call tomorrow for our excursion in Kusadasi, Turkey, so I’d better get in my 6 hours of sleep! Hope all is well! Honeymoon_Day_25_162.jpgHoneymoon_Day_25_163.jpg

PS … YES! Shrimp Newburg! Who said that?

Posted by megandkev 03:22 Archived in Greece Comments (6)

Adriatic and Aegean Sea Travel

sunny 90 °F

Two more fun days at sea in the books! I am feeling 80% better, but unfortunately Kev is getting a sore throat. He was really pounding the Cold-Eeze while I was sick, but now we’ve run out, so we’re crossing our fingers that it worked and he’ll just get a mini-sickness!!!

We started off yesterday morning by watching the sailaway from Venice. Having a balcony in our cabin is amazing because we could just roll out of bed and see the sights! It was really pretty as we sailed away – you’ll see the tiny tugboat that was steering us, a huge yacht that we passed by (Kev’s dream), and several shots of St. Mark’s Square and Venice itself. Honeymoon_..-24_001.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_004.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_008.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_013.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_017.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_018.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_022.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_024.jpg

Later, we went to breakfast, and then had our mandatory emergency drill, after which we went to read by the pool. It was beautiful weather – warm and sunny! – and quite relaxing. We went to the gym, ate lunch, read some more (I know, this is a REALLY tough life … I bet you feel bad for us!), tried out the casino (this one has minimum of $5 tables but we survived!), then headed to the Piazza, which is the central atrium on the ship. We watched a musical Quartet (by the way, do they look Hungarian? We think these are the Hungarians that our friend from the last cruise was talking about, but we haven’t approached them yet!), and then saw the “Acrobatic Comedians.” They were not funny, as they didn’t even say a word, but they were very acrobatic! The show was short but pretty entertaining! Honeymoon_..-24_029.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_031.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_032.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_035.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_038.jpg

Later that evening, we went to dinner, where we started with the spinach and tortellini soup. This was SO good, but unfortunately I had a MASSIVE coughing attack in the middle of eating it (including 3 trips back and forth to the bathroom), so Kev had them take it away. Right decision, but sad I missed the soup! Haha. We went on to have a Caesar salad (Kev) and house salad (me), but I forgot to take pictures amidst the coughing. Our entrée was grilled filet medallions (Kev), and chicken breast (me), which were both amazing and served with nice grilled vegetables. For dessert, Kev had the flourless chocolate cake and I had honeydew sorbet. Yum! Honeymoon_..-24_041.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_042.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_043.jpg

After dinner, we thought we were going to a production show, but it was actually just a “Welcome Aboard” presentation introducing the staff, so we left. Instead, we hung around listening to some different musical performers and enjoying the night. A wonderful first day on the Ruby Princess!

Today started with an 8am spin class for me (which was made worse by the fact that the ship’s clocks were set an hour ahead last night!), then I met Kev for breakfast. We headed out to the pool to read for a while. I finished my book – “Stumbling on Happiness,” by my old Harvard psychology professor, Dan Gilbert, and I really enjoyed it. It’s not necessarily a “beach read,” but it’s really interesting and not as “academic-boring” as you’d expect a Harvard professor’s book to be. We also spent some time reading on our balcony today, and spotted some mountainous coastline which must be Greece! I took a nap as Kev headed to the gym, then we had a late lunch/snack and headed to the ship’s game show hall for “Jeopardy.” Kev and I played with a woman and her mother, and the four of us were a pretty good team – we ended with $10,000, but the winning team had $12,900. Bummer! We came back to do some laundry (which ended up taking forever as the machines were quite packed! We feel like we’re back in college!) and reading/ hanging out on the balcony some more. Honeymoon_..-24_052.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_059.jpg

Tonight was formal night, and we forgot to take a picture together, but here are some shots of us individually on the balcony. When we headed to dinner, we both started with the chicken dumpling and vegetable soup, followed by Caesar salad (Kev) and house salad (me). Kev decided to take a break from the red meat (which he thinks he’s had about 75% of the days we’ve been traveling) and got the Shrimp Newsome? Newcombe? Something like that – basically it was shrimp grilled in a tomato wine sauce. I got the halibut and swiss chard, which was fantastic. We finished off with chocolate-hazlenut soufflé (Kev) and fruit salad (me). We also got a bottle of wine, which we’re allowed to “store” in the ship’s kitchen so we (meaning me) can have a glass or two each night until we (I) finish it. Very nice service! Honeymoon_..-24_063.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_066.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_070.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_074.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_075.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_076.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_078.jpgHoneymoon_..-24_079.jpg

After dinner we rushed to the Broadway production show, which I enjoyed but Kev did not. There’s this one singer that really bugged him and he couldn’t let it go. I thought the show itself was good, but I have 2 complaints. First, they have this one excellent ballroom dancer that they just chose to feature 90% of the time and make everyone else try to fit into her style, which they clearly were not used to. When I think of ballroom, I don’t automatically think of “Broadway,” so the theme was also a bit forced. My second complaint is that they have amazing dancers and an amazing choreographer, but (s)he must just REALLY like fast choreography, as everything seems really rushed! OK, dance rant over. In general, the show was pretty good.

After the show, we tried to get a seat at the pool deck, where they were showing the World Cup game, but it was packed. We hung around a little more and meandered around the ship, but we’re turning in for the night … Athens tomorrow! We are so excited and will give you a full report!

Posted by megandkev 23:02 Archived in Greece Comments (6)

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