Saturday, September 1, 2012

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Share our video record of our trip to Venice and the Eastern Mediterranean in August 2012.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Where we have been

We are now completing our cruise after commencing this trip with a wonderful week exploring Venice’s narrow ways and canals away from the popular tourist thoroughfares.
Then a relaxed cruise seeing some new places and re-visiting old favourites.  The walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia was something to see, as was Corfu in Greece.  Athens was such a contrast to the situation just one year ago.  Have you visited the new Acropolis Museum?  It is highly recommended, and you get a good view of the Parthenon. 
Kusadasi with Ephesus and carpets, Mykonos with a mix of historic ruins on Delos and beach life, and panoramic Santorini were all great ports to visit.
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Cruise draws to a close with a great return visit to Amalfi

Vegetable carving
 At Sea 13 August
Our first full day at sea was relaxed with some reading, a fruit and vegetable carving demonstration, a navigational lecture, and a good wine-tasting before the formal cocktail party, dinner & show followed by another visit to Crooners.  The captain announced that one couple had accumulated over 770 cruise days!
At Sea 14 August
Our second sea day started after breakfast with the culinary demonstration with the Executive Chef & Maître D’ performing in a comedy duo.  The latter, Nicola Furlan we have come to know reasonably well since he arranged our dining on the first day.  We are greeted with a wave and a smile every time he walks through the restaurant.
We knew the cruise was cosmopolitan but the 3,200 passenger list is well balanced between British, American, Canadian, Italian, French, and Spanish people.  We have met a number of Australians.  The overall quality of the cruise and entertainment is probably the highest we have experienced and the whole experience is relaxed even on port days.  The shows we have attended have been less than full, perhaps because there are three shows and some of the dining is quite late.
Naples, Italy 15 August

A great visit to the Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast
An early start for our day on the Amalfi Coast.  Our bus took us first to Sorrento where we excused ourselves to re-explore Sorrento on our own.  We then re-joined the group for an early lunch – this time at a restaurant near the centre of the city.  After lunch we returned to the freeway near Naples and we were then in Salerno before we knew it.  A cruise took us along the coastline from Salerno to Amalfi and return. We had an hour in Amalfi and, of course, we had to stop at the café for a lemon granita.
Back to Naples by 5pm to pack and have dinner.

A great return visit!
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Monday, August 13, 2012

A great day in Santorini

Santorini, Greece 12 August
We woke to Santorini and an early excursion covering the length and width of the island.  After a long winding hill up to the top of the caldera, we visited four churches this Sunday.  One was in session, two locked and one open!  Our guide was very informative about the environment (no rain but the island grows grapes and many fruits), house construction, customs etc.  A wine tasting (Assyrtiko), so we bought a bottle of the Santorini white wine we had in Athens.  Great views from the Mt. Prophet Elijah monastery, 2,000-feet above sea level.  A traditional Greek lunch. And then Fira, and a ride back down to the Crown Princess on the cable car.
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

A return visit to Kusadasi


 Kusadasi, Turkey 11 August

All excursions visit Ephesus, but there are other ancient ruins wider afield.
Our motorcoach tour travelled to the upper gate at Ephesus to get an overview then passed the Temple of Artemis, Isa Bey mosque and the walls of St John's Basilica.
We visited the Ephesus Museum, then on to a traditional weaving village for a demonstration and sales presentation.  Returning to Kusadasi, we browsed a couple of the bazaars and walked back to the ship.  On the way back we passed the carpet showroom we saw in 2005.
A return visit to Kusadasi
Carpet display
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History & a return Visit

View from Delos
 Mykonos, Greece 10 August

Very early today we arrived in Mykonos – a great opportunity for some of the crew to party!

The Naxion Lions
Our day also started early with a kaiki (ferry) ride to Delos to see its most sacred and historic sites. Located at the centre of the Cyclades island group, Delos was once a hub of trade activity and an important site of religious significance.

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According to Greek Mythology, Delos is the birthplace of Apollo, god of music, beauty and light. In the early 19th century, a dramatic excavation uncovered beautiful artefacts, mosaics, statues and buildings.
Our walking tour was well worthwhile.
We caught the shuttle from the pier closer to Mykonos town and settled down for a great Greek lunch.  A walk after lunch to inspect the shops, then back to the Crown Princess to relax.
Today’s weather was somewhat cooler and windy.  The sea had a fine swell.
Tonight we sampled the Crown Grill.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

A hot but great day in Athens

The Acropolis from Hotel Grande Bretagne
 Athens, Greece 9 August
Today we took the Princess transfer to Athens then walked down to the foot of the Acropolis to visit the (new) Acropolis Museum which is highly recommended, especially for the view of the Parthenon on the top level.
A hot but great day in Athens
At Hotel Grande Bretagne
A short stroll away was The Plaka through which we walked up to the main retail shops.  It is a tradition that we visit the Hotel Grande Bretagne when in Athens and today was no exception.  For today’s visit on a very hot 39C day we took the opportunity to lunch on the top floor, Michelin starred restaurant which had a great view of the Acropolis and Athens in particular.
A few days ago the Acropolis was closed by its employees when it was 41C.  In today’s heat the palace guards were on light duties (no movement except at the hourly change which we missed) and were being tended by the Sergeant in charge by wetting the guards’ foreheads and necks.
A great visit.
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