Monday, May 17, 2010

Holiday: The Greek Islands

The good ship "Aquamarine"

Our Greek cruise began with the pleasant surprise that our "smaller" cruise ship was still humongous! It held 1300 people. I can barely even imagine what the 5000+ people ships are like. The first afternoon was all about settling in, figuring out where things were and working on a tan :)

PS. As usual, you can skip the actual reading and just look at the pretty pictures if you like ;)

Life-jackets: very fashionable

I've seen blue water but this was ridiculous

That evening we arrived at the island of Mykonos. It's a nice small island that features a harbor town with plenty of food, shopping and parties at night. This being our first stop, we took entirely more pictures than necessary (there was an island that deserved this treatment but it comes later). We wondered around, got lost, found ourselves again and generally had a good time. After 3 hours on shore, we headed back for the ship and watching the evenings show (it was like a shrunken, toned-down Vegas show. Surprisingly entertaining actually)

Mom returns to her fishing roots

The town at sunset

Then next morning we were up and gone before 7am. Our destination was the remains of ancient Ephesus near the modern Turkish city of Kusadasi. This was quite a fun excursion for several reasons. The first was the tough but honest bargaining of the locals (see my first picture below for details). The second was our excellent tour guide who reminded me of Porthos from the Three Musketeers. The final one was the thought that we were walking on the marble roads once used by Paul as he attempted to covert the Ephesians to Christianity. Oh and I almost got talked into buying a very nice leather jacket even though i'm probably moving to a tropical climate soon. I told you, they were VERY good bargainers.

You gotta admire their honesty

Marketing Kusadasi style

Our Porthos-like guide

Us standing in front of the Hercules gate in Ephesus

The library of Ephesus. To understand its scale, look at that little thing in the door. That's my 6'4 dad

The theatre of ancient Ephesus. This 2000+ year old structure could hold 24,000 people and still has amazing acoustics (I could clearly hear dad talking in a normal voice from 50 yards away)

After Kusadasi, our afternoon on the ship was devoted to getting some much needed R&R. Unfortunately a heavy dust cloud had blown in from the south, so tanning was impossible. But even if we couldn't tan (and when I say "we" I mean "I") napping was still a definite option. In fact, my nap was going so well that I decided to skip the tour of the island of Patmos that afternoon (a decision I definitely do NOT regret). Once I was refreshed, I headed off ship by myself and had a wonderful time wondering around the island, taking pictures, getting a few delicious local strawberries and talking to some of the locals. I talked to an old woman who told me about the hotel her son's run (nice place, out of sight and virtually unknown to tourists). I also posed for a couple pictures.

The above mentioned inn

Our ship anchored at Patmos

I was walking around the local market when I noticed a group of girls about 30ft away taking a couple pictures of me. Naturally being me I walked over and offered to take a couple better pictures with them. I even saw the ones they already had (they weren't bad). And to complete this excellent day, I met up with mom and dad, grabbed a drink and found a great looking shirt which Mom convinced me to buy. You can see it below :)

Once again the day ended with a show in the lounge and a smile on our faces.
To be continued...

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