We have been in Athens before a few times, once on a bus tour, we chartered a sailboat from here and a couple of times of a cruise ship. To me Greece has its beauty in the water and the islands not the big city of Athens, yes of course you have to see the Acropolis while you are here, visit the Plaka(shopping district) but basically Athens is just a big smoggy city. Piraeus is the port city to Athens and has gotten so built up over the years we have been coming, it just seems like it part of the city now. we were going to take a hop on Hop off bus but instead decided to take a little train that takes us around Piraeus, we were the only passengers, haha. we were hoping to find the area we had chartered out of here about 20 years ago but the harbor has grown so much.
This is the port city to Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic games in 776 B.C. We have to Olympia already and also this port once before so just stayed in town. Somewhere along the line I caught a head cold and am feeling pretty bad, glad they have a pharmacy here, bought some pills have no idea what is in them as it is all in Greek but the women behind the counter told me this what I wanted, hope she is right. we went into a couple of shops but I am feeling pretty bad so we just stopped for a coffee, got a little internet and then I needed to head back to the ship to go back to bed, and it is too bad cause this is a cute little port with a lot of little shops and nice restaurants. we stopped at one where the waiter was originally from Chicago, moved to Greece a few years ago and has not regretted it one single day. sorry I have no pictures to post.
I got back to the ship and slept the day away, hope this goes away soon, tomorrow Pireaus.
Corfu, what a delightful place,after such a contrast after the bustling city of Naples in our last port. Corfu is the second largest Greek island and lies in the Ionian Sea. the old town is a UNESCO world heritage site with its narrow cobblestone streets. we enjoyed exploring this city along with the old fort which at one time housed the entire population back in the 1500’s. We did a little shopping, Kelly bought a really nice greek fisherman’s cap, stopped to enjoy a café in one of the many coffee shops lining the streets. We toured the fort, climbed all the way to the top for some stunning views, then walked the couple of miles back to the ship along the waterfront lined with all the traditional Greek fishing boats. After all of our walking we found a couple of very comfortable chairs up in the Crow’s Nest ordered a couple of well deserved drinks and awaited our sailaway from Corfu.
Another big city that we have been to before, Kelly elected to just stay on the ship, so off I went by myself. once you get out of the terminal there are taxis and tour companies wanting to take you anywhere you want to go. I elected to take the hop on hop off bus , as this seemed like a safe choice seeing as I was by myself. seeing as I had been here before I elected to take the route that took me along the shore and out of town a bit. But first we had to get out of the city, looking down at all the traffic and watching the motorbikes weave in and out of the traffic is quite nerve wracking, I do not know how some of them make it through with just inches between them and the cars.
it was a nice ride up into the hills with nice views of Capri and Mt Vesuvius.
On the walk back to the ship there all hawkers all around trying to sell you Gucci purses for $10, they have them laid out on a blanket and if they see a police officer anywhere in view they just fold up their blankets and move along so innocently. haha
Here we are in Citvitavecchia, the port city to Rome. we have already been to Rome a couple of times, boy this is starting to sound like a broken record, so we stayed in the port. Nothing much to say here, they have an open / flea market which we walked through but didn’t buy anything. we wanted to stop and have some vino, so found a place called Gigi’s , we thought that was an omen we should stop there as “GiGi” is what we used to call my mom. we had some really good red wine at a resonable price, plus we were on the main drag and saw and talked to a lot of our fellow shipmates who passed by.
This is our first time to this port, which is the port city to Florence and Pisa, now seeing as we have already ben to those two cities we decide to explore Livorno. The port provided a shuttle into the city center which was fine except there was a marathon being run in the town at the time we took the shuttleand the road the shuttle was to take was closed off, lots of very unhappy passengers, but hey this is what happens when you travel you need to be flexible. Unfortunately a lot of our fellow passengers do not feel this way and starting showing their ugly American side. Fortunately there was a local tour guide on the bus with us and she walked all us who were able into town. In the city center square they were having a dance contest and we sat and watched while they danced the tango, samba and a couple of other dances. it is Sunday and the streets are quite busy everyone out for a walk or shopping, off we go to explore, we had planned to lunch in a restaurant that had built in the 1930’s which was suppose to have great food. as we got further and further into the city we became a little disoriented as to where we were good thing Kelly has compass on his phone and knew which way we needed to head. on the way we came across an open air market that was nothing but chocolate vendors, in every shape, flavor you can imagine, we bought a few pieces, it was quite good. Then we ran across a house that had a huge statue spiderman on their roof, I would love to know the story behind that. We finally came upon the restaurant we were looking for but they were packed , if you had no reservations you could not get in, oh well we found another local pizzeria and some local red wine and a pizza. All in all it was a great day.
Kelly and I are exhausted today we were up all night last night watching the election results, we are 6 hours ahead of EST so the Florida polls did not close until 2:00a.m. here then add on California polls and you can see why we were up all night. I will refrain from any political comments, all that know me know my political affiliation and I remained true to my party.
We arrived in Alicante a little later than some of our ports, 10:00 a.m. so at least that helped we did not have to rush in the morning to get off. my first impressions of this seaside village is wealth, there is a huge marina filled with lots of impressive yachts. There is a great esplanade for walking here that is lined with 6.5 million marble floor tiles in a design to represent waves. yes that was not a typo I did mean millions!
we enjoyed just waking around taking in the local culture, charming little place, we stopped at a café along the esplanade to have some sangria and tapas(small plates) of tuna and roasted peppers and chorizos. of course we were approached by all the street vendors wanted to sell us bracelets, carvings, dance for us , etc. but once you say no they go away, they are not aggressive.
tomorrow the big city of Barcelona where we will overnight…..
I sent off the Barcelona post by error as I had not finished writing about our experience.
We are overnighting in Barcelona, this is such a large city with so many things to offer even two days is not enough. Kelly and I have been to Barcelona twice before, I love this city , Kelly not so much. In fact I had to talk him into getting off the ship at all. We decided to do the Hop on Hop off bus again, it is a great way to see the highlights of the city , we did an entire loop on just the red line which mainly covers just the central district and it took us 3 hours! there is so much traffic , stop lights and pedestrians. The architecture is this city is so beautiful and you have such contrast of the very old standing next to such a modern structure.In a couple of the pictures are houses that were designed by Gaudi, the one that has a smooth wavy surface with the crazy metal balcony rails and the one that has blue and lots of color on the façade. Kelly at first was occupied with the free Wifi on board, haha, but that only lasted so long, I was hoping to go on the blue line and see the Sagrada Familia, the cathedral Gaudi designed but never finished before he was struck by a tram in the streets of Barcelona. we had seen this before but it is so magnificent , I was hoping to see it again, but after sitting for 3 hours, he had enough, which may have been for the best, not sure what time we would have gotten back to the ship. So we got off at the famous Las Ramblas , a tree lined boulevard with various vendors, cafes, street mimes and performers and decided to walk this back to the port area. As soon as we got off the bus Kelly spotted a Hard Rock Café, we have been in every Hard Rock Café around the world that we have come across, not going to pass this one up either to sit and have a cold beer.
After that we joined the throngs of people on the streets to head back to the ship. Barcelona is such a melting pot , you will hear languages all across the world, but mostly you will notice that it is made of the younger population.
never got off the ship today,Kelly had enough yesterday of the traffic, people and hustle bustle. so today we had beer and pizza on board on the stern of the ship looking at skyline of the city, not a bad way to spend the day. I saw a few of my fellow Mah Jong players on board also and scrounged up a game for the afternoon. tonight they are have a Spanish Paella and BBQ party poolside, should be fun!
The last couple of posts, I have had so many problems posting shoreside, I have been using my ipad to write the blog and upload photos, half the time it will not upload the photos and it takes so long, so I am going back to my laptap and will try the ships wifi and see if I have any better luck.
We arrived Malaga early this morning and were tied up by 8:00a.m. I was here many years ago at the age of 12 with my grandmother and cousin Toni, I do not remember a lot except going to the Alhambra in Granada and attending a bullfight which was very emotional , cruel and bloody. I remember the picadors coming out and putting their pics in the bull to weaken the bull, while getting it to charge them so the blood would pump and the bull would weaken further, then out comes the matador, dressed in his finest enraging the bull with his red cape. I remember feeling sorry for the bull but also worrying the matador was going to get gored. They just keep luring the bull closer and closer with their cape, and then everyone in the audience would holler Ole’. I will not go into all the gory details but basically he lures him closer and closer and then finally plunges a blade of some sorts in between his shoulder blades and the bull dies, they cut off his ear and present it to the dignitaries in the audience. I am not sure they still practice bullfighting, we did visit the bullfighting ring that I had attended, it seemed then I remember, but then again I was only 12 so everything seemed big back then.
Kelly and I decided to do the hop on hop off double decker bus to tour the city, it has about 13 stops and you can get off on any of stops and then hop on the next one that comes along. for 20 euros each it is a great bargain in a city this size, one of our stops was the bull ring and then we went to the fort at the top of the hill which had some spectacular views of the city below. It was a nice walk but very informative as all the signs inside were in Spanish, I think it was built in the 12 th century.
We walked back to the ship instead of taking the shuttle, took the low road and saw a stairway in the distance that we could take back up to the road to the ship, unfortunately as you see below in the picture, the stairway just ended at the top and led nowhere, so we ended up backtracking but got a good laugh out of it.
tomorrow Alicante, stay tuned…..