Monday, June 29, 2009

Piraeus & Athens

Woke up this morning to a surprise port. Not to our expected
destination, Athens, but to a neighboring town, Piraeus. We think this
will be a recurring trend in cruises as boats get bigger and
cruise-lines looks for additional sources of money. It was a bit of a
walk to the metro station, where we grabbed a 30-minute train to
Athens.

It was a hot, hot day. We saw the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, Hadrian's
Arch, Constitution Square, Parthenon, Theater of Dionysos, Odeion of
Herodes Atticus (where they still have concerts).... The ruins were
impressive, but I was not impressed with how little they accommodate
tourists. The marble is very slippery and they just let hoards, I
mean HOARDS of people wander all about. The grounds around the ruins
are not well-maintained, at all, and it costs 12 euros per person to
get in! I plan to further research this later, but, apparently, the
restoration has been going on since 1983. You can tell where they are
making progress on the front side of the Parthenon, but then stacks of
rocks, that I assume will be used later, are just in piles among where
tourists walk around. Oh, and because of the restoration, there is
scaffolding everywhere. Also, there is a ton of graffiti throughout
the whole city.

Me in front of the Parthenon.


A hilarious outfit choice, in my opinion, of someone climbing the
mountain to the Acropolis.


Chris in front of the front entrance of the Odeion of Herodes Atticus.


Us @ Zeus's Temple.


Me doing a CHEESY shot @ Zeus's Temple.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mykonos

June 28, 2009
Mykonos

Toured around town for awhile. There were lots of shops in Mykonos,
very similar to Santorini. I liked Mykonos better than Santorini
because it had the same Greek feel, buildings were painted all white
(to keep them cool) with blue windows and doors, and the town was
built right on the ocean, but there weren't as many steep hills to
climb and the whole city didn't stench of donkeys. It was also easier
to get around. We took a lot of photos including a portion of town
deemed "Little Venice" which overlooked the remnants of a hillside
wind-farm. We had what was probably our best gyro so far, and Chris
told the food stand owner so.

The next series of events was memorable in several different ways. A
very cheap, short (15 mins) bus-ride from town took us to Paradise
beach. Fantastic views the whole way there, amusing to see the bus
driver maneuver his way along the narrow country road only wide enough
for one bus. The ocean water was crystal-clear, cool, and refreshing,
the beach came right up to the water. This was not the only part that
was memorable.

On our bus-ride back, our vehicle came to an abrupt stop. We peered up
around the bend and saw a four-wheeler, several motorcycles, and a
cluster of people scurrying about. On the other side of the road was
an embankment, brick wall, and another four-wheeler that had tipped
over. As we approached, the bus ahead of us stopped, along with
several other cars ahead, and our driver hopped out to see what was
going on. This delayed us for what must have been 30-45 mins. There
was nowhere we could go. Driver was trying to assist as much as
possible. During our wait, a man on the bus pushed his way to the
front and ran outside into someone's yard to relieve himself. The bus
was completely full, packed like sardines with people filling not only
the seats, but also the aisle. Everyone watched him disappear behind
the trees, and laughed when he climbed back onto the bus.

We think the four-wheeler drive only injured his arm, a yellow
ambulance took him away, and we were back on our way. As we turned the
corner, we saw a minibus that must have been involved in the
collision, as the windshield was completely collapsed inside the van
and the front fender was rammed up into the vehicle in a similar
fashion to the four-wheeler. Made it back to the ship in plenty of
time for the pool and a nap.

Also of note today was that a fellow patriot, in passing, commented on
Chris's tshirt, "Hotty Toddy." I should note here that I attempted to
comment "War Eagle" on a prior occasion earlier in the trip to someone
wearing what I thought was an Auburn tshirt. In retrospect, I don't
think it was the Auburn logo but rather a similarly-fashioned design
by A&F as they did not return my comment with "War Eagle."

Possibly watching "Mama Mia!" under the stars tonight after dinner.

Images show:
Guess who went to Gay Town last night?
Us in front of Little Venice.
Paradise Beach.
Paradise Beach.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

live theatre

Atrium

Mary's House in the Hills of Ephasus

Ancient Ephasus

Main Dining Room

Swimming in Santorini

main hall

casino

Pool 4

Our Hall

Total Ship holds 3,500 people

Our Room

Exercise Room

Workout Pool

Main pool

Pool 2 with Movie Screen

At Sea

June 25, 2009
At Sea day

Woke up @ noon today! Spent the day by the pool, formal night at
dinner, lots of fun prom photos, and watched Benjamin Button by the
pool.

Santorini

June 26, 2009
Santorini

WALKED up the mountain on the same path as the donkeys. Smelled them
the whole time. Did a lot of walking today and did some shopping.
Buildings are stereotypical Greek - all white and blue and the whole
city is built on the side of the cliff, perched on the rocks. My
favorite part was the view. You can see the water from everywhere.
After shopping we relaxed with a glass of wine in a little cafe. The
breeze was heavenly and it was so nice to rest after a long day of
walking. We took the cable car back down - there was no way we were
going to walk it again!

Much-needed pool time, dinner, and checked out our prom pictures from
last night!

Kusadasi & Ephesus

June 27, 2009
Kusadasi

Took a taxi from the port to Mary's house, then to Ephesus. Both are
extremely well preserved, and, again, I'm so impressed that we can
walk all through these structures that are 2000 years old. Probably my
2nd favorite spot so far. The views from the taxi ride were amazing.
We stopped several times along the way and the taxi driving took some
photos of us. We had a yummy meal at a cafe and more shopping! Chris
dropped his phone, so there may be no more photo updates throughout
the day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Honeymoon Day 4 - Naples & Capri, Italy

Same Train Station...Just no Strike this time

mt vesuvious.jpg

There she blows. Mt Vesuvius is the background with the yellow fire flowers. I shook off my grumpy attitude from this morning and was rewarded with my favorite place all trip.

Naples overview

June 24, 2009
Earlier someone pretending to be me mentioned that I may have been in
a bad mood earlier today. This is true. I believe it began at 7:30
a.m. when I heard our hallway steward, Adrian, knocking on our door
and saying, "Good Morning, Sir, Madam?" Our alarm was set for 8 a.m.
but I assumed we overslept and it was, maybe, 10 a.m. and he was
trying to make our bed. So I called out "ONE MINUTE!!!" and then I put
on a robe and ran to the door and looked out. There was no one there.
He had been knocking on someone else's door and I seriously thought he
was knocking on ours. So then we slept for another hour and a half.

We got off the boat after 9 am. and walked around Naples looking for
the train station. This is when my (little bit of) bad mood set in.
Naples, the birthplace of pizza (we had 2 pieces today), is not
impressive. I thought it was dirty and crowded and the traffic is
crazy. I didn't even think there was that much worthy to take a
picture of. The Naples train station was disorganized, but we finally
made it to Pompeii, which WAS worth taking pictures of.

This was one of those places where you take a million pictures and are
so glad you have your camera. I counted my blessings last night
because after the comedy show, I lost my camera CASE and not my
camera. How does that happen? How can I be so lucky? Pompeii was
wonderful. Definitely my favorite place we have visited so far.
Reasons I loved it: the ruins are so well-preserved, the entire city
was salvaged, and you can walk all around it. It is so different from
other ancient artifacts that are in museums and they don't even let
you breathe near them. You actually got to go sit on Pompeii benches
and go into Pompeii rooms. I don't know how they get away with it
without the public ruining pieces of the city.

Plan for tonight: dinner, then Slumdog Millionaire on the big screen
outside by the pool.

Pompeii

This is us @ the Pompeii ruins. Shown in this photo is the disgusting sour lemon juice that Chris bought for 3 euros & our tickets to get in for 11 euros each. Chris says the lemon orchards are famous in this region which is why he bought the gross lemon juice. Anyone know if that is true?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Honeymoon Day 3 - Florence & Livorno, Italy

Florence scarf

Chris modeling the scarf he got me in Florence. I think the color brings out his eyes, don't you?

Sweet white dog with black spots

And how is our sweet little one? We thought we saw you in Rome 2 days ago, but, alas, it was just a look-alike.

Show Me the Way to Go Home...I'm Tired and I want to Go to Bed

This is Sally on every train ride we go on. Five good minutes of rocking and a nice little breeze from the window and she is lights out. Its 3pm mind you for this little nap.

Fake David

Ponte Veccia in Florence

Success...Good Luck for some time to come!

Recap of the day

June 23, 2009
We had to prioritize today. We slept in a little late, 8:50, and had
to take a 20 minute shuttle from our port into downtown Livorno. The
boat left us off in the middle of a commercial shipping dock. I like
Livorno better than Chris did, it reminded me of what I think of when
I think of a little town where an old Italian grandmother might come
from. But there is really very little to do there. We had to take a
city bus, then, to the train station. We were thinking about visiting
both Pisa and Florence, because I had never seen the Leaning Tower and
Chris loves Florence. But we got to the train station just as a train
was pulling out and had to wait an hour for another. We decided we
really only had time for either Florence or Pisa and we chose
Florence. Chris says Florence is one of his 2 fave cities in Europe
and even though I had been there, I didn't remember it. Plus, other
than the Leaning Tower, there is not much else to do in Pisa. In
Florence we saw the Duomo, the Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della
Signoria (fake David).

Livorno/Pisa/Florence

Went to bed late...got up late...thus we missed the early boat to Florence and Pisa. On the way to Florence now but running a bit behind.

livorno.jpg

Monday, June 22, 2009

Honeymoon Day 2 - Monte Carlo, Monaco

Married 2 days.

Rome pic

First pic of the Euro trip - in front of the Colosseum in Rome.

Monte Carlo, Cannes, Nice, Villefrance

June 22, 2009
Morning call - the captain's cheerful announcement that we had arrived
in Monte Carlo woke me up around 7 a.m. although some others in our
party slept right through that. We had some breakfast and "tendered"
to port around 10 a.m. We wandered through Monte Carlo and took some
pics of the very well-manicured parks and fountains.

Grabbed a train to Cannes. I was impressed with the city: obviously,
it gets a lot of tourists and you can tell they try to keep it updated
and clean. My favorite thing that happened in this city was when Chris
and I were starting to head back to the train station. I asked him if
we were going to get the Cannes Poster. He said, "No, I told you we're
not getting a composter." I'd been talking for awhile about getting a
composter and Chris seriously thought that's what I was talking about.

We visited Nice and took photos of the beautiful blue water, although
the rest of the city is a little dumpy and dirty. Sunbathed in
Villefrance - Euro-style, and headed back to Monte Carlo.

Unwound in the hot tub, ate dinner with strangers (for the 2nd night
in a row), and tried to get our internet working!

Civitavecchia & Rome

June 21, 2009
We arrived in Rome safe and sound, but a little bit later than
expected: 9:45 a.m. Since we shipped our big luggage, we didn't have
that to worry about, but we did each have two (fairly heavy) carryon
bags that we had to carry around with us the whole day. We tried to
cram in as much Rome site-seeing as we possibly could before taking
the train to the port our cruise was leaving for, in Civitavecchia. We
managed to squeeze in trips to the Coloseum, the Forum (newly
restricted with scaffolding), the Vatican square(?), St. Peter's
Cathedral, the Spanish Steps,
and the Trevi Fountain. We used the metro to get around to all of
them, and, thanks to Chris's in-born-radar, didn't get lost AT ALL. He
walked us to the Trevi Fountain on a "feeling" we were going in the
right direction.

We hustled, i.e. full-on-sprint, bags and all, back to the Termini
train station to catch a train to Civitavecchia. Imagine Home Alone 1,
the running in the airport scene. Just 1 1/2 hour, and about 8 Euros
later, we made it to Civitavecchia. Our luggage was waiting in our
room, though it was not as easy as it seemed. Half of our clothing was
soaked! We're not sure if we should be mad someone dropped our
suitcase in a puddle, or thankful that someone saved our bag from
sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

An emergency drill, where I donned full life-preserving gear, dinner,
and we were done for the night.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our Wedding Day


We got married today! Introducing...The New Mr. and Mrs. Chris Fienup!