I guess I got busy and forgot about this blog. Marc and I just got back from an amazing Mediterranean cruise with my good friend Leslie, and her husband Charles. It was FABULOUS! We flew into Rome, then got on the boat and sailed north to Savona. We took an excursion to Monte Carlo, Monaco for our first day out. It was really beautiful there, and I won $50 in the casino!
The next day we were at sea all day, so I got a fantastic massage in the spa. When the Masseuse came in, I thought there was NO WAY this teeny-tiny little girl was going to be able to get the knots out of my shoulders, but she really
Day 3 took us to Katakalon, Greece. We took an excursion to Olympia and saw the birthplace of the olympics! I am a sucker for old ruins, and I love architecture pictures, so this was right up my alley. The weather was great, and I had some very delicious Baklava.
Day 4 we were once again at sea, so Leslie and I took our Kindles and snagged a couple of chairs by one of the pools and we relaxed and read. The guys were doing homework and studying.
Day 5 had us arriving in Israel at the port of Ashdod. From there, we climbed aboard a tour bus and went into the desert of Israel to the Fortress of Masada, which was built by King Herod some years before Christ, and then onto the Dead Sea. For those who are unaware, the Dead sea is about 40% salinity. You don't swim, but float. In only inches of water, I was floating. Pretty neat, but the water leaves behind a strange oily residue on the skin that I didn't care for at all. Supposedly, it's great for the skin. They're gonna have to find a new way to administer it for me to be a convert!
On Day 6, we arrived at the port of Haifa, Israel. We got on our trusty tour bus and went to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. We were required to have 2 different tour guides for this day, as Israeli nationals are not allowed into Bethlehem. We had to stop at the border to Bethlehem and drop off our original tour guide and pick up a Palestinian guide. We went to the Church of the Nativity, which was erected over the site where Christ was born. The manger he was laid in is also there, on loan from the Vatican.
We went next into Jerusalem into the Old city. We entered through the Jaffa gate into the Christian Quarter. We went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which was built over the site of the hill of Golgotha and also the site of the tomb where Christ was buried. The church has many mosaics depicting the last 5 stations of the Cross.
We went up on the Mount of Olives to get a nice panorama of the skyline of Jerusalem before heading back to the boat to continue on our journey.
Day 7 we got to rest and relax again at sea as we sailed for Turkey. Lots of reading, napping, and finding which Ice Cream machine was open.
Day 8 saw us arriving in the Port of Izmir, Turkey. I think this was our favorite day of all. Turkey was nothing like I imagined it would be. It is in Asia Minor. I always had visions of Turkey being mostly desert for the terrain. Boy, was I wrong. It was lush and green, the people were so friendly and hospitable also. We took our bus from the port into Ephesus...Yes, Ephesus like the people to whom the Apostle Paul wrote in the bible. The ruins at Ephesus are some of the most intact in the world. It was breathtaking! The time we spent there definitely made us hungry to see the rest of the country.
Turkey also had some of the funniest signs for restrooms!
We spent day 9 at sea again, and relaxed all day.
Day 10, we arrived in Athens, Greece. It was CRAZY windy all day, but still so cool to see the ruins of the Acropolis.
From Athens, we took the bus along the coast of Greece to Cape Sounion to see the ruins of Poseidon's Temple. It was a GORGEOUS drive and a beautiful coast. We were on the Ionian sea.
It was cold and windy, contrary to what these pictures look like.
Day 11, we spent relaxing at sea and packing our bags. We saw a beautiful sunset over the Ionian sea and set sail back to Rome.
Day 12 we arrived back in Rome, disembarked and headed to the airport to fly back to New York. It was an amazing trip with great friends. We'll never forget it!
Apologies for this being so long, but it was a 12 day cruise, and I didn't want to forget anything. I have TONS more pictures, and they're all on Facebook. I hope you enjoyed reading out our Mediterranean cruise! I'll try to be a better blogger from now in and keep up with our lives on here!