Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Travelblog: Greece Cruise (Part 1)

I recently took a cruise around the Greek isles, and it was fantastic.  I'd never been on a cruise before, and I've got a history of seasickness (my wife has heard this story 1000 times, but I was crossing the English Channel in a Seacat in 20 foot swells and I very nearly stopped my no-vomit streak right then and there.  Fortunately, I willed it back and I also stood out on the deck the whole time.  It was the longest hour of my life and the site of a lifelong resolution: if I am going from France to England, I am taking the Chunnel or an aircraft.)  At any rate, I was loaded for bear - those little wrist bands that you put on your pressure points; dramamine, and Transderm Scop (the patch).  Fortunately, it didn't seem like I needed any of them, although I kept the wrist bands on out of fear more than anything else.  It was an incredible experience, even though we took along the kids AND had 2 of 3 sets of parents on board.  It really could have gone either way - fantastic or a bloodbath.  The kids were better than most adults the whole time and the parents were all having a great time too.  All said and done, I would never see Greece any other way, because there wasn't much that made me say "I wish I had more time in X."
We started in Venice and it was so much better than when I was there in 2004.  I think that Venice was my least favorite place in Italy when I went there last time (with Rome a close second).  However, when you take away the oppressive heat/humidity combination, both cities become much better.  It rained like a crazy the whole time we were there (until we got on the ship), but it was so nice. 
We ended up walking from St Mark's Square due west to hit the Grand Canal.  It was very quaint and charming.  What wasn't quaint or charming, however, were the prices.  Had we not used points for our hotel room, it would have cost 600 euros a night.  A cab cost 80 euros for a 5 minute ride.  Seriously, it was like being in Disneyland, only without rides and with lots of stairs that disabled people and those of us with double-wide strollers found a bit of an obstacle.
While we were in St. Mark's, we decided to let my daughter out so she could run around, as she would be cooped up in a stroller most of the time because we were going to avoid dilly-dallying as much as possible. 
She ended up going nuts on the flying rats in the square, as evidenced by  this picture (well, it doesn't show any pigeons, but it does show her running and being cute.  Afterward, she was introduced to gelato:
This experiment didn't go quite as well as we had planned, as she got chocolate all over and then proceeded to drop the ice cream on the ground when she ate the cone out from underneath it.  Not wanting to waste 2 euros and some tasty gelato, I grabbed it off the ground and applied the 3 second rule, hoping that 400 years of foot traffic observed that rule too.  All in all, it was awesome.  Here's a picture of me being captain of the boat (speaking of the captain, our captain was the best ever - he talked in a halting cadence and was super cheerful.  I could have listened to him explain how many knots, miles, and kilometers we had traveled all day).  Part 2, the actual Greek part, will be tomorrow.

1 comment:

themickel said...

That's awesome. I would love to do that cruise.

It's funny about the seasickness. When we went on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera I never got sick but had a lingering uncomfortableness the whole time we were on the cruise ship, yet when we took a day trip out on a tiny catamaran going through huge swells I felt great.

Did you happen to take any pictures of Greek convention center carpets?