Monday, July 14, 2008

Travelblog: Greece Cruise (Part 2)

On to the cruise!  We started out with what a lot of people consider to be the best sail away in the world.  Unlike most, where you pull out of the dock and then out of the harbor, leaving the sight of land within about 5 minutes, when you leave Venice, you do so by cruising right through town.  It really is incredible.  From the vantage point 11 decks above the water, you really can see the whole city and some of the areas you didn't end up going.  I marked my mental map for some interesting places the next time we go (which brings me to my rule of thumb: when I travel, I travel as though I'll never be back.  I want to cram in as much of wherever I am as I can because you never know if you'll get the chance again.  That being said, I've been to Italy enough times that I think I'll probably end up back here again), and then we went out into the Aegean Sea.  We did the lifejacket drill, making sure that if we end up sinking, you won't see my wife and I on the stern of the ship reenacting Titanic.  That being said, if I had been of the right mind on the boat, we would have reenacted Titanic on the bow of the ship. 
We went to Athens and found that it was much dirtier than we had been led to believe.  I really would consider it one of the dirtiest cities I've been in.  The Acropolis was amazing, as was the Petra, but by the time we went back to the boat, I felt like I'd been in Athens enough.  The food was fantastic, (I love me a good gyro) it was cheap (bottled watter was .50 Euros, which is cheaper than it is here), and there was an incredible amount of history in the center of town, but what people don't think about is that it was a relatively dusty outpost of the Ottoman Empire until after World War I.  After that, the Nazis did their business and they had a civil war in the 50s.  Most of the city consisted of what I like to call Eastern Bloc architecture - soulless apartment buildings in various stages of disrepair.  Delos/Mykonos was our next stop and it was worlds away from Athens.  Delos was a fascinating archeological site and the whitewashed adobe houses on Mykonos was different from anything I had ever seen.  I loved this area.  We then traveled to Katakolon and Olympia and saw where the ancient Olympics were held.  Very cool again, but I was good after that.
We went to Corfu and that was probably my favorite part of Greece.  There were some incredible views of the ocean from pretty much everywhere and Corfu town was quite a sight.  We went exploring down some little alleyways, going up and down the paths until we randomly arrived at the city's souk.  I say souk because that's what it reminded me of, not necessarily because of the Arab nature of the quarter (which is to say, there was no Arab character at all).  It was a ton of fun.  After we hit Corfu, we went to Split, Croatia.  I could have spent more time in Croatia.  It was an incredibly cool little area, complete with the city center built in the ruins of Diocletian's palace.  That was amazing.  There was a little town north of here called Trogir that looked as though it had been plucked out of northern France and sat down on the Mediterranean coast.  The people were friendly, things were inexpensive, and a good time was had by all.  Tomorrow, I'll conclude with Part 3, which very prominently mentions a group of people I like to call the Birdinistas. My picture upload wasn't working, so we'll try to get some more up here soon.

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