Today is an at-sea day, so I have some time to write as I watch the seemingly-endless ocean pass by my stateroom verandah. Seriously, there is NOTHING out there right now, and it makes me think of how lonely a voyage like this must’ve been for ancient Aegean ships… or whoever was wandering around in this area of the world eons ago. (Except for all those ships that Helen of Troy launched… I mean, supposedly there were a thousand of them, so at least they had company…)
Fortunately, it’s not very easy to be lonely on a ship this big – especially when I’m traveling with eight friends and family members. Our little evening newsletter in our stateroom yesterday mentioned that we’d be passing by several Greek islands today, including Corfu and Zakanthos – but so far, it’s been nothing but water as far as the eye can see. (We’ll probably pass those islands in the middle of the night and completely miss them. This would be not unlike the Mediterranean cruise I was on when the ship passed by the Rock of Gibraltar – we sailed by at around 1 in the morning… I’m sure it was quite impressive…)
We are sailing toward the port of Piraeus in Greece, which is about 40 miles from Athens. We’re hoping to get a cab at the dock and head into Athens, since all of the Athens shore excursions were booked. But that’s okay, since some of us (although not all of us… like mom… :)) prefer the freedom of exploring on our own. We just need to give ourselves enough time to get back to the ship before it leaves without us…
Yesterday we spent the day in Split, Croatia, which turned out to be a much more trendy, chic city than I would have expected. There was history, of course – we walked through Diocletian’s Palace, built by the Roman emperor in 295 AD, and were grateful that the thick stone walls and floors kept the interior relatively cool compared to the Texas-like temperatures outside. Diocletian’s Palace, incidentally, has apparently been converted to Diocletian’s Mini Mall – vendors crowded the space inside, selling little touristy knickknacks and postcards, which made me assume the rest of this area of town would be similar. But surprisingly, the streets outside Diocletian’s Palace were charmingly devoid of t-shirt shops and souvenir stands, and were instead occupied by cafes and perfumeries and shoe stores (and, for some reason, lots of sunglass shops… although it WAS quite sunny…). After strolling around random cobblestoned streets in the oppressive heat, we gratefully stopped for some gelato at a little café in an alleyway – and I loved how we found such great gelato in such an out-of-the-way place. (I hope we find more gelato before we head home… that stuff is sooooo good… :))
Well, I need to call it a night – I have a couple dozen pictures I want to post, but I’ll try to do that tomorrow, since it’s going on midnight now and I’ve been having the hardest time getting out of bed in the morning. I’m not sure I’ve completely adapted to this time zone… I’ll wake up around 7 or 8, and think “I’ll just doze for a few more minutes…” and then the next thing I know, it’s two hours later and I STILL feel like I could sleep longer. Plus, the internet connection here is slooooooooow. But pictures will be coming soon! Hope everyone is having a great week!