A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 46

ZUIDERDAM

After a night of biting insects and restless sleep we headed again for the water taxi to take us back to the bus square. We found a much quicker way to the taxi point and again managed to negotiate the crowds and the bustling Venetian people.

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The square was as busy as any place we had encountered in Europe, probably full of cruise tourists like us as there were 5or6 ships in the harbour that day. We managed to find a small train to get us to the cruise centre and from there we were quickly processed and were boarding our home for 11 days, the Zuiderdam. Funnily enough, we met a very friendly Aussie couple while waiting in line and they have become our new best friends for the voyage, just lik on the Trafalgar trip! We settled in our cabin, very luxurious and comfortable with a great balcony and on the 7th deck! Took a while for the two Kiwi kids to come down to earth.

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We rushed up on deck to watch the ship leave Venice and what a sight that was. It seemed as though Venice had come out to see us off! The tugs did a great job getting the huge ship back out from its birth and around 180 degrees to head out into the channel. We stayed up on decks for a long time as we began this new adventure.

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Posted by Ian.jenny 01:45 Comments (0)

Day 47

AT SEA

We woke refreshed and envigorated by a night on the ocean waves and headed up to breakfast. It took us a while to get used to the array of food available and we could have stayed for hours. After breakfast we explored the ship and that took some time! There are five restaurants, a casino, a gym, two pools and several spas, a basketball and tennis court, massage rooms, entertainment rooms and many bars. It was all mind blowing at first until we realised you paid for everything except the food and in American dollars. It was fun seeing it all for the first time.

Posted by Ian.jenny 02:10 Comments (0)

Day 48

KATAKOLON

We were up bright and early on our first cruise day. We were heading down the Adriatic and looked forward to a full day at sea. The breakfast was a highlight and during the morning we explored the ship again and were surprised that we had missed so many things the night before. The lower decks were full of secrets that were waiting for us, including some shops and lounging areas. Again the cost of everything was off putting because it was all in U.S. Dollars.

After a sumptuous Breakfast we disembarked and searched around the harbour area for a good trip to Olympia. We had decided with our Aussie friends to bypass the ship's tours and do our own thing. We found a bus tour with Franciso, a very talkative and numerous Greek. A bus load of tourists drove through the outskirts of Katakolon on our way to Olympia. It was soon obvious that the area was in trouble, there were piles of rubbishy along the roadside (the workers had not been paid for months and the army was being called in) and everywhere there were large buildings left vacant and half completed. It was an old and depressed looking region.

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Olympia was quite different. As the site of the ancient Olympic Games it was a tourist mecca and was reasonably affluent in comparison. We walked to the sites and saw the old origins of the games first hand.

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It was quite a moving visit although we couldn't get into the archeological area and we were very pleased we had visited. After a shopping spell in the Olympia village we headed back to Katakolon and the ship.

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Posted by Ian.jenny 00:53 Comments (0)

Day 49

NAFPLION

Wow! Another beautiful day in the Mediterranean! So far it's all we imagined and more. Today after breakfast we headed into the town on the ship's tenders. About six of these little boats ferried passengers backwards and forwards from the ship which was moored some distance outside the harbour. It was a great sight cruising into the old fortified harbour and seeing the Mediterranean panorama unfolding before us.

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We took a stroll around the town rather than going on a tour today. It was a lovely place, quite affluent looking around the harbour, probably generated by the cruise ship trade. There were eating places galore and plenty of souvenir shops. We wandered into the town some distance and found it to be larger than we thought and very interesting. We even found a school that appeared to be on its lunch break. We took photos through the fence and the kids even posed for us.

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We headed back on the tender for lunch at 3.30pm! It had already been a good day and we were only half way through. We rested after lunch and joined the throng at the pool before dinner, which again we had quite late with Peter and Suzanne. By now we were getting used to this cruising game and retired early by our standards after a great day.

Posted by Ian.jenny 02:50 Comments (0)

Day 50

ATHENS

We berthed in Pireaus at 5.00am so when we pulled curtains there was the city displayed before us. The area around the port was fascinating, even from our balcony, and was a taste of what the day would bring. We breakfasted with Peter and Suzanne and headed off to our tour bus by 9.00am. Franscesco, our guide in Katakolon, had told us our guide in Athens was young and beautiful. Anastasia was all she was supposed to be, articulate, beautiful, maybe not so young, but a great help in our tour around Athens. We bused from the port to the heart of Athens and were overawed by a city with as many inhabitants as the whole of NZ! We saw signs of a depressed economy, large office blocks in a poor state of repair, old buildings in the middle of the city left empty and decaying. But generally it was a bustling, vibrant city and one with plenty of character. We were charmed and fascinated.

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We stopped first at the mo unmentioned for the unknown soldiers and watched a fascinating changing of the guards. The display was full of flourish and unusual actions that were both impressive and exaggerated. The officiating soldier was very strict with the crowd as they pressed to get their photos.

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Next was the highlight of the day, the Acropolis. As we approached the grandeur and remarkable feat of building such a place became evident. Apart from the distraction of the cranes and other modern day equipment, it was the most impressive ancient ruins that we have seen. The climb up was a test, not only the height we climbed to but also negotiating the hordes of tourists making their way up and down. Our guide, Anastasia was brilliant and gave us a very good history of the Acropolis and the Pantheon. It was all very impressive and full of memories to take away forever. How on earth they could have built such a huge temple so long ago is amazing.

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We had some free time to explore the markets below the Acropolis and have an enjoyable Athens lunch in the shade of the trees. Then it was back on the bus for a swim and sunbathe. We were in party mode by the time the Zuiderdam backed out of its birth and we enjoyed cruising out of the harbour as the sun was setting and the music was blaring. Real cruising atmosphere!

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After another great dinner in our special dining room we went to our cabins with the thrill of Athens still in our minds.

Posted by Ian.jenny 02:55 Comments (0)

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