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Greece

2014 - AEGEAN ODYSSEY - THESSALONIKI, Greece


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ThessalonikA or ThessalonikI ? That is the question..

The crew are happy to be arriving in ThessalonikI. Free Wi-Fi & cheap money transfer to the Philippines.

This is another of our alternate ports & to get here we had to pass Istanbul, which we did at night & I did not get up to see it. A pity we did not overnight here.

But on the other hand, one of the nice things about sea days is that it has dawned on me that I don't have to get up at dawn for an excursion. Which also means I can stay up late. By late, I mean after 9:15.

This ship turns into the Marie Celeste at 9:30.

At the beginning of any cruise I usually stay up late to see whats going on, watch a show, listen to music etc. & the same on sea days. This cruise was no exception and on one of the first days I had stayed up to let my food go down after dinner, but in the lounge at 10:30 a food trolley comes out with some very tempting offers.

Chocolate covered strawberries ..... MMMMmmmmmm.

Most nights the staff will have to eat up the left-overs as the trolley is hardly touched.

Last night was a sea day & I was up late & had the pleasure of the company of the two Excursion girls. Grace & Layla. We were joined by a male couple & played the Trivia. Grace & Layla were out of uniform for once which was a bit of a distraction ( you will see what I mean tomorrow ) but no excuse for not winning the trivia. We were paying attention in Istanbul & correctly identified the ship docked beside us there two weeks ago as the Orchestra.

Here is the pilot to take us from the Sea of Marmara & through the Dardanelles

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Past Gallipoli.

The cruise director stopped clowning for five minutes & broadcast to those out on deck, a very sobering account of the Gallipoli invasion as we cruised slowly past the monuments.

Two thousand casualties, every day, day after day, week after week, month after month - every month for EIGHT MONTHS.

He concluded by naming all the shops sunk as we passed over where they lie.

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Now for a tour around the sights of Thssaloniki ..

Alexander?

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Silly me - that is Alexander

& this is a museum ..

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Saint Stephen - before he had his head chopped off.

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Across the road & into a church ..

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Out of that church & into another one ... although this one may have been a mosque at some point ..

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Down the hill and though the arch

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to the bus & back to the ship

Last day tomorrow before getting off in Istanbul the day after.

Posted by hasbeen 02:44 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

2014 - AEGEAN ODYSSEY - KAVALA, Greece


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Today we wake up close to an island .... Looking very spooky & quiet in the distance..

Actually - a peninsula, not an island but you need a boat to land & special permission is required to do that.

We are going to have a sail past.

I don't mention it to anyone at the time, but am reminded of the Costa captain. Lets hope our captain knows what he is doing. Many ships in antiquity were lost around here.

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The moon has not even set yet ...

The area is called Mount Athos & has several monasteries --- Male only.

Absolutely no women allowed on the island - really. Look it up.

A monastery emerging from the mist now ---

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I mentioned to a couple that no women were out there & expect that may explain why it is so quiet. His wife thought it was funny.

While we sailed past, I was sitting at Lorraine's bar on the top deck. Nice & comfy - watching the landscape roll by.

One of the bridge ladies was with me & she said that she had never sat up here before & was just waiting for a game to start at 9:30.
Another lady joined us and the two were lost in talk for ages.
At 9:25 I thought she may have lost track of time & reminded her about her bridge.

She had not forgotten.

She was enjoying sitting outside too much to go in. Indeed, It was very pleasant.

If you look very closely below you can see a monk on a balcony.

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In the afternoon we did get off further up the coast for a trip to some more ancient ruins ...

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Saint Paul gave a talk here ...

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and then a short ride to a Baptistery -

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beside the stream where Saint Lydia was baptised, to become Saint Paul's first convert in Europe.

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Her small chapel beside the stream.

I was wrong about getting off tomorrow as we will be in Lemnos.

I had another treat today.

Grace, the excursion girl usually sits at the back of the bus. On her own I expect but I don't really know.

Today she comes down & sits with me. The guide shut up a bit on the way back to the ship so we were able to chat about her job & life at sea.

She must like it as she will be back again after her contract expires in November.

Grace - the name suits her..

Posted by hasbeen 02:43 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

2014 - AEGEAN ODYSSEY - LEMNOS, Greece

Istanbul & home


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Last night would have been a perfect evening to go ashore but I had been invited for dinner with the Hotel Manager. La de Da.

Three couples who I have never spoken to before plus me and the officer.

All very convivial except one couple did not say a word until the officer had departed, when they suddenly became animated.

Today is the only day we do not have an excursion from the ship. So, a lie in & a late breakfast waiting for the rush to the tender to die down ...

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They drop me off at the quay where Layla points me to some table laden with free local goodies. Too bad I had just eaten.

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There is a castle overlooking the town so I head towards it ...

It looks way too steep a climb so I wave Carol on her way & continue down the other side of the hill ...

Past a pretty little church ..

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Looking up from the beach I am glad I wimped out on the climb up there ...

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I just follow my nose along the beach & through town ...

Back around about istanbul I was in the shop on board asking the lady there if she sold those little puffs you squeeze soap on in the shower. Mine had unravelled. I cannot get any lather without those puffs.

She does not sell them but she gave me one of her own.

How about that for service.?

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Just by these cats I went into a pharmacy to get her a replacement. The girls english was very good. Not a surprise really as she is from Brooklyn.

Arrived at another beach with the Aegean Odyssey at anchor offshore .. Ours is the last cruise ship of the season at this port.

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and round to the harbour looking for a bite to eat.

There are restaurants all around the harbour, looking open, tables set - but no customers & no staff.

Eventually I find one where some passengers are waiting for the tender back. I have a bite & a beer with them & head into a little alleyway of shops.

Souvenirs mainly.

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A beautiful sunny day & no people. Certainly no one on the beaches. A perfect time of year to visit.

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I while away a bit more time in a little cafe, trying a Metaxa Brandy. Cheap & lots of it.

Those cats were opposite.

And here is Grace - out of uniform ...

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as is Layla ..

You can see why I might have been a bit distracted at trivia the other day.

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Back on board & time to say goodbye to Lorraine ...

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Lovely lady. She smiles like that all day long. A princess who named her daughter Queen, but in Spanish.

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Into Istanbul - goodbye to Kadeck setting up in the lounge

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V 2 A get me off the ship, onto the shuttle & to the airport with a minimum of fuss & in plenty of time for my flight as it is delayed for 2 hours.

And that's it for the cruise & these posts although I might add just one more to give a summary of my impressions of life with Voyage to Antiquity.

And if you are reading this in Morrisburg or Decatur or St. Austel or Loughborough or anywhere really-- say hello

Posted by hasbeen 02:42 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

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