Monday, July 20, 2009

Rhodes, Crete, Santorini (Day 10 &11)

The day we anchored in Rhodes was a very lovely day! We are scheduled to be at the island of Rhodes the entire day unlike previous days where we hit up 2 islands in one day. So since we didn't have to rush off and on the boat, it was a very easy and lazy day. Phoebe and I loved the fact that our room on the boat had no windows, so the only light to stream within our walls at night was the crack at the bottom of the door. So come morning time we were completely oblivious to the hour. We slept in this day and it was heavenly!! We actually slept so late that housekeeping almost walked into our room to clean.
When we finally disembarked we were met with the lovely medieval island.

Rhodes island holds the Knights Palace... the town is very medieval in style and has ruins scattering it's landscape

Phoebe and mine's first stop before exploring and shopping was lunch. I LOVE greek food and we were so excited to order greek salad and calamari

These restaurants are rather tricky for you see they put out bread on your table that you would assume is complimentary, but instead you are charged for it. Also Coke in the bottle is twice as expensive than if you had them pour it into glass... LAME!
Phoebe and I discovered on Rhodes a rather interesting feeling, which we affectionately termed "boating." It is when you are NOT on the boat and yet feel like you are swaying back and forth, this can also lead to you swaying when you stand and swerving slightly as you walk. It is awful and greatly affects your appetite.
Phoebe and I had a lovely time shopping and exploring though. The markets were so pretty

Lots of medieval photo ops at the knights palace

The mediterranean is the most gorgeous color blue! In fact Phoebe found a ring with a blue opal in it that was the exact color of the water... SO gorgeous!

As we wondered around the island we became rather lost in the wandering side streets and medieval passage ways... luckily we weren't lost long and it was kind of fun straying into the less touristy parts of the town.
That night back on the ship, it was the formal dinner. Since Phoebe and I were in the middle of backpacking through Europe, we were without super formal attire, luckily Phoebe had brought a dress by accident, but I was without. So I bought a cute summer dress on Rhodes to wear. At the dinner some people were rather fancy (satin, cocktail dresses, etc), while some were less elegant (polo shirt and kakis), Phoebe and I fell somewhere in the middle.
A photo of our reflections in the dining room ceiling

Sadly we didn't a better picture of our outfits - ah well.
The dinner was rather fun and for a surprise at the end our serving staff sang songs and ran around with our dessert - baked Alaskan lit on fire! They sang traditional greek songs and we all waved our napkins in the air and many of the drunk American teenagers on the ship started a conga line. Good times.
Our day ended with us in our room listening to the gossip through the wall coming from some teenage boys. I had really no idea that boys were no better than girls when it came to gossip and "girl talk". It was thoroughly entertaining to get all the dirt on Emma (who would seem to have a questionable reputation) and Brent (who we actually didn't learn much about, but they all seemed to keep yelling out his name).

Our last day on the cruise began with a stop in Crete... there is absolutely nothing to share about Crete as it was not at all exciting. We were at the city of Heraklion and it is the supposed birthplace of Zeus himself. Unfortunately the notable sites of the city were a rather long walk uphill and the map was thoroughly confusing as it was in English, but the street signs were in Greek. So Phoebe and I began our walk to the center of the city only to have to turn around before reaching our destination in order to make it back to the ship on time. Granted, we had a late start because we slept in a little bit more than we should have.
Once we returned to the ship we just relaxed and chilled on the boat. We had a fancy 3-course meal in the formal dining hall - have I shared with you the delicious cheese plate that I absolutely could not get enough of and as a result ordered it EVERY MEAL! Phoebe and I also enjoyed a LOVELY nap before we were to reach Santorini.
Santorini was very awesome! Phoebe and I bought an excursion to explore the volcano of Santorini and a sailboat ride around the island with a dip in the hot springs. So excited!
The first part of our tour/excursion was a walk around the volcano. Sadly, the description of this said "walk" was rather a strenuous hike! Non of us on the tour were well prepared with our flip flops and swimsuits with light swim suit covers. It was also incredibly hot and really not fun. However, Santorini is a rather fascinating place. It is in fact a collection of about five islands. It all use to be connected, but the multiple eruptions of the volcano at the center have broken them all apart. Also of note: the legend of Atlantis was inspired by Santorini's volcano.

Interesting facts about the volcano:
1. it erupts every 50 years or so... it has been expected to erupt since 2005... so any time now.
2. we came upon a hole dug about a foot deep into the ground and when you stuck your hand in it you discovered that it was approx 95 degrees Centigrade.
3. You are not allowed to take rocks from the volcano, but I did... and I don't feel bad
View of Fira on the Santorini's main island

After a miserable hike we boarded a cute sailboat to sail around the island

We sailed until we reached the hot springs. This is a section of the sea where lava and sulphur is bubbling up under the water therefore making the water quite warm and lovely to swim in. The mud is also said to have healing properties and of course great for the skin. In order to get to the actual hot springs we had to jump off the boat into the Aegean and swim a little ways to the springs.
Me swimming in the Aegean!

The above picture was taken right after I swallowed a lot of the sulphur/salt water and so the excitement on my face is shielding my strong urge to throw up. While we were in the springs we enjoyed the tiny bubbles coming from beneath our feet, the wild goats roaming the mountainside, and the entertaining graffiti on the surrounding rocks. One such message read "Call my mobile if you need help - ###" It was great.
After our swim we sailed back to the main island and took a bus up the hill to Fira - the main city in Santorini.
We had a very short time to explore the city, but I was able to find a necklace of the blue opal that was almost identical to Phoebe's ring!!! SO PRETTY!
The views from the city were breathtaking

Phoebe and I then joined the queue for the cable car down to the tender boats to take us back to the ship. Unfortunately it was INCREDIBLY long and there were high tension amongst those in line that they wouldn't make the last of the boats. It wasn't helped though when a HUGE tour group of French people joined their tour guide who was ahead of us in line making up 50 more people back in line!!! A bunch of people started arguing with the group... everyone started yelling at them - even us, but the argument afforded enough of a distraction to allow Phoebe and I to bypass the entire group and move up in line. Victory!!
The cable car was quite an experience because you are basically sitting in a glass box dropping quite swiftly straight down the side of a cliff. It freaked Phoebe and I out considerably!

Phoebe's face is priceless

We happened to make the last boat to our ship luckily and we quickly made it to the buffet for dinner.
To celebrate our last evening on the ship Phoebe and I headed up to the dance club at the top level, ordered some cocktails and attempted to enjoy the dance floor... unfortunately it was already inhabited by silly 15/16 year olds and them grinding on each other... ugh! We did get in a couple dances and a couple drinks and then called it a night.

The cruise was the absolute BEST thing I did in all of my Adventures on the European continent!!

1 comment:

NanAZ said...

Sounds like great fun! We have found that most cruises are similar on the formal night with quite a range of attire. I mean really, you already paid for the meal. I don't think they're going to turn you away unless you're in cutoffs or a swimsuit or something. When you do another cruise, remember that if you don't want to dress up...although I seem to remember that you LIKE to dress up.