WEEK THREE – Cruising the Greek Islands.
Our final week of the honeymoon saw us climbing aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ship ‘Splendour of the Seas’ for our week long cruise around Croatia and the Greek Islands. I love cruising holidays – you can unpack your bags in your rooms, and still visit a number of different places without having to lift a finger! Leave all your gear in your room and take only your towel, book and cruise card to sit poolside, to visit any of the bars, see any of the shows. The service is first class, as is all of the food (yes, more food!) and the shows were constantly entertaining.
Our first day on the cruise we had a round of mini golf, found the self serve ice-cream, had the cocktail of the day and sat on our balcony as we sailed away from Venice. We were on our way to Dubrovnik, but we didn’t really need to go anywhere, there was so much to do on the ship!
The sun was shining in Dubrovnik on Day 2 of our cruise, so our kayaking tour around the old city walls was perfect! We kayaked for a half hour to a cave where we stopped for lunch and a swim before heading back. The water was so blue, and the Old Town walls were amazing – a few metres thick to keep out foreign attackers!
The next day we took a shuttle bus to the beach, where we were able to use the facilities of the luxury hotel on the water. It was beautiful area, more ‘blue as blue’ water, fresh Greek Donuts on the beach, pools where I did a funny aqua aerobics class, and of course, I made another dream come true that day and PARASAILED! It was the most serene ride, I was so high in the air with beautiful views, peaceful silence and a slightly faster heartbeat. Unreal. Luke’s not into the idea of parasailing, so instead he went skiing – didn’t do too bad for a guy who hadn’t had his foot in a ski for 4 months and was out on open water. Of course, he was sore the next day!
Athens was the ship’s next stop and we opted to take a walking tour around the historic city. In both Greece and Italy, the archaeological expeditions haven’t stopped and it became apparent why when we stepped into a train station where the walls were lined with glass. Behind the glass we saw the very obvious lines in the excavated dirt where each new century began, even graves (open!) from hundreds of years ago.
We learnt about the honour of being a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but it certainly didn’t look like one that day. The guards were sweating profusely in their full get up (in 40 degrees I might add), unable to talk, only blinking to communicate with their supervising officer. They were to stand completely still except for when performing the changing of the guards in a very theatrical way which emulated the way soldiers attacked with the hidden daggers in their shoes pom poms. They have to do 1 hour shifts, 4 times a day. Phewph.
We walked to the Panathenaic Stadium – the site of the first modern Olympic games, as well as the Temple of Zeus – easily identifiable Athens Monuments, just as interesting to see in real life! To think how long they have been around and imagine how they would have looked in their time, not to mention how everyone around them looked, is the kind of stuff that makes you stare silently.
After all that hot walking, we were glad to have beach shuttles on our next days in Mykonos and Argostoli. Mykonos was the Greece I had been waiting to see, white buildings, blue rooves, bright blue water and white sand. Both beaches were beautiful, with plenty of umbrellas and sun beds for tourists to hire. The café’/restaurants were also very handy to have on the beach – clearly some moneymaking going on there! We had wonderful hours spent on these beaches, swimming, eating, and just all round relaxing.
Our nights on the boat were spent watching shows in the theatre or movies at the outdoor cinema poolside or in the spa (Annie was a great flashback to my childhood), losing at the casino, brilliant dinners in the restaurants and visits to the café for late night starbucks hot chocolate and ben and jerry’s icecream. The shop sales weren’t bad to check out either! The aerialists put on shows in the centrum – floors 5 to 8 had an open view of the dance floor on floor 4, and so this was where they hung, swung and somersaulted through the air! Buffet breakfasts were just as good as room service breakfast on the balcony, the arcade room had us bring out our competitive sides as if the mini golf and rock climbing wall hadn’t done that enough already, and the belly flop competition had us in absolute stitches. So much to do, so much to see, all in one place, but eventually it all had to end and we flew back to Adelaide, leaving Venice at 3pm on Saturday, and arriving in Adelaide 8pm on Sunday – we never saw sunlight!
TOP CRUISING MOMENT: Getting a hole in one on the mini golf and beating Luke….once!
We had an absolutely brilliant time, and I wish I was able to give you a true understanding of how magnificent all the places we visited, all the things we saw, and all the things we did were, but unfortunately I don’t do any of it enough justice. There were so many times that we looked at each other with big smiles on our faces and pointed out the sights we had only seen in movies or in books. I have to thank the wonderful Rach Montgomerie from Travelworld Port Lincoln for helping us pull it all together, and putting up with all of my emails and questions over the 6 months of picking this-that-and-everything, piece by piece!
I’m sure I have missed something, having not consulted my travel journal for this blog and simply going from memory – but it is best this way – because you need to make your own memories in these beautiful places! Without a doubt, I can tell you, you can make your honeymoon/travel dreams happen – it might not be right away, but 11 years after deciding I wanted to go to France, after 1 year of hard-core saving, and after 6 months of brochures, websites, tripadvisor and recommendations, we had the trip of a lifetime, a honeymoon to remember and many a dream achieved. I also have to thank the very generous people who gave so kindly to our wedding wishing well – they certainly helped make this wonderful trip what it was!
Nothing is out of reach after all, if you don’t have a dream, how are you going to make a dream come true!