We are on our way to Europe for a 21 day Mediterranean Cruise with Catherine’s mother Pat. Pat had expressed interest in a Med Cruise as part of her bucket list but could not travel alone as she used a walker. Knowing we would be back around the end of September to take our camper back to Overland Expedition Vehicles to have our Awning and Outdoor Shower installed, as they did not have time to complete this work before we left for Overland Expo West in Flagstaff. We told Pat (83) we could accompany her and her friend Bev (78) on the trip.
We had booked flights with KLM to Barcelona as they had direct flights to/from Edmonton to Amsterdam, flying business class on travel points.
We arrived in Amsterdam the following morning where we had 4.5-5hrs stay before flying to Barcelona, as it turns out our flight, like many others that day was canceled due to weather issues. We had booked a night in a hotel in Barcelona but ended up having to overnighting in Amsterdam and flying out early Saturday morning. We arrived in Barcelona around 11am and decided to head directly to the ship and check-in.
Once settled in our cabins we had some lunch, toured the ship to familiarize ourselves with the layout. The ship set sail at 7pm.
Just as we were thrusting away from the dock a taxi pulled up with a couple of people who were booked on the cruise, we may have had trouble getting to Barcelona but at least we made it to the ship on time. We had booked anytime dinning so decided to go to dinner around 8pm.
We sailed overnight arriving in Toulon early in the morning and anchored in the bay close to some French Naval ships.
They must have known we were coming from Canada as we could see a welcoming committee from our balcony.
We had to take a water taxi into Toulon. We decide to take a small tour on a Road Train (think Disney not Australian Outback), this would be easier on pat with her walker. As it was Sunday there was not much open.
Sailing overnight we arrived in Livorno early enough to watch the sun come up.
We had booked a day trip in Livorno prior to leaving for the cruise, to go to Pisa.
Stewart decided to fix the Lean for them. We had hoped to climb the tower, but learned that tickets needed to be purchased ahead of time, as a limited number of people are allowed up the tower each day, next time.
We were at sea all the next day where we relaxed, did sea day activities and sat on our deck watching the water go by. We sailed past an active volcanic island which was smoldering at the top.
As we came closer it became clear that there was more than one community on the island.
Next day we dock at Katakolon which is located on the Ionian sea on the west coast of the Greek mainland approximately 3.5hrs west of Athens. Olympia is only 45 minute drive away, this is were the original Olympics were started. Pat was not feeling well this day so the tree of us took a taxi to Olympia were the driver alowed us an hour to visit the ruins before taking us back to town all for an agreed to price.
When we arrived back we strolled through the town and had some lunch before re-boarding.
Again sailing overnight and arriving in Mykonos we took a water taxi to the town harbor.
Pat took her walker with us, where it soon became clear this was not a good idea as all the streets/walkways were all cobbled. We strolled around town for couple of hours, to see the sites before stopping for a beer to refresh ourselves.
These streets were not really condusive for vehicular traffic but this did not deter the locals.
After a beer we flagged down a taxi and had the driver take us on a tour of the island.
We returned to the ship where we watched the sun set over Mykonos.
Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. It was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape. The whitewashed, houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater). They overlook the sea, small islands to the west and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles.
We arrived at Santorini just as the sun was coming up.
There was a couple of ways to get up to the town, one was to walk, second you could ride a donkey and third there was a cable car. Catherine and Bev rode donkeys while Stewart took the cable car with Pat.
There was quite the view from the top.
The west side of the island was quite flat at the lower elevations, where there were houses, farms and wineries.
Once up in Thera we found a ride to Oia where we walked around town and had some lunch, everyone had moussaka. Stewart thought it was good but not as good as he had in Fier, Albania when he worked there. The following aerial photo of Santorini is provided by Wikipedia.
Next: Europe Week 2