Cheyenne dropped off Scott and I at the port last Monday, and after picking up our room keys, we walked down the gangway and onto the ship. We were handed glasses of champagne, but we almost didn't notice because as we walked in, we stood in the middle of an amazing lobby that put any hotel to shame. It was insane. We could barely contain our excitement as we wandered from deck to deck, checking out the boat and finding our cabin. After getting settled, we headed to the top deck to meet everyone else as we sailed out of Venice.
Wednesday, we woke up in Corfu, a Greek island with tons of Venetian influence. We took a tour of old forts, palaces, and monasteries; but really, the best part was when Scott and I went off on our own and hiked the town and went swimming.
...we woke up in Istanbul. It's such a huge city, and it's really impressive that it has not only survived, but flourished through such a tumultuous history. We saw evidence of Christian and Muslim history and hiked around the Grand Bazaar, which reminded me a lot of Doha. We spent all night in Istanbul, and left the next afternoon to head back toward Greece.
None of us were really thrilled with any of the excursions the boat had been offering, so we decided to do our own thing. We rented a car and cruised around the island, looking for things most tourists don't see, and we totally succeeded. We also succeeded in burning up the clutch of our rental car, but the dealer didn't seem to mind.
It was a late night in Mykonos, and the ship didn't leave until 4 AM because we had a really short trip to Santorini. Where Mykonos was mostly hills, Santorini was mostly cliffs. We rented a car again, driving all over the island trying to see the best beaches and get the best pictures.
Tuesday, we got off the boat for the last time in Athens. After checking into our hotel, we hiked around the city centre. In a way, Athens reminded me of Rome. We would just walk down the street and suddenly, we'd be standing in front of some ancient Greek ruins. I've heard people say they weren't impressed with Athens, but I thought it was a great city.
I realise this is totally the Cliff's Notes version of the cruise, and I could go on and on about how nice the boat and the food and the service was, but you've heard it all before. Greece has been at the top of my list of places to see even before I got to Europe, and it totally lived up to my expectations. The entire scrapbook of pictures I took can be seen here, but be warned, those pictures could never do justice to the beauty of the Greek islands. If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it, on a cruise or otherwise.