The Final Piece to our Trip

Ok, so more than a month since my forced hiatus from blogging, I'd like to think I'm back for good. I've been trying to regain some semblance of a life, but I'm so crazy busy!! I'm seriously looking forward to the holidays and a stay-cation, so I can have some legit me time and get this house back in order! But, I do believe I owe you all the rest of our story from our Europe trip. Which was fantastic. Jason is now a full supporter of cruises. It was so nice to be able to unpack for week, but yet we got to visit three countries and also eat to our hearts' content.
Our first stop was the village of Taormina, on the island of Sicily. It was a beautiful place, but unfortunately, it rained nearly the whole day. So, we didn't get to explore as much as we would have liked. But, we tried cannolis and ate gelato. Then we checked out a lava flow and then went to a wine tasting and took a tour of the winery. It was at the winery that we made friends with Marcus, Bettina and Darren who ended up being our drinking/travel buddies for the rest of the trip. That night we had a formal night, so we got to play dress up, then we hit the bar with our friends and stayed out till 5:30 am!! Umm, good thing we had a day at sea the next day, because we were wiped!! And thank goodness there are caf├ęs open at 3 in the morning for the midnight snacks!

On Tuesday, we slept in, although we had been determined not to waste the day away. Grabbed some burgers and fries at Johnny Rockets and just relaxed. We were going to try and rock climb, but while Bettina and I were off getting our tennis shoes, Marcus and Jason decided to, at the last-minute, enter us into a volleyball tournament. And while some of us, mainly me, hadn't played in years, we actually rocked it and won 2nd place!! Albeit, there were only 4 teams, but we actually looked good. Then, it was another night of hanging out at the Cosmopolitan Bar with our buddies and our wonderful Romanian bartender, Gabriel!! We had also met John and Joey, and they were the rest of the crew that we hung out with. Overall, it was a great group of friends. And let me tell you, being friends with a bartender while on a cruise is crucial. Since we couldn't use our phones to text each other, Gabe was our message board on who was where and who had done what, oh and he makes the tastiest dirty martinis!
 On Wednesday, we ventured out to Athens, Greece.  This was the first time of the week that we really got a taste of all the turmoil that is happening in Europe.  There was a city-wide public transportation strike!  While standing at the top of the Acropolis, we could hear the protestors.  So, needless to say, we were glad to have booked an excursion with the cruise, so they had charter buses waiting for us.  But, it was a little stressful knowing that if we missed our charter bus when the tour ended, that we basically had no way to get back to the ship.  And you could see tourists hauling their suitcases everywhere, since there were no taxis.  Athens was nice, and the food was fantastic.  We took a tour of the city first, then went and visited the Acropolis, and then spent some free time in Plaka. 
Thursday, we went to Ephesus, Turkey.  And surprisingly, it was our favorite stop on the trip.  Our tour guide was amazing, and it was so crazy to think that some of the sites we visited were over 2000 years old.  The country is full of some really amazing history.  First we went to the House of the Virgin Mary, then to one of the ancient Ephesus sites, then to a museum, then to another Ephesus site where John the Evangelist lived, and then to lunch to experience typical Turkish food.
We went to the island of Crete on Friday.  It was a nice little island, but nothing really special.  We just visited a local village, and then spent free time at the market, where we were most happy about finding free Wi-Fi!  Then we returned to the ship and took a nap, then went rock climbing with Bettina, Marcus and Darren.  That night we stayed out super late too, since the following day we were at sea all day.
Then, on Saturday, we had a yummy lunch in the dining room with Marcus.  Then went out on the deck and relaxed.  Then off to a wine tasting class...then nap time till dinner time!  Then bar time.  Such a nice way to end our cruise.
On Sunday, we left the ship with Marcus, Bettina and Darren, and went to visit the Coliseum and visited the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.  While on our tour, we found out that Rome was going to be having a city-wide transportation strike, which scared us for a second, since we take the train to the airport.  But thankfully, it didn't affect the airport train, since it was a regional train.

Then we went our separate ways to go relax/find our hotels.  That night we met up again for dinner and to visit the Trevi Fountain.
Sooooo, that's our trip in a nutshell.  And I'm pretty sure the longest blog post ever.  Hopefully that won't happen again!

But, we had an absolutely wonderful time.  Jason and I had so much fun meeting new people and seeing new places.  Marcus, Bettina and Darren were great impromptu travel buddies, and I seriously hope there's another group trip in our future.  Caribbean perhaps? :)


Christine said...

Ahh! So jealous still! Your pictures are amazing and it sounds like you all had a blast! I'm glad you finally posted about it :)

amy said...

I loved all the pictures! If you two plan a group cruise, John and I are totally in!!

Ashley said...

Looks like it was such a great trip! I'm so glad to hear it all went so well. It makes me want to take a trip :)