Sunday, November 6, 2022

 Day 8--Cyprus/Turkey in One Day

We left the ship at 8:40.  Today we had to carry our passports as we had to cross the border into Turkey.

Bill has his dressing on his hand changed every morning, so we leave breakfast and go directly to the infirmary.  We had to pass through the harbor security but all we needed to do was show our ship pass.  

Once that was done our local guide met us and escorted us to the bus.  We are docked on the southern part of the country in Larnaka, Cyprus.  

It took about 50 minutes to drive north to the capital, Lefkosia. Did I mention they drive on the other side of the road? This capital is the only one located in two countries.  We walked a short way to the border.  We showed our passports and then walked through the buffer zone which is controlled by the United Nations.  There was no where to go in the buffer zone other than stright ahead to another border control.  Once we cleared passport control there was a Turkish escort that stayed with us.  It was night and day difference in that short block.  Seemed like a third world country.  Cyprus was very modern and clean and Turkey was just the opposite.

This was a very nice "caravan hotel" back in 1574 on the Turkie side.

We had some time on our own and I wanted to find a battery for our camera as I forgot to bring the charger. I did find a Christmas Ornament from Cyprus but all I could find from Turkey was a small flag for the travel Christmas tree.  

We were told not to get anything to eat until we returned to the Cyprus section.

That's as far as I got on the blog.  Bill and I got home very early this morning.

I should have taken notes.  I do remember we had a lot going on and no time to even sit down at the computer.  We enjoyed one day at sea with a very busy schedule.  Members of the Sir Edmund Hillary club were invited to a cocktail party.  Harry and Dee just completed their 30th trip.  We have completed 16 trips, it's a shame I can't count the ones we signed up for that were cancelled.

We were told that 47 of the 74 passengers have all completed 3 or more trips.  The captain told us that they were paid during the pandemic.  No wonder they were so great.  

I gained a pound and half.  I'm sure a lot of that is from sampling all the canapes.  They were all so pretty and different.  The waiters kept trying to encourage us to try all of them.

The farewell dinner, of course, offered lobster tail and baked alaska with some other alternatives.  

The following morning we disembarked the ship in Haifa.  Israel is very different than most countries.  They don't stamp your passport, they give you a stamp with your photo on it.  

Our first stop was the Baha'i Gardens.  Once again it's difficult to describe.  Can you imagine cutting grass with sicissors?  

If you look closely you can see the ship in the harbor.

Here's another photo of the gardens.

From here we visited Caesarea.  I'll have to tell you about that in the next blog.

Turtle Safely.......

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

 Day 7--Rhodes and Day 8 at sea

Playing catchup with the blog, is not something I like to do.

The crew must have been up all night decorating the ship for Halloween.  Bill really appreciates anyone who can carve.  

The waiters all dressed for the occasion to serve our meals.  The menu for the day had a halloween description, I forget the name they had on the lobster tail.

Our tour in Rhodes began at 9:20 with our guide and also a local guide.  The four groups always leave at different times to reduce any crowds.  We were the only ship in the harbor at that time.  Vasilis told us that many shops are closing on October 31 for the season.  

Rhodes is the largest island of the Duodecane.  We could see Turkey which is 11 miles away.  The weather was once again perfect.  Our guide showed us the three gates of this Old Town.  We've been here before, but different guides all tell you different and interesting things.

After touring the Old Town we proceeded up a long hill.  This road was one of the oldest in the world and led us to the Palace of the Grand Master.  Our group was the only one in the Palace. 

The Palace had an additional 70 steps to get into it.  There was no handrail and the steps were very steep.  

The Palace has been rebuilt after an earthquake.  There are mosaics on the floors everywhere.  It's hard to imagine these are 1,700 to 2,000 years old.   

As we were walking back to the ship a big ship was coming into the harbor.  It was so nice not having a lot of tourists in town while we were there.  After dinner, the tour guides had a nightime walk through Old Town but decided not to go.

Beer and wine are included with this tour.  It's not one glass at dinner but anytime you want one.  They had free cocktails and wine today.  I might also mention that we have free wifi.  Tips are paid to all local guides porter, and drivers.

We had a magic show for the nightly entertainment.

Today we had another beautiful day.  After breakfast we had a talk "The Church of the Holy Sepulcer and the Status Quo".  It was very interesting and well presented.  A half hour later we had a towel folding master class along with bloody marys.  

After lunch we attended a discussion on Cypress Conflict.  This was followed by the people that have taken three or more trips.  The couple we were sitting with had 30 trips.  Makes our 16 trips seem like nothing.  They received a very nice gift.  The canapes and champagne were very good.  

We were told that of the 74 passengers, 47 are in the Sir Hillary Edmund Club--three or more trips.  They also told us that many companies went out of business during the pandemic.  Anyone that had a trip booked during the pandemic were offered their money refunded or the option to rebook.  The vast majority said they'd wait for another date.  This allowed the company to pay their employees,(not 100%) even though they weren't doing trips.  

Tomorrow we arrive in Cyprus.  While we have a tour of Cyprus, it was announced that we will also have a tour of Turkey.  We'll need to have our passports with us.  I always wanted to visit "Checkpoint Charlie" so this will be the next best thing.  I can tell our tour guides are nervous and they want this to be a good tour.

We had a tour of the ship's bridge.  Bill sat in the Captain's chair.  We learned what it takes to sail this ship.

We skipped tonight's ships crew show, which I'm sure was good.  I wanted to finish this and try and catch up before tomorrow's tour.  

The doctor says Bill's hand is coming along.  He changes the dressing every morning.  

Turtle Safely........


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Day 6--Symi, Greece

The crew is so kind to us that they gave us an extra hour of sleep (due to the time change).  They changed everyone's clock, while we enjoyed last night's meal.  

Bill and I were both so tired we didn't go to last night's entertainment.  Santorina was our least favorite island, but I'm sure that is because of the crowds of tourists.  Patmos was much nicer and I'm sure that the fact that Clio was the only ship in the harbor had to do with that ranking.  I don't know how the harbor being closed affected the big ships, but it was nice that they weren't there.

Symi is gorgeous, however, at first I thought we were lost as my phone said welcome to Turkey.  Very quaint and quiet.  The yellow group was scheduled to leave at 8:15.  Sunday breakfast is always served with champagne. Dolphins were on both sides of the ship.  As we were enjoying breakfast, I remembered Bill was supposed to see the doctor to have his dressing changed.  We made a quick visit to the infirmary to have the dressing changed on  Bill's hand.  

The ship is docked in Symi and our bus was waiting for us as we departed the ship.  The driver took us up to the top of the mountain and the other side.  The scenery was gorgeous.

We then visited a Monastery, the Castle of the Knights of St. John and when we arrived found out that someone was being ordained as a new priest. It was erected in the 14th century atop the remnants of a fifth century monastery.  It was built on the site of an ancient temple to Athena.  This little area is expecting 6,000 people later in the day.

We enjoyed a short walk around the small cove.  Vasilis had told us to use the toilets to our left.  We walked further down the road and saw a WC sign.  These were "eastern squat toilets".  Now I know why he suggested we go left. Haven't seen those since we toured China. 

Our driver took us to the town where Vasilia showed us the statues of the sponge divers.  The divers would go out to sea and stay for long period of times.  The first divers would hold a big rock to get them to the bottom faster.  The daughter of the sponge shop owner told us that the longest record was 3 minutes and 58 seconds to a depth of almost 80 meters (approximate 250 feet?).  Then they advanced to the helmet with the air hose.  The only problem was the bends.  The way they "tested" them was to make sure they didn't come up too fast, was to give them a cigarette and if they could smoke it, they were OK.

The ship had to sail away from the dock at 12:30 to allow the ferry to use the dock.  We were told that we could stay in the village as the ship would be back later, but I think everyone went back to the ship for lunch.  There's two sections of upper decks and everyone was out working on their tans.  

There was a high tea in the afternoon but Bill and I both opted for a nap after getting to much sun.  

I'm not sure how to transfer photos from my phone to the blog, so you'll have to see the photo of Katarinettes on Facebook.  This is where the Germans surrendered control of the Dodecanese at the end of World War II ending Axis occupation. 

We've met some really nice people, who I know will stay in touch.  Once the ship docked again a lot of people walked down to the beach and away from the tourist shops.  I did manage to find a swimsuit coverup for our next trip.  

We only have a few more days on board, and we still haven't had time to open the bottle of champagne that was in our room.  

Dinner was great once again.  We went to the lounge for tonights entertainment and Bill and I left because we were both cold.  Still had our shorts on, and with the door opening for those who wanted to go ashore we could feel the cooler air.  Our tour guides suggested we go ashore as the bars were closing for the season after tonight.  We don't leave for Crete until 5 am. 

Turtle Safely........



Saturday, October 29, 2022

Day 5--Patmos

Our first thing we did this morning was visit the ship's doctor.  He tried to find us last night as he wanted to check up on the work the hospital did on Bill's hand.  He changed the dressing and asked us to come to the infirmary every morning to have the dressing changed.  He wanted a copy of the doctor' report. He also gave Bill some antibiotics to take for the next week.  The swelling has gone done and it looked much better.

 One of the things I forgot to mention was the beautiful weather and wonderful food.  There is always something going on.  Yesterday we had margaritas on the upper deck as we watched the sunset. Every night they have a special wine for lunch and dinner, one red and one white.  

I don't think anyone has taken advantage of thIe electric bicycles you can use when in port.  

There just aren't enough hours in the day to enjoy everything.  I want to get a massage sometime on this voyage.  There were only four women in the yoga class this morning.

We just returned from a controversial talk on the migrants and refugees.  They always try and give both sides of a topic.

I must have missed the news, as the dock in Patmos was closed as a cruise ship sunk here about a week ago.  We had to tender into the harbor instead of docking.  Of course, our small group of 74 can all fit on one boat.

Vasilis introduced us to our local guide.  Our local guide told us Patmos is one of the original dozen islands of the Dodecanese and are sacred islands of the ancient land. The island is about the size of New Jersey.

There are alot of folk stories about Zeus and Poseiden.

But the number one reason people come to Patmos is it is the home of St. John the Evangelist.  St. John lived in a grotto beneath  the Temple of Diana.  We toured the Holy Cave of the Apocalpse.  Here he wrote the Gospel, and also the Book of Revelations.

We also toured the 11th century Monastery of St. John.  It sits on the top of the island and  can be seen from anywhere on the island.  Photos of course, were not allowed.  

The Holy Cave of Apolcalypse now has ramps down to it, when we were here before I believe there were steps.  At the Monastery you climbed up steps that switchbacked.  There were places to stop for those who couldn't make it to the top.  We made it to the top, but I was glad it wasn't much further.

We were shown the cracks in the walls of the cave and also where he slept on the floor.  What a feeling to know you where walking where he walked.

We visited the museum that had priceless religous relics.

The bus took us back down to the port.  We had about an hour on our own to explore the shops.

We were back onboard in time for lunch.  Bill and I both went back to our room for a short nap until one of the tour leaders gave a talk.

All members of the ship's crew call you by your name.  I don't know how they can do it, I'm still having trouble remembering.

Tomorrow we explore Symi.

Turtle Safely.......



Friday, October 28, 2022

Day Three and Four--Santorini

I was so tired last night, I didn't have much time to tell you about yesterday.  This will be brief as there is a lot more to mention. 

Our small group of 18 people ate in Plaka.  It was a small intimate restaurant/bar.  The food was terrific but I have no idea what I had other than the beet salad.  Our guide told us what each dish was called and the ingredients but by the time all these dishes were passed, I forgot.

We had an hour to wander around the shops before we took the bus to the cruise terminal.  There were four different buses of less than 20 travelers each.  All we had to do was show our passports, go through the TSA and we were onboard.  We were met by the staff, and they carried our carry ons to our room.  Each one of the groups arrived ten minutes from the others so there was no waiting.

We were suppose to be on the third floor but found our cabin had been upgraded to the fourth floor.  The room is lovely and at least twice the size of the cabin on the 50 passenger ship we took to in December.  

Shortly after arriving we went to the lounge for welcome drinks.  Everyone on the ship was introduced down to the dishwasher and laundry people.

We were giving the nightly port talk, which tells us what the following day's adventure was going to be.  Dinner was served and it was a five course dinner.  There were no compliants.  The wine glasses never got below half full.

We came up to the room and fell into bed.  During the port talk, we were told the seas were going to be rough and to stop at reception for sea sick pills.

Around 4 am I heard this terrible noise.  I jumped out of bed and found Bill on the floor.  He got up to use the bathroom and tripped over the doorway.  I guess I also failed to mention that I unplugged two of the night lights to use the electric sockets.  

He is on blood thinners so I've learned not to be too alramed when I see blood.  He was concerned because he got blood on the carpet.  I called the front desk and the receptionist said she'd call the doctor.  I didn't even have time to get dressed before he arrived.  He bandaged up Bill's hand and said he'd need to go to the hospital once we arrived in Santorini.

When we went down for breakfast, Vasilis said I should have called him too.  He said they would make all the arrangements for Bill to go to the hospital.  The doctor wanted it verified that he didn't have a broken bone.

We took the tenders to shore and took the cable car up the hill.  Vasilis took the group to the bus and introduced the local guide to our group.  He then left the group and took us to a private hospital.  He'd already picked up our passports at the front desk.  

We had to wait as there was a Korean girl who didn't speak English in surgery.  

An hour later, the doctor  took Bill back.  He was worried about infection and made him soak in something for 30 minutes.   Then the took him back to the "theater"  Two nurses both undressed him.  The even had foot and head coverings.  An hour later the doctor came out to say he did fine.  

He had pictures of the before and after.

The doctor didn't want us to leave until he took more xrays.  We waited for a little bit and then they took him back for more xrays.  Nothing broken, thankfully.  

Our tour guide walked with us in Santorini and we stopped for ice cream.  We told him we were fine and he left to get the rest of our group, while we stopped at a little cafe overlooking the bay.  

There were no crowds whe we arrived but by the time we were finished at the hospital, everyone had a chance to use the cable car.

We've been to Santorini before and there were a lot of people, but I don't remember crowds like today.  Of course, today was a holiday.  They are celebrating the first day of the World War.  There was a parade in town and we saw kids in traditional costumes.  

We took the 4 pm tender back to the ship.  Bill had a short snooze before we went up on the 5th deck for Margaritas as we sailed away.

Don't let the jacket fool you.  I was in shorts, but to be honest it was windy.

Turtle Safely........


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Day 3--Acropolis, Parthenon etc.....

 I promised myself before we left home that I would do the blog every night.  I picked this trip because I thought it was a slower pace.

It's now 10 pm and we are just getting back to our room.  We were up for breakfast at 6:30 and haven't stopped all day.

Here's a phto of the Acropolis from the rooftop restaurant of the hotel

After breakfast our "yellow group" meet for our first time at 8 am.  Everyone introduced themselves and Vasilis gave everyone their "whisper" audio machines.  Our luggage had to be outside our room at 8 am and we were to be in the lobby at 9 am for a panaramic drive through Athens.  We've seen all the sites before.  

Five people out of the 18 decided they weren't capable of climbing up the Acropolis.  Bill was determined to do it.  For those of you who have never seen the Acropolis it is all marble.  On a nice sunny day like today, it is still slippery.  I was so glad that I hadn't forgotten our hiking sticks.  There are no handrails and nothing is flat.  

One person said her app recorded 2.9 miles which is straight up.  The app said we climbed 17 floors.  It was crowded and you had to watch constantly where you were walking.

After we caught up with the 5 who were waiting below, we walked up the Plaka.  We had a fabulous lunch with traditional Greek food.  We had small plates and they brought all kinds of different dishes.  The wine was a local one and they just served it in a picther.   

I'm just too tired to finish this blog.  Hopefully, I'll catch up tomorrow.

Turtle Safely ......

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Day 2 Athens, Greece

I think these guards we saw yesterday might have attended Jackie's yoga classes.  I don't know if you can see from the photo but the soles of each guards shoes are touching each other.  

 I must say when we woke up at 4 am we felt much more refreshed after a good nights sleep.  I guess if there would be one thing that you could eliminate from traveling either the long flights or the jet lag, I'd pick the jet lag.  

The hotel breakfast is on the 11th floor.  There are spectacular views of the Acropolis.  The lights were still on it, when we arrived at the buffet as they opened.  As we were about to leave, another couple that rode in the shuttle from the airport asked to join us.  I won't say we talked alot, but the breakfast hours are from 7 am when we arrived and close at 10.  We went back to the room and Bill took advantage of the time and had a nap.  Something he never does.  

When we went down to the lobby, all three of the tour directors had a desk set up for those arriving from the airport.  Vasilis had some suggestions on things to see and do.   Everything seems to be within a couple of miles of the hotel.  The metro is $1.20 for the first 90 minutes.  

We visited the Acropolis Museum the last time we were in Greece but now they have a new world famous one.  

One quick stop in our room to pick up my phone and off we went.  Vasilis had also told us about a tiny authentic Greek restaurant.  Once we started walking we walked past the turkey sign inside a building where the restaurant was.  Knowing we have our welcome dinner which is usually very nice, we thought we'd order something small.  Vasilis told us the restaurant couldn't accomodate more than 20 people.  There was one empty table.  As we were about to sit down a couple at another table waved us over to sit with them.  They are in our group and had just arrived and spotted my name tag.  The meal was delcious.  We shared the meal and still had some leftover.  Our waitress brought over cups of their soup to try and a platter of different breads.  Bill had a local beer and I had a glass of red wine.  Total for the meal and tip was less than 15 Euros.

I have to tell you about our experience at the ATM.  We never come with any foreign money just use the ATM.  I put our debit card in the machine and my card was sucked up and gone.  This has never happened in all of our traveling.  Of course, the machine is in Greek, while some machines in Europe have several languages.  Some nice gentlement could see I was having trouble and came over and helped me.  You can't get your card back until you have completed the entire transaction.  I took out $200 so we'd have anything left for the next trip.  200 Euro was $213 in US funds including the transaction fee.  Quite a huge difference from some of our other travels.  

By the time we gabbed with this couple we decided we we'd skip the museum as it was getting too late to go  there and back in time to attend the welcome drink, meal and meeting.  

This is our second day and we haven't visited a church yet.  I think that is a record when you are in Europe.  They are all beautiful and unique and you can't help but stop in everyone you see. 

Vasilis is really worried about tomorrowThe Acropolis is expecting over 15,000 tourists tomorrow as 6 cruise ships are in town.  

One thing you see everywhere are motorcycles, not little scooters like you see in Italy.  These are everywhere and they ride them on the sidewalks.

Our dinner was very good and there were a lot of happy people once they tried the ouzo.  The four trip leaders introduced themselves.  They were all what you expect from this company.  Fun loving people.  

I know there are a few readers that have never traveled outside the United States.  Here's a few things that are different in foreign hotels.  One thing is they do not use wash cloths.  You always have to bring them from home.  

The second is there is always an emergency pull cord to get help once you slip in there very high bathtubs and showers.  

They also have an emergency intercom by the toilet.  I am just reporting the no comments as to why you need that.  

The next thing is the electric.  When you enter a room there is this little box that you put your key card into to give the room electricity.  It used to be that we could leave any kind of card with the magnetic strip so we could charge things while we were out.  Now the box only works with your room key.  The other interesting thing is that all the windows open.  Most US hotels don't have windows that open.  In England the law says they can only open 12 inches wide so no one will commit suicide.  So there folks, your first lesson in traveling abroad.

It's going to busy tomorrow.  Our group will be the first to leave tomorrow at 8 am.

Turtle Safely........



Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Day one in Athens Greece


Bill and I always try to have a plan B when traveling, but Monday's went very smoothly.  We were up at 1:30 am to allow for traffic which there was none and to take a different route to the airport since the Broadway curve project had the road closed from Friday evening until 4 am on Monday.  No lines waiting or lines anywhere.  Age does have benefits, as we were told to pre board with those that were in wheelchairs.  Maybe they have a category for those over 85.  

After we were settled into our seats I noticed the couple across the aisle had OAT luggage tags.  I asked them if they were headed to Greece.  Yep, they are in the group of 74 expected passengers for this small ship and land tour.

Our tour leader had called earlier in the week to introduce himself over the phone and ask if we had any questions.  We don't have the same tour guides as the others. We will be in the yellow group.

I noticed we had a very nice looking blond pilot but I didn't hear any blond jokes.  The flight was over 4 hours to Newark.  Although we landed early once again we had to wait until they had a gate empty.

Since we hadn't had any breakfast before left, we decided to grab a quick bite before our international flight.  Knowing that the next flight would be serving dinner shortly after take off, we shared a Cuban sandwich.  I was glad I had that half sandwich because I didn't care for the dinner but I always eat the ice cream.  Bill and I were anxiously waiting for the plane doors to close to find that we had a empty seat between us.  

The first flight was 4 hours 22 minutes, with a wait time of 3 hours 28 minutes and the final leg was 9 hours 20 minutes.  Both flights arrived early and even customs and baggage were pretty fast.

Everytime we take a flight there is something new and better.  This time the entertainment has changed.  Now if you want to start a movie it will tell you if you'll land before finishing the movie.

There were 8 people on that plane that will be on the tour.  A tour guide showed us where our transportation was.  The guide also gave us some suggestions of things we might want to see.  Of course there was a lot of gabbing from the airport to the hotel.  The tour doesn't start until tomorrow but at least 8 people came in a day early.  I think there will be more as the airport guide had another flight she had to meet the travelers.

Even though we were at least 3 hours early for check in, our room was ready.  We ran upstairs to check out the room before heading out to find an ATM.  Once we had some Euros in our pocket, we explored the area.  This hotel is centrally located in the heart of Athens. Normally, we would have gone upstairs to the terrace for a drink and a view of the Acropolis, but we need some sleep.  

I am way too tired to give any details or try posting a lot of photos, hopefully, tomorrow.  We walked to the National Library, the University of Athens,and  Municipal Culture Center, some ancient ruins of Athens, and the best place Parliment.  We were able to watch the changing of the guards.  I thought London was pretty good but these guys were much better.

Had a nice dinner in a sidewalk cafe.  Greek salad, bread and beers for less than $20 in the heart of a big city.

It's 7 pm and Bill is sound asleep and I'm right behind him.

Turtle Safely.....

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Iceland and Ireland Trip

Akureyri, Iceland

I'm already behind three days, but what else is new?

Bill and I were awake at 4 am so decided just to get up and get ready.  Our plan was to leave for the airport at 5:30 am, allowing a few extra minutes for morning traffic.  As it turned out, we didn't leave until 6:41, but traffic was light for that time of the day.  The car was parked 41 minutes later in the parking garage.  Harry and Carlena were already checked in by the time we arrived at the terminal.  

To get the best connections we took the first flight to San Francisco with a 2 and half hour wait for the international flight.  Our seats were perfect, and we all agreed we had the best seat location of anyone on the plane.  Once on the plane we had to wait for cargo to be loaded--one hour and 15 minutes.  Once we took off the captain made up most of the time by landing in Amsterdam 20 minutes late.  

What a difference in Amsterdam today than our first visit.  It's much cleaner and nicer.

The weather was nice but when we crossed the street to get on the bus, it was very windy.  Check in was very easy with everything on your phone.  Thank goodness, we did a second proctored test before we left home.  Our test that we took on Wednesday still hasn't come back yet.  Did't need it to fly, but needed it to board the ship.

The jet lag hit us pretty hard.  Neither of us slept on the plane.  There were too many good movies to watch.  One of the problems of taking an early flight is you just woke up from sleeping and aren't sleepy, at least three of us weren't sleepy.

After dinner last night we went straight back to the cabin and to bed.  We really slept in this morning so didn't see Harry and Carlena until later.  

A nice couple that lives in the Netherlands told us that the Ukranian people that fled their country were being housed in the river boats.  I've never seen that many river boats in one place before.

The cruise that we took last July only had about 400 on board.  Looks like the Covid 19 worries are gone by the number of people on this ship.  I doubt there are very many empty cabins.  

Looking forward to our next trip that has a maximum of 160 people on board.  

The ship wifi is slow so don't know how well photos will load.

Turtle Safely........

Monday, December 20, 2021

Day 9--Kotor, Montenegro

 Our day started out earlier than usual.  Zoran had told us during last night's port talk that we should go up on the sun deck right after breakfast.  He wanted us to see the view of the deepest fjord in Europe as we sailed into the town of Kotor.  While we were up on the sun deck he explained a little of the history of this beautiful Mediterranean country at the foot of the Balkan mountain range.

After the ship docked right next to this walled city, we crossed the street to meet our guide.  She told us how nice the city was today as they have over 600 big cruise ships stopping in season.  Our group of 17 didn't make much difference to the 1,000 people that live in this walled city.

It was another beautiful day but cold in the very early morning hours.

The water is crystal clear and as you sail you come upon many small villages.

Our local guide walked us around Stari Grad (Old Town). It's not large and after our tour we had some time before lunch to stroll the ancient walkways.  I always like to get a Christmas ornament from every different country we visit.  Since there were no big cruise ships, the souvenir shops were closed.  I did manage to find something that isn't a Christmas bulb but will work on the travel Christmas tree.  

We got back to the ship just in time for lunch.  I might mention that the meals are excellent but way too much food than we are used to.  There's always a soup, main entree, for example one selection today was cabbage rolls with potatoes and carrots, fresh baked bread and dessert.  Your wine glass is never empty.

Right after lunch we walked across the street to catch our bus.  Zoran was taking us to Our Lady of the Rocks Shrine on a man-made islet.

Zoran was happy that the weather was perfect for our boat ride out to the island.  If the wind is too strong the boats don't run.

Can you see the trails that go up the mountain in this corner of the walled city.
  We decided we're getting too old to try that kind of hike.

I hope you can tell from this photo how beautiful the water is.  

Here's the Our Lady of the Rocks in Perast.  This shrine was made on a man made islet.

Bill looks cold in this photo but it did warm up.

Here's the inside of the Our Lady of the Rocks.  It's hard to believe that we've been touring this area for over a week and this is the first church we've been in.  Usually you visit at least one church a day when in Europe.

It's been a busy day but we're still going strong.  Hope we have 20 minutes on the bus for a little nap.

There was a nice collection of weapons in the small museum of the Our Lady of the Rocks.

Bill and the cats. Can you see the cat on the roof of the red car?  We did learn that Kotor is famous for its friendly cats.  All the business people leave their doors open for the cats to come and go.  There's also lots of bowls of cat food and water for them.  Some tourist magazine mentioned it and the people take care of the cats.  A vet volunteers his services to neuter and care for them.

Turtle safely.......

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Day 8--Dubrovnik and Konavle

 We departed at 8:30 am for the Konavle region.  There were only 7 or us that wanted to do this tour.  I guess we'll do the wall in Dubronik the next time we visit this beautiful country.  It's so nice that there aren't a bunch of tourists everywhere.

Konavle region has 3 types of climate, flora and fauna within 5 km.  Mountain climate, wetlands and the Mediterranean maritime climate.  I have to say we were over dressed for it.  Short sleeves would have been much better.  

Our first stop was an art studio and silk shop.  Of course not much is started until you have a shot of raki to begin with.  We also had some almonds, figs and dried orange peel.

I really thought Bill and I knew all about silk from our trip to China where we visited a silk factory.  Believe me, we now know, we knew nothing.

We learned how silk worms have to live in a clean environment.  They also spin there cocoons into a branch at precisely the same time.  After exactly 15 days they are put into boiling water.

I don't know if you can see the tiny spots, but these are eggs.  They are kept in a refrigerator until they are used.

The girl then folded up a napkin and started twirling the spidery silk.  She turned off the lights so we could see all the different strands. Hope they show up in the photo.

Can you see the traditional embrodery around her neck and the silk tassel?  We learned that a girl can not get married until she had made all of her clothing with the silk embrodery.  

This little shop was in a very tiny village.  All the buildings were burned during the recent war but have been rebuilt.

Our next stop was a flour mill over 500 years old.  Guess what we were greeted with?  Yes, more raki.  She had black walnut and also cherry.

I've got a dish of almonds, figs, and orange rind in my hand.

They don't look like much but they really taste good.

Bill and I toured an old flour mill in Burnt Cabins, Pa before and it wasn't much different except much smaller.

From the flour mill we walked through the countryside to the woolen mill.  Let me mention that Croatia has more water than any other country.

Our guide turned a valve and the water was diverted to a cog wheel.

I would never remember the dates if I didn't take a photo of it.

I was having a hard time wondering how this pounding of the wool worked.

Once he showed me examples of the wool, then I understood the process.  It actually compresses the wool.

Those of you who read my blog about our Sicily trip will enjoy this photo of Bill and the cat!

Our next stop was a family home which is over 500 years old.  The granddaughter said she was the guide and for Zoran to shut up.  We were greeted with more raki in different flavors and music.

We were shown a flour mill and olive oil press.

Here's a view of the back of the house and the surrounding mountains.  They are very close to Montenegro and Serbia. Only the stone walls were left of the house after the war.

Here's what the house looked like after the Yugoslavians burned it.

We then were treated to a tradational dance by a couple.  Wish I would have thought to put it on video.

We had a lovely meal and loved the music.  We were all singing along.  They played a lot of our favorite songs.

By the time we got back to the ship we just spent time relaxing.  It was warm enough to sit on the balcony or sun deck.

Dinner was excellent as usual.  Following dinner we had two men playing music for us.  One was a violin accompanied by a guitar.  Normally I wouldn't like this kind of music, but it was really good. Not one person dozed off!

Tomorrow we go to another country.  It's small and only has a population of 600,000.

Turtle Safely........