Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cruise Journal

The following were written over a series of days while on our cruise. We are still in Rome for the next few days, and we are having an incredible time!

Tuesday September 18th
I'm writing this post on my phone, to post at a later date once we get wifi (which we will have free in Rome on Sunday). We are traveling to Kudasi, Turkey today. From there, we've booked a tour to see Ancient Ephesus. We were at sea yesterday, and the day before that we were in Messina, Italy. While in Messina, we took a tour to Sicily and visited Tindari where we saw ancient ruins as well as the famous black Madonna. Ryan and I love history, so all of our tours involve visiting historical/ancient landmarks. Some of them I remember learning about in school, and others I am looking forward to reading up on once we get wifi.

We've gone to a musical, ice skating show, rocked climbed, and visited the onboard fitness center two out of three days we've been on the ship. Hopefully that helps us keep off the pounds (or kilos rather) since we've been doing a ton of eating. Cruising is such a fun way to travel. We did our last cruise with Royal Caribbean and loved it so much that we booked this one with them too. I'm certain we will be booking our next cruise with them as well. 

It's hard to believe that we've been vacationing for 5 days, and still have a week to go. This vacation has been the best one we've ever been on!

Wednesday September 19th
Our visit to Kudasi, Turkey was absolutely incredible. I never had a specific interest to visit Turkey, but I am so thankful I was able to today. On top of just being a completely gorgeous country filled with mountains and surrounded by the bluest of blue water, the people were completely wonderful and hospitable. We visited the ancient ruins of Ephesus, which was completely breathtaking. We saw the Library of Celsius, a stadium where St Paul spoke that seats 22,000, and the famous Arcadian Way where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode down. There is much of this ancient area that has yet to be excavated, which is so crazy to think about because its already such a huge area. While we were there, we saw archaeologists busy at work. 

We then visited some shopping areas. Turkey is famous for making handmade rugs, and we went to a demonstration where they showed us how they made them. They served drinks and snacks. I absolutely loved their apple tea. Ryan and I ended up purchasing two rugs, which we will put in our living room. They have shades of brown and greens. I have had trouble figuring out how we want to decorate our living room, but these rugs have helped bring my entire idea together. I am planning on getting some green pillows and a table cloth for our coffee table to complete the room. I'm very excited about that.

Tomorrow we visit Greece. We have a boat ride and tour set up. Ryan did a fabulous job organizing all of our tours. I am having a blast!

Saturday September 21st
The cruise portion of our vacation is drawing toward an end. We spent two days in Greece (Mykonos and Crete), and today we are at sea. Greece was tremendously beautiful. The towns have the narrowest streets, yet somehow cars manage to drive through without any problem. We visited the ancient ruins on Delos Island, tried a cheese and honey tart made in Crete, visited the only lake in Crete (which was more like a glorified pond by American standards), and shopped. One souvenir I saw all over Greece (and in Turkey, but not in Italy) was the evil eye. I bought one for our home. Its basically a bright blue glass medallion that has an eye painted in the center. It's meant to deter evil spirits, negativities, and thoughts that are cast towards you. 

We've been enjoying the food on the cruise, as well as gameshows, musicals, and other activities offered onboard. We were planning a trip to Disney in the spring, but now Ryan is trying to convince me to go on another cruise. I'm a Disney fanatic, but after this cruise I am strongly considering that option. There's a port out of Baltimore (where we left from last summer for our vacation to Bermuda) and so it's very accessible and convenient being so close.

We arrive back in Rome tomorrow. We are planning on visiting the Pantheon and touring the Coliseum. Monday we will visit the Vatican. Today we plan on relaxing, napping, hanging by the pool, and soaking up every minute of relaxation aboard this ship!

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