After we sailed from the port at Naples, Italy, we headed on a course towards Santorini, Greece.
Santorini, in case you have never heard of it is a beautiful little volcanic island that is known for its beautiful white buildings, and amazing ocean sunsets.
The main island that we visited is shaped like a crescent, with a smaller islands in the bay that make up the caldera also being inhabited.
Our ship (in the picture below) pulled into the bay, and we took tender boats up to the docks.
We took a bus excursion around the island visiting scenic little villages (like Pyrgos), going to the highest point of the island, and then finishing off with a nice lunch and all you can drink wine at a local restaurant.
As you can see from most pictures of Santorini, the houses are mostly painted white (or other light colors) because of the intense heat – it helps to keep the interiors of the houses cooler.
We finished the day in Fira where we did some sightseeing, bought some souvenirs and took a ton of pictures.
When we were done we took the cable car down to the docks to head back to our ship. Santorini – a beautiful place to visit if you ever get the chance!
We left Santorini and headed to the mainland of Greece, and the capital at Athens.
Athens was another beautiful city, although it shows its age in many respects. The day we were there was extremely hot, with blue skies all around.
We visited the Parthenon (where the picture of another temple below was taken), the site of the original modern olympics, as well as the changing of the guard at the presidential palace.
We finished off the day by having a late lunch on one of the main shopping districts in Athens. All in all a fun day in one of Greece’s most ancient cities.
We left Athens and headed directly to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We weren’t sure what to think of Dubrovnik, and what we might find there. To be honest it was one of the “throw away stops” on our trip because we didn’t have high hopes.
Boy were we wrong.
Dubrovnik, and it’s old walled city ended up being one of the most beautiful stops on our cruise.
The old city is so well preserved (and rebuilt after the wars in the 1990’s) that it really is a true gem. If you ever have a chance to visit, do it!
We pulled into the docks in Dubrovnik, and started the day by having a tour up the coast, having lunch at a restaurant near a secluded stream in a forest. It really was beautiful.
Then we headed back to the walled old city of Dubrovnik where we walked the streets of the old city, had lunch on the docks, and then proceeded to walk on top of the cities old walls. I took the picture above from the wall.
As you can see most of the roofs of the old city are brand new because they were damaged in the artillery barrages of the wars in the 1990s. The view of the Adriatic Sea from up there was amazing, and was a great way to end our tour.
After leaving Dubrovnik we sailed towards our final destination on the cruise, the beautiful city of Venice, Italy.
We pulled into the cruise ship port and headed out on our tour of the city. We took a water taxi from the ship to the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square – below) where we started our tour at the Doge’s Palace. The palace had all manner of beautiful old paintings by renaissance artists, as well as what was once the largest unsupported ceiling in the world (a suspended ceiling). We also got to see the old Venetian prison, and walk across the Bridge of Sighs. Very fun.
After the Doge’s Palace we took a brief tour of St Mark’s Cathedral (center above) and walked around the square listening to music, checking out the shops, and just soaking it all in.
After the square we just wandered the streets of Venice, just getting lost in the streets, enjoying ourselves.
We evenutally made it to the Rialto Bridge (famous bridge you see in all the pictures) where we ended up taking a gondola ride at sunset. What a wonderful and memorable time, although not frugal. It ended up being 80 euros for a gondola ride, about $120
Unfortunately our last day of the trip in Venice I was a little bit sick, and for the last week I’ve been trying to get rid of the flu that I caught on the cruise.
Regardless of that, the trip was an amazing journey. We were able to see so many beautiful places and experience so many different cultures. It was a trip that we’ll never forget.