36 sea day


36 sea day and birthday for my eldest daughter and Sarah 

I am writing this entry on my way home on the flight.  I can hardly remember the day now … So much has happened since.  When we stop to notice, much happens every day.  I do so hope my daughter had a wonderful day celebrating. 
We started with breakfast together on Saturday 6 October.  Steve and Sarah played a round of mini golf.  I had a seminar all morning and learned moe than I expected, more on that later.
We met at 1230 ish or lunch at Johnny Rockets, a kind of vintage fifties era lunch spot specialty restaurant aboard Royal Caribbean ships for those wanting American burgers, fries, onion rings, milkshakes, sundaes and floats.  Music is lively and we enjoy our time.  
I looked for Marilyn and Alex on the sun deck, however, decided to go lay down as I had somehow picked up some cold symptoms.  I also had not started to pack and so had a full day ahead, including dinner plans to celebrate the birthdays in Chops Grill specialty restaurant.  
Most of the afternoon I rested.  I packed, and I got ready for dinner.  Our reservation was for 630 pm and we were all delighted with the exceptional service and food quality that night.  It exceeded our expectations and I highly recommend the experience.  After dinner I completed our cruise feedback form, finished packing, set the alarm and off to bed, following the evening entertainment show finale.
As the evening closed on the day,our last on this cruise, I was reflective on the great time I had, the fabulous ports of call and great new relationships built.  Also I enjoyed very much traveling with friends and family and this was that kind of adventure.  
A bit sad that it is all over too soon, but recalling fondly the three weeks of exceptional travel experiences I have had, I am so grateful.  I would encourage any and every one I know to take advantage of opportunities that come along in life, to travel and see the world, especially with those people you love.  I find it rewarding and enriching, educational and full of emotion.  I am so grateful for the life I have created and for the opportunities that present,themselves to me.
All the best to you and I hope our paths cross and we get to travel together again very soon!
Love and Bon voyage, 

34 Chania Greece


34 Chania Crete Greece 

Pronounced hania, spelled a variety of ways including xania.  We happily greet the day in this lovely port of call, the last on the 7 day cruise with Royal Caribbean International, on Navigator of the Seas.  I am attending a Seminar at Sea through my work as a travel consultant so am enjoying the learning and adventure.
No tours or excursions booked, in fact, no research on this port and I know nothing about it.  We catch a city bus arranged by the cruise line to take us the six plus kms ( or miles?) in to the town.  Cost is 1.50 euro each person each way.  Seems like a good choice.  I had no idea it was so far from the pier, and happy with the standing room only on the bus.  Steve and I take the bus together.  Marilyn and Alex are already there and we plan to meet up at 10 am where the bus drops us off.  We arrive around 930 so wander a bit down some shopping streets.
Sarah and Sergei have decided to skip this port.  Exhaustion has set in for them and they decide to stay on the ship and relax for the day
Back on Chania, the 4 of us meet up.  We purchase some olive oil soaps and carry on the browsing and checking out the local wares.  We head slowly and steadily toward the water with intention to find the beach.  We have heard there are beautiful beaches on Crete and we are reluctant to return from our last port day without setting foot in the Mediterranean sea.
Steve is warm and also exhausted and heads back to find his way on the bus to the ship.  Marilyn, Alex and I keep walking along the lovely coastline, past a marina and a few restaurants headed for certain waterfront.  I recall there was a city bus transfer that takes folks to the beaches, but we keep walking toward our destination.  We pass beautiful sights, lighthouse perched on the end of the stone breakwater and many shops and cafe’s along the waterway.  Success at last greets us as we find the umbrella dotted sandy beach.  I hae forgotten to bring my bathing suit but the other two have theirs.  I roll up my pant legs and wade in to the crystal clear waters for refreshment.
Tiny sea fishes, seeming to be the same ones that I have witnessed nibbling on people’s feet who pay for this service in little spa service storefronts in some of the ports of call.  These same fishes nibble on feet here at he beach.  Interesting it is not something I care to experience.  I keep moving to avoid the encounter.  
We head on back to meet our bus transfer back to the ship, with an early disembarkation time of 230 pm today.  We arrive with lots of time to spare, grab a bit of lunch and head up or a swim and lay on the deck to watch the sail away.  
Last port on this cruise.  Windy on deck.  I am tired and when getting ready for late dining at Portofino restaurant, I start to sneeze.  I thought at first it was an allergy but later discovered it turn into  cold like symptoms.  
Dinner reservations for 830 pm for table of 6 was great food and slow service, and by 11 pm I was finished and headed back to my stateroom.

33 Kusadasi


33 Kusadasi Turkey

We had done some research before we left home and decided to take a shore trips excursion in Kusadasi for sight seeing Ephesus and other sights of this place.  It was such a great decision!  Sami was our tour guide, picked us up at 730 am in a Mercedes van.  Wew had leg room and comfort, just the 4 of us, Sami and the driver.
We started as the first guest at Mary’s house atop a hill.  It was peaceful cool and beautiful.  I was surprised and delighted.   We heard a few stories from our guide and were left to find a personal space and time to see what we wanted to see.  It was spectacular.  Had we not done this tour I would have missed this moment.  It was a highlight in a day full of highlights.  S
I took pictures, lit a candle and washed my face from the spring water.  It was personal and so lovely.  Off to the largest archeological sight in the world, Ephesus.  Several hours of climbing over marble steps and waiting for people to move so I could get a good picture.  I got to see Marilyn and Alex, as well as Mamey and Dan ….  Spectacular day.  Hot hot sun and treasure upon treasure.  Story after story.  Surprising and delightful all.  This is a must see for everyone.  I loved this port and the excursion.  It took my breath away.
After we went to another few sites, then a lovely lunch in an authentic Turkish cafe.  They had beer and I enjoyed a few bottles of cool water after such a hot walk for 5 hours!  
Then we walked to a Turkish carpet dealer who also demonstrated for us the making of Turkish carpets, both wool and silk.  We had a sales presentation and all enjoyed the beverages.  We narrowed it down to two lovely smaller carpets of high quality.  We did not agree on the same one so left them both.  I am ok with that decision but I think I would have enjoyed a carpet after all.  I now think I would research and maybe get one next time.  Kusadasi was magical as was the magic carpet ride.
Off to see the one column left from the pillars of Artemis.  Then a scenic route to a few of the lovely hotel districts for tourists.  I quite liked this town.
Back to the ship, as promised with about 40 minutes to spare.  I bought some pure olive oil soap.  I would have loved olive oil but that did not present itself.  I have been very restrained from making purchases.  Two tourist days left, Chania Crete in Greece and then a day in Rome on our own time before we go home.  
Everyone seems a bit tired, from the sun, from the late nights with the wine, and from the excitement of the sights and walking in historical and ancient times.
I would be happy to return to this place one day.
So wish you could be here.  I am always wanting my family and friends to have these experiences with me.  One day…..
Big love and a hug
The boarder of my favorite carpet had xoxoxxoxo all around.  It did seem to be speaking to me of the special adventures we might have together.  It seems that journey was short lived.  I am not taking the carpet home.  

32 Athens


32 Athens 

Hello from very warm and sunny Athens.  We had a city tour on the cruise line excursion through Piraeus.  Interesting stats, one third of the people from Greece live in Athens area.  It is a large city and includes the outlying areas in that stat.  
We went by some harbors which include a marina for private yachts, an industrial harbor and another one smaller and used to be used for military purpose in another time.  Some spots where growth was planned for underground public transport found archeological findings so there are little protected areas all over the city.  Much is also in museums so we are seeing replicas in the same spots.  
The drive to Athens included the climb to the acropolis.  We walked up marble steps and took many photos of this fabulous area and great view.  We saw all our travel friends on the steps at the top.  Even though we all took different means to get there, we ended up there together.
I find it harder to do my own thing as a traveler when I am with such a bigger crowd.  Everyone has needs and wants and I tend to just go along.  I really don’t need anything and am grateful I had time in Greece to explore.  One more stop in Greece, Crete, in a few days.  I will spend a bit of time on my own perhaps then.  No tours.
In the meantime, we had a lunch stop in a nice area and I enjoyed feta and olives as well as some water to drink.  The rest had beer and bread and fish or souvlaki.  I got some sun yesterday afternoon on the ship so wanted to get some lotion, aloe Vera for my après sun skin.
Tomorrow is Turkey and more walking and ruins.  I have very much enjoyed the diversity of Greece and especially the small islands and whitewashed buildings. Athens is not the quaint size that I prefer, however, offers something interesting.  I would not go out of my way to return to Athens I don’t think.  I prefer Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Lesvos and Mytiline.  I now know that I have preference for small scenic towns over the larger cities.
I feel like I could have lived around here in some other life … To be so enamored with the whitewashed walls and Santorini blue domes, red tile roofs and beautiful clear blue sea.
Oh, I also enjoyed the salt water pool in the solarium adult pool area on the ship.
Ok.  In the bus back to the ship. Good bye Athens!  

31 entry


31 entry,  1 October 2012

Aboard Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas on a familiarization cruise.  I arrived yesterday after my fabulous train ride from Venice.  In my room by about 3 ish.  I unpacked and was soon joined by Steve and his daughter who had found each other in the check in queue.  
At 7 pm I attended a welcome cocktail party put on by RCCI and it was lovely. I met up with Sian and her mom, very nice.  Steve joined us too and we had a drink together.  We were introduced to the RCCI representative who is lovely and sweet.
We joined our table of 10 at 830 with the people named above and Marilyn and her daughter Alex.  I had a wonderful sea bass.  It was great to see everyone and to enjoy a table together with my peeps.  The ship is big and a bit confusing I think.  Not a good flow, to my liking.  
After dinner we went together to do some dancing but most people were exhausted from the travel and time difference.  I am well acclimatized after two weeks already.  It was cool in Rome and Civitavecchia and even a bit rainy.  So not a nice sail away party but we had a drink and sat up in the top deck overlooking the water and watched as the ship pulled away.
Steve was so exhausted.  The evening was short for a few of us and for some, perhaps a bit more partying took place.  
This morning, the plan was to meet for 9 am for breakfast in Windjammer which is the lido buffet.  We met, we ate and I discovered the omelet station.  It was a very busy breakfast place as we pulled in to the port of call in Messina Sicily.  Beautiful scenery and a wonderful view.  
Once we all gathered at around 11 am for disembarkation, we hired a taxi for 6 of us to drive the 35-40 km to Taormina.  It was a lovely drive and the sun shine brightly on our adventure.  We enjoyed the view along the way and anticipation of the sights to behold when we arrived.  A few took a tour through the ancient theatre and the rest of us walked around the small quaint city and I took many pictures.  Lots of Greek mythology in this place and great walls, stairways and alleys.  The buildings are well kept too.  And the view was breathtaking of the sea below.
Back in the taxi and return to Messina as promised, after having two hours in Taormina.  We saw the famous cathedral with the horoscope clock as well as the world clock. We walked the short distance back to the ship.  A few of us took in a bit of sun.  
Tomorrow is a sea day and looking forward to a nice day.  I have a class in the morning and the. Plan to spend the afternoon by the pool catching some rays.
Tonight the show is at 7 and then late dining for dinner.  Meeting Marilyn and her daughter.  Sarah and Sergei are not answering their phone so not sure what their plans are.  I hope Sian and her mom enjoyed their tour, I guess I will find out at dinner.  
It is great to be handing out with Steve here in Europe.  We travel differently but enjoy each others company nevertheless.  
Time for the show.
Love Pam

 30 entry, 30 …


30 entry, 30 September, birthday thoughts

Happy birthday my daughter!  A flurry of Internet activity as I attempted to log on in Florence.  Success, still on train.  Checked in on Facebook, read a few emails I received, posted a few blog posts.  Now it is gone.  That was super fun and unexpected.  The benefits of being prepared and curious.  
Going through beautiful vineyards and lovely red tile roofs on both sides of train.  Third time the conductor has now been through checking tickets.  I am looking forward to seeing Steve and all the rest on the cruise ship.  I am energized by the quick email frenzy and Internet connection, the sun beating in my window and the anticipation of the day.  
I love to travel alone.  I don’t under value the travel with friends and family but especially am excited by having the moments to enjoy being in the present.  I think I am more mindful when alone but with others around.  I have not been reading any books since I started this trip.  I have been writing and practicing communication skills.
I got  a wee birthday email wish off to my daughter and read a few from Steve catching me up to his departure flight for Rome.  He is likely there now.  On the ship and settling in.  Maybe even taking a nap or finding his daughter?