Highlights of mother daughter Greek adventure

Highlights from the Mother Daughter Greek Adventure

Travelling together and having laughs is a great thing.

Mykonos in the hot sun, blue sky, whitewashed and full of treasures and picturesque alley ways.

Shopping in Chania with mom. Wow! I have to say that it was a success and so fun and such great shops.

Eric de Gray the Cruise Director was far and away the BEST cruise director any of us had ever experienced ever. Memorable, talented, everywhere, fun, musical, hard working, generous, respectful, funny, family oriented ( told stories of his grandfather every day, his mom and dad on the cruise, he did a song while his mom accompanied on the piano!). His broadway hits songs, his roller blading, cross dressing, wearing high heels, ABBA tributes, back up singing at the White Night event, ending each evening with stories of grampa, which he read to us in a special voice.

Sharing a room, dinner, balcony, time, wine, shopping, food, laughs with my mom.

I bought us each some worry beads to take home as a reminder of our days in Greece.

Having most dinners with Norma and Richard Smith from Seattle / Hawaii

Catching up on days events with people we met, including Harry and Roz and countless others -many we don’t remember their names.

Azamazing Evening concert in Haifa at ancient outdoor theatre with Israeli food, wine, and cushions on the concrete seats.

One day three island tour in Greece, Hydra, Poros and Aegina.

Bodrum, the unexpected stop in Turkey was lovely. Small wealthy port town full of yachts.

Changing Canadian to American to Euros and Scheckels at the front desk on the ship. Mom was telling the concierge she had run out of money. He was funny and kept the fun alive. He blew her a kiss as she left the ship on debarkation.

Very dirty vodka martini with extra olives, delicious crisp white wine off dry with dinner, frozen lime margaritas with salted rim and appys in the lounge before dinner

Santosh and Ruiz our wait staff, delightful fun service, we always asked for their table. They looked after my food requests, and hot water with lemon, extra dish of olives, fresh berries and pavlova for dessert. Table 68 I think.

I arrived with I think a broken bone in my foot and it is healing nicely, not so swollen on last day, mom then stubbed her baby toe in the night and broke hers.

Two of us with packing stress the night before the flight repacking our suitcases in to the wee hours. Trying to cram it all in or wear it, so we keep under the weight on the way home.

Moms stuffed travel Eyore posed under the blankets with turn down service.

Olives and feta cheese and cold white wine … When in Greece

Leg room on the long flight, thanks to Mary, Saint Mary of Athens! Lets hope she flies again tomorrow!

Athens on way home


Up early with packing on our mind. Last evening on the ship was delightful.

Beautiful sunny day with clear blue sky. Checking out was smooth and the taxi transfer Mercedes, was waiting with our name on a paper. Our luggage carried by a nice porter from the Pireaus docks, handover to the taxi driver, dressed in his finest. We were at the airport by 930 am which was to be our pick up time! It was great.

Room at Sofitel was not ready yet, but they gave us information at the Concierge, helped us with printing our boarding passes and arranging seats. We changed our minds and went to airport departure for Lufthansa and changed again, more boarding passes. Back to hotel and rooms ready. We keep running in to many of the lovely folks we met on the cruise. I love international travel!

By ten thirty our room was ready, on line with free wifi and bags in our air conditioned spotless and beautiful room. We made a decision to go to town.

I investigated a designer from Greece whose clothes I love and I have seen in many of the finer shops in Greece. I discovered her last year. At any rate, with google, a map and determination, we set out on an adventure. We took the metro from the airport terminal. No problems, direct to center of town where we had met the transfer for the one day cruise, in front of the Hotel Grande Bretagne. This is a local landmark and right across the corner from the Parliament buildings and changing of the guard on the hour!

It is all familiar to me, to my surprise from being here last September. We followed the map some and noticed some other landmarks. We found the designer shop and I had my iPhone so took a picture and when I get home I will try to post it on this blog. The wifi only allows one computer to be complimentary.

Ioanna Kourbela. Check it out! Also loved Harris Cotton and saw a few of those shops and another designer we spent some time with today in his shop. Buying nothing, we stopped for mom to have a Greek coffee and bread drizzled with olive oil, and we shared a bottle of mineral water, Greek olives and feta cheese in olive oil. Same place I had stopped at with Steve, Sarah and Sergei last fall. Same owner on site, and same sunny weather. Next to a beautiful old church still undergoing renovations.

After a few more pictures, a post on Facebook, and feeling a bit refreshed and relaxed away from the crowds, we began our journey back. We stopped at a bead shop, and I remembered the one thing on my list to purchase this trip was worry beads, komboloy. Just a few Euros, and a piece of history. The sales guy gave us a card explaining a bit of the history. He had followed me around the store…. And then pointed us in the direction of the Metro and we were on our way, retracing our steps back. We did not get lost in Athens.

Success. We are now back at the hotel, arranging luggage contents again, and drinking water. We have an early flight and are ready for the adventure home.


Mykonos …. Ahhhhhhh, beautiful Greece

The sun is out, the wind is blowing a bit to keep it cool and the sky is true blue. Not a cloud anywhere.

We tendered in to the port after leisurely taking our time having breakfast and such. We walk over to the direction of the line of windmills, five in a row. We stop to admire the flock of seagulls coasting on the wind over the water. What a sight. I will post a pic.

Then walked around the church, took more pics. Mykonos, next to Santorini for me is the most picturesque and typically Greek for tourists. White washed buildings, bright colourful flowers, beautiful narrow alley ways, painted roads and sidewalks. It is a fairy tale place. Magic and unique.

We walk until we have run out of unfamiliar corners to turn. We enter little shops if the items in the windows are unique and quality. We pick up post cards and other tokens and trinkets to bring home for loved ones. We think of you!

We walk the boardwalk by the sea, and stop for a Greek coffee for mom, and a bottle of water for me. Just a break to watch people go by. So enjoyable and relaxing, such a picture perfect day for our last on on the cruise.

Not leaving much money for the economy here, we go back to the ship. We have salmon brochettes, well done, with salad by the pool, a glass or two of white wine, a Chardonnay, and I have a frozen margarita as well. We have a delightful visit with friends and share too many desserts and realize dinner is only an hour away!

Off to the room to pack our suitcases and change for dinner and final show night.

Our final dinner and we go a bit early to enjoy a cocktail and appys while waiting for our friends to join us at six and the Discoveries dining room to open. We have a favourite spot, table and wait staff waiting on our every need.

Never to disappoint, Santosh and Ruiz are in good form and keep busy with our requests. A full moon over Mykonos as we set sail. A beautiful sight indeed.

The talent show to display the staff is almost over by the time we arrive. It seems every passenger on the ship is in the lounge waiting to see and hear Eric the cruise director for his final show. He also never disappoints and again brings the level of quality of the show to an all time high, a standing ovation, again. He had his parents as guests on the cruise and brought his mom up to accompany him on the piano for Battle Hymn of the Republic. Another spectacular show. The dancers and singers on the ship are also show cased and give flawless performances.

Tired, satisfied and ready for an early morning rise, we head back to our room. A moment on the balcony to feel the salty breeze and then a few giggles and off to sleep. Mom stubs here toe in a sleepless night, broke it.

Otherwise a perfect day, in Greece and one that will be remembered always.

Love Pamela
Wish you were here

Nights in White Linen

Nights in White Linen

Last night was the White Night Deck Party on the Azamara Journey. Everyone dressed in white, pants, shirts, tops, dresses. Table coverings on outside deck covered in white and white cloth napkins. Eric the cruise director and the orchestra band accompanied by the singers and dancers put on an amazing musical evening. More than three hours the crowd was entertained and fed wonderful fragrant and tasty Mediterranean cuisine.

All spirits and wines free flowing, dancing went on until we set sail just aft ten pm for Turkey.

I am so impressed by the Toronto raised cruise director Eric. I have actually never known such talent. I believe he has set the standard for cruise directors and entertainers on every ship. Are there more like him out there?

We could hear dj dancing well after that as we returned to our stateroom, completed our satisfaction survey with all Excellent categories.

Time to go ashore for Turkish adventure. The wind is howling as the storm is brewing with hot air and blustery seas, sunshine overhead. Interesting weather!

Wish you were here,

Love Pamela

Predicting Turkey

Predicting Turkey

Our plans for a port day in Santorini had to be changed. Just the day before our scheduled port of call, the weath prediction is for gusty winds on that island. Five cruise ships are affected and only one can be tied up. The others would have to tender and the seas will be too rough for safety.

They told us today that we will be going instead to Bodrum, Turkey. My fourth different port of call in Turkey, and I have never been to this one. Actually I have never even heard of it. Our little ship can nestle in to port and there will be new shore excursions for passengers to enjoy. I understand it once was a fishing village and will be a lovely spot. Many people were pleased and applauded the choice.

The Pursuits daily programme says it is an international centre for tourism and yachting. History of this place dates back to 13th century BC. It is old! It is home to creative artists, poets, singers and more.

We will arrive at 8 am and depart at 8 pm. We will dock for the whole day. I look forward to the leisure time, although kind of disappointed not to show mom Santorini. It means I get to come back one day! I so love Greece, Italy and the Mediterranean. Especially my heart is set on Greece.


Paphos, Curium and Omodos, Cyprus

We travelled in the morning, we slept in and went for a late dining room breakfast. We wandered the ship. We ate again, and then noonish we arrived in Cyprus. Our tour was late leaving due to no shows.

Then there was a double decker bus parked for a wedding and I blocked the road and sidewalk. Our driver could not leave the area to take us on our tour. He waited, looked, enquired and finally after several minutes of waiting and pacing outside, jumped in and drove the wedding bus out of the road.

It was hot and sunny and Paphos was our port city. Lots of tourism, shops, cafes and even Starbucks and McDonalds could be seen from the bus. We drove out of the city and into the countryside. First heading along the coastline. Our tour lady was delightful, and talked for about 5 hours. We saw Aphrodites Rock (legend has it that to stay young, young women are to strip naked and swim around the rock 3 times in the full moon) and then to the Sanctuary to Apollos including restored Greco-Roman theatre and another big World Heritage site ancient house, ruins mosaics from very ancient times laid out. I believe the name is Archaelogical Site of Kourion. They still use the site for concerts and performances to this date. We tried and the acoustics were marvellous. One of the gals on our tour sang, the hills are alive with the sound of music. The ancient bathhouses included cool, medium and hot water from the natural springs. One would use the foot bath to start and then gradually use the warmer water and then reverse the process when bath time was over.

Perhaps this small town of Omodos will one day host an Azamazing evening. We parked and walked with out tour guide to the local church and monetary, and the shops stayed open for our visit. Small little places selling Cyprus Delights, post cards and linens. Many kinds of nuts are grown and harvested in the area and used for making sweet treats. A special bread made only here with a secret recipe was handed around as well. Mom was heavily influenced by an old fella who took her gently but firmly by the arm into his shop and was persistent she stay. She made an escape finally …. Phew, without purchase. His wife had done much of the handwork on display.

Cyprus is a beautiful and hot place they say, especially in the summer months when locals and families head somewhere else to escape the heat. The river beds are all dry this time of year, just gravel and a ditch marks where they would be. Water tanks on every roof top to be used when the water is gone three days of the week.

Jaffa and TelAviv

Jaffa today

Mom and I had a half day tour through Jaffa (old town) and drive through TelAviv (means old and new at same time). The tour guide was fabulous. Www.Hiyaguide.com I think she said to learn more about her work. She is part of the system that certifies other tour guides. Apparently it is a very specific business and all must be certified and show their cards to authorities when asked. She was asked by local authorities today and wore her certification around her neck for easy recognition. We were group number 18 and a relatively small group of 16 people.

We parked and wandered through some very old buildings down in the centre of this ancient place. I took some pics. Jewellery shops like museums, selling tiny silver broaches with scroll replicas inside. Several of our passengers were interested in these and other items and had done some research previously obviously. Also jewellery made of Roman glass (similar to our sea glass). Very pretty and unique settings.

We had an authentic lunch and they accommodated my food issues with falafel and pickled salad, and French fried potatoes. I ate most of the food and the pickles were the best ever. Sheena would have loved the pickles, too.

Took some pictures of the very old area and learned about the many many times Israel changed authorities over the ages. So interesting and such a very old history. Rich in spiritual and physical era descriptions of how it altered the lives of the people in this land.

We saw Topal from fiddler on the roof … Walking down the street today in Jaffa! Then moments later the ex president of Israel with his bodyguards. Our tour guide pointed pointed them out … It looked like the ex president was going in to McDonalds for a burger but he slipped in to the next door instead. All so exciting. Steve would have loved seeing famous people I think.

We went to the SeaMall in Ashdod and found a great shop for ladies, I looked at the labels and everything in the store was made in Canada. Www.lacecanada.com or .ca. Company is based in Montreal we are told. Must google them when I get home but what comfort it was to see the made in Canada labels. Lovely. We also went by some spectacular beaches on the way there and back.

In Jaffa I purchased some postcards and a round disc with good luck phrases in Israeli language to add to my chains around my neck. I fell in love with it and can feel the good energy. Maybe someday I will remember the phrases or find them when I google.

Tomorrow Haifa and Azamazing evening.

Love Pamela

Wish you were here.

Azamazing Evening

Azamazing Evening

Now, even days later, the fresh memories fill my senses from the Azamazing Evening event put on by Azamara Club Cruises for our particular voyage. What a treat to be part of this. The first one for Azamara Journey and the first one in Haifa.

Such great effort brings such spectacular world class results. The food fills the air with smells that the mouth can almost taste just on the breeze. The lights, some fire torches, some flood lights in gold highlighting ancient rock openings for walking through to the magic. Guests commenting to one another, in delight at the discoveries of yet more details.

Every single sparkle of the night, the sounds of the orchestra and the gals whose vocals filled the night with sounds that brought thundering applause and several standing ovations. Encore, encore.

Dancing and joyous sounds of glee and delight as folks experienced fun and freedom in Israel this special evening.

I have added Azamara to my favourites list for cruising just so I can experience this priceless, bespoke, authentic and exclusive night experience offered only by this creative expertise offered by Land Discoveries department.

When we got to our stateroom after the event, there was a package of Natural Dead Sea Bath Salts and Mineral Hand Cream. How many people get gifts from attending such an event, priceless and complimentary? I know the guests from Azamara Club Cruises do!

I can’t wait to return for my next Azamazing evening this July!

Wish you were here,


Rhodes, Rodos

Rhodes is still one of my favourites.

Unable to go to Lindos this time, I was satisfied and delighted to spend the afternoon with my mom wandering the walled city of Rhodes in Greece. We shopped, laughed, tried on clothes, looked at jewellery and people watched. When mom and I are together, these are a few of my favourite things. (Makes me break in to song like Julie Andrews!)

Ov five cruise lines in port today, Celebrity Reflection, Holland Americas ms Noordam and several smaller ships not sold by us in Canada, likely European brands.

We found great prices for linen items, authentic to Greece. We found post cards and stickers for luggage, proud displays of where we have been with this piece of suitcase.

Also stumbled on another Greek designer, tall, young and creative with cottons and linens. Many folk from the cruise line stopped by and commented. Many women came back after seeing nothing to compare with the quality and beauty of her items. I loved being waited on by the hostess and she has such beautiful things. I could have filled a complete suitcase!

My day started with a two hour Seminar at Sea hosted by Azamara and I am so enjoying the special attention and training provided by this brand. Well done and thanks so much for the opportunity!

Tonight is the White Night Deck Party. A Mediterranean buffet and music will be served on the top outside decks for a party atmosphere. I have something white and flowy to wear on deck.

We will join up with some of our new friends from the United States. We have met so many friendly and wonderfully interesting people on this cruise. I love the ten days, it feels like a good length, still wanting more, but ready to go home. I would love to return again next year. I love the small intimate boutique ships and the over the top friendly and efficient staff we have encountered. As well, the free flowing spirits and wine were served on this cruise ship for the first time and I have to say what a treat it has been. Martini, Margarita, regional white wine daily selection and so much more.

Robes, slippers, bottled water, specialty coffees and teas, fresh fruit in our rooms, a veranda and every day being treated like royalty.

I best get ready for the evening festivities.

Love to all, wish you were here.


Haifa in the heat

Haifa in the heat

Early morning sun on the veranda promises a very hot day. Mostly clear skies and sparkling water out our full size window.

We will have some breakfast and venture out for a bit. Most places close from 1-4 pm daily. So we can have some ship time this afternoon, maybe a swim? I love how relaxing cruising is.

Later: we left the ship and walked out on to the street and caught a free shuttle bus laid on by the city of Haifa. An hour and a half with options to get off at the mall, the beach and a few of the tourist highlight areas. We stayed on for the guided tour. Even time for photos! What an interesting and beautiful city. We were so pleased with the value of this trip and the timing. Back at noon we walked trying to find postcards, a flag and sticker for my luggage but alas, nothing! I tried to change money at a money exchange and their machine was down so I ended up going back on the ship without spending one shekel! Fun. The sun was out, so I donned my bathing suit and headed up for a swim in the salt water pool. It was the perfect temperature.

Mom came up, we had a little lunch. Salmon brochettes by the pool. I enjoyed a cool beverage. Then to shower and prepare for the evening. Buffet dining in our favorite window table in Discoveries dining room. After a relaxing and enjoyable dinner, drink and casual conversation, we prepared to head out to the busses.

Wow. What an event. The Azamazing evening arranged by Azamara was breathtaking. Incredible undertaking by the cruise line specifically for us on this cruise and all details were looked after. The first for Azamara Journey. I am so pleased I was here to experience this.

Tremendous. We were bussed out to a two thousand year old roman amphitheatre, hundreds of us. More than 11 buses full, I did not see how many in total. When we arrived after about 40 minute drive, in to a park area in the desert area south of Haifa, we were greeted by young people and many Israeli flags, cheering, fabulous ethnic music being performed by a team of 4 gentlemen. Free wine, beer, soft drinks and water, in several stations. Food local to the area, prepared and set up for tasting all around the theatre, inside. The lighting, torches, even soft pillows for sitting in the arena. There was dancing. An orchestra played and two women sang. I was overwhelmed at times. My breath caught in my throat. Speechless. This is truly a fabulous event.

A few hours went by in a blink. It was now dark and the music came to an end even after a few encores. The evening still very warm. Dancing and fun, more food, desserts, more wine. We had to gather up and head out to the busses. Home almost 11 pm back to the ship.

Up to our wonderful stateroom to talk about it all, and read about tomorrow’s plans.

What an awesome and full day. I think Israel is a fabulous place to visit and Azamara a most amazing cruise line. What innovation, and back to history in a beautiful country. So welcoming. The many people we have met have been super friendly and very fun.

This is an amazing cruise.

Wish you were here.

Love Pamela