Notes||Notes from Karen's
|Day 1 Depart USA
Transatlantic flight to Athens. Dinner and
continental breakfast on board.
| Mon 15 Sep|
Got up at 5:30 am PDT and left for SeaTac at
7:00. United Airlines flight 40 left at 8:30. Pleasant flight over cloud
cover, arriving JFK 4:25 EDT. Easy trek to American terminal where Olympic Airways is housed. The
Olympic flight left at 7:00 (45 minutes
late), flew north then east along the 48th parallel. On the aisle was an
old Greek lady who spoke no English and had lots of bags of stuff around
her. We ate and read and tried to get some sleep. Everyone smoked a lot,
and a baby cried most of the night (which induced a woman to scream
hysterically about midway across the Atlantic).
Greece's coastline comes to view on a
descent to Athens. American Express welcome at the airport, then a drive
to your hotel. Have a late afternoon stroll around this fascinating city
where ancient ruins rest in landscap ed parks as they have for centuries.
Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel. (D)
Hotel: Royal Olympic (3 nights)
Athens | Attica
| Tue 16 Sep|
Still the same day PDT; still, when dawn
arrived (over southern france) it felt like morning. Arrived Athens 11:00
am. Smooth landing; applauded the pilot. Got through passport without any
trouble, but had some anxiety trying to connect with the tour. Our
leader is a little Greek lady named Christine. Took a bus to our hotel,
the Royal Olympic.
First thing we heard on the hotel room radio was
Paul Harvey ("Hello Americans", over Armed Forces radio); snapped it off
immediately. Walked along Amalia Avenue to Syntagma Square, then walked
around the Temple of Olympian Zeus (closed :( Tue), had Greek beer and
cheese pies at a sidewalk cafe, the Oasis. Back to hotel for a nap. Had
dinner (shish kebab) with Jim & Beth (tour folk from CO Springs). Went to
bed about 9:00.
|Day 3 Athens
Guided morning sightseeing through this city of
close to 3 million people. Drive up Acropolis Hill to view the Temple of
Wingless Victory and the 5th-century Parthenon. Afternoon free. Tonight
tables have been reserved at one of
Athens' best-known tavernasfor dinner, wine, Greek music and entertainment. (B,D)
|Wed 17 Sep|
Woke up at 4:00 am (6:00 pm our time) so we went
exploring. Left the hotel about 6:30, walked a narrow street and after a
while looked up to see the Parthenon, literally "rosy fingered" by the
dawn, on a startlingly high Acropolis. At 9:00 the group went to the
Acropolis and, at 11:00, to the National Archaeological Museum. Christine
gave excellent lectures at both places. Spent first part of the afternoon
in Syntagma area, had a sandwich and cashed a travelers' check, then took
a nap at the hotel. At night we went to Mostou Taverna in the Plaka where
we had dinner in the roof garden. Lots of ouzo and dancing.
|Day 4 Athens / Cape Sounion
Morning drive along the coast passes fashionable Glyfada
with its summer homes and yacht-filled harbor. Then beaches, resort hotels
and colorful seafood restaurants line the road to the Temple of Poseidon
overlooking the Aegean. Afternoon and evening free in Athens. (B,D)
|Thu 18 Sep|
After a short walk we left (9:00) for Sounion.
The Temple there was beautiful. Afternoon we went back to the Acropolis on
our own, explored the Theatre of Dionysos, the Agora and the Thesion. At
the theatre we discovered the audio effects of the echo stone and
demonstrated it to two German boys, the only others out at that time of
day (a breeze helped, it was 85 degrees). Napped at the hotel, then
dinner, then to the Sound and Light show at the Acropolis. We missed our
bus and spent the rest of the evening at the Oasis.
|Day 5 Athens / Mycenae
breakfast drive to Mycenae to see the Lion Monument and Beehive Tombs.
Then to Epidaurus, the famed outdoor theater with perfect
acousticsstill used today for opera and plays. Next, to Phoenician-
founded Nauplia, dramatically set on the sea under Mt. Palamidi.
|Fri 19 Sep|
Left Athens at 8:30. Stopped at Corinth (where I
bought a Greek fisherman's cap which later spurred what Ross called "hat
mania" among our fellow tourers). Rode to the theatre at Epidauros
(beautifully preserved; we literally heard a coin dropped sitting in the
highest seat in the house). Checked into our hotel at Nauplion. Had
at a sidewalk cafe on the waterfront. The town is very pretty, our room
was luxurious (carved wooden ceilings, all marble huge bathroom, balcony
over the Mediterranean). Afternoon went to Mycenae and the beehive tomb
(of Menaleus), then to the acropolis and the Schliemann excavations.
Peculiar martinis before dinner (every imaginable fruit in warm Holland
gin). Incredible fragrance of Spanish jasmine outside our hotel.
|Day 6 Nauplia / Olympia
rural countryside past villages unchanged for centuries to ancient
Olympia. Sights include the Sacred Altis, beautiful Temples of Zeus and
Hera, the famous statue of Hermes and the Stadiumsite of the first
Olympic Games. (B,D)
HMC Arkadia | Eleia
|Sat 20 Sep|
Everyone complained of mosquitoes during the
night. Got on the bus at 8:30, drove through mountains and the town of
Tripolis. Stopped at Megalopolis' (market day) open-air market. Bought the
biggest/best peaches ever. Headed for Olympia. Went to the site of the
ancient games. Beautiful setting - very parklike. Also went through the
museum. Had dinner with the Schneiders (from BC), then went to the bar
where we joined the Ross and Robin Reeves (VA) and Dottie and Spence (PA).
The bartender wouldn't serve Germans if they ordered in that language.
|Day 7 Olympia, Delphi
drive north through Patras to Rion for a ferry to Antirion. Then an easy
drive to sacred Delphi, one of the most magnificent sites in Classical
Greece. Walking among shady olive groves, you'll capture the spirit of the
Oracle. Sights also feature the Sacred Way and Temples of Apollo and
|Sun 21 Sep|
Awoke to the sound of roosters. Left around 8:30
for Patras (very primitive toilet facility - a rope hanging down over a
hole). After a ferry crossing had lunch at Clovino Beach. Heard from
someone that Gov. Dixie Lee Ray lost her primary bid (yay!). Reached
Delphi about 3 pm,
2500 feet up a cliffside on a very narrow road, much
screaming as the bus backed up (off the cliff) to charge the driveway.
Toured the museum, then visited the Castillian Spring at the base of the
Phaedraeides. After a nap had drinks with Verlie and Marge (Montreal),
dined with them, then a nightcap in a little inner courtyard of the hotel.
|Day 8 Delphi / Piraeus
Past ancient Thebes to the monastery of Osios Loukas and
its Byzantine mosaics. Then to Piraeus where outside air-conditioned
cabins await on the Sun Line's famed Stella Solaris. Dinner at sea. (B,D)
|Mon 22 Sep|
Left the hotel about 9:00 after playing with a
local Weimaraner and taking angry remarks from Germans who wanted me to
move my bus (they thought I was the tour leader) so they could move their
BMWs (I smiled ignorance). Went to the ruins of the sanctuary. It was
beautiful. Next went to Ossios Loukas, an 11th century Byzantine church
surrounded with almond trees. Next, Piraeus and the
Stella Solaris. Next
to the bar for drinks with tour-friends. Dined throughout the tour with
|Day 9 Cruising Dikili, Turkey / Pergamum
Morning arrival in the little Turkish seaport of Dikili.
Ashore, you'll visit the famous archaeological city of Pergamum. Tonight,
you'll enjoy the Captain's cocktail party and dinner at sea . (B,L,D)
|Tue 23 Sep|
Got up at 6:00 and went to the Lido deck to see
the sunrise. We were beginning our tour of Greek cities in
Turkey. After breakfast we entered Turkey when we were handed from
a Greek sailor to a Turk (about two stories above the water) onto a tender
which took us to shore. Went from there to the Asklepion of Pergamum. Our
guide here was Turkish. Next drove to the Acropolis. In the afternoon we
got some sun and saw some dolphins leaping in the sea. There was a
life-boat drill at 3:15. Joined at the Captain's cocktail party by Rachel
Abernathy, Helen Martin, the Erwins, Rodriguezes, Reeves and Christine.
Walked around the deck that night and were nearly blown away.
|Day 10 Cruising / Istanbul
Istanbul's fabled skyline greets
the Stella at breakfast. Sight-seeing highlights ashore feature the Blue
Mosque of Sultan Ahmet and the jewels in the Topkapi Museum. Later,
perhaps stroll along the Bosphorus and, literally, walk between Europe and
Asia. Time, too, for shopping in the Grand Bazaar. Later, Greek Taverna
Night at sea. (B,L,D)
|Wed 24 Sep|
We were in harbor when we awoke. Couldn't dock,
so back to the tenders. Toured the Blue
Sofia and the Topkapi.
Our guide was a pretty Turkish lady named Izell. Returned to the ship for
lunch, then back ashore to visit the Grand Bazaar and the Mosque of
Suliman the Magnificent. Bought a Turkish carpet which we carried with us.
Back to the ship about 5:30 to see the departing Istanbul skyline. The
crew were all dressed traditionally for Greek taverna night. Went to the
Grill Bar, then walked around the Boat Deck.
|Day 11 Cruising / Kusadasi / Ephesus
arrival in Kusadasi, then an excursion to Ephesus. In what was once among
the richest cities in the Roman Empire. Festive evening at sea: 1001
Nights Dinner and The Masquerade Ball. (B, L,D)
|Thu 25 Sep|
Spent the morning relaxing on the Lido Deck
sailing to Kusadasi. Afternoon we went to Ephesus. Very handsome ruins.
Impressed by how far the shore had receded since ancient times. Also by
the upper-city, lower-city distinction (to prevent spread of disease
visitors used to be quarantined for a period). An underground tunnel had
connected the library to the brothel. Many statues of gigantically
developed little men. Stopped and said hello to two camels on our way back
to the ship. Dinner with Ross and Robin, then a walk around the ship.
Sailing for Rhodes.
|Day 12 Cruising / Rhodes,
The Stella Solaris steams
into the ancient walled harbor of Rhodesone of Europe's most popular
summer resorts. Ashore after breakfast, you'll drive along the spectacular
coast to the art colony of Lindos. Afternoon free to explore, shop and
swim at sandy beaches. Plenty of time to enjoy international taverna
nightlife before 1 a.m. sailing. (B,L,D)
|Fri 26 Sep|
Drove to Lindos where we climbed 262 steps to
the Acropolis. I had a hard time getting down (my vision was terrible and
the steps were seriously worn). We lost a half hour waiting for two ladies
who got lost, then toured the city of Rhodes and the
medieval Fortress of
the Knights of St. John (Street of the Knights and hospital, now a
museum). Lunch on the Lido Deck where we spent the afternoon. After dinner
joined Christine in the Solaris Lounge. Played a bingo game then finished
off the night at the Piano Bar.
|Day 13 Cruising / Crete
morning on the Aegean with time
for sunning and relaxing round the ship's pool. Ashore in early afternoon,
you'll tour the birthplace of Minoan civilizationthe 5000-year-old
Palace of Knossos.
|Sat 27 Sep|
Leisurely morning on the Lido Deck sailing
about 11:00. About 2:00 we went ashore to the Museum (Minoan
frescoes mostly), then on to the Palace at Knossos. Difficult to describe
that place: a maze of underground rooms, light wells going down several
stories, remnants of the fire which destroyed it, the throne room, open
courts, etc. Cocktail party that night sponsored by the ship and American
Express. Then the Reeves and Christine joined us in our cabin to finish
off our duty-free scotch. Then to the Captain's gala farewell dinner
(champagne, lobster, chateaubriand, baked Alaska). Adjourned to the Lido
Bar to finish the evening.
|Day 14 Cruising / Santorini
The black volcanic island of Santorini looms on the
horizon this morning. Then by donkey up the zig-zag path to the white
village of Therano
better views of the Aegean in all of Greece. Afternoon port of call is
Mykonos. Nothing really historic herejust the best fun in the Greek
islands. Stop in one of the colorful tavernas along the harbor. Grand
Buffet farewell dinner before midnight sailing. (B,L,D)
|Sun 28 17 Sep|
Knossos was destroyed when Santorini blew up
around 1450 BC. Our ship sailed into the middle of what was left of it. I
skipped the shore excursion and got some sun. Karen and the Reeves took
the donkey ride up the cliffside to Thera. The donkeys raced; the trip
was scary; the view from the top was beautiful. After lunch on the Lido
Deck and more sun, we stopped at Mykonos. Took a
tender ashore and
explored the town. It is beautiful: classic white wash, winding little
streets, sat at a wharfside taverna and ate pistachios. Bought a few
little museum reproductions. Returned to the ship, packed and had martinis
at the Piano Bar. Dined at buffet with the Reeves and Rodriguezes, then
watched a little of the passenger talent show.
|Day 15 Piraeus / Athens / USA
Disembark in Piraeus. Short
drive to Athens for the flight home, arriving late today. (B)
|Mon 29 Sep|
Long day today. Left the ship about 8:00. Had
trouble at Greek customs because of the rug from Turkey (after much
language difficulty found out they wanted us to declare it low cost to
avoid paperwork). Made it to the airport on time, but the plane was an
hour late leaving Athens. When we got to New York, paid duty at customs,
ran through traffic (carrying luggage and the rug), we had 5 minutes to
spare catching our domestic flight at 6:30pm EDT. Cool and raining lightly
when we arrived at SeaTac 9:10pm PDT.