Sunny San Juan

These are some photos from my day in San Juan, Puerto Rico back in March that I rediscovered in the past few days. I forgot all about them, and was pleasantly surprised to see these.

I hope you enjoy the tropical photos!

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20130719-131852.jpg The walls of old San Juan

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If the weather where you are is anything like it it here in New York, stay out of the heat!
Spencer

A little bit late, but the highlights of Santorini for you all to see…

Good Evening from the Serenade of the Seas as we sail away from our final port of call, Salerno Italy.

The Internet has been down, but here is my post from two days ago, when the ship anchored in the protected harbor of Santorini Island in the Greek Isles. It was more about the beauty and scenery than any other day, not much history here. It’s a volcanic island that was originally round, but half the island collapsed into the water around the volcanic crater, which is still active today.

What is left is a caldera (almost a cliff) that gradually slopes downward to the Sea on the opposite side. The two largest cities are perched on the cliff, Fira (pronounced Fee-ra), and Oia (pronounced ee-ya). We began by tendering, taking a small boat to get to land because there are no cruise ship docks in Santorini, and then we took the cable car up the caldera. Once we were up in Fira, we had an hour to spare before we had to meet our tour guide, so we wandered around and picked up some souvenirs before it got too crowded. We were on the second run of the cable car for the day, but we knew that 5 ships would eventually be in.

To start the tour, we got a view of the most famous of the Blue Domed Churches, and continued on to Oia, where we looked around and got some great photos. A stop at a winery with great views, and a roadside stand selling Santorini’s specialties, such as real sun-dried tomatoes, pickled capers, grown in the volcanic rock of the island, and more!

For lunch, I had Souvlaki with the freshest Tatziki Sauce I have ever had!
Next up was a stop at a black sand beach, where the sand was made from volcanic rock, not clear crystals like most beaches.

Once we got back into Fira, I could barely recognize the area because 5 ships, 2 Royal Carribean, Holland America’s Noordam, a small European line called Etstur, and NCL’s Jade were all dumping passengers onto the island, and the cable cars were bringing them, about 10,000 passengers among those ships, up onto the same street at only 30 at a time. At 2:30, when we thought we would get back on the cable car, we got on line in the brutally hot sun and we were squeezed in like sardines because of the many rude people who can’t wait their turn in line like everyone else. They just have to push, shove, and work their way around the line. After 45 minutes we were so desperate for even the slightest breeze, but we made it onto the cable car and down to the tender to bring us back to the Serenade of the Seas.

Here are the highlights of my photos from Santorini because there is no way I could share all 211 of them!

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Freshly Sun Dried Tomatoes

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This is what happens when 5 ships dump passengers onto Cable Cars that bring them onto one small street!

I will put up a post about today in Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast of Italy, bright and early tomorrow morning!

Enjoy!
Spencer

A Double Blog, Athens, Greece and Kusadasi, Turkey

Hello from the Serenade of the Seas, we are underway towards Santorini, Greece at a speed of 14.7 knots.
I am going to give you all a double blog tonight, Athens from yesterday and Kusadasi, Turkey today.
Lets Start with Yesterday morning. We left the ship nice and early to head into the European Capitol of Knowledge, Athens, Greece. It was once of those days that was brutally hot, but just what I wanted it to be!

We were on a private tour, and our guide, Dimitris, made sure that we made it up to the Acropolis just ahead of the ship tours for our ship, and both Holland America ships in port.
The Acropolis was home to incredible feats of architecture before the Roman Empire even existed, and to know that people can still admire the Parthenon and other temples up there is great! Just as I said about Rome, you can’t really describe it, but it is all just so incredible!

We enjoyed the Temple to Athena (The Parthenon) along with the Olive Tree planted in honor of the tree that the goddess Athena supposedly gave to the city long ago.

Later on, we visited the 16 pillars left of the Temple of Zeus, which contained over 100 originally. The only negative part of the day was the heat. It was about 100 degrees (Fahrenheit).The Changing of the Guards in front of the Parliament building was also entertaining. The ceremony has been carried out every hour of every day for over 150 years, with no exceptions. There is a major ceremony that is only once a week, Sundays at 11am. That is the one we saw. What precision in the way they march and move!

I got just what I wanted for Lunch, a Gyro! A traditional Greek sandwich with either Chicken or Pork, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, and Tatziki Yogurt Sauce.
We strolled around on the Pla├ža, the marketplace of Athens, and then headed back to the port of Piraeus with our driver.
We had a great day in Athens, Greece yesterday!

Here are some photos from the day:

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The Changing of the Guards

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A Family Photo. I’m on the Right!

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The Parthenon
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Now today in Kusadasi, Turkey we took our one and only ship tour of the trip, “The Tastes of Turkey”. We started by going into a small village by the name of Sirince, with a population of 600. This was definitely off the beaten path. We had a freshly prepared traditional lunch in a small Turkish restaurant… Pictures below.

One of the most interesting parts of the day was going into a Turkish Carpet shop where they weaved their own silk, wool, and cotton carpets, and allowed us to try some strong Turkish Coffee.
Today definitely helped open my eyes to the genuine old world culture, and knock off name brands that make up what we call Turkey!

Now, here are some Photos of our day in Turkey:

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Part of my Lunch

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The Restaurant

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The Carpet Weaving

Enjoy!
Spencer