Port and Shore Excursions
Booked an organised excursion as we had an early sail away and were conscious of time limitations. Athens looked much improved from the Athens of 20 years ago, the last time we had visited, and I know they had worked hard at improving the city for their Olympic games. When we last visited the Acropolis it had been busy, it is probably always busy, but the amount of people at the Acropolis was staggering, wall to wall bodies. Our guide was very knowledgeable but slightly boring, people started to drift away from her, including us, I think she must have been left just talking to herself in the end.
The park around the base of the Acropolis provided a lovely shady place to enjoy and iced lemon drink and get our breadth back, before returning to the ship. A flying visit to an important city but it made me want to return
First visit to Bodrum and we thought it was a delightful town. We just wandered about looking at the shops, marina etc. The shopkeepers here are not as pushy as at Kusadasi and we felt less pressurised, consequently buying more in the long run. As we had a late sailing, we were able to visit the town in the evening, which was very relaxed. I must mention a bar called the Red Lion, which overlooks the beach. Everywhere we had been had taken Euros, without any problem, however when we tried to pay bill in the Red Lion, he didn't have any euros to give us change. I think the bill was about 10 euros, we had about 5 euros in coins, which he was happy to accept instead, and assured us not to worry about it as we were welcome guests. We felt awful, as it was our fault originally for not checking that he accepted euro's, but his attitude was so friendly, just like everyone we met in Bodrum, definitely a place we will return to for a longer stay
We took an organised tour to Olympia and really enjoyed it, again despite the crowds of August. The port itself is just a road long with shops and bars on both sides of the road. We had a nice wander about, although prices reflect the fact that it mainly caters to cruise ships. For example I wanted a cotton Caftan, I saw them for 45 euros, in Katakolon, which I knew was way to high, I eventually bought one in Corfu town for 23 euros', and then spotted one for 15 euros, in Corfu, so I had to buy that as well, it would have been rude not to.
Our guide Ahmed was one of the best we have ever had, he was informative, knowledgeable and funny. The sight was amazing even though it was about 40% and very busy. The scale of the ruins are breathtaking and I was so glad that I finally got to see Ephesus.
On the way back to the ship he was willing to take us to a great carpet shop, thankfully there were no takers, although he did do his best to talk us into it. God loves a tryer.
After lunch we returned to the bazaar in Kusadasi, for an enjoyable couple of hours of haggling, if you have the right attitude, it can be fun, but also very tiring. We had a drink at a bar near to the harbour and were amazed at the changes to the town, which we had last visited about 20 years previously, much more upmarket now, but a little less interesting
In and out of a house in 10 seconds, nothing else I can say. Our guide had explained all about the history etc, but the actual visit is very formtic, all in a single line, don't stop, in thriugh one door out through the other, then pass the usual stalls selling tat.
We have visited Santorini, from a cruise, before, and also spent two weeks on the island, so we were hoping that the ship would be diverted to Patmos, as it sometimes is, in August, due to the Melteme wind, but no, Santorini it was.
After waiting for 40 minutes to get onto the cable car, arguing with non British people who never quite grasp the concept of queuing we made it to the top. Akrotiri has now reopened, after being closed for a few years, so we decided to take the bus to visit this site. We had an enjoyable air conditioned ride to the site, enjoying the passing Santorini landscapes. However, it must be the most boring archaeological site I have ever visited. Anything of any real interest, not including the remains of ruins, has been removed and as it is under a roof it gave the place a weird feel, not quite real. I should have taken the advice of other visitors and given it a miss.
We jumped a bus, which was passing and returned to Fira, where we wandered about, shopped and had something to eat and drink. A nice little town, maybe not as nice as Oia, but we had been there a few times already