This was our third time to Athens but it was my mother-in-laws first time. We booked a private driver to alleviate any stress and since it was the end of the first half of the cruise my husband and MIL was able to be dropped at their hotel. We saw the new Acropolis museum...which is very well thought out and now is in perfect order for the UK to return those Elgin Marbles:) Honestly, it was a good museum and was our main reason for returning to the city. The Parthenon was great as always and is now free of most of the scaffolding that has been there the past two times we had visited. Our return to our ship was effortless and probably aided by the fact it was a Sunday.
Katakolon was our last port of call for the trip. We booked a ship tour because I wanted to see the acclaimed archeology museum in Olympia. We booked for Olympia, archeology museum and a winery tour/tasting. However, the tour was terribly rushed most of the way through it. We probably should have called into port earlier to allow for these tours. The guide was okay, but frustrated by the rush. We ended on a high note at the winery and some delicious wine. Sang and danced back to the ship on our bus which was great fun. I should note that the Archeology museum was a fairly good one but smaller than I expected it to be. But, I probably did not get to appreciate it as it should have been due to the rush.
First two ports of the next week was Kusadasi Turkey and Bodrum, Turkey. Kusadasi was a beautiful as always and equally as crowded. We did want to return simply because we had neglected to visit the terrace houses when there the first time a few years ago. I highly recommend visiting this ancient site and the Terrace Houses are a MUST DO. We had booked a private guide for this port and was not disappointed. Remember to wear good shoes when going to Kusadasi and good head wear. It was rather warm and the crowds were a bit overpowering at times. There is a show they put on on the site that many seemed to enjoy but we were simply not interested as it seemed a bit tacky.
Bodrum Turkey was fantastic. We opted to walk the mile or so from our ship to the fortress where the underwater archeology museum was. It was a lovely walk and passed beautiful beaches and shops just opening for the day. If you are able to walk it I recommend doing so. The fortress was beautiful and had a gorgeous view of the bay and the sea beyond. The museum was very interesting and well thought out but my friend thought seeing one recovered amphora after another a bit tiring. There were peacocks on the grounds to entertain and peak your interest when you heard them call. There is alot of climbing to do the tour and there is a long tour and short tour marked for the tourists. Although it is not always clearly marked. Can be strenuous if it is too hot I would imagine. However, we had beautiful weather that day. Had a lovely lunch looking at the bay on the way back to the ship.
Rhondes Greece and Mykonos, Greece was our next ports of call. I had been to both before so opted to just wander the village for the day and get off the beat and path a bit. It was a lovely adventure where you could see content Greek ladies peaking out from the shade of their cool homes and saying things to us that we have no idea what it was...but, I am sure it was a nice greeting. We eventually stopped for a lovely Greek beer and eventually a lovely Greek feast...not at all intended. Remember that you should ask how big the portions are as we thought we were ordering a few meses and it turned into a meal of mass proportions. The place we ate was wonderful and I cannot remember the name of the taverna...or I would mention it here. Mykonos is a great port that has Delos which I had visited and my cruise mate was not interested in seeing. We wanted another relaxing day, so just wandered the town and looked in the shops which are many. We had a snack and the highly aclaimed Jimmy's Gyros and it was mouth watering good with a delicious Heineken. Then we wondered some more and relaxed looking at the bay. After awhile we decided we were hungry and ate again at the very restaurant where The Bourne Identity ends.
Santorini...ah, my happy place. I dare anyone to visit there and not come away smiling. The sky is always beautiful and the buildings pristine white. We rented a car(as this was our third time here and knew the island well). Anyone who goes and expects to see the ancient site of akrotiri be warned it is closed until further notice since some people were killed when the roof collapsed on tourists, I think this was just after we saw it too. However, there is plenty to do...we drove to the black sand beaches of Kamari on the opposite side of the island and had a lovely lunch. Then we drove to Santo winery for a tasting with gorgeous views. Then we explored Oia, at a leisurely pace. The day was perfect.
After Santorini we went to Nauplion, Greece. We booked the ships tour to get to see the ancient city of the Mycenae and Agamemnon. It was a good tour and the guide was knowledgeable. We were not rushed in the least and had ample time to see the museum, ruins and even see the bee hive tomb close by. we got back early enough to explore the town of Nauplion a bit and have a lovely lunch. Wandering through these towns is highly recommended to see where your feet will take you.
I only have room for six ports of call so I will combine a few of these that is very easy. Split Croatia was a beautiful town with a beautiful market and the city was built in among the ruins. It was done easily in just a few hours and while it was picturesque I would not recommend going again. Kotor Montenegro was fantastic...absolutely amazing little town that is walled in. Friendly people and tiny streets...made it picturesque. There was a fortress you could walk to, or should I say hike? It was a steep hike up a rough trail. Well worth the walk and highly recommended but make sure you have good walking shoes.