Wednesday October 8, 2008
Oh the anticipation!
Months and months ago the conversation went something like this:
Sylvia: “Wouldnt it be fun to take a trip together?”
Heléne: (figuring we were discussing lots of wouldnt it be fun ideas, like traveling, or buying a winning lottery ticket, or meeting the queen of sheba) “That would be a blast Mom.”
Sylvia: “I always wanted to see the Greek Islands”
Heléne: (realizing we werent in some write the script of a movie type of conversation) “Actually, so have I”
Sylvia: Let’s look into it and see what we find
Months of googling, asking around, reading, calling and googling some more – the idea turned into a plan…and before we knew it, we had tickets, an itinerary and were on information overload.
Checking the weather, packing, unpacking, repacking, trying to figure out exactly how many pairs of shoes you really and truly need, not to mention making sure to leave enough room in your bag to bring things home (or room for an extra bag maybe?)
So…this is how it goes…
Mother and daughter off on an adventure together, on a ship, in the middle of the ocean, off to far away ports…with no cell phones! What will we do when faced with the possiblity of having an extended conversation with each other – no other phone lines to answer, no other places to be, no other committments. Are we crazy? Are we lucky? Perhaps a bit of both…but our trip together is sure to be memorable.
Follow along with us – we’ll let you know what we’ve been up to and maybe if we’re all lucky – keep you entertained too!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Taxis, Planes and Busses
All the excitement and anticipation seemed to make for endless days of waiting. I think with each hour closer to our departure the minutes actually went by slower.
Our adventures started right from the tax ride to the airport. I mean, how often do you get a taxi driver who is really a multi millionaire who supports himself and his family by playing blackjack. A better card counter than all those kids from MIT that they just did that movie 21 about- yep he knew them all, was much better than them and just drives a taxi to keep him busy on the 65 days a year that he’s not hunting and fishing at one of his several estates. Oh – and he doesnt want to put his fastlane pass on a credit card because he may need to buy a house or a truck or something on it. Seriously – what do you say to this person?! I was very good – my eye rolling was not detectable. What a ride!
So there are lots of things that I know about my mother – including that I have some of her personality traits. We both talk to people in line wherever we are – this made for great conversation and immediately meeting people on our cruise before we even left Logan. We also both love to talk to babies and small children and try to guess their ages.
Flying international is a different experience. Most notable by not calling row numbers and not having a stampede as 300 passengers get on a plane. Our Lufthansa flight was really great. The seats were comfortable and we had little individual movie screens which totally helped to pass the time – especially the one that told you how much time was left until we landed. The staff was nice and very accommodating – and the flight to Frankfurt was smooth. Neither of us slept much on the flight and the silliness began. As we’re getting off the plane, Mom asks me if I thought we could find a good frankfurt in Frankfurt – just struck me as totally ridiculous. Silliness continued through customs when the agent asked me where we were going – I told her “the ladies room” then we’d like to go to Athens…she laughed. So into the terminal to wait for our next flight and what do we see? the first thing listed on the menu of the restaurant in the terminal is a Frankfurter. Score 1 for Sylvia.
Next flight Frankfurt to Athens. I’d tell you about it but I passed out before we took off.
Baggage in tow we boarded a bus and headed to our ship. Our driver was Dimitri (of course it was). Brigita gave us a short overview of Greece as we drove to Athens – We passed the acropolis off in the distance – too far to really see anything, but it kind of hit – wow we’re actually in Greece! Olive trees, beautiful churches…oh and a really big Ikea off the highway.
Into port and onto the ship – bleary eyed but very very excited!
There’s always that moment of truth when you get to your travel destination and you see if its really like all the photos in the brochure. We werent terribly surprised to find that it is exactly like the photos – just beautiful!
The staff is amazing and very friendly. Every cabin on this ship has a balcony – no inside rooms and spacious cabins – one of the reasons we thought it would be a good choice…better than we expected though. Our cabin is just beautiful. We are on the horizon deck at the rear of the ship. Literally our balcony looks out to where we are coming from. Get this – a walk in closet! For the record, both of us unpacked and we still have room in the closet so our attempts to continually edit what we are taking on the trip must have been successful.
We got settled in and decided to explore a bit, we explored the top deck a little – the ship is not a mega huge ship – which is really nice. We know its booked, but there isnt a feeling of crowdedness at all. Our exploration was cut a bit short by the cruise directors announcement (I’m sorry I’m still surprised when the announcement isnt this is Julie McCoy and yes I’ve dated myself). We needed to return to our rooms and get our life jackets for our lifeboat safety drill. Life jackets are so fashionable. Back up to the lounge, then right hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you as we filed out to the life boats – of course the terminology of “in the unlikely event of an emergency” really helped make us feel all safe and sound, then again, maybe it was the guy sitting with us who was making Titanic and Das Boat references… we all laughed and giggled – the life boats are huge by the way. Over and done with and now out to explore a bit more.
As we set sail, we got a glimpse into the food orgy cruises are known for at the cocktail hour buffet – amazing amazing amazing – although it could have been peanut butter sandwiches – having no clue what day or time it was or what meal we had eaten last we were starving! A few drinks and a little something to eat we walked the deck and met some of the other passengers – especially those we met at the life boat drill now that we were better attired sans orange flotation devices. The views are so pretty – a mix of ancient and new.
Next stop, a reception for people not traveling in groups. We wound up having dinner with a few of the women we met there including two women who are part of the ships production cast – one singer, one dancer. Just so happens that singer is married to the Executive chef of the entire ship – good person to have dinner with dont you think? Great conversation, amazing dinner and a host of tips about the ports we’re about to go to.
It’s now about 11 p.m. in Greece – makes it 4:00 at home…We’ve had a total of about 3 hours sleep since Friday morning. What a whirlwind of two days – but we’re here and now at sea scheduled to dock at Nafplion in the morning.