Monday, 27 August 2012

Cruising to Mykonos

What's it like to go on a cruise? What would it be like to cruise the Greek Islands? I never expected to be doing that but there I was, accompanying Jean-Claude on a last minute trip to visit some Greek Islands on a French-speaking tour.

We flew to Athens and then bused to a hotel quite some ways away. There was just the Aegean Sea and a few homes around us, not luxury but adequate.

We weren't used to the heat, coming from Paris. The days were in the mid 30s celsius and climbed to 42 degrees for the last two days. Drinking was a survival strategy as heat stroke was an ever-present danger.

A day later we were visiting Sounion along the Apollo Coast. This is the site of the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon. The promontory looks over the sea, a beautiful spot. It became training for the sites we would visit in the next few days.

After spending time adjusting to the heat we travelled by bus as a French-speaking group, collecting members from their hotels along the way to the Port of Piraeus which is the largest port in Greece and 10 kms from Athens. The process of checkin for a cruise ship takes a long time and during this our passports were taken from us and transferred to the ship Louis Olympia for 'safe-keeping'. Each passenger was issued with a plastic card with package details including codes for meal arrangements. these cards had to be used to check in and out of the cruise ship so crew could keep tabs on who was or was not on board.

Our little cabin was located along the external side of the ship which meant we had a window and I enjoyed watching the water swooshing past or the sun coming up or going down. A lot of the travelling was done at night.

After we left the port of Pireaus along the coast from Athens we cruised to the island of Mykonos. It's very touristy but a good introduction to your typical Greek Island. There are two items to see of note: Little Venice is a waterfront portion of Mykonos where you need to be rather careful as you squeeze past the eateries, otherwise you are likely to be dumped on by a wave.

There are old non-functioning windmills near the waterfront but you can't go inside them to look around. Mykonos is part of the Cyclades group of islands. It was a long day, having got up extremely early in the morning (most days), caught a tour bus, checked into our cruise ship and made an excursion on Mykonos. All excursions cost additional money.

When we got back from our evening meal onboard we found the cabin staff had turned our towels into a little work of creativity. That was fun.

Another night we returned to find the towels as a rabbit wearing my glasses.

Each night we had a choice of restaurants to visit and there was certainly plenty of food.


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