Sunday, September 4, 2011

Been a few days, sorry!!! All about Greece & Turkey

Hello from Messina, Italy!! I haven’t been writing as much, and I apologize! I’ve just been busy going out at every port and seeing all sorts of new things, and also keeping up with the responsibilities of putting on clean shows ;)

This cruise has been a pretty good one! The second day was a sea day and we did our Ballroom Shows, which went very well. The third day was Dubrovnik, Croatia and I didn’t do much because I stayed in the port. I did get some groceries and a really beautiful scarf! The fourth day was Corfu, Greece and I explored the city with Ali, Kellie and Sarah. Such cute little town with LOTS of shopping! I found a pair of shoes that I wanted (which I’m hoping to get next time) and I even found a MAC store!! I had my first authentic Greek dish, moussaka, which is sort of like lasagna, but not, but either way it was very good! I also tried some Greek coffee, which wasn’t amazing but at least I can say I tried it! We took a lot of pictures by some beautiful architecture and saw “The Fort” (not sure if that’s the real name for it, but that’s what everyone was calling it). I’m hoping to post pictures of it soon because it was beautiful and so was the sea; so so blue!!

The fourth day was Katakalon, Greece (aka Olympia). I didn’t do much at this port either. I wanted to go see the ruins, but I didn’t make it this time so I’m hoping to make it next time. I just walked around the port shops with some of the girls and got two really pretty full length dresses J

The fifth day was Athens, Greece. HOLY BEAUTIFUL. When we first got there, we had to walk through the city (which reminded me a whole lot of NYC) to get to the metro. We took a 15-20 minute train ride to the shopping area called the Plaka; lots of fun little shops there! Then we walked up the mountain to go explore the Acropolis. The further up we went, the prettier the views got of Athens. It literally looked like building vomit all over the bottom and then the mountains stretched up without any buildings. They weren’t kidding when they said Athens was crowded! We finally made it to the top to buy our tickets to venture around the Acropolis and see the Parthenon. The entire experience of seeing all of that history was amazingly breathtaking. The views, the structures, all of it literally brought tears to my eyes because I couldn’t believe that I was actually standing in a place where I’ve heard so much about through my schooling. It’s absolutely stunning to see everything. I know I saw the Parthenon for sure, and I saw other structures, I’m just not certain what the names of them are. I will definitely post pictures of this city soon because there just aren’t any words to describe the beauty I saw. After walking around, we made our way back to the metro and got ourselves back to the ship. Oh, and prior to getting to the Acropolis, I bought myself a really cute gray European dress and some handmade Greek silver earrings!

The sixth day was Kusadasi, Turkey. The first stop Sarah and I went to was Starbucks!! There was one right by port! This was the second Starbucks I saw so far the other one was in Athens. After, we decided to do some shopping! Any American girl would love this port because the men are all over you and complimenting you and trying to cut you deals on their product haha! But be warned, the shopping IS AMAZING!!! I have never seen so many brand name things (even if it was mostly fake) and little shops! It was almost overwhelming the amount of shops that there were. I wasn’t planning on going crazy… but that’s sort of what happened... oops! I bought my first genuine leather jacket which is super cute!!! I sort of feel like Edward Scissorhands’ girlfriend, bahaha but that’s just my thoughts. I never really thought about getting a leather jacket, but I think it’s going to be a good addition to my wardrobe. After my purchase, Sarah and I sat down with the owners of the store and were served Turkish coffee!! Definitely a different experience than American coffee; it was super earthy, not very bold, but not bitter either, and the bottom was full of Turkish grounds! He said that they made the coffee with cold water? I didn’t really understand him entirely about the coffee making process but I remember that part! After, he did a Turkish tradition, which usually the women do, and he read us our fortune through the coffee grounds. He tipped the tiny cup upside down into the saucer, and let it sit there for a few minutes so the grounds seeped onto the plate and out of the cup. He deciphered my “fortune” from the trail that the grounds left on the cup. He did the same process again by putting the grounds on the plate back into the cup and read the trail left on the plate. The only things he told me was that I was clean and that I am going to get very rich haha! He wasn’t really a fortune teller, but the fact that he played along and gave us that experience was a lot of fun! After that we found a little boutique on a side street that had so many cute dresses, and I couldn’t decide which ones I wanted, so Sarah and I bargained with them and we got 5 dresses for $220; four of which were mine and one was hers! It was a steal though because one of my dresses was over $100 and Sarah’s alone was going to be around $100 as well, so we really did a good job with that! I completed my purchases with a hand-beaded navy scarf with two gigantic peacocks on it; it’s beautiful!! So after all that damage, we decided to leave port because I didn’t want to spend anymore. There are so many good things there, so just be careful if you ever decide to shop in Turkey!! And get your bartering skills mastered, because it’ll work with them. I stalled long enough on one thing I bought (not mentioned because it’s a gift) and I got quite a huge chunk of the price knocked off =)

The seventh day was Santorini, Greece; yet another amazingly beautiful city. The city is at the top of a mountain, and since it’s too shallow for the boat to dock at the bottom, we had to port in the middle of the sea away from the island. Therefore, we had to take tender boats to the actual port. I went with Susan, Levi, John and Jacob because we were planning on going to the black sand beach! We got the port, and had three options of getting to the top: a) walking, b) cable car, or c) riding a donkey. WE RODE THE DONKEY!!  They threw Susan and I on the same one, which was an odd choice but we had fun. It’s definitely a haul for those poor animals. They like to hug close to the wall too, so when they turn the corners it’s a little frightening because you can see over the ledge and it’s such a steep hill! But that was fun; so glad that’s on my list of things I can say that I’ve done! Once we we’re at the top, we walked around til we found our way to the bus. Everything is so simple and serene; it’s all white with blue accents. Even though the streets were crowded it still felt calm. So anyways, we rode the bus to one of three black sand beaches (I forgot the name of it, but it started with a P and it wasn’t the most famous one). We rented beach chairs and umbrellas, and then went swimming and lay out. It felt so good to be in water again! Yes, I’m on a boat, but we can’t really swim in the ocean (obviously) and the pool we can only use at certain times, so it felt good to finally be in the water! And I forgot how funny salt water makes your skin feel! I practiced my rock skipping skills because there were a ton of perfect stones for skipping! (The best I got was 5 haha). While we were lying out, a guy waited on us and brought us drinks and food; it was marvelous! That was really all we did in Santorini. We took a bus back and walked down the mountain (very steep!) and made it back to the ship just a little before all aboard.

Day 8 was a sea day, thank goodness! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going out to see every port, but it’s tiring too! I don’t feel guilty staying on the ship when it’s a sea day because that’s the only thing I can do! We had our “Love in Any Language” show at 10:30am (which is really the singers and dancers singing one song onstage with all the crew standing on stage as well. It’s a big farewell to the passengers). After that Sarah and I went to talk to the Shore Excursion manager BECAUSE we are going to help out with tasks for Shore Ex, and in return we are going to be escorts on some tours! Margo, our entertainment manager, helped hook us up with the opportunity, so we’re stoked. They’re even going to try and get us on the same tours together since we are willing to help them out. I’m so excited to be helping out! Not only can I can tour amazing things for free, but I can mingle with the passengers more! I love that! After that, we had our tech for our show that night (That’s Vegas) and then I slept until dinner time. The shows went really well, it’s so fun to perform on a ship! By the way, if any of you decide to come on the ship and see our shows, PLEASE be loud and crazy in the audience!!! It’ll help us out and hopefully get the rest of the crowd going! Sometimes they’re a tough crowd!!

Today is day nine, and we are in Messina, Italy. Or rather, we were. We left that port at 1:30pm and it is now 3:45pm. I didn’t make it off today because of such a short port stay, and I was up late last night doing laundry so I wanted my sleep. At 2pm, we had a “Behind the Scenes” with the passengers, so we did the first two numbers of our Vegas show, and then they asked us questions. It was fun! There was a mother and her daughter that I have seen numerous times this cruise and they were there asking us questions and chatting with us; they are super sweet! I couldn’t help but think of what it was like when I was young and wanted to meet “famous dancers”… and then I thought about how I AM that famous dancer that they’re meeting! Yeah, I know we’re not headliner famous, but I still felt cool as a kid to meet anyone who did something awesome like dancing on a ship! It’s still crazy to take in that I’m living my dream and doing everything that I’ve always wanted to do =)

So with all of that, LIFE IS GRAND!! I have decided that Greece is a MUST SEE. It’s such a gorgeous country; I never would have expected half of the things that I saw. I can’t wait to go back! If you ever get a chance to go, GO! Simply stunning! Tomorrow is home port day, aka the beginning of Cruise #3!! I have import manning, but I’m hoping I can hop off and try to use free wifi for a while to upload all my pictures! The next cruise we go back to four shows instead of three, so it’s going to be a little busier than this one was, but I’m okay with that! And hopefully that’s when I start being an escort for shore excursions! I’ll keep you posted!! Love and miss you all very much!!!

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