Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Highlights of Cruise #4

I'm really beginning to think that there isn't going to be one entry where I'm complaining about the life I'm living right now! This cruise has, so far, been yet another fantastic one!

Day 1 was home port in Civitavecchia. Sarah and I walked around and did some grocery shopping and then we did very minimal clothes shopping (we each only got two items each! hahaha) and then we did the usual cafe hangout with espresso and free wifi. Got back on the ship and did the "cruisely" general emergency drills, company meetings, and the run through for LUEY. Had our show that evening and then I went to midnight snack to meet Sarah's parents. Oh my goodness, I can totally see exactly where she gets her personality from! They are so funny!! Oh, a bit off topic, but at midnight snack, I discovered something.... I CAN eat seafood and I DO like it! *shock*!!!! They have avacado slices as appetizers for the Day 1 menu, and last cruise when I first had it, I just took the avacodo slices without thinking and ate it without any surprises. Afterwards Sarah told me that there was shrimp and crabmeat on it, come to find it out it was a seafood stuffed avacado. Who would've thought that I could actually stand seafood?? I'm pretty proud of myself because I've always claimed that I despise seafood... guess I"m growing up a litte ;) hahaha

Day 2 was a sea day, so we had our first show, Ballroom Blitz. Therefore we had tech at noon and two shows in the evening, nothing strange or unusual. The shows went really well, although it was a little more difficult for myself only because I’ve been fighting a head cold for about the past week. It’s getting better each day, still have a cough though! =(

Day 3 was Dubrovnik. I was on an early excursion with Kellie, but only because I missed my bus lol oops! We got to drive up the mountain and see the Old City from high above, and of course, take pictures! Then we drove back down and walked around the Old City, which is only pedestrian walking, no cars, bikes, or buses. It was really pretty! We saw a cathedral and a monastery (because really, what else is there to see in Europe….) and then after it ended, Kellie and I walked around to explore. There was a local artist playing in the town square, her name is Ana and she played what I would consider and electric bass? Not the guitar, but bass as in the huge string instrument. Whatever it was, it was really cool and she was really talented!! We wanted to buy one of her cds and we looked everywhere but couldn’t find any! (Apparently they were selling them right there in the square, of which I was informed later. Too bad that’s the one place we DIDN’T investigate!!) Hopefully I can find some of her work on iTunes or something, it was really great! So after that, we had some lunch and just did some sightseeing for more pictures.

Day 4 was Corfu, Greece. I had IPM that day so I couldn’t get off the ship, so I made the best of it by being SUPER LAZY!! I wanted to recover from my head cold, and from running on high speed all the time. I slept until noon, got up to brush my teeth and wash my face, then I finished my book on my kindle, and then napped from 2:30-5:30pm HAHA. We had rehearsal in the gym that evening for an hour, so I went to the gym for an hour and a half before that, and then went right back to my room to be lazy for the rest of the night. Definitely a great day for relaxing, it felt so good!

Day 5 was Olympia, Greece, where I got to see the famous ruins! I didn’t catch a whole lot of information because the tour guide spoke softly, but also because she spoke forever, so I accidentally tuned her our after a while because I got bored… oops! But there really isn’t much left in the site, especially after “surviving” two earthquakes, one being a 7.5! Of what was left, I saw the gymnasium, and area in which boxing was done; and get this. Anything was acceptable except for biting and something else (which I forgot) so basically, people got really rough and some actually died from doing this! How crazy is that!? Then I saw a holy shrine, and then the Temple of Hera, and the Temple of Zeus. But like I said, there isn’t much left after the earthquakes, and what IS left is just scattered allll over the place, but that’s what makes it cool =) So, that part of the tour was fun, but the next part is my favorite! We went to a little café by the ruins, and we got to eat authentic Greek food, drink their wine and ouza, and then did some Zorba dancing!!!! I ate everything that they served, it was all really good and different. There wine was semi-sweet and light, and I didn’t try any ouza because it smelled like black licorice and I’m just not a fan. But the Zorba dancing was a blast! A bunch of people who were dressed up grabbed a bunch of us tourists and made us dance in a circle and they taught us some steps. We had to have danced to three or four songs, it was definitely a lot of fun! Sarah’s mom kept telling the men to “challenge” Sarah and I because “we’re dancers on the ship!!” haha I loved this part because it was so great to experience the culture! One of the lady’s that owned/worked at the café came up to me as I was leaving and told me that she was impressed with my dancing, ahah how sweet! But yes, definitely my favorite part of the tour! Later, when I got back on the ship, I went to the show in the Vista Lounge that night because it was two acrobats from Cirque du Soleil. They were phenomenal!!! Super strong and just completely impressive! Sarah and I got to talk to the guy after and he told us all about his and his wife’s career and where they’ve performed, and then he recommended us to go see Cannes the next time we go to Monaco =) Woowhoo!! After that, Sarah and I went to the sports bar with her dad while her mom played in the casino for a bit and the bartender there is named Marlin, and he’s a riot! He had so many funny jokes, and was just a genuinely nice guy. He kept us entertained for about two hours haha We’ll have to go watch him in the crew show because he told us he’s dressed as a woman to do the dancing because none of the females would do that dance, haha!

Day 6 was Santorini. I just did a simple tour for the island, but there’s really not much to it. We drove up to the highest peak, Profitis Ilias (I think) and got to see all around the island and got some great pictures! Afterwards, we went to the town of Oia, which is the city that you see on all the postcards. It was cute, we got an hour and a half to walk around so I just looked at the shops by myself. I ended up getting the most beautiful earrings and matching ring that we handmade and designed by a Greek designer. The setting is modeled after the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods and the stone is the most beautiful color of Swarovski crystal I have ever seen. I’m really excited about it because I feel it’s truly a Greek piece of jewelry. And the lady told me that the designer only distributes to only a few select locations, so just another piece of info to make me feel confident about my purchase. I REALLY wanted to get the bracelet because it was the first thing that caught my eye, and it was double set so I could wear it with the blue stones on one side, and white stones on the other, but it was just far too expensive. Maybe next time… or one day haha! After Oia, we were dropped off in Thira, where I just walked around and enjoyed the shops. I got myself one dress and then headed back to the ship. I took the cable car down the mountain this time, so I have officially utilized every option of transportation to get up and down the mountain!! Donkey ride up, walking down, bus ride up, cable car down… CHECK! When I got back on the ship, I passed out for a few hours because I was pooped from having to get up early with only a few hours of sleep. When I woke up, I went and enjoyed the Mediterranean buffet on the aft of the ship, and then went to the Lido Pool Party where I got to dress up in a toga!!! We got a bunch of the guests dancing into a congo line, and also on the dance floor by doing dances like the Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide. Two little girls wanted to dance so they came by me and I was dancing with them through it all, SO CUTE! After the part died down, I went back to my room to wind down for the night because I had another tour excursion the next day in Turkey =)

Day 7 was Ephesus in Turkey. I got to see the Virgin Mary’s house, which was her supposed final resting place and has been visited by the Pope himself. It was very quiet and peaceful, I enjoyed seeing it. I couldn’t take any pictures on the inside but I got plenty of the outside. Backtracking just a few, the drive to Mary’s house was incredible, up the side of the mountain and it was actually a little scary at times. The roads were so curvy and even though they have the metal railings on the side of the road, they seem smaller than what the USA has, so when I would look out the window, all I would see is the mountain below me and its surroundings. Insane! I kept thinking of my mother (sorry to call you out on this one!) because she gets super nervous around mountains, especially driving up them, haha so I had to laugh at myself a little ;) So anyways, we took that same drive back down the mountain to get to Ephesus, which was amazing! I can’t believe how much of the ruins still remain after all this time; much much more than Olympia. I got to see old Roman baths, the Library, the famous Amphitheatre where the apostle Paul spoke to the Ephesians… all of it was incredible! We walked down the marble road where there were supposed to be tons of shops on both sides, and I could only imagine a bunch of people walking around in togas and Jesus sandals… hahaha stereotypical I know, but it helped me picture things! After Ephesus, we went to a carpet making store right by the port and the host explained a bunch of different types of rugs of Turkey. The important factors about Turkish rugs are actually not the material, it’s the way that they make it and the labor it takes. They are known for double knotting, which is what makes their rugs last forever. He showed a bunch of rugs that were 5-7 years’ worth of labor… how insane is that! The softest rugs were of course silk on silk and they were beautiful. I also got to enjoy my first cup of apple tea, which was actually chilled! I bought some for myself and it’s not in a tea bag, you just scoop the flavor out of a bag and put it in either hot or cold water. Nifty! Another cultural element that I just loved! And I actually met some guests from Michigan during the rug presentation! After all of that, I went back to ship to grab my laptop and now I am currently sitting at the port Starbucks in Turkey! YAY for really good coffee! I was hoping that they might have the pumpkin spice latte, but no such luck. Oh well… I’ll be in Ft. Lauderdale soon!!!

Tomorrow is Athens, Greece, in which I have IPM again so I’m going to take another day of relaxing to myself! I’ll probably be making some phone calls back home tonight and catching so more sunshine on the top deck tomorrow ;) I gotta get really tan before my dad gets here so he has no chance of beating me in our little tanning contests hahaha! After Athens is another sea day, which means tech runs for Vegas and I’m teaching the Foxtrot! Then Day 10 is Messina, Italy, and we’ll see if I get an excursion or not. So like I said, not much to be complaining about with this life!!

Also, I DO have postcards… a LOT of them! I will try to send some from Europe because it’s just way cool to receive them postmarked internationally, but I’m also nervous that they’ll never make it to their final destination. So don’t be alarmed if you receive a postcard sometime in November and it’s dated from September… it’ll be because I’ve waited until I got to Ft. Lauderdale mid-November to send them off. But I do have them! I haven’t forgotten about anyone! =)

Much love to everyone back at home!! I’ll post more soon!! =) xoxo <3

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