Tuesday 25 June 2013

Greece: Day Seven - Athens-Epidarus-Nafplion

This morning we had a very early start as we were disembarking from the ship and beginning our bus tour.
Overall the cruise was enjoyable, but I am not sure if I would recommend Louis Cruises to anyone. The places it goes is awesome, and for the size of ship/limited days your on it there is a lot to do - pool, bars, shops, entertainment etc. The food and service however are awful. As mentioned before, the food in both the buffet and restaurant weren't great in Brian and I's experience. Now Alyssa and Nate went to the restaurant one night and loved it... So maybe it was just the first night was a bad one? Who knows. We did eat breakfast there each morning and didn't really enjoy it either, so in my opinion the food remains awful. As for the service, it is even worse. Aside from our room steward Mary-Ann and one server in the Skybar every staff member on this ship was miserable and rude. They would push you out of their way, take down your orders while glaring and then serve them without a word. If you asked anyone for help it was like you were inconveniencing them in some way, they would have annoyed/angry tones when they spoke to you, and this was everywhere - the buffet, restaurant, reception, shore excursions, casino.... Literally the entire ship. Overall we had a wonderful time because we were all together with family and enjoying the experience. Plus, we got off a every port and spent a lot of time away from the ship. But if a friend or family member wanted to go in a small group or couple, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. 

We were up early, grabbed a quick breakfast and disembarked around 7:30. After picking up our luggage we met George - our bus driver - and Theadora - our guide for the bus tour portion of the trip. The bus is exactly the same size as the one Dad and I had in Ireland so there is a lot of room for the 24 of us to spread out. 

One thing that resonates with me is the amount of George's we are encountering on this trip. Naturally it's a common Greek name, however it was also the name of Brian's dad who passed away almost two years ago. George was an amazing man, and despite my time being limited with him, there is no one else I would have ever wanted as a father-in-law.  There has been a lot of talk about George and how happy he would be to know his family was spending time together like this, so every time we encounter a George I can't help but think its a sign from him. 

After boarding the bus, we took the coastal road out of Athens heading for the Corinth Canal. We had a 30 minute stop to see the canal, get a coffee etc. The canal was interesting to see, though I didn't stay long because it was so deep and high up. 

(Photos: The canal)

(Photo: Alex appears to have a new job)

I started to feel pretty sick after this stop. Not sure if it was the lack of sleep or going from bus to boat, but my stomach hurt and I was dizzy. 

Our next stop was the theatre of Epidaurus, which is famous for its remarkable acoustics. This was impressive to see and learn about, but unlike Brian I didn't climb to the top and test out the acoustics - I felt too awful. Still I am glad I saw it. 

The theatre of Epidaurus was built in the 4th century. 

From Wikipedia: 
"The theatre is marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the proscenium or skênê to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating.  A 2007 study indicates that the astonishing acoustic properties are the result of the advanced design: The rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify high-frequency sounds from the stage."

(Photos: Theater of Epidaurus)

(Photo: Brian)

We stopped for lunch at this banquet hall place that seeks to cater to bus trips. The outside was gorgeous - I could so go for a house like this! The food was food, but the service was just decent. I am finding like like in Italy, the majority of Greek service isn't that great. 

(Photo: our lunch stop) 

Our final stops I remained in the bus for. They were the Mycenae   Acropolis and the Tomb of Agamemnon. Brian went up and took photos, but I just felt horrible at this point. 

From wikipedia: "In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae." 

The acropolis is part of these ruins. 

(Photos: The Acropolis)

The Tomb of Agamemnon was constructed around 1250 BC. 

(Photos: The Tomb) 

(Photo: the three girls posing among ruins) 

Our hotel for the evening was in Nafplion and it was amazing. A beautiful pool, courtyard and large, spacious rooms with awesome decor. I however didn't really enjoy any of it, as I went directly to my room and lay down where I slept for 5 hours missing dinner. 

When I woke up our set dinner time had passed, but Brian talked the kitchen into giving is a bit of salad and chicken. So we had a small meal, I worked on my blog, called Nanny for a few and then went back to sleep. I wish I had used the pool because it truly looked amazing, but at least I felt a bit better the next morning. 

(Photos: Our hotel)

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