It was so nice to be back on the Regent Voyager...we felt right at home and settled in quickly. We looked forward to a very port intensive cruise for the next 10 days; a different port everyday cruising around Greece and up the Dalmatian Coast to Venice.
As soon as we boarded the Voyager we immediately sprang into action since we arranged a welcome aboard party for our Cruise Specialists guests. Along with our group most of the staff also showed up. Captain Sanguineti, Serena Melani, the first female Staff Captain on Regent, GM Ralph, Cruise Consultant Gudrun and Ship’s Hostess Andreana all came to enjoy the scenic sail-away from Constantinople...I mean Istanbul!
On our first night on the ship we ran into friends from home. We have known Shirley for 23 years as we all belong to the Harbor Point swim club in Mill Valley. Her companion Rick lives in Tiburon and we have cruised with him several times on Regent. We had a lot to catch up on and looked forward to sharing some nice times with them on this cruise. What a pleasant surprise!
We arrived in Santorini on a glorious day and this time
CRUISE SPECIALISTS PARTY
The Food & Beverage staff awaits our guests.
we were able to make it ashore. At this port they must have a very strong seamen's union because the ship could not use their own tenders to take us into port. We boarded local tenders for the trip to shore. The sheer black peaks with all-white houses and buildings makes Santorini look like a big chocolate cake topped with whipped cream. Once ashore we opted for the cable car instead of a donkey to get us up the 1000’ cliff to the rim of the volcano where the town of Fira is located. We took a local bus to Oia at the far end of the island--a small village that is not so overrun with visitors. Santorini really is as picturesque as all the travel posters suggest with windmills dotting the hills and the whitewashed villages clinging to the top of the remnants of the volcano which exploded around 1600BC .We were lucky to be there prior to the big tourist season when as many as 10 ships can be at anchor. We wandered the cobblestone streets of Oia and admired the spectacular views across the Aegean before taking the bus back to Fira. We had a very talented
VAN & WIMBERLY
"Georgia on my mind"
bus driver in that he could talk on his cell phone and light a cigarette all while steering a big bus on the narrow country roads weaving around the island. But as all of this was going on a motorcyclist went zooming past us and he was texting! Maybe this will be the new sport added to the Olympic Games.
We ended up at a Chinese restaurant in Fira for lunch as we were about mezed-out after two weeks in Turkey. The owner was from Penang, Malaysia and he was so tickled when we told him we had been there many times and we mentioned some of our favorite haunts in this Asian outpost.
One of the oldest cities in the world was our next stop. Athens is as beautiful and timeless as ever in spite of all the economic problems the country is facing. We went into town from the port of Piraeus to check out this classical city. The Acropolis and Parthenon are as regal as ever towering over the Plaka. We saw the more modern Panathinaiko Stadium which is the largest marble structure in the world and site of the original Olympic Stadium.
She's the hostess with the mostest!
talked with a local tour guide and she told us that many of the financial ills plaguing Greece are due to the high number of illegal aliens flooding in from the Middle East. The EU has other opinions. She said that this group comprises 23% of the population and they don’t pay taxes but use the schools and hospitals. With gasoline at $12 a gallon, many cars are just parked and not used anymore.Fortunately there weren’t any demonstrations going on while we were there as they have become quite violent. A very important election is pending which will have a significant impact on the future of this cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy.
We stopped at Katakolon which is the gateway to Olympia. In two weeks time the Olympic Torch will be lit there and it will begin making its way to London for the Summer Games. We had a nice Greek lunch with our friend Gudrun on the quay, the site of a very special event hosted by Captain Dag on a previous world cruise.
Corfu was another delightful surprise. From the looks of the fancy boats in the marinas and teeming markets and
This day celebrates the local gendarmes.
number of tourists one would never know that Greece is in the midst of a financial crisis. We walked from the port into the medieval city center—a place dotted with ramparts and fortresses.The Greek government has declared it a Kastropolis—a castle city. We took a picnic to a park overlooking the Ionian Sea.
Greece is a great place to visit, especially in the spring before the heat and crowds arrive. We enjoyed our travels in this country---so rich in history and mythology and watery beauty.
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