Odessa to Athens
Odessa was very cold. I think someone said it was in the low thirties. Luckily, we had decided to go to the ballet, so we were not too cold even though the building was not very warm. The ballet was really very good and we enjoyed it. The city itself is about one step up from Constanta, Romania. The Potemkin steps are quite a sight as an entrance to the city from the port. The buildings are beautiful, but need cleaning and some repair. However, it is wealthier than Constanta although both are large sea ports on the Black Sea. Odessa is larger. From there we cruised through the Dardanelles, a beautiful, narrow strait leading to the Bosporus and past Istanbul, in the daylight. We then reentered the Mediterranean Sea and headed to Piraeus, the port nearest Athens.
It took a day to arrive in Piraeus, and it was a busy one. Our sea day began with a Mariner’s Society reception at 10:30. This is where they give out medals for high number of days on HAL ships. The two women with the highest had over 1800 days at sea! Of course we had cocktails while we watched. Then a luncheon – champagne there, and at 4 our table mates had a cocktail party in their suite with tons of food. We topped that off with a lobster dinner and a pretty good show of Gershwin songs in the showroom. We slept well last night.
Today we arrived in Piraeus. Our tour of Athens was just a panoramic tour to see the Acropolis and the Olympic stadium as well as other buildings. Bruce had walked to the top of the Acropolis before so he didn’t want to do it again. It is crumbling because of the smog. Our guide said they are talking of completely enclosing it in some sort of plexiglass one day to stop the corrosion, but who knows if and when that may happen. It is impressive to see even from the base of the hill. We drove to the square where all the riots were. There is graffiti all around, and businesses are leaving the route leading to the square because of having to replace glass all the time. Greece, too, is having bad economic problems. It was calm today maybe partly because it is Holy Week for the Orthodox Christians, and Easter is this Sunday.
That’s about all for now. More later.
Tonight we are going to the Lido for dinner as we don’t want to eat right now. We can go any time and take our time getting there. We may just come back to the cabin and watch War Horse on our TV tonight. We have another day in Piraeus, but I don’t know what we are going to do.
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