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Published: June 12th 2015
We arrived in Thessaloniki, Greece this morning at about 7.30am. Our overnight voyage was smooth and our docking took place without us even being aware that we had made the transition from sailing to stationery! By the time we ventured out of bed the ship had already been in port for at least half an hour. We had a leisurely breakfast before heading off into Thessaloniki for a few hours.
We walked along the sea front to the White Tower which houses Thessaloniki's history museum. All the interpretative boards were in Greek and the English audio guide was disappointingly scant on information. Still, it was a tower that we could ascend for a view over Thessaloniki's harbour-side area ... and we hadn't climbed a tower for a week or so!!
From the White Tower we walked past the ruins of the Palace of Galerius and then continued on to the Arch of Galerius. We continued up the hill having in mind that we would walk as far as the tower and section of city wall that we could see from the White Tower. Our map told us that we were trying to find Hormisdas Tower. We could see the
tower easily from the top of the White Tower but, unfortunately, it proved to be rather elusive at street level!! The streets are rather haphazardly laid out and so narrow and closed in with apartments that it is very difficult to find anything - even something as big as a tower and defensive wall. Although we didn't find the tower and defensive wall we did happen upon the Agia Sophia. At the moment it is full of scaffolding while some restoration work takes place, but we still managed to take a few photos of the art and mosaics adorning its walls/ceiling.
We wandered back down the hill and into a cafe that looked to be very popular with the locals. Bernie always likes to try to find a cafe that looks popular with the locals rather than being a tourist restaurant. Thessaloniki is a university town so there appeared to be lots of students playing cards and backgammon in the cafe between lectures. I had a cappuccino freddo with cream and Bernie had a beer while we used the cafe's free wi-fi to check our emails on our phones. There was no news from home, but plenty of junk
After our small contribution to Thessaloniki's economy we wandered back to the boat and re-boarded. Because we are non-EU passengers our passports are being held for us and they apparently do whatever has to be done regarding their presentation to the authorities. We just have to make sure that we keep our boarding card with us at all times. The barcode on the card is scanned as we leave the ship, shown to immigration officials as we re-enter the port where the ship is berthed and scanned again as we re-board.
But first you have to sanitise your hands. There is a crew member whose job it is to make sure that you have taken a squirt of sanitising gel and rubbed it into your hands before you set foot on the gangplank! To keep everyone healthy passengers are encouraged to sanitise often at the antibacterial gel stations that are placed around the ship, particularly in the areas where food and drinks are served. If it means that the cruise will be completed without coming down with a bug I reckon it's a good thing.
We ate again in the Compass Rose Dining Room where we
are being fawned over by Larry (the Lamb) and Robert (De Niro Junior). Although tips are supposedly included, Kath and Albert always tip the waiters and cabin stewards themselves on the last day. They are not convinced that the tips included in the fare filter all the way down to the crew members who are actually the ones waiting on you hand and foot. Anyway, Larry is really working it to earn a good tip!! He has elevated Bernie, Kath and me to Lord and Ladies and we are accompanied each evening by Prince Albert!
Tonight's show had a 'Piano Men' theme. Apart from ending with Elton John and Billy Joel numbers we were at a bit of a loss to make the piano connection! After the show we listened to a set by the 'New Dimensions' Trio up in the Horizons Bar on Deck 9 before returning to a pair of towel swans in our cabin. Aww.
Steps for the day - a much more respectable - 14,705 (10.01 kms)
Tot: 2.072s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 14; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0346s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb