Our fifth and final port brought us back to Croatia.
Our excursion took us not only to the second-largest city in the country, Split, but also to the old medieval town of Trogir.
We hopped on the tour bus and made our way to Trogir. The scenery was breathtaking on the way; we saw beaches, towns, and mountains seemingly on top of one another. The mountain range was dotted with bright yellow flowers and fields of lavender.
When we got into Trogir, we walked through the medieval town and saw a cathedral, shops, and even a Dalmatian folk music group. (No, it wasn’t a group of singing spotted dogs. Split is located in Dalmatia.)
Now we come to part four of the Mediterranean Cruise: Kusadasi / Ephesus, Turkey.
I was really excited for Turkey, but I honestly had no idea what to expect. There was only one thing I knew I had to do while I was there: find some Turkish Pizza (or lahmacun). Randi, Amber, and I tried some on our last day in the Netherlands and loved it. We haven’t been able to find it in the States (or at least, anywhere near us in the States), so I was having some major withdrawals.
We had originally signed up for an excursion that would take us through the Ephesus ruins and then onto a wine tasting adventure in a small Turkish village. When we went to the excursions presentation the first morning of the cruise, however, we realized there was a different excursion we were more interested in..
Man, am I glad we changed our minds.
The wine tasting excursion mentioned we would see excavation sites, which we thought meant the Terrace Houses of Ephesus. Turns out it didn’t. We were really interested in seeing the Terrace Houses, so we dropped the wine tasting and picked up the excursion that included the tour through the Terrace Houses excavations.
After a cold, cloudy, and mostly uneventful day at sea, we arrived in sunny, sweltering Athens, Greece. This was by far the most disappointing port.
Let me preface this post by saying I’m really glad we went to Athens. It was really cool to see such ancient architecture and history. That being said, I would never go back.
We took an excursion called Acropolis and Leisure and had the misfortune of an awful tour guide. (This might be the reason Athens was so lousy for me, but I can’t say for sure.)
My disappointment started with the drive from the port to the Acropolis (from the Greek words for “hill” and “city”). The city is just ugly. I expected more. There were crappy plastic awnings on most of the buildings and vinyl ads hung from almost all of the balconies. I was expecting the grandiose city it was in the past, something beautiful like Santorini.
That’s definitely not what we saw.
It’s time for part two of the Mediterranean Cruise series: Dubrovnik, Croatia.
When I mentioned to coworkers and friends that I was going to Croatia, a lot of them showed concern that it isn’t safe. Let’s just clear this up now: Croatia became an independent nation in the early 1990s. That was more than 20 years ago. There isn’t a war going on, and if you’re in the tourist ports, you don’t have too much to worry about.
It’s a popular tourist destination for Europeans, if that makes you feel any better.
We didn’t arrive in Croatia until 2 p.m. on the first full day of the cruise, so we were able to sleep in. This made the jetlag more manageable, which meant we could enjoy the city without feeling tired or grouchy.
This was the only port where we decided to forgo the paid excursion, and I’m really glad we did.
Well it’s been a quiet few weeks here at And Possibly Dinosaurs, but I promise it’s for good reason! On May 15, Sean and I left for an excellent adventure in the Eastern Mediterranean. We spent a week and a half throughout Europe and Asia, and it was absolutely amazing. Because it was such a long vacation with many places and details, I’m chopping the trip up into easier-to-digest blog posts. Here’s a sneak peak:
First up: Venice, Italy.
We arrived in Venice a day before the cruise was scheduled to leave. Sean’s parents just made it in time for the cruise thanks to flight delays, so Sean and I were on our own. It ended up being a great time despite the hiccup. We figured out how to use the public transportation and took a bus to our hotel. Once we got all settled, we came up with a plan.