Ahhh, where do I start? We are back from an amazing trip around the Mediterranean, aboard cruise liner Viking Jupiter on her maiden voyage.
As it’s our first cruise, we have no comparable, but we are sure Viking will be hard to beat. The attention to detail, decor, staff, services, on board facilities were just wonderful. Even on the rough seas we experienced, me, and my anxiety felt safe and secure. That speaks volumes. But before we get too lost in the ship, what about the lands we visited?
We began in Switzerland, Basel, where we stayed with my life long friend Sinem, and her 3 girls. We accompanied them to the airplane and took off for Venice, Italy. From Venice we joined the ship in Ravenna, a beautiful port in Italy.
First city up was Split in Croatia, a beautiful charming town, we sat in the harbour, and soaked up the early February sunshine. Delightful.
Next up was Dubrovnik, and any Game of Thrones fan would be in their element here. It is packed full with real life sets from the popular show. Everywhere you look, it’s picture perfect and the sun shone all day long. We walked the old castle walls, with views for days.
Day 3 we woke to the beautiful, yet misty scenes of Kotor, Montenegro. We walked the small harbour town, huge red umbrella sheltering us from the drizzle.
Day 4 we arrived in Corfu, an island we had visited previously, which proved a perfect opportunity to pick up a fridge magnet. We took the shuttle bus to the other side of the town and walked our way back across the port. The sun had come out to shine again.
Day 5 we arrived in Olympia, ready to see the beginning of the Olympic games, the iconic place for the lighting of the Olympic torch. Iconic. It drizzled and we hurried back to ship for lunch, grilled cheese steak. yum.
Day 5 & 6 we were in Athens, capital of Greece, cosmopolitan city and place of the Acropolis. I had a gorgeous honey and walnut ice-cream and contemplated all of the wonderful things the Greeks had given us, not to mention authentic honey and yogurt.
Athens made me sad, a city so important, yet covered in graffiti, our tour guide showed us archaeological treasures in the museums and we walked to the Acropolis. This place should be thriving, it should have the feel of Rome, the ease of the city, yet it felt left behind and that made me sad. I wanted Athens to be wonderful and full of life.
I have 2 brothers and a sister who have a Greek father, so Greece has always been a part of my life. Growing up my mum cooked Greek food weekly, and we enjoyed the tales of the Greek gods, Zeus, Poseidon, Helen, Athena, Aphrodite. Greek history being part of their history, was adopted into my history.
I felt emotional in Athens for my brothers and sisters. They had been separated from their father at a young age and never got to fully experience this side of their heritage. I’m sure they wondered about their dark skin and unruly hair often, but we never spoke about this in depth until we were all older, it was always acknowledged but only as a fact of childhood. That’s just the way things are. You don’t think about the bigger picture as a child. They also never got the chance to meet their Greek father again in the 18 years before he died, which is a story for a whole other day.
Greece and its islands are beautiful, I hope their economy recovers soon, and more people get to experience this stunning, historic part of the world. It had been on my dream wish-list for a long time, and I’m sure i’ll return to savour the sunshine, the history, and the ice-cream soon.