A Travellerspoint blog

Home is where the heart is.....

But part of heart is still in Spain

sunny 23 °C

After almost a month of travelling (a first for us for THAT long) and eight countries we are finally back in Canada and happy to be home. The garden looks a bit like an Amazon rain forest and the the grass needs a cut. There is wash to do and souvenirs to unpack but all in due time.

We thoroughly enjoyed our last day in Venice. It was Sunday so we ventured to the island of Murano to wander the streets and buy some of the artisans famous glassware. There are two types of "Murano" glass - that which is made by the Italian craftsmen and the Chinese made "murano" glass which is sold at a greatly reduced price. It is interesting that without bring an expert it quickly becomes easy to tell the difference between the two. The price is a BIG clue. Marty bought a beautiful wine stopper and I bought a glass bead for my silver braclet. it was fun just to wander and criss cross the many bridges. Travelling on the vaporetto (water bus) was also an experience.

On our way back to the hotel we passed the ship yard where the newest Holland America cruise ship is being built - that was pretty cool. It will sail on the inagural voyage from Venice next July.

The flight home was uneventful with us leaving early (what airoine leaves early???) from Venice, a short connection and then the 9 hour haul across the Atlantic all done with German precision!

After being away for a month even the Canada Customs person was a welcome sight.

It was a great trip. In reflecting on our experiences today I have come to appreciate a few things we have here in Canada: an ability to pick up our own garbage and hit the required garbage can, being able to sleep with the bedroom window open, cool, crisp early mornings (yes, I was up at 3 AM today), the relative peace and quiet that you don't realize you have until you spend a month listening to all sorts of continual noises (motorcycles, air conditioning, cars and people).

What we will miss: the excellent and inexpensive Spainish wines, Greek salads with cramy feta chesse and the most delicious tomatoes, sitting in any cafe in Europe knowing you can people watch all day if you choose and no-one will move you along, coffee served in a real cup not a to go cup, putting a bag of dirty laundy out on the cruise ship and hanving it returned to you clean the next day, tapas served automatically with our daily beer and the appreciation of a history older than anything we can imagine.

Travel teaches the traveller appreciation and tolerance and so much more.I hope you have enjoyed reading along with me on this journey. It has been fun to share my journey and thoughts about our trip. Now on to planning the next great adventure!

Posted by jonaway 14:48 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Last stop Venice....

This place looks the same as 28 years ago.....

sunny 28 °C
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It seems hard to believe that we have been away for almost a month. Here we are in Venice, down some dark skinny laneway at an Internet Cafe. There is far more Murano glass and chachka shops than there are Internet Cafes! Finding it was a bit of a feat in itself!

So, we sailed our great big ship down the Grand Canal this morning and it was a sight to see. This incredibly large ship casually sailing down the canal and past Piazza San Marco. Holy Cow! It was pretty awe inspiring. The city doesn't look too much different than when we were here as newlyweds. There are cetainly more visitors - today in the port were FIVE other cruise ships. That means about 12,000 potential cruise passengers getting around the city. That doesn't take into account all of the other travellers in the city for vacation.

The ambiance is very nice with gondoliers willing to take your Euros for a very short ride on a gondola. The Venetians are somewhat taken back as the first female gondolier has received her license. We haven't seen her but imagine breaking in to this male dominated world!

The prices have increased since we were here last. A Peroni beer on Snam Mark's Square will set you back about 10 Euros (about 16.00 CAD). We opted for the off the beaten track place and had two beers and a huge delicious pizza for 24 Euros (about 35 CAD). This have been our most expensive stop. Oh well, it is only the kid's enheritance we are spending! Sorry boys!

We must have our bags packed tonight and be ready to leave the ship at 8 AM tomorrow. We are hoping to negotiate our way to the train station (We can see it from the ship) and out to the airport and our airport hotel for the last night. WE are hoping to take a water bus to the island of Murano tomorrow for some last minute shopping.

Then we have that long day of travelling to get home. Can't wait to see everyone. If any of the chicks are reading this blog could you send Linda M a big happy birthday wish from me. I think her big 50 was yesterday.....

Sounds like Calin is home but hasn't e-mailed me - I have heard from Carmen. Thanks for that Carmen!!!!!

Miss you all and will see you soon. Now back to fighting with the crowds for that perfect piece of Murano glass.

Posted by jonaway 05:12 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Dubronvik.....finally 17 years after I should have been here

sunny 33 °C
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Well, we have finally arrived in Dubrovnik. ACTA was to have held a convention here in 1992. Because of the cival war and the fact that they were bombing the hell out of the city the convention was cancelled. I was devastated as this was always somewhere I wanted to visit. So, at long last, we have arrived.

It is 9:30 AM and we have already made our way around the entire walled city, climbing like monkeys up and down the steps. This is a significant fortress. Because it is a UNESCO Heritage site the locals had to restore the city to its state before the war so much of the shelling and bombing has been repaired. There are still some signs. I am sure we will see more as we wander the streets of Dubrovnik. For now we opted for a nicely air conditioned Internet Cafe serving iced coffee as a reward for our morning climb. The coffee here is very different from the Italian version but tastes good after such a hike.

There are four ships in port today (again - there were four in Corfu yesterday). This means that as all the tours converge on the city it will become insanely busy. By that time we will have spent several hours here and may be retreating to the ship. We encountered one hour time change today so were wide awake at 5 instead of our regular 6 so we enjoyed coffee on our verandah as we docked. This has become a fairly regular past time. I have to say that after 11 days on the ship we have a routine pretty set - did I mention that we will buy an inexpensive bottle of local wine and consume it on our verandah before dinner - our own little happy hour. What a life!!!! It will be a difficult transition to get back to the real world.

Anyway - I think Calin is home safe and sound - we can't wait to get home and compare stories.

That's it for today. We need to go and enjoy some more of the city and the culture that is Croatia!

Venice tomorrow and then home on Monday :(

Posted by jonaway 00:38 Archived in Croatia Comments (1)

You say Corfu....I say Kerkira!

overcast 30 °C
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Greetings from hustling and bustling Corfu. We docked early this morning and opted for the local bus to take us to the Old Town of Corfu. The cost was 1.20 Euros per person one way. That would make the round trip journey about 7.00 Canadian dollars. The cruise ship, wanting to suck the last few dollars out of you will take you to the same place for $38.00 USD per person. We had fun on the bus and saved our money for Greek coffee and more Greek salads.

The coffee here is varied - the menu for coffee likely has 20 items on it. We have found that the iced coffeee, with milk is delicious, especially in this weather. Of course, they always think you should have sugar.....The Greeks like their coffee like they like their men.....strong and dark! It is some of the strongest coffee I have ever tasted but it is truly yummy. Of course, sitting around watchin the people is fun too - walue added.

Corfu is totally different than the two previous stops. It is noisy, smelly, dirty and full of character. It has a bit of a British influence - we even shopped at Marks and Spencer today!

Today is the firrst day that we have had a cloud in the sky - seriously- we haven't seen more than a few clouds in the distance. However, this morning we had some cloud for about two hours. The humidity is high so you still sweat!

Anyway, to finish off with the explanation of Corfu vs. Kerkira. It seems that Corfu was the English name given to the island and city. However, the Greeks went for something a little more dramatic. It seems that the god Posiden captured a young nymph named Kerkira and brought her here. He kept her captive and did what any god might do with a nymph....hence the island retained the name.....or so the legend goes......

We are looking forward to our last two stops, Dubrovnik and Venice. We have resigned outselves to buying another bag to bring all our treasures home. Thankfully because we opted for the unlimited laundry on the ship we will be coming home with some clean clothes!

See you all soon.

Posted by jonaway 00:22 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Our Olympic Experience

sunny 34 °C
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Good morning from Katakolon and Olympia. Glad to hear the weather is improving for you. Thanks for the blog posts and Facebook updates on the weather. We haven't had a Canadian newspaper in a few days so it is nice to hear that we won't freeze when we return. We are in the Peleponesus area of Greece. It is 33 degrees and VERY humid. We haven't sweat so much EVER!

This morning we journeyed with half of our ship to Olympia - the site of the old Olympics. In addition to looking around the ruins (most of the site has been washed away or destroyted in an earthquake) we saw the site where the Olympic flame will be lit in just a few short months.

This is a very lush part of the country. We continue to be amazed at the lush countryside, complete with olive trees, lemon, orange and lime trees and bamboo! There are more chakcha shops per person than most other places. Lots of Olympic (non authorized) t-shirts and greek vases. What we have enjoyed most though is sitting in the cafes, drinking iced Greek coffee or drinking local beer, Mythos.

I must tell you about our afternoon in Navplion yesterday. After Marty climbed the 999 steps (round trip only took him about an hour) we hit the cafe. He, of course, needed a much deserved beer.
We ordered a Greek salad and what I hoped would have been saganaki (my favorite fried cheese). We got the Greek salad and I must say it was the best I have ever tasted - almost orgasmic......We didn't quite get the saganaki like at Satorinis in Calgary but a blue cheese version - it was interesting. Navplion is a beautiful city with marble streets and sidewalks - even the 999 stairs were all lmarble.

Well, I will close off so Marty can check his e-mails and we can get on to our favorite part of the day - beer and finding another great Greek
salad and perhaps some saganaki.


P.S. It was good to recieve a video message from Calin and Carmen. I am not sure if they sent it to everyone. It was shot at the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam. He will be home Thursday, hopefully with lots of stories of his adventure. We can't wait to be home to share these stories!

Posted by jonaway 02:34 Archived in Greece Comments (1)

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