A Travellerspoint blog

OPA! Land of Ouzzo and Cheese

sunny 30 °C
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Good morning! It is a fine and beautiful day in Navplion, Greece - our first stop in Greece. I am sure it is rude to start with the weather report but it is 10 AM and already probably about 28 degrees. So we can expect a scorcher again today. We got our Canadian newspaper this morning and read that the low was going to be 4 degrees - ouch! You must all be pretty cranky! Well, in a week we will be back in Calgary being misearble with all of you! The difference will be that we will be the ones with the tan! Sorry to have to rub that in.

Well, it has been an interesting transition from Italy to Greece. The Italians are, dare I say, emotional. Lots of loud talking (shouting), hand waving and car horns honking. While I have only been in Navplion for an hour it seems much more laid back and civilized. This is a charming little place. It looks like it has promise for some good shopping too - mostly silver jewellry - my favorite!

We travelled to Sicily the day before yesterday and had a nice time walking around the town of Taormina. Lots of locals to mingle with. Sadly the weather didn't co-operate and we only saw the outline of Mt. Etna from the Greek Theater in town. Oh well, I did buy a postcard.

We spent our only day at sea relaxing and taking in some of the activities on board the ship. Personally, there are just too many people for my liking on a ship day. It is much better when they are all in port!

Marty has left me this morning in his quest to climb to Palamidi Castle which is perched on the side of a mountain. Standing between him and his quest is 999 stiars up the sheer side of the mountain. I decided that this wasn't exactly my idea of fun so I did what any smart person would - gave him the camera and said I would meet up with him sometime this afternoon.......I can't wait to see the photos......

We have really enjoyed the verandah of our cabin, retreating there to enjoy the views and our own stock of local wine. This morning we got up to watch our entry into the port and watch the sunrise. For all of you students and grads out there - upsell this feature. It has been the best extra money we spent so far!!!! More on that in Sales class in January.

My time is almost up and the shops are now open so I will close off with a friendly OPA and wish you all a happy day - please turn up the furnace for our arrival......

Posted by jonaway 23:54 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

Man is it hot here!!!!!

Our day in Roma

sunny 40 °C
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Well, I know you are not going to want to hear the weather report but it is so hot here it is almost unbearable. Darren reported that we arent missing anything in Calgary. Oh well, perhaps we can bring some good weather with us when we return. The temperature showed at 38.5 at about 11 AM this morning in Rome. So I am sure it is over 40 by now.

Today is a national holiday in Italy so everything is closed. What a way to say on buying things! They werent kidding about the closures, except for a few bars and souvenir places it is pretty quiet here. We took the train from the port Civitavecchia with little probelm. Boy are the trains in Italy different from Spain (Spain is modern and comfortable, Italy is dirty, graffitti ridden and prone to cancellations on holidays). That last point is why we ae now spending time at an internet cafe across from the Rome train station. We chose food and beer rather than the 12:39 train thinking we would take the 1:39 which was cancelled because of the holiday so now we are killing time until the 2:39. Hopefully that will work and we wont miss the ships departure. (sorry for the lack of apostrophes - I cant find that character on this keboard!)

Tomorrow we will have a relaxing day on the ship with a late afternoon arrival into Sicily. Hopefully some of the shops will be open by then. We have fallen into a routine of spending a fair bit of time on our verandah - not taking in too many of the shows.

Our day in Tuscany yesterday was fabulus. After the previous post we had lunch, with lots of local wine and great food and then toured a Villa with an actual noble family living upstairs. It was remarkable to see.

I must say the Italians are much more emotional on so many levels than the Spanish.

I must go - the power just went out and my time is up. Thanks for sending us messages. Love hearing from Canada. Still n word on Calin - I suspect he is having a blast - still!

Posted by jonaway 05:08 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Bella Tuscanny

sunny 28 °C
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Hello all. We have been out of Internet touch for a few days but all is well with us. The cruise ship has provided a much needed relaxation point in the trip. We loved Barcelona but felt we had no time to see anything in detail. The embarkation onto the ship in the middle of the day put a monkey wrench in our sitghseeing. Oh well, we will have to come back.

The ship is very much like we left it three years ago. Our cabin in on the Navigation deck right near the bridge. The extra cost for the verandah has been so worth it. We buy a cheap bottle of local wine and enjoy it in the comfort of our deck. Last night we were lucky to have a view of Monaco as the sun was setting.

It is still stinking hot here - I am sure you are all jealous of that fact.

We arrived this morning in Livorno - the port for tours going to Pisa and Florence. Not being ones to go with the trend we are on an all day tour of the area of Tuscanny. Right now we are in Lucca - a meadevil (sp.) walled city. As luck would have it we found an Internet cafe just on the way back to the bus. We had to also stop for some lovely Italian gellato in Puccini square. it seems this is Puccinis birthplace. who knew?????

Anyway that is all for now as we must catch the bus. We are in Rome tomorrow and it is a national holiday so we will be taking the train in to Rome and then riding the Hop On Hop Off bus for the day. Perhaps a day of drinking cappuchino and eating gelatto!


Posted by jonaway 02:49 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Hmmmm...Sweaty Spaniard or Sweaty Canadian

Such a dilemma!

sunny 37 °C
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Hello everyone. Well, after a week in southern Spain we have settled in nicely. It have been a long time since we have travelled in this carefree and independent manner. It is working out very well. No marital spats on any sort. The only problem is Marty doesn´t seem quite as interested as I do in shopping. Go figure.

We had a great time in Seville, due in part to our new friend, the owner of the Hotel Alminar - Francisco. He just made our stay there even more special. Last night we were fortunate to spend an hour at an authentic Flamenco show. Nothing too touristy or expensive - for around 20 dollars we were seated in a small house that had been converted to a theater. A small stage and 98 others, including two obnoxious Americans behind us - oh well, there aren´t too many of them travelling in Europe right now. Anyway so amazing. A Spanish guitar player, a female singer, a female dancer and a male dancer. I haven´t really ever seen that much flamenco and I am by no means an expert but I was entranced withtheir physical abilities. Who knew you could work up such a sweat just by clapping (that would be the male dancer I spoke of in my title). Then he got to dance and got even sweatier.....oh my. The weather continues to be bery hot (37 or 38 degrees everyday) so I will continue to travel with my sweaty Canadian!

We took the high speed train today to Cordoba, our last stop in southern Spain - we leave for Barcelona tomorrow afternoon. This afternoon we toured the Mequitza. The Calgary Herald reported that it is the number one underrated structure from an architectural standpoint and I would have to agree. Here, in the middle of town you have this Moorish (Arab) mosque that took two centuries to build. When the Spanish reconquered the area the Christians (for some stupid reason) built the largest, most over the top church right in the middle of the mosque. It is quite the sight to see - Moorish carvings amongst Christian altars and paintings.

We had a bomberos truck go by us today (yes, the bomb squad) Nothing too important I hope. Maybe just an old Spaniard who left his ham wrapped in brown paper near the Mequitza!

Most of the stores are closed today as it is Sunday so we are taking it easy - a bit of a down day. Will get cleaned up and out for a late dinner at some bodega or another. We haven´t had a bad meal since we arrived. And after a week we are speaking Spanish in an acceptable manner, numbers, food, drinks, directions, taxis - no problemo.

We did finally have a short post from Calin. He is Switzerland and having a blast. I see the temperature is sloly rising in Calgary. STay warm - we can compare tans when we get back - HA!

Posted by jonaway 08:28 Archived in Spain Comments (3)

Walk, walk, walk!

sunny 34 °C
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Hello to everyone and especially to Mitchell who turned 22 today. Wish you were here or we were there!!!

Just a quick post today to let you know that we are still loving Spain and all it has to offer. Today, instead of spending 13 Euros and taking the tourist bus (hop on hop off) we opted for the more economical route - walking. We headed off early to Triana, a community just across the river. While most of the shops were closed (it is Saturday here) we were in search of some of the famous Triana potery. It was fun to walk through the mostly deserted streets. And we hit the jackpot by finding the Farmers Market of all farmers markets - quite by accident. We wandered around there for quite some time. They had fish stalls of all sorts - 2 Euros (3 dollars) for a kilo of fresh sardines and fresh tuna. What a sight. Chicks, they were selling the most delicious looking figs for 1.75 Euros (2.50) for a kilo. That is a far cry from the produce we get in Calgary.

From there we wandered to Plaza del Espana which was the sight of the 1929 World Exposition. They started around the turn of the century but it took them till 1929 to get it off the ground. The Plaza is enormous. My guide book says it was featured in one of the new Star Wars features. We will have to watch it when we get back. It is hard to describe the magnitude of the square but around the main building is these featured ceramic altars (for lack of a better word) featuring every major city in Spain. Half are under renovations but it is still a sight to see.

We also visited the Real Alcazar (another Moorish palace) taken over by the Spainards. After the Alhambra this one looks like a poor relation! The gardens however were cool and inviting.

It is still really hot here. We continue to stimulate the Spainish wine industry as good red wine can be bought in the grocery store for about 3 dollars - cheaper than water! What would you choose to do?

Tonight we take in a genuine flamenco show. Our hotel front desk clerk has been great in giving us information and he says this is a great show. Looking forward to that.

We are packing up once again and heading to Cordoba tomorrow on the high speed train - I am excited about that. It is about a 40 minute trip. One night there and then off to Barcelona. I am looking forward to getting on the ship and unpacking and having them do some laundry. In this heat it doesn´t take long to get sweaty! Sorry to hear your weather is cold and rainy - somewhat like it was 22 years ago when Mitchell was born. I remember that we had to go buy more clothes to get him home from the hospital. Happy Birthday Mitchell!

Posted by jonaway 08:12 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

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