Sunday, January 28, 2007

Roma and the Roma 500

Long, Long Day...started out very early and we have barely stopped. Toured the Vatican, saw the Sistine Chapel, went to St. Peters, the Castel St. Angelo, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Barbarini, the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. We are whipped. Ate 3 scoops of gelato today...coconut, Rocher, and Mint Chocolate. All very good but need to try to more to have a very accuratge rating system.
Thanks to all of my myspace friends and family for the Birthday wishes. It was so sweet and tuching to see all of the notes you sent.
Love you all, and I promise to post more tomorrow, but I ambeat and so is the computer.

Here are a Few Pictures to Tide You Over...

Both of these pictures were taken at Ancient Ephesus...I am about to rub out of computer battery, so I will try to charge up and post more when I can...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Cairo, Egypt...Using Your Imagination

Still no picture posting opportunites. But yesterday was Cairo. AT the buttcrack of dawn. We took a 3 hour busride from Alexandria along what they call the Desert Road (for good reason) and ended up stopping first at the pyramids of Giza. They are huge. Bigger than I had imagined. And nearly IN the city. Our guide happened to be a professor of Egyptology at the University of Alexandria, so she was pretty up on the subject. SO next is the Sphinx, which was smaller than I thought. Probably because I had imagined the pyramids being smaller, I don't know. After that, we went to the Saqqara Country Club, about half an hour away and went 4-wheeling in the sand dunes of the Sahara. Bumpy Good Times. Jon really enjoyed that, but of course, it made me have to pee. Then the jeeps dropped us off into a convoy of camels. Jon's camel was named Ali Baba, and that monster was in a foul mood. I thought he might eat Jon's face off. But he didn't. For the next half an hour we ride these humpy creatures through the desert led by swamis or whatever you call them until we reach the country club again. There they fed us the strangest lunch...but that's to be expected in Egypt I guess. From there we visited the tomb of a nobleman that was in really good condition, and then saw the nearby Step Pyramid of King Zoser, the first pyramid constructed.
At this point, we head back to Cairo, where we visit a papyrus making institute...and of course end up buying some papyrus art. Tourist trap, but then again, we're tourists. Finally we boarded the bus back to Alexandria, and made it in plenty of time to be harrassed by the vendors surrounding the port.
Today sucked. Another day at sea and I am again seasick, stayed in bed until dinner, even, although Jon swears the ship isn't rocking that bad. He's full of it. When we went up to the pool bar so I could get a juice, the water was sloshing out of the pool all over the place. Everyone in our group is now in the Chocolate Bar drinking champagne, but I am passing and spending a fortune on the net instead. Tomorrow is another full day at sea, and unless the ship slows down or we sink, I feel another full day of bedrest in my future. I will post more in Rome, where I do have Wifi...or at least that's what I am told. (Just a side note...while I am sitting here there are some young foreign girls outside the disco trying to sing "Dontcha Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot Like Me" English, or at least that's what I imagine the lanuage to be. It's hard to tell for sure...)


Well, I know I've been slacking, and now I have to blog about Cyprus and Cairo on the same day. But it's been busy around here...and still no free internet.

So we docked in Cyprus on Wednesday. We found a taxi driver who agreed to take us around for 25 euros each, which was a steal, considering the excursion to the same places we ended up going would have cost us 79 euros each. So, we leave the port and about 30 minuted later we are in this hilltop town called Omodous. Picturesque, with a quaint little monastary. Not a lot to write home about. Then he took us higher in the mountians to Platras, but we stopped on the way at a vineyard for a little winetasting. Kevin bought a couple of bottles, but to me it tasted like ass and I would just as soon drink the blackberry wine my insane neighbor made. But that's just me. So anyway, Platras. It looked like a rich community in Vail. What do people do there? Beats me. Yawn. Apparantly the richies go up there in the summer to escape the heat. Then, we drive on to this park of sorts, kind of like to the Cascades...and hit a trail called the Kaeldonia Trail. He wanted us to hike in the a creek, for God's sake, and it was...well, tiring and the creek at our house after the rain is about as thrilling. Well, maybe it wasn't THAT bad, but I could have done without that little piece of nature. So - we are late returning to the ship because we hiked all that damned time. and just as we ran up to the ship they were pulling the gangplanks. Seriously, if I had been stuck in Cyprus I would have killed that guy. Guess what? No pictures.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Old Town, Rhodes

Today we meandered around Old Town, Rhodes. It is a walled city, much like a fortress, and really quite pretty. I would have to say it is a little more Turkish than Greek, as there were several mosques but I only remember one actual church. Mostly there was just taverns, where we had fantastic gyros, and shopping, especially for linens. They had some really gorgeous silk beaded bedcovers, which I swooned over, but at 520 US Dollars, alas, I had to leave them behind. Boys - meaning Doug and Addie - look out...we bought yuou guys a little gift here in town. Crossbows and Catapults can return to full swing.
Tomorrow we are in Cyprus for only a few hours, and then it is off to Cairo, our last stop. Still no free internet, so still no pics, but I will do what I can, when I can. Until then...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Izmir, Turkey & Our Trip to Ancient Ephesus

Whew...we had to meet up for our excursion to Ephesus at 745am this morning, which we did surprisingly well. We were fortunate enough to have a good tourguide, who led us through the old city, which in its heyday must have been something else. I would love to put some pics on here of our tour, but when I tried to find a free WiFi connection while in port, the computer laughed at me. So those shots will have to wait. After the tour, we did a little shopping, and then were taken to (get a load of this, Adam & Nicole) a Rug making factory to learn all about Turkish rugs. Morocco, look out, Turkey claims to have the "second best silk in all of the world" - so the rugs MUST be good. It was pretty funny, and brought back a lot of memories.
Until I get internet and am able to post some pics, this is all I have to say about Ephesus...tomorrow we port in maybe I'll have better internet luck then.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Day in Ancient Athens

This morning we took an overpriced taxi from the seaport to the Acropolis, which, by chance, was free admittance today (yeah!) The weather was gorgeous, high sixties, sunny...almost too hot in the sun....Here are a few pics we grabbed while on top of the city...

Fun While It Lasts

The connection to the free internet Jon just stole for us here in Athens is sketchy, but I am going to try and show you a little bit of what we have done...Here are a few pictures from Olypmia that we took yesterday...

This is us on top of the giant seawall in Katakolon

This is a building at Olympia...

This is a row of columns at Olympia that I found pretty...

And here is a quick look at the two of us in front of some ruins....

Saturday, January 20, 2007

If the Ship's a Rockin'...Don't Come a Knockin'

Ugghhh. Yesterday, Friday, was an at sea day. It all started about dinner time on Thursday night. Our Captain, whom Jon has affectionately names "Captain Morgan" had the hammer down in severe seas. My Diet Coke nearly slid off the table at one point. People were getting up from their tables to go throw up. It was disgusting. But, seeing as how we had only about 36 hours to get to the next port, it really wan't his fault - he HAD to go top speed. So, I went to bed at about 11 on Thursday, and got out of bed on Friday in time for our 9pm dinner. Then I went back to bed. Can you believe I haven't been to the Casino yet? Can you believe none of us has ordered extra food?
Well, on a better we stopped in Katakolon, Greece, where we hired a taxi to take us to Ancient Olympia, site of the first Olympic games. It was intersting...mostly just ruins, kind of like Pompeii but not nearly as preserved. Seemed more like a big park with a bunch of fallen down columns and such. After we left there, we went shopping a bit in Katakolon. It was a cute little seaside town, but no place anyone would come to vacation in my opinion. Sorry I can't post pics yet. but when I get a free connection again, I will upload some on here. Hopefully tomorrow, but you never know. We port in Athens, Greece around 8am.
Love you all!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Still in Savona & Stealing Internet

We are sitting on our balcony on the back of the ship taking advantage of an unsecure wireless here are a few pix we took so far...
This is Audrey in between Jon & I right after we woke up from our airplane naps...

Then a shot of us as we get ready to get off the plane...

And another one of the cruisers waiting for hours in the Civitavecchia port...

Here is a view of the ship in port in Savona....

And "Bazar Jon" tooling around town...

Shots of the port town...

We're Here...for now

Whew...sorry about the delay, folks. The technology promised on this cruise isn't as promised. There is no WiFi, which means no pix for now as I can't use my own computer. However, we did make it. Today we are in Savona, which really isn't anything to brag about. What we CAN brag about is that on the flight over, my cousin Audrey bumped us into the front row of the place into First Class, and our seats made into a complete bed. That was fantastic. Jon slept alot, but I mostly watch movies.
The Costa Concordia is a nice ship, though run a little differently than the american counterparts. Only one TV channel in english - the BBC News. Yuck. But oh well. The food is good so far and the ice cream is awfully tasty.
We set sail again tonight before dinner and spend tomorrow at sea before arriving in Olympia the following morning.
Also, in terms of failed technology, our cell phone died. So we have a new number. Unfortunately, I have no idea what that number is without the slip of paper they gave me that happens to be 4 floors up in our room. Our room is pretty cool, by the way. Nice big wraparound deck. Other than that, it's a typical cabin.
I think I'll go nap now. Maybe more tomorrow? We'll see....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Itinerary, Flight, Cruise, and Beyond

Lots of people are wanting to know where we will be in advance...myabe so they can worry, or maybe so they can journey along with us as they stay home and work. Either way, here is the official itinerary for all of those concerned:

January 16 - Flight from Roanoke to Philly to Rome, departing 1pm, US Air Flights
January 17 - Arrive in Rome at 825am, a car then takes us to the Civitavecchia pier
Costa Concordia sets sail at 5pm
January 18 - Savona, Italy
January 19 - At Sea
January 20 - Katakolon, Greece
January 21 - Athens, Greece (trekking to the Parthenon and the Plaka for shopping)
January 22 - Rhodes, Greece
January 23 - Limassol, Cyprus
January 24 - Izmir, Turkey (a tour of ancient Ephesus)
January 25 - Cairo, Egypt (tour of pyramids, jeep excursion & camel riding!)
January 26 - At Sea
January 27 - At Sea
January 28 - Arrive Civitavecchia 8am, travel to Rome, Check in at Hotel Diana
January 29 - Rome
January 30 - Rome
January 31 - Us Air flights home at 1125am, th Philly, back in Roanoke 10pm

You can call us anytime, for only 55 cents per minute from your home (not cell) All you have to do is dial 10-10-321-011-39 and then our number, which is 340-943-5412. We get free incoming calls, so call anytime! The phone will be working as of around 3pm EST on January 17th, Keep in mind the time difference...we will be between 6 and 7 hours ahead of you. I think you can also text message us, but remember, you will pay an international rate for that, (at least I think so) so be careful!

I hope to post a day by day for you, but don't be upset if I skip a day...I'm on vacation after all...

Friday, January 12, 2007

When in Rome

This blog site makes it much easier for me to post our pictures and keep friends and family updated on our check back often, I'll be posting as often as possible. I have attached our itinerary for you, just keep in mind that we will stay in Rome at the end of the cruise for another four days. We'll be home on the night of the 31st.

Love you friends!