A day in Miami

We flew down early to avoid airline issues. January, anything can happen.

We had no issues getting here, but I arrive to a useless but frustrating notice from my company’s travel partner about the conference I’m attending which comes down to “Smelta Airlines” (not their real name) has once again screwed me over. (Sigh)

So when I wake up early (asleep not long after 9pm) this morning I’m scrambling to rearrange what I can until Monday when the flight itself can be adjusted, doing my Spanish lesson for the day, and then dozing on and off…

Basically it’s a pajama-lazy morning for us both because we don’t have the walking food tour until 12:30pm. Read more of this post

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Exit South

In the small hours I am already awake, in that way one does when there’s somewhere to be. So I am already showered and dressed and ready to do my Duolingo lesson by the time my alarm goes off.

It’s raining but not torrential en route to the airport. It’s still dark and early as Dad drops me off. Read more of this post

Missing

It’s now – IRL – weeks after my return. The first few days I wake up unsure of where I am, where I’m supposed to be, what time I have to leave my bag outside or meet my tour. Read more of this post

Returning

A large group of us, across the four concurrent Globus tours, are packed into the bus; the largest group of us are on the same flight, back to Toronto.

Someone is wearing so much perfume that it’s as if they broke a bottle of it this morning. Read more of this post

Day 10: Final Day in Athens

In which we put ourselves on a forced march through the city.

Goodbye, Olympia. It was great!

Christiana organizes us off the ship in what must be record time, and we are shortly back on the bus and again in the weekday traffic to Athens. Read more of this post

Day 9: Evening in Santorini

We aren’t due to arrive in Santorini before 4 pm. It will be dark then. And there are weather dependencies and tenders to send and busses to meet and switchbacks to navigate and half the length of the island to each Oia and our scheduled visit.

But I so so SO want to see Santorini.

Read more of this post

Day 9: Morning on Crete

Crete is the largest of the Greek Isles and of course we are only seeing a piece of it.

That starts with the Palace of Knossos. Pronounce the K: Kuh-nos-os. It’s easily the oldest site we visit, all told, dated somewhere between 4500 and 6000 BC (so says our guide we barely understand) and… Read more of this post

Day 8: Night on Patmos

We arrive on the tiny isle of Patmos at dusk. We walk up first to the monastery, our tour guide very soft spoken but very clear, which makes her seem very earnest. And thoroughly likable. Read more of this post

Day 8: Morning in Ephesus

The excursion to Ephesus is included in our package and was noted by both Elena and Christiana as a highlight of our trip.

They were not kidding!

Despite the late night we are all up and on time (good thing too) for our tour of Ephesus, in Turkey. Which means it’s not just another country for me: it’s another continent!

Our tour guide (whose name I can’t spell but it is pronounced like “John”) is delightful. He tells us, on route to the ruins at Ephesus, about his experience over 20 years as a tour guide. About common misconceptions about Turkey, about his family, and about the site we are visiting. Read more of this post

Day 7: Embarkation and Mykonos

This morning we meet back up with Christiana, for the first time since our intro on the first night. (She’s a lovely person though I think we have all fallen a little bit in love with Elena as our guide, and we miss her.)

It takes a bit longer to get to the port this time: rush hour.

It’s scattered and chaotic at the ship checkin process. To some extent that is par for the course but Christiana won’t know who is who by sight so she won’t realize when some are hung up by security and are lagging.

I am inclined to mother hen a bit.

We get to our cabins. I am surprised to find we have outside cabins, views to the sea. I am less surprised that my single has been set up with separate beds; that has happened at all the hotels for me too. And we have a drinks package.

Once again, we ask ourselves how they can be making anything on this package, with all that is included?

I explore the ship, get lunch, attend one of the shipboard activities and then bump into Connie, who has found a nook in one of the bars where there’s music setting a mood and a bartender sending her stuff that isn’t in our drink package, and I visit with her a while. We know we’re going to be back here again!

The sea is smooth as we sail to Mykonos for our evening stop.

It’s the end of the season, so we are the last ship making this route, and the only one in port (will be the case throughout our sail). So although the narrow streets are busy with cruise passengers, it’s less so than it would otherwise be. I can’t imagine if it was summer and 5 ships in port plus tourists staying. But it’s not summer, so arriving in the evening means we have landed after sunset.

No light, few pics. 😕

We traverse the narrow streets, single file. Christiana takes us herself rather than the cruise line’s fee for the same thing. She takes us around and then lets us free to enjoy what we will of the island before we head back to the ship ahead of its departure.

Connie, Troy & Deana and I grab dinner together, hang out at the bar getting free (on our package) drinks and free (great bartender) shots to all hours, with laughter and dancing and just generally a great time had by all.