Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mediterranean Cruise/ Greek Isles and Turkey

We just got back from an amazing vacation! Ever since we have graduated, I have wanted to travel abroad. I have always wanted to travel Europe and go on a cruise. So, a mediterranean cruise enabled us to see a lot all in one vacation.

We started in Venice, Italy. That plane ride was definitely rough! We arrived early the morning before we needed to board our ship. That is one thing I regret. We were so tired after flying, but it was our only time to see Venice. Not so smart! But, amazingly we had enough energy to see some. After getting lost a while in the streets of Venice; which is very cool, but not when your time is limited, we figured out the easiest way to get around was by water. We really enjoyed it! All of Venice is on water. It's amazing that those old buildings have stayed up as long as they have. Here are some pics of our water bus ride and St. Marco's Square and Basilica.

We boarded our ship that evening. It was with Royal Carribbean called the 'Splendour of thSeas'.
It was about a medium sized ship. It was very nice.

Our first stop on the Cruise was to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We spent all of our time in 'Old Town'. This is the area which huge brick walls were built as a fortress to protect the city. In 1991 when Yugoslavia disolved, Dubrovnik was at war with Serbians. This city was bombed and a lot was destroyed. They have rebuilt much of it. We walked the walls and rode a boat around the pier.

Our second day on the ship was at sea. So we caught up on sleep, layed in the sun, swam, and got to know our Irish friends at our table. It's amazing how difficult it is to understand people with heavy accents.

The third day and 2nd stop was to Kusadasi (Bird Island), Turkey. We had a fun time here. We took a cab ride to the Ancient ruins of Ephesus and the Virgin Mary's house. Ephesus was first an Ancient Greek City and then became the 2nd largest city of the Roman Empire. Virgin Mary's house is rumored to be where the Apostle John brought her after the death of Jesus Christ. Many speculate this is where she died. Here are some pics.

Statue of Mary and Her Home. And then ruins of Ephesus.


We really enjoyed our cab and driver. He was a great tour guide. He told us a lot about Kusadasi's history. We found an interesting fact that despite the great Christian history there, 90% of the people there are Muslim; leaving the other 10% to be of other religions.
The kebobs here were amazing! If you visit Turkey, this is a must! We also enjoyed education about the famous rugs made in Turkey. Each girl starts at a young age learning how to make rugs from there mothers, then they go to school for it. We bought a small silk rug. It's very beautiful!

Our fourth day and third stop, was to Santorini, Greece. I loved every stop, but this was our favorite! I have seen a lot of beautiful places and this ranks among the top! It is so breathtaking! Every five steps we took, I wanted to stop and take a picture. All of the villages are on the top of the mountain. It looks like snow from far away. The only way into the villages of Santorini, is up a tram, walk up 600 stairs, or ride a Donkey. There was no way I was going to walk up the stairs and I felt bad for the Donkeys. So, tram it was. Once up to the village of Fira, we rented a 4-wheeler to ride to the Village of Oia. This was recommended by one of Joe's friends. This village is famous for all of its white buildings. We just loved riding around, enjoyed shopping, beautiful views and the food. The water is so clear there! Here are some pics of Oia and our adventures.

The only thing I did not enjoy about Santorini was the back down. Of course, Joe wanted to at least walk down the 600 stairs to say, "we did it". Bad idea. I got blisters on my toes from all of the pressure, which are still healing. Also, we barely made it around the corners due to Donkeys almost running us over and trying to avoid Donkey droppings. It is now fun to laugh about. And we can definetely say, "we did it".

Our fifth day and last stop on the cruise before returning to Venice was to Corfu, Greece. It is the largest Island in Greece. We enjoyed shopping in all of the small shops, ate some yummy Baclava, and enjoyed a swim in the Mediterranean!

Taking a cruise to Europe was a great way to get around and see a lot. I was grateful that I did not get sea sick. I was really worried. A few things we leared about traveling and cruising. Give yourself a nights stay before boarding your ship and go with another couple on longer cruises. On sea days it would have been nice to have another couple or so to hang out with and also nice to have people to take your pictures! We tried self-portraits, but most of them didn't turn out well.
Last, either plan ahead and leave room for souveniors, or take an extra bag with you.

I highly recommend this cruise! It was wonderful! I still can't believe we were able to go and that I finally talked Joe into traveling out of the country. He is a fan other than the long plane rides! Here are some fun random pics.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Long Time Coming

Well, I have been chastised a few times from some friends about not keeping posts up to date. Here it is early in the morning, which I am never awake, I'm housebound, and I am bored out of mind!! So here is my attempt for the updates.

I think our biggest news as of late is that Xander was diagnosed with Diabetes in March. He was drinking insane amounts of water and then in just a few days he looked just like skin and bones (hair and bones). So, we have been working on maintaining his blood sugars. I wish there were an easy way to do this at home, but I just have to take him to the vet every couple weeks. We give him insulin shots every morning and evening. He really is a good sport about this. The saddest part, is just in the last week he has lost his eye-sight. He really can't see anything. He runs into things and I have to drag him on walks. He's so excited to go, yet it scares him not being able to see whats right in front of him. He's such a sweet dog, despite it all. I hope we can help him and he can adapt quickly.

Enough of the sad stuff! Other news is that my parents have been living with us since the end of May. They sold my childhood home (sniff, sniff) and are waiting for a new one to be finished. I never thought the day would come that this would happen. Maybe that we would have live with them at some point, if we had to, but my parents with us; crazy. It hasn't been too bad. I think we are all ready though for it to be done though. It's nice to have your own space. They are hoping to move in the end of this month. Xander has enjoyed having a couple buddies! I have enjoyed pedicures, lunches, and Parade of Homes with my Mom.

We have done some fun stuff this summer. We went to Joe's Valley, where Joe's family has a cabin. We enjoyed time with family, 4-wheeler riding, skeet shooting, etc. . . Here are some pictures of the reservoir and our walk with Xander. It was beautiful!

We also went to the Stadium of Fire a couple weeks ago with my family for July 4th Celebrations. I loved Carrie Underwood!! She is a great Singer and very entertaining! If anyone every wants to go to one of her concerts, I am always game!

I was also able to go Waterskiing with some work friends last week. I challenged them to teach to me to water ski, because I can never get up. I only tried wake-boarding and I got up once! Only for about 5 seconds, but hey I did it!!

We are looking forward to some trips to New York and a Meditterranean Cruise later this summer!!