Monday, September 7, 2020
We were in our 20s when we took our first cruise in 1974; our second in 1975. But it took us nearly 20 years before we cruised again. Since none of us were getting any younger, we began re-uniting with family for frequent get-togethers on board cruise ships destined to marvelous and interesting places. But not until retirement, did we fully appreciate and embrace the joys of Grand Cruising. Once we switched from 7-10-day cruises to months-long cruising, we were hooked!!!
“Why,” you may ask? Well, we wondered about that, too. And it was an overheard comment that helped put it into perspective: a long-time cruiser said, “I have more sea friends than land friends!” And that’s the answer: it’s the camaraderie. The new friends you make along the way. The feeling of “home-away-from-home!” You board the ship and unpack, putting your things away in closets; drawers; cupboards. You make yourself “at home.” You have “neighbors” and you see them frequently in the library, lectures, shops, lounges, and dining rooms. You have a “community” where you can work and play. Your primary job is to tour, explore, and learn about new and exciting places. But in addition, you attend lectures, and view films pertaining to those ports-of-call coming up. You have opportunities to volunteer and contribute to charitable causes. You can take classes such as cooking or computers or gaming among many offered. You’ll establish a routine and find that even on “sea days,” you have a remarkably busy schedule! You get haircuts and manicures. You visit the gym for workouts, and you may indulge in spa treatments. Maybe you’ll just hang out at the pool. And if you have business to attend to, or perhaps a blog to write and publish, well that too, is easy to accomplish. Internet access is available—and Elon Musk is making it even better with his Starlink program of satellites!!!
This particular blog post was inspired, last week, while we enjoyed lunch with some of our “sea friends.” Once a month, some of us living in Florida have started traveling to centrally located restaurants (yes, always socially-distanced!) We talk about cruises and destinations. We share experiences and exchange details about excursions and sight-seeing. Last week, we found ourselves talking about European ruins. The memories flowed. Here’s an armchair tour of our favorites:
THE ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS Greece
The word ACROPOLIS is generic and simply means “a high fortified area.” But the Acropolis of Athens is special and is understood, without qualification, to be The Acropolis. The significance of The Acropolis comes from its age, size, history, and architecture. It embodies the legacy and glory of Classical Greece. Located atop a 7.4-acre flat rock rising nearly 500 feet above the city of Athens, this ground has been inhabited since the Early Neolithic period, but the ruins we see today date to the Periclean Period (named for Pericles [495-429 BC] the prominent statesman, orator and general of Athens during the Golden Age of Athens [460-430 BC.])
Located in what is today modern Turkey, Ephesus was an ancient Greek city built on the Ionian coast in the 10th century BC. It was considered the greatest trading center in the Mediterranean. Eventually, the harbor silted up and the city declined. Its excavated remains now reveal the centuries of history ranging from Classical Greek to the Roman Empire to the spread of Christianity.
Pompeii was an ancient city near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD buried the city under 13 to 20 feet of volcanic ash and pumice. That ash acted as a preservative. Thus, a unique snapshot of Roman life was frozen in time when Pompeii was buried. This was a wealthy town with many fine public buildings and luxurious private homes all with lavish decorations, furnishings and works of art. Unfortunately, early excavators found and plundered the site. Over the centuries, more serious, but none-the-less haphazard, archaeology was conducted. UNESCO declared Pompeii a World Heritage Site in 1997. And since then, conservation has been the main goal.
Next month, we’ll be congregating on the Treasure Coast.
Can’t wait to talk travel!!!