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  1. After our time there we boarded a boat to take us along to Salerno. For the best boat views, sit in the very last row of seating on the upper deck, or on the port side of the boat. Once in Salerno we met up with our bus again, and rode on to Pompeii. We stopped for lunch first (it was a pre-set menu for our tour group, bread, salad - very oily and salty, canneloni with ricotta and spinach that was good, and a slice of lemon cake that was ok. It included bottled water and wine.) Not the best restaurant but perfectly suitable and filled our bellies. From there we walked over to enter Pompeii after a brief tour of a cameo factory at the entrance (I'm sure it's an arrangement between the tour guides and the vendors, with the limoncello and cameo factory. The vendors let the tour guides use their restrooms in exchange for bringing in groups of tourists who may purchase something.) We used whisper audio headsets in Pompeii to be able to hear Manuela even if we wandered off a bit, and they worked pretty well. I've been to Pompeii before, but there's always new stuff to see, and Manuela gave us a nice overview that was a bit off-the-beaten-path as she knew many people in the group had been there before. Of course had to see the requisite phallus carvings and brothels! We were there later in the day, around 4, which was pleasant as the sun was low and and there was shade available. The last time I went to Pompeii it was midday in July and I felt I just may burst into flames! After Pompeii we had a smooth ride back to the ship (on the highway, as buses are only permitted along the coastal road in one direction) and got back around 6. (To get back on the ship, go up the stairs in the terminal building. There is also an elevator.) We didn't feel like rushing to clean up for our dinner reservation, so we skipped it and hit up the Windjammer instead which was just fine. Then, sadly, it was time to pack to go home. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. Hello Napoli! Up early - who is surprised? This was the only port where we did an RCI shore excursion, the Amalfi Coast by Land and Sea and Pompeii. We met at 8 in the Coral Theater to get our little numbered stickers and wait with our group to disembark. By 8:30 or so we were off and boarding a bus with our guide, Manuela (this was a popular shore excursion so they had 3 or 4 different buses.) If you want the views of the coast, sit on the right side of the bus, and take pics by holding your phone or camera flush against the windowpane to avoid glare (I didn't figure this out until mostly through the ride, unfortunately). If you are afraid of heights and don't wish to see over the cliffs on the bus ride, sit on the left. And if you get car sick easily... I'd skip it entirely, or take a lot of dramamine! It's a very twisty road and that combined with the height and stress of passing other vehicles within mere millimeters is enough to turn anyone's tummy. We made our way along the Amalfi coast, taking in the beautiful vistas, with 1 stop at a limoncello factor to use the restrooms if needed and buy some souvenirs. (It was incredibly crowded in there, and I already have a lot of limoncello at home, so I squeezed through the crowds while hubs used the restroom and tried to stand out of the way.) Manuela was a very entertaining guide and we learned a lot about Pompeii, the volcano, and the coastline on the ride. Her tips: - Barilla pasta is crap, get Dececco instead - if you aren't familiar with mopeds or driving in Italy in general, the Amalfi coast is probably not the place to learn - I can't remember how to say it in Italian, but a wonderful little saying that goes something like... "the mother of an idiot is always pregnant" - meaning there is a constant supply of idiots in the world. I think we drove past a lot of them on the ride! - they have yet to finalize an evacuation plan should the volcano blow again, so she advises going to Pompeii and arranging yourself in an interesting pose for archaeologists to find years later Once in Amalfi we had a little over an hour to explore on our own (I'm told some of the other buses had less time as they got snarled in traffic and arrived later). It's a beautiful little town with a lovely central piazza, lots of cute shops, a large cathedral, and plenty of restaurants. We weren't hungry but we got some fresh-squeezed OJ (expensive, 7 euro, but delicious) and a lovely hand-painted trivet with lemons on it. The water from the various fountains is potable as it's from the local springs, so it's a good spot to refill a water bottle. Don't miss the paper stores as you first enter the piazza to your left - lovely handmade paper, stationary, cards etc. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. Thank you! I’m forever holding my phone way above my head or finding an odd angle to get other people out of my shots. Thank heavens for digital pictures as I delete 90% of what I take! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. Thank you for the condolences. She was an avid cruiser right up until the end, so we kept her close to our hearts on this trip! Glad you enjoyed your cruise as well. It is a lovely (though tiring) itinerary. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. Our last sea day was a rainy one. I went up to the Viking Crown lounge/Vortex to read a while. It's a popular spot for people to gather and read or play card games. It brightened up a little later in the day so it was time for more Solarium lounging, in between various meals and more yoga. Dinner that night was vidalia onion tart (very good), prime rib (very good), gnocchi (ok), molten lava cake (yum), followed by drinks in the Schooner Bar until bedtime. As there's not much to report from today, just a few random words about the ship. We've been on Radiance Class before (Serenade of the Seas a few times) so we were prepared for the smaller size, lack of central promenade, but lovely Solarium with pool and lots of glass everywhere so many beautiful views. The ship is older but well-maintained with expected wear-and-tear. They were constantly repainting or refinishing the wood throughout the week. I found it to be clean and attractive, if a bit dated with some decor. We didn't go to any of the shows in the Coral Theater so I can't comment on those, but we watched some of the random games that would occur in the Centrum or poolside. The Centrum doesn't have enough seating on the main level though, so we mainly ended up leaning over a railing from an upper floor to watch. Trivia seemed popular on this ship, particularly when held in the Schooner Bar. Per usual the prize is a very fetching key chain! The shops were only ok. We didn't buy anything there. The usual jewelry, perfumes/cosmetics, cruise-branded clothing, few more Mediterranean-inspired items like olives, donkey milk soaps etc, and snacks and sundries. We bought the Voom Surf and Stream for 2 devices prior to boarding and it worked fairly well the majority of the time. We kept our phones in airplane mode and turned on wifi and bluetooth and had no issue with unexpected charges. It was fine for email, web-browsing, Facebook browsing, uploading pics to Facebook, texting, Pandora, podcasts etc. But watching videos was impossibly slow with frequent buffering, and uploading pictures at their full size to Dropbox took an eternity (think many, many hours). We didn't find any true dead spots for the wifi and it worked well in our room (9th floor midship) as well as the public areas. There was one day where it was extremely spotty for some reason - I had to keep manually shutting off wifi, then turning it back on so it would reconnect, but it was just one day like that. Overall it got the job done. Food in the main dining room (Tides) was good, not usually great, but perfectly acceptable. We always had the same table for two which suited us fine, and service was fairly efficient. Food in the Windjammer was also good, sometimes great, and we never had trouble finding a seat (we prefer to walk aft and sit in the outdoor but covered area where the blue cushioned/wicker chairs are just before the far aft open-air spot.) Coffee in the windjammer was spotty - some stations were incredibly bitter and full of grounds, so at times we had to try a few to hit one that was drinkable. The selection of food was varied and catered towards more Mediterranean tastes I felt, which suited me just fine. Tip: try putting the waffle station toppings in the oatmeal! Really yummy, especially the strawberries. We didn't use room service so no comment there. Chops was as expected, very good, though as I mentioned when I blogged about it I actually didn't like the bacon appetizer this time which shocked me as it used to be my fav. I found the bartenders at the Solarium Bar to be the best and most creative. I think it wasn't as crazy busy, and they had time to be inventive and work with you to make something special. In the Centrum Bar they struggled to even make what was on their own menu (it was also often busy and loud so I'm sure that played a role), and the Schooner Bar was kind of middle of the road. The Solarium had a curious issue at times - typically it has a background track of birdsong playing, but at times something changed in which I swear it sounded like death metal being played! I don't know if it was some weird acoustic malfunction where the birdsong rebounded off something, or it was a piece of machinery running, but it was very unpleasant to listen to. And then, like a switch had been flipped, back to birdsong! But sometimes the death metal seemed to be going most of the day. I thought perhaps it was related to having the roof open or shut, but that theory was squashed when I heard both the birds and Slayer cover-band both ways. ;-) Just an odd quirk. Didn't impact my enjoyment of the space, as on the death metal days I just listened to music through my air pods instead. They did have to close the pool at times as it kept flooding the space if there was rocking. I didn't have any issue with chair-hogging, which was a pleasant surprise. There seemed to be plenty of options in all areas even on the first sea day which was lovely. The entertainment on the ship in terms of bands, activities (outside of the Coral Theater productions, as noted we didn't go to those) seemed a little lacking. Just not as many options that appealed to us (we are in our late 30s). But not a deal-breaker, as we picked this cruise mainly for the itinerary. The staff was all pleasant and accommodating, so no issues there. We would cruise Jewel again if the itinerary appealed to us (places we haven't been so lots of time off the ship) but I think I'd pick a larger ship with more activities for repeat itineraries where we tend to spend more time on board. 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  6. After we had our fill of the Acropolis we headed back down, and walked towards the Plaka - a street of restaurants and shops with street vendors. (It's on the maps) We poked around there and in some of the shops, but we weren't really hungry enough to stay for a meal. I was game to either get on a bus again but for the Athens (red) line to do more of the audio tours, or try to link up with one of the walking ours, but hubs was getting tourist fatigue and was kind of done. Such is the compromise of marriage and traveling companions! It was a victory to get him to even go to Greece, so I was willing to put aside my natural urge to see every square inch of Athens. We headed back towards the Acropolis bus stop, listened and gave generously to a street musician who somehow managed to play Metallica on a lute, bought a little laurel leaf pendant to use as a Christmas ornament, and waiting for the next Piraeus (green) line bus to head back towards the ship. Although you may see a City Sightseeing bus that has a sign saying Piraeus on the front... do not be fooled! If it doesn't match up with the estimated time table and/or the staff that hang out by the bus stops don't announce it is, in fact, a Piraeus line bus, do not pass go, do not collect $200. I guess sometimes they change the service of the buses and re-distribute them as needed, so the sign on the front may not actually be accurate. It led to a lot of confusion wth many people trying to board it and getting reprimanded by the driver. Just wait for the staff to shout that it's the bus you want, and then get on. Although it was much warmer by now, we sat on the first level of the bus on the way back. There is free wifi on the buses, but it's spotty. There are at least 2 different cruise terminals - the Cruise Compass specifies which you will be docked at, but the bus driver was helpful and yelled out the cruise line associated with each as he stopped. Once back on the ship I headed to my beloved Solarium and had the best pina colada/blue Hawaiian of my life (Timothy elevated this cocktail to levels never before tasted! He's an artist, and a heavy-handed pour, bless his heart!) Dinner was "dress your best" again - normally it's on the last sea day on this cruise, but it was moved for some reason. Seafood risotto was ok, french onion soup was good, cilantro crusted cod as good, beef bourguignon was good, chocolate souffles with praline sauce were yum, and one of the little RCI 50th anniversary cakes. After dinner we had another shuffleboard death match and then watched a movie poolside under about 10 pool towels because it was a little brisk. Also this is what happens when we try to take photos together. Hubs only has one face: photobomb! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. Guess what time we got up? I've seen the sunrise every single morning on this trip! Today it was in Athens. We were up and off the ship by 7:45am or so and had pre-purchased tickets for the City Sightseeing bus tour on Viator. Once you exit the ship you walk through a terminal building, and once outside on the other side, turn left and head towards a large parking lot where the buses park (there are taxis available as well). We eventually spotted the red bus from our tickets in the lot cleverly hidden behind another bus, showed our printed passes, and were given tickets for the bus along with a map and headphones to use for the audio available on the bus. You can buy tickets in person as well for the same price (around 20 euro/person for the combination Athens [red]/Piraeus [green] line). The staff there was friendly and helpful, and we waited for another bus to arrive to pick us up (it leaves around 8 or 8:15 am, although online they state a much later start time for the Piraeus line that leaves from the cruise ship dock.) The bus we were on had a roof on the upper deck, but even with that shelter is was rather chilly and windy on the route. The audio worked just fine and was informative as we rode the Piraeus line along the waterfront to where it connects with the Athens line at the Acropolis. This is a hop-on-hop-off bus line, so with our combo tickets we could have gotten on and off either of the lines (there is another line for the beaches that we did not purchase) as much as we wanted, with 2 optional walking tours included at pre-set times leaving from the Acropolis stop. We got off at the Acropolis (you have to get off there as it's the end of the Piraeus [green] line, but you could transfer to an Athens [red] line bus to tour the city itself. The time tables for the bus stops are printed in the map that was given). The bus drops you off in or near a lot at the base of the Acropolis, where there's a little restaurant along with public bathrooms - I didn't use them but hubs said they were gross, but free. You can see the Acropolis hill so just walk towards that and you'll go uphill a bit to the ticketing building. Tickets are 20 euro/person for the Acropolis and it's north and south slopes where you can get up close and personal with the Parthenon and Erechtheion, and look on the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and Theater of Dionysus. There is also a combo ticket available that also allows access into Hadrian's Library, the ancient agora etc for 30 euro/person, or you can pay for individual access to those sites. Kids under 18 are free, but need some sort of ID to prove this. There was zero line when we went, but later in the day and during summer months this may be a different story. You can buy tickets in advance from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. This only allows you to skip the ticketing line, not the entry line. If you wish to skip that too, you should go with a tour or buy an official skip-the-line ticket. Fortunately there was no line for the entrance either, so after buying our tickets we walked right in and headed uphill along the path towards the entrance. We listened to a Rick Steve's audio tour of it prior to going which was helpful to understand what we were seeing and give more context to this amazing place as we weren't with a tour. It's a lot of steps, lot of hills, slippery stone/marble, and little to no hand rails, so choose footwear accordingly. Although there was no wait for tickets and entry, it did thicken up with people as we got to the top of the hill where the ruins are, even at that early hour. I can't imagine the crush of humanity it must be during peak hours and days. It was awe-inspiring to be in the presence of such famous structures, and we spent some time wandering around and just admiring the craftsmanship and skill of this ancient civilization. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. Few more pics because it’s just lovely there Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. Up at dawn... again! We wanted to be on one of the first tenders off for our stop in Santorini to avoid the crowds. They didn't do tender tickets but rather told you to line up near the gangway around the estimated debarkation time (printed in the Cruise Compass the previous night). We hopped right on a tender without a wait (they were using life boats and some local ships) and off we went to Santorini. We knew we wanted to go to Oia (pronounced ee-yah) and there are a few ways to get there, as the tender drops you down the cliff side below the town of Fira. 1)Up the cable car, then bus or other land transportation 2)Up the donkey trail, then bus or other land transportation 3)By boat Boat is a good option, but then you miss out on the cable car experience and views (however brief). Sometimes they also will not launch a boat until they're full, so although you may get there early, you may wait a while before actually leaving. We refuse to ride those poor donkeys (I personally don't feel they're treated well and can't bring myself to utilize their services, nor did I wish to walk UP 600 steps first thing in the morning.) So cable car it was! There was no wait (it was early, around 7:45am) and it's 6 euro/person. They only sell one-way tickets. It's an extremely quick ride, just a minute or two, and up we were in Fira. We walked to the bus stop (it's one row of streets away from the water, behind the archaeological museum, and a little ways past the McDonalds. I took Google map screen shots before this one and they were helpful) and waited for the 8:30am to Oia. You cannot buy tickets ahead of time, they must be purchased on the bus, which makes me wonder what the guy sitting in the booth does all day.... It's a very busy bus station and there were many buses lining up in the parking lot for various departures. We thought our bus would end up being one of those, but it ended up just barely pulling in off the street and loading up right there versus in the lot. It was marked IA. This was a problem as we weren't waiting in the right spot for the bus, and ended up in a throng of people trying to board, and couldn't get a seat. Standing all the way to Oia wasn't pleasant, though the good news is we were packed so tightly falling down wasn't physically possible. The tickets are 1.80 euro/person and these were purchased on board, which was absurd, as this little Greek man had to gradually shove his way through the entire packed bus while it was moving, collecting money, making change, and issuing tickets, all while trying to keep track of who he had already serviced and who he hadn't. People were handing money back and forth trying to help each other, money and tickets were getting dropped, it was just a cluster****. So if anyone in the Fira public transportation department happens to read this... sell the tickets at the bus station! Once in Oia we headed straight for the iconic, picturesque blue domes over the water, but even at barely 9am it was CROWDED. Seas of people, selfie sticks, Instagram-ready influencers, brides, it was bedlam. Beautiful bedlam, but bedlam. For some of the best views, as you walk towards the water from the bus station up some stairs, you'll find yourself in kind of a main square, and then head to the right and go down the alley by Alexandro's Jewelry towards the water. Unfortunately everyone seems to know this, so be prepared to wait a bit to gradually work your way to a spot to get a decent picture. We got a few shots, then tried to walk as far away from the crowds as possible. Keeping the water on our left, we kept going until they thinned out and then explored down a few downhill alleys towards the water, filled with little restaurants, boutique hotels, and shops. It was much quieter and we just leaned on a stone wall a while, admiring the beauty, and delaying our fight back through the crowds. Eventually we mustered up the courage to tackle the masses again, and made our way back towards the main square, then past it along the water, this time with the water on our right. It was much less crowded that way, still plenty of restaurants and shops, and just lovely. Despite the crowds it is a stunning place. My husband's review of Oia could be summed up with "turn left" - meaning when you get to the square, go left where there aren't people, haha! (But seriously, go right too to see those famous blue domes. It's worth the fight through the crowds. If you've come all this way, don't miss them.) After we had covered every square inch of Oia (or so it seemed) we caught a bus back to Fira (it still said IA on it, but as we were in Oia, we figured it had to be going back to town, and it was.) We got a seat this time, thank goodness. Back in Fira we had lunch at Cafe Bar One - pretty much all the restaurants have spectacular views, and this was no exception. I had a Greek baguette (kinda like a panini with olives, tomatoes, feta, oregano) and hubs had gyros (not as good as the one I had in Rhodes by a long shot). With another 2 Mythos beers and a ginger lemonade, it came to 39 euro. I didn't use it but hubs said the bathroom was "incredible" meaning it had a full toilet, and a working sink. Our standards had been adjusted! After that we wandered Fira a bit, did some shopping, and marveled at the 2+ hour line for the cable car to get back down to the port. Heck no! We were going to walk down the donkey trail ourselves. From where the cable cars are at the top of the hill, the donkey trail starts a few blocks to the left of that (facing the water). Grab a free map available from many shops and it's marked well. You can tell you've found it when you see the top step marked 587. It's smelly, slippery, and hot, but I'll take that over a 2 hour line any day! And the donkeys were awfully cute. Be careful if some are going down or coming up with passengers, or just being driven by the staff - they are on autopilot and will not go around you, they just go THROUGH you, so step aside! It took us probably 30 minutes (with a few stops for pictures and donkey snuggling). Unfortunately the ship left before sunset, as that is famously gorgeous from Oia, but it was pretty from the ship too. Dinner was back in the Tides dining room - poblano pepper soup (really delicious), Caesar salad (ok), short ribs (good), mushroom risotto (ok), chocoalt cookie with ice cream (good), and apple pie which had been a pie a previous night but now was more like a tart, still good. After dinner drinks were had in the centrum so we could watch some of the evening's events (various games), then off to rest our donkey trail legs. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. After over 20 cruises if this is the first time it’s happened I’d say we’re doing well! Certainly didn’t ruin our night. I felt worse for the bartenders who were trapped there and couldn’t leave like we could. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. Not my pic but this is what our room looked like. The balcony had 2 chairs and a small bistro table Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  12. Hello Rhodes! Up for the sunrise... again! We're gluttons for punishment. After breakfast we headed right out. It was a short walk to the first entrance into the medieval walled city and from there we just wandered and explored. It's so beautiful with charming little streets and alleys, ancient architecture, and shops and tavernas everywhere. We found the clock tower which was closed (you can walk up it for a fee but we were too early) and then headed to the Palace of the Grandmaster. We purchased the combination tickets that were good for the Palace, Archaeological Museum, and a nearby church (10 euro per person). The Palace is sprawling with a section of ancient artifacts on the ground level and then upstairs the palace itself with gorgeous mosaic floors, tons of restored rooms, and additional art to view. After our fill of the palace we wandered down the Street of the Knights (ancient cobblestone street with periodic placards that indicate what each section was known for historically) to the archaeological museum. This was far larger and more impressive than we anticipated. Just when we thought we had seen it all we stumbled into a new section. Don't miss the outdoor courtyard accessible from one of the upstairs rooms (if memory serves, when you walk in there is the main courtyard, and there is a set of old stone stairs to your left. At the top of those stairs there are several indoor spaces accessible from the perimeter of the upper courtyard level, but from within one of those - either the one directly across at the top of the stairs or off to the right, there is a secondary outdoor space with multiple levels of its own, beautiful gardens and fountains, and additional exhibits. I feel like a lot of people missed it because although the first level and second level main spaces had a good amount of tourists, we never saw another soul in that secondary outdoor courtyard/gardens. Their loss! It was lovely.) We spent quite a long time in the archaeological museum, and then somehow missed the church that was part of our combo ticket (there is a map at the Palace of the Grandmaster that indicated the church was quite near the museum... but all the buildings look similar. Oh well. We had our fill of "old stuff" for the day, as hubs put it.) Instead we poked in some of the shops and bought some souvenirs (beautiful, hand-painted ceramics seemed popular here.) Around 11 all of these parrots turned up in the side streets and main squares, sitting on perches and squawking. They were beautiful but I didn't really understand where they came from or why they were there - I didn't notice anyone charging for pictures with them or trying to sell them. Who knows. For lunch we stopped at one of many tavernas named Filippos. I had the best gyro of my life, hubs had pizza, and with bottled water, Mythos beer, and shots of ouzo (had to do it!) the total was 28 euro. I had heard about an oatmeal cookie liquor popular in Rhodes called Tenturo I believe, but I never saw it sold anywhere. On the way back to the ship very near the dock there is a tiny sliver of beach with more excellent sea glass hunting. I relaxed in the Solarium for a while (it had start sprinkling a bit) while hubs hit the gym. Dinner was escargot (good, smaller than usual), pea soup (good), shrimp scampi (under-seasoned with very few shrimp, but I was warned about this by our waiter Lloyd prior to ordering), steak with yorkshire pudding (very good), and chocolate cake. Can't go wrong with chocolate cake! We stopped at the centrum bar after dinner (the Kentucky Burgandy drink was only ok and the bartenders seemed very unsure of how to make it despite it being on their drink menu) - it's nice to be close to the action as a lot of musical and game events happen here, but seating is very limited both at the bar and around the centrum. After that we hit the Schooner Bar where we had a rather unfortunate encounter with a profoundly drunk passenger who started out friendly but quickly escalated to inappropriate and belligerent. I was ready to make a run for it after my ear was licked and I was propositioned repeatedly to return to the drunk passenger's room. I hastily finished my drink ready to dash... and hubs ordered another one for himself! **facepalm** We have to work on our exit strategy in such situations because we were clearly on very different pages! We finally made our escape and headed out to get some air on the promenade deck (only to have to scurry away when the drunk and inappropriate passenger also found their way out there to smoke, but thankfully we weren't noticed). By then it was rather late so we headed to bed. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. Once we were back in Mykonos town we wandered through the tangled web of streets, poking in and out of various shops (of which there are literally hundreds! If you see something you like and it's at all reasonable, buy it, because you'll never find your way back to that spot again without dropping a pin on Google maps!) We stopped for lunch at the Paraportiani taverna. It wasn't right on the water so it didn't have the views of some of the other tavernas, but it was so much quieter and a welcome respite from the crowds. We had bread with olive spread and herbed butter (I believe it was complimentary), bottled water, spaghetti with mixed seafood (very generous with the seafood, clams, shrimp, mussels, octopus, fish), a pasta carbonara for hubs, and little ice cream sandwich/popsicle things for dessert (also complimentary). It came to 35 euro. The best part was a visit from Petros the famous pink pelican of Mykonos! I had read about him but didn't have high hopes of crossing paths with him (as noted Mykonos is a tangled mess of streets - we had thin hopes of ever finding our way out of the city never mind stumbling on a lone bird!) but I looked up from my bread and there he was! He graciously posed for some pictures with his adoring fans and even accepted a few pats before waddling off. After lunch it was more wandering (aka getting lost... we had our phones in airplane mode to avoid getting charges when we weren't on the ship's wifi so we weren't using Google maps, so in retrospect we should have made note of the sun position or something to help orient ourselves. I usually take screen shots of various maps prior to exploring ports of call for this very reason, but I didn't in Mykonos for some reason.) We got a couple of Christmas ornaments (lots of evil eye decor) and eventually found our way back to the water and the main square. I lit another candle for my mom in a tiny sanctuary right by the Sea Bus dock, and we hopped back on to head back to the ship. Unlike the morning trip over, the trip back on the Sea Bus was much more crowded with a large queue, so consider milling about near where the boat will tie up if you hope to make it on and not have to wait for the next one. This boat also had essentially no seats inside (there were some up top) unlike the morning one. This wasn't an issue for us but some more unsteady passengers were struggling to keep their footing. Once back on the ship we relaxed a while before having a low key dinner in the Windjammer. After dinner we had a shuffleboard death match (I won!) It's a tricky shuffleboard court (is it even called a court?) because one side has a raised lip that sends your pucks (... are they pucks? Haha) skittering like crazy. After my victory we moved on to some basketball where we were both equally terrible - keep in mind I was playing in my maxi dress and wedges, as one does! Once we were thoroughly smoked from our pitiful athletic efforts, we called it an early night. Getting up at dawn every day and then walking 8 miles tired us out. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. Up at dawn again for Mykonos! After breakfast we headed off the ship and bought tickets for the Sea Bus (like a water taxi) that was right by where the ship was docked. (2 euro/person each way) This takes you to Old Port where the center of town is. There appeared to be land transportation options as well, but we didn't look into the details of those. We hopped right on the first Sea Bus and off we went - it's a pretty quick trip, just across the harbor. From the ship to Old Port it appeared to be a direct trip, but on the return there was one stop at another spot in the harbor sort of midway between the two. Once in Old Port/the center of town, we walked to the right after coming off the dock where the Sea Bus ties up, water on our right, and after a bit found ourselves at the famous windmills of Mykonos. Wear good shoes in Mykonos - it's all uneven terrain, slick and well-worn stones, narrow passageways between buildings and along the water, and you're often fighting through a sea of humanity (aka a tour group!) After taking in the windmills (and the adorable donkey wearing baskets of flowers that I so dearly wish I got a picture of!) we continued walking in the same direction towards the Fabrika bus stop (there is a sign for it right by the windmills pointing the way). We bought 2 one-way tickets at the bus stand there to Paradise Beach (1.80 euro/person). Initially I bought one-way tickets because we anticipated returning from a different beach, but I realized after the fact that all the southern beaches were the same price, so we could have bought round-trip. Doesn't really matter either way as tickets can be purchased on the bus as well. We waited a short while for the bus to be ready to leave (the schedule is posted on the bus stand) and off we went. It was maybe a 15-20 minute ride, and someone sitting in front of me was video-taping the entire thing on her phone. Not that it wasn't scenic, but I pity the people she forces to watch that shaky footage! We were dropped off at a little market stand across the street from Paradise Beach, and we walked down to the beach through the entrance to the Tropicana Beach Club. That early in the day there wasn't much going on, but it certainly looked like a party atmosphere and a fun place to spend the day. We had no plans to linger though, as we were off to hike east to west along the southern beaches. But if you do have time, there was some excellent sea glass hunting on this beach! I got a handful even in the few minutes it took for us to walk along the water to get to the start of our hike. We picked up our trail at the far western edge of Paradise (we were walking east to west, water on our left, but you could certainly start at the far western beach and reverse it, ending at Paradise. In the past you could go as far east as Super Paradise and still walk back but I read they’ve fixed some of the stone walls and now it’s a bit of an ordeal to get between there and Paradise with more climbing than we cared to do.) The trail isn't marked or anything, but you can see the worn section of sand between the rocks that leads along the coast/cliffs. It took maybe 1.5-2 hours as we kept stopping to take pictures or stand in the shade for a bit, but we hit Paradise, Paraga, Agia Anna, Platys Gialos, and Psarou. Some were true powdery sand versus gravel, and most if not all had beach clubs with the option to stay a while and rent loungers/umbrellas or have something to eat/drink. When we reached the end we back-tracked to Platys Gialos intending to get lunch but changed our mind and headed back in town for the rest of the day (good thing as that’s where we stumbled upon Petros the famous pink pelican!) The bus stop was right up the street at the end of Platys Gialos and we bought our return tickets to Fabrika on the bus. Too easy. And we were grateful for the bus air conditioning after our hike! My tips - have good shoes, have a reasonable level of fitness, don’t be nervous with heights and proximity to cliffs, and there’s at least one spot where we had to shimmy down between some rocks to continue on the trail (not high, but required both hands for support), and if you can, start early or late enough to avoid the midday sun as shade isn’t really available when you’re between beaches. We did this in October and it was quite warm so I’m not sure I’d recommend it in the dead of summer unless it was early morning. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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