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Sonora5

26 days on the Oosterdam-Venice to Fort Lauderdale-Report

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Thanks for all your thanks. My husband is an artist and I always love the pics he takes.

 

I wanted to mention a couple more things about Albania. The first is, it was a private tour and I am very grateful that we got help on the ship to get our whole group out on the tender early. That was very nice.

 

Secondly, we had an opportunity to taste the local liquor, raki. It reminded me of something we would dump into a rubber trash can along with many gallons of Hawaiian Punch for a party in college. Whoa! it was strong! Had to be pretty close to pure grain alcohol.

 

Consume at your own risk.

 

I am sorry to hear that HAL has dropped this as a port. I hope there is a clamor and it gets picked back up. They were very pleased to have us. Friends rented a car and visited a beach that they said was quite nice, so I think there are opportunities to have fun there other than the ruins and the bunkers.

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Our next port was Katakolon, from which one may tour Olympia. We had an amazing tour. We did a taxi tour with another couple with Nassos taxis. Nassos met us as agreed and our first stop was a visit to a traditional Greek Orthodox nunnery. We drove through bucolic countryside, farms and animals, on a bright sunny day. At the nunnery we were greeted with some candy by an older nun. Barbara and I had to put on aprons since we were wearing shorts.

 

We went to the chapel where a young, pretty nun with a nice smile proceeded to tell us a gruesome tail of icons, caves and babies being tossed off cliffs. We were nonplussed. We heard the tinkling of many bells and realized livestock were being driven up the mountain. That was scenic but I still felt a little queasy about the dead babies.

 

So, off to Olympia, where Nassos had procured us the services of Ari, a very nice young archeologist who gave us a great tour of Olympia, both the grounds and the museum. She had all the good soap opera like stories of the gods and their antics, and also was knowledgeable in an interesting way about the architecture and the preservation of the buildings and fields. I would totally recommend her. Just, when Nassos asks, pick the winery over the nunnery.

 

Then into the small town of Olympia to dine on a huge amount of food for an extremely reasonable price. A little souvenir shopping and back to the ship.

 

Back on board we got ready for our Sel de Mer dinner we had planned for that evening.

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The building at the top was the entrance to the icon cave. Just to the right is an opening in the rockdface that was, I believe, the place where the babies were tossed. The cave was where you took your baby and prayed to Mary. If you truly believe, your baby would survive the fall. If you were just testing Mary, well the baby didn't fare as well.

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Olympia museum. I forget who this is but it's interesting for the illusion it presents. From this side he seems to have a smile.

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It was really a beautiful day and a nice tour.

 

When we returned to the ship we got ready (sort of) for Gala night and a Sel de Mer dinner. By now you have all probably heard rumors of trouble at the Pinnacle Grill. We had had breakfast there prior to our Sel de Mer dinner and it was fine, albeit a little disorganized.

 

We had set up the Sel de Mer with another couple, and it was an enjoyable evening. We were seated promptly, orders were taken, little snack brought, drinks, etc. All courses were served promptly and at the proper temperature. I particularly liked the cauliflower puree side dish.

 

I did make a tactical error by ordering the dessert souffle. It was huge and I was already kind of stuffed. But what I ate of it was delicious.

 

We had no hint of what was yet to come with the Pinnacle Grill on the Oosterdam.

 

The next day was a sea day, the last for many, many ports. We relaxed and enjoyed the ship.

 

Next: Naples, Herculaneum and Sorrento

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Heading for Napoli we pass through the Strait of Messina. It's between Italy and Sicily.  This pic is the Italy side.

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