Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's All Greek To Me

After a week of recovery from my bush with volcanic fate, I've finally mustered the motivation to put my unparalleled Mediterranean wanderings into words. Rather than spout off my ramblings in each city in a single post, they'll be divided up and posted in succession in a "tune in for the next chapter" sort of fashion.
Escapade 1: Athens
Groggy from spending the night sprawled on the floor of the Madrid airport, we deplaned in the first Greek city any of us had ever visited. After dropping our luggage in the two kiddy-corner cabins the seven of us shared, we hopped on a tour bus to see the sights. I'm rather embarrassed to admit that we did a group tour since I usually despise them, but it was the only way to see the sights and not break the bank before the ship set sail. Our first stop was the Olympic Park- a track and field with giant Olympic rings. The main event, however, was the Acropolis.
Contrary to our shirts, shorts, and the sweat running down our backs as we climbed the ancient plateau, the Greeks still considered April the winter season and closed the upper section in the early afternoon. We still had the opportunity to climb the butte and see the ruins of the Parthenon and other temples from a short distance. While it would have been grand to walk among the ruins, taking in all of Athens - the Temple of Zeus and the ancient Olympic Stadium below and the Temple of Athena and other monuments above was breathtaking.
With little else worthy of note in the city, we headed back to the cruise ship to change for our first five star dinner in the restaurant on board. Our waiters were from Peru and Colombia and thrilled to be assigned to the only table of Americans on the entire boat. Dinner was a culinary masterpiece each evening with four courses of delightful cuisine. Some in our group were painfully disinclined to behave like they were in a nice restaurant and made every meal embarrassing for the rest of us. If you choose a Spanish cruise line, you should expect your menu to be in Spanish, the food to be a little adventurous, and the wait staff not to be fluent in English. No, you can't order three entrees instead of the appetizers, no you can't wear holy jeans and wet hair to dinner, no you can't have a rum and coke from the bar across the ship to accompany your meal. And for those who know me, if I could order without issue and clean my plate every night, the food can't have been that outlandish. Aggravation with my fellow American aside, eating on the Gemini ship was a treat. (One that nearly cost me another pants size.)

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