Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, Argostoli, Greece

Sunday- Argostoli, June 28th, 2009

Pictures are HERE.

Today, we docked in Argostoli, Greece in Cephalonia (kefalonia) which was the location used for the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin with Nicolus Cage. The island is the famous resting place of Odysseus from Illiad and Odyssey. As we pulled into port, the water was smooth as ice, and the view was beautiful. You could see the white buildings with orangish roofs in the distance, and mountains all around. Mike and I didn’t go walk because we had to meet at 7:40 this morning to leave for our tour. We have been finishing our walk/run about that time, so we knew we would have to get up way too early for vacation. We had breakfast delivered to the room again. I had my same special K with skim milk and banana. Mike planned to prepare a croissant using the eggs and cheese, but the croissants were tiny so he just ate it.

We had to tender into port which means you ride in the lifeboat to the shore. I was so happy to see that roughly 100 people were on the boat comfortably, so I feel better that our 16 group could make it on the lifeboat if necessary. Of course, I am really hoping that we don’t need them at all.

Once we were onshore, “white 5” which was the sticker we wore to identify our group got on a bus. We had a good guide who was easy to understand (from England), talked enough but not too much, and was interesting with some humor. He spoke a lot about the Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and I decided that I wanted to watch it.

The first stop was to an underwater cave at Lake Melissani. We went down into the cave (on Astroturf on top of the rocks), and then we got into a boat. There was a man rowing, and he sang some of the time. He took pictures, and he rowed us around. He did hit me in the head a few times, but he was otherwise good. We went into the cave, and we could see the beautiful structures hanging. It was apparently damaged some by the 1953 earthquake, but it wasn’t as badly damaged as the rest of the island. It had to be rebuilt almost entirely.

We continued on a very steep and winding road that gave great views down. However, I nodded off a few times as it was so relaxing with the turns and the guide speaking so soothingly. The views were really nice though.

We arrived at a small town, Fiskardo, that didn’t get as damaged in the earthquake, so it still had Venetian architecture. It was a nice harbor town with shops and restaurants. I bought a pretty plate to hang on the wall. I also bough the Captain Corelli movie, so that we could see what the guide was referring to during the trip. Mike got some Greek snacks from the deli and said that they tasted authentic. :)

We had to do a bit of a rush to get back to the bus, and the steps and uphill were determined to be a 3 man effort because it made everyone breathe hard. We have laughed a lot about the one, two, and three man pictures used in the cruise brochure to represent how difficult the effort will be on the tour.

We rode the bus back into Argostoli and stopped to take pictures of a famous European beach. It was beautiful with the blue water, white sand, and spectacular scenery. We also saw a couple of fish farms and some goats on the way down. We could also see where the original town of Argostoli was by the remains, and we could understand why they moved lower. The city is still on a fault line, so we are hoping that they stay earthquake free for a long time.

We took the tender back to the boat, and we went straight to the Lido deck for lunch. I had cashew chicken and rice from the Asian place, Morgan had a hamburger, and Mike had some Asian, cheese and crackers, and a salad. You can’t beat that variety.

We set sail at 3, and it was a beautiful sunny afternoon as we departed. The sea is calm, and the atmosphere is just stunning.

For dinner, we ate in the dining hall, and I had prime rib. It was delicious. Morgan had prime rib too. After dinner, Mike, Mark, Tracy, Mike, and I went to the Pub Crawl. It was AWESOME. It costs $20, and you go as a group to 5 different bars where you get 5 different drinks. Every time the leader says “Pub Crawl” everyone has to yell “Pub Crawl at the top of their lungs. We started in the piano bar and had a wayne wayne or wang wang or something like that. It was fruity and pretty good. Then, we went to the top of the ship and had a chocolate martini. We also had to pass a lemon using your neck at that point, and it was a lot of fun. Team 1 was the victor which was our team. Next, we went to the pool bar and had a long island tea. After that, we journeyed to the Northern Lights bar which is the dance club for a Kamikaze. Even the bartenders joined in at that point. We ended up in the Queens Lounge where we had battle of the sexes. Mike G was one of the three men picked to be on stage, and he was hysterical. Basically, the host asked questions and the three guys and the three girls got points not on whether the answer was right but on how many of their answers were the same. So, they had to try to answer what the others said. They were questions like, “what does the ms stand for in front of the ship name, what does a woman notice first about a man (and vice versa), what is the name of another Holland America ship, etc.” It was really fun.

After that, we went to the casino to find Papa. He was at the craps table but it wasn’t going so well. We played “Let it ride” poker (both of us had never played that one), and then we played three card. I was down about 40 bucks after both. Papa went to bed, and Mike and I went to the Roulette table. It was a lot of fun. We both ended up ahead for the day. J 25 and 13 were hot numbers. What a great day.

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