As we entered the boat we were both stunned by all that the boat had to offer and how giant it was!! It took a while to get our bearings on the boat and learn where everything was…well, some of us never really learned, but that’s another story! :) We were given an itinerary of the activities they were offering and we were very excited to find that that afternoon they were going to have Greek language lessons and we were sure not to miss it. What we didn’t know is that right after Greek language lessons were Greek dancing lessons, and somehow our teacher got us reeled into that class too! With only two other guys in the dance class, the teacher took quite a liking to Jorge and made sure he was always on step. By the end of it, I would say he was the star of the class! Haha!
The next morning bright and early we were docked at our next stop in Kusadasi, a Turkish island. Unfortunately, we weren’t given much time on this island (unless you were up and ready to get off the boat at 6am, which we were not!) so we just had a look around and took our time climbing up and around an old walled castle and watching the crystal-clear, emerald water splash up onto the rocks around us. We sat at a café and enjoyed the views while also enjoying some Turkish tea! Then, it was time again to get back on the boat once again!
Cruising throughout the day was so nice because no matter what we were doing: eating lunch on the upper deck, enjoying a smoothie by the pool, or playing cards on the balcony off the stern, we were surrounded by great views of little tiny islands and blue green water everywhere we looked. A marvelous way to travel!
We decided that this was a great idea because the monastery as well as the cave looked quite far and with our time constraints with the boat we wanted to make sure we had enough time to see everything. We jumped into the cab and he took us up to the cave. Already with spectacular views of the entire island and the ocean beyond, we entered into the cave to find the actual place where St. Paul laid his head at night and also the rock that split and spoke the words of Revelation to Paul. There was a Greek Orthodox monk who did not speak any English, but as he gave a description of the cave and what had happened there to Greek visitors, you could feel the devotion and belief that he had within him. Quite a thing to witness.
Then, right on time, our taxi guy was waiting to take us up to monastery above. From here we had unbelievable views and the sun was just beginning to reflect on the water! Wow…again! We entered into the monastery and it was beautiful. It had frescos on all of the walls inside and outside of the chapel and there was also a museum above that had many different books and other important artifacts.
As we headed back down the mountain we talked about the island a bit with the taxi driver, a native of Patmos. You could just tell that this island had a sense of peace about it. Very different from our night before in Mykonos, but a wonderful island all its own. We had some time, so we decided to have a walk along the waterfront, stopped for some more great tapas, and watched the sunset and the waves role in before we had to get back to the tender boat that would get us back to the ship! Another great day on the Aegean sea!
Another early morning stop. We did get a little more time on this island, but still were a little rushed to see what we wanted to see. We were able to walk to the city center and out onto a great boardwalk were we saw the freshest ‘fish market’ I had ever seen, if you can call it a fish market. All of the fish were still flopping around in their boxes, obviously just caught earlier that morning. This was not affecting the buyers though, they were happy to get this fish as fresh as it came. We also met an artist who was sharing his story with us about his life as a Greek artist and how lately times have changed for him. Although he had quite a sad story, he still had a smile on his face and was happy to sell us a beautiful, homemade piece of pottery with a carving of Hippocrates, the first ancient Greek physician. We made it back on the boat just in time to sail off to our last and final island, Santorini.
You had three options of getting to the top: 1) cable car, 2) donkey, or 3) climbing 588 steps! So guess which one we chose…you guessed it, hiking up all those stairs….what a joy! And not only that, watching out to not be trampled by donkeys randomly running up and down the mountain slipping and sliding as they came… ay ay ay! What a trip. But we made it, all 588 steps, and as you can see they even numbered the last couple to keep you going! So we got to the top and the reward was so worth the hike!
When we looked back over the seas we saw these amazing islands peaking up in the distance and to the left on the island a stream of white houses flowing over the mountainside. You know that picture you always see of Greece and think ‘Someday I want to go there.’? Well this was that picture…except in person!! We were stunned by the view and just kind of stood there and looked out feeling like we were on the top of the world for a few moments!
We still had quite a bit of time on the island, surprisingly after all that climbing, so we headed a bit farther into town and found quads for rent. Jorge, very excited about this idea, was on board within seconds! So we rented our quad, put our lovely helmets on, and were off to explore the island! Luckily they guy gave us a map and we had kind of an idea of where we wanted to go, so we just drove and enjoyed the views that surrounded us…
We made a quick stop at a little beach, which was covered in black sand from the volcanic ash. We stopped and stuck our feet in the water for a bit and enjoyed the waves crashing in onto the rocks. Cutting it close to our tender boat time, we quickly made it back down the 588 stairs and made it just in time to get back on the boat to spend our last night and our last sunset on the ship, enjoying a lovely dinner of Greek favorites!!