European Adventure – Greece – Italy – Croatia – Malta – Turkey – Montenegro

European Adventure – Greece – Italy – Croatia – Malta – Turkey – Montenegro

It was a 27 day journey that spanned 6 countries around the Mediterranean Ocean. Day One through Four of the trip are linked to the photo of the Dome inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy. Later on I figured out it was better to separate each day with it’s own post.

One of the amazing site inside St. Peter's Basilica was the sunlight steaming through the dome of the church

The cruise started on Day Five of the adventure with Holland America cruise line leaving the port of Civitavecchia which is an hour outside of Rome. Day five included a stop in Messina, Italy on the island of Sicily. Day Six was to our one stop in Malta.

The most amazing sight in Malta was St. John’s Co-Cathedral church which featured gold decorations through out the church. This photo which links to the KSimonian.com/Blog post shows some of the Gold that is part of the splendor inside the church.

The highlight of our stop in Malta was St. John’s Co-Cathedral which was completed in 1577.

Day Seven of the trip was spent at sea, and when I looked back at the more than 6,600 photos I had taken during the trip, I was some what surprised to see I hadn’t bothered to take even a single photo that day. Day Eight was spent in Argostoli, Greece and the camera was back at work. There was crystal clear waters at many of the Greek Islands we visited and the stop in Argostoli was no different. The photo of the clear water and the m/s Zuiderdam link to the blog post showing the Day Eight stop over in Argostoli, Greece.

The clear waters of Argostoli Greece were visited by the Holland America ship the m/s Zuiderdam

Day Nine was a stop in Corfu Greece. The photo which links to the post about the Ninth day of the journey looks like the warm colors of sunset, but instead this photo was taken 7:22 AM local time as we pulled into port.

Blue Ocean waters outside of Corfu, Greece

The Tenth day was the Game of Thrones stop, or as it’s known by it’s official name Dubrovnik, Croatia. I know what you are thinking, how cool to visit the city where they film Game of Thrones. It turns out I am possibly the only person in America that doesn’t watch the show. But, the city was an amazing place to see and wonder around even if you don’t care about the show.

Some of the best images I made from the stop in Dubrovnik were in the evening. It’s cooler, there are fewer tourists of which there are a lot, and if you get lucky the clouds move in and provide backdrop to the city’s sites.

This photo which links to the DAY TEN post  features the city and historic buildings at night.

The late evening light combine with the clouds to make a spectacular image from the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Day Eleven in Kotor, Montenegro turned into an unplanned adventure. When you dock at the port you can see the walls leading up the mountain to the fort. It looked like a lot of a climb and it was decided we would go about 1/3 of the way up to the church. After reaching the church without overexertion it was decided onward and upward to the top.

It was something of a climb to reach the top. In fact it was 1308 stair steps to the top. I counted the step on the way down which was much more enjoyable than counting on the way up.

The photo below that links to the Day Eleven  Kotor, Montenegro post features the amazing view when you reach the fort at the top of the hill.

View of the harbor and ships from atop the mountains of Kotor, Montenegro.

Day Twelve was a visit to Korcula, Croatia and the worst excursion of the trip by far.  Not the Korcula isn’t an interesting place to visit, but the trip arranged by the ship was quite sub standard. To paraphrase a review of the excursion from the Holland America site, the only thing to see in Korcula is the old town, and you can do that for free. We did visit the old town, just after the 4 hour excursion that was at least 1.5 hours of a boat ride.

The photo linking the day twelve blog post is from a small church in the old town part of the city which certainly was worth walking around and seeing. ( for free )

Interest little church inside the old part of the city walls in Korcula, Croatia.

The Thirteenth day of the trip was spent in Split Croatia. Split is a great old city right by the port which means there is no need to go on a ship excursion. In fact you can’t view some of the interesting places in the city  on the cruise line excursion because you are in too big of a group.

The  linking photo shows the interior of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius.

The interior of the Cathedral of Saint Domnius Split, Croatia

Your are in Venice Italy walking around. There is no sign that says amazing  building ahead, come in and look. I don’t believe they even charged an entrance fee. You just walk in with all the other tourists and are stunned at the beauty inside.

I’ve included people in the linking photo to give a perspective on the size of the paintings in the building.

Amazing ceiling painting decorate this building in Venice, Italy

The second half of Day 14 was spent viewing Doge’s Palace.  Where as the building in the photo above was stunning to see, there was really no warning. On the other hand, in Italy when they call something a palace and charge admission you expect to be wowed. We were.

The linking photo to the 2nd part of day fourteen’s adventure shows the Chamber of the great Council room which measures 174 feet x 82 feet and could hold up to 2000 people for a council meeting it was claimed. The room while quite big and impressive, might be more than a little crowed with 2,000 people in it. Due to the time of our visit, there were at most 30 people inside the room, and we were able to fit in quite comfortably.

The Chamber of the great Council room inside Doge's Palace - Venice, ItalyThe fifteenth day of the trip was different in that the ship spent the night in port and I was able to get up early and catch the sunrise over the city of Venice. Normally we would be pulling into port early, but as this was an break in the cruise with passengers getting on and off the ship this day.

The  bright orange photo which links to the day 15 post was taken from the aft of the ship with the ships flag filtering the bright sunlight which allowed a more even lighting so that I could include the city’s churches in the background.

The ship's flag covers the sun as it rises over Venice, Italy.

After leaving Venice the cruise headed back to Greece which meant day 16 was spent at sea. The seventh day included docking at Katakolon Greece and a bus trip to Olympia, the site of the first Olympics.
The statue photo which links to the day 17 travels is the Nike Goddess of Victory.

Nike Goddess of Victory statue in Olympia museum.

If you have a nice port city, you must have a wall or they will invade you. At least that’s how it was for much of the last millimum.  And even if you have a wall or a fortress above the city they will still try to invade.

This photo  from the day Eighteen stop in Nafplio, Greece shows Fortress Palamidi atop the hill above Nafplio. It was  built by the Venetians during their second occupation of the area from 1686 to 1715.

Fortress Palamidi atop the hill above Nafplio, Greece

The cruise ship pulls into port, the bus takes you to the Acropolis in Athens and back to the cruise terminal. If that’s all you do, you won’t see this amazing church. The church is just 3 blocks or so from the cruise line terminal in Piraeus.
The Agios Nikolaos church in Piraeus was part of the Day 19 adventure.

Agios Nikolaos church in Athens Greece

The twentieth  day was our only visit to Turkey. I’m pretty sure if your port of call in Turkey is Kusadasi, you are going to visit the ruins at Ephesus. That’s of course what we did.

One of the more impressive remains at Ephesus is the Library of Celsus. It was completed in 130 AD. It was later destroyed by several earthquakes and lay in ruins for possibly a thousand years. The facade which you can see in this photo was reconstructed in 1978 and shows the columns of the Library through a side arch.

Ruins at Ephesus - the reconstructed Library of Celsus

Day 21 and it’s time to visit another Acropolis. This time it’s the Acropolis of Lindos in Greece. Hold on you are saying, you just visited the Acropolis two days ago. Well it turns out I did visit the most famous Acropolis which is in Athens, BUT the word acropolis loosely translated means the building on the hill. Of course there is more than one building on the hill in Greece.

If you don’t build a fort, or castle they will come and take over your place, or at least that seemed to be the theme from islands and countries we visited.

View from inside the Acropolis of Lindos , Greece looking out towards the ocean.

Day 22 is a stop in Santorini, Greece which is on pretty much every top 100 places to see in the world lists. You take a boat ride from your cruise ship over to the tram which takes you to the top and of the island and wonderful views of the cliff side home that are painted white and the cruise ships that are anchored just off the island.

What you don’t realize looking down at those cruise ships, ( there were 3 the day we visited ) is that it’s you against everyone on your ship and the other ships as you ALL are going to the same place, and it’s going to get hot and crowded there.

View from top of Santorini Greece looking at cruise ships anchored below.

The twenty-third day of our journey was to the Greek island of Mykonos. For me the visit to Mykonos was kind of like a Seinfeld episode where Jerry proclaims, “I don’t get it”. The island is famous for it’s windmills, but there was no wind.

The old town part of the island was interesting in that is was built without the thought of ever having roads to service the area, so now all the shops that dominate the area get their deliveries from very tiny delivery trucks. Several times I watched these quite small delivery trucks pass down the paths just missing product displays by less than an inch, or as the locals might say, “the driver missed by a couple of centimeters”.

The old town section of Mykonos Greece only has small pathways, so any delivery to the shops comes on very small delivery trucks.
T
he last stop on the journey was Napoli, Italy. As the tour guide started his presentation, he mentioned if you wanted to visit Naples, go to Florida. You were now in Napoli. I sensed the locals don’t like tourists coming to their home town and giving it a different name.
The city looked like an interesting place to visit, but it turns out it is just a stopping point for some other destination. That’s how it was for us. We got off the cruise ship, walking a couple hundred meters and got on another boat to Capri.

The port city of Napoli Italy which is known to Americans as Naples.

One Reply to “European Adventure – Greece – Italy – Croatia – Malta – Turkey – Montenegro”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *