Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mediterranean Cruise Day 3!

On day three of our Mediterranean cruise we were sailing.  Most people think that this would be a terrible/super boring way to spend a vacation.  It's totally the opposite!  Especially since we were so exhausted, and had so much jet lag...we never have needed a cruising day more!  As usual, we slept like champs in our super dark little room...I honestly don't even remember what time we woke up.  I'm sure it was some ridiculous hour in the afternoon.  The only thing I had to get up for was a massage scheduled at 3:00.  I've never gotten a massage on a cruise (I've always wanted to, they're just way overpriced).  But as part as my birthday present (apparently to myself), I decided to get one.  It was just as glorious as I thought it would be.  She doesn't compare to Sarah (of course),but since I couldn't bring Sarah with me it was a good replacement.  

Sean decided that while I was getting my massage he would play in a poker tournament...don't even get me started.  He always just takes a certain amount of money, and says...when he's out, he's out.   He always has fun (even when he loses) so whatever.  How is losing fun?  Some things I'll never understand...

The rest of the day we spent lounging about, laying out on the pool deck, getting know, all the things you're supposed to do on a vacation.  It was glorious.

 Ahhhhh!  I want to go back!

 Getting our tan on.  Well, some of us got tan...

 Story of my life...
This is what I'm dealing with people.  

That's better!  Love this crazy boy.

 Every cruise has at least one formal night.  Formal night is always my favorite night of the cruise,'s always Sean's least favorite night of the cruise.  I love getting dressed up and going out, and Sean just knows that means he's going to have to take numerous pictures.  I always point out to Sean that there's a lot of people who make a bigger production out of it than I do.  Some girls come out in straight up prom dresses, and the guys are wearing tuxes.  Somehow, that doesn't make it feel that much better.  Luckily for me, Sean is a good sport and takes one for the team. :)

As much as he hates getting dressed up, he does clean up nicely.

Our dinner table all dressed up!

Time to stuff our faces! :)

 On the ship they have shows every night.  Usually on formal night, they have pretty good shows to see.  This cruise may have been an exception.  They had a flamenco dancing show, and it wasn't pretty.  It got us a little worried, because we had reserved a dinner and dance flamenco show in Madrid...and were wondering if we had made a mistake.  

Luckily, our show in Madrid turned out to be the complete opposite (more on that to come later).  It was amazing.  But, A for effort cruise dancers.  

Later that night, we decided to hit up the hot tubs.  It is always perfect to go hot tubbing at night on cruises. That's when they're typically sailing the most frequently, and so there's a nice cool breeze as you soak away. 
 I'm pretty sure Sean was saying something along the lines of...we need to get one of these...

 I couldn't agree more!

Formal night success!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Athens, Greece!

Our second stop on our cruise was to Athens, Greece.  I know this may come as a huge surprise, but it was amazing! 

 View of Athens from our ship.
 We're excited to see Greece!

 The sunrise was gorgeous...

 Probably the coolest thing we did in Athens was climb Acropolis of Athens. The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient fortress located on a high rocky outcrop above the city of Athens.  It contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance.

There were such pretty olive trees leading all the way up the hill.

 The walk up was beautiful, but I'm not going to was long!  We were probably the youngest people there, I felt like a huge pansy.  There was an older lady in crutches that walked up the entire way (they don't have a lot of handicapped accessibility in Europe).  Crazy.

 We made it!

Once you've arrived at the top, the first grand thing you will see is the Propylaea.  A Propylaea is any monumental gateway based on the original Propylaea that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. The word propylaea (propylaeum is the Latin version) is the union of the prefix pro (before or in front of) plus the plural of the Greek pylon or pylaion (gate), meaning literally that which is before the gates, but the word has come to mean simply gate building.  So, basically it's the entrance to all the temples.

The Propylaea was probaably under the most construction/restoration.

Yes, it was a little bright that day.  I was so mad at myself for leaving my sunglasses on the ship!  Ahhhhh!

 This is probably them most famous building on Acropolis Hill, the Parthenon.  Our tour guide told us that The Parthenon is a temple, dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron deity. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece, Athenian democracy, western civilization, and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.

 The figures at the very top of the Parthenon are called metopes. The ninety-two metopes were carved in high relief, a practice employed until then only in treasuries (buildings used to keep votive gifts to the gods). According to the building records, the metope sculptures date to the years 446–440 BC.

 Some of the sweet architecture we got to see.

Boom baby!

It's crazy seeing all these historical monuments in history books and online, and then to be sitting right in front of it.  It's seriously was breathtaking.

 Sizing up to all the massive columns!

This isn't the best picture of us, but it shows the  Erechtheion temple on the north side of the Acropolis, which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. 

 Our tour guide made a big note about this part of Erechtheion, it is called, "Porch of the Maidens". On the north side, there is another large porch with six Ionic columns, and on the south, the famous "Porch of the Maidens", with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns. The porch was built to conceal the giant 15-ft beam needed to support the southwest corner over the metropolis.

 Outside the columns of Erechtheion.

 Some of the glorious views from the top!

These are our friends that we met on the train ride from Rome to Civitavecchia on our way to board the cruise.  Tina and Brandon were super nice, and we had a lot of fun with them. 
 I'm so glad we met them!

On the way back down, admiring the olive trees!

The rest of the day our tour guide took us around the city of Athens, and showed us some of highlights.  This is where the very first Olympics took place, it was awesome to see.

Of course, we had to get some shopping in...

 We ate at the cutest little restaurant our tour guide recommended to us.  Literally, it was THE BEST food I've had in my life. 

Let's just say I'm not a big salad person.  I never have been...too bad they're really good for you.  Anyways, Sean loves them!  So of course we just had to get one...and of course it had to be a 'Greek Salad', since we were in Greece. OH.MY.GOSH., it was the most amazing thing I've ever had!  I swear they picked the vegetables straight off the tree.  The feta cheese was so fresh, it melted in your mouth.  Neither of us have had anything like it, it was beyond delicious.  By far, the best food we had our entire vacation.  

I was so sick of drinking water and all the nasty pop they had in Europe.  I asked the waiter what the best thing they had to drink was, and the said the orange juice.  Orange juice...really?  It was a late lunch so I was a little hesitant, but he insisted it was amazing.  Seriously, it was the best orange juice I ever had.  I'm sure they had an orange tree behind the restaurant, we even ordered a second!

 I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but our entree had every single type of meat you could think of!  Steak, chicken, lamb, venison, sausage, name it.  It was literally a pile of meat...and it was delicious.  It's funny, because the way it was described on the menu...I was going to get it for just myself.  The waiter was pretty insistent that we shared the dish, and I'm so glad that we did!  We didn't even finish eating it...I may have gained 10 pounds from this meal alone. 

 Look at how cute our amazing little restaurant is!

Sean's little sister, Michelle had her first baby while we were in Athens.  Unfortunately, we couldn't call because we were disconnected from everything/everyone.  But, we wanted to find some way to congratulate them, so as soon as we got some wi-fi we emailed them this video.  :)

I couldn't believe we got to see so many amazing things just in one day.  We loved every minute of it.  I'm so glad our cruise stopped in Greece. Peace out Athens, we loved you!