Cruising the Mediterranean – Venice, Croatia, Turkey, Santorini & the Greek Islands

Steve MartinUncategorized

So, we’re just about to leave Venice after five wonderful days.    We don’t know whether to be happy or sad because we’re about to catch a speed boat taxi from our apartment to the big cruise ship we’ll be on for the next seven nights.    Early morning we leave the apartment spic n’ span & bundle our luggage to the end of the lane to wait for the taxi on the canal – pretty soon we’re off, racing through canal short-cuts through the back streets of Venice, until we pop out at the ocean, round a corner & come along behind a huge Royal Caribbean Cruise Liner.    Great fun catching up at the dock with our friends from around the wold that we’ve cruised with in the past few years with Young Living.

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We go through Customs, board the ship, find our cabin & enjoy the views from our balcony as we make our way out of the grand canals to leave beautiful Venice.   Pretty soon we’re off to the Young Living welcoming party on the pool deck, where the fun begins!    We pass a big church on the canal & there’s a wedding going on – or a christening – or something dressy.    Pretty soon we’re in open ocean – well, the Mediterranean Sea.   Beautiful!

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On these cruise ships, you can eat pretty much anywhere you want to, whenever you like – except the one formal dining meal each night in a swish restaurant with table service – but you can skip that if you want to.    We had a fantastic waiter called Edwin who looked after us every night – constant smile on his face, always doing magic tricks for our girl with serviettes, sliced apples, balancing forks on wine glasses, etc – had her laughing all the time.

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The food was always amazing.   They even had a pretty decent non-alcoholic wine.   This cruise we were determined to be true to our healthy lifestyle, & I think we did pretty well.    Everything was so delicious anyway.

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So, after all that, it was time for some serious fun, swimming & exploring.    We had a little time before arriving in Dubrovnik, Croatia the next day, so we unpacked, hung out at the pool, & tried out some of the other cafes.

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As we entered the waters near Dubrovnik, it really started to feel like a cruise!    This place was beautiful!   Clearest water you’ll ever see.    Couldn’t wait to jump into it somewhere.

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We left the ship at the port of Dubrovnik & hopped on a bus to an old castle by the sea.   The entire city used to be within its walls, but it was now a tourist attraction, full of shops, museums, aquariums, etc.    Kerryn went out around an island in a glass-bottom boat while the girl & I did some exploring & had a swim off the end of the castle.    I could have floated in that water all day.   Didn’t have my boardies, but went in anyway, couldn’t resist.

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We chilled around on deck that night, went to a show or two, always something going on aboard the ship.    Next stop was the port of Kusadasi in Turkey.   We’d been here before on a previous YL trip & had a great time at the Persian Rug factory & exploring the ancient ruins of Ephesus where both Paul & John had walked – but this time we just hung around the port city & looked for some shoes for Kerryn.    The Syrian conflict had just started & it wasn’t that far away by global terms, so being our first trip with a 3 year old, we thought we’d stay close to the ship.   The shop keepers in Kusadasi are something else.   Each shop has at least one, sometimes two or three very high pressure salesmen beckoning you at the door & they never let up.   We were ready for this & looked for a shop with a sign saying “No Hassle”.    We thanked him & started looking at shoes.   Then the real hassle started 🙂

Still, it’s kind of irritating & friendly at the same time – just an experience, something different.    I felt sorry for them, not realising that with westerners, they might as well have a big sign saying “Go Away” hehe.    Typical me thought I’d change the world a bit & try to tell one or two of them, for their families’ sake, so they’d get better sales – but they just looked confused & kept pointing at the five pairs of shoes in their hand.   Great day, but should have gone over the mountains to Ephesus again.   It’s unreal.

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DSCN2054     This little tent to the left here is where they wait for you to return to the ship & give you a drink, a hot towel to wash your face & big welcoming smile.  Lifts you up!

Next stop was our favourite place in the whole world – Santorini, a Greek island formed by a sunken volcano.   The ship sails into the centre of the volcano & we disembark onto a tender boat whch takes us to the foot of the cliffs (the inside walls of the volcano).   Last time we rode donkeys up the steep wining path to the top of the ridge, the city of Fira (Fire).   The donkeys sometimes fall off – it’s dangerous & slippery – so this time we tried the gondola chairlift.   It’s a very alive & exciting place.  We love it here!    Best shops we’ve seen anywhere.    The photos tell it all – best part this time was the little cliff-top cafe we cooled off in – delicious food & drinks, so cheap!

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We could live in Santorini, always sad to leave.    But onto the next stop which was some Greek island I forget the name of.   We caught a bus to a beach which was pretty nice, but the rest of the place needed some cheering up. This was in the middle of the Greek financial challenge & in this place it really showed.    Guess the fact I forget what it was called says it all.   I actually tried to share our business concept with a few of the locals because it’s exactly what the people of Greece need, on a personal basis.   One young guy was really excited about it, but I never heard from him.  Maybe one day he’ll find my card, as often happens.   Had a great time chillin’ on the beach though with some of our besties from upstate New York, Jill & Jamie, & Marcella & her family, some of the top people in Young Living who mean a lot to us.  Then a bit more cruisin’ & some lectures on essential oils & health…

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DSCN2306  Until at last it was time to return to Venice & make our way home – but first, one last night in a Motel near the Venice airport which just blew us away – an old converted barn!  Check it out…

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Then it was off home via Dubai – our fourth visit to Dubai since joining Young Living.    This time we stayed in the airport hotel & there was a lady with a name-board waiting for us at the plane!   She took us miles through the airport, even on a fast train.  Our girl slept through the whole journey from plane to bed.   There was a welcome message on the tele just for us!    They do it so well in Dubai.   The YL cruise was over for another year – time to start working toward the next one!   Thanks for reading!   Hope you get a little inspired to join us on these trips one day.    The oils have changed our life in many amazing ways, & travel is just one of them.   Before Young Living came along, we’d never been anywhere.   Don’t be thinking “no-one ever gets to go on these things”.    We thought that too, many trips ago.   Zorba the Greek said “To LIVE, is to open your belt & LOOK for trouble!” 🙂

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Always so good to be home!

 

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(Some upcoming blogs – Cruising the Caribbean islands.    Snow-skiing in a desert in the Middle East.    Australian Masters Alpine Downhill racing.    Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.    Surfing on the NSW far south coast – what’s the deal with sharks lately?    Organic veggie growing at home.   Why good health is worth it.    Motor-scooter race on the island of Mykonos.   Floating on your back off the island of Rhodes (Rodos).    After three cruises – what we’d do differently next time.   Living & working around Australia.    What is Residual Income, & why does it set you free?    Being a parent – how life changes to LIFE.    Will greed win in the world?    Why is a man so excited about essential oils?)