Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Greek cruise..part 6

Once we left Mykonos we were headed to Katakolon. We were especially excited for this one because we were going to see Olympia.  Now Mr. M and DD1 are huuuuge fans of ruins...DD2 and I on the other hand like to see the ruins but then we are ready to move on.  So we were already packing entertainment in the backpack for us.  As we docked and were heading out to get on the bus we realized I had left the bag of entertainment......dang it!!! Oh well we will just have to listen to the guide and pretend we are fully interested..haha yeah tell my 7 yr old that!!!!  Let's just say we play a lot of "I spy" and "guess what kind of tree that is"  we were having a blast on our own.

 Ok this was a grave of a great olympian. Sorry I don't remember his name but I am sure it is in the book I decided to buy all about Olympia since I was so buys playing I spy and not paying full attention to the guide.
 This is the arch leading into the arena where the games were held.
 This big open space was the origional arena. It looks kind of small compared to now a days doesn't it?!

We tried to get a family pic but apparently no one near us spoke English and I wasn't about to hand off my camera to someone who may or may not have thought I was giving it to them!!

So after visiting Olympia we headed in town to do a little shopping and pick up some great stuff.  Then it was back on the ship for another great dinner, fabulous show and another chance for Mr. M and I to visit the casino...this time we lost almost all of our start up and quit early because...well  we are cheap!!! lol

Come back tomorrow for another full day at sea along with a chocoholic buffet with pictures!!!  Who can resist a chocolate buffet for reals?!?!??!!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Greek cruise..part 5

We went to bed after leaving Santorini and Mr. M and myself won a little money in the casino..woohoooooo and woke up to already being docked in Mykonos.  It was funny to wake up to land right there and not look out at all water for once. As we walked around the deck of the ship trying to figure out where the town was that we would go to it seemed far away.  If I haven't told you yet then let me tell you now...Norwegian rocks!!!  As soon as we had breakfast and were ready to get off the ship and enjoy Mykonos we stepped off the ship to staff telling us to please take the free shuttle to the main town....yupp free shuttle!!!  So we boarded the bus and were taken to the main town.  It was gorgeous and there were small beaches all along the way there and in the town.  As much as I loved Santorini this place was just as exciting and there were so many more things to look at and we got some really great pictures.  Of course we did some shopping but mostly we enjoyed the city, especially little Venice, and just took our time walking around.
 The view we woke up to.
 Again the white buildings are just gorgeous and will always make me think of Greece anytime I see a white building.
 I just fell in love with Greek letters and am now looking for some place to get a family board made with our names in Greek cool would that be?!?!
 This was the first place we saw colors other then blue added to the white buildings. Isn't it pretty?! I really just want to climb up those stairs and stay forever!!
 Again with the blue but they painted the stair bannisters also and I just love it.
 We loved this!!  It was just a few windows with some tshirts in them that said hard rock Mykonos. We thought it was so funny because we try to hit every hard rock wherever we go.
 View of Little Venice!  It really does look like Venice, Italy doesn't it?!
 Another view of Little Venice with our ship docked on the left.
The girls were so happy to finally put their feet into some water on a beach.  We told them they could go in further and we brought extra clothes with us but they said it was kind of cold so that is as far as they wanted to go.

We had a really great time there and I can tell you that shopping on this island was the cheapest so far we had found.  I came home with so many great things from Greece but Mykonos was the place where we got ourselves some really pretty dresses and jewelry.  So if you go to Greece just remember to check Mykonos if you are interested in clothes or jewelry.
Once we were done and had to reboard in Mykonos we were sad to see it go.  We had a nice dinner, watched another show and the girls headed back to the room to play a game and Mr. M and I headed again to the casino to try our luck.  I actually got adventurous and played the 25 cent games...that is HUGE for me since I only usually play penny or nickle slots!!  We left ahead again though so all was good!!

One more stop in Greece and then back to Venice for us...come back tomorrow and see Katakoln and Olympia!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Greek cruise...part 4

Ok so after leaving Corfu and a full day of exploring, shopping and enjoying Greece we headed back out to sea to get to our next destination which was Santorini, Greece.   This island was different from all the others in the fact that our cruise ship was too big to dock at it.  We had to drop anchor off the side of the island and take a tender boat to the small dock.  Now before we had actually reached the island we were told that there were two ways to get up the island from the tender boat dock and that was cable car or ride a donkey.  The girls were so excited and wanted to ride the donkey...crazy kids!!!   So once we actually talked to a few people and realized not only how big the island was and how far apart the cities were we decided to take the excursion and save ourselves the hassle so we actually were tendered to our own seperate dock where we were able to take a bus..haha you donkey riding people!!!

The main town up from the dock was Fira and it was gorgeous but we were headed to the other side of the island to a town named Oia(prounounced EEa) and let me tell you how breathtaking this city was.  All the buildings were white and most had blue shutters and the sand was white for the most part but there were a few black beaches due to the lava of course.  I can't say enough about this island so let me just show you some pictures....

 Here is the small tender boat pulling up to our cruise ship. It looks so small right but this little boat held about 50 people on it.
 Gorgeous view of Oia from the ship!!
 Another view from the ship..
 View of our ship from the top of Santorini. Can you see the white that looks likes snow on the island?  It's actually pumis stone from the lava. The entire island is different colors depending on the stone it was and it was really pretty.
 Our first stop was to a winery just on top of the island. It was a gorgeous building and had beautiful views from their balconies.
 After enjoying a glass of wine we relaxed for a while on the balcony of the winery and just enjoyed the views.
 One of my many favorite buildings. The blue domed buildings were all some kind of religious building. Not all were the same though.
 The one was called "the home of Mary". I tried to listen to all the guide had to say but honestly trying to get pictures while driving in a bus was dificult enough!  I did catch that though. :)
 This is the beautiful town of Oia!!  On the edge of the island, hot and breath taking!!
 Sooo happy we didnt' take this option up the mountain.  Cute but nahhhh!!!
 Looking out across Oia..
Not a very good picture...ahemm Mr. M....but the island at night was just as gorgeous!!

So once again we had another full day of exploring, shopping and fun. Once back on the ship we were so excited for the next day to see what all we would see.  It was becoming somewhat of a game to us..what would the next island look like, would they have the same color buildings, would we find the same things there, do they have the colored rocks like here?!   I love it when we can combine some sort of education to any vacation with our girls.

Come back tomorrow for another day and more adventures!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Greek cruise...part 3

So my last blog was our full day out at sea sailing from Venice, Italy to Corfu, Greece.  It was so relaxing and so much fun but as soon as we saw land I could not contain myself!!  The whole reason we went to Greece was because it was DD1's choice. You see when we first found out we were going to Germany we asked both of our girls what their dream place to visit would be.  DD2 wanted to go to Paris which we did last year and DD1 wanted to see Greece and  we finally made it.  So watching her face was absolutely priceless!!

Corfu was gorgeous and everything I thought it would be..a total beautiful beachy shopping paradise!! :)

 Yayyy the first sight of land in over a day!!!
 A beautiful building and museum.
 Unfortunately there was a fence all around this or I would have insisted on a family photo here. How gorgeous is that?!?!
 Well duhhh...of course Mr. M once again sniffed out a McDonalds!!
 Can you say heaven?!?!  I am a total bag junky and Greece is a total paradise to me!!!  Muahuahuahuah!!
 They had a ton of cafes as well so you know when you get hungry from all the shopping and walking you can sit down and enjoy a latte, sandwich and of course some fabulous gelato!! Yummmmmmmmmyy!!
Simply gorgeous no?!?!  I truly adored Corfu and was so excited to move onto the next place.. goodbye Corfu and hope to see you again some day!!

So we spent all day on Corfu and bought so much fabulous stuff that Mr. M finally said "feed me or I am leaving you" and since you know he is the bag holder(he loves it!) we fed him and headed back to the ship to give everyone a rest.  Of course I have not yet taken photos of all the goodies we bought so that will have to be an after blog when I am all done with the cruise.

See you tomorrow for another day of our cruise!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Greek cruise...part 2

Ok so  I left off yesterday where we finally got to the cruise and after a short bit of shaking and the girls crying because they were so relieved to finally be there we got checked in and headed to our room.  The first picture of our cruise is kind of funny in my opinion. Mr. M says it's just sad and he didn't like it but I just had to have it to chronicle the mess that it was getting there..

Don't we look scared out of our everloving minds and happy to finally be out of the truck so happy to be starting our cruise?!

So we left the port around 5:30pm and were at sea for the first day. We had tons of time to look around the ship and enjoy it and that is exactly what we did.

 We shopped!  Mainly because my genious self had bought DD2 a new swimsuit and didn't notice that her top was size 7 but the bottoms were size 14..ughhhhh!!
 We swam and swam and swam some more!! There were 2 pools and 4 hot tubs and tons of places to just sit and enjoy the sun.
 Looks like fun right?!
This is how it looked before all the sun bunnies got there!  So peaceful and beautiful.

 We ate buffet the first day. I can not say enough about freestyle dining on this was AMAZING!!
 The girls loved that they always had fresh fruit and hot dogs no matter what time of day it was.  Well, ok no hot dogs for breakfast but the rest of the day you could get hot dogs, hamburger, cole slaw and potatoe salad any time you wanted.  Oh and did I mention that there were soft serve ice cream bars on the pool level and you could get ice cream 24/7?!?!  Yummm!!!
We all enjoyed just hanging out on the deck as well and watching the gorgeous water go by.  

We did watch a show that night and it was fabulous!!  The girls thought it was so much fun that we changed clothes all day long to do!!!  We dressed for breakfast in casual and then went swimming and then changed for lunch and then dressed up for dinner and the show.  Let me just say that thank goodness they offer a laundry service on the ship because we packed light...whoopsie!!

I would say the best thing about our day at sea was just the relaxed atmosphere. We didn't have to worry about cooking or cleaning or our jobs at all.  I highly reccomend a cruise if you really want a relaxing and pampered vacation!!

Come back tomorrow for our first port in Corfu, Greece and all the exciting things we discovered there!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Greek cruise...part 1

So we took off June 11th around 2am in the morning to drive to Venice, Italy and take our cruise.  We were so proud of ourselves for leaving so much extra time once we get there to look around Venice a little before leaving on our blissful vacation.  After about 2 hours of driving we started realizing we were not going the way we had thought we would go and went to check the gps.....ummmmmm....yeah so by the time I spam out on the gps and to find out that for some reason we are being sent through Switzerland instead of Austria we are at the border and have to purchase an overpriced autobahn sticker!!  We weren't worried though because time wise we were still right no schedule and would have plenty of time to reach our port so we drove on.

Let me just pass about 6 more hours of traffic, construction and going up and down mountains to say that it took us 8 hours to get through Switzerland...GRRRRRRR!!!  By this time we were nervous and getting madder by the minute.  Once we finally hit Italy's border it took us almost an hour to get through the border into Milan.  Let me just say.....God bless gps and the warning of traffic cameras on the road because otherwise we would have a ton of tickets to pay right now!! We were flying!!!

As we finally get into Venezia our gps dies on us. It keeps saying program error and won't reboot at all. We are frantic trying to find another way to the port and driving around aimlessly. It was also raining which didn't make anything else easy. As we watched the clock hit 3pm which was to be the last time the book said they would allow you to embark the ship we really got flustered.  Yes, yes I started to get scared that we would miss our cruise and I was sad!!  We finally spotted an Italian security guard and pulled him over to ask for help. He spoke no English but showing him the port number and map we were trying to get to he was able to point and help us find our way.  Once we hit the entrance to the port bridge we were so excited and Mr. M was still flying like we were on our way to the ER and then it happened.......*pause for suspense*..... Mr. M took a corner too fast and lost control of the truck.  The girls were screaming and crying in the back seat, I was watching the cars coming at us and wondering if there a family in their car as well and Mr. M was so calm and working hard to keep control of the truck that he didn't even notice he barely missed hitting 2 cars and a van and just barely clipped the end of a guard rail before coming to a complete stop.  We were fine!  The girls were still crying! Mr. M was mad and just wanted to get there!  At this point we all figured if they said they wouldn't let us on the cruise we were fighting tooth and nail and would get our place on that cruise ship.  Oh yeah we had been through it all that day and I was getting on my cruise ship NO MATTER WHAT!!!!

As we reach our ship and the dock, Mr. M pulls up to the luggage drop off and the people could not have been nicer.  Mr. M says we have bags and they help unload them out of the truck.  We head to check in and Mr. M heads to park the truck.  Oh did I mention that our tail light was hanging on the truck?!?!  Yeah good times!!  So we go inside only to find out that we have plenty of time and everyone keeps telling us how we missed the crowds and are lucky to get checked in so fast now....REALLY?!??!?!?!  We had an accident and it took us 12 hours to get there and it's just fine?!??!  Oyyyyy!!!!

So yes we made our cruise and yes I now have to fix the rear end of my truck and yes I will have tons of pics and things to show you all in the next few days.   Ok you can stop clutching that pillow now!!

 The atrium on the main floor of the ship.
 Map of the ship's levels.
 One of the grand staircases in the atrium.
 The bridge where they are driving the ship.
 This was one of the lounges where they held classes and you could just relax and chat with people.
 This is the theater where we watched all the shows at night. It was also the room where we learned about all the ports, where to shop and met to take off on our excursions.  The shows were fabulous!!!
Our ship docked at our first stop. Corfu, Greece   I was a little flustered when we first got on the ship to even think about taking pics of the ship.  She's a beauty isn't she?!?!

So keep coming back each day and I will introduce you to our cruise day by day as well as Greece and a few Greek Islands as well.