Neflion, Greece – Didn’t know much about this port other than it was in the Peloponnese, so we decided to take a tour. This stop was a great and very pleasant surprise. Our tour first took us to Mycenae ruins, which was very interesting and our guide was extremely good (it was the same guide we had in Athens) at explaining the culture and what has been discovered here. It’s a very large site and the weather is exceptional today. Below are a couple of pictures we took at the site…
The area itself is very green with many orchards of oranges and thousands of olive trees. The olives are just now ripening and I suspect this will be a very good crop year. From here we went up to the Palamidi Fortress which was built by the Venetians in 1714. The fortress is in amazing condition and once our guide explained all of the history and purpose of the fortress, we were able to wander around the expansive area and take some great photos. The smaller fort (Bourdzi Fort) on the island at the bay entrance was used in conjunction with city fortress and they actually used a huge chain between the small fort and the town entrance to keep invading ships at bay.
The balance of our time in Nafplion was spent wandering the old port town, exploring the many shops, squares and tavernas. This is indeed a very quaint town and we would love to have more time exploring the area.
Next stop – Mykonos! This was one of our favourite islands the last time we cruised the Greek Islands. The whitewashed buildings and the winding roads where we could get easily lost are all still the same. The 5 remaining windmills add to the charm of this amazing island. The weather was not the best being cloudy and overcast and some rain showers but it didn’t dampen our spirits as we ducked into the small shops selling their wares. However, our experience was a little disappointing as we had to fight the crowds that the 5 cruise ships in port inevitably create…didn’t they know this was out island for the day? Mykonos was also a little dirtier than we remembered but it is the end of the tourist season and I suspect they will spend some time sprucing it up for the next season. All in all, we highly recommend the island for anyone in the Greek waters and our biggest tip would be to find that perfect little taverna early before all the best seats are taken!
This cruise is very port intensive and our next stop was Kusadasi, Turkey. Best known for the magnificent ruins at Ephesus, it is the area where the Virgin Mary spent her last days and passed away. The Ephesus site is only 10-15% excavated but what they have so far uncovered and reconstructed is breath-taking with its marble roads, the 2 storey library and of course the 27,000 seat amphitheatre. The amphitheatre was used for many concerts right up to about 5 years ago but the last 2 concerts (I think Sting was the last) with their loud music and the vibration created, actually cracked the foundation. No concerts are now allowed and repair work has been going on for 5 years.
It is a wondrous place to visit and although we have visited before, it still takes our breath away!
Kusadasi is also known for another great feature…SHOPPING! With its many streets lined with shops selling jewelry, carpets, leather goods, purses, watches, knock-off clothes and other “genuine copies,” shoppers can have a great time here. Be aware, the vendors are aggressive although very friendly for the most part. They love to negotiate and enjoy doing it. Many of the people we know on board came back with leather jackets (including us) that ranged in price from about $100 -$300 depending upon the quality of the leather and the style chosen. Hard bargainers got some great deals but the quality is superb and we know we will enjoy our jackets for many years!
Today is a day at sea…finally! We love these sea days to get caught up on things like writing this blog, a good book, a dip in the pool or maybe a golf lesson. There is so much to do on board we sometimes forget the ship is every bit a destination on its own. Our last stop on the cruise is Istanbul tomorrow.