Yeah, yeah, I guess not a lot of family drama has been going on since I got married, and I can't write about wedding planning anymore cause it's done, so I don't have much to write about in this particular forum. Also I've been trying to finish a chapter of my dissertation before leaving for our Europe trip (this Friday!), so I've been super busy lately. The chapter is going pretty well (the new analysis is done, I'm rewriting a draft of the chapter and hopefully will have it done by Wednesday). I also submitted a paper for review to a journal this morning, and I'm really glad to have that off my plate (it's the outcome of a 3 year collaboration with a professor; boy am I glad I don't have to go to weekly meetings about this paper anymore!)
We leave for our Europe trip on Friday morning! (And come back late on July 18th). We went shopping this weekend to get some new clothes for the trip (including 3 awesome new pairs of capri pants for me), and I bought some new trashy novels to read on the plane/boat. Ok, one trashy novel (the new Sookie Stackhouse novel!) and two collections of Kurt Vonnegut's essays. I'm also going to bring whatever sookie stackhouse novels I haven't finished re-reading by then (I'm up to # 7 or 9) I may or may not bring a couple of books I need to read for my dissertation.
I'm hoping to somehow keep a travel diary (which will be posted here) while on the trip. I'm not sure what our internet access is going to be like, so I may not end up posting the posts until I get back or may post a bunch at the same time or something. I know I will at least will have some internet on the cruise, I'm not sure about Rome.
Until then, here are some more cruise excursions we will be going on. Unlike the other ones I listed a few weeks back (that will be with me and B only), these excursions will be WITH the in-laws. :) We're also planning a trip around Rome next Sunday to stuff like the Colosseum/Forum/etc, and on Monday to the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel/St. Peter's Basilica with the in-laws (holy crap this time next week I will be in Italy!!). Me and B will take a solo day trip to Pompeii next week Tuesday. Then we embark on our cruise on a week from Wednesday.
Here are some more cruise excursions you can expect to read about in the next few weeks:
Corfu, Greece: Palaces of Corfu
Duration: Approximately 4 hours
Pass through the main part of the town and head out into Corfu's lush and verdant countryside of olive, orange and lemon trees. Your destination is the village of Gastouri, where you will visit Achillion--the mansion built by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria and later owned by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Its beautiful gardens and statues have been left intact for visitors to admire. Continue to Kanoni for a distant view of the convent of Vlacherna and Mouse Island. Next, visit the Mon Repo Palace, built in 1828 for the second British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, Sir Frederic Adam in 1828. It was then utilized as the summer residence of the High Commissioner, while the official residence was the Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu itself. The second son of King George I, George II was born here in 1869. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip was born and baptized here in 1921. The Greek Royal family spent their summer holidays at Mon Repo, hosting their guests (Tito of Yugoslavia, Haile Selasie of Ethiopia, Nasser of Egypt). At the end of your visit you will return to the port.
Katakolon, Greece: Ancient Olympia and Zorba
Duration: Approximately 3½ Hours - 4 hours
The small fishing village of Katákolon is your gateway to the mystical site of ancient Olympia, 25 miles to the east. The sanctuary of Olympia has the appearance of a park, and as you step back 2,000 years into the past, imagine the area crowded with athletes, orators, merchants and philosophers surrounding the Temple of Zeus with its forty-foot statue of the god, the ruins of which you will see today. It’s easy to imagine the roar of the spectators as the athletes took their marks on the marble starting blocks, and to picture the temples, treasuries, porticoes and statues as they were.
After your visit to Olympia, you will then proceed to Katákolon. Enjoy a refreshment on the seafront as you are entertained by the sights and sounds of Greek music and Zorba dancing. At the end of the tour, return to the ship by bus or stroll through the village.
Ephesus Turkey Ancient Ephesus & the Virgin Mary's House
Duration: Approximately 4½ Hours
Begin this tour with a visit to the house where Jesus’ mother is said to have lived the last years of her life. The site has been officially declared a Catholic shrine and was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967. Next, continue to Ephesus for a visit to the Great Theatre dating back to the Hellenistic period. In the 1st century AD, the theatre was reconstructed and expanded by the Romans to a seating capacity of 25,000. This is also the place where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians. It is still used for performances today, and the acoustics are excellent. The Marble Road which runs between the theatre and the Celsus Library is part of a sacred walkway that you will take to reach the Celsus Library and Hadrian’s Temple. The temple was dedicated in AD 118 to Hadrian, Artemis and the people of Ephesus. This impressive Corinthian-style temple has beautiful reliefs on the porch, and the Ephesians believed that the Medusa head on the porch would protect the city from its enemies. Return to Kusadasi to enjoy the traditional Turkish experience of sipping apple tea while watching a myriad of colors unfold before your eyes during a carpet demonstration. Those interested in purchasing a carpet can do so with confidence. Those not wishing to stay can transfer directly back to the ship, or remain in town for browsing in the shops.
Messina, Sicily: Views of Mt. Etna & Jewel Factory Shopping
Duration: Approximately 5 Hours
Leaving the port of Messina you will head towards the lovely village of Zafferana, driving south on the motorway through a fertile paradise of green vineyards and golden citrus groves. Passing through Santa Venerina village, the scenery becomes increasingly forbidding as you approach the Park of MT. Etna. At 1,800 feet above sea level, this small village boasts enchanting, wild scenery and you’ll have the opportunity to visit the 1992 lava flows. After 30-minute drive you’ll reach the Gival factory at Giarre and receive a very warm welcome and cocktail from the staff. Tour the small workshop and see the jewelry makers at work. Watch as they create their individual masterpieces of fine Italian gold and unique jewelry pieces. Learn how some are made with Sicilian amber and shells with lava from Mt Etna. Enjoy several tasty Sicilian specialties after the presentation. See their unique collection within their exhibition room, with an option to buy.