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Archives for October 2012

Celebrity Equinox: The Last of Shenanigans at Sea

If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, we have come to an end of the honeymoon cruise. Mister and I had an AMAZING time. While the trip was to celebrate our newly wed status, that didn’t turn us away from being social and meeting cool people. Granted almost everyone that we have taken pictures with were part of the crew, which I think makes it extra awesome. I suppose what this post is turning into more of a “thank you card” of sorts. And so here we go:

Photographers – They were always out waiting for us when we walked off of the ship ready to snap our pictures in a new location. We became buddies with a few of them, but was only able to find Lloyd when this photo was taken. He was camera ready.. with camera in hand! Thanks for making us look sharp in the “professional” photos during the formal dinner nights =)

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Tour Coordinators – I doubt that was the official title. But, George was there in the theater every day when we took a tour, so I’m going with that. He made sure we all were coming and going at the correct time for our own tours, which is a lot to manage with some days I think there were at least 25 tours happening. And he was wide awake (perhaps it was the coffee) to entertain us early in the morning. Oh, and how can I forget when he started humming the Star Wars Theme song when he saw us walking into the theater the day after the dance competition =P

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Chefs, waiters, and wine connoisseurs – I tip my hat off to Stephen and John, our waiters in the main dining room, for taking care of us. I wish I had gotten photos with them because they were spot on each night. Alas, I did not and instead have pictures of all the amazing food they suggested on days I was indecisive. You can see those in the other posts. Stephen would always let us know the events that were going on the ship for the evening or the next day.

Entertainers (Singers, dancers, all the above and whatnot) – Because we both did the dance competition and kept in contact with our partners, we met up the night before we disembarked the ship for drinks. There we met and hung out with some of their friends as well.

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That’s where we met Chris, also part of Top Shelf (acapella group) with Liam. I remember telling him about this travel blog and he asked if he would be in it. I said something along the lines that I only write about pictures I take. Hence, picture time! I think he’s pretty ridiculous (in a good way) as the bass singer of the group.

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I had to end with this picture.. mostly because Jana was the only lady friend I made on the trip. GIRL POWER – woo hoo! haha.

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All the best to everyone we met. Thanks for adding to our honeymoon experience on the cruise. You guys rocked it out!

That’s one of the many perks of traveling. Fun, new friends, lasting memories. Happy travels friends!

Naples, Italy: The Preservation of Pompeii

I still can’t believe I was able to visit Pompeii. I first read about their story in school of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and though the ash destroyed the city, it kept everything intact. Slightly ironic.

Our group tour with our guide Leonardo began with a cameo demonstration. It takes 3-5 days depending on the piece they carve and also their skill level. They were really pretty.

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Then, we were able to begin the tour of the actual city. Leonardo was a wealth of information, spewing facts out as if he were an encyclopedia, but with enough passion (he was an archeologist himself) that it wasn’t as if he was just reciting facts. I thought that made the tour more enjoyable.

We passed by the main plaza that connected us to the theaters and the marketplace. Some of the pillars and walls had red residue on it, the remainder of the red paint.

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There were 2 theaters that we walked too. One was for poetry readings and debates. The other was for theater performances. Both theaters though had a section for the nobles and the royal court on either side of the theater.

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Leonardo explained how to differentiate between the shops. For example, the restaurant below had the heaters for food (the holes in the countertop).

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The last note was about the street. There were stones blocking streetways and you could see the indentation of the chariot wheels that have gone through the city. These blocks acted as pseudo traffic lights. There were only certain areas of the city that you could enter, go one-way, turn left or right. That sort of thing. You could tell (especially whether they could go right or left) because of the wheel marks and the amount of space to turn. That was pretty sweet.

 

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The next part of Pompei we walked through was the gymnasium and the baths. Here is the main gym area and inbetween the light colored buildings used to be a pool… a wading pool I suppose.

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Near the end of the tour, Leonardo was telling us about this book that shows how certain areas we visited looks today and then you flip the page over and it shows the same exact location and how it would have looked back then. Here are the images of the gymnasium and spa and what it could have looked like in its full glory.

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Walking through the spas was really neat. The ceiling was still in its original glory (even with some of the color faded) and it was really amazing and beautiful.

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The baths were something special. The arches in the wall used to house the statues of the Gods… either stolen or otherwise. The other ones we checked out had the stones that they used to insulate and heat the water.

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In the baths, there was an area we passed by where a person was preserved by the ash, which I thought was a little eerie.

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Leaving the baths, we waited in line to walk through a brothel. Yeah, probably not my first choice, but yesh, quite a few rooms on the first floor alone!

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The last site we saw and walked through was this square where temples and government buildings used to stand.

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Ah and last but simply not least, mister and I split some pizza. Nothing at all like the pizza in the states. Not saucy at all, and it was pretty light, yet filling (considering the heat and the amount of walking that day). We washed that down with a sampling of limoncello, a drink that leaves your mouth all puckered up. Not necessarily my taste, but because of it being their offical drink, I thought “hey, why the heck not?”

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Happy travels friends!

Mykonos, Greece: Navigating the Maze

The next beautiful destination of the cruise. We didn’t take a tour since this island is small enough for us to figure out. With map in hand we walked over from where the bus dropped us off to the town. It’s a leisure 10 minute walk from there.

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We passed by 2 ATV rentals, but opted out of it because we were just going to be in town. The only reason you would rent is if you were going to the beaches. Since we weren’t doing that, we didn’t rent. Also, they don’t allow motor vehicles in the town. As you’ll see in the pictures, the streets are too narrow.

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The only vehicles allowed in town were service vehicles for the stores and restaurants. Seeing them navigate through the street, we saw how narrow the streets were. The vans that had to get through would honk (or the person would yell) and we would have to move out of the way. Sometimes if there wasn’t any room, since there is no sidewalk, we would have to jump into the store closest to us so they could pass by.

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The sun was shining upon us and the wind came through, which only added to the gorgeous day. One of the spots mister wanted to check out was the Aegean Maritime Museum. It cost a few euros for an entrance fee.

This ship was pretty neat. The nose was made out of heavy material so it could easily ram into other ships as a defense mechanism. They eventually found a way to do that and drop the nose part so they could get out of there without it being a sort of suicide mission.

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Can you believe that this ship took this much man power … 3 tiers worth?

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Another feature I thought was cool of this Byzantine Dromon that used “Greek fire” that spit out of the dragon’s mouth The explanation of this said it is a “caustic liquid, not even quenched in water, which was targeted at adversaries’ ships from bronze tubes fixed at the prow”. Better be careful of this one friends!!

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There were lots of other cool object, and could have easily spend a post on the museum alone, but, here are some other sites to see in Mykonos.

We started off using the map only to get to the museum, but not all the tiny streets were on it, so we just ended up just walking around any which way. I mentioned in my Santorini post that the streets were maze-like, and it was no different here. We walked through stores that intrigued us: clothing, bakeries, and soon we found ourselves hungry.

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If you eat where the tourists eat, you pay a premium. If you eat where the locals eat, you find yourselves a deal. And that we did. Mister was craving gyros, and in the main square there were several restaurants that had it for €10. I noticed when we were walking to the Maritime Museum, there was a dive-type restaurant serving the same thing for €5 (beer included).

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We wandered more around the twists and turns and we accidentally found the symbol of Mykonos, these windmills. The earliest ones were constructed by the Venetians and were used to mill wheat. They’re no longer in operation, and one of the windmills has even turned into a museum. You can see these windmills when you enter the harbor.

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We made our way back to the ship by walking by the water, so we didn’t have to navigate back through the town. It was amusing to me that there were restaurants here right in the splash zone from the waves.

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Happy travels friends!

Celebrity Equinox: More Shenanigans at Sea

Each morning of our cruise, we were given an itinerary of the events that were going on that day on the ship ranging from wine tastings, show performances in the theater, games, and ballroom dancing classes (that’s just a few possibilities during the day).

I highlight the dance classes simply because mister and I always say we want to take them. We’ve been saying this since we began dating nearly 5 years ago now and we haven’t. So, this was a perfect opportunity! We went to all these lessons and it was a ton of fun for us.

Now on a slight sidebar, we didn’t take the swing dance one because mister knows his stuff when it comes to that and took it to the dance floor after they finished up the lesson. At some point during that night, one of the performers came up to us and asked if mister would participate in a dance competition on the ship the evening of Santorini. There would be 4 couples with one crew dancing with a passenger. He would be doing disco, a dance form with some resemblance to swing. And that was that for that evening.

Some time later, I got roped into the competition too and my dance style was the waltz (ballet-waltz fusion I suppose). We weren’t nervous at all. We clearly had an awesome time and got some new friends out of it!

Here’s my dance with Liam:

The lift was pretty fabulous wasn’t it?!

Here’s mister’s dance with Jana:

Lovin’ the Star War Theme here.

Let me know what you think… and I’ll tell you how we really did 😉

Happy travels friends!