Saturday, September 29, 2018

Our Trip Home

We were to be picked up at 7:00 Thursday morning (midnight back home) to be taken to the airport.  We were expecting a 16 person bus but two 8 person vans came instead.  We transferred with no issues and then the lines began.  First up was trying to find the Delta counter.  We had to ask at Information.  It was at 390 so we followed signs but before we could enter that area we had to produce a reservation or boarding pass.  Since I could not print, luckily I had them sent to my phone.  Once I produced these, we were allowed to proceed.  Once again, before reaching the counter, we were stopped to answer a few questions and a sticker was placed on the back of our passports.  Finally we made it to the counter.  We checked 3 of our 4 bags, received our boarding passes and proceeded to our gate to learn we had a delay.  That concerned us because we had less than two hours to disembark, go through immigration, claim our luggage, recheck our luggage and go through Securty again in Atlanta!

We took off late but made up the time and it's a good thing.  First up was Immigration with 7 switchback rows of people.  The 24 automated machines which were all empty are only for people not continuing on from Atlanta.  Figure that one out!  It took an hour to get through this.  Then we had to claim our luggage and take it to a new belt to be put on our next flight then proceed to Security.  We were stopped in Houston because of our dimes used to play cards so this time we put them in the small dish and they were pulled for inspection ... behind two bags, one of which contained small jars of jam and little bottles of limoncello.   It took two ladies FOREVER to look at each one.  The problem was they didn't know how many grams or milliliters are in 3 ounces!  The second bag didn't take as long.  When ours came up my little purse was opened and dumped out.  Then they went through all the dimes.  Of course then she had to gather them all up and put them back in.  They did the same to Ted's.  Finally they opened his credit card case and leafed through everything in there.  Only then could we proceed to our gate.  Luckily we didn't have to ride the train to another terminal.  We found our gate, the rest of our group and another delay.

Carol was to pick us up at 9:30 pm because Terry was due in on an 11:00 flight.  We texted her and him telling them she should not come because we would arrive about the same time and would come home with him.  We landed about 5 minutes apart and it worked out great!  We arrived home at midnight, 24 hours of travel!

We went right to bed and it helped turn us around by getting a long night's sleep right away.  

I have kept my calendar clear for the most part so I probably won't have much to say after all these postings!


We arrived at the city of Pompeii, buried in ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD (or there abouts).  It was not destroyed by lava but rather meters and meters of ash.  Everything under the ash was very well preserved and was undisturbed until found in 1748.  It had been lost for around 1700 years.

They were very advanced boasting over 200 restaurants to serve the many workers and visitors of its busy port, indoor plumbing using terra cotta pipes when iron pipes proved unhealthy.  There are paved streets, theaters, stadiums, etc.  

Bodies found "calcified" who died of suffocation from the ash.

A dog (his head is at the bottom, look for a white tooth).

Running water

Preserved frescoes

Cooking pots, serving stations and ovens.

Paved streets with risers to use when crossing avoiding whatever may be in the street.  Note the oxen cart and chariot grooves.  

Beautiful, fully intact mosaic floors

Buildings along the paved road.

A bit of the stadium 

Columns and statues of a public gathering place.  Maybe a place of worship, or government, or celebrations.

This was an outstanding day to end our cruise.  What I learned?  Our life is but a snap of your fingers in time!  

The Crowning Excursion

Everyone has heard of the Amalfi coast I think.  I did not know it is a 26 mile long two lane winding highway running from Sorrento to Salerno high above the sea.  I am in awe of the bus drivers who successfully maneuver this route.  They need to stop short to let other buses pass and use mirrors around curves to know when to proceed.  The many motor scooters darting in and out constantly are a real danger to themselves but that doesn't stop them.  Everyone is surprisingly patient and polite, backing up when necessary and no horn blowing except to announce your entering a blind curve.   

We started in Naples on the highway exiting to Sorrento to pick up the Amalfi Coast Road.  We stopped at the Limencello factory where we could use the restroom and we bought a hand painted bottle of Limencello for Terry and Carol for doing the airport run for us.  I had a sample sip and it can grow hair on your chest!

Our next big city was Positano but we just drove through and didn't stop.  Our first stop was Amalfi where Ted and I grabbed a bite.  

Mosaic in the restaurant. 

Church on the town square (note the steps!)

I will just post photos of the coastline first. 

Hotels.  Only a small check in lobby is on the road.  The rest is down the cliff.

The switchbacks.

See the figure holding flowers in the rock formation?

One of many watchtowers.

An umbrella pine.

A house built in a crevice.

Villages built into the mountainside.  

When we arrived in Salerno we continued on to Pompeii.


I am not even sure I am doing these posts in the correct order.  I downloaded my 300+ photos in two separate sessions so they are somewhat out of order.

Ted, Kristin and I took the Athens excursion to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon and Temple of Athena.  We had a tour of the city and it is very pretty.  We passed many embassies and government buildings as well as the Onassis Cardiology hospital.  It is the only hospital we saw on the entire trip.  Certainly different than here at home where there are hospitals on every corner of an intersection four miles from our house.  

Once again it was a climb up a long hill but the tricky part is walking on uneven, slippery marble filled with little potholes.  We wondered how often medics are called for broken ankles.  Sure enough one was coming as we left.

Stock photo

The back of the Parthenon, the front had scaffolding all over it.  


View towards a hill/mountain I cannot identify that shows the city of Athens below.

Athena's Temple

The famous 12 ladies of Athena's temple.

Going down the hill was easier than going up!

The Blue Domes of Santorini

You have probably seen many photos of the blue domes of Santorini.  It sits high on a cliff all dressed in blinding white and oh so beautiful blue!  Our bus took us up and we had three ways to get down - cable car, donkey or walk.  We were given a ticket for the cable car so that's what we did.

Many of the blue domes are private chapels owned by families.  There are some ruins but mostly stores and restaurants grace the narrow cobblestone streets.  We had lunch overlooking the Aegean Sea.  Trying to avoid pasta in my quest to maintain my weight, while on excursions I ate lots of bruschetta and margarita pizza.  Their pizza is thin crust and not drowning in cheese so it is not as bad as our US versions!  It must have worked because I gained only 1.5 lbs.  Walking all day, everyday, helped too.  I had a few gelatos along the way also!

Our ship anchored offshore.  We had to be tendered in.

Note the blue domes, almost lost in the blue sky and blue water.

Ted dressed to blend in to the scenery!

The ruins that are being preserved.

A garden presentation as we climbed up the hill.

This was a favorite port for many.  


The ruins in Akrotiri were facinating! Archeologists indicated these are from an advanced, peaceful civilization destroyed by a volcano in 1600 BC. They found multi level housing with indoor plumbing, store fronts, a religious facility, art and no weapons. An unproven theory is that this civilization inspired Plato's Atlantis. More information is in the photo captions for whomever is interested.  Here is what Google had to say:

Akrotiri (Greek: Ακρωτήρι, pronounced Greek: [akroˈtiri]) is a Minoan Bronze Age settlement on the volcanic Greek island of Santorini (Thera). The settlement was destroyed in the Theran eruption sometime in the 16th century BC and buried in volcanic ash which preserved the remains of fine frescoes and many objects and artworks. The settlement has been suggested as a possible inspiration for Plato's story of Atlantis. The site has been excavated since 1967.

A bathtub 

Decorated jars

Window next to a doorway

Overall excavation area, working since 1967.  Most of these areas are found when building projects are started.

Connecting rooms

This would be a wealthy person as indicated by the symmetry of the stones as opposed to whatever was available.

Many wall frescoes and decorated items have been moved to the museum for preservation and for all to enjoy.  The wall art had to be pieced together like a puzzle.

Monkey fresco.

Dolphins and lilies, two things they obviously were familiar with.

1600 BC!  Can you imagine?  It is mind boggling to me.