Wednesday, August 7, 2013


The next "phase" of our trip was a cruise on the Adriatic Sea.
It was a nice break from the craziness of our travels and a chance to get off the beaten  path and see some different cities and sights that are not as easy {or affordable} to get to by train!

We boarded the Norwegian Jade {yes, it might have been a Scandinavian boat with a Hawaiian theme cruising the Mediterranean} and had a BLAST!

We felt pretty special between the views of the water, the feel of the salty breeze, the warm sun and the time of pure relaxation! 

This picture is dedicated to Laura....thanks for my birthday gift:)!

Our last morning on the boat, we got up before anyone else was up....

..and watched the sunrise.  
Esteban wanted me to point out that his biggest disappointment of the cruise was that he never saw a shark.  He faithfully looked every day, but alas, we didn't see a single fish, let alone ones with an infamous dorsal fin.

So, the boat was NOT the reason we chose this was the stops!

Embarkation was in Venice, Italy.

Then our first stop was the great walled city of.... DUBROVNIK, Croatia.

 Some highlights of this fortress, made before the 7th century during the Byzantium Empire, include walking around the city on the ancient walls and then jumping into the Adriatic Sea for a refreshing swim in the dark blue waters {the picture on the bottom 2nd from the left shows the "beach" that we experienced...just big rocks!}.

Our second stop of this trip was one of the world's oldest cities....ATHENS, Greece!
We loved being on the Acropolis and seeing the Parthenon along with great views of the city.

Greek figs..

Europe through the eyes of my husband take 3... 

Greek Orthodox life...
{I love how the bottom-left picture shows the church smack-dab in the middle of modern life}

Third stop was the ancient city of.....EPHESUS, Turkey

 Europe through the eyes of my husband take 4... 

It was so neat to be in in this ancient city that I've read all about in the Bible.  It's interesting to note that, contrary to what I thought, Ephesus is not a modern-day city.  Unlike Rome, where ancient ruins stand alongside modern buildings and the hustle and bustle of people going about their daily lives surrounds you, Ephesus is only filled with pieced together ruins and tourists.  This is mainly a result of the fact that "Ephesus was at one time a port city, but over many thousands of years, the river flowing down to the sea deposited silt and formed a delta which has now put the ancient city about 4 miles away from the sea."  
(The teacher in me must credit Karen Robbins for that description!  If you want to learn more about this cool city, go to her own blog of it.}
 If you start on the bottom left and go clockwise, ending with the biggest picture, you'll see the following:
- Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, has the famous swoosh in her garment flowing to the left of her body
- public toilets...notice the distance from each hole and the lack of a partition {maybe this is where Cabo Fish Taco got their inspiration}
- Temple of Hadrian 
- The lovely umbrella and tour guide that fearlessly led "The Royal Family" through the streets of Ephesus...oh, organized tour groups, how we missed our Rick Steve's podcasts!
- excavated homes of the wealthy Ephesians
-something cool??
- the arch of Hercules....notice how much stronger Esteban is after passing under the arch..
- Library of Celsus, the 3rd largest library at the time and possibly where Paul the Apostle studied 

And then, one of my favorite parts of Ephesus was the amphitheater found in Acts 19.

It is interesting to note that the acoustics of this theater are AWESOME and it used to be a popular location for concerts until Sting's concert caused some damage in 2007.

After the ruins, we went to a Turkish rug-making place and learned ALL about the process of getting silk from the silk worms, dying the material, hand-making the rugs and knowing the difference between materials used {so we won't be fooled by cotton when we are buying our silk rugs... in like 50 years when we can afford this luxury!}.


PS- The website I was using for my photo collages just decided to make some pictures red and I don't know how to fix it!  So, sorry for the long line of pictures.

This brings us to our FINAL stop of the cruise......SPLIT, Croatia!

In this last port city we had the privilege of meeting up with some friends of ours who are living there this summer!  I taught 6th grade with the wife last year and her husband is from this city in Croatia.  It was so nice to see them and just "hang-out" in this beautiful place!

Thanks Budimirs for such a wonderful time in Split! 
We hope to do this again sometime...with hopefully more time to explore:).

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