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August 12, 2009 > Travels with Margaret - conclusion

Travels with Margaret - conclusion

Day 9 of the cruise found us in Athens where we had the only disappointing experience of the trip. Our tour bus was locked in terrible traffic, our guide was impatient, leaving some on the tour waiting in line at the restrooms at the foot of the Acropolis, and the tour audio system didn't work. We agreed that she had little to say that was of interest anyway, but she did provide us with an oft repeated phrase that kept us entertained the rest of the day, 'As I have already told you...' We managed to escape to the Plaka for a brief but nice lunch, and then ran 'pell-mell' back to Constitution Square so as not to be left behind for the ride back to the ship. I was sorry that I wasn't able to introduce my daughter to the lovely people of Greece who have so charmed me in the past. Perhaps she caught a hint when the waiter told her he had a handsome son he would like to introduce to her - she shot back "Does he have a job?" and all of us dissolved in laughter and handshakes around.

The next day was spent at sea, en route to Venice, where our cruise was to end. We would have been moping about this wonderful adventure drawing to a close if there had not been so much lively and upbeat entertainment on the ship! We attended a cooking demonstration in the main theater in the morning. The Executive Chef and Maitre D' Hotel face the logistical challenge of preparing and serving 20,000 meals per day, but were able to take the time to put on a very entertaining cooking demonstration. I learned to make gnocci, much appreciated now that I'm back in Fremont. That evening we attended a gala dinner, dressed in our finest followed by a Broadway style show, and I began to see why some people might elect to stay on board ship through the length of a cruise and never venture ashore.

Our last day. I highly recommend arriving in Venice by ship. Leaning over the rail while sailing majestically past St Marks Square - looking down the canals and small arched bridges into the neighborhoods from the deck high above - is an unforgettable experience. Rather than visiting any of the well-known points of interest in Venice, we elected to stroll from the dock to the train station, firm up our onward transportation and then relax over a lemon soda in nearby Santa Croche square. Back at the ship for our last night on board, we said a sad farewell to our fellow passengers and to the crew, all of whom had made us feel welcomed and pampered.

Before we turned in for the night, we put our suitcases outside the cabin door for pickup the next morning but only after deciding what to discard in order to meet severe weight restrictions on the bargain airline flight to Rome where we spent two nights in a youth hostel on our way home... but that's another story, for another time!

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