I know, I know.It’s not like I haven’t taken enough vacations this year, but really, what’s one more?(and I haven’t mentioned to my boss that I’m thinking about another one, but since that’s in the planning phase, it doesn’t count.Okay?).
So I won’t bore you with the fiasco that was Dulles.Let’s just say that by the time I got on the plane for Zurich I was READY TO GO!We got to Zurich early, yippee!And after confirming that I couldn’t get on the earlier flight to Athens, I boarded a train and headed into Zurich to wander around.I had gotten maybe 4 hours of sleep on the flight so I was only slightly comatose.I put my roller bag into a locker at the Bahnhoff (train station) and then wandered down the main drag, the Bahnhoff Strasse, with only 8 hours to kill before I needed to be back at the airport.The city is really nice and it felt good to wander.Lots of high end shops (Gucci, Chanel, etc).Much to rich for my budget.My train ticket got me a free boat ride around the lake, so I did that as well.It was slightly overcast, and a bit cool, but still very nice.I ended up going back to the airport early so I wouldn’t spend any more money and just read my book until my flight to Athens was ready.
The flight to Athens was good, clearing customs in Athens was not.I got stuck behind around 50 young Egyptian men in the non-EU line.And it was not moving at all.When the EU line started to get down to the last few folks, this Canadian who I met who was also on the cruise and I sort of slipped into the EU line and made it through.My big bag had made it, so it was then a quick cab ride into the city arriving at my hotel around 130AM.Where I promptly took a shower and then crashed.
Up early-ish the next day.I checked out and but kept my bags at the hotel and then went to the Acropolis.I’d been there before when I was a child, but don’t remember much of it.Even though you can’t go into the ruins, you can get pretty close and they were amazing.The other amazing thing is that there must have been about 2000 gay men on the hill that day.You figure half of the guys going on the cruise were there before the cruise left in the afternoon, and half of the guys coming off the first cruise were there as well.So there was plenty of scenery.And I mean the ruins of course!
After traipsing up and down the Acropolis and looking at some of the other ruins, I went back to the hotel where I caught a cab with some other cruisers to the ship.The line was long, but it moved and I was just excited about getting onboard.It was at the check in counter that I found out that we weren’t going to Istanbul.Due to the bombings there, they decided to change the port call to Santorini!And I was stoked since I wanted to do that anyways.After checking in, I went to my room where I met my roommate, a lawyer from Dallas.Tall, cute, and very nice.We got along really well, so no scarey roommate stories.I then went through my on board logistics routine:unpack, get Coke sticker, sign up for tours, walk the ship, and then ended up on the pool deck for the sail away cocktail party.After dinner, the entertainment for the night was Charo!She is just amazing.I’m not sure what “work” she’s had done, but it was worth every penny.She looked fabulous.In addition to her usual routines, she’s a classical guitar player and the whole show was great.After her show, it was the first dance on the pool deck with DJ Wayne G who rocked.I think I ended up crashing around .Not too shabby!
We woke up to the amazing view of the towering cliffs of the island of Santorini.Anchored in the middle of the caldera, it seemed we were a stones throw from the island.I had signed up for a tour on one of the volcanic islands just off of Santorini.So we got into our tenders and made our way to one of the smaller islands and then proceeded to climb across this barren, volcanic landscape to the top where there is still an active volcano spewing sulfur gas.It was a hot hike, but the views were amazing.After the hike, we went to this area where there are hot springs.I was the first to dive off the ship into the brilliant, but cold, blue water and then swam towards the yellowish water that marked the hot springs.The ancient Greeks used to go there and we practically had the area to ourselves.Since it was connected to the ocean water, it was never really hot, but definitely warm.And nice.Despite a small jellyfish sting, it was totally worth it.After our swim break, we got dropped off at the port at Santorini where I took the cable cars up to the top.You can do the donkey ride if you want, but I can only imagine how bad those donkeys smell in that heat.Once on top of the island in the town to Fira, I sort of wandered around the town, grabbed a bite to eat, and did a little shopping.I then returned to the ship so I could get a disco nap in, there was dancing in my future.I ate quick dinner and then went to the comedy showcase which featured three comedians.I’d seen them all before, but they are all so funny.One of them joked that skipping Istanbul did blow, but a bombing a gay cruise would be like a terrorist triple word score!
After the comedy show, I went back to my cabin to change for the Empire party. I had bought some stuff at a costume place, so I was ready.
And of course I took my camera so I could take pics of all the hot men.