This is not a post I thought I would be writing…we went on a cruise to start out the month of October.
Let me give you a little back story-when Brennan was in Wales, he called me one day and told me he had found a cruise through some rewards we had. I was hesitant until he told me we would be paying around $100 + taxes and fees for an 11 night cruise through the Mediterranean and it worked out for the dates after our time with Lauren & Melvin. At that point, I was sold. The funny thing was, it was the exact same ship we were on when we did the cruise at the beginning of the summer in Norway.
So, on October 1, we made our way from central Rome to the cruise port in Civitavecchia and began looking for the Carnival Pride. We ended up on a long walk through the port that was very unnecessary, but eventually found the boarding area. It felt a little strange to be back on the same boat 3 months after we left.
Beside us in the port, this large ferry was painted with Batman on one side and Wonder Woman on the other side. We got to see both sides, since we took an accidental tour through the port trying to find our boarding area.
Our first two days on board were calm. We enjoyed knowing where the best spots were to work, relax, and get coffee. It was much warmer than when we did our first cruise, which was great! As we were sailing on Sunday, we went past this volcano, near the island of Stromboli. Less than a week later, there were news articles about how the volcano on Stromboli was erupting. It was very interesting to see all the water and the different colors compared to the ocean near England and Norway from the first cruise we took.
We decided to go to the steakhouse on the ship for dinner on the second night. They let us know they were running a promotion on wine and we realized that we could get a bottle of Dom Perignon for much less than we would ever find it on land. We decided to get it, since we’ve both wanted to taste it for years.
The champagne was very good, but if you gave me a blind taste test, I don’t think it would be my favorite. I’m so glad we tried it because it is a fun memory from the trip.
My steak was excellent, as was Brennan’s. We had a great time and had very friendly waiters.
On October 3, we landed in Santorini, Greece. Greece was the seventh country of our trip since July! I have wanted to go to Santorini since I read and watched the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in middle school. We were greeted with these cliffs, looking up to the town. We had to take a tender boat over to the shore from the cruise, then a funicular to get up the cliff, then a bus to the town of Oia (pronounced eye-uh). The bus ride was a little treacherous-it was in a charter bus that went around the edge of cliffs and took about 30 minutes. We were very thankful to get to Oia and feel the fresh air.
This is the town that is famous for it’s white buildings and blue roofs. There were tons of people walking through the narrow streets. We listened to a walking tour through my AirPods as we saw the famous sites in the town. Everything was just as beautiful as you see in the pictures-but with a lot more people walking around. Everyone trying to get the perfect picture does take away some of the magic, but the warm sun and picturesque surroundings were still amazing.
As we were walking back through the town after seeing all the sites, I saw a shop that had small watercolor paintings. I found a small painting in Florence and bought it from a street vendor and this reminded me of that. It ended up being a fun discovery here in Oia too-the man who created the painting was right inside and was working on another one. We didn’t have cash, so Brennan ran to find an ATM. While he was doing that, the painter introduced himself as Apollo, explained the type of painting he was doing and how it was different than the one I chose, and allowed me to take pictures while we was working. He was very friendly, grew up and has lived in Oia most of his life, and paints these beautiful watercolors. Chatting with him was great and he even made me a custom business card, since he said he had ran out. It felt special to get to talk to the artist who had created the painting I chose and makes the painting even more interesting to me.
When Brennan got back, Apollo wrapped up the painting for us and wished us well on our way out of the shop. The funny thing about this story is that I don’t remember what the painting looks like that we bought. I know I really liked it, but because it was wrapped up, I didn’t get a picture of it. The one below is of a larger painting that was hanging in the shop.
I’m excited to get home and unwrap the painting to look at it again. It will be a nice surprise to see what we picked out!
The next day, we arrived in Kusadasi, which is the port city for Ephesus. We walked through Kusadasi to the main bus station, boarded a minibus, and headed to the ruins of Ephesus. We were able to walk around for a few hours, listen to a narrated Rick Steves audio tour through my AirPods to tell us what we were looking at, and see what has been excavated of the ancient city of Ephesus. We saw the main road, a public amphitheater where city counsel meeting would have been held, the area where people lived, and more. I wish I remembered what each of these pictures showed, but each part of the city had a very specific purpose. It was pretty amazing to see what has been uncovered and how much is still there from thousands of years ago.
The mosaic above was very impressive. This was the “fancy” area of one of the markets. Below, they have uncovered the public baths and toilets. It’s so strange-there were toilets side by side and it was a social event to poop. I’m very glad we have made this a more private part of life.
The most impressive part of the ruins is the library. It was two stories, as shown below, and they have filled in the parts that have been lost to history to hold the original fragments that are left. The statues each represent a trait that was valuable-Sophia (wisdom), Arete (Bravery), Episteme (Knowledge), and Ennoia (Thought). In the steps, there is a menorah carved, which shows there was a Jewish community in this area at some point throughout history. It’s so small it would be easy to miss-I’m really glad we were listening to the audio tour so we could see it!
The last thing we saw before we left the archeological ruins was this large theater. It could seat as many as 24,000 spectators. It still has great acoustics and you could hear conversations throughout the area. Brennan was able to go up into the seats and look down onto the stage. There are still performances here.
It was really hot while we walked around Ephesus, but I’m so glad we were able to go. It felt special to be able to walk around an area we have read about in the Bible since I can remember and think about the people who would have lived here and heard those messages. This was just the first part of our cruise and we fit in so much!
We're Brennan & Megan
Since June 2022, we have been traveling to learn more about ourselves and the world around us.