This morning we arrived at the port of Piraeus. Piraeus (Peray Us) is the commercial port of Athens where the Odyssey docked this morning. I was up a bit early and took two cappuccinos to our suite. The cappuccinos are really good aboard ship.
At dinner on restaurant #2 we were told to book a signature evening in the restaurant. There are two dinner “types”; one is a pre-arranged menu, the other is a “signature” menu. The pre-arranged dinner limits the chef’s creativity. We experienced this in that the first “cocktail” which was actually a fruit dish was excellent. The first course was even better, with very well combined flavors in unexpected ways. By comparison, the main course fell flat. It was good, but nowhere up to the quality of the earlier courses. Our waitress suggested that we book a signature dinner next week. Making longish story short, this morning we booked a signature meal at 7:30 mid-week.
Then it was off to a hurried breakfast (the fruit selection is amazing and varies day to day) and we shuffled aboard a bus for the ride to the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Athens has been over run so many times that little remains of the Greek ruins today. For the Parthenon, the worst transgression was perpetrated by a British gentleman, Elgin Marbles, who carted off 60% of the Parthenon to England. He hoped to become wealthy selling the massive stones he transported back over an eleven year period. England paid him thirty two thousand British pounds. A goodly sum, but not the wealth he expected. Worse, the stone carvings are priceless and now in the London Museum.
The tour of Athens was good. On the down side, very few of the original ruins or artifacts exist today. Much of what we viewed were reconstructions. Even the Parthenon is a reconstruction of the original that the Persians destroyed sometime in the first century AD. Granted, the reconstruction was an ancient one. The Parthenon was shelled by the Turks much later and one side of the Parthenon was destroyed.
The Odyssey left port and we are headed to Monemvasia. As we are continuing on to Venice, we are “in transit”. About half of the guests departed at Athens. There was a mandatory safety drill at 3:15, a spa raffle at 4:15, an “in transit” cocktail party at 5:00, a lecture on “what be a pirate” at 5:30, and a rundown of all the tours available on this leg of the cruise at 6:30. It has been a busy afternoon and evening. We’re off to a semi-formal dinner in the restaurant now. It’s 7:50 pm. Tomorrow we’ll be walking the streets of Monemvasia!
Dinner was fabulous this evening. I started with a beef carpaccio, which had a myriad of flavored sauces drizzled at the plate edges. Ellen had a duck breast appetizer that also had a wonderful sampling of flavors on the plate. My veal piccata Milanease was very good, but Ellen’s beat goat cheese ravioli was superb. Then there were the deserts. Sugar-free vanilla and chocolate mousse with sugar caramelized raspberries, mint, and sugar glassee.
This mornings excursion to the Acropolis was fun, though two couples stood out as trouble. One woman pigeon holed me as we headed to the bus and complained that she should not have booked the second week, she was bored, was I on my second week, she had not seen me last week, did I like her new red hat she purchased in Santorini, isn’t it just the perfect hat, oh and can I help her with her smart phone. Geez, complaining about what is for us a wonderful cruise visiting some very amazing places. I assume she was hanging out by the pool the entire time.
Later when we arrived at the Acropolis, we had to climb a series of stairs. Somehow she and Ellen wound up together ahead of our group. Ellen found her way back, to the group. We didn’t think anything about it until two hours later we exited the Acropolis and a head count showed that she was missing. Funny, her husband didn’t seem to know or care that she was gone! WTF? We waited for her to show up for a while, then we headed off the the Archeological Museum without her. I heard later that she turned up on the Odyssey. All of the guests we’ve met thus far are really wonderful and well traveled people. This gal is one to be avoided. There is another couple that loves to complain. As one fellow said to me, “I’d rather be happy than wealthy” I agree.
At dinner this evening just as the main course was placed on the table, the red-hated woman showed up at our table to apologize for holding up the bus and continued to regale us with tales, including statement that she was a beautiful woman. Like where did that come from. Geez, just let me enjoy our dinner together. Luckily this is unusual behavior. I’m hoping we can avoid her and her argyl socked husband in the future. Let them glom onto some other couple.
To night’s show was a comedian, Paul Adams, a British comedian. He was very funny and entertaining. The show was over far to quickly. Tomorrow we don’t have an excursion planned. We can have an unhurried breakfast and wander the streets of Monemvasia.