Here we go again!

Let’s Set Sail Together Again (Corfu, Greece)!

It’s been nearly a month and a half since my last meaningful post and I am once again faced with the monumental task of getting caught back up.  I’m not sure how or why I allowed myself to get so far behind, but I do know that I have left myself a lot of work.  The wine, cheese and salami will just have to wait (well, I suppose it can’t hurt to have a little wine while I write).  I would like to apologize to my readers for this delay and I would like to acknowledge one loyal reader in particular;  Helen  actually reached out to me through our Contact Us page and basically said, “what the hell, Greg – where’ve you been?!”  Helen and everyone – even though it can’t excuse the lack of content, we  just got back from a two-week trip to the States where, in my capacity as Best Man, I roasted my good buddy Josh and toasted his beautiful bride, Abby (read about Josh and Abby’s trip to visit us here and here).

While we were home, I rediscovered some magical things – burritos, quality customer service and Netflix.  We haven’t watched as much TV over the past year as we did over the past two weeks.  I became obsessed with the Netflix original series, House of Cards – an amazing drama starring, Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, a cagey and politically ambitious congressman who is constantly scheming and conniving to reach the next rung of the political ladder.  If Frank Underwood can work through all hours of the night and stay ten moves ahead of his opposition, surely I can bang out a few extra blog posts in the next couple weeks.

You and me both, Frank
You and me both, Frank

We still have tons of travel left to do together – I’ve only written about the very first part of our cruise late last year and so much has happened since.  So put on your boating shoes and let’s get going…

Here we go again!
Here we go again!

When I last left you, we had already visited Rome (here and here) before hitting the Mediterranean Sea for Florence.  We spent the next day at sea (which means there is no port and therefore no disembarking the ship), which can often be my favorite time onboard a cruise ship.  We tend to pick our cruises based on the ports of call, but I always like to be sure there are two or three sea days allotted in the itinerary.  It may sound crazy – but it’s nice to have a day to relax in the middle of it all.  Carrying a toddler, stroller, backpack (and sometimes even a wife) across miles and miles of city streets, on and off tour buses and in and out of museums [while rewarding] is a lot of work.  To have a day where you cannot do anything other than enjoy your ship’s amenities is a pretty sweet prospect.  That, and I like to gamble – sea day’s are the only time you can sit in the casino all day (or as long as your wife can tolerate being left alone with your child).

A dormant volcano visible from the ship while we sailed past Sicily
A dormant volcano visible from the ship while we sailed past Sicily
Apparently, gambling is a part of our blood line - Julia enjoys the Casino as much as I do
Apparently, gambling is a part of our blood line – Julia enjoys the Casino as much as I do
First she hit the slots
First she hit the slots
Next, she discovered the blackjack tables - that is definitely my little girl
Next, she discovered the blackjack tables – that is definitely my little girl

The first sea day was also the first “formal night” and so we all three enjoyed an opportunity to get dressed up and go to dinner.  I was up a little after a hard day playing blackjack and so I was in high spirits. The delicious prime rib they served helped to keep me and my tummy happy (they even brought it out “bloody and still mooing with a mountain of horseradish”, just like I asked) .  After dinner, we took in a very enjoyable show and went to bed content with a day of doing… well, not much of anything.

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Ready for a fun “night on the town”
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Julia let me take her for a spin on the dance floor before dinner
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Julia and Jen at dinner

The next day we woke up at port in Corfu, Greece.  It was drizzling and we had a long day at port in a relatively small city, so we decided we would try to wait out the rain on the ship.  We spent the morning participating in some of the cheesy activities organized by the ship’s Cruise Director (imagine a business team building activity).  It would have been an uneventful morning if it had not been for a strengthening bond between two little girls who would quickly be known as the fastest of friends onboard Celebrity’s Silhouette.  Ava had met Julia in one of the cafe’s the day before and  she didn’t hesitate to chat her up on either occasion.  She was likely craving companionship of someone close to her own age (Ava is about a year older).  The two instantly clicked and after the game, they spent some time dancing, playing and “conversing” (if you can consider each girl stating her independent and random observations a conversation).

We meandered about the ship while we waited for the clouds to disperse
We meandered about the ship while we waited for the clouds to disperse
Ava found a new friend in Julia and Julia discovered her new hero
Ava found a new friend in Julia and Julia discovered her new hero

As the girls played, we spent some time getting to know Ava’s parents, Catherine and Jim without realizing that we were making fast friends of our own.  After just a few minutes talking with Cat and Jim, we learned that they have a close-knit family too – they were cruising with Jim’s brother, “Uncle” Mike and his wife, Feng  as well as the boy’s parents – Bob and Dorothy.  The entire family was very pleasant and even though we didn’t realize it at the time, we were forming a relationship with a big family we would “adopt” as our own for the remainder of the cruise.  Eventually, the rain let up and we took our leave for Corfu.

A panoramic of Corfu, Greece
A panoramic of Corfu, Greece

Corfu is a Greek Island dating back to 1300 BC when it was first inhabited by the Phaeacians.  The history of the island is a story penned by bloody battles and conquests.  This is evidenced by the two fortresses that enclose the capital city; two formidable structures standing as pillars of protection against would-be invaders from the sea .  Jen and I decided that we were up for a walk and so we strolled from the ship, past the “New” Fortress (Νέο Φρούριο) and into the downtown area.  We meandered past ancient churches and charming shops and restaurants when heard a tiny, little voice scream, “Juila”!  It was her new friend Ava, who came barreling up and generously gave Julia a big hug and a piece of her bread.  We kept hiking past the outskirts of town and into the Old Fortress (Παλαιό Φρούριο) – a citadel that offers the most magnificent panoramic of the ancient city, justifiably deemed a  UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Strolling through the city streets and taking in the shops
Strolling through the city streets and taking in the shops
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The city streets of ancient Corfu are full of charm
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We walked past beautiful churches
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We came across Ava eating lunch with her family
Old Fortress (Παλαιό Φρούριο)
Old Fortress (Παλαιό Φρούριο)
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The Old Fortress and church that was built on the grounds for the soldiers
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Crossing the drawbridge toward the Old Fortress
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The church and Old Fortress high atop the rocks
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Jen and Julia stroll across a desolate stretch on their way toward the church
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A view of the sea from the fortress walls
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Jen and Julia take in the view
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From the top of the cliff, we had a great view of the city and our ship
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Julia sits along a fortress wall with Corfu in the background
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She gives me a big hug
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Jen wanted to get in on that action

After a pleasant and rewarding day, we concluded our self-guided tour when we missed the last bus back to the ship, thereby closing the loop on our long walk by hustling back to the ship on foot.  We were just moments away from getting back on a course of exploration throughout eastern Europe, just as I am back on track  blogging.  For any other HOC (House of Cards) fans out there, imagine me concluding this post with two quick raps of my class ring on the desk.  Frank Underwood would be proud!

Some Great... "Qsine" on the Celebrity Silhouette
Presenting, The New... Sipping Espresso

4 thoughts on “Let’s Set Sail Together Again (Corfu, Greece)!”

  1. You’ve captured our experience so well.we are so blessed that our little girls met …can’t wait to hear more and make more memories in the future.

  2. Yeay – you’re back! I am so pleased to be able to vicariously travel with you again. Great pics and another great post…dont stop now…!! :-)

  3. Another great post with excellent photos. I am a big fan of House of Cards. Got home from Sablet Sunday night and first TV I watched was an episode of the show. Frank Underwood is an evil man.

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