Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 – Rhodes, Greece – Sunny – 90F

A hot day on the Greek Island of Rhodes..Our first time here.

  E and H Rhodes monument (Small) 

None of the tours in Rhodes looked that interesting so, since the ship is docked very closed to the Old City Entrance, we decided to walk around the Old Walled City of Rhodes. 

The site of the “Colossus of Rhodes” – a Wonder of the Ancient World – is a bit up the harbor road but it is hot and we are not planning to go there.

The first stop is the Church of Virgin of the Burgh (ca. 14th Century) located very close to the gate to the city.

Church of the Virgin Rhodes (Small)

Church of the Virgin of the Burgh (Small) 

Church of Virgin of the Burgh

Near the church, we noticed a sign pointing out the Synagogue in Rhodes. 

Sign for the Rhodes Shul (Small)

We followed the directions to the corner of Dossiadou and Simiou Streets to find the Kahal Shalom Synagogue.  It is the oldest synagogue in Greece (the original building dates back to 1577) and the only remaining synagogue on Rhodes.  The synagogue still holds Friday night and High Holiday services for visitors to the island.

Rhodes Synagogue (Small)

Rhodes Synagogue 2 (Small)

It is a Sephardic Shul with the Bimah in the center of the main floor.

Rhodes Shul (Small)

The synagogue has an ancient Torah on display that dates back to the 16th century (below).

Rhodes Torah (Small)        

After our visit to the synagogue, we continue to the Platia Martyron Evreon (Square of the Jewish Martyrs).  This is the location where Jews on Rhodes were assembled before being transported to the camps.  The Square contains memorials to the Jewish Martyrs of Rhodes.

Rhodes Jewish Memorial (Small) Rhodes Jewish Memorial 1 (Small)

Jewish Memorials at the Square

The area around the Martyr’s Square contains excellent examples of Medieval architecture.

Old Building in Rhodes TBIL 1 (Small)   Rhodes Gargoyles on Roof (Small) Old Building in Rhodes TBIL (Small)

E Rhodes Fountain (Small) 

Martyr Square Structures and Fountains (above)

We rested a moment at Martyr Square to see whether I could access the Island wide WiFi System.  I was partially successful and able to check on e-mails.

Rhodes was also the site of activities related to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who fortified the island against the Turks.  There are suits of armor just about everywhere ready for a photo-op. 

H and Rhodes Knight 1 (Small)

The knight below was, I believe, located near the the Hospital of the Knights (now the Archeological Museum).  This building was completed in 1489. 

H and Rhodes Knight (Small)

As we climbed up the hill, we could see the Mosque of Suleyman. This mosque was built in the early 19th Century on the site of the original mosque built in 1522.

Mosque of Suleyman (Small)

Once at the top, we headed back toward the ship.  The gate we entered was visible in the distance.

Rhodes Old City Gate (Small) 

At the harbor, there are several non-functional, but very picturesque, windmills.  The juxtaposition of the Mariner OTS and the windmill made for an interesting photograph.

Rhodes Windmill (Small)

After a little snack, we went back out to the city to pick up some trinkets for the kids.  

It was a very long day in Rhodes today according to the stats:

Pedometer:  12,075 Steps; 5.7 Miles; 591 Calories

Two passengers had their fifteen minutes of fame as they had to run for the ship as it was readying for departure.  It would have been a long trip from Rhodes to our next stop, Istanbul.  The ship actually sent someone on a motorcycle to find our wayward shipmates.  Perhaps a little too much Ouzo. 

 Running for the ship Rhodes (Small) Running for the ship Rhodes 1 (Small)

The sail away from Rhodes was beautiful.

Rhodes Sail Away (Small)

Showtime tonight was the ice show: “Ice Under the Big Top” in Studio B.  The show was cute and included some pretty good skaters.  I did notice that many of the skaters “came out” of their jumps – maybe the ice wasn’t optimal.

   Ice Sjhow 4 (Small) Ice Show 3 (Small)

One act combined skating and a “cirque” type acrobatic moves.  The skater was very good.

Ice Show 2 (Small)

Ice Show (Small)

Sea calm – Sea day tomorrow.

Monday, September 12, 2011 – Kusadasi, Turkey – Sunny – 82F

Another nice day in the resort city of Kusadasi…

Kusadasi Harbor 1 (Small)

Kusadasi Harbor (Small)

Kusadasi and Harbor from Mariner OTS

We are not planning to take any excursions today – seen the sites a number of times.  Instead, we are going to walk around the city, check out the Bazaar and then spend some time on line at the Starbucks by the pier. 

Kusadasi Bazaar 1 (Small)   Kusadasi Bazaar 2 (Small) 

Kusadasi Bazaar (two photos above)

Ellen checked out the bargains at the Bazaar (below).

E Kusadasi Bazaar (Small)

You can always gauge the local economy by the cost of an ice cream cone.  The cones below were 1 Turkish Lira (TL).  That’s 40 Eurocents or about 56 cents – a true bargain.

Conos Kusadasi (Small)

The cones were a bargain – didn’t get one though

 Marine OTS from Kusadasi (Small)  

The Mariner of the Seas Docked at Kusadasi

We were able to get the UN and PW from a nice server at the Starbucks at the pier so we did go on line and check our e-mails and communicate with everyone back home.  The only problem was finding a place with minimal cigarette smoke.  Outside worked the best.

Kusadai Starbucks (Small)

On Line at Starbucks

Attaturk Kusadasi (Small)

Ataturk still watching over Kusadasi

The sail away from Kusadasi was beautiful including a wonderful sunset.

Kusadasi Sailaway Sunset (Small) Kusadasi Sailaway (Small)

Kusadasi Sail Away

The big event for the evening took place in the Schooner Bar, where Darren was joined by Kieron Buffery (Cruise Director) for a sing-along.  Kieron plays the guitar and sings pretty well.  The crowd was huge and everyone including us sang along to what we knew and faked the rest.

Kieran Darren Singalong 1 (Small)

Kieran Darren Singalong (Small)

Kieran Darren Singalong 2 (Small)

The Kieron and Darren Show

It was a lot of fun – so much so that we stayed well past midnight.

Smooth seas…

Sunday, September 11, 2011 – Piraeus, Greece – Sunny - 93F

A beautiful day in Piraeus, Greece.

Piraeus (Small)

Piraeus, Greece from the Mariner of the Seas

It’s a warm day and we are not going on tour today (having seen the sights on previous trips).

Instead, we are going to walk around Piraeus – being Sunday, many of the shops and stores are closed.  The tourist places are open and we are going to be here in about a month (starting our next cruise) so a walkabout seemed like a good idea.  Besides, we need to find an Internet Hotspot to stay in touch with home.

We took the shuttle bus from our terminal to the other Main Terminal and then passed through the port gates into the city.  Fortunately, it is Sunday and traffic is light allowing us to cross the streets safely.

Sometimes, when you can’t find anyone to take your picture, you have to improvise.  All you need is a shiny window and you have a great photo.

    Piraeus Mirror Pic (Small)

Our walk took us through shops and through a little park.  The centerpiece of the park was an ancient Greek soldier.


 Piraeus Statue (Small)

Statue of Greek Soldier in Park

Piraeus Church (Small)

Impressive Church

From across the street, I could see the Mariner of the Seas in the distance.  I braved the traffic, crossed the street and took a picture of our ship docked a few blocks away.

 MOTS from Piraeus (Small)

Mariner of the Seas from Piraeus

We were looking for a Starbucks or McDonalds for WiFi but couldn’t find any along the way.  We finally came across a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Store – it turns out they had WiFi and the girl working there gave us the UN and PW.  I didn’t have my computer but my WiFi phone did the trick and we checked our mail and sent along a picture of us at the Ben and Jerry’s.

Ben and Jerry Piraeus (Small)

At Ben and Jerry’s in Piraeus

A statue of Poseidon in another park (check the trident) also caught our eye.

Poseidon Piraeus (Small)

Poseidon in the Park

Back on the ship, I thought a picture with one of the dragons guarding the Dragon’s Lair would be interesting.

 How to train your dragon (Small)

How to Train Your Dragon

The last time we were in Piraeus, we heard that the main port terminal had free WiFi so we went back out to the terminal to check e-mail.  After a little effort, we did find a place with a strong signal (NOTE: Next time:  sit by the gift shops – strongest signal).

We watched the sail away from the Viking Lounge (Deck 14).  In the sequence below, the Marine OTS is backing out of the harbor and past the seawall.  Pretty good maneuvering (probably done by the local pilot).

Piraeus from Ship (Small) Backing out 1 (Small) Backing out 2 (Small) Backing out 3 (Small) Piraeus Sail Away (Small) Piraeus Sail Away 1 (Small) Piraeus Sail Away 2 (Small)

Piraeus Sail Away Sequence (above)

Dinner again was in the Windjammer Cafe, where we were treated to a beautiful Grecian Sunset.

 Sunset from Windjammer (Small)

The Windjammer offers a different ice cream flavor each night – hand scooped by one of the servers.  Tonight’s flavor – Rainbow Sherboti – we couldn’t resist trying some.

Sherboti (Small) Sherboti Man (Small)

Sherboti and the Sherboti Chef

After diner, we ran into these folks – part of some show somewhere on the ship.

Tall people (Small)

Headliner Showtime tonight featured comedian Juggler: Mark Angelo.  He played to a small audience but he still was pretty funny and his juggling used unusual items (light remotely controlled lit balls juggled in the dark).

Tomorrow we are in Kusadasi…