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Italy/Greece 2005 Part 1

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S: Italy/Greece 2005 Part 1

FC: Italy & Greece 2005 Part 1

1: We hadn't planed to travel in 2005. However when I discovered a cruise itinerary that went from Rome to Venice via Greece we had to sign up. These were the three destinations at the top of our want to see list. The trip started on 4/28 with a flight to Cincinnati. We were a bit worried about our connection to Rome, as we arrived only thirty minutes before the Rome flight and had to get seat assignments when we got there. A sign of how this trip was going to go, was walking up to the crowded gate in Cincinnati and being handed boarding tickets in 1st class. We arrived in Rome on the morning of 4/29 and were taken to our hotel on the Via Veneto in the heart of Rome. | Alps & The Matterhorn | Italian Coast | Travel Day

2: After taking a brief nap, we started out on first walk in Rome. Our hotel was about two blocks from the Porta Pinciana entrance to Villa Borghese park, so we started our walk going into the park. We only walked thru one end of Villa Borgese heading to the Pincio Hill which overlooks the city and Piazza del Popolo. From Pincio the sites of Rome, including St. Peters, loom up at you, as does the Pantheon and the all to white monument to Victor Emanuel II. The paths are lined with busts of Italian patriots. The Egyptian obelisk, brought to Rome by the Emperor Hadrian, was placed on Pincio in 1822 by Pope Pius VII. Historians disagree about the origins of the Pincio Hill, which, by the way, is not one of the famous seven hills of Rome. | Day 1 - Rome 4/29 Pincio Hill

4: Piazza DelPopolo | We walked down from the Pincio Hill to Piazza Del Popolo. The stairway into the piazza gave us a nice overview of this wonderful place. It was the pope Sixtus V who decided to place a square here at the end of 1500. In 1589 he ordered the obelisk at the Circus Maximus moved to the center of the piazza. In 1811 Giuseppe Valadier, invited by Napoleon, gave the neoclassical appearance to the piazza making an accent on the open theatre features and making it really scenic. The area is encircled on two sides by hemicycles. On the lean of the Pincio a series of scales and terraces adorned by statues can be seen. Two churches were constructed at one side of the piazza. Santa Maria dei Miracoli, with its round dome, was built in 1675-81 by Carlo Rainaldi and Carlo Fontana and the Santa Maria di Montesanto, with its oval dome, which was designed in 1662-79 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. We loved the public enjoyment of art, gathering and relaxing in the outdoors, and people watching. In one place you could see a cross section of society. We saw young people chatting (many smoking), children playing, chicly dressed women, people hurrying through the square, and elderly people strolling arm in arm slowly.

7: Colonna dell'Immacolata | Piazza di Spagna | After leaving piazza Del Popolo, it was early evening. So we started wondering and searching the backstreet's for someplace to eat. We found a small restaurant on a backstreet, and sat at an outside table where we could watch the locals. After a very long day it was nice to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere and a good meal of prosciutto and melon and pasta. After our meal, we walked to the Piazza di Spagna, site of the famed Spanish Steps. At present Piazza di Spagna is a center of luxury fashionable shops and galleries of art and antiques. It has an irregular form: three different parts one attached to another. It was dominated by France to the north of the Spanish steps, where the French ambassador had a residence, and in square's southern part by Spain, where the Palace of Spanish ambassador still stands. The central part for centuries was the most elegant meeting place in Rome and here the English colony congregated. By the time we left the Piazza it was getting dark so we headed back to our hotel, or tried to. A bit lost again we stuck our heads into a small hotel and got some directions. We got back to our room tired but happy and excited by our first day in Rome.

8: Day 2 Rome - 4/30 The Coliseum | After I good nights sleep, we headed for the buffet breakfast, which was part of our stay package. It turned out to be wonderful. The Italian coffee was rich and just what I needed in the morning. The buffet was large, with fresh fruits, Italian sausages/meats, eggs, and juices. Last but not least fresh baked croissants, including Linda’s favorite chocolate ones. She reveled in a few of them. We decided to take a cab to the area of the Coliseum to start our day. Riding in a cab in Rome was about as crazy as the traffic looked like, so I closed my eyes and, to my surprise, we got there safely. The Coliseum is every bit as impressive as you might think as you approach it. We were there on a holiday weekend and the line to go inside was around two hours long. So we took in the Coliseum from the outside. Then we joined an English speaking tour group. It cost only a little more than regular admittance and it allowed us to go into the Coliseum right away with the group. The Amphitheatrum Flavium, a.k.a. the Coliseum, was built by the Flavian emperors in the first century AD as a gift to the Roman citizens, in the place where the previous Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) had built his residence, the Domus Aurea. It took about ten years to build the amphitheater. Vespasian started the works in 72 AD and his son Titus dedicated it in the year 80 AD with magnificent games that lasted one hundred days. It is generally accepted that the building was completed by the following emperor, Domitian, Titus' brother.

10: Sacred Way | Temple of Venus and Roma

11: Palatine Hill / Roman Forum | We left the Coliseum with the tour group and walked past the Constantine Arch to the Sacred Way. Walking up the Sacred Way toward the Palatine Hill, we came to the Titus Arch. The Titus Arch was erected by Domitian in honor of his father Vespasian and his brother Titus, starting in 81 A.D. The arch is 49.2ft high and 44.2ft wide. We passed thru the Titus Arch and entered the Palatine Hills overlooking the Roman Forum area. The Roman Forum was the political and economical center of Rome during the Republic. The current image of the Forum Romanum is a result of the changes made by Julius Caesar as pontifex maximus and dictator, which included the construction of the Basilica Julia where the Basilica Sempronia stood, the building of a new Curia and the renovation of the Rostra, the speakers platform. Caesar didn't see all his plans realized before his death, but most was finished by his successor Augustus, including the Temple of Divus Julius, dedicated to Caesar deified. After the fall of the empire in the west, the area was abandoned. A few buildings were converted into churches, including the Curia, the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina and the Temple of Divus Romulus; the rest was left to shepherds and their animals, to the extent that the popular name of the area became Campo Vaccino, the cattle field. Archaeological excavations began in 18th century, but the site has only been excavated systematically in the 20th century. Many of the later additions to buildings and monuments have now been removed and the original street level has been restored over large parts of the Forum. | Constantine Arch

12: The Sacred Way | Titus Arch

13: Temple of Saturn | Temple of Faustina and Antonino | Settimius Severus Arch | Santa Maria Francesca Roma Church

14: Wondering Rome | From the Forum/Coliseum area we started to wonder in the direction of the Tiber River. In an area where there were very few tourists, we found a beautiful fountain. From there we started to look for a place to take a break. We came across a restaurant but weren't sure it was open. As we got closer we could hear people inside so we decided to stick our heads in. Inside there were 2 or 3 tables occupied, each by a group of people, all speaking Italian and not a tourist in sight. A waiter, who spoke a bit of English, showed us to a table. We found out that the restaurant was run by a family. The head of the family was at a table by the kitchen, the wait staff were all children of the family, and the wife was in the kitchen. One of the grand children, who was fascinated with Linda, was there as well. All were really friendly and gracious. I even got a lesson in Italian cuisine from the patriarch of the family. Linda had ordered Portobello Mushroom Pasta and I had ordered Clam Pasta. The waiter brought Linda Parmesan for her pasta. When I reached to put some on my Clam Pasta I was gently informed by the patriarch that Italians don't use cheese on seafood pasta's. I thanked him, in my rotten Italian, and enjoyed the pasta greatly without. It was probably the best food we'd had in Rome, and a unique encounter with the real people of Rome. Full and happy we said our goodbye's and headed off again. The first thing we came across after lunch was the Temple of Apollo. We were just walking, not knowing exactly where we were going and came across it, and its surroundings. This is one great thing about walking in Rome. Close to here we found the Temple of Bellona (296 B.C.), where the Senate invited the victorious general and dedicated a triumph to him.

15: Temple of Apollo | Temple of Bellona

16: Piazza Campidoglio | Our wanderings then brought us to the Piazza del Campidoglio. The piazza is reached by spectacular flight of steps, called the Cordonata, designed by Michelangelo in 1536. At the top of the staircase are giant marble statues of Castor and Pollux, which date back to Roman times. In the center of the piazza is an equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. In the back of the piazza is the Palazzo Senatorio, built in various stages in the 13th and 14th century on the remains of the Roman tabularium, and today the seat of Rome’s municipal government. Michelangelo designed the double ramp of stairs at the front, which is embellished by a fountain sporting two enormous reclining river gods, the Tiber on the right and the Nile on the left. In the niche in between is the Dea Roma, a red and white stone composite of two earlier statues of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and war. | The Cordonata

17: Marcus Aurelius | River God Tiber | River God Nile | The Dea Roma

18: The Vittoriano | We took a break in a pretty little park off one end of the Piazza Campidoglio with a view of the Vittoriano. As we lounged in the park an older Italian women came over. She spoke no English but it was obvious she was trying to tell us to enjoy the weather, as it had been raining for weeks before we got there. I tried to tell her how much we were enjoying her lovely city. Her smile said we had managed to communicate. The Vittoriano, is a relatively new Monument celebrating the Italian independence. Although some fell it is not in harmony with ancient atmosphere of this area, it is a spectacular monument. In the center is the equestrian statue of King Vittorio Emanuele 11. After viewing the Vittoriano we found our way back to our hotel for the night.

20: Day 3 Rome - 5/01 Piazza Barberini | We enjoyed another buffet breakfast at the hotel, and discussed where to head in Rome on our last full day there. We decided that we primarily wanted to see the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. We started our trek walking up to the end of the Via Veneto, where we found the Piazza Barberini. The Triton Fountain is one of the most beautiful fountains made by Bernini in Rome. It's right in the middle of Piazza Barberini. Benini constructed it in 1642 for his patron Pope Urbano VIII Barberini. In the middle of the fountain four dolphins support with their tails two valves of a scallop shell on which is a kneeling triton, god of sea Neptune's son, who blows water through a shell held up in his hands.

21: Quirinal Hill | From the Piazza Baberini, we wondered up the Quirinal Hill. At the top we came across this beautiful building, which we could not identify. This was typical of wondering in Rome, where you find beautiful architecture at every turn, We continued down the street toward the Piazza del Quirinale and came across a small park with a wonderful monument to King Vittorio Emanuele II. Just down the street was the Piazza del Quirinale. It occupies the summit of the Quirinal (196.8ft), one of the Seven Hills of Rome. The square's creation was begun by Gregory XIII in the end of the 16th century. From the Piazza del Quirinale we headed down the hill again, and in truth were lost again trying to head for the Trevi Fountain. We came upon another set of ruins which were identified as the Trajan forum. This came as a bit of surprise to me, as I thought the Roman Forum was city's forum. In truth a learned there were five forums in Rome.

22: King Vittorio Emanuele II. Monument

23: Piazza del Quirinale | Vatican Dome from Piazza | Trajan Forum

24: Trevi Fountain | From this forum we walked down a main street in the direction we felt the Trevi Fountain was in. After some searching we spotted a sign pointing down a small back street. We walked down this street and emerged at the Trevi Fountain. To our surprise it is located on relatively small piazza hidden between rows of buildings. The fountain was built under Clement XII in 1732-1762 by the work of N.Salvi (finished after Salvi's death by Giuseppe Pannini), who's work was chosen from among 16. The statue of the Ocean is by P.Bracci (1762), the rest of the sculptures and decorative elements were executed by various sculptors. The fountain occupies entire side of Palazzo Poli and is 20m wide and 26m high. Two giant tritons conduct the winged chariot of Neptune-Ocean. In the side niches are figures of Health (right) and Abundance (left), both by F.Della Valle; the bas-reliefs above represent the virgin of the legend pointing out the spring to the soldiers, and Agrippa, approving the plans for the aqueduct. The four statues above represent the Seasons with their gifts. At the summit is the coat-of-arms of the Corsini family, with two allegorical figures.

26: Pantheon and Tiber | After enjoying Trevi we headed in the direction of the Pantheon. We came to a large piazza containing the Column of Marcus Aurelius. From here we headed toward the Pantheon but were having a hard time finding it. Linda finally asked directions from an Italian policeman, who pointed down the narrow street we were heading for. Another block and it opened out on the piazza containing the Pantheon. As the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon is hidden away between rows of more modern buildings. Unfortunately it was a holiday and the Pantheon was closed, so we couldn’t go in. We stopped for a late lunch at a café just off the Piazza della Rotonda, that holds the Pantheon. Sitting outside we enjoyed an Antipasto bar and some good pasta, as we watched the crowds go by. After lunch, we decided to continue in the direction of the Tiber River from the Pantheon.

27: The first thing we happened upon was the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church. It grew out of an oratory built over the ancient Temple of Minerva Calcidica before the 9th century A.D., and in 1280 was assigned to the Dominicans by Nicolas III. The little piazza in front of the building took the name from the church S.Maria sopra Minerva. In the middle is a funny monument compound of a little marble elephant supporting 19.7ft high Egyptian obelisk which belonged to the Temple of Isis, that formerly stood nearby. It was designed by G.L.Bernini and executed by E.Ferrata in 1667. We continued down this street and found a large open area labeled as the Piazza Argentina. In the center of this area was an area of ancient ruins, excavated below street level. To our amusement we discovered the ruins were occupied by a number of cats. Little did we know cats would be greeting us throughout this trip From here we walked down a narrow street and found another one of those Rome surprises, the Piazza Mattei and its turtle fountain. The name of this square derives from the property that the Mattei family had in this zone. In the middle of it is Fontana delle Tartarughe, built according to a design of G.Della Porta in 1581-1584, with the bronze sculptures by T.Landini, and restored in 1658 probably by G.L.Bernini.

28: We were beginning to think we were lost again, when we emerged at a major street along one side of the Tiber and just down from the Ponte Quattro Capi bridge. It was built in 62 b.C. by L.Fabricius curator viarum (as it is inscribed on both sides of the bridge). This is the oldest Roman bridge to have survived in the city, and still in use for pedestrians. In the Middle Ages it was called "Pons Judeurum" (Jewish bridge) because of the proximity of the Jewish Ghetto District. Passing the back of the Roman Forum area, we headed back to our hotel for our final evening in Rome.

29: Day 4 Rome - 5/02 Vatican & Departure | Today was our day to board our cruise ship. However, in the morning we had a tour of the Vatican, which was scheduled as part of the cruise. So after another enjoyable breakfast, we boarded a tour bus and were driven to the Vatican. Our guide said he wanted to get us there as early as possible because the lines got quit long. As we joined the line we began to see what he meant, as people and tour groups just kept streaming past us to the end of the line. The tour description had indicated that guys had to wear long pants and ladies needed to have shoulders knees covered, so we had dressed appropriately. One young couple had just decided to hop the tour that morning and hadn't gotten the word, he was wearing shorts. The guide, Tony, took care of the problem and got some paper pants the Vatican has for sale for just such a circumstance. Of course, we gave them a good natured bad time about it. When we entered the Vatican we went to the Cortilla della Pigna. The Courtyard of the Pine-Cone takes this curious name from a huge (13.1ft high) bronze pine-cone dated from 1st century A.D., which started its way here from Giardini di Iside in the zone of the Pantheon, then moved to the hall of ancient St Peter's and finally got its present position in the court of Vatican Museums

30: Vatican Museum | Inside of the two-storied palaces, forming Courtile della Pigna, there is a part of the Vatican Museums, the greatest collection of antiques in one of the greatest museum complexes in the world (137,795 sq. ft.). After Julius II, who mostly collected classic sculptures, other popes, especially in 18-19 centuries continued the work of acquisition, selection and exposition of the most precious treasures of art. In the courtyard we received a description of the Vatican, the Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel (which we would visit later). We then started our tour inside the Vatican Museum enjoying just a small portion of the total wings of the place, and marveling at the art on display.

33: Sistine Chapel | At the end of our walk through the Vatican Museum, we were led at flight of stairs and to the Sistine Chapel. We were instructed that we needed to remain silent and respectful when we entered the Chapel and until we left. A reasonable request for this place the Vatican considers so reverent. When we entered the Chapel was completely full of tourists. Not all had the good grace to heed the request for silence, including to our shock a tour guide or so. We thought this was very bad form on the part of the visitors, and I can understand them shutting the doors on occasion. No photographs of any kind are allowed in the Sistine Chapel. So I have included some stock pictures from the web, to stimulate our memories of this unique place. The chapel takes its name from Sixtus IV, who had chosen a big pontific chapel, existing from the 13th century, and had it rebuilt by Giovannino de'Dolci in 1475-81 as the official private chapel of the popes, and for the conclaves that are still held here. The chapel is a rectangle 134.5ft long, 45.9ft wide, and 68.9ft high. The barrel-vaulted ceiling is entirely covered by the celebrated frescoes of Michelangelo, who was working along without any assistance and completed it in 1508-12. The complex design combines Old and New Testament figures, as well as themes from pagan prophecy and Church history. The frescoes were restored in 1980-95. In 1535-41 (23 years later) Michelangelo was commissioned by Paul III to paint a huge (20x10m) fresco of the Last Judgment on the altar wall. This caused the walling-up of two windows, destruction of 2 frescoes (by Perugino) on the side walls and 2 lunettes painted by Michelangelo.

34: St. Peters Basilica | We left the Sistine Chapel and emerged outside in the square to the right of St. Johns Basilica. On the place of the crucifixion (67 a.C.) of St Peter the Emperor Constantine, at the request of pope St Sylvester I, built a basilica in 315- 349. Thus in the Year 2000 St Peter's celebrated its 1685th birthday. In 1451 Nicolas V decided to rebuilt the old St Peter's, as it was in extremely bad condition and was not appropriate any more to the needs of church. He entrusted the work to B.Rossellino, L.B.Alberti, and G.da Sangallo, but on the Pope's death in 1455, work was suspended for half a century. Julius II started complete reconstruction and employed Bramante who began work in 1506. After Bramante's death in 1514, Leo X employed Raphael to continue the building on Latin-cross plan in collaboration with Fra Giocondo and G.da Sangallo. At Sangallo's death in 1546, Michelangelo then 72 years old, was summoned by Paul III. Michelangelo decided on the original Greek-cross plan and developed Bramante's idea. He took Brunelleschi's Florentine cupola for his model and replaced Bramante's piers with new stronger ones. His plan for the facade was derived from the Pantheon. Michelangelo directed the work until his death in 1564. Vignola and P.Ligorio then took over the work, and were followed by G.della Porta (assisted by C.Fontana), who completed the dome in 1590, and added the two smaller domes. In 1605 Paul V demolished what had been left of the old basilica, pulled down the incomplete facade and directed Carlo Maderno to lengthen the nave towards the old Piazza San Pietro. The present facade and portico are Moderno's work. In the end, basilica was finished on a Latin-cross plan. On 18 November 1626, Urban VIII consecrated the new church. G.L.Bernini succeeded Maderno in 1629 and was commissioned to decorate the interior.

35: The Nave | The Pieta | Inside the Basilica

36: Our Guide

37: Papal Alter

38: Vatican Square | After our time in St. Peters Basilica we emerged on to Vatican Square. St Peter's square was realized by G.L.Bernini in 1656-67. It is one of the superb examples of civic architecture and was designed to create an adequate entrance to the heart of Catholic religion and, from the functional side, cover the visible disproportion of St Peter'. It has the form of an ellipse 240m large and 340m long (from the stairs leading to the entrances of St Peter's till the line of Vatican-Italian border). | Fountain by C Maderno 1613

40: Departure on Grand Princess | After a bus ride from Rome we arrived at the docks in Civitavecchia. As we awaited our turn to check-in we could see our ship. It was very large and beautiful, but I will leave the descriptions of our ship for our day at sea. Having traveled on Princess enough I had express check-in privileges, which sped up our check-in process. We received our cruise cards, which is all you need to acquire anything on the ship. Unfortunately it does show up on your bill at the end of the cruise. We then got our boarding picture taken and boarded the Grand Princess. They had lots of crew members ready to direct us to our cabin, which was Aloha Deck 724. After freshening up a bit we headed on deck for the sail away party. In the late afternoon we set sail on our 12 day cruise. It was nice to relax on the ship and enjoy our first delicious dinner in the dining room of our choice. Tired and happy we retired for the night.

41: Day 4 Bay of Naples - 5/03 | We arose early in the morning for our arrival at Naples. As would become our routine, we headed for the buffet breakfast to enjoy our arrival at port and a have a good meal before leaving on tour. Sailing into the Bay of Naples at sunrise, Mt. Vesuvius was visible at the east end of the bay. The Bay of Naples is located off the southwestern coast of Italy (province of Naples, Campania region). It opens to the west into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered on the north by the cities of Naples and Pozzuoli, on the east by Mount Vesuvius, and on the south by the Sorrentine Peninsula and its main town Sorrento; the Peninsula separates it from the Gulf of Salerno. The islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida are located in the gulf. The area is an important tourist destination for Italy with the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum (destroyed in the A.D. 79 eruption of Vesuvius) nearby. We were to visit Capri, Serrento, and Pompeii on our tour which was to take in the entire day.

42: Naples Docking | Our ship docked at Naples. Naples is the largest city in southern Italy and capital of Campania Region and the Province of Naples. The city has a population of about 1 million, and together with its suburbs, the metropolitan area has 3.7 million inhabitants (Neapolitans). It is located just halfway between the Vesuvius volcano and a separate volcanic area, the Campi Flegrei, all part of the Campanian volcanic arc. Napoli is where pizza originally came from. It is rich in historical, artistic and cultural traditions and gastronomy. Neapolitan is a language in its own right, known in Naples as Napulitano.

43: Capri | We left the ship shortly after docking for our all day tour that would take us around the Bay of Naples to Capri, Sorrento, and Pompeii. We walked down the dock and boarded a local hydrofoil ferry, and set out to our first stop, Capri. Capri is an island of limestone rock that represents the outermost tip of the mountain chain on the Sorrentine peninsula. The coastline, whose dolomite cliffs fall right to the sea in many spots, is dotted with countless caves and surrounded by reefs whose shapes suggest fantastic creations. The origin of the name Capri must be traced back to the Greeks, the first colonists to populate the island in recorded time. This means that "Capri" was not derived from the Latin "Capreae" (goats), but rather the Greek "Kapros" (wild boar).

44: Arriving at Marina Grande

45: Piazza Umberto | We depart the hydrofoil, and our guide obtained our tickets for the funicular that takes you up to the main piazza of Capri. This was our first experience with tickets in this part of the world. They are much more than the typical ‘admit one’ pieces of cardboard in the USA. They have wonderful art of the place you are visiting, and raise, for us, to the level of a keepsake from the place. We road up the funicular, that rises from the Marina Grande to Piazza Umberto, at the top of Capri. The "heart" of Capri is the Piazza Umberto a small, compact, closed-off square that resembles a courtyard. Surrounding the square are the ''Torre dell'Orologio'', or Clock Tower, which may have been the bell tower of the old cathedral, plus the municipal offices , and a series of stores and cafes; the picturesque left side of the San Stefano church acts as a backdrop. The piazza was probably part of the primitive inhabited area of Capri the 5th – 6th centuries BC. We walked from the piazza through the narrow streets of the city (closed to all traffic but small motorized carts to move goods) to the other side of the island.

47: Gardens of Agustus and Rocks of Faraglioni | We emerged on the other side of Capri at the Gardens of Augustus. The gardens belonged to the villa of Friedrich Alfred Krupp, son of the founder of the German steelworks who resided in Capri at the end of the last century. Built on the ruins of ancient Roman structures, the gardens were donated by Krupp to the Town of Capri, which later named them for the Roman emperor. At the top of the gardens an observation area provided spectacular views of the awesome coastline. On of the best known sites on Capri are the rocks of Faraglioni. There are three the first one, joined to the coast, is called 'Stella' (Star) or also 'F. di terra' (F. on earth) and it is 109 meters high. The second, that's the smallest, is called simply 'F. di mezzo' (Middle F.) and its 81 meters high. The last one on the outside is named 'Scopolo' but is also called 'F. di fuori' (Outward F.) and it is 104 meters. They are famous even for hosting a rare variety of lizard, the so-called 'Blue lizard' (lacerta coerulea muralis or faraglionensis) that had generated a peculiar bluish color all over its body. After some time on our own at the gardens, where we managed to find a Gelati stand, we walked back to the Piazza Umberto and enjoyed a cappuccino at an outdoor table before boarding the funicular back to the marina. We left Capri on our hydrofoil for Sorrento.

50: Sorrento | From Capri, we cruised up the picturesque coastline of the Bay of Naples. Eventually we arrived in the bay below Sorrento where there a couple of small cruise ships anchored. Sorrento is one of the best known resorts in Italy. Sorrento is perched on a dramatic line of steeply rising cliffs, overlooking the Bay of Naples, on a stretch of coastline of great beauty, on the northern slope of the Sorrentine Peninsula. The town is surrounded by orange and lemon groves and lush thickly wooded hills where vines and olives are grown. According to legend, it was at Sorrento that Ulysses heard the tempting song of the Sirens, the nymphs who attempted to seduce passing sailors. After arriving in Serrento we boarded a shuttle bus and rode up the hill to the town. Here we were escorted to a restaurant for a sit down lunch. We ended up seated with a couple from North Carolina. He was a sod farmer and a musician. A personable and very nice couple, they have a place in Hilton Head. We had a very enjoyable lunch. The cannelloni was very good the rest of the food pretty average (good wine) and nice company. After lunch we had some free time to explore this lovely town. A charming resort in a spectacular setting, the town is exceedingly popular with tourists, many of whom flock here every year, using it as base for exploring the famous Amalfi Coast. It is a great town for wandering around on foot. At the center of Sorrento is Piazza Tasso, a bustling and typical Italian square filled with several bars and restaurants. The view from the public gardens above this square is spectacular. Near the square is the church of San Francesco, a major landmark of the town where evening concerts are staged the evening. Close to the plaza are lanes lined with bakeries, boutiques, clothing stores, and souvenir shops. After exploring, we gathered just off the town square where we boarded a tour bus. We left Sorrento behind and headed for Pompeii.

53: Pompeii | We arrived outside the walls of Pompeii in mid afternoon. We had some time to look around and ponder the disaster that occurred here, while our guide went to purchase our tickets to enter the city. The Italian countryside around the Bay of Naples, called Campania, has always been noted for its beauty. As it was a perfect place for leisure in the days of the Roman Empire, many wealthy people began building summer villas there. Pompeii, built at the mouth of the Sarnus River, also carried on a prosperous trade in wine, oil, and breadstuffs as well as producing millstones, fish sauce, perfumes, and cloth. On Pompeii's last day, a sunny August 24, 79 CE, the great volcano Mount Vesuvius began to belch forth steam, gases, lava, and flames. Following that was a hail of pumice stones up to 3 inches in diameter, and then a torrent of white ashes. For nearly 2 days white ashes fell like snow on the doomed city which was 6 miles southeast of the crater. Pompeii's usual population was probably about 20,000, but at that fateful time it may have been crowded with summer visitors. About 90% of the people escaped as the eruption began. But about 2,000 died of thermal shock, were crushed under falling debris, or were killed by hot ashes. The most famous casualty of the great eruption was Roman nobleman, historian, and scientist Pliny the Elder who was in command of the Roman fleet in the Bay of Naples: he took ships across the bay to Stabiae in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue refugees, and died in the attempt. The eruption of Vesuvius destroyed not only Pompeii but also the nearby cities of Stabiae (noted above) and Herculaneum, which had about 5,000 inhabitants. Oplontis, Sora, Tora, Taurania, Cossa, and Leucopetra were also destroyed. The eruption changed the entire geography of the Campania region around Pompeii, turning the Sarnus River back from its course and raising the sea beach so that there was no way of locating the site of the buried city. Pompeii, formerly a seaside town, lay beneath ash deposits far inland for 1,700 years. In 1748 a peasant struck a buried Pompeiian wall beneath his vineyard. Since then excavations have gone on, with interruptions, to the present.

56: We were next taken to a storage area, where artifacts that have not already gone to museums are kept. This turned out to be a moving part of the tour, as it also contained a couple of the so called death casts. When the eruption buried the unfortunate inhabitants it formed a sort of plaster mold that preserved the outline of there bodies. These coupled with the stored pottery, statues, and other items brought home the reality of the people and community that were destroyed.

58: How the people worked can be seen as well as how they lived. Outside the bakeries are great millstones that ground the grain, and inside you sometimes found kneading apparatus. A potter's workshop has 2 ovens, the dye houses are provided with large lead kettles, and in a closet were found bottles containing colors. A tannery has vats and tools of bronze and iron. There are inns and wine shops--Pompeii had 118 of them for its 20,000 inhabitants! With utensils for heating food and drink and great stone jars set in the counter for storing them. We continued down a devastated street, in which you could see the marks of chariot wheels.

60: The story of private life is also revealed, as we visited a Pompeii home. The dwellings show a blank wall to the street, as many in Southern Europe still do. A central court or back garden provided air and sunlight. Courtyards often included ornate fountains with shells and cameos adoring them. In many cases the wall fresco's were preserved by the ash. As we headed toward the exit from Pompeii I noticed another example of a home's fountain in a blocked off area. We also stopped to get a look at the famous dog mosaic in another home entrance. Visiting Pompeii left us with an appreciation of what the inhabitants must have gone through. We were awed at what Vesuvius had done, and how well the volcanic fallout had preserved the devastated city. I couldn't help but think a little of the volcanoes in our home state.

62: On our way back to the ship we stopped at the Donadio Coralli e Cammei cameo studio. We got to see the artisans hand carving the cameos out of the shell. Linda found a necklace and ear ring set she loved, but unfortunately we had not brought my credit card or enough Euros to buy them. I redeemed myself the following Christmas by communicating with the shop by email and giving them to her for Christmas. After returning to the ship, we went on deck to relax and enjoy the view as we left the Bay of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius. Our next day would be a day at sea, which we were ready for after our walking of Rome and our all day tour here.

63: Day 5 At Sea - 5/04 | We started our day with a trip to the Horizon Court for the buffet breakfast. Food, of course, is one of the attractions of a cruise and there are several places to find it at any time of the day or night. After breakfast we headed for the main pool area to sun a bit. The main pool area was lovely with a nice big pool. It is only one of several pools on the ship, and as we found, one of the most crowded. It also has a movie screen perched above it. This was ok at the sail away party from Naples, playing a musical concert. However we quickly found, after stretching out on a lounge, that they played movies on it all day. We found the noise annoying when we were only trying to relax in the sun, not attend a movie. So we decided to find a less noisy area to relax in. In the stern of ship, just down the hall from our cabin, we found there was a smaller pool. It was much less crowded, and certainly quieter. There was also a convenient outdoor bar one level up. We spent much of our on deck sunning time here and a couple of decks up on a sun deck. Linda preferred the upper deck, as it was sunnier all the time. I enjoyed that for a while, but being unable to take as much sun as her, I often retreated here. After some sunning I decided to take a walk around the ship and see what it has to offer.

64: Our back deck pool area and hot tub | Walking the Promenade Deck

65: The Atrium is the center core of the ship. Around it on the various floors are shops. On the main deck are the pursers office, a small bar (one of many), and a piano where music greets you in the evenings. | Deck Games | Casino

66: Of course the main attraction of the evenings is dinner. On this ship there were 3 large dinning rooms. The Botticelli Dining Room is used for the traditional 6pm and 8pm dinner seatings. The Da Vinci Dining Room and Michelangelo Dining Room are used for Personal Choice Dinning, which was our choice. You can go to dinner any time you want between 5pm and 10pm. You can request a private table or share, which means you're seated with other cruisers. All but one night we shared and always had a pleasant dinner companions. The food is great too. The first night, out of Naples, we found a bit of a line to get into the Da Vinci room, which is on the main deck. Linda took a look one deck down at Michelangelo room and it was walk right in. We eat here most nights. In addition there are specialty restaurants including Sabatini's were we had a 15 course meal over two hours one special night. Lots of small courses of lots of things along with a main course like Filet or Lobster and desert. | Sabatini's | One of many lounge areas

67: The day ended with the Captain's Party. Every body dresses up and gathers around the atrium area to enjoy drinks and appetizers followed by a special dinner. | Great Dinner | Stroll back to cabin

68: Day 6 Santorini - 5/05 | We arrived early in the morning at Santorini. It has one of the most spectacular harbors in the world. It is actually the caldera of a volcano. The present-day crescent shape of the island is a consequence of the activity of the volcano in prehistoric times. The island itself owes its very existence to the volcano. The last huge eruption of the volcano dates back 3,600 years, in the late Bronze Age. Thirty million cubic meters of magma in the form of pumice and ash were blown to a height of up to 36 kilometers above the island. Pumice deposits, dozens of meters thick, buried one of the most prosperous pre-historic settlements of that period, possibly feeding the myth of lost Atlantis. Unfortunately it was foggy as we arrived, so we didn’t have a good view of our arrival. We would be rewarded later with a beautiful day and a spectacular view as we left the island. We were tendered ashore by a Greek tender service. Normally the ship does its own tendering of passengers ashore in ports were that is necessary, but the government here insists they use local tenders. Tourism is their biggest economic income so I guess they want all the income they can get. We were bused from the shore to the top of the island on a switchback road carved into the caldera cliff face and wide enough for almost two cars but not buses. The drivers are very skilled but the ride can make you a little nervous. We then drove toward the other side of Santorini.

69: Our first stop was at a Greek church. Located in the village of Mesa Gonia is the beautiful Byzantine church of Panagia Episkopi. The church is considered the best example of traditional ecclesiastical architecture of the island by Mathaios Mendrinos, author of the booklet "The Church of Episkopi in Santorini" which is distributed by the Ecclesiastical Committee of the church. Panagia Episkopi was built in 1115. After we left the church we drove to the Eastern coast of Santorini, giving us our first view of the unique grape vines on Santorini. Santorini is home to a small but flourishing wine industry, based on the indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko. Assyrtiko vines are extremely old, as they are resistant to phylloxera and have consequently not needed to be replaced during the great phylloxera epidemic of the early 20th century. They are adapted to their native habitat by being planted far apart and their principal source of moisture is the morning dew. They are trained in to grow in a low circle the shape of baskets, with the grapes hanging inside to protect them from the winds and help trap the dew. We soon arrived at the town of Kamari and Kamari beach. Kamari beach is one of the more developed resorts on the Eastern coastline of Santorini. Almost 5 kilometers of black sandy beach form the coastline at this point, while there are countless bars and restaurants along the seafront. | Panagia Episkopi. & Kamari Beach

70: Leaving the church behind

71: Grape plantings | Kamari beach

72: Our next stop was the archaeological dig at Akrotiri. Akrotiri is located on the southwestern tip of the island. The site was first discovered in 1866, after another volcanic eruption in which Minoan pots were discovered at Akrotiri. It was over 100 years later, in 1967, when excavations were begun. It is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. The first habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millennium B.C.). During the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium B.C.), a sizable settlement was founded and in the Middle and early Late Bronze Age (ca. 20th-17th centuries B.C.) it was extended and gradually developed into one of the main urban centers and ports of the Aegean. The large extent of the settlement (ca. 20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multi-storied buildings with the magnificent wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity. The various imported objects found in the buildings indicate the wide network of its external relations. Akrotiri was in contact with Crete but also communicated with the Greek Mainland, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt. The town's life came to an abrupt end in the last quarter of the 17th century B.C. when the inhabitants were obliged to abandon it as a result of severe earthquakes. The eruption followed. The volcanic materials covered the entire island and the town itself. These materials, however, have protected up to date the buildings and their contents, just like in Pompeii. The site is covered with a modern roof for protection against the wind and other elements. | Akrotiri

76: Next we headed for lunch at a local restaurant. The ride offered more views of the unique low grape vines. The place was situated on the crown of the island providing a nice view. The lunch was an extensive buffet of Greek cuisine and very good. A young East Indian couple sat with us. They were on their honeymoon. As is the custom in India, it was an arranged coupling even though they were both Americans living in the New York area. They had met and liked each other before the arranged wedding and were very happy. I gathered the families were well off, and he was also. They were both very personable nice people. The wedding activities took place over an entire week with two large families and they were extremely busy with it right up to leaving for the cruise. Being younger than most on the cruise they were missing a younger set of activities on the ship, but were having a great time. A very pleasant couple and we enjoyed our lunch together. After lunch, he volunteered to take our picture. Our next ride was up the Mountain of the Prophet Elijah. Santorini’s highest point, it towers 2000-feet above the sea and offers panoramic views of the island. This was another trip up a switchback two lane road in a big tour bus. | Mountain of the Prophet Elijah

78: Oia | From the mountain we bused to the north end of Santorini and the small town of Oia. Here we walked through the narrow streets to a part of the city overlooking the sea. The old village of Oia is located at the northern tip of Santorini, high on a cliff-top. Oia boasts come of the most magnificent views on Santorini and a picturesque aspect, with cliffs on one side and the sea on the other. The square overlooks the sea and visitors are able to observe fantastic sunsets, many visitors specifically make the trip to Oia just to watch the sun sink into the Aegean. Directly below Oia is the beach of Ammoudi, to the South you can see Fira and across the bay are the Burnt Volcanic islands. The small harbor and beach at Ammoudi is only accessible on foot or Donkey back!, the harbor is 214 steps below, and Armeni beach is a total of 286 steps! The architecture of Oia is typical Santorini - with houses dug deep into volcanic foundations, whitewashed walls and blue domes which sparkle in the sunlight. In 1900 Oia has a population of almost 9,000. The inhabitants own 164 seafaring boats and supported seven shipyards. In the area there were 79 churches, including the famous Blue Dome church seen in most travel publications about Santorini.. | Capt. House

80: Fira | The last stop on our tour of Santorini was Fira. Fira is the capital of the island, located on the west of the island at the centre of the horseshoe, perched on the edge of sheer 260 meter cliffs. Fira was first settled in the late 18th century, when islanders moved from Skaros for easier access to the sea. The port of Fira is Athinio, the main port of the island and a busy place for ferries and cruise ships. You can reach Fira high above by car, on foot, by donkey on a zig zag path crossing the face of the cliff, or by cable car. Our ship was anchored off the port in the caldera. Strolling around busy Fira, we saw the beauty of the blue-domed churches and brilliant white sugar-cube buildings set against the deep blue’s of the Aegean below and the sky beyond. The terrace restaurant views are magnificent and all around you arches, and bougainvillea to relax you. And even the bustling shops with their sparkling jewels and tourist offerings have a charm of their own. We had been given tickets on the cable car for our trip from Fira down to the port and the tenders back to our ship. by a The cable car falls off the cliff 260 meters down to sea level. Linda was a little nervous about this, but it was a smooth ride and a spectacular view. One interesting sight was of some cliff houses. Essential homes using existing caves with entrances built over the front. The ones we saw from the cable car are poor dwellings but some on the island are prized residences and some even done up into hotel rooms. At the port we tendered back to our ship.

81: Grand Princess in Harbor

82: Cable Car Ride

83: Cliff Houses

84: Back on the ship we headed on deck for a drink and to enjoy our departure from the ancient island of Santorini. Another beautiful day provided us with great views of the island we had missed in the foggy morning arrival. Our time at spectacular Santorini at an end, we sailed out of the caldera and on toward Rhodes.

86: Day 7 Rhodes - 5/06 | The morning of May 6 dawned with our approach to the ancient island of Rhodes and the city of Rhodes. . Famed, in ancient times, for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, that stood in the harbor. Pindar and other ancient writers are very detailed in the description of Rhodes in their manuscripts. The origins of Rhodes are connected to a divine myth about Zeus (leader of the ancient Greek gods) and Helios (god of the Sun). According to this myth, after Zeus's victory against the Giants, he decided to divide the earth among the Olympian gods; the only god who received nothing was Helios. He, according the myth, was absent and "No one remembered to include him in the draw"! When he came back he demanded his share, but Zeus told him that he was not able to make the cast again because the rest of the gods would not agree. Helios was disappointed but asked Zeus and the other gods to promise that the land that was to rise out of the sea could be his. As he spoke, a beautiful island slowly emerged from the bottom of the blue sea, Rhodes. Helios bathed Rhodes with his own radiance and made it the most beautiful island in the Aegean Sea.

88: Walls of Old Rhodes Town | After breakfast, we left the ship for our all day tour of Rhodes. The first stop on this tour was the Old Town of Rhodes and the Palace of the Grand Masters, followed by a walk down the Street of the Knights. The Old City of Rhodes with a population of 6,000 inhabitants is surrounded by medieval walls with seven gates: Gate of the Naval Station, Gate of Agios Ioannis, Gate of Agia Ekaterini, Gate of the Apostle Paul, Gate of Amboise, Gate of Agios Athanassios and the Gate of the port. The Medieval City was divided into three parts: the northern part included the Acropolis of the Knights and the Palace of the Grand Masters while the southern part include Hora, were the commoners lived. The Jewish Quarter is the third section and the least developed commercially in terms of tourism and is mostly residential, though the Hora is also residential mixed with bars, restaurants, cafes and shops.

90: Palace of the Grand Masters | After a short walk we approached the Palace of the Grand Masters. At the top of the Street of the Knights, and opposite the church of St. John stands the imposing Palace of the Grand Masters, so well built that not even the siege of 1522 damaged it. The Palace was demolished by an explosion of gunpowder, which the Turks had stored in its basement in 1856. The building was rebuilt early in the 20th century in strict accordance with the plans of the original building (80 meters long and 75 meters broad). It was finished in 1940.

92: Tickets in hand we entered the palace. We first spent some time in the courtyard with its mosaic like floor and statues originally brought from the island of Kos. The statues and alcoves were very large but the scale was hard to depict until Linda posed next to one of the statues. After this time in the lovely courtyard we proceeded inside the Palace.

94: The palace of the Grandmaster is the single most impressive site in Rhodes if not all of the Dodecanese and the interior is no less awe-inspiring than the formidable outer walls. Within the enormous castle are relics from the medieval period as well as ancient sculptures and beautiful 1st century floor mosaics which were brought to Rhodes from the island of Kos. Our walk through the castle took about an hour and brought use through several thousand years of history.

96: As we left the Palace of the Grand Masters we could see in the distance the Palace of Suleiman built by the Ottomans when they controlled the island. Then it was a walk down the Street of the Knights. One of the most beautiful and interesting part of the Old City is the Street of Knights, the most important street of the medieval town. The street is completely restored and preserved beautifully, and is lined by the buildings where the holy warriors spent their time in prayer or military practice. The Street of the Knights stretches from the New Hospital-Archaeological Museum to the Grandmaster's Palace where the Lodge of the Battalion of France, one of the most beautiful buildings on the island, stands.

98: Lindos | Next it was into the bus and a drive up the coast to Lindos. Lindos was one of the three ancient states of Rhodes. It is now one of the prettiest and most photographed villages in Greece. Lindos was built by the Dorians in about the twelfth century B.C. Rhodes sent nine ships to help out in the Greco-Trojan War and these were probably from Lindos. Lindos became the center of maritime trade in the area and was very prosperous. Today, the ascent to the acropolis is still by the same steep road as in antiquity. The Lindos Castle is found on the top of the 116m rock and serves as an entrance point to the Acropolis and the temple of Athena and once was used as the administrative building of the Knights. We climbed up the path and the large stairway that leads up to the Administrative Building of the Knights. We were told there were 300 steps, so we took our time and got there with no problem.

99: Climb to the Acropolis

100: According to legend, the foundation of the sanctuary of Athena Lindia goes back to the Mycenaean period, and Mycenaean finds have been yielded by cemeteries in the broader area of Lindos. The Archaic period (7th-6th c BC) was a golden age for Lindos, which played a leading role in the Greek colonization movement, its most important foundation being Gela in Sicily. The 6th c BC was dominated by the figure of a moderate tyrant, Kleoboulos who ruled Lindos for many years, and was included amongst the seven sages of the ancient world. During his rule, the Archaic temple of Athena was built on the site of an earlier structure, and the acropolis received its first monumental form. The fame of the Temple can be deduced from the fact that Alexander the Great and many of his successors offered magnificent sacrifices there, and dedicated weapons after victories. It can also be inferred from the quality of votive gifts, many of which were famous in antiquity and are mentioned in the Temple Chronicle. The sculptor Boethus, the painter Parrhasios of Ephesus and other great artists had their works exhibited in the Sanctuary. The excavations at the Acropolis of Lindos were begun systematically by the Danish archaeologists K.F. Kinch and Chr. Blinkengerg. In 1910-1916 and 1929-1932 the Italian archaeologists Maiuri and Jacopi worked on the site. After enjoying the spectacular acropolis and views we headed back down to the town. Back at the town we boarded our bus and returned to the Grand Princess, leaving the island of Rhodes. | Acropolis of Lindos

101: Our greeting cat on the Acropolis

103: Back to Lindos and our Bus we say goodbye to Rhodes

104: Day 8 Kusadasi - 5/07 House of the Virgin Mary | The morning of May 7 found us arriving at Kusadasi on the coast of Turkey. We boarded our tour bus around 8am for another all day tour. The first stop was at the site of the House of the Virgin Mary, the home, thought by some, to be the last home of Virgin Mary. The belief that the Virgin Mary had spent her last days in the vicinity of Ephesus and that she had died there, focused attention on a nun named Anna Katherina Emmerich who lived in the late 18th century (1774-1820). The efforts to find the house were greatly influenced by her detailed visions of the Virgin Mary's coming to Ephesus, her life and her last home there and the characteristics of the city although she had never been to Ephesus. When we arrived the place was very crowded. There were a large number of young men in red uniform jackets that turned out to be from a Polish military/police academy. They were having a good time and seemed happy to talk to us foreign travelers. The house itself was smallish and the line to go inside was long. Linda did go through but it was somewhat rushed and there wasn’t time to really look at much. Of course there was a cat at the House of the Virgin Mary to greet us.

106: Wishing Wall

107: Ephesus | We had a great view of countryside, as we drove down the mountain and on to Ephesus. This entire trip was filled with ancient sites and ruins, but Ephesus may have been the most spectacular of all. Ancient writers largely agree that Ephesus was founded sometime between 1500 and 1000 B.C, and this is supported by archaeological evidence at the site. In 88 B.C., the Ephesians allied with Mithridates, the ruler of Pontus against the Romans, and succeeded in killing thousands of Roman troops, but later began to realize the extent of the Roman strength and changed sides. This made them not only an ally of Rome, but also caused Rome to appoint Ephesus as the capital of the Asian province. Until the 1st century AD., the Ephesians enjoyed generally good relations with neighboring states and with Rome, due to successful diplomacy. However, this did not protect them from the force of an earthquake which hit the city in 17 AD, and destroyed it completely. During the reign of the emperor Tiberius, the city was reconstructed and enlarged. Later, it was adorned with shrines and other buildings during the reign of Hadrian. The new city bore the definite seal of Roman architecture, in place of the Hellenistic city. It retained its political and mercantile supremacy during this period, and began to have religious significance during the Christian era, as it was said to have been the place of residence chosen by the mother of Christ after his crucifixion. However, the harbor began to silt up once again, and it gradually declined as a trading center. Completely blocked with silt, the city became uninhabitable, and during the reign of the Emperor Justinian (527 -564 AD.) the inhabitants moved to the hills of Ayasoluk, where the same emperor built the basilica of St. John.

108: We entered Ephesus at the top of the hill near the site of the State Agro. | The Basilica. A typical Roman Basilica. It is 165 meters long, and located on the northern part of the state agora. The Ionic columns in the basilica are adorned with bulls' head figures dating to the 1st century A.D.

109: The Odeon. It is the small theatre in Ephesus, where state affairs and concerts were held. It was constructed in the 2nd century A.D by the order of Publius Vedius Antonius and his wife Flavia paiana, two wealthy citizens in Ephesus.

110: Memmius Monument was constructed during the reign of Augustus in the 1st century A.D by Memmius, the grand son of Dictator Sulla. One can see the figures of his father and grandfather on the blocks today.

111: Fountain of Pollio is located close to the State Agora, it is the most beautiful fountain in Ephesus. It was built for E. Sextilius in 93 A.D by E. Atillius. It has a high arch facing the temple of Domitian. | Temple of Domitian is located to the south end of the Domitian Street, it is the first structure in Ephesus known to be dedicated to an emperor

112: Hercules Gate - Located towards the end of the Curetes Street, it is named for the relief of Hercules on it. It was brought from another place in the fourth century AD to its current place, but the relief on it dates back to the second century AD. | Curetes Street - It is the small portion of the sacred way, running between the Celsus Library and the Hercules Gate.

113: Fountain of Trajan - Built in around 104 C.E, it is one of the finest monuments in Ephesus. It was constructed for the honor of Emperor Trajan

114: Temple of Hadrian - It is one of the best preserved and most beautiful structures on Curetes Street. It was built before 138 A.D by P.Quintilius and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian

115: Headed down rest of hill toward the Celsus Library. | Comic break at ancient bath restroom.

116: Celsus Library - One of the most beautiful structures in Ephesus, built in 135 A.D., it is a monumental tomb for Gaius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, the governor of the province of Asia. Also used as a library, with a capacity of 12.000 scrolls.

118: The Gate of Mazeus and Mythridates - The gate with three passage ways at the right of the Celsus Library was built in 40 A.D by the slaves Mazeus and Mythridates for their emperor, Augustus, who gave them their freedom. | Great Theatre = The most magnificent structure in Ephesus ancient city, the great Theatre is located on the slope of Panayir Hill

119: Arcadian Street (Harbor Street) - It is the street between the baths and the theatre. It was constructed in the Hellenistic Period, but then was restored during the reign of the Emperor Arcadius (395-408 AD.), from whom it takes its present name. | Leaving Ephesus

120: Basilica St. Johns | After a short drive from Ephesus, we arrived at the Basilica of St. John. St. John lived here with the Virgin Mary after being cast out of Jerusalem in 37-42 A.D. according to legend, and it is thought to be here that St. John wrote his gospel, and was buried in the church bearing his name in accordance with his dying wishes. A wooden basilica was first constructed on the site, above his grave, in the 4th century A.D., which was replaced in the 5th century by the present church, built during the reign of the Byzantine emperor, Justinian (577-565 A.D.). The monumental basilica was in the shape of a cross and was covered with six domes. Its construction, being of stone and brick, is an extremely rare find amongst the architecture of its time. Raised by two steps and covered with marble, the tomb of St John was under the central dome that was once carried by the four columns at the corners. The columns in the courtyard reveal the monograms of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora. Constructed in the 5th century AD, the baptistery is north of the nave, with its key hole shape.

122: Leaving Kusadasi

123: Day 9 Mykonos/Delos - 5/08 | Arriving at Mykonos early in the morning of May 8, we found a pretty sunrise. After breakfast, we boarded a local tour boat and headed to the island of Delos. Delos was the most important Pan-Hellenic sanctuary, and, according to mythology, the birth-place of Apollo and Artemis. The first signs of habitation on the island date from the 3rd millennium B.C., and important remains of the Mycenaean period have been uncovered in the area of the sanctuary. In the 7th century B.C. Delos was already a known Ionic centre because of its religious importance as the birth-place of Apollo. Athenian influence was initiated on the sanctuary with the first purification of Delos by Peisistratos in 540 B.C. but it gradually developed into a proper domination lasting - with short intervals - until the end of the 4th century B.C., when Delos was finally declared free and independent (314 B.C.). The independence of the island lasted until 166 B.C. when the Romans gave it over to the Athenians. The second Athenian domination started with the definite expulsion of the Delians to Achaia, in the Peloponnese. The declaration of Delos as an "international" harbor by the Romans led to an influx of foreigners who became a significant element of the island's population. The absence of taxes resulted to the concentration of trade activity on the island and, subsequently, to its economic prosperity. The close relation of Delos with Rome, though, was the main reason for its decline. During Mithridates' wars against the Romans, Delos suffered severe damage in the raids of 88 B.C. and 69 B.C. Since then, the island's prosperity gradually came to an end. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. only a small settlement existed on Delos and, as Christianity had gradually replaced the ancient religion, the island finally lost its importance.

125: Delos | Approaching Delos | Agora of the Competaliasts One of the main markets of the Hellenistic city is an open square directly abutting the Sacred Harbor, paved with large flat stones of gneiss, many of which have post-holes for tents.

126: From the Agro we wandered up the hill thru the town ruins toward the theater.

127: The first major house we visited was the "House of Dionysus". The "House of Dionysus", thus named after the famous mosaic floor depicting Dionysus riding a panther, is a good example of a private residence, dating from the last quarter of the 2nd century B.C.

128: Across the street & below is the House of Cleopatra (no relation to the Egyptian Queen). Entering this home you would have encountered a long hallway with sculptures of the owners (Cleopatra & Diouresis) of the house at the end.

129: Cistern & Theater

130: Back down at The Agora of the Competaliasts, we took a short break before heading toward the Terrace of Lions. | Walking down the Sacred Way to the Terrace of Lions

131: Temple of Isis

132: The Terrace of the Lions dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos shortly before 600 BC, originally had nine to twelve squatting, snarling marble guardian lions along the Sacred Way. The lions create a monumental avenue comparable to Egyptian avenues of sphinxes. Today only seven of the original lions remain.

133: Statue of Praetor Gaius Billienus near Museum

134: At the end of our Delos tour, we stopped at the Delos Museum. In 1872, the French School at Athens began excavating on Delos, in a project on a massive scale, which is still ongoing today. As the collection accumulated, the museum was built on-site in 1904 by the Archaeological Society of Athens to accommodate the archaeological discoveries.[3] Its original five rooms went underwent expansion in 1931 and then again in 1972 to nine rooms. | Kouros, naxian work, circa 550 BC | Sphinx from Paros. 6th century BC | Boreas, the north wind and the Thracian ruler, kidnaps the princess of Athens Oreithya, daughter Orechtheon. Central akroterion from the east side of the Athenians Temple of Apollo on Delos. Athens classic work, 421-417 BC.

135: Lion from "Lion terraces" on Delos, naxian work, 620-600 BC | Head of Hermes, marble, Hellenistic work, 300-100 BC. Copy of a late 5th century BC herm. Found in 1956 in the Theatre Quarter on Delos. | Nimfa statue, hellenística Cpia d'a work of the 5th century BC

136: Artemis slaying deer, 2nd century BC | The head of a young woman, perhaps a goddess, from "House of Dionysus"

137: Statue of an old man. Marble, first decades of the 1st c. BC

138: King Lycurgus of Thrace killing Ambrosia, which is changed into a grapevine. Greek mosaic from Delos, end of 2nd century

139: Outside the Delos Museum. We headed back to the dock for our return to the ship, and sailed from Mykenos.

140: Day 10 Athens - 5/09 | Arrived at Athens early in the A.M. and left the ship for an all day tour. Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years, and the earliest human presence around the 11th–7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent. Today a cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece.

141: On our way to our first tour, The 1896 Olympic Stadium site, we passed by the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The Temple of Olympian, is a colossal ruined temple in the center of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 638 years after the project had begun. | 1896 brought forth the revival of the modern Olympic Games, by Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin. Thanks to his efforts, Athens was awarded the first modern Olympic Games. In 1896, the city had a population of 123,000[75] and the event helped boost the city's international profile. Of the venues used for these Olympics, the Kallimarmaro Stadium, and Zappeionwere most crucial. The Kallimarmaro is a replica of the ancient Athenian stadiums, and the only major stadium (in its capacity of 60,000) to be made entirely of white marble from Mount Penteli, the same material used for construction of the Parthenon.

143: Back in the bus on our way to the Acropolis. | We passed by Hadrian's Arch. The Arch of Hadrian is a monumental gateway resembling, in some respects, a Roman triumphal arch. It spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens, Greece, to the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It has been proposed that the arch was built to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor him for his many benefactions to the city, on the occasion of the dedication of the nearby temple complex in 131 or 132 AD. There were two inscriptions on the arch, facing in opposite directions, naming both Theseus and Hadrian as founders of Athens.

144: Walking up the hill to enter the Acropolis, we passed the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticusin memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped amphitheater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive,cedar of Lebanon timber. It was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000. It lasted intact until it was destroyed and turned into a ruin by the Heruli in 267 AD

145: Entering the Acropolis

146: Of course the first site on the Acropolis is the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and western civilization,[3] and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.

149: The views of the surrounding area are wonderful, so we took a break, siting in an area of the ruins made into a sitting area. Linda found out how carefully they watch the tourists when she lay down on the seating slap. A guard quickly blew his whistle and let us know that was not acceptable. A few weeks before our visit a lady had been arrested for pocketing a stone. | Temple of Olympian Zeus | The Thission

150: After a little rest we wondered over to the Erechtheion, and its porch of the maidens. The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. The sculptor and mason of the structure was Phidias, who was employed by Pericles to build both the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. Some have suggested that it may have been built in honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus was mentioned in Homer's Iliad as a great king and ruler of Athens during the Archaic Period, and Erechtheus and the hero Erichthonius were often syncretized. It is believed to have been a replacement for the Peisistratid temple of Athena Polias destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC. On the north side, there is another large porch with six Ionic columns, and on the south, the famous "Porch of the Maidens", with six draped female figures as supporting columns. The porch was built to conceal the giant 15-ft beam needed to support the southwest corner over the Kekropion, after the building was drastically reduced in size and budget following the onset of the Peloponnesian war.

153: Leaving the Acropolis, we walked downhill and over to the Plaka for a little shopping. Pláka is the old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Plaka is built on top of the residential areas of the ancient town of Athens. It is known as the "Neighborhood of the Gods" due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites.

154: After lunch in the Plaka, we traveled to the the National Archaeological Museum to spend the afternoon exploring its treasures. The National Archaeological Museum in Athens houses some of the most important artifacts from a variety of archaeological locations around Greece from prehistory to late antiquity. It is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and contains the richest collection of artifacts from Greek antiquity worldwide.

155: Gold male death-mask made of sheet metal with repoussé details portraying the deceased. From Shaft Grave V, Grave Circle A, Mycenae, 1600-1500 b.C. | Mattpainted pottery from grave VI of grave circle A at Mykenae | Stone vessel Mycenaean Late Bronze Age | Gold cup from royal tombs, Mycenae, Greece

156: Ivory figurine representing two seated, bare-breasted female deities and a small child, possibly a young god. Mycenae acropolis, palace area. 15th- 14th cent. BC. | Large krater depicting men in full armour. ‘House of the Warrior krater’, Mycenae acropolis. 12th century BC. | Fresco from Palace Tiryns.

157: Vase from mycenaean cemetary at Prosymna, Argos, grave 2, 15 cent BC | Marble female statue, found on Delos, Cyclades, dedication of the Naxian Nikandre ca. 650 BC. Female statue of island marble, found on Delos, Cyclades, in the sanctuary of Artemis. One of the earliest life-size statues in stone. It probably represents the goddess Artemis. According to the inscription carved on the garment on the left thigh, the statue was dedicated to Apollo by the Naxian Nikandre. Naxian work, typical of the Daedalic style. Height 1,80 m.

158: Marble statue of a sphinx, found at Spata, Attica 570-550 BC. Statue of a sphinx, made of Pentelic marble. It was found at Spata, Attica. It is one of the earliest known Archaic Sphinxes and it was set above a grave stele as finial. Height 0,69 m. | Marble statue of a kouros (naked youth), found at Sounion, Attica ca. 600 BC. Statue of a kouros (naked youth), made of Naxian marble. The overlife-size statue, one of the largest and most impressive of its kind, was found along with its plinth , in a deposit in front of the Temple of Poseidon at cape Sounion, Attica. The statue was dedicated to Poseidon and probably stood in front of this temple, where it was deposited after the destruction of the temple and of its votive offerings by the Persians in 480 BC. Height 3,05 m. | Naked Goddess with headband (with meanders), the Greek early archaic work under the influence of Syria, ivory, 730-720 BC.

159: Artemision Bronze, thought to be either Poseidon or Zeus, c. 460 BCE, National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Found by fishermen off the coast of Cape Artemisium in 1928. The figure is more than 2 m in height

160: Marble statue of a kore (maiden), found at Merenda, Attica 550-540 BC. Statue of a kore (maiden), made of Parian marble. It was found at Merenda (ancient Myrrhinous), Attica. The fully preserved statue stood on the grave of Phrasikleia, according to the inscription carved on the front of the pedestal. The kore wears a wreath on the head, jewellery (a necklace, earrings and bracelets) and a long chiton, painted red, with a variety of incised and painted motifs. It is an outstanding work, made by the sculptor Aristion from Paros, as it is indicated by the inscription carved on the right side of the pedestal. Height of the statue 1,79 m., height with the base 2,115 m.

161: Marble votive relief of the Eleusenian deities, the so-called Big Eleusenian Relief, found at Eleusis, Attica, ca. 440-430 BC. Votive relief, made of Pentelic marble. It is the largest and most significant votive relief. Dedicated to the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis, Attica, it represents the Eleusenian deities in a scene of mystic ritual. At the left, Demeter, wearing a peplos and holding a scepter in her left hand, offers ears of wheat to Triptolemos, son of the Eleusenian king Keleos, to bestow on mankind. At the right, Persephone, wearing a chiton and a mantle and holding a torch, blesses Triptolemos with her right hand. The magnificent representation and, particularly, the large scale of the work suggest that it was not a votive, but rather a cult relief. It must have been famous in antiquity, which accounts for its being copied in Roman times. One of those copies is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. Height 2,20 m., width 1,52 m.

162: Marble votive relief, found in Neon Phaleron, Attica ca. 410 BC. Votive relief decorated on both sides. It is made of Pentelic marble. On this side is depicted the abduction of the Nymph Basile by the hero Echelos. Hermes, holding a painted whiplash in his right hand, leads the chariot with the couple. The names of the three figures are carved on the epistyle, above the composition: Hermes, Echelos, Basile. The monument stood on a tall, inscribed poros base. The inscription on the base indicates that the relief, together with an altar, was dedicated by Kephisodotos, son of Demogenes. Height 0,75 m., width 0,88 m

163: Marble female funerary statue, found on Delos, Cyclades Copy made in the 2nd c. BC of an original dating from about 300 BC Marble female funerary statue. It was found on the island of Delos, in the Cyclades. The female figure is rendered in the type of the Small Herculaneum Woman. She wears a full-length chiton and a himation that covers her entire body and arms. Traces of colour are preserved on the hair and on the garments of the figure. Height 1,75 m. | The Jockey of Artemision is a large Hellenistic bronze statue of a young boy riding a horse, dated to around 150-146 BC. It is a rare surviving original bronze statue from Ancient Greece and a rare example in Greek sculpture of a racehorse. This statue was saved from destruction when it was lost in a shipwreck in antiquity, before being discovered in the twentieth century. It may have been dedicated to the gods by a wealthy person to honor victories in horse races, probably in the single-horse race.

164: The Antikythera Ephebe is a bronze statue of a young man of languorous grace that was found in 1900 by sponge-divers in the area of the ancient Antikythera shipwreck off the island ofAntikythera, Greece. It was the first of the series of Greek bronze sculptures that the Aegean and Mediterranean yielded up in the twentieth century which have fundamentally altered the modern view of Ancient Greek sculpture. The Ephebe, dated by its style to about 340 BC, is one of the most brilliant products of Peloponnesian bronze sculpture; the individuality and character it displays have encouraged speculation on its possible sculptor.

165: Marble statue of Poseidon, from Melos, Cyclades 125-100 BC. The statue of Poseidon, made of Parian marble, was found in 1877 on Melos, along with a statue of his mate, Amphitrite. The larger than life-size statue depicts the god almost nude, wearing a himation covering the lower part of the body. In his raised right hand he will have held the trident. Next to his right leg is a support in the form of a dolphin. Height 2,35 m. | Bronze statue of the emperor Augustus (27 BC - AD 14), found in the Aegean sea. 12-10 BC. Statue of the emperor Augustus, made of bronze. It was found in the Aegean sea, between the islands of Euboea and Agios Efstratios. The emperor is depicted in mature age, mounting a horse. He wears a tunica with a vertical purple stripe (clavus purpurea) and a fringed paludamentum decorated with a maeander pattern. Iconographic features of the Prima Porta and Actium types are combined in this statue. The right hand is raised in a gesture of official greeting. The hilt of his sword can be seen below the left hand, in which he held the horse’s reigns. On the bezel of his finger-ring a staff of divination (lituus) is engraved, symbolising the supreme religious office of Pontifex Maximus, assumed by Augustus in 12 BC. Height 1,23 m. | Rhamnous Themis (3rd BC)

166: The Vapheio cups. Vapheio, Laconia, 1st half of 15th cent. BC. These are two masterpieces of Creto-Mycenaean metalwork, found together with other precious objects in the Vapheio tholos tomb. On the first cup (1758) a bull is captured by peaceful means: a man ties a rope around the bull's leg, while the animal mates with a cow; three grazing bulls complete the composition. The second cup (1759) shows one bull caught in a net while another attacks two hunters as a third hunter flees. Both cups were probably made by the same craftsman, although the first cup is more carefully executed. | Marble Head from Theater of Dionysious

167: Leaving the Museum, we returned to the ship, passing a Greek Church. Then we went on deck to watch us sail away from Athens.

168: Day 11 Olympus - 5/10 | We Arrived the morning of 5/10 at Katakolo and boarded a bus for the brief drive to Olympia. Olympia a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elison the Peloponnese peninsula, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times. The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout Classical Antiquity, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The first Olympic Games were in honor of Zeus. The Olympic flame of the modern-day Olympic Games is lit by reflection of sunlight in a parabolic mirror in front of the Temple of Hera and then transported by a torch to the place where the games are held. | Just outside the Olympic site.

169: The Palaestra at Olympia is part of the gymnasium at the sanctuary. It is a sixty-six meters square building and dates to the end of the third or beginning of the 2nd century BC. It was devoted to the training of wrestlers and other athletes.

170: The Temple of Hera is an ancient Doric Greek temple at Olympia, Greece. The Temple of Hera was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 4th century AD and never rebuilt. In modern times, the temple is the location where the torch of the Olympic flame is lit, by focusing the rays of the sun. The temple was dedicated to Hera, the wife of Zeus and one of the most important female deities in Greek religion.

171: Where the modern day tourch is lit at the Temple of Hera.

172: The Treasuries at Olympia were a series of small temple-shaped buildings located to the north side of the Altis or sanctuary at the site of Olympia. All but two were erected by Greek colonies to store valuable votive offerings. The Treasuries were built on a natural terrace at the foot of Mt. Kronos. The best preserved and earliest treasury is that dedicated by Sicyon.

173: The stadium at Olympia, Greece is located to the east of the sanctuary of Zeus. It was the location of many of the sporting events at the Ancient Olympic Games. The stadium was a holy place for the ancient Greeks, as this is where sporting activities dedicated to Zeus were held. The stadium was originally located within the temenos, with spectators able to view races from the slopes of Mt. Kronos. It was gradually relocated east until it reached its present location in the early 5th century BC. The stadium is connected with the sanctuary by a vaulted stone passageway. | Entering the Olympic Stadium

174: Linda finishing her lap of the Olympic field.

175: Leaving the Olympic Stadium we walked to the Temple of Zeus. The temple was probably established towards the end of the Mycenaean period. The Altis, the enclosure with its sacred grove, open-air altars and the tumulus of Pelops, was first formed during the tenth and ninth centuries BC, Greece's "Dark Age", when the followers of Zeus had joined with the followers of Hera.

176: Columns fallen from earthquakes

177: The next stop on or walk of Olympia was the Workshop of Phidias. Phidias was a Greek sculptor, painter and architect, who lived in the 5th century BC, and is commonly regarded as one of the greatest of all sculptors of Classical Greece: Phidias' Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A significant advancement in the knowledge of Phidias' working methodology came during 1954–1958 with the excavation of the workshop at Olympia where Phidias created the Statue of Zeus at Olympia. | Taking a short break before we proceed to the Olympia Museum

178: We arrived at the Museum for our afternoon visit. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia is one of the great museums of Greece in Olympia, Elis, and houses artifacts found in the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia. The museum was built opposite the excavation site in a valley northwest of the Kronion hill. Designed by Patroklos Karantinos, it was officially opened in 1982.

179: Deidameia repelling the Centaur Eurythion. The fragments on the right are the remnants of the statue of Peirithoos who is about to strike the Centaur to save his young bride from his brutality. | The Temple of Zeus' East pediment. It depicts the chariot race between Oinomaos and Pelops. They appear in the moments before the race, in a calm and ordered composition. In the center of the group, Zeus is the ultimate observer is flanked by the two heroes and their wives. Next to them are their horses and chariots (now lost) and several auxiliary figures. The reclining figures at the two ends of the pediment represent the two rivers of Olympia, Alpheios and Kladeos

180: From the West pediment of the temple of Zeus. A beautiful composition of movement and rhythm is unfolding through the struggle of the young woman to escape a kneeling centaur with the help of another Lapith. The twisting pleats of her peplos is reminiscent of the movement of waves. | Figure at the end of the West Pediment of the Temple of Zeus were destroyed in 460 BCE and they were replaced at a later date with the ones found in excavations

181: The Nike of Paionios of Mende in Chalkidiki, Macedonia (his name is carved on the base of the statue). Circa 420 BCE. The statue, even in its ruinous state reveals a strong sense of movement emphasized by the strong diagonal pose (side view), the hovering feet, and the lines of the himation that push against her body as if forced by the wind. Her spread wings and the face have not survived. | Bronze Corinthian Helmet | Bronze from 480BC

182: Clay statue of Zeus carrying Ganymedes to immortality. 470 BCE | Bronze statuette of a horse. Solid cast, it comes from a votive chariot. 470 BC | Red Figure Eleian Bell Krater vessel to mix wine and water – 4th Century BC. The scene shows two maenads with a satyr between them

183: Hermes bearing the child Dionysos | Partially restored statue of Hadrian, from the Nymphaeum of Herodes Atticus at Olympia, dating from between 149 and 153 AD | Although they prohibit posing with statues, I got this photo of Linda in front of Statue probably of Poppaea Sabina(30–65 AD), second wife of Emperor Nero, as a Priestess, from 1st Century AD.

184: Glass in Antiquity. Glass appeared around 5000 years ago in the Mediterranean region. In Greece, it was first mentioned on tablets of Pylos and Mycenae around 6th c. BC

185: Returning to the ship in late afternoon we departed Olympia for Corfu.

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Reed Brott
  • By: Reed B.
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  • Title: Italy/Greece 2005 Part 1
  • Trip to Italy and Greece in 2005. Rome thru Olympia
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  • Published: over 1 year ago

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