Wadi Rum (Roman Valley) is a beautiful dessert valley surrounded by sandstone mountains on each side. The sand is multicolored and goes from white all the way to a deep red. Our guide took us to a few stops as we zipped around in our little 4x4 vehicle. We took some pictures of the sunset as we drove back out of the valley. We also took several pictures of a small family of camels with one baby camel feeding on her mother. It was a nice visit.
One day after we left Aqaba we entered the Suez Canal. This is a little different than the Panama Canal and does not have any locks. The Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea that it connects are at the same height. It was built by the French and took 10 years to build before it was opened in 1869. When it was built they had a 99 year lease until it reverted back to Egyptian control. After the French built this canal they decided to try and build the Panama Canal but that did not turn out to be successful for them due to the heat and mosquitoes that killed so many of their workers (Malaria). We took several pictures of some of the towns along the shores and the ships in front and behind us.
After we left the Suez Canal we went to Athens where we elected not to visit the Acropolis again. We have seen the Acropolis many other times and when the construction with all the scaffolding is eliminated, we will go back and see it again. We took a Metro into the city along with 3 other couples who wanted some help getting into the city a little more economically. Two of these couples went on to the Acropolis since they had never seen it before. The other couple went with us to an area of the city beyond the Platka. This area of the city was not crowded with tourists but had many of the local people doing their shopping. We had a great time meandering down the winding roads looking into whatever shop that might interest us. We eventually headed over to Syntagma Square to see the Greek Parliamentary Building which used to be their Royal Palace. They have a tomb of the Unknown Soldier there with two uniquely dressed guards. Every hour they have a changing of the guards. These soldiers “goose step” back and forth and bang their oversized shoes against the stone floor. It is very unique to watch them marching around. After we watched the guards for a while we decided to head up to Mount Lycabettus to get a good view of the city and the Acropolis. The walk was a little strenuous climbing up to the top of the hill and although it was a good view at the top, it was a little hazing. We then went and found a restaurant for a quick drink before getting back on the metro to head back to the ship.
Our last stop of this cruise was in Katakolon. This is a stop that most people will go to Olympia to see the ancient ruins but we have seen this previously and had no interest in seeing it again. Instead we took a stroll around the small town with its shops and restaurants. Eventually we decided to take a little walk above the city and ended up hiking for 10 miles seeing some of the rocky coast line behind the small town. After our hike we found a quaint little café that sat above the town and harbor where we had a little sangria, beer and pizza. Sangria was appropriate since it was Cinco de Mayo back in the US and our daughter, who works at a Mexican restaurant, wanted to make sure we had a frozen Margarita to celebrate. Sangria was as close as we could find. We had a very relaxing afternoon with a nice cool breeze while we sipped our drinks overlooking the town below. Eventually we walked back to our ship.
This is the end of our third cruise and our fourth cruise begins in two days in Rome.
Sharon & Greg