October 24th 2017

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Greece and Turkey with Holland America Line Greece and Turkey with Holland America Line Greece and Turkey with Holland America Line Greece and Turkey with Holland America Line Greece and Turkey with Holland America Line Greece and Turkey with Holland America Line

 

Continent: Europe. Country: Italy. City: Venice.

Greece and Turkey with Holland America Line

Denise Hodgson, Travel The World 2

Our Balcony Cabin on Nieuw Amsterdam, Holland America Line gave us a fabulous vista sailing out of Venice, what a magical experience and a great start to a cruise taking us to some exciting destination in Greece & Turkey which we choose because of the historical sites we were to visit. 

First stop Olympia, which is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times. The first games were in honour of  Zeus and were held every four years thoughout Classical Antiquity from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. We stood where the Olympic flame was first lit and learnt this wasn’t an original Greek symbol of the games but was invented in the 1930’s.  Walking on the first ever running track and the town that housed the athletes was  simply fascinating.

Our next stop the Roman City of Ephesus.  King Attolas III  bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman people back in 133 B.C.  We learnt of the history of a City and how it was fought over and devastated by earthquakes and fire.  Here were some original Roman toilets all in a row !  a library and large Amphi Theatre all reached by a cobbled road built so long ago and still going strong. The town comes alive when a party of Romans in full battle dress walk though the town to add to the atmosphere.

Athens, who can resist a visit to the Parthenon, the temple on the Athenian Acropolis, which was dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena. It's the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. Across from the site is the new Museum housing the stones taken from the top of the Acropolis to protect it from the elements which are taking its toll on the sculptures. We took an open top bus through the city to see more sites from the top deck but wow it got hot so proceed with caution.

We sail away from Athens and on to the exciting city of Istanbul where we have a chance to go ashore twice as we dock right in the city for an overnight stay.  Onboard a Turkish feast is prepared together with belly dancing and live musicians. A brilliant atmosphere under the stars. Istanbul was one of the most significant cities in history following its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 AD. it served as the capital of four empires. At the peak of the Ottoman Empire many Mosques were built, the most famous and most visited today is The Blue Mosque and nobody should visit Istanbul without a trip to the Souk to shop for a bargain. Best buys are leather goods and a jacket just had to be bought. As a route to the Black Sea, the Bosphorus is one of the busiest waterways in the world and our sail away takes us past many of the different ships. We take our seats on deck and wave goodbye to one of the most exciting stops on our journey.

There are a few more stops enroute to Venice and then we have another chance to view St. Marks Square from our balcony cabin just as the sun is rising  just such a magical cruise especially for those of us interested in the Silk Route and its history.

 

Denise Hodgson
Travel The World 2

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