Steve and I decided after we got married that we would go to Greece for our ten year anniversary. So, in January we decided if we could talk our parents and Lisa into splitting up kid duties for a week that we would make the trip. We are blessed that everyone agreed to help. I have not been away from the kids for more than 5 days since MJ was born so I was nervous about being away for EIGHT days, but they did great!
We flew out on a Friday evening. Steve surprised me and upgraded us to first class, so after dinner and a movie I slept for over 6 hours on the plane. Steve had to wake me up to tell me we were landing! We got to Venice, Italy at 9:00 in the morning, dropped our bags off at the cruise ship and took a water taxi to St. Mark’s Square. It was so incredibly beautiful. We were able to visit St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge Palace (including the Bridge of Sighs) and walk around this gorgeous city. We even enjoyed pizza and bellinis in the square!
We got back to the ship late that afternoon for departure. We sat on our balcony while the cruise ship sailed through the famous Grand Canal- it was breathtaking.
The next day we were in Dubrovnik, Croatia which turned out to be one of our favorite places on the trip! We took a small scenic cruise to the Old Town and toured around the cobblestone streets and village. The churches were unbelievable. After lunch we took a cable car up to the top of a mountain for even more spectacular views of the city. It was awesome.
The third day we were at sea – it was so nice to sleep in and just relax. Well, we did go rock climbing on the ship so weren’t complete bums!
The fourth day we were in Kusadasi, Turkey and went to Ephesus. There we saw St. John’s Basilica (which is now mostly ruins) and Meryema - the Virgin Mary’s home where she spent the remainder of her life after Jesus died on the cross. We were able to light candles, collect holy water, and offer prayer requests. It was just incredible.
The following day we were in Santorini!! Steve and I had never been to Greece before, and this was the perfect place to visit for the first time. We went volcano hiking in the morning – the island is crescent shaped with a volcano in the middle. We had gorgeous views on our hike. After that we went swimming in the Aegean Sea (which, by the way was FREEZING!) to get to what were supposed to be “hot” springs. I would say they were more lukewarm than hot, but we still had a blast. Then we took the famous cable car up to the capital city of Fira for some more sight seeing and incredible views.
As you can see the city is on top of a mountain…there are only 3 ways down:
1. Take the cable car (the line on the way down was an hour long)
2. Ride a donkey
3. Walk down 589 steps (by the way, the steps are on the same path the donkeys take)
Well, we chose #3 and it was hilarious. On our leisurely walk down the stairs packs of donkeys would pass by every few minutes (seemingly out of no where)– and they didn’t necessarily care if we were in the way. And be careful of the donkey poop! I just had to get some pictures.
The good news is that it only took us about 25 minutes to get down and back to the ship.
The next day was our actual ten year anniversary (June 26th) and we were in Olympia, Greece. We went to Ancient Olympia which is the site of the first Olympics in 776 B.C.
They still light the Olympic flame here (behind us on above picture on the right). My favorite part was seeing – and then running down- the original Olympic stadium. Just awesome.
We had one more day at sea to relax and hang out by the pool. Then it was back to Venice and then home. We were so happy to see the kids – Catelin wouldn’t let me out of her sight for the first 24 hours! Thank you so much to Colleen, my parents, and Lisa for all of your help with watching them. It was an amazing trip with memories that will last a lifetime.