Cruising the Mediterranean – 2012

We took a cruise from Barcelona, Spain to Egypt in 2012, with family members and some friends.

We left Barcelona on the 27th of September and headed for Ibiza. The weather was fine and the seas were calm.

On Friday we arrived in Ibiza Spain and went ashore. We visited the area and saw many interesting sites. There were ruins of an ancient people there. The next day we were at sea again.

On Sunday we reached Valletta, Malta and walked the ancient streets. It is a country with lots of history tied to England. We returned to the ship after a long day of walking and seeing as much as we could. We set sail at night and sailed again while we slept. In the morning, Tuesday, we were in Crete.

We had been here before, and not much had changed. Greece is a place slow to change. That perhaps is one of it’s charms.

Sadly, the Egyptians were having some political difficulties, so we were not able to land there. We had hoped to see the Pyramids, but that did not happen and we were verydissapointed. Perhaps another time.

One difficulty on a trip can turn into a pleasant change of circumstances. We now had more time in Israel. We went to Antalya and Ashdod and then on to Jerusalem.

We toured the cities and I was reminded of the size of the country and all of the history there. I am not a Christian or a member of any other religious group. Remember what Mark Twain said? “I would never join a club that would have me as a member.”

We went on to Haifa and spent a few days there. I am constantly surprised at the inability of the parties in the middle east to come to terms with each other. They have very similar belief systems and common stories in their religions, and they are cousins, at least. Enough talk on that.

We went to Limassol, Cyprus and walked the area for a bit and learned some things about their history.

We landed in Rhodes on Tuesday and explored a land that we had seen before. We came to Greece for the Olympics, but more about that at a latter time.

On Wednesday we arrived in Ephesus, Turkey and took the tour. We walked along the main street where the buildings are being restored. At one time in ancient history this city was a seaport. Today the harbor is gone, due to sedimentation. It is a very interesting place.

We went to a museum and viewed statues and other items discovered at the site of the reconstruction and restoration.

We left the cruise after it ended and spent a couple of extra days in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a beautiful city with many interesting things to see.

We walked to the Blue Mosque and entered and studied it. It is huge and once was a christian church. We have seen many mosques in our travels around the world. They are always larger than imaginable and more beautiful than expected.

The bridge is covered with fishermen everyday. It is a picturesque sight, and we visited the area where the  Synagog is now located on a long walk of the city. My wife and I are walkers. You can see much more of a city on foot, rather than from a car.

We went to a building that had once been a family home. It has been turned into a museum. It lies on the edge of the sea.

The guides looked at my wife with interest as we boarded the bus for the trip. We walked through the museum with interest and then ended up in a room with a large painting of the daughter of the family who had once owned the home. The guides were still watching my wife with interest. As we entered the room, my wife almost jumped out of her shoes.

Now we understood the stares of the guides. My wife looked exactly like the woman in the painting. Or, the woman looked exactly like my wife. I’m confused now and don’t know which is true.

The weather has been perfect and we have had a wonderful time. We never felt ill at ease or unwelcome. Our hotel was fine and the city is beautiful. Just watch out for the trolley that runs down the narrow streets. I can’t imagine that people aren’t hit by it everyday. I suppose Turkish tourists feel the same way about our freeways.

We went to see the whirling dervishes one night on an outing to a theater where they do their thing. It is a type of meditation, and it is very interesting and beautiful. It takes a person in good physical shape to do what these people do. Some of them were as old as I am.

We were amazed at the amount of delicious sweets displayed in the shop windows as we walked back to our hotel.

We have walked in many cities around the world and have never had a problem. Perhaps we have just been lucky, but these walks can give one a chance to see a city at a slow and deliberate pace.

There are many points of interest in Turkey and ample time should be allowed to visit them. What’s the point of going somewhere if you don’t take the time to see and learn some things about your destination.

I would say, Go to the middle east and enjoy. Life is short and it is important to learn about other cultures and people. You will be richer for it.

My novel, “Sailing Away,” involves a sailing adventure of the Mediterranean in the 18th century. It includes some interesting history of the countries surrounding it and also stories of the future countries of the west coast of Africa down to Cape Town Colony which eventually became the city of Cape Town.

It is the follow up novel to The Adventures of the Smith Family, which takes place from 1770 or so and continues through the reign of George the Third.

Look for my novels on my site or Amazon. You can read some of all of them for free in the lending library for kindle readers. They are also in paperback and available on your I phone.