We’re fiercely independent travelers and have controlled every single step of our trip since we began eight months ago. What we’ve done, where we’ve been, how we’ve gotten there, when we eat and where – every single decision has been ours. Like all things in this world, however, with freedom comes responsibility and so our independent decisions are linked inescapably to all the necessary research and arrangement-making that goes along with such a journey. As a result, we’re a little fatigué from the incessant daily decisions and so we’ve decided that for the temporary time of a week and a half, we’re going to give ourselves a rest and hand over the reins to others.
It’s true as they say, that genuine spontaneity while traveling is only possible when you never have to go home. And while our time is not endless and the end of our year is just starting to come into view, we’ve had plenty of time to play with our itinerary, change course now and then and take serendipitous detours. We're now on Rhodes, will soon take the ferry to the island of Kos and after a visit of a few days, we’ll board the overnight ferry to Piraeus (leaving at the civilized hour of 8:40 PM) where we’ll board the Aegean Odyssey for a 10-day cruise.
The genesis of the decision to set sail was simple. After leaving the Greek isles, we’d hoped to make our way around the Peloponnese Peninsula and up the eastern coast of the Adriatic, reported to be one of the most beautiful in the world. But despite hours of scouring guides, poring over Internet sites and dissecting travel blogs, we came down to two starkly contrasting options: negotiate the logistical nightmare of a complicated train, bus and car combo (we found not a single ferry that services that part of the world) or simply hop aboard a cruise ship. We stumbled upon the small, 350-passenger ship run by Voyages to Antiquity in our investigations and it was love at first sight. The itinerary included all the places we wanted to see and more (Nafplio, Mycenae, Monemvasia and Olympia on the Peloponnese, the islands of Ithaca and Corfu off the western coast of Greece, a stop in Albania and several along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and then on up to Venice). The many excursions to the various ancient sights with expert guides were included as well as on board professors who give lectures on the relevant history, art and architecture. Once we were quoted a discounted last minute fare on the cheapest available cabin (Joe looked at the deck plan and determined that it would be a “quiet” space right next to where they drop the anchors), we committed. We’ll likely be among the youngest on the ship, based on all we’ve read, but perhaps that will be nice for a change since we’ve so often found ourselves the senior pair among a sea of youthful backpackers. It’s not like we’re looking for beach blanket bingo, gambling and discos in which to dance the nights away. It’ll be a relaxing ship run by a British company so they’ll serve afternoon tea and with all the crawling around ancient ruins we’ll be doing during the day, we’ll likely be among the first to bed in the evening. We’re just looking forward to taking a temporary break from sweating the details and are ready to relinquish control. For now.
Pictures of our adventures: http://gapyeargirlgoestoeurope.shutterfly.com