HAL's Eurodam: over three hundred yards in length, just over 100 ft wide, with 11 habitable stories. Hundreds of rooms, more than 1,900 vacationers expecting to enjoy it all
Rome to Venice
Greek ruins at Paestum, along the coast not far from where this floating behemoth ship will have ingested us both the day before. a likelier place for us to spend time ashore than Pompeii (do you remember Paul Ford in The Music Man, introducing his movie-wife Hermione Gingold and her dance "... as found on the walls of Pom Pee Eye"? Hahaha). For one, we have been to that vast ruin of a doomed city, and with only finite time at this port, I would prefer less-traveled, Greek archaeology that I have never visited. It is likely we shall never actually see Athens where the acropolis stands, and this ruin is said to be in better condition. So, why not?
Glorious, weird Sicilia. One of several major attributes of this grand soccer ball of an island, about to be punted by Italy's comical boot out of the Mediterranean and into the deserts of north Africa — on a map, anyway — is the procession of important cultures that have made their way across the landscape here. And as the ancient peoples lived and thrived and died in their communities, of course they left evidences of their passing. Archaeology abounds, among which a third century b.c. Greek amphitheater a short walk from Taormina, shown.
A taste of Greece. The country. Limoncello, ouzo, olive oil, cheeses crafted from centuries-old family recipes. Bread fresh our of that whitewashed oven right across the courtyard. As good as the food on Holland America ships — even as good as the arguably-better cuisine on Oceania's cruises ... but you simply cannot equal the experience of sitting at such a bistro as this and enjoying the moment with the drink and noshes of this and that. Maybe as suggested by that garrulous Greek couple at the next table.
Wonder if they might consider a visit to Nampa, someday? We surely will inquire.
Think costumes and folk dances. The Balkans surely are rich in folk-culture which, sadly, for me conjures up memories of a Sons of Norway get together at Magnolia School in the early 50s. Odd pants on grownup men whose shame must have gone missing, and correspondingly odd dresses on women with the bonus of (also odd) headwear. All doing curious little bouncing kinds of dance-steps to accordion music. "Why am I here?" Other than the lame excuse of having been born into a Fristad family, I mean.
So I think tasting local goodies and sampling Montenegro wine, will suffice in place of comely embroidered outfits and dance steps.
We have Good memories of time spent in Croatia some years ago. Diocletian, infamous yet supremely effective head of state during Rome's fading fourth century, came from this neck of the Adriatic. He retired in the city of Split, in fact, in a purpose-built palace. A native of the region of Dalmatia, this ingenious emperor was able to accomplish much, especially considering the scope of his challenges.
Next morning it's Venice, by which time, really tired, we will be happy to go ashore, at about 0800, trudging off in search of our final overnite apartment in Europe. It's a B&B whose manager always writes back. After leaving our luggage in her office, we hope to catch a vaporetto (think floating public-transit bus) for the island of Murano, where visionary artisans craft unbelievably beautiful glass artifacts. I hope our suitcases will be found to have just a little more space, after all.
Some distance south, down the coast is Zadar, where our ship will dock. The day's land-trek will find us rolling along through Croatia's hinterland to Krka National Park. We'll enjoy a guided wander there, amongst protected birds and mammals and lush forests, to Skradinski Buk Falls.
Then via a short boat-ride along the river we'll be treated to an ethnic Croatian lunch in the village of Skradin.