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Europe Cruise Day 14
Sunday, September 19th
Piraeus (for Athens), Greece

This is the final day of the first of the two cruises. The arrival at Piraeus is scheduled for 7:00AM.

Day 14 Map

Not much is scheduled for this day. Those leaving from the first cruise will head for Athens. Later in the day those joining the next cruise will arrive and board sometime before the 5:00PM departure of the second cruise. Sometimes there is a shore excursion available for people who are staying on for the next cruise (in transit passengers we are usually called). There is no indication that this may be available so far. Sometimes these are only available on board the ship. With the ongoing problems in Greece these days who knows what might happen.

The ship sails on the second cruise at 5:00PM heading for a late afternoon arrival tomorrow in Istanbul, Turkey. Here is the map for this cruise.

@nd Cruise Map

How it actually happened!!!
(written October, 2011)

The blog entry for this day starts saying.....

The ship arrived early this morning. I do not know exactly what time because when I looked out the window this morning, the ship was already docked. The disembarkation process started just after 7:15AM and was mostly finished by the time my shore excursion left at 9:30AM.

It continues talking about the shore excursion.....

The excursion I took was called Panoramic Athens. The only other one offered to intranst passengers, as those of us staying on for the next cruise are called, was called Athens and the Acropolis. I get this one when the ship returns to Athens in 12 days so I took the other one. It would appear that the only difference between the two is one actually goes into the Acropolis and the one I took does not. The weather here was a hazy cloudless sky and very warm. The New York Times Digest that we get most days here on the ship said the high temperature was predicted to be 91F today in Athens. It could very well have been that. It was very warm.

Here are some pictures taken as the excursion left the ship in Piraeus area heading for the centre of Athens.

Piraeus 1 Piraeus 2
There are two harbours at Piraeus, one of the commercial ships and one for the pleasure craft like this one. This is the same harbour from a different point.
Piraeus 3 Piraeus 4
I thought this was scenic. The roads we were on were rather narrow so small cars are a good idea but this is rather close to the edge.
Piraeus 5 Piraeus 6
Another of the pleasure boat harbours. The Piraeus area of Athens was where the majority of the venues for the 2004 Athens Olympics were located. You can see a couple of them here, one on the far left and one on the right.

The excursions first stop in Athens was the Olympic Stadium where the first games of the modern Olympiad were held.

From the blog.....

One of the things the group was shown was one of the stadiums used for the Olympics that was all made out of marble. It seats something like 60,000 people. Apparently, marble is much cheaper to build with here than wood.

It is not possible to get one picture of the entire stadium from where the coach drops one off (unless one has a very wide angle lens), so here is a panorama shot of two pictures showing it.

Olympic Stadium Panorama

Here are two additional pictures taken from the same location but not of the stadium.

Olympic Stadium 1 Olympic Stadium 2
The Acropolis on the hill in the distance. The coach I was on.

After leaving the stadium the next stop was the Acropolis. Here is a picture of a rather unusual sculpture (that I cannot remember anything about) taken from the coach on the way to the Acropolis.

Athens 1

So the next stop is the Acropolis. From the blog talking about the Acropolis........

The excursion stopped at the bottom of the Acropolis and got the long 20 minute version of its history. There were things like a one point it was used to store ammunition during one of the World Wars and it blew up causing a large hole in the side of it. The guide said we were very lucky because much of the scaffolding that the restorers have been using to work on it has been taken off just recently, some of it just in the last week. I hope it is still off when I get back here in 12 days.

There are not very many pictures taken of the Acropolis this day. As it turned out the weather was somewhat better this day than 12 days from now when I returned so it would have been better to have gone up this day. The weather was not that bad on the later visit but the pictures would have been better if they had been taken today.

Here are a few of the ones I did take.

Acropolis Day 14 #1 Acropolis Day 14 #2
The Acropolis hill from below. A close up of the Acropolis.
Acropolis Day 14 #3
The bus I was on in the parking area with the Acropolis in the background.

After spending a fair amount of time here the excursion continued with a driving tour of downtown Athens. This next group of pictures were all taken through the coach windows so there are varying amounts of reflection depending on where the sun was.

Athens Day 14 #5 Athens Day 14 #6
A building with interesting masonry work. Some of the archeological digs that are all
throughout this area of Athens.
Athens Day 14 #7 Athens Day 14 #8
The ceremonial guards outside the Greek Parliament buildings. The Parliament building. This has been a popular place for demonstrators during the recent Euro zone monetary crisis.
Athens Day 14 #9
I think this is the National Museum (or part of it).

From here the coach headed back to Piraeus and the ship.

From the blog.....

On the way back to the ship I saw the hotel I will be staying in on my return to Athens. You often think of big city hotels as being big tall buildings. In Athens there is a build code restriction that no building can be taller than 10 stories. This is rather unusual for a city the size of Athens. Why do they have this restriction? It is because no building can be taller than the Acropolis which is just over 10 stories high. Part of the reason that Athens is such a sprawling place is because they can only build sideways, not up. There are many 5-8 story buildings. The hotel is 6 or 7 I think. It is on the main road from Piraeus to central Athens. 

Is was not possible to get a picture of the hotel today but check in 12 days and you will likely see one.

Here are some pictures taken in the Piraeus area as the coach returned to the ship.

Piraeus 7 Piraeus 8
I originally thought that this was one of the Olympic Stadiums but on closer inspection I think it may be a station of the light rail rapid transit system located in the Piraeus area of Athens. Another building with interesting masonry. As noted elsewhere there is little wood available here so most construction is of various types of stone (mainly marble if I remember correctly).
Piraeus 9 Piraeus 10
The Westerdam as the coach returned from the excursion. A "bow on" shot, again from the coach.

After boarding the ship I took some pictures of the area around the ship. Here are some of those.

Piraeus 11 Piraeus 12
Some of the luggage for the 1600 arriving passengers
being loaded on the ship.
Pets in Greece seem to be able to do what ever they want,
when ever they want.
This dog is sleeping in the shade as it was quite warm.

Here are two panoramic images showing the views from both sides of the ship starting with the port of left side. This one is looking towards Athens.

Piraeus Panorama 1

This next one is from the starboard or right side of the ship and looks out to sea which I think is east. You may note that there is only a very small section missing between the left side of the image above and the right side of the one below.

Piraeus Panorama 2

Here is one other image I like.

Piraeus 13

This is the Greek flag on the stern of the ship.
The area in the background is just to the right of centre in the panorama above.

From the blog....

The ship sailed just before the scheduled departure time of 5:00PM on our way to Istanbul, Turkey where arrival is scheduled for 4:00PM tomorrow for an overnight stay.

Here are some pictures as the ship sailed out of Piraeus heading north I think.

Departing Piraeus 1 Departing Piraeus 2
Leaving Piraeus. A ferry can be seen entering the harbour. A wider view of the Piraeus area.
Leaving Athens Panorama 1
This is a panorama showing the entire Athens area. The harbour is on the left and Athens is behind Piraeus in this view.
Departing Athens 3 Departing Athens 4
As the ship started heading up the coast the Acropolis came into view way off in the distance. This is more the way it looked to the unaided eye.
Leaving Athens Panorama 2
The ship is farther up the coast now. This panorama shows more of Athens in the distance in the centre and to the right.

The last event that happened this day occurred when I returned to my stateroom either just after the ship sailed or just after dinner, I cannot remember which. Upon returning I discovered this.....

Fudge 1 Fudge 2
A Gift for me!!!!! Look a bowl of fudge! Even the bowl was chocolate and edible.

At some point, and I cannot remember exactly when, a get together was held in the Crows Nest bar for those people continuing on to the next cruise. There was a short presentation. This event likely prompted me to write the following entry in the blog for this day.....

Here is an unconfirmed but likely fairly accurate fact about the first cruise. There were approximately 1500 Dutch people on that cruise. After all, the cruise did start in Rotterdam, Holland. Most of them left today. During the first cruise all the P. A. announcements were being done in both Dutch and English. There were also Dutch menus in the dining room which occasionally somehow got combined with the English ones. A couple of times there was English on one half and Dutch on the other half of the menu. The names of the items were the same but the descriptions were in Dutch. It made it hard to tell what some of the items were. They seem to be working in English only now. One confirmed fact is that there are 312 people who are staying on for the next cruise. Something like 1600 new people came on board during the embarkation today.  Apparently the ship is full for this cruise. One other person who came on board today was a new captain. The previous one was going on vacation and said he was going home to “fire up his barbecue”. He will be back in 4 months. The new ones name is Peter Jan von Maurik. He said to “just call me Captain P.J.” because his name was long and hard to remember.

So, I am now on cruise number two and heading for Istanbul, Turkey.

On to Day 15!

Page Created: August 3, 2010
After Trip Update Started: October 25, 2011
After Trip Update Completed: October 29, 2011
Last Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2011 8:39 PM

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