Cruising Venice, The Greek Isles, and the Eastern Mediterranean

There are two things that are more important than anything in my world, family and travel.  With one child graduating high school and heading to college and another entering high school, I am acutely aware of time passing…and passing quickly.  This summer, I got to slow time down just a bit as we took a two week vacation to Italy, Greece, Turkey and Croatia.  I have been planning this trip for almost a full year and I can honestly say, it didn’t disappoint.

I wanted to sail from Venice because there is talk that large cruise ships will not be allowed to sail in/out of Venice proper very much longer, and from all accounts, it is a sail in not to be missed.  There were very few dates that would work with college, theater and soccer scheduling all to deal with, so we settled on an 11 night cruise out of Venice going to Katakolon (Greece), Chania (Crete), Athens (Greece), Thessoloniki (Greece), Ephesus (Turkey), Santorini (Greece), and Dubrovnik (Croatia).

Venice, Athens, Santorini, and Dubrovnik were all on my “Travel Bucket List,” so my excitement was pretty high for this one.  I was not too familiar with some of the other ports, but I was so happy to be going, I was sure I would love them.

The Mediterranean in July/August can be brutal, and (spoiler alert) it was.  But really no more so than the south so I was pretty used to it.  The biggest difference was the overall lack of A/C venues to escape in to every so often. BUT!  That was offset somewhat by the breeze from the ocean that followed us everywhere we went (cruising perk!).

We were spending three days in Venice prior to the cruise and I had booked an apartment on HomeAway.  We had our flights reserved, we had split into two groups in order to use miles on two different airlines so TJ and I were flying Delta, while Mom and OD flew United.  Only one of these flights would actually happen…(hint:  It wasn’t mine!).

My flight from CLT to Atlanta was delayed, so I missed my connection to Venice.  This started a chain of events that would see us re-routed to Paris, before eventually arriving in Venice much later and without our checked baggage.

Taking the AliLaguna from the airport into Venice is an amazing experience for first time visitors.  Its almost surreal how beautiful it is, and seeing it nearly the same as visitors have seen it for hundreds of years, is humbling to say the least.

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So, while I was hungry, tired, frustrated and in desperate need of a shower, I was still enchanted by my first views of this amazing island.

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Because of the long travel delays, my first day in Venice consisted of dinner and bed…okay, okay…and wine!  The apartment we were staying in was in the Dorsodoro area of Venice and we literally just went to the first open place we found…Trattoria Ai Cugnai.   The food was good hearty Italian home cooking and the wine was good so all in all, not a bad first stop.  We had a walking tour scheduled for the next day, so no late night for us!  It was gonna be a long day of walking for us!!

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