Ships and Shops

Trip Start Apr 18, 2012
Trip End Sep 12, 2012

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Flag of Greece  , Crete,
Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 22, 2012

At 11am this morning, I departed Athens on the Minoan Line vessel named Festos Palace. As we slipped out of the port of Piraeus we had a clear view of both the city behind us as well as the Aegean Sea waiting for us. The seven hour boat ride was georgeous! The water of the Agean spread out all around us as we glided to Crete on her perfectly calm and beautifully blue water. Every now and then, we would pass by a small island peeking out of the water like a mountain on the sea. As the sun rose and sank in the sky, the patterns of light on the water shifted, reflecting and refracting in a shimmering dance upon the water. The wind gently pushed the cold air around and onto our faces on the deck, prompting jackets to go on in order to cut the chill. Overall, it was a glorious and peaceful day. 

This ship, however, was gigantic. And the inside reminded me of a modern-day version of the Titanic (we, however, stayed afloat). While these are common in Greece and among the Mediterranean, it was a bit of a shock to me. The last time I traveled on a ferry in Greece, it was simple: car deck, cafe, upper deck. Festos Palace is much grander. I entered the ship into a great reception hall. After passing through there, I encountered signs directing me to one of the following: cabins to sleep, the swimming pool, the on board mall and shops, two different cafes, a disco club, and internet cafe, and general reclining seating. Through my exploring, I also discovered that the ship had two decks on which to store cars, massive suspended lifeboats, and a helicopter landing pad on top. I spent the beginning part of my trip reading in the reclining seats, then I moved throughout the cafes and finally ended up on the outside deck, enjoying the weather and the view. 

We docked on Crete at 6pm. After being one of the first to disembark, I was also one of the first in line to collect my bags from the baggage check truck (equivalent to an 18 wheeler-they had two of these on board). From there it was a short walk to find a taxi and a ten minute drive through the city of Heraklion to the hotel: Santa Elena. There I met up with two of the other girls in this co-op program, Natasha and Stephanie, who are gracefully allowing me to stay with them until I depart for Chania in four days time.  
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Nick <Dad> on

This boat is incredible. My only memories of a boat traveling from the mainland to one of the islands was one where it was rocky. Passengers were eating cheese & bread and then they would vomit --- just like the scene from Zorba the Greek. Times have changed.

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