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The Grand Tour of the Mediterranean, 2016

me, antiquities

I make no secret that I believe a great deal of modern travel is redundant. People could learn more from YouTube travelogues than they are going to learn by visiting exotic places. Travelogues have the advantage of seeing everything there is to see, and seeing those things over a period of time. Also, they employ experts to help the viewer draw conclusions.
The casual traveler gets a few impressions from his/her senses, but most of their facts, if they get any facts, come from tour guides or cab drivers.
I made short videos of every port we visited:

Fort Lauderdale (there are 2 videos) the 1st one is exclusively on Facebook at
2nd one: Aboard the Prinsendam

3/12-16 to 3/19/16 we crossed the Atlantic. My video:

3/20 Funchal (Madeira), Portugal:

3/22 Malaga, Spain: We spent quite a bit of time in the Picasso museum, but didn't increase our appreciation of him

3/24 Sardinia, Cagliari:
The ruins at Erice makes up the 1st video: I did a second one of Trapani.

3/25 Trapani, Italy:

3/26 Valletta, Malta: We were looking for the Maltese Falcon, which is famous because of the Dashiel Hammett story and movie starring Humphrey Bogart, and Elaine found it!

3/28 Pylos, Greece We were especially impressed with the Messini Archelogical Site

3/29 Thira (Santorini), Greece:

3/30 Piraeus (Athens), Greece There are lots better videos of the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Not everybody has the monument to Lord Byron that I filmed. Byron died in Greece after participating in their great revolution (1831?).

3/31 Kavala (Neapolis), Greece

This is Myrina:

4/1  Istanbul, Turkey Recent terrorist activities prevented our going ashore, but the Prinsendam took a special narrated tour up the Bosporus all the way to the Black sea.

4/3  Mytilene, Nisos Lesbos   

4/4  Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey 8:00 AM The Ephesus ruins:
The Ephesus treasures:
Town of Kusadasi:

4/6  Katakolon (Olympia), Greece:
Coincidentally, today is the 120th anniversary of the re-starting of the Olympic games in Athens in 1896. We went on a tour of Olympia and the ruins of the original games site. The ruins are about 15 minutes by bus.

4/7  Kerkira, Nisos Kerkira (Corfu):

4/8  Durres & Tyranna, Albania

Kotor, Montenegro:

4/11 Venice, Italy   I made no video as we hustled off the ship and to the airport for a 24-hour trip home.

I kept checking out the theories of an old friend, Leo Selden, as we went along. His thesis, repeated over and over, was that backward-thinking Christians caused the Dark Ages by destroying Greek art, knowledge, and culture. The rebirth of Greek culture after the fall of Constantinople in the mid-15th century, Leo said, caused the Renaissance. From this tour, and from what I already knew of ancient history, I think he’s right. At the same time, though, all religions do what Christianity did, and they’re equally guilty of archeological crimes.

I ruminated about Heaven while on the luxury liner. I compare this cruise with my childhood concept of Heaven. No work to do, plenty of whatever one might want, including even entertainment. Isn't that the way Heaven was described to us? The cruise is actually quite a bit better, because the Heaven I learned about sounded really really boring.

But even though I’d describe this cruise ship as better than Heaven, there’s still something terribly important left out. That something is the opportunity to be a part of humanity and to be helping out.

On the Positive Side

On the positive side, an ocean cruise certainly removes any possibility of continued obsession with one’s daily work. After a month abroad, I can barely remember any of my work. So, if the goal was to dull one’s memories of urgent things to be done, it works!

On the Negative

When we came aboard the Holland/America liner, Prinsendam, and learned that it carried 700 passengers who were nearly all septuagenarians or older, I thought there was a possibility of recruiting some supporters for the Alliance for Retired Americans. If that possibility existed, I certainly flubbed it. But I don’t think the possibility ever existed.
Of all the passengers that Elaine and I had occasion to talk to, none were even interested in the vital presidential race going on in America, let alone being interested in taking any kind of action on behalf of themselves and their fellow seniors.

I wore my Bernie Sanders pin and union t-shirts, but received almost no feedback. I tried to introduce subjects of importance into conversations, but I failed virtually every time. The slight exception was an Australian man who wanted to know how much I liked the reactionary Republican candidate, Ted Cruz. When I said that Cruz was a fascist, the conversation closed.

The passengers, almost all of them, had one favorite topic: their previous cruises. They particularly liked to tell us how many cruises they had been on. I probably shouldn't have, but I gave up on them. At the end of it all, I was glad to get home and get back to work.


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