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Arabian Sea & Suez Canal Cruise on the Celebrity Constellation

4/22/18 to 5/7/18

 

Katakalon, Greece


We were nearing the end of the cruise and were already planning on the next day’s packing.  We arrived in the port of Katakalon to a bright sunny day.  Looking out our side of the ship, I saw a few tour busses on the dock.

Looking out the other side of the ship, there was a very long dock going into the small town, with the shops lined up along the water.  Katakalon only has about 600 residents, but can handle thousands of tourists.

   

With our having been to Olympia on two previous cruises, we were not going to go there a third time.  Our main plan for the day was to visit the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology and have a Greek lunch.  But first we would have to get down the very long dock.  It wasn’t an issue for Carol, since she had her scooter; but it was a long walk, since once we got to the end of the first dock, there was another long walk to the business area.

   

To get to the museum, we took the back road with most of the shops on it.  I wasn’t sure where the museum was, but the GPS was showing that we were going the right way.  The orange trees were in full bloom and loaded with new fruit.

   

It wasn’t far to the small museum.  The large sign was almost as big as the front of the museum.

   

We went inside the building and it was a bit bigger than it looked from the front; but not that much more.  Plus, it was full of kids from a school tour.  There were so many kids that it was difficult to even walk deeper into the museum. 

We decided to just go back to the shops, since trying to see the displays with the crowd would not be that enjoyable.  On the way, we passed a cute little church.

We also saw a green train that had the same Fun Train name on it as the one I used the previous day in Piraeus.  I asked the vendor where the train went to and what it cost.  It only went to a winery and it cost 6 € per person.  Since Carol doesn’t drink wine, we had no need for that train.

Since it was a bit early for lunch, we walked around for a bit looking at the different restaurants that were lined up along the water with tables under canvas awnings.  

   

I pulled up the TripAdvisor app to see what restaurants they recommended.  We passed by a few of them that were mentioned; but didn’t have many reviews or that many good ones.  The top restaurant was Taverna Jimmy’s; but we didn’t see it.  I tried to locate it on the GPS; but I couldn’t find it.  I walked over to someone sitting at an ice cream shop and asked if they knew where the restaurant was.  She pointed across the street and said, “It is right there”.  There was no sign that I could see.  Then I found it under the ivy.  They would probably do more business if they trimmed around the sign.

   

The outside tables were already full, so we found a table inside.  I had been wanting to get moussaka in Greece ever since we enjoyed it so much when we were in Athens in 2016.  So, I ordered it and Carol ordered fried shrimp.  I also ordered a Greek salad and some Tzatziki for both of us. I had to get a Mythos beer, since we were in Greece.  The food was excellent and reasonably priced.  I understood why it is #1 on TripAdvisor.

After lunch, Carol headed back to the ship.  She was ready to start packing.  I wanted to wait in town for a while to get a photo of the Constellation when the sun was shining on it.  I try to get a photo of each ship from our cruise to use on the first page of the review.  I had gotten a photo in Piraeus, that wasn’t that good, because there were obstructions in front of the ship.  But with this long dock, I could get a great shot of the ship when the sun was shining on it.  But it would be awhile since the sun was taking its time.  I walked around the small town several times looking at the shops and enjoying the scenery, especially the flowers.

   

   

After getting tired of walking, I decided to stop and get some gelato at the highest rated gelato place in Katakalon, called Maniera Gelato.  It was probably the best gelato I had on the whole vacation.  It was so good!

   

With the ship still in the shade, I sat down on a bench to just wait rather than walk around the shops again.  Since I was in the shade it was really enjoyable.  I chatted with some folks from New Zealand for a while, checked my email and posted on Facebook.

I decided to get up and walk around a bit more, when I saw an interesting contraption called the Beer Bike.  The vendor asked if I wanted a ride.  I had seen something like this in Prague and some other cities but didn’t know much about it.  He said for 5€ I could have 2 beers and ride around for a half hour or so with them.  Since I had considered getting another beer, which would probably have cost 5€ on its own, it sounded like a great deal to me.  There was another couple already on the vehicle and shortly after I got on a couple of women came along and joined us. 

   

The owner and his associate showed us the system, where we could pedal if we wanted to or not.  When we needed another beer, just pull it out of the ice chest.  This sounded like a nice way to kill time.  The other passengers were quite friendly, and the owner was quite a talker, telling us all about Katakalon, Greece and what his life was like.  It was really interesting and most enjoyable. 

We pedaled down to the end of the paved area where we could still see the restaurants and stopped.  We got off Beer Bike to stretch our legs and enjoy our beer.  The owner told us stories and then turned up the Greek music.  The owner and associate started to show us how to do Greek dancing.  Well they showed the girls since neither I nor the other guy were into learning how to dance.  The girls had a ball.  It had been a most enjoyable time.  I am so glad I came across it.

   

   

By the time we pedaled back to the shopping area, the sun was shining on the Constellation.  The Beer Bike excursion had used up just enough time.  It was just after 3:00 PM and I was ready to get back to the ship.  It had been another enjoyable day in Greece.

 

 

Day at Sea

With this being our last full day on the ship, it was packing day for most people.  Even though this was a sea day, it would be a most interesting sea day.  We would be passing through the Strait of Messina and also passing by the volcano island of Stromboli.  We have done this several times in the past and always enjoyed the experience.   When I left the cabin for breakfast, I went out to see where we were.  In the distance, I could see Mount Etna on Sicily.  I was pleasantly surprised since I could actually see the top of the volcano.  Most of the times we have been through this area, it had been totally covered in clouds or late at night.  It was still a hazy morning, but it was relatively clear.

I went back to the cabin to get my telephoto lens to get a closer view of the volcano.  I was glad I had been able to see it early since the clouds did cover the peak not long after I took the photos.

There hadn’t been anything mentioned about these viewing opportunities in the daily program the previous night, which I was surprised about.  A lot of people missed seeing Mt. Etna because of it.  The Captain did have an early PA announcement that told us when we would be passing through the Strait and seeing Stromboli; but it should have been in the daily, so people would realize it.

It takes almost an hour to go through the Strait of Messina.  It is only 1.9 miles wide at its narrowest point.  It does make for an enjoyable time on deck since there are towns to look at on both sides.

   

I particularly liked being able to see the churches, bridges and old forts along the water.

    

On the Sicily side there is a narrow peninsula with a tall tower on it that stretches out into the strait.  I believe that this is the narrowest area. 

   

About an hour after leaving the Strait, we approached the active volcano island of Stromboli.  This was our fourth time to see it.  It has always amazed us that people actually live on this tiny piece of land that could erupt at any time.  It is always blowing up smoke and if we were to pass it at night we would see the glow of the molten magma.  There are two small towns on the island with a total population of about 500 people.  The last major eruption of Stromboli was in 2009. 

    

It is just a matter of time until it blows again and hopefully there won’t be major loss of life.  The rest of the day was a normal sea day with nothing much to see; but the first part was a pleasure.

 

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