What a lovely birthday gift. “Wow, there is a rainbow!” DaVinci noticed as he looked out the porthole window in our cabin while in the middle of the Adriatic sea on our ferry from Venice to Greece. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, so it seemed almost miraculous and totally out of the blue. It was his fifty fourth birthday and one of many sweet surprises on this special day. He would get to celebrate it in Venice, in the Adriatic, near Croatia and Greece. (We received a text message call when we were near Croatia which was a first for us).
He started out with breakfast in bed made by Mozart (she loves this!) and a huge amount of “presents” that she has been busy making him all month. She was more excited about finally giving him his presents than looking for the money from the tooth fairy from the lost tooth she left under her pillow the night before. We had hoped to add another country to the tooth count, but we stayed an extra day in Venice, so that makes two lost in Italy, one in Tuscany and one in Venice. Thus the count is four countries so far and we will have to wait and see on the top two which must be next, as to which mysterious country they will lead the tooth fairy to.
Finding the ferry from our campsite was quite easy which was a relief, as we never know quite what we will get into heading for a city. Venice is a spectacular city to leave by large ship and we all enjoyed the views and one more chance to say good bye. It is amazing to be on such a huge boat going down the main Grand Canal right past Piazza San Marco and gives one a real sense of the old world and how it was approached and left by so many over the centuries.
Just as our Barcelona to Rome ferry had been filled with Italian workers, our Minoan ferry from Venice to Athens was filled with Greek workers and we had a new language to adjust to and this one had signs in a different alphabet. Luckily the signs for the ferry were well marked and there were two leaving daily, so we just arrived at the port and bought our tickets before boarding. We were nervous that we were cutting it close, but ended up having plenty of time. We were one of the last vehicles to load and they had us back in which was different than before, but other than that it was pretty similar, we were now just more used to the process and the under belly of a ferry.
It was not quite as nice or new as the Grimaldi ferry to Rome, but very similar. only this one was twenty seven hours long. We had a little more room in the cabin but there was no desk, so that was part of it. We felt quite at home in our little cabin and we managed to get a good night sleep even tho Mozart decided to sleep with me in the small bed instead of the top bunk since the novelty of that had worn off, although she still enjoyed it as a good play space and dvd area. She got out the ladder herself upon entering the cabin and set it up like an old hand.
The food was pretty bad and DaVinci had over heard someone telling the waiter that the cook should go back to cooking school, which we got a chuckle over. I had made sandwiches and such for the trip, but since we stayed an extra day we ate them all at the beach and such, so were mostly stuck with the food. To give them credit, the cook and the entire staff were very friendly, smiley and they adored Mozart.
We are surprised that we really enjoy the slow travel of these ferries. The simple cabins are very comfortable and going on deck or checking out the many things on board keep it interesting. I don’t think we would like regular cruise ships,but it does make me want to look into freighter travel that I have read about. We seriously considered the freighter ship mode of travel from San Francisco to Europe to begin our trip, but a child has to be eleven so we will have to wait a few years for that.
It sounds like a strange method, but is actually a way used by very sophisticated, well traveled people who rave about the experience and say it is the next best thing to having your own yacht. Usually there is only room for eight to ten passengers, the cabins are very nice (built for the owners), there is usually a pool and exercise room and the small group usually eats great food with the captain and crew. Sitting on a private deck in mid ocean reading and enjoying the beauty and silence, plus seeing the great ports of the world sounds tempting, but we will have to see if the fantasy matches the reality, in the future.
We managed to find some cake, ice cream and a giant bar of Cadbury chocolate for a little birthday celebration in our cabin. We did not have a candle but enjoyed singing the birthday song to our birthday boy. DaVinci and Mozart watched a dvd on the top bunk while I took advantage of having decent internet connection.
This ferry did have an outdoor pool and jacuzzi that people were using, but Mozart never got in the mood for a swim for some odd reason. She seems to like our cabin, the playroom and inside of the ferry more than the outside areas although her parents love the outdoor areas. Luckily there are lots of windows everywhere inside, so it is easy not to miss the views.
There were some fantastic views on this ferry with all the Greek Islands, so always beauty to look at and the feeling of the breeze blowing through your hair adds to the charm. But even sitting inside with her in the playroom, I remember being impressed by the scenery out the huge window, as Mozart was oblivious, lost in her play. She loves great views, but is soon on to the next thing.
We did not really plan it, but it turned out to be a very special way to celebrate a birthday. We plan to go to a special hotel for a night splurge, right on the caldera (crater) of the volcano in Oia, Santorini Greece with world class views so perhaps we will include that as part of a belated birthday celebration.