Daily Archives: 08.04.2011

The Honeymoon: Santorini and Istanbul

Warning: This is the most photo-heavy post I’ve ever loaded on The Blog.  So if your computer takes a while to load, have patience, kittens.  This is worth the end result.

Despite the fact that I did the over-packing job of the century, I realized during last week’s round of Honeymoon tales that if I pull any outfit repeating, y’all will totally know right away.

So allow me to confess.  Right here, right now.  I am an outfit repeater.  Especially when I’m on vacation.

ALWAYS when I’m on vacation.

That felt good.


Sailing into Santorini?  Was a breeze.

But as a part of our non-planning streak, I had completely forgotten which excursion we registered for while on this tiny isle.

Had I known, I probably would have adjusted my packing list just a touch.  Because Santorini was a study in what happens when you climb a volcano in your Revas.

Right?  I spent all of this time fixating on Mt. Etna this and Mt. Etna that, and as it turns out, we were going to be physically climbing up the slope Nea Kameni, which is an active volcano.  We even got to stand near a tiny steam vent and see the sulfurous rocks that the darned thing had popped out.

Lesson: Don’t be like me.

Following our extremely sweaty, early AM hike up the mountain, the pirate-ship type arrangement that ferried us to the volcano in the middle of the caldera  brought us to a mineral spring on the other side of the slope.  Truth be told, I have never seen a group of grown adults so excited about getting into a mysterious body of open water.

That being said, it was a little bit underwhelming in the sense that the water was murky, and there weren’t really any “springs.”  There were, however, an extremely active group of mountain goats doing a bit of a parade for us on the cliffs overhead.


Everyone on board the Coral was encouraged to get out on deck as we sailed into Istanbul.  So with Turkish music playing over the ship’s loudspeakers we made a sort of triumphant entry into the port.  For all that waking up in Genoa was surprising, Istanbul was jaw dropping.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.  We NEVER, EVER in a million years ever thought that we would find ourselves in Turkey.

But then we were there.  Because this is what happens when you’re booking a cruise.  Sometimes you just end up places.

And I’m SO glad we did.

The eight hours we were there was absolutely nowhere near enough.  We visited the Topkaki Palace, the Underground Cistern (an absolutely, 100% impossible-to-photograph place) and the Blue Mosque.  We walked in the hippodrome and saw the Olympic Torch pass by us on its journey ’round the world as we walked in the shadow of an Obelisk.  It was a pretty sweet deal. enough time.  It was beautiful, and cosmopolitan, and ancient.

I could tell you about the riches and splendors we saw at the palace.  But there are absolutely no words to describe the sheer opulence of the compound and its contents.  To explain it at the most basic level, every sultan who reigned was obliged to erect another building in the complex.  Some buildings were never even used.  That’s the level of insane we’re talking about.

Topkaki Palace

The Blue Mosque

My biggest regret in Turkey?  The food.  Really.

Yes, we had Doner Kebap at the palace.  And some chicken dish in an alley-restaurant that mostly tasted of oregano and not much else.  I’m 100% positive (especially after The New york Times’ latest kick) that there was so much else out there and we just weren’t put in the right situation to feast on it.

What unplanned-locales have you ended up in on vacation?

Have you ever “missed” part of a city’s culinary tradition?