Daily Archives: 08.17.2011

The Honeymoon: The Corinth Canal and Sicily

Are you tired yet?

Me too.

But in a life imitates art (or is it art imitates life?)-moment, y’all should know that by this point in the trip, we were basically chomping at the bit because we were So Ready to start adventuring on dry land.

There is no rest for the weary.

The Corinth Canal

Fact: I didn’t even know the Corinth Canal EXISTED until we booked this trip.  Which is made all the more hilarious by the fact that basically all of the British passengers on our ship booked the trip specifically because we would be passing-through it.

So for all of you wondering, WTH is the Corinth Canal?   You are not alone.

But you had better believe that once Marcus and were in-the-know, we got busy working on our OMG WE’RE SO EXCITED TO BE GOING THROUGH THE CANAL-faces really quickly.

So we’re all on the same page, brief geography lesson: The Corinth Canal cuts through the middle of the Peloponnesian Peninsula.  It was dug in the late 1800’s and was meant to be ideally situated for ease of trade and travel.  Except for the fact that around that time, boats started to get…bigger.

FAIL.

So instead of being used for trade and travel, it was re-purposed for tourists.

There is no trade and really no travel, either.

Most cruise ships can’t fit through the canal.  But since we were on the smallest ship ever, we could do it.

Just barely.

For a size-comparison, The Corinth Canal is 21.3 meters wide and 7.3 meters deep.  Our ship only had a meter clearance on the bottom and a half meter clearance on either side.  So it wasn’t like some sort of JV, Panama Canal-type thing.  There was no waving to other ships.  We were really in.the.canal.

See?  Not kidding.

Since it takes about an hour and a half to go through the canal (and you know…it’s a sight), to keep them masses occupied, they threw a party above-decks where we lounged and guzzled drank copious amounts of champagne.

Obviously I didn’t have any qualms with this situation.  With the amount of champagne they had on board, the ship could have stayed in-port the entire time and I would have been happy as a clam.

Sicily

Since Mount Etna was the thing I was THE MOST EXCITED to see on our entire Mediterranean adventure, naturally it was the last place we stopped.

Like everything else on this trip of ours, getting there was a bit of an ordeal.

You see, it’s a two-hour drive from the port to get to the volcano.

How convenient.

The first hour we spent weaving through colorful coastal villages, and the second was dedicated to climbing up to 2000 meters.

Even though I’m not usually one for confining myself to a vehicle on vacation, I can’t even tell you how thankful I was for that coach ride.  We saw so much of the island that we never would have seen otherwise, and by the time we got to our final destination we were 100% positive that we wanted to return.

I would like nothing more than to spend a week in one of the Sicily’s many brightly-colored houses, with a jungle of a garden in the back.

Not really the point of the excursion, but fine.

So two hours later, as promised, we made it to 2000 meters.

In keeping with the theme of Don’t Open A Guide Book On Penalty Of Death, we weren’t exactly sure what we would find when we got there.  I mean, when you climb to the top of Diamond Head, your reward is having to slither out of a bunker.  It’s good to have realistic expectations.

Where we stopped was a “base camp” of sorts.  There were scenic vistas, one of the many smaller craters (there are four “main craters” but the thing erupts just about anywhere) and a few little restaurants.  We made the most of the hour we had up there by scampering around the crater (it’s kind of The Thing To Do), enjoying the beautiful view of the sea, and actioning a mini-date complete with wine and dessert.

And yes, that was steam/smoke you saw coming from one of the main craters in that last snap.

It was absolutely perfect.  Though of course with my luck, the volcano started spewing lava like it was a calling just a little bit over a week after we sailed away.

You can’t win them all 😉

Have you ever visited an active volcano?

What’s one slightly weird place that you’ve always wanted to visit/see?

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