“Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”
I am sailing forth once again. The last time I took to the open seas it was a voyage to Norway, land of fjords, mountains, waterfalls and Vikings. On this occasion we are heading for warmer climes; the Mediterranean to be precise.
Venice is a city I have visited previously, and much enjoyed, and it is the starting point of our cruise. After flying into Marco Polo airport we will be boarding the Norwegian Spirit and heading for Barcelona, another city that I have happy memories of. Everything in-between will be new, however.
I do not know much about either Dubrovnik in Serbia or Kotor in Montenegro, apart from what a quick trawl of the internet turned up anyhow. They are both countries that I have never visited previously so I will be happy to explore them in the few hours that we will have.
Being a student of classical history and culture the thought of visiting Athens and Rome is exciting but tempered by what I know about these cities in their modern guises already. Both will be awash with other tourists, it cannot be helped, and though many will not know exactly what they are looking at without a guide of some sort to tell them they still have as much right to be there as me. My principal interest is in the forum rather than the coliseum. There’s much of Imperial Rome still to see today, you just have to know where to look.
Athens is somewhat similar. Everyone will be flocking to the Parthenon, and quite rightly. I have, however, decided to satisfy myself with seeing this beautiful structure from afar. One of the things with being disabled is that compromise becomes a coping strategy. I have impaired mobility and a poor sense of balance. I do not like being in crowds at the best of times as it limits my hazard perception when walking and a trip can prove very painful, even dangerous to me. Having looked at how busy the Parthenon gets with visitors, and the difficulty of the climb up the Acropolis, I have decided to err on the side of caution. I will content myself with the view and a visit to the Πλακα (Plaka).
I am hoping to visit Pompeii. A few years ago I walked the streets of Ephesus in turkey and that was, for me at least, a magical occasion. The place was busy, as these ancient sites always seem to be these days, and I feigned a weary leg so as to be able to sit down and let our tour guide wander away, he was not being accurate in his descriptions of the city’s history and seemed to be rushing everyone along from one location to the next. I preferred to amble at my own pace in the footsteps of people like Alexander the Great. At Ephesus I felt a connexion with the past that I only get rarely and I hope for something similar at Pompeii.
There is one other destination that really excites me on this trip as well; Firenze! The birthplace of the Renaissance Florence has been on my ‘to visit’ list for a very long time. The fact that I will get to accomplish this wish as well as seeing Rome and Athens is, to me, amazing.
So, this will be my last blog post for a couple of weeks. I will not be using the expensive internet facility on the cruise ship and in a way I am looking forward to being off-line for a while. I doubt very much that anything will really change, or that my presence will be greatly missed, but I will return. Hopefully I will have some great travel stories to relate and photographs to illustrate them with.
Until then, bon voyage!