By Stanley Paul
Once a year our Old Town coffee group embarks on a Fall adventure. This year we chose the Dalmatian Coast aboard the Azamara Journey cruise ship – a midsize luxury liner.Our route
We started our voyage in Venice, Italy. Before embarking we spent a few days at the legendary Hotel Danieli where you could imagine seeing Cole Porter, Noel Coward, and friends in the salon. The Dandolos, a noble Venetian family, built the Hotel Danieli at the end of the 14th century.
The grand staircase
Up until recently Venice had no women gondoliers. The first one was hired in 2010.
Enjoying a nightcap on the rooftop terrazza of the Danieli overlooking the majestic views of the lagoon of Venice
The following morning we boarded a water taxi to meet the Azamara Journey — Our home for the next nine days. The first port was Koper, Slovenia, the first of eight fascinating destinations.
In a water taxi on our way to meet the Azamara Journey
Our group enjoying some local libations in Koper, Slovenia. Pictured left to right: Michael Grabish, Jim Dennen, Abby Hart, Geri Nolfi, and me.
Next stop Korcula. Often described as a diminutive Dubrovnik, Korcula is a particularly pleasing city protected by a medieval wall and adorned with iconic red roofed dwellings. Marco Polo was purportedly born in Korcula. He was originally named Marco Pulis. The Slavic spelling was changed to Polo when he settled in Venice.
Behind the church is the home of Marco Polo
We next visited the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, home of Kings Landing from the “Game of Thrones”. The stonewall was built between the 12th and 17th centuries. In places it is up to 20 feet thick and has never, in its entire history, been breached by a hostile enemy.
We walked the entire 6,360 feet of the walled city. Whew!
Centuries-old red-roofed buildings.
Following our trek along the wall we treated ourselves to a variety of their local sweets shaped like fried eggs, tennis balls, ears, guns, fruits and vegetables – A great visual but your dentist would not approve!
Regrouping from a full day of exploring Dubrovnik. It’s cocktail time on the Azamara Journey. Pictured clockwise: Me, Michael Grabish, Abby Hart, Jim Dennen, Geri Nolfi. Our next port of call was Kotor, Montenegro.
The town of Kotor, Montenegro hosts hundreds of happy and healthy stray cats that are just as important as the people that live there. Historically, these cats kept the plague-carrying rats at bay. Montenegro got its name from the dark mountain forests that cover its land. The name means Black Mountain and dates back to the 15th century. Although only about the size of Connecticut, the country has 117 beaches along the Adriatic.
Town Square of historic Kotor, Montenegro
Examples of vibrant local Kotor handicrafts
At the entrance of the Adriatic Sea we entered Corfu one of the most popular Greek Isles. The olive oil produced on Corfu is considered to be Greece’s best.
Sunset over Corfu
Meanwhile, back on the ship, we enjoyed Azamara’s traditional White Night party – a lavish deck party like
no other! We dined on every delicacy imaginable from the sea. The Gatsby vibe was very festive and we all danced the night away. That would be 9:32 PM on our body clocks!
Even the non-dancers got into the spirit.
Pictured clockwise: Jim Dennen, Michael Grabish, Geri Nolfi, Abby Hart, Me
The next port found us in Nafplio, Greece. A seaport town located on the Argolic Gulf. We all fell in love with the picturesque bougainvillea-clad lanes.
Enjoying grilled octopus washed down by a cheap but delicious local rosé.
American Medina draft CCM Strolling the streets in search of a bargain.
Our final destination was Athens where we savored one last Grecian experience – The stunning Acropolis Museum that opened to the public in 2009. All of this splendor thanks to the vision and tireless fundraising of legendary Greek actress, singer, and politician Melina Mercouri of “Never On Sunday” fame.
Insider tip: For an almost private viewing plan to visit the museum at 8 AM on a Sunday morning
On the grounds of the Acropolis – A REAL crowd pleaser!
View of the Acropolis – Greece’s crowned jewel. A fitting end to our sensational trip.