Then we went to the Greek island of Crete. In Iraklion, we visited a Minoan palace that is estimated to be 3,000 years old. (Hands down the oldest thing we saw... even older than Jerusalem!)
The palace was discovered and restored in the early 1900s, and sections were reconstructed in concrete. Our guide told us that people refer to this as the archaeological Disney-land for the inauthentic concrete reconstructions. I feel badly that they say this about the guy who dedicated his whole life to reconstructing the palace so people can see what it actually looked like.
This was another half-day tour, so afterwards we stopped for lunch and to wander around the city center.
Nearby is a Venetian sea-fort from the 1500s so we took a walk down to the waters edge.
|See Vesuvius in the middle? It used to be twice as tall before it erupted and buried the city!|
Then we headed to a farm for a tour and lunch. Sorrento is full of cliffs, which means not much usable farm land. To be profitable, the farmers use all the land 3 times over: Vegetables on the bottom, citrus trees in the middle, and grape vines across the top.
We saw how they make mozzarella and ricotta cheese (ricotta is a byproduct of the mozzarella process, which was interesting!). Then we ate: meats, homemade mozzarella, and a fresh olive. I HATE olives that come in jars, but the fresh olive was delicious! Then pasta with some of that fresh ricotta in the sauce. There was also homemade wine, and limoncello tasting for dessert!
After that we headed back to the boat for our last night on the ship- the usual farewell show, late night chocolate buffet, and packing.
Snapped a pic of our multinational water bottle collection before we left the ship: Israel, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy.
We took the option to carry our own bags off, which meant we could leave anytime before 9:30. We took the opportunity to have a leisurely room service breakfast before heading out. This was the part I was most concerned about. We didn't have a very good plan, but we had read that the port authority runs a bus service from the pier to the front of the port. Then its only a "short" walk to the train station, where you can hop a train into Rome.
Turned out it was SO easy. The bus ride was long, probably 10 minutes or so, to the front of the port, but we didn't have a map, so we just took off away from the port on the road they dropped us off on, hoping it was the right direction. Sure enough only about 5 minutes later we passed a sign with the train station symbol saying it was ahead in the direction we were walking.
After only about a 10 minute walk, there it was! We bought tickets and the next train was leaving in about 20 mins. Perfect timing!