Venice, Croatia, & the Greek Isles

Arriving at the Venice airport, we were met by and escorted by a guide who whisked us to a

waiting water taxi, for a 25-minute ride to the very heart of Venice, cruising along the Grand

Canal, to our stopping point. A short 2- minute walk had us arriving at Hotel Flora. Giovanna, our charming

local hostess, met us and introduced us to her home town. We joined thousands of others at San Marco; then

toured adjacent Doge’s palace. The winged lion is the symbol of Venice. The main component of the Ventian flag is

the Lion of Saint Mark, symbolizing Mark the Evangelist, the patron saint of Venice. and woven into architecture all

around Venice.

Lion of Saint Mark

Lion of Saint Mark

Rialto Bridge in the heart of Venice, this landmark bridge, characterized by its

24-foot arch, is built on approximately 12,000 wooden pilings that still support the bridge more

than 400 years after it was built. Wear comfortable shoes, because Venice is a walking city!

Ambulance boats ready for emergency calls in Venice

Ambulance boats ready for emergency calls in Venice

Dubrovnik – The very modern bridge welcomes your arrival to Dubrovnik. It is a beautiful

coastal town, with welcoming people. An ancient walled city, the bulk of the existing walls and



fortifications were constructed during the 14th and 15th

centuries, but were continually extended

and strengthened up until the 17th century. Dubrovnik

was the filming location for Game of

Thrones, including the Walk of Shame stairs.

Dubrovnik is also a city for cat lovers. Community

cats, taken care of by tourists and locals alike in the

Old Town. Many have sleek and shiny fur

and are fit and healthy. They have great ice cream

treats -- the best lemon ice cream I have

ever put in my mouth!

Montenegro – Black Mountains. Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Butted up against a

steep cliff, cradled by a scenic fjord-like bay, it has a natural shelter. Kotor has survived

centuries of would-be invaders by its imposing town wall, which scrambles in a zigzag line up

the mountain behind it. English is taught from elementary school upward, and is commonly

spoken. Though it’s enjoyed a long and illustrious history, today’s Kotor is a retreat for travelers

seeking a truly unspoiled Adriatic town.


Santorini – Fira Town – 500 steps from sea level to

access the town. There are 3 choices:

walk up the steps, ride a donkey up the steps, or

ride a cable car. Most people, including me,

opted for the cable car ride. The town bustles with

visitor activity and shops work to cash in on

the throngs of shoppers. Island roads are winding

and steep in places. The driving adventure

will pay off with stunning views at several points,

including views from the Prophet Elias Monestary,

located at the highest point on the island of Santorini. The few monks still living there are involved in wine

making. The small chapel is open for a quick visit, where you can see colorful frescos and religious icons

on the walls and ceilings. And its yard, from where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. A small

gift shop includes gift items like wine, Greek olive oil, Mediterrean sea salt and small icons.

Boat captain in Santorini

Boat captain in Santorini

Katakalon – There are many small shops, good bars and restaurants with lovely water views,

just steps from the cruise ship pier. Prices are reasonable and bargains can be found. If you

have time, take a break from shopping and sip a coffee or wine at a small al fresco restaurant,

overlooking the water. From Katakalo (gr.) you can visit Olympia, the site of the very first

Olympic games.