My spouse and I just returned from a cruise of the Mediterranean, and I was shocked to find out we were not the youngest couple there–not by a long shot. This was good, because it helped me stave off my midlife crisis just a little longer. This was bad because, just once, I was hoping to be the baby again, like I had been in my New York social circle so long ago. Regardless, cruisin’ and touristin’ it up were a blast*, and I was not happy to return home.
Here are just ten random thoughts from my trips ashore.
- Our cruise ship played that song when we pulled into port at Istanbul. It left me wondering what they would play when we pulled into Greece: “Summer Nights” or “You’re the One That I Want.”
- In Istanbul I have seen in person the sword of King David, the staff of Moses, a tooth and lock of beard from the Prophet Mohammad, and assorted pieces of John the Baptist.
- The main activity for tourists at the Acropolis is complaining about all the other tourists at the Acropolis.
- There seems to be a law in quaint Greek towns that every male has to work out. Because dang.
- There are a lot of strip clubs in Athens.
- Herculaneum is one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever seen, second to Machu Picchu.
- Most of the hazelnuts used in Nutella are farmed near Rome, making it as holy a site to me as the Vatican is to Catholics. Meanwhile, in the Vatican:
- St. Peter’s Basilica is bigger than you’d think. The Sistine Chapel is smaller than you’d think. There are a lot more gift shops in the Vatican than you’d think.
- The French are not impressed with your attempts to speak their language.
- Barcelona is Catalonia. Catalonia is not Spain. Therefore, Barcelona is not Spain. (And they will not hesitate to tell you that).
There is, frankly, too much to get into here, and that’s because Oh my God, I got, like, three acceptance letters while I was on vacation as well as an editor who wants me to slightly revise a romance story I’d submitted to her anthology (mostly I need to make the hanky-panky at the climax—Ha! “Climax”!—a little hankier-pankier). That puts me at six-and-a-half acceptances. Maybe I am on a hot streak.
Also, Venice is really weird, guys. It’s like an alien snatched up intimate corners of Europe–people from every race, buildings from every century, pillars from ancient Rome, weather from wherever—plopped these things onto a swamp, linked everything together with an inconceivable variety of bridges, applied gondolas, and opened it up to tourists. I totally want to live there.
* So much food. So. Much. Regret.