In October, 22 Badgers cruised from Istanbul, Turkey, to Athens, Greece, to discover the wonders of the Aegean Sea aboard Oceania Cruises’ Riviera.
Istanbul was a magnificent city, spanning two continents and divided by the Bosphorus. Once known as Constantinople, it’s home to the impressive Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar (the largest covered shopping space in the world), and the sprawling and exotically fragranced Istanbul Spice Market.
Next we visited Kavala, the second largest city in northern Greece; and beautiful Mykonos, featuring the island’s trademark windmills, white houses, and churches. The medieval, walled city known as Rhodes Town was quite impressive, and it’s said to average more than 300 days of sunshine each year.
The port of Kuşadasi is a resort town that offers plenty of shops and the opportunity to sit in on a luxurious, handmade-carpet demonstration. No visit to Kuşadasi would seem complete without visiting the nearby, legendary ruined city of Ephesus. Highlights included the Celsus Library, Terrace Houses, and nearly 24,000-seat Grand Theater.
Finally, what would a trip to Greece be without a visit to picturesque Santorini? It included a cable-car ride and a scenic drive to the village of Oia, known for its panoramic views and narrow, cobblestone streets filled with quaint shops and cafés, indigo-domed churches, and chalk-colored homes amid stony cliffs.
In Athens, we disembarked and bid farewell to Riviera while some of our fellow Badgers continued on together for a sightseeing excursion of Athens.
Photography by Tom Sheehan