Attempt the First

It's 1986. Laura is a travel agent, and has gone to all the different world places she wants to go to, with one final exception: the Mediterranean. She books the cruise. She packs her bags, ready to go. Then, a ship named the "Achille Lauro" is hijacked by Palestinian guerillas, who shoot an American and throw him overboard.

All cruises are cancelled. Laura goes to Fiji instead.

Second Try

It's 1994. Robert and Laura are married and Laura tells her story. By a curious (?) coincidence, they happen into a small pile of money. Just enough, it seems, to pay for a Mediterranean cruise!

They start out at ancient Athens (although the Parthenon was closed, because of a strike). They move on to romantic Rome and see such sites as the Colosseum, Trevi fountain, and one of the places where Michelangelo used to live (which is now a Nike store).

On the way out of Rome, the boat runs into the dock and gets a big gash in the side. The crew ignores Robert's suggestion ("duct tape!") and the cruise is cancelled.

Do our intrepid travelers give up? Do they realize that the ancient Gods have conspired to keep them from making this cruise?

Ha! Ha ha! We're not that smart! (Or rather, Robert is WAY more stubborn than the Gods.)

Which brings us to: The Third Time's A Charm (3TAC) Trip!!

Will we make it all the way across the Mediterranean in an age of SARS, wars, terrorists, and Starbucks? Stay tuned!

Technical Note

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Day 1

In which we travel from Seattle to Barcelona, where we find tiny taxi trunks, Ikea stores, and Superman standing on a street corner.

Day 2

We wander through Barcelona, stopping at a centuries old cathedral, a years old fast food restaurant, and an unfinished architectural marvel of a cathedral. Finally, we locate our boat--which turns out to be fairly simple as it's the size of a small asteroid.

Day 3

We lounge about the boat in the morning, and then cast-off to the faint appaluse of a couple of dock workers. Robert dons his birthday suit, and we go to a gala dinner!

Day 4

We hang out in Villefranche for the morning, touring churches, and then take a tour of lovely Nice (which has lousy beaches). The afternoon is spent hanging at a cafe where Robert declares that he is a writing instrument.

Day 5

We pull into Livorno, Italy and catch a bus for Florence (or "Firenze," if you want to sound like you're cultured). We check out a faux David, a real Old Bridge, the Church of the Holy Cross (topped with Star of David), Galileo's tomb, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Whew!

Day 6

Naples is on the plate today, and we devour the isle of Capri, chow down on Sorrento and some wood inlay, and make a dessert of Pompeii, where we also find out about the erotic friezes.

Day 7

We spend the day at sea, chugging along towards Greece (home of many old things). We explain how things work on the boat, and go to a wine tasting, where Robert wonders if bugs are sediment.

Day 8

Athens, Greece where we start by checking out the Corinth Canal (a very deep and long canal). After sailing the canal blue, we head to the fabulous (and scorching hot) Parthenon on the Acropolis, and take a quick tour around Athens, where they are working hard to spiff up the ruins for the 2004 Olympics.

Day 9

We visit Kusadasi, for reasons that are a tad vague, but it's got some pretty cool stuff—like the ruins of St. John's Basilica and the ruins of Ephesus. We end the day with a demonstration of actual Turkish carpets.

Day 10

We arrive at Istanbul—the crossroads of Europe and Africa (and the Middle East). Very exotic and mysterious, and our favorite city of the whole dang tour. We visit a famous mosque and take a shopping trip to the Grand Bazaar. Robert discovers Turkish pizza and we lounge around a plaza with the locals.

Days 11 & 12

The boat is working very hard lugging our butts from Turkey to Italy, but we are not working at all. We watch an ice carving demonstration and eat a lot.

Day 13

Venice, the Soggy City is our playground for today. We see all the cool places that always show up in movies (like St. Mark's Square and the little bitty alleyways). Years of playing First Person Shooter games give Robert an unerring sense of direction that steers us through Venice to (naturally) a place where he can get pizza. Finally, we ride a bus down the watery streets of Venice.

Day 14

We spend the day as refugees (although, frankly, very well-off refugees, but technically, "people without a place to stay"). We go from laid back Italy to bustling England (via a plane signed by "Donut") and finally sample English cuisine.

Day 15

The Longest Day. We start off in England, and visit the Coolest Damn Place in London, fly to America, pass through American customs and finally collapse on our own bed at last. Whew!


Places we saw

Barcelona, Spain Hotel Colon
  Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family)

Nice, France


Florence, Italy

Michelangelo's David

  Rape of the Sabines (statue)
  Chuch of the Holy Cross
  Galileo's Tomb
  Cathedral of Florence
  Leaning Tower of Pisa

Naples, Itlay

Isle of Capri

  Pompeii erotic friezes

Athens, Greece

Corinth Canal

  Downtown Athens (not to be confused with New York City)
Kusadasi, Turkey St. John's Basilica
  Mary's house
  Ephesus (ruins thereof)
Istanbul, Turkey Blue Mosque
  St. Sophia
  Grand Bazaar
Venice, Italy On the way into Venice
  St. Mark's Square
  Venetian glass
  A water bus tour of Venice
London, England Sherlock Holmes Museum