Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Silversea green

Excursion envy: it’s a thing. You get the cruise details months and months ahead of the event, read through the itinerary, do your research (or, in my case, don’t) and then you book your excursions at each, or some of the, ports. The cruise rolls around, you rock up to your suite, and there amongst all the paperwork is an envelope of tickets which you look through and think, “Uh?”
It really isn’t just me. Lots of other passengers on this Silversea cruise have turned up to the coach each morning looking forward to some sort of magical mystery tour, with no real idea of where they’ll be going. And mostly it’s turned out to be interesting, pleasant, a chance to see a bit more of the area than just the port. But then, come the afternoon, when everyone is back on board, and the Trivial Pursuit teams are filling in the time before the latest skirmish in this cut-throat competition begins, notes are compared, and excursion envy raises its ugly head.
A few days ago it was the island of Delos I missed out on, its archeological site claimed to be “better than Ephesus!” And today it was a simple boat cruise around the harbour, bay and islands of Marmaris here on the coast of Turkey, that sounded laid-back and lovely.
Instead, I had gone on a coach trip along the coast and seen scenery that reminded me of the Marlborough Sounds back home, minus the castle, and stopped in a village that specialised in honey and where a 1900 year-old plane tree required that you walk around it three times to ensure, it turned out, luck and long life. I'd spent my circuits wondering whether to choose health or happiness. 
It was pleasant, and notable for our guide getting teary when speaking about how proud and grateful she is to Ataturk for his reconstruction of Turkey from 1923, and the reforms he brought about that mean she has rights and opportunities not available to women in any other country where Islam is the main religion.

Nice sunset tonight, in the bay where some very fancy yachts are moored, and where an excursion boat paraded past, flaunting its name in my face and underscoring my dismal failure, despite international effort, to spot the real thing.

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