Ravenna, Italy & Olympia, Greece (Days 46 & 47)

Ravenna: Dante’s tomb
On Sunday morning we left our hotel in Venice and drove to Ravenna, Italy.  Hm.  Not so much to see there!  I think it’s on the tour itinerary because they need some sort of filler to not waste the entire day.  In Ravenna, we found Dante’s tomb and several churches decorated with mosaics.  I didn’t go into the first church because I was wearing shorts and wasn’t sure if I was allowed, so I sat outside while my mom, aunt and cousin went inside.  Then once we finally walked to the last two, we found out we had to have tickets (and the ticket was for a museum and the two churches) and we only had a few minutes left in the town so it wasn’t worth it.
Ravenna: sunflower field
From there we went to Ristorante Sant Apollinare for lunch where we had what is said to be the best hand-made lasagna in Italy!  It was definitely the best meal we had; I had actually been kind of disappointed by the bit of Italian food we’d had up to that point.  It was a great lunch to end our time in the country.
Ravenna: sunflower field
After lunch, we took some pictures of a nearby sunflower field (we passed many sunflower fields while riding in the tour bus this week), and then got back on for the ride to the ferry that would take us to Greece.
Ravenna: us with our bus driver, Luigi
We sat on the bus for a while at the port before hauling all of our luggage onto the ferry.  It was more like a miniature cruise ship than a ferry!  It was part of the Minoan Lines out of Greece.  Our room on the boat was small as expected, but had a nice window.
our room on the ship
Venturing outside of our room was quite the experience.   When we went out to look around after the ship started moving, we felt like we were on some sort of refugee ship!   It was crazy, there were people setting up sleeping bags and TENTS all over the place!  Apparently, they sell room-less tickets to people (LOTS of them); it was the sketchiest thing ever!
The next morning (Monday), we had breakfast on the ship.  After a few hours, they stopped at a port in Albania and after that, the ship was really nice!  All of the people without rooms had packed up and left, and it wasn’t so crowded anymore.  But then a few hours before we arrived at our port in Patras, Greece, they kicked us out of our rooms!  We had to pack up and take all of our luggage to either the lounge or the deck to sit and wait.  Ugh.
sunset on the ship
people camping out on the ship
When we got off of the boat, we all loaded our stuff into a new tour bus with a new driver and drove a couple of hours to our hotel in Olympia where we had the best dinner we’ve had on this trip!  I was talking to some of the other people on the tour at dinner and we all agreed that Italy had been a pretty big letdown food-wise, and that our first Greek dinner was way better than anything else we’d had!  It really smelled and tasted great.
Greek, Italian and English
our room in Olympia

After dinner, most of the group wandered down the main street; even though it was 10 at night, all of the stores were open.  It was really nice since everything in Europe up to that point seemed to be closed by at least 7.  We could tell they had been expecting the tour bus, they all would ask if we were with Cosmos and then say “oh special price” when we said yes.  The people were SO nice and SO friendly, too!  We went into a few of the stores and I got a little silver bracelet from one, and a column charm (for my charm bracelet) from another.  The place where I bought my charm was called “Apollo,” and it was owned by a family who had a member who had been in the Olympics.  They were all so excited to tell about him, show us the torch, and give everyone a postcard with a picture of him and others running with it!

Adriatic Sea, view from the ship