I wonder if my parents, while taking care of a five year old boy with a badly broken leg in a 14-foot trailer in Gary, Indiana, could possibly have imagined that one day that boy would be standing in the tomb of Agamemnon, but stand I did this morning, and walked the ruins of ancient Mycenea. Ruins do tend to be ruins after awhile, but there is a vast difference between the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, where so much is intact they give the almost palpable sense of being alive, and of real people walking the streets. Ruins such as Mycenea tend to be coldly devoid of the sense of life.
Mycenea was primarily interesting as the place where so many people we have all read about—Iphigeni, Orestes, Electra—actually lived, and where the Agamemnon and his brother Atreus planted the seeds of the Trojan War. Today Mycenea is little more than a jumble of rocks, with a few walls and...as with Agamemnon's tomb...odd, buried “beehive” crypts built on the same principle as igloos. There is a modern museum which houses many artifacts from the citadel—interestingly, all of them relatively small (I saw no life-size or larger statuary). But it is another case of sensory overload. Far too many things to see to be able to have the time to look at and contemplate. Rather like the endless stream of facts and figures with which cathedral guides deluge the tourists.
I have noticibly aged on this tour. Seriously. I am experiencing a slight problem maintaining my balance and in the heat stagger a lot. I report this with the detachment of a scientist observing a lab rat.
I am currently downloading the photos from Herculaneum to Facebook and it is taking forever. I will undoubtedly have to buy more internet time if it continues at the download time average of one hour per city. It has taken 20 minutes to upload 6 photos, and there are about 90 to go. (Have I been known to use the word “Frustrating” before?)
The ship issued the status of extra charges incurred thus far. Mine total 49 euros...$70? But, hey, it's only money, right?
I discovered, after scouring Palermo for laundry soap, that the ship has a small store just off the duty free gift shop, which sells such things. Ah, well, it was fun looking.
In addition to photographing my every meal, I've also taken to photographing the menu which stands on an easel outside the aft dining room—sorry, the “Terrace Cafe”—so I'll remember what I had. Lunch today was cream of leek soup and a slice of breaded and deep fried eggplant.
Spent more than 2 hours uploading Herculaneum photos to Facebook, only to have them come up with no captions, which of course sends me into total fury and sense of frustration so powerful it is impossible to adequately describe. And of course it all, and always, boils down to an equally indescribable self loathing for being such an absolute failure at things others do with such ease.
Once again, I think I'll simply not even try to post photos until I get home. (Plus, at the rate of 2 hours+ of internet time for each posting....).
Another very pleasant evening on the aft deck. I am not accustomed to 2 hour dinners (actually, I'm not accustomed to dinners at all. I am so happy that they serve tapas, since it is the ideal amount for me—and sometimes more than I eat, even so. Tonight I had a cream of fresh herb soup, two bite-sized mashed potato balls, a turkey/onion/bell pepper tapas, a wedge of gurier cheese and a vanilla whipped cream mousse. And a beer. And coffee. A huge amount of food for me. Tom and Mike and I were joined by an Englishman—Perry, a retired teacher—part of the group of five which helped me find laundry detergent in Palermo. His wife died three months ago, and his grown children insisted he come on the cruise.
Another Englishman (as I said, there are a large number of English aboard), Adrian, whom I've mentioned before, spends five months a year traveling and goes to India regularly. While I have no idea where these people get their money, they all seem to have been just about everywhere several times. It must be nice.
And I understand that we will be stopping at both Delos and Santorini (of white-buildings-with-bright-blue-domes-and-roofs fame)—half day each. Delos is apparently an archaeological site, and no one who does not live there is allowed to stay on the island overnight. In fact, the island “closes” at three p.m. and everyone must be off the island by then. Interesting. I'll find out more later.