Thursday, July 16, 2009


Wednesday we docked in Athens - actually, Piraeus - the port for Athens.

We did a panoramic Athens tour. Typical bus tour around the city. Viewed the Parthenon and Temple of Athena - from the bottom of the Acropolis (hill). Our guide narrated as we drove.

Quite honestly, I wasn't very impressed with Athens this time around. When you get past the few significant sites, it seems like just a very large city (5 mil population) with lots of traffic, litter and utilitarian buildings. Our guide sometimes tried to be overly philosophical and dramatic. But, that didn't make much difference. After seeing some beautiful islands, this was a big disappointment.

Add to that the fact that, for the first time ever, I am ready for the trip to be over - with two full days left before disembarkation. I think perhaps this has been a trip that was too port and activity oriented. We have become accustomed to lots of days at sea to relax.

The anchor of the oxygen concentrator has been much more of a burden during the excursions than I had expected. The unit is something like 17 lbs and I need to take a couple extra batteries - and they weigh around 5 lbs each. Most other passengers have been very considerate and they have left the front bus seat for me; but, it is still necessary to carry the concentrator up and down the bus stairs at each stop. On some excursions, it really helped to have Brett there to help by carrying the batteries. On others, I just had to muddle through the best I could. Often, I just stayed in the bus to avoid the effort.

Also, both Jill and I have had health issues and didn't feel well much of the trip. Jill hasn't felt well for around a week. She is still quite congested and feels like she has had kidney pain in her back. Being at stage IV kidney failure for around 3 years, I think she is worried and suspects that her kidneys may finally be going. She will need to talk with her doctors as soon as we get home.

I haven't really felt "well" for the entire trip. Mainly, I just simply haven't had much of any appetite. My energy level is way down. And, using what energy I have to pull and carry around the concentrator has been a burden. A new problem with odors and tastes has effected any desire for food. Basically, any food with much odor or taste made me feel ill.

It has been really nice that I could eat the Italian Wedding soup and our waiter has had some for me the past few nights. And, I have ordered beef broth & crackers for lunch every day. Basically, I have been living on Cheerios, beef broth and soup. I really haven't been able to enjoy the food in the way I would normally.

So, between the port/activity intensity, the extra work of the concentrator and the various health issues, I am ready to be home. I can't believe I feel like that.

Next cruise must be loaded with sea days. And...I hope I am off the oxygen by then. And...I would be nice to enjoy food again. Is that really too much to ask??

Today is a day at sea and then we visit Sicily. Finally, on Saturday, we dock in Rome and begin the labor of disembarking and flying home.

Take care and be well. - JimA

Sent via Blackberry. Please excuse short answers and typos.

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