Gallipoli and Lesbos

Our ship – the Oceania Nautica
Resuming our 2008 Eastern Med group cruise, after 4 days in Istanbul we boarded our ship the lovely Oceania Nautica. It is a smaller sized vessel with 684 passengers and 400 crew capacity. We deliberately chose a smaller ship since it can get into smaller ports easier and has a higher crew to passenger ratio. Oceania bills itself as an upscale cruise line with the best food at sea. Dave had listened to some podcasts where past passengers had raved about Oceania, so we decided to give them a try. We were not to be disappointed.

This is the approximate routing we were undertaking
We spent one more night in Istanbul while settled into our balcony cabin on board Nautica. We were anxious to leave but spent the day doing more sightseeing near the dock. That evening we tucked into some of Oceania’s famous food including some great seafood, steak and a colourful desert. The next afternoon we headed out the Bosphorous and caught some memorable pics as we departed Istanbul.
Galata Tower or Tower of Christ
Our small ship
Blue Mosque left, Hagia Sophia right
One our group was a military history buff and has been raving about the need to see the monument to the WW I Gallipoli Campaign near the entrance to the Dardanelles, that narrow straight which connects the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmora. Unfortunately we were to pass this area in the middle of the night. We nevertheless set our watches and rose about 3:30 AM, the predicted time of passing. Incredibly, I think I saw the monument and snapped the poor quality picture below. We would have liked to visit the battlefields while in Istanbul but did not have the time to do this.

We awoke to bright sunshine and were soon at our first port – Mytilene – the capital city of the Greek island of Lesbos, founded in the 11th century. Lesbos, also known as the Island of Poets, is most famous perhaps for the Greek lyric poet Sappho who wrote with powerful emotional content directed at other women. The term “lesbian” is indeed derived from the name of the island. We did not see any tourist evidence of this. In fact, Mytilene was a little disappointing in that we found it to be more of an industrial port, with fewer tourist type attractions. Lesbos was in the news a few years ago when thousands of refugees attempted to cross the rough body of water from Turkey to Greece and sadly, many did not survive. We enjoyed our short stay there and were soon on our way to the next port and more food lol!

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