Friday, July 19, 2013

Hot, dry, dusty days

 My kids asked me why I took a picture of the ground while we were at the Temple of Apollo in Didyma, Turkey.  It was a hot, dry, dusty day in June and the ground was literally cracked from the conditions.
We noted that many of our port excursions involved hot, dry, dusty locations.  The Forum in Rome, the Acropolis in Athens, Ephesus, Miletus, and Didyma in Turkey, and Pompeii in Italy.  That’s what is different about cruises in that part of the world versus those in the Caribbean; the places you visit are often historical in nature and as a result aren’t necessarily in the best condition.  But they are worth going to see, and there are some things you can do to make the visit more bearable.
First of all, take plenty of water for each of you to drink.  In some places we visited, it was possible to refill bottles from public fountains because the water is clear and cold and fresh – we did this at the Forum in Rome and in the Old City in Dubrovnik.  Staying hydrated is key to making it through the heat of summer days, especially when touring. 
Most of the time our guides were able to find shade for us to stand in as we listened to explanations of the sites we were touring.  But shade wasn’t always available and of course there was the open sunny spaces as you moved amidst the historical sites.  Light clothing, sunscreen, and a protective hat or umbrella can keep you from being burned by the hot, baking sun.  Sunglasses help, too, to protect your eyes not only from the sun, but in the case of high open areas that afford a breeze, they can shield your eyes from the dust blowing.  This is especially true at the Acropolis.  I saw one lady who got dust in her eyes and she was wearing contact lenses and had to be helped to the washroom to rinse her eyes.
The hot sun will sap your strength, so be sure to have a good breakfast before heading out for the day, and pack some snacks in case your tour runs past lunch.  In Pompeii, our plans were to have a late lunch when we returned to Naples, but as our tour was ending after noon, we were happy to share our Smuckers Uncrustables that we’d brought from the ship to take the edge off.  On our day in Turkey, we stopped for lunch as part of the tour around 12:45, but another group on the same tour that was behind us ended up going to the Temple of Apollo and then to lunch – so they didn’t get to lunch until nearly 2:00.
We hope our experiences will give you something to think about as you plan your next adventure.  And while several of our days were hot, dry, dusty, we had enough other days that were mild, sunny, beautiful days such as the ones we spent in Mykonos and Malta and of course our days at sea.

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