There are so many reasons for our silly love of AIDA, the great food and good wine not the least of them. The excellent food on board keeps lots of folks--mostly German but also German-speaking Europeans--sailing away with AIDA. The events and activities on board provide something for everyone. But now I'm beginning to sound like an AIDA commercial.
What the hell. Why should you go on an AIDA cruise? Because these ships go to the most interesting places, provide active excursions like bike tours and hiking, and the atmosphere on board is relaxed, lively and young. All sorts of people go on AIDA cruises, from kids to grannies. AIDA's slogan is "Hier ist das Lächeln zu Hause" loosely translated as The smile lives here. And it does. I smiled a lot more than usual, and I'm a fairly goofy person already.
So, at the last port before heading back to Antalya, Turkey, we decide to spend the morning exploring the old town of Rhodes but to be back on board for lunch, to scrape our plates clean another time before it all ends and we have to go back to eating peas out of a can at home. This is the plan. Remember this.
We walk to the old town, just a hundred meters away from the ship, early enough for me to take a few pictures without the thousands and thousands of tourists who will glut the town later on. In general, the old town has been well maintained. Lots of euros have been pumped into the island by the European Union. There are, however, spots here and there where rubbish has collected and also a very stinky alley occupied by dozens of cats. Here are a few nice views of this town...
Tourists flock to The Knight's Street, or the Street of Knights, or the Avenue of the Knights. It's the best kept tourist attraction on the island. The information on the walls tells how the street changed when it changed hands between Muslims and Christians. We joke that in 1000 years there will be an addition to this information:
In the year 2019, the Americans bought the street and installed a Starbucks on every corner.
When (I assume) we're finished strolling around the old town, Juan the Puerto Rican Darts Champion sees someone carrying a Zara bag.
"Where did you get that?" he asks the man.
"At Zara?" It is indeed a fairly stupid question.
"Yes, yes, but where is Zara?" A better question.
The man points us toward the shop. At this point, I hope that Juan the Puerto Rican Darts Champion will get his Zara fix quickly and we'll make it back on board the ship for lunch. I'm hungry. But after Zara comes H&M, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, Pull&Bear, Desigual (OK, I actually want to go into this one) and one shop for women that I let Juan the Puerto Rican Darts Champion spend 10 minutes in before he realizes there's no men's section. He then decides to stop at every shop selling watches. When I remind him how awful I am when I'm hungry, he reminds me that I've taken an apple from the fruit bar on the ship.
We make it back on board to catch the tale end of lunch, which is not a pretty image. I know.
Here are a few more (prettier) images of the AIDA cruise to wrap up this segment on our cruise through the Aegean and Black Seas....
I almost forgot! I promised to show you the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. And here it is, way down at the end of this post....on the back of a bus. Obviously, archeologists were looking in the wrong place. I was almost run over by a car while taking this picture. Oops.
The Colossus of Rhodes?
Next time, we're going hiking. We're going to get contemplative and sweaty.
I must be off,
Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, The Best of Every Day Fiction, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen. Recently, Allen--along with editors Michelle Elvy and Linda Simoni-Wastila--hosted Flash Mob 2013 in celebration of International Flash Fiction Day.