Sophomore Logan Morales shares her summer vacation experiences touring the Mediterranean on a cruise ship
by Jen Griffith
Last summer sophomore Logan Morales was able to take a 15-day European cruise with her family. Though she was only able to spend a few hours in each country, she saw a variety of monuments, historic buildings, and some of the remains of Pomeii. She enjoyed the experience, but she was happy to return home to visit the pets she missed—as well as the opportunity to enjoy a little private time away from the close confines of a cruise ship with her family.
Q: I’m going to ask you about this… tour?
Morales: Right, my family and I decided to take a cruise in the summer, and we chose the Ruby Princess, a Mediterranean sea cruise. And that was very interesting.
Q: Cool, so what was some of the countries you visited?
Morales: We started off in Spain. And then went to Monaco, France. And then went to Italy, Greece, then Turkey.
Q: Did you have a favorite country?
Morales: Absolutely! I liked Italy because it was very laid-back and also I loved Venice. It’s a city built right on the water, and its right along the coast. And it doesn’t have a single car in it. I felt like I was walking into another world.
Q: Not even a bike?
Morales: Not a bike. People walked or they took the boats, but that was it.
Q: So there is like, canals of water places through the whole city?
Morales: Right, there was a maze of alleys. Though it was easy to get lost, but also easy to find your way again. So I guess that would make the biking challenging.
Q: Yeah, it’s really…Wow! OK, so is there a big difference between the countries?
Morales: Well, Europe is definitely different from America. In the ways that it is very laid-back over there, and they are focused a lot more on the appeal of the buildings. And Turkey and Greece seemed to be different from the others. Greece was right on the coast. So there was a lot of fishing areas with that. And Turkey had a modern-eastern flair to it.
Q: Did you see any of the, like, old Greece buildings, or anything?
Morales: Yes, we did see the Acropolis.
Q: Okay, so could you tell me how long was your tour?
Morales: Yes, on average it was about 6 or 7 hours. Each city had their own tour, and the longest one we had was in Rome, Italy. That was about 10 hours. Um, yeah, that was quite a trek.
Q: Was there any reason why Rome was so long?
Morales: There just was so much stuff to see, we got to see a lot of the historical places, such as the Colosseum. And we also got to see the Trevi Fountain, which I thought was beautiful. Very well crafted. Its huge, a lot bigger than i expected. The figurines in it had seahorses, but their image of seahorses were part horse with a fish tail which is really cool actually.
Q: Cool, so, how long in general, could you walk around? Like to walk around freely or did you guys have a certain tour you just had to follow?
Morales: The cruise provided us with our own tours for each city. And after the tour was done, we got about an hour to walk around the city, and just explore by ourselves.
Morales: Well…I mean the shops, it was interesting to see how they differed to ours. There were a lot more little trinkets shops over there. And it was just nice to walk around and not be as an American Tour group, just to blend in.
Q: Yeah, that’s good. So did anything catch your attention? Like Architecture?
Morales: I did love the architecture. It was interesting to see how it differed from each country. Italy, France and Monaco were very similar, it was very old looking, kind of medieval, and they were all made of this very nice tan stone. Spain had that same look to it, but had like a modern touch. And Greece had this city called Mykonos. Mykonos, the architecture is…um, each city has to, it’s like by law, it has to be this white cube. And the door and the shutters are this very dark blue. And every house, and every store is like that.
Q: Okay, how were the people there?
Morales: The people, um, I got the impression that they didn’t like American tourists. It’s not like they paid too much attention to us, but we did walk pass this lovely graffiti spray, and it said that Americans are criminals. And, I mean that was pretty negative, but there was also some funny things to see what they thought of us. Such as, we walked past this pizza place, and one of the pizzas said, American pizza. And you could see that it was just a normal piece of pizza, with just bacon and eggs on it. So that was what they thought of our food.
Q: Wow…that sucks kinda. Surprisingly, we are really fat to them. [laughing]
Morales: Ha, probably!
Q: Yup, that’s mainly what bacon is, but were did you see like, this graffiti?
Morales: This was in, I believe in Florence. Aah, maybe it was in Rome.
Q: OK, just want to know for future reference. So was there any like, big monuments that caught your attention? Not like the architecture, but like things, in general that really caught your attention?
Morales: Oh, in Spain there was this church called the Sagrada Familia. And it has been a work-in-progress for over 200 years, and it’s still going. And it is so huge, you cannot, you can’t take a picture of it all at once, you have to keep moving around and keep getting parts of it. It was so intrically designed, you would just look up and every pillar it had would have little cut out and figures and just everything like that. It was incredible to me.
Q: Video tape it! [laughing]
Morales: Haha, maybe! I mean it’s so intricate I can see why it’s taking so long.
Morales: It has been a very long time. It’s just that they keep adding parts to it, and the original artist just wanted it to be magnificent, and, well, it’s certainly all of that.
Q: Wow, yeah, now I really want to see it! Was there anything that was out of place? Like as you walk through all the different countries?
Morales: It was very weird seeing fast food restaurants there. Like there was McDonald’s, then over there was a lovely Italian restaurant, and here’s a lovely French restaurant, and here’s a Starbucks. It was just kind of odd to see.
Morales: Yeah, lovely American food.
Q: Anyway, was there ever a point that you became tired of the cruise?
Morales: Although it was so much fun, and I would probably do it again. I became homesick after awhile and missed my pets. But the main reason I got tired of it was because I was cramped into this tiny little room with my family. And I didn’t realize how much I loved alone time, until I was there.
Q: So just four beds? Or…
Morales: Um, big enough for two beds, and then someone would come in every night and pull down bunk beds from the ceiling. So it was pretty small.
Q: Yeah that is really small, I would not like that at all! Did anyone get sick on the cruise?
Morales: Thankfully not, my mom was a little bit off with the motion sickness at first. But it was pleasant most of the time.
Q: Well that’s good. So where did your cruise start? Was it in America?
Morales: It started in Spain, and we had to fly over there. And stay the day, then the very next day we got to board the cruise ship. And that’s where it went off.
Q: How was the plane ride?
Morales: Oh, that was interesting. More so on the way back than on the way there. I mean I’ve never flown across the ocean before. You know three hours is fine when you’re just flying around. But seven hours trying to sleep—it’s not easy on an airplane.
Q: I haven’t gone through that yet. But, were there any cultural differences between the countries?
Morales: It’s hard to say since I didn’t stay in each city for long, But overall Europe was much more laid-back compared to America. People seemed to value just walking around and taking in all that was around them, rather than just getting to your business, getting everything done. And going home. So it was much more calm.
Q: So when you were there, did you notice any religious stuff?
Morales: They did have a lot of religious inspiration for their architecture and their artwork. And especially in Turkey, you could just look out across the island and you could see, like, five mosque’s right off. And all of them are different styles, which I thought was very interesting. There church’s were very, very grand over there. The whole stained glass, and arches, and everything like that.
Q: Did you see any, not monuments, but old buildings in general, from like, way back when, in Greece, or way back into the past?
Morales: Yeah, One of my favorite places, we went to Pompeii, and just seeing all the preserved buildings and artifact and everything. Even the plaster molding of people, and was really, i mean it was heartbreaking really. Some people, you would walk past and they were in these barred off areas so they couldn’t be tampered with. And the tour guide told us that this was an old sick man, so he couldn’t escape. I’m like, jeez, it was just rough to see. One man was a molding of one man who had pretty much given up hope and he had just sat down, and had his hands over his face. That was pretty heartbreaking. I mean the story behind it, it is at not fair. The volcano erupted, but it went straight up in the air, and most people just stayed in the city because they were so fasanated by it. They didn’t want leave, they st wanted to watch it. But after a couple of hours, the wind just barely shifted and the ash just buried their city. So they would have had a chance to get out if they hadn’t watched. They also had…I mean it’s become a monument now, but there was a catacombs place, that we got to see. And I was completely fascinated by it, there was… like I think it was 100,000 Christian’s have been buried there during the times they had been martyred. And walking though it just stretched on, I think it was 11 miles. And there wasn’t a bit of light. The only light we had was our tour guide.
Q: Underground… was there any big names that you knew?
Morales: It wasn’t supposed to be a grand structure, it was just supposed to be a place of respect. So there was a painting every now and again. And a bit of the possessions that they owned, but other than that, nothing.
Q: What did the paintings show?
Morales: Usually pictures of Jesus Christ, or angels. Things like that.
Q: So thanks for your time, but is there anything else you wish to add?
Morales: Not particularly. There’s just so much to say, and I don’t know how much I can say in such a limited time.
Q: Well feel free, just speak. We want to know everything.
Morales: Alright, Well I loved the background of many of the historical places there. Especially in Venice, there was a British called the Ponte dei’ Sospiri which translates to the bridge of sighs. I had heard the name before and just thought that it was just nice, a place were the sunset hits it in a pretty way. But as we were walking down, the tour guide led us to a prison, a very old prison that they used to use. And said that this bridge has a little window inside, and if you look out the window you can see Venice’s harbor. And so the prisoners that were on death row, who were sentenced to die the next morning, would walk past this window and look out at there last view of Venice. And with the swell of emotions they would sigh. Which although very depressing, I also thought it very interesting. And then there is this other background, that I thought was very interesting, it just fits the culture of Italy I think. It’s also a Venetian holiday called Carina Viola, and it’s a week long, where you dress up in these very elaborate costumes and masks; it’s a big festival. And the idea behind that [is] this is the one time that the rich and the poor can mingle for love instead of for status. And so they would wear these mask, and no one would know who each other was, and so you could go and just have fun.
Q: How did you learn about that?
Morales: Also the tour guide.
Q: I was kind of hoping that you had participated in it.
Morales: Well that would have been nice, I would love to go back and see Carina Viola, [a springtime holiday around the time of Lent]. I’ve only seen pictures of the costumes and mask, and I can say that they put our Halloween costumes to shame.