FINAL Batch of Trimmer Blades--PLEASE READ

 

The last batch of Stampin' Trimmer cutting blades (originally scheduled for "September") came in early!

 

The final batch will be available on Tuesday, August 27, at 10:00 am (MT), and when they sell out they will be gone for good.

 

We were also given info that a new paper trimmer will be available to DEMONSTRATORS by the end of the year. But we've NOT been given info as to when YOU CUSTOMERS will be able to order.

 

 

You may or may not recall, last time the blades sold out within 15 min of being made available online.

 

If you want cutting blades, you will need to order online yourself.

 

Last time, I was not successful in ordering a group of them for ANYONE, so I'm not even offering that option this time; it didn't work.

 

But I WAS able to get through a quick online order (like you would) while my workshop order was sitting and spinning.

 

(If you're not available during that time, maybe you can ask someone to do it for you that is??)

 

 

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Max quantity of 3 pkgs per person/account/email address.
  • Item #126995, $6 each (this link will not work until 10am (MT) on Tuesday, 8/27--and only until they're sold out.)
  • You can obviously save shipping by ordering other things along with them; minimum shipping of $6.95 applies to orders less than $69.50 (10% on larger orders.)
  • Host codes are updated for all clubs through September (on my Events page.) Or you can also use my host code XTFJ2ZGP; $50 order earns a pkg of Noble Peacock Rhinestones from me. They're on back order til early September.
  • Chrome is the suggested browser to use for best success with the SU! website.

 

 

 

MY CUSTOMERS WHO FOLLOWED THESE INSTRUCTIONS LAST TIME WERE SUCCESSFUL:

 

THINGS TO DO BEFORE "go time":

  • If you don't already have an online account, set one up; you'll need an email address.
  • If you're planning to order other things with your blades, enter it all.
  • If you're using a host code, APPLY IT to your order (in the shopping bag).
  • If you're using up your BONUS CODES, copy/paste them into your order (shopping bag again--"MANAGE COUPON CODES" toward the right, near checkout.)
  • Clear your cache/cookies, so nothing holds up your computer processing.
  • You CAN enter credit card info ahead of time and then click continue shopping (to be ready for entering blades)--AS LONG AS you don't logout. If you logout, the cc info is erased. I just tried it.

 

"GO TIME":

  • BE LOGGED IN AND READY AT 10am (MT); that's noon ET.
  • Enter your item #126995, quantity of 3 if you wish, and add to the shopping bag.
  • Checkout and enter credit card info if you didn't already; have it available if you don't know it by heart (including the CVC code.) 

 

 

 

IN GENERAL, PLAN AHEAD.

 

If you have ANY questions about ANY of this, ask them now. 

Tuesday at 10am MT will be too late.

 

 

Thank you again for your patience with me and Stampin' Up! as they try to make the products available for your needs!

 

 

Stampin' Trimmer Cutting Blades
Stampin' Trimmer Cutting Blades
[126995]
$6.00

 

 

 

I'll be back a little later with my Facebook Live! stuff. :)

 

 

Have an awesome day!!

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

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OnStage!!

 

I'm so excited!!!!!

TODAY is the first day we can register for OnStage!!!!

 

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If you haven't heard about OnStage from me yet, it's a training seminar for Stampin' Up! Demonstrators.

 

(Maybe you remember me talking about my presentation in Minneapolis? Or traveling to Orlando with a couple of my team last November? Or Milwaukee over a year ago?)

 

It's in LANSING this time!!!!

Nice and close! WOOHOO!!!!

 

I just read there are only a couple hundred spots left out of the original 1400 available!

 

 

There's a LOT of excitement there and lots of amazing ideas and prizes and FUN!!!!

 

Almost all of my Dazzling Demos team is going!

 

Plus, of course, we'll meet other demos and meet up with friends we've made in the past.

 

 

If you want to join us, SIGN UP TO BE A DAZZLING DEMO TODAY!!

 

You'll get your Demo ID and password emailed immediately, and you can register today along with the rest of us!

 

 

So last night I just RE-found a box that had most of the cards from our Shoebox Swap in Minneapolis with our special travel group (Dazzling Demos plus parts of a couple other teams.) And I realized I never shared these with you yet!

 

It's been so long (:D) that I'm not even sure I attached the correct name to them--AND somehow I don't have them all.

 

We used current SU! product at the time, but I can tell some of it has retired--specifically DSP.

 

STILL cute cards!!

(And hoping to organize another travel group Shoebox Swap in Lansing!)

 

 

Enjoy!!

 

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Don't forget to join me for my Live! tomorrow morning at 10:30am ET!

 

 

Have a fabulous day!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

Like me on Facebook.

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FALL 1-DAY CRAFTING RETREAT!!

 

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hosted by Stephanie Flath & Nadine Stolt

 

Saturday, September 21

10am – 10pm

Lifeline Community Church

[formerly Rogers Lane Elementary]

2929 Rogers Lane SW, Wyoming, MI

 

Join us for a fun day of crafting!!

 

Bring your own projects

& we’ll provide some Stampin’ Up! projects, too!

 

Retreat includes:

goody bag ● make-n-takes ● “pillow gifts”

lunch & supper (optional) ● table space to work

access to our punches and dies ● friends and more!!

PLUS, you’ll have the option to sign up

for additional classes ahead of time.

 

Cost (includes meals & snacks): $60   OR

Cost (without meals & snacks): $50

Register with payment by September 1

 

We're excited to have you join us!!

 


 

Your payment IS your registration....Space is limited.

Ways to register:

 


 

1. Paypal--includes meals and snacks

 

 

2. Paypal--provide your own meals and snacks

 

 

3. Please send check to:

 

Stephanie Flath

2520 Michael Ave SW

Wyoming, MI 49509

 

~ OR ~

 

Nadine Stolt

3000 Waterchase Way SW, #109

Wyoming, MI 49519

 

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

Like me on Facebook.

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Dazzling Demos Cookout!!

 

It was just a fun night!

 

And I think this is going to be a new tradition!

 

Todd & I invited my team over for a cookout/potluck with their spouses.

 

You know how awesome Todd's Apple Betty at Hostess Appreciation is???

 

Well his burgers are just as fabulous!!

AND I made bacon jam for them.

Mmmmmmmmmm!!!

 

Well, none of my team with spouses came!

But Todd didn't mind and hung with just us girls anyway.

 

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I'm happy I remembered to take SOME pics.

But I forgot to do it when Todd was involved.

(We've been having to go help his dad 3 times a day for the past couple weeks, so he left for a bit.)

 

Of course all the food with delicious!

(But I didn't think of taking those pics.)

 

But the most fun of the night was we actually played Cornhole!

 

None of us are very athletically inclined, but everyone did great!!

And EVERYONE got "ringers."

 

Todd started out on a team and played a round before he left; he played LEFT-handed to make it fair. ;)

 

Todd/Diane vs Nadine/Arlene

 

 

The next team was up to play the winner with a sub.

Nadine/Marilyn vs Linda/Steph

 

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THEN the winners played the winners.

Linda/Steph vs Nadine/Arlene

 

Linda and I won, but Nadine gets an honorable mention...playing in every game. :)

 

We decided we needed a winning treat.

 

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Linda posed for me. ;)

 

 

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(Girls, if you can believe it, this pic is one of them with the flash. The one at the beginning is not. Go figure!)

 

 

We chatted about family and stamping and the new Holiday Catalog, of course, AND ONSTAGE IN LANSING IN NOVEMBER!!!

 

But I have to tell you my favorite moment of the night....

 

One of the girls playing the first game (that I didn't get pics of) mentioned, "I'm gonna throw my back out!"

 

So I started worrying about a couple of them that the game wasn't a good idea on my part.

 

Then Diane threw a "ringer" (went in the hole for 3 points, rather than just on the board for 1.)

 

And she literally did a quick little celebration jump!!

It was too cute!!

 

 

I LOVE MY DAZZLING DEMOS TEAM!!

I love times like this and others we get to spend together.

 

And I want YOU on my team!

 

If you sign up now, you'll be able to register for OnStage in Lansing with us!! (Registration starts August 20 for OnStage, November 16.)

 

 

 

Stampin' Up! has a promotion going through the end of this month to encourage you to join us!

 

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Right now you can sign up to be a demonstrator for $99, and you receive $155 of product (completely your choice--including from the Holiday Catalog if you'd like.)

 

That's an extra $30 more than normal.

You also receive catalogs and business supplies, in case you'd like to start a business!

 

Shipping is included, by the way! Only tax is charged.

 

PLUS, you'll receive a $10 coupon (by email) towards an order the month after you sign up!

 

There is NO obligation to have classes, but as a demonstrator, you SAVE AT LEAST 20% on all your purchases!

 

 

Let me know if you'd like more information!

Or you can check out my Dazzling Demos Page.

Or JOIN HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

Like me on Facebook.

Follow me on Pinterest.

 


MY Perspective

 

Good morning peeps!!

 

I'm finally here to give you MY perspective on our Greek Isles Cruise.

(and it's a long one! Grab your coffee and a comfy chair!)

 

Sorry it's taken me so long!!

I always struggle getting back into my groove.

 

And I can't promise I'll live up to Todd's performance....

It seems he was a hit.

I kinda love him, too! ;)

 

 

This certainly was a trip of a lifetime!

I'm here to tell/show you the SU! side of it. :)

 

 

FRIENDS

First thing I have to share with you is a couple quick pics with my friends we met last year that I've called my dinner family:

 

IMG_9671Lisa Marie, Cheryl & Steph--waiting for general session to begin

 

IMG_9682First formal night

 

Love these girls!

And the dining room staff made it possible for us to enjoy dinner together again this year.

They had to work hard.

And I'm sorry to the 3 people they moved from our table. :/

 

I have 1 regret; SOMEHOW we never got a pic with all our tablemates and waiters this year!!

 

(Lisa Marie & her husband & daughter; Cheryl & her daughter-in-law, different grandson from last year and daughter-in-law's parents)

 

How is that possible???

 

 

It was great to spend time with our friends!

And I feel like I/we met a lot of new people too!

 

I wasn't quite as "in awe" of being with this elite group of demonstrators as I was last year. ;)

 

So I just went up to people and introduced myself and Todd. :)

 

One of my highlights was meeting Sara, the CEO of Stampin' Up!

 

There's a difference between standing in a line wrapped around a big room at OnStage to get a pic with Shelli or Sara and just walking up to her and introducing yourself!

 

(I actually waited for someone to get done gabbing with her, and we chatted with her husband while we were waiting for her.)

 

So--I SHOULD have known this would happen.

But I didn't remember.

And when I walked up to Sara to introduce myself and hug her, I cried.

She's like, why are you crying?

 

It's just I appreciate her and her mom so much!

They both have such a heart for Stampin' Up!--their employees and demonstrators and customers.

 

I appreciate them.

 

So Todd got pics for me:

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THE PILLOW GIFTS!!

If you haven't heard about a Stampin' Up! incentive trip before, nightly pillow gifts are a thing!! A BIG THING!!

 

We received everything from a purse/backpack to SU! product to Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Greece to a charm bracelet!

 

Sunday

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Monday

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Most Wonderful Time Product Medley

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Todd's (1st Guest) Thank you gift

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Tuesday

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Wednesday

Custom (Perennial Essence) Cosmetic Bag

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Thursday

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Friday

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Saturday

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ALL the stuff!

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Did you remember we got to make a visit to the SU! Hospitality Room every day for ANOTHER gift, too???

 

We got to "spin to win!"

Usually it was embellishments or DSP, but one day I received a set of dies from the new catalog.

 

Speaking of the hospitality room, I stole this pic from another demo. (I mostly left the picture taking to Todd, and I forgot this shot.)

 

They keep the jars STOCKED with candy!!!! (and leave bags for you to collect it and bring it back to your room!)

 

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I believe I already mentioned within the past couple weeks that I TOTALLY MISSED BEING SPOILED!!

 

This was one of those areas I missed when we returned home! ;)

Where's my hospitality room???

No spin to win OR candy!!!!

 

 

We had a general session on the first full day at sea, and I walked out of there with 3 stamp sets and a pack of embellishments!

 

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!

 

 

THE SAMPLES!!

There is no way I can share all the samples that were on the cruise--Both from the Demo swaps and new product.

 

I think I prob have about 50 or so of each!

 

I'm sticking with Demo swaps, cuz you can't order from the new catalog yet anyway (and you saw some sneak peeks in my pillow gifts.)

 

I'll share closeups of the ones I actually received, eventually.

 

For now, here are pics of some of the boards:

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SANTORINI!!

So I recall Todd suggesting you ask me about Santorini.

 

I hadn't ever heard of it--until we looked up the Greek Isles Cruise I was trying to earn.

 

THEN it was the port I was most interested in visiting!

 

Reminder: To get to the city of Fira, where we were docking, you either need to take a cable car from the dock up the steep incline to the top OR climb 587 steps. 

 

The day we were gonna be in Santorini, 3 cruise ships would be at the port.

 

Because of this, we WEREN'T docking; we had to take a tender (smaller boat) from the cruise ship to the dock. It's a lengthy process.

 

Our tour company for the day decided on an alternate plan to avoid the long lines for the cable cars for such a busy port day....

 

They hired a boat taxi to take us around the island to the 2nd city we were planning to visit Oia (EE-ah).

 

Nice. Right?

 

Well, here's how it went.

We waited in the heat for ALL the people to tender to the dock.

We rode in the boat around to Oia.

(If you were inside, it was hot. I was; Todd was on top taking pics.)

When our taxiboat got to the dock, there was still a hill.

 

The 587 step hill to the top where the buses were.

In the heat.

 

As we got off the boat, the tour guide said to head up there; it's only [blah blah blah] kilometers.

 

EXCUSE ME??? You said KILOMETERS???

 

I'm not sure how this was an acceptable alternative to waiting in line for the cable cars!!!

 

It certainly didn't save any time!

We "started" our tour at least a couple hours late.

And I was hot and not happy.

 

I made it with a couple breaks.

Todd made sure I made it to the top and then went back and helped people.

 

It honestly was ridiculous.

And not what we signed up for!!

 

Ha! Then we drove to our parking place closer to the city.

Guess what? A hill to the REAL top. And more steps.

 

She guided us to the top to show us a specific church and said then we'd go back down the steps to regroup, and she'd send us off on our own before we met back at (whatever time.)

 

I told Todd, ah no.

We're NOT going back down to regroup. 

We're at the top for the shopping, and that's where we're staying til we're done.

 

The views were amazing, but I just needed some water at this point.

I drank most of mine.

 

I decided to stay in a shaded area leaning on a counter of an art shop visiting another demo while Todd went off to take his first pics of Oia.

 

I was so thankful for the shop owner.

I said, I hope it's ok that we stand here for a few minutes.

He said to stay as long as we'd like and then offered to fill our water bottles with his cold water!

 

OH THANK YOU LORD AND MR SHOP OWNER!!

 

Note: EVERYBODY in Greece buys bottled water, and thankfully it is very reasonably priced.

 

I forgot the name of the person I met there and chatted with. (I was in distress.)

But we chugged down that water and I went and bought more when Todd came back.

 

Now that I got my story out, I'll share a few more pics of Santorini that Todd didn't share.

 

I took this one specifically for Liz; the sidewalks in the shopping area are all marble.

 

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After Oia, we drove to Fira and had a half hour there. Todd & I stayed on the bus but I got this pic from someone who got off.

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This is a different pic...fortunately we didn't have to walk back DOWN the hill. But I wouldn't have wanted to be the bus driver winding back and forth down to the bottom. I was trying to take a pic to show how close we were to the rock wall next to us!

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JUST A FEW DIFFERENT PICS I ENJOYED

 

I took a few pics for Liz of the brand name shopping in Rome.

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Our state room welcome on the ship

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The SU! Welcome Party/spread--It was on both sides of the pool. :)

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Clear water in Mykonos

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THE STATS

I always like hearing the stats for the incentive trips:

  • There are just over 56,000 Demonstrators worldwide.
  • 445 earned the incentive trip (enough points)
  • 337 actually went on the trip
  • 1000 Stampin' Up! people were on the ship (including families and corporate employees)
  • The NEXT trip we can work towards is an Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the Symphony of the Seas (the world's largest cruise ship)

 

One more stat to share in case you didn't see my Live! last week....

 

I EARNED THE INCENTIVE TRIP TO MAUI FOR 2020!!!

 

 

Thank you so much for all your support!!!

(And thank you to my Tuesday club last week for putting me over the top!!)

 

 

 

Ok, I believe I've gabbed long enough and have much more to do!

 

DON'T FORGET MY BOGO SALE TOMORROW!!!

Tuesday, 7/30, 10am-8pm

 

Choose from my Retired Product and receive--dollar for dollar--new product from the catalog, too!

 

You DO pay shipping and tax ONCE. (Example: choose $100 in retired product; also get $100 in new product; pay $100 + shipping & tax.)

 

 

Have an amazing day!!

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

Like me on Facebook.

Follow me on Pinterest.

 


Day 8--Heading back home

Normally the last day at sea means resting before you have to stuff all your dirty clothes in your luggage and hope it fits.  We got to do something cool for lunch and went on a tour of the ship's kitchens.  Afterwards we had a menu of some premium choices to have for lunch.  It was amazing to see the multiple kitchens that go into feeding the ship each day. (Jewel of the Seas had 2700 cruisers aboard, plus staff.).  It is amazing to think how hard each worker works whatever their position on the cruise.  I'm assuming they work all 7 days of the week and for months at a time.  All work hard to make the cruisers feel pampered and special, and then they start with a whole new group a week later.  

 

Here are some random statistics we learned going on the kitchen tour, some which may blow your mind.  The ship goes through 18,000 dozen eggs a week. The carry 40 different varieties of fruit.  They can cook 580 chicken breasts in 8 minutes.  Royal Caribbean as a whole goes through 8,000 pounds of lobster per year, 10 million pounds of potatoes, 18 million pounds of chicken, and 50 million pounds of beef.  They serve 190 million meals per year for over 32 million guests.   They go thru half a million pounds of coffee, 4 million cans of pop, and 80 million bottles of beer each year.  Overall they have almost 1500 cooks with 25 different nationalities.  Here I thought I did a lot of cooking for Hostess Appreciation day!

 

Now I think it's time to turn the blog back over to my wife. Again I feel honored to have been able to share some stories and pictures with all of you.  Hopefully you enjoyed the pictures, had a laugh, or maybe even felt like you were stowed away with us on the cruise.  Stampers please make sure Stephanie shares some of the pictures of the cards from the swap.  I would guess that the majority of the over 400 demonstrators participate in the card swap each year.  They post all of the cards mid-week and it is amazing to see the work and creativity.  I know that for Hostess Appreciation each year you guys do a great job for the card contest.  I think usually there are 10-15 entries.  I look at all the swaps on the ship and know that I would not want to have to choose just 1 to be the best, and I definitely know I wouldn't want to count all those votes!!  

 

Here's some pics to close.  Thanks again for the all kind words and feedback.  I didn't know blogging was so hard.  I'm gonna need another vacation!

 

Todd

 

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Us on our balcony for the second formal night.

 

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Despite the evidence to the contrary throughout this blog, we don't take a lot of pictures together.  This time we tried to get a few more together.  I'm gonna have to work on my selfie game because I don't have any with duck lips.

 

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Sunrise on the last sea day.

 

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One more sunrise picture.

 

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Fruit monkey in the kitchen tour.  Hopefully they put it out so others could enjoy it.

 

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See the little dough balls on the circle? There was a machine right behind the kitchen worker that would take the whole big ball of dough and kinda shake it (not sure what the best verb is) for maybe 30 seconds and they came out like that.  

 

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How about this for unlimited shrimp?  Bring me the seafood sauce and let's get after it.

 

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These are shrimp cocktail bowls for lunch service.  I'd rather have the one in the other picture.

 

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Made me want some pulled pork and BBQ.

 

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Not gonna lie I really wanted to grab a couple cookies on the way thru.

 

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This is what the kitchen tour was called.  However, when it was explained to us at dinner I thought the food was gonna be unlimited.  It was the champagne and mimosas that were unlimited.  I was ready to put on a food clinic like I was a teenager again.

 

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What would your choice be?  I had the surf and turf.  The meat was unbelievable, but the honestly the "turf" was lacking.  Four small shrimp.

 

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What would you like for dessert?

 

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I had the Key Lime Pie and it was amazing.

 

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

Like me on Facebook.

Follow me on Pinterest.

 


Day 7--The last excursion day in Katakolon

Last time off the boat today and first off we have a change.  Stephanie woke up with a big headache and just tired (probably worn down from the last 3 days of tours) and decided she was staying on the ship and not taking the tour.  So it was me flying solo, but with a group of other SU members. I am thankful to  some of them who included me when they realized I was single for the day.

 

Katakolon was far different than the other three Greek ports we had visited.  Santorini-a big beautiful island with a million scenic views.  Mykonos-an island that had the cool winds off the water and had a little island vibe.  And Athens-obviously a major size city (more than half the total population of Greece lives in Athens).  In the port there seemed to be little to see off the ship.  All I needed was the sound of crickets.  Outside the gate of the port there was a small street with many tourist type shops (for those who have been there think of the main street of Mackinac Island).  We would learn from the guide that this was actually a very rural community where they grow many things, not for selling but for their own use thru the year.

 

After a half hour bus ride we arrived at Olympia, home of the ancient Olympics.  This is NOT the Olympics that we have today and that most of us have grown up with, but dating back to BC (before Christ).  The only athletes were Greek citizens.  No other countries were represented.  This, like the island of Delos, were ruins that they have tried to put back together as much as possible.  Unlike yesterday's tour at the Acropolis where it was big-time crowded with people, the area of Olympia is very spread out.  Also thankful there are many trees there, as the guide would bring us into the shade when she would share tour information.  

 

After touring the ruins and also the museum at Olympia, we boarded the bus to the city of Pyrgos.  It was a nice town but not very big.  Maybe I was unfairly comparing it to Athens?  It just seemed like "Here it is this is our big city" which I guess for this port it was.  That's not intended as a slam, just very different than the other 3 ports.  The guide took us to the city center to show us some of the beautiful architecture and to let us have time to grab some lunch before we would head off to the ship.  The other interesting thing to see in person is that most of the shops in town close from 2:30-6:00.  

 

I also am not sure the restaurants were expecting a couple groups of tourists, as the food was slow and the workers seemed a bit frazzled.  We had to be back to meet our guide at 2:30.  I had gone to the restaurant maybe a little later than everyone else because I was "off in my element" taking pictures in the city square.  Bottom line is that I never got the small pizza I had ordered.  Fortunately for me back at the meeting spot another SU member had extra pizza which she gave to me when she heard I hadn't gotten lunch.  I DID get some gelato though while I was waiting for my pizza order,  so I went with the dessert first theory (up in Heaven my Mom may have rolled her eyes). 

 

The good news to report is that Stephanie enjoyed 2 naps before getting up, showering, and going up to the ship cafeteria to grab some food and finding a shady spot out on the deck.  I'm glad she got the rest she needed.  I have to say this port was my least favorite port, so I don't think she missed a ton staying back on the ship.  Maybe I was running on fumes and wasn't feeling the ruins as much.  That being said I do have some pictures to share.

 

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If I remember right this was part of the main gymnasium at Olympia.

 

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This is all that is left of the main temple on the grounds.

 

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More ruins.

 

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This is the arch that the athletes would have gone thru to enter the Olympic Stadium.

 

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This is the Olympic Stadium.  We were told it would have held 40,000 spectators.  The field seemed about the size of a football field.  Maybe hard to tell in the picture but the hill does slope up on all 4 sides.

 

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A weekend warrior has now entered the arena.  The dirt field was as hard as some of the softball fields we play on. 

 

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Another shot of the arch as you exit the stadium.

 

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More columns and marble.

 

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A Church in the city square of Pyrgos.  

 

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This was also randomly in the middle of the city square.  An old softball buddy thinks it was probably for a 3 X 3  tournament.  Sadly there was not a ball around to get up a couple shots.

 

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This was the dessert counter in the shop where I got gelato.  I wanted one of everything.  I actually briefly thought about buying some to bring back to Steph on the ship.  Glad I didn't because when you got back on the ship security did not allow any food to come on.

 

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So of course I had to choose a gelato flavor.  Actually wish I could have a re-do on this day, because the one I chose wasn't as good as it looked.

 

 

I think I have one more blog to go.  We did something cool on the last sea date on the ship to share.

 

Todd

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

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Day 6--A busy day in Athens

Stop me if you've heard this before.  For today's tour I have way too many pictures I want to share. So a few stories and then on to the good stuff!

 

The 2 previous days to our visit to Athens the temperatures were in the 100's.  We had also heard that they had closed the Acropolis because of the heat at least one of those days.  So we felt extremely blessed that the temperature forecast for our day was partly cloudy and only in the 80's.  There was also a nice breeze blowing so that was very welcoming.

 

Thank you Lord!

 

Stephanie was nervous about the visit to the Acropolis, especially after the Santorini hill climb of two days previous.  From the street level it looks like it's a long way up.  We had discussed just sitting it out,  but in the end she decided that because it was cooler (was still somewhat early in the morning-10:00) and that there was shade a good part of the way up (again because it was early) she was gonna go for it.  What also helps is that unlike the Santorini climb, it winds back and forth for most of the way rather than just straight up.  In the end, even being there early, it still took about an hour to get to the top level.  Later in the day as the Acropolis becomes busier that figure goes to around 3 hours to the top.

 

It seems that most of the people in line for the Acropolis are in tour groups rather than individuals.  When you are first starting out, there is a nice division between the groups.  However as you begin getting closer to the top, groups start blending and it is easy to lose your group.  Steph and I actually got separated from our group once we were at the top level as they turned right and we kept going straight.  I had to park Steph in a safe place and go and find our group.  Being tall definitely helped with this.  Once they were located, I had to go back and get Steph and then try and navigate the crowd and catch them.  The other obstacle to this is at the top levels of the Acropolis, the floor is either not level (jagged rock) or it's slippery. (I don't know if it is marble?) So travel is slow.

 

The rest of the day we stopped at the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the first modern Olympics in 1896.  No lie we had 10 minutes there (As the explorer and picture taker I did NOT approve of this).  Then on to the Greek Parliament Building for the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, much like we have in Washington DC.  This happens every hour on the hour and our timing for this was right on.  After that we were dropped off in a busy area of Athens with less than an hour to explore or feed ourselves.  We found a nice little bakery off the beaten path and enjoyed lunch with a new SU friend in our group.

 

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View of the Parthenon from the street level.

 

 

Ok, this is Steph cutting in here for a sec....That pic does NOT seem like a fair representation of the "Parthenon from street level."

 

HERE it is from the parking lot/tour bus level. See the little building in the middle of the frame??? It looked FAR!!!

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Back to the previously scheduled blog....

 

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Outside wall of the theater (which is still used today).  Official name is Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

 

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We're climbing.

 

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View from the top of the inside of the theater.

 

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View of Athens toward the sea.  Upper wall of the theater in the lower half of the picture.

 

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Us of course.

 

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We're getting closer to the top, but this is where groups start blending.

 

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View of Athens looking inland.

 

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View of Athens from the top level.  Theater is in the lower right.

 

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One of the sides of the Parthenon.

 

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Hey who snuck this in? Are you people trying to be in every picture?

 

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Another view of the Parthenon.

 

 

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View of Athens looking deeper inland.

 

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Now here's the mass of humanity trying to leave and go back down.  This was no fun either. 

 

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Panathenaic Stadium...10 minutes, still salty about it.  Because I guarantee if I had gotten inside I would have climbed to the top and gone out and at least walked the track.

 

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Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Greek Parliament Building.  Notice especially his shoes...guessing they are not comfortable for that hour he has to stand motionless.

 

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The new guys are ready to move into position.

 

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The old guys gotta do their movements before leaving.  Very well choreographed and executed.

 

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Salute to those who have fallen in battle.  Moving in any culture. 

 

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Moving out with view of whole building and the Greek flag.

 

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View of the Acropolis from a city street.

 

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Pics from the little bakery we found.  Stephanie enjoyed the chocolate mousse on the right side.

 

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I had the orange cake in the upper right corner.  Very delicious.  So no gelato today.

 

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My main meal was the oblong pizza pies in the lower left.  Very good but a little too much dough.

 

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View of the side street of shops and restaurants.

 

That's all for today...

 

Todd

 

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

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Day 5--A more relaxing day on the island of Mykonos

Much like yesterday's blog this one will be heavier on pictures and less on words (you all didn't have to cheer at once...I do have a feeling).  Reviewing the pictures is tough as to to which ones to include as there is so much I'd love to share.  Again best to let the pictures speak and me get out of the way.

 

But before we go on, one funny story I remembered in the same vein as yesterday's post about someone randomly seeing my GV shirt and saying "I see you're from Michigan".  On our first Stampin' Up trip to Washington DC, I went for a run the first full morning we were there.  On this run I passed the White House and ran to both the Washington and Lincoln Memorials (not things I usually see a normal run around home).  So when I got back to the room I excitedly posted on Facebook about what an awesome morning run I had taken.  Shortly after we went down to begin the day's tour and we had the same bus driver as the afternoon before from the airport and obviously she had remembered me.  First words out of her mouth were "I see you went for a run this morning".  My mind went to the FB post I had just put up and I thought "OK must be I just sent that to the whole world?" and "who are you and how do you know me?"  Turns out she saw me on her way to work but I definitely was freaked out for a short minute.

 

The tour of Mykonos began with a walk around the city.  Fortunately it was mostly flat and although humid was not hot yet.  Mykonos' nickname is Island of the Winds, and right on cue they began to blow and that was a welcome relief.  We had a leisurely walk thru the main area full of small alleyways full of shops and rich colors against the white buildings (pictures will follow).

 

Next on the schedule was a half hour boat right to the Island of Delos.  Our group was composed of 40-50 SU people many who had undertaken the Santorini climb from yesterday.  A minimum of half the group just told the guide "Nope we're not going.  We'll just stay here".  The island of Delos is an ancient Greek city which is now ruins and 100% an archeological site.  They heard it was all walking and very little shade and hit the eject button.  Fortunately for me my wife is a trooper and we continued on.  As she shared with many people, "ruins are HIS thing".

 

The visit to Delos was supposed to last 2-3 hours, but we found there was an earlier boat back to Mykonos.  Even though ruins are my thing, I wanted to see what I could in the shorter amount of time and take the early boat back.  Now with the extra time back on Mykonos we were able to just spend a little more time walking the alleyways of shops and find some food.  First we stopped at a place that had 32 flavors of gelato (They must think Baskin Robbins are light weights).  Steph and I were on a nice run, having had gelato in Rome, Santorini, and now Mykonos (I think the streak was broken the next day in Athens, but I came back strong to have some in Pyrgos on the last excursion day).  Then we kept hearing from some other SU people about gyros, so we asked where they had found the best ones.  Normally I'm not a big gyro person but I really wanted to have one so we wandered and found the place.  It was so good and so big I could only eat half of it (picture to follow). 

 

I think Stephanie and I are in agreement that of the four Greek ports, Mykonos was our favorite.  With the winds off the water it didn't feel as hot as it may have been.  Also our time in the afternoon after Delos of just slowing down the pace and enjoying the beauty bumped it up to the top excursion day. (Rome doesn't count in this as it was not part of the cruise.  For me Rome and Mykonos share top spots of the trip).  Now let the words end and the pictures begin!

 

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A couple sidewalk cafes that are along the waterfront. This was early in the morning so not busy.  In the middle where you see the light blue chairs we got gelato there later in the day.

 

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This is a Church.  There actually was a Dior photo shoot going on where we got here.  We did have to wait a few minutes for them to take a break so we could get a picture.

 

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The windmills of Mykonos.

 

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View from the windmills back to the restaurants along the coastline.  You can notice the wind has kicked up and a little surf crashing onshore. 

 

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I think this was a shop not a house.  Love the color.

 

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View of one of the many alleyways of shops.  Again early in the morning no people yet.

 

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Another alleyway obviously now more people.  Notice on the right side the I love Mykonos which was on a staircase.

 

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More color in the city.

 

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Still more color.  Green is one of my favorite colors.

 

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This was the "farm" market down by the waters near city port.

 

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This obviously is the fish market right next to the veggies.  I'm guessing someone came and bought these, because later in the day during our leisure time I looked and there was no fish left.

 

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This is along the water right in the port with some of the shops across the way.  This is where I had a momentary fantasy that I was a professional photographer and I would take the colors of the boats against the city background and compose an award winning photo.  

 

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This is a stray cat near the main shopping area.  I took this with Liz in mind since she is a cat Momma.  This one looked pretty well fed.  I saw one earlier on the tour and he was big-time skinny.

 

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Minutes after I took the first picture I believe a tourist (Steph disagrees) had a water bottle filled with cat food and fed him.  All together now..."Awwww".

 

 

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This is a shot of the island of Delos as we are approaching by boat. Honestly my first thought was "Unless she has a leash or something my wife may have lost me for the day".  Has anyone lost a husband in the ruins before?

 

 

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This would have been a couple shops in the city.

 

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Random cool ruins picture I like.

 

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This would have been a city street.

 

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This is an ancient olive oil press.

 

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I badly wanted to get to the area at the top of the picture where you can see the columns...but it was blocked off.

 

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Half of the gelato flavors.

 

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Second half of gelato flavors.  You can blame me if you feel a need to go get some ice cream.  It's hot out so you really should.

 

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This is the gyro I got.  Notice size comparison to Steph's hand.  My co-workers did not appreciate that I emailed them this picture right before their lunch time.  Cost was 4 EU, which is less than $5.  

 

Thanks for reading and thanks for the positive feedback!

Todd

 

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

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Day 4 The island of Santorini - how many views can you take in?

It's Tuesday and our first port visit to the island of Santorini.  I have read that Santorini is one of the most photographed places in the world, and that claim doesn't shock me a bit. You don't have to go far to take in an incredible view in any one direction.  The wise old owl used to ask how many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop.  I would ask how many beautiful and stunning views can you take in during your visit to Santorini?  My answer is that you would need days to make a dent, yet we only had 6 hours.

 

I think today's post will be mostly pictures rather than stories, because again the pictures show the beauty far more than I could tell it.  I did my best of give you the best ones, yet again I am limited by space and how much time you want to devote to the blog.  Just a couple stories and then I'll let the pictures speak.

 

The cruise ship does not dock on the island of Santorini.  Instead you have to take what are called tender boats to the docks.  Before debarkation, you had to go get tickets for the tender boat which determined order of how fast you got off the cruise ship.  I was in line for tender tickets by myself as Steph was taking care of some other things.  I was wearing a Grand Valley State shirt, with a logo on the front and also it says GVSU Lakers on the back near the collar.  I was standing in line minding my own business when a voice from behind me says " I see you're from Michigan".  Many thoughts race into my mind as I try to process this.  Turns out she was a SU demonstrator from Arizona but she had lived in Detroit so she knew of GVSU.  She was very nice and we talked for the rest of the time in line but that still freaked me out a little.

 

The second story became the biggest story of the day and maybe the week.  There are 2 main cities on the island of Santorini, Thira (pronounced FEAR-Ah) and Oia (pronounced EE-Ah). The tender ship took us to the port of Thira, but our tour was to begin by taking a boat to the opposite side of the island to Oia.  You will understand this better when you see the pics, but there are three ways to get from the port up to the cities themselves.  You can take the cable cars, you can ride the donkeys, or you can climb the over 500 steps to the top yourself.  All the literature does NOT recommend option 3.

 

So I am definitely "in my element" going by sea from Thira to Oia.  Steph sat below  in the shade (edit by Steph: so I didn't have to climb steps...turned out very hot!) but I sat up top to be able to take as many pictures as possible while we traveled.  Now the tour plan was we would get off at the port of Oia and take a bus to the city and then have free time to explore Oia.  Now I 'm not sure if something was lost in the language barrier or we just didn't fully understand the tour package, but when we got off the boat we were told "The buses can't come down here.  You have to meet them up there".  As in ALL THE WAY up there.  And there were no cable cars and no donkeys waiting to get us to the top.  

 

Understand it was a very warm and humid day.  Understand that the Stampin' Up group was probably not the best demographic of people who should have undertaken this climb.  It probably should have been left to the NCAA just graduated 4 year scholarship athlete group.  It was not easy by any means, but everyone made it to the top and I give them full credit.  I will also leave it to you individually to ask my wife her thoughts on this.

 

I hope you enjoy the pictures to follow.  Again Santorini may be one of the most beautiful places in the world, definitely that I have ever been to.  I wish I was a professional photographer with hi-tech camera gear, but the beauty speaks even thru the lens of an iPhone.

 

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I forgot to include this on the Monday post. First formal night on the ship.

 

 

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Us on the dock at Thira waiting for the tour to begin.

 

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View of Thira from the cruise ship.

 

 

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Notice the pod looking things in the middle.  Those are the cable cars.

 

 

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View of Thira as the small boat is leaving port heading to Oia.

 

 

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View of Oia as we approach the port.

 

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View as we are ready to dock in Oia.  Notice the road in the middle that we will be taking to climb the hill. It winds off to the left along the coastline.

 

 

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This was at the top when we reached Oia.  I totally would have gotten this, but after climbing a huge hill in the hot sun, cold water was a far greater priority.  When we met back here later, I don't think this was still open.

 

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View from Oia city back toward Thira. Our cruise ship is the upper right.

 

 

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Us again at the top of Oia, but definitely not as fresh as the previous picture of us.

 

 

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View of the white buildings and the blue domed Churches of Oia.

 

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I think this may be my favorite picture.  There are actually 2 different Churches in this shot.

 

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Notice the middle of the photo. That is a restaurant deck. I can imagine that the views would be incredible, as well as the amount of Euros it would cost to eat there.

 

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Blue domed Church with bells in the middle of the city square.

 

Tomorrow a new adventure...until then.

Todd

 

 

 

Remember, if you can fall in love with a project, you can learn to create it! Here to help you channel your inner Creative Genius...

 

Steph

 

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