Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

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Travelogue: Wine at Sea & Thessaloniki/Vergina, Greece
We spent yesterday at sea; so, once again, not much to say about that. It was extremely cold and rainy, which meant that making use of the pools and the hot tubs was pretty much out of the question. We hung out in the wine bar yesterday evening, in which we've slowly been working our way through the impressive line-up of California reds. I've been lamenting the relative lack of Continental wines on this ship for some days now, although we did manage to get a nice Mosel Valley Riesling at dinner the other night. But back to the California wines available onboard: I'd never tried any Beringer vintages before (my favorites being from Rosenblum Cellars and Ravenswood), but they do a shockingly good rosé and an unbelievably excellent vintage port. I'll have to have some more of the port before all's said and done.

Today's port-of-call was Thessaloniki, Greece. As I mentioned in an earlier entry, the shore excursion we'd opted into was a trip to the Royal Tombs of Vergina. Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how glad I am we went! The museum is built right down into the hillside, and everything inside is (more or less; a bunch of the artifacts have been pulled out of the tombs themselves and put in glass display cases) in situ. Tombs I – IV are accessible down ramps and staircases; the effect of descending and seeing the façades loom up before you is…you know, I'm really not sure there's a word for that. The tombs are completely intact, with the exception of Tomb IV (which was badly pillaged and most of the external structure of which had been destroyed, whether by human hands or just the fact of being buried under the hill for so long). Photography wasn't allowed, but I managed to snap two discreet, flash-free shots of Philip II's resting-place:

Philip II was the father of Alexander the Great. As you can see, after removing the artifacts (golden caskets holding the charred bones of the deceased, lavish gold-and-purple fabric, gold wreaths, silver banquet-ware, etc.), the archaeologists re-sealed the tomb doors. Helpful miniature models of the interiors were given, right down to what objects were found lying in what positions. Most of the tombs are double-chambered, and in addition to Tombs I – IV, there's an astonishing display of average citizens' grave stelae that became back-fill as, over time, the tomb complex was buried, built over, and forgotten. I'll never forget the one that's painted with the image of two women apparently saying goodbye to each other. One woman's face is clearer than the other, and her expression of grief is as vivid as life.

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Sounds completely and utterly magical. You still get "badass points" in my book because you can just consume red wines like it's going out of style.

did your camera make that awful *click snap* noise in the dark? I always feel like someone's right behind me, ready to punch me in the boob for not listening....or something. /tangent

Thanks for the photos. I've lived in Greece, actually, just never went to see Thessaloniki. I was an Athens girl :P (and islands, because they have awesome beaches)

That... is... so awesome!!! WICKED amazing. Props to you for the clandestine photography!

Any chance you can bring a bottle of the lovely port home, so keep our other port company until E-Day? :)

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