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Mediterranean and Greek Isles

December 01, 2010

Compiled by Gary Berger MBA’74

For two weeks, WAA travelers had the chance to explore the legendary lands of the Eastern Mediterranean on a journey where the past comes to life in destinations like Italy, Turkey and the Greek Isles. Read on to hear more about their favorite parts of the adventure and flip through the slideshow to see even more!

Unexpected Tour

“We were strolling down a side street in Itea, Greece, when a fellow on a bike slowed down, and asked us if we were American. We said yes and he jumped off his bike and motioned us to follow him, pointing to a church, so we reluctantly did.

A woman was just leaving, and indicated it was closed. There was another woman inside, the caretaker, who yelled at the man, obviously telling him to get out! He responded in kind, and I managed a quick photo before she slammed the door in our face. The man was apologetic, we said our goodbyes and he went off on his bike.

But as we neared the ship, he rode up on his bike with a tiny bunch of flowers for me.”

—Judith Wendt, Minneapolis

Top Five

“The walled city of Kotor was a close competitor for Dubrovnik as one of our top places to visit on the whole tour. We want to go back to both of these walled cities and spend some more time.”

“Walking into Venice the first night on board, we caught this picture of a typical canal in Venice. Venice was a great start to this wonderful trip as we could walk right down into the heart of the city.”

“A rainy visit to Dubrovnik didn’t stop us Badgers from taking a tour, but we needed some of our football game equipment to protect us!

The walled city of Dubrovnik was a highlight for Kay and I, and the rain only make the coffee on the square even better.”

“After walking around the city of Ephesus (left) for over an hour, our guide led us up the marbled street, and told us not to look right at the great theater until he told us to. He led us down the main street of Ephesus towards where the sea used to meet the city, and then we turned around and saw this theater…Wow! St. Paul preached in the very spot!”

The last day of the tour we climbed the mount to the Parthenon to look out over Athens and across the massive grounds of ancient Athens. What a great finish to a tour of some wonderful sights, dining on wonderful food, and meeting some wonderful people, most of them Badgers!”

—Perry Harvey ’75, MS’77, Manlius, New York

Honeymoon in Santorini

“This was our favorite excursion. We got picked up from Regatta by one of those boats that look like pirate ships you see in the photo, which took us over to New Kameni in the center of Santorini's caldera. We hiked up to the top of the mostly dormant volcano and had a 360 panoramic view of the entire caldera—it was breathtaking, and not just because it was very windy! After hiking back down, we went to the Palea Kameni to swim over to the island's thermal springs and cleanse ourselves in the mud.

It was a wonderful cruise that we will never forget, and it was a lot of fun to meet so many former Badgers.”

—Natalie ‘06 and Eric Brace, Monument, Colo.

Turkey, the Balkans, and a Badger Huddle at Sea

There are many reasons people travel. One of the most common explanations for enduring long plane rides and substantial jet lag is the ability to see the world as it actually exists, not as one imagines it. The country of Turkey amazed nearly everyone on our Best of the Med tour group. Modern, friendly and cosmopolitan were terms our fellow travelers used. At the same time the archeological ruins of Ephesus dating back 2500 years also demonstrated the timeless nature of a great country. Ephesus with its beautiful architecture, expansive library and huge arena was the center of civilization in its day. Turkey is a contrast of new and timeless settings.
Croatia and Montenegro were on our itinerary as we traveled the Adriatic in the Best of the Med tour. Both countries are ancient kingdoms and were part of Yugoslavia from 1920 through the 1990s. Kingdoms became countries and military sieges, shellings, huge numbers of war casualties dominated the 1800s, the early 1900s, and the 1940s. Those countries then were united by General Tito as part of Yugoslavia but still suffered from limited natural resources save for access to the sea.

The death of Tito and communism in Europe led to the breakup of Yugoslavia, and that fired old animosities and pitted opposing interests rooted in the centuries. Those disputes raged again through the late 1990s, until the world intervened. Now, both Croatia and Montenegro look to tourism to fuel their economies. That tourism will most likely come from the sea to see the beauty of the landscape, the charm of people and the history of the ages.

WAA travelers who are also Badger football fans suffer a troublesome anxiety when they travel in the fall. The Badger football season continues far away and the lack of access to even a radio broadcast combined with an eight hour time difference made our travelers feel especially isolated. As the Best of the Med tour continued, the Badger football squad defeated No. 1 ranked Ohio State and undefeated Iowa. We relieved the fan anxiety with a Huddle, or pep rally, aboard ship before those two games. Gathering as a group of Badger fans and singing Varsity and On Wisconsin had the desired effect – two Badger victories.

Gary Berger MBA’74

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