Sunday, October 30, 2022

Brian and Sam's Wedding - Day #4

Sharon and I had breakfast in the hotel [AVOCADO TARTINE and LANDMARK OMELET]. We ran into Holly in the lobby and had a chance to visit with her for a few mintues.

Packing up the room, we pulled away from the hotel about 10:15 am. The plan for the day was the Donum Estates Fall Harvest Member Event. We have been wine club members at Donum since February of 2017. We rolled up to the winery about 11:15 am.

They held the event in the lavender field below the tasting room. We got a chance to walk through the new pavilion for the first time. We had a nice time. We had some food and tasted a number of wines. We walked up to the wind chimes, but decided not to walk to the heart. We started for home a little after 1:30 pm.

It was a very easy drive home; the traffic was very light. With a quick stop for groceries, we were home before 3:30 pm. It was a nice long weekend. It was great to get a chance to spend some time with Jack.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Brian and Sam's Wedding - Day #3

I ran down and got food from Starbucks for breakfast. Sharon's plan for the morning was exploring the new Presidio Tunnel Top Park. We walked from the Omni Hotel to Jack's apartment. From there, Sharon, Jack and I took an Uber to the Presido.

After wandering through the Presidio Visitor Center and around the Tunnel Top Park, the three of us hiked 2.4 miles around Crissy Field to the Torpedo Wharf and back. The weather was perfect. A map is here.

We grabbed lunch from a food truck and ate at the overlook in the Tunnel Top Park. Afterwards, we grabbed an Uber back to Jack's apartment. He had to get to work by 2 pm.

Sharon and I walked back to the Omni. After getting back to the hotel, I went out on a walk about looking for a couple of California Historical Markers. Wandering up Columbia towards Washington Square, I found three, including: LONG WHARF #328; JUANA BRIONES, PIONEER SETTLER OF YERBA BUENA #1024, and; ORIGINAL SITE OF THE THIRD BAPTIST CHURCH #1010.

Getting cleaned up, Sharon and I finished the day at Brian and Sam's wedding. Brian is Holly and Van's oldest. The wedding and the reception were held in the Julia Morgan ballroom. The venue was half a block from the hotel.

Sharon and I sat next to Hannah's parents--Rob and Janette--at dinner. We spent some time talking to Tom and Laurie who we met at Stacey's wedding. We wandered back to the hotel and crashed about 11 pm. I loved how close the wedding venue was to the hotel!

Friday, October 28, 2022

Brian and Sam's Wedding - Day #2

Sharon ran down and got breakfast from Starbucks. I spent the day working in the hotel room including half a dozen virtual meetings and an interview of a CISO candidate. Sharon walked to Jack's apartment. The two of them had an early lunch at Swan Oyster Depot.

In the late afternoon after finishing up my weekly status report, I wandered up to the fitness center. I was very pleased to find two Peloton bikes in the Omni's fitness center. I did a Peloton strength class, a Peloton Power Zone Endurance class and cool down class and walked on the treadmill.

Getting cleaned up, Sharon and I walked to Boulevard. We met Drew and Carmen for dinner. For starters, Carmen had HAMACHI CRUDO [preserved meyer lemon gelee, finger limes, celtuce & sicilian pistachio], Drew had AHI TUNA CARPACCIO ['scattered sushi rice' meyer lemon aioli, smoked trout roe, myoga ginger & fresh wasabi], Sharon [LITTLE GEMS & BROKAW AVOCADO basil anchoiade, deviled jidori egg, toasted parmesan & levain crisp] and I had SPANISH OCTOPUS [gigande beans brandade, grilled calamari, olive crumble & aioli].

For mains, Carman and Sharon had RACK OF LAMB [roasted fig, pistachio & mint, crispy smashed potato & tokyo turnip soubise, sheep's milk ricotta], Drew had ANGUS BEEF FILET [herbed tater tot potato, roasted broccolini, green peppercorn & bay leaf sauce, lardo & rosemary] and I had [BERKSHIRE PORK CHOP garnet yam fritters, golden cauliflower, chanterelles, quince butter & blueberries, walnut relish].

For dessert, I had MOUNTAIN ROSE APPLE CHEESECAKE [cardamom Arlette tuile, whiskey vanilla sherbet, calvados caramel], Sharon and Carmen had 'HOT CHOCOLATE' CAKE [salted caramel ice cream, almond cocoa nib brittle & dark chocolate sorbet] and Drew had BERRIES & FIGS [blueberry sorbet, coconut yogurt, golden kiwi & lime pearls]. My meal was very good, better than Thursday night at BIX.

I walked back to the hotel, while Drew gave Sharon a ride. We finished the night in Monte's Bar in the hotel. The wedding party hosted a cash bar get together. We visited with Holly, Van, Tom and Laurie. We crashed in the room about 11 pm.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Brian and Sam's Wedding - Day #1

Sharon and I took off in the afternoon for San Francisco. The traffic was light; it took just over two hours. Sharon drove and I attended a couple of meetings in Teams on my iPad using my iPhone as a hotspot. Like on the trip to Paso Robles, I am surprised how well this set-up works.

We are spending three nights at the Omni Hotel. Holly and Van's son is getting married on Saturday. We decided to come down early so that Sharon could spend Friday with Jack.

After getting settled in the room, we walked to BIX for dinner. This restaurant is located in an alley in the Jackson Square Historic District. Located in downtown San Francisco, the district dates back to the city's earliest years and the 1849 gold rush. It is known for its historic commercial buildings in the classical revival and Italianate styles. Variously described as a civilized speakeasy, a supper club and an elegant saloon, BIX offers modern American cuisine served in a soaring two-story dining room to the strains of live jazz nightly.

After a drink at the bar, we had a very nice table on the second floor overlooking the restaurant. We started with some oysters, the Potato Pillows [Crème Fraîche, California Sturgeon Caviar] and Honeynut Squash Soup [Dungeness Crab, Toasted Pepitas]. For entrees, Sharon had Mt. Lassen Trout [Haricots Verts, New Potatoes, Almonds, Brown Butter], while I had Lobster Spaghetti [Cherry Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Basil]. The food was solid.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Patton

On the flight from Athens to Newark, I watched Patton. Recently we rewatched Love Story, Patton won the Best Picture Oscar the year that Love Story was nominated. I downloaded the movie to my iPad before we left for the trip.

Patton is a 1970 biographical war film about U.S. General George S. Patton during World War II. It stars George C. Scott as Patton and Karl Malden as General Omar Bradley. Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and Rod Steiger all turned down the role of Patton. Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North wrote the screenplay based on the books Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago and A Soldier's Story by Omar Bradley.

Patton won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Scott also won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of General Patton, but declined to accept the award.

Although almost three hours long, this is a very good film. The writing is excellent. George C. Scott's performance is fantastic. I recommend the film.

I usually read when we fly, but this was a great way to kill a couple of hours on the plane.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Acts of John, According to Prochorus: An Apocryphal Account of His Journeys, Miracles and Death

My second book for October was Acts of John, According to Prochorus: An Apocryphal Account of His Journeys, Miracles and Death by Margarita Grillis, Prochorus and James Corr (Editor). During our excursion on Patmos, the guide mentioned this book. My interest was piqued.

The Acts of John, according to Prochorus is the English translation of a manuscript found in the library of the medieval monastery of St John the Theologian on the remote Greek island of Patmos. We toured the monastery.

The original text, dating from the 17th century, narrates the apocryphal stories of Christ’s youngest and most beloved disciple. It chronicles St John’s journey from Jerusalem to Ephesus and Patmos and his trials and tribulations. There is a lot of raising the dead and casting out of demons.

I only recommend the book as background for visits to Patmos and Ephesus. We visited the Basilica of St John in Ephesus; St. John was buried there. We also visited the house of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus. Although Mary was supposedly taken there by Saint John, this is not mentioned in the book. [Note to self], I need to find books on the Knights of St John and the Ottoman Empire.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

2022 Fall Dinner Party

Sharon and I have made it a tradition to host a fall dinner party [2021, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 20112010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]. We skipped 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. We did hold a fall dinner party Zoom cocktail hour that year, but it was a poor substitute for the real thing.

In celebration of this year's trip, the theme was Greece and Turkey. While we were on the trip, we took two cooking classes: one in Turkey; and, another one in Greece. We used recipes from both classes in the menu. I probably contributed more to the cooking of the meal than anytime in the recent past. I made the filo roses on Saturday afternoon and barbecued the fish. The full menu is here.

The group included the Larkins, Gainsleys, Wongs and Janie. Over the last ten years, it has become part of the traditional to dress in costume to match the party theme. I have a great series of pictures of everyone in front of Sharon's entry way decorations that I will post in the coming weeks. Sharon did a great job decorating. Pictures of her tablescape are here.

During dessert, we watched Dinner For One. There was some clammoring for the Lonely Plant skits, but like last year I couldn't find them on the AppleTV.

It was about 11:15 pm when we walked the Larkins and the Gainsleys to the front gate to catch an Uber. It was a very nice evening.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Lee's 3rd Birthday

Drew, Carmen, Sharon and I joined Morgan, Daniel and Lee via FaceTime to celebrate Lee's 3rd Birthday. Sharon and I got him a Tonka Excavator. It was a great time!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

2023 Oscar Favorites

Goldderby Oscar Favorites as of October 8, 2022

Best Picture
    The Fabelmans - November 23, 2022
    ✔ Everything Everywhere All at Once
    Women Talking - December 2, 2022
    Babylon - January 6, 2023 with Brad Pitt
    The Banshees of Inisherin October 21. 2022
    ✔ Top Gun: Maverick
    TAR - October 7, 2022 with Cate Blanchett
    The Whale - December 9, 2022 with Brendan Fraiser
    Empire of Light - December 9, 2022 with Olivia Coleman
    The Woman King - September 16, 2022 with Viola Davis


Best Actress
    Cate Blanchett - TAR
    ✔ Michelle Yeoh - Everything Everywhere All at Once
    Michelle Williams - The Fabelmans
    Margot Robbie - Babylon
    Danielle Deadwyler - Till
    Viola Davis - The Woman King


Best Actor
    Brendan Fraser - The Whale
    Colin Farrell - The Banshees of Inisherin
    ✔ Austin Butler - Elvis
    Hugh Jackman - The Son
    Bill Nighy - Living
    Diego Calva - Babylon


Best Supporting Actress
    Jessie Buckley - Women Talking
    Claire Foy - Women Talking
    ✔ Stephanie Hsu - Everything Everywhere All at Once
    Kerry Condon - The Banshees of Inisherin
    Hong Chau - The Whale
    Vanessa Kirby - The Son


Best Supporting Actor
    ✔ Ke Huy Quan - Everything Everywhere All at Once
    Paul Dano - The Fabelmans
    Ben Whishaw - Women Talking
    Judd Hirsch - The Fabelmans
    Brendan Gleeson - The Banshees of Inisherin
    Brad Pitt - Babylon

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

2022 Kings versus Blazers

Larkin and I were scheduled to go to the Sacramento Kings versus Portland Trailbrazers NBA game on Wednesday night. Still struggling with a sinus infection, I called Larkin on Wednesday morning and let him know that I wasn't going to make it. I was very disappointed. I was looking forward to seeing the Kings play.

Leading 106 to 105 with a minute to play, the Kings let the game slip away. Jerami Grant scored on lay up and a foul shot with 50 second left to put the Trailbrazers up by 108 to 106. The Kings lost the game by the score of 115 to 108.

The high scorer for the Kings was De'Aaron Fox. He scored 33 points on 12 for 21 from field, 5 for 9 from three and 4 for 5from the free throw line.

Jerami Grant was the high scorer for the Trailbrazers. He scored 23 points on 5 for 11 from the field, 3 for 3 from three and 10 for 13 from the free throw line.

First-round rookie Keegan Murray (COVID protocols) was sidelined. I really looking forward to seeing Murray play.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe

My book for October was Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe. Sharon listened to the audio book a couple of years ago. We have recently talked about rewatching West Wing and starting Parks and Rec; Lowe appeared in both shows.

This is an almost unbelieveable story. A teen idol at fifteen, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at twenty, and one of Hollywood's top stars, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-seventies Malibu. The book highlights this career through the 2010s as well as his struggles with alcohol and his road to sobriety.

The number of famous people that he is friends with or has crossed paths with is amazing. In Malibu, he was neighbors and friends with Sean Penn, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen. His first major movie was The Outsiders; the cast included: Matt Dillon; Ralph Macchio; Patrick Swayze; Emilio Estevez; Tom Cruise; and, Diane Lane.

I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and very entertaining. Repeating myself, the stories are almost unbelievable. [Note to self], Sharon and I need to watch The Outsiders!

Monday, October 17, 2022

Seabourn Encore Suite 738

Sharon and I spent two weeks living in Suite 738 on the Seabourn Encore. It was very comfortable. It included a walk-in closet, two sinks in the bathroom and a hallway vanity where Sharon could sit and put on her make-up. The only gore point was the end of bed; it was almost impossible for two people to pass each other or get around each other. The one odd feature is that there is a slight step up into the bathroom.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

David and Lo's Wedding


Sharon and I pulled away from the house about 12:20 pm on the way to David and Lo's wedding. Dropping Tiber at Best Friends, Waze lead us on a round-about path, including 80 to 5 to Woodland to 113 to Road 27 to 505 to Winters. We took the back road from Winters past Lake Berryessa to the Silverado Trail. From there, we headed north to Deer Park, went across to 29, through Calistoga and took the Petrified Forest Road to the Mark West Event Center. oy vey. We got there at 2:55 pm.

I had a very nice evening. Our table for dinner was Drew, Carmen, Gail, Jeff, Snipes, Joy, Sharon and I. I really enjoyed getting a chance to sit next to Drew. Hunter, Yuli, Swedberg, Deb and Annell were also at the wedding.

There were over 200 people packed into the venue. When we were in Los Angeles, Tom/asin talked about the struggle that they were having managing the guest list. I actually got a chance to sit and talk to Tom/asin more than I expected.

I had booked a hotel room in Santa Rosa. With the dinner party looming, Sharon pushed for us just to head home. We ended taking off about 8:30 pm and were home just after 10:30 pm.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Bread & Butter Concert

With Sharon in Napa for the day with Janie, I walked over to the Ancil Hoffman clubhouse with a group of neighbors (Greg, Michele, Heidi, Brad, Clark, Jim and Debi) to listen to the Bread & Butter Band. Walking on to the patio, I heard someone call my name. I took me a long count to recognize Dave Newlin and his wife.

After winding her way back from Napa and dropping Janie off, Sharon eventually joined the group at the concert.

She and I finished the night playing pool with Jim and Debi. By the time I walked Tiber and got to bed, it was almost midnight.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Twenty-six Years

To celebrate our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary, Sharon and I went to dinner at Canon East Sacramento. Over the years, this was been one of Sharon's favorite restaurants. Frankly, the experience was a little subpar. Both Sharon and I felt that the menu seemed kind of limited and the service was not good. Several times in the course of the evening we literally had to wave our arms to try and get some service.

We started with a couple of OYSTERS [estate vinegars]. We split a ROASTED CABBAGE SALAD [oyster mushrooms, nashi pear, miso apple butter, dill seed vinaigrette]. For the entree, we shared BLISTERED ROMANO BEANS [horseradish-tomato jus, oyster mushrooms, gypsy pepper] and WHOLE FRIED FISH [brazino, green tomato nuoc cham, fresno chili, lemongrass]. We have had a lot of brazino over the last month.

The fish was good. I was pleasantly surprised to find a Greek wine by the glass on the menu [Romeiko - Manousakis Winery - Nostos, Crete, Greece].

Monday, October 10, 2022

Piranesi

My book for September was Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. This is the second of two books that Carmen gave me for Christmas. Piranesi won the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction. It was a finalist for the 2020 Nebula Award and the 2021 Hugo Award.

This is a difficult book to describe. Piranesi (the main character) lives in a place called the House. It is a world composed of infinite halls and vestibules lined with statues, no two of which are alike. The upper level of the House is filled with clouds and the lower level with an ocean. The story is told through entries in a journal that the main character is keeping. As the story progresses, Piranesi discovers who he really is and how he came to be in the House.

Reviews of the book are very polarized; it seems that people either loved it or hated it. I found the book interesting. I like science fiction books that play with ideas. Although this is more fantasy than science fiction, it has some interesting ideas. I enjoyed it and graded it a "B-". It was a nice break after the 960 page tome about Grant...

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Delayed End of Ordinary Time

Over the last twenty-five years, Sharon and I have lived into a rhythm of decorating the house for fall, Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter. After we take the Easter decorations down, we have started calling it "Ordinary Time." Sharon has few summer decorations. This lasts about four months from Easter to Labor Day.

With Sharon and Tom's trip to New York Adventure and our Greece and Turkey Trip, we only started decorating the house for fall today. Still feeling under the weather, I spent the morning dragging boxes back from the shed. With the fall dinner party in two weeks, we have a sense of urgency.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Ancil Hoffman

Teeing offf at 11:56 am, Sharon and Marlene played golf at Ancil Hoffman. Afterwards, Marlene stayed for dinner. We barbecued a couple of filet mignons.

Friday, October 07, 2022

Head and Chest Cold

My Achilles heel has always been that I often get a nasty head and chest cold when we do a marathon travel day at the end of a trip. I have lost my voice and I am very under the weather. It is just a bad cold; I have tested negative for COVID.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

iPhone 14 Pro

I have been carrying an iPhone 11 Pro since February of 2020. This is the longest that I have used that same phone since I left the Farm Credit Banks in July of 1998, more than 24 years ago. Like several of the my other iPhones, the Lightning connector stopped working about a year and a half ago. It has been a pain, but I worked through it by charging wirelessly and getting a wireless Carplay connector for the Volvo.

At 5 am on Friday, September 9, I ordered an iPhone 14 Pro. I was surprised that I could pick it up at the Arden Apple store at 10:15 am on Friday, September 16. After Sharon and I got our COVID tests for the cruise, I ran over and picked it up. Given that we were getting picked up to go to San Francisco at 2 pm, Sharon thought it was crazy to try and get it set up. Of course, I did. The setup went smoothly and I carried the new iPhone on the trip.

I took a lot of pictures on the trip. I definitely feel like the camera quality is a step up from the 11 Pro.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

2022 Greece and Turkey - Day #19 - To Sacramento

25 1/2 hours door to door in one day!?!

Setting an alarm for 6 am, we finished packing. We had breakfast in the roof top restaurant. The view of the Arcopolis from there is amazing.

One odd note. When we came back from the museum on Tuesday, police were stationed at the front door of the hotel and we had to go through a metal detector to enter the lobby. Last night and this morning, there was a woman stationed outside the door of a room on our floor; she clearly had a fanny pack with a weapon in it. There was signage in the lobby for Munich Stra/tegy Management Consultants. Underneanth the title, it said Diplomats with an arrow to one of the meeting rooms. I was curious what was happening and who was there.

The transfer scheduled through Seabourne picked us up at 8:15 am. It took almost an hour to get to the airport. We breezed through checking the luggage and security. Our plane was coming from Newark and was running about 45 minutes late. The boarding area was a cattle car. The flight pushed back from the gate about 1:00 pm.

We upgraded all of our seats on the way home. For Athens to Newark, we had United Premium Plus. We had 21J and 21L: two seats on the right seat of the plane with an aisle and a window. The seats and the spacing were better than some of the first class seats we have had on older planes.

It was a very easy, comfortable ten hour flight. I finished reading The Acts of St. John and then watched Patton.

In Newark, we breezed through passport control. I was surprised that we didn't have to fill out an entry form and go through customs.

We grabbed some spring rolls, pot stickers and vegetable dumplings for dinner. Although we had a three and a half hour layover, it went fast.

We boarded a 7:30 pm United Flight to Sacramento. I took the same flight in December coming back from the Army/Navy game in December. We had economy plus seats. Mostly trying to sleep, I got very restless.

We were on the ground about 10:45 pm. I was shocked that our luggage beat us to baggage claim. Sharon's brother Tom picked us up and we were home before 11:30 pm.

More postings and pictures from the trip in the coming weeks...

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

2022 Greece and Turkey - Day #18 More - Athens, Greece

View from Dinner at the Hotel Grande Bretagne.

2022 Greece and Turkey - Day #18 {penultimate} - Athens, Greece

Sleeping a little later, we eventually had breakfast in the roof top restaurant at the hotel. Based on some feedback from the Gainsleys, we had originally planning to take a Viator tour to the Delphi Oracle. When the schedule got screwed up for Sunday, we decided to cancel that tour.

We spent the morning wandering Pláka, the old historical neighborhood of Athens featuring labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Sharon did a lot of shopping. While she shopped, I explored the area and people watched.

As a rule, I try to blend in when we travel. I purposely don't wear anything that marks me as an American. I keep a low profile. Northern Europeans travel the world. I think that I can pass as a generic EC tourist. Over the years, I have had a number of people come up to me and start talking to me in German. I am fascinated by what some Americans wear and how loud they are. There was a group of Texians straight off a cruise ship near us at dinner last night; it was clear that they were Americans from a mile away. I saw a number of Americans while I was people watching today that stood out like a sore thumb.

We grabbed lunch on a street corner near the hotel at The Greco's Project. Sharon had a pork gyro and what I think were leek balls, while I had a Greek salad.

After dropping stuff in the room, we caught a taxi to the National Archaeological Museum. Using a Rick Steves tour of the museum, we focused on the highlights. There are number of very interesting pieces, including the Mask of Agamemmmon, the Artemision Bronze (either Zeus or Nepture), the Artemision Jockey and the Grave Relief of a Horse.

We took a taxi back to the hotel. This is our penultimate day; we fly home tomorrow. We relaxed a litte and started to pack.

Getting cleaned up, we wandered up to the roof top bar for a cocktail. The place was packed so we just took our table. We finished the night with dinner in the hotel's GB Roof Garden Restaurant. We split an eggplant appetizer. For mains, I had a very good Handmade open seafood ravioli, with prawns and star anise scented sauce, while Sharon had Seabass ‘en papillote’ with capers, fennel, green peas and lemon. We had Tiramisu for dessert.

With a very long day on deck for tomorrow, we crashed very early...

Monday, October 03, 2022

2022 Greece and Turkey - Day #17 - Athens, Greece

Up early, we had breakfast in the restaurant on the eighth floor of the hotel. It was interesting watching the sun rise on the Acropolis.

Walking towards the Acropolis, we met a Viator tour at the metro station at 9:30 am. We had a nice tour of the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum; the guide did a great job. The tour guide stopped at Theatre of Dionysus, The Temple of Asclepios and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on the way up. At the top, we wandered around the Temple of Athena Nike, the Ancient temple of Athena and the Parthenon. Although there were swarms of people, the wait was never very long at a couple of the gore points.

Following the tour of the Acropolis, we walked to the museum. The new Acropolis Museum was opened in 2009. The third floor does a fantastic job of displaying some of the artifacts. As I noted when we visited the British Museum, I am shocked at how much of the Parthenon is in the British Museum. As I said at the time, the artifacts should be in Greece, not in England!

After some confusion trying to find restaurants in the Rick Steves book, we had a late lunch at the God's Restaurant near the museum. We split a Greek salad, hummus and pita bread and Moussakas.

After the late lunch, we walked the Acropolis Loop, explored Ancient Agora and visited the Temple of Hephaistos. With tentative plans to walk Hadrian's Wall next year, we searched out the statue of Hadrian and then ran into Hadrian's library by accident.

Back at the hotel, I ran to an iStorm(?!?) to get a couple of USB-C chargers.

Walking to dinner, we had some fun trying to find a place to have a pre-dinner cocktail. Sharon originally thought there was a bar at the restaurant; there was not. We ended up at a bar at the Niki Athens Hotel.

We finished the day with dinner at 2Mazi. For starters, we spilt Wild greens pie with phyllo dough made with Carob seed flour and feta cheese mouse and Risotto with zucchini, asparagus, lemon confit and crayfish. For a main, Sharon had Guineafowl with parsnip puree, corn, graviera cheese and lemon thyme sauce, while I had Tuna with smoked eggplant, stamnangathi wild greens (Cichorium spinosum) and (kakavia) fish soup sauce. The food was solid. A group of six from Texas off a cruise ship sat near us, but that is a longer story...

Walking back to the hotel, we were able to connect with Jack on Facetime. We crashed about 10 pm.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

2022 Greece and Turkey - Day #16 - Athens, Greece

Up early, I wandered up to the Observation Bar for coffee. The ship was already docked in Piraeus.

We had to be out of the room by 8 am. Unfortunately, our origiinal plans for the day were blown up. There was a "Race for the Cure" in downtown Athens. All of the streets are closed; they couldn't get us to the hotel until after 1:30 pm. Our departure time from the ship was set at 1 pm.

We had a lazy breakfast at The Patio; we both had breakfast burritos. From there, we hung out in the Seabourne Square for a couple of hours reading our books and surfing the internet.

Eventually, we had a light lunch in the Colonnade. We left the ship about 12:45 pm. Getting our luggage and boarding the transfer to the hotel went extremely quickly and easily.

We are spending three nights at Hotel Grand Bretagne. We got to the hotel about 1:40 pm. Unfortunately, check-in time was 3:00 pm. They said that they would call us when the room was ready. We had a glass of wine in the bar and then sat in the lobby. Our room was not ready until about 3:40 pm.

We spent the loin's share of the day in a weird purgatory. Sharon and I agreed that this was an unusual experience; we have never had this happen before in the middle of a trip.

After getting in the room, we went to the rooftop bar in the hotel for a cocktail. The bar has an amazing view of the Acropolis of Athens.

Sharon had made a 7:30 pm dinner reservation at Spondi. We had an adventure with taxis trying to get there.

Spondi is 2-Michelin-Star Restaurant. For twelve consecutive years, it has been voted “Best Restaurant in Greece” by Athinorama’s “Golden Chef’s Hat Award”.

We did their fixed Discovery Menu with a four glass wine pairing. The food was very good. The menu is here. It was a leisurely three and a half hour dinner.

By the time that we got back to the hotel, it was almost 11:30 pm. We made an attempt to FaceTime with Jack and then crashed hard.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

2022 Greece and Turkey - Day #15 - Spetses, Greece

Sleeping late, Sharon and I wandered up to the Observation Bar for coffee. We had a late breakfast on The Patio.

This is one of three days on the cruise that we hadn't booked an excursion. After breakfast, I went to the fitness center. I did a Peloton upper body workout for thirty minutes and then walked for twenty-five minutes on the treadmill. On each of the days that we didn't have an excursion, I used the fitness center.

The ship anchored off the city of Spetses. We caught a tender into the port about 11 am.

Sharon's super power is finding restaurants. She found a tavern for lunch about 3/4’s of a mile north of the port. The Patralis Fish Tavern is the oldest tavern in Spetses. It was established in 1935. We got there just as it opened and bogarted the best table on the water. The food was very good; we shared a grouper. After a leisurely lunch, we briefly explored the town and eventually headed back to the ship.

After taking a nap, we worked on packing up the room. It has been great to be unpacked and in the same place for two weeks, but tomorrow is moving day.

We wandered up to the Observation Bar for a drink and some appetizers.

We finished the night with dinner at The Restaurant. We walked up just as it opened and got a great table by the window. I started with a CHEF’S SALAD [mesclun lettuce, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, parma ham, citrus dressing], while Sharon had CHICKEN LIVER PARFAIT [port wine onion confit, micro greens, brioche]. For entrees, I had CRISP SOFT-SHELL CRAB [green & white asparagus risotto, lobster foam], while Sharon had RAGOUT OF SHALLOTS & FOREST MUSHROOMS [celery salad and puree], My entree was solid; I was shocked that Sharon ordered pasta.