It’s embark day in Barcelona, so this marks the end of my first cruise and the beginning of the second. I’m so glad to be through with training! Yesterday I got me PAIE certificate for ‘Persons Assisting In an Emergency’, which gave me a stamp for fire fighting, crowd management, and human relationships. Glad that’s over with.
What a great first cruise. I Love the Laurie-Diane-Megan glass team; we had so much fun during our shows, and the guests responded. We ended up with at least 20 regulars who came to almost every single glass show, and they gave us great feedback. I like the long 12 day cruises because as people come back again and again they ask smarter and smarter questions. Instead of having to explain ‘what is glass’ over and over, we can talk about some of the more sophisticated techniques and tell stories. Just about every one of them made it home with a piece of glass, which felt really good.
I shared the story behind the Maren’s Heart vase for our Breast Cancer Research Foundation auction, and many guests have since approached me to let me know that they will be praying for Mom and Jen, and that they are also dealing with breast cancer in their families. It’s really good therapy for me, and I wish I had been having those kinds of conversations in Columbus. It’s neat that this opportunity has been gifted to me.
Yesterday we had our auction and every piece sold for over $500, and six out of seven were bought by the same family. We held the auction on our glass stage, but this time we were dressed up instead of sweating our faces off… I’m not sure the crowd recognized us when we arrived in heels.
The sweat! The Med is HOT. We have a thermometer on our stage near the glory hole and at one point during our show yesterday it read 130 degrees Fahrenheit. I have some really impressive salt stains on my black t-shirts. Lots of water, lots of Gatorade, and a cheap Corona at the end of the day has been key.
There are two crew bars on the ship: Mingles (non-smoking, more like a lounge) on deck 2 and Fuse (dark, smoky dance club) on deck 00. I think the names are hilarious. I’m much more of a Mingles person, and it’s nice that you can get a Corona for $1.27.
A couple nights ago there was a crew party on Deck 16 Forward, which was outdoor, warm, breezy, and lots of fun. Laurie, Diane and I had a dance party.
I had a memorable day in Valletta, Malta this week. Rasmus and I went to explore while Diane and the other A Cappella guys went to the Hard Rock Café for internet—I can’t think of a worse way to spend time in Valletta than at a Hard Rock, but whatever.
Valletta is situated a peninsula and is heavily fortified. To get from the ship to the city center is a big uphill climb zigzagging over some serious stone walls. Lots of baroque architecture and sculpture once you get there, so well worth it.
Rasmus and I randomly arrived at the St. John’s Co-Cathedral, and after debating the six Euro entry fee, decided to go for it. Now Rasmus, being the stylish guy that he is, was wearing plaid short-shorts. As we went into the cathedral a lady made him wrap a skirt around him to cover his legs, and Rasmus managed to make a high-waisted pencil skirt that still had a slit and showed some thigh. The entertainment value for me was already exceeding 6 Euros. I’ll paraphrase a quote from Laurie that “the Swedes take awkward and just marinate in it.”
Now, the cathedral. Wow. It was so ornate, the walls had deep relief in the stone from floor to ceiling, and everything was gold. We took an audio tour, admired everything and before we left again we decided to go into a side-chamber as an afterthought. As I walked in I saw the Caravaggio painting of the beheading of St. John on the wall across from me, his largest painting. On the wall behind me was his painting of St. Jerome writing. I am so happy I accidentally went to visit those paintings! Rasmus was busy laughing at some of the skeleton tombstone mosaics on the floor and I had to shush him so that I could have my Caravaggio-art history-nerd moment, and explain to him that this was a big deal. To put in context, the Columbus Museum of Art had a ‘big, exciting Caravaggio exhibition’ that consisted of ONE small painting that MIGHT have been painted by Caravaggio, and then several other painting that copied his style. Pretty underwhelming. Real Caravaggio’s are a pretty big deal to me, particularly because of the CMA let-down.
Another port that really stood out was Santorini. The ship drops anchor and we take a little tender boat to the dock, so it was fun having a little boat ride. From the ship you can see land almost 360 degrees, which is really strange, and cliffs come straight up out of the water. Martin and I had training, so we missed the group that got up and off the ship at 7 AM to rent ATVs. Instead, we took a cable car from the dock up a cliff to the city, and had a nice meal, good Greek beer, and a long walk. On our way back, we decided not to take the cable car, but instead walk down the super-steep donkey path. It was fun, and just breathtakingly beautiful. The donkeys that we passed were really BIG.
I just spent the afternoon with Laurie on LAND for the first time! We had a great ramble through Barcelona, ate some fruit, and did some shopping. Everyone speaks with a lisp in Barcelona, so it’s ‘Barthelona’. I said ‘grathiouth’, and ‘adioth’ a lot. It is an incredibly beautiful city. Gothic architecture, clean, really interesting graffiti, pedestrian streets, and friendly people. I’m glad I get to come back here every 12 days. Next time I might get up early for more serious touring.
Overall I feel like I’ve been really busy, which is good. When I have a little down time I’ve been doing some drawing, working out, and listening to music. I have my old laptop on the ship with me and I’ve been getting back into my music that I haven’t heard in quite a while, and I’m really enjoying that. I do miss home, and I think about everybody all the time. All the crew and all the guests I’ve met have heard a LOT about my awesome family, my bunny, my vegetable garden, and my Chris.
Love to everybody, please send me a message and tell me what’s happening where you are.