Aug 28, 2018 - Sea Cloud
We began today’s journey docking at the Albanian port of Sarandë, an ancient city that has grown significantly as a tourist resort since the fall of Albania’s communist regime in the early 1990s. From there, we began our short drive to the archaeological site of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from the Archaic era (8th century BC) until the 19th century.
According to legend, the site was founded by Trojan exiles during the Bronze Age. It is best known, however, for the structures dating from the Hellenistic through Byzantine eras, including a theater, baths, basilica, and an ornate 6th-century baptistery. In contrast to yesterday’s rainy weather, we had a clear, sunny day, and abundant oak, laurel, and fig trees provided ample shade as we strolled through the wooded site. The city is very slowly sinking into its marshy surroundings and this was especially evident around the theater, where raised walkways allowed us to cross standing water full of turtles, some of which were basking on the stone ruins of the theater entrance.
After our visit, we traveled back to the port, and many of us went for a swim from the ship before lunch, noting the saltiness of the Ionian seawater. After lunch we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon under sail, which we each spent in different ways. Some of us attended a talk on the history and art of ancient Greece, others chose to take a siesta, and still others lounged on deck and admired the beauty of Sea Cloud. Our evening event included a fascinating lecture on the history of this magnificent ship, followed by an open house tour of some of the original state rooms.
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