The Land of the Euro
It is a long way from the Land of the Dollar Bill to the Land of the Euro, at least it was for me on the Pacific Princess. 30,647 nautical miles, that was the distance covered during my 107 day cruise from Port Everglades, Florida to Venice, Italy. Crossing the Atlantic is a lot shorter way of reaching Europe but World Cruises almost always sail to the West. By sailing West the ships are gaining hours rather than losing them. While this is good for the passengers, it is even more important for the crew.
The 2013 cruise on the Pacific Princess was billed as 107 Unforgettable Days, Six Continents, and 40 Legendary Ports of Call — and it was. Starting from North America down to South America then across the Pacific, reaching Australia, Asia, Africa and finally Europe (only Antarctica remained untouched).
While the legendary city of Venice in Italy was the ships final destination, we would reach four ports in Europe prior to Italy. In order the four ports were – Limassol, Cyprus – Istanbul, Turkey – Athens, Greece – and Kotor, Montenegro.
Europe was the continent most of my ancestors came from (although I’m part Cherokee). I soon realized that while my ship had finally reached Europe, it was not the same Europe that my grandmother Fiorentina Cravea had left in 1914. Life is about changes and Europe is clearly going through a period of change.
I used to tell my students at Rosemead High School that the answer to any question is money, and that is clearly the case with Europe today. A common currency, the Euro, has replaced the various national coins of the past. A more unified Europe is needed as the World progresses, but change is hard.
Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and Montenegro are all places in economic turmoil, though some not as much as others. The Cold War is long over, as distant a memory as World War I or World War II. Europe’s future is tied to how well the various nations of Europe can work together both economically and in other areas.
Time now to leave my home for 107 days, the Pacific Princess, and explore Venice: the city of canals.
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