Oceania Marina Cruise Blog Day 5
Today’s business session was over by 11am, so I had time to get some sunbathing in and try out the Jacuzzi round the pool deck. All in the name of research of course! Lunch today was again in Waves Grill and today I tried the surf n turf, which is a lobster tail on a fillet mignon served with parmesan dusted fries/chips. Another yummy meal onboard Oceania Marina. After lunch we took the tender to the jetty at Monemvasia.
Monemvasia is a town located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese. It is linked to the mainland by short causeway 200 metres long and consists mostly of a large plateau 100 metres above sea level and is the site of a medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period. The town was founded in 583 and there are more than forty churches strewn along the narrow streets.
As you approach the towering rock (some call Monemvasia the Gibraltar of the East - that’s a bit of an unlucky comparison as Monemvasia is charming) it looks kind of plain and you cant help thinking ‘why have we come here?’ However as you walk along the far side of the rock along the coastal path you come to a large Venetian Gate that is the only way into this walled city. Once inside I was totally surprised at what we saw. It was a collection of twisty cobbled alleyways and paths, with lovely shops and bars lining the pathways. I thought this is what Santorini probably was like 30 years ago before ship-loads of tourists descended on it. Bougainvillaea adorned the walls and there were multiple ruins of churches in various states of restoration. Monemvasia’s charm is that its medieval architecture has remained virtually unchanged. There are no modern buildings and very few year-round residents, and the town remains ensconced in its past. If you are looking for an authentic slice of historic Greece, then this place is the perfect destination. We popped into a few of the shops and purchased some Greek organic Olive Oil (in a tin - handy for packing for the trip home!) We also stopped at a taverna for some local Greek beer before returning home. I really loved this place and so far has been the highlight port of call for me on this cruise.
This evening we dined in Jacques, the French restaurant onboard Oceania Marina.
Jacques is chef Jacques Pépin’s first restaurant to bear his name on land or sea and it is based on a Parisian bistro. At the rooms heart is a glass and brass rotisserie, where duck, pork, chicken and veal roasts slowly turn. The room is decorated with rich fabrics, heirloom antiques, wood furnishings and art from Jacques’ personal collection, making the ambiance pure French, as is the cosmopolitan cuisine.
Chef Pépin has taken the classics, deconstructed them, and then ingeniously re-created each remarkable dish. Rotisserie-roasted chicken falls off the bone, bursting with flavour. His Steak Frites pairs the succulence of prime beef with the crisp sweetness of pommes de terre. I decided to go all French, and had the Carpaccio of Foie Gras served with Black Truffles, Frogs Legs, French Onion Soup and the Steak Poivre. I have to say this meal was on a par with last night’s meal in Polo Grill, however the steak in Jacques was in fact better - such an incredible flavour - do try and dine here if you take a cruise on Marina - its really exceptional. We finished the meal off with the cheese platter- again a good selection of cheeses and different from the main dining room.
We ended the say up in Horizons to listen to the band then it was off to bed.