By Laura L., 18-time traveler & 19-time Vacation Ambassador from Camarillo, CA
We were on the M/S Athena in the Adriatic in 2011. It was a rainy day around Thanksgiving and we were moored by this little island in Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor called Our Lady of the Rock. We took a water taxi over to the rock for a couple hours that day. It is a manmade island and the only thing on it is a small chapel that was built for fisherman who survived during bad weather at sea. They still have services there and the families of fishermen give thanks for keeping them safe. We explored the island that day and enjoyed the museum they have at the chapel.
When we were about to head back to the ship, there were too many people to fit on one water taxi. As we waited for the water taxi to come back for us, we noticed some nuns who were also waiting for it. They got on with us and we began to try to speak to each other, but we couldn’t speak each other’s language. Instead of talking to us, the nuns started singing to us. They started with Ave Maria and then we all joined in and started singing Christmas carols to each other in our respective languages.
When we got back to the ship, we invited them to come on board and have tea and cookies with us. The captain and the crew looked a little confused to see a group of nuns following their guests onboard. I’m not sure we were even supposed to have guests onboard! But they welcomed our new friends and graciously served them tea and cookies. It was so clear how excited they were to be on our beautiful ship. They were hugging everyone, and I saw a few of them tear up at the experience. The nuns take care of the chapel and do so much for others; it was nice to do something for them.
What had started out as a rainy day visiting a church, turned into an extra special experience! One of the nice things about Grand Circle and O.A.T. is that you get the extra unexpected things. You’re encouraged to explore and experience. These trips are not so highly structured, so you can stop and do things that aren’t on your itinerary. They encourage learning and experiencing.
Perhaps you’ll visit Our Lady of the Rock—and make new friends of your own—when you join Grand Circle Cruise Line’s Cruising the Adriatic: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina Small Ship Adventure.