As we awaited our boarding call to Athens, there was a commotion and a flurry of activity. Minutes before departure the flight was canceled !. After a couple hours of waiting we were redirected on another flight to Munich, spent a few jet lagged hours there, and took another flight to Frankfurt. Tired as we were it provided a magnificent view of the Black Forest, looking down. I had only experienced a black forest cake, but this was just as dense, rich and dark as could be. It was at Frankfurt that we boarded a flight to Athens. We arrived well past midnight, were met by a friend who took us out to dinner at a lovely Greek restaurant, where there was a spread as huge as the Agean sea. But we were so tired that it was a bed and not food that we craved.
The next morning we had breakfast at a fabulous outdoor café that overlooked the Agean Sea. As I put my camera on the table to marvel the sumptuous sea with my own eyes, something else took place. The waiter who brought us delicious watermelon, took his return tray with the camera. Of course when I asked him, he denied it, so I was devastated to find myself camera less at the start of the trip. What a bummer, it was a great one too. Well, fortunately we have our cell phones these days. We started our tour of Athens with a visit to the Parthenon, the museum was well organized, well managed. The exhibits were interesting and fun.
Next stop was the outdoor stadium where the first ever Olympics took place. We braved the hot July sun and visited Plaka, the shopping/dining mecca of Athens, aka Tourist trap, which reminded me of Canal street Ney York with its endless shops and booths. The restaurant avenue was filled with tourists and agents all literally grabbing you into their place. This reminded me of Ocean Drive Miami. We bought a hat for our trip to the Acropolis the next day, and a few other Greek souvenirs to take home. Headed back to the hotel (Mariot) for a siesta before dinner. Here was another surprise, as we waited for our room key at the receptionist counter, the hat that we just purchased was gone!. Oh my goodness, this was a Mariot for God ‘s sake.
The Acropolis was heavily crowded and not so well managed, everyone climbed the hill like goats both ways, in intense July heat nonetheless, so it was highly dangerous, but we survived. The view of Athens from the top was breathtaking. The next day we boarded the Hellenistic Olympia for a 4 day cruise. What a difference from the American Cruise ships, food was not available 24/, only at certain times. There was no ice cream stations or pizza which had the kids in a tantrum mode all throughout. We were okay with it but it was sad to see long faces all around. I felt sorry for the parents. Our first stop was the island of Mykonos. It was so refreshing to see the pure white streets,pristine white buildings with blue roofs. Everything was super clean all the time. Despite the large number of tourists and foot traffic, it stayed so white. It seemed like there were invisible cleaning fairies at work constantly. The bougainvillea all around was spectacular.
The trip into Ephesus Turkey was one of the highlights. It was incredible to retrace the steps of the great philosophers, Socrates, Aristotle etc, as we made our way from the Gates of Hadrian’s palace to the great library which is still highly intact. Since we got there very early in the day, we were fortunate to miss the horde of tourists and get some phenomenal pictures. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a Carpet Factory, where we got to see the old traditional carpet weaving practice still in use to make beautiful carpets. In the next afternoon we visited the island of Patmos after climbing a super steep hill. It is perhaps best known today as the location the disciple John received the visions found in the Book of Revelation of the new Testament and where the book was written. The church was set on a higher hill where the wind played its song loud and clear.
We visited the island of Crete the next day, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. The Ideon cave was the birthplace of Zeus, according to Greek mythology. We spent quite some time in the palace of Knossos, a bronze age settlement and ancient Minoan city, which was really in good shape for its age. I particularly liked the use of color in the murals and floors. Next we landed in Santorini, a feast for the eyes. The spectacular views from just about anywhere on the island were inexhaustible. The vibrant flowers, the crisp white and blue structures were delightful. Of course, the tourists were endless. We finished up our trip with two more days in Athens, did no more shopping for fear of being robbed. All in all it sure was a memorable trip. Feed
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