Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Greek Odyssey, Part 3

                In the Greek village of Monemvasia, our hotel room was simple but comfortable,
and we had a lovely balcony looking out over the beautiful sea.
Walking through the village, we saw many postcard-worthy sights...
hints of the water peeking between houses,
lovely flowers and, unfortunately, graffiti...

many outdoor restaurants by the sea,

with octopus drying in the sun!
We picked up supplies at the local market and explored the village daily.

In my next post I'll show you some of what we ate and places we enjoyed!

                  Hope you're having a fun and safe weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Greek Odyssey, Part 2

After visiting Athens, our party of 3 couples boarded the blue van which would take us on some real adventures. All three men had obtained international drivers' licenses and took turns driving the standard shift vehicle, which most had not driven in years. We were headed for a village on the southeastern tip of the Pelopponesus called Monemvasia.

The terrain was very dry and rocky, and olive trees grew everywhere. Our journey took us over steep mountain roads...


with many hairpin and tight 'S' turns...

which seemed to go on forever!

Finally (after several hours) we arrived at the "half way" point, at a restaurant where we met our friend and guide, Angelo, who grew up in Monemvasia, and who was eager to share his love of the area with us!

After lunch, we followed Angelo's car and made a few stops along the way,

and finally reached our destination, beautiful Monemvasia.

Right across the street from our hotel was the ocean, and in the middle of the ocean was a huge rock, or so it seemed. In reality the rock is a mile long fortress which houses an ancient castle and city, built right into its far side. A narrow causeway connects it to the mainland.

We walked the narrow road one morning (about 20 minutes) and arrived at the ancient door of the fortress, 

traveled up the steep rocky street inside,

stopped for a coffee outside the stone belfry, 

saw one of many local kitties, and visited some shops.

All deliveries were made by handcart up the rocky street and down rocky steps in the alleys.

Some fearless members of our party hiked up to the ancient upper town, which, according to my husband, was quite a climb on a very hot day! You may have gathered that I stayed behind!

There were ancient ruins,

and, at the top was the church of Agia Sofia,

a few still inhabited houses,

and, of course, a spectacular view!

I promise not to take so long with my next post, where I'll finish up with a few more wonderful adventures we experienced!

Hope you're having a very good week!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Greek Odyssey, Part 1

I've just returned from a wonderful vacation with my husband in Greece, and there is so much to share. Many years ago, I studied Classics in college with lots of Latin and Ancient Greek, so I had a special sense of anticipation as we set off to visit Greek culture and ancient ruins!

We started our trip in Athens in a hotel with a fabulous view of the Acropolis and the remains of the Parthenon...

and the temple of the Greek god Zeus...

We went on a bus tour, which included a stop at the bottom of the Acropolis, from which point we climbed,  over irregular marble stairs, rough paths and lots of rocks...

until we reached the top, where we were able to take in a spectacular view of Athens.

Here I am, on top of the Acropolis...

and here is my husband Bill. A tough climb, but we made it!!

It's sad that the ruins of the Parthenon are in such a state of disrepair, after centuries of war and destruction...

but it was good to see this model of what it looked like when it was built, in the museum at the base of the hill.

Our tour guide also explained the different gods whose statues decorated the original Parthenon, shown here in meticulously carved miniatures.

Back on the bus, we passed this horse and carriage,

stopped at the Panathenaic Stadium,

and went by the library at the Athens Academy.

We shopped at the Plaka, a busy outdoor marketplace...

where Bill bought a dashing new hat...

and we tried taking a 'selfie'!

At lunch, musicians circulated through the streets, as we sat and ate Greek salad.

At the end of our stay in Athens, we met up with two other couples. The three men are business associates and we had arranged ahead of time to rent a large van.

Together we would embark on the second part of our adventure, as we traveled to a seaside village in southern Greece! I'll tell you about that in my next post.

Our internet connections were spotty in Greece, so I haven't been able to comment on my friends' blogs, but I'll be catching up in the next few days.

Hope you've been having an enjoyable August!