We flew down early to avoid airline issues. January, anything can happen.
We had no issues getting here, but I arrive to a useless but frustrating notice from my company’s travel partner about the conference I’m attending which comes down to “Smelta Airlines” (not their real name) has once again screwed me over. (Sigh)
So when I wake up early (asleep not long after 9pm) this morning I’m scrambling to rearrange what I can until Monday when the flight itself can be adjusted, doing my Spanish lesson for the day, and then dozing on and off…
We aren’t due to arrive in Santorini before 4 pm. It will be dark then. And there are weather dependencies and tenders to send and busses to meet and switchbacks to navigate and half the length of the island to each Oia and our scheduled visit.
Crete is the largest of the Greek Isles and of course we are only seeing a piece of it.
That starts with the Palace of Knossos. Pronounce the K: Kuh-nos-os. It’s easily the oldest site we visit, all told, dated somewhere between 4500 and 6000 BC (so says our guide we barely understand) and… Continue reading “Day 9: Morning on Crete”→
We arrive on the tiny isle of Patmos at dusk. We walk up first to the monastery, our tour guide very soft spoken but very clear, which makes her seem very earnest. And thoroughly likable. Continue reading “Day 8: Night on Patmos”→
The excursion to Ephesus is included in our package and was noted by both Elena and Christiana as a highlight of our trip.
They were not kidding!
Despite the late night we are all up and on time (good thing too) for our tour of Ephesus, in Turkey. Which means it’s not just another country for me: it’s another continent!
Our tour guide (whose name I can’t spell but it is pronounced like “John”) is delightful. He tells us, on route to the ruins at Ephesus, about his experience over 20 years as a tour guide. About common misconceptions about Turkey, about his family, and about the site we are visiting. Continue reading “Day 8: Morning in Ephesus”→
The grounds at Delphi, which we saw at a distance from below, are amazing once we get on site. Elena tells us a bit about the history and mythology of the place, about Apollo as god of light and wisdom. Hmm, I wonder who this could be foreshadowing?
After exploring the grounds we go inside to the museum as well.
Afterwards we get back on the bus to return to Athens, with just enough time to say a warm goodbye to Elena – our tour guide for the cruise portion of the trip will be Christiana – and put ourselves together for our optional (fancier) dinner out at the marina.
Then it’s back to The Stanley to repack, get some rest, and regroup for our departure to the cruise ship tomorrow.
We leave Olympia, stopping first for a taste of olives, olive oil, and Greek wines (Οπα!) and then begin our journey in earnest, crossing the Rio-Antirrio bridge.
Then we trace a path overlooking the Corinthian Bay, water sparkling in the sunshine. We progress to Patras for lunch, where the scenery is the most delicious offering of all.
We press on and stop to see the lower ruins at Delphi, which we will visit in the morning.
Then we stop in scenic Arachova, which in a few weeks will go from sleepy off season village to bustling ski town, before heading to our hotel (the pleasant if rather industrial-styled Amalia Delphi) for the night.
We have a long drive today, starting by passing through the scenic Arkadian mountains (on the Ionic Sea).
Actually it’s a very long drive and I didn’t sleep well last night so… no pics. Just dozing.
Along the way we stop to see local artisans explain the ancient processes that yield the distinctive pottery of the area.
We stop for a delicious lunch en route – it’s a lovely springish day and everything is blooming, considering it’s November and then we arrive at Olympia, to visit the ruins of what was the site of the original Olympic Games.
An immense complex has been uncovered and portions of it restored, and a museum shows some of the original recovered pieces. Elena explains the way the games would have worked in antiquity, as well as the site where the torch was lit, but I have no pics of any of it (for now)… I very inconveniently left my camera/phone on the bus for this outing. Which means, I pretty much felt distracted and discombobulated the entire time.
I will report however that the Europa hotel near Olympia… Fantastic. As nice as some have or will be on the journey, this one is our collective favorite.
The rooms themselves are small but smartly laid out, with a lower level seating area, and bathrooms that feel positively luxurious after some we have had. The dinner and breakfast buffets are both superb as well.