Greece/Venice Trip - April 2nd - 18th, 2008

Greece/Venice Land Trip

April 2nd - 18th, 2008

Cities visited: Athens, GreeceIsland of Santorini - Fira, Oai, Ancient Akiotri, Ancient Thira, Amoudi Bay, - (pretty much the entire island)Island of Crete - Heraklion, Rethymnon, Chania, Knossos, Spili, among other small cities.
Venice, Italy - the city of love
Athens, Greece is definitely the highlight of any trip to Greece. The history and ruins that are there are unbelievable. And to see how Christainity took over where paganism once was. It all is so amazing. In the venture, I will walk you through each part of it. From the photos of the history of Greece, to the canals of Venice. With over 1000 pictures to pick between, it was hard to get it down enough for this blog. So I will comment on every few pictures just to help out. I hope you enjoy this journey as much as we did. The Acropolis in Athens, Greece (home of the Parthenmon, the Propylea covered with scaffolding for restoration, Temple of Nike, Pedestal of Agrippa, & Erechtheion (designed of woman)
Here is a photo of Athens from the top of Mt. Lycavitos. The city is so big, it takes several frames to get pictures of the entire city. Climbing this mountain was tough but well worth it. We never did find the cable car that was suppose to take you up to the top though. lol

Panathenaic Stadium held the first olympics in 1896 and on the right is the ruins from the Temple of Zues.

Bob and I in front of the Parthenon on the left and me sitting on the The Aeropagus, The Hill of Ares which is where Paul preached christianity. TheApostile Paul is said to have delivered the famous speech, 'Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.'

ruins from a bath house

Bob stands outside the restaurant "Doris" which has been around since 1900 and is famous for their doughnuts and on the right a picture of the Agora Market.

Changing of the guards at the Parliament building in Synagama Square (covered is the monument of the unknown soldier which is undergoing restoration)

In front of the Academy of Athens, you will find the statues of Socrates and Plato. (left is Plato and right is Socrates)

Above on the left you will see the remains of the Theatre of Dionysos (Bob is in the white shirt at the top lol) while on the right are the remains from Odion of Herodes Atticus. The seating and stage has been restored and is used today for summer music and dramas.

On the left photo you can see the ruins from Hill of Pnyx. This is where the assembly was gathered to address the people on laws to vote on. The right photo is me standing by the Hill of Pnyx with the Acropolis behind me.

The Kerameikos of Ancient Athens (or the cemetery for the ancient Athens)

Our next adventure took us to the beautiful island of Santorini. Pictures can not bring all the beauty this island had to offer. We were there when the wildflowers were in bloom which made the island even more beautiful. And hundreds rush to Oai, Greece for the amazing sunsets. Come take a peek with us as we head to Santorini, Greece.

On the left is a picture looking out of a small cave by the lighthouse.The view was the water below. On the right is a picture taken from the highest point looking into the city of Fira and down to the ocean. The white washed homes/buildings overlooking the cliffs are amazingly beautiful. This cliffside is where later, we would do our donkey ride.
From the Perissa Beach at its shorelines to the top of Profitis Ilis, you can see the wildflowers blooming and get a totally different view of the layers of Santorini. Look close in the picture on the left and you can see the small church (white) on the cliffside.

A donkey ride up the cliffside is a must do in Santorini. We chose to ride the cable car down and the donkeys back up. Also visiting Amoudi Bay shows the red and green of the cliffside while looking up to the top atthe town of Oai and its white wash homes.

Bob and I settled in at a great spot with the hundreds of others while we were waiting for that beautiful sunset in Oai, Greece.

These monuments are seen all over the island of Santorini.

Our two favorite restaurants, Mama's and The Toast Club in Fira, Greece kept us full and with a variety of local favorites. Gyros & Mousaka was Bob's favorites, Calzones for me.

On the left is a picture of the many churches in Greece. On the right, a look into the town of Fira, Greece - also the town we spent our nights in. Fira also has the cable car that goes down the cliff.

Our next adventure took us onto the huge island of Crete. What little did I know was that being scared of heights would be a big factor on this week long stay. But we still were able to enjoy many cities and things it offered. So lets see if you can get somewhat of a feel of what we experienced. (or what I was scared to experience lol)

Our first visit (and the area we stayed in) was Rethymnon. The fort (Fortezza) in the above pictures was built by the Venetians. (and took major damage during WWII) In the fort you can see the ruins of the old St. Nicholas Cathedral but was later turned into a mosque by the turks. Top left picture is looking into the entrance of the fort. Next to it is a picture of the ruins from the housing area. Bottom left photo are the windows used to fight off the enemy during the war while in the right photo you can see there were other windows used to look elsewhere.

We drove upon this surprise town, Spili, which was a quaint medeival town. What a gem this town was. Its 25 fountains of lion heads had become a tourist thing over the years.

On the left you can see that we are starting to enter the walls of the gorge. I wasn't sure if I liked being in the middle of the gorge. A long way down, a long way up. Scary. On the right you can see the Monastery of Ayios Lyannios Theologos Preveli. Ok, a monastery. lol Anyway, the hillside of wildflowers driving towards it made for a perfect picture.

The drive around parts of Crete was unbelievable. You saw sheep, streams with bridges (look close and you will see Bob on the bridge) and saw ruins at random places from the war. And at times the roads would only fit one car but was made for two way traffic. (ok I couldn't handle that either) Overall, it was a wonderful drive around but I could only take small parts at a time. lol Matter fact - lets say I didn't make it to several places. I learned to turn around in small areas.
Another day took us to some level ground. lol The Palace of Knossos. It cost 6 euros and with a guide 10. Would have been better to have a guide even though everywhere had plaques saying what it was. The Palace had been destroyed by earthquake in 1700BC then rebuilt and was destroyed in 1450BC when Mycenaeans came to Knossos. In 1350BC it was partially destroyed for the last time. Reconstruction of the palace was later done. (In the photo with the vases, they are original and not reproduced. The bottom photos are us in front of ruins of the palace)

It seemed we were having better luck staying on lower ground and we headed to the town of Chania. Luck of the draw fell our way when the European Triathlon Cup was taking place. We came right up when the men were on their bikes but was able to see the women on the run, swim and bikes. Amazing. The photos above are some from the many restaurants at the harbour, the remains of the fort at the harbour, and one of the streets where the people rent their rooms or have them turned into bed and breakfasts. We enjoyed our day in this quaint town that has lots to show from the destruction it sustained during WWII and the Battle of Crete.
Now for the treasure of the trip. A few days in beautiful Venice, Italy. There is no way to explain this unique city of love. Instead of streets, there are canals. Instead of cars everything is tranported by boat. And the many many bridges that you climb over or go under. Awesome. I can only take you to this "city of love" through my pictures but you can never get the reality of it unless you GO THERE!!!!!!

These first few pictures above will give you the feel of what it is like going around Venice. Yes, those are the "streets" of Venice. And in the bottom right picture shows you how everything is transported. This is a produce market even though they have another huge "market" on land where people bring their fresh fruits and vegetables to sale.

As you can se, Ambulance and Police also roam the "streets" of Venice by boat.

In these photos are San Marcos Square. In this square you can visit museums like the National Museum for one, go up into the bell tower, visit the famous St. Marks Cathedral, visit the clock tower, take a tour through the Doge Palace, eat at many restaurants, plus much more - but don't sit in the square. That is forbidden unless you are a paying customer at the restaurants. If you do, you could be fined and probably will be. lol

For an outrageous price, you can do a private gondola ride like us. We figured it was our first time and could be the last time in Venice so we would have a private gondola. It was so worth the experience to. On the right you can see we had just come from Happy Pizza with our calzones in hand. lol This became one of my favorite things to eat.

For a very small fee (I think one euro) you can be taken from one side of the canal street to the other in a stand up gondola. We did it and I worried the entire time I would fall overboard. lol

From a boat we were riding in to other areas, you can see San Marcos square. On the right side is Doge Palace - a tour we took. It was very interesting and worth it.

In the left picture, you can see me standing on the famous Rialto Bridge. This bridge is the largest in Venice and has many souvenir shops set up on it. On the right you can see the Rialto bridge from a boat's view. Many gondola rides take you under it or up to it.

In the photo on the left I have taken a picture from one of the top floors in a museum. From this picture you can see one of the smaller canals on a back "street." As you can also tell, many bridges are used from area to area so as to get around. In the right picture we are at the Murano factory. For thousands and thousands of dollars, you can buy that chandelier hanging in the factory. I had to settle for a fake small gondola instead.

No words or photos can show you the real Greece and Venice. The beauty they bestow is unbelievable. It was definitely a must do and when we ever finish visiting all the places on our "bucket list," we hope to return here again. Especially to Venice and Athens. I do hope you got a feel of what it was like through us sharing our experience. Thanks for taking this trip with us and if nothing else, I hope you learned some history from our experience.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice Debe- looks like you had a wonderful trip, and yes- have heard how awesome Venice is- it's near the top of my Bucket List :)


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