Greece and the Greek Islands - 1996


We took this cruise in 1996, leaving from Athens and visiting the Greek Islands of Crete, Rhodes, Mykonos and Santorini, with two stops in Turkey. One stop was in Kusadasi from where we took a bus to the ancient city of Ephesus, and the other was a cruise up the Dardenells to Istanbul where we enjoyed a full 24 hours at this wonderful city. Tracy and Paul joined us in London and we then flew to Athens where we recovered from jet lag for a few days before boarding our cruise ship, the Stella Solaris. This was a Greek ship, and almost the entire crew were Greek. They were not terribly pleasant but it was near the end of the cruise season and I shall give them the benefit of the doubt that the long season had made them miserable! Everything else about the trip was unforgettable


I remember Athens for two reasons, the unrelenting heat and sun for the few days we were there, and the wonder of the ancient sites. One could also walk across this city in the middle of the night without fear of being accosted in any way. In fact the Greeks gave the impression that they could not see you!

A view of the Acropolis of Athens. Parts of this construction are 5500 years old. Situated on the highest hill in the center of Athens, it is visible for miles around. In the foreground is the entrance to the site The Propylaea and to the upper right is the Parthenon.

The Parthenon was built between 447 and 438 BC, 2500 years ago and is the most important monument in Greece. Made almost exclusively of marble, aside from its original Greek origins, it has been a Byzantine church, a Latin church and a Muslim mosque over the centuries.

We had lunch at the base of the Acropolis in the shopping village of Placa. A neat and different area where modern meets ancient.

The Amphitheatre where plays were performed thousands of years ago. Photo taken from the top edge of the Acropolis.

Paul stands in front of the Erechtheion, built in 420 BC. dedicated to the worship of the two principal gods of Attica, Athena and Poseidon-Erechtheus.

The Temple of Athena Nike was constructed in ca. 420 B.C.


Two delightful stops. We elected not to take any of the organized tours on these two islands and enjoyed our time. On Crete we hired a taxi instead of going on one of the guided tours by bus. What a stroke of genius. Our driver spoke very good English and in fact had lived in Vancouver for a couple of years. He drove us in to the hills to his home town where he provided us with lunch in the village square, mostly vegetables and salad washed down with their delightful version of ouzo. We also got to see some of the more normal sights on the island such as the Palace of Knossus.

In Mykonos we simply walked around the village for several hours. This island lives up to its post card image and we spent a very pleasant time there.

The olive trees of Crete. Our driver took us in to the back country to show us his olive trees, a sign of wealth and standing on that island. The shot above was from his car as we neared his village. He said that the number of olive trees that a bride could to the marriage was an important criteria in the selection of a wife!

The Palace of Knossus has been a holy site for over 6000 years. This remnants above go back to 1380 BC, the fourth or fifth reconstruction of the palace, all destroyed by earth quakes including this last one. The site is recognized as one of the origins of the Minoan culture. The Minoans were descendants of an ancient King of Crete, Minos.

This shot was taken in a memorial in honour of Zorba the Greek. Over my shoulder on the horizon is a mountain with the face of the God Zeus, who legend has it, is buried in the mountain.

Blue and white are the predominant colours seen on the island of Mykonos.

Mykonos lives up to the photo’s of it in Travel Brochures. It is clean and white and blue, fitting perfectly into the blue waters surrounding it. Above are a photo’s of me wandering the streets of this ancient village.

Greek Islands Cont.

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