Friday, September 21, 2018

A Mediterranean Cruise ~ the Greek Islands

And we are visit the islands of Greece.

Don't worry. I won't take you to all 6,000 islands.  Just a few!

Our first stop after Croatia was the island of Crete. 
All was calm as we sailed into port...and I had a hard time imagining the vicious storm that the Apostle Paul found himself in when he was shipwrecked here 2000 years ago. 

We so enjoyed our time in Chania...
a city on the northwest coast of Crete known for its Venetian harbor and waterfront restaurants.

We saw the town like real tourists!

We walked narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants and visited the nautical museum.

Many sections of the inner city wall still standing today were built in the 6th and 7th century by the Byzantine Empire. 
The outer wall was built in the 16th century by the Venetians.
There is so much history in this part of the world!

Next port of call...


...known as a 'whitewashed paradise' for good reason.

All the shops and walkways are white...and clean.

Standing at the entrance to  Mykonos is the chapel of Panagia Paraportiani...
apparently one of the most photographed churches in the world.

The clergy was out on the town!

The four windmills overlooking Mykonos were built in the 16th century and used to mill flour until about 100 years ago. 
They are a main tourist attraction. 
I have no idea how I got a photo without people milling about.

Not everyone comes to look at windmills or churches...
or even to shop. 
Some come to sit on a bench and soak it all in.
In good company! 

On a super hot day we visted all the main attractions of Athens...
with a wonderful cab driver as our tour guide. 
We never did any of the tours offered through the cruise-line and always found cabs (vans) that could accommodate six of us that came with a personal tour guide. 
It was the best option!

The Parthenon ~ a former temple at the Acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena.
Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power.
Now that is old!

The Acropolis is a cluster of ancient ruins situated in the center of Athens...
another Unesco World Heritage site.
Strong fortification walls have surrounded the summit of the Acropolis for more than 3,300 years. That's hard to imagine!

From our viewpoint at the top of the Acropolis we could see Mars Hill just below us...
with some tourists gathered on top. 
The hill became well known for the sermon delivered by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament to the philosophers of Greece.  (Acts 17)

We visited the Panathenaic stadium ~ the Olympic stadium. 
It is built entirely of marble, has a capacity of 45,000 (but the record attendance was 80,000). 
It was originally built in the 6th century BC and rebuilt a few times since. 
The stadium hosted the first international Olympic Games in 1896 and again some events in the 2004 Olympics.
It really is 'a miracle in marble'!

We missed the changing of the guard at the presidential palace but checked out the officer on duty...
who seemed to be taking his job very seriously.

Then we visited the tomb of the unknown soldier in front of the old royal palace just as the changing of the guards ceremony was happening there. 

It's a whole lot of pomp and ceremony. 
They don't even look remotely happy about wearing their costumes...
not that I blame them.

Hadrian's Arch was erected over an ancient road in 132 AD by the Athenians as a tribute to the Roman emperor Hadrian.  Things were built to last!

After our time in Athens...we sailed on to Santorini.

Once we were ashore we opted to take the cable car up the cliff rather than riding the donkeys up the stairs.
From there we caught a bus to the village of Oia......
where things looked just like they did on all the pictures I had seen.

White buildings.  Blue roofs.  Blue skies. Sunshine. That is the postcard.

This is the real thing.


We found a cafe on the cliff that looked out on that view and soaked it all in.

We shopped, explored...

and made way for donkeys. 

And when it was time to head back to the ship...
we walked down the 300 steps to the marina with intentions of catching a water taxi back.

We were all smiles until reached the bottom and discovered there were no boats heading back to the other end of the island. 

Oh. Oh.

We were most grateful to the local who pulled a few strings to get a cab to come down that very steep slope to retrieve us and then deliver us back from whence we came! We knew the cruise ship would not wait for us if we were not back on time.


 I knew nothing about this island...the last stop on our Greek Isle tour. 

It is a small town in western Greece...
with its claim to fame being that it is the nearest port to Olympia,
 the ancient site where the Olympic Games were born in the 8th century BC. 
That is why cruise ships stop here. 
But we opted to skip the tour of Olympia (despite all the very persistent pleas of the tour guides) and spend our time in the little Greek beach town instead.

 Quaint.  Lovely.  Very Greek through and through.  

As we sailed out of the port of Katakolon we bade farewell to all things Greek. 
We were bound for Venice once again. 

But first....another day on our floating resort.

Where they deliver fruit snacks to the chaise lounges on the upper deck.

Where every night is dress-up night with good friends.

And where there is always a good reason to laugh!

Where one eats well every day.
More than once...
but especially at dinner.

And after dinner...
we watch the sun set from the promenade deck.

When the photographer will not take 'no' for an answer...
we oblige by posing as a team. 

Good friends.
Good travel mates.
Good times.

Good memories of our Mediterranean cruise of 2018!

And so ends the cruise
I'll be back with a post about Rome...
our last stop before heading home.

Thanks for joining me!


  1. The colors are striking! You sure took some fabulous photos and the photos taken of you are wonderful. You all look as if you are having the time of your lives. Access to Santorinini (I may have started spelling it and forgotten to stop) looks verrry interesting. Is that zigzaggy bit there the road? You folks are wise to have taken the cable car.

    1. The zig zaggy trail is the the long flight of 600 stairs that climbs up the 800 foot cliff. Many ride the donkeys up. Not my idea of a good time!

  2. Oh, my goodness, Judy!! I loved every photo as I traveled along with you this morning! You captured it all! My favorites were the post card and then the real thing and then all the pics that had YOU in them......but especially that last one of all of you!!!
    Love LOVE love your trip!
    I am actually in British Columbia right now in Creston visiting our friends, the Larson's. They have excellent Internet so this evening I will be catching up on the earlier posts!

    PS.....We are loving Canada!!! Who knew we would ever be here??

  3. It all looks so surreal - so beautiful!!! We need to get back to the Greek Islands some day. Like you we almost always have opted out of any ship excursions and found the local taxis far more interesting. I had to smile when I saw your group picture - exactly the same thing happened to us and we finally obliged as a group and were posed as you were (lady's hands on hips and men's hands in pockets) - so funny. Love to see what you wore on your trip - loved all the pretty outfits! You got some brilliant pictures - what a great cruise! Looking forward to Rome pictures and stories ...

  4. How beautiful those white buildings are against the blue sky - just like all the travel literature! Finding your own excursions is a good idea, and I'm glad you made it back to the ship before it sailed.

  5. Oh, it is nice to be reminded! Thank you for the extra details ... so fun to read about them! Your pictures make me want to jump right into the scene again.

  6. Oh my....what a fantastic post Judy. Loved seeing and reading.

  7. What a wonderful cruise made even nicer as you went with friends! Every time my husband and I have taken a cruise we went alone as a couple, and although we always met lovely people on the ships we always wished friends, or family, would come along. We hope that maybe someday we can arrange a family cruise with our children and grandchildren. Greece looked amazing--I want to go! My husband spent time there when he was young, but I never visited.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson