Thursday, October 20, 2011

Greece Trip Photo Essay

Jessica and I went to Greece for our honeymoon for 2 weeks in September. The following is a photo essay of some highlights.

The island of Crete was our first stop. This is our view from the balcony at our first hotel, The Creta Maris

This is Spinalonga island. It was originally a Venetian fortress to protect the harbour close by. The harbour is in the town of Elounda. The Turkish took over the island from the Venetians.The Greeks finally used this island as a Leper colony. The last remaining Turks left quickly when they realised the Greeks were leaving the Lepers there. This island was the last remaining Leper Colony in Europe.
After Spinalonga we cruised over to this beautiful white sand beach. We had some free time to swim and snorkel. Then we had a pork BBQ on the boat complete with Greek salad and wine.
This is the town of Elounda which is the harbour town of Spinalonga Island. Small little fishing village

After the boat cruise, the excursion continued to the town of Aigos Nicolas (Saint Nicolas). It is know for the small freshwater lake pictured here. It was once believed this lake had no bottom. Sacrifices were performed in the lake until it was determined there actually was a bottom approximately 200' down.

We decided to take a day trip into the capital city of Crete, Heraklion. We travelled by city bus into the busy city. From there we boarded another bus to the Palace of Knossos. This palace was inhabited by the Minoan people around 7000 BC. 

This is a view of the main square in Heraklion. It is a busy city full of scooters, people, and small cars. We enjoyed our first Pita Gyros here!
We were able to visit the Archaeological Museum while in Heraklion. There were many original artifacts from various ruins including some from the Palace of Knossos. This was one of the statues in the museum. It is the Minoan Snake Goddess who represents fertility.
A picture from the beach just down from our hotel in front of the boardwalk on our last night in Crete.
Another picture from the beautiful island of Crete. This is the harbour of Hernosissos - the town where our hotel was. We really enjoyed this island and all the sites and beaches it offered.
After Crete we took a high speed ferry to the Island of Santorini. This island is spectacular with its white washed building sitting on the cliffs. This is one of our first views of Santorini from the water
We stayed in the Majestic Hotel in the town of Fira. The view from the pool was amazing!
This is the view from the center of Fira. Lots of cruise ships parked in center of the islands. The island in the center is a dormant volcano. Santorini is a group of islands in a rough circle with the volcano in the center. It is believed that all the islands were once a big volcano. It erupted and shot so much magma into the air that the sides collapsed and what you see is what's left

Jessica & I at one of the amazing lookout points looking out over the "Caldera". Behind the camera is a bunch of narrow streets with small shops on both sides selling mostly souvenirs, jewelry, art, clothing and food
Santorini is known for its beautiful sunsets. This is our view from dinner
Our first sunset dinner in Fira at The Argo Restaurant. This meal was one of our favorite of the trip and it started with Tomato Croquettes. These fried tomato balls were awesome! The tomatoes in Greece were amazing, big, meaty and flavourful. We'd definitely recommend The Argo restaurant to anyone visiting Santorini - great food, awesome view and very reasonable prices
Santorini is also quite beautiful at night
The next morning we took the public bus to the North end of Santorini to the town of Oia. This town is a little more traditional. The well known white churches with round blue roofs are found here
From the North tip of Oia looking out to the island of Therissia
There are many stray dogs and cats all over Greece. These 2 guys found some shade in one of the most picturesque settings in the world
Later in the afternoon we went out on another boat cruise excursion. The first stop was onto the volcano at the center of the Santorini Islands. We walked to the top and even saw a few openings releasing steam and gasses
After the volcano we sailed around to the backside of the Volcano island to the hot springs. We had to jump off of the boat and swim a fair distance into the orangey water shown in the picture. The hot springs turned out to be more like luke warm springs but it was a cool experience. That white building on the right is a church - they are everywhere...
Rainbow off of Therissia Island where we dropped anchor for dinner
Sunset cruise on the boat
Club sandwich back at the Majestic pool. This was worth the 12 Euros($20), it was awesome...
We rented a quad for the day to tour the island. We rented the biggest one we could after hearing stories of people getting sold small ones that couldn't get up some of the hills. Ours had been affectionately named "Fat Bastard" by the rental company. It was a 300cc four stroke automatic. The quad was a great way to explore the island and get down to the beaches. We covered the entire island except for the North end in about 5 hrs
This is the view from the highest point of Santorini. Fira is the middle of the picture and Oia is the top left.
This is Perissa beach. The sand was almost black here.

Here is Jessica the crazy old cat lady... No just a bunch of strays. We stopped at this small little Cafe near the Red Beach before hiking down to it. We got a couple souvlaki sandwiches, a frappé ice coffee and a beer. As soon as the food came out so did the cats. At one point the little white one on the right was up on top of our bag on the middle chair
This is the Red Beach, one of the most famous on the island. To get to it you had to hike down the sketchy path on the top right of the picture. I tried to snorkel but the water wasn't very clear
Last dinner on Santorini, this time at Nikki's Restaurant. It was good but not quite as nice as the Argo.

These are the ~600 stairs that snake down to the Fira port. There is a cable car that you can take up and down or the donkeys shown here. It cost 4 Euro each way
Here are some of the donkeys on their way home
More churches than houses,
More donkeys than people,
More stairs than streets,
More wine than water

From Santorini we took another high speed ferry to the island of Mykonos. We stayed at the Royal Myconian Hotel right off of Elia Beach. This is the view from our balcony

These are the famous windmills that Mykonos is known for.

This is the part of Mykonos Town known as "Little Venice". The windmills would be just off the top right of this picture
From Elia Beach in front of our hotel we took a water taxi over to Super Paradise Beach shown here. The beaches of Mykonos are known for being gay/lesbian & nudist friendly. Some beaches more than others. Super Paradise is know as being more extreme but was quite tame while we were there. It cost 12 Euro to rent 2 beach chairs and umbrella for the day. Beers were 5 and Jess' strawberry daiquiri was 10, not cheap but beautiful!
Enjoying a beer and the great view
Before heading out to dinner
Sunset from the balcony
Mykonos is also known for the 2 large pelicans that live in the town. We ate dinner at a restaurant right beside where they stay most of the time. At one point the female one shown above, walked right past our table and almost into the kitchen
Where's the food at??? One staff member took a fish and luired her out of the kitchen. He then fed it to her right out side of the restaurant. It is in the video I posted at the end.
The next day we took a trip to the small island of Delos which was a 30min cruise off Mykonos. This island was known as the birthplace of twin gods Apollo, the god of light and energy and his sister Artemis, the god of animals and wilderness. The island became a very wealthy after all of the people brining offerings to Apollo's temple. The people who inhabited the island were very advanced and dated back to 3000BC. Some of their houses were 3 stories and had bathrooms and complex waterways.
These are the famous lions that the island is known for.

There are a number of "fallace" monuments around the island. The people believed that they warded off evil and promoted fertility. This one seems to be broken off...

Some more "junk" artifacts in the island's museum. The island is not inhabited by anyone except for the temporary archeologists working on the active dig site

One last ferry ride and were now in Athens, specifically the Plaka District near the base of the Acropolis Monument
This is The Theatre of Dionysos. This is right at the base of the huge Acropolis monument. In the ancient times plays, comedies and musicals were performed here
The Odeon of Pericles at the Acropolis site. This one is still in use.
Jessica and I in front of the Parthenon at the top of the Acropolis. It is a temple dedicated to the Greeek Goddess Athena who was the Greek's virgin patron.This thing is massive. It was finished in 438BC and is pretty amazing to think it was built without any modern cranes...
Another view of the very famous Parthenon
Another temple on the Acropolis monument
Gypsy child on the sidewalk near the Acropolis playing a small Greek bouzouki. I thought he was cute so he got 0.50 Euro from me

Here's the video