(Greece Flag)


(Greece Map)


1 HOUR AND 55 MINUTE VIDEO OF ALL MY TRAVELS IN GREECE.
(Individual videos can be found below and on sesequent pages.)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2009:

All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

My ten hour flight from Bangkok landed right on time
at 7:00AM Thursday morning as the sun was rising.
I was immediately transferred to my hotel, the Athens Ledra Marriott.
Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel

I didn't have anything planned for this day so I just went to the center of the city
and began exploring. I also did a circuit on the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour.
It was a picture-perfect day weather wise, not a cloud in the sky.
Below left to right is Syntagma (Constitution) Square, The Academy of Sciences and The National Library.
Syntagma Square Academy of Sciences National Library

The National Garden is a peaceful, green refuge in the center of the Greek capital.
National Gardens National Gardens

The Zappeion (Exhibition Hall) is a building in the National Gardens of Athens.
The Arch of Hadrian is a monumental gateway which spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens to
the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Zappeion Zappeion Haydrian's Arch

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion, is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of Athens
that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the
rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was
not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 650 years after
the project had begun. During the Roman periods it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece
and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world.
Temple of Olympian Zeus Temple of Olympian Zeus Me at the Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Panathinaiko or Panathenaic Stadium, also known as the Kallimarmaro which was built in 566 BC and
rebuilt entirely of marble in 329 BC. It is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of white marble.
The ruins were renovated in 1870 and the stadium has a capacity of 80,000.
The Greek statue on the right can be found across the street from the stadium.
Panathinaiko Stadium Greek Statue across from Panathinaiko Stadium

The Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea is a Greek Orthodox church and one of the oldest churches in Athens.
It is estimated that the church was built some time in the 11th century, perhaps around 1050.
Mount Lycabettus is a 908 foot high Cretaceous limestone hill which is the highest point in the city.
Pine trees cover its base, and at its peak is the 19th century Chapel of St. George.
Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea Mount Lycabettus rising from urban Athens Looking Northwest from the Acropolis toward Temple of Hephaestus

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON OCTOBER 22, 2009
Hello,

Have you figured out where I am yet. Here's your final clue. I took this photo a few hours ago.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

That is the Temple of Zeus in the foreground and the Acropolis off to the left. So if you guessed Athens, Greece you are correct. Got here at 7:00 this morning. It was a picture perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky and temps in the low 70s. It was a nice change from hot and humid Southeast Asia. Below is a closer picture of the Acropolis.

The Acropolis

I didn't have anything planned for today so I just walked around town all day. I have a tour tomorrow where I will actually go to the Acropolis and other famous sights. After the tour tomorrow I will board the Royal Princess for a 12 day cruise.

Until tomorrow,

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.



FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2009:

Friday morning it was time to explore the Acropolis.
As we climbed the hill on the west side of the Acropolis there was a fantastic view in the early morning sun.
Looking West from Acropolis toward National Observatory of Athens Looking West from the Acropolis The Areopagus as viewed from the Acropolis

The Acropolis is a flat-topped rock that rises 490 feet with a surface area of about 3 hectares.
It was also known as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the first Athenian king.
The Acropolis West side of the Acropolis Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the south slope of the Acropolis.
It was built in 161 AD by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla.
It was originally a steep-sloped amphitheater used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus The Odeon of Herodes Atticus The Odeon of Herodes Atticus

A Propylaea, Propylea or Propylaia serves as the entrance to the Acropolis.
In 437 BC Mnesicles started building this temple of monumental gates with columns of Pentelic marble.
This is the temple you see in the center picture below.
The Parthenon is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena whom the people of Athens considered their protector.
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus A Propylaea, Propylea or Propylaia serving as the entrance to the Acropolis. The Parthenon

The Erechtheum is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis.
The need to preserve multiple adjacent sacred precincts likely explains the complex design.
On the south side, the famous "Porch of the Maidens", with six female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns,
each sculpted in a manner different from the rest and engineered in such a way that their slenderest part, the neck,
is capable of supporting the weight of the porch roof whilst remaining graceful and feminine.
The Erechtheum The Erechtheum The Erechtheum

The view from the Acropolis was breathtaking, although somewhat limited by the early morning sun.
The new Acropolis Museum can be seen above the Theatre of Dionysius on the lower right.
Athens as seen from the Acropolis Theatre of Dionysius and Acropolis Museum as seen from the Acropolis

The Parthenon is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be
the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered one of
the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece and of
Athenian democracy, and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.
The Parthenon The Parthenon and the Erechtheum Me in front of the Parthenon

Construction on the Parthenon began in 447 BC and were completed in 432 BC on the Athenian Acropolis,
although decorations of the Parthenon continued until 431 BC.
The Parthenon The Parthenon

26 minute Athens video.

I returned to Athens in 2013. Click HERE for the details.

In the early afternoon we were transferred to the Royal Princess in nearby Peiraias.
Piraeus is Greece's third largest urban centre with a population of 175,697 people.
Situated upon the Saronic Gulf, Piraeus is the largest passenger port in Europe and the third largest in the world.
The port of Piraeus, Greece The port of Piraeus, Greece The port of Piraeus, Greece

The Royal Princess is the smallest ship I have ever sailed on. It can accomodate 710 passengers.
We did not set sail until 8:00 Friday evening.
The Royal Princess The library on the Royal Princess My Stateroom on the Royal Princess

Watch the video below to see me sail away from Peraeus and begin my cruise on the Royal Princess.

Ten minute video of my sailaway from Athens, Greece on the Royal Princess.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON OCTOBER 23, 2009
Hello everyone,

It was another beautiful day in Athens. I started the day by climbing up to the Acropolis. Zeus was a little shortsighted in not installing an escalator back in 500 BC. It was actually a pretty easy climb. There was a nice view of the city from on top although the early morning sun did limit the view in most directions.

The Areopagus as viewed from the Acropolis

Looking West from Acropolis toward National Observatory of Athens

Athens as seen from the Acropolis

We walked all around the Parthenon and the other temples.

The Parthenon and the Erechtheum

The Parthenon

Next it was of to the new Acropolis Museum which has only been open for a couple months. This is where the original statues and decorations from the Acropolis are. It is built on top of an archeological site and most of the floors are glass and you can see right through them. In the picture below the large building behind the ancient stadium is the museum.

Theatre of Dionysius and Acropolis Museum as seen from the Acropolis

After a short drive around the city it was off to the ship. The picture below is of the port very near Athens. Dozens of ferries leave here for the many Greek Isles.

The port of Piraeus, Greece

The Royal Princess is less than one quarter the size of the ship I just got off of in Asia. And is by far the smallest ship I have ever been on. I knew it was going to be smaller but it feels even smaller than I thought it would. The ship may smaller but my stateroom is much nicer. Feels like a Manson compared to the closet I was in on the last ship. To save money I took an inside stateroom on the Diamond Princess. But I have a balcony and much larger room on this ship.

My Stateroom on the Royal Princess

We are sailing for the island of Santorini at 8:00. There are over 3000 Greek Isles of which about 600 are inhabited. Got to end now. Life boat drill about to start.

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.



SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2009:

Santorini island map

There was a beautiful sunrise as we dropped anchor in the harbour of Santorini, Greece on Saturday morning.
The sun rises over the Greek island of Santorini The sun rises over the Greek island of Santorini The sun rises over the Greek island of Santorini

I took a very enjoyable tour of the island of Santorini. Our first stop was in Oia.
Oia is a small town with a population of 1,230 inhabitants.
The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini

Along the cliff of Oia, houses have been delved into the porous volcanic rock.
Parts of these houses are visible and the scenery that results from it is generally perceived as being typically Greek.
The town is noted for its picturesque architecture, unique for its blend of relatively large medieval Venetian houses.
The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini

Oia was the center of most of the story in the 1982 movie Summer Lovers.
It was used for the location of a few scenes in the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" movies.
The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini

Our second stop was at a black sand beach on the flat east side of the island.
There was a nice view of the airport from the highest mountain on the island.
Black sand beach on the east coast of Santorini Santorini Airport viewed from Ancient Thera

We stopped at a winery on the west coast of the island.
I didn't have time to taste any wine, I was too busy admiring the spectacular view.
The cliffs on the west side of the island of Santorini The cliffs on the west side of the island of Santorini The cliffs on the west side of the island of Santorini

Firá is the modern capital of the Greek Aegean island, Santorini.
Fira is a town of white-washed houses built on the edge of the 1300 foot high caldera.
If you don't want to take the cable car up and down the cliff, you can hop on a donkey.
Firá, the capital of the islands of Santorini Firá, the capital of the islands of Santorini Mules climbing the cliff into the town of Firá

The Royal Princess was anchored off the coast of Santorini below the town of Firá.
View from the town of Firá The Royal Princess anchored off the coast of Santorini The cable car decending the cliff from Firá

I took the cable car down the cliff and went back to the ship when it started to rain.
I wished I hadn't exited so quickly when the sun came back out ten minutes later.
There was a beautiful view of the island as we tendered back to the ship.
The port below the town of Firá Looking back on the town of Firá above the cliffs of Santorini Looking back on the town of Firá above the cliffs of Santorini

Santorini is a small, circular archipelago of volcanic islands in the southern Aegean Sea,
120 miles southeast of Greece's mainland. The largest island is Thēra, forming the southernmost
member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area 28 square miles.
The 2001 census had the population of Santorini at 13,670.
Looking back on the town of Firá above the cliffs of Santorini The Royal Princess anchored off the coast of Santorini Looking back on the town of Firá above the cliffs of Santorini

Very late in the afternoon we sailed away leaving beautiful Santorini behind us.
Sailing away from the island of Santorini

32 minute video of my visit to the island of Santorini.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON OCTOBER 24, 2009
Hello everyone,

This morning before sunrise we dropped anchor off the coast of the Greek Isle of Santorini.

Sunrise in Santorini, Greece

It was a short tender ride to shore. We got off the tender at the commercial port on the island. The first thing we did is drive up the steep cliff from the port at Skala. You can see the port and the switchbacks on the cliff in the picture below.

The cliffs on the west side of the island of Santorini

We drove to the northern most point of the island and the small village of Oia. The village is perched high atop the cliffs. It has narrow cobblestone lanes, whitewashed buildings, shops, cafes and domed churches. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini

You can see one of the many blue domed churches in the picture above. Less than 20,000 people live on this island but there are over 600 churches. Lots of them are family churches.

The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini

This is where the movie Sisterhood of Traveling Pants was filmed. I've never seen it but it may be worth watching just for the scenery.

The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini

We were given over an hour to walk around the village on our own. It was great fun. One of the shops was handing out samples of sesame nuts. They were so good I had to buy a bag.

The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini

The hour passed very quickly. I could have spent the day here. I didn't want to leave.

The town of Oia, Greece on the island of Santorini

After we left Oia we drove over to the flat eastern side of the island and stopped at a black sand beach.

Black sand beach on the east coast of Santorini

Our next stop was at a winery which was perched atop a cliff with a fantastic view of Santorini and the surrounding islands.

The cliffs on the west side of the island of Santorini

On the upper right of the picture below you can see the three cruise ships that were here today.

The cliffs on the west side of the island of Santorini

After the winery we went to the top of the Mountain of Prophet Elijah which is the highest point on the island. The views from the winery were better but you did get a nice view of the airport.

The island of Santorini

Next we had a Greek lunch at a local tavern. Some of the Greek food was ok. I forget what it was called but they make this thing like a potato pancake but instead of potatoes they use tomatoes. And of course baklava for dessert. I think I have eaten more different types of food in the last three weeks than I have in my entire life. After lunch we were left in the village of Fira. It's Santorini's largest town.

Firá, the capital of the islands of Santorini

One of the ways to get up the cliffs is by donkey. Below use can see some climbing the steps into town.

Mules climbing the cliff into the town of Firá

It started to rain when I was walking around Fira so I didn't explore it too much. I took the cable car down the cliff and then got on the tender back to the ship. Five minutes later the rain stopped and the sun came back out and I wished I hadn't left so quickly. Below are three pictures from the tender looking back on Santorini and the village of Fira on top.

Looking back on the town of Firá above the cliffs of Santorini

Looking back on the town of Firá above the cliffs of Santorini

Looking back on the town of Firá above the cliffs of Santorini

I am still trying to get used to the Royal Princess. It is so different than what I am used to. And so quiet. This morning when I went to breakfast there were less than ten people in the entire dining room.

The Royal Princess anchored off the coast of Santorini

We have just sailed away. Our next stop is only 50 miles away so the Captain must be driving really slow because it's going to take him 15 hours to get there.

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.



SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2009:

Dodecanese Islands map

We dropped anchor in the harbour of Patmos, Greece at 8:00AM Sunday morning.
Patmos is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. One of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex.
It has a population of 3,000 people and an area of 13 square miles.
The harbour of the Greek island of Patmos The harbour of the Greek island of Patmos The harbour of the Greek island of Patmos

You get a nice view of this beautiful Greek island from the hills above the town of Skala.
Panorama of Patmos, Greece Panorama of Patmos, Greece Panorama of Patmos, Greece

Patmos is mentioned in the Christian scriptural Book of Revelation.
The book's introduction states that its author, John,
was on Patmos when he was given (and recorded) a vision from Jesus.
Earliest Christian tradition identifies this writer as John the Apostle.
Visitors can see the cave where John is said to have received his Revelation (the Cave of the Apocalypse).
Holy Grotto of the Revelation, Patmos Island, Greece Holy Grotto of the Revelation, Patmos Island, Greece

Skala is the port and largest town on the island of Patmos.
In the center picture below you can see The Monastery of St. John perched high above the town.
The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian was founded in 1088 in Chora.
The town square of Skala, Patmos' port and largest town The Monastery of St. John perched high the island of Patmos, Greece Downtown Skala, Greece

Late Sunday afternoon we sailed away from Patmos bound for Turkey.
The Royal Princess in the harbour of Patmos, Greece

19 minute video of my visit to the Greek Island of Patmos.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON OCTOBER 25, 2009
Hello folks,

We dropped anchor in the harbor of Patmos, Greece shortly after sunrise this morning. The Greek Parliament has declared Patmos a "sacred island," because of its connection with Saint John and the writing of the Book of Revelation.

The harbour of the Greek island of Patmos

Weather here this morning was much better than expected. We had some very strong thunderstorms overnight and were expecting more rain today. It is raining very lightly at the moment as we are about to sail away. But the weather was nice while I was ashore.

The harbour of the Greek island of Patmos

Patmos is a very small island. The island has only a few villages, the largest being Skala, pictured below, and its population is less than 2000 people.

Downtown Skala, Greece

Our first stop this morning was at the Grotto of Revelation. We were not allowed to photograph the interior of any of the holy places we visited today. Below is the entrance to the entrance to the Grotto and Cave of the Apocalypse.

Holy Grotto of the Revelation, Patmos Island, Greece

Next we saw the nunnery of Zoodohou Pigi and visited the 300-year-old Simantiri House, the oldest mansion on the island. After that we climbed up to the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian which was founded in 1088. It was full of priceless art, chalices, icons and manuscripts. You can see the monastery atop the hill in the picture below.

The Monastery of St. John perched high the island of Patmos, Greece

There was a nice view of the surrounding islands from the top of the hill.

Panorama of Patmos, Greece

Our last stop was at a taverna where we were treated to wine, mezze and dancing.

Dancers in Patmos, Greece

Tomorrow it is back into Asia where I will spend the day in Turkey.

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.

I visited the Greek Isle of Mykonos in 2013. Click HERE for the details.




Click on the arrow above to continue to my next adventure, TURKEY.

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