Next I visit Haydrian's Arch, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Old Olympic Stadium, Acropolis, Academy of Sciences,
National Library, Old Greek Parliament, Church of St. Paul, National Gardens and Zappeion.
Have you figured out where I am yet. Here's your final clue. I took this photo a few hours ago.
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.
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.
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.
We walked all around the Parthenon and the other temples.
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.
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 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.
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.
my tender ride from the ship to the shore, our ride up the cliffs of the island
and many breathtaking views of the island.
tender back to the ship and sail away from the island.
This morning before sunrise we dropped anchor off the coast of the Greek Isle of Santorini.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 hour passed very quickly. I could have spent the day here. I didn't want to leave.
After we left Oia we drove over to the flat eastern side of the island and stopped at a black sand beach.
Our next stop was at a winery which was perched atop a cliff with a fantastic view of Santorini and the surrounding islands.
On the upper right of the picture below you can see the three cruise ships that were here today.
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.
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.
One of the ways to get up the cliffs is by donkey. Below use can see some climbing the steps into town.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There was a nice view of the surrounding islands from the top of the hill.
Our last stop was at a taverna where we were treated to wine, mezze and dancing.
Tomorrow it is back into Asia where I will spend the day in Turkey.
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