Monday, August 9, 2010

Touring the Greek Islands

It's hard to believe that last month this time we were in Greece! My dream trip and a birthday wish come true. I shared our stay in Athens earlier and now I'll post about the latter half of our trip when we were cruising the islands on our ship the Aquamarine of the Louis Hellenic Cruiseline. This was a view of our first port Mykonos.

We rode a smaller boat called a "tender" from our ship to the island.

We came into the port.

Had to take a picture at Jackie O's -- it wasn't open though.

Loved how pretty everything was - very clean the houses and shops were all whitewashed -- cobblestone streets. The famous windmills.

The other side of the windmills on the beach.

Overlooking the water.

One of the many chapels that were everywhere. We tried to find the pelican that stands about 5 ft. tall, but never ran into him. We did meet an artist from the United States in one of the restaurants who came for a vacation when she was 19 and stayed -- she said that she had just celebrated her birthday and she was now in her eighties. It was a perfectly charming island. According to Greek mythology, Hercules, in one of his twelve tasks, was fighting the Giants and having killed them, he threw them in the sea where they petrified and turned into huge rocks, forming the island of Mykonos.

The next morning we had an early excersion into Ephesus, Turkey. Besides knowing this as where Paul started one of the early churches, it was also a city were artisans and rich merchants gathered. I believe this was where the water came into the city from the surrounding mountains.

This was where the medical professional of the city practiced. Our guide said that this was also where they learned that there was medicinal value in snake venom and used it to cure some of the illnesses.

A monument to the goddess Nike. The "swish" on Nike shoes comes from a fold of her gown.

Walking down into the ruins of the city.

Temple ruins.

This was the mosiac floor of one of the wealthy homes. Our guide told us that some of the patterns of Turkish rugs were taken from these ancient mosiac floors.

A temple to Artemis.

A closer look at the archway.

Our guide "Ishin" said that this was one of the more important spots of the city. Where all the people would gather for the news of the day at the public......

....latrine! They actually had a flushing system. And the wealthy homeowners would send their slaves down in the cold months to "warm up" their spot for them. (talk about bench warming!)

This was the library.

More library ruins.

Across from the library was the town "brothel". The front door was used by the trades people who were visiting the city. The town men knew that there was a secret tunnel from the library over to the brothel that they used. "Honey, I'm going to the library tonight to do a bit of research!" um, ...yes... right!

You can see the equipment on the right where they are still excavating here.

Here we are infront of the theatre area. During the month of April sportsmen, musicians and theatre players would attract people from as far away as Jerusalem and Athens.

Later that afternoon we had an excersion into Patmos -- the view was beautiful.

This mosiac was above the entry of the Grotto of St. John. We couldn't take pictures inside. This is where John was banished and where he wrote the text of Revelation.

These are pictures of the Monastery of the Apocalypse. This island has many visitors during tourist season, but only about 2,500 people live there. They have no drinkable water and have to it shipped in each day. They also have no hospital, library or movie theater. They have one high school and 2 elementary schools. I don't think I would want to live there, but our guide had moved there from Athens and says she loves how quiet it is on the off season and everybody knows everyone else. It's a close knit community.

The next day we docked at Rhodes, the "Island of Roses" - actually hibiscus. The old city is walled and in the middle was this fountain.

A closer look at one of the tiles. This Island had great markets and is where we did most of our island shipping.

This was a "street character" He really looked like a statue, but everytime someone would throw a coin in his bowl, he would change positions and become statue-like once again.

A statue of the Virgin Mary and Child on The Street of the Knights.

Looking down the Street of the Knights.

Church ruins.

We rented a car and visited some of the beautiful beaches.

They were beautiful -- some of the beaches are sandy, some are pebble beaches and some are rocky. We saw lots of water sports and sail boats. And also some of the same sort of "tacky" beach shops we see here in the states.

Unfortunately, for our last day of excersions the water had been quite rough overnight and Mr. Mid-Atlantic was terribly seasick. He stayed on the ship while we went to Crete. Our first stop was for a winery tour and tasting.

Antique wine jars.

This is where once the grapes would have been stomped by foot.

Antique wine barrels. Crete was the first country that ever exported wine.

This island had lots of beautiful homes with gated courtyards and flowers. We traveled further up the mountains.

To a reastaurant for a tasting and to see some traditional dancers.

The tavern sign.

The town square with a clock tower and church.

Our last excursion was Santorini. Rick was feeling a bit better and did come on this trip, however we didn't stay very long.

This is believed by some to be the site of the "Lost Continent of Atlantis".

This is a very pretty setting. The views are stunning.

The only way to get to Santorini is straight up -- by cable car or donkey ride or uphill walking.

There were a few shops and restaruants at the foot of the cliff where we came onshore.

One final look at the cliffs of Santorina.

I hope you enjoyed coming along for the island tours. It's a vacation I'll always remember and treasure!

See ya!


  1. Oh, Martha! How beautiful it is! I am struck by the brilliant blue and white in every single photo...simply gorgeous! My dream is to go there one day, too! Thanks for the virtual vacation!...hugs...Debbie

  2. Oh gorgeous and interesting. That photo of approaching the city is so beautiful. You must have felt like you were dreaming the entire time!

  3. Martha,
    How beautiful!! Thank you for taking me to Greece. I loved the Nike statue. It was all so beautiful! Just dropping by from the rooster party, I am way late responding, but so glad I came by.

  4. My dream trip! Incredibly beautiful; thanks for the tour!

  5. Oh my. I want to go so much. Thank you for sharing your tour with us. Your pictures were fantabulous!

  6. Oh I am so glad I found your blog. These photos were amazing! I have always wanted to go to Greece, especially Santorini. Maybe someday. :)

  7. Beautiful photos of Greece and Turkey, Martha! They sure brought back wonderful memories. What a way to celebrate your birthday! Belated happy Birthday to you!...Christine