Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Greece - The Best Host & Hostess

We were fortunate to stop at Santorini and Patmos while we were on our cruise and then we stayed with some friends of ours that live in Athens for 5 days. One of my mission companions was friends with my sister before we ever served in the same mission. We have known each other for a long time and are great friends! Well, her parents live in Greece and her dad is the attaché for the Air Force in Greece. So they were kind enough to put us up, feed us, drive us around and love us! It was so great! So the first few pics our from some of our island stops and then the rest are from our time in Athens and surrounding areas.

Here I am riding on the tender to spend the day in Santorini. Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. It is located in the southern Aegean Sea and has all the sites that you see in your head when you picture Greek Isles.

See what I mean - typical Greek Isle picture.

I loved driving around the island and seeing all the windmills.

It turned out to be a beautiful day with a little bit of haze in the morning that burned off to stunning views of the island and the caldera. I want to go back and rent a scooter or 4-wheeler to drive all around the island (it isn't that big).

The next day we went to Patmos and there is NOTHING there worth seeing. It is where John was exiled to and where he wrote the book of Revelations - it is no wonder that he was exiled there we feel that it was a wasted stop. But here we are anyway.

Then, our second evening in Athens, Charity's parents took us to Cape Sounion which is noted as the site of ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. It is one of the best preserved temples in Greece. We watched the sunset and then went out for dinner. Amazing!

According to legend, Cape Sounion is the spot where Aegeus, king of Athens, leapt to his death off the cliff, thus giving his name to the Aegean Sea.


Yep, still pretty. I think that we took more than 100 pictures in less than an hour because you just kept trying to get a great sunset picture that showed the colors of the sky but didn't wash out the detail in the temple and make it only look like a silhouette. No luck - always one or the other.

Two days later we went and drove to see Corinth. In the morning we hiked around Acrocorinth and we even found a turtle. It was a great and hot hike with beautiful views. We also saw the remains of a temple to Aphrodite which Paul criticized.

This is the Temple of Apollo in Ancient Corinth which is a replica of the original.

These are my favorite bugs that we found while walking around Mycenae. I took several pictures of them and loved their coloring. While we hiked around Charity's dad told us great stories and history of the area - it was way better than any tour guide.

This is the Corinth Canal which is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland and therefore effectively making the former an island. The canal is 6.3 kilometres in length and was built between 1881 and 1893.

One day while we were in Athens we went on a day cruise to three different islands, Hydra (where we swam in the Mediterranean Sea), Poros (where we at gelato and enjoyed the views) and Aigina where we saw the Temple of Afaia which is another of the best preserved temples in Greece.

Pretty amazing!

On our Athens in the city day we went to Syntagma Square where they have the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Greece and the parliament building. I never knew that lots of countries have a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but we saw the one in Rome too. Did you know when they built the parliament it originally had more than 100 rooms and only 1 BATHROOM - I would call that bad planning!

We also saw the standard ancient Greek ruins that you think of when you picture Athens. The Parthenon is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena whom the people of Athens considered their protector. It has been under reconstruction for far longer than it originally took to construct.

The Temple of Hephaestus is the best preserved ancient Greek temple. It is a Doric order peripteral temple, located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens. This is a view of the temple from the Acropolis.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion, is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Oliver accidentally left our tickets at home and so several things that we wanted to see we didn't want to pay to access a second time. We decided to pay anyway because you aren't in Greece all that often. As we walked up to the entrance gate someone gave us their tickets that they didn't need anymore and we got to just walk in and enjoy. What a blessing!

We loved Greece and we loved Greek yogurt (YUM)! Thanks so much to the Johansen's for making us feel so welcome and visiting sites they have taken many people to before just so that we could experience them for the first time. Our favorite artwork from our trip is from a gentleman who lives on Hydra - you will have to come to our home to see our impressive pieces of art!


Miriam said...

What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing just a few of the pictures.

Heidi said...

I am officially GREEN with envy. I have always wanted to go the places you went! Someday....

So glad that you got to do this!