We returned to Greece to sail the Dodecanese Islands for the second time. This summer, however, we took off from the port of Kos (instead of Rodos), and traveled north to the islands of Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos, and Lipsi. We took the “road” a little less traveled this year and ended up with a very different experience – it was a little more relaxed, more rustic, and definitely more windy with rougher seas. Our captain was also younger and drank a little (lot!) less, which made us all feel a little safer aboard. Overall, Greece never disappoints, and I am happy to say my skin is no longer translucent, but instead a speckled light tan color.
After sailing from the port of Rhodes and stopping in Symi and the Turkish coast, we spent the rest of the week on four smaller islands – Nisyros, Tilos, Chalki, and Alimia. Nisyros, known for its volcanic crater, is over over 150,000 years old. The crater “valley” was pretty impressive, spanning almost two miles wide. The largest of the craters is called Stefanos and activity is still visible today with its steaming pots and bubbling waters. Tilos is known for its little port town of Livadia, with a large rocky beach and charming seaside restaurants. Chalki had perhaps the best village (bearing the same name), where the colorful buildings seem to disappear directly into the water, sort of like the houses and hotels in Venice. It is a popular tourist port in the Dodecanese Islands and we saw everything from small fishing boats to large, multimillion dollar yachts. Our last, but certainly not least, stop on our seven day sailing trip was the uninhabited island of Alimia. Alimia, which means “one more” in Greek (it is considered an additional island to Chalki), was the site of a German/Italian WWII post, but is now a peaceful bay where boaters stop to swim on the way back to Rhodes. We stayed the night in the bay and grilled out on our homemade campfire.
For our anniversary in April, I gifted Bobby a trip to northern Italy to hike the via ferrata, or “iron road,” something that he’s always wanted to do. We were all set to go during the third week of June. However, while watching the Giro d’Italia on TV, we saw some legs of the race in the region and we were discouraged by the piles (we’re talking 4-5 feet) of unseasonal snow on the ground. We begrudgingly canceled our trip and were trying to find a warmer vacation to satisfy our desire to hit the road when we received a great offer. Our Italian friends Tatiana and Francesco invited us to join them on a seven-day sailing trip in the Dodecanese islands. We couldn’t have been more excited, and quickly agreed. The Dodecanese are a group of twelve large (plus more than 150 small) Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, of which 26 are inhabited. With some suggestions from Tatiana and Francesco’s friends as well as our captain, we decided on a six island route. From Rhodes, the port of departure, we sailed to Symi, Nisyros, Tilos, Chalki, Alimia, and even took a pit stop in Turkey during the second leg of the trip for a quick dip.
After site-seeing in Athens for three days, we hopped down to the Greek island of Santorini. Santorini is most famous for its white buildings perched on cliffs and blue-domed churches. Many of our friends have traveled here before, so we had lots of information to go on. However, we decided to stay out of the main cities (Fira and Oia) and relax at a very tranquil oasis called the Aenaon Villas. We were incredibly happy we made this choice, as there weren’t a lot of tourists around and the view was outstanding. We took several days to relax (well, I read several leisurely books and Bobby read lots of articles for his thesis), and then chose to partake in 2 different day activities that I hadn’t done before — sailing on a catamaran and scuba diving. … [Read More]
The second day brought more heat and more history. We spent most of the day at Athens’ main archeological and historical site, the Acropolis, and then spent the night looking at it from nearby Mars and Philopappos Hills. The Acropolis is located on a flat-topped rock that rises 150 m (490 ft) above the city of Athens. The complex atop the hill contains the remains of several important ancient buildings, the most famous being the Parthenon. The Parthenon was constructed in 447 BC and since 1983, the structure has been under heavy restoration. Nowadays, we are incredibly luckily to even get to view the ancient temples on their original sites, as the Acropolis has been set fire to, bombed, looted, and defaced over thousands of years. … [Read More]
Athens is considered one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history of over 3400 years. It is where some of the first temples were built and where the first Olympic Games were held. However, we are visiting Athens at a very interesting time; new history is about to be made. Greece held national elections today and we just read that the Conservative Party won, which means that Greece will most likely be staying in the Euro Zone and the Greek people will suffer from the stiff austerity measures. We are not sure if tomorrow will bring another peaceful day or a day of riots (like those of a month ago). As for now, we are executing our duties as tourists and seeing the sites around this ancient city…. [Read More]