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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A YEAR'S TRAVEL RECAP 2017

Add to Technorati Favorites Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do much traveling this year because of a move mid-year to a new, more comfortable lodging. For most of the year I was working on a travel ebook of the Greek Islands for an American publisher (under contract), the same one who published my ebook ATHENS AND BEYOND. Because of the unpleasant situation in my apartment I couldn't do much other writing though I did accomplish publishing a couple of travel articles on EuropeUpClose.com Just when I was nearly finished the Greek Islands book the publisher suddenly disappeared and refused to respond to any of my emails. Consequently I have shelved the project and will consider doing it as an ebook myself some time in the future.
Once I got moved I was able to focus on travel and managed a three week trip direct to Athens. I spent three days on Naxos at the Maragas camping where I love to stay in the bed-tents. Then I took the fast ferry to Iraklion, Crete where I met with a writer/mentor friend who is an expert on the Minoans. Dr Jack Dempsey and I have been communicating since the 1990's but this was our first in-person meeting. This made my visit in Iraklion special. I also enjoyed a return to Knosses where I'd been a couple of times in the 1980's. Jack and I met at the famous Lion Fountain and then went to the Venetian Harbor for a seafood lunch and a wonderful long chat.
I went out to Knossos on the hop-on-hop off bus. It had started to rain but as we arrived the rain stopped so I had a pleasant afternoon wandering the archaeological site. It's expanded a lot since my last visit and I enjoy seeing everything but it would be so much fun to visit again with Jack!
Most of the wall paintings and artifacts are now safely protected and stored in the Archaeological Museum which is definitely worth a visit. I went there the next day, again on the bus, and also stopped by to pay my respects at the grave of writer Nikos Kazanzakis which is up on the city wall. Back in Athens I visited the lovely new Niarchos Centre where there is an opera house, theatre, library, computer room, vast gardens and green spaces all for the pleasure of the Athenians.
I also took several days to visit my friend on Salamina where we always enjoy exploring archaeological sites. My favorite is the monument to the soldiers of the Greek/Persian sea war which is located on the tumulus of the dead soldiers.
I spent most of time in Athens doing readings from my historical novels at the Canadian Institute, Athens Centre and Athens Community School. I always love visiting Athens and look forward to returning in 2018 for a longer time.
So the year has drawn to a close. I'm looking forward to more travels in 2018. Some of them may be local jaunts as there's lots of interesting things to see around the Province where I live on the West Coast of Canada. But my main focus will be returning to Greece via England, Wales and a visit to Germany to see family and friends. Safe and happy travels to everyone in this coming year!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

HERE WE GO AGAIN! OFF TO GREECE FOR THREE WEEKS

This year's vacation is much shorter than usual. That is because of a very stressful last year and an eventual move to a new quieter, cleaner and friendlier home. A lot of expense involved which ate up some of my travel funds, so three weeks will have to make do.

As it turns out, it will be mainly a writing trip with three readings of my novels lined up in Athens at the Canadian Institute, Athens Centre and readings to two classes at the American Community School.  I have read for these venues before and really look forward to returning.
 My two-volume novel SHADOW OF THE LION 

Reading at the ACC in 2015

My first stop after arriving in Athens on September 22 will be NAXOS where I plan to spend three days lounging on my favorite beach at my favorite campsite, Maragas Camping.

 The bed-tents at Maragas Camping 

 Maragas Beach

 Lounging on a beach chair.

 Beach Tarverna, Plaka Beach

the walkway across to the Portada at Naxos port.

Next I'm going to Crete. I intended to go last year and had to cancel my plans. This time I'm going for three days to visit Knossos archaeological site and a few historic locations around Iraklion. I will also be visiting with my American professor writer/mentor friend Jack Dempsey who writes about the Minoans.



 Iraklion harbor




A visit to the grave of writer Nikos Kazanzakis.

KNOSSOS


MINOAN WALL FRESCOES.

After my visit to Crete I will return to Athens and later go to Salamina to visit my friend. Whenever I'm there we have many adventures seeking out archaeological sites that many people don't know about.  We've been to the site where they were looking for a monument to Ajax, hero of the Troy Wars; Ajax's acropolis, the Cave of Euripides and several other sites.  I wonder what exciting finds we'll see this year!

The final week in Greece will be exciting because I've been offered a free two-day stay GLAMPING in a Yurt, near Kalamata in exchange for writing a story about it.  So look at this blog space in a few weeks and you'll see what it's like to go glamor-camping in a yurt!






Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A RETURN TO THE CYCLADES AND CRETE

Add to Technorati FavoritesI usually try to go to the island of NAXOS when I'm visiting Greece, because it's my favorite island.  This year is no exception, however I've decided to also stop at PAROS.  Aside from a weekend a long time ago when I went to babysit a friend's little boy while she performed at a taverna, I've never spent time on that popular island. I've heard so much about this island from other people, I figured it was time to explore it myself.

 PAROS
 I've only got a couple of days booked on Paros but it should be enough to see a few of the sights although I have quite a list of options.  An interesting thing is that the town of Parikia where I will be staying used to be a Minoan city back in the 1400 BCs.  Later, in 338 BC it was taken over by King Philip II of Macedonia (Alexander's father), followed by the Romans.

There's a wide choice of things to see and beautiful beaches to visit so my little stop-over should prove to be really interesting. I'll probably wish I'd booked more than two days there!

From Paros, I will go to Naxos which is very nearby.  As always, I'm heading for Maragas Camping, and like last year I'm going to stay in one of the bed tents.  These are quonset-hut type 'tents' with a bed and electricity inside and lots of room to walk around.  I found it very comfy and it's cheap!
 NAXOS, Maragas Beach

 Spectacular Naxos Sunset

The beach there is just spectacular and there are some wonderful little tavernas along the beach where you can sit and watch the sunset. Besides that you can take the bus into town and there's lots to see including  the Venetian Castle, the Portala (doorway of the Temple of Apollo) and many other things. Naxos has a very interesting history and I've been on the round-the-island tour a number of times. It's a big island, with mountains and lots of greenery as well as those gorgeous beaches. It's the island where, in the myths, Theseus landed with Ariadne, the princess of Knossos after they had left Crete when the volcanic explosion on Santorini drove them all away.  Unfortunately Ariadne ran off with the celebrants of Dionysos and that's the last Theseus saw of her. This time when I'm there I must remember to visit that particular sanctuary and see if I can conjur Ariadne's spirit.
 MARAGAS BEACH CAMPING


Last year when I was on Naxos I wrote a lot of poems while on the beach and one of them was about Ariadne.I am hoping the Muse is with me this time too.  I find if a very inspiring island!

 IRAKLION, CRETE

 IRAKLEON, MOROSINI FOUNTAIN


From Naxos I take the ferry to Crete. I'll stop a couple of days in Iraklion in order to see the sights there which will include the Palace of Knossos famous from  Minoan times.  There is so much to see in Iraklion and other parts of Crete that I may decide to extend my time there because it's worth spending time. I've visited Crete on a couple of other occasions but not for a few years, so it's going to be fun to return. 
 THE PALACE OF KNOSSOS

 MINOAN ARTIFACTS AND PAINTINGS

Eventually I'll head back to Athens and then a lot of new adventures will take place.  Among those I am hoping that I can do some book readings as the second volume of SHADOW OF THE LION is supposed to be published in October. 

NOTE:  photos of Paros and Irakleon  from Wikipedia

MAKING TRIP PLANS, 2016

Add to Technorati FavoritesENGLAND AND THE IONIAN ISLANDS

I've started to verify and plan my trip to Europe this year which will begin September 4 when I fly to London.  From there I will go right away to Caerphilly, Wales to spend a couple of days visiting with my cousins and touring my castle.  It's a quick trip due to me having to take advantage of cheap air fares.
 Caerphilly Castle

 Windsor St. Where my Dad used to live.

On Sept. 7 I'll head into London again, early, in time to take in a special exhibit at the British Museum.  I'm really excited about seeing EGYPT'S LOST WORLDS, which are artifacts found under the see, some off of Alexandria which was the city founded by Alexander the Great and occupied but the first Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.
 The British Museum


Early the next morning I fly to Corfu, my first stop in the Ionian Islands off the west coast of Greece. I was only there briefly back in the early '80's so I wanted to spend a few days there as Corfu has an interesting history with lots to see. I've check out the tours and will try and take one of them so I can see as many of the special sites as possible.  This will include the palace where Prince Philip was born and the home of the Durrell brothers of literary fame.
 Corfu, Kerkyra
 Mouse Island


 Kerkyra

I'm staying on Corfu for 3 days then taking the quick ferry over to the tiny island of Paxis where I'll spend two days exploring. There are a couple of interesting museums and a Venetian Kastro on an islet off shore that was reputedly designed by Leonardo da Vinci. 
 Paxi, Gaia

 Paxi harbour

From Paxi I must take a ferry to the mainland and then a bus to Lefkada where I'll head south to the town of Vassiliki (the surf-boarders paradise). Not sure yet if I'll spend a night there. It depends on the ferry service onward to Kefalonia where I will visit the seaside town of Fiscardo, established and named for a famous pirate. 

From there I will head by bus to Athens, and will stop there to visit friends for a few days before heading on another island adventure,  this time to the islands of Paros and Naxos.  I decided to stay two days on Paros as it is another island that I've only visited briefly back in the '90's.

My favorite island is Naxos, so I'll stay there five days in a bed-tent at the Maragas Camping, a campsite and beach that I just love going to. I never get tired of visiting Naxos as it's a big island and lots to see besides having the most fabulous beaches!  I can hardly wait to have my dinner at one of my favorite sea-side tavernas there to watch the sunset!

From Naxos I will head south to Crete.  I haven't been to Crete since the '80's and wanted to see the Minoan site of Knossos again as well as exploring around Iraklion.  I'll be there a couple of days and hope to get up to a mountainside resort owned by a FB friend.

When all my Cretan adventures are over, I head back to Athens and that's where I'll be for the month of October, until the 20th when I head back home.  There's lots to see and do in my favorite city besides visiting with my friends.  I'll go over to Salamina island for a few days to explore with Christina and probably make a few day trips around  If finances enable it, I might even go up to Pelion for a few days as I've been wanting to explore that area for quite some time now. 

Some of my Athens friends
 Zoe and me
 Carola, Christina and Kim

I'll be posting along the way and sharing all my adventures with on-line friends and family. So stay tuned for the next installment! IF YOU WANT FURTHER INFO ON SAVING MONEY WHILE YOU TRAVEL CHECK THESE LINKS. A little bit more information about our guide: It breakdowns when a no foreign transaction credit card makes sense for travellers, their benefits, as well as strategies to save money when traveling abroad. You can see our work here: https://creditcards.usnews.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee https://creditcards.usnews.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee#what-are-foreign-transaction-fees https://creditcards.usnews.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee#choosing-card-no-foreign-transaction-fee https://creditcards.usnews.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee#best-credit-cards-with-no-foreign-transaction-fee