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Sunday, May 17, 2009

ISLAND HOPPING


MYKONOS

After our week of day-trips and birthday celebrations in Athens, we will head for the Cyclades Islands. First stop : MYKONOS, the post card picture island.
I've visited here several times before and this time I'm tour-guiding so I know the town and environs well. It's best to go to Mykonos early in the season, before the hordes of tourists arrive.

The town is built in a whorl of narrow laneways, originally to baffle the pirates who used to frequently raid the islands. So it gets very crowded in summer. It is also the gay island and there can be a definitely decadent atmosphere prevailing there with wild parties and other not so savory carrying on. But early in the season it is a pleasant little island to visit. So we'll stop here a day or so and then hop a ferry to continue our island holiday to Naxos.




NAXOS, Plaka Beach

Of all the Greek islands, NAXOS is one of my favorites. In Greek myth, it's the island where Theseus abandoned Ariadne after they'd escaped from the labyrinth in Crete. There are some places on the island that give the sense of 'abandonment' as there are many 'ghost' villages, left over from when people escaped to the hills from pirate raids and also during the Turkish occupation in the 1400's.

Naxos has a distinct Venetian flavor because it was once occupied by the Venetians who ruled the waterways. So the architecture is uniquely Venetian as is the castle on the hill at the port.
One thing I like about Naxos are the beautiful beaches and this will be our 'beach' holiday. I can hardly wait to be here, at Plaka Beach, lounging on a bed under the straw umbrella and swimming in the warm sea.

From Naxos we'll head to our next island destination in the North East Aegean, off the coast of Turkey. It's been more than 10 years since I last visited SAMOS so I am looking forward to returning. This is another island with an interesting history. It also came under the domination of the Turks along with the rest of the North Eastern Aegean Island in 1453. During the 1800's the inhabitants played an important role during the Greek Revolution against the Turks.

Samos is only 1.3 miles from KUSADASI, Turkey so we'll catch the launch over for the hour and fifteen-min. ride and spend a couple of days exploring the town as well as Ephesus which is nearby. I have been to Kusadasi several times in the past, and it is no longer the small port it used to be, but rather a bustling tourist mecca where the cruise ships dock. However, it will be fun browsing the bazaars. I hope we can stay at the Stella Guest Hostel where I have always stayed when I'm in Kusadasi. And I wonder if my favorite donair place is still there near the harbour?

We'll take the local bus up to EPHESUS, which was once the most important commercial center of the western Anatolia. The city ruins are quite amazing to see. I've been here twice before and I look forward to seeing it again.

Naturally, I have more travel stories in mind from this Island tour. And I'll certainly be posting more blogs along the way.


TURKISH BAZAAR



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6 comments:

Allen said...

I came to your blog just when I was surfing on this topic. I am happy that I found your blog and information I wanted.

Wynn Bexton said...

Keep checking it out for further news and adventures.

workhard said...

Wow.. love the pic of the beach..


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Wynn Bexton said...

Stay tuned for more adventures.

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