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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!