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Friday, March 27, 2015


One thing I love to do when I am visiting friends in Athens is to go on the Senior's Bus Tour.  These are special bus tours designed for seniors (although sometimes younger people are aboard too).  My friend Carol told me about them and last year we went on one to Euboea, crossing the island to the east coast to view towns and villages I'd never seen before We ended up on a lovely beach where we spent several hours.
These tours are like 'magical mystery tours' and usually go to destinations even the Greeks don't visit.  This year it was a trip to some mysterious islands off the north-east coast. 

The price for these day tours is reasonable (usually about 25  Euro). We boarded the bus early in the morning and headed up the coast to a town named Kamena Vourla noted for it's resort hotels. From there we got on a boat and head out into the Malian Gulf that separates Euboea from the mainland. 

It was an overcast day which made the trip seem even more mysterious.  We were headed toward Monolia Island which is apparently steeped in legend. As the story goes, Hercules won a bride in a battle. Her name was Deianira. After a time, she learned he took another woman as his favorite. Deianira send a servant, Lichas, to take a 'gift' to Hercules. It was a cloak. And when Hercules put it on his skin started to burn and he knew it was a poisoned cloak so he threw the servant into the sea. Licha broke up into pieces and Poseidon the sea-god turned the pieces into stones and created the Lichades Islands.
Of course, more logically, these islands were formed by a prehistoric volcanic eruptions and further reshaped from an upheaval of an earthquake in 426 BC. 
 Roman Ruins
 Volcanic remains forming islets

Remains of settlements.
One of the islets has some Roman ruins, another a lighthouse. There was a settlement on Monolia, and along the shore  you can see abandoned stone houses. There may be still people living there as I saw a woman on the pathway leading into the trees.  According to what I've read there are bars and pensions on the island but we didn't see them from our small boat. 

We circled Monolia and the boat anchored at Lixadonisi island where there is a small beach strewn with beach chairs, deserted on this chilly day. Usually the beach is crowded and popular with kayakers.  It was our intention to have a picnic here but the weather proved to be too inclement.  A few folks braved the chill and went swimming while the rest of us shivered on the shore.
 Lixadonisis Island 

To compensate, after failing to picnic or even sight the monachus monachus sea turtles that are usually present in the area, we boarded our boat again and headed back to Kamena Vourla.  There we were treated to a buffet lunch at the posh Galini Wellness Resort Kamena Vourla
Galini Wellness Resort, Kamena Vourla 
Kamena Vourla is famous for the hot springs and boasts several resort hotels. Nearby, up the hill, is the monastery of Iera Moni Metamorfoseos tou Sotiros built around the 11th century. We didn't visit the monastary but were treated to a stop at the monument and museum to the Battle of Thermopylae located nearby.

NEXT: The monument to the Battle of Themopylae.

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