Turkey and Greece tours ending in Athens, Greece – Part 2

Turkey and Greece tours ending in Athens, Greece – Part 2

After two weeks of being immersed and engaged in the Turkish culture, it was time to move on to the next part of my month-long journey and next part of my Rick Steves tour…Greece. Although the Rick Steve tour begins in Athens, with two days between tours, I actually began my Greek adventure on the island of Samos. It was my way of putting my big toe into the waters of Greece, without necessarily having to jump right in. Plus, I just needed a little time to recharge and Samos seemed like the best place to do it.

Greece has such an ancient aura about it. Being in Greece and entering the Acropolis feels like entering the place where civilization began. The Acropolis, considered the most ancient site in the Western world, sits above the city of Athens as a testament to its ancient splendor, dating back to the 5th Century B.C., which was considered the Golden Age. And, the Acropolis in Athens is just the beginning of my road through Greece’s ancient civilizations that took us through Delphi, Dimitsana, Olympia, Kardamyli, Monemvasia, Sparta, Nafplio, Hydra and then back to Athens.

In Greece, I had a roommate, Rosie. Between Rosie, Tammy, Alice and myself, we really had a great time. I’ve been fortunate with Rick Steves roommates and Rosie was no exception.

Join along through the photos and captions.

I left Turkey this morning, along with Alice and tammy who are continuing on with the Rick Steves “Athens & the Heart of Greece tour,” by way of the ferry to Samos, a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, separated from Turkey by the mile-wide Mycale Strait. The is the line of people who got off the ferry at Samos and were waiting to clear customs, including myself. May 16, 2015
I took the ferry from Kusadasi, Turkey to Samos, Greece…about a 90-minute boat ride…but it took close to an hour to clear customs in Samos because only one customs agent was working. It was worth the wait because Samos is a small, uncluttered and quaint town. May 16, 2015
Samos, at least while we were there, wasn’t yet over run with us tourists types. In order to meet Alice and Tammy for dinner in Samos, I had to take a cab from my hotel in Pythagoras into Samos. According to the cab drivers, unemployment is at 30% and the young people are leaving the town to make a living elsewhere. May 16, 2015
Although we arrived on Samos on a Saturday, there were only a few shops and restaurants open, the town was pretty quiet. May 16, 2015
I just thought this was a beautiful rock arrangement in front of my hotel the Proteas Blue Resort in Pythagoras and it reminded me of my good friend Bonnie Davis who is a rock lover. (Bonnie said it reminded her of St. Nectan’s Glen in Tintagel, England!) May 16, 2015
The view from my balcony in Samos, Greece, with some of my hand washed laundry drying in the sun. My hotel, the Proteas Blu is in the section of Samos called Pythagoras, a taxi ride from Samos Town. For today, I did some writing, caught up on some emails and watched a movie on my iPad. A quiet place to reflect and recharge, which is exactly what I did today. Tomorrow, I head to Athens on a flight from Samos to begin the next leg of my adventure, my Rick Steves “Athens & the Heart of Greece,” tour for 14 days. May 17, 2018
After finding and dropping off my suitcase at the Acropolis Select Hotel in Greece, I made made my way to the First Cemetery of Athens. Opened in 1837, it is considered the official cemetery of the city of Athens, it soon became a luxurious cemetery for famous Greek people and foreigners. The cemetery is located behind the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathinaiko Stadium in central Athens. It can be found at the top end of Anapafseos Street (Eternal Rest Street). It is located in a large green space covered with pine and cypress trees. This is the tomb of Sofia Afentaki. The sculpture of the sleeping female is by Yannoulis Chalupas a Greek sculptor and significant figure of Modern Greek art. Our Rick Steves tour group doesn’t get together until 6:30 for our first meeting so that gave me an opportunity to spend the afternoon exploring on my own. May 18, 2015
I spent part of my first afternoon in Athens at the First Cemetery of Athens. Opened in 1837, it is considered the official cemetery of the city of Athens, it soon became a luxurious cemetery for famous Greek people and foreigners. This massive monument is the grave of Georgics Avyeroff a Greek businessman and philanthropist. He was known through most of his life for founding numerous schools in both Egypt and Greece. May 18, 2015
The First Cemetery of Athens, which opened in 1837, is considered the official cemetery of the city of Athens. The cemetery, with its stunning, sculptured graves is located in a large green space covered with pines and cypress trees. May 18, 2015
After meeting with my Rick Steves “Athens & the Heart of Greece” tour guide and group, we all took a short stroll to our restaurant. This is a night view of the Acropolis in Athens from my table at the restaurant. Stunning! May 18, 2015
The Acropolis, considered the most ancient site in the Western world, sits above the city of Athens as a testament to its ancient splendor, which dates back to the 5th Century B.C., which was considered the Golden Age. The four architectural structures, which transformed throughout the centuries as Athens transformed were the Parthenon, Erechtheion, Propylaea and the Temple of Athena. There is so much history regarding the Acropolis that it truly boggles the mind, but suffice it to say, even in ruins the structures and site of the Acropolis are everything a history geek dreams of. Heading up to the Acropolis, this is the theatre or Odeon of Herodes Atticus. It was built during the time when the Romans lay claim to the Acropolis. May 19, 2015
The grand Propylaea is the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. It was constructed in five years. 437-432 B.C… just after the Parthenon was finished. May 19, 2015
A close up of the Propylaea or grand entrance into the Acropolis in Athens. May 19, 2015
The Parthenon though largely in ruins, still commands one’s attention at the Acropolis in Athens. It was built during 447-438 B.C., as a temple to the Virgin Athena. May 19, 2015
Me with the hordes of other tourists posing with the ancient ruins of the Parthenon in the Acropolis in Athens. May 19, 2015
The Erechtheum in the Acropolis in Athens was built between 421-406 B.C. and was considered a place of worship. May 19, 2015
The Porch of the Caryatids is a balcony of the Erechtheum that houses six beautiful regal maidens whose function is as columns to support the roof. These are copies. Five of the originals are displayed at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The sixth was sold to and removed by Lord Elgin who shipped it to London. May 19, 2015
The original Caryatids at the Acropolis Museum in Athens are modeled after women from Karyai who were famous for their upright posture and noble character. May 19, 2015
This model of the Erechtheum with the Porch of the Caryatids is at the Acropolis Museum in Athens. May 19, 2015
The ancient ruins in Athens are a part of the modern city’s landscape. Here’s the Arch of Hadrian, which can be found across a very busy street. Hadrian, a major benefactor of Athens after the Romans conquered the Greeks, built it in 132 A.D. to celebrate the completion of the Temp of Zeus, which is located behind the arch. May 19, 2015
The ruins of the Temple of Zeus in Athens. May 19, 2015
The Corinthian columns of the Temple of Zeus in Athens. May 19, 2015
While standing at the Temple of Zeus, I was still able to see the Parthenon in the Acropolis in Athens. May 19, 2015
This touristy area on Adrinou Street is called the Plaka in Athens. May 19, 2015
This touristy area on Adrinou Street is called the Plaka in Athens. May 19, 2015
This beautiful bougainvillea caught my eye in the neighboring street of the Plaka shopping area in Athens. May 19, 2015
Mountains, valleys, a gulf and a stunning panorama of views…then add an oracle, women who channeled the spirit of the god Apollo to dispense advice and tell fortunes…and you can understand why many made pilgrimages to Delphi. Again, walking the path of the ancients in the ruins of this bewitchingly beautiful place is humbling.The impressive site of the Oracle of Delphi sits high on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos and overlooks the Gulf of Corinth. Pictured is the Temple of Apollo where the oracles, always female, ever since the days when Delphi was devoted to the Mother Goddess worship. May 19, 2015
These Doric columns are from the Temple of Apollo on the site of the Oracle of Delphi. The priestess communicated with the spirit of Apollo who was considered the god of peace, order and personal virtue. May 20, 2014
The Treasury of the Athenians is a temple to commemorate the Greeks victory over the Persians at the Battle of the Marathon in 490 B.C. May 20, 2015
As I climbed up to the stadium, I looked down to see a portion of the theater, which was built around the 4th century B.C. It was where song contests in honor of Apollo were held. May 20, 2015
You can’t see the sweat dripping from my face but there was no way I was not going to have this once in a lifetime achievement recorded with a photo after making the steep climb up to the stadium. This ancient stadium at Delphi was built around the 5th century B.C. and the track is 580 feet long by 84 feet wide. May 20, 2015
Ancient writings on a column in Delphi. May 20, 2015
The town of Delphi has two sets of these stairs for the townspeople who live and work along the mountainside. Yikes, that’s a lot of steps. May 20, 2015
Roadside shrines can be along the mainland roads in Greece. This shrine is just outside the ancient sacred site of Delphi. These shrines can be built in remembrance of a traffic victim but are often built by a survivor of a potentially tragic accident, or to publicly thank a saint for a benefit. This shrine is said to mark the death of a tour bus driver. May 20, 2015
Another long day on the bus but we did stop for a scenic cog railway ride, a stroll through the town of Kalavryta where we found out about its traumatic history with the Germans and then made our way to Lagkadia where we spent the night and I enjoyed my first taste of lamb. Disembarking from our train ride in the town of Kalavryta. May 21, 2015
Kalavryta was under Byzantine control until 1460 when the Ottoman Turks took over. With the exception of a 30-year interlude of Venetian control, the town remained under Turkish rule until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, in whose early stages Kalavryta figures prominently: it was here that on March 21, 1821 the flag of the revolt was raised and the nearby Monastery of Agia Lavra became the birthplace of the Greek War of Independence. Then, at the end of 1943, near Kalavryta, Greek partisans captured 81 German soldiers and eventually, all but two survived the capture. On Dec. 13, 1943, in retribution for killing the captured German soldiers, German troops ordered all male residents of Kalavryta, ages 14 on up, to gather in a field just outside the village. There, they machine-gunned down 696 of them. Only 13 survived. After that they burnt down the town and the next day, the monastery. May 21, 2015
A paved over railway track running down the middle of of a main street in Kalavryta. May 21, 2015
The Holy Cathedral of the Assumption of Virgin Mary in Kalavryta honors the massacred townspeople with a plaque that reads: “The hour of destruction left a scar on time. The silenced clock will always read disaster and death, blood, fire and pain at the exact hour when the lament began…Dec. 13, 1943.” May 21, 2015
A memorable place for me, not just because of the views, but because it’s the first time in my life I’ve eaten lamb…and loved it. This little mountainside village of Lagkadia, where we spent the night at Hotel Kentrikon, was built under the Ottoman rule by the Greeks to hide from the Turks. May 21, 2015
For the food lovers…this is Rooster and pasta, one of the meal choices from tonight’s dinner in Lagkadia. This is one of the main meal that came after a Greek salad and other edible goodies. May 21, 2015
This is pork in a lemon sauce, was also a main dinner choice tonight in Lagkadia. May 21, 2015
And, this is what I ate, an extremely tasty and juicy lamb chop for dinner in Lagkadia. May 21, 2015
Today was all about the history of the Olympic games, staying in the quaint seaside village of Kardamyli and the beautiful bougainvillea that seem to be blooming everywhere in Greece. It’s called the Sanctuary of Olympia archeological site and at the entrance archeologists are still digging to find ruins. The Olympic games were held every four years as a way to honor Zeus and the first recorded game dates back to 776 B.C. At present, Greek archeologists are working to uncover more of the gymnasium. After the Romans found Christianity, they burned Olympia and for more than 1,500 years, it was covered in 25 feet of mud and dirt until an excavation team began uncovering it in 1875. May 22, 2015
This is the ancient ruin of the gymnasium where the athletes, who came a month in advance of the games, would train in Olympia. The rectangle container to the right is a bathtub where the athletes would wash themselves off after training. May 22, 2015
The tunneled entrance where the Olympic athletes would enter leads to the stadium in Olympia. Okay, I’m no Olympic athlete but I got to walk in his ancient shadows. Yes, the athletes were men. May 22, 2015
This is it, the stadium where the Olympic games began in Olympia. It was built in the 6th Century B.C. The first games featured just one event, a sprint race over one length of the stadium. I didn’t run it, but I did walk it and I have to say, seeing this very plain site and knowing its grand history was pretty cool. May 22, 2015
The columns are the remains of the Temple of Hera in Olympia. And the remains with the patch of grass is the place that links the original Greek Olympics with today’s modern Olympics. Since 1936, this is where athletes have lit the ceremonial Olympic torch. The Temple of Hera, built in 650 B.C., is the oldest structure on the site. May 22, 2015
Here’s another statue of my brother Hermes Petterson, this time holding the infant Dionysus at the Olympia Archeological Museum in Greece. May 22, 2015
The pediments of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia are some of the best surviving examples of early Classical Greek sculpture. The pediments were completed c.460 BCE and comprise of forty-two figures in total. These west side pediment statues, from the Temple of Zeus, show Apollo in the battle between the Centaurs and Lapiths at the Olympia Archeological Museum in Greece. May 22, 2015
The Apollo pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, now at the Olympia Archeological Museum. May 22, 2015
The Centur pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, now at the Olympia Archeological Museum. May 22, 2015
These east side pediment statues are from the Temple of Zeus and it depicts the chariot race between Oinomaos and Pelops at the Olympia Archeological Museum in Olympia, Greece. They appear in the moments before the race, in a calm and ordered composition. In the center of the group, Zeus is the ultimate observer and is flanked by the two heroes and their wives. Next to them are their horses and chariots (now lost) and several auxiliary figures. May 22, 2015
This is possibly the status of Poppaea Sabin, the second wife of Nero as a priestess. It is dated as the 1st half of the 1st century A.D. She looks pretty good for her age as she stands so regally at the Olympia Archeological Museum in Olympia. May 22, 2015
The clay head of Athena from around 490 BC at the Olympia Archeological Museum. May 22, 2015
This Nike is by Greek sculptor Paionios of the late 5th century B.C. from around 420 at the Olympia Archeological Museum in Olympia. The statue, even in its ruinous state reveals a strong sense of movement with her body and drapery being manipulated by the wind’s force. Her spread wings and face are gone. May 22, 2015
The bronze helmets from the Olympia Archaeological Museum in Olympia. May 22, 2015
One of many hairpin turns Panos Mist, our Rick Steves tour bus driver, took today to get us safely to our hotel at the seaside village of Kardamyli. May 22, 2015
Our Rick Steves tour guide Danae Kousouri sharing some information on the bus about our lunch stop before we arrive in Kardamyli. May 22, 2015
Before arriving in Kardamyli, our group had a vegetarian feast for lunch and a beautiful view of the Greek countryside. Greek salad, rice mixed with spinach, black-eyed peas mixed with greens, eggplant and potato wedges covered in olive oil, garlic and sprinkled lightly with cheese. May 22, 2015
The beautiful bougainvillea at the restaurant we ate at for lunch today. May 22, 2015
I took this photo, while on the bus, of the seaside village of Kardamyli, where we will be spending the next two nights. May 22, 2015
I’m not one who takes a lot of pictures of flowers but these bougainvilleas are just stunning. So, here are more, but these are at home in the seaside village of Kardamyli. May 22, 2015
Getting in an orientation walk of the village of Kardamyli. May 22, 2015
The quaint seaside village of Kardamyli. May 22, 2015
It was late in the day and I was walking back to the Hotel Esperides when I took this photo from the village of Kardamyli of the marina on the Aegean and of what looked like an uninhabited island. May 22, 2015
Today was a day off to relax. So, what did I do? I hiked up and down a mountainside for three hours in Kardamyli, Greece…and loved it. This is why traveling at this time of my life is so important to me. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do something like this but I do know that hiking up that mountainside was glorious. The first part of the hike was to the old town of Kardamyli. May 23, 2015
Here’s the old and modern town/village of Kardamyli. The views…well…as you can see are everything you would image a small one main lane seaside village to be by the sea. May 23, 2015
Look at me…do I even remotely look like a seasoned hiker? I had no clue. Even the sneakers I was wearing didn’t have the necessary traction for the terrain I was hiking on in Kardamyli. I thought hiking up was difficult but coming back down was slow and treacherous. I’m ready to try this hiking thing again…but with much better clothing and hiking boots. May 23, 2015
The view from my hike up the mountainside in Kardamyli. May 23, 2015
And this is the view I saw from the restaurant after the hike and a shower. Grilled fish, Greek salad, two glasses of white wine and a bottle of water with Advocare’s Spark and Re-Hydrate mixed in…thank you Sydney Wells for keeping me supplied. May 23, 2015
Took in a visit to an operating olive mill of the Morea Olive Oil Stone Mill in the small town of Thalames on the Mani Peninsula in Greece on our way to Monemvasia from Kardamyli.  May 24, 2015
The beautiful but uninhabited tower village of Vathia, along the Mani Peninsula in Greece, is an extreme example of what can happen when neighbors of rival camps don’t get along. Mani Peninsula olives are considered perfect for producing olive oil. Vendetta-ville is what we should call the land of the Mani Peninsula in Greece because the violence between clans and neighbors became epidemic and had its part in reducing the population. The peninsula is the rural coast and mountain region of Greece. Although stark, it is also beautifully scenic. The bus ride, on this blue sky, cool but sunny day from Kardamyli to Monemvasia was the most scenic that I’ve seen of Greece’s landscape. May 24, 2015
The uninhabited tower village of Vathia along the Mani Peninsula in Greece. May 24, 2015
The unusual looking cactus grows majestically at the village of Vathia along the Mani Peninsula in Greece.
May 24, 2015
The Marmari restaurant, along the Mani Peninsula in Greece, is perched over this sandy beach and great views of the Greek countryside. It’s where we had our group lunch today. This beach is unusual because it’s sandy instead of rocky. May 24, 2015
Views from the Marmari restaurant, along the Mani Peninsula in Greece. The restaurant is perched over this sandy beach and great views of the Greek countryside. It’s where we had our group lunch today. May 24, 2015
This is another photo I snapped from the bus of a beach town along the Mani Peninsula of Greece as we were traveling to Monemvasia. May 24, 2015
Another stop along the way to Monemvasia was at this quaint seaside village named Gythian, along the Mani Peninsula of Greece. Gythian means “Land of the gods” since Hercules and Apollo both wanted to lay claim to this village. Also, according to Homer, this is where Paris, the handsome prince of Troy, who kidnapped the beautiful Helen of Sparta spent their first night together. Outraged at the loss of his bride, Menelaus, the king of Sparta, convinced his brother Agamemnon to launch the Trojan War. May 24, 2015
Just loved this beautiful village of Gythian. May 24, 2015
It’s called the Rock and the causeway connects the Rock to the New Town section of Monemvasia, Greece. Its narrow, slippery stoned streets contain a variety of cute shops and eateries at what is called the Lower Town. There is a zigzagging pathway that leads to the Upper Town portion of the Rock for those who care to take the steep climb up. Unfortunately we’re not staying on the gigantic rock of Monemvasia, but on this side of the bridge at the Hotel Panorama in the New Town section, which was up a hill and pretty much a long, but straight shot to the rock. May 24, 2015
This is considered the main square, the center of the rock’s Lower Town portion of Monemvasia. May 25, 2015
Although people do live and tourists do stay on the rock, it is well…pretty rocky and the views, this one of the sea taken on the Lower Town portion of Monemvasia, are rather beautiful. May 25, 2015
Inside the 11th century Church of Christos Elkomenos (Christ in Pain) with its Byzantine origins on the rock’s Lower Town portion of Monemvasia. May 25, 2015
A donkey provides transport through the narrow, rocky streets of the Monemvasia Lower Town on the Rock. May 25, 2015
The rocky streets of the Monemvasia’s Lower Town on the Rock. May 25, 2015
Just a little more of Monemvasia’s Lower Town on the Rock. May 25, 2015
Although you can’t see me, this is where I was sitting this afternoon for a late lunch in the New Town section…off of the Rock…in Monemvasia. I had a delicious piece of grilled pork and French fries. A couple from my Greece tour group was also nearby and invited me to join them, but in all honesty, I needed my alone time. Thankfully they were very gracious and understood. I sat here for several hours just enjoying the views. May 25, 2015
We left the Rock of Monemvasia this morning to make our way to Nafplio…but along the way we stopped at the medieval city of Mystras and the famous Sparta. Mystras, four miles west of Sparta on the slopes of Mount Taygetos, is an important Byzantine castle-town site in Greece. The main attractions at Mystras are its churches with its late Byzantine architecture and beautifully extravagant frescoes. May 26, 2015
This is the courtyard of the Metropolis where the Cathedral of Agios Demetrios is located at Mystras. May 26, 2015
This is the entrance to the Metropolis courtyard and the Cathedral of Agios Demetrios. May 26, 2015
Inside the Cathedral of Agios Demetrios at Mystras. May 26, 2015
A beautiful fresco inside one of the churches at Mystras. May 26, 2015
Inside one of the beautifully frescoed churches of Mystras. May 26, 2015
The nuns and the wild cat make Mystras their home in Greece. Humans do not feed the wild cats because the cats’ jobs are to keep the bug, lizard and mice population under control. May 26, 2015
This is what I was expecting in the city of Sparta…plus a variety of archeological findings….May 26, 2015
…but this is actually what Sparta looks like today, a small city with little in common with the ancient city of Sparta because it’s buildings were dismantled to reuse in the construction of Mystras. May 26, 2015
We began the day at the ancient hilltop fortress site of Mycenae…a 30-minute bus ride from our home base in Nafplio, Greece. As tremendous as these ancient sites have been…since most require trekking up rocky, uneven surfaces with stairs to match…I’m ready for a commercial break. And that’s exactly what I had this afternoon in Nafplio’s very quaint old town of tourist shops and restaurants. The entrance to the Treasury of Atreus or the possible tomb of Agamemnon located at the ancient site of Mycenae, Greece. The fortress city of Mycenae, atop a hill, dominated the Greek civilization between 1600 and 1200 B.C. May 27, 2015
Inside the Treasury of Atreus or the possible tomb of Agamemnon at the ancient site of Mycenae where royalty were buried in these underground chambers. This 3,300-year-old domed burial chamber is 47 feet in diameter and 42 feet tall. May 27, 2015
The Lion Gate, circa 1300 B.C., guards the entrance to the fortress city of Mycenae. May 27, 2015
The ruins of Mycenae. May 27, 2015
The old town section of Nafplio, Greece, is where the shops and restaurants cater to us tourists. May 27, 2015
Another cute shop and restaurant filled street highlighting some beautiful bougainvillea in Nafplio. May 27, 2015
Spirals, the symbol of eternal life, are everywhere in Greece. I even bought a beautiful silver bracelet with little spirals in Nafplio. May 27, 2015
That’s actually my roommate Rosie walking up the stairs to our hotel in Nafplio. I found out that Greece is 80 percent mountainous and even though it is beautiful, one must be able to climb steps in order to enjoy the beauty. May 27, 2015
This wonderful gem is the Palamidi Fortress in Nafplio. It is one of three Venetian fortresses that attempted but failed to fend off the Ottoman invasion. Conquered by the Ottomans in 1715, Nafplio remained in Turkish hands until the Greeks retook the city in 1822. After climbing stairs to and from the hotel and to the hilltop of the fortress in Mycenae, my climbing legs screamed for a rest. Next time Palamidi. May 27, 2015
Dinner in Nafplio consisted of various family helpings including cut up slides of pork with the crispy rind that was tender and delicious. May 27, 2015
After dinner, this wonderful group treated us to a Greek folk dance. May 27, 2015
We left Nafplio today and stopped at Epidavros, the famous healing center of the ancient Greek world. This was our last ancient site for this Rick Steves tour. From here we take a two-night vacation from our vacation at the Greek island of Hydra. The entrance to the Epidavors theater. Epidavors began as a temple to Apollo and later to his son Asklepios…whom pilgrims prayed to for their health. The sanctuary of Epidavros reached its popularity in the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. when it boasted medical facilities, housing for the sick, mineral baths, a stadium for athletic competitions and a theater. May 28, 2015
The Epidavros theater is considered the finest and best-preserved of the 132 ancient theaters in Greece. May 28, 2015
I’m just chilling out on the ancient steps of Epidavros. I did end up climbing to the top. It was easy to climb up, but going down those rickety, ancient stairs was a bit scary. May 28, 2015
Here we are, our tour group arriving at the Greek island of Hydra for two nights of island fun and relaxation. May 28, 2015
Approaching the Greek island of Hydra. The water was actually this blue and extremely clear. May 28, 2015
The harbor of Hydra with its rustic fishing boats surrounded by the whitewashed houses. May 28, 2015
Since there are no cars on the Greek island of Hydra, donkeys do the transporting. Also known for its stray cats…three of whom thought I should share my dinner with them…Hydra is just beautiful and quaint…my two favorite words all rolled up into one place. May 28, 2015
I had lunch at the restaurant with the blue shutters and red chairs. This quaint back street that leads to Hydra’s harbor has several little restaurants along the way. May 28, 2015
Hydra, after the late afternoon storm, that brought Rosie, my Greece tour roommate and I to a bar. We ducked into the bar and watched as the locals prepared for the storm and then nestled in as the storm hit. It all lasted about 30 minutes but it was pretty heavy rain. I was going to head back to the hotel but as soon as I felt those rain drops; the bar with a glass of wine was the safest and coziest place. May 28, 2015
The skies darkened just before a down pour on the Greek island of Hydra. I tried to make it back to the hotel, but no luck. And, quite frankly, I’m glad I didn’t. Rosie, my Greece tour roommate, and I held up at this bar and watched the rain pour down. We even got to see water pouring down the alleyway streets into the harbor. It was actually beautiful. May 28, 2015
The view of Hydra from my chair at the restaurant Rosie and I were sitting in for dinner. May 28, 2015
Today was all about Hydra, Greece…no cars just donkeys, carts, lots of cats, blue waters and boats. I will admit to slow walks, window-shopping, a long leisurely lunch and dinner…including lots of white wine…with more window shopping and some great rice pudding. Gee..I’m worn out! This is the view from my second story window at the Hotel Leto Hydra in Hydra, Greece. It was a great location with a very nice spacious room for two people. May 29, 2015
The Hydra harbor where the hard working donkeys carry merchandise for the shopkeepers and luggage for the tourists. May 29, 2015
The beautiful blue water and harbor on the Greek island of Hydra. May 29, 2015
A grand look at Hydra from up high. May 29, 2015
The cat committee welcome new tourists descend on the Greek island of Hydra. May 29, 2015
All good things must come to an end, even a month in Turkey and Greece. I spent my last full day in Athens, Greece, checking the Ancient Agora with Alice and Tammy before enjoying a sumptuous dinner and commanding views with our tour group. Our high-speed boat docking at Hydra to whisk us back to Athens. Tonight, is our last dinner together and our last night of the tour. May 30, 2015
Since this is our last full day of the tour and we’re not back to where we started in Athens, Tammy, Alice and I decided to to go to the one place none of us got to see at the onset of this tour…the Ancient Agora. This grand building is the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, a 2nd century B.C. building that was restored (1952-56) by the American School of Classical Studies to house the finds from excavations at the site. The original Stoa was built by Attalos II, King of Pergamon (159-138 B.C.), and functioned as a place for meetings and walks and as a commercial center. May 30, 2015
A view in Athens of the Acropolis from the ancient Agora, which was a large square on the northwest slope of the Acropolis where social, religious, commerce, outdoor theatrical performances and athletic contests were held. May 30, 2015
Another view in Athens of the Acropolis from the ancient Agora, which was a large square on the northwest slope of the Acropolis where social, religious, commerce, outdoor theatrical performances and athletic contests were held. May 30, 2015
A decked out statue of Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) at the ancient Agora in Athens, Greece shows Romulus and Remus, being suckled by the she-wolf who supports Athena on its back, carved onto the insignia of Hadrian’s breastplate. May 30, 2015
The Temple of Hephaistos at the Agora is considered to be the best-preserved and most typical of all the Greek temples. Started in 450 B.C., just before the Parthenon, it was built at Athen’s peak as part of the massive reconstruction of the Agora after invading Persians destroyed the city (480 B.C.) But the temple wasn’t completed until 415 B.C. as work stalled when the Greeks started erecting the buildings of the Acropolis. May 30, 2015
Here’s closer look at the Temple of Hephaistos at the Agora. May 30, 2015
More of the Agora. May 30, 2015
With the beautiful Athens background, our guide and host, Danae Kousouri, giving her farewell and wrap-up speech at our farewell dinner. As we depart, another Rick Steves tour is beginning its journey of Greece. I’ve learned so much and seen so much in two weeks…that I am not the same person…so I wish them well on their journey! Texas, here I come! May 30, 2015
My buddy, Ken…It’s been great to have a buddy looking out for me…thanks Ken! May 30, 2015
My Greece tour roommate, Rosanne (Rosie) Zafferano-Smith, along with Alice and Tammy…whom I met and hung out with from Turkey to Samos to Greece gather for our farewell dinner in Athens. Alice and Tammy have taught me a lot about food and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed their vibrant company. May 30, 2015
My four-week adventure is coming to a close, but here I am enjoying my last evening with this beautiful night view of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, as a backdrop. And truth be told, I’m ready to go home. I miss my family, my friends, my bed and my routine. But in a couple of months, I’ll be ready to plan my next adventure…I hear Eastern Europe calling my name. May 30, 2015

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