Last Night in Greece

We spent one last night in Athens before catching our home-bound flights to London and LA. Rob and I had dinner at Orizontes, atop Mount Lycabettus overlooking the whole city. It was stunning at night, with views of the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis. Here are some photos from the restaurant and our hotel.


The colossal Temple of Zeus, which took more than six hundred years to build. There are only sixteen columns left of the original 104. It's more than impressive when you see how enormous the columns are. 


I'll write more in coming days about the Greek island of Rhodes, and our visit to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas, the Sanctuary of the Cats, on Cyprus. I left my tzedakah dollar at the sanctuary, where nuns continue hundreds of years of taking in stray cats. The dollar was given to me by my dear friend Arthur Gross Schaefer, a rabbi. In the Jewish tradition, one writes a Jewish blessing for safe travels on the dollar, and at the furthest point of the journey, the traveler gives the dollar to someone in need or a charitable cause. The cats were first brought to Cyprus and the monastery in 326 AD to control venomous snakes, and they continue in that role today. 


The mosaic above the entrance to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas.  


Two of the residents. They do not necessarily have an easy life. One of the cats we saw was missing half of her face, no doubt from an encounter with a snake.  


Crete's Chania and Red Beach Near Matala

Rob and I spent five nights on Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. We flew into Heraklion, then rented a car to drive to the charming harbor town of Chania. Our hotel, Domus Renier, was exquisite and the owner, Litsa Paraskevaki, was warm and welcoming. She spent three years renovating a very old building, and it is beautiful with attention to every detail.  


The harbor at Chania.  


Domus Renier is the building with the green and brown exterior.




A BIG beer.  


Chania lighthouse.  


A detail--exposed original wall at Domus Renier.  


Rob with Litsa, the owner of Domus Renier.  


Original details were retained or re-created.  


Red Beach, near Matala in southern Crete.  

A Whirlwind Week

It seems like yesterday when we were in Mykonos. In truth, we've been to Santorini and Crete, and arrived today on the Greek island of Rhodes. Somewhere along the way I lost several days to an upper respiratory infection and a trip to the urgent care clinic in Chania, Crete. Even so, we managed to do plenty and see much of these spectacular places. Rob even made me climb a steep mountain to get to Red Beach (a fav nude beach, especially for Germans, it seems) near Matala in Crete.  I've included several of my fav places below (sorry, no nude pics).  And, with antibiotics I'm back among the living. We're on Rhodes for three days, then Cyprus! 


Our hotel on Santorini, the Volcano View.  

Our hotel on Santorini, the Volcano View.  


Early morning view to the west.


Santorini sunset.  

We explored both Fira and Oia, the two tiny towns on Santorini, but they were both very touristy with tons of souvenir shops. We took lots of pictures though--there are stunning churches and mosques here.   


St. James cathedral in Oia, Santorini.  

We spent a lovely afternoon on a catamaran cruise while on Santorini. 

We spent a lovely afternoon on a catamaran cruise while on Santorini. 

I'll put up another post with images from Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands, of which there are 150. 


Two Nights in Mykonos

The island of Mykonos is known for its gorgeous beaches, white buildings with blue shutters and doors, and vibrant nightlife. Even the shops stay open till 2 a.m.  While we were there, we took a half-day tour of the nearby island of Delos, a World Heritage site with ruins that go back 6,000 years.  


The Hotel Vencia on Mykonos.  


The view from our hotel room.  


Delos ruins and harbor.  


Inlaid tile in the atrium of a house on Delos--from the 6th century BCE.  

Photos from the Acropolis

On our last Day in Athens, last Friday, we visited the Acropolis, a millennia-old hilltop temple where the goddess Athena was worshipped. The history of the site is long and storied, and the ruins are stunning. Here are some photos. 


In front of the beautiful new Acropolis Museum. Not to be missed.