Touring Crete

As part of our honeymoon tour package we stopped at the greek island of Crete. Crete is a rather large island and our sightseeing was concentrated in the city of Heraklion. We only got to see a small part but Crete was much less island vacation like than the islands of Santorini and Mykonos. However there was still plenty to see in Crete.

Upon arrival to our hotel, they gave us a honeymoon gift.

We also had a pretty nice view from our room.

While in Crete, we visited the ancient palace of Knossos. Knossos is an ancient Minoan civilization that is one of the oldest in European lands. We wandered around the grounds with its very well planned rooms and halls. Some has been reconstructed to look as it once might have. Fresh frescos have been painted (some of the originals exist in a nearby museum.

Taking a break from sightseeing we stopped in some local cafes in Heraklion. The city has a bustling cafe life. Many young people spend their afternoons and evenings at outdoor cafes. They either slowly sip an ouzo on ice or enjoy fancy coffee drinks. We made sure to carve out some time to participate in this as well.

Morosini Fountain (Lion Fountain)

Later we visited the archaeological museum. Archaeological Museum of Herakleion contains a large collection of Minoan art and artifacts.

Museum visitation is exhausting. We took at break at a nice cafe. We ordered some snails and the restaurant was nice enough to give us a free dessert.

We finished our visit with the Koules Venetian fortress. This fort for some time served as a Turkish prison among other things.

Reconstructing Athens

Athens has had its share of turmoil over the years. While we were there streets were closed for protests. Most recently they have had some terrible problems with their economy that required a bailout.
Fortunately, even with all the issues, they still make sure to preserve their ancient assets.
When we visited the Parthenon for our honeymoon in 2009. We saw the marvel of the Parthenon being carefully reconstructed to look as it once did.

Metal frames to hold restored and new stones in place.

Side before reconstruction

Notice the difference in color between the original and new stone. In time the difference will fade.

Other parts of the acropolis 
 Erechtheion

Newly wed couple. Not too far from this location I slipped on some rocks and fell hard on my rear end. Teenagers laughed loudly at me. Be careful around these rocks!

Great views from the acropolis.

Theatre of Dionysos

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Acropolis from below

More views

Later on we went by the Olympic stadium where olympics where last held in 2004.

I noticed these pretty Athens flowers all around.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus – notice the how the columns were formed.

Pretty Athens churches

Nice restaurant hideaway in Athens.

Turtle at the Roman Agora

Statues from the Ancient Agora.

Temple of Hephaestus

Delos

Close by to the party island of Mykonos is the spiritual island of Delos. We were able to take a day trip there.
Delos is famous for being the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. It was for a long time important for both being a religious center and for commerce (in part because of slave trade). Now it just serves as good reminder of a part of Greek history.

Stairway to highest point on Island.

It is customary to stack stones at the top.

Santorini Day 2

Our second day at Santorini we decided to do a tour organized by our travel agency. We started the day with a boat ride to the caldera on Nea Kameni.

We got to walk around on top of the volcano. Notice the volcanic rock.

There is Fira off in the distance.

After our visit to the caldera, we visited some hot springs on Palia Kameni – but only after you jumped off the boat in freezing cold water and conquered a pretty long swim to the springs. Once there, you were rewarded. Unfortunately there was another long swim back to the boat.

Little church by the springs.

We finished our tour with a visit to the island of Thirasia. It is a sleepy and scenic town away from the bustling of the mainland.

Our path up and down Thirasia.

When we arrived back to the mainland I made Carlos take donkeys instead of walking up another steep path.

Lots of lazy dogs live on Santorini

For our last night we decided to watch the sunset from the famous Oia. It was unbelievable. Even the dogs couldn’t help enjoying the sunset.
These guys below were rounding up their friends.

Santorini Day 1

Santorini (or Thira or Thera)  is one of those island getaways that one dreams about. Relaxing atmosphere, great food, and beautiful sunsets. I have so much to share about Santorini that I decided to break it down in two posts.
Santorini is famous for its caldera (or volcano) and for its spectacular sunsets.

We arrived early evening and settled in at our hotel Lilium Villas. The hotel was very beautiful and only a short walk down to the main town of Fira.
We decided to have a drink and a meal the first night in our resort and were able to see our first Santorini sunset.

The next morning we toured around the island on our own.

We wandered around ancient Thira as well.

 Remote control

Our favorite gyro place

Funicular to the boat area. You can also take a donkey. I made Carlos take a donkey the next day. He wasn’t too pleased. He wanted to walk up the stairs.

What would make a romantic meal more romantic? A donkey parade.

Our second sunset over the caldera.

Mykonos

In May 2009 we celebrated our honeymoon in beautiful Greece. Our trip started in the beautiful white washed island of Mykonos. Mykonos (also called Hora) is known for not only its white buildings but also for its windmills and party like atmosphere. May is the off season so the island wasn’t packed with clubbers and it was a bit too cold to hang out at the beach. Despite the cold weather it was still a fun and relaxing vacation.

Our hotel San Marco was beautiful and relaxing. While we dined at the hotel they were filming there for a tv show. We never did look for that show. My only complaint is that the hotel was not in walking distance to the center of Mykonos and we relied on a hotel shuttle that had limited pickups, probably due to it being off season.

We received a bottle of wine upon arrival. I spent one evening with the wine while reading and watching the sunset.

Famous Windmills

Octopuses hanging to dry. We frequently saw fishermen tenderizing tentacles against rocks.

Our first Greece sunset…

One night after seeing squid on the menu we decided to order squid. I normally like squid but this squid was huge and a bit hard to eat. We ended up sharing this squid with the stray cats that were staring at us all night.

Little Venice