S: Greece Trip, May 2011
FC: GREECE | May 2011
1: Walking around the city of Athens, we saw ruins in the midst of crazy traffic. We were so glad we did not need to rent a car to get around this city. | ATHENS
2: Parliament building, where we watched the changing of the guard on our first day in Athens | Mama & Daddy standing in front of Hadrian's Arch The ruins of the Temple of Zeus
4: Hanging out in the botanical gardens in the middle of the city
5: Enjoying a meal of souvlaki with our first taste of true Greek tzatziki at Thanasis in the Plaka district
6: Ending our first day atop Mars Hill, where we saw the sunlight reflected from the Acropolis as it set over the city
8: Starting the day off right with breakfasts of potatoes, bacon, crepes with Nutella, fresh orange juice and more, then on to the Acropolis Museum
9: Theatre of Dionysos
11: On the Acropolis
12: More of the Acropolis
14: A fruit cart in the Plaka district | Stray dog asking for a belly rub - of course Natalie gave in | Catching some shade under a parasol | A street peddler trying to sell one of his squishy tomato toys | Scenes on the Streets
15: Sitting on the steps up to Mars Hill where it is believed Paul preached about Jesus' death and resurrection to the Athenians at the meeting of the Areopagus.
16: Giving the complementary ouzo a try at lunch. The consensus: it tasted like paint thinner...we hope the plants that got the leftovers didn't die
17: Dinner at King George Palace Hotel's Tudor Hall watching the sunset with an incredible view of the Acropolis
18: Exploring the city after dark...maybe getting a little ice cream too.
19: In front of the first modern-day Olympic stadium | Ancient churches around town
21: It was like a breath of fresh air getting off the plane in Skiathos. We quickly understood why everyone loves the islands so much more than Athens!
22: Exploring the port of Skiathos
23: Sergios was our contact in Skiathos. He was an awesome tour guide around the island and he may even be a distant cousin! He is from Glossa, Skopelos, where the Polizos family originated, but now lives on Skiathos with his wife. | Waiting for our ferry by moonlight
24: Visiting a beach on the island | On the ferry heading to Skopelos
27: We arrived in Skopelos late at night to the Skopelos Village Hotel. The next morning, we were greeted with the beautiful site of Skopelos Town.
28: We really enjoyed the Skopelos Village Hotel. Friendly service, beautiful views, and a great breakfast served by KiKi from Thessalonika. Some of us had to drink plenty of coffee to wake up!
30: Headed to Glossa in our "all-terrain" rental car! We decided to take the scenic and, well, bumpy route. | Luckily we did not end up as a memorial, aka "mailbox," on the side of the road. There were hundreds like these all along the roads.
31: We had to make many stops along the way for the spectacular views!
32: The guys trying to figure out how to get down the mountain | Where did we take a wrong turn? | Enjoying the scenery while patiently waiting on the navigators | What is that old bathtub doing in the middle of that field?! | Our map!
33: We found this guy parked in his truck eating his lunch and stopped to ask for directions. We'll just say that directions get much more complicated when you don't speak the same language as the person giving them! He finally resorted to getting in his truck and leading us to the head of the road we needed to take. Thank goodness for Greek hospitality! | Glossa | Skopelos Town | Loutraki
34: Greek coffee?
35: Our view of the mountainside from a cafe in Glossa. We learned there is definitely a difference between a freddoccino and a freddo cappuccino
36: We found what we thought was the Polizos family home... Dimitrios gave us a tour of his renovation work and we even brought back four of the original floor tiles (with some complications getting through security)
37: We enjoyed a delicious meal at Flisvos Tarverna, operated by John and Antigony, cousins of Victor Polizos | Flisvos: The Greek word for the sound the water makes when it splashes ashore | I think we're related to this person. Do you know if he lives here? Very famous? Find him in Syntagma Square in Athens?
38: Exploring the port of Loutraki, just below Glossa
39: Walking around Glossa
40: We began our search for relatives in Glossa by asking some ladies sitting outside their homes if they knew of anyone by the name of Polizos in the village. | After watching their animated Greek conversation for 10 minutes, they referred us to find and ask the old men at Cafe Nero.
42: We found these men gathered outside Cafe Nero, next to Glossa's church entrance. They were eager to take pictures with us and did their best to guide us in the right direction. | This man was quick to throw away his cruches for the photo opportunity
43: Despite the communication difficulties, we were able to show others the family geneology that Natalie had written on a piece of paper and find some distant cousins still living in Glossa: Niko and Mahi! | This kind man walked us through the alleys of Glossa and to the door of Niko's home. Niko and Mahi invited us in just as the rain began to fall.
45: KASTANI BEACH We stopped on our way from Glossa back to Skopelos Town to enjoy one of the many beaches along the route. Of course, the guys had to skip a few rocks and the girls wanted to get some photos.
47: Eating pizza in Skopelos Town
48: Thinking of Smoke when we saw this Border Collie and wishing Nick and Mizzy could have made this trip with us. | Adio, Skopelos! Our time here was short and we hope to return again someday. For now, we are headed on to Santorini!
51: Arriving at the Filotera Hotel in Santorini, we were blown away by the amazing views...
52: Our room | Planning the day's activities | Nicest hotel of the trip! | Filotera Hotel
53: Hotel view
54: Awesome views from Andrew's two-hour excursion
55: While the rest of the group relaxed by the pool, Andrew decided to explore on his own...
59: Walking around the picturesque village of Oia
60: What a poser!
63: We found a hidden gem of a restaurant called Fanari, where we watched the sunset in Oia and enjoyed a delicious dinner
64: Angry skies in Santorini
66: We visited the city of Ancient Thira, which dates back to 900 B.C.
69: These statues tell the story of an out-of-order bathroom at the top of a mountain, which inspired three explorers to do the unthinkable...
70: Kamara Beach: One of the few black beaches in Santorini...
71: Boutari Winery | The theater where we saw the most revolutionary video of our lives | Learning about the wrapping of the vines
72: Trying to keep warm while watching the sunset. This was definitely the coldest night of the trip!
75: Exploring "The Potty Cave," which we affectionately nicknamed for its odor...
76: Visiting the lighthouse at the end of the island
79: Enjoying the "Volcano" appetizer and breathtaking views at Captain Dimitri's. The owner was an incredibly sweet and hospitable lady. | Fun fact: Teddy bears are used as scarecrows in Greece
80: Wine, cheese & crackers, and chocolate desserts for dinner | Messing with the goats | Very unique beach-front properties
81: Oia, Santorini
86: Goofing around in Oia during our last few hours in Santorini...
87: Sad to be leaving Santorini, now we head to the last stop of our trip: Crete.
89: We arrived in Crete late at night to the Porto Rethymno Hotel. The next morning, we hopped in our rental car to begin exploring the huge island...
90: On our first day, we drove to Heraklion to tour the Palace of Knossos.
93: Melidoni Cave We went "spelunking" in one of Crete's many caverns. Melidoni was a place of worship to Hermes in its earliest days and was later the place of death for over 370 people who had found shelter in the cave during the Turkish invasion of Crete in the 1800s. | This cross sits atop a stone box that holds the bones of all the people who died in the Melidoni cave at the hands of the Turks
94: Arkadiou Monastery: We visited this monastery which was constructed in the 14th century. During the Cretan revolt of 1866, 943 Greeks sought refuge in the monastery.
95: As the monastery was being invaded, the Greeks chose to blow up barrels of gunpowder, sacrificing their own lives instead of surrendering to the Turks. The cabinet of skulls are the remains of some of the victims.
97: Balos Beach
99: We, by chance, saw a picture of this beautiful beach on a post card and chose to drive the 2 hours from our hotel to see it for ourselves. The drive was long and bumpy at times, and we had to hike a mile there and back, but it was worth it for the breathtaking views! We have heard of topless beaches, but encountered a new experience here - a bottomless woman. When we returned to our car, we found goats all around and were even able to feed one goat some apple pieces!