Santorini and Poros

July 27, 2016

Truth be told, we didn’t care if we got to Santorini or not. There was certainly a question as to whether or not we would as the wind and mechanical issues made it a difficult voyage, but so many people on this trip had never been to Greece and it was on their must-see list, so the captain did his best to get us there. The issue with a small vessel is the trip from ship to shore at Santorini required private tenders. There is a small port at Santorini, nothing large enough to accommodate the Harmony V, so we were moored off the island like the big boys. Because of the cost of the tenders they had only scheduled an early morning boat for folks visiting the archaeological digs at Akrotiri and then going into town for lunch, with return tenders at 4 and 6:30PM. We’d visited Akrotiri a couple of years ago and didn’t want to go again, and 8:30AM to 4PM in the main village would make for a long day, so Steve and I decided to stay on the boat.

After breakfast everyone, and I mean everyone (but the crew) departed for Santorini. Steve and I had the ship to ourselves. They served us a private lunch in the dining room, and we sat in the open-air lounge like we owned the place. The captain happened upon us in the late morning and asked why we’d chosen not to go to shore. We explained about the tenders and long day and he said, “We’ve got the lifeboat in the water to test it out. We can run you into port if you’d like.” His offer of a zodiac ride to shore was very lovely but I had my day planned out with organizing my notes and photos and a bit of writing, so we declined. When the first tender arrived from shore late in the afternoon I looked up and said, “Who are these people on my boat?”

Overnight we traveled to Poros, an island in the Saronic Gulf separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow channel. The town is a mix of Neoclassical houses with tile roofs and Cycladic houses with flat roofs and lime washed exteriors. The Cyprus and pine trees made the harbor feel more like the port on an alpine lake than on a Greek island. And the massive anchor in the port, well, we’d had some anchor issues so we needed to document this one.

Click on image to view full size

There was a working clock tower on the hilltop and the library had an exhibit called “The Shells and The Sea”. For our librarians and our geo and microbiologists this was a busman’s holiday. How cool was it to visit an exhibit where someone who actually knew, well, basically everything about what we were looking at was there to explain it to you? I will tell you, it was way cool. One of the best things was an Argonaut or a paper nautilus. I had no idea that it was actually a real thing, but they had several.

Click on image to view full size

We wandered the streets and visited the shops, traipsed up to the clock tower and saw fig trees and grapevines and spectacular views on the way, and then headed back to the port for another spectacular lunch.

Click on image to view full size

After lunch we straggled back to the ship, but not before coming across a rather spectacular gelato shop. We’d been to an amazing one in San Gimignano in Florence, and this was at least a tie. We sat with our gelato listening to The Clash classic “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. My tapping foot reflected in a mirror at the base of the gelato case, and I glanced over, thinking, “Who is that old woman with the swollen ankles”. Sorry, I still feel 17.

Click on image to view full size

Since this was our last night on the ship the captain threw us a cocktail party before dinner, with traditional Greek dancers. They, of course, pulled folks from the audience to dance. One of the Harmony V passengers was the retired Archbishop of Tasmania, Adrian Doyle. He’d told me that Greece was on his “bucket list”, and I’d replied that I hoped he’d see all of the places he wanted to visit, but he said time was running out for him. I wasn’t sure if it was because of his age or his health, but I was happy he partook in the Greek dancing that night.

Click on image to view full size

After dinner we watched the lights of Poros over a Metaxa on the deck as we headed to Athens.

Click on image to view full size

Next up – Return to Athens and The Benakis Museum


{ 1 comment }

Syros, Poros and Santorini

July 25, 2016

No, I am not referring to the Three Musketeers. These were our last three stops on the cruise, and aside from Santorini were not on the original itinerary. The wind and mechanical issues really did wreak havoc with the schedule, but we didn’t care. Syros and Poros were new to Steve and me and were […]

Continue reading →

The Beauty of Tinos

July 22, 2016

The fast ferry from Mykonos to Tinos introduced us to the Greek ferry system. This particular ship was upscale, with a first class section and no chickens or goats. The ferry captain backed the ship into port and let down the car ramp while an officer stood on it to tell the bridge when to […]

Continue reading →

Stuck in Mykonos

July 20, 2016

I know, I know, what a terrible place to be “stuck”. Summer winds can be very strong in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. While we were in Greece they were actually gale force, and even without the mechanical problems our ship experienced we still wouldn’t have been able to go as far south as Crete […]

Continue reading →

Dinner in Mykonos

July 18, 2016

We were 6 days into the trip and luckily I hadn’t exploded yet. The food on the ship continued to be outstanding. A barbeque lunch on Mykonos wasn’t the typical burgers and hot dogs. There was slouvaki, sausage, Greek burgers, chicken, seven different salads, stuffed grape leaves, olives, assorted cheeses and three different desserts. Click […]

Continue reading →

Athens, Delphi and Bad Karma

July 15, 2016

Touring the Acropolis and seeing the Parthenon is magnificent no matter how you do it. When you have an exceptional tour guide it’s even better. Our Odysseys Unlimited tour guide, Lina, was a marvel. Greek tour guides have to be schooled for 3 years in order to be licensed. Lina was able to lead a […]

Continue reading →

We’re Here For The Food

July 13, 2016

Some of the highlights of our Greek trips included the color of the Aegean Sea, the history and beauty of the islands, temples, historic sites and museums, the friendliness of the people and the time spent with family. But one of the biggest highlights was the food. This trip is no different and we certainly had […]

Continue reading →

The Grecian Brain Drain

July 11, 2016

The best thing about traveling to Greece with family who has family in the country is the ability to interact with their relatives; it gives me a better sense of what is really happening in their homeland. They, along with our wonderfully outspoken tour guide Lina, have been very vocal about the issues with the […]

Continue reading →

Ai Wei Wei

July 8, 2016

Don’t even consider snoozing. This artist is important, a Chinese dissident who was jailed for 84 days in China for giving the finger, literally and figuratively, to the powers that be. His family was banished to a labor camp in China when he was a child, and he was the first of a generation that […]

Continue reading →

Cauliflower in Disguise

July 1, 2016

I subscribe to a few food blogs, some send a conglomeration of the week’s recipes, some branch out to include restaurants and food fads, and I usually find something that catches my eye. This new trend that’s part of a “paleo” diet is intriguing. I love starch. Pasta, rice, potatoes; it’s all good but it’s […]

Continue reading →