- Greece


Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Delos

too_many_people_pantheon I met several of my friends in Athens; I flew in from Cairo, and the four of them came one each from San Francisco, Denver, New York, and Boston.   Magically, we all made it more or less on time and met in the airport as we had previously arranged.  

Parts of Athens were entertaining, such as the bizouki bars where they serve you Guinness in a wine glass.   But for the most part, this image carries the spirit of the city pretty well -- zillions of tourists.   It was as if everyone who had put off their vacations to the Middle East due to violence had all decided to visit the Parthenon.   Unfortunately, I think it's always this way.

ammoudi_santorini Santorini is the classic "Greek Island" with blue domed churches and crystalline waters.   The hora, or main town, is called Fira, and it was overrun with boutique shops and tourist services.   Oia, in the north, is the second largest town, and is not much better.

Our fearless Greek-blooded leader, Elena, had the wisdom to choose to stay in the little fishing village below Oia, which is called Ammoudi; it consists of a few homes, four restaurants that serve fish and traditional Greek appetizers, and one "traditional hotel" I think they called it, which is where we stayed.   We basically got a traditionally decorated two bedroom apartment, which was about $110/night split among five people.   It was pretty nice.

mule_taxi_ammoudi The town of Oia is 300 steps above Ammoudi, and so there were mule taxis you could hire to make them easier.   We chose walking. red_boat_blue_water One of many brightly colored fishing boats in the Ammoudi harbor.
fish_on_dock_ammoudi Normally I don't eat fish, but the freshly caught fish being hauled up onto the dock, straight out of the Aegean, were too much to resist.

When you are in one of the Ammoudi fish restaurants (the yellow one on the end is the best), and ask what fish they would recommend, and they would simply invite you to come take a look at what was sitting on ice in the kitchen.

blue_domed_church_santorini One of the ubiquitous blue domed churches.   Evidently it was a sign of a family's wealth to have your own church, and so they proliferated extensively.   I don't know how many churches there were in Oia (a town of perhaps a thousand year-round residents), but I would guess it was around two or three dozen.
colored_door_santorini white_square_church_santorini
flowery_house_santorini white_dome_blue_water_santorini
ammoudi_sunset Sunset on Santorini.   After several days of eating fish and soaking up colorful houses, we packed up and caught a plane to Mykonos. domesticated_pelican_mykonos Mykonos is famous for it's two very friendly pelicans, often seen ambling about the waterfront area.
mykonos_dock_red_boat At the dock of Mykonos. mykonos_winmills Mykonos and Santorini both have these spectacular windmills, but we never saw them turn while we were there.   These are near the main town in Mykonos.
mossy_rocks_mykonos Here I'm standing just at the edge of one of the restaurants that go directly up to the water in Mykonos. mykonos_fisherman This fisherman will probably will catch something better than the guy fishing in downtown Damascus that I had seen two weeks earlier.


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