Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Greek Island Vacation

Jyoti and I along with my brother and his wife took a 3 week Greek island cruise vacation.  We added days in the beginning at Venice and at the end in Athens.

Day 1: Travel Day 

Long flight from San Diego to Venice.

Day 2 - 4: Venice

After arriving at the airport, we took a boat right to our hotel canal near the Rialto Bridge.  Weather was drizzly and a bit cold but we walked around to see the sights.  Dinner was cichetti and great spritzes.

Our first full day in Venice started with St. Mark's Square where we had reservations for the basilica and the "secret" tour of Doge's Palace.  Both were great.  We then took the Vaporetta up the canal and walked back to our hotel.

Last full day in Venice started at the Accademia and then more checking out the sights.  We really like Venice and it was much better than expected.

Drizzly day on the Rialto Bridge

Rainy St. Marks Square

Campanile from St. Mark's Basilica

St. Mark's clock tower

Somewhat empty St. Mark's Square

Grand Canal

Sunny and crowded St. Mark's Square

Day 5 - 6: Sea Days

We had some time before our water taxi so we checked out St. Mark's Square again.  Since there was no rain, it was very crowded.  We then took a bus to Chiaggio where the cruise ship was docked.  The boarding process was very smooth since the Azamara boat was smaller than many others.  It headed south for our first port visit.  There was a visiting professor who gave talks about the Mediterranean culture and other topics. 

Welcome aboard!

Day 7: Corfu

Our first island was Corfu where we drove around to see a monastery and the north side of the island.  We then went into old town Corfu and checked out the old fort.  This would be first of many Venetian forts we would see.

Overlooking town from the old fort
Manning the towers in the old fort

Day 8: Kefalonia

Next up was Kefalonia where we went to another monastery (there are lots of them in Greece) and a really nice winery.  We then went to Dhrogarati cave and Melissani lake and a nice lunch right on Sami bay.  We really liked Kefalonia.

Dhrogarati cave

Lunch on Sami Bay

Melissani lake 

Ready to leave Kefalonia

Day 9: Zakynthos

On Zakynthos, we drove to the north side of the island to check out a olive oil factory/press, the small but wonderful Goumas winery and a small beach.

Olive factory

Goumas Winery

Day 10: Gytheion

For this mainland site, we got a car and drove to Mystras which was very cool.  We also walked around the small harbor area.
Gytheion harbor

Mystras hillside

Cats of Mystras monastery

Gytheion lighthouse

Day 11: Crete

Crete is large but we stayed near town and hit the great Archeological Museum and or course Knossos.  Also visited the Venetian fortress in the harbor.

Crete Archeological Museum

Knossos Palace

Day 12: Santorini

After tendering, we took the cable car up to Feri and then caught the public bus to Akrotiri.  The ruins were pretty neat. Then did the hike to Ia which was very nice but hot.  We had a great dinner in Ia and walked the cliff path down the port.

Ruins at Akrotiri

Santorini sky

Along the trail to Ia

Santorini panorama

Day 13: Rhodes

After renting the car, we headed to Lindhos but couldn't find a parking spot so headed back with a stop at the Seven Springs.  Back in town we walked through the old town and another Venetian fort.

Hike to Seven Springs

Seven Springs selfie

Old town Rhodes

Rhodes museum

Day 14: Kusadasi

Leaving Greece for a day in Turkey, we hired a guide and driver.  We spent most of the time in nearby Ephesus which was incredible.  We also made stops a carpet making school and a pottery store.

View from St. John Basilica

Ephesus street

A view of Ephesus

Ephesus selfie

Ephesus museum

Day 15: Mykonos

Last island on the itinerary was Mykonos.  We got a cruise shore excursion which guided us through town then over to Delos to see the ruins, then lunch and lastly a very nice monastery.  Our guide was ok with information but was terrible at keeping the group together and almost stranded us on Delos.

Mykonos town

Little Venice

Crowded Delos

Mykonos monastery

Day 16 - 18: Athens

Our cruise ended at Athens where we spent 3 days hitting the major and minor sights:

  • Acropolis Museum
  • Hadrian's Library
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • National Garden
  • Olympian Zeus
  • Hadrian's Arch
  • Roman Agora
  • Ancient Agora
  • Eureka Technological Museum
  • Cathedral
  • Mars Hill
  • Acropolis
  • Aristotle's Lyceum
  • Byzantium and Christian Museum
  • Greek War Museum
The trip was capped up with an awesome dinner at A for Athens with great views of the city and the Acropolis.
Acropolis Museum

Hadrian's Library

Cave of the Acropolis restaurant

Tower of Winds

Stoa at Ancient Agora

View from Mars Hill

Entering the Acropolis

At the Parthenon

Greek Flag selfie

Byzantine and Christian Museum

Nighttime Acropolis

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