Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Island Hopping in Greece

When I first learned my name Petra meant rock in Greek, I'd been fascinated with Greece since. "Island Hopping" over the Grecian Isles has always been a burning desire; and believed for some time, my soul would be happy beginning its next journey on any one of these beautiful islands.  It must also be the Pisces in me. :))

Out of season, devoid of gloss, glitter and preening celebrities, is a more subdued local life, the occasional soft-pink pelican wandering the empty streets, and beaches backed by banging clubs which have gone silent for the winter.
Thira, Santorini
Smaller islands curl around the fragmented western edge of the caldera, but it is the main island of Thira that will take one's breath away with its snow drift of white Cycladic houses lining the cliff tops and, in places, spilling like icy cornices down the terraced rock. When the sun sets, the reflection on the buildings and the glow of the orange and red in the cliffs can be truly spectacular.
Crete’s natural beauty is equalled only by the richness of its history. The island is the birthplace of the first advanced society on European soil, the Minoans, who ruled over much of the Aegean some 4000 years ago. You’ll find vestiges of this mysterious civilisation all over, including the famous Palace of Knossos. At the crossroads of three continents, Crete has been coveted and occupied by consecutive invaders. History imbues the air in the old towns of Hania and Rethymno, where labyrinthine lanes – laid out by the Venetians – are lorded over by mighty fortresses, and where gorgeously restored Renaissance mansions rub rafters with mosques and Turkish bathhouses. Hundreds of chapels, churches and monasteries – often with Byzantine roots – attest to the influence of the Orthodox Church. Many still sport magnificent frescoes, especially the Church of Panagia Kera in Lasithi, while others, such as Moni Arkadiou near Rethymno, played key historic roles during the Ottoman era and WWII.
In AD 95 St John the Divine received a vision in a cave and wrote the Book of Revelations here. Exuding a bewitching spirituality, Patmos is special. Thousands of pilgrims travel annually to the whitewashed sanctity of hilltop Hora; scattered with crow-black pensioners, galleries, fine boutiques and tavernas.
The largest of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes (ro-dos) is abundant in beaches, wooded valleys and ancient history. The atmospheric old town of Rhodes is a maze of cobbled streets spiriting one back to the days of the Byzantine Empire and beyond. Further south is the picture-perfect town of Lindos, a weave-world of sugarcube houses spilling down to a turquoise bay.
The Cyclades fulfil their collective name (kyklos – circle) by encircling the sacred island of Delos. The mythical birthplace of twins Apollo and Artemis, splendid Ancient Delos was a shrine turned sacred treasury and commercial centre. This Unesco World Heritage Site is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece.
The island, just 5km long and 1300m wide, has no permanent population, so offers a soothing contrast to
Mykonos (though in highest summer many visitors throng to the island). Overnight stays are forbidden and boat schedules allow a maximum of four hours at Delos.
The mules and donkeys are the main means of heavy transport and they, along with the rustic aspects of life on the island, give Hydra its two faces: chic and earthy.

Good-bye, My Love, Good-bye (in German), Demis Roussos
(June 15, 1946-January 25, 2015)

The White Rose of Athens, Nana Mouskouri

Mikis Theodorakis, The Best of


Anonymous said...

Need a traveling companion when you go to Greece? Have always wanted to visit. Heard it's heaven.

And Nana Mouskouri is such a legend. She stood out in the 80's. I don't think there was another like her then.

Just beautiful.

K. :)

Ron said...

"the Grecian Isles has always been a burning desire; and believed for some time, my soul would be happy beginning its next journey on any one of these beautiful islands. It must also be the Pisces in me. :))"

Same here, Petra! I remember seeing a photograph of Greece on a wall somewhere when I was very young, and thinking, "I want to go there!" I feel very 'connected' to Greece in some strange way; almost like remembering a past life. I love the history, the culture, and the FOOD!

And speaking of Greek. Did you ever see the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" I own it. OMG...it's a brilliantly hilarious film!

GREAT post, dear friend!


petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Hi, K.! Have you ever felt an attraction towards a place? That's how I've felt about Greece, for years.

Lol K. Quite honestly, I'd like to retire there. But the best laid plans...

Wholeheartedly agree, K. Nana Mouskouri's voice is angelic! :))

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Hi, Ron! It's such a mystery why we're attracted to someone, something, or somewhere. I've wanted to go since I learned my name was Greek, so that's many, many year.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is hilarious, Ron! And one of my father's favorites. He can listen to Greek music all day! :))