The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Greece

Trip Start Apr 13, 2011
Trip End Jul 11, 2011

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Where I stayed
Norwegian Jade
What I did
cruised and explored

Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Sunday, June 5, 2011

******Enter photo quiz at the end of the blog******

   Ron was so enamored of the transhumance last month, that he had trouble sleeping soundly for a few days.  One night, after counting all 2000 sheep again, he arose from the bed, and went online to check his email.  And there it was, a glittering, unsolicited piece of spam, offering a last minute deal to cruise the Greek Isles!
   So there we were, one week later, driving our little Peugeot to Venice and the ship.  Cruises have never been our favorite mode of transportation but there is no faster way to visit the picturesque Greek Isles, pristine villages, and emerald waters that were on our bucket list. 
Our first stop, Corfu, offered historical, cultural, and religious icons making it the most interesting, to us, of all the stops.
   Princess Alice of Austria, one of the last Habsburg royalty, (her cousin, Maxmillian was dispatched to the new world to blow the Habsburg's Mexico Project) built a palace in Corfu to escape the political Austrian-Hungary court.  She didn't mess around.  The paintings are impressive, but the sculptures win first prize.  For many years, Corfu was a Republic of Venice protectorate. The gigantic, expensive fort still stands on a hilltop, commanding a view of the harbor. In Corfu, we visited two monasteries.  One with easy access, with many visitors, but the other so remote that we were the only ones there, except for a monk and a stone mason.  The monks at the remote monastery raise poultry and grow olives, which they press in an ancient contraption, still powered by donkey. When cruising, you only get a few hours per venue, but we definitely saw the best of Corfu.
   Standing on deck, early the next morning,it was as though one of the Greek gods set Santorini on the bluff, and arranged the sun to perfectly illuminate the island.  It just looks surreal and it seemed personal.  It was by far the most breathtakingly beautiful island we experienced.
   It doesn't take long to go ashore and ride the cable cars up the cliff to the village of Fira, the one you see on most postcards.  We walked a while and found a restaurant facing the direction of the sunset, where we made a dinner reservation, before taking a taxi to Oia, a smaller village about fifteen kilometers away.
   If you wanted to recreate the quintessential Greek seaside village, you would copy Oia (pronounced eeya). We spent a lazy afternoon exploring the village, daydreaming about any one of our children honey-mooning here, before catching the local bus back to Fira. We spent too much time with our new friends at the restaurant, and found ourselves racing back to the cable car, afraid we would miss our sailing.
   The windmills of Mykonos are truly iconic.  We pretended they were only for us.  They are definitely storybook quality, with birds building their nests in the old wooden gear wheels.
We found a small beachside restaurant, on the isthmus, at Ornos, where  we enjoyed a huge platter of mixed fish and a cool bottle of Greek white wine. 
   Our last destination, Olympia, had its own charm.  We opted out of the ruins tour and chose to spend a few hours around the villages.  Our transportation for the day was a brand new, totally automatic motor scooter!  The Greeks have been making wine since 3400 BCE  We visited a winery that's been in business for a couple of hundred years and still is operated by descendants of the founders.  Feeling quite local, Kathy balanced our purchases of olive oil and wine as she rode tandem behind Ron on the scooter.  Our winery guide, made it really fun.  She is a Brit, who came to Greece, married a Greek man and never left.  Our last stop before reboarding was a small museum of Greek inventions.  A very good English speaking docent explained each invention and demonstrated a few of them.  She also informed us that the Greeks have made virtually every mechanical and scientific discovery.  We were thinking she might be one of the relatives from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." 
   We were back in Venice Saturday morning. What a week!!  We sailed past St. Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace and St. this and St. that in Venice on the afternoon of one Saturday and again on the morning of the next, with a week of Greek culture and history sandwiched in between.  We are truly blessed!!!
Thank you for all your messages and comments.  We look forward to seeing you next month upon our return.
Photo Quiz
Painting- the dead soldier being dragged by the chariot will not be buried.  His body will be left to be consumed by the elements, the ultimate military dishonor.  His sister is not going for the plan.
   a.)  What is the name of the play?
   b.)  Who is the author?
Sculpture- imagined conversation
Victim- "Nice shot.  Right in the heel.  How did you know?"
Shooter- "Jo Mama!"
Of whom is the scuplted image???

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Pat Holmes on

Right there with you! We have traveled Greece and been to Mykinos and Corfu and you captured it! So glad you are enjoying the moment, all the moments!! Love to both! We leave for an Alaska cruise the middle of June!

Pat Hollmes on

Whoops, spelled Mykonos wrong!

Carol Landis on

Loved the pictures and seeing the contented smiles on your faces! Enjoy every minute and thanks for taking the time to share with us!

Christie Clemens on

I love reading your blog!! We are traveling to Mykonos and Santorini in a couple weeks!

Here are my answers to the Photo Quiz:

1. a.) The Illiad b.) Homer

2. Achilles

Mallarie (Vallarie's evil twin) on

Fantastic! We loved donkey rides for us though. Sunsets spectacular and the food was amazing---looks like you found our paradise. So happy you two are enjoying yourselves! So, feel guilty you two...Jim just had total knee replacement!!! Doing great though with Nurse Rachette at his side!!

Linda McIntyre on

What? You didn't take donkeys?...I don't blame you. I didn't either. The Greek Islands are great. When George and I went, that was the trip that your parents, my parents, and Vic and Hong were supposed to all cruise together on Sept 25 guessed it! right after 9-11. they all cancelled but George and I went by ourselves. It was the most wonderful trip. Your pictures bring back awsome memories of Santorini and Mykonos. The water was soooooooblue and I'm soooooooojealous. Ciao!

Charlie Littrell on

Amazing!!! story and pictures. When I saw the pictures of Greece, I thought to myself "I didn't remember Kathy saying she was going to Greece. Congrats on grabbing the gusto!! It looks fabulous.Love You! Charlie

Debbie on

Ron & Kathy ....Love your sense of adventure....a Greek cruise. The photos make me feel I am there with you!
So happy you are enjoying every second in Europe.
My guess is Achilles?
Love, Debbie

gail thompson on

Your blog took me back.
We absolutely loved Greece and so happy you were able to do this cruise. Sounds like you two are having way too much fun.
Look forward to seeing you when you get home.
Love and hugs, Gail and Jim T

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