Greece Highlights – Santorini

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Approaching the island of Santorini

 

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Santorini is known for its beautiful sunsets

 

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Left: Grilled shrimps with rice and sides

Right: Chicken souvlaki with sides

 

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Nea Kameni islet – the last eruption of the Nea Kameni volcano was in 1950. 

 

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We joined tons of tourists making their way up the peak of the volcano.

 

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Left: Steam escaping from the ground

Right: Pungent volcanic gases

 

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Peak of the volcano

 

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We had lunch at a restaurant by the sea side… I thought the octopus (see left pic) was kinda scary…

 

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Town of Oia on Santorini

 

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Beautiful churches

 

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Views of the Caldera from Oia

 

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We picked a restaurant facing west to have dinner so as to catch the sunset.

 

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Dinner wasn’t that great, but the view was!

 

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Alas!  The limitations of a digicam!

 

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The sun setting behind clouds

 

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Town of Fira –

Left: Catheral Church of Candlemas of the Lord

Right: The street is dotted with doorways like this to indicate that there’s a restaurant / hotel below

 

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Left: Town of Fira (see the steps at the bottom left corner of the photo?  That leads to the port.)

Right: You can take cable car down to the port – highly recommended ‘cos it’s a loooooong climb and the steps reek of donkey poop!  We suffered the experience in Oia…

 

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Another church of which I’ve forgotten the name

 

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Left: Spectacular view of Fira

Right:  View of the Caldera (that’s what the body of water is called)

 

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Right: This wheel moves the cable cars!

 

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Left: A little dock for small boats

Right: There’re a lot of smokers in Greece.  There’re few restrictions on areas where people can smoke.  Not good news of non-smokers like us.

 

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Left: Fira at sunset

Right: The Caldera at sunset

 

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Left: The streets of Fira come alive at night!

Right: Donkey puppets!!

 

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And that’s all the photos I have for now.  Friends, if you want to see the entire collection of Greece photos, please check my Facebook.  Thanks!

Greece Highlights – Mykonos

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Pelican Bay Hotel – Our beautiful hotel room in Mykonos

 

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View from the balcony of the hotel room

 

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Apart from opening the usual way, the doors & windows could also be tipped open for ventilation!  I thought it was so cool!

 

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Left: Picture of our hotel room from the outside

Right: Iceman coming down the stairs leading to our room

 

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Left: Some cacti looking flowers.  Very unusual (for me at least)

Right: Goats!  Behhhh… beehhhhh

 

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Left: A provision shop in the town of Mykonos

Right: “She sells seashells by the seashore”

 

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Left: A bullet looking house

Right: Windmills!

 

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Right: How a windmill should really look… before the sails get taken down.  Heh.

 

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“Little Venice” of Mykonos

 

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The narrow & windy streets were meant to make it difficult for pirates to capture the island

 

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Typical Greek fast food –

Left: Pita with pork Souvlaki

Right: Souvlaki – it’s like grilled meat on satay stick

 

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Left: Grilled seafood platter

Right: Greek traditional dessert – Baklava (it’s really super sweet)

 

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Traditional Greek dance (gets kind of boring after a while)

 

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A beach front restaurant where we had our lunch before departing for Santorini!

Greece Highlights – Epidavros Theatre, Mycenae, Temple of Zeus, Acropolis & Parthenon

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Epidaurus was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf.  The prosperity brought by the Asklepieion enabled Epidauros to construct civic monuments: the huge theatre that delighted Pausanias for its symmetry and beauty, which is used once again for dramatic performances, the ceremonial Hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), baths and a palaestra.  The theatre was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC.  The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows.  As is usual for Greek theatres (and as opposed to Roman ones), the view on a lush landscape behind the skene is an integral part of the theatre itself and is not to be obscured.  It seats up to 15,000 people

The theatre is marvelled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken word from the stage to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating.  A 2007 study by Nico F. Declercq and Cindy Dekeyser of the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that the astonishing acoustic properties are either the result of an accident or the product of advanced design: The rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify/reflect high-frequency sounds from the stage.

 

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The archaeological sites of Mycenae and Tiryns are the imposing ruins of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century B.C. and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture. These two cities are indissolubly linked to the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which have influenced European art and literature for more than three millennia.

Left: The entrance is known as the Lions Gate, though archaeologists now believe that these really should be a carving of lionesses rather than lions as the heads are too small to belong to the latter.

 

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Greetings from the top of the hill.  Coming up, we travel back to Athens…

 

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Left: Temple of Olympian Zeus – is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 650 years after the project had begun. During the Roman periods it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world.

Right: The columns were made up of separate rings joined together by lead (through the centre).  Note – this is a Corinthian column. 

 

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The Parthenon (Ancient Greek: Παρθενών) is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena whom the people of Athens considered their protector. It was built in the 5th century BC on the Athenian Acropolis. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered one of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy, and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a program of restoration and reconstruction.

 

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Old Temple of Athena

 

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After this, we bade farewell to Athens and made our way to the islands of Mykonos & Santorini!

Greece Highlights – Delphi & Olympia

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View from the bus, on the way to Delphi

 

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Left: Typical Greek terrain

Right: Photo stop!

 

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A shop where rugs are weaved.  Rugs and carpets made in Greece are commonly sold to Canada, France and other parts of Europe.

 

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Left: Display of rugs

Right: Can you spot the error?

 

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Left: Greek macaroni with beef stew

Right: Mixed plate comprising of fried cheese, spinach pie (aka Mousaka), yoghurt with olives and I can’t remember what else.  It all tasted the same after a while…

 

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Left: A tray of Greek desserts

Right: Tiramisu

 

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The archaeological site of Delphi

 

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Left: Treasury of Athenians (a place where the offerings and other valuables were stored)

 

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Left: An Ionic column (if you’re interested, do an online search for the difference between Ionic, Doric and Corinthian columns)

Right: View from mid-way up the site

 

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Still hiking up the site…

 

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I wore my cap as it got hotter as we climbed.  Cam-whoring to relieve tiredness.

 

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Left: Ruins of the Temple of Apollo

 

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I felt the ruins looked very majestic against the mountainous backdrop.

 

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Left: The bull was a sacred animal to the Crete people

 

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Many spectacular statues are now stored at a museum next to the archaeological site.

 

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Left: View from the bus on our way to Olympia the next morning.

Right: A shrine by the road side. There’re many shrines along Greek roads – some were built to remember people who died in accidents at the spot, some built by survivors of accidents to give thanks to God, some were built to commemorate old churches that have been pulled down, and some were built to let pple know there’s a church nearby.

 

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More shrines.  Reminds me of how the people of the Old Testament would build shrines along their journeys to commemorate God’s greatness.  BTW, 98% of Greeks are Orthodox Christians.  This is the first time I visited a country of Orthodox Christians.  Very interesting.

 

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The Sanctuary of Olympia.  The site of Olympia, in a valley in the Peloponnesus, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C., Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek world. In addition to temples, there are the remains of all the sports structures erected for the Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia every four years beginning in 776 B.C.

 

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Left: The entrance to the ancient Olympic stadium.  Note – we learnt from our guide that the ancient Greek stadiums did not have seats for spectators, who would stand on the slopes to watch the race.  Stadiums with seats are only typical of Roman stadiums.  In addition, the Greeks learnt how to use bricks in their construction from the Romans, while the Romans picked up knowledge on constructing statutes from the Greeks.

Right: Iceman reaching the finishing line!

 

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Left: Temple of Hera – an ancient Doric Temple.  The Temple of Hera was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 4th century AD, and never rebuilt.  In modern times, the temple is the location where the torch of the Olympic flame is lit, by focusing the rays of the sun.  The temple was dedicated to Hera, the wife of Zeus and one of the most important female deities in Greek religion.

Right: The Philippeion in the Altis of Olympia was an Ionic circular memorial of ivory and gold, which contained statues of Philip’s family, Alexander the Great, Olympias, Amyntas III and Eurydice II.  It was made by Athenian sculptor Leochares in celebration of Philip’s victory at Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC).

 

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From the Museum –

Left: How ancient ladies kept their modesty – the weights would prevent their skirts from flying up when the wind blows.

Right: Ancient bronze helmet

 

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Self-explanatory…

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Left: Ancient dolls

Right: Excavated statues

 

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Left: Lamb

Right: Really oily Greek salad (Athena sure gave Greece damn a lot of olives man…)

 

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Photo stop at the smelly Port of Nafplio

 

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Our dinner… doesn’t it look really familiar?

Greece Highlights – Athens, Kalambaka

Iceman and I went to Greece for our honeymoon and here’re some of my favourite pictures.  For the full set of photos, please check my Facebook page.  🙂

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Our flight transited in Doha.  Yup, that’s our flight no. stuck to the side of the stairs…

 

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The lift at our hotel in Athens, Kaningos 21 – it’s kind of old fashioned ‘cos you have to manually open the outer lift door… but yet the inside of the lift is so space age!

 

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Left: A toy shop along Akadimias Street

Right: Goddess Athena

According to Greek mythology, both goddess Athena and god Poisedon (aka Neptune) wanted to take Athens under their protection.  A contest was thus held whereby Athena and Poisedon had to conjure up something that all the other gods would vote to see which was the best for the people of Athens.  Athena created a olive tree while Poisedon created water.  The Greek gods voted Athena the winner.  Poisedon, in a fit of anger, cursed Athens to be always short of water (it is indeed a dry land!).  Frankly, I don’t see how “water” could lose to an “olive tree”.  I think Athena probably hiked up her skirt or something during the vote…

 

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Left: Parliament House

Right: Changing of the Guards

 

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Left: Outside some old church which I’ve forgotten the name of

Right: A really sexy newscaster – and not tabloid news mind you.  She was delivering news of the floods in Taiwan, etc.

 

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View from the roof top garden at Kaningos 21.  The lighted hill faraway is Lycabettus Hill.

 

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St George’s Church (located on the top of Lycabettus Hill)

 

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Pictures of the interior church walls & ceiling

 

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Left: Bell tower of the church of St George

Right View from the top of Lycabettus Hill

 

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Left: The sun setting over Athens

 

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Left: The bell tower at sunset

Right: Athens at night

 

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Monastery of Agia Trias

 

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Photos were not allowed to be taken inside the church halls.

 

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The monks used to store 12,000 litres of water in the barrel in the photo on the right.  At first we were thinking – “that’s a lot of beer”… but no… it was just water.

 

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In the past, folks who could not climb up the mountain to get to the monastery (see above) were hauled up using the net and rope below.

 

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It is said that the rope was replaced everytime an accident happened…

 

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Next… the nunnery of St Stephen.

 

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Much better maintained compared to the monastery!

 

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The lawns and gardens were very neat!

 

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Typical Greek food (tomato rice with feta cheese) & beer.