Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Monday, November 19th, 2007 Another rainy day……

We actually slept in until after 7 am after a restless night with storms coming and going throughout the night. Jim definitely has a cold and has started taking the Sud-a-fed that we have with us from home.

By morning the sun was out and although cool, Jim enjoyed several walks in the surrounding hills while I readied my photos and journal for a trip this afternoon to Naousa and the Internet for the sending of Journal # 9. I’m also busy reading my current book as it’s so good and I want to finish before we leave tomorrow afternoon.

Our supply of food is nearly consumed and we’re having the last of it for dinner tonight, with a rice base we’ll toss everything that’s left in the pot; a bit of this and a bit of that! We’re going to miss our house on Paros but look forward to getting to Mykonos by way of a night on Syros. We leave at 7:30 pm for Syros tomorrow evening where we will search for a nights lodging; everyone assures us that it will be no problem even at that time of night. Do hope the weather is mild. Then on Wednesday we will leave from there to sail to Mykonos at noon. Our family of cats is going to miss us as they've enjoyed a nightly feast of a full can of cat food. The last can shall be opened tonight. Then they will have to find another family who will continue to feed them.

Looks like rain out there right now; its noon on Monday and we’ll wait until about 2 pm to head into Naousa. Jim is hoping for another serendipity journal up a strange road to a monastery that we can see at the top of a hill along the coast from our window.

Written later in the day:

This afternoon proved to be an adventure. First we started up the mountain to see if we could reach the monastery on top. It started to rain and then we found that we’d have to hike the last portion up a very steep hill. Backed the car down a very precipitous narrow road to a spot where we could finally turn around.

We then went on to Naousa for the Internet Café. Arrived at 2:30 and found a note on the door that it would not be open until 3 pm. Spent the time walking around the port and over to the ruins of a Venetian castle. We waited from 3 to 3:30 and no one came to open up the café so we headed towards Parikia and explored the ruins of the Frankish Castle there before getting gas for the car and heading back to Naousa and the known Internet Café since we couldn’t locate one in Parikia. Arrived to an open café and while I went in to use the Internet, Jim walked around taking video shots of the village and the mushroom storm clouds in the sky. We had storms off and on all day so the clouds were truly magnificent. Suddenly, Jim came into the café and announced he’d locked the keys inside the car. They only provide one set of keys so we borrowed the café telephone and called the number on the car of the rental agency that was posted on a sticker on the car. Nick, the owner of the company arrived within about ten minutes and shortly afterwards I finished downloading journals and emails. Thank goodness for small islands!

We did take the time to email our friends and family a send wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving next week as we never know when the next Internet Café will happen. But, as the years pass they do seem to happen much more frequently than five years ago.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Sunday, November 18th, 2007 Heavy storms today caused lost of power…..

Restless night with lightening, thunder and rain off and on; Jim awoke with a scratchy throat and the beginnings of a cold. Took it easy in the morning and started a new book that I’ve found here in the house: “Aegean Summer” by Mimi Lafollette Summerskill; a family odyssey about a summer spent sailing in the Greek Islands in 1965. Very interesting and well written, a true story based on a handwritten journal from the trip.

This afternoon I was reading in my new book about the Greek men and their lack of response to women; it hasn’t changed a bit since 1965. The author was divorced and traveling with her five children ages 24 to 10; a business women who owned and ran one of the largest travel agencies in California at that time. She could not get the captain to listen to her directions and soon realized that she had to give her decisions to her 24 year old son to tell the captain in order to get anything accomplished. They weren’t being rude that was just the way it was then. Today when I was trying to get some information out of the fellow that we’d rented the car though, he looked like he wasn’t hearing me at all. Suddenly Jim walked in to the office and he lit up like a Christmas tree and there was a total change of attitude and demeanor. Me thinks I’d have a difficult time dealing with that attitude on a long term basis!

About noon we had a loud clap of thunder as the lightening struck nearby and all the power went out for the whole area. The storm would stop, sun would come out and then the storm would return. But, we did have a beautiful rainbow in the sky at one time. About 3 pm we got in the car to find a telephone to call Aristo who is our property manager, to see what was happening. First we stopped at the local restaurant on the main road where we’d eaten last Sunday. I walked in to a smoke filled room with all men and told them we were staying up the hill and had lost our electricity. They all pointed to the light bulb that was burning and said that it had just come on that minute! No, I don’t think any of them knew how to speak English but we understood each other. Back in the car and up the hill and sure enough, the power had returned!

Decided to head north to our Internet Café for emails and to check the weather reports; and then continued around the bend to Paraika in hopes that they would actually have the 5 pm Mass that was suppose to happen according to the November issue of the Paros Life, the local newspaper for foreigners.

Arrived and went into the travel agency first and purchased our tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday for our trips to Syros and then on Mykonos on Wednesday. Walked around to the church and found the door locked. Since it wasn’t quite 5 pm yet we walked around town until quarter after five before deciding that they’d canceled the Mass probably due to the bad weather. It wasn’t raining right then but has been most of the day.

Stopped at the car rental office that was open to check on the return times for Tuesday and then headed back towards Drios and home. We were looking for a place to eat dinner and didn’t find an open restaurant until we reached our road and the little Travena that is located nearby. We were the only foreigners but they were very gracious. We enjoyed baked cheese, bread, beer, fries and delicious lamb fresh off the grill. Jim said that it was probably some of the “freshest” meat we’ve ever eaten; whatever, it was great!

We’re home now, the electricity is working and the lightening is far to the north of us.

And so we’ve ended another day in paradise after circling the entire Island this afternoon. It’s not a big place and we really feel like we’ve gotten to know the nooks and crannies.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Saturday, November 17th, 2007 Driving the coastal beaches…..

Jim has decided that I should spend a day in bed. He keeps bring me coffee, hot lemon juice with honey, and breakfast in bed. Wow, am I going to be spoiled. But I do hope this helps the body mend as I am still having troubles with the cold. It’s rather nice as I sit here in bed and type as I can look out the window and see Naxos across the water. Jim has gone to the store for more Kleenex and coffee before heading over to the well for more water. The weather is clear, some clouds on the horizon but contrary to what the weather reports on the Internet said yesterday; it doesn’t look like its going to rain.

Well, my bed rest lasted until about 1 pm and then I just couldn’t stay down any longer. But I do feel better; I think that the extra liquids have helped me as I don’t drink a lot during the day because of the problems of finding the W.C. on a regular basis when we’re out traipsing around the countryside. After Jim fixed us lunch we did some laundry and then headed for a drive to see if the Internet “hot spot” he found during his morning drive was a secured or open spot. On our way to the main road we clocked the distance from the Villa to the road and it’s a distance of 1.3 kilometers; not too far and it’s all downhill but then there’s the walk back up afterwards.

Down by our local beach we found a pole with five different DSL boxes along with several satellite dishes. I fired up the laptop and it spotted the servers but all of them were secured so that ended that possibility. We did stop to watch several young men who were wind sailing on Golden Beach. Using a large comma shaped “kite” it was amazing to watch them use the wind to basically water ski as though they were being pulled by a fast speedboat. The weather is beautiful today but they were wearing wetsuits as I’m sure it was cold out there in the water.

We continued to drive along the coast until the road brought us back to the highway and then we took the next road back to the coast and a very pretty little town called Piso Livadi. The protected harbor held many little fishing boats and piles of large nets were drying along the docks. As we were leaving we pulled over to let two vehicles go around us; Jim does this because he hates “tail gating”; but, that’s just the way the Greeks drive so he’s always pulling over. The second vehicle stopped and backed up after passing us; it was Aristo, the gentlemen who takes care of our Villa and had helped us when we first arrived. It’s a small world, even on “our” island.

Our next adventure today was, you guessed it, back to Naousa and the Internet. But, we drove a completely different route to Marpissa and headed for Kostos in the hills for another route into Naousa. Jim is determined to drive as many back roads as possible while we’re here. On this one we found another stretch of the Byzantine Route with a Byzantine Bridge for a Kodak moment. The weather is becoming overcast so that storm may arrive tomorrow; but for now, we were able to sign on, get our emails and do some research on the ferry boat routes for next week. Arrived back at the house just at dusk and had another home cooked meal. Jim gets very frustrated driving at dusk as they generally don’t turn their headlights on until it is totally dark; some do use the small running lights and that help a little bit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Friday, November 16th, 2007 Off to visit the Island of Naxos…..

Woke early, heater worked all night; we’re learning how to work the electrical system. Jim says that instead of a 10 amp breaker it should be at least a 25. Looks like another beautiful day outside. About 9 am we loaded the car, including the trash bag, and headed down the hill to the main road. Found the trash dumpster on the highway and then headed south through Drios towards Parikia. When we arrived we found parking for the day; walked to the port and purchased our roundtrip tickets to Naxos for the day at the price of 7 euros each way.

We now had two hours until sailing time so we first walked around to find the Catholic Church where we will go to Mass on Sunday evening. Then we entered one of the most famous churches in the islands. It is called the Holy Shrine of Panaya Ekatontapiliani, built in the fourth century somewhere around 379 AD by St. Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine. She had stopped in Paros as she traveled to Palestine to search for the Holy Cross. She prayed in a small temple on this site and promised to return and build a big Temple if she was successful in her quest for the Holy Cross. Some say that she built the temple and others say her son built if for her. She found pieces of the Holy Cross in Palestine and also other relics including the steps to the house of Pontius Pilate that now have their own church in Rome.

This is one of the oldest and best maintained Christian temples in Greece; of course like everything in Europe this is not the original building but has been repaired and reconstructed on this site over the centuries as fires and earthquakes required. The inside is truly one of the best of all the Greek Orthodox Churches that we’ve seen on this trip. There have been larger ones but this one definitely causes one to stop and investigate all of the nooks and crannies. One special spot is the Chapel of Osia Theoktisti that includes her tomb. Her story is very interesting and a part of the history of Paros and this church. They celebrate her memory on the 9th of November each year.

I then found a spot to sit and read my novel near the pine grove and Jim headed over for the Archeological Museum of Paros. Small but he found it very interesting he said when he came out half an hour later. Purchased a bag of popcorn and then headed to the dock to await the ship that will be stopping here; it left from Piraeus (Athen’s Port) this morning and stops here before going to Naxos and then it continues on from there to Santorini.

The ship took about an hour to go around the north end of Paros Island and over to Naxos. Departed the ship and walked up the inside walkways to the top of the Venetian Fortress. There was a large Roman Catholic Church but it was locked. We found the Naxos Archeological Museum but Jim passed on that one. We finally found the Venetian Museum that we wanted to visit but it is closed for the season. Winding our way down in a different direction, we ended up at the same place we’d started from near the port. The inside pathways were probably created both as safe passages in the winter storms but also because of pirates in the ancient times. Actually, I was reading a story one day about some modern day pirates that have attacked Corfu enough times that they actually increased the number of soldiers on the island to deter possible attacks.

We then walked back towards the port and on to the tip of the bay where the Archaic Temple towers over the town and has become its symbolic icon: when you think of Naxos you think of the romantic skyline arch of a ruined temple on the causeway-linked islet at the edge of the town. The books say that the temple-topped rock provides a beguiling promise to arriving ferry passengers of things to come. We found it a Kodak moment and I shot a photo of Jim posed just so that it appears that he is holding the column apart. We also set up the mini-tripod and did some timed photos of the two of us blowing in the wind that is coming in off the Aegean Sea.

It was nearly 3 pm and we walked till we found an Internet Shop with wireless access. There were several to choose from because of the rage with Internet Gaming that we’re finding all over Greece. Yes, I’d brought my laptop with me; it’s so small I find it easy to slip into my daypack. Signed on and enjoyed a very fast connection. We then headed downstairs and into an outside restaurant for an early dinner. We ended up staying at the table for almost two hours reading our novels; the place wasn’t crowded and we were not the only ones using this as a waiting room for the return trip at 6:15 pm.

Back on Paros about 7:30 pm we decided to take the northern route home through Lefkes to our house in Drios. I was very diligent in working with Jim to watch for cows on the road; we didn’t want a repeat of the other night. A nice day but it was good to be back in our snug little home at the end of the day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Thursday, November 15th, 2007 Good weather today as we toured Paros sites….

Last night was a light show as God provided massive sheets of lightening followed by loud claps of thunder for most of the evening. The cats were snuggled up close to the windows and the power kept going on and off. By 8 pm I decided to shower before we lost power permanently as the water heater is electric. We found lots of little tea candles and some citron candles in the cabinets along with some flashlights.

Just as Jim was getting into the shower we lost all of the power downstairs, but the power was okay in the upstairs. Probably a short somewhere in the walls as the downstairs has two walls into the side of the hill. Piled all the blankets we could find on the beds and tucked ourselves in for the night.

Have I mentioned the electrical systems in Greece? Every business and home has an electrical panel built inside the building with switches and breakers for everything. The upstairs air conditioner/heater is totally separate from the downstairs. We do the power switches for the stove and hot water heaters as needed. Most of the others stay on full time. We saw this system for the first time in the brand new home, “Rooms for Rent”, that we stayed in several weeks ago on our way to Corfu. Today in the restaurant in Lefkes, we saw them using the same system, except because it is an old building the wires were visible on the wall instead of being buried inside the wall. These probably exist all over Europe but I’ve never noticed them before.

By this morning we had power back but decided not to run the television and downstairs heater at the same time as they are on the same breaker and give us the most problems. The sun was out and it’s a beautiful day outside. We went for a walk up the hill behind the house in shirtsleeves it was so warm. We saw high on the hill above us the Monastery of St. George that we’d driven towards on a dirt road while looking for the water well on Tuesday. It is a huge building but I don’t think I want to make that climb again in our little car; a four wheel drive would be perfect for getting there.

Drove into Drios to the grocery store for some things and then down to the beach in town. We turned at the sign for The Lake Restaurant and headed down a stone canyon to the beach. They have built a narrow road of stone with high walls of stone on either side. Near the beach we spotted a parking lot and walked from there. There are several hotels and many restaurants along the water. Packed with tourist during the summer; today we are the only people there. Everything is closed and even the few fishing boats at the end of the promenade looked sad at their moorings. There were lots of Kodak moments but lacking a certain amount of flavor in their emptiness.

Back on the highway we headed towards Marpissa where we were told that there was a pharmacy where I could purchase some cough drops. No medicinal supplies are sold in the grocery store. Not only found cough drops but also a jar of Vicks Vapor Rub. I’m still fighting the chest rumblings especially at night so this should help.

In Marpissa we easily found the road to St. George’s Monastery and only one kilometer later we were at the well. We filled all of our empty bottles before heading back to the main road. We then headed north to visit the village of Lefkes again; we’re going to hike to the church today.

It was a beautiful walk down the winding steps to the base of the village and the twin towered church with the unusual steeples. Located inland, Lefkes was the capital of Paros during the Ottoman rule when the pirates ruled the seas and forced the abandonment of the traditional center at Parikia, I’ve also discovered that it is sometimes spelled Paroikia. Lefkes is shaped like an amphitheater in the hills with the shimmering Parian Marble Agias Trias Cathedral as the stage at the bottom of the canyon. Unfortunately, the church is now closed for repairs and we were unable to see the frescos and mosaics inside of the church. A charming village with pristine alleyways and buildings that lined our route back to the top; along the way up we stopped at a small bar for cokes and the hard to find but necessary W.C.

Outside of Lefkes we stopped to view the five windmills on one hill; all in various stages of deterioration. Nearby we found olive trees that are hundreds of years old. We haven’t seen groves being harvested; only the occasional person out picking their own olives. We have seen a few nets on the ground but mostly they are holding a basket to put the olives into.

Turned around and headed out of the mountains to the northern coastal route for a return visit to Naousa and the wireless Internet. It’s like a magnet, drawing us back as often as possible. While I was online searching for emails and updated information; Jim found a shop for ferry boat information. We’ve discovered that there is a boat that leaves at 11:55 am for Naxos and returns the same day about 6 pm. Naxos is so close to us that we see the villages across the Aegean Sea on clear days and the lights at night. We won’t be taking the car with us as that would be an extra fifty euro each way. But, there’s a lot to do in the main port town per the guidebooks and it will be a nice change of pace. We also located the Roman Catholic Church in Naousa but this Sunday the priest is saying the mass on Sunday evening in Parikia instead of here, so we need to find the church there before catching the ferry to Naxos tomorrow morning.

Before leaving Naousa we turned down the rutted road that we’d found yesterday during the rain to view the “Tower of Hellenistic Period”; it was too muddy yesterday but today we bounced down the road with only a few problems. Yep…I was right…another pile of rocks about two feet high…but a Kodak moment for Jim.

We’ve had our dinner; Jim cooked and now I need to do the dishes. We’ll read our books and enjoy the electricity this evening.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 Rainy day for driving to Parikia…..

Woke to storms this morning…electricity has been in and out all morning and the storms continued all day; but we were able to find an Internet Café in Naousa that offered wireless access. Made my day to be able to send and receive emails home.

Jim checked his stock market which seems to have bounced up today. We’ve both finished reading our books so yes, the television is on tonight. We fixed our dinner here at the house after we arrived back from our daily tour. We went from Naousa, on the northern tip of the island, across to Parikia. I pronounce that one like the spice but it actually has about four syllabus and is Pa ri ki a (me thinks); Jim is very tolerant about the way I massacre pronunciations.

Walked around between rain drops in Parikia and found a November issue of the Paros News; a monthly newspaper for the foreigners on the island. Gives up-dated information on the many things happening on the island; the local store in Drios was out of this months issue already. Back in the car we drove back across the hills by way of Lefkes to see the church again and see if we could figure how to drive down to it. Looks like we’ll have to hike and with the rain today we’ll save that for another day. Every town we drive through we’re looking for restaurants. Not finding very many of them open.

Back home again before 5 pm, I fed the cats and Jim fixed our dinner from the food we’d purchased at the store yesterday; delicious as always. Still raining so I think I’ll start another book. The owners of this house have a very nice library. We’re really enjoying the down time; Jim even said that if the house had wireless Internet he might consider selling Yorba Linda and living here part time. The operative word in that sentence was “might”…it’ll never happen; he just likes to dream.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 Off to the marble quarries….

Slept in a bit later than yesterday; breakfast was oatmeal again along with the rest of the hard bread. Hung up the clothes outside again, this time with clothes pins and then took them down again an hour later before heading for the grocery store after I’d sketched out a map from the main road to the house for Jim. He gets lost at the church corner.

We found Margarita and Haris’ grocery store by the name of Anoussakis Market, located in the center of town on the main road. We introduced ourselves and they remembered Julie and said, “such a nice lady”. And I was right, that was not “Harry” on Sunday!

Purchased about 60 euros worth of food that should last us until we leave; they had a good selection of American products. Found another Skippy’s peanut butter to replace the one we’ve been using, toilet paper, paper towels, nuts, bananas, eggs, etc. Even found some frozen shrimp. But, didn’t find any frozen English muffins for Julie.

We headed back to the house for a couple of hours to give the laundry time to dry outside before heading out again about 2 pm this afternoon to find the spring for water and see the marble quarries used by the Greeks and then the Romans. It is known for its translucent qualities and was known as Parian marble and was considered the world’s finest. One example is the statute of Venus de Milo carved between 150-140 BC; one of the most important works of art in the Louvre Museum in Paris France.

Took the laundry back inside before leaving, it’s nearly dry and it still looks like rain is a possibility. Headed north towards Marpissa to find the “spring water” that is free and drinkable; followed Julie’s instruction and turned off on the road towards the St. George Monastery. We followed this road all the way to the top of the mountain and didn’t see any wells. By this time we felt like a mountain goat as the road was the width of our car, deeply rutted (very few roads are paved we’ve discovered) and extremely steep. Jim reminded me that all of our weight and traction was in the back of the car so we could start slipping backwards at any moment! We finally called a halt to this quest and turned around. We’d decided to purchase our water at the store.

Near the bottom of the hill we saw another road and took that one. It led us into a canyon and we found the dam with water in the spillway; but definitely not drinkable. Back to the road…still not paved…past the turkey farm; here we stopped for a Kodak moment as I think this is as close to a Thanksgiving Turkey as we’re going to see this year. Nearly back to the paved road we spotted what appeared to be a water well. Sure enough, inside the well was a pump and over to the side was a faucet just as Julie said there’d be. And looking off the road we saw the Monastery that provides the free drinkable water for the village. We’d driven right past it on our way up the mountain as it was hidden from view on the way up by a small building. We filled our empty water bottles that we’d brought with us and should now have plenty of drinking water for the rest of our stay.

Headed back into Marpissa and took the road towards Lefkes; a town in the mountains near the center of the Island of Paros. There we had another Kodak moment of the magnificent Agias Trias cathedral; then we headed further down on the other side of the mountain towards Marathi and the ancient marble quarries that have now been abandoned. Jim’s sandal strap broke again as we walked up the marble path to the quarries; he shuffled along and we were able to see where the Parian Marbles were quarried in ancient times.

Back to the car and on down the mountain to the port city of Parikia where we hoped to find an open restaurant for an early dinner. Drove around and around and finally out of the city without finding anything. The Islands definitely do “shut down” after October. Decided to head towards the house and fix spaghetti for dinner after stopping at the store for fresh bread and the noodles that we’d forgotten this morning. Since it was only 4:30 and the store didn’t reopen until 5 pm we meandered here and there and ended up driving all the way down the road into Klyki. Found the beach with the boats moored in the bay and unexpectedly also found an open restaurant! Enjoyed a nice early dinner of pizza and then headed back towards Drios and home. It was dark by now and while driving along the highway we rounded a curve in the road and I yelled “COW”; much like Jamie in the movie “Twister”. Jim slammed on the brakes and stopped just inches before hitting the first cow whose eyes were looking inside our little car! There were three cows crossing the highway followed by an old man on a donkey and a very small dog trotting along side the donkey. Jim rolled down the window to apologize to the old man and he started shaking his long stick that he was carrying and yelling at us in Greek! We really were not speeding and I think we were more frightened by the experience that the old man….the cows hardly batted an eyelash!

Arrived home to all five cats crying for their dinner; guess they’re getting used to being fed. We’re going to enjoy our evening by reading our books. I’ve started a great little book that I found here in the house called “Tulip Fever” by Deborah Moggach. Jim is busying attempting to repair his sandal with our sewing kit just incase we don’t find a shoe repair shop tomorrow when we drive back into Parikia. And then he plans to read his book also. I can’t believe that the television has not been on once today! That’s a record!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Monday, November 12th, 2007 Drove to Parikia….the port….

Washed my hair which may have been a mistake as the cold seems to have settled in my chest overnight; lots of coughing today and here I thought I was over it by now. Back to the Greek liquid medicine I purchased in Athens and rubbing the cream on the chest and on my feet per instructions from my friend Patti via email.

We were up early as sleeping in has not been a luxury we’ve enjoyed recently. Found a partial box of oatmeal, some honey that was going to sugar, our bread and juice and instant coffee that we’d purchased at the store yesterday, made a great breakfast. We hung some of our laundry on the clothes line outside before heading down the hill for today’s adventure.

We headed north along the coast towards the main port town of Parikia. There we checked on boat schedules for Mykonos. Opps, we learned that we have to sail first to the Island of Syros; that ferry leaves Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only at either 7:30 pm or 4:45 pm depending on the day. Then we must stay overnight and the next day catch a different ferry to Mykonos. Another overnight stay and then return to Syros; stay overnight and then return to Paros. It’s called the winter schedules I think! So we’ve decided to stay on Paros until the 20th, then go to Syros, from there to Mykonos and then back to Syros and the following day go to Athens (we hope). Everything depends on the weather. Island hopping is best done in the summer! Hot but predictable weather!

Today we drove around the city of Parikia before heading south to Pounda and the short ferry boat ride to Antiparos (sometimes spelled Andiparos). This is the island that the movie stars have started building homes on. Originally it was part of Paros until about five hundred years before Christ when an earthquake split it off. The sea is so shallow between the two islands that large ferry boats are required to sail around on the other side of Antiparos.

The ferry left every half hour in the morning and we arrived just as the noon boat was leaving. Half hour later it was back and we drove aboard for the fifteen minute ride in our car. The fee was only 6 euro for the car and 1 euro for each of us. Very reasonable and then we had the car to drive around the island. We found an open restaurant called Romvi in the port and enjoyed a nice meal before heading up the road to find “the cave” that is the tourist site of this island. Found the cave, but it was closed, maybe for the day, maybe for the season or maybe for repairs; bottom line we were only able to take photos of the entrance. Started to rain as we dashed down the hill to the car and it continued to rain for the rest of the day. Back on the ferry boat and home to Paros; we thought that the grocery store would be open by 4 pm but when we arrived in Drios, it didn’t open until 5 pm. Figured we had enough to eat this evening so we returned home in the rain and found the laundry had flown off of the clothesline (hanging hangers on the clothesline was not the swiftest thing we did today) so it was back in the washing machine for those pieces. We left it there overnight and hung it up this morning. Fortunately we’d only hung a few heavy pieces on the line before we left for town.

We enjoyed our tomato soup and bread that we’d purchased yesterday and also found an open jar of Skippy’s Peanut Butter that added to our little supper. Lost power a few times but overall enjoyed the evening watching CNN and CNBC for Jim and I finished reading my novel before going to bed about 9 pm.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Sunday, November 11th, 2007 Ferry boat to Paros and our little house….

Jim woke about 5 am and was dressed by the time I woke up about six. He went down to the ticket office and purchased our tickets. We took our things and boarded the ship about 6:45 am. Crowded but manageable, we found seats and purchased some coffee and chocolate to go with our apple pie that Julie had insisted we bring with us last night; made a great breakfast during our four hour cruise. I’ve been typing on my computer now for the past two hours and Jim has started to read my book, “The Kite Runner”. I’m going to bring it back to Julie at the end of our stay in Paros as she said she’d like to read it. Jim generally doesn’t like the same books as I do but he is thoroughly enjoying this one. Highly recommend you get the book if you haven’t read it. Amazing is all I can say.

I walked around while Jim was reading my new Journal and at the reception desk I found a card that said they had wireless Internet. I asked and it is ninety minutes for 9 euros. I immediately purchased some time and soon we were online for the last hour of our sailing time. This will be perfect for the trip back to Athens to send my journal and photos from our stay on Paros.

Arrived and Aristos was there to meet us. Nice man, younger than I thought he’d be; took us straight to the car rental place across the street and assisted us in renting a car. We took the mini compact, a Korean built Daewoo, stick shift; very basic but only 18 euros a day….a great price. We then followed Aristos for about a half an hour to the house. Can’t imagine how we would have found it without him. We’re located near the top of the hill just north of Drios; views to die for of the Aegean Sea and the islands along the coast. All white houses, flat roofs to catch the rain, and bright colors on the shutters, doors and fences. Water is very precious here on Paros and we need to drink bottled water unless we want to drive to a spring that Julie told us about last night.

The house is two stories on a hillside; you enter on the second story where there is a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and dining room. Downstairs there is a living room, bedroom and second bathroom. The house has very spacious rooms, all tile floors, lots of windows but without screens and most importantly a washing machine. Each load takes over two hours as they are European machines. Jim is thrilled that there is a satellite TV with about a thousand channels! CNN is primary as many of the others are in Greek. The owner of this home actually lives in North Carolina and was just here in October. Julie has been using the house every year for more than ten years, usually during August. I must say their detailed instruction books are fantastic. Puts my little Big Bear book to shame!

We also have five friendly cats that were waiting to be feed as soon as we arrived. They don’t belong to anyone but the owners encourage guests to feed the cats while here. We purchased cat food at the store and watched them devour every bite. They’re sitting at the patio door as I type hoping that we’ll let them in but that’s not going to happen; Jim will tolerate my feeding them but not allowing them inside the house; says he’s allergic to cats. We do have a lot of houseflies. I’ve been working with the fly swatter and have them under control. There is mosquito netting over all the beds so I guess that’s a problem in the warmer months.

After checking everything out and starting a load of wash we headed out to get gas for the car, find some early dinner and the grocery store. Got lost at our first turn but soon turned around and wound our way down the hill to the main road following the “Dasco Villa” signs. There we found gas and next door a wonderful Grill Restaurant called Pateneth or something like that. Family run and very good food, again we were the only foreigners in the room. Someone told us that Tom Cruise is of Greek heritage: his cousin was sitting in the room today having lunch. At least he looked a lot him Tom Cruise. Jim had lamb that we watched the owner/chef cut up with a huge meat cleaver before grilling over charcoal. I had a Greek Salad and we both enjoyed baked cheese with spices. Two beers completed our first meal on Paros; a great meal and I’m sure we’ll go back again while we’re here.

Drove towards Drios looking for the market; saw one on the edge of town but it looked closed. Jim pulled into the parking area behind and there was a man cleaning corn. I asked him if this was Margarita and Harry’s market and when would the market be open? He motioned us to follow him, I said are you Harry? He shook his head for a yes and unlocked the door. He turned on some lights and let us purchase some groceries. There wasn’t a huge selection, no eggs or fruit; but we found enough for breakfast and lunch and cans of cat food.

Continued to drive and then found other markets that were closed because today is Sunday. We’ll come back tomorrow as I don’t think that we were at the store that Julie told us about. Checked her email again after we arrived home and found the name of Margarita’s store, I don’t think that was Harry that we met. Continued to drive around the area before heading home to check on the laundry and learn more about our new house.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Saturday, November 10th, 2007 An extra day in Athens due to bad weather….

Up by 5 and down for the taxi that we’d scheduled for 6 am. The weather was cold and blustery, but we didn’t think too much about it. The taxi driver taught me a new word as he greeted us with a hearty “kalimera” and a few minutes later as we settled into the ride I said to him a hearty “good morning” and he repeated back to me his original greeting that sounds like “calamari”. Ah, new word for my vocabulary, easy to remember because it sounds likes the octopus when it is cooked.

We arrived at the port of Piraeus and he dropped us at the ticket office for the Blue Ferry Line. It was even windier here, and within a few minutes we discovered why the guide books tell you not to count on the ferries always running! They were shut down tight because of the brewing storms rolling in from the southeast. We looked up at the flags and they were standing at attention fulltime!

Dawn arrived and they unlocked the waiting rooms near the ship. We hadn’t purchased our tickets yet and at this point no one was selling any tickets. The rooms and dock were full of people arriving, leaving, and staying and generally in a quandary as they continued to hold out hope that if the storm let up they would sail. In the past, this type of storm wasn’t an issue and they sailed in all types of weather. But, because of several ships going down in the last few years; now they do not always sail in some types of weather. Jim is sure that it’s because we’re in an off season and this way they’ll be able to fill the ship tomorrow. About 8 am I found a telephone booth and called Julie to let her know that it looked like we were not going to Paros today. I woke her up and she suggested that I wait awhile before calling the gardener/property manager, Aristos, in Paros to let him know not to meet us at the port today.

Suddenly we saw that the rain was eminent and we had to make some decisions. Up to this point we’d only had the two tiny croissants and three cookies to share that I’d tucked into my pack yesterday at the restaurant where I’d eaten my lemon pie. I thought we might need them this morning and also; they were placed on every table with a pitcher of water when you ordered something to eat. It was about 9 am and we rushed to cross the bridge over the street that took us to the Metro Station. Yes, we could have easily ridden the Metro to the port and saved about fifteen euro; but that is now hindsight. There we found clean rest rooms and a coffee shop where we purchased cokes (for caffeine) and a large buttery croissant for each of us. That entitled us to use the table for a couple of hours. The rain poured as we entered the station and the wind was ferocious as it turned umbrellas inside out and knocked over the newspaper stands! I was amazed that the flags were not ripped from their standards. I found the telephone again about 9 am and called Aristos in Paros; he said he would meet us tomorrow.

Jim left me at the coffee shop and headed out to find an inexpensive hotel in the area for the night. It’s a rather seedy area so I didn’t hold any great hopes for something super; we’re looking for cheap and clean. He found us one two blocks away for only 50 euro for the night. We waited for a break in the rain and took our bags over to the hotel and then headed into the city by Metro. It was nearly one o’clock when we called Julie again to let her know that we’d contacted Aristos and had a room for the night. She said she’d emailed us this morning to invite us to stay at her place but we hadn’t been online. Just as well; we’ll be close to the ship in the morning and not have to get up quite so early.

She invited us to her home in Ano Glifada for dinner about 6 pm. Because of our schedule they’re dining very early and also it’s possible because Dimitris works outside and will be quitting early because of the rain.

So we had four hours for walking the city. We’d already walked the Monastiraki district, the old bazaar in the city of Athens, but decided to start our walk there. It butts up against the Plaka and Acropolis and has been there for centuries. Many antiques, we saw one open air shop with dining room chairs, definitely used, and one of a kind; out of about thirty we didn’t see any two that matched.

Headed over towards the Adams Hotel that we’d found last week and seemed like a good value. We’d emailed them and the Carolina Hotel last night on the Internet inquiring about rooms for three nights before we leave Athens after Thanksgiving. Couldn’t find it and ended up walking to Vitro’s where we’d eaten dinner twice. It was really getting cold and we’d left our sweatshirts back at the hotel.

We had the use of the WC and shared a baked feta cheese dish with our chocolate and coffee. After half an hour we headed back out into the street. One of our quests has been for a Christmas ornament from Greece for our neighbor Mary whom we met in Corfu. Now the stores are busy putting out the displays of Christmas decoration but we’ve been unable to find one that symbolized Greece. We stopped at a particularly nice store in the Plaka; the staff was very busy unpacking all their Christmas stock. I asked about an ornament that had “Greece” written on it and WOW…he had some! We were able to select from four different balls and so now we have fulfilled another quest. We also purchased a very small bottle of the Tsipouro Liqueur for us on Paros and another larger one to take to Julie and Dimitris for a gift when we go there for dinner this evening.

By this time we were both freezing and found beige wool sweaters that zipped up for a nice snug fit around the neck. Nothing special, mine is a little large, and we got them for only ten euros each. Jim showed the fellow how to tie a single and a double Windsor knot for his friend who was in need of a tie. I don’t think he made much money on us but enjoyed our company. Finally warm, we headed out towards the Adams and Carolina hotels that we now knew how to find. The Adams was very nice for the price and located in the Plaka. We made a tentative reservation with them for Nov. 24 -26. Then we headed towards the Carolina near Sindagma Square and found it was even nicer but a little higher in price. The desk clerk would not negotiate on the price. We’ve since received an email that gives us a great price so we’re in a quandary as to where to go when we return to Athens after Thanksgiving.

From there were walked to the Parliament building and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier to watch the guards as they strutted there drills. They’ve now changed into winter uniforms of black wool jackets and black, instead of red, tassels on their shoes. Then we went into the Metro Station. Looked for a WC but since we couldn’t find one we headed out to the McDonalds where we had our first coffee that early morning several weeks ago when we arrived. Used their facilities and then back to the Metro and a stroll through the art exhibit of photographs. Very beautiful and expensive, the price sheet was from a low of 700 euros up to 1500 euros for the most expensive.

The Metro ride to Julie’s area wasn’t too long. We’d had wind all day but no rain since arriving in town. She lives south of Athens along the coast and when we came up from the Metro Station it was pouring. We opened our umbrellas and headed for the taxi stand per Julie’s instruction. Had a bit of a wait in that people were very aggressive and pushed past us in line; finally found one and handed him Julie’s address. He punched it into his GPS system and we were off for a short ride to her house; arrived right on time at 6 pm.

Julie lives in a very nice flat on the second floor; she’s been there about five years. We were worried about Dimitris doing the BBQ in the rain, but the patio was covered with a tent (awning) and it was no problem. Julie is definitely used to entertaining. Being in the travel business she hosts many cocktail parties during cruises for her clients and tonight was excellent. And with next to no notice as we’d expected to visit them after we returned from Paros, not before we left! She had caviar for us, Jim had red wine and I enjoyed shots of Vodka with mine. Then it was shrimp cocktails. Dinner was a delicious asparagus soup, steak, Greek style hamburgers, baked potatoes, salad and apple pie for dessert. So enjoyed our evening, ate too much but sure enjoyed every bite. Great place with lots of family photos and mementos from her twenty plus years of travel; just before leaving Jim asked about the skull on the wall and she’d actually purchased it many years ago in California at the Bowers Museum.

Dimitris, that’s Greek for James so we also called him Jimmy, put us into the car and we thought he was taking us to the Metro Station. When he asked what street our hotel was on we suddenly found out that he was taking us all the way back to the port and our hotel. Hadn’t expected that and enjoyed the ride through the streets to our hotel. We arrived back at the hotel about 10 pm and after showers hit the bed. The sheets were very clean but the blanket smelled of smoke; but we were dry, clean and ready for the morning.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Friday, November 9th, 2007 The sun is shining and all is well…..

Woke before 5 am, finished packing and headed for the dining room for an early breakfast before six. We left the ship about 6:30 and headed for customs; a breeze since we were able to handle our own luggage and the ship had cleared customs for us before returning the passports last night. Found a waiting room with benches that was full of taxi drivers waiting for people to retrieve their luggage; they all smoke constantly. Jim couldn’t handle the air in the room so while I watched our luggage he continued to walk outside to check on our driver who was scheduled for 7:15. He arrived right on time, the same driver who had taken us to the airport for Istanbul. Or should I say, Constantinople, the Greek name; and of course it should really be the Ellinas’ name as the Greek citizens don’t refer to themselves as Greek but as Ellinas. That would be roughly translated in English as Hellenes. Have I confused everybody enough? It’s all Greek to me.

We drove straight to the President Hotel and they had a room waiting for us. This one was a triple with three single beds so we had room and beds to spare. Put everything down and headed for the Optical store across the street that the desk clerk had pointed out when we registered. It was still closed so we went back to the hotel to wait for 9 am. Then Jim went across the street and she said he would have to leave them overnight. He explained that we were leaving at 6 am and he had to have them fixed TODAY. She gave him an address in the center of the city for us to go direct to the repairman.

By then it was 9:30 and they were serving breakfast until ten so we decided to have brunch before heading to the Metro. I had to read all the maps and directions (which I generally do anyway) but we found the shop without too many detours. At one point a gentlemen stopped to help us with perfect English. He’d lived in Santa Monica for several years and easily pointed us in the right direction. The shop was upstairs and couriers were going in and out the whole time we were there. No way to redo the screws that he drilled out but since the wing was not titanium he was able to use super glue to affix the wing to the lens. Twenty minutes later we were walking out with glasses repaired. Jim called our successful quest today: “The Great Greek Optical Odyssey”.

We were about eight blocks from the Archeological Museum that we’d visited earlier and Jim wanted to return again so we headed in that direction. I found a nice outdoor coffee shop and stayed there for an hour as Jim went back into the museum to see more of their artifacts. I had a new book that I’d brought from home on the recommendation of my sister called “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. Cracked the book and enjoyed reading while I slowly consumed lemon pie and coffee. It’s cool outside but the sun is shining and it was a great afternoon for enjoying the outdoor. After about an hour, I used the facilities and then walked over to the stone steps at the entrance of the museum and found a great, but cold, perch on the marble entrance; sitting on the map, I continued reading for another half hour before Jim arrived and we walked back to towards Omonia Square and the Metro Station. As we neared the square we noticed that the streets were block by police and when we arrived we stood and watched the university students (we assumed) march with huge signs down the main street named 28 Oktovriou - Patission; there were hundreds of them but very orderly, almost like soldiers matching as they chanted their slogans of protest for something. We have no idea what they were protesting but it was also on the Greek news stations in the evening. Back at the hotel we purchased an Internet card and signed on to send our emails, journal and photos from the Cruise from the comfort of our room using a wireless connection.

About 5 pm we walked to the Doukissa Restaurant that we’d so enjoyed before going to Istanbul last week. The owner was very glad to see us and after dinner stood and talked with us for about half an hour while he also insisted on giving us dessert and several shots of a 41% proof Greek Liqueur called Tsipouro. (pronounced Chiporo). It is made after the grapes are pressed for wine…they take the skins and continue to process them to make this high content liqueur. You drink it in small shots much like tequila, all at once. We had a special treat as he brought out the homemade bottle made by his father-in-law. He also told us never to drink on an empty stomach. Did I say, we were the only English speaking guests in the restaurant? We talked also about the Greek dining hours: Breakfast is about 10, lunch is 2 then a nap from 5 -7pm and dinner never starts until at the earliest 10 pm up to 2 am. The tourists are an anomaly in their eating hours. We asked if this wasn’t his naptime and he said yes, but they were short two girls so he had to forgo his nap and work. His wife called while we were speaking to remind him to come home to bed. He also talked with us about the Greek vocabulary and how we actually know many Greek words when we take apart the English words. Fascinating couple of hours before we headed for the hotel and an hour on the Internet before calling it a night, 5 am will come early in the morning; again!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Thursday, November 8th, 2007 Last day of the tour…..

Jim decided to purchase the tour to see the Knossas Palace on the Island of Crete for this morning after we enter the port of Heraklion in Crete. So, yes, it was another early morning. I could have slept in but since I was awake I went to breakfast with him. We joined a priest from Wisconsin and a gentleman from Little Rock Arkansas for a lively meal starting with the traditional meal prayer by the priest. He is 76 years old and full of stories. We tarried longer than usual at the table as he regaled us with interesting tales.

I’ve been enjoying my time with journals and photos while Jim is out in the rain while visiting the magnificent archaeological site of the Palace of Knossos. I sent my camera along just in case there are some great Kodak moments. Yes, another wet morning. Crete is the largest island in the Greek Isles. We will definitely not be coming back here as it’s quite a ways south of the other Islands.

This afternoon we set sail for our last stop in Santorini. There we are going to tour this one together by ourselves. This particular island was formed by the rim of an ancient drowned volcano that exploded in about 1628 BC; many believe that this may have been the lost continent of Atlantis. We plan to ride the tram to the top for the spectacular view.

Jim returned in time for lunch; he’d had a good tour and had also taken several photos for me with my camera. We enjoyed lunch as we set sail for Santorini; and then headed for the room for some down time. Jim fell asleep and I went upstairs to get our tender tickets for this afternoon. When I return Jim was awake and very upset; he’d gone to sleep with his glasses on as he watched the television. Somehow he managed to break his glasses and for someone who never moves without putting his glasses on, this is very critical. Because they are rimless there is no way to tape them together. We’re hoping to find an Optical Shop in Athens tomorrow that can be creative…maybe with hot glue…and temporarily repair his glasses. Traveling light we didn’t bring any extra glasses.

By 3 pm it was raining very hard outside. The sun had come out by 10 am this morning and we’d had a beautiful sky when we sailed from Crete. Everyone kept positive thoughts and sure enough by the time we pulled into the huge bay of Santorini the sun was shining again. We had to board tender boats for the short ride into the port and then took the cable car up rather than walk or ride a donkey. The sunset was magnificent and we all spent the first half hour taking volumes of photos of this spectacular event. Then we walked around town before heading back down the cable car at dusk for our boat ride out to our ship that was sitting in the harbor. Jim was not comfortable without his glasses but he was a trooper and didn’t complain.

Dinner was served at 7 pm with open seating. We joined two California woman from north of Santa Barbara and had another very enjoyable meal in the dining room. After dinner we all went to the conference rooms to pick up our passports and then headed for the room to pack. Our taxi will be waiting for us at 7:15 am so it’s another early morning.

We’re cruising along at a fairly rapid pace and will arrive in Athens early in the morning. We’ve been told that we can depart the ship anytime after 6 am. We have one night at the President Hotel in Athens and then our next adventure will began: Our trip to the island of Paros where our Julie has arranged for us to rent a private home for a week.


Wednesday, November 7th, 2007 Another early morning tour…..

5:40 am comes early but we beat the alarm clock and managed to get to the lounge by our appointed time. Heard this morning that the lady who had fallen yesterday was with the St. Paul group from Wisconsin and had to have stitches on her face from the fall. But, she is still with the tour and doing well.

The sun was shining brightly this morning; but it was still cold, especially when in the wind. Our bus took us around the city of Rhodes and then we did a walking tour through the old part of the city past the palace that was built for the Knights of St .John (after the Turks gained control they moved on and became the Knights of Malta) and museum before loading back on the bus for our main destination while on Rhodes. The city of Lindos is about an hour’s drive from the port city of Rhodes. We stopped midway for an interesting tour of a ceramics factory; watched a talented young man throw a lovely vase on the wheel during the tour. We were shown how they etch the design by hand, paint and then fire the ceramics. Interesting and several of the group purchased some pieces to take home.

Back on the tour bus we continued to Lindos where we visited the Acropolis of Lindos. Our guide informed us that in Greece “The Acropolis” only refers to the one in Athens and any others must be referred to with their name: Lindos Acropolis. The city of Lindos has been designated as a historical site and all the buildings in the village must conform to a particular style; no more than two stories and all white-washed in the typical manner that these islands are known for. The small village is located at the base of the Acropolis; a very large fort like structure at the highest point in the town. From there one has magnificent views of the Aegean Sea, St. Paul’s Bay, and the pristine beaches down below. They are rebuilding the temple of Athena and the Hellenistic Portico of the Acropolis. We had the option of taking a donkey ride up the steep steps or walking; we walked. The Danish government was one of the first to start excavating this ancient area and as a result all of the statutes and main works of art are now in museums in Denmark. Someone asked the guide if they were attempting to recover any of these artifacts as they have gone after the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. She said that first they were attempting to recover the Elgin Marbles from Great Britain and then maybe they’d try for some others if they were successful in Britain; probably not in our lifetime.

Long ride back to the medieval city of Rhodes, known as “the island of roses” because of an extravagant display of rock roses. Arrived about 1:30 pm and had a quick lunch up on the Lido Deck in the cafeteria line so that Jim could return to town and visit the museums before they close at 3 pm. Tonight is our “elegant” night. Jim has a sport’s jacket and I have a jersey knit pants suit so that will have to do. It’s hard to pack for elegant and light at the same time.

The cocktail party was very nice. Had an opportunity to extend a greeting from our Julie to Liz, the Cruise Director and also met the captain. We enjoyed the company of a new group of people from Florida along with a drink and tasty treats. Then off to dinner that was concluded with the parade of waiters holding Flaming Baked Alaska. Grigorios joined the festivities and sent his regards to Julie again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 Back in Turkey…..

We woke to overcast weather so we packed our umbrellas and dressed warmly for our excursion today to Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary from our port city of Kusadasi. We hardly knew that we were in Turkey. The cruise ship has all of our passports and handled all of the paperwork for our visit today. Our tour director was a lovely young Turkish girl who said we could call her Rose as that was the meaning of her Turkish name. She was very animated and knowledgeable about the sites we visited.

Our first stop was at the House of the Virgin Mary. Located up the mountain about ten minutes from the town of Coressos, this is where the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ spent her last years. A chapel now stands where her house once stood. There are always four nuns and two priests (one Catholic and the other Orthodox). The Muslins respect and honor Jesus Christ as a prophet and his mother is also revered as the mother of a prophet. Therefore it has been a religious site ever since it was discovered in 1891 following the detailed description given by a German bedridden pious lady who claimed to have been shown this neighborhood during visions of the Virgin Mother. Many Popes have visited this holy place over the years. There is also a spring which is considered “holy” similar to the waters of Lourdes and Fatima. Yes, we drank the water and collected some to bring home.

From Mary’s house we took the buses down the mountain to the ancient city of Ephesus. This is actually the third location of the city as it was rebuilt several times for various reasons. The very first city was built some two thousand years before Christ was born where the modern city of Coressos now stands. Ephesus was originally a sea port but over the years the Kucuk Menderes River that flowed into a bay of the sea silted the valley until the seashore is now about seven miles away.

Built on the north slope of Mount Pion and extending southward to the slope of Mount Koressos, this ancient marble city was home to about 250,000 people. They were skilled artisans and rich merchants; extensive water pipes have been discovered underground. They had a hospital, theaters, temples; Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. After its decline, Ephesus was abandoned and forgotten for a long time. About a century ago the excavation of this ancient city began and continues to this day. It is probably the largest archeological site in Turkey. It has much religious significance to the Christians in that St. Paul wrote his “Letter to the Ephesians” to the citizens of Ephesus. Saint John lived here and was buried here in the St. John Basilica; and of course, the proximity of the house of the Virgin Mary.

By the time we finished our walking tour through the archeological site we had not only had a woman on the tour slip and fall but also rain coming down hard enough to get out our umbrellas. The ambulance arrived for the woman but no one has said as of yet how badly she was hurt. Ironically, her slip and fall took place right next to the site of the ancient Hospital!

Two interesting facts that we were told were (1) the while marble in the long road down to the sea port had white pieces of marble strategically placed on the road to act as guides when the torch lights would reflect on them at night. (2) There was a hole directly in the center of one large piece of marble that held a large torch that acted as a lighthouse to guide the ships into the port at night. The rings used to security the torch are still embedded into the marble on four corners surrounding the torch hole. One wonders sometimes how they come up with these facts?

The very large theater is still used for special performances including many of the well known performers of today. One of the most impressive views was of the Library. It reminded me of our visit to Petra in Jordan, smaller, but still very impressive.

Back to the cruise ship by bus and after navigating the shops between the bus and the cruise ship we were on our way to Patmos, approximately four hours away. We enjoyed lunch again in the dining room and then walked the ship later in the afternoon; stopping in the Stars Lounge on the top deck for the special drink of the day: “Turkish Delight”, a rum based drink that wasn’t bad but not as good as we’d expected. But, the view was spectacular as the sun had come out in between the dark clouds shining down on a brilliant Aegean Sea.

We signed up for the tour of Patmos, a small island with several very historic religious sites. First we drove in the bus to the cave of St. John where, according to tradition, he wrote the text of Revelation, the last chapter of the New Testament, in 95 AD while he was banished there by the Roman Emperor. It is a small cave that has been slightly enlarged by breaking through the wall and adding an adjacent chapel. There are many religious symbols: a hole in the wall where he rested his head while sleeping, another smaller one where he would place his hand to help himself up, a painting based on a dream of St. Johns, cracked ceiling in three sections (the trinity) caused by the loud voice of God telling him what to write plus a few more. Many steps down into the cave and then back up those same steps to the bus for our trip further up the mountain to tour the famed Monastery of St. John the Theologian. It was built in the eleventh century with permission from Constantinople who granted the entire island to the Theologian Hosios Christodoulos to be used as a Monastery with many conditions one of which was that no women were allowed on the island. The original document hangs in the Museum of the Monastery. The Monastery is a very large fort style edifice that dominants the entire island, a museum full of old manuscripts and religious artifacts, and fresco covered walls. This Monastery was built by the monk that discovered the cave based on researching the writings of St. John. It’s also a very cold place as the wind was blowing at full speed while we were there, no rain but we still had a spectacular sunset with pink clouds.

Dinner tonight was assigned seating. Julie had arranged for us to have a table near the window at the first seating and we were seated with a couple from Corona, California. A very nice couple in their forties, two children both actively involved in the sport of swimming, she is an operating room nurse and he is a graphic artist with Disneyland. They have traveled extensively and we really enjoyed the hour that we spent with them. During dinner the Maitre D’Hotel, Grigorios Triantafilou, stopped by the table and asked who knew Miss Julie. He is a personal friend of Julie and was surprised when we said we’d known Miss Julie since she was a child. As a tour director she makes many trips during the season with her groups on this particular cruise ship.

After dinner we headed for the room and an early closing to another full day. Our alarm is scheduled for 5:40 am again tomorrow as the tours start early in Rhodes.