Over the years, we had planned to get to Greece several times. Well, we finally made it in August. Starting in Athens, we made the obligatory trip to the Parthenon. Below, there are the remians of the Roman market, or agora. But aside from searching for snowdomes in the Plaka, the funicular and museums, there's really not that much to do in Athens. So, it was off to Delphi. At the home of the Oracle (there was actually more than one--open 24 hrs., no waiting). At Delphi, much remains including the stadium, theatre and the sanctuary of the goddess Athene.
Sailing from Pireaus, the first island we visited was Mykonos--famous for its beaches. A few sun bathers were nude and some others were topless. Here's a view of one. From there, we sailed to Santorini. Known for its white-washed houses, the largest towns are perched atop a caldera (crater formed by a collapsed volcano) offering spectacular views. Rhodes was next on our itinerary. The arcopolis at Lindos housed a temple to Athene. The cavern at the base of the cliffs on the Aegean is quite famous--it housed the cannons in the Guns of Navarrone. Also in Rhodes is the Palace of the Grand Masters. A huge impregnible castle capable of protecting all the residents, it also has many fine architectural details. Only once a month are the ramparts open to tourists. After a two mile walk in 109 degree heat, the gates we locked and we were stranded--until someone broke through the gate.
The Windsong ship then left the Greek Isles for the shores of Tureky. The photo on the left shows Judie with Bobbie & Debbie, fellow passengers from LA. The first stop was Bodrum. Not much there except a small castle. But in the afternoon we were able to charter a boat for swimming at various coves along the coast. While sailing, we also had the unexpected treat of a near total eclipse--got to 85%
Perhaps the highlight of any tour of Turkey is a visit to Ephesus. In biblical times, it was a seaport of more than a quarter or a million people. A rivers silted up, excavations are taking place ten miles inland. The front of the library has been restored. There is also a 24,000 'seat' theatre, shown behind Judie. As always I plead guilty of having placed her on a pedestal.
Finally docking in Istanbul, we were reminded of our last stay. With minarets of mosques across the skyline, we visited the Blue Mosque as well the Ayasofia that has served as a church, then mosque and is under restoration. By placing one's thumb in the brass hold in one of its columns, wishes are sure to come true. The view up the Bosperous from Topkapi Palace remains the same and our hotel (the Ciragin Palace) can be seen from a ferry that took us to the mouth of the Black Sea.
We also revisted other favorites from our last trip. These, of course, include the Grand Bazaar and the Turkish Baths. Shortly after we left Istanbul, the earthquake hit. We escaped by only 12 hours and we were clean too!