Monday, July 30, 2007

We are heading out for our hike!!

We are leaving London today (Monday) and heading to Switzerland to begin our two week hike.  We will not have any internet communications during that time so please don't worry if you haven't heard anything from us.  We are not sure what type of connection we will have in Egypt so we'll send an update as soon as we can.
We've had a great time in England.  Pat and Ian welcomed us into their lovely home and we have enjoyed our visit with them.
Take care,
Angela & Matt

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We've made it to England

Sorry for not posting sooner, but we have been in England for a couple of days (along with the rain). England is having its the wettest summer in recent history but we are enjoying getting out of the heat wave that plagued Greece. Its a wonderful change to see green and clouds.

Pat and Ian have made us feel at home in their lovely home just outside of London. We've already toured Windsor castle (the queen's weekend residence) and we braved the weather for a day trip into London to visit Westminster Abbey yesterday.

Tomorrow we are heading into London and will stay the night there to tour London on Friday and Saturday. We'll return to their home on Saturday evening for a couple more nights before heading out to Switzerland for our hike on Monday.

I'll try to post some more pictures soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A couple of general observations & travel habits...

I wanted to take a break from all the wonderful photos of showing you the history here in Greece to talk a little about the country itself and some strange travel habits that have developed.

You will note that the picture below is of some ancient 6th century BC ruins (Epidavros to be exact), but that is not why we took this picture. See those little white fluffy things in the sky (otherwise known as clouds)???? This picture was taken by us in amazement as those two little fluffy things were the first clouds that we have seen in Greece since we arrived (over a month ago). Imagine a country that not only has not received a drop of rain in over a month, but also has had the sun beating down on it without the benefit of cloud cover. While we haven't quite figured out if this is normal or not, we don't think it is because of all the fires around Athens (there are fires burning there again today).

This next picture has to have all credit going to Katelyn for a terrific idea!!!

As many of you know, Katelyn likes to have "raggie" around. Well, Auntie "G" has very quickly adopted this practice while in Greece as shown by the picture below. It is amazing the uses that "raggie" has had while here. Its a great swimsuit cover up, guard against the hot sun & the pesky sunburn (which as you now know, never stops shinning), its a warm wrap at night, etc, etc.. Matt has asked her to stop sleeping with it, but we'll see how that goes. And yes, I do have clothes on underneath, we decided that "raggie" needed to be worn a bit differently for pictures as it looks like I'm ready for the toga party. Needless to say, "raggie" must go everywhere!!!

This picture was at a medieval castle in Nafplio, I am standing outside the prison door. Boy it sucked to be a prisoner in those days.

July 10 - Delos Island, Greece

We took a daytrip from Paros to the islands of Delos and Mykonos. We really enjoyed Delos and wished we could have spent an entire day there instead of going on to Mykonos (advice for future travelers). Delos is a very small rocky dry uninhabited island just off the coast of Mykonos. It is said to be the birthplace of the Gods Apollo and his sister, Artemis.

Here are a couple of links for more info on this fabulous World Heritage Site:

Here are a couple of our favorite photos from our couple of hours there.

Yes, this is a picture of what you think it is (or at least a part of it). The Greeks were very much into worshiping fertility. Notice the shape of the head and body of the bird on the left side of the base of the monument. Yep... It is what you think it is also. The tour guide confirmed this as he told us the birds name was Di__Head.... I'll let you fill in the blanks.

As many of you might know, Angela loves the floor mosaics. Its amazing that these can survive intact from 200 - 300 BC.

This mosaic and column structure was from one of the mansions of the time.

This is the famous house of dolphins mosaic (only a close up of one corner, it was amazing!).
This is another excerpt from a mosaic.

This is the famous lions all lined up in a perpetual roar alongside the sacred way of town.
One of the many surviving temples. Its amazing to think these structures have been standing on this island for thousands of years.

And last but not least, Angela navigating once again!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

July 4 to July 11 - Paros island, Greece

Here are a couple of photos from our relaxing week in Paros. We spent a lot of time hanging out and exploring so we don't have as many pictures from this island as we do the others.

We took the bus up to the Northern Coast of the island to a small harbour town called Naoussa. It was a quaint harbor town full of the typical greek island architecture of whitewashed houses with blue doors & window shades.

This photo was also in the same harbor. It was a really windy day with lots of waves crashing over the sea wall. We were unable to visit the sinking 14th century castle shown in this picture, as Angela was having no part of walking on that wall with waves crashing everywhere.

A couple of days later we rented a 4 wheel ATV and went cruising around the western side of the island. On our way back to our hotel, we stopped at a place called Butterfly Valley. It was amazing to see all of these beautiful butterflies in this area. Click on the Butterfly Valley link above for more information.

And Yes, Matt does look pretty proud of himself here. Have I mentioned that it is windy on Paros??? Well, lets just say that a powdered sugar donut and wind do not always mix well.... Or, I guess I should add that if your goal is to soak your spouse in powdered sugar, then Matt should get an A+. Note the powdered sugar EVERYWHERE!!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Boy... Its been 10 days since we've last posted... Sorry!!!

Well, we've had a very busy last week and a half.

The last time we checked in, we had just arrived in the island of Paros in the Cycladic chain of the Greece islands. We spent a week in Paros enjoying the laid back island and the beaches. While there we rented a 4 wheeler ATV a couple of days to explore kite beach for Matt and to check out Golden Beach on the east side of the island. We also braved the bus (so much better this time) to check out the Northern port city of Noussau.

We had wanted to visit the island of Delos earlier in our trip but had not been able to put it together. We were finally able to visit this wonderful archealogical site and the island of Mykonos with it. While Mykonos was not exactly our type of island (a bit too touristy), we loved Delos and would recommend that anyone visiting Greece must visit this archealogical sanctuary. We spent 2 1/2 hours and wished we had the whole day as the ancient trading city was wonderful. The island itself is just off the coast of Mykonos (and very windy), with no lodging, towns or anything else on this small island.

On Wednesday, July 11, we left the islands to head back to mainland Greece to start our tour of the Pelopenesse. The ferry was the busiest that we had seen and very hot so it was a long 4+ hours back. Angela was quite glad to have traveled well on it and not to be sick. We rented a car from Thrifty and they met at the port of Pireaus with it. We then had to negotiate our way out to the Pelopenesse peninsula. It was a wild ride with traffic going everywhere. We discovered that red roads were OK, that dark purple roads were fantastic (equivalent of our interstates), and it was easy to get lost even with a map that had both Greek and English on it. Overall, we made it to our first stop of Ancient Corinth. We decided not to prebook anything on this trip so we found a rooms to let (and not that is not Rooms & Toilet as Angela first thought)!!!

We had an early dinner and set out to explore the ruins of Ancient Corinth the next morning. We also visited the Acro Corinth, or the castle up on the hill. It had wonderful walls set high above the town. There were very few people and the sites were wonderful. Afterwards, we set out to explore the Corinth Channel built for shipping. It was amazing as it was built in the 1800's and sad that it is now obsolete due to the size of today's mega ships. We then set out to view the theater at Epidavros. It was built in the 1200's and is still in use today. We then set out for our stopping place for the night in Nafplio (Yes, we don't know how to pronounce it either).

We explored Nafplio and then set out to explore the Palamida which was the castle on the hill. It was actually a collection of 4 castles that could be defended against each other if needed. It was amazingly intact and a great walk. We then drove north to visit the 2500 BC ruins of Mycenae. There were mostly foundations left so it was a little hard to get the entire picture of the town, but the hilltop setting and the size of the sight were impressive. We then hopped in the car to make the 4 hour drive down to the SouthEast coast to the medival walled city of Momenvasia. It was wonderful once we finally got there. There were a number of U-turns as we later discovered that part of the road we wanted was gone due to road construction. We spent the next two nights in Momenvasia exploring the old town (both upper and lower town) and the new town.

Today, the 15th, we headed out for the long drive across the Pelopenesse to Ancient Olympia. We made the 4.5 drive with no Uturns and only got mildly lost in one city!!! Not too bad of a day. We have discovered that even though the map may show a bolded red road, there is no guarantee that you will not meet a very large bus on a one lane bridge that causes you to backup and get out of his way!! Overall, the drive was pretty smooth although the mountain passes were very narrow and steeply dropping off on one side. Its not exactly our idea of THE major road that crosses from East to West, its more like our back country roads in Colorado.

We are planning to be here another night at least so we can explore the site and museum tomorrow. From there we'll head north and see where we end up. The only requirement is that we are back in Athens on the 23rd for our flight to London to visit Pat & Ian. We are really looking forward to London.

I'll get some photos ready hopefully tonight or tomorrow and share them with you.

We have really enjoyed our time here in Greece although we think the week that we have left is just about right.

Later -
Angela & Matt

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July 5 update from Paros Island - Greece

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July.

Just a quick note now that we have internet again. Internet is becoming far less available so please bear with us as our postings will get a little less often.

We’ve just finished 4 nights on the beautiful island of Santorini in the Cyclades Island area. It was a 2 hour ferry ride from Naxos island.

Santorini is a very unique island in that it was shaped by volcanic eruption and the middle is now a huge caldera filled with ocean. We stayed in Oia (pronounced E-Ah) on the northern coast of the island. It was perched very high on the red lava cliffs and the white town buildings cascaded down the hillside.

Oia is known for its beautiful sunsets across the caldera of the island. Here is one from June 30.

We enjoyed relaxing in the town and then Matt and I rented a 4 wheeler to explore the island. We set out for the 3rd-4th century BC ruins of Ancient Thira. We had a great time climbing to the top of the mountain that commanded a wonderful view of the ocean and island.

Angela on the ATV

Matt had a great time photographing the village in the morning before the crowds came. Here is a shot from our last morning on the island, July 4. And yes, Angela has enjoyed all of the cats roaming all of the islands.

Kim headed back home yesterday, so now it is just Matt and I exploring. We are now in the island of Paros in the capital, Paroikia. We took a 3 hour ferry from Santorini to here. We have a wonderful beachfront hotel with a wonderful view of the sea out of our balcony. Today is a catch up day as we do laundry and explore the town a bit.

We are planning on exploring the island tomorrow via 4 wheeler. There are several towns and beaches that we want to explore, including the kite boarding beach for Matt. We will be here for 5 nights and then we aren’t sure where we are headed. We know that we want to explore the Pelopenesse peninsula on the mainland and will spend about a week there, but not sure what we will do the other week.