If you’re a regular to these pages, you know that traveling to Greece is how I am choosing to celebrate the July arrival of my 60th year.
In planning -- I use that term loosely --our trip we've gathered a list; a kaleidoscope of old favorite places and new discoveries that we may or may not get to, but which at least have defined the perimeters of our itinerary. In the process, I’ve decided this trip isn’t so much a celebration as it is a gift. . .
. . .because it will take us back to the Peloponnese (pel-o-pon-ih-sos), the mythical land of Greek gods where we had but an appetizer-sized visit two years ago - enough to bring us back for a full serving this trip. The Peloponnese is the part of mainland Greece that looks somewhat like an open hand with three fingers extended. We'll be heading for the middle finger this time ~ The Mani ~ the land near and dear to the heart of 20th Century writer, Patrick Leigh Fermor.
. . .it will take us back to not only a favorite island, Poros, but to the the Manessi Hotel where we've booked ‘our room’ (the one next to the Greek flag in the photo above). Poros, about an hour by fast ferry from Pireaus (Athen's port city) is a stone's throw across a small channel from the Peloponnese.
. . .it will also give us the chance to ride Greek ferries, our preferred mode of travel in Greece. While the more airplane-lile high speed ferry will take us to Poros, sometime along the way we’ll likely be perched at the top railing of a Greek ferry like this one, the size of a cruise ship, as we make our way south from the Peloponnese to Crete, Greece's southern-most island a few hundred miles north of the African coast.
. . .it will take us back to Crete . . . that, in itself, is a gift. One guidebook likens the island to Picasso in his prime, ". . .a dramatic quilt of big-shouldered mountains, stunning beaches and undulating hillsides blanketed in olive groves, vineyards and wildflowers." We'll be exploring new territory on our Cretan trip but will return to favorite places that draw us back with their own special magic. Places like Loutro, accessible only on foot or by boat; is here we will celebrate Greek Easter. We will return to Maria's pensione where for 35-euro a night we have this view from our balcony each morning. . .
. . .and we'll also visit the tiny blip on the map, Kastri, a bit further east on Crete's southern coast, where I will seek out my jeweler friend Georgios and then eat moussaka (pictured above) at this, one of our favorite restaurants on the island.
. . .and no matter where we go we will be charmed by the photogenic Greek cats. This fellow was relaxing in Loutro . . .
. . . and this one was snoozing in Hydra during our last visit. . .their presence adds to what I consider a simply purrr-fect gift!
We've made room reservations for only six of the 35 nights we will be gone. . .that tells you we plan to go where the winds blow us and won't really know where we are going until we get there. Please come along and help us unwrap the Gift of Greece. And today is Travel Photo Thursday so make sure to visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos!