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Archive for greece

Hiking in Amorgos

By Linda Tancs

Scenic views, Cycladic houses and quaint alleys are pretty much expected in the Greek isles, so what distinguishes Amorgos is the part with considerable height above sea level, offering superb views out over the archipelago. What better way to enjoy those views than with a hike! And there are lots of options (signposted), ranging from a four-hour trek from Chora halfway across the island to a one-hour sprint along a cobblestone path connecting Chora with Katapola, the main harbor and one of the largest natural harbors in the Aegean Sea. No matter the route, you’ll discover rich cultural treasures like the ancient acropolis, temples and monasteries. Amorgos is accessible via ferry from Athens and nearby islands.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Place of Mythic Proportions

By Linda Tancs

According to Greek mythology, Thessaly is the birthplace of Achilles, the handsome hero of the Trojan War. In ancient times it was known as Aeolia and appears as such in Homer’s Odyssey. It’s likewise known as the region boasting the almost mythical Meteora, a complex of monasteries perched above towering sandstone peaks. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s the biggest and most important group of monasteries in Greece after those in Mount Athos. Originally comprising 24 structures, six monasteries remain today, “suspended in air” as their name, Meteora, attests. The sites are variably accessible by paths, bridges and steps. Check opening times as they all have different visiting days and hours. Go now when the crowds are thinner.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Greece’s Mountain Mystery

By Linda Tancs

From the looks of it, Penteli Mountain is just a lush, green overlook offering great views of Athens and Evoikos Gulf. And it just so happens to be the site where marble for the Parthenon was quarried. So far, so good. But there’s another side to its reputation as the locus for Davelis Cave, so-named for a 19th-century brigand, Davelis. Allegedly used by his gang as a hideout, the cave also has a history as a shrine, particularly for monks fleeing religious persecution during the Middle Ages. Two adjacent Byzantine chapels built directly into the cave’s entrance serve as a memorial to their plight. Perhaps it’s the grotto’s juxtaposition as a hideout and a holy place that causes mysterious events to occur as reported by tourists, phenomena like ghostly voices, glowing orbs and electromagnetic anomalies. Go if you dare, but you’ll need to rent a car to get there.

The Fountains of Heraklion

By Linda Tancs

The capital of Crete, Heraklion demonstrates the diversity resulting from Venetian and Ottoman rule. In particular, its Venetian and Turkish fountains are a focal point in this popular cruise port. Morosini Fountain (“the Lions”) is the most popular Venetian-style fountain, located in Lions Square, the nerve center of the city. When the Ottomans conquered Crete, they built several charitable fountains (sebil) for their subjects. Perhaps the best known is the sebil at Kornarou Square, a polygonal building with arched windows once containing a tap and a stone trough. It now houses a coffee shop.

The Flower of the Cyclades

By Linda Tancs

Situated between Mykonos and Santorini, the Greek island of Íos (or Niós, as the locals call it) is one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades, named for a Greek word alluding to flowers. It might be best known for its vibrant nightlife, but the hilly isle’s quieter reputation lies in its charming Cycladic architecture of whitewashed sugar houses and windmills, historic sites and, of course, beautiful beaches. Known as the resting place of the epic poet Homer, Homer’s Tomb is arguably the most well known historic site, located on the north side of the island. Other areas of note are Skárkos (a Bronze Age settlement) and Palaiókastro, an old fort from the Byzantine period. Be sure to check out the amazing view from Panayia Gremiótissa, a church built on the edge of a cliff. A ferry from Santorini takes under an hour.

An Oasis of Coolness

By Linda Tancs

Mingling with monks is one of several things you can do while hiking Lousios Gorge in the Peloponnese, a peninsula in southern Greece. In fact, mountaintop monasteries like the Philosophou Monastery hinge precariously along rock faces throughout the gorge. You can visit many of them on an easy, one-day hike. A private day tour from Athens will set you back around 400 euros.

A Distinguished Cretan

By Linda Tancs

Born Domenikos Theotokopoulos in Crete (the largest and most populous of the Greek islands), the painter popularly known as El Greco was in a class by himself, marrying Byzantine and Western traditions in a way that exposed his personal faith and vision. One of his early works, “Mount Sinai,” is exhibited in a specially designed hall of Heraklion’s Historical Museum. Elsewhere, Crete’s distinguished son is memorialized in a bust at El Greco Park. Although his fame was firmly established in Toledo, Spain, he never ceased to mention his Cretan roots by signing all his works “Made by Domenikos Theotokopoulos the Cretan.”

Ouzo and Olive Oil

By Linda Tancs

Ouzo and olive oil.  Those are the two famous exports of the Greek island Lesvos.  Third largest in size behind Crete and Evia, the arguably lesser-known enclave near Turkey also boasts a petrified forest, one of the rarest natural monuments in the world.  Created 20 million years ago when volcanic materials covered and petrified the coniferous forests dominating the area at that time, the 37-acre preserve spans the Sigri-Eressos-Antissa area.  Take a break from the beach and enjoy a walk through the forest of silence.

Free Ride for Women

By Linda Tancs

It’s International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women’s strides in equality, peace and development.  In Greece, it’s an opportunity to ride public transport for free, particularly in Athens.  Check with your local transport authority for benefits.  Happy travels!

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DISCLOSURE OF NO MATERIAL CONNECTION

 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Old Charm in Crete

By Linda Tancs

Rethymno, one of the four provinces of Crete, is its third largest city, offering views of the White Mountains in the West and Mount Psiloritis in the East.   There’s more to this metropolis than meets the eye, however.  In fact, there’s plenty of retro in this metro.  Consider the postcard-perfect harbor with its wooden boats.  Or the cobbled streets.  Or the fortress in the old town section, built by the Turks to protect against invaders.  Not to mention the Venetian-style mansions.  All this and great beaches, too.  Festival season starts later this month, so start packing.  Ferries depart daily from Athens.

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DISCLOSURE OF NO MATERIAL CONNECTION

 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

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