09 July 2006

Summer vacation is now over ... had a wonderful 17 days on the road/boat with Harmony, the Costas' and the Morrows (family friends) ... we started in Athens, explored Arna --the village where Alex's dad lived when he was young, hopped through the Greek Isles and ended up in Tuscany for a week ... needless to say, I took a few pictures!

We left on a Wednesday night ... flying from Frankfurt to Athens where Alex and the Morrows were waiting for us ... got up early the next morning to head toward Arna ... it was a four hour drive throughthe Peloponnesian puninsula -- us in a big 9-passenger van ... hats off to Alex for the van driving skills!

stopped through corinth to see the man-made canal...


also made a stop in Mycenae to see the ancient ruins there


we spent 3 nites in Arna, giving us a chance to see the area, meet Alex's distant relatives and learn about the family history there ... its a small town of only a couple hundred, so every knows each other and knows of Alex ... it was a fascinating time and a beautiful place


this is the house that Jim (Alex's dad) lived in


the pension we stayed in was beautiful


we then headed back to Athens for a couple of nites ... this gave us time to explore the town ...


National Archaeological Museum

it was then off to the islands...first stop was in Mykonos...

Chora at Nite

Out for a Stroll

we spent a few days there ... had some great seafood, went snorkeling, relaxed at the beach, etc ... we made a fascinating day trip to the island of Delos ... Delos is the site of an ancient civilization ... ruins still exist here intact from about 2,500 years ago!

Isis, oh Isis, you Mystical Child


after 3 great days in Mykonos, we boarded a ship and headed for Santorini ... Santorini was easily one of the most beatiful places i have seen ... steep cliffs rise out of the Aegean and are capped with stark-white towns ... we spent 3 days seeing the sights here ... we hiked the 12 km trail along the cliffs from Oia to Thera ... we also charted a great sailboat for a day to see the area by sea ... had an amazing time


Steps to the Sea



one of the highlights was swimming in the hot springs at the volcano ... the water smelled like sulfur, turned your skin orange, and had a gross mushy bottom ... it was awesome!


it was then on to Italy, where we rented a villa in Tuscany for a week ... it worked out perfectly for everyone ... we could do as much or as little as we wanted ... Harm & I had our own car, so we had a great time seeing all of the hill towns




our friends Todd & Liza were in Italy at the same time, which was great because we were able to meet them in San Marino and get the real tour from a local!

San Marino

San Marino

before flying home, we had one last day of vacation to spend in Rome ... although we only had one day, we were able to see and learn a lot ... thanks to our great guide, Rahul




it was an amazing trip ... we saw and did so much ... it was fun traveling with family & friends. Harm & i will be laying low for a while ... detoxing from the great food & fine and conserving what little $ we have left!

oh by the way ... congrats to Deutschland for their 3rd place finish in the World Cup ...enjoy the world cup final tonite! until next time ... t