Tag Archives: Greece

14 Oct 2016
Piraeus (Port of Athens), Greece:
Back, in Time

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises 

We have reached the end of our extended journey from Lisbon into the Mediterranean and after a loop of the Greek Islands have arrived at Piraeus, the ancient and modern port of Athens.

As your vacation ends, ours begins.

I hope you’ll join me here in these pages in a few months as we take to the sea once more.

We next sail on Silver Spirit in the Caribbean in December and January. Later in 2017, we will be aboard Silver Wind and then Silversea’s new flagship Silver Muse.

Until then, safe travels.

Καλή αντάμωση.

Or if that’s Greek to you, Arrivederci.

Until we meet again.

Athens Parthenon

Athens Greece 17Apr2013-2668

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

 

13 Oct 2016
Mykonos, Greece:
The Party’s On

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

From the island of Apocalypse (Patmos) we head to a place that is an unofficial island version of Sodom and Gomorrah. A bit of hyperbole in all of these descriptions, but when you are sailing in the Greek Islands legends seem just a bit more real.

Mykonos is an island of beauty and a bit of history, but for many people it is best known as a party island: an Aegean version of Ibiza in the Mediterranean or Monte Carlo or St-Tropez.

I find it hard to imagine what the ancient Greeks would think of it all, especially when you consider that at one time Mykonos had as its principal role raising food and delivering supplies to the nearby tiny sacred island of Delos.

Delos was the religious, economic, and political hub of the Aegean.

A MYKONOS ALBUM

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A DELOS ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Hudson Book Cover

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

12 Oct 2016
Patmos, Greece:
After the Apocalypse?

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Patmos is a lovely, peaceful small island in the Aegean Sea, one of the northernmost of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. It lies just off the coast of Turkey and the continent of Asia, west of the ancient Greek and Christian site of Ephesus.

It is also, to true believers, the source of the details of the Apocalypse, one of the more dramatic and (for some) least understood parts of the New Testament.

So why is this peaceful Greek island associated with Apocalypse? Because it is believed that it was here that the final book of the New Testament was written.

That book, written in Koine Greek, received its title from its first word: apokalypsis. It does not mean “The end of time” or “the destruction of life as we know it.

Literally translated, apokalypsis means “un-covering.”

The book’s introduction states that its author, John, was on Patmos when he was received a vision from Jesus and wrote it down.

Today we walked up from the port about 3 kilometers to the cave said to be the place where John received the revelation. We started on town roads but switched over to ancient cobbled paths. From most everywhere we could see back to the harbor,  where our small ship makes a pretty statement: white on blue, like most of Greece.

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A PATMOS ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

10 Oct 2016
Santorini, Greece:
Picture Perfect

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Santorini is the Greek island of your mind’s eye.

Whitewash and aqua blue against steep hillsides, with lovely beaches and spectacular views.

Santorini is one of the more spectacular sights in the Aegean, a half-circle of steep cliffs topped with two horizontal towns of white and blue: Fira and Ia.

Oh, and one more thing: It’s a picture-perfect Greek island that also sits atop a ticking time bomb.

The cliffs are actually the rim of a huge volcano. A huge dormant—not dead, just sleeping—volcano.

A SANTORINI ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

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9 Oct 2016
Transit of the Corinth Canal, Greece:
Squeezing Through

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The Corinth Canal is the strange passage between the seas, one of the most interesting and challenging little canals in the world.

It connects the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea to the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea, a straight four-mile (six-kilometer) line across the top of Peloponnesia in Greece.

Pelopennesia is the southernmost part of the mainland of Greece, although, you might instead want to call Pelopennesia the largest southernmost island of Greece, because for more than a century it has been divided from the mainland of Europe by the Corinth Canal.

It’s an obvious place for a canal, since it cuts off 185 nautical miles (213 statute miles) or 343 kilometers of sailing between the Aegean and Adriatic.

Not having to go down and around the bottom of Peloppenesia saves almost a full day for a sailing vessel or about half a day for a ship like ours.

The idea of having a canal here was so obvious that it was pursued way before modern times. The first serious consideration of a canal cutting across the Isthmus of Corinth was in 602 BC, when Periander, the Tyrant of Corinth and one of the Seven Sages of Antiquity proposed it as a public works project.

But he was not sage enough to figure out how to dig the ditch.

In 66 A.D., the Emperor Nero sent war prisoners from the Aegean islands and six thousand Jewish slaves to work on the canal. Nero himself started the work, digging with a golden hoe, while music played.

Nero’s slaves dug a ditch three kilometers or two miles in length and 40 meters or 131 feet wide before Nero had to rush back to Rome to quell the Galva mutiny.

In Rome, Nero was arrested on charges of treason and sentenced to death in 68 A.D. That unfinished canal was never used.

The 19th century, the Industrial Age, was the also the Age of the Canal. The modern pathway, begun in 1881, follows—almost to the inch—Nero’s plans. The Corinth Canal was completed and opened on July 25, 1893.

The canal was never a huge financial success. It was (and is) too narrow for big ships, too difficult in bad weather or tides, and too prone to landslides.

Earthen or rock cliffs flank both sides, reaching a maximum height of 63 meters or 207 feet above water.

Within that V-shaped cut, the canal is very narrow: 80.7 feet wide (24.6 meters) at sea level. That’s less than two tour buses or coaches in width.

Our ship, Silver Cloud, is just about the widest vessel permitted through the canal.

And we need help: a tug boat at the bow, an experienced local pilot and two spotters, and some white knuckles up on the bridge.

A CORINTH CANAL ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Hudson Book Cover

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

 

9 Oct 2016
Itea, Greece:
A Visit to the Oracle

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Itea is on the mainland of Greece, at its southern flank on the Gulf of Corinth. There’s not all that much to the place, just a few taverns and cafés and a few gift shops.

There’s a little beach in town; as is the case most everywhere, the better beaches are away from the harbor.

THE VILLAGE OF ITEA

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Pleasant enough, but that’s not the reason we’re here.

Just east of Itea is Kirra, which was the ancient port of Delphi. And 15 kilometers, or 10 miles northeast are the partly restored ruins of Delphi itself on the southwestern section of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.

It was here that Apollo slew the Python, a dragon who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth.

This was also the site of the Oracle of Delphi, the most important of the classical Greek world. An oracle was a person—or sometimes a group of people, or a place—considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophecy.

Oracles were considered portals through which the gods spoke directly to people. This is different from a “seer”, someone believed to be able to interpret messages sent by the gods through bird signs, animal entrails, and other methods.

A DELPHI ALBUM

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HOSIOS LOUKAS MONASTERY

BLOG Itea Hosios Loukas Monastery Greece 20Apr2013-1090356

BLOG Itea Hosios Loukas Monastery Greece 20Apr2013-1090362

BLOG Itea Hosios Loukas Monastery Greece 20Apr2013-1090374

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

 

8 Oct 2016
Argostoli, Greece:
The Ionian Island of Kefalonia

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Argostoli, on the island of Kefalonia (or Cephalonia, if you prefer the modern pronunciation, is a lesser-known island of Greece, at least if you are thinking in terms of modern history.

Going way back in history, though, the ancients knew this place well.

Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands of Greece, about 300 square miles, or 781 square kilometers.

It is a spectacularly beautiful island,  a place of mountain peaks, handsome beaches, and jaw-dropping caves.

Here are some photos from today.

A CEPHALONIA ALBUM

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Greek myth associates the island with the mythological figure of Cephalus, who helped helped Amphitryon of Mycenae in a war against the Taphians and Teleboans.

His reward was the island of Same, which thereafter came to be known as Cephalonia.

Odysseus, to give his Greek name, also known by the Latin name Ulysses, was the legendary Greek king of the island of Ithaca and the hero of Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey.

Cephalonia has been suggested as the actual location of Homer’s Ithaca, the home of Odysseus.

There is a theory that Paliki, which today is a peninsula of Cephalonia to the west of Argostoli where we are scheduled to visit, was a separate island during the late Bronze Age, and it may be this which Homer was referring to when he described Ithaca.

Or, some point to the smaller Greek island that stands offshore of Kefalonia to the east and that today is called Ithaca.

One or the other, or neither…although many of the Greek myths have at least a kernel of truth somewhere within.

The coastal road out of Argostoli to the west was known during the Venetian period as the ‘Piccolo Gyro’, the little Gyro or little spiral.

Along the Piccolo Gyro lie the ‘Swallow Holes’ of Katovothres, a rare geological phenomenon where seawater is continuously disappearing into the sink holes.

Where does the water go?

We know now that the salt water disappears underground and travels under the island, re-emerging some fourteen days later about 15 kilometers or 10 miles away in the Karavomylos area of Sami, having passed through the underground Melissani lake.

But over the millennia, not much else of historical note has happened on Kefalonia with the notable exception of a short period of time during World War II.

Most of Greece was occupied by Axis powers—Italian or Greek troops.

But by mid-1943, Italy was falling and its post-Mussolini government negotiated a surrender to the Allies and some Italian units actually fought against the Germans in Italy and Greece.

In Greece, the Germans tried to disarm the Italians. Instead, between September 13 and 22 of 1943, the Germans fought the Italians in Cephalonia.

This led to the Massacre of the Acqui Division, also known as the Cephalonia Massacre, the mass execution of the men of the Italian 33rd Acqui Infantry Division by the Germans on the island of Cephalonia in September 1943.

About 1,315 Italian soldiers were killed in battle, as many as 5,000 were executed, and about 3,000 Italians drowned when a German ship taking them to concentration camps struck a mine and sank.

It was one of the largest prisoner of war massacres of the war.

The massacre was the back-story behind the bestselling 1994 book “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by British writer Louis de Bernières.

When a fisherman leaves to fight with the Greek army during WWII, his fiancée falls in love with the local Italian commander.

Penelope Cruz and Nicholas Cage, respectively.

The 2001 movie was mostly filmed on location around the island.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

 

13 May 2016
Piraeus, Greece:
Καλή αντάμωση

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Καλή αντάμωση.

Or if that’s Greek to you, Arrivederci.

Until we meet again.

We have reached the end of our extended journey from Barcelona to Venice to Athens, a journey of six weeks.

As your vacation ends, ours begins.

I hope you’ll join me here in these pages in a few months as we take to the sea once more.

Until then, safe travels.

Athens Parthenon

Athens Greece 17Apr2013-2668

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

12 May 2016
Corinth Canal, Greece: The Shortcut to Athens

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Pelopennesia is the southernmost part of the mainland of Greece.

Although, some might quibble, geographically speaking. You might instead want to call Pelopennesia the largest southernmost island of Greece, because for more than a century it has been cut off from the mainland of Europe by the Corinth Canal.

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Ancient Corinth near the canal

The short and narrow canal connects the Gulf of Corinth to the west with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea.

It’s an obvious place for a canal, since it allows the possibility of saving 185 nautical miles (213 land miles or 343 kilometers) of sailing between the Aegean and Adriatic.

On our crossing today, we avoided the need to sail down and around the bottom of Peloppenesia, saving almost a full day for a sailing vessel or about half a day for a ship like ours.

And even better, it was a spectacular trip, one of the most challenging passages for a ship. Almost anywhere else in the world, the beautiful Silver Cloud is considered a small luxury vessel; here in the Corinth Canal, we are extra-large, right at the limits of width and height.

OUR PASSAGE BETWEEN THE GULFS, 12 MAY 2016

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The idea of having a canal here was so obvious that it was pursued way before modern times.

The first serious consideration of a canal cutting across the Isthmus of Corinth was in 602 BC.

Periander, the Tyrant of Corinth and one of the Seven Sages of Antiquity proposed it as a public works project.

But he was not sage enough to figure out how to dig the ditch.

So instead, his engineers produced another great project, the diolkós, a stone road on which ships were transferred on wheeled platforms from one sea to the other.

Stretches of that dry canal can still be seen.

Skip forward three centuries, and in 307 B.C., Dimitrios Poliorkitis, king of Macedon actually began excavation.

But the digging was suspended after Egyptian engineers incorrectly predicted that differing sea levels between the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulfs would inundate the Aegean Sea.

Oh, and also: the experts declared that Poseidon, god of the sea, was opposed to the joining of the Aegean and the Adriatic.

Next up was Julius Caesar in 44BC and Caligula in 37BC; just thinking about it, but still concerned about Poseidon.

In 66 A.D., the Emperor Nero sent war prisoners from the Aegean islands and six thousand Jewish slaves to work on the canal. Nero himself started the work, digging with a golden hoe, while music played.

Nero’s slaves dug a ditch three kilometers or two miles in length and 40 meters or 131 feet wide before Nero had to rush back to Rome to quell the Galva mutiny.

The 19th century, the Industrial Age, was the also the Age of the Canal.

The success in 1869 of Ferdinand de Lesseps’ Suez Canal awakened politicians and engineers and construction companies around the world. The Suez helped bring about the Panama Canal, the Cape Cod Canal, the Corinth Canal and other efforts.

The modern pathway follows—almost to the inch—Nero’s plans.

Sixteen million cubic yards (twelve million cubic meters) of earth had to be removed.

The Corinth Canal was completed and opened on July 25, 1893.

The canal was never a huge financial success.

It was (and is) too narrow for big ships, too difficult in bad weather or tides, and too prone to landslides.

Corinth Canal

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The Canal cuts the Isthmus of Corinth in a straight line about 6 kilometers, or about four miles.

Earthen or rock cliffs flank both sides, reaching a maximum height of 63 meters or 207 feet above water.

It is straight, which is good. But it is relatively shallow: dredged to 6.5 meters or 21.3 feet, in some places just a bit deeper.

Our ship has a draft of about 4.5 meters or about 15 feet.

Next problem: the canal is very narrow: 80.7 feet wide (24.6 meters) at sea level. And down below it is even a bit narrower, 70 feet or 21.3 meters wide. That’s less than two tour buses or coaches in width.

Silver Cloud is 70.6 feet wide.

Like many of us, our ship is widest around the middle and higher. So we have just enough to spare on each side of the ship and beneath our keel.

And memories of a tight squeeze.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

12 May 2016
Itea, Greece:
A Visit to the Navel of the Earth

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Itea is on the mainland of Greece, at its southern flank on the Gulf of Corinth.

Athens is about 75 miles or 125 kilometers southeast, easily reached by car.

Not so easily by ship.

Before 1893, ships had to go down and around Peloponnesia to get from the Adriatic to the Aegean.

But we have ahead of us this afternoon one of those “tick-the-boxes” treats for world travelers: a passage through the strange, narrow Corinth Canal.

But first, we have a morning in Itea.

There’s not all that much in the port: a few taverns and cafés and a bank. There’s a little beach in town; as is the case most everywhere, the better beaches are away from the harbor.

Pleasant enough, but that’s not the reason we’re here.

Just east of Itea is Kirra, which was the ancient port of Delphi.

And 15 kilometers, or 10 miles northeast are the partly restored ruins of Delphi itself.

The ancient and the modern town of Delphi are on the southwestern section of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.

It was here that Apollo slew the Python, a dragon who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth.

Yes, there is a place in Delphi the ancients believed to be the belly button of the planet, the Omphalos.

ANCIENT DELPHI

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Photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

This was also the site of the Oracle of Delphi, the most important of the classical Greek world.

An oracle was a person—or sometimes a group of people—considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophecy.

Oracles were considered portals through which the gods spoke directly to people.

The most important oracles of Greek antiquity were the Sybil or Pythia priestess to Apollo at Delphi, and the oracle of Dione and Zeus at Dodona in Epirus.

In some ways, not too bad a job.

Chosen from among the peasants of the area, she was required to be an older woman of blameless life.

She only gave prophecies the seventh day of each month, seven being the number most associated with Apollo, and only during the nine warmer months of the year.

Hordes of people came to consult with Pythia and her successors.

Some wealthier individuals were said to have tried to jump the line with special offerings. Bribes, you might say.

An acquaintance of mine who is a professor of antiquities in Istanbul described the oracles of ancient Greece as borderline crazies who spoke in tongues.

Actually, he may be on to something.

Observers wrote that the Pythia seemed to be in a trance, speaking gibberish.

She sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth.

Vapors rose from a cleft in the rock at the navel of the earth.

According to one version of the story, when Apollo slew Python, its body fell into this fissure, giving rise to the fumes.

Intoxicated by the vapors, the Oracle would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit.

One line of thinking is that some sort of natural gas—perhaps ethylene or methane or carbon dioxide or even hydrogen sulfide might have been coming from the earth.

That might have been enough to intoxicate the oracle, if not kill her.

And it would have smelled pretty bad.

People consulted the Delphic oracle on everything from personal affairs to important matters of public policy.

The ravings of the Oracle were “translated” by the priests of the temple.

If it sounds like that might be source of some of the campaign planks of some of our current politicians…you just might be on to something.

ITEA HOSIOS LOUKAS MONASTERY

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

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11 May 2016
Corfu, Greece: A Quilt of Many Colors

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Corfu is a little piece of Greece, the seventh largest of the country’s islands. But in many ways it does not much resemble the rest of Greece.

Its history includes a long period of domination by the Venetians, a bit of French, and a few decades of British rule.

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In 1386 the islanders placed themselves under the protection of Venice, which kept it for four hundred years. Corfu—or Kerkyra as it was called–was known as the “Door of Venice”,

The presence of the Venetians offered some protection but it also attracted assaults by Turkish naval and land forces. The Siege of Corfu in 1537 landed 25,000 soldiers from the Turkish fleet of Suleiman the Magnificent. They pillaged parts of the island and took 20,000 hostages.

But in the city, the castle held and the Turks withdrew because of lack of supplies and an epidemic.

The second great siege of Corfu took place in 1716, during the last Turkish-Venetian War. On July 8 the Turkish fleet of 33,000 men was encountered by the Venetian fleet off the channel of Corfu and was defeated.

Despite repeated assaults and heavy fighting, the Turks were unable to breach the defenses and were forced to end the siege after 22 days. The 5,000 Venetians and foreign mercenaries, together with 3,000 Corfiotes, were victorious.

Once again Venetian castle engineering had proven itself once again against considerable odds.

The repulse of the Ottomans was widely celebrated in Europe, Corfu being seen as a bastion of Western civilization against the Ottoman tide and in many ways marked the beginning of the end of that empire as it began to pull back toward Constantinople.

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Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria, also known as Sissi, was a woman entranced by beauty.

She lost her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, when he committed murder-suicide with his mistress in 1889, in what became known as The Mayerling Incident. This was one of the string of events that would eventually lead to the ascension of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose assassination was an immediate precursor to the first World War.

In 1890 Elisabeth built a summer palace to the south of the city of Corfu, with the powerful mythical hero Achilles as its central theme.

The palace, surrounded by neoclassical Greek statues, is a monument to platonic romanticism. It was named Achilleion, after Homer’s hero Achilles.

Achilles is everywhere within: paintings and statues in the main hall and the gardens.

In 1898, Empress Sissi was herself assassinated by an anarchist in Geneva, Switzerland.

After her death, the palace was purchased by German Kaiser Wilhelm II, who had his own thing about Achilles. Today, the Achilleion Palace has been converted into a museum, a very worthy place to visit in Corfu.

ACHILLEON PALACE TODAY

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The last statue is that of the Empress herself, with her famously–frighteningly–narrow waist. She did pay for the statue,  so perhaps there was a bit of alteration included.  Or not.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

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————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

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28 June 2015
 Corfu, Greece: In the Middle

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Corfu, an enticing mix of Venetian, Italian, Greek, and Albanian culture, with a soupçon of the British Empire mixed in, is a most pleasant place to spend a summer Sunday.

For more details and photos, see my blog entries for June 4 and June 14.

AROUND CORFU

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

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————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

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27 June 2015
 Katakolon (Olympia), Greece: The Naked Truth

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Katakolon, which we visited earlier this summer on June 15 (see that blog entry for more details) is the gateway to the ancient birthplace of the Olympic games.

During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the games in safety.

During the truce, wars were suspended, armies were prohibited from entering the region of southern Greece on the Peloponnesos peninsula.

And legal disputes and the carrying out of death penalties were forbidden.

If only the Olympics could have been made permanent.

On this visit,  I went with guests to the ancient site of Olympia and the impressive archeological museum. I’ve been there before,  but always enjoy the sense of walking in the Nikes of Olympian past.

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

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26 June 2015
 Piraeus/Athens, Greece: Ancient Gods, Modern Celebrity

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Even our wondrous small ship cannot sail into Syntagma Square in Athens.

We instead we dock at the port of Piraeus, about 10 traffic-clogged miles from Athens.

Safe travels to guests leaving us here. And welcome aboard to those joining us here for the next leg, from Athens to Venice.

Here’s our plan:

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Athens is one of the great cities of the world, and holds a collection of spectacular ancient sites and museums.

The Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the National Archeological Museum, the National Historical Museum, the Byzantine Museum, and so much more.

If you’ve never been to Athens before, there’s really not much question about what to put at the top of your list: the Acropolis is fully deserving of a spot on anyone’s bucket list.

AN ATHENS ALBUM

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The Acropolis was the fortified citadel and the state sanctuary of the ancient city of Athens.

It is perched on a flat-topped rock that rises above what is now the heart of the city of Athens.

And when I say ancient, I’m talking about peoples and civilizations that go back thousands of years before what we consider Classical Greece.

By the middle of the 8th century B.C., at least part of the Acropolis had been redeveloped into the sanctuary of the goddess Athena, the patroness of the city. Athena, as in Athens.

In the 6th century B.C., the first monumental stone, Doric temple of Athena is built on the Acropolis.

Even if you’ve been to Athens before, the Greeks—never mind all of their financial foibles—have done an extraordinary job with the design and construction of the New Acropolis Museum, which opened in June of 2009.

More than four thousand items are on display, including a portion of the frieze of the Parthenon—the part that is not in the British Museum, they will remind you.

In fact, some observers say one of the reasons the museum was created was to put pressure on the British Museum to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece where they could be displayed in their proper setting.

Good luck with that.

Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

25 June 2015
 Mykonos, Greece: Ancient Gods, Modern Celebrity

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Mykonos is an island of beauty and a bit of history, but for many people it is best known as a party island: an Aegean version of Ibiza in the Mediterranean or Monte Carlo or St-Tropez.

I find it hard to imagine what the ancient Greeks would think of it all, especially when you consider that at one time Mykonos had as its principal role raising food and delivering supplies to the nearby tiny sacred island of Delos.

Delos was the religious, economic, and political hub of the Aegean.

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The sacred island of Delos in the background,  a sampling of mega yachts in the foreground.  Photos by Corey Sandler 

The Little Venice district along the water was once home to many of the old ship’s captains. Today it is home to fancy clubs where the captains most likely would not get past the bouncer at the door.

Delos, more or less in the center of the ring of islands in the Cyclades, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. That’s saying quite a lot, in a country that includes the Acropolis of Athens, Delphi, and so much more.

Delos had already been considered a holy sanctuary for a thousand years before the Olympian Greeks declared it to be the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis.

Today, it is uninhabited except for thousands of tourists who make the visit by ferry from Mykonos to its ancient structures and ruins.

A MYKONOS ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

24 June 2015
 Patmos, Greece: Apocalypse Now

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

When most of us think of the Apocalypse, we think in dire and dramatic biblical terms.

Or perhaps in explosive, cataclysmic end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it Hollywood blockbusters.

Which brings us to Patmos, a lovely, peaceful small island in the Aegean Sea, one of the northernmost of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. It lies just off the coast of Turkey and the continent of Asia, west of the ancient Greek and Christian site of Ephesus.

So why is this the island of Apocalypse? Because it is believed that it was here that the final book of the New Testament was written.

And that book, written in Koine Greek, received its title from its first word: apokalypsis. It does not mean “The end of time” or “the destruction of life as we know it.

Literally translated, apokalypsis means “un-covering.”

The book’s introduction states that its author, John, was on Patmos when he was received a vision from Jesus and wrote it down.

A PATMOS ALBUM

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Many Christians come to Patmos on pilgrimage.

Others come to uncover yet another lovely Greek island with peaceful and beautiful revelations at every turn, including some handsome little beaches and pretty towns.

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

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23 June 2015
 Santorini, Greece: Fire and Ice, Part 2

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’re back for another visit to Santorini.

I’ve been here more times than I can remember. But its beauty still stuns.

For more details and pictures, see my blog entry for June 16.

A SANTORINI ALBUM, PART 2

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

22 June 2015
 Rhodes: The Far East of Greece

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Through its location and its history, Rhodes has faced in many directions.

Rhodes has looked east and north to Turkey in the eastern Aegean Sea 11 miles away, looked north toward Asia Minor, south toward Egypt, southeast to Jerusalem, and west toward Europe and the mainland of Greece.

But for many, Rhodes’ moment in time came when people came to look up at the great statue in its harbor.

The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek god Helios, erected in Rhodes by Chares of Lindos between 292 and 280 BC.

When it was completed, it stood about 107 feet high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.

The defenders of Rhodes had successfully defended their island against an assault by 40,000 men under command of Demetrius in 305 BC.

The land campaign failed because of the walls of the city, and then he tried to use massive siege towers mounted on ships to breach the walls.

But the defenders of Rhodes flooded the land in front of the walls so that the rolling tower could not move.

Demetrius’s army abandoned the siege, leaving most of their siege equipment.

The Rhodians sold the equipment left behind for a great deal of money, by some estimates the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars today.

The money was used to build a colossal statue of their patron god, Helios.

Today, the Colossus can be seen: on refrigerator magnets, rugs, etchings, and in the mind’s eye of tourists.

A RHODES ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

16 June 2015
 Santorini, Greece: Fire and Ice

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Santorini is the picture-postcard Greek Island.

Whitewashed walls and aqua blue domes against steep hillsides, with lovely beaches and spectacular views that include active volcanoes in the caldera and offshore.

The approach to the town of Fira is one of the more spectacular sights in the Aegean, a half-circle of steep cliffs topped with two horizontal towns of white and blue.

The cliffs are actually the rim of a huge volcano. A huge dormant—not dead, just sleeping—volcano.

Allow me to put that another way: the island is the remnant of a volcanic cone whose top was blown off.

A SANTORINI ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

15 June 2015
 Katakolon, Greece: An Olympic Experience

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and a lucrative post-competitive career as a celebrity or a politician. Plus a not-all-that-surprising hint of scandal.

Ah, things have changed, haven’t they? Or perhaps not.

Olympia, a sanctuary of ancient Greece about 40 minutes away from Katakalon, was the site of the original Olympic Games.

Competitions were held there every four years, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.

Katakolon itself is a small town on a headland overlooking the Ionian Sea; today it is essentially the gateway for cruise ship passengers heading to Olympia.

AN OLYMPIA ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS