Saturday, June 10, 2017


Thursday, 1 June 2017

We spent our last day in Greece on the waterfront in Sounion -- the tip of the Attic peninsula south of Athens.

Lake fog in Ioannina delayed our flight to Athens by an hour and a half.
The new bridge that connects the Peloponnese to the Greek mainland at Rion.
We took the scenic drive along the Aegean Sea to Sounion. We ate lunch at a taverna with a great view of the Temple of Poseidon -- a landmark for millennia.
Gulls were everywhere.
A large gull kept coming up to our table, hoping we would give it some goodies. (We didn't.)
Up close, the Temple of Poseidon is even more impressive.
Another view of the Temple of Poseidon.
A short distance offshore was an island with a number of wind turbines on it.
The wind turbines didn't photograph too well. Here's a close-up of the turbines.
The Aegean Sea
We went back to the same taverna for dinner so that we could watch the setting sun bathe the Temple of Poseidon in an orange glow.
A great end to a great trip -- the Temple of Poseidon illuminated at night.


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

After visiting Dodona, we spent the rest of the day in Ioannina.

First stop was at the archaeological museum in Ioannina. I don't usually take pictures in museums, but these were unusual pots. The left one reminded me of a 3-neck round-bottom flask I used to use in the chemistry lab.
Ioannina Lake with snow-capped mountains beyond.
Aslan Pasha Mosque
Swans flying over the lake.
There's a small village on the island in the lake. We took a ferry to and from the island to visit Ali Pasha's summer compound and have lunch at a taverna.
After lunch, we returned to Ioannina and visited the old section of town and the acropolis.
The former stables in the acropolis is now a small but lovely Silversmithing Museum. We now have a much better appreciation for the silver filagree plate that Lon has.
Fetiche Mosque in the acropolis. Ali Pasha's tomb is the iron-work structure in front of it.
Purple flowers growing at Ali Pasha's tomb.
The ruins of Ali Pasha's serai (palace).
While we were waiting for our bus to take us to our hotel, I watched these Great Crested Grebes on the lake. The one on the right looked pretty scruffy -- then I realized it had a baby on its back.


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

On the way to Ioannina, we made a stop at the archaeological site of Dodona. It was the site of the most important oracle in ancient Greece until Delphi became the "go-to" oracle.

The valleys were filled with fog, but the mountains were clear.
The Temple of Zeus
The Temple of Heracles. (You can tell by the low sun angle here that we got an early start!)
The theater at Dodona. At the far left are seats for the stadium.

Zagoria - Part 2

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

A second day to enjoy the mountains near the Greece-Albania border.

An agricultural valley surrounded by rugged mountains. The mountains in the distance with the clouds on top are in Albania.
I thought this grass awn (seed head) was particularly pretty.
We visited the Bourazani nature park and natural history museum. We saw lots of these ibex (wild goats) along with fallow deer and red deer.
At the end of the road was the small, but welcoming Molyvodskepasti monastery.
Molyvodskepasti monastery
Molyvodskepasti monastery
Molyvodskepasti monastery
A swallow tending a nest of chicks in the Molyvodskepasti monastery.
Back at our lodge, we watched the sunset paint the mountains.

Zagoria - Part 1

Monday, 29 May 2017

We're spending three nights in the small mountain town of Aristi.

Our full-size tour bus went over this narrow bridge -- twice!
This part of Greece is famous for stone-arch bridges built by the Ottomans in the 18th century.
At the Kokkori Bridge
Butterflies were abundant.
The impressive Vikas Gorge as seen from the St. Paraskevi Monastery near Monodendri. (What a great name for a town -- it literally means "one tree". But there are now a number of gorgeous plane trees gracing the plazas in this small town.)
A grape arbor at the entrance to St. Paraskevi monastery.
The St. Paraskevi monastery is tiny. The overlook and view (two photos above) is through the doorway in the rear.

Meteora - Part 2 - Monasteries

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Now for a closer look at some of the monasteries.

Holy Trinity Monastery is only accessible via cable car (the white box near the center of the photo).
A chapel in St. Stephan's monastery. Most of the monasteries allow visitors in their gardens and large church ("Katholikon"), although photography is not allowed inside the churches or museums.
Courtyard in St. Stephan's Monastery.
A terraced garden just outside St. Stephan's.
Four monasteries: (left to right) St. Nicholas Anapafsas, Rousanou, Grand Meteora (Transfiguration), and Varlaam.
Grand Meteora Monastery
Varlaam Monastery
Varlaam Monastery
Sandstone cliff with the St. George hermitage/cave.
The St. George hermitage is filled with colorful headscarves on 23 April every year (St. George's Day) to ask St. George to look favorably upon the owners -- especially in matters of marriage and health. Read about the origin of this tradition here.