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More than just Athens

Our Christmas wasn’t like any other we’d ever known as a family.  We weren’t home and weren’t even in our Polish temporary home.  Rather than forcing a traditional holiday into non-traditional circumstances, we went all out new and made Christmas memories in Greece that we are unlikely to ever forget.

We were lucky to have my mom join us in Greece over the holidays.  It gave the girls a sense of comfort, a feeling of warmth and closeness to home, and allowed them to bond with their Omi in ways that they’d never before experienced.  Ways that are only discovered when you spend intense time together in a relaxed way.

Ben and I had been to Greece previously for our honeymoon.  This was in part our reason for going – we loved it so much that we wanted to share it with others.

We started our trip in Athens and although it is obviously a big city, it’s ruins, history and mythology are interspersed with the modern and new in a way I’ve never seen.

The old Theatre of Dionysus hovers over the city:

The Temple of Zeus is in the middle of a congested area:

And of course the majestic Acropolis stands on a hill above the city:

The city is at times chaotic and also peaceful;  full of the ancient and the recent.

On this second time in Greece, we made a deliberate decision to go further inland. To explore areas of the mainland we might have once overlooked in favour of the seaside allure of the islands.

We took a day trip to Delphi, site of the Ancient Oracle.  We prepared ourselves with a little Wikipedia history lesson, but we were unprepared for its profound serenity.   There were people around, yet I felt alone with my thoughts.

 

The landscape around Delphi was magnificent.  Rolling, rough mountains as far as the eye can see.  Which meant a long, rough walk up to the top.  A walk that my 79 year-old mother mastered in a way that made me incredibly proud. And also a little shameful that I could only just keep up.

On the way out of Delphi, there is a town called Arachova.

It sits on a hilltop and the views are incredible from every angle.   The only downside: many people seem to have already discovered this gem. The streets were packed and the emergence of tacky souvenir shops was beginning. Nonetheless, well worth a visit.

On another day, we went the opposite direction.   Not far from Athens at a place called Sounion, sits the Temple of Poseidon.  Perched high on a cliff overlooking the sea, it was a vision from afar.

From the hilltop, we looked out at the sea as Poseidon once would have:

We ventured to the seaside town of Nafplio eventually.  It was the first capital of Greece and was as picturesque as Google promised it would be.

Although this was our second time in Greece, I can’t say I’ve had enough.

 

Published in Greece The Mainland Uncategorized

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