Hedonism, Yugo’s, and Sultans
Three Weeks (August 25th – September 14th, 2010)
Beginning with an international flight to Athens, we spent a couple of days exploring the ancient Acropolis and museums, before grabbing a rental car in Piraeus. Heading north, we made a stop at the ruins of Delphi on our way to Meteora to boggle at 14th century monasteries perched on rocky cliff tops. In the afternoon, we headed to Florina for the night before making our way in the morning to the Medzhitlija border crossing to leave our rental and catch a taxi into Macedonia and the majestic monastery on Lake Ohrid. Next we grabbed our car at the border and made our way to the medieval fortress of Ioannina for the night. In the morning, we stashed our car again at the Kakavia – Ktismata Border Crossing and caught a taxi to Sarandë for a couple days on the Albanian Riviera.
Next, we drove south to do a loop of the Peloponnese. That evening, we visited the sanctuary of Ancient Olympia and stood in the stadium that hosted the first Olympic Games. We stayed overnight in the town and took in some of the excellent museums. In the morning, we grabbed breakfast in Kyparissia, spent the afternoon lazing on Voidokilia beach, and made our way into spectacular Monemvasia for a night exploring the medieval cobbled alley-ways within the walls of its medieval town. In the morning, we drove south and took the ferry to Elafonisos, spending the afternoon lazing on Simos Beach, before heading north for the night to Venetian Nafplio with its mansions, museums and lively port. The next day, we drove to ancient heavyweight Mycenae and Apollo’s temple in Corinth, before dropping the rental back in Piraeus.
After a speed boat to Marmaris, we headed north up the Aegean coast, to Ephesus (Efes), home to the scarce remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Our final leg north landed us in İstanbul, one of the world’s great cities, whose highlights include the Topkapı Palace, Aya Sofya and Blue Mosque.