The Greek Isles…across the years

I have visited Greece and a number of its islands several times across the years and it is quite nostalgic to be back again and look back…

Knossos

Knossos

The first two visits in 1975 were part of a sort of gap year between study and settling down to work proper. After a month of travelling on a Eurorail pass my friends and I, acting on a recommendation, decided to rest and hide from the world on the south coast of Crete in the village of Matala. This winter hibernation was accomplished generally in a haze of retsina, beer and the dreaded ouzo and having survived we were ready for more travels.

Returning that summer, I again caught the ferry from Brindisi in Italy, but this time landing me on Corfu. The grey of winter had been replaced by brilliant sunshine and clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea providing wonderful scenery and great swimming. One of my clearest memories of Corfu was my introduction to Greek salads with delicious olives, fetta and the sweetest cucumber that I had tasted.

Lindos

Lindos

Next was some island hopping on local ferries with dear friends Ron and Meg visiting Crete, Ios and the spectacular Thira, or Santorini. Nowadays we often fondly recall dining and drinking under sun umbrellas in tavernas on the seafront at the small town of Sitia, on Crete, watching fishermen at their boats in the bay.

Stefany's at Lindos

Stefany’s at Lindos

Thirty years later I returned to Greece with Jenny on our Cosmos Grand European tour. All we had was a one day’s ferry excursion that took us to the close-in islands of Poros and Aegina. We were able to share some pleasant hours walking the narrow cobblestone streets and alleys and relaxing along the waterfront.

This latest time, from our cruise ship we joined shore excursions to Rhodes and Crete. At the excavations of the ruins of Knossos on Crete we completed our historic tours and education. However, we agreed that our highlight was Rhodes with its ancient archaeological site at Lindos and the medieval world heritage Rhodes Town.

Rhodes Town

Rhodes Town

A noticeable difference, across the years, has been the advent of five-star resorts as tourism has increased. Holidays are probably more comfortable these days but I certainly hope that the old traditional Greece does not disappear. Limited time on this latest trip did not allow us to sample the more relaxed simple holiday but one day we may be able to return to enjoy again one of my favourite parts of the world.

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