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Exploring Greece with family!
September 2012

ParthenonMy brother, his girlfriend and my two cousins, recently visited me in Crete. It was even more exciting because they were all arriving from different locations: Cardiff, Aberdeen and Nepal. I had been impatiently waiting for their arrival ever since they confirmed their reservations in May.

After carefully planning out each of their precious vacation days so that I could maximize my time with them, it was finally time to execute my plan and I was ecstatic.

Agios Nikolas
We took a trip to Agios Nikolas, which was in the Eastern part of Crete and it had one of the bluest beaches I had ever seen. It was close to Spinalonga, an island that was much talked about because it was where they sent leapers to be isolated in the old days. We walked all around Agios Nikolas and sat down by one of the lakeside restaurants and devoured the food. It was quite amazing.

The next day I took my family to the island of Thira, also known as Santorini. We took the high speedline boat from Crete, and arrived within two and half hours. It was a bit rushed because we were there for only a day with a tour group, but it was a worthwhile trip. They took us to Oia, Fira and a black sand beach on the south of the island. Oia and Fira were two cities built off a cliff, and were approximately a 20 minute drive from each other. It was more beautiful than I had imagined; the white houses, churches with blue domes, and doors facing the view of the caldera made me feel like I was in paradise with my family. It was beyond words and that was a feeling all of us shared.

Acropolis of Athens
Walking up the path to get into the actual ground adjacent to the Parthenon and the temple of Athena was mind-boggling. Again, it was like walking into my history book. I wanted to sit and stare at the beautifully made structures forever. The incredible history behind these stunning works of architecture, and the myths behind the temples are fantastic reasons to visit this place.Temple of Athena with the olive tree in the Garden of Athena

Our tour guide told everyone the story about the temple of Athena and why it was finally dedicated to her. According to our tour guide, the Greek God Poseidon and Goddess Athena were fighting over what the city should be named. Poseidon raised his trident and down fell a rock though the roof of the temple. It created a hole on the grounds which created a salt water spring. Athena threw her arrow which landed by the garden and turned into an olive tree. The public thought the symbol of peace was more valued than a salt-water spring and hence the city was named Athena, or Athens. Most of the parts of the Acropolis are under restoration and it is really is amazing that it is all still standing.

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a high rocky area above the city of Athens and containing the remains of several ancient buildings including the Parthenon. The original friezes (marble sculpture) and the remaining original statues have been arranged in accordance to how they were originally placed in the Parthenon. The video exhibit there showed how the destruction of the Parthenon was due to the changes in governance and religious beliefs.

It was an amazing opportunity to visit the Acropolis, and other old Athena towns like Plaka and Monasteraki. It was just a phenomenal trip.

When we returned to Crete, it was time for my family to leave for Andros and then they were homeward bound from there. I was not be able to go with them as I had to return to work but it was so nice having them around for a week and just being able to spend quality time with them.

- Natasha