News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

The Acropolis and Baklava

• Dwain C. Crum •



I left Bari in Italy for Patras in Greece.  My ferry, the Superfast II (yes, that’s its name) would be traveling 295 nautical miles.  I had a room for the night on board as we would not be reaching Greece until the next morning.  This was no cruise ship.  Most of the passengers were truckers whose trucks had been loaded on in Bari only to continue on their journey to Athens, Greece.  Athens was my destination as well but Patras, Greece is a far cry from Athens (and a far distance as well).  At Patras, I hired a Taxi with a fellow American (Cole by name) to drive us the rest of the way.  It was the longest taxi drive that I have ever taken (150 miles) and all across the famed Peloponnese.

Once in Athens, I would be staying at the Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel.  There I joined my 3rd Trafalgar Tour of the trip.  It was called their Ancient Lands Tour.  This was quite unlike my two Trafalgar tours in Italy.  Other than visiting the sites in Athens by motor coach it was mostly a cruise to the Greek islands on the the ship the Louis Olympia of the Louis Ship Lines.  It was quite a different cruise than my two long Princess Cruises; this was an Aegean cruise in which we would visit 6 ports in 4 days.

As a former history teacher, it was a great experience to be staying in Athens and seeing all of the sights and sounds there.  Of course, no visit to Athens would be complete without going to the Acropolis and seeing the famous Parthenon.  The Parthenon was built between 447 B.C. and 432 B.C. as a temple to the goddess Athena.  It was built by the architects Iktinos and Kallikrates.  Also impressive were the remains of the Olympieion (the temple of the Olympian Zeus).  The Olympian was inaugurated in AD 131 by the emperor Hadrian and was the largest of the ancient temples of Athens.  I also went to the Peninsula of Sounion and saw the temple to Poseidon that is located there.  According to legend, Menelaus buried his steersman Phrontis at Sounion on his way back from Troy.

Porch of the Maidens

Porch of the Maidens

At 37,584 GT my new cruise ship, the MS Louis Olympia, was even larger than my former ship the Pacific Princess (at 30,277 GT).  She had originally been a Royal Caribbean ship, the MS Song of America.  Even though it was a short cruise (a total of 711 nautical miles) I got to visit Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Haraklion (Crete), Santorini in Greece and Kusadasi in Turkey.  From Kusadsi, I was able to visit the ancient city of Ephesis.  The number of places that I visited at the Greek ports was too numerous to mention here except to say that I did go see the fortress at Lindo (on Rhodes), the palace of Knossos (on Crete) and the village of Oia (on Santorini).  The cruise began and ended in Piraeus and was led by a wonderful guide with Trafalgar Tours named Sabrina.

With my Aegean cruise over, I spent one more night in Athens at the Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel before boarding my last cruise ship of my trip around the world, the Sea Princess (and were I finally had some baklava!).

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