Category: May/June 2004 (page 1 of 2)

Two hot days on Crete

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beach on Crete

Fodele beach on the north coast of Crete, about 25 km west of Heraklion. It was empty when we were here in 2004, but I’ve seen recent photos showing the beach lined with umbrellas and lounge chairs.

 

Frostbite flashback: We had perfect hypothermia weather in Toronto today. Although it was gloriously sunny, the outdoor temperature was a frosty minus 24 Celsius — minus 40 with wind chill.  My face nearly froze while I was walking outside this afternoon, and for some reason I started remembering our one and only brief visit to Crete back in early June of 2004. Perhaps I was subconsciously trying to warm myself up by thinking about being somewhere hot instead of standing on a city street corner, shivering in the firm grip of a frigid Arctic air mass.

Once back home, I sorted through photos we shot while on Crete. There weren’t many pictures to review, primarily since we had a whirlwind visit of just three nights and two full days. (It didn’t help that a malfunction with my camera’s memory card wiped out dozens of images we did manage to shoot.)

We were in Greece on our first-ever island hopping holiday, a 2-week package tour that took us to Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini and Athens. It was a great introduction to Greece, but the Crete segment of our itinerary was way too short and rushed. On an island as vast as Crete, two days gives you time to merely glimpse a few sites and attractions. With a visit so short and hectic, there’s no opportunity to soak up the island’s atmosphere, or to experience the local life and culture. Nevertheless, we felt our fleeting look at the sights and scenery was better than not making it to Crete at all. Next time, we’ll follow the advice of regular Crete visitors who advise spending one, two or more weeks just to explore one specific part of the island.

Click on the link below to continue reading my mini trip report on page 2, where I have posted a few of the photos we shot during our quick stop on Crete.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Revisiting the Parthenon … 10 years later

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 The Parthenon

Crowds were so sparse the first time we visited the Acropolis in Athens (on the afternoon of Friday June 11 2004, to be precise)

 

 

the Parthenon

that we were able to get this shot of me standing in front of the Parthenon — with nobody else in sight!

 

 

The Parthenon

However, it was impossible to get photos of the Parthenon without any other people around during our return visit to the Acropolis on Sunday June 1 2014

 

 

No all-by-my-selfies possible: We practically had the Acropolis and the Parthenon all to ourselves when we visited the historic Athens monuments for the first time late on the afternoon of Friday June 11 2004. Even though it was only two months before the opening of the Athens Summer Olympics, the site — one of the most famous tourist attractions in the entire world — wasn’t crowded. In fact, Dan managed to take a photo of me standing by myself in front of the Parthenon — with nobody else around.

There was no chance of getting another photo like that when went back to the Acropolis for a repeat visit two weeks ago. It was late in the morning on a Sunday this time (June 1), and we were among hundreds of people who kept jockeying for prime positions to get the perfect Parthenon picture. With huge throngs of tourists all around, including some guided groups with dozens of participants apiece, there was absolutely no way to take a frontal photo of the Parthenon without getting a bunch of people in the shot. Or without getting constantly jostled and bumped while making a valiant attempt.

 

34% increase in foreign tourists to Athens

We shouldn’t have been surprised to find the Acopolis so busy — tourism in Greece is booming this year. In fact, statistics reported by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) show that 500,000 more foreign visitors arrived in Greece during the first five months of this year than during the same period last year — an increase of nearly 21%.  Specifically for Athens, the number of foreign visitors surged by a whopping 34% between January and May (compared to 2013), and rose by nearly 31% in May alone.

SETE expects that Greece will reach its target of 19 million international visitors for 2014 — a tourism record for the country.

Based on the number of tourists we saw wandering around Athens during the weekend of May 30 to June 2, I’m certain Greece will set that record.

Below is a brief videoclip I shot showing a few of the tourists who were visiting the Acropolis at the same time as us on June 1. Notice that almost everyone is moving briskly — no doubt to quickly find the perfect place to take selfies with the Parthenon in the background!

 

Tourists at the Athens Acropolis on June 1

 

Greece holiday pic of the day

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Amoudara beach on Crete

An umbrella casts its shadow on the sandy beach at Amoudara near Heraklion, Crete

 

 

Greece holiday pic of the day

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Palace of Knossos on Crete

A woman walks through the Palace of Knossos near Heraklion, Crete

 

Greece holiday pic of the day

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The Rocco al Mare fortress at Heraklion harbour Crete

The Rocco al Mare (now called Koules) is a 16th-Century Venetian fortress standing near the entrance to the old harbour at Heraklion, Crete

 

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