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SEP-OCT 2016

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26 S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 A SECOND HELPING Following Monday's arrival of Celestyal Odyssey at Lavrion and our visit to the Temple of Poseidon, we boarded Celestyal Crystal for the second part of our program. The Greek island of Syros was today's des- tination, where we began with a guided tour of historic and highly pho- togenic Ermoupoli, capital city of the Cyclades Islands and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we visited the landmark Anastasi Church and enjoyed panoramic views of nearby islands before transferring to the charming resort village of Kini for a seaside dinner. Cesme, Turkey, is a resort community of contrasts, boasting an up- scale harbor area fi lled with luxury yachts from myriad countries, even the United States, plus an extended, visitor-oriented shopping arcade adjacent. Just a few blocks away, however, a bustling market and col- orful commercial area was fi lled with scurrying locals of considerably lesser means. Although an excursion was offered to Izmir, Turkey, we headed instead to the exclusive Sole Mare Beach Club on Aya Yorgi Bay for sunning, swimming and lunch. Kos is the Greek island of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, as well as Asklepion, one of the fi rst healing centers of the ancient world. Here we visited vineyards and a local winery at the foot of Mount Dikeos, a family of beekeepers and producer of Greek honey, and then enjoyed exploring the splendid mountain village of Zia and its unique, small "cathedral." containing a house traditionally identifi ed as having been occupied by the Virgin Mary. Patmos is the island closely identifi ed with St. John and where he reportedly wrote the New Testament Book of Revelation. Included in our tour were visits to the Grotto of the Apocalypse, where he lived, as well as the old Monastery of St. John, fi lled with priceless icons and manuscripts and overlooking the Aegean in the village of Chora. Heraklion the largest city on Crete, is also the gateway to the ex- traordinary Palace of Knossos, center of the ancient Minoan civiliza- tion. Here, amid elaborate and partially reconstructed ruins, we viewed the Throne Room and the "Prince of the Lilies" fresco, and learned the legend of the Minotaur. Before we returned to the ship, we had a walk- ing tour of modern downtown Heraklion, which was also included. Santorini is an incredibly beautiful island, the buildings of which are magnifi cently situated along the rim of a huge caldera, the remains of a massive ancient volcano, the sudden and cataclysmic eruption of which some believe sent the legendary "lost" continent of Atlantis to the bottom of the sea. Today, however, whitewashed homes, shops, restaurants and hotels cling to the steep hillsides. We explored the ex- ceptionally beautiful Ola Village, a shopping, dining and lodging com- munity suspended high above the water and, unfortunately, woefully overcrowded with visitors on a delightful Sunday afternoon. Home of the Virgin Mary in Kusadasi, Turkey Sole Mara Beach Club in Cesme, Turkey

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