Lunch stop

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Buddy Boating in Mykonos

Just after leaving Athens,

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weather from the south led us to Mykonos, to a bay that rents wind surfing equipment- a bay that in normal, prevailing northerlies conditions is untenable as an anchorage. Our sailing mentors Mary and Larry on Berkeley East were also there, so INSTANT HYLAS RENDESVOUS!! Although they were headed south and we are headed east, thr weather, who always wins, suggested Mykonos for a few days.
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What fun! We got to visit with friends, swap stories and restaurant recommendations, go out for dinner and get photographed by Larry’s new drone.
All without altering course or picking up guests from an airport!! Buddy boating rocks!!
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Petite Moreno Glacier, Argentina

March 10, 2016

Oh look, I’m updating the blog. Since Amante has been resting ashore for the winter, we went to Patagonia. Look what we saw!

The Petito Moreno glacier near El Calafate, Argentina, is one of the most visited glaciers in Patagonia. It creeps (that’s what glaciers do, they creep, slowly, at a glacial pace) towards a headland separating Lago Argentina from a narrow stretch called Brazo Rico. Every 4-6 years, the glacier intersects with the headland, forming an ice dam. The water on the Brazo Rico side rises over the period until it gets heavy and warm enough (always in summer) to start to melt its way under the ice dam. Once the water starts moving, we were told it forms an arch, as shown, and this collapses in a matter of days from when the water first starts flowing. We got to see it!!

It fell by bits and pieces, some loud, others barely noticeable. Pieces started falling a day or so before we saw this, but we got to see the finale.
Pardon, the noise. I chose to leave it in, to let you experience the wind and cold, as well as the excitement from the crowd. In other words, I am too lazy to edit.

First, the front fell off.

 

 

Later a nice big chuck of the middle fell.

On the other side, thousands of people stood on the walkways, along with the news crews, as our being on the boat at the actual time it collapsed was a miracle of chance. The pros were set up all day long, since first light.

We happened to be on a boat on the high side of the ice dam, in the Rico Brazo arm of Lago Argentina. It had risen 33 feet due to the dam, and when the water started flowing under the ice dam, the locals knew it would collapse in a few days. That’s when we happened to show up.

The end:

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Lefkada

We left Amante here to spend part of summer back home. I prefer it to Corfu for the ease of walking to town and the restaurants in walking distance.

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Lefkas town

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A day tour by car revealed many beautiful sites on Lefkas Island.

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planetree sq

little churches

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best beach

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Santorini, Thera, Greece

Santorini or Thera, Greece October 2015

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Sailing into the Caldera of Thera is one of the more spectacular places to tick on the world sailing check list.
Santorini is perhaps one of the most famous and most visited of the Greek islands. It is breathtaking, a caldera, the remnants of an ancient volcano that blew in about 1450 BCE, which was one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever recorded in Earth’s history. Called the Minoan Eruption by scientists, it inspired Greek Myth (or history, who can say), wiped out the northern part of Crete, destroyed the Minoan civilization (speculated) and formed the stunningly beautiful island caldera that people flock to to take the famous photos. The photos you see of stark white houses clinging to a steep hillside, overlooking an almost navy deep blue sea, are of Santorini.

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Santorini is not the name of Santorini. The island was named Thira, or Thera, by the Dorians when they settled here in the 8th century BC, and was renamed Santorini, after Santa Irene by the Venetians, who conquered this island in the 1300s. This island is the best candidate for the fabled lost kingdom of Atlantis. It was colonized by the Minoans from Crete in 3000 BC and is one of the more archaeologically interesting places in the world.

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The current dig at Akrotiri has unearthed remains of both early primitive and later advanced civilizations, built one atop the other, the earliest remains date to the 5th millennium BC!! What is remarkable about the Akrotiri dig is that this is essentially a Minoan Pompeii, dated in the epoch of about 1500 BC. It is the only well-preserved settlement of the Bronze age, and the quality of the preservation was due to the complete covering in volcanic ash, like Pompeii. What is different is that scientists have determined that an earthquake (or several) preceded the eruption, so that the people had left the site before the eruption, so there are no dead bodies eternally preserved in agony, as there were at Pompeii. Where they went is not determined, maybe one day their remains will be found further inland.
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This stuff is just pure nerd gravy for me.
This is the reward for sightseeing all day- a proper wine tasting. The snackies come for an additional 5 euros or so and dinner is done!
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Mistras

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The town of Mistras, Peleponesse, Greece overlooking the current city of Sparta.mystraschurch

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from castle

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Messene, Peleoponnese, Greece

Rented a car and toured around the western part of the southern Peloponnese. I had remarked about Ithaca having no relics or ruins or anything to suggest that this had once been part of the great early civilizations. Apparently, there are many more on the Peloponnese peninsula. We went first to the ancient city of Messene, a ruined walled city still under excavation that was enormous. We walked 10k minimum just to reach the furthest point and return, we failed to get to every corner for wanting to see more in a day.
Here is a wikilink:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messene

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The Unesco web site has this to say about Messene:
In size, form and preservation, Messene is one of the most important cities of antiquity, and one which still has a great deal to offer. It boasts not only religious and public buildings, but also imposing fortifications, houses and funerary monuments.
Read more here:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5859/

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Methoni, Peloponnese, Greece

Another favorite anchorage was under the watchful tower of Methoni, which is a UNESCO site. Venice began construction on the fort and the tower was added later by the Turks, after their conquest of Methoni. Methoni and Koroni, two fortified towns on the southeastern side of the PP were once called the two eyes of Venice. Their forts overlook the harbors, and the impressive fortresses inspired this nickname. I continue to be surprised by how far the Venetian Republic reached. I guess they knew a thing or two about boats.

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Inside the fortified city, a church still stands and restorations are being made to the walls and other structures.

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The fort and ancient city glow beautifully against the setting sun, and the little beach town beneath it was excellent: people playing on the beach, nice taverns, and friendly people. Methoni had a couple of hotels and lots of holiday rentals as a beach town for mostly Greek tourists might. I would have liked to spend a few more days here, but weather pushed towards shelter in Kalamata.

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Porto Kayio- Peleponnese, Greece

Wonderful anchorage on a idyllic bay. Stunning cliff-ringed harbor and tiny town of a few taverns and one hotel.

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A fort on a hill somewhere in the distance but without roads or trails summoned us.

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We made it but had to walk the most hostile landscape ever- legs cut up like I was in a cat fight- thorns, thorns thorns!!!

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We had lunch at Porto Taverna and had a fish I have never seen here- it looked like a pacific Mahi-Mahi and was delicious!!! Would have spent 3 days here easily, but weather drove us onward.

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Visit to Olympia

We visited Olympia, home of Zeus’s former temple, now home to the archeological restoration project of the same name and UNESCO tourism-attracting heritage site. (I’m becoming suspect of UNESCO’s real mission, but let’s save that for another time). For a place that has revamped the landscape of the whole area to bus in thousands of tourists, the site was pretty average. But here are the cool bits.
It is huge. It is very old.
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The temple dedicated to Zeus was monumental, and was near completely destroyed along with most of the entire site, at the command of the conquering Romans.
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Augustus stopped destruction because he found the Classical Greek elements quaint, so enough remained to be excavated and restored in the last 30 or so years, or since people have discovered that maintaining antiquities is the certain future economic survival mechanism via the tourist dollar. So to grasp what this meant- that it was built at all during about 1000-2000 is BC with god knows what for tools and labor- is miraculous, but that then someone told a bunch of poor Roman laborers to go tear it down and they managed, is just off the charts improbable. But they did it. Think the Parthenon, just not quite as big, but similar sized columns of hand carved stone, built over a brief period (considering a human had to carve the grooves in the large stone by hand without a laser), then stacked up, topped, etc. all without cranes. It is mind boggling.
Size of these stone segments.
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And the temple to Zeus is just the center of Olympia. Remember the word Olympia. If you’re a mythology fan, as I was in grade school and since, you remember that Zeus lived on Olympus, his board of Gods were called the Olympians, etc. I was thinking of this place as that place period. This is what astounds me about my distinct and compartmentalizing shaky intellect. That the Olympic games had anything to do with this, never occurred to me. The Olympic games, a contest of strength and valor were held in honor of the Olympian Zeus every four years from prehistoric times. Between 776 B.C (the first written date and the beginning of recorded Greek history) and 393 A.D, the greek calendar was based on the Olympiad, or the games. They not only included sports, but recitals of verse, and debates, and from 67 B.C, also musical and drama competitions, poetry knockdowns. The modern games revived in 1896 in Athens. The Olympic flame that is carried to wherever in the world is hosting the games is lit here.
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Like where I’m standing.
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This is the home port of the Olympic Games, all played in tribute to Zeus since pre-recorded history. I never knew this. That the games survived the Christianization of history (when they were originally a pagan festival, not too different from Burning Man, but less filthy) surprises me.

Oh- and did I mention it is huge? The temple is but one building, there are dozens others, and like Zeus’ temple, when I say building, I mean a pile of tumbled stones starting to be cleaned, catalogued and re-stacked, alongside many artists’ renditions of what it likely once looked like.

The museum is where the recovered and restored artifacts live. From 10th century B.C pots and vases and figurines carved in honor of Zeus or Hera, to Roman statues of Marcus Aurelius (one of my favorite authors) or Hermes delivering Dionysus to the nymphs, and a personal favorite, Winged Victory’s first statue- Paeonios’ sculpture from 5th century B.C.
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I like to call my Mom, Winged Victory, and she’s only half that age. Hey Mama!

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