Ghosts, Legends and a Glimpse of Atlantis in Santorini

Distant cliff view Santorini

On Santorini, the village folk tell stories of ghosts. Old men sipping ouzo in the tavernas say they’ve heard the music of Pan’s pipes and the clicking of little hooves in the branches of the plane trees. There is a feeling that something mysterious lingered behind after the great explosion that destroyed Santorini during the Bronze Age, and you can’t question the superstitions of the ... Read Full Article

Greece: The Mystical Oak Shrine of Dodoni, Epirus

Castle_Gate

Most people who visit Greece have made a pilgrimage to Delphi, the most important oracle of the ancient world on Mt. Parnassos. However, not many people know about Dodoni, the country’s second most important oracle, tucked away in the mountains of Epirus, in north-east Greece. I’ve visited Dodoni on several occasions. The best way to reach the ancient site is via Ioannina. Once an Ottoman city ... Read Full Article

Anafiotika: The Hidden Village under the Acropolis

View with Lykevettos Mountain

The great city of Athens, Greece is made up of numerous small villages that have melded together over the years. Plaka is the most ancient, original part of the city where most of the archaeological sites are located. Just up on the hill above Plaka, under the flank of the Acropolis (“the high city”) there is the tiny village of Anafiotika, unique because of how it came to be. In 1841, King ... Read Full Article

A Greek Senior Bus Tour in Evvia, Greece

Limnionas Beach

  “Would you like to go on an expedition with a group of Greek seniors?” my friend asked. I was visiting Athens for a few weeks last summer and the word “expedition” piqued my interested. “Why is it called an expedition?” I wondered. My friend Carol is an English woman who lives in Greece. “The reason they call these ‘expeditions’ is because they explore places that bus tours usually don’t ... Read Full Article

Walking in the Footsteps of the Philosophers in Athens

House of Simon

If you are wandering the ancient agora in Athens, at the junction of the SW corner near the Boundary Stone that marked the sacred precinct of the square, you will find a row of dwellings or shops. A cache of hobnails and a black glazed cup bearing the name “Simon” was discovered here and the site is marked “The Shop of the Cobbler Simon.”  This is apparently where the philosopher Socrates spent ... Read Full Article

Immerse Yourself in the Fairytale Opulence of Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle Wall

  Right in the middle of the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Cardiff, Wales, stands the massive 2000 year old Cardiff Castle. Each time I’ve passed through this city I’ve been drawn to walk by, admiring the long walls where various stone animals lounge; lions and jackals and bears, that peer down at me as I walk by. This year, I made a special point of visiting inside of the castle, ... Read Full Article

Celebrating Dylan Thomas in Swansea, Wales

statue Dylan thomas

  In 2014 Swansea, Wales is celebrating the centenary of the birth of one of the English languages most distinctive voices. The year-long celebration will honour the works and legacy of Dylan Thomas. My father was Welsh, and I have traveled frequently to Wales. I’ve been a fan of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas for years, but until this past summer I haven’t visited any of his haunts. Once several ... Read Full Article

The Jewish Museum of Athens: Recalling the Past

Ethnic Costumes - Jewish Museum in Athens

In a small, privately owned building just at the edge of Athen’s old Plaka district, all that is left of Greece’s Jewish heritage is displayed with artifacts that have been collected and restored since the 1970’s by tireless museum curators and volunteers. It is because of their dedication that the Jewish Museum of Greece now ranks among the top Jewish Museums in Europe. The idea of a ... Read Full Article

Uncovering the Past in Athens’ Metro Stations

Athens Metro Syntagma Station

Along the rail track near Monastiraki train station in Athens, a team of young archaeology students are digging for treasures. I was told they had discovered a ‘painted stoa’, a popular meeting place during the time of Plato and Socrates. I stand by the fence and watch in fascination as they dust, scrape, and carefully handle pieces of the ancient agora. Finding treasures like these in Athens is ... Read Full Article

Kensington Palace: Romance, Tragedy and Scandal in the Royal Residence

Kensington Palace in London

On a recent visit to London, I only had a morning to spend sight-seeing so I chose a visit to Kensington Palace. I had no idea when I went there how much I would learn about the romance, tragedy and scandals of the royalty who had occupied the palace over the centuries. Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since the 17th century and some of the most important moments in royal ... Read Full Article