Throughout our travels we made some stops at places – basically a night out, a drive through or a few days stay while we were waiting to fly home. These come to mind as I reflect back to our journey throughout Greece. The best part of being there were the family members we visited with and sharing the experience.
Just half an hour south of Athens you come to this gorgeous seaside suburb known as the Athenian Riviera. Unbelievably beautiful hotels on the gorgeous shore line or hovering over it on cliffs abound. A super long beach that is “organized”…which means that there are chairs and umbrellas already set up available for a fee instead of an empty beach where you need to bring your own. My cousin (mother’s side) and her family flew into Greece the day before and settled here; we met up with them and had a delicious, long, leisurely dinner overlooking the sea!
This northern suburb of Athens is a beautiful place to live! Probably the most expensive area, but oh, the homes there are simply stunning. Large classical buildings with intricate and large balconies, surrounded by luscious gardens. The main avenue, Kifissia Avenue, is a mecca of shops and restaurants, offering the latest fashions and the most comfortable seats to enjoy a meal. My cousins (mother’s side) live there and it was such a joy to visit with them and catch up. The family tree I have put together was shared and we all had a story to share and a name to add.
With only one week left on our journey throughout Greece, we wanted to be close to the Athens Airport. We went to Athens several times already and it was not something we wanted to do again, so we settled in at a beach front hotel in Nea Makri, just about half an hour northeast of the airport. The feel of the hotel was tropical and beachy – looking out over the pool and the sea beyond was the perfect way to end our amazing trip. The shoreline is a good size and what is amazing is the number of tavernas and cafes that are lined up…we were there for six nights and it would have us another two weeks to visit each of them! They all face the beautiful sea so it was a real dilemma choosing where to eat each day. My cousin (father’s side), who lives nearby in Pallini, drove up to join us and we spent our time together talking about our family and viewing the family tree I put together; it was great that she was able to fill in some of the gaps I had about who everyone was and what branch they were on!
Right next to Nea Makri is Marathon….we drove there and walked the strand on the beach and enjoyed a tasty lunch. This city is known for two major events. The first was the battle of Marathon in 490 BC where the Athenians defeated the invading Persian army. The second is a legend – the runner Pheidippides, ran from here to Athens to announce the news of this victory. The length between the two cities is just over 26 miles and this is the length of today’s marathons starting from the 1896 Olympics in Athens when the first modern day Olympics began. The Spirit of the Marathon statue is located in the park right in the central square of the town for all to see and admire.
We also met up with a newly found cousin (father’s side in a cute little café in Athens), spoke on the phone with another cousin (mother’s side) and my mother’s God son. All my Greek cousins Rock!!!
A good sized town with a good sized port – ferries boats take people to a good number of islands and is a great alternative to the port of Pireaus – which is huge and the traffic is considerable. We drove around and viewed the residential areas, saw the town square and then went down the port where restaurants are lined up facing the harbor. We had lunch there and then drove down to the Athens airport – right across the street is a beautiful hotel where we spent our last night in Greece. With an early morning flight out, we were there in 5 minutes, checked in and said goodbye to the land of our birth.
In looking at the map of Greece, we realized that there was so much more to see, that we just didn’t have time for – and we were here for six months! This could only mean one thing – we must return to the land of the light: Greece!
With this in mind, we aim to Retire Well, Helene