Monday, February 11, 2019

Been There Done That…Athens, Greece

I have a Mediterranean cruise booked for the fall that will once again leave from Piraeus, the port city located within the urban area of Athens, Greece. I’ve been to Athens several times before, staying anywhere from a day to several, pre-cruise.  I’m at the point where I’m searching for some new things to see…places that don’t make the original “bucket list.” Here’s what I’ve found and plan to add to my itinerary.

Lake Vouliagmeni (Sunken Lake): Located just outside the city center, this is a small fresh water lake fed by underground currents seeping through Mount Hymettus. The lake is mineral rich; potassium, calcium, iodine, natrium…minerals known for the relief they give to hurting bones and muscles, eczema, headaches, arthritis and other ailments.  In addition, schools of small fish will approach swimmers and feed off of their dead cells, a practice that may seem a bit gross or weird, however there are many spas in the city that will charge for such a treatment!  Because of the year-round comfortable water temperature as well as the surrounding amenities (beach chairs, changing rooms, restaurants) Lake Vouliagmeni is thought of as a year-round spa visited by both locals and tourists.

Flisvos Marina: If you need a break from all the history and ancient sites of your Mediterranean cruise, a friend of mine recommended walking around the Flisvos Marina, an exclusive marina for mega-yacht owners from Greece and abroad. Not having a yacht of my own to moor I plan to arrive in the evening to admire the many luxury vessels, dine at a waterfront restaurants, and maybe enjoy an after dinner drink at a bar with live music.  For those looking for something more historic, check out the floating naval museum.  There are several types of ships including a reconstructed trireme, an oared warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean.

Ancient Corinth: Lastly, this is a place I’ve already been to. On last year's Mediterranean cruise I took a half day tour from Athens to Ancient Corinth, and I highly recommend it if you have the time. Corinth was one of the major cities of antiquity located on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. Most tours will make a brief stop at the Corinth Canal for pictures before continuing on to Ancient Corinth. Corinth is famous not only as a place of great archaeological interest but as an important landmark in the history of Christianity, as St. Paul lived and preached here.

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