11 Aug 2017

Bolgheri (Tuscany), Italy 2017


Today we docked at Livorno, which for many is a jump-off point for Florence, or at least Pisa. Florence is great and Pisa is a nice day trip. Looking for something new we decided to check out Bolgheri.

The city is cute and tiny. It takes about 10 minutes to walk it completely and that includes time for Allyn to peak into every store.

Even the approach through “Cypress Lane” makes for nice sightseeing.

Then we went to a winery where we tasted and learned about this relatively new but extremely popular wine region. The climate and soil is quite similar to parts of Bordeaux and they are growing many of those same grapes.



09 Aug 2017

Taormina, Sicily, and the Amalfi Coast, Italy 2017


Taormina - Just 10 weeks ago Trump was here for the G-7 Conference. That was where he proclaimed that he wasn’t sure that the U.S. could support the 195 nation Paris climate Agreement.  Indeed he followed through and our great country now sits with an august group of three along with Syria and Nicaragua. But this is a travel blog and not a political one.

Yesterday we revisited this area. Several years ago we wandered the lovely city and explored the “important” sights. Since we opted just to take in the beautiful scenery, we enjoyed the views from the hop on, hop off bus.





Amalfi – We have spent lots of time on the Amalfi Coast taking in Positano, Capri and Sorrento. They are all gorgeous. Today we just walked around Amalfi Town. This whole area is very hot and crowded this time of year.






05 Aug 2017

Athens (Piraeus), Greece at O Giannis Fish Tavern

The first segment ended this morning in Piraeus, the major port of Greece, just outside Athens. Virtually everybody disembarked, but we are on for two more segments.

Instead of running into Athens for the day (we have been here a couple of times), I decided to find a great locals seafood restaurant in this town famous for some nice restaurants; however many are extremely expensive and major rip-offs, especially along the water.

After significant research, I found the perfect place – O Giannis Fish Tavern  at Leof. Chatzikiriakou 107, Pireas, about a mile from the port. You would never confuse it for a tourist place. In fact their website and cards are all in Greek and they don’t even have an email. What they do have is GREAT fish and seafood, service and friendliness. (They do have English translations on the menu.)

Although it was almost empty when we arrived it was jammed when we left. Nevertheless the chef invited us into her kitchen to show us drawer by drawer the fresh fish she had today from which we could choose since so many types were foreign (literally and figuratively) to us.






Since we have been quite good on the dieting, we decided to try (too) many various items to give them a good test. We started with a wonderful Greek salad along with water, toast, and wine.


Then they brought a great octopus (which I almost forgot to photograph).


And then a plate of mussel for another appetizer.


And then the best monkfish I ever had.


After we were done the brought us some Greek digestif complementary. The entire tab with tax and service was 57 Euros. What a deal, and definitely the best meal of the trip so far. And, but for overdoing it on the toast, it was quite healthy.

02 Aug 2017

Gythion, Rhodes, and Patmos, Greece


 Gythion is great for a stroll.


Rhodes is a big tourist port these days.




It is beautiful, full of history, and has a famous synagogue. This island has extra special meaning as many of my friends and even relatives descend from the Rhodes Jewish Community.



Not to give short shrift to my Christian friends, next came Patmos, called the Jerusalem of The Aegean because it is where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation. We visited the cave where he wrote it in 95.



Also we visited The Holy Monastery of the Apocalpse built 1,000 years later as a castle and religious center. It is still active today.


It’s always nice to watch some local dancing.

30 Jul 2017

Corfu, Greece, 2017


Today we visited Corfu, the first of seven Greek ports in seven days. Specifically we spent our time in the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One street is prettier than the next.




We visited the La Scuola Greca Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial.

Modern Jewish history here is a familiar story. On June 10, 1944, four days after the bombing of Normandy, with the end of the war in sight, the Jews of Corfu were rounded up to be deported off the island. First they were imprisoned in the Old Venetian Fort in dank, cramped quarters. Then they were sent off the island in small boats, final destination Auschwitz-Birkenau. Of the 1795 Jews of Corfu who were deported, only 121 would survive. The mayor of the island issued a proclamation, thanking the Germans for ridding the island of the Jews so that the economy of the island would revert to its "rightful owners".




A local merchant showed us the detention camp uniform that his father brought back. His father’s entire extended family of 22 were hauled off and only 4 survived.