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Ten Greek places to behold in the land of the Olympics January 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece, Greece Athens, Greece Islands, Greece Islands Aegean, Greece Islands Ionian, Greece Mainland.
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Let the travel plans begin. If you’re Olympics-bound to Greece, it pays to know where to go in this beautiful and ancient country.

“I love Greece so much because it actually looks like the posters,” says Nia Vardalos, star of the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the CBS series My Big Fat Greek Life. Vardalos also is famous for her film, Connie and Carla, and currently will be shooting her new film in Greece. One of the spots is The Acropolis in Athens. “When I visit Greece, I feel such a connection because it is my ancestral home. While you’re there, take a taxi. The view from the back of any taxicab in Greece is a character-building experience. I like to imagine these grizzled drivers when they were young boys, playing in the streets.”

She shares with you her favorite Greek spots. Follow her!

The Parthenon > Athens
“Standing at the bottom of the ruins of this temple, built circa 477 to 438 B.C, and looking up, you can feel that ancient power. When I go to the top and look out over the city, I like to imagine what it all looked like 50 years ago, 250 years ago, 500 years ago.” 

Island of Tinos > Cyclades
Tinos is one of the largest islands of the Cyclades. Its “beautiful main monastery, the Church of Panagia or the Virgin Mary, is a must to visit,” especially on August 15, the feast day of the Virgin, which draws thousands of pilgrims. “Inside, it is decorated with gold and silver replicas, representing people’s wishes and prayers.” 

Isthmus of Corinth > Corinthia
At 20 miles long and four to eight miles wide, the isthmus, canal, connects central Greece with the Peloponnese peninsula. “This man-made miracle cuts a mountain in two, so ships can pass” via the Corinth Canal from the Adriatic Sea to the Aegean Sea, “and it’s really something to see.” 

Island of Zakynthos > Ionian Islands
Also known as Zante, this picturesque island with mountainous villages is known for its golden beaches. “Visit the church in the town square; a priest is buried there, and the locals regularly replace his worn-out shoes because it is said he still walks the island.” 

Nafplio > Peloponnese
Climb the 857 steps to visit the Palamidi Fortress, constructed when Nafplio, “located on the mainland”, was the first capital of Greece. “The copper-red roofs of this town are incredible to look at, so climb the winding streets to get a panoramic view from the top.” 

Island of Mykonos > Cyclades
With its white houses and bright blue sea, this cosmopolitan island of 5,500 is called the Venice of Greece. “Tiny whitewashed churches dot the sides of the mountains, so rent a minibike, go up the mountain and sit inside one of the churches to light a candle.”  Windmills and VIP’s everywhere!

Herod Atticus Theater > Athens
Constructed in A.D. 161, this once-massive theater today holds only 5,000 spectators in the lower tier of seats. “The acoustics are perfect, and the theater is a step back in time. I heard the Atlanta Gospel Choir here and cried. Go at night” for a moving experience. 

Drymos > Macedonia, Northern Greece
“My dad’s village of Drymos,” near Thessaloniki in Northern Greece, “is tiny, quaint and built into the side of the mountain. Sit outside at a cafe, order an iced coffee with condensed milk and sugar, Greek frappe coffee, and people-watch.”

Island of Rhodes > Dodecanese
Rhodes is both ancient and modern. Visit the Acropolis of Lindos, “where there is a sign that asks travelers to be respectful of those who have fought and fallen.” Or visit the Knights’ Castle in the Old Rhodes town! 

Island of Santorini > Cyclades
Known for its landscapes, this Aegean Sea island boasts beautiful whitewashed houses perched on cliffs overhanging the water. “Go to the tip of the island to a village called Oia. Stand anywhere there and look out at the caldera, the volcano basin. It is the quietest spot on Earth. I brought my laptop and wrote parts of MBFGW, sitting in a cafe, looking out at that water.” 

Swimmers vied January 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Culture, Religion & Faith.
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Swimmers vied to catch a wooden cross during a traditional ceremony to bless the waters in the northern port of Thessaloniki on Saturday.

Swimmers vied to catch a wooden cross during the traditional ceremony of water blessings on Epiphany Day

Greek Orthodox priests across the country led similar ceremonies to mark the Epiphany or Theophania, a National holiday celebrated on January 6, at riverbanks, seafronts and lakes, commemorating the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist. Greek Orthodox Church follows the Gregorian calendar as opposed to some other Orthodox Churches which follow the Julian calendar.

In Constantinopole, today’s Istanbul, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios I, threw a cross into the freezing waters of the Golden Horn and several worshippers jumped in to retrieve it. According to religious tradition, whoever retrieves the cross will enjoy good luck and health for the entire year.

Kyriakos Staboulopoulos of Greece performs > January 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Racing & Motors.
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Kyriakos Staboulopoulos of Greece performs an impressive stunt as he glides through the air with his motorbike during an international freestyle show at the Peace and Friendship stadium in Athens on Saturday. The event signaled the start of the competitive year for the sport, organizers said.

Kyriakos Staboulopoulos of Greece performs 

And here is Stefano Minguzzi, of Italy, performing in the freestyle motocross during  the international supercross show this weekend in Athens, Greece.

Aerial Biking by Stefano Minguzzi of Italy