Back in January, 2018, I was snowed in at home and bored and I decided I wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, like right away. So I checked the Road Scholar website and I spotted a tour called “Winter in Greece: The Magical Island of Crete.” Well I knew not much at all about Crete and the trip sounded interesting, so I called, and much to my surprise the nice Road Scholar lady told me there certainly was room for a single traveler on the March 9-16 tour. So on the spur of the moment I signed up and within a few weeks what started as a lark turned into an unexpectedly terrific experience.
Soon I found myself exploring the ruins of an advanced civilization over 4,000 years old, admiring their artwork, marveling at what’s left of their architecture, walking their streets, contemplating their daily lives (They had indoor plumbing!), and on and on. The Minoan Palace of Knossos and the Archeological Museum that contains its treasures were just marvels.
But that was only the beginning of the trip. In the company of other like-minded adventure-seekers, and under the guidance of our capable, warm, and exceptionally knowledgeable group leader, Eleni Petroutsou, I feasted on a variety of new experiences, including some of the tastiest Greek food I have ever encountered – not in restaurants that cater to tourists but in the places locals frequent. I visited a charming lady who seemed delighted to invite 25 strangers into her home to watch her make sheep's milk cheese on a wood-burning stove. I foraged for wild greens in a lovely mountain meadow, and later feasted upon them as part of an extravagant al fresco luncheon that included that very same cheese, wines from the local area, and other delicacies native to the region. And then, as local musicians entertained us on their traditional instruments, my new friends and I danced a traditional Greek dance with arms linked and faces smiling and legs that occasionally kicked at just the right time. Wonderful fun!
Those are just a few highlights of an unforgettable trip that didn't end when the Road Scholar portion concluded. As it happened, a problem with airline connections "forced" me to stay an extra day in Athens, and I decided if I were going to remain in Greece longer than planned, I might as well stay three extra days and see even more -- which is what I did. Want to experience a country with boundless history and an equal amount of charm? Well click on the links and come along with me to Crete and other fascinating destinations, and prepare to be amazed by Greece.
And before I forget: Many thanks and lots of credit to Wikipedia for the historical information scattered throughout this website.
-- Bill Anderson