Sailing into Greek Sporades Islands

Article source: A week’s sailing into Greek Sporades Islands

It’s been our third year sailing the Greek islands, but it is the first time we visit the Sporades. Sporades is a lovely group of 24 islands located to the east of central mainland Greece. Just 4 of those islands are inhabited though – Alonnisos, Skiathos, Skopelos and Syros.
‘Sporades’ means ‘scattered islands (from the word ‘sporadic’).

Unlike the Cyclades we have sailed to so far, all Sporades islands are very green, and have numerous bays. They are also more populated than the Sporades, and some of them (Skiathos, Alonissos) are even too touristic and noisy.

Alonissos

Alonissos
Our first stop from the trip (excluding a quick layover in Thassos, which was on our way from Kavala to Sporades) was Alonissos. Among the 4 inhabited Sporades islands this one is farthest to the East, and considered least touristy from all, though we saw huge crowds coming and going away on ferries and bigger boats. Most signs and restaurant menus were also written in Italian, and also the locals spoke mostly Italian and not English, so suppose many Italians enjoy the quietness of the island.

The island doesn’t offer much sightseeing, but its houses are quite pleasant, full of flowers and fruit trees. You won’t see here the palms of the Cyclades, but rather lots of grape, fig and plum trees, in addition to the standard citrus trees.

As usual for Greek islands, the main street is the one located along the sea, and this is where the stores and souvenir shops go. In an awful noon heat, we had to stroll quite a lot to find an open grocery shop – most shops are closed between 2 and 6 pm.

We replenished our provisions, had a delicious lunch in one of the numerous tavernas along the port, and headed to some of the bays around. In the expectedly hot climate of the islands, it’s best to go in the open and windy sea than sweat on the land.

Skiathos

Skiathos
Skiathos is the most popular Sporades island among the tourists, and a really ‘party’ island. Skiathos city, the main city on the island, is literally flooded with restaurants and bars, making it a bit unattractive for adorers of quiet unspoilt places like our crew. Still, we enjoyed a stroll among abundantly colored cafes and souvenir shops of all kinds, located, as usual, in the huge marina street. The choice of a taverna for dinner was difficult as usual, with numerous tavernas scattered on the inside streets of the island.

With morning heat coming over, we quickly took off for a trip around the island. Among the bays and beaches we visited was also a quick view of the ‘most beautiful beach in the Aegean sea’ (according to the boat pilot) – Koukounaries. ‘Quick’ – because we couldn’t stand the loud music and the sight of huge crowds sweating on the narrow stripe of the beach. OK – everyone has a different understanding of ‘holiday’ and ‘relax’, I admit.

Skopelos

Skopelos
Skopelos was the third and last island we visited, but a real beauty. It’s larger than Skiathos, but not as popular among tourists (a fact we really enjoyed). Skopelos is famous among many for its church, featured in Mamma Mia movie. The church is perched on a small rock, and may be reached via stairs. Many people go there, but it’s not a boat-friendly place so we checked it out from the sea only.
I liked much better Skopelos city though – a paradise in the Sporades, and a place definitely worth visiting (it’s easily reachable via ferries from the mainland). The city has 123 shrines, mostly opening during specific holidays, but what charmed me was the colors – of the houses, of the flowers, of house decorations. Unlike the Cyclades, where you see mainly white and different nuances of blue, here the pink, yellow and green windows and doors are something usual. Interesting wall and house decorations surprise you here and there, and cafes under big, shady trees, all of them with wireless internet, completed this idyllic landscape.

A real place to relax and enjoy, I place I would want to go back again.

How about the crisis in Greece? (one may wonder). There doesn’t seem to be such. Or at least we didn’t notice any change in the calm and positive attitude of Greeks towards life and visitors. Creece is as peaceful as ever, and still a great vacation place. If you are wondering about sailing in Greece, yacht charter Sporades services e.t.c. just go ahead and search in google 🙂

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Andros map

Andros is the second largest island of the Cyclades, after Naxos, popular among tourists and Athenians. The island consists of many capes and coves which form countless gorgeous beaches with clean and colourful waters for all tastes, peaceful secluded coves embraced by the rocky cliffs and sandy well-organized beaches found close to Chora like the famous Nimporio and Chrisi Ammos.

Andros has many streams, gorges and natural fountains, fertile valleys and agricultural areas. The island has a unique cultural appeal which is traced in the ancient sites of Paleopolis, the museums with the countless findings and the works of local artists. The landscape of Andros has inspired many international artists in the field of photography, painting and scuplture.

Article source : Map of andros island

The Kid’s Dentist – Restorative Dentistry


“Look Ma, no cavities” is what every parent wants to hear at the end of a dental appointment, and preventive dentistry is keeping more children free of decay than ever before. But when a child faces a dental problem, treatment is the right and the responsibility of a parent. You have the right to be fully informed about the treatment choices for your child’s condition. You have the responsibility to work with the pediatric dentist to make the best treatment decision for your child. Half of all American children under the age of 12 have never had a cavity. That means half of them do. If the child has tooth decay, new treatments are available that are far more attractive and comfortable than in the past. A parent can be a wise consumer if you know your options and discuss them with your pediatric dentist.

Privacy groups ask regulators to halt Facebook’s $19 billion WhatsApp deal

A Whatsapp icon is seen on a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone screen with a Facebook logo in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

 

Privacy advocates have asked U.S. regulators to halt Facebook Inc’s $19 billion acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp until there is a clearer understanding of how the company intends to use the personal data of WhatsApp’s 450 million users.

WhatsApp, a service that allows mobile phone users to send each other messages, has had a longstanding commitment to not collect user data for advertising purposes.

But there’s no guarantee that that commitment will hold true once the service becomes part of Facebook, according to the filing to the Federal Trade Commission by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy, both non-profit groups.

The complaint asks regulators to investigate the deal “specifically with regard to the ability of Facebook to access WhatsApp’s store of user mobile phone numbers and metadata.”

Facebook, the world’s No.1 social network with 1.2 billion users, generates the majority of its revenue by showing ads that target users by age, gender and other traits.

“As we have said repeatedly, Whatsapp will operate as a separate company and will honor its commitments to privacy and security,” Facebook said in a statement in response to the filing. The FTC declined to comment.

Facebook stunned the technology industry last month when it announced its intention to buy the five-year old WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock. WhatsApp does not show ads on its service, charging some of its users a $1 annual fee to use the service.

WhatsApp stores users’ mobile phone numbers, but unlike many online services, it does not collect user names, emails, and other contact information.

Despite assurances by WhatsApp and Facebook that the privacy policies will not change, the groups that wrote the FTC filing note that Facebook has in the past amended an acquired-company’s privacy policies, such as the Instagram photo-sharing service that Facebook acquired in 2012.

Regulators must require that Facebook “insulate” WhatsApp user information from access by Facebook’s data collection practices, reads the complaint.

“WhatsApp users could not reasonably have anticipated that by selecting a pro-privacy messaging service, they would subject their data to Facebook’s data collection practices,” reads the filing.

Milos

milos

In ancient times, «Melos» prospered because of its great mineral wealth. It has been inhabited since the Neolithic age (7000 B.C.) and developed more rapidly than the neighbouring islands because of the black glass-like volcanic rock called obsidian which was used by the «Melians» to make tools and weapons. Since obsidian from Melos has also been located in the Peloponnese, Crete, Cyprus and even in Egypt, it is believed that there was a flourishing export trade too.

From the beginning of the bronze age, (2800 – 1100 B.C.), the island played an extremely important part in the Cycladic world, centred at the ancient city of Philakopi, which in fact gave its name to an entire archaeological period.

With the coming of the hellenic peoples, the Dorians settled in Melos around 1000 B.C. During the same period, a new settlement was being built in the area of modern Klima. This new town developed rapidly particularly in the field of art and craft. The so called «Melian Vases» of that period are greatly renowned.

Very little is known of Melos before the 5th century B.C. It is known however, that the Melians refused to surrender to the Persians and fought with the rest of the Greeks at the battles of Salamis and Plataea. In their attempt to remain neutral during the Peloponnesian war, they were punished by the Athenians who, in 415 B.C. put all the old people to death and sold the young men, women and children into slavery.

The history of the island, throughout the following centuries, was similar to that of the rest of the Cyclades Islands. Until 311 B.C., Melos was ruled by Macedonia and then by Egypt. The powerful fleet of the Ptolemaids ensured the freedom and safety of the seas. As a result, the island of Melos saw a phase of renewed economic growth which was also reflected culturally. Examples of this creative era are the famous statue of Venus, (at the Louvre Museum in Paris), and the imposing 2.50 metre tall statue of Poseidon (displayed in the National Museum in Athens).

During the Roman Conquest, a number of new buildings were constructed (Ancient Theatre), and Christianity made its appearance, probably during the 1st century. The Catacombs of the island, the most extensive in Greece and among the most significant in the whole Roman Empire, are undeniable proof of this.

The most important event in the Byzantine era was the destruction of the Ancient City at Klima (5th – 6th century), possibly as a result of an earthquake.

Finally, during the Venetian and Turkish rule and during the german occupation, the inhabitants fought relentlessly for their freedom.

Summer Vacation In Greece

One of the most desired vacation destinations of Europe is no doubt Greece especially for summer vacation. Summer (June, July and August) is the high tourist season in Greece. During summer even the not so popular islands are very crowded, however there are also islands that you can visit and avoid the crowds. So go ahead pack your swimsuits your sun lotion and let’s head to the Greek beaches.
How is weather in Greece during summer
Most times its sunny or even hot. During the seasonal period of summer in Greece, the average temperature is about 25°C inJune, 28°C in July and 31°C in August, not to mention that sometimes heat waves are also a part of the summer season. On the islands and on the coast it is not so hot, cause of the breezes. So one can enjoy bath, camping or even hiking.
What to visit in Greece
Greece is an alluring resort all through the year, due to the morphology of the landscape and the sheer natural beauty of its figure. However, during the summer season, Greece is considered to be even more appealing. Visiting any of the islands sounds a great idea during summer in Greece. Athens (capital of Greece) is on the mainland and maybe it is better idea to visit it in spring, autumn or winter. Some of the islands are very crowded during summer and that could be a bit overwhelming. Some of the famous, beautiful and outstanding cosmopolitan islands of Greece are Santorini, Corfu, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos. However if you love lonely beaches there are also secret islands not so crowded. Such are Leros, Kalimnos or Tilos, all Dodecanese islands. Finally there are plenty of not so crowded islands like Andros, Milos
Greece – a vacation industry
Greeks developed a real vacation industry. Some of the offers include packages for tourists interested in archeology, windsurfing, boat rides, Greek landscapes, wild flowers, painting or even testing Greek wines.

Article source: Summer Vacation

Holidays in Rhodes

(Taken from http://www.vacation-in-greece.gr/)

Holidays in Rhodes


Rhodes is a delightful place that is unfairly associated with the package tourist trade of drunken British tourists. The wide tree-lined streets of the new town of Rhodes juxtapose interestingly with the medieval walled city. The best time to explore the old medieval town is very early in the morning before many of the gift and tourist shops are open and it is thronged with visitors. To walk around its cobbled streets and experience the tranquility of its antiquity can only be experienced at this early hour. By 8.30 a.m you will find that there are cafes open where you can sit and eat a leisurely breakfast whilst enjoying the early sun in a peaceful setting.

Having said this, you should not visit the old Rhodes town without exploring its museums, historical streets and buildings. Your first impression of this walled city is when you leave the boat at the Port of Rhodes. Facing you is one of the main entrances to the medieval town, the Marine (or Sea) Gate. This gate, like many of the entrances to the city, has beautiful old stone archways with castellated towers flanking it.

Once passing under this arched gateway to the left you will soon come to Hippocrates Square with its beautiful fountain and many cafes and shops to explore. This square is the main square of the town but just a short walk further along you will come to another beautiful square, again with a charming fountain. This is the square of the Jewish Martyrs . Alternatively, if after entering through the gateway, you turn right you will quickly reach Evdimou Square which is noticeable for its huge leafy trees. Right of this square is Apellou Street which leads to the old Knights Hospital (now the Archeological museum) and the famous Street of the Knights. Walking up this wide cobbled street, flanked on both sides by the ancient inns of the St. John’s Knights you will reach the Grand Master’s Palace. A visit to this palace and the Archeological museum is highly recommended. From the Palace ramparts you can seen the Gate of St. Anthony. Going through this entrance will lead you to the Gate of Amboise-Grand Masters Gate, with an Arabic inscription carved into the lintel above the gate. Passing through this gate will take you over the moat, now charmingly landscaped with palm trees, grasses and flowers, and into the new town.

The new town is well organized and maintained. Modern and pedestrianised in many places, with wide streets, planted with large trees. Compared to the capital city of Athens, Rhodes town can show Athens a thing or two!!.. Modern shops of any kind, trendy cafes and bars, banks, a well organized public bus system that can take you all around Rhodes. One of the most important things, very helpful for the holiday maker is that all taxis have fixed prices that are on display on the main taxi station in Mandraki. As the main island of the Dodecanese prefecture Rhodes has a main court and other administrative services, most of them housed in the wonderful art deco buildings of the sea front of Mandraki. In Rhodes there are hospitals and clinics where patients from smaller islands of the Dodecanese go for more intensive treatment.

There are many holiday resorts in Rhodes and most of the package tourism is concentrated on the north west side of the island from the northern peak, following the coast line to Kritika and the bay of Trianta , the huge modern hotels of Rhodes can been seen miles away as you approaching the island with the ferry. From the north east most of the package holiday tourism is concentrated in the well known Faliraki and other resorts further south like the bay of Afandou.

Apart from the wild rhodes nightlife of Faliraki, Rhodes town is the centre of the nightlife of the island. In the new town there are numerous of bars and pubs, Ethnic restaurants (mostly Scandinavian and some Chinese) a lot of internet cafes (seems to be a fashion in Rhodes) and of course the hot spot of the Rhodes nightlife the Casino of Rhodes. In some Greek and foreign restaurants you will find live music, one of the best though, is the music group that plays in the open area of the music bar and restaurant Neorio in Mandraki Marina, right before the entrance to the old city from Eleftherias gate. Tasos and Cristina the two singers with the Maestro Niko on the synthesizer and an excellent bouzouki player, offer every night a huge program that includes Greek and foreign music from the 60′ and 70’s up to the newest Greek modern songs. The place is ideal for the older generations 40s – 50s and upwards where they can learn to dance the Syrtaki and later on to smooch to the soft music from the rich repertoire of the group. The old disco fashion has now been replaced by the music clubs so if it happened that you last where in Rhodes back in the late 70s or 80s the famous discos of the island like Aquarius, Mitato, Space etc do not exist anymore.
Car rentals are relatively cheap in the early season and you will find many car hire agencies mostly in the new town. Many boats offer daily trips to Turkey, Symi and Tilos and others offer day trips to Lindos and Kalithea. There are also scuba diving boats that can take you for a daily diving trip to Kalithea and other places ideal for the sport. All of these boats are located at the seafront of the Mandraki Marina. Rhodes old town becomes very busy each time huge cruise ships dock at the island, with numerous groups of tourists that are taken by group leaders to explore the medieval walled city. If you want to learn the history of the city you could discretely tag onto the end of one of these – depending upon the language that it is given in. On the other hand, if you wish to avoid mass crowds with competing commentaries avoid the Old Town in the mornings.

Kalithea, the famous Spa and beach about 15 minutes drive from Rhodes is one of the most filmed location of Rhodes that has been used as a setting in many international films like Escape to Athena (Roger Moore, Telly Savalas, David Niven) , The Guns of Navarone (David Niven, Gregory Peck, Antony Queen, Irene Papas) , Agatha Christie’s Poirot (Triangle in Rhodes with David Suchet).

The Spa Beach has an entrance 5 euros. There are no refreshments inside but there is a take away snack van just outside . The beach is beautifully organized. Lots of sun beds and umbrellas in the mall but safe sandy beach. Ideal for families with small children but probably gets crowded in peak season. The lass vegetation and the palm trees are completing this wonderful place of Rhodes.

Jordan’s Beach next to Kalithea is bigger than the little spa beach and also has sun beds and umbrellas and a shower for bathers to use. Unlike the Spa Beach, you do not have to pay to enjoy its facilities. The beach itself is sandy but to reach the sea involves a clamber over rocks, hence for families with smaller children it possibly is not quite so convenient as the Spa beach. Jordan’s Beach however also, and importantly, has an extremely good beach taverna, Jordan’s Taverna which offers delightful meals and snacks as well as drinks and ices.