Of all the places I traveled as a kid, Greece was at once both the most memorable and the most regrettable.
Memorable because of the rugged natural beauty, fascinating culture, and contagious congeniality of the Greek people. Those recollections that live in snapshots viewed through the fog of youth grown old. Leaning into the relentless headwind as we tried and failed to make port in Mykonos. An inappropriate joke told at the oracle site in Delphi. The smile of an olive-eyed Greek girl passing by on the pier.
Regrettable because, at the time, I appreciated none of it.
It was, therefore, very intentional that we chose to take the boys to Greece for their first major international journey. We wanted to give them that memorable experience of my own youth, while making a conscious effort to engender in them a tangible, present appreciation for this most ancient and awesome part of the world.
We traveled to Greece by way of Istanbul, Turkey, a wonderful city in its own right and deserving of its own, individual post, and we spent just enough time in Athens to whet our appetites for an extended future visit. But the majority of this trip found us exploring Rhodes by car and the Dodecanese Islands by renting our own private yacht.
Leaving from the ancient port of Mandraki, where the Colossus of Rhodes once gazed down on passing ships, we wound our way to safe harbor at Bozuk Bükü, off the Bozburun Peninsula of Turkey, and then on to the islands of Symi, Nisyros, and Kos, with a brief diving excursion off the island of Pserimos. Our return route took us to the secluded Eristos Beach of Tilos and then along the northern coast of Rhodes before bringing us full circle back to Mandraki Harbor and the timelessness of Rhodes City.
For the sake of convenience, I have provided a chronological list of the locations we visited during this trip:
- Istanbul: City of Two Continents and Three Names
- Greek Adventure: Athens in a Day
- Greek Adventure: Pefkos, Lindos, and Butterfly Valley
- How to Rent Your Own Private Yacht
- Greek Adventure: Setting Sail to Bozuk Bükü
- Greek Adventure: Impromptu Date Night in Symi
- Greek Adventure: Riding the Volcano in Nisyros
- Greek Adventure: Hip Dining in the Land of Hippocrates
- Greek Adventure: Outlaw Diving in Pserimos
- Greek Adventure: Grandmothers in the Kitchen in Tilos
- Greek Adventure: Coming Home to Rhodes
- Video Tour: Greece and Turkey
It was an epic journey, with each destination rich enough to be relived and retold in detail. Enough detail to help preserve these newly-forged memories for my wife, our boys, and myself. Enough detail that I hope to atone for my youthful lack of appreciation so many long years ago.