May 21st-22nd; Athens, Aegina,
Poros, Hydra

Athens; Saronic Gulf
This shot was taken from a cruise ship in the Saronic Gulf just off the coast of Athens.  The oddly shaped structure to the right is the "Peace and Friendship" Stadium.  It was a perfect day for a cruise and the weather was warm and sunny.  The cruise was for one day and there were brief visits to three islands.

Aegina; Bay
Aegina was the first island that I visited.  This shot is from a nice little bay that I spent a few hours at.  From the photo, you can almost get an idea of how crystal-clear the water was.  Someone told me the water was warm so I jumped in for a swim.  Brrr!   The water was certainly below 68 degrees (20 Celsius) and that was too cold for me so it was a short swim.

Poros; Clock Tower
The second island visited was Poros.  A short hike up from the port was a clock tower which wasn't much to look at because it was covered in graffiti.  However,  the view from the area was great as the photo above shows.  This is another case of a photo not doing justice to the actual view which allowed one to take in almost the entire island.

Poros; Clock Tower
This is another photo from the same spot but looking towards the left.

Hydra; In Town
Hydra was the third and final Saronic island I visited.  From the waterfront, it was possible to hire an donkey [its best not to use the term ass in this context!] for $6.  For twenty minutes I was led around town on the extremely docile beast.  The guy who guided the donkey earned his $6 because he had to clean up after the animal which dropped a fresh load every sixty seconds or so [ok, maybe not that often, but the guy's bag was full when we were done].

Hydra; Waterfront
This photo shows some of the old fortifications that used to guard the port.  In the lower right corner of the photo is the cruise ship I was on.   Although the population of the island is only 3,000 today, in the early nineteenth century it was 30,000 and its maritime strength was considerable (over 150 vessels).

Hydra; Waterfront
Another shot of Hydra.  Along the waterfront, there were numerous shops and a few restaurants.

 Saronic Gulf; Greek Dance
On the cruise to the Greek islands, there was a traditional Greek dance show.  As usual, I was picked from the audience to participate.  The lady took a big chance leading about a dozen aggressive twirls but luckily it worked out.  I was very dizzy afterwards, but it was fun!  I did a lot better than my extremely embarrassing attempts at Flamenco in Spain.

 Athens; National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum was the ultimate place for artifacts and treasures from ancient Greece.  There was an extensive collection of the treasures found in the Mycenaean chamber tombs.  The item above is the most famous.  It is a pure gold death mask that Heinrich Schliemann (the discoverer of ancient Mycenae) thought belonged to King Agamemnon.

Athens; Downtown
Traditionally, the Greeks have been allies of the Serbians and they took a dim view to the U.S./Nato attacks on the country.  There were signs similar to this one in various places but no anti-American sentiment was directed towards tourists from what I could see.  The State Department had a travel advisory because of some anti-U.S. protests (about a week before I arrived)  but everyone was very friendly to me as I wandered around the city.

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