Better late than never, this post highlights my September trip to Greece, where I visited the island of Naxos, as well as the capital city of Athens. The trip's full gallery can be viewed at http://pavloskaralis.smugmug.com/Travel/Greece-2014.
Overall, this trip was of great significance to me, as both sides of my family trace back to Greece, and it was my first time traveling to the country. The landscape and history are by far the greatest attractions, though sadly, it seemed as though many there had lost their connection to the past (at least within Athens).
The first few days were spent on the island of Naxos, which is best known for the white-washed, coastal town of Chora, as well as the massive Portara -- a doorway to an unfinished temple of Apollo that is connected to the rest of the island by a long, narrow walkway. It goes without saying that life on the island is very laid back, with the weather and food being as expected: much nicer than it is here.
As a contrast to this environment lies the secluded village of Apeiranthos, where I got to see the childhood homes of my grandparents. The village is situated high up in the mountains, and its layout was designed to deter 15th century pirating, which made navigating the streets a surreal experience. Similar to Chora, nearby islands could be seen in the distance -- another unfamiliar experience for me.
The last leg of the trip was spent flying back to Athens, and touring its many ancient historical sites. A picture alone could not capture the full experience of seeing the Acropolis in person, and the feeling of being high above the city. Hiking up to the temple is like entering an entirely different world, as it takes one away from the chaotic streets below, and into a place which is far more ethereal and serene.
Out of all the pictures I took, however, my favorite two are the ones which go beyond a straightforward depiction of scenery, and instead highlight the act of traveling, and the feeling of being in a place where the past leaves such a heavy mark on a very diverging present day. The first image is of a group of tourists reflected off wet pavement, and the second is of highway lights illuminating through a hotel window.