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EXPLORING THE GREEK PELOPONNESE & ISLANDS OF THE AEGEAN

In July 2016 join an exhilarating 14-day journey into the Greek countryside, traveling to stunning vistas atop the peninsular fingers of the Peloponnese to the wild gorges and mountain villages of Crete. From Athens, cross onto the Peloponissos; visit the ruins of Mycynae and base at Nafplio, one of the most picturesque towns in Greece. Segue to Mani and the memorable villages of Stemnitsa and Dimitsanan with nights in Areopoli, seaside Kardamyli and Monemvasia. Enjoy short moderate hikes into the Lousios & Viros Gorges, and top wild ridges to visit the Prodromou and Philosophou Monasteries with their spectacular overlooks to the sea. The deep south of the Peloponissos is off the radar screen for most foreign—even Greek—tourists, and our days afield are unlikely to be crowded as are so many other regions of Greece during the summer season.

By ferry from Gythio sail to Kythira Island and on to Kissamos (Kastelli) at the northwestern end of Crete. 260 km long and 60 km wide, Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and one of the largest in the Mediterranean, rich in history and physical beauty. Our focus is on the island's traditional life and natural attractions, sojourning among timeless mountain villages, sampling their tavernas and old kafeneia (coffee shops), and exploring the wild beaches of the Gramvousa Peninsula to the spectacular southwestern coast where roads are absent. Only ferries serve as transport between Paleiochora, Souga, Aga Roumeli, Loutro and Sfakia (Hora Sfakion). Steep mountains rise from the sea, creased by gorges and dotted with ancient monasteries. Aga Roumeli is the gateway town to Samaria Gorge, a dramatic 18 km-long coastal cleft that demands some quality hiking time. Other typical Cretan landscapes offer up a patched quilt of innumerable olive, orange & lemon groves; vineyards and vegetable fields. Cretan history is fascinating—4,000 years ago the Bronze Age Minoans (2600-1150 BC) thrived here, giving rise to mythic tales of bull-leaping youths and the half-man, half-bull Minotaur monster hiding in the Labyrinth. Knossos and its multi-storied Palace of King Minos was the center of Minoan society, a civilization believed destroyed in an ancient volcanic eruption. Linear A, the written language of the Minoans, has never been deciphered. Remnants of the Venetians, Byzantines and Ottoman Turks are ubiquitous, testimony to Crete as an ancient battleground. In the west we base near Chania, its intact warren of ancient Venetian houses makes it one of the most photo-worthy of Greek towns. Three hours overland east of Chania is Rethymo and Iraklion/Heraklion. Tour the former; in Iraklion visit the harbor and its Venetian-era lighthouse, the Central Market and the Heraklion Archeological Museum that houses an exceptional collection of Minoan artifacts. Ferry to Karpathos, Rhodes and Santorini for several days of touring, then home. Final itinerary and trip costing coming in the Summer of 2015.

Contact us at
CALIDEX • P.O. Box 2213 • Morgan Hill • California • 95038 • Tel: 408.867.3586 • e-mail: rlm@calidex.com • web site: www.calidex.com
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