Kalispera” (kal-ee-speh-ra).  Good
afternoon.  It’s a beautiful day in Volos, a popular cruise port on
the Pagasitic Gulf.  Volos, nestled beneath the majestic Mt. Pelion,
is a lively, little city of approximately 71,000 people.  A city of
ancient and modern contradictions, Volos passed from Turkish rule to that of
Greece in 1881. 


It was from Mt. Pelion’s
mythical playground of the Greek Gods that Jason and the Argonauts are said to
have set off to find the “Golden Fleece”. Mt. Pelion is also said to be the
home of the half-man, half-horse, centaurs and the place where a beauty contest
between the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite took place.

Cruise ship shore
excursions offer their passengers several choices of excursions on the island.
Some chose to explore the mythical villages of Mt. Pelion. In total, there are
24 picturesque villages that overlook the Aegean.  Others can opt for
an old-fashioned train ride along the Pelion Peninsula while still others can
set out on a full-day adventure to the spectacular 15th-century
Meteora Monasteries.


Imposing granite rock
formations, rising more than 900 feet above the Plain of Thessaly, are a
breathtaking sight.  But even more miraculous than this sight of
nature is the fact that by the year 1500, 24 monasteries were built at the apex
of those rock towers.  Until the year 1920 one could only reach the
Meteora Monasteries by climbing into a net basket and being lifted up to the
top by a rope pulley system.  Since then, the ambitious can
reach the top by climbing steps that have been carved into the stone.


After a beautiful day in
Volos, as you head back to your floating palace, you can say kali
nichta ” (kal-ee-nick-tah)..good
night…and epharisto  (e-fair-is-toe)… thank you…for a
fascinating day on the little-known Greek port city of Volos.

JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel
Writer and a Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio.