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Discover Ancient Greece


Kefalonia: Corelli's Uncorrupted Isle
You'd expect the Greek island Kefalonia - where Louis de Bernières set his best-selling book Corelli's Mandolin - to be a tacky theme park of star-crossed Mediterranean love. Amazingly enough, it's not. The hype breezed right by, leaving the turquoise waters and forested slopes free of spin-off kitsch. Amanda Castleman gives you the low-down on this hidden jewel!

The bay is one of Greece's safest natural harbors. The low, stone arches of the Drapano bridge skim above the water. The causeway, built by the British in 1813, is crowned by a squat obelisk. Timid drivers may prefer the long way round, as locals barrel across with the verve typical of Mediterranean motorists, never batting at eyelash at near scrapes and collisions. [Read]

Athens: Europe's Cinderella
The 2004 Summer Games have truly galvanized the Greeks, igniting their legendary resourcefulness. Like Cinderella, Athens is casting off its tatters, revealing a vibrancy and beauty that utterly captivates. Let Amanda Castleman be your guide to this revitalizing city!

Greece has its work cut out, reversing centuries of neglect. Athens swiftly declined from marble marvel to concrete clutter. The elegant "Cradle of Democracy" fell into squalor after the Roman Empire collapsed. Synesius of Crete, despite being a bishop, cursed his arrival here in AD 395. [Read]

Patras, Greece
The bulky white boats wallow at the docks. Their bellies swell with tourists, lured by exotic dreams, the siren songs of Captain Corelli in Cephalonia and la dolce vita in Italy. To most travelers, Patras is a dim station, a smear of ticket booths and cheap cafes, a grungy working port. A place endured en-route to somewhere better, somewhere more exciting.

But Patras is emerging from the long shadows of the sirens it serves. Greece's third-largest city has blossomed into a sophisticated center, adorned with leafy arcades, vibrant squares and neoclassical architecture. [Read]

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