Secrets, Scandals, & Seductions Blog Tour

Between now and the release of this box set on June 7, 2022, we’ll be featuring the authors and stories that make up the collection. Welcome Cat Cahill, author of CHARLOTTE.

About The Story

What do you find interesting about your main characters? 

Charlotte is about Mark Becker, a man who’s taken on a job to protect a runaway socialite, and Charlotte Montgomery, who’s run away to a small frontier town in Colorado to escape an arranged marriage. Charlotte is tougher than anyone expects her to be, and Mark surprises himself when he becomes invested in Charlotte as a person instead of just a job.

Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?

Charlotte takes place in Cañon City, Colorado in the summer of 1881. I love Colorado and its Old West history, and this book is part of my Brides of Fremont County series, all of which at least partially take place in Cañon City.

Share a little about the story behind the story.

I’ve always wanted to write a bodyguard story, and so this is it! There’s just something so romantic about falling in love with the man hired to protect you. 

What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?

Everyone is more than they seem to be on the outside . . .

About The Author

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Not until I was in my mid-20s. I’d always loved reading and writing, but had never thought of being an author as a career path for me.

Favorite animal?

Cats! (Don’t tell my dogs…)

If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?

Oh, this is hard. Everywhere! I’m a travel addict. At current top of my travel bucket list: Alaska, Japan, Glacier National Park in Montana, and the South Pacific.

What’s next in your writing?

A lot more sweet western historical romance! I’ll be releasing the final book in the Brides of Fremont County series later this year. I also have books planned in my Crest Stone Mail-Order Brides series and the multi-author Last Chance Brides series.

Social media links:





Secrets, Scandals & Seductions Blog Tour

Between now and the release of this box set on June 7, 2022, we’ll be featuring the authors and stories that make up the collection. Welcome Christine Sterling, author of THE LETTER WIFE.

About The Story

What do you find interesting about your main characters? 

Both of my characters are honorable to the core. You make a promise, and you keep it. No matter how difficult it may be. Bass Pickett’s word is his bond and Emily Frost finds herself a people pleaser who can’t say no, so she is stuck with her decisions.

Bass is a strong dominant male and has little time for romance. He has a ranch to run and is more interested in expanding his herd than expanding his family. Of course, all it takes is one softly spoken young lass to put him off his game and regret a choice he made, but he feels honor-bound to keep away from Emily. After all, she is supposed to marry his brother. 

Emily Frost is on the bad end of other people’s choices. A people pleaser to the core, she will do anything to keep the peace. After running away from home to escape the scandal caused by her father and brother, she feels compelled to make her new marriage work, no matter what. What she doesn’t expect is that her attraction to Bass grows the more time she spends with him. 

Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?

My story takes place in the fictional town of Flat River, Nebraska. Set in the lower center portion of the state in Lincoln County, Flat River is based off North Platte and lies where the Platte River diverges into the North and South Platte Rivers. 

I created this setting when I was crafting The Chapmans series. The need came about when I was writing my Pinkerton Matchmaker Series and needed to craft a backstory for a set of twin sisters. I needed somewhere close, but not too close. I settled on Nebraska, and this corner of the state has been featured in most of my books and series, so it made sense to place The Letter Wife in this location as well.

Share a little about the story behind the story.

I read mail-order bride romances for as long as I can remember. I found it incredibly brave that these women would travel across the United States to marry a stranger. Of course, more happily ever-afters appeared in books, than in real life, but the process must have worked, because the US is quite populated.

Most women would answer an advertisement in the paper, or solicit the services of a matchmaker. My thought was – what if a group of letters, enroute to their destination was lost? All these women who had written, seeking a better future, might never have a chance. So, I made the packet found by our hero, Bass Pickett who runs a ranch with his brother. 

Since Flat River is such a remote town during that time in history, it would make sense that stumbling on a stack of letters like this would be like finding gold. My question was – what if that person who finds the letters realizes that the town needs more Christian women, and starts responding to the women? 

These are the letter wives… 

What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?

My favorite trope is the opposites-attract romances. The tension between two people who are completely different makes for the most entertaining stories. I love the attract and repel dynamic and The Letter Wife certainly has a lot of that! I want people reading this book to understand that although you may think that because things work out a certain way, it could be because God has a bigger plan for you and your plans are not always His plans.

About The Author

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Since I was seven. I would interview people and write their stories – with quite a bit of embellishment. I loved being able to disappear into a story and couldn’t wait to be able to tell stories of my own.

Favorite animal?

My Shih Tzu, Morgan. After that a sloth. Given Morgan likes to lay around all day and do nothing, I figure they are one in the same.

If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?

Greece. Give me warm sand, blue seas and a clear sky any day. 

What’s next in your writing?

I have two series coming out that also take place in Flat River – The Hartmans and The Flat River Matchmaker. I’m also branching out into contemporary romance and hope to reach a new group of readers with my plot-driven stories.

Social media links:

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2021 ARR Awards: finalists announced

Australian Romance Readers Association

Voting has opened today for the 2021 Australian Romance Readers Awards. Below are the finalists in each of the nine categories, as well as finalists in our three special Members’ Choice categories. ARRA members will now vote for their favourite in each category. (The voting link is available to members in the March newsletter.) Voting will close on 17 April.

Here are the finalists:

Favourite Paranormal Romance 2021

  • A Labyrinth of Fangs and Thorns by Lana Pecherczyk
  • All the Colours of Night by Jayne Ann Krentz
  • Death by Laura Thalassa
  • Devil in the Details by Savannah Blaize
  • Last Guard by Nalini Singh
  • Lover Unveiled by JR Ward
  • Pride by Lana Pecherczyk
  • The Darkest Destiny by Gena Showalter
  • The Dreams of Broken Kings by Lana Pecherczyk
  • The Secrets in Shadow and Blood by Lana Pecherczyk
  • The Wolf by JR Ward

Favourite Sci Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance 2021

  • A Court…

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Secrets, Scandals & Seductions Blog Tour

Between now and the release of this box set on June 7, 2022, we’ll be featuring the authors and stories that make up the collection. Welcome Lynn Donovan, author of Sweet White Lies.

About The Story

What do you find interesting about your main characters? 

Emilia is resourceful and stubborn. Although she is living in 1883, a time when women did what they were told, she is determined to do things her way. I think it’s funny how the plans that are made for her are exactly what she would have chosen if she’d been given the opportunity to say what she preferred. But because they were laid out for her, she rebelled mightily by choosing a random cowboy and lying about who he was. She never dreamed one little white lie would snowball and land her in a world of trouble with her parents, her friends, and the handsome cowboy. 

Jasper, too, loves his independence. Although he respects his parents and will not go against their wishes, he obeys their instructions to attend a ball in which he is to meet his bethroathed by doing it his way, dressed as a rugged cowboy. Intrigued by the little vixen who tells him to play along and introduces him as her fiance, he soon learns she is the intended his parents had sent him here to meet. Now, he doesn’t know if he can trust one who lies so easily.

Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?

Salida, Colorado in 1883. I love this time frame. Salida is a beautiful town about an hour’s drive from where I live and has a rich history for fodder for a historical story. The railway came through there in this time which helps get characters from their far away ranches to town in less than a day, thus allowing my main male character’s parents to come be with him for his bethrothal. 

Share a little about the story behind the story.

My initial thought was to have my female character be a rebellious young woman. She doesn’t trust her parents to arrange a marriage suitable for her and is looking for a way to get out of the agreement she assumes they have made. When she spies a handsome, rugged, and rather dirty cowboy at her birthday ball, she decides to tell her parents he is her secret courter and they are already engaged to be married. Thinking it will buy her time to get our of her parents’ arrangement and find someone she really can love and live with the rest of her life. But I knew the twist had to be that the dirty cowboy was the man her parents had made the arrangement with and now she wants to set things straight. But the cowboy, while amused by her antics, doesn’t feel he can trust her.

What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?

It’s hard to believe a liar even when they tell the truth.

One little white lie will lead to another and another until you are so entangled it will be difficult to get out of the mess you have made. The only way out is to tell the truth and set the record straight. 

About The Author

When did you know you wanted to be an author? I was in my twenties when I absolutely knew I wanted to be a writer. I took a creative writing class then and loved it, but while my babies were young and I worked full time outside of the home I couldn’t not fit it into my schedule. In truth, looking back over my life, I realize I’ve always been a writer. I was the kid who made up the story that we would act out. We played Mom and Dad, children, Cowboys and indians, etc. I wrote plays and coaxed my friends to act them out. I made hand puppets and entertained my friends with little puppet plays.

When I was 53, my life took a drastic turn and I found myself at home as caregiver to my mother with dementia and my special needs sister. I realized I had copious amount of time on my hands and thought, “Why not try this thing called writing?”

I published my first book the next year and now, 12 years later, have 70+ books published on Amazon. It is a career for me now and I love it!

Favorite animal? I have 7 dogs, 1 cat, 12 chickens. But I love all animals! I can’t imagine life without some critter in my lap or in my house. The chickens are outside, of course. LOL I’m that person who goes to someone’s home and sits down to visit with the pet(s). 

If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?

My  bucketlist is to go to Europe. I’ve never been. I want to go, not as a tourist, but on the insiders track, visit real people, see how they live in that country and eat what they eat, help work in their garden, etc. My second, and more achievable bucket list item, is to take three weeks and drive from my home in Colorado to the east coast, drive up to Maine, have a lobster dinner, then head back on an interior highway so I can see different things from the way up. I want to take our time, stop when we want to, pull off because we saw something interesting, and get there when we get there. 

What’s next in your writing?

I have a Time Travel Historical Romance I am publishing this year, 2022, and I have a Dachshund Cozy Mystery series I wrote half of last year. I will finish that series this year. I have some Multi-Author Series I will be writing in that will publish this year also. IF I can get everything written that I planned, it could be 20 books. But we’ll see and I’ll do what I am able. Nothing says I can’t push some of them over into 2023. 

Social media links:

You can learn more about Lynn on her blog, follow her on Twitter @MLynnDonovan, Facebook Author page at LynnDonovanFGG and her website,

Follow me on BookBub. Instagram. GoodReads. Facebook readers page: Books by Author Lynn Donovan.

Want more? Sign up for her newsletter and get a free book not available anywhere but to subscribers.
For more publications by Lynn Donovan go to:

The Angel of an Astronomer
The Heirs of the Aristocracy Book 1
by Linda Rae Sande
Genre: Early Victorian Historical Romance
Tis the season for falling snow and falling stars… but falling in love?
George, Viscount Hexham, is quite literally thunderstruck when he meets Lady Anne in the park, and he can’t get her off his mind. Her brother, Gabe, is happy to act as a matchmaker, never once mentioning he might already be acting on behalf of the other side. Can two who are so perfectly matched end up married before Anne must endure her first Season in London?
Meanwhile, when a neighbor appears to be spying on George’s twin sister through the telescope in his garden observatory, an incensed Lady Angelica is determined to give him a piece of her mind. Sir Benjamin may end up with her heart as well, as mistletoe and moonlight work their magic in The Angel of an Astronomer.
The Puzzle of a Bastard
The Heirs of the Aristocracy Book 2
Sometimes the perfect person is right under your nose!
An expert in pottery restoration, Frances Longworth spends her days in the basement of a museum, applying her skills to damaged artifacts so they can be put on display. If only she didn’t have to constantly prove herself to men who expect her to be a man.
The bastard son of an earl, Gabe Wellingham eschews a life of leisure by accepting a position at the same museum as an archivist, cataloguing Ancient Greek artifacts. He has no qualms about a woman reassembling the latest arrival from an archaeological expedition. He does find her manner rather prickly, however. Annoying, defensive, and far too uptight for his tastes.
So why does he feel the need to pull the pins from her too-tight bun and kiss her senseless?
Having just returned to London after a lengthy absence, James Burroughs seeks a quiet place to stay. With the rest of her extended family gone for the holiday, childhood friend Emily Grandby offers him a room at the estate. Secretly grieving the loss of the man she might have married, she never imagines his desire for a perfectly quiet life might also include her.
But then, neither does he in The Puzzle of a Bastard.
The Choice of a Cavalier
The Heirs of the Aristocracy Book 3
Following in his father’s footsteps, Thomas Grandby has made a name for himself in the world of investments and wealth. He’s managed to avoid the Marriage Mart—for the most part—but constant reminders of his age have him thinking 1839 might be the year he takes a bride. If only Lady Victoria seemed as interested in him as she is in horses. Her green-eyes, jet black hair, and slight limp have him positively mesmerized.
Meanwhile, when Christopher, Earl of Haddon, nearly impales Juliet Comber with his foil and then falls and bumps his head, he insists she take revenge on his person. Her punch in his gut has him doubling-over—and falling heels-over-head in love with her. The daughter of an equine expert has no interest in marrying him, though. Doesn’t he know his age and reputation as a pompous ass are a suitor’s least attractive traits?
These bachelors are about to learn they don’t have much of a chance when they try to come between and a girl and her horse in The Choice of a Cavalier! Or do they?
The Bargain of a Baroness
The Heirs of the Aristocracy Book 4
Separated by fate. Bound by a bargain. Is there any hope for a second chance love?
When his one true love marries another man, Graham Wellingham abandoned his hopes of romance to pour his attention into business. His hardened heart has left him immune to the charms of wealthy socialites… but he hasn’t forgotten the promise he made to his love Hannah all those years ago.
Hannah Simpson Harrington has straddled two conflicting words her entire life. Once married to a future earl after her dream husband never proposed, his untimely death has left her a dowager with a too-mature-for-his-own-good sixteen-year-old son. But when she and Graham stumble upon a second chance for love, the possibility of a fairy-tale happy ending hovers just beyond their reach.
Meanwhile, a mysterious young woman captures the attention of Hannah’s twin brother Henry. There’s only one problem – a relationship between a housemaid and the grandson of a duke is forbidden. But Harry holds a glimmer of hope… and he’s willing to take a scandalous risk for the sake of love.
The Jewel of an Earl’s Heir
The Heirs of the Aristocracy Book 5
Alexander, heir to the Everly earldom, has just discovered he’s color blind. The malady explains why he didn’t do well in his natural science classes at Cambridge. What’s worse is it impairs his ability to choose gemstones for the jewelry he creates. If only he had a second pair of eyes that could correctly identify colors. The beguiling gray eyes—or are those green?— belonging to the daughter of a renown jeweler are only a temporary fix. He’s too young to marry, and besides, who wants a man who can’t see colors correctly?
Margaret spends her days assisting her father in the creation of jewelry for the wealthy. Her knowledge of gemstones is gleaned from years of watching him work and dealing with gem merchants. Although she’s old enough to be out in Society, embarrassment over her withered arm keeps her in the shop. What’s she to do when her latest client insists she attend a ball? He can secure an invitation and has promised her two dances, but is it worth being subjected to the censure and gossip her arm is sure to elicit? Or the wrath of the gem merchant to whom her father owes so much? His proposal might solve the debt issue, but at what price to her?
Meanwhile, their impending wedding anniversary has Alexander’s parents reacting in much different ways. Middle age has Harold remembering his youth and fearing his mortality while Stella isn’t ready to succumb to the preconceived notions of what it is to be a matron with grown children. Their solution may require they meet in the middle—of a bed.
A self-described nerd and lover of science, Linda Rae spent many years as a published technical
writer specializing in 3D graphics workstations, software and 3D animation (her movie credits include SHREK and SHREK 2). Getting lost in the rabbit holes of research has resulted in historical romances set in the Regency-era as well as Ancient Greece. A fan of action-adventure movies, she can frequently be found at the local cinema. Although she no longer has any fish, she follows the San Jose Sharks. She is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC) and makes her home in Cody, Wyoming.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$25 Amazon

Introducing Our Ancient Greek Series

Stella of Akrotiri: Diana
An Ancient Greek Tale of Immortals Book 3
by Linda Rae Sande
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Twisted Teacup Publishing
Publication Date: December 25, 2019
Born an orphan, raised as a warrior princess, desired by men. Can an Immortal claim her heart?
The first adopted daughter of Stella and Darius, Diana has been raised as if she were one of the fabled Amazon princesses. Her mornings are spent training with Darius at the agōgē, her skills as a warrior matched only by a few of the Deminon army recruits. Her afternoons are spent with Stella as she learns the art of diplomacy and the importance of service to others.
Never does Diana wonder why her parents are so devoted to one another, or why they seem to speak of the past as if they lived in it.
The curious stares aimed in her direction by the agōgē’s doctor, Antony—even when she’s not in the circle of battle—has Diana on edge. Learning she has a much older adopted brother—one who seems to youthen as he ages—has her questioning her origins.
So the arrival of Augustus of Assyria seems fortuitous. Her father’s oldest friend is welcomed with open arms even as he is followed by a threat to the future of Deminon. With his intimate knowledge of her parents, perhaps he’ll have the answers Diana seeks. Or will the Roman senator’s revelation about her only complicate matters? For his attentions are far more intense than those of Antony—and far more arousing.
Stella of Akrotiri: Deminon
An Ancient Greek Tale of Immortals Book 2
Publication Date: December 25, 2018
Love can last a thousand lifetimes when you’re an Immortal… or so they thought.
What’s become of the Immortal Darius? His wife, Stella, worries about his fate as she rules over their city-state of Deminon, especially when she learns he’s been the victim of treachery. She’ll do anything to get him back.
Enslaved as a traitor to Rome, Darius is forced to fight gladiators as part of the funeral rites of powerful Romans. His years of experience on the battlefield serve him well in the arena—until he’s forced to fight Marcus—a younger, stronger gladiator who is unaware of his own immortality.
Sure he’s about to suffer a defeat by the hand of Marcus, Darius is forced to make a decision that will change his future and Stella’s—preserve his essence by allowing his body to die so that he can live on in Marcus. His two-thousand years of memories and life experiences should be powerful enough to overcome the essence of the untested Immortal. Allow him to return to Stella and resume their life together, even if she won’t immediately recognize him.
But Marcus isn’t giving up so easily. Especially when he meets Stella.
Will Marcus help Darius take revenge on the one whose deceit led to his arrest on charges of treason? Or will Darius’ essence slowly be subsumed, the memories of his nearly two-thousand-year lifespan—and of Stella—fading away in the mind of Marcus?
These Immortals once had all the time in the world. Now it’s suddenly of the essence.
Stella of Akrotiri: Origins 
An Ancient Greek Tale of Immortals Book 1
Publication Date: June 28, 2019
Immortality can be a lonely existence, especially when the world is about to implode.
For over six hundred years, Darius of Agremon has fought wars on behalf of those who needed his skills in combat. As a lechagos on Strongili, he spends his days commanding the Minoan coastguardsmen against pirates and marauders. His nights are spent alone, for despite having had wives in the past, he has watched them all grow old and die, childless, as he continues to live.
So when he senses immortality in an olive farmer’s young daughter, Darius bargains to take her to wife when she is old enough to marry.
A foundling, Stella works in her adoptive father’s orchard above Akrotiri, climbing the ancient trees to prune and to harvest the strings of pearls from their branches. She fears invaders when she watches flaming arrows arc in the sky, a sign the island is under attack. She worries about how the ground quakes beneath her feet and steam erupts from cracks in the ground. She wonders at the odd tingling she experiences whenever Darius of Agremon is near, a sensation not unlike the one she feels when spending time in the oldest trees.
Unaware of the arrangement her father has made with the lechagos, Stella thinks she has been sold into slavery when Darius comes for her. Her youth has been spent admiring the man who helped her father’s business thrive. Now she has only contempt for him and his hard-headed manner, despite the pleasures he incites whenever he claims her body.
While the earth trembles and a volcano threatens to destroy the island of Strongili, these two will have to forge a relationship that will last far longer than a lifetime—one that must endure an eternity and the disaster that’s about to wipe out the only home Stella has ever known.
A self-described nerd and lover of science, Linda Rae spent many years as a published technical writer specializing in 3D graphics workstations, software and 3D animation (her movie credits include SHREK and SHREK 2). An interest in genealogy led to years of research on the Regency era and a desire to write fiction based in that time.
A fan of action-adventure movies, she can frequently be found at the local cinema. Although she no longer has any fish, she follows the San Jose Sharks. She is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC) and makes her home in Cody, Wyoming.
$25 Amazon gift card
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!


Sunset at Cape Sounion

temple of poseidon w beam of light

After a day spent on the Acropolis and touring Athens, we departed in a motor coach for Sounion when the sun was still high in the west. The scenery was beautiful and the weather perfect for sightseeing and dining.

The first reference of this deme (municipality) occurs in The Odyssey. Homer recounts a tale of how when the Greek commanders were returning from Troy, King Menelaus of Sparta’s helmsman died. He did so while they were sailing around “Holy Sounion, Cape of Athens.” The ship landed at Sounion so that the helmsman could be afforded proper funeral rites—cremation on a funeral pyre on the beach.

Located on the southern tip of the Attic peninsula, Sounion was once a strategic stronghold of Athens.  Their grain supplies from Euboea (Evia, the second largest Greek island after Crete) came by ship and passed by this landmark, requiring it be protected from the Spartans.

Two-hundred feet above the sea on a cliff, the Temple of Poseidon is an impressive monument. Doric in style, this temple was completed in 440 BC, and was a replacement for one originally built of tufa. The first temple was destroyed when Greece was invaded by Xerxes I. The design of the temple is a typical hexastyle, so it had a front portico with six columns. Only some of the original columns are left standing.

As the sun sets, this temple takes on a magical appearance, the columns turning golden in the late afternoon light.

With a new moon, the sight was striking. A huge crowd had assembled on the edge of the cliff to watch the sunset, and we were reminded of a similar event when we last watched the sunset on the beach at Carmel-by-the-Sea (although no one in this crowd applauded when the sun finally set into the sea).

Once the sun was completely set, we headed for a nearby seaside restaurant and enjoyed a dinner of sea bass.

This was our last night together as a group. Although everyone else had to get up at two o’clock in the morning for the trip to the Athens airport, we were able to sleep in a few more hours before we, too, had to get to the airport for the last leg of our stay in Greece—Santorini.


A Museum Unlike Any Other

Built to house every artifact ever discovered on the top and slopes of the Acropolis in Athens, the Acropolis Museum is a modern wonder. Covering a total area of 25,000 square meters, it has over 14,000 square meters of exhibition space. Admission is cheap: 5 Euros in the winter and 10 in the summer.

Beneath the building is a large urban settlement dating from Archaic to Early Christian Athens. The design of the museum allows a visitor to see those ruins by way of a glass ground floor.  The image shown here is from outside the museum–the sidewalks leading up to the entrance are open to show the circular tower-hall of an ancient Athenian building. Image is courtesy The Acropolis Museum.


This photo, from the Acropolis Museum website, shows how the top floor of the museum is the same orientation as the Parthenon and the same height as the stylobate.

Artifacts are organized according to where they were located on the rock and from which era (archaic, classical, and end of antiquity). They are also varied, from a jar lid to the original caryatids that graced the porch of the Erechtheion.

jar lid

On the slope of the Acropolis were the sanctuaries of Asclepios, Nymphe, and Dionysos.

Votives from the archaic period include the Korai of the Acropolis (she still has some paint left!) and a male statue.

Other pieces include the three-bodied daemon, Heracles and the Triton, and the Magic Sphere of Helios.

magic sphere of helios

From the classical Parthenon, originals as well as reproductions of the friezes and metopes are mounted according to where they were located–the top floor of the museum is set up to replicate the structure. The largest marbles from the pediments are still located at the British Museum, so those on display here are all reproductions (but the Greeks want their originals back, and this museum was built to house them).

Finally, here is the central akroterion of the Parthenon roof along with a piece of another.

We enjoyed a traditional Greek lunch and Greek coffee at the restaurant located on the roof of the museum, and our view was of the Parthenon.


This was our last night in Athens as a group. Next stop for just us: Santorini!

Athens and the Acropolis

After making the trip back to Athens, we checked into our hotel, Divani Palace Acropolis, and had a traditional Greek dinner. Located in the historical heart of Athens, the hotel is close enough to walk to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. It’s also located atop part of the Themistoclean Wall, which is on display behind glass in the lower level of the hotel. As a result of the Persian Wars, Themistocle’s Wall was built during the 5th century BC in the hopes of defending against further invasion.

themistocles wall

A vibrant city at night, Athens is also safe. We walked to dinner and passed by the ruins of Hadrian’s Library.


The following morning, we took a sightseeing tour of Athens. The itinerary included a trip to the Olympic Stadium and the capital building. Then we headed to the base of the Acropolis for our climb to the top.


The marble steps are slippery from years of use and lead up to the Propylaia, or monumental gateway.  A building of the Doric order, it includes a few Ionic columns supporting the roof of the central wing. This complex structure was built to leave a lasting impression on any visitor (always be sure to look up).



The Parthenon, an enduring symbol of Athenian democracy (it was originally the treasury) and one of the world’s architectural feats, is undergoing another round of restoration. This time, titanium is being used in place of rebar that left rust stains on the marble columns. Replacement columns are being carved from marble taken from the same quarry as the original, so that, with time, the color will match up to the original. Considering the Parthenon was severely damaged in 1687—when an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment—it looks pretty good behind the scaffolding. It’s doubtful it will ever look as it did after it was first built (below right).


The Acropolis is also home to the Temple of Athena Nike, which once housed a gold statue of the goddess, her clipped wings preventing her from leaving the city.

temple of athena nike2

Built between 421 and 406 BC, the Erechtheion is a temple dedicated to both Poseidon and Athena and includes one of the most famous porches in the world. The statues that grace the Porch of the Maidens now are reproductions—their originals are in the nearby Acropolis Museum.


From the southwest edge of the Acropolis, there is an excellent view of the Odeon of Herodes-Atticus. Built in 161 AD, this stone theatre was—and still s a venue for music concerts and can seat 5,000.



From the Acropolis, you can see all of Athens including other ruins like the Temple of Zeus and the Dionysus Theatre.


After our descent, we bought a Koulouri (a pretzel-looking bread covered in sesame seeds) and headed to the Acropolis Museum. See you there!

The Center of the World

Located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus high above the Gulf of Corinth, Delphi was considered by the ancient Greeks to be the center of the world. According to mythology, Zeus sent out two eagles from the ends of the universe to find the navel of Gaia, and this is where they met. This UNESCO World Heritage site was the center of our world for a full day.

We made the two-hour trek from Athens to Delphi on a tour bus after flying from Rome in the early morning hours. We passed geological formations that reminded us of Wyoming.

After checking into our hotel in the town of Delphi so we could drop off our luggage, we reboarded the bus for the short trip to the site. Our bus driver managed the winding, thin mountain road like a champ. (Note: After having ridden several buses in different parts of Greece, we admit to being very impressed by their drivers. They are masters at negotiating roads never designed for conveyances larger than chariots.)

Our guide led us up a steep slope into the center of the ruins before explaining the historical significance of the area.

In mythology, Python, a huge serpent, guarded the navel before the infant god Apollo stayed him. When Apollo’s arrows pierced the serpent, its body fell into a fissure and great fumes arose from the crevice as its carcass rotted. All those who stood over the gaping fissure fell into sudden, often violent, trances. In this state, it was believed that Apollo would possess the oracle and fill them with divine presence.

Named for the serpent, Pythia, the role of the Oracle of Delphi was played by a pure, chaste and honest young virgin. However, since young virgins were prone to attracting negative attention from the men who sought their council (which resulted in oracles being raped and violated), older women of at least 50 began to fill the position. They fasted and drank spring water to prepare, and then on the seventh day of the nine warmest months of the year, they held a dish of spring water and took their position on a tripod chair positioned over a fissure. Monarchs as well as mortals made the pilgrimage to Delphi to ask questions of the oracle. Although her answers were sometimes vague and could be misinterpreted, she was the most powerful person in Greece.

As to why the Oracle of Delphi experienced her visions, we can turn to a more modern explanation. In the late 1980s, a team of curious scientists discovered that the rocks beneath the Temple of Apollo were oily bituminous limestone and had been fractured by two faults that crossed beneath the temple. This had to be more than a coincidence. The scientists theorized that tectonic movements and earthquakes caused friction along the faults. Combined with the spring water that ran beneath the temple, methane, ethylene and ethane gas would rise through the faults to the center and directly into the temple. The low room, with its limited ventilation and lack of oxygen, would help amplify the effect of the gasses and induce the trance-like symptoms experienced by the oracles.


The site includes the temple of Apollo and the ancient theater (above), the Castalian spring, the gymnasium and a stadium where athletes competed.


The history of the Sanctuary is displayed in the site’s archaeological museum’s 14 rooms. Here you can learn the political, religious and social history of Delphi. The museum also includes several artifacts from the site and the surrounding region, including two magnificent sculptures of the Charioteer and the Sphinx.

We had dinner back at the hotel and spent the evening shopping in the boutiques that line the two streets that make up the town.

gold flower


Next up: Athens!