Day 1: Kos. Welcome to Greece! A perfect island to start our healthy tour is Kos, the homeland of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. We have our welcome dinner near the sea.
Day 2: Kos. A serene sunrise meditation on the beach before the island wakes up. Imagine stretching into the cobra with an incandescent blue sea and the Turkish coastline on your visual horizon. Take time to amble around the town of Kos and you’ll find yourself stumbling over 3rd century BC ruins. Later we’ll bicycle to Therma where medicinal hot springs flow directly into the sea making a soak in these hot/cold waters an utterly divine experience. Then a ride past stately cypress trees to Asclepion, a famous healing center which followed Hippocrates’ teachings. Distance: 15 km, 9.3 miles.
Day 3: Kos - Bodrum. We abandon our bikes to catch the day boat to Bodrum, one of the prettiest port towns in western Turkey. The mighty castle guarding the harbor entrance cannot be missed, nor its Museum of Underwater Archaeology whose exhibits expertly recreate the inner contents of an ancient sunken ship. Bodrum’s shipyard boasts the oldest wooden shipyard in the Mediterranean. It is believed that Artemisia who commanded her own naval squadron in the battle of Salamis in 400 BC had her ships made nearby. A soothing Turkish bath, known as a hamman, complete with massage and sudsy wipe-down might be your ideal itinerary in Turkey. The boat returns late afternoon back to Kos.
Day 4: Kalymnos. After our morning yoga session at the sea, we catch a ferry from Kos’ northern port at Mastahari to Kalymnos, once the epicenter of a thriving sponge diving industry. We are able to bike almost all the small island’s paved roads in one day. We visit the folklore museum, a quirky sea museum, an old Crusader castle, caves and basilicas. We hug the coast and cycle through a pine and eucalyptus-shaded valley. If time permits, we’ll visit the serene Telendos islet with its famed mountain bearing the profile of a woman’s head, the “petrified princess.” Distance: 25 km, 15 miles.
Day 5: Nyseros. We take the morning ferry back to Kos with a headed to Kardamena, with maybe one tough hill and a short detour to Antimacheia Castle, a large Venetian fortress with commanding views. We say goodbye to Kos and take the short boat ride to little Nisyros, an laid back island with a dormant volcano and fewer than 1000 inhabitants. Our accommodations are in Mandraki, an exceptionally peaceful and charming little town with whitewashed houses and narrow streets. You can cycle or walk to the Loutra thermal spa (2 km) and relax in the enclosed hot baths which abut the sea. Distance: 22 km, 12 miles.
Day 6: Nyseros. Hohlaki is where we’ll gather with our mats in the morning for yoga and deep breathing on this beach of black stones. We bike today to the volcano and descend into the suphur-smelling yellowed grounds of the caldera. Although lacking water, Nisyros is also paradoxically fertile, which means the island is blessed with delicious produce. Not far away are several cute and hospitable villages, hamlets actually, to stop for lunch and a glass of soumada, a beverage made from almonds. An optional second visit to Loutra thermal spa on the ride back is possible too. Tonight we’ll dine at a popular waterfront taverna that, aside from fish specialties, also caters to a vegetarian crowd. Distance: 12 km, 7.5 miles.
Day 7: Rhodes. We say goodbye to Nyseros and take the morning ferry to Rhodes. Consider today a rest day since the journey takes five hours. This is down-time spent to the backdrop of a magnificent blue sea and distant islands. Get those wish-you-were-here postcards written or catch up on your journal. Before you know it, we’re in romantic Rhodes, the largest and most prized island in the Dodecanese. Rhodes has a multicultural history of foreign dominators, from the Ottomans to the Crusaders, all of whom have left their mark. Castles and drawbridges, domed mosques and spire minarets, flaming bougainvillea and mosaic-laid streets. This city is a real charmer.
Day 8: Rhodes – Seven Springs, Kallithea Thermi. Early morning is the best time for yoga and meditation in Rhodes, and the best place is the city’s original moat. It’s a quiet, isolated green space secluded from the surrounding urban growth. Down in the moat you feel connected to a slower moving medieval era. Our biking destination is Seven Springs where seven small freshwater springs converge in a little brook. Look for roaming peacocks and a unique underground water tunnel you walk through barefoot. We continue to Kallithea Thermi, a turn-of-the-century Italian-built spa that is in the process of being restored. We’ll stop for a swim or snorkeling at its inviting beach. Distance: 51 kilometers, 31 miles.
Day 9: Rhodes. We bicycle to the magical, marvelous Valley of the Butterflies. For a two-month period (July, August) thousands of multi-colored Jersey tiger moths gather exclusively at this cloistered little spot on Rhodes. The park has winding rivers, waterfalls, footpaths, rustic bridges, tranquil rock pools, a serene lake and even an old Italian windmill. It will be easy to find an isolated, meditative and shady spot for our yoga session. On our return to town, you can stop at Moni Kalopetras, a church built in 1784 by an exiled Greek prince who fought against the Turks, or Filerimos Hill with Doric remains and an Italian-looking monastery. Distance: 45 kilometers, 28 miles.
Day 10: Symi. Symi is another one of those unheralded, untrampled, tranquil Greek islands that will capture your heart. During the Ottoman occupation, sponge diving and ship building netted the inhabitants a lucrative legacy that is evident today in the elegant, pastel colored mansions hugging the hills of Yialos, the island’s primary port. We’ll cycle to a secluded beach where we may chant as long and as vocal as we desire without intruding on another’s serenity. A highlight of our ride is the 18th century ornate Monastery of Archangel Michael of Panormitis, the protector of sailors. The grounds include a Byzantine museum, a folklore museum, and a tempting bakery. An alternate route back takes us through aromatic pine forests and curvy climbs before a thrilling descent back to Yialos. Distance: 30 kilometers, 18.5 miles.
Day 11: Rhodes. One of Symi’s many paths, this one through an avenue of eucalyptus trees, will take us to a calm setting where we engage in our morning stretch and meditation. Today is a free day to bike, hike, stroll to other villages or beach-hop. From Yialos, 375 marble steps climb to Chorio, a village towering on a hill amidst labrynthine streets. On this route are the remains of 20 windmills and an ancient tomb, supposedly Spartan in origin. Most likely, you will yearn to linger longer in Symi, but we must catch the afternoon boat back to Rhodes. At our farewell dinner we raise a toast in thanks to the Greek gods and goddesses for sharing their sacred energy with us.
Day 12: Departure. End of the service.
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Europe Greece Turkey Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Yoga & Spiritual Experience