Soon after starts another archipelago, the Cyclades. The first island we fly by is Amorgos, known for its rugged landscape and towering cliffs. The most famous image of Amorgos is perhaps that of the monastery of Panayia Chozoviotissa, hanging on the edge of such a cliff above the deep blue sea.
A short distance away, Mykonos is an entirely different world, as it’s famous for its vibrant nightlife and international gay scene, concentrated in the homonymous town on the west coast of the island (1). It is one of the Greece's most visited islands, and as such is served by one of the country’s largest cruise ship docks (2) and its own international airport (3). Also visible are the Marathi reservoir, supplying the island with water (4), the peculiarly located settlement of Ornos, sitting at the neck of a peninsula between two deep bays (5), and the islet of Tragonisi, just east of the main island (6).
Approaching Athens, the last island of the Cyclades one flies over is Kythnos. Unlike most islands, the homonymous town is located on a hill top (1), while downhill, on a small bay, is the village of Loutra that features a marina (2).
To reach the airport of Athens, planes fly along the southeast coast of Attica, then make a sharp turn northeast at the level of Vouliagmeni. Named after Lake Vouliagmeni (“Sunken”), itself so named because it’s surrounded by a series of cliffs (1), the town is located at the southeast edge of the Athens urban area, of which it forms one of the most affluent suburbs. Two small peninsulas jut out of it: Mikro Kavouri (“Little Crab”), largely occupied by the luxurious Astir Palace Hotel (2), and Megalo Kavouri (“Big Crab”) further north (3). The Kavouri peninsulas are notorious for being Greece’s most expensive area when it comes to real-estate.
On the other side of the plane is another series of suburbs, extending along the southeast coast of Attica. The Athens-Sounion avenue runs a short distance from the sea (1), leading to Cape Sounion at the southeast tip of Attica, home to a famed temple of Poseidon.
Shortly before landing, the plane flies over Interchange 20 of the Attiki Odos (“Road of Attica”) motorway. Between the two carriageways runs the railway line connecting the airport to Athens, but it was still being laid out at the time.
My BEY-ATH flights would always landed from the south, and conversely, all my ATH-BEY flights would take off northwards. Right after takeoff, the town of Porto Rafti would become visible (1), separated by a peninsula from the village of Vravrona or Brauron, home to an archaeological site dedicated to the cult of Artemis (2).
I had once the opportunity to snap a shot of another part of Athens urban area, more exactly at its southwestern edge, on an Aegean Airlines flight from Thessaloniki (back when it was still a developing regional airline) just before the plane made a sharp turn east. It shows the port area extending west of Piraeus and its container terminal (1), to which an extra pier has since been added, bounded by a gas-fired power plant to the east (2) and an oddly shaped hill to the north (3). To the west is the town of Perama (4) and its shipyard (5), and further west, beyond the famed Salamis strait, is the island of Salamis/Salamina with the homonymous town (6).
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