A short plane ride brings visitors from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok to the island known as the “Pearl of the Orient.” Malaysia’s smallest province, only 200 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, includes a sliver of mainland. Primarily, though, Penang consists of a 112-square-mile island, a microcosm of vacation facilities providing a wealth of choices for studying the local culture, hiking through jungle trails, basking on the beach, sampling diverse cuisine — or partaking of all four.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Each day of my eight-day jaunt through Greece brought me something different: from island vistas to mountainous landscapes, from scuba diving along the coastline to sampling locally produced prosciutto high in the mountains, and from the modern version of history at the Acropolis Museum to the ancient ruins of Delphi. Perhaps the true delight of a Greek experience is that you never know what wonder will next unfold before your eyes.