Page 3 of rbcameron Travel Blog Posts


Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Pamukkale May 28th 2016

It was a travel day today: 3.5 hours on a bus trying to be a plane and 30 minutes on a bus trying to be a taxi. What I'd heard about Turkish intercity buses was all true: they're run more like planes, with seat-back screens, reclining bucket seats and drink+snack service. Not a bad way to travel. Then I took a dolmuş for the final leg of the trip to Pamukkale: a bus with about 15 seats that serves smaller places. Not many foreign tourists here. The owner of the hotel told me that even though it's early in the season there would normally be more Western Europeans and North Americans. The mineral springs were pretty busy, but almost everyone seemed to be Turkish.... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antalya May 27th 2016

After the tour ended I hitched a ride with Kevin and Sheri to Nicosia and stayed overnight in a hotel that is better left unmentioned. We strolled around the old city and sauntered across the Green Line to inspect the vast array of very reasonably-priced goods by Gucci, Nike etc. I flew out this morning from Ercan airport in North Cyprus to Antalya on the south coast of Turkey. It has a lovely old centre with Ottoman houses and a Roman gateway, surrounded by many square kilometres of resort-oriented new town. While inspecting the Roman-era mausoleum perched on a cliff by the sea I bumped into a retired Turkish policeman who spoke very good German (much better than mine!)... read more

Middle East » Cyprus » Paphos May 25th 2016

We spent the day at Paphos, the place where Aphrodite drifted ashore on her half shell. Her birth was the consequence of a particularly nasty father-son conflict, when Cronos emasculated his father Ouranos and the severed member fell into the sea off Cyprus. The "foam" (as they politely call it) from this organ caused the sea to give birth to Aphrodite. She was almost born on Cythera, near the Peloponnese, but the winds blew her to Paphos. (I wonder what the Cytherians have to say about that!) Anyway, her landing spot is a beach of beautiful polished stones with several impressive white rocks rising from the waves. Paphos was, not surprisingly, a major location for worship of Aphrodite and there's a large complex of religious buildings there that date from around 1400 BC through to 400 ... read more

Middle East » Cyprus » Limassol May 24th 2016

We spent the day in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus and a divided city. The Green Line that separates occupied northern Cyprus from the rest runs right through Nicosia, and we bumped into it just as we entered the old city. These days you can cross it without problems at certain points, but elsewhere it is still barricaded. As we strolled through the winding, narrow streets I could hear a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. I think that's the first time I've actually heard that! It was a pretty light day - no archaeological site and only one museum, albeit one with a rich collection. We were back to the hotel in plenty of time for a swim and lazing in the sun. This is a 4-star seaside resort after all!... read more

Middle East » Cyprus » Limassol May 23rd 2016

Today we had one of the highlights of the tour: a visit to the site that our tour leader Kevin is working on. It's a town from the Late Bronze Age (about 1400-1200 BC) that has a very large building in it that looks rather like a palace. Whoever ruled the place based his wealth on olive oil: one room in this building held around 40 giant jars of olive oil, and there were two large areas of the building that seem to have been used to produce oil on an industrial scale. There are letters from the "King of Cyprus" to the Pharaoh of Egypt at this time, and Kevin speculates that the Cypriot king may have lived in this "palace". We also visited the really lovely village nearby where Kevin and Sheri go for ... read more

Middle East » Cyprus » Limassol May 22nd 2016

The Baptist is a professor of archaeology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary named Tom Davis. The Earthquake House is a residential area in the Roman town of Kourion on Cyprus that was destroyed by an earthquake around 365 AD. Tom is a friend and former mentor of Kevin, the leader of our tour. He excavated the Earthquake House and discovered several skeletons - mostly human but also one donkey - of those who were apparently killed instantly by the earthquake. He's now working on a different area of the site and he gave us a guided tour of his current excavation as well as the rest of the town. It's really interesting to see an archaeological site together with the person working there! We also visited a Crusader castle today, so it was a great day ... read more

Europe » Greece » Crete » Heraklion May 21st 2016

We flew to Cyprus today - via Athens, so the trip took 'way too long. But before that we had an all-too-brief visit to Knossos, by far the largest Minoan palace on Crete. It's the legendary home of the Minotaur. Quite a contrast to Phaistos, which has been left in the state the excavators found it. Knossos, on the other hand, was in many places extensively reconstructed - including adding columns and creating new rooms - to suit what Arthur Evans, the Brit who excavated it, thought a Royal Minoan Palace should look like. It's very impressive, but our tour leader (an archaeology prof from UBC) was constantly cautioning us to take the appearance with a grain of salt. Anyway, even if it wasn't completely accurate, it gave more of an idea of what the original ... read more

Europe » Greece » Crete » Heraklion May 20th 2016

I've fallen a little behind due to very full days, so it's time to catch up. Wednesday we spent much of the day on Santorini, visiting a site on the second-highest peak of the island that was continuously inhabited from about 1400 BC to 1500 AD, when the people there finally decided it was safe to come down from their mountain. In the afternoon we took a fast ferry (50 km/h or so!) to Heraklion in Crete. Thursday we visited Chania, a lovely seaside town in western Crete that was built by the Venetians. They occupied Crete for about 400 years and left their mark in many places. On the way back we stopped at a Renaissance monastery with buildings designed by a pair of Italian brothers. Apart from the icons in the church it felt ... read more

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini May 17th 2016

Around 1600 BC the quiet little island of Thira blew up. The volcanic explosion threw huge amounts of rock and ash into the air, which buried everything on the island to a depth of tens of metres. The town of Akrotiri was covered over and preserved. 3600 years later it's coming back into the light - and what a marvel it is. Many buildings have walls three storeys high, built of precisely cut stone. Beautiful wall paintings were preserved by the ash. Unlike at Pompeii, no bodies have been found inside the town - probably because there had been an earthquake not long before the eruption, and the people of the town had evacuated. After a really good look around the site with our new guide, Vangelis - who is a real character - we went ... read more

Europe » Greece » Pelopennese » Epidaurus May 16th 2016

Sadly, I didn't manage to fit in another gelato before leaving Nafplio. We left bright and early to visit Epidaurus, the headquarters of the cult of Asklepios, the god of healing. There was quite a large complex of buildings: besides the one devoted to healing there was a two-storey hotel, a beautiful theatre and several temples so you could worship the god of your choice while you were away from home. We paid a brief visit to the site of ancient Corinth - surprisingly far from the sea, given that it was perhaps the most important port city in ancient Greece. Then a brief flight to Santorini, where we're staying in a very deluxe hotel. There's a strong Italian influence here - as the common name of the island suggests. It also shows up in the ... read more




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