Ok... where did I leave off. We did a lovely cheapie tour in Santorini of the volcano Nea Kameni, a small island Thirassia, hot springs and Oia. I ended up doing a bit more hiking than expected on that tour. The volcano was pure uphill for about 45 minutes, Thira, Thirassia and Oia all have ports at the bottom of the hill. At Thirassia, the guide told us that it was only 150 steps to the top of the hill. What he failed to mention was that each step was between 0.5-3 metres long. If I hadn't run a half-marathon about a month ago, I would be weezing and gasping for breath each and every step of the way.
The small town of Oia at the northern point of Santorini restored my preconceptions on the cuteness of the island. The postcards that you see of the whitewashed houses and domed churches most likely come from Oia. Watching the sunset from this town is highly recommended as you can see the sun set into the ocean. We did this, along with hundreds of our fellow tourists who were also given the same recommendation. The sunset was lovely, but the adventure came
in trying to get back to our hotel. We were told that the last bus came at 11:20 but alas, no, the last bus was at 9:20. We missed the 8something bus as it was jammed pack. When the 9:20 bus came on it was sheer chaos as at least a hundred tourists tried to run onto the bus.
Friday morning was the start of our 24 hour adventure to Turkey. It took two ferries to get us to the island of Samos which is the closest greek island to the area of Turkey we wanted to go to. We stopped off at the island of Syros and then took a not-so-lovely night ferry from there to Samos. We arrived at 6am - disheveled, dirty and smelling ripe. We were lucky to get a ticket on the 8am ferry to Turkey. In the mean time though, we had two hours to kill. Thats where the hobo-ing came in. I thought it was rather funny that we wrapped ourselves in sarongs to keep ourselves warm on a park bench clutching on to all our worldly posessions in our backpack.
We're currently in Selcuk the modern city near the biblical
Close up of lava rocks
Posted especially for my geologist friend Jessica.
site of Ephesus. Yesterday, was the market day so we wandered through the bazaar that was conveniently located right outside our hotel. Most of the sellers had vegetables and fruits. The peaches and cherries are currently in season! I also went a bit crazy buying cheap clothing. Later in the day, we went to visit Ephesus which is most likely the most preserved archaeological site of antiquity. The difference between Greek and turkish archaeological sites is that there is no policing in turkey. I can actually hug a marble column and have a picture taken of it without having a whistle blown at me! I was quite amazed at this so now I have several pictures of me sitting on stone (I realize this is not quite so exciting for the rest of you folks). We decided to walk back to town from the site and ended up doing a mini-pilgrammage. Nearby was the church of the 7 sleepers - legend has it that 4 christians fled the persecution of a pagan emperor. The christians were boarded up in the cave to prevent escape. The christians fell asleep they woke up 200 years later. We also attempted to find the
house of Mary, mother of Christ which was in the area. When we came to a fork in the road, we were told that it was 6 km further, uphill and closed at 7pm. That ended our quick pilgrammage.
The drink raki, distilled wine, is quite popular here. In fact, one man quotes that raki is to man like water is to animals. The Turks seem to be a bit more civilized in drinking raki than the Greeks. Here, its served with water which makes it a bit more tolerable. Funny, the liquid turns a a milky white color with water added even though both liquids are clear.
One more observation on the tangent of sweetness. The turks seem to have a similar thinking like the Greeks with the use of sweet goods and sweetness. Apparently, when a baby is born the parents will have friends over and serve honey, or turkish delights in an attempt to have sweetness around their newborn.
I went to the classical site of Pergamon today but I'll save that for tomorrow's blog along with tomorrow's tour of PMD aka Priene, Miletus and Didyma, more classical cities in antiquity.
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