Monthly Archives: October 2008
Early this morning, I think, we arrived in Rhodes (aka Rodos), home of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the original seven wonders of the world. I can’t remember the others, though…there were the Pyramids at Giza, which are the only wonder that still exists, the hanging gardens of Babylon, a library and a lighthouse, one of which was at Alexandria, and…two more. Oh well, not important. I can look it up later.
Spent the afternoon in Ephesus (which is in the Asian part of Turkey, meaning that I’ve now visited four continents). Our guide was much better than the one that gave us the Istanbul tour – he moved slower and was more informative – so that was nice. Ephesus is interesting; it’s the equivalent of an ancient ghost town. It used to be a fairly large harbour city; I think the estimate is 250,000 inhabitants. It remained quite Greek even under Roman rule, to the point that the city laws were posted primarily in Greek instead of Latin, which our guide claimed was a rare concession for the Romans to make. It was of course a pagan city, but it seems it eventually had a lot of Christianity in it. I say this based not on anything the guide said, but on the prevalence of the odd eight-spoked wagon-wheel-style designs that were carved into many roads. Our guide said that this was a Christian symbol, a sort of cross. I’ll have to look that up later.
Mykonos was amazing – a beautiful little city of white plaster and blue paint (occasionally green and red, but mostly blue). We had nothing specific to do, and just wandered around for the day taking pictures (where “we” is Cheryl, Paul, and me). The pictures are really required to understand the beauty of Mykonos, so I won’t bother trying to describe it much.
On Sunday, we got up moderately early and went to Istanbul for our sight-seeing tour. First, we saw the Blue Mosque, one of the 2000+ mosques in Istanbul. It’s not the biggest, but it’s the most famous. It’s still a working mosque, so while it was primarily full of tourists, there were a few Muslims there as well. I got the impression that there was one tourist’s entrance that brings you along the edges for a visit and a chance to take pictures, and other entrances that are intended for use by Muslims visiting the mosque for religious reasons.
After meeting the tour group the night before, we actually slept in a bit. In the morning, Cheryl and I wandered around Athens for a while; I don’t think we bought anything, though we did partake in the authentic Greek experience of buying cinnamon rolls and coffee at Starbucks. In the afternoon, we boarded the boat and headed out to sea. There was some confusion with our rooms, though, which might require a rundown of the tour members to explain. We have: