Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Athens in all its Glory

Day 12


Good morning! Today, we were up bright and early to have breakfast and be kicked overboard escorted off the boat. We had to find a way from the dock to the our hostel which were quite a way from each other. Looking up there was a sign that said a taxi from here to the city centre was only about nine Euros – great! We get in a cab, drive to the city centre and are asked to pay something ridiculous like... 27 Euros – “what? How does that work?” I said. “Well” said the money hungry taxi man “you had to pay extra for the two suitcases and more because its daytime and more because you are girls and more because you are wearing blue and more because I have a tooth missing...” and so on and so forth. He had a lot of lame rules that we only found out about... after we arrived. Typical. So we paid the poo head and went on our way.

We arrived at our hostel and were too early to check in so we helped ourselves to their wireless internet and collapsed onto their couches. The receptionist told us that there was a walking tour starting at ten and that we should go on it to kill some time. Good idea, we thought. The only problem was I needed to pay and I only had a fifty Euro note. So we went looking for a cafe or shop where I could break it – you know get the change not destroy my money you silly reader. Anyway we went into this little store and I picked something up and went to pay with my fifty. Dear god. I will NEVER try that again. The woman went from complete shock then silence to IMMA KEEEEELLL YOU!! Needless to say (but I will) we walked around trying to find somewhere else and I can never show my face in that place again.

On to the walking tour. The lady that was taking us around was really funny. She was brutally honest about everything and admitted she does this every day so nothing was super exciting for her anymore – just like how I will feel about Brisbane (my home town) when Miranda comes to visit. Not that I do walking tours here – too depressing. Anyway she showed us the Temple of Zeus which has a few remaining columns. When asked what happened to it – expecting a story of natural disasters – she said calmly “Greeks like to destroy their heritage. In about the 18th century the people thought it would be a brilliant idea to break up the columns, melt them, and use them as foundations for all the crappy apartment buildings around the area.” That and acid rain. Yep.

Oh - here is another interesting fact (maybe to me only) but when the discus was first invented... they use to do it backwards... it was much harder - as you can imagine. Just thought you might like to know.

Next stop was the Olympic stadium! This thing holds... drum roll... 60 000 people! It was funny because Miranda got in front of it and did this pose...

And then I did...

And then basically the rest of our tour group did! Miranda set a trend...

We were told that originally only men were allowed to compete in the Olympic games – no surprises there... and then came the race that changed it all... the race where one athlete won the race and had their clothes fall off... revealing them as... A WOMAN! They should have been suspicious from the beginning given that this random very feminine looking guy wanted to compete in clothes unlike the rest of the athletes that must have bobbed all the way down the track... I mean if you think about it... which I am now trying to stop – ARRR GET OUT OF MY HEAD! So from that moment on women were allowed to compete – in their own separate games of course...because the men couldn’t hack it when they lost to a woman... huh.

Next stop was the Royalty Gardens. Okay I think this is right but let me know... recently there was a king and queen put on the Greek throne. The only problem was they were from Bavaria and therefore had no Greek blood and everyone hated them for that. So this pair took off and fled to London where they still reside and are not allowed to ever come back to Greece because they betrayed ‘their’ country. Oh another interesting tale I learned that there was a famous Prime Minister in Greece who decided to take firm action against the amount of starving people in the country. Or rather he took action to help them... not against them. Anyway he took a boat to Spain, filled it will potatoes and brought it back for the people of Greece who then made it one of their key crops. I always just assumed potatoes were one of their signature dishes – like lemon potatoes – but no, they were introduced... man I am interested in the most random of topics – nudity and potatoes... dear me. This Prime Minister is one of the favourites of the nation... sad thing was that he was murdered. He was shot. Not very nice.

Then we were showed the Parliament house which was guarded by the goofiest looking guards I have ever seen... Seriously LOOK at them... pom-poms on their shoes and skirts. I’d think I was going to get a juggling performance rather than a bullet in the head if I were accosted by these fellows. The pom-poms are meant to hide the daggers on their shoes... and the skirts have 400 pleats which represent the 400 years of oppression that they had. And then there’s the walk they do! This is their British equivalent changing of the guards...Oh my goodness... waving their legs around and everything! I tried to upload the video but it isn't working so... too bad.

We were shown the main shopping street and warned that shops would all close from 2:30-5:00 so everyone could have a siesta! This place is AWESOME. They totally get me... We stopped in at this little church and it was meant to be all holy, silent – you know what I mean? That was until I heard this stupid guy talking really loudly on his mobile whilst lighting a candle... Don’t you think you’re giving mixed messages to God? Continued walking and saw Hadrian’s library, the Roman Agora – very old marketplace and saw the man locally named “crazy pistachio” guy.

I kid you not. He has this little wagon filled with nuts that he sells and to advertise it – he raves. His little wife was there and watching the two was like watching a slap-stick comedy show because she was quite round and he was skinny and they were raving away...I didn’t buy any pistachios though. We did buy a big bag of cherries that were like... 2.50 for a kilo or so!! This may not shock some of you but cherries, in Australia, cost about 20 dollars a kilo... this was luxury. Miranda and I hiked our way onto the mountain called Aeropagus and could see a view of the whole city – it was amazing!

The only problem was it was unbearably hot and we had to stop and rest. Looking at the city was breath taking and we were told that when the city was formed they had a choice between two gods to be the patron god of the town. It was a toss-up between Athena who would give them wisdom, culture and education and Poseidon who would give them trade, war and safety on the ocean as well as a bag of Doritos (just kidding)... if you can’t guess who they chose you can go far away from this blog and eat a lemon. So after they chose Athena Poseidon got so pissed off that he flooded the whole town. Damn. They thought. So they quickly built him a big ol’ temple to calm him down – which worked.

We then struggled up the hot hill to get to the Acropolis which is the furthest point of the city and the most important site in the ancient world. It was funny because walking up that beast of a hill made us so tired that we sat in a shady spot just outside the Acropolis for a good while. Here we were admiring the view when the most important site of the ancient world was sitting right behind us! Oh, by the way, there are lots of stray dogs around here and today there was one just lying asleep near us. One of us joked that the dog was all like “Don’t wake me unless you have gelato”. Then this Australian family sat behind us and ruined my day and made me not want to go back to Australia more than ever... “Why was this thing built on a hill?” DUH! That and this stupid girl said it with a really Australian accent and I really wanted to throw her down the stairs. But I didn’t. Miranda was shuddering because of Americans on the boat, I was shuddering because of Australians off the boat. Oh then there was this other family that came and sat to have their photo taken but one of the kids kept scowling and not wanting to so the dad was like “we are NOT leaving until you do this RIGHT” – so the family forced a smile and headed off.

We finally went in to see the Parthenon but it was strange because we had already seen most of what it had to offer in the British Museum – except for the building itself which was amazing. I tried to keep from melting and slipping over as the stones which made the path had been worn smooth and I almost took a couple of spills over the course of the day.

We were making one of our dancing video segments in front of it when this woman (Barbara) wasn’t looking and walked right into our shot – hilarity – because the husband was going “Noo! Barbara! BARBARA NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” in an American accent. Good times. Barbara will make an appearance once I post the video.

We went down to get a better look at the ancient agora and met another stray dog. After that we got some lunch (yummy gyros) and set out to shop – that’s what we DO okay? As we were walking along looking at the markets this other random dog (which we named Raoul) who followed us all the way along. So we decided to test his loyalty. Miranda goes “Hey Raoul I just want to look at this shop. Can you wait a minute?” And he stopped. And waited. And then we all continued. He became our canine guide.

We went back to have nap at the hostel (neither Raoul or our initial guide were with us any longer just to clarify) and then ventured up to the rooftop where there was a ‘bar’. We had a cocktail each and met this Canadian and Australian guy – neither of which were actually staying at our hostel... they just liked the ‘bar’. Typically this Australian guy was from Brisbane (AHHHHH!!) and both of these backpackers began to tell us about how they were into weed and cocaine. Yay. It was really nice sitting there, despite them, because it was sunset and the Acropolis was all lit up and beautiful. The horizon was a bit hazy and that’s due to the pollution and acid rain... which is a bit sad.

That night we actually ventured out – after dark! This is the first time because we haven’t really felt safe before... but there were lots of people bustling about and we had a delicious dinner of pita, tzatziki and Greek salad. Back to the hostel for a well deserved sleep – we get a lot done in a day! Oh and for one more random thing... one of the other women staying in our hostel room said that they had just finished visiting Spain and they complained about how much ham was on EVERYTHING. The reason was because during the Spanish Inquisition there was only one real way to prove you weren’t Jewish – eat pig. I thought that was a really interesting little note but she went on to tell us how they ordered a ham sandwich and it had, like, a mountain of ham on it – bleh who could eat that anyway? Random note to end on but stay tuned for Delphi!

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Day Miranda Drank a Volcano.

Day 11

Crete/Heraklion – Santorini

Today our boat stopped at the island of Crete and I was pretty excited. I mean, in all honesty, this would be one of the first places we visited on this cruise that I actually had heard of. When I think of Crete I think of wrestling minotaurs, walking through various labyrinths and leaving a trail of string. The reality of the situation was a lot less interesting. We got off the boat only to be given a map which had the street names in English when the signs where in Greek. Great. Miranda and I tried to find one interesting sight but ended up walking up a huge hill for ages so eventually we turned around and went back. I guess the labyrinth side of the journey was true enough... but other than that Crete gets a big waa waa from me. I didn't really take any pictures of anything here... so here's a photo of me walking in Crete. It's better than nothing, right?

After that barrel of laughs we relaxed on the ship for a while. I must say every meal is three courses and I’m getting use to it! They’re going to have to roll me off the ship at this rate. As it was one of our last days on the boat we had to pay for any extra drinks we had throughout the trip. Whilst waiting in line Miranda and I overheard other people on the boat paying hundreds of Euros for their extra drinks – HUNDREDS! I mean it explains all the drunken adolescent tools staggering about the ship but – hundreds? We got to the front of the line and paid for... one drink each. That’s it. No exciting extravagance from this humble blogger I’m afraid... Unless of course someone wants to sponsor me to travel, drink and blog? Actually I don’t know how coherent and witty my blogs would be after several cocktails... probably something like this – “OMGGGG i totally went to this place today and it was AWSOME!!!!!!! I never seen anything like thisibfoiasbvolnsvnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn” and that’s where I pass out on the keyboard. Any takers? No?

One nanna nap later we arrived in Santorini. So on this cruise you can pay to have extra guided tours and we ended up going with the trip to Ephesus and this one – to an active volcano! That’s right... I willingly walked and played around and in an active volcano. We took this jaunty little boat out there expecting leisurely swimming with a hint of education. What we got was a long ass hike. I had worn sandals given the aforementioned assumption... What I got was a whole lot of little rocks and dirt flipping in and out of my shoes and the sun beating on me like a sleep deprived toddler. It was very interesting... the only problem was our guide for the day has decided to lead the way, walking first, and had thought it necessary to wear the shortest most polyester-ish pants she could find. And she was not a young lass either. It’s hard to concentrate and what the woman was saying when her behind is waggling and peeping out of her shorts every five seconds. I did manage to catch that the earth we were standing on was about 95 degrees Celsius. She dug a little hole and all this steam came out – which was neat. She also said that they have radars all over this beast and it erupts every fifty years. She went on to say that it was about time it had another go and a nearby town needed to practice their evacuation tactics... yeesh.

Apparently, the story of Atlantis is based on either this volcano or any volcano... I can’t actually remember what she said – the pants – remember?

It was a lovely view and a good little journey but I was hot, tired and grumpy by the time we got back to our now not-so-jaunty looking boat. Sorry to disappoint but I don't have any photos of the volcano errupting or lava... here's me on fire instead. Imagine it was volcano related.

They piled us on the boat and drove around to the part where we could go swimming and the ocean was crazy! Water was spraying on either side of the boat and it was going up and down relentlessly. It dipped and rocked so much, at times, I really thought we were going overboard! I just hoped that there was a little mermaid in the Mediterranean that would drag me to shore and sing to me. So we get to the swimming spot or rather the “hot springs”. I feel that the guide needs to define “hot” and “springs” as the water was lukewarm at best (which is where the springs are – the water we had to swim through to get there was FREEZING) and there were little bubbles. After our initial whinging and stepping on various squishy and unpleasant plants Miranda joked that the guide should yell “it’s not a f****** Jacuzzi!” Tee hee. Cursing is fun. As we were swimming someone pointed out that there were a bunch of mountain goats clip clopping there way about the sheer cliff face OF A VOLCANO. WHY were these goats here? Of all the places they could have lived – some grassy knoll or even cliff that wasn’t going to erupt and lava their asses... They seemed cheerful nonetheless. The ground was all muddy and the hilarious (sarcasm) teens figured it must be therapeutic to rub it all over themselves... at least their insides matched their outsides if only briefly.

There was a sign on one of the rocks which read “call my mobile if you need help” with no number. Brilliant. Those goats are screwed. After Miranda had drunk most of the sea water we swam back to the boat. The water was filled with sulphur so our bikinis are all stained and which is why I look seriously tanned in this photo – don’t be fooled!

One death defying boat ride later we got on a bus and were driven up, up and away! To Santorini which is on a big cliff face – okay seriously people... this is NOT the best place to settle... is this another oracle’s influence or what? We were told that Santorini is known as the place which has more wine that water as they get little rain but use all their land for growing grapes. Some may call that noble. I’m not really a wine fan... but I do enjoy a good grape. It’s strange that the grapes thrive here as there is little water and the heat is intense... so they grow underground – as you do. We rushed about the little town – it was GORGEOUS. Everything was blue and white and it was just like a postcard... the whole town was immaculately beautiful...

We took the funicular (is that the right spelling? The little vertical train thing...) down to the bottom but not before we got in a huge queue. It was funny because this whole posse of French tourists decided to push right in and jump the queue – no. You may get away with that in your country (as I learned) but you do not push-in in front of a bunch of Americans. They went OFF. “You can’t DO that! Git to the back! We have bin waitin’ in line and ya’ll just push in!” Slight exaggeration on the accents there but you get the picture. By the end of it the whole international queue was united against these French pusher-in-erers. We got on eventually and it freaked me right out. This train thing just goes straight down for hundreds of metres.

Yeah... I was freaked out as I don’t like heights or the feeling of falling – thank you Miranda for capturing that on film...

We saw a beautiful sunset – it was red! And then caught our last little boat back to the ship to have our last buffet dinner... sad times. We decided that as it was our last night we could go up to the “crow’s nest” which was the ship’s nightclub. I didn’t know if it was a theme or this thing was built in the 70s (probably the latter) but there were lame carpets, disco lights and poor hideous furnishings as far as the eye could see. We had a cocktail – or two – and decided to get our dance on... but first we just watched all the lame kiddies gyrate on one another... Seriously at one point there was like five guys and one girl sandwiched in the middle. I don’t quite get it... I mean sure the guys closest to the girl feel lucky but what about the guys... holding the other guys? Or maybe that makes the guys in the middle even luckier? It didn’t seem very manly to me... which is what these little boys were all about. After several lame hits I requested a song from the charismatic DJ... It went something like this... “Do you have Britney Spears’ Circus?” DJ nods. Pause. “Can you play it?” DJ nods. Pause. “Err...okay thanks” Phoebe makes a quick shuffle back to her table. Don’t judge me for my request, by the way, it happens to be a great song to dance to and was a breath of fresh pop music given the crap this guy was playing before. Everyone agreed given that when the song came on practically everyone got up and danced. Miranda and I did some sweet dance moves and shimmied well away from the lame crew. Then off to bed for one last sleep in our dark den.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

I've Travelled Many Rhodes... well...one.

Day 10


Oh my goodness sleeping in is SO GOOD... one of those things you take for granted... This morning we slept in so late that we weren’t woken by the tour lady but by the housekeeper! Our bad. We were only visiting one island today – not five or more like we usually did so it was very relaxed.

We dined on a buffet breakfast and then arrived in Rhodes. I foolishly wore a dress that day and it was SO WINDY walking from the boat into town... oh well... at least I look somewhat cute in all the photos. Whilst walking around Rhodes, Miranda and I discovered a new feeling which we labelled “boating”. It’s the feeling you get when you are on a boat (the rocking and swaying) without being on the boat. This led to use gently swaying and being incapable of walking in a straight line for most of the day. If it weren’t for our bright eyes and generally quick wit people may have thought we were intoxicated.

Rhodes is this lovely medieval style town which is surrounded by big stone walls.
It’s known as the Knight’s Palace and Miranda made a new friend. We went in and immediately made for some food. Calamari and Greek Salad! Unfortunately, the aforementioned “boating” made eating food a little less pleasurable. One thing I learnt about Greece is that they love to give you bread at restaurants whether you ordered it or not. Then you have to pay for it whether you ate it or not. You just can’t say no! Crafty Grecians...
We took a stroll around the town and managed to get nice and lost at one point. It was a pleasant detour and we managed to find our way back to the shops – yippee! The marketplace is beautiful! This is where I bought my pretty ring and – poor Miranda – it took me so long to choose one. There was only one that was just right and it was very expensive... but I couldn’t find any others that I liked so... I wear it a lot to make up for the price tag! It has a blue opal – which I’d never really seen before – and is the exact colour of the Mediterranean. We walked to the water and dipped out toes in. It was a really magical experience. This photo is one of my favourites of our entire trip and Miranda and my time together – at least until we meet up again at a later date!
We hopped back onto the boat and went to the elegant dinner that was on. I found a dressed I’d hastily packed so Miranda and I squeezed in to what we thought was the dress code. Wow, let me just say, there seems to be a huge disparity between what I see as elegant and what others see. We had baked Alaska for dessert and they were parading them all around the room until they set it down. It’s the only way to display dessert I feel. The crew came back to sing to us like the previous night and decided to call themselves “the spice boys”... dear lord...

We went back to the room to have some quiet time only to be interrupted by the adolescent morons in the next room. I thought girls were the bitchy ones but apparently these boys were all up in arms about one guy on the dance floor who was “such a buzzkill”. Then in-between farting they decided to bitch about Emma – that Emma – dear me... she sounded like a skank. At least that’s what they were implying.

I remember there was this one guy at reception on the boat who was always really lovely and helpful to the other passengers but when it came to Miranda and I he was a complete douche canoe. After another short nausea inducing shower it was straight to bed! Another lovely day!

A Turkey in Turkey (that's me)

Hello Folks! I’m guessing you all thought I died (in Greece) as I haven’t blogged about the remainder of my journey and its been several months. Well – I did not die in Greece. I am now presently rotting residing in my Australian home. I figured that blogging is an excellent procrastination technique from university work – plus it’s much more productive and interesting (for me at least – I don’t know about you) as opposed to playing pointless computer games (Mystery Case Files – pointless? NEVER) or watching re-runs of... well... anything.
So let me begin by taking you back in time... back to my life abroad... back to June 16th 2009...

Day 9

Mykonos - Kusadasi - Patmos

I don’t know if I mentioned it but the room Miranda and I had on the ship was at the very bottom – almost with the sea life – but not quite. Not only that but we had to windows and no way of knowing what time it was in our little room of solitude. Suddenly, an overly enthusiastic voice interrupted our silent abyss “Good Morning! Passengers travelling to Kusadasi it is 5am. Please make your way to the lounge.” 5am. Wow. Somehow Miranda and I scrambled out of bed and into clothes and made our way – bleary eyed – to the lounge. Eventually, we were shipped off our boat and ordered to go in a bus with our sticker number on it. Our number was 20. Turns out we were on bus 32. Brilliant. Excellent organisational skills all round.

But hey – we were in Turkey! Our tour guide was really lovely though he very much enjoyed making lame jokes comparing his land with America... Like... he would say “there is an event which happens here every year and everyone gets very excited about it... it’s like your Super Bowl” and so on. YOU WANT TO BE AMERICAN – WE GET IT. He was lovely though.
We drove around the countryside and finally landed in Ephesus (ancient Ephesus). In the time it takes to go from the bus to the gate of this place (about 20 steps) I was harassed by various market people. The lies they come up with are genius! “Buy this coin it belonged to my great, great grandmother who was queen of the ancient world and use to wrestle bears despite having no limbs...” and so on. This whole section of the trip is a bit of a blur given that I was so gosh darn tired after that wakeup call – and a restless night trying to sleep and not think about the fact that we were rolling about in the ocean.
Anyway – Ephesus! First, it is full of cats. You couldn’t turn around without seeing one.
The guide blamed Cleopatra. Seriously. You may scoff and say "Bah! Cleopatra? Ridiculous - she has no relevance to this blog at all! Good day Madam!" Well, as a matter of fact...this city was a hangout for Marc Antony and Cleopatra in the days of old. Here is a photo of them/us being them – you can decide who is who...
So this city is in ruins (obviously) and was part of the Roman Empire. It was the second largest city at that time (Rome was the first) which is rather impressive. The way this town was founded was because an oracle told a bunch of important characters (let’s call them Phil and Ted for now) that they would be told where to settle by a fish and a boar. One day Phil and Ted sit down and have some dinner. Ted says “Man, I could really go for some delicious fish right about now” to which Phil replied “I agree... though I did have all that fattening cottage cheese at lunch so maybe I’ll just have some dry crackers”
“Don’t have crackers – oh my gosh you’re waist is TINY!”
“Yours is!”
“Yours is!” Laughter. Yeah – that was the conversation – verbatim. Anyway they cook some fish but it flips out of the pan and scatters fire all over the surrounding bushes. Suddenly, a boar runs out and Phil and Ted realise that this is the place to settle their town (the place on fire, I might add) so their symbols became a fish, a flame and a boar – neat.
This place is HUGE and it’s really stunning. There are columns and walls and outlines of buildings everywhere and the guide was explaining to us how clever these people were. To keep the cold out of their houses they had a little gap between the tiled floor and the ground which they would keep hot coals in so the floor of the houses was warm – pretty tricky. All these stone things have this one pattern on them called the Meandros which mean meandering river. This is because the sea (or river) changes making the earth beneath it and around it constantly change. I bought a lovely ring with that pattern on it that I am wearing as I type.
Next stop was looking at the toilets. Not the public tourist toilets but the ancient ones. Apparently all the blokes of the city would poop together whilst talking about important politic issues like... that game last night and that new girl on the block. To disguise the noises of... well... poop they had musicians playing – what a crap job! Pun intended.
Next was the library which is a place of wisdom and knowledge. A place of learning. A place of bettering oneself and getting a greater understanding of our world, history and culture. It’s also a great subterfuge as there was a tunnel underneath it which led to a brothel. Charming.
The final stop was the theatre – this thing held 25 000 people! I wanted to test the acoustics but neither Miranda or I could be bothered walking all the way to the top of that thing and back down again. Instead we goofed off – as usual. Other noteworthy parts of Ephesus was that it used to have Amazon women. The reason they were called Amazon is because it Turkish ‘mazon’ (or something) means breast and the Amazon means ‘no breasts’. In order for a woman to master a bow and arrow they needed to remove their breasts so as to fire an arrow correctly. You can see the people at Marvel or DC or wherever had some artistic licensing calling Wonder Woman an Amazon given her... endowments.
We then left Ephesus and travelled into town. On the bus, though, there was this other tourist guy and he said this one phrase which left me in stitches for the rest of the day (much to Miranda’s surprise as it wasn’t that funny). The people here try to sell you things and give you “good price”. So this guy on the bus just mimics one of them and goes “You wanna buy bookmark? I give you good price – just 400 Euros.” Okay I’m chuckling away about even now and I know when Miranda reads this she’ll be like “Oh yeah that’s right – what the heck was with that?” Ha Ha... 400 Euros... HA!

In to town! We were taken to this shop where they specialised in handmade silk rugs. Now I’ve never been particular interested in carpets but these were gorgeous. It was like a show! They showed us how they get the silk from the silk worms, weave it (by hand) and make these carpets. The guide explained that the prices of these carpets depends on how long they take to make. So a small carpet might cost much, much for than a bigger carpet because it has smaller intricate knots and took twice as long. One carpet can take up to four years! Imagine if you finished it and someone spilt red wine on it – you would want to strangle them A LOT. It is a tradition in Turkey that a woman weave five carpets before she gets married as a dowry and also to learn patience – which she will need as a wife. Patience with all the red wine spilling they’re going to do! Our tour group was led into this big open room with chairs all round the outside and then four big men promptly began rolling out huge carpets, one by one, for us to look at and stand on!
We were encouraged to take off our shoes and feel how lovely they were – whilst sipping delicious apple tea (this place is AWESOME). By the end of the show there so many carpets I couldn’t see the floor and it looked like Aladdin’s den. So we did the only mature thing... pretended to be Aladdin.
One other little tidbit that I learnt was how the Turkish were involved with the invention of the croissant. When the Europeans defeated the Turks they wanted to make a delicious snack which presented their victory. So they made a croissant which is shaped like the crescent moon on the Turkish flag! Learning is fun. We were then shown the city and got to shop around for a while. This market place was hilarious because we were inundated with people begging us to look at their shops. One guy just straight up said “My shop is better than his”. It was a lovely market but we were very pressed for time. Everyone was really lovely and I really want to go back and visit Turkey again to gain a larger experience.

Back on the boat for lunch and a well deserved nap. Our room was penetrated by that voice once more telling us to move our booties because we had arrived in Patmos. We got on a little boat and were jostled to the island. We shared a cab with these other girls (both called Kristy I think...) to the Sacred Grotto – the Church of Apocalypse/ St John’s. This cave was supposed to have a big crack in it from when God was speaking but Miranda and I were craning our necks all around town and we couldn’t see it. So we sneakily tried to watch what the other tour guides were pointing at (though they were speaking in another language – I think we found it eventually). Our taxi came back and we drove further up the hill to the Monastery. This monastery is hundreds of years old and it is the monk’s duty to preserve the frescos – the only problem is they are all black because of over extensive incense use.
For nine centuries these monks have been praying (not the same ones obviously) from 3am to 6am every day – that’s a whole lotta prayin’ goin’ on.
We then went and got ice-cream and walked back down the hill. This other tourist stopped us (she was quite large) and asked us how far the monastery was. “91 steps” we said. “91 steps? Is there a cafeteria?” No joke. Then she waddled off.

We shopped for a little while in Patmos and it was really lovely. The weather was perfect and the sunset set the mood. It wasn’t as pretty as some of the other towns but it was most pleasant. Hopped back on the boat, had a quick roast sunbake and scooted to dinner. There is nothing better than Greek salad, the boat crew singing, the dress code being blue and white and a whole lot of napkin twirling to the music!