A Travellerspoint blog

CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY

Land of monks and moonscape

sunny 68 °F

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Did you miss us? We have been off the ship and unconnected for a few days, and we have had a splendid adventure. From Kusadasi, Turkey, we flew to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cappadocia where we spent three days in a magical landscape, exploring underground and aboveground in a hot air balloon.

Cappadocia lies in the center of the country, and it is filled with thousands of underground medieval churches carved from the rock and filled with painted frescoes. The landscape is dotted with troglodyte caves and fairy chimneys, huge stone structures honeycombed with windows and doors and topped with hats left by lava. Spring is all around us; apricot and almond trees are bursting into bloom, and it all looks like a Disney set and thus a bit unbelievable.

Our hotel was carved directly into the mountainside, so it was on many levels (think climb, climb, climb). The view was magnificent, and we had a huge bathtub with 6 jets in the bathroom and an even bigger one in the bedroom. Next we'll tell you of our amazing adventures!

Hope and Bill

Posted by HopeEakins 11:11 Archived in Turkey Comments (1)

RHODES

Kamiros and Philerimos

overcast 67 °F

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The view of Rhodes from our veranda is stunning. Since we are the only cruise ship in the harbor, the island is uncrowded and delightful. We drove first to Kamiros, a city that is called "little Pompeii" because of its remarkable ruins. The city flourished from about the 5th C BC until earthquakes felled it in the 2nd C AD. The Agora, Acropolis, and ancient houses are beautifully excavated,and the hillside smells of fresh oregano and lavender.
Then we headed to Philerimos, and the church of Our Lady, the restored monastery, and the barrel-vaulted Chapel of St. George with 15th century frescoes. Peacocks are considered to be acred. They abound on the mountain, all honking and strutting about. The peahens wriggle in the dirt making nests for their eggs; the males spread their tails and blink their eyes. Amazingly, the butt end of the male is as interesting and beautiful as the frontal display. Check it out!

Posted by HopeEakins 12:55 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

HAIFA and SEPPHORIS

sunny 80 °F

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Day 1. Our first day in Israel was cancelled (Israel would not let us dock in Ashdod for reasons unspecified to us), thus all our plans to go to Jerusalem and stay for three days were cancelled too. So the Silver Whisper went to Haifa where we waited for a day while an Israeli team came aboard and tested everyone on the ship twice (nose and mouth). The results came in at 6 pm – no Covid aboard – so we got a yellow sticker on a card. Next was the face-to-face inspection after which we received a piece of paper in Hebrew, stamped, to carry in our passport. We rejoiced but decided it was too late to go out for dinner so we stayed aboard.

Day 2. We went to Zippori/Tzippori/Sephoris, a city with a strong tradition of Mary’s birth in a place marked by a fifth century basilica. Sepphoris flourished in the first century with a major building boom. The poor Jewish town of Nazareth, only three miles away, would have supplied most of the unskilled workers and craftsmen for this extensive construction project. When we were here in 1996, Henry Carse, lecturer from St. George’s, Jerusalem, suggested that the word tekton (usually translated as carpenter) could be better understood as “builder” and this broader meaning would include the work that Joseph and Jesus did here.

What remains in Sephoris today is a fascinating archeological dig with a gold mine of mosaics from Roman times and a 5th century synagogue. We loved it all and are astounded that this history and this beauty remain in such excellent condition.

On the way back to the ship we stopped at the top of Mt. Carmel and looked down at our ship and the absolutely fabulous gardens surrounding the Baha'i temple in Haifa.

Posted by HopeEakins 11:04 Archived in Israel Comments (1)

AQABA FAREWELL

Final memories

sunny 75 °F

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We have left Aqaba, the site of many adventures. We send a few photos:
1). Our toothpaste purchase. Since our Arabic is nonexistent, we were very happy to find find the familiar Colgate logo. Looking closer, we discovered that this is Herbal toothpaste. The herbs? Chamomile, eucalyptus, sage, and myrrh. At least there is no gold and frankincense.
2). The town and gorgeous mountains from our veranda, complete with mosque.
3). The mosque close up.
4). The signs forbidding us to enter the mosque.
5). Another of our favorite signs.

Adieu to Jordan. We now head for the Gulf of Suez and the Canal.

Posted by HopeEakins 05:07 Archived in Jordan Comments (1)

WADI RUM, JORDAN

A ride on the moon

sunny 70 °F

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Suleyman, taxi driver and phone finder, now our new best friend, took us to Wadi Rum, a huge desert in southern Jordan. Huge means 280 square miles, some of it gorgeous, some of it eerie. All the movies about Mars have been made here. You can see some of the odd rock formations in the photos, like the ram's head at the prow of a boat shape. You cannot see the colors, stripes of green (copper), red (iron), and various yellows and browns, all shimmering as sunset approaches. Occasionally you spot a Bedouin goat-hair tent (which does not look like it comes from L.L. Bean) and a jerry-rigged sheep/camel pen. Sometimes the Bedouins open their tents to visitors and offer camel rides and tea and local crafts. In one tent they were labeled in English. Do you need any "bitter melon if knees"?

We made two fascinating stops, one at a cave where T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia) stopped on his way to Aqaba during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18. The other was to view Nabatean petroglyphs of camels carved to delineate a trade route, still distinct after 2-3000 years.

Posted by HopeEakins 14:14 Archived in Jordan Comments (2)

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