We’ve been cruising the Aegean. But first, a quick tour of the sights and sounds of Athens. Stop us if you’ve heard it all before.
As night fell, we espied the Parthenon from our hotel window. BA having mislaid Tere’s suitcase, mind you, she was in no fit state to enjoy it. (Fortunately it turned up on day 2).
The temple of Zeus, just sitting there in the heart of the city.
The changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier, next door to the Ministry of Silly Walks.
The temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounian. Evocative ain’t the word.
Our first port of call, off the east coast of the Peloponnese, was the picturesque island of Monemvasia, settled in the 8th century by Greeks fleeing a Slav invasion.
Next came Santorini, now entirely populated by Koreans and Chinese doing fashion shoots.
Here a wine tasting also brought us face to face with local wildlife.
Everywhere the churches were iconic (sorry).
Here beneath the silver clouds is our cruise ship, the Silver Cloud.
In the Turkish coastal town of Marmoris, we met up with Tere’s cousin Siobhán and her partner Kenan for a traditional lunch of kebab and chips.
Probably our most spectacular excursion was to the ancient Anatolian city of Ephesus, dating from the 10th century BCE. The Romans built the library of Celsus at the start of the 2nd century AD.
A signpost to the local house of pleasure. Words superfluous.
This excursion also took in the final resting places of the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist, who emigrated to these parts together after the death of Christ. Allegedly. The museum nearby houses the bust of Commodus, aka Joaquín Phoenix in Gladiator.
No tourist in Turkey can avoid the statutory carpet factory visit, complete with pizza-style rug spin. We felt sorry for them, with sales having plummeted disastrously this past year for obvious reasons. But not sorry enough to buy one, though we were tempted.
Mykonos was lovely, albeit rather blowy the day we called in.
The Turkish city of Çanakkale on the southern shore of the Dardanelles is convenient for a visit to the Gallipoli WWI battlefield, but we chose a trip to ancient Troy. This proved a bit of a disappointment. Achilles and co didn’t leave much behind for tourists. So the highlight of the day proved to be Brad Pitt’s Trojan horse, donated to the city by the movie producers after filming (in Malta and Morocco, mark you).
Last stop the Greek island of Lemnos, very untouristy and all the better for it. Now home to the miserable drizzle of May Day in England!