Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Last Day in Greece

     I like Greece, but I like Turkey more. Although, I have noticed that the Greeks like alot of American music. It's cleaner in Greece but i feel like I have been getting the evil eye from alot of the locals. That's ok though, if I was a Greek and I saw some guy like me walking around I would probably do the same thing.
     I liked my trip a great deal and I want to thank all of those people who made friends with me, I appreciate that.Special thanks to Ann Schlemper and Lee Stanton for being great on this whole trip.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Hey, sorry we've been "away"--the satellite web on the ship was too expensive for any of us to use. We'll fill in missing pieces when we can. In Athens now. Some of us going to Delphi tomorrow (well, wake up call is in 4 hours), others have free time.

later, bob

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Turkish Delight

     I like Turkey, I like it a lot. I feel like I belong there. The attitude of the Turks is something I can really jive with. We went out wandering the streets of Kusadesi at night and it felt a little dangerous at the same time I felt right at home. It is much cleaner in Greece but the Greek way of life is much more akin to what I see in America. It is very clean but not quite as mysterious which is strange considering the past that this place has.
     I'm really glad to be off the boat, it was fun for the first 24 hours but after awhile I just could not settle down to go to sleep so I ended up wandering the boat late at night trying to amuse myself which I did, however minimally. After arriving in Greece I had alot of energy left but by mid afternoon I just lost all my steam and that was it. I am very happy to have seen the Acropolis and especially the Church of the Holy Apostles. There was a beautiful feeling that came to me in the Church, some people shed tears while others prayed, it was quite wonderful. I think that just sitting there for awhile taking in the vibe of that place was the highlight of my trip.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

     Today's blog is going to remain short for me due to the outrageous price of internet on this friggin boat. I went to Santorini today and \I was blown away. This is the birthplace of thinking as we know it. If there ever was a place to study magickal philosophy this is it. To think that Atlantis is buried somewhere beneath our feet is pretty wild. The vibe of this place is dense, Charles told me he had some weird dreams last night, I suggested that perhaps they were visions of Atlantis.Later on i'll probably meditate and try to invoke visions of my own. Santorini is absolutley breathtaking and I am so grateful to be here.
     What I am not grateful for are the manners of some of these young European kids, they seem to have none, I look into there eyes and there is nothingness.
     I want to thank Lee Stanton for sharing a beautiful prayer at the beach in Cannakle with me, it rained that night and I have a feeling |I know who sent the storm.

    -M. Calabrese

Friday, May 25, 2012


After our first night at the Otel Iris, we got up the next morning, loaded into the bus, and took the short drive to the archaeological excavations of ancient Troy.

Before we entered, we had a visit to the strangely preserved Trohan Horse...

which turned out to be full of bad Greeks, still to this day...

Suleyman spent some time recalling the legend with us, the Goddess of Discord dropping that golden apple with "for the fairest" on it at a wedding feast, Zeus having Paris (then living on Mt. Ida) choose between the three main goddesses, Aphrodite promising him Helen, and so on (my 277 Troy students might be able to fill in those details sometime...).  Then Suleyman led us into the city of Troy.

What is misleading, perhaps, is to simply call this Troy. They have now figured out that there are 9 strata here, that is, 9 distinct cities, built on each other.  Troy 1 would have begun about 5000 years ago. 

Troy 6 was a rich market town, where merchants might wait for months for favorable winds.  The inner citadel had 15 foot thick walls, slanted at the base, with a gate around the corner.

We visited the bare marble floor where the temple of Athena once stood, overlooking the countryside.  Later, we saw the ramp that would have led up to the citadel of Troy 2, one of the richer incarnations.

And just beyond, the infamous Schliemann's Trench where he found much treasure from Troy 2...

And, well, lots more here--council place, sacrifice pits, other strata and walls.  And the dog...

later, bob
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Alive! not Lively

Per requests to verify a few folks are still alive:



and the discovery of ketchup-flavored chips...

while I found another respite from tea (chai) or Diet Coke:

later, bob
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Beth broached the subject a couple posts earlier.  Toilets can be interesting here.  For the most part, everything is about the same as in the U.S.--even the toilet paper.  But once in a while, like at a truck stop where we had lunch one day, this traditional facility appeared in the men's room (I didn't cross-check with the ladies' room):

Here we have places for your feet, a water container and a spout (I've seen the variation of a hose, or a common bucket and ladel, in, I think, Malaysia).  With this set-up, water replaces toilet paper, which often isn't offered at all.  Curiously, our hotel in Canakkale had a modern-day update, that little spout in the back, which a faucet could turn on:

The Romans, back in the days they ruled Ephesus, had this public facility for men--marble seating, with water running underneath, and that trough in front to cleanse the sponge-on-a-stick...
as demonstrated...

Travel is always an education.

later, bob

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Otel Iris

Our second stop in Turkey, the Otel Iris, outside of Canakkale...

Not sure if you can see the mosaic up there--2 sad lovers in a boat.  Probably meant to be Helen and Paris, as Canakkale is the staging point for visits to both Troy and Gallipoli.  TheDardanelles are also the spot where Leander would nightly swim across to meet his gal Hero--the swim Lord Byron imitated later, for his own complex reasons (beyond writing a bad poem about his swim).

So, we arrived at a beach hotel...

A beautiful place...

with the swimming pool, an outside bar, and this, the first time I've seen an olive tree in bloom...

Friendly locals...

Hard to resist getting to the water--here Matthew and Steve have plunged in...

But if you look closer at the beach, well, they don't seem to do any immediate local clean-up, and both the plastic that won't dissolve and who knows what that has dissolved has all arrived "downstream" from Istanbul...

Supper was a sprawling buffet, colorful, though toned down for every visitor possible...

I was irritated the wi-fi didn't reach the rooms and kept cutting out even in the lobby, and those of us on the not-pool, not-beach side of the hotel overlooked a ? petting zoo? animal reserve? chicken yard ? (smelled like a chicken yard from my balcony on the second floor), and that one sad rooster thought that dawn came at 3, and 4:30, and 5 and 6:20...

But not a bad 2 nights, and we could look across the cove to hills just before Troy, where some of those Greeks may have landed, some, oh, 3200 years ago...

later, bob
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Ephesus and the cats

Photos still won't load. I will post lots when I get home for sure! Today we went to Ephesus to see the ruins. They are amazing! The age of the ancient city is hard to comprehend. I saw a carving of the goddess Nike that was in great condition. What was left of the bath house was great for the imagination to picture what it was like. The latrines were well intact. There were many holes to sit on in a row. You could continue your conversation with your friend while you were doing your business. Then put vinegar on your sponge at the end of a stick to clean yourself. There was a trench at your feet to clean your sponge, but better wait for the person upstream to finish first! Quite the affair.

 There are cats everywhere! Most have been pretty friendly, but you know how moody they can get very quickly, as I soon found out when this lovely female desided she was done with me petting her and told me so by attacking my hand. Don't worry, there are a lot of mother hens in our group who made sure I used hand sanitizer and anti-biotic ointment. It's just a scratch, just a scratch!
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Thursday, May 24, 2012


We have seen a lot in the last 3 days....or is it 4? The days don't really matter, the experiences do. We went to the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Market all in one day! I've been trying to post pictures, but they won't load. I will post when I can.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Crossing into Asia

We finally reached the spot where we would cross over to Canakkale—crossing the Dardanelles, into Asia.  A new continent for most of us!

Now 2 nights in Canakkale!
later, bob
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Traveling, 5-22-12

Our first long move across Turkey, leaving Istanbul. Leaving the corner market, right beside the hotel…

We drove through the ever-expanding city for over an hour. I noticed what looked like random, odd high-rises out in the middle of nowhere, often with a new mosque. I was seeing some dystopian Pruitt-Igoe, but Suleyman said that this was just the city itself growing, that within a few years these spaces (well, fertile farm land) would all be filled in…
We stopped for lunch at a gas station. Good, if pricey, food—I finally found just a bowl of yoghurt, and some peppers really hot. And the most welcome, given that Turkish coffee is undrinkable…

Then lots of green space, farther along the coast…

And for a hundred miles, roses at intersections and medians…
Not the picture of Turkey most of us have.

Later, bob

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The Hagia Sophia

On Tuesday morning, the group changed our agenda—because it is closed Monday, we were going to miss the Hagia Sophia, but our combined groups unanimously decided we needed to see the Hagia Sophia instead of the Green Mosque in Bursa. That would have been fun, and we might have also seen more silk production there, but, well, can’t miss the most famous icon of Istanbul.

Of course, more than a few other groups got across town in the heavy traffic, too, and we felt lucky to not get trampled getting through the gates. Once in, we had to learn to just let the masses of people be invisible.

Background—this grand cathedral was built by early rulers of Constantinople. Two mathematicians [time for Ann to fill in some info here…] were charged with designing “a temple larger than Solomon’s,” not an easy task in a land on a major fault zone. They succeeded, with a unique dome. The whole structure used marble from the isle of Marmara, columns raided from the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, porphyry from Lebanon, Roman urns from Pergamum, and gold, well, from the whole empire.
In the sack of Constantinople, those same Christian Crusaders also looted the Hagia Sophia, and the church likely would have been lost, Suleyman tells us, if the Ottomans who soon retook the city had not converted it to a mosque, and spent a great deal in repair. Of course, to become a mosque, all images of human figures had to be removed and all distinctly Christian symbols.

And even the archangels in the ceiling corners lost their faces.

They added a prayer focus to face Mecca (at the right) and the Sultan’s lodge (the elevated box)—a private space for the Sultan to pray...

Fortunately, the Ottomans decided to plaster over many other images rather than destroy them, so after 16 years with the dome full of scaffolding—including the last time I was here—many images have recently been restored.

The other fortunate turn for the Hagia Sophia is that in the 1920s the new leader of Turkey changed this into a museum, a secular space, now open to all.

Lee, a CC art teacher, who will be writing her new thesis on the mosaics, was not unhappy to be here…

Later, bob

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