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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Epthesus



Being so close to Turkey and the ancient city of Ephesus was too irresistible for our insatiable curiosity to resist. So on Thursday we travelled by ferry to the city of Kusadasi from there we met a tour group


Ephesus was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the Greek Arzawan capital. Ephesus particularly flourished during the roman occupation in the year 129 BC. The ancient city was abandoned in the 15th century AD.



Ephesus was an important centre for early Christianity, the apostle Paul lived in Ephesus and during that time he worked with the congregation and organised missionary activity. It is also believed that whilst residing in Ephesus Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.


L   
It is also believed that John resided in Ephesus and possibly wrote the gospel of John whilst he was there. It is also believed that Mary resided in Ephesus during the last years of her life.  

The city had one of the most advanced acqueduct systems in the ancient world, this was abundantly apparent as we wandered throughout the ruined city we seen clay pipes throughout the ruins.

The Odeon

    

Was a small roofed theatre, constructed around 150AD, originally it was used as a small salon for plays and concerts and accommodated approximately 1500 persons. During roman occupation it was used as the house of the roman senate.


Hospital 

 

The block above is believed to be the sign for the Hospital/ medical school of Ephesus. In the site directly behind this block a brass lancet was found also surgeon’s drills, needles, spatulas, curettes, hooks etc for surgeries and mortars, pestles etc for mixing medicines have been found in the building opposite that had a similar block which appears to indicate that it was the pharmacy.  The famous ancient physicians Soranus and Rufus both practiced in Ephesus and their written work is of great importance in the history of medicine.


The temple of Hadrian 

   

The temple of Hadrian was built around the 2nd century AD. The current building has been reerected from the archaeological fragments found around its sight. The carving on this temple was exquisite with images portraying the Emperor Theodosius his wife and his eldest son.

The library of Celsus


The facade of this building has been carefully reconstructed from its original pieces. Was originally built in 125AD in the memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaenus, primarily by his son, using his fathers funds.  Celsus is buried in a sarcophagus below the library. Designed with an exaggerated entrance to make it look larger, the library faces east to facilitate better light from the sun.

Footpath advertising 

   

The image carved in stone above tells a story.  If you are looking for love ( heart on upper left) keep walking ( foot) to the crossroad ( cross above foot) on the left ( cross is exagerated on the left side) there are beautiful women ( on bottom right you can make out what could be a woman's head with headdress).  The very bottom right has a box that is no longer legible, our tour guide believes it says " no money, no honey".

The great theatre


Is one of the most magnificent structures in ancient Ephesus, built to accomodate over 25 000 people. It has 66 rows of seats, divided by two walkways. Some of the seats had marble backs as well and are believed to have belonged to persons of importance.
The stage building has three stories and the facade that faces the audience was ornamented with relieves, columns and niches. The theatre was used for various important events including, concerts and plays , political and philosophical discussions . Religious discussions and gladiatorial and animal fights.


In the past 18 months I have had the great fortune to walk in 3 ancient cities, it is a wonderful thing to be able to see the amazingly clever things our ancestors have created, to walk down the same roads were history was written is an amazing feeling.

Kalimera

Googy Girl 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pythagorio

Again our trusty scooter took us on another adventure, we travelled to the town of Pythagorio.  About a 30 - 40 min ride.  Previously this township was named Tigani, however in 1955 it was renamed to honour Pythagoras. Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher and mathematician most famous for his phythagoreon theroem.  He was born in 570BC in ancient Samos.
The township of Pythagorio is built upon the ruins of the old city of Samos and  some of the ruins are incorporated into the current modern buildings.
Our first stop was the

Archeological museum of Pythagorio



This museum was fabulous, every item was labelled clearly with its origins and date. Throughout the museum there were large information boards identifying the different periods of the items.



These were amazing dating to around 550BC you can see in the front medical  equipment including a pair of tweezers. So finely made and so petite.



The museum also included some ruins of ancient Samos including this stunning mosaic, and another on the floor of what would have been a bath house.  



The collection came from sites all over Samos, but mainly from the Temple of Hera and are believed to be offerings from pilgrims, the collection also included Greek and Roman statues.  There is a bust of Augustus Octavious, the one above is believed to have been a Roman prince name unknown.
After leaving the museum we headed out to

The temple of Hera (Heraion)



Founded on the site of the mythological birth of the goddess Hera, the Herion is one of Greece's most important sites.  The Temple is believed to be the first of the gigantic free-standing Ionic temples built in Greece , and was the third temple built to honour Hera on this site and is believed to have been never finished.  The column you see above it the last of the over 100 columns believed to have been there.
After leaving Hera's temple we headed to the

Eupalinus Tunnel



I know this image isn't great but if you look through the grate you can see a small tunnel deep down.  
The eupalinus tunnel is the middle section of the ancient city of Samos's aqueduct.  It was built during the 6th century BC and was one of the most significant technical achievements of antiquity.  



One of the most amazing things about this tunnel is that it was simultaneously dug from the north and south and the image above it where they met in the middle.  As you can imagine in those days there was no mechanical devices to help so this tunnel was hewn by hand by teams of stone masons.  The aqueduct itself was a smallish clay pipe which unfortunately blocked repeatedly due to the high calcium levels in the water, however they unblocked it when necessary and The aqueduct provided water to ancient Samos for over 1000 years.  During 627 and 666 AD and  the tunnels provided sanctuary to Samian's during the Persian and Arabic raids.



We then popped up and had a look at a nearby monastery, it was in the most beautiful spot and it's original church was down inside a cave.



And finally after a very late lunch we went to the Port of Pythagorio. Which is actually the harbour of ancient Samos,  and remnants of the ancient harbour still exists today.  



Above is the new city of Samos, we really didn't head down into there at all. 
 Happy to while our hours away in Kokkari, 
other than when we got the got to go see something bug.


Kalimera


Googy Girl

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Samos, Kokkari

Samos is an Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, it is just 1.6km off the coast of Asia Minor 
(Turkey) 
In ancient times Samos was an especially rich and powerful island particularly known for its vineyards and wine production.  It was the home of Pythagoras who we all would have loved to have strangled in high school, well I know I did ... lol


We are staying in the small fishing village of Kokkari, 
whilst kokkari has now developed into a bit of a tourist haven with cafes lined up along the waters edge and a beautiful long beach to enjoy,



     


 it has maintained its traditional appearance with white houses, small winding streets and lanes filled with flowers and friendly locals.  It is a quiet tourist destination with lovely bars to while away the hours 

 


If you look at this image on the far right you can see two windows on the top storey, that is our little Kokkari home. Below us an Italian restaurant called Basilico.  Each morning we sipped our tea and watching tourists wander backwards and forwards along the fishermans wharf. In the evening we watched the locals heading out in their small fishing boats and the restaurant staff setting up for the evening, whilst across the water we could see the tourists starting to gather at the various bars and cafes.



On our second day here we decided to head off to see what was around, we did have a list of suggestions from our friend whom is allowing us to stay in her home.



So we jumped on our trusty scooter and headed into the hills to   

Vourliotes

Vourliotes is a picturesque mountain village, it only has about 500 residents and is a beautiful Greek village
We decided to have lunch.  here at a lovely little cafe called "Blue chairs". The lovely waitress attempted to help us perfect our Greek ( we are really not very good)

  

And we had an amazing traditional Greek lunch, very yummy.
After lunch we headed off again this time we headed to a monastery just outside the town.

 

The monastery sustained a large amount of damage in  a bush fire back in 2000 and the handful of monks who reside here are slowly trying to rebuild it.  The chapel has been partially repainted with the most beautiful images in vibrant rich colours similar to a Byzantine style.  Apparently the monastery is one of the oldest on the island.  We purchased a few bits and pieces, to help the rebuilding program. The views from up there were spectacular.
On another day we headed to the township of 

Manolates
Manolates is another quaint little mountain village filled with pottery and jewellery shops and cafes.

 

We walked through the village to its highest point to have lunch at the

 

Lukas bar/ cafe , we again had a great traditional meal, and were entertained by the local cats who were very good at getting your attention, whilst you are trying to look at the view above.

Pretty much other than that we have been sitting either


  

Here


Or here

 


Or enjoying this view.

kalismera 
( good morning)

Googy Girl

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Athens , Greece

We arrived in Athens late in the afternoon. So there really wasn't a great deal of time to go sight seeing.  We settled into our room and then headed out for a wander and to find some place for dinner.

The next day we rose earlyish and headed off to do meet up with the organisers of our tour.  We planned to do a tour of the sites around Athens city itself.  
Our first stop was the Panathenaic Stadium

  

The first stadium to built on this site was in 330AD, it was rebuilt, totally in Marble,  in 144AD  after a time it was abandoned then in 1860 it was excavated and rebuilt and in 1869 it hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern olympics.
After this jumped back onto the bus and after a short period we were informed by our guide that we would not be able to do the city tour as a large part of the inner city was closed due to the presence of the French president.  


The picture above shows the laos on the road at the Athenians tried to move about there partially closed city. After spending about 50 mins on the bus , stuck in traffic as our driver made multiple attempts to find a way to the acropolis. Eventually we got through. And headed up the hill towards this great monument.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

    

 is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the acropolis.  This building was completed in 161AD and was renovated in the 1950's. The Odeon is the main venue for the Athens Festival which runs from May through to October and has had such famous performers as Luciano Pavarotti, Nana Mouskouri, Frank Sinatra and Maria Callas.

Temple of Athena Parthenos


The construction of the temple of Athena Parthenos was commenced in 447BC they believe it took just 9 years to complete however it was another 6 years before all the carvings were completed.  This temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena whom is the patron of Athens.  Over the years the temple was used for various other religions at one time it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was Christian and after the ottoman invasion it became a mosque.  Unfortunately at one point it was used as a warehouse for ammunitions and after several days of bombardment by Venetian attackers a shell got through the roof and resulted in exploding the ammunitions and severely destroying the building.

Erechtheum

The main structure of this temple consists of four compartments.

    

The Porch of the Caryatid
The porch of the caryatid is on the south side of the Erechtheum, it consisted of six carved caraytids( women from Caryai (Sparta) ) as supporting columns. 



In the image above is two things of interest , the first is the North porch of the Erechtheum which is made up of six ionic columns. The second thing of interest is the olive tree in the foreground.  Legend has it that Zeus offered a contest between Athena and Poseidon for the possession of Athens. Poseidon raised up his three-pronged trident, smashed it upon the hard rock of the Acropolis and out a salt spring sprang. Athena on the other hand produced an olive tree, its rich fruits bountifully dangling from the branches. Whilst this is not THE original tree it is in the same place and is considered to have come from the roots of the original tree.
After leaving the Acropolis we headed down to the 

acropolis museum
The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes. It contains the original caryatids ( moved here to preserve them) and  hundreds of vases, statues and other wonderful bits and pieces that have been gathered from the site. Including the remaining marble sculptures not removed previously.

    

Beneath the Acropolis museum are the ruins of an ancient Athenian neighbourhood. You are able to see the remains of streets and houses, bathhouses and workshops,  the museum was specifically constructed on the archaeology with tough glass flooring as you wander through looking at the artefacts.  These ruins date to the late antiquity and early Byzantine periods (7th – 9th century AD). 


As the sun went down we headed to the rooftop bar of the sister hotel to ours. We sat sipping drinks and looking at this view . . . 


I think a memory that will never leave us.

Herete
(Goodbye, be happy)


Googy Girl 




Thursday, September 7, 2017

Last day in London

Today was our last day in London so I dragged Gadget back to Buckingham Palace for the

Changing of the guards

I got a really good position up on the monument so I could take photos without trying to shoot over people's heads unfortunately about 30 mins before it started the police came and made us all get down , apparently it can get a bit crowded and people have been known to be pushed into the fountain . . . 
Anyway I managed to get some good photos despite the number of selfie sticks waved above people's heads.


The queens guard have been watching over the royal palaces since 1660.  The Changing of the Guard takes 45 mins and marks the handover between the Old Guard, who are nearing the end of their shift, and the New Guard, who are readying to relieve the Old Guard of their duties. 


The old guard form up on the left side of the palace grounds ( looking from the Victoria monument) then with the marching band leading the new guard march through the gates on the right side of the palace.  The two respective leaders "hand over" to each other and lots of carefully choreographed flag waving and pageantry takes place.  The band then entertains the crowd with a couple of tunes, we were lucky they did some contemporary music. Then the old guard marches out through the main gate at the front of the palace.  It was a great spectacle to see


The queens household cavalry paraded past the palace before and after the completion of the change over.  The really are the most gorgeous looking horses.

Queen Victoria monument 

  

The Queen Victoria monument is positioned at the end of the Mall, directly infront of Buckingham palace. The decision to create the monument was made in 1901 , however the monument was not completed until 1924.  The cost was estimated at £250 000 however it was decided that no grant would be given by the British government.  Many commonwealth countries contributed to raise the funds, Australia and New Zealand contributed £25 000 and £15 000 respectively, the people of Britain also contributed and they were able to raise enough money to build the monument, build the Admiralty Arch at the other end of the Mall and reface all of Buckingham Palace.
Harrods

Of course a visit to Harrods was a necessary part of time in London.  The Harrods site covers approx 5 acres facing on to Brompton rd , Knightsbridge.  

Harrods has over 330 departments and has what I would have to say is the most beautiful foodhalls I've ever seen. We wandered through a few departments


We had a late lunch / afternoon tea in the tea rooms , I had a lovely cream tea and Gadget had a ploughmans lunch

London Eye

To Finish our London experience we though what better way then to see London then from 135 metres above.


The London eye was opened in 2000 and was at that time the worlds highest ferriswheel , however has been surpassed several times over. 

 
As you can see the views are spectacular, it takes 30 mins to do the full rotation.  And we thoroughly enjoyed it.


Our visit to London was very very busy as we crammed in as much as we possibly could, there is so much to see and to be honest I felt like I was just starting to know london and it was time to leave. 
You've probably figured out I am now a few posts behind, but we are now on the Island of Samos where things are much much quieter so over the next few days I will catch you up on what's happened in between.

Cheerio 

Googy Girl