July 28, 2009
Here are my birthday gifts this year; the Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Multiple Wallet from my wife, Jane and a pottery artwork from my sister-in-law, Nina. Jane bought this wallet when we were in Athens, Greece, and Nina made this artwork which she claimed as a cup by herself.
Nina is a college student major in fashion design, likes to try new stuffs and to create something different. She came back to Taiwan six months ago as an exchange student at Shih Chien University. Before her going back to Canada, she made this pretty artwork when she experienced pottering at Yingge(鶯歌). The reason she made a crab on the cup because I was born in July which was a Cancer baby. I just received it today after the final processing by the pottering classroom.
July 20, 2009
Due to the limited space of original Acropolis Museum, so Greek government decided to build a new museum for a better exhibition of precious masterpieces. The construction of new Acropolis Museum started in 2000 and completed in 2007. It has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis.
The official opening of the new Acropolis Museum was on 20 June, 2009 and opened to public on 21 June, 2009. We saw this news when we were still sailing on the Aegean Sea. We were so exciting to be one of the very early visitors of this museum. But it was not as perfect as what we were expected, because the new Acropolis Museum was only opened to those people who purchase e-tickets on line.
If there was a rule, then we had to follow. Since we could not get in the museum (though it was quite empty), we still visited this museum and walked on the top of a historical site in its front yard. Without entering the new Acropolis Museum, but we still visited Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus and Theatre of Dionysos.
Photos of Athens
July 19, 2009
Most time when we talk about Greece, the image in our mind is the houses in white and blue colors with the blue sky in the background; the typical romantic image of Greece for most people.
After visiting Patmos and Criti, we finally visited Santorini, the island with lots of house painted in white and blue.
The main town of Santori, Thira (Fira) is 1916 feet about sea level, so visitors need to take the cable car (or by donkey) to reach it. At Thira, you can enjoy the romantic atmosphere and walk through small alleys to see some pretty churches, houses, restaurants and gift shops; you can always find something WOW.
Because our cruiser only stopped at Santorini for less than 5 hours, we only can visited Thira, but no time for another beautiful town, Oia, which the town seen in many TV commercials and post cards. Hope I can have another chance to visit it again and stay few days there to taste more about Santorini.
Photos of Santorini
July 18, 2009
We said good-bye to Turkey in Kusadasi, then took the easyCruise Life heading to Greece. After enjoying lunch and the sunshine of the Aegean Sea, we arrived at the first island of Greece during this voyage, the Patmos.
Patmos is a small island of Greece in the Aegean Sea, one of the most northerly of the Dodecanese group. With small population of about 2500 people, the main business is farming for grapes, olives, tomato, wheat and others.
The two important sites at Patomos are the Monastery of St. John and the Holy Cave of Apocalypse. Monastery of St. John is located on the highest point at Patmos, so our plan was taking a taxi to the monastery and walk back to the harbor. The hiking trail at Patmos is quite good, it is an old footpath; from the monastery to the Cave of Apocalypse, then back to harbor. Most tourist took taxis or buses for round trip, so we were almost the only people enjoy hiking there.
I do recommend people who visit Patmos to enjoy this hiking trail if you are capable, at least having one single trip (uphill or downhill). So you can see the harbor/town and the 2 sites from various angles. Also, there are always something surprise you when you pass through the residential area.
Photos of Patmos
July 14, 2009
My first time travelling on a cruiser was in Egypt, but it was just a small boat on the Nile. During this Turkey/Greece trip, we had a chance to take a 3 day cruise on the Aegean Sea from Kusadasi, Turkey to Athens, Greece.
This boat named easyCruise Life, which is operated by easyCruise.com, a specialist in value for money Greek island cruise. Be most specific, the boat of easyCruise.com is smaller, less luxurious, and charges less than other big cruisers.
Anyway, it was our first cruise trip on the sea. Though this boat is not as fancy as others, it still offered decent service, food and entertainment. I think it was a really nice deal for budget travellers. Maybe easyCruise Life is like the Cruise101 to us, then we can enjoy higher level cruisers later.
July 13, 2009
The typical image of Muslim countries to me is conservative, anti-capitalism, anti-American, and Muslim-only. Sorry! it is my fault. I think that is why people need to visit other countries and learn about the truth, not only being educated by Hollywood movies.
During this trip. I found Turkey is a very open minded Muslim country; they accept different cultures and different religions. They are really a role model for "harmony of multi-cultures and multi-religions" in Islam world.
In Turkey, we saw many mosques, but also visited several places related to Catholicism/Christianity such as Hagia Sophia, Goreme Open Air Museum, and the house of the Virgin Mary. For the ancient cultures, we did not see only ancient Turkish culture, but also some remains from the ancient Greek (Ephesus) and the ancient Roman.
Istanbul : Mix of multi-cultures and multi-religions
Konya: Muslism culture
Ephesus: Catholicism/ Christianity, ancient Greece
July 12, 2009
Maybe because of the nice climate, we saw all kinds of pretty roses when we traveled in Turkey. Also, Turkey is famous of cherries. We had chances to enjoy the cherries in the restaurant, also once we got some free cherries from friendly Turkish farmer.
July 11, 2009
Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site and attraction in south-western Turkey.
Because of the tectonic movements in the Menderes river basin triggered frequent earthquakes, and gave rise to the emergence of a number of very hot springs. The water from one of these springs, with its large mineral content, especial the chalk. So it created Pamukkale.
It was astonishing whey I saw the Pamukkale; a large white stone area with some blue hot spring ponds. It was the hottest day since we arrived Turkey, but we still enjoy walking at Pamukkale and enjoy dipping our feet in the hot spring.
But the story from our tour guide and the member who visited Turkey 10 years ago, they said the hot spring area of Pamukkale was much bigger. Because once people abused the hot spring of Pamukkale, so current hot spring area is smaller than ever. Now the Turkish government is working on saving Pamukkale, trying to maintain this World Heritage Site .
I think many many tourist sites in the world are facing the same problem. People want to use these tourist sites to increase the income of tourism business, but they did not have the idea how they damaged the natural wonders. It is always late when people realize they are losing the gifts from mother nature.
Photos of Pamukkale.
July 6, 2009
Because of Turkey is in the mid of Asia and Europe, so it is very important for trading no matter now or in ancient time. "Han" is the meaning of hostel or inn in Turkish. There were many hans for business people in ancient Turkey; most of the hans were operated by government or kingdom and offered 3-day free stay for business people. That was a very thoughtful arrangement, especially for such a long time ago.
On the way to Konya, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch and the restaurant was a han long time ago. This restaurant is named HOROZLUHAN RESTAURANT, means rooster hostel restaurant in Turkish. We had a great lunch with nice bread, bean soup, Turkish pizza, chicken rice, and dessert. We also enjoyed the ambiance of ancient travellers' life. I think that was the most exotic dinning experience for me in Turkey.
July 5, 2009
Cappadocia which is unique in the world and is a miraculous nature wonder is the common name of the field covered by the provinces of Aksaray, Nevsehir, Nigde, Kayseri and Kirsehir in the Central Anatolian region.
The tourist sites impressed me most in this area were the Goreme Open Air Museum and Kaymakli Underground City. Goreme Open Air Museum was a the monastery of nuns and built in the caves during AD 900 to 1200. There are churches, dinning rooms, kitchens, and dormitories. It is really amazing to see so many cave houses in such a big area.
Another site is Kaymakli Underground City. It was a underground city built by the early Christians to hide from Roman soldiers searching. There are several floors in the underground city, we only visit part of 3 floors due to limited time. It was quite tiring to walk through the city, because always needed to bend down, squat down or climb ladders. We did feel some muscle pain.
Photos of Cappadocia
July 2, 2009
Cappadocia is one of the astonishing areas for tourists in Turkey, because of its natural wonders and unique historical heritages.
It was quite late when we arrived at Nevsehir in this area, we did not see the natural wonders clearly, but a hotel got our attention. Alfina Cave Hotel is a hotel in the style of Cappadocia; half of the hotel is build "in the mountain". Each room is like a cave; although it is not big, there are everything you need for a comfortable stay, and with romantic feelings.
Not only the unique design of the hotel, the restaurant also serves nice meal. We really enjoyed the stay at the cave hotel and took a good rest for another great day in Cappadocia.