This is a photo from our first trip to Greece. It is a distant view, at dusk, of the ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Corinth. And one of the first (of many) ruins I would visit over the next 30 years. As beautiful as this is, Corinth is also the site of the pretty amazing Canal of Corinth (see photo below), which was completed in 1893. It is a pretty amazing thing to see--and think about what they had to do in the late 19th century to remove all that rock.
After 14 months without visiting any ruins or ancient sites, I am getting itchy feet...
We are in our first full day in Athens, where it will hit 40 degrees celsius this afternoon (104 fahrenheit),
f = 9/5 c + 32
We will be visiting the fantastic and huge museum we went to last time, as well as visiting the Acropolis and its excellent ruins at least a couple of times.
Tomorrow night, on our last night here, we currently plan to attend a play in an ancient theatre. Aristophenes. And in between, we will visit other ruins, if possible, try to keep cool, and face up to our trip coming to an end, about which, more later. ---o0o---
And, yes, I know, many people say it is jingoistic and/or ethnocentric of us to call our homeland America. But::::::::that is how we are known in Europe and at least the part of Asia I have spent time in now. When they ask you where you are from and you say United States, they usually respond, "America." Most people have relatives there, and a fair number have actually been there. On that note, I often try to tell them I am from Seattle, but once someone said "Oh! all the snow in Alaska!" Other times, I try to explain...West Coast, on The Pacifico...near Canada...northwest U.S...and about half the time now I just say California, which registers instantly. It's not too big a jump after all...I've lived there and been there at least 20 times in the last 18 months.
This is the second time I've been away from the States on the 4th of July. The first time, we were with our long-time vacation pals the Hokits on Salt Spring Island in Canada. Our kids (minus Claire, she claims) put on red, white and blue facepaint and were very cranky about Canadians ignoring the 4th, not to mention the fact that they had no fireworks. Yes, they were unable to make the almost sacred Hejira to Boom City to buy the real (aka not "Safe and Sane"), dangerous, fireworks. I think somehow the Tulalip Tribe was still somehow able to make their payroll, and that massive pre-4th logjam on Interstate 5 probably still occurred.
As Henry Gibson said in his song in the great Altman movie Nashville, "We must be doing something right to last 200 years." Over here you realize what an infintesimal drop in the bucket that 200 years really is (sorry to end with a preposition...sometimes it's just easier).
This morning we sailed from Datca, Turkey to the Island of Rhodes in Greece. It was a one hour boat ride across the sea.
This very minute I am sitting with Keelin at the cafe our hotel owner has outside the hotel. We are talking to him about the ruins of Greece...and he is expressing his anger and sadness that Turkey is not still part of Greece ("the part, not the east...that's the Kurds and others.").
I just asked him if other Greeks feel the same way. "No. Many are much more angry about this."
The castle of the Knights of Malta in Rhodes
It's nice to be back in Greece, after 26 years. Rhodes itself seems very European and Cosmopolitan, compared to mich of Turkey at least. In fact, Keelin and I are celebrating our return this afternoon (it's 5:30) with a glass of Retsina in the garden of our hotel. We were half our age when we came here last( a pre-honeymoon of sorts).
One thing that has definitely changed in Turkey is the money and the prices. When we were here in 1982, it was very very cheap. The currency was then based on the Greek drachma. They now use the Euro, and you can just imagine how the dollar is faring against the Euro. (a Euro is now worth about $1.60). More sticker shock. Since we got up at five AM, I spent much of the afternoon napping, and recovering from a touch of what you might call the Sultan's Revenge).
In case you're wondering about the Colossus of Rhodes (one of the "seven wonders of the world")...don't bother. Yes, this is where one of those seventh wonders was, but it no longer exists. It was destroyed in an earthquake fifty-four years after it was built. (According to the Wikipedia: "Media reports in 1989 initially suggested that large stones found on the seabed off the coast of Rhodes might have been the remains of the Colossus; however this theory was later shown to be without merit.
Another theory published in an article in 2008 by Ursula Vedder suggests that the Colossus was never in the port, but rather on a hill named Monte Smith, which overlooks the port area. The temple on top of Monte Smith has traditionally thought to have been devoted to Apollo, but according to Vedder, it would have been a Helios sanctuary. The enormous stone foundations at the temple site, the function of which is not definitively known by modern scholars, are proposed by Vedder to have been the supporting platform of the Colossus." ---o0o---