Saturday, October 28, 2006


CLICK FOR VOICE: These photos show a theatrical play at the ancient library in Ephesus. Listen to the descrption of this typical day in the 3rd century AD by clicking on the voice link above. Ephesus is still 80% hidden beneath the centuries of soil, but the massive restoration process has given us the best evidence of life in historic times. Comments we heard throughout were: "Amazing and incredible." We walked the same streets as Cleopatra, Socrates, Mark Anthony, and Paul the Apostle. It was time to stop, and contemplate the roots of our civilization.

Friday, October 27, 2006


If there is anything better than the blue waters and food of the Greek Islands, it must be the sunsets viewed from the volcanic peaks of Santorini. We traveled up 580 steps -- the easy way by cable car, considering all the donkey dung on the climb. But once on top .... wow, break-taking! We had a huge Greek salad with friends, and took a fast taxi ride 7 miles to the artists' community of Oia. White-washed churches and homes are built into the mountain and many worth millions each. We learned of the mythical lost world of Atlantis, supposedly swallowed by the sea when the volcano erupted 3,500 years ago causing the end of the entire Minoan civilization. And the
shopping is among the best in the world for Greek textiles, jewelry, glassware, etc. So many panorama's to photograph -- I chose to focus on the unique outdoor sculptures included here. Tomorrow is a 'sea-day' so I'll post the next report on Sunday, when we'll be in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


CLICK FOR VOICE: About 20 km inland from our Agean seaport of Kusadasi, the Hellenistic and Roman city of Ephesus is one of the most historical sites of the Mediterranean. We might summarize our brief visit there as somewhere between a spiritual awakening and an environmental epitaph. Our Turkish guide is a book of knowledge -- not unlike the 12,000 scrolls once housed in the library of Ephesus ... but lost is the secret passageway leading from the library, under the street to the bordello. Even then advertising pointed the way ... and maybe you could hear, "Honey ... I'll be at the library tonight." Tomorrow we're back to the Greek Islands -- and a visit to an art colony. The photo of the rose, is from a garden at the home of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


CLICK FOR VOICE: Mikonos, Greece,  population 9300,  is today's port of call ... an eastern-most Greek island, known for it's spectacular beaches, white and blue-trim Grecian villages, and great sea-food.  At the top of the Hora town harbor hill are windmills, dating back centuries to claim power from the island environment.  Tourism and night-life support the island and hotels for the rich, famous and party crowd.  The narrow and clean streets are thronged with chic fashion salons, cool galleries and jewellers, loud music bars, and torrents of crimson flowers.  We escaped with one jewelry purchase ... and a cup of Greek coffee that brings new meaning to the word 'strong.'

Monday, October 23, 2006


It is 6 am, and we hear the call to worship outside our 12th-story hotel window. Clearly, an Islam country Turkey -- wasn't always that way, as Istanbul (Constantinople) was once the seat of the Roman Christian and Byzantine Empires -- at least until about 1453 when the Ottoman Turks took power. So much for history ... worth a study of the rich history of the Anatolian Peninsula where civilization dates back to the stone and bronze ages.... that would be at least 10,000 BC. And one more geography lesson ... the city of Istanbul technically separates two continents via the 27 kilometer Bosphorus Strait ... Asia and Europe, with the city sharing both sides of the water. Today we walk the European side, and the nearby Taksim streets for shopping, lunch, a mosque and meet friends from Canada. Then a swim in the relaxing hotel pool (see photo), steam bath, and massage. An easy day -- not much is open as Ramadan is celebrated. Tomorrow we sail for ports to the south, to Ephesis, home to St. Paul and John in the 1st century AD.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


We arrived mid-day in Istanbul after 14 hours of flying from Minneapolis through Amsterdam ... an 8 hour time zone change. The city dates back to 700BC and the Byzantine and Ottoman empires ...the days when it was named Constantinople. The modern Hotel Ritz Carlton Hotel is first class, with a spectacular view -- overlooking a mosque and a 35,000-seat football stadium on the shores of the Strait of Bospherus. Hours after arrival our guide takes us through the grand bazaar (see photo) -- but it's only a glimpse at this hectic marketplace before the final feasts of Ramadan close these busy bazaars tomorrow. Our other tour is through Beylerbeyi -- the summer palace of five 19-century sultans. Cameras are forbidden -- unless you pay $9 for the privilege! (Or try your less conspicuous cellphone camera.) And now, to shake off the jet lag and get some needed sleep.