From two nights ago...

Back in Greece. Disembarked the ship early this morning and we all hopped in the van with Chris to head north to Kavala - where we're staying tonight. Our base camp, or sorts, for Philipi and Thesoliniki tomorrow. Everyone's looking forward to that but at least some of us are getting a fair bit vacationed-out at this point. If there's one thing I've learned in the last couple years of traveling for work, its that there's no soft spot in the world to curl up in like your own sweet bed. I want my down comforter, and my fan.

Turkey was cold, and in retrospect, our Turkish tour guide really rushed us through the Ephesus ruins so that we'd have plenty of time in his buddy's rug store when we got back to the port. But it was good to see, even if we only had a few hours there. I think I've officially spent less money than anyone else in the family - the shopping thing just isn't doing it for me. In Kasadusi, I bought exactly 30 minutes of net access and one lamb kabab. I like the Greek food better. And the hospitality.

Basically, the Turks are a bunch of greedy...guys. Example: most Americans have no idea that the Turkish airforce invades Greek airspace over the isles *every* day. They fly around there until the Greeks intercept and obtain missile lock, and then they leave. They do this because they're trying to create an international incident (ie. hoping that some day a Greek will accidentally fire a missile, etc.), because they want the airspace rights to the isles, many of which are within a reasonable distance of the Turkish coast (take Samos, for instance). I learned about this while we were driving north this morning and I saw the daily dispatch of Greek fighters taking off. I think its somewhat of a good representation of the general Turkish feeling towards the western world. And they insist on being best friends with America. Go figure.

But that's just my initial impression.

Still a few ruins left to see, a few pictures more to take, and a few more plates of slouvaki to attack, and then its back home. Oh, and Pantalomos (or something close to that) - a little city on the side of the hills across the valley from Mt. Olympus. We had lunch there today, and coffee after. If I ever come back to Greece, this will be one of my primary destinations. Hydra, then Pantalomos, then perhaps Mykonos again. Preferably on a sail boat.

And talking with Chris today, I have a feeling my next visit to Europe may be to do a BMW cycle tour of some of the western EU nations. Have to get myself a bike license once I'm home.

Tonight was walking around the port of Kavala and then dinner in a local joint where we once again experienced the true Greek hospitality of a round of ouzo to start us off, and the refusal to give us the check until they had given us all free desert. This seems to happen everywhere we go, and I like it.

From this morning...

Back in Pantalomos. Yesterday was a big one - woke up in Kavala, hopped in the car and headed for Philipi, where we spent the morning exploring the ruins there. Saw the cell that Paul and Silas had their chains miraculously released in, at the bottom of the very building they must have witnessed to the jailer and his family in. Saw the amphitheater and the tunnel that the Romans used to release the animals to torture the Christians. Saw the first actual Christian church (that wasn't a home-church, but specifically built for Christian worship).

Then off to Thesoliniki - we got there early evening, and we hadn't stopped for lunch, so I had an hour or more of extremely low blood sugar misery while everyone did their thing. When we finally did stop to eat, it was more great Greek food and hospitality, followed by what else but a couple more hours of frickin shopping. Thesoliniki actually seemed to be a really cool town - like Athens its old but very metropolitan, busy, crammed with people. I would have liked another day there to just explore, but that will have to wait for next time.

Last night we drove back to Pantalomos where we stayed at a place near the water, as everyone wants to have lunch up in the hillside village again. Which is where we're off to now.

After that we'll head back to Athens, have our last dinner there, shop - I don't doubt - for a few more hours, and then tomorrow morning its the flight back home.

I've got about a bajillion pictures to sort through, I figure I'm going to finally break down and buy the upscale flickr account so that people can see them easily, but I'll try to throw some hi-lights up here too. Be patient, I have a busy weekend of prep for the start of the Chicago thing when I get home and then the magic starts again on Monday.

Its been a good trip over all. I like it a lot here and don't want it to be over, but I like home a lot too and I'm looking forward to being back too.

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