New York – a visit home

A visit to New York is a visit to my childhood. The food and sounds are almost the same at the market and on the streets where I spent my first seven years. The great thing about living in NY was access to the Bronx Zoo, The Botanical Gardens and museums. There are an amazing amount of museums in New York City and this trip we visited two.

 

The American Gallery The Metropolitan Museum
The American Gallery
The Metropolitan Museum

We met cousins Marian and Jessica at the Metropolitan Museum and chose three exhibits to view. The first exhibit was an ethereal series of Whaling pictures by the English romantic James.M.W. Turner. Where a realist’s images might have been gruesome, Turner’s froth and cloud hide the gore. Out of the waves’ foam, there struggles a ship or a whale. Our imagination takes us to sounds of sailors yelling orders and encouragement. Original manuscripts of Melville’s Moby Dick are displayed, which opens the discussion did Melville see these paintings before writing Moby Dick?

From Turner, we went to the Temple of Dendur, a temple moved from Egypt to the Metropolitan, when it was going to be flooded under the Aswan High Dam. Isis and Osiris now have a home in the middle of NYC. The emperor Augustus of Rome commissioned the temple which gives you a clear point in time of its age (15BC). It is remarkable that it was able to be re-situated from one metropolis to another. Egypt was very generous in deeding this gift to the United States, at that time represented by Jacqueline Kennedy.

Temple of Dendur
Temple of Dendur

 

The last stop for the day was the Manus x Machina, Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit. It is more about the techniques and processes the 20th and 21rst centuries have brought to couture fashion. Exquisite, revealing in that the humble sewing machine began journey, made this possible and wrought incredible changes to how Couture was fashioned over the years.

The highlight of this visit was a young girl, visibly worshiping the dress that was designed by Karl Lagerfield for Chanel with a 20 foot train. She ran from perspective to perspective and had her phone camera going non stop and she peered into the detail of the embroidery, which had been crafted using such artful processes, so closely that the guard had to intervene. Such passion at such an early age. For me, it was this passion that was the highlight of the exhibit, you understand this passion is where the design comes from no matter the machines or materials.  These dresses come from someones mind and passion.

Passion
Passion

Another morning was in the Upper Eastside, spent at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Housed in the stately mansion of steel magnate of Andrew Carnegie, the building is a work of art itself. Building was begun in 1899, but this house featured a Otis Elevator, the first private elevator. Carnegie is one of my patron saints, because he gave huge amounts of his wealth to the creation of public libraries.

Two of the many exhibits that we loved were Beauty/Triennial with its emergent technologies, 3 D printings of ceramic and glass and the PolyThread knitted textile pavillion.

Pavillion by Shima Seiki
Pavillion by Shima Seiki

The other favorites is the story of the Haas Brothers and Haas Sisters and their whimsical figures brought together with technology, algorithms and hand sewing. Look this MonkeyBiz up, it is a wonderful partnership story.

 

Haas Monkey Biz
Haas Monkey Biz

Cooper Hewitt has a wonderful online presence. Check it out.

 

 

 

 

Beauty Spots, Italy

Let’s face it, as countries go, Italy is bella; beautiful and glorious.  Here were are racing by its magnificent coast to meet a ship in Genoa that will bring Mercier to Oz. We had a wonderful day in Ischia after saying goodbye to gorgeous cousins in Minori and Sorrento. Ischia is one of our favourite islands because people are just as likely to break into song as to say ciao.

Waterfall & mosaic of King Neptune at Poseidon Thermal Spa, Ischia
Waterfall & mosaic of King Neptune at Poseidon Thermal Spa, Ischia

The Thermal Spa is wonderful, with mineral springs running hot and cold. The waterfalls act as massage therapists.

The next morning we sailed past another favourite, Procida, because we just didn’t have enough time to stop. We are already planning another Italian sojourn, using ferries and pensiones. Procida, Ponza and Ventotene are three of the Pontine Islands, south of Rome.  We anchored in nearby Ponza and had a wonderful swim.

Ponza
Ponza

From Ponza, it was a nine hour day sail to make it to Porto Turistico, because we had a lovely south westerly breeze to help us on our way. You know there has to be a reward for that much sailing. A day in Rome, with shopping at Castrioni, scrumptious lunch at Romeo, a stroll down the Pont S’Angelo and a gelato fix.

Gelateria del Teatro, watching them ready the fruit for the ices.
Gelateria del Teatro, watching them ready the fruit for the ices.

Two days ago, we were stopped by the Guarda Finanza or border patrol of Italy. We were just motoring past Cittavecchia, we were asked quite a few questions. “Where are you going?” “Ercole”, we answered, he looked confused. More questions about our intended trip, while the other officer was checking us through their computer. He asked again,”Where are you going?” “Ercole” we said smiling.  A few more questions, then he says “erCOle”. Si, mystery solved.

Fortress in medival Ercole, Tuscany
Fortress in medival Ercole, Tuscany

There are not a lot of ports or anchorages north of Porto Ercole on the mainland coast, so we sailed out to Elba, This is a wonderful Tuscan island and we have been here three times.

Porto Azzuro, Elba
Porto Azzuro, Elba

Yesterday, we arrived to about 8 yachts at about 3PM. By the time we went to bed, there were literally 100 yachts in the anchorage. not counting the boats in the marina. It was like the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 8:00am, just about bumper to bumper. Many yachts had their fenders out at anchor, just in case.

Off to Portoferraio!.

Campania and the Amalfi Coast

Fifteen years ago, James and I stayed in Positano; we thought it was magical. However, trying to find rooms for eleven of us, the best value seemed to be in Minori or Maiori. We all found Minori to be less touristy and very friendly. Minori was more like the Amalfi and Positano we visited fifteen years ago. If I was going five-star, I would prefer Ravello but given our budget Minori was perfect.

Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast

Ravello is just an hour’s walk up the hill, but quite a steep lung buster according to Miriam, Ed and Frank. It is incredibly scenic as James, Barbara and I can attest to, as we walked down to Minori after a scrumptious lunch at Enotavola Wine Bar at Palazzo Della Marra in Ravello. Matt and Joseph ran up and ran down; steepness was no barrier for the incredibly fit twins.

View from the Villa Rudolfo
View from the Villa Rudolfo

Ravello was the site of several weddings and we saw bridal fashion from demure to haute couture. The heels were six inches high but the outfits were amazing.

Natalie Chapman, is this wedding wear?
Natalie Chapman, is this wedding wear?

The music festival had not quite started but the stage was set up at the Villa Rudolfo and there were several members of the Ravello Vista Social Club playing wonderful songs and singing. There was an amazing Sonica  gallery of photos of musicians by a musician, Guido Harari at Villa Rudolfo too. Villa Cimbrone was the site of lush gardens and pleasant walks.

Ravello muscian and singers
Ravello muscian and singers

There is plenty to do in Campania, a guided tour of Pompeii was educational and fast paced.  We could see Vesuvius in the background and we were happy to note there was no smoke or activity.

Side trip to Pompeii
Side trip to Pompeii
Walking down to Minori
View from Ravello

Everyday we fall a bit more in love with Campania.

It is easy to smile in Italy

Sailors might want to tune out now. We have photos of the marina at Capri but not today. Today it is about the people who make me smile and how Italy has touched all of us.

My paternal grandparents were born in the beautiful village town of Giffoni Valle Piana. In the early 20th Century, because there was not enough work in Italy to pay taxes, create a life and have a family. Four million Italians arrived in America from 1880-1920.  My grandparents were two of those immigrants.

D'Angelo's in Gaia
D’Angelo’s in Gaia

They came from a valley above Salerno and the Amalfi Coast. This coastline and coastlines further south are exquisite. Various shades of green on the stone hills speak of olives, grapes, lemons, chestnuts and hazelnuts. In this area, most mozzarella is made from buffalo milk. It is simply OMG delicious.

There was a thread of connection with Giffoni. My Aunt Louise gave me quite a bit of information and old family photos, which made the search for our Italian families possible. I have been pleading with my cousins to join me in returning to Giffoni for several years after my first trip in 1999. After all Giffoni is now famous because it hosts the Giffoni Film Festival. Even Meryl Streep has visited and she wasn’t a cousin. This year we have made headway. We are a party of eleven De Angelo’s, comprised of two generations.  We planned a day, with cousin Sebastiano’s assistance, for our family reunion in Giffoni. Allora, what a day! Here are the photos.

Cugini and Carmine, the paterfamilas in Giffoni.
Cugini and Carmine, the paterfamilas in Giffoni.
De Feo Cousins
De Feo Cousins
The joy of the day was almost overwhelming and the two groups has such a good time.
The joy of the day was almost overwhelming and the two groups had such a good time.
The Marrandino cousins, in my Nonna's neighbourhood, Vassi.
The Marrandino cousins, in my Nonna’s neighbourhood, Vassi.
La Dolca Vita
La Dolca Vita – family, laughter and the expresso on the way

Ci vuole tutta la vita per imparare a Vivere. Seneca

Another trip soon we hope!!!

Knossos – home of the Minotaur

Do you remember the myth of Theseus slaying the Minotaur? The Minotaur was half bull – half man and liked to feast on the children of Greece. The children who were good gymnasts could stay alive by leaping over the bulls back, but in the end Theseus slayed the Minotaur and escaped the Labyrinth. There is conjecture that the Palace of Knossos was the labyrinth because it was so large and had so many rooms and corridors.

The frescoes are painted in rich, vibrant colours.  They are so large and bright, their effect is visceral. The buildings are almost modern in construction. Here are some photos.

The Throne Room at Knossos
The Throne Room at Knossos

 

Charging bull fresco shows the building shape
Charging bull fresco shows the building’s modern shape
Olive groves flourish in the volcanic soil
Olive groves flourish in the volcanic soil
Minoan Crete fresco, circa 1700 bc
Minoan Crete fresco, circa 1700 bc
The Charging Bull fresco
The Charging Bull fresco

One’s eyes are drawn to the green in the distance and then to the bright, intense colour of the frescoes surrounded by cream stone buildings.

Farewell Turkey, hello Greece

Richard Niebuhr said “Pilgrims are poets who create by taking journeys.” James and I discuss what it means to leave Turkey, which we are very fond of, which we enjoy and its history we are amazed by. But the farewell is tinged with only a small feeling of sadness, because we hope to come back again. When sailing, we are almost by definition looking forward.
The planning, down to hours and days that one requires to sail, adds to the feelings one experiences in the new port. We pray for good weather and we wait for it. Wednesday”s five hours of sailing with fluky winds, is like a penance we do to get to a prize.

Thank you, Turkey.  We have had a great time
Thank you, Turkey. We have had a great time

Wednesday’s prize is Symi. Here is an island of Neoclassical houses, stacked up the hills surrounding the bays of the islands. It is an island where oregano runs wild by the road. Churches have pride of place and wonderful views. Another penance is walking up hills to get to the views and Symi affords plenty of hills.  Symi is a jewel, with wonderful tavernas, shops and cafes and beautiful churches.

Symi - a beautiful town
Symi – a beautiful Neoclassical  town

We hike up to the Chora and stop for a coffee at the Olive Tree, while waiting for our coffee, a pack train of horses bring building materials up the hill.

Hill town deliveries
Hill town deliveries

After our quiet respite in the Marmaris Yacht marina, we were back on a town quay in Symi. We had forgotten about the duf duf music and parties on nearby yachts. There would have been 20 people on the 70 foot yacht next to us, singing, dancing and partying until 5:00am. No amount of earplugs blocked their good-humored noise. Ah yes, now we remember. Amazingly, they left before the rosy fingers of dawn on to their next destination.  Thursday’s excitement was watching new arrivals collecting other yachts anchors. This is a game where the goal is for a boat to manage to keep its anchor ensconced in the mud, while other boats see their anchors come unstuck.  Our new arrivals brought our neighbour’s anchor up to the surface interlocked with their own. Excitement.

Symi, looking from the top of the island
Symi, looking from the top of the island

This morning we are on our way to Kalki, heading southwest and saying Hello Greece.

The journey so far:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zkkfRzDGj2mE.kO4m-3hTL-cs

Magical Day in Kastellorizo

Kas is a lovely place, with the shopkeepers and restaurateurs keeping their invitations low key. History just inserts itself into daily life seamlessly. It was Lesley’s last day with us yesterday, she is travelling to Rhodes via Kastellorizo. We have not used up our 90 day Euro allotment for times like these and we decide to take the ferry trip with her.

Lesley buying green almonds, which are packed with ice.
Lesley buying green almonds, which are packed with ice in Kas

In less time than a ferry trip would take from the Quay to Manly, we are back in Greece and on a picture postcard island of about 5 square miles. The island, also called Meis in Turkish and the older Greek name of Megristi, has a beautiful natural harbour facing Kas. The houses around the harbour and up the hill are either completely renovated, beautiful and colourful or in various states of ruin.

Queen of Ro Square
Queen of Ro Square

Many residents of Kastellorizo migrated to Australia, mainly Melbourne and Perth with only 500 residents on the island full time. Their descendants are coming back to enjoy the island and to renovate the family homes.

Megristi, Kastellorizo
Megristi, Kastellorizo

One of the joys of travelling is friends’ sharing their experiences so that we are sure to visit, because they have enjoyed the magic too. Dave and Leigh visited and really enjoyed their time on the island. Leigh mentioned the Aussie connection. Sharron and Graeme celebrated their 25th anniversary here, danced to a bit of Greek music and broke a few plates.

Everything happens on the water front, with the restaurant tables so close the edge of the harbour, you see everything in the water and it is very tempting to throw bread in for the fish. We saw at least three big turtles in the harbour and they would push each other around. We couldn’t tell if it was territorial or amorous in intent.

Loggerhead Turtle, asking how our lunch was.
Loggerhead Turtle, asking how our lunch was.

When our ferry arrived, within minutes we were walking round the waterfront. The chefs are clever, they fillet their fresh fish and throw the bones and bits to the Loggerheads, which keeps the turtles interested in the foreshore. You will also see how sleek and glossy the cats are, well behaved to ensure they get their share of the fish scraps.

tourist looking at the turtles, cats in elegant attention waiting politely for their morning tea.
Tourista looking at the turtles, cats in elegant attention waiting politely for their morning tea.

Before lunch we climbed up to the fortress castle, then around the back to other squares and churches, before our long and lovely lunch at Alexander’s. Finally a goodbye to Lesley, which brings to mind another joy of travel, travelling with friends so you can enjoy the experience and create memories.

Colourful houses
Colourful houses

We still have home firmly in our thoughts and it has been busy at the RSYS.  We send our warmest congratulations to Richard Chapman, who is now Commodore of the Squadron; we wish you smooth sailing. The same wishes go to Dave Edwards, our new club captain; David Ward, our new Vice Commodore; Christian Brook, our new rear Commodore.  Good luck to you all in the coming year.

James and I would like to thank Commodore Malcolm Levy for including us in Squadron life for the past four years. Great job, now you will have more time for leisurely lunches in McMahons Point.

Lyn and Rene, I hope they thanked both of you for all the work you have done too.

 

Oludeniz and Butterfly Valley

We have decided to mix it up a bit and we thought we would go and look for the Butterflies.  Instead of sailing the blue highway, we would take a trip to the Hippie Trail for a short hike and then visit a few watering holes for swims to recover. We are going to take a gulet trip.

One of the captains collects us from Ece Marina and we take a scenic drive over the headland from Fethiye to Oludeniz, a beautiful seaside resort famous for its swarms of paragliders.  Oludeniz is known for being one of Turkey’s most photographed beaches.  It seems a bit surreal to see so many paragliders in one place, all jumping from Babadag Mountain, many are tourists, so they are in tandem with the ever present go pro’s in their hands to record their flights.

Oludeniz Beach, Turkey
Oludeniz Beach, Turkey

The beach is a hive of activity, with hundreds of people coming to find their gulet on the shore and make the jump onto the passerelle between waves.

Gulets, Oludeniz Beach
Gulets, Oludeniz Beach

There are several types of gulets, these are the daytripper style with two levels, a covered level below with tables and the roof covered in floor to floor beach bags for tanning purposes.

It is a warm morning, so our first stop is at secluded Blue Cave beach.  At least it was secluded upon arrival.

Blue Cave outside of Oludeniz Beach
Blue Cave near Oludeniz Beach

About 15 minutes into our stay, Ninja Gulet shoved between us and the wall you can see above, almost taking a few of our fellow passengers with him. The Ninja’s Captain shouted at us and then took his gulet and motored away. There is a universal truth that if one gulet comes others aren’t far behind.  Seclusion may be overrated.

Butterfly Valley is a no road access beach, gorge and butterfly sanctuary.  There are acres of plants here that they love, interspersed with tents and an open air restaurant on the beach.

Beautiful Butterfly Valley, no road access
Beautiful Butterfly Valley, no road access

We decide to hike up into the gorge, which reminded us of our last hike with Peggy S and Donna in Tucson. Butterfly Valley isn’t as big an area but there were no tour guides warning us about mountain lions.

Butterfly Valley
Butterfly Valley

P1060076 (640x480)

The valley gorge is quite wild and beautiful, no butterflies to be found as we are probably out of season.  We aren’t sure about the tent city but the reception was quite colorful.

Butterfly Valley
Butterfly Valley

Hotel California in Butterfly Valley, I am not sure of the name but that song kept playing in my head on the way home.

Happy Birthday Rachel Hayes. 30 has never looked so good.

 

Dalyan Delta and the Mediterranean Loggerhead Turtles, Ancient Caunos

The four of us have been having fun but today took a different twist. We trod the educational path, not once but three times. We are in Ekincik which is a pick up point to go on a local boat for a trip to the Dalyan River. Our guide,Ilyas Kaplan, picks us up early and first takes us to a cave with stalactites. IMG_4099 (640x401)

The most interesting part of this is how far into the cave this little boat can go and I am reminded of the stout boats that Odysseus sailed about in. They sail right onto the beaches with no problem at all.

Going to the Dalyan Delta
Going to the Dalyan Delta

Our next stop is Iztuzu or Turtle Beach, one of the beaches these Mediterranean Loggerheads (Caretta Caretta) have been coming to for around 95,000 thousand years according to local lore. The turtles have breeding grounds here and also in Zakynthos and on beaches in Libya. The hatchlings have to dig out during the night and not surprisingly some turtles had hatched recently, with the August super moon.

near Iztuzu
near Iztuzu

The tourist industry to come to see the turtles and other sites in the Dalyan Delta are massive and growing both by ferry, ship and by road and small boats. Only small local boats are advised to sail through the delta, many of them are cooperatives and create work for local villagers. There are a cadre of boats that feed the turtles fresh crab, so Ilias took us up to his favourite spot and the turtles came in. We had seen smaller turtles on the way just swimming in the water.

Caretta Caretta
Caretta Caretta

We sailed through the labrynth of reed beds and sand bars up to the Ancient city of Caunos (Kaunos).

Sand bar in Dalyan Delta
Sand bar in Dalyan Delta

Like Epheseus, Canous had been a port town but the river silted up so it is now inland. Homer talked about Canous, the Carians and the Lycians; the Dalyan River is the meeting place of those three cultures. We saw temples, theaters and ruins in Caunos.

Ruins of Canous
Ruins of Canous

Canous might have eventually become a ghost town because of malaria.The theater is the most intact building on the site.  Like the theater in Kos, it would have held 5,000 people.

Theater of Canous
Theater of Canous

Closer to the old harbour there is a temple and the Agora. The Acropolis is at the top of the hill above the theater.

Canous Ruins
Canous Ruins

There was more to the day, but it was time for lunch, so we promise more tomorrow.

Today, we want to say Happy Birthday Charlene Bradley. We know you are having a good time.

 

Selimye Koyu and Bozburun

Mercier is sailing in beautiful waters, crystal clear and warm, along the Bozburun Peninsula.    On Tuesday, we sailed into the marina of Selimye, a striking little village full of boats and holiday makers.The weather is very hot and water is the key to being comfortable. Jumping into the bay to cool down or turning on the hose on the jetty, or water in the form of ice are saviors in this sort of weather.

 

Wednesday morning swimming hole
Wednesday morning swimming hole

We decided to explore the town and have lunch saving a salad dinner for on board Mercier later in the evening.  It can be too hot to eat at night. The village is full of shops, green grocers, restaurants and pensione or as they are known in Turkey, pansiyon. After wandering around town, we stopped at a lovely cafe attached to a pansiyon. Nane Limon Pansiyon had a swimming platform and cafe in the midst of Hellenic ruins, with tables, couches, lounges and a hammock between the fig trees.

Selimiye
Selimiye

On Wednesday morning, we continued down the Bozburun peninsula, to the village of Bozburun.  There is a small marina there but it looked a bit noisy and hot so we tried moving back out to the mouth of the harbour where there are several restaurants with boat moorings available, the breeze was fantastic and so was the view.  The arrangement is that you stay on the mooring or stern to on the restaurant’s quay and have dinner.  I am perplexed as to how they don’t have a minimum spend but they haven’t seemed to thought of it yet. Hotel Aphrodite was a very good mooring, much cooler than being in the main part of town and there are a couple of other nice restaurants nearby.

James at the Hotel Aphrodite
James at the Hotel Aphrodite
Selimiye
Selimiye

We are sailing over to the ancient town of Loryma, down the Carian Coast.  Compared to sailing in Greece and Croatia, we see incredible numbers of beautiful boats here. In a few days we will meet Rene and Richard in Marmaris.