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.

Carpet Museum at Haghia Sophia, Istanbul

We had a few more things to talk about in Istanbul.  Now that we are back at home and respectably moved in, I thought I would share a few more photos. While I am sure I should blog in order, I enjoyed this museum so much we will start here.

One of the first things you should do in Istanbul is buy a 3 Day museum pass and you can have entry without queuing for tickets at each site. Having said that the museum pass doesn’t include the carpet museum.  The carpet museum at Haghia Sophia is absolutely worth a visit and if you go early, as we did you will have the museum to yourself with the guard’s full attention, which was wonderful because he shared his knowledge of the rugs and carpets with us.

Restored carpet on display at the Haghia Sophia's Carpet Museum
Restored carpet on display at the Haghia Sophia’s Carpet Museum

Louise and Frosty were scouting out Istanbul and sending us wonderful tips, including visiting the Carpet museum. Their photos convinced us it was worth a visit.

The Carpet Museum is now housed in the circa 1742 Imaret attached to the rear of Haghia Sophia, immediately adjoining the Sultanahmet entrance to the Topkapi Palace and the Ahmet lll fountain. The Imaret was used as a soup kitchen for the poor with sinks, ovens and stoves to prepare food for the poor.

Rare and beuatiful piece from Carpet Museum
Rare and beuatiful piece from Carpet Museum

The Hurriyet Daily News describes the three different chambers lining the courtyard and their carpet: The first gallery displays carpets from the Anatolia Seljuk,  the second gallery displays Central and East Anatolian carpets from the Ottoman era, while the third gallery contains carpets from Usak,along with the ovens.

The Ovens at the carpet museum. Feeding the poor in its earliest form.
The Ovens at the carpet museum. Feeding the poor in its earliest incarnation.

If you have children or you are still a kid at heart, you will enjoy the interactive carpet on the floor in front of the oven. As you walk over this space the tiles illuminate a carpet under your feet. Our wonderful guide showed James how to spread his arms to attain the full effect. There was a bit of laughter as these two men tried to assist me in getting the perfect photo.

Interactive carpet
Interactive carpet

There are plenty of English displays, so you learn about the different carpets with the aid of our very able guide. We enjoyed this museum and we loved the fact that we were able to learn more about the carpets, musing about how long they have survived.

Our favorite Istanbul guide
Our favorite Istanbul guide in front of beautiful prayer rugs, each square for a person

 

We find ourselves in Marmaris

One of the immutable facts of sailing is that first the weather, then the boat has control over where you are going. Louise, Frosty and James and I were all set for a lovely night at My Marina in Ekincik but the boat decided to spit the dummy. It resolved itself, but since we had left so early, we decided the wiser course of action would be to go straight to Marmaris.

Marmaris is a beautiful harbour with mountains coming down to meet the sea in almost circular fashion. Marmaris is famous for its barbers and fire shaves, many restaurants and beautiful harbour, with four marinas in the vicinity. Mercier will winter here on the hard stand in the marina.

Marmaris Harbour
Marmaris Harbour- just one aspect

We woke up to a perfect sunny day on Netsel Marina and with great efforts from Frosty and Louise, James managed to wash the sails and get them dried and folded ready to be stored for the winter. Swanno will be happy to know that Louise gave the stainless another polish and James is having a cover made to keep the cock pit under cover.

In the evening, we wandered round Marmaris enjoying sculptures and fountains that dot the large Town Quay. The fountains are quite a vibrant area full of fisherman and children, who come in the cool of the evening to watch the spectacle.

Fish spouting water on the walk to Youth Square
Fish spouting water on the walk to Youth Square

The Octopus is on the Town Quay and at night looks quite mysterious, with it’s iconic eyes looking for prey.

Our favorite sculpture is Octopus, with the head of an alien
Our favorite sculpture is Octopus, with the head of an alien

We wandered about town finding a rooftop terrace, whiling away the time watching boats moving about the harbour, docking and people enjoying posing for photos on the town quay.

Louise and James
Louise and James

Frosty and Louise have left for Istanbul this morning. They are headed for the glamourous port of Istanbul. We wish them a safe flight home and hope they take good notes in Istanbul for us.  We managed to have some fun last night with the local ice cream man. In Turkey, even selling ice cream is a chance to be a “showman”.

The Showman of Ice cream sellers in Marmaris
The Showman of Ice cream sellers in Marmaris.  More. Weezy?

This will be the last blog until we are in Istanbul. It isn’t exciting to hear about cleaning and packing, but hopefully we will have things to report from Istanbul.

Kas Marina

We had a surprise visit on Friday morning from a giant thunderstorm, a dust free rain that laundered the bimini and washed away months of dust and salt. It was very cozy having a cup of tea and reading the Sydney Morning Herald while it poured outside, with Mercier secured to pontoon with stout lines.

Thunderstorm - best place to be, tied to the dock
Thunderstorm – best place to be, tied to the dock

Kas Marina is rather more like a resort than a marina. James and I have been lunching at the pool. We met some lovely fellow yachties for evening drinks as there is a great social network in the marina. We were introduced by the vivacious Maggie who owns Deja Blue from the CYC.  We enjoyed our time feeding the Marina’s fish, roosters and ducks and watching sunsets. During the day we enjoyed taking random Dolmus rides (the shared taxi), and doing a bit of work on the boat.  All of this because it is a great place to meet crew coming out from Oz.

Antiphellos Theatre, Kas
Antiphellos Theatre, Kas

Frosty and Louise joined us, they came in from Greece via the ferry. We had to fit a lot of Kas into one night. First stop, after Mercier, was Antiphellos. Hellenistic Kas was called Antiphellos and now a small amphitheatre remains, we arrived just before sunset.

The theatre didn’t have a stage but it did have a view, Frosty and I considered whether we are descendants of Lycian view junkies. It was built in the 4th Century BC but they seem to enjoy a captivating view as much as we do today.

View of Antipellos
View of Antipellos
James, Louise and Frosty sitting in the afternoon glow
James, Louise and Frosty sitting in the afternoon glow

We walked through Kas and admired a few shops and we were able to get the last minutes of the sunset at Sako looking back over the harbour to Kastellorizo.

Dinner at Sako
Dinner at Sako

We had a leisurely dinner and then went shopping. Frosty was enjoying viewing  the carpets and rugs. There are several excellent carpet merchants, Recep at Young Partners and Gallery Kas, near Sako. Louise and I managed to admire every bowl, lamp and bronze tray at Tugra Art Gallery. Hmm, they ship and I have taken quite a few photos and there is always next year.

beautiful Turkish rugs near Sako
beautiful Turkish rugs near Sako

A trip to Rhodes

James and I decided to take a side trip to Rhodes. The islands of Kos, Symi and Rhodes are just off the south-western Turkish coast and they are close, a just short ferry trip away.

Rhodes was a completely different Greek island, even though the ancient Greeks and Romans had preceded us there and left ruins to be be seen.  What was different is that Rhodes is the oldest medieval city in western Europe. The medieval architecture and history of Rhodes Town and its citadel dominate the landscape and our imaginations.

Rhodes Town Bastion and Turrets
Rhodes Town Bastion and Turrets

We visited the Palace of the Grand Masters and learned that the exhibitions contained within were put together in 1993 as the 2,400th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Rhodes in 408 BC. Many Roman mosaics were collected from Kos and other Greek islands and built into the palace, looking like Turkish Rugs on the marble floors.

Courtyard of Palace of the Grand Master
Courtyard of Palace of the Grand Master –  the final point of defense

The Knights of Rhodes were founded in the 11th Century by merchants from Amalfi. As a group knights were made of Roman Catholic men usually of noble birth from Italy, France, England, Provence, Spain, Auvergne (France) and Germany.  The Knights were also famous for their hospitals, so if you were ill or wounded you would be brought to the nearby hospital for care.

Turrets
Turrets

There is also a street called the Street of the Knights, where the knights lived and met. Each country had their own building on the street.

Turks lived in Rhodes during the reign of the Knights and after Suleiman finally conquered Rhodes . Minarets, fountains and gardens imprinted the Turkish presence on Rhodes Town.

Turkish Garden in the Street of the Knights
Turkish Garden in the Street of the Knights

The hospital of the Knights of St. John was a very evocative building, It was all too easy to imagine the injured and ill, so far from home and looking up at the stone ceilings, listening to screams and moans, wondering if you would ever see your home again. To add to the sinister feeling of this old colonnade, the area contains tombstones of the knights, confirming that many never did see their homes again.

Ceiling of the Knights' hospital
Ceiling of the Knights’ hospital

The Colossus of Rhodes was not to be seen but Mandraki Harbour is still beautiful and you can almost imagine sailing underneath the Colossus into Mandraki Harbour.

Mandraki harbour
Mandraki harbour

 

 

Gule Gule Blue and Rene

Yesterday, it was up early for breakfast, some with a decidedly raki disposition and then a quick walk to the ferry terminal to send Blue and Rene over to Rhodes for their journey home.  There is always a bit of separation anxiety when our friends leave, then the usual boat chores and shopping.  Yesterday, however, we were able to go back to our air conditioned room for a few more hours and just ‘chill’.

 

Ece Saray Outdoor Bar #1
Ece Saray Outdoor Bar #1

The hotel was outstanding, here is the view from our room.  In the evening ducks would wander by and graze in the lawn area. Inside there are two parrots, which amused us and themselves.

Outlook over Ece Fethiye Marina
Outlook over Ece Fethiye Marina

Fethiye was once know as Telmessos in antiquity, the largest Lycian port.  In the fairly usual course of events in this part of the world, earthquakes leveled the town and today most of the town is fairly modern.

The Town Quay harbour front area is full of gulets but there are also a few monuments.  Here is a monument to young soldiers from Fethiye who have perished in recent wars. Images of Ataturk are along the bottom.

Touching monument to recent wars surrounded by incredible topiary
Touching monument to recent wars surrounded by incredible topiary

 

Fountain gave us a sense of cool relief in the 40+ hot August day. You can survive in Turkey in August, as long as you are near water.

Fethiye Dancing fountain
Fethiye Dancing fountain

Gule Gule means goodbye, from the person who is staying. Literally “Go Well”, we wish Blue and Rene a very good flight home, fingers crossed for that upgrade, Rene. See you before you know it.

 

Knidos

Sailing past the headland of Cape Krio can be fraught with worry, especially in a big meltemi. We were up before dawn and sailed out of Kormen on a glassy sea and motored all the way to Knidos.

Cape Krio
Cape Krio

Knidos is a small bay and surrounding slopes literally covered in antiquities, but the interesting fact is that there are also antiquities in the bay itself. As you sail into the bay, you immediately spy a small amphitheatre in a spectacular ruin, which even in  300 bc, would have given views directly to the water.

Knidos
Knidos – the ruins of the small theater, seats 5,000

The water in Knidos is incredibly clear, you can easily see the bottom.  You look up on the hills and you see the foundations of sanctuaries to Apollo, Aphrodite, Dionysus and also the Nymphs.

xxx
Stoas or Porticos

We arrived so early that we were able to anchor in the bay until there was an opening on the pontoon, which offered electricity and water. As people left we tied up to the dock thinking what a lovely small serene bay. It didn’t last long,within the hour we were absolutely surrounded by gulets.  Gulets are local Turkish boats that take day trippers out for a swim and to see the ruins or for a week’s holiday.  Our quiet little sanctuary was completely over run with other tourists here for about two hours.

Day Tripper Purgatory
Day Tripper Purgatory

There are also some very elegant gulets, that people hire for a week or two with paid crew and skipper.  We are often amazed at the dexterity they show in maneuvering these large ships into small bays and tight anchorages. They are without a doubt skilled sailors.  The crew are also multi-talented. Here is a photo of a gulet being brought into very tight space, so they anchor and then take a line ashore.  It’s something we do in Pittwater at Smith’s Creek or Penta Bay regularly.

Swimming the line ashore
Swimming the line ashore

Of course, in Smith’s Creek, we usually take the line ashore in a dingy.

Knidos Bay, from the top of the amphitheatre
Knidos Bay, from the top of the amphitheater

There are two mysteries concerning Knidos, why was the site abandoned here?  One reason that there is so much in the way of antiquities left on the ground was because the site was simply abandoned, and no one seems to know why.

The other mystery is a beautiful nude Aphrodite was sculpted by Praxiteles and it is the first nude female statute, copies of it have been saved but not the statue itself. Sad not to see it but we have seen a copy of it at the Vatican museum. Maybe the statue will be found in the future, there is so much still undiscovered here in Knidos.

 

Cokertme, Okluk Koyu and Yedi Adalari

We left Bodrum after morning coffee on Monday, not sure if we would have access to  electricity or internet, we planned on one last coffee. Off to the Gulf of Gokova Korfezi, an area resplendent with beautiful anchorages.

We did the gulet run and sailed up to Orak Adasi for lunch and surprising us after lunch here comes the Algida ice cream man. How did Algida/Streets know that these Magnum fans were in this little bay? Actually, I think they do a roaring trade with the gulet traffic and it’s very similar to cappuccinos at Yeoman’s Bay.

Algida Ice Cream men bring Magnums to the gulets and us.
Algida Ice Cream men bring Magnums to the gulets and us.

 

On to Cokertme, please note I don’t have all the Turkish letters on my keyboard, so the actual spelling is very different. Here we went to the redoubtable Rose Mary’s, Rose Mary’s have showers, electricity and we ate on one of the piers under the sky for dinner. The scene sounds romantic but the pier jumped like a trout in August. Every time one of the young waiters ran to the next table with their food orders the whole pier lofted into the air and then thudded back into the water.

Rose Mary's
Rose Mary’s

 

The next day, we journeyed on to Okluk Koyu. Here we passed the mermaid, who sits on a reef, saving many a hapless sailor from ruining their keel. Heikell says the sculpture was erected by Sadun Boro, the first Turk to circumnavigate the world in a yacht. The setting is verdant with a market garden and quite a bit of corn being farmed, perhaps for the cows’ dinner. You go in and select the dishes you want from the fridge cabinet in the store and then they cook your meal and bring it out.

Mermaid saving sailors from a reef
Mermaid saving sailors from a reef

Our sojourn on Wednesday morning was to Seven Islands or Yedi Adalari, a beautiful bay with the meltemi funneling through whipping white water up over and through the islands, islets and rocks. Once we battled through the bay  to the East Creek, we were able to anchor and lower the swimming platform and spend the rest of the afternoon in the water.

Seven Islands
Seven Islands

 

 

Sunset at East Creek
Sunset at East Creek

Happy Birthday to Philippa Gray, hope you are spoiled.

Kos and the Castle of Neratzia

On Tuesday, we left Kalymnos and motored right over to Kos.  You could see the island from our spot on the Town Quay and as soon as we sailed out of the harbour we saw several islands and Turkey.  There is a small barren island just a stones’ throw from Turkey and both Greece and Turkey have their large flags facing each other.

a Greek island
a Greek island

We wandered the streets of Kos Town less than a kilometer from Kos Marina, which we think is one of the best marinas in Greece.  Certainly it has the nicest showers, which is a very important criteria.

On Wednesday morning, Kate and Mike Rider, friends from Noosa, came into Kos on a cruise ship and visited us on Mercier.  We were able to sit and chat, in a beautifully cool breeze and sip our coffees.  Mike is always a useful font of Beneteau knowledge and we appreciate his advice.

Gaila and Kate at the Fortress of St John, Kos
Gaila and Kate at the Agora, Kos

We stopped for lunch at H20 on the way to visit Hippocrates’ Plane Tree, the Agora and the Castle of Neratzia, which is full of ruins from the Knights of St John, as well as Turks, on the foundations of an ancient city. The castle is mirrored on the Turkish Coast by the Halikarnassos Castle, so the Knights of St John could control the Straits between Greece and Turkey.

Mike and James exploring the exterior of the Keep.
Mike and James exploring the exterior of the Keep. Looking at the Port of Mandraki

We scrambled over and through both keeps and into tunnels, looking at antiquities, Turkish writing carved into plinths and many heralds over the tops of arches and upper walls.

Kate and James watching Mike disappear into a tunnel
Kate and James watching Mike disappear into a tunnel

Neratzia is the Greek word for ‘Bitter Orange” according to one website but we only saw capers and pomegranates growing and of course the beautiful views.

Pomegranates
Pomegranates, not quite ripe

The Island of Kea

Mercier sailed into Kohissia on Sunday afternoon and it looked small, brown and much less lush than the Ionian Islands.  As with many of the islands and bays, it charms you only after you have stayed for awhile.

Ioulis, Kea Greece
Ioulis, Kea Greece

We moored on the town quay, right in front of Papa Doble Vineria, which serves good coffee and smoothies and offered an wonderful view of  boats trying to anchor stern to in a gusty wind. It was very hard to keep your bow pointed straight as you reverse back into the quay.

Luckily, a very nice Athenian gentleman took our lines and chatted to us for awhile .  He was going back to Athens, about an hour away in his powerboat. We decided, as the wind was getting gustier, that we would have another coffee at Papa Dobles to keep an eye on Mercier. Stephen and James and other yachties would help take the lines of the new arrivals.  Plenty of advice was offered.  There was a motor boat next to us and we watched aghast as a yacht was blown down onto the boat.  No damage done but it was a cringe worthy event.

The ferries came in and went out pretty quickly and efficiently and we saw buses and helicopters loaded. Our neighbours at Papa Dobles, had broad American accents and sat and chatted and chatted – the ferry departed and suddenly we heard “Oh my God, OMG,OMG (x15) the ferry has left us.”

On Monday morning, we went for walks and then we decided to go up to the village of Ioulis and walked through the village to see The Lion of Kea, a sculpture carved circa 600 BC from granite.

James at the Lion of Kea
James at the Lion of Kea

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The lion almost looks like he is smiling. The walk is fairly easy and scenic thru the village. The views as you look back to Ioulis are spectacular and out to the other islands in the deep blue water worth the effort.

cousins Stephen and James
cousins Stephen and James

When we returned our neighbouring yachts had left.  We looked up to see the Squadron burgee and waved Howzat in beside us.

RSYS Yachts Howzat and Mercier on Kea Island Greece
RSYS Yachts Howzat and Mercier on Kea Island Greece

We had a wonderful dinner overlooking the harbour and thought we could spend another day here. Lovely beaches, very nice people, especially our Athenian friend and Maria Helena, who walked me to find a laundry a half a kilometer away.  There are also some nice burros on Kea, here’s one of our favorites.

HeeHaw, a very vocal fellow
HeeHaw, a very vocal fellow