Around the Aegean
That was easy and obvious. We departed clockwise from our same base on Northern Greece, right on the Gulf of Thessaloniki, from where we see, on the horizon, across the waves, Mount Olympus… and the sunset. We followed the coastline as close as we could, through the country’s best birdwatching areas, and entered Turkey at the Evros delta. After Istanbul, we turned sharply south and joined again the large blue lake near Bergama, ancient Pergamon, where I missed some great shots of hundreds of multicolored carpets laid before equally traditional houses, because my mother was too tired to endure one more stop. For the same reason, we boarded the ferry for the Greek islands at Bodrum, instead of suffering 135 more kilometers under the sun, on small roads, to Marmaris. The bonus was one extra island and a ride on the tiniest ever ferry, the Mercedes taking up the whole back deck, with only us fully dressed passengers, and the rest in bikinis and shorts going to Kos for the day.
Rhodes-Creta, Greece, June 2004. Gipsy girls on the ferry. Petites gitanes sur le ferry.
From then on, we hopped from one island to the next on the frequent or not-so-frequent ferries, Kos, Rhodes, Karpathos, Creta, from the eastern tip where we discovered the virgin countryside of Sitea, lots of stories told with gusto, and raw, wild artichokes prepared in a salad by our good friends Eleni and Giorgos, to the western extremity around Chania where our dear friend Anastasio — met during our loop around Asia — is teaching the yoga he learned in Varanasi. Midway was the museum of Heraklion, a treasure for potters, and the still virgin and hospitable mountains and people of Central Crete.
The adventure did not end in the Greek capital, as the 31-year old Mercedes chose to give up… almost right in front of a mechanic, on the Athens-Thessaloniki highway. All ended well, and it was a chance to spend one more day on the charming little harbor of Aghios Konstantinos on the western side of the same Aegean.