Athens till now w/pictures

Subject: Athens till Nov 6

Date: November 6, 2017

Athens was definitely cooler than Cairo but I was still exhausted and it really interfered with our ability to do any sightseeing. We did go to the Acropolis and the museum there and thankfully I was up to it. I had been worried since one has to climb quite a bit – at least it looked like a lot in my current energy state. But in the end I was fine. There is a great deal of restoration work going on and a great deal more to do. I always have far more questions than there are explanations available. I always wish I could view a time lapse video showing the full history of construction, decay, damage, and restoration cycles. Ah well.

The previous day we had gotten dropped off in town by our host with plans to sightsee but I simply wasn’t up to it. Even getting to the bus stop to return home seemed a chore. We had stopped at a proper restaurant – not a fast food place or street vender – for some lunch and as is often the case had trouble finding vegetarian fare. But we selected a couple of dishes. Mine was a beet root salad with yoghurt. I tried the yoghurt and it tasted really weird, but I tried a second bite and this time it ‘bit’ me. I was startled – it was almost like a mild electric shock. Dave tried it and said it had spoiled. We told the waiter and ordered a different dish in its place.

Later they told us that the salad dressing was not spoiled, it was a mixture of mayonnaise, yoghurt, and vinegar! Yuck! I doubt I would have tried it if I had known. But I suspect it was more the difference between expectation and actual taste that bothered me – if I had been expecting mayonnaise and vinegar flavors then I might have diagnosed it as ‘not to my taste’ rather than spoiled. Despite that, I am still far more adventurous with food than I used to be. Not that I’m ready for chocolate covered insects, yet.

Our stay in Athens was brief. We were eager to get back to Alegria – almost a year since we had left her. We had finally given up on the idea of going by ferry. The information was just too vague and or complicated as to how to get to the ferries, how to handle all our luggage – if they would even allow it – what would happen if trips were canceled due to weather, etc. So we had bought airline tickets and had to go by way of Istanbul to Antalya, followed by the long taxi ride to Finike.

While waiting outside for a couple with whom we were sharing the taxi ride, I felt assaulted by all the smokers who were understandably lighting up after being deprived of their nicotine for hours on end. It all smelled vile to me and made me feel physically ill. I tried to stay away from the smoke but it seemed to be everywhere. Cigarette smoke has always bothered me to some extent but never to this degree. Not sure what the difference was.

Eventually we made it back to Alegria and still had to deal with some chores before we could settle down for the night. Then it was back to our Finike activities. Saturdays: our weekly provisioning at a large farmers’ market. Wednesdays: gap filling at a smaller farmers’ market. Lots of stairs – outdoor stairs – to climb for exercise. The tallest one where I have counted the steps is 169. Another set is 137. The first time this year, I struggled to get up that 137 steps. There is a bench about half way up where one can sit and catch one’s breath. This is one of the nice things about Finike: benches scattered everywhere. I had to stop frequently. There are so many flights of stairs that we can take a different route each day and tackle different stairs in different combinations and different orders. I felt horribly out of condition. I still wish I was in better shape but I’m probably doing pretty well. Yesterday I jogged up 300 steps! I couldn’t do more than 40 at a time and had to rest a couple minutes after each jog with chest heaving, but still! Sure a far cry from that first struggle up half that number.

We still have trouble tearing ourselves away from our computers (despite frequently lousy service) but we have put the engine back together – some steps twice – and, ta dah, it is finally running again. On Sundays (except for Summer) Sandra has a charity sale to raise money for vet bills for stray animals – especially spaying and neutering. She has something in the neighborhood of a hundred local people – in addition to yachties – who come and buy clothing, books, kitchen stuff, boat stuff, odds and ends, and cake and tea. There are plenty of donations and an amazing quantity of stuff – that all needs to be taken out of storage each Sunday and what isn’t sold put back in storage. So we help with that a bit – the unpacking mostly.

Sundays there is a potluck barbecue which we sometimes go to and sometimes skip. We are also culling the boat’s contents as she is a bit overloaded with more than needed. We added stretching exercises before our walks and there are always, as with everyone, misc unplanned activities.

Last Wednesday, Nov 1, for example, we headed off at 8:30 for a 2 hour exercise and walk and arrived home about 2:30. What happened? Well, when we go on our walks, we also pick up litter (and stop to visit cats and dogs, trying to befriend the strays). Dave more than I, but I do join in. So as we were filling an empty half cement bag that day with trash, a car stopped just ahead of us. The driver was a manager and Doctor at the local hospital and he said that he had noticed us and driven around the block in order to stop and say thank you! He wanted a picture that he could post as a lesson to stop littering and/or help clean up. He also invited us to come up to the hospital for some tea. So we agreed to come up in another hour.

We continued our stair climbing and litter picking and then bought our gap filling veggies at the Wednesday market and then met him at his office. His assistant and also his wife joined us for the tea. Much of the conversation that they were involved in was in Turkish – of which I picked up two words! But his basic English was quite good and we learned that a new hospital is being built near the waterfront to replace the aging collection of buildings that should have been torn down 10 years ago. He also told us of various interesting places to hike and view ruins.

When we were leaving, he introduced us to another gentleman – a secretary(? mayor?) of Limyra, one of the places with interesting ruins that we had been told about. This gentleman spoke some German, so I was able to understand that he was going home (7km away) and coming back in 2 hours and we were invited to go with him. So we did. It turned out that he is also an amateur archaeologist and collector of large stone building-part artifacts. He showed us his depot – one wall of which was left over from the Byzantine era.

We walked a bit on our own and saw a large tower, that was approximately a 15 ft cube, on a larger platform. About a fourth of the cross section was partially eroded away making it clear that large blocks had filled the interior as well – it was not hollow. Most sections were made of blocks which were made up of smaller stones cemented together (by man?). The Romans had excellent concrete but this actually looks like it may have been quarried – although where it might have been quarried I have no clue. But there were also a lot of solid rock blocks – perhaps it had all been faced with them and only some remained. However, as far as I could see there were a lot of solid blocks and aggregate blocks all in the same plane. A really strange mix with no rhyme or reason that I could figure out. Our host said it was the grave of the son of Augustus Caesar.

Gaius Caesar was the oldest son of Augustus’ daughter Julia from her second marriage to Marcus Agrippa. His younger brothers were named Lucius and Agrippa Postumus. Gaius and Lucius were destined by Augustus to succeed him, since Augustus himself lacked a son. Both boys were adopted by Augustus as his own children in 17 BC. In 3 AD, Gaius was wounded during a siege. He became quite ill and set out to return to Rome. By the time he had reached Turkey, his condition became worse. He died at Limyra on the 21st of February during the year 4 AD. – quoted from:

logo.png Gaius Caesar – Son | Armstrong Economics
Gaius Caesar Died 4 AD Gaius Caesar was the oldest son of Augustus’ daughter Julia from her second marriage to Marcus Agrippa. His younger brothers were

We also saw what looked like a road paved with fancy blocks that was a couple of feet under a river. Our host
said it was a Roman road but that a 400m section of the road subsided due to an earthquake and it is now under water.

So, that, glory be, brings me up to date.

Cheers, Robn and Dave


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