Saturday, October 11, 2014

Back from Vacation. 10.11.14

At the Acropolis.  Oct 2014

Mosques, Istanbul.  Oct 2014.
 Ning and I went on a cruise vacation for 2 weeks.  Now returned safely.

I almost canceled - recovering from pneumonia and bronchitis, and side effects of work and Gleevec.  I thought the cruise would be healing, and it was.  Very worthwhile.

There were a lot of places - Venice, Athens, Ephesus, Istanbul, Naples/Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Toulon/Marseilles, and Barcelona.

I took more than 1,000 pics - easy to to with electronic camera with good memory card.  Very selective with pics to post - respecting the volume of memory needed, and this blog is really my gardening log.

When I was late teens / early 20s, I was a young soldier stationed in Turkey.  Getting to visit again was a bit of a bucket-list item.  That and Ephesus, and Rome, and Pompeii, and Barcelona.  I could not ask for more.

Four O'clocks, Ephesus Turkey, Oct 2014
In front if Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Oct 2014
 Since this was my year of the 4:00's, I liked seeing some in Ephesus.  Similar to some I grew here.

I tasted figs in Athens - larger but not as flavorful as the ones I grow.  I imagine that is because they need to travel from the countryside, so are not fully ripe.

Observing city and countryside trees and plants, there were lots of Sycamores, lots of olive trees, scattered fig trees, vineyards.

I-pad panorama views are pretty interesting.  They pull a lot into the photo.

As an autodidact student of religion and social history, I loved some of the places.  Example, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, built in the Christian Roman Empire, started in the year 537 possibly on older Christian and possible prior Roman or Greek Polytheistic temple site, some of the materials taken from the Ephesus temple of Artemis; with mosaics of religious figures, destroyed in the iconoclast period, sacked by the crusaders sent by the Catholic pope, rebuilt, then remade into a mosque by Ottoman Turks, victorious over Constantinople, becoming Istanbul, and finally, Ataturk, fed up with the intrigues and politics of the Caliphate, expelled the Caliphate and secularized the Mosque.  There has been some restoration, while still respecting the interplay of Christian and Muslim aspects.

Palms, Toulon France.  Oct 2014.

Sycamore, Topkapi Palace Compound.  Istanbul, Oct, 2014
 I am probably unusual in spending as much time admiring an ancient sycamore, as admiring paintings or sculptures, but that's how it is.

The Vatican / San Pietro piazza looks to me a lot like ancient Greek and Roman temples.

The Pantheon of Rome, built close to 2000 years ago and in continuous use, first polytheistic, then Roman Catholic, beautiful stone work, soaring spaces, and natural light via ostium at the summit.  Amazing place.

Inside Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Oct 2014

Pompei, with Vesuvius.  Oct, 2014.

Panarama inside Pantheon.  Rome, Oct, 2014

Panarama, St. Peter's Square, Oct 2014.


  1. Welcome home. Your destinations are on my bucket list. I've been to Barcelona and Marseilles but didn't stay long enough to see everything. The Acropolis is a very impressive sight. All the places you visited are knee deep in ancient history. I think Florence alone will take me 2 weeks to take in the sights and sounds. Of course I can only imagine the food you can have in Italy. I'll be off to Biloxi, New Orleans next week to catch some cat fish. Oyster po-boy waiting for me.

  2. Thanks Lance! I would like to see Biloxi some day, and visit New Orleans again too. There is a lot of history there.

    Florence would be good for a couple of weeks. If I was there by myself, I could see wandering around and pondering more of the places. It's really an interesting place, and it's soul is art.