Cabin Fever!

If you’ve been around awhile, this blog post might seem a bit familiar, as well, I’ve written about it before.  A LONG TIME AGO IN A PLACE FAR, FAR AWAY I had another blog, who’s life was tragically cut short by hackers (okay, okay, fine posts were getting few and far between, but still!).  My last few meager posts on were blurps about our Turkey and Greece trip, but in perusing one titled Cabin Fever! I was reminded of our last full day on the yacht boat.

And literally, it was a FULL day on the boat, as we were stuck in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Not to worry, we were within swimming distance to the shore.  We were “in” Knidos and yes, I’m using quotation marks because we weren’t in Knidos, we were in a small docking bay at the edge of Knidos.  The problem was that by the time we arrived, there were no more docks available (I think there were a total of three available to the public).

Docked for the night was the official term, however, I cannot reach landfall without getting wet or rowing myself in—and even if I did, there’s not a lot around except one dodgy looking restaurant, a lot of sheep, a few passing headlights, ancient ruins and a huge sundial…so I will stick to my story of being stuck.

The day didn’t start out so bad—we left Greece to make our way back to Turkey. We got to Datça, a city in the middle of the Datça peninsula, which was directly in our path back to Bodrum. Once again, the Captain and our passports left the vessel. This time we had no instructions to stay on board, so we disembarked and rambled about the town for about an hour.

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Our passports magically returned, we had lunch, and then headed back out to begin our sail northwest. We were to spend the afternoon/stop for the night at what we believed to be another small sea-side village at the tip of the peninsula, called Knidos. The bay was pretty full by the time we got there, so we dropped anchor in the middle and were going to moor on the empty side. Turns out it’s private property and we can’t tie down there. Also we discovered that our dingy boat motor no longer started.  The poor crew members had to row all the way to shore, get yelled at by the locals, and row their way back to the boat to convey the message–however, since the owner was shouting loudly and gesticulating excessively, we didn’t need to speak Turkish or Greek to get the gist.

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Another boat kindly offered us use of their dingy for the price of 4€ each person. No thanks! So we spent the afternoon napping, reading, writing, playing cards, backgammon, etc, anything to distract from the fact that we couldn’t (without much effort or money) leave the boat. At this point, I know you’re thinking why not just pay the 4€? It was the principle of the matter!  And the Captain wasn’t offering to pay either, which was a rant for a very long informative email to the tour company, since it was his non-working dingy that left us stranded.

Overall, I really can’t complain, as it was very a relaxing day and a complete opposite of the jam-packed beginning of the tour or life in NYC in general.

As I lay listening the lapping of the water, I realized that–with proper phone and internet service, of course–I could easily pack it all up and move here. There is something inherently charming about the laid-back lifestyle of a small sea-side village, miles and miles of sea from anything resembling a city. No hustle, no bustle, no worries–just so long as I don’t have to spend any more nights anchored in the middle of a bay, with limited options for getting to shore.

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It’s All Greek to Me!

Can I just tell you how long I’ve been waiting to use that phrase as a title?  Pretty much ever since our yacht boat cruise took us through the southern Greek isles–the Dodecanese as they are known. SIDE NOTE:  Dodecanese literally means 12 islands; and the Dodecanese is made up of 12 larger islands and approximately 150 smaller islands of which 26 of these are inhabited–so 12 is really more of a figurative number.

While we were in Turkey, we had Osgur, our amazing guide who GUIDED US and kept us from getting lost and made sure we were where we needed to be in a semi-timely fashion, providing of course, the bus was cooperating.  However, then Osgur handed us over  to a Captain, Cook, and Deck Hand on a yacht boat who spoke very little English and the only guiding they did was with the yacht boat.

It was a complete 180 degrees from the first 10 days of our trip!  And don’t get me wrong, it was great to be able to explore on our own, however, after having everything in Turkey so organized (and by organized, I mean we didn’t make decisions about what to see and where to go), we were a bit flummoxed at our first island stop–Kos.

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First of all, while at breakfast the Captain tells us to stay onboard until he gets back, we then watch him get off the yacht boat with our passports and walk away.  I’m not gonna lie, it was a little disconcerting to see a man I only met the day before leave me on a boat while he walks away with my passport.  But soon he returns and says “Okay, you go, you be back by 6pm.”  And motions to the shore.  So we go.  And it’s pretty obvious we were dropped into a touristy part of town, so we follow the masses of people for awhile and then decide “hey! let’s see what’s down this street.”

We found some ancient Roman ruins.  We can’t tell you what they were because…well…we don’t speak Greek!

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We wandered around for a few hours, down little streets, around hidden corners, exploring areas that didn’t seem to see a lot of tourists.

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We eventually found our way back to the touristy areas, when we happened upon a museum dedicated to Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, who was believed to have been born in Kos.

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This is Hippocrates tree, which is believed to be where he taught and practiced medicine.  The tree is so old, it is now supported by scaffolding to keep it from toppling over!  And in case you’re wondering how old, Hippocrates lived in the 5th century!

From there we wander back along the shoe, getting great shots of both the city walls and the stunning blueness that the Aegean is known for.

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We finally found our starting point, however, since we still had a bit of time we decided to have a drink.  No, not alcohol, but Hellenic coffee for me and hot chocolate for April.  It was amazing.  Her hot chocolate, that is.  Oh don’t get me wrong, my coffee was good.  But her hot chocolate was everything-you-could-ever-want-in-a-cup hot chocolate.  It was thick and dark and smacked you around a little.  This was definitely not your watered down, overly sugary hot chocolate that caused me to not really like hot chocolate.

And it was at this moment that time stood still.  Sitting outside, basking in the sun, watching people amble by, listen to locals laughing and enjoying life, looking out on the sparkling blue water.  In that instant, I fell in love with this lifestyle and this landscape.  And when my reverie was finally broken by our waiter asking if we’d like anything else, we did the only thing we could: ordered another round–this time, all chocolate.

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Thanks a Yacht!

Let me sum up an email chain while trying to organize our Turkey trip.  Please know this is a very liberal translation, as those emails are hopelessly lost in an email account that was viciously hacked causing me to start over with a new email and all that jazz…but I’m not bitter.  At. All.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, emailing:

April: I found a tour that encompasses ANZAC day activities and Istanbul and several historic sites like Troy and Ephesus….and…IF we wanted, we could add a yacht cruise through the southern Greek Isles.

Me: Hell yes we want to add a yacht cruise through the southern Greek Isles!  Don’t we?

April: yes, of course we do (NOTE: April has much better sea legs than I do, but I have a much better sailor’s mouth than she!!)

Now when I think of yacht, I think:

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And I knew KNEW there was no way our yacht was going to look like that.  However, I was NOT prepared for the S.S. Minnow.  Okay, so it wasn’t that bad…but it was close.

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Granted it’s a cute little boat.  But it was not a yacht.  NOT A YACHT!  And it had 10 very tiny cabins.  Thankfully the fabulous and wonderful Osgur, our Turkish guide, talked the Captain into letting April & I have our own separate cabins since we were not a couple.  Good thing too because these cabins were the tiniest spaces, with beds slightly bigger than a twin.

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my tiiiiiny little window

my tiny little window

One thing the yacht boat did have going for it was that we had the best chef.  Every meal he prepared was amazing.  I even ate eggplant–and liked it!  And for the record, I don’t like eggplant and tend to avoid it like the plague…but his eggplant was delectable.  Turns out he was using baby eggplant and through a series of gesticulations and a very broken English and Turkish, I believe he said that only baby eggplants were worth eating.  Now would be a great time to mention that between the Captain, Chef, and Deck Hand, they spoke maybe 20 words in English, which of course, was much better than our 3 words in Turkish!  Sorry, no pictures of the food–we were way too busy eatin’ to even think about snapping pictures!!

Our aft-side cabins smelled like diesel any time the yacht boat was in motion, which was a great motivator to be outside taking in all the fresh air and stunning views of  the open waters of the Aegean Sea.  More than once I was awoken way too early by the sounds and smells of the motor running, so I would just grab my blankie and went to nap on the deck.

strike a pose!

strike a pose!

best place for an early-morning snooze

best place for an early-morning snooze

The water was so blue and clear it was stunning.  We did have a couple of swim stops, but as the water was fr-r-r-r-r-reezing, April and I abstained.

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One final note: we had a fellow tourist who was continually lamenting about how the “haze” was completely messing up his pics…The HAAAAAZE!!!….but I rather think it gave some of our pictures a nice air of shrouded mystery, which I feel is perfectly acceptable when you’re on a yacht boat in the middle of the sea.

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