Home Sweet Home

My last couple days in Vienna were spent visiting with family. I always thought my fathers’ assertion that all the pretty girls in his photo album highly suspicious but having just spent a week visiting many different cousins I’m no longer so sure. Maybe they were all cousins!!!

We left early Thursday morning for the train station. My bags were heavy but I had help loading them onto the train. The previous evening while I was out for supper with yet another cousin I got word that there had been some sort of rail mishap on the line heading to Munich. I wasn’t really worried. Either I would go or I wouldn’t. In the end everything was just as it should be. I arrived at the Munich airport early and checked in. I was very relieved to be free of my bags. I had heard rumours earlier of a labour dispute with Iceland’s Air Traffic Controllers. We were delayed in Munich two hours and were told we would probably miss our connecting flight–necessitating an over night in Iceland.  Hurrah!!!  I had met several ladies in the lounge waiting for our plane and we were making plans to go to the Blue Lagoon.  I managed to email my daughter who was just getting ready to drive to Edmonton to meet me and tell her the good news.

But alas, it was not to be–imagine our disappointment when, just on final approach to Keflavik, we were told they were holding our connecting flights for us.  Grrr. Foiled again.

So I tried to connect to the airport wifi while running to catch the next plane to let my daughter know that yes, I would be back in Edmonton, but a couple hours late.  Another uneventful flight and then suddenly, back in Canada.  I made it through customs–again with no penalty for being over my limit on booze–he said he would let me go this once, which is what he said the last two times…he was more concerned with my visiting farms and whether or not I had properly cleaned my shoes. The 1,7 litre limit is so arbitrary–who really cares how much booze you schlep into the country–as long as it is not cases and cases–a few bottles, really!!!  Canadians are so reactionary.  Make it a 20 litre limit.  Who is going to physically carry twenty litres?? And I never bring in smokes.  So really, Canada Customs, relax already!!!

It’s always a little tense waiting for my bags–because I do pack my booze into my checked baggage, waiting to see if I packed well enough to prevent breakage and therefore spillage, is always tense.  One bag showed–the one with the three litre GLASS bottles, and then I waited…and waited…and waited…till I was the last one left.  My other bag was a no show.  Not surprising really given the mass confusion in Munich and the quick turn around in Keflavik.  So I filed a missing bag report with the happiest baggage guy I’ve ever met, blew thru the final customs agent who wanted to know what was in my missing bag and when I didn’t really know, cause packing is something I do on auto pilot and as sleep deprived as I was I really didn’t know what was where, got a little huffy.  But he let me go. And there was my darling daughter.

I got turned around on the way home, acting as navigator, and we drove too far down the number 2 highway.  I blame extreme exhaustion.  Anyway by the time we got turned around and knew where we were, I told my daughter we should just get a hotel room and sleep–it was dark already, late, rainy and both of us were struggling to keep our eyes open.  We stopped at the Best Western in Wetaskawin–got a fabulous room, ordered a pizza, and slept like the dead till 5am.  A quick stop at Timmies for coffee then back on the road.  We were home in no time.

I could see at once that my children loved me–my son had tuned up the mower and cut all the grass, although it needed it again, and my daughter had weeded the garden, a rather massive undertaking for which I am extremely grateful.  The house was shiny clean and soooo big–it always amazes me how big my house looks after I’ve been away for any length of time.  It took me several minutes to see the new stretch of fence–my daughter had to lead me over to it before it clicked–my children had re-built the section of fence that had been on my to-do list for years.  Great job too!!!

All the animals were fine and big dog was happy to see me–as was my little dog.  We did chores together and I made a tour of the garden and a lap around the house.  Everything looks so good. It’s nice to travel but good to be home again!!IMG_1961


Family reunion

So I’ve been back from Greece for a few days now. Friday we had a lovely lunch at my second cousins. I met my other cousin whom I haven’t seen since I was seven years old. He lives in Ohio now but he came 45 years ago to visit us. I can remember so well, he was such a handsome, exotic young man–he tells me now he was only 17. How is that possible that so much time has gone by!!!!  But it was a very nice visit with all my cousins. 

Saturday I went shopping because my bags are just not heavy enough. I wandered thru the Nashmarkt again but found no treasures. Then I wandered over to the Brunnenmarkt, the Turkish  market.  Of course I found my Turkish towels — only 5 euros. I just can’t win.  There was some kind of event happening there. I wandered around a bit but there was a beer stand–how civilized–so I stopped for a drink. I wanted a radler but she was out. But she had some raw apple juice which mixed very well with the beer. Did I want a klines ( small) or a grosser (big) one. What do you think??  It went down very smooth and was almost gone before I remembered to take a picture. 

It was hot and sunny but oh so nice under the beer canopy. There was some great music playing and then some entertainers took the stage. All very weird and strange. 

My cousins were going to meet me for supper. I wanted a goulash. We met by St Stephans and then headed over to a beer garden–there is always something happening in Vienna. I had a fantastic dark beer. 

Then we just wandered around looking at this and that–we popped into a couple of beautiful churches I’d never seen before. 

Then to the restaurant. I chose a fish goulash–something I’d never had before. I forgot to take a picture. But it was delicious. And Salzburger knockerl for dessert. 

We were so stuffed!! Sunday was Election Day. Everyone went out to vote and I went to visit some other cousins–the same couple I went walking with in the Wachau last time I was here. 

We had a wonderful visit and I stayed very late, had a delicious meal and some very good Austrian wine. They live in a fabulous housing development–lots of wood, brick, no paint or styrofoam and solar panels for supplementary power. I was driven home in a restored VW bug. I felt very special 😊

And today my other cousins took me on a road trip to the Wachau, the apricot valley near the Danube. This is where the Venus of Willendorf was found–this area has had people living here for thousands of years. We stopped at a church, a pilgrimage site really, Mariatafel. Mary in the plate. A truly incredible church but even more was the age of some of the artifacts left by people who were the recipients of miracles. And such a great view over the Danube valley. 

Once you get the eye for the yellow signs along the Camino you see them everywhere. All roads do lead to Santiago. Then we headed to the chalet/castle of Archduke Ferdinand–the very one whose assassination started World War One. The car he’d been sitting in was on display in the courtyard of the castle. We didn’t want to spend the day in the museum so we looked around the grounds and in the church before heading out to our next stop, the freighting museum of the Danube. This was absolutely facinating. I really enjoyed this. What an incredibly hard and dangerous life on the river but it was a very important shipping lane and was used for transportation for centuries,  documented by the Romans even in some of their wall art. 

By now we were all quite peckish so off to a heurigen for something yummy. 

We sat outside but it started to sprinkle a bit so we moved inside. I’m not sure what I had, some sort of herbed meat loaf with lingonberries and the best bread. Very good!!
And then home. We are all tired and quite a bit relieved by the results of the election which had been looking too close to call. The best man has won, by the skin of his teeth, but at least it is over. Now I’m having another glass of wine then my bed is calling me. 

Last day in greece

I packed up all my treasures Thursday morning. I think I single handledly brought the Greek state a little closer to the black with all the things I purchased. I was on a mission to find Turkish towels. I thought that being so close to Turkey, you can see it just across the ocean, only 20 minutes by boat, that this would be easy. But no one knew what they were. However, I did find some up near the really big (read expensive) hotels. But they were not as cheap as I thought they should be, the really nice ones were 17 euros. Some smaller, rougher, but more colourful ones were 7 euros. I bargained them down to 5 euros and picked up 7 different colors. The lady couldn’t really tell me their names, she didn’t know them as towels, but it was obvious they were hammam towels. But I wasn’t satisfied with my purchase. I wanted the big soft ones. Hammam or Turkish towels, are not towels in the traditional sense. They are super soft, 100% cotton, highly absorbent, very thin and therefore quick drying large rectangles of cloth. They can be used as towels, sarongs, chair throws, pashminas, and of course in the hammam (Turkish baths) they are what you wrap around yourself to cover up with. I also saw some in Symi when I was there. More expensive. No doubt cause they were way up on top of the mountain. And today (I’m back on Vienna now and trying to catch up on my blog entries) after buying an apron in the market, I asked the shop keeper about hammam towels. There is a large Turkish/Syrian middle eastern segment of the population here in Vienna. I thought that here perhaps I could find what I was looking for. Oh yes she said–just up the street is a factory outlet. So up I went to have a look. Sure enough, hammam towels. 7 euros for the big soft ones. Not much for color selection but the price was right. So my bag isn’t heavy enough. I bought three. There is also a big Turkish market that I may go to look at. Maybe there will be more colors there. But I digress. 

Back in Greece I packed up and checked out of my hotel. There were lockers in the lobby (really unusual because no one has lockers any more–too much chance of someone stashing a bomb in them and walking away). I put my ten ton bag in one and headed out for a walk to the old town. There was another market on the far side of the old city. I never get tired of looking at stalls and all the fresh produce. 

These grape leaves were amazing. I hope my grape is doing well. Maybe I can pick some leaves to make dolmades when I get home. I wandered into the old town after the market.  I found a little shrine I hadn’t seen before. It’s simply impregnated with the smell of inscense and the ceiling is black with it. 

I just sat and people watched for an hour or so. My girlfriend was going to come see me in the morning to say good by–and take me to the fabulous bakery to buy a selection of baclava to take back to Vienna. I didn’t take pictures (what was I thinking?!?)but the bakery is amazing. I picked up a kilo which was beautifully wrapped. (I carried it onto the plane and one of the security people recognized the box–oh she said, very good, the best!!  I thought it might be taken from me but I got to keep it 😊). Then we went for lunch–I knocked another food item off my list, a spanokopita pie. (Spinach and feta). It was delicious. We talked and talked. I told her about an episode which happened on Symi that was bothering me. On the way up to the church I passed a woman selling herbs. A older gypsy woman. She had given me a handful of oregano to smell and of course it was wonderful. But I didn’t want to buy and carry anything on the way up, even dried herbs, (she had three different kinds)so I told her I would stop on the way down. But on the way down I was in a hurry because I was afraid to miss the boat and I also didn’t stop. She was very unhappy, not angry, but sad and cried out at me. Begging for me to give just one euro. I’m so upset with myself that I didn’t stop and just give her the 5 euro bill I had in my pocket. It was nothing to me and could have meant something to her. I didn’t want the herbs. But she wasn’t begging like so many, she had worked and gathered herbs and was simply trying to make some money selling a product she had produced. Jay told me that many of the gypsy women sitting in the doorways would drug their babies to make them sleep all day so they could beg coins all day. She never gives money to these women. But she gives, and she really doesn’t have much to give either, to those who work a little or make music. It restores their faith in humanity she said, because everyone is struggling so much in Greece, not just the gypsy people. And the ones who were poorest before are worse off now.  I should have given something to the woman on Symi. I am quite ashamed of myself. 
Anyway we talked so long she was late for her class and had to run. It had been so nice to see her and we really had a great visit over the week. I wandered some more thru the old town then stopped at my favorite restaurant close to the hotel for an ouzo and water. Ice cold with liberal additions of ice and cold water it is a refreshing drink. I sat in the shade and worked on my blog, had several political discussions with my waiter and people watched. My plane didn’t leave until late and I couldn’t carry any more so didn’t want to shop so I pretended to be a Greek (man, of course, the women are always working) and sit in the shade and drink ouzo. It got late enough I thought I could have one final meal and the dish I wanted was giant broad beans. I was never a fan of Lima type beans and that’s what these look like but they are such a traditional old style dish I wanted to try them. 

Wow. How can something so simple be so good. These are going to go on my meal list at home.  I was not disappointed. Tender, in a well seasoned tomato sauce accompanied by garlic pita bread, it was perfect. Then off to the airport. When I left Vienna I was ridiculously late and now heading home I was ridiculously early. But I had my book and a bottle of water and a full belly so I just sat and people watched and read my book. I was very happy to see my cousins who came to collect me so late at the airport. My bed was very welcome. 

Island hopping in the Aegean 

Yesterday I decided I would head out on the sea and visit the nearby island of Symi. The village of Symi is perched on a steep hillside and there are few roads. All water has to be hauled in, or caught as rain water, or desalinated from the sea. Tickets for the tour were sold on the wharf and included the bus ride out to the ferry on the commercial side of the port. It promised to be another hot day, and windy, so a day on the water sounded great. I found a nice little spot on the boat, on the second level, next to the railing, sheltered from the wind, and settled in to enjoy the view.

 The sky and water were so blue–the pictures don’t do it justice. It was about two hours sailing time when we pulled into the harbour. 

The village was, as promised, stunning. I saw a couple of large churches near the top of the village, and one in particular caught my eye, the big round domed brown and white one.  We had three hours in town–plenty of time, I thought, to walk up to see the churches and have lunch. I started into town and passed a taxi–brilliant idea. I’d take the taxi up and walk down and save my knees. Yeah right!!  No roads up–only stairs. Well ok then. Up I went. I climbed and climbed and climbed. I’m telling you, my knees were not happy. 

Every time I spotted the church I took a picture but it didn’t really seem to get any closer. About half way up I found a nice little cafe run by a British woman and stopped for a much needed break. 

I hadn’t had a coffee this morning, so had one now. I was hoping the caffeine kick of a double espresso would give me wings. Sadly it didn’t work. However I did keep climbing, now close enough to the church to get lost because I couldn’t see it anymore. There was a nice little village centre with shops and bars and a bakery. I kept going up and just when I thought I would have to turn back (three hours really isn’t that long and I didn’t want to miss the boat) there it was. Closed of course. 

But I sat in the courtyard on some old stone blocks in the shade and tried to work up some enthusiasm to find the second church, the blue and white one. I gave up–then had second thoughts. I was so close. So I asked one of the men working in the gardens of the first church and he gave me directions. But of course I wound up in a field on the edge of town. 

I found a donkey in the back yard !!  Well now I became worried about missing the boat and I still wanted some lunch so I began the slow trek back down all those stairs. 

I’m not sure which is harder–going down or climbing up. Gravity helps on the way down but both are painful. I stopped at the little taverna in town and ordered a salad which really hit the spot–it was sooo hot, and the salad cool and refreshing. 

Then I slowly climbed back down. I had about twenty minutes to poke thru the dodad shops at the bottom then back onto the boat. We were now heading to a 17th century monastery on the far side of the island, Panormitas. 

Photos were not allowed but it was a beautiful church. Then a relaxing boat ride home. I had supper in the new restaurant adjoining my hotel.  There was live music and the waiter was very attentive. He wanted me to give a good review on Tripadvisor. 

I tried the lamb a third time–chops grilled with honey, garlic and herbs. This time it was delicious–definitely not chops, but rib ends trimmed to look like chops so a little short on meat (and hard to eat) but high on taste. Very very good. Then I watched the Rosenheimer Cops (a Bavarian cop show I’ve watched often in Vienna and enjoy very much) on the German TV channel subtitled in Greek. Another great day!!

Wall walking

Tuesday morning I headed out early. I’d been to the old town several times by now but today was museum and wall walking day.  I started out by walking around the harbour. 

It’s absolutely gorgeous. The windmills were beautiful–and someone was feeding the cats. 

I sat and watched for a while. It’s amazing how many cats lived here.   Then into the old town thru one of the back gates. The museum wasn’t open yet and I’d missed coffee so I found a nice little place to have coffee. 

Extremely good  coffee. Then back to the information place to see where to start. The hospital of the Knights of St. John has been transformed into the archeological museum. I have to admit my passion does not lie in Ancient Greece–I prefer the history of the early to late Middle Ages. This hospital was built to service injured pilgrims from the Holy Land. But the rooms and wards were filled with artifacts discovered on the island which has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years. My favorite room was the large ward room–of course, the arches did it for me again. I only wish there had been more information on this time period. It actually is a high building and took quite a while to work my way thru. 

As heretical as it sounds I was more interested in the physical building, which dated from the 14th century than the 2-6000 year old ancient artifacts. The gardens were in a bit of a state of disrepair but I could imagine how they would have been filled with healing herbs and kitchen produce. 

Then onto the walls. Rhodes is, as I’ve  said, the longest continuously inhabited city in Europe. The fortifications are amazing. Not built for looks–they were absolutely impregnable and the only way the city was taken by the Turks was because a traitor let them in thru the back door– that is thru underground tunnels. They then had control of the city for four hundred years. 

The walls completely surround the old city and there are entry points thru numerous gates. Absolutely amazing!!  

There is a dry moat and different levels of wall–goats graze here much of the time. 

There is enough soil on top to support some very large trees. And the walls are high enough to peer down into house yards, as well as give a perfect view over the top of the old town. After the wall walk I headed out to explore a few old churches. 

This one was a 13th century church filled with ancient murals and icons.  Then a scrummy lunch of beet root salad and fried sardines. 

Oh I can just hear you saying ewww!! But it was delicious. The sardines were lightly dusted with flour and fried till tender  crisp. And the beet root salad was dressed with yogurt and garlic. Then home for a siesta. I got quite a bit of sun walking on the wall. Janice and I went out later around ten for gyros and fried haloumi. Of course I dug right in and forgot to take pictures. But it was a popular spot and probably the best gyros I’ve had. And the fried haloumi was chewy and squeaky like cheese curds with a crunchy coating.  Scrummy. Then into the old town for ice cream. Everything is hopping till the early hours of the morning. Good thing we are walking so much. I’d be five hundred pounds–the food is sooo good. 

I’m a few days behind

Let’s face it. I’m on holiday. I want to post every night but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I didn’t post Monday cause really, nothing happened. I went down to the beach…and sat…and listened to the waves…and checked out the color of the water…and wandered around a bit. 

Amazing how much time you can spend just wandering around, looking here…and there…oooh that’s interesting…what’s that over there…cool pattern on the side walk or pretty flowers or very narrow street or beautiful old door. I came back to my room which is such a nice room, quite large, nice big bathroom and a cute little balcony. I sat on the balcony with my lunch from Sunday, my sheep cheese, sesame roll, cherry tomatoes,and a book I picked up from the lobby. And some coffee ouzo on ice. 

So I didn’t have much to post. I checked out the church at the end of my block. Beautiful!! 

I shopped a little, ate a little, had a few drinks, a siesta in the afternoon. Jay picked me up in the evening after she was done work, around 10. I know–usually I go to bed with the chickens, but we went out to her apartment. And a lovely little apartment it was too. She made a late supper, some tasty sausage, a cucumber, tomato and onion salad and a baked zucchini with feta cheese casserole. Very good. 
She also had some homemade capers–totally different from what I always thoughts were capers–this is the tender new shoots of a particular bush pickled in salt/vinegar brine. 

They were delicious and tasted just like the capers I have in my fridge which I always thought were nasturtium buds–they are actually the seed pods. And that was Monday. Today is Wednesday. I may write up Tuesday after supper. There’s live music playing downstairs so supper will be fun!!

Rhode trip 2

So back at Lindos we followed the donkeys up the trail to the Acropolis. A few iconic shots of what I’d always imagined Greece to look like. 

If you enlarge this last shot you can see where our car is parked–I’ve enlarged it here for you. 

Then it was time for lunch so we wandered down the hill into the village and had a really nice meal. I want to try as many Greek dishes as I can. We had dolmades, stuffed grape leaves–they were excellent. Then a feta stuffed crispy filo pastry with honey and balsamic vinegar. Also delicious. Then moussaka–very scrummy. And an incredibly mediocre lamb. I was not impressed. My girlfriend wasn’t either. I’m having bad luck this trip with lamb but I’ll keep trying. Then home. We stopped on the way for ice cream just to fill any gaps we may have had!!  The drive back was wet, it was seriously raining by this time and we were both tired. Jay dropped me off at the hotel. I went out to get a little snort of something to drink. I’d had an ouzo earlier and it went down very smooth. But I came home with a Greek honey liqueur that was really really nice. Now listening to the rain and looking at my pictures. A very nice day. 

Rhode trip 

Today my girlfriend and I were going to go on a walk but it was overcast and rain was in the forecast. She called me this morning and we decided to go on a road trip. Awesome!!  We headed out down the east side of the island, first stopping at an old spa area, Kalithea Springs, where the occupying Italians came to take the waters. The thermal waters here have been known since ancient times but the Italians built a spa. This later fell into disuse but has since been renovated. There is no longer a pool but the buildings are beautiful, particularly the pebbled mosaic floor. A nice secluded almost private beach and pool area, it looks like a nice place to sit and enjoy the sun. 
Our next stop was Seven Springs. A beautiful walk thru the forest, it smelled just like BC with the sprinkle of rain we were getting. 

You can walk under ground thru this little tunnel in the cool spring water–nice in summer maybe but too claustrophobic for me. 

Next stop was Lindos. An ancient Acropolis built upon by the Romans and again by the Knights of St John and several other powers in between. There were layers of churches and temples and castles. The Guns of Navarone with Anthony Quinn was filmed here. This is also where the famous donkeys take tourists up the mountain to the Acropolis. 

The donkeys looked very well taken care of, well fed and groomed and their feet were nicely trimmed.  The kids looked like they were having the most fun.   

This bas-relief of a ship dates from 180 BC. 
I have to go to a new page–I can’t load pictures anymore. Aargh!!!

Rhodes market

It was market day today in Rhodes. The city is really divided into three parts. The historical old walled city–which has a thriving and robust occupying population as well as numerous salesmen and women who run the countless dodad shops and restaurants that cater to the tourist hordes. The commercial district to the north of the old town where most of these support workers live and shop and where there are many tourist hotels and restaurants, and then the new part, which my waiter has informed me is completely uninteresting. The market is in this new part. I’m still not brave enough to attempt a local bus–though I will on Monday to head out of town to Lindos–so I walked the short distance up the hill to the taxi stand and took a taxi to the market. My friend had told me that stop signs are really only a suggestion to perhaps slow down–I found her to be absolutely right about this. We sailed thru stop signs and danced in an incomprehensible traffic pattern–the lines on the road seemed meaningless yet everything flowed smoothly, there was no irate beeping of horns, everyone knew what they were doing and where they were going. I had briefly thought about renting a car but I think you have to be born and bred here to be able to drive in this traffic. Parking spots are all at a premium and everyone seems to be masters at double parking, illegal parking, and it is just understood and accepted that the car must be left somewhere. It will eventually be moved. Jay says with the economic down turn many of the municipal police force were let go so no one enforces the rules, which are really only guidelines anyway. But the drive to the market was interesting. Only five minutes away. This market was quite obviously a farmers market catering to the locals. Not as varied as the market in Paris or Vienna, but filled with fruit and vegetables of every description, a few dry goods stalls with socks and underwear, some home dry goods like curtains and tablecloths, a few honey producers and some cheese products. 

These are grape leaves for making into dolmades (stuffed and rolled and baked). 

This is hard sheep cheese. I asked for a piece to taste. It was delicious. I had seen some on the first isle but it was uncut and I had no idea what it was. This one was cut so I figured out what it was. Of course I bought a piece. We are supposed to go on a walk tomorrow but rain is forecast. I’ll just picnic on my goodies if we cancel. 

I picked up a few goodies for lunch on our walk. A hand full of cherry tomatoes. A small cucumber. A few oranges. And my piece of sheep cheese. I also picked up a jar of honey from Crete with a chunk of honeycomb in it (to take back to vienna–not for my picnic.) Then I wandered back to the roadside not exactly sure how to get a cab back to the old town. But then one drove by and I waved at him and he pulled over. Just that easy. Back to the old town, it was cloudy and a little rainy. Not many people out. I wandered around and found a bakery where I picked up a sesame roll to complete my lunch tomorrow. It began to shower in earnest so I found a nice little table out of the rain, had a Greek coffee and caught up on my blog. It was so nice to hear the rain in the canvas roof and smell the wet leaves. I wandered back thru the old town and around the bus station. It really looks quite intimidating but I want to buy a ticket Monday for Lindos. It seems to be a free for all–but today I did notice a real human in the booth, not just a ticket machine so it may not be that bad. Everyone is super friendly and helpful. I stopped for lunch at the taverna across from my hotel. I don’t even bother with the menu. The waiter is super helpful–I told him I wanted something hot and garlicky. He suggested grilled pita with a baked pepper stuffed with spicy cheese for a starter. I’m not sure–but do you think I liked it 😊

Absolutely fantastic and super fresh!!  Then, hard to believe but I was cold–so I had a beef stifado. Tender chunks of beef simmered with small whole onions in a sweet sour tomato sauce flavoured with cloves and allspice. Absolutely the best meal yet!!

Then back to my room for a siesta. My sister just emailed and asked how I like the change of pace here. I love it–reminds me of Spain. I feel no guilt about snoozing the afternoon away–simply too hot and muggy to be wandering around. I have still five full days here (my flight to Vienna doesn’t leave till nine in the evening Thursday) so I can catch up on a bit of sleep. I hope the weather cooperates and we can do our walk tomorrow, Lindos Monday, perhaps another bus trip Tuesday, a few museums Wednesday, and last minutes shopping Thursday. It just poured several minutes ago, it’s all hot and steamy but I may go out for a wander in a bit. Life is good. 

The old city of Rhodes

This city is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. I had walked down yesterday to the front gates but the tourist hordes were massed there. This morning I had a couple cups of coffee from the breakfast buffet. Jay was right–it was a nice breakfast but as I’m not hungry till later in the morning it was sort of wasted on me. I did surreptitiously make a bunwich for later but I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. Anyway I headed out early to a back gate and beat the rush. Even the locals were only setting up–most of the stalls were still behind locked doors. I wandered around for several hours just enjoying getting lost in the maze of narrow streets. The narrowness had no effect on traffic–scooters, motor bikes, mini vans and in the wider streets, even some almost full size vehicles. The men on scooters invariably had some fresh fish in a plastic bag dangling from the handle bars–doubtless they had just been down to the wharf to get the freshest catch. Jay told me later that the Mediterranean is pretty well fished out. Most fish is farmed and the old men on scooters probably just bought it from another dealer on a scooter. Sounded more romantic my way. 

Everywhere there were cats which are apparently unwanted pests yet some one feeds and waters them. 

Many of them kept their distance from me but some were curious and some even blasé about my presence. Nothing to see here, just a  cat in a box!!
This momma cat was completely unimpressed with me being so close to her kittens–she hissed and howled in a pretty spectacular way. 
There were also some other cats around and they got the same treatment. This one was very friendly and seemed well fed but he only had half a tail. 

Back to my room in the heat of the day for a siesta. Jay came to pick me up around five and we went for a walk along the beach. She is a mountain goat and I had real trouble keeping up. 

Past a random shrine with a beautiful mosaic. 

Down the beach then up the mountain to the Acropolis and arena. Very impressive. This was the are all/stadium that the original Olympic Games were held. Many people are still jogging around the track. 

Then down the mountain on a goat trail–and out for a much needed beer and nibble. We had a great visit and the weather couldn’t have been nicer (well, it could have been cooler!!). This Canadian still has the thermostat set to high and I’m not used to the heat and humidity. But a super day.