One Year Ago: Photo Time Capsule, Part II

I keep thinking back to where I was this time last summer1. By this point, I had traveled to 5 countries and traveled over 10,000 miles as the crow flies. By this time, I was a well versed international spy traveler and having the time of my life figuring out all sorts of things and interacting with so many interesting people (always remembering the Prime Directive though). In many ways, I am where I thought I would be today; in many ways, I’m not. That’s okay though; planning is guessing.

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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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Ayios Konstandinos, Aegean, Greece


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Thira, Aegean, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece

Map of photo locations, showing travel progress from right to left

via the Photojojo Time Capsule

I’m going on an awesome hike2 tomorrow with The Edge and my friend Matt Matteson is in town for the 4th of July, it’s going to be rocking holiday weekend.


  1. Santorini, Greece 

  2. Lake Serene 

Dateline: Athens, Day 1 – Athens in 4 Hours

Athens, Greece
4 July 2009

With the assistance of last nights mid-voyage Internet connection, we were able to find what we thought would be a good chance at a bed. Unfortunately, we couldn’t actually book anything. After talking to Mom and Dad on Skype and explaining the 14 second audio delay because of the satellite connection I was using, we made out way to the hostel.

The downside of arriving anywhere past midnight is that there is no guarantee of a working metro system. Many places shut down their metros at midnight and also reduce bus service. Athens is one of those cities. We ended up sharing a cab with the American couple, since they were staying at a hotel near us. We paid €5/each and were on our way.

We got to the hostel and low and behold, they had one room left. So, the good news is that we had a bed. The bad news is that we had a bed, singular.

Whatever, we took it and went to bed.

Exploring Athens in 4 hours was pretty exiting. We had three goals: National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Parthenon, and catching our boat in Patros1.

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is quite amazing

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…and yes, that’s a guy giving himself a tittie twister2.

We grabbed a quite bit to eat before racing off to find the Parthenon. As we started to climb the steps leading to the Parthenon, the clouds began to roll in. Although I think it made for rather excellent lighting in the end…

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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece


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Athens, Attica, Greece

As we were leaving the Parthenon, the drops started to fall. By time we made it down the small ridge the Parthenon was on, it was pouring down rain. We made a mad dash for the hostel were we grabbed our bags. Already running late, we hailed a cab (the second in as many days) and raced to the bus terminal. We made it with, I swear, only five minutes before the bus left. But we were on, and that’s what mattered at this point…even if we were soaking wet.

The bus ride, like all the bus rides before it, was uneventful.

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Aktaio, Peloponnese Western Greece and the Ionian Island, Greece

We got to the bus terminal and ran to the ferry terminal, which sucked because we had to go all the way to the ticket counter on the far side of the terminal before going back to ferry. By time we got to the ferry, they had already started to pull up the car ramp…so we just barely made it.

This ferry, the Superfast Ferry, was quite a bit nicer than the other ferries we had been, which is saying something because the other ferries were pretty nice. I’d actually call this ferry more of an ocean linear.

We made our way to the foyer and sat down. It wasn’t long before I was scouting out a place for out “instant upgrade.” The place I selected was the airplane-style seats. It seemed to more or less be a free for all, and there were plenty of extra seats. I would suspect that less than half the people actually had tickets for the airplane-style seats. We managed to snag a couple and settled in for our night ride to Bari, Italy.

Around midnight, there was a commotion that aroused me from my sleep. We were being kicked out. We had just pulled out of port in Igoumenitsa and someone actually had a ticket for our seats! What luck!

We tried finding a place to sleep somewhere else, first in the foyer (no place to lie down), and then in the dining area. However, some official actually kicked us (a bunch of people actually) out because the area was for people who were eating. Problem was, the restaurant wasn’t open. I guess he didn’t care.

So it was back to the foyer. However, I was determined to get back to our plush aircraft-style seats. After waiting a bit, I made by way back in to the cabin and scouted our another spot. I found a guy sitting with two bags taking up two extra seats. I asked if he was using them, to which he prompt got up and left. So I took them. And all was good with the world again.

Happy Forth of July!


  1. Charlie figured out that it was faster/easier to catch the boat in Patros, rather than four hours later in Igoumenitsa. Not to mention that buying a ticket for Patros is easier… 

  2. Check that one off the list of words I didn’t think I would ever write on this blog 

Dateline: Santorini, Day 2 – A Long Ferry Ride

Santorini, Greece
3 July 2009

The thing one notices the most about Santorini is all the tourists. The streets are flooded with helmet-clad foreigners on quad-ATVs or scooters. Santorini, more so than Paros or Samos in my opinion, is also a pretty big party island. The kids are out late into the night and wake up groggy, late the following morning. This is probably why Santorini wasn’t my favorite island and is also probably why I wasn’t too sad to be leaving (although our hostel was the best one since Istanbul).

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, Aegean, Greece

In the morning, I checked around for a ride down to the ferry terminal (Youth Hostel Anna is on the back side of the island, about 30 minutes from the ferry terminal by car). Our hostels’ bus was all full up (€3/person), but I checked with the guy we rented the ATV from and he said someone would be able to pick us up from his location at 2:45 for €1…although he actually said €10.

We still had an entire morning and early afternoon left to explore, so we got down to it, driving way out to the far north side of the island all the way to Oia, almost 45 minutes by ATV.

The drive was a winding scenic route on the western rim of the island high above the Aeagean Sea below.

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Thira, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece

We made it to Oia and had just enough time to do some exploring before we needed to start heading back. We purchased some souvoniers, and then were racing back to our hostel so we could catch our ride to the ferry.

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Thira, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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Emborion, Aegean, Greece

We got back with just enough time for Charlie to take a shower and for me to make some last minute checks of things on the Interwebz – I wanted to grab some stuff so I could be productive offline. Our ferry ride would be long almost 8 hours, landing in us Athens around midnight. And we didn’t have any confirmed place to sleep yet; our plan was to basically wing it with a list of hostels…again.

Charlie’s shower took a bit longer than usual1, but we made it to the ATV place in time – although not in time to get groceries. We jumped in the van only to discover that it was really €10, not one. I still stand by the fact the guy said one Euro. But with a boat to catch, he could have said €30 and we would have paid it.

We picked up an American and Brazilian couple before heading to the dock. We got dropped off at the dock with plenty of time to spare, so I ran to get over-priced groceries at the mini-mart while Charlie went to get some Kebab’s to eat for lunch…no surprise there.

The ferry ride was more or less uneventful, which makes for dull and boring ferry rides. Because we weren’t first in line to get on the ferry, we were relegated to the actual deck for the first part of the ride. I suppose this was a good thing as I got to see the insides of Santorini as we headed out.

Side note: Why does this say “Winch Only?”

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Thira, Aegean, Greece

Not our boat

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, Aegean, Greece

Lava rocks

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, Aegean, Greece

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, Aegean, Greece

After stopping off at a few islands, we were eventually able to find ourselves a nice seat inside, which was a welcome relief from the elements. Per usual, I spent the rest of my time hunkered down on the computer, trying to get as many photos processed. And playing Solitaire.


  1. killing some more kittens, are we? 

Live from the Aegean Sea

I’m currently en route to Athens on the Blue Star Paros ferry (it’s really more of an eight hour cruise). A fellow travelers computer died and he’s graciously allowed me to use the rest of his Internet time. And not just any Internet, Satellite Internet! Ergo, I’m in the middle of the Aegean sea, blogging.

Sorry of the general lack of updates. There’s a backlog in the process where I merge the photos with the actual text of the blog. I blame the lack of a good Internet connection for this.

Stay tuned and something will eventually pop up here. Promise.

Dateline: Santorini, Day 1 – Another 24 Hours

Santorini, Greece
2 July 2009

We had an entire morning to explore the others parts of Paros before we had to leave for Santorini. We headed to the north part of the island, into what looked like a fishing village.

We walked around for a bit before we booked it back to our hotel to checkout and catch our ferry.

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Naousa, Aegean, Greece


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Naousa, Aegean, Greece


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Paros, Aegean, Greece

The plan for getting to the ferry and returning the bike was thus, load up all of our stuff (two large backpacks, two day packs, one camera bag, one bag of food) and both of us onto one 50cc scooter and make our way to the ferry. I would drop Charlie and all the stuff off at the ferry terminal, go return the bike, and then walk back to the ferry on foot. As executed, the plan went really well, and looking something like this:

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Paros, Aegean, Greece


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Paros, Aegean, Greece


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Paros, Aegean, Greece

One of the interesting things about riding on the ferry is that while you’re given a ticket for a particular class, no one seems to actually enforce it. This was probably a good thing because knowing where we could sit was no easy task. Our tickets said “Deck,” just like they did for the trip to Paros when we actually sat on the deck, outside, for the entire trip. I was pretty miserable and was determined not to have a repeat, damn the consequences. I found some seats inside in an area marked “Economy” and decided to stake our claim. No one cared or questioned our being there, and so it was: an air conditioned seat for the ride to Santorini. Hooray!

Santorini is much like Paros, except it’s built on a the reminants of a volcano. However, the middle part has sunk back into the ocean, creating a crescent shaped island with a small mountain island in the middle.

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Thira, Aegean, Greece

And just like Paros, we were inundated with people at the dock with signs for hostels, hotels, and camping sites. This time though, we were a bit more prepared, having done more through research. After consulting with several people, we settled on Youth Hostel Anna, a hostel recommended in the Lonely Plant guidebook. Bonus points were awarding by being placed in a room with all girls1.

A couple of girls from Vancouver, BC, who were staying in our dorm recommended a place to grab lunch and rent a quad-ATV. I went over to check out the wheels while Charlie grabbed something to eat.

Then it was off to explore the island of Santorini. We made our way toward the northern part of the island, going to the archeology museum and exploring the various tourist spots.

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Thira, Aegean, Greece


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Thira, Aegean, Greece


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Thira, Aegean, Greece


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Thira, Aegean, Greece


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Thira, Aegean, Greece

And yes, those are donkey and mules you see. There’s an entire line of them, ready to take you up and down the mountain for a fee so you don’t have to stand in the looooong line for the gondola.

On Charlie’s insistence, we stuck around for the sunset, which also afforded me a change to teach him all I know about two source lighting (in this case, the sun and the flash).

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Thira, Aegean, Greece


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Thira, Aegean, Greece


Setting Sun
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Thira, Aegean, Greece


Earth to Space
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Thira, Aegean, Greece

Then it was a night ride back to the hostel in the cool ocean breeze. For dinner, we had moussaka, a sort of lasagne-type dish with eggplant instead of meat. It’s actually rather good.


  1. No, nothing scandalous happened, thanks for asking. 

Dateline: Paros, Day 1 – 24 Hours on Paros

Paros, Greece
1 July 2009

We (Charlie and I) bid our farewells to Finn and Cecilie and then made our way down to the ferry terminal. The ferry boats they use to island hop are something else and not anything like the ones we use in Washington. They are specially designed and highly manuverable cruise ships with space for vehicles inside. To dock, the ferry will head straight for the dock, and then, only minutes before docking, will execute a 180 degree turn and back in. It’s pretty insane. Several ramps on the back of the boat unseal and lower for passengers and vehicles alike to disembark. Within 30 minutes, an entire boat can be unloaded, loaded, and on its way again. Perhaps the only thing more impressive than the Greek ferry system is the Russian train system.

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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Paros, Aegean, Greece


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Paros, Aegean, Greece

When we got in to Paros, we were inundated with people at the dock with signs for hostels, hotels, and camping sites. We had done our research and knew the price range for most hostels this time of year, about €20, give or take 5. Unfortunately, most of the hostels were full up, so we went with Hotel Francisco, at a ghastly €25/person/night (so far the highest we’ve paid for a room).

After settling in, we headed back into town to try and rent a scooter. We were able to rent a 50cc scooter with my Washington State Drivers License, and so off we went to explore Paros!

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Paros, Aegean, Greece


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Paros, Aegean, Greece


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Paros, Aegean, Greece


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Paros, Aegean, Greece

We made it to the back side of the island to one of the beaches, Charlie went for a dip in the Aegean Sea while I relaxed on my beach chair and edited photos. It was actually pretty awesome. Also, please take note of my amazing farmers tan.

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Tsipidhos, Aegean, Greece


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Tsipidhos, Aegean, Greece

Photo by Charlie Wyman.
Photo by Charlie Wyman.

As we rode back, we stopped on the side of the road to admire yet an other amazing sunset. It’s really too bad this was our only night on Paros.

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, Aegean, Greece

Dateline: Samos, Day 2 – Exploring the Island of Samos

Samos, Greece
30 June 2009

Batteries fully recharged, we (Cecilie and the Three Musketeers) started the day early. The plan was to rent either two mopeds or one car, with the former prefered because it was cheaper (by just a couple of Euros). We walked into town and the consensues between Anthony (from ISTA), my understanding of Greek and European Union laws, and, most importantly, the rental agency, was that we would have to rent a car becuase I did not have an International Driving Permit.

So it was. We got some groceries for breakfast and lunch and were on our way to explore Samos. Pedro, who was the most flamboyant man I have ever met, had recommended some places to visit, and, with marked-up map in hand, we were off.

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The first stop was to get some petrol, as rental cars, at least in Greece, come with an empty tank. We drove along the coast, eventually coming to the river where we could walk up to some waterfalls.

The walk quickly turned into a river excursion. Getting past the first waterfall with everyones bags was an interesting feat. The deep water at the bottom made positioning difficult. Charlie was able to climb to the top of the water fall and, with some careful positioning, the rest of us were able to pass our bags up to him before climbing up ourselves.

The second waterfall proved a bit more difficult and everyone, save me, dumped their bags in a small, dry rock cropping. I slipped the rain-jacket on my camera bag and prayed that I didn’t fall.

We wandered up the river more, passing three more waterfalls. We were able to jump off a couple of them, but the others were too dangerous to jump from, either because of proximity to other rocks or lack of depth at the bottom.

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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece

When we got back to the bottom, we were famished. We drove in search for a place to eat near the sea, such as a beach, and ended up driving to the end of a commercial pier, which was amazing! No one seemed to care (just try doing that in the US of A) and so we sat on the ledge of the breakwater, eating warm homemade sandwiches, throwing bits of ham, cheese, and bread to the schools of fish below our dangling feet. Afterwards, we dove off the end of the pier in the warm Aegean Sea.

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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece


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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece


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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece


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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece

It was picturesque.

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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece

We continued to explore the island of Samos. We drove up and over the island to the back side, stopping in a small town along the way to get some dessert.

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Ayios Konstandinos, Aegean, Greece


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Ayios Konstandinos, Aegean, Greece

Once on the backside of the island, I settled down for nap on the beach while everyone else walked around town.

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Pythagoreio, Aegean, Greece

Not wanting to miss another amazing sunset, we headed back for our side of the island and returned the car. We walked alongside the pier as the sun set in the distance. Another amazing day capped by another amazing sunset.

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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece

Back at the hotel, we all hung out – Cecilie and the Three Musketeers – one last time before heading off to bed. Charlie and I would have to get up early to make our sailing for Paros.

Dateline: Samos, Day 1 – Down Day

Samos, Greece
29 June 2009

Well, last night I ended up not going straight to bed. First, I wanted to get some blogs posted (still playing catch, ugh). Second, Charlie needed to call his bank to get his withdraw limit changed. And then Caitlin1 called on Skype, so I had to let the two love birds talk.

In any event, I got to bed around 3am, just in time to get four hours of sleep. We woke up, packed, had a quick breakfast, and walked down to ferry. We went through customs easily enough and were off on the ferry to Greece.

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Kusadasi, Aydin, Turkey

I spent the first part editing photos on the outside desk, before getting tired and dozing off. I spent the last half wishing I had something more to eat. I did “splurge” on two sandwiches, a €1.80 ham and cheese toast sandwich for breakfast, and a €3.80 ham and cheese and lettuce sandwich for lunch. Neither were filling.

Meanwhile, Charlie had found Finn and Cecilia elsewhere on the ferry.

We disembarked in Samos and promptly found food and, with the help of Anthony and Pedros at ISTA, a hotel.

I ended up calling in a down day and spent the afternoon in the hotel room recharing my batteries, so to speak, while Charlie, Cecilie, and Finn went exploring.

We met back at the hotel for an amazing sunset dinner before heading to the roof to enjoy the evening. Charlie thought that we should come up with a name for our group. After some discusion, it was settled: Cecilie and the Three Musketeers (Finntaro, The Hawk, and Ferg).

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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece


  1. Charlie’s girlfriend 

Dateline: Istanbul, Day 3 – The Bath

Istanbul, Turkey
24 June 2009

Having walked so much the previous day, Charlie and I decided that today would be a good day to take that boat right up the Bosphorus. After a bit of late start, we walked down to the pier in hopes of finding a boat that would take us on for a decent price. It didn’t take long for a guy to get us interested in a two hour boat cruise. It wasn’t the exact ride we wanted, which would have taken us up to Çamlıbahçe or so, but it was good enough, especially given the amount of time we had. The asking price was 20YTL each; after walking away once, we were able to get him to go for 30YTL for the both of us, and probably could have gone lower.

The ride was decent; I was able to take some great pictures. It would have been nice to have a guide to give some background on what we were looking at, but alas we had no such fortune.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/16.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/16.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/16.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

There wasn’t much to see on the Asian side of Istanbul, so I ended up falling asleep for the hour or so it took to get back.

Charlie and I decided that we were both pretty hungry. Charlie heard a rumor that the fish was pretty good here, so we set out to find something decent. We settled on a bustling fish house of sort right on the water.

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18.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

The kitchen, and I use that term very loosely, was little more than a collection of grills on a boat docked to the pier. Ordering meant walking up to a guy right on the edge of the pier, handing over your 3YTL and getting a cooked fish sandwich handed to you. For another 2YTL each, we added two cans of Coca-Cola.

Overall, it was a decent meal, at least up until I starting getting bits of bone in my mouth.

We made our way back to the hostel, getting lost in the Bazaar along the way.

Despite my little cat nap, I was still dog tired when we got back. I spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping, which honestly isn’t such a bad thing to do in the hot Istanbul weather.

After I finally woke up, we spent the evening figuring out what to do in Cappadocia and really the rest of Turkey. Ali, the owner of Mavi Guesthouse1, was very helpful in piecing together this section of our trip. It was going to be a grueling few days, but we assured him we could do it.

The plan was such: leave tomorrow night on an overnight bus to Gorme (which is in the Cappadocia region) and go on an all day tour of the northern region of Cappadocia. Sleep at Shoestring Cave for the night. Wake up and go on another all day tour of the southern region of Cappadocia. Then, catch another overnight bus to Selcuk. Spend a day in Selcuk (i.e. Ephesus), staying overnight at the ANZ Guesthouse, and leaving for Samos, Greece the next morning at 8am via ferry. Talk about a whirlwind tour of Turkey.

Content with our plans, Charlie and I headed off to a Turkish Bath, also known as a hamam, with Nick (one of our roommates).

Let me tell you something about hamam’s: they are utterly amazing and utterly scary. We got changed into single towel and slippers and were ushered into the sauna to sweat it out. There was some talk about crossing legs or not, but we decided that we were all mature males, comfortable with our heterosexuality.

Two older gentlemen2 came to get us out of the sauna. They sat us down on the marble and drenched us in water before rubbing us down with a stiff glove. It actually felt good and I wished they went a bit longer.

Next, we were instructed to lay face up on a marble table. There, they gave us a soap massage, intermixed with sporadic slapping (for effect, I’m sure). It’s pretty much what you would expect, although a bit on the vigorous side. They had clearly done this many times before and were not afraid to go practically all the way up my thigh. To put it bluntly, one slip and this guys thumb was going right up my asshole. Seriously. Not an exciting thought.

I just stared straight ahead, looking at the single bare Philips florecent light bulb illuminating the room.

Philips…Lets Make Things Better

Reveling in our newfound cleanliness, we walked back to the hostel, grabbing some food and baklava on the way.

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50.0 mm || 1/25 || f/1.8 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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27.0 mm || 0.8 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. the hostel we were staying at 

  2. men, yes; gentle…not so much 

The Three Amigos

After much convincing, the third partner in my trip is finally on board. Quinn’s actually been onboard for a while, he just finally purchased his ticket today…which means that he’s really on board now.

Charlie’s the the other partner on this trip. He’ll be joining me in Istanbul on 22 June, while Quinn won’t be joining us until around 10 July in Switzerland.

All three of us met tonight to get some logistics figure out. I think it was productive, at least as far as any meeting can be. Charlie’s going to be figuring out how to get us from Turkey to Greece, in addition to what where we’ll be going. Meanwhile, I’ll be figuring out where Charlie and I will be sleeping while in Istanbul and Cappadocia.

Italy is more or less figured out.

For Switzerland, I think the plan is to work our way from the southwest to the northeast, going through Interlaken, Lucerne, and St. Gallen.

Austria’s also mostly planed out.

With only four days left, I’ve finally started to pack. I have most of my stuff already, which just a few small things to pick up here and there. I’ll be releasing an updated itinerary and packing list in the next couple of days.

P.S. Quinn’s on the left, Charlie’s on the right.