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? 

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: Cappadocia Region, Day 2 – The Better Tour

Cappadocia, Turkey
27 June 2009

Sleeping felt great. Waking up, not so much. But we had to get an early start on the day as we day yet another all day tour before we had to run to catch another overnight bus, joy! Shazia had left for Istanbul last night, so we made friends with Cecilie and Finn.

We’ve actually been “stalking” them since Istanbul where we both stayed at the Mavi Guesthouse. They booked a tour with Ali’s help as well, and we (unbeknownst to either party at the time) booked essentially the same tour all the way to Samos. The only difference was Cecilcia and Finn had an extra day in Cappadocia before their tour.

We started with some more rocks just outside of town, but today’s tour eventually took us down to Kaymaklı to see the Kaymaklı Underground City.

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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey

Being almost 50 meters down was a nice change of pace from the beating Turkish sun, although the cool relief did not last long.

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Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey

We did a short (about 4 kilometers, or so) hike through Ihlara Valley and then stopped for a quick lunch over the river before finishing out our day. It wasn’t nearly as good at yesterdays buffet, but it filled the belly enough.

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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey

Funny picture of the day: What a bunch of tourist look like photographing a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey

We finally headed over to Selime Monastery to finish up the day.

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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey

Getting back before our bus left had its moments of excitement. The bus was supposed to leave at 19:00 and our tour was supposed to get back by 18:30. However, we had a late start in the morning because they didn’t have enough seats and had to get a second bus for the tour. It was pushing 18:50 by time we got back to the hostel. Fortuneatly our bags were packed and ready to go. However, I needed to check my email to see if Ali had sent me any last minute information. Meanwhile, Charlie went to go take a shower after we decided that he was no longer allowed to ride next to me without taking one.

Ali actually ended up calling the Shoestring Cave and leaving a message. So I called him back. It was lucky I got a hold of him as there was a change of plans. It basically boils down to this: We were going to stay in Selcuk, which is about 25 minutes from Kusadasi, which is where we catch the ferry to Samos. The ferry leaves at 08:00 in the morning. Ali thought that he could get us a ride, but he couldn’t. So he’s going to have us stay at a place in Kusadasi instead so we can just walk to the ferry!

I wrote down all the contact information for our new hostel and was off running to the bus station with Charlie 45 seconds behind me. As it turned out, this bus didn’t leave on time and we had an extra several minutes to spare.

We took the short ten minute ride to Nevsehir, where it started raining buckets. As we arrived, the streets started looking like Venician canals. This was unfortunate for the sheer fact that none of us, save Cecilie, had any sort of rain gear. Finn used his backpack as a shield, I threw on my fleece zip-up, and Charlie just sucked it up.

Once we got on the bus, it was okay though. The AC was on, Charlie had take two showers, and we on our way to the cooler coast.

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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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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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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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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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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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. the hostel we were staying at 

  2. men, yes; gentle…not so much