Archive for October, 2011

Day 297 – Selcuk, Turkey

Posted in Turkey on October 31, 2011 by jpomio

Our original plan for today was to take a day trip to Pamukkale. However when we found out that there was no direct bus and that we would have to spend 7 hours out of our day in transit (round trip) we decided against it. Instead, we opted to continue exploring Selcuk. First we visited the Ephesus Museum where we saw many precious artifacts which were excavated in this region (the Artemis of Ephesus statue was especially fascinating). Next we proceeded to visit St. John’s Church. According to religious scholars, this basilica structure was built on the grave of John the Evangelist. After enjoying some fabulous views from Ayasulug Hill, we headed to the beautiful Isa Bey Mosque to see it up close and personal.

(The Artemis of Ephesus at the Ephesus Museum)


(St. John’s Church)

IMG_0690IMG_0699IMG_0700IMG_0701IMG_0706St. John’s graveIMG_0705IMG_0709IMG_0710

(Ayasuluk Fort)


(Isa Bey Mosque – 14th century)


(Various scenes from Selcuk)




(Turkey is one of the leading manufacturers of rose water)


Day 296 – Selcuk, Turkey (Ephesus)

Posted in Turkey on October 30, 2011 by jpomio

Today we spent the day exploring one of the most famous cities in the early ages, Ephesus (founded around the year 3000 BC). Ephesus is one of the best restored ancient cities in the world! Ryan and I had a wonderful time admiring this historic archaeological site. We were especially impressed by the Grand Theatre and the Celcus Library. Both were simply amazing! We learned that Ephesus was an important religious center in the pagan and Christian periods. Some religious historians believe that St. John brought Mary to Ephesus 4 to 6 years after the death of Christ (where she spent her last days).

(Ephesus Archaeological Site)

The Celcus Library – 117 AD


The Grand Theatre – has the capacity to seat 25,000 people (1st and 2nd century AD)


Odeon – 2nd century AD


Public Toilets


Various scenes from Ephesus


Commercial Agora


Temple of Hadrian


Fountain of Trajan


Various other scenes from Ephesus




(Ayasuluk Fort)


(Turkish delight…)


Day 295 – In transit to Turkey

Posted in Turkey on October 29, 2011 by jpomio

After checking out of our hotel at noon, we had four hours to kill prior to our ferry ride to Turkey. We decided to spend a couple of those hours online to get caught up on our digital lives. With the remainder of the time we grabbed a bite to eat and sat on a park bench admiring the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. At 4:00pm we hopped on our ferry and an hour and a half later we had arrived in Kusadasi, Turkey. Once in Kusadasi, we walked over to the bus stop and hopped on a mini-bus (dolmus) to Selcuk. Our initial impressions of Turkey are amazing. The locals are extremely friendly, honest, and helpful. We really appreciated their assistance today in finding the bus stop and our hotel in Selcuk.

(Various scenes from Samos)


(View of Samos from the ferry as we departed)


(Kusadasi, Turkey)


Day 294 – Samos Island, Greece

Posted in Greece on October 28, 2011 by jpomio

This afternoon we were planning on catching a local bus to Kokarri, a nearby beach town. After waiting on the bus for about 30 minutes, we realized that public transportation was not operating. We were informed by the locals that today is a Greek holiday and that all of the restaurants and local establishments were participating in a European wide strike. Samos City was basically a ghost town for the entire day. Naturally we headed to the beach where we spent hours sunbathing and relaxing in the most tranquil setting. We basically had the entire beach to ourselves which was wonderful. Later on we hiked up a nearby cliff for some beautiful views.

(Various scenes from Samos)




Day 293 – Samos Island, Greece

Posted in Greece on October 27, 2011 by jpomio

We arrived on beautiful Samos Island this morning after an exhausting overnight ferry ride. The waters were quite choppy last night due to a storm so we had a difficult time sleeping. Fortunately Samos is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Today we enjoyed a laid back day of sightseeing and lounging around on Samos’s beautiful Mediterranean shores. Samos City is a complete contrast from Athens. Samos is very clean, well maintained, and charming at every turn.

(View of Samos from the ferry)


(Samos’s beautiful beaches)


(Samos City – Vathi)


Day 292 – Athens, Greece

Posted in Greece on October 26, 2011 by jpomio

After checking out of our hotel at noon, we put our bags in storage and went out to enjoy our last day in Athens. I am happy to report that public transportation is back in full operation today. This afternoon we visited the Greek ruins of Kerameikos. Kerameikos was the official cemetery of ancient Athens (dating back to the Prehistoric period). Next to the Kerameikos archaeological site is a wonderful museum which houses an incredible collection of tombstones, vases, grave offerings, jewelry, pottery, and many other interesting artifacts. It was fascinating to see this collection and to learn about ancient funerary rituals. Tonight we are hopping on an overnight ferry to a beautiful Greek island called Samos.



(Museum of Kerameikos)




Day 291 – Athens, Greece

Posted in Greece on October 25, 2011 by jpomio

As we were leaving our hotel this afternoon, we were informed by our receptionist that all public transportation was shut down for the day due to strikes. So taking the metro anywhere today was not an option. Fortunately our hotel is within walking distance to all of the major tourist attractions so we were able to continue our day as planned. We took a LONG walk to the New Acropolis Museum and spent many hours there. The museum is incredible! It is extremely well curated and it houses an amazing collection of ancient Greek statues and artifacts (including original pieces of the Parthenon). I wish I had pictures of the exhibits to share but photography was strictly forbidden.

(Public transportation strike in Ethnikis Andistassis Square)


(Central Market)


(Local churches we passed by on our way to the museum)


(Ancient Greek ruins in Plaka)


(Shops in Plaka)


(New Acropolis Museum)