Blog Archive for Oct 2013


It’s Wednesday morning, October 2nd. I’m sitting on a balcony in Crete that looks down on a pedestrian walkway and looks outward to the sea.   Really, what am I doing here? What is Crete? Yes


  The skies are sobbing. Last night, for Jim’s birthday, we took him to a piano concert. The program of Brahms, Bach, and Chopin was to be enjoyed al fresco in the shadows of the ancient Te

Crete scenes

This isn’t the scenic Greece of photographs, the blue-and-white domes of churches rising in villages of chalk white homes, of old women in black hunched over at the waist and leaning heavily on cane

From Crete to Athens

It’s an early Sunday morning in the town of Napflio, Greece. On my walk from our pension down to this bench near the sea I passed the only other humans awake at 7am, old Greek women in black going t


  For the past three days we’ve been bopping around in our hot little rent-a-car through the Peloponnese Peninsula, the area to the north and west of Athens. To capture it all in a phrase, Dolo

Ruin driving

Wednesday morning at Zorba’s Hotel, our lodging for last night. We might be the only ones in this large hotel, yet another sign of the economic doldrums in Greece. These signs were everywhere during

The Oracle

This is not what we pictured when we pictured Greece. Even though it’s early October, we still imagined heat as a force, the sun beating down on us as we search for shade. We’ve already written ab

It’s All Greek To Me

  Ever since I was little, from the time I read about the Greek gods and goddesses, the myths explaining the constellations, and the stories about the heroes Heracles, Odysseus, and Perseus, there wa

Friends in Athens

Before seeing anything in Athens, before the Parthenon or the Acropolis or the world-famous museums, there are the two hours with Dimitri and Jennifer and their two-year-old son, Nossos.   This i


It is our second morning in Athens, and I’m sitting at a café with the Acropolis looming over me to the right. Yesterday was our Acropolis day, our climb up the hill in the center of Athens to visi

Sunday Athens

It’s Sunday morning here in Athens, and all is quiet. I’m sitting at a café on a pedestrian-only street with no pedestrians around. Pigeons, dogs—yes, but for now it’s just me and the waiter

Late night in Athens

Imagine: The three of us at midnight around a campfire in the backyard of a home in the outskirts of Athens. Dinner is served. Above us are the faint pinpricks of stars that are barely visible through

It’s All Greek To Me, Part II: The Peloponnese

    When we disembarked our ferry in the early, sunless darkness of the morning, we were loaded down with our packs, cold, and not knowing exactly what to do for the next 2 hours before the

On to the islands

    We left Athens in a haze. I don’t mean in a haze of sleep. I mean in a haze of soot that everyone says has gotten so much better over the years but still leaves us at night feeling lik

In Search of Greece in Santorini

As usual, it’s around 8am and I’m sitting in a sidewalk café with a cappuccino by my side. This is our second and last morning in Santorini, and the skies are blue with a smattering of clouds tha

Such a strange life…

Such a strange life, this life of ours.   It’s 8:30pm on October 17th, a Thursday night, and while all of Liam’s classmates at Waldorf are getting ready for bed, Liam is on a rooftop in this

On our way to Paradise

I left off two nights ago, when we were still in Santorini waiting for a midnight ferry eastward across the Aegean Sea to Kos, a Greek island just a few miles from the Turkish coast. From 9-11pm we sa

More Kos, More beach

Day 3 on the beach in Kos…   We needed this. We needed to detox from the smog of Athens and the turbulence of Santorini. We needed to luxuriate in these clear sunny days after the storms and bl

It’s All Greek To Me, Part 3: Athens

  Our taxi ride into Athens took us along a main boulevard that had about six blocks of strip joints on either side. Their names were seductively American—Wall Street, the Hollywood Club—and I wo

Talking Turkey

What day is it? Tuesday, Thursday? I think it’s Wednesday, but what does any of that matter. None of the usual indicators are identifying time. No sense of a sigh on Friday, no market on Saturday, n


It’s Thursday morning and I’m sitting at our hotel’s café on the Aegean Sea in a large port town named Kusadasi, Turkey. I’m sipping cappuccino from a machine with a button I pressed that rea

Ephesus, and a list

  Ways that we know we’re in Turkey and not California:   +Minarets top the skyline;   +Calls to prayer from those minarets throughout the day;   +Dark hair and only dark hair on


We had a long drive ahead of us. Three to four hours to the east of the port city of Kusadasi was a mysterious place far inland, a place called Pamukkale, that friends had advised us to visit. Pamukka


How did this happen: Istanbul, a Sunday morning in October, the three of us in a beautiful apartment in an old neighborhood called Cihangir. Last night we flew at sunset from Bodrum in the south, a on

Among the believers

Our first full day in Istanbul was a Sunday, always a good day to observe a city on its day of leisure. We stepped out the door with a vague sense of direction toward the old part of town across the b

All Greek Part 4: The Islands

  I don’t know how many inhabited Greek islands there are, but it’s a lot. We saw a number of them from the Blue Star Ferry. Our boat stopped at a few of them, Paros, Naxos, Ios. They were beginn

All Greek Part 4: The Islands

(Note from Jim: I’ve filed this entry from Dolora under Istanbul because it would be lost and unread if filed now in its rightful place, the Greek islands.)   I don’t know how many inhabited

Out the window in Istanbul

And now for something different…   I am sitting in a window seat in our apartment in the Cihangar District of Istanbul. It is 5:15pm. With the change of time a few nights ago dusk comes early

2 new movies from an old place

So far we’ve been keeping up with the blogs and photo galleries–but not with the movies. Well, here are a couple quick movies from way back when in Italy:        


Here are a couple of movies from our time in Venice and Tellaro, Italy.    

A shot

I played basketball yesterday. I also thought a loud bang was a gunshot near my head. We all thought that—Liam, a Swede in a wheelchair, Dolora. I also helped a different man in a wheelchair back in

Goodbye Istanbul

I leave a place before I leave a place.   Or sometimes, the place pushes you away when it’s time to leave.   This is what’s happening to me on my last day in Istanbul. On this chilly Wed