Stuff I'm making...

Monday, June 27, 2011

All hand dyed silk. Stay tuned

Photos from my trip - Greece (Delphi and Korinth Canal)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today we made a pilgrimage to one of the most important sites of the ancient world: Delphi. Its spectacular setting under high limestone cliffs is certainly worthy of the god Apollo. In ancient times, pilgrims from all over the world traveled to Delphi to consult the oracle for any major decisions that needed to be taken. The oracle's priestess, Pythia, always gave ambiguous answers that could only be deciphered by the Priests of the Oracle. Our guides Effie and Laura took us through the Agora and along the Sacred Way, as well as to the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle resided. We also took an ambitious climb to see the well preserved 3rd century Theater, as well as the Stadium. We also saw the Omphalos, or belly-button of the earth, in the lower portion of the site. We visited a great museum, whose exhibits include the frieze of the Treasury of the Sifnians, the Naxian Sphinx and the famous Charioteer, originally created to commemorate a victory during the 476 BC Pythian Games.
During lunch, Pan Orama set sail, eastbound in the Gulf of Korinth. We arrived at the west end of the Korinth Canal in the late afternoon and everyone piled on deck to see the transit of this impressive manmade canal, which connects the Gulf of Korinth with the Saronic Gulf. It was unbelievable! Then more feasting at the Captain's Farewell cocktail party and dinner.

Photos from my trip - Greece (Ithaka)

Departing from Sarande we traveled through the Korfu Channel and entered the Greek Ionian Sea, leaving the Adriatic behind us to the north. We passed by the island of Kefalonia to our starboard side in the morning as we rounded the north end of the beautiful yet neglected little island of Ithaka. Entering Vathi Bay on the east side, we anchored and had a relaxed morning of swimming and kayaking. Justin and I jumped in the water off the stern of the ship and swam ashore where we explored the shoreline and found a lot of well rounded seaglass.
In the late morning we moved a short distance to dock at the island's main port town of Vathi, which was our base for exploring the island of Ithaka. Immortalized as the home of Odysseus and the destination of his odyssey, Ithaka today is a tanquil island full of charm and natural beauty. Lacking huge archaeological sites or fancy resort beaches, its appeal is in the small villages and the everyday life that we could see as we drove around the island. Our two Greek guides, Effie and Lora, joined us for the remainder of the voyage, beginning with our island excursion in Vathi. This picturesque port was rebuilt in the modern Venetian style after the devastating earthquake of 1953.
It was clear why Odysseus spent twenty years trying to return to his beautiful island home and family. As we drove around the island, there was a focus on Greek village life and the Greek Orthodox Church. One of our stops was at an Orthodox monastery built in the 1600's. We also make a stop in the small town of Stavros, where we ate gelato and had fredo cappuccinos. We had an awesome seafood buffet dinner on board, starting with a Greek cocktail party complete with grilled octopus and ouzo. After dinner we went ashore and strolled the charming port town of Vathi.

Photos from my trip - Albania (Sarande and Butrint)

We saw a very different aspect of Albania as we explored the southern reaches of the country, beginning with our docking in the small southern fishing port of Sarande. After breakfast we drove to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint. This beautiful archaeological site tells the entire history of Albania, if not the Mediterranean, from the Illyrians and Greeks through the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottoman Turks. Albania has not been able to fund a full excavation, so nature still holds its grip on the secrets of the last 2000 years.
Our local guides Shpresa and Loreta gave us an introduction on the drive from Sarande to Butrint. The drive took about an hour, since anything goes on the roads of Albania. We bagan our visit with a walk through the theater, baths, baptistery and Byzantine basilica in the lower section. Then continued up to the acropolis, which later became a Venetian, then Turkish fort. We hiked through the Lion's Gate for some outstanding views and the excellent little archaeological museum.
Now, this was a real treat because unlike most archeological sites that are roped off and restricted, we were able to climb around on the ruins and explore. There were pot shards laying around all over and we were able to see the UNESCO sponsored digs that we going on. Archeologists were staking, sketching, cleaning, and cataloging all of their finds.
After lunch we had some down time to do a little independent exploration of town and then we back on board the ship where Auron Tare, an archaeologist and one of the founders of the Butrint National Park, shared a presentation on the underwater archaeological discoveries of the Korfu Channel and Sarande Harbor.
In the late afternoon we departed again by bus to the Ottoman Castle of Lekuris, which is perched scenically atop Sarande harbor. Here we enjoyed sunset drinks and appetizers with unforgettable views.