The sole of my right shoe is now peeled back a few inches from the toe. Amanda’s favorite shirt has elongated itself into a dress from so many hand washes in a hotel sink, and drying over the back of a chair. Our hair is long and shabby, our clothes need replacing. Yes, as I sit here in our beautiful hotel perched on the scenic caldera of the Greek island of Santorini, I am painfully aware that the end is near. Six months ago, this time would never come. Five months ago we had thousands of adventures in front of us. Last month we still had two countries on our list. Now there is Greece.
Before getting ahead of myself, I must back-track 1 week to Turkey. After taking a plunge off the mountain with the Mediterranean as my backdrop, we took a bus inland towards the ruins of Heiropolis in Pamukkale. This ancient Roman city resists the urge to be bland by perching itself atop a large outcrop of limestone terraces. The Romans shaped them into pools and what is left are stunning waterfalls of cool spring water into dozens of beautifully shaped pools over a bleach white landscape of calcium rich soil. It made for an incredible sunset. The ruins were crowned by an amazing Roman theatre – one of the best preserved in Asia. What might have caught our attention the most was the hundreds of bikini clad women, mostly Russian, posing in terraces for pictures. The beach was a hundred miles away yet everyone was in their bikini taking a swim. Considering the Turkish tourists wore headscarves and coats, it made for some bizarre contrasts.
We then headed for our final Turkish stop at the ruins of Ephesus. Regarded as one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world, we were certainly impressed. However, the stifling heat, encroaching forest fire, and crushing mass of cruise-ship tourists had us moving on our way fairly quickly to the port town of Marmaris. From here we took a pricey catamaran to the ancient Greek island of Rhodes.
Our guide book told us we’d either like Rhodes or love it. However it was dead wrong. These descriptives are far too weak and commonplace to truly explain the way we felt while roaming the ancient streets of Rhodes town on the northern tip of this large island.
Maybe it should have read: you will want to give up all your material possessions, renounce your citizenship to the US, climb a mountain, climb five mountains, do everything you hate – even listen to country music, just to be in Rhodes. It was fantastic. And all we had to do was give a company 50 euros each to get here! The old town is surrounded by ancient walls, 16 meters thick. The cobble stoned streets demand that you take your time as you stroll through crooked passageways, tunnels, and old, old, old. We loved our little apartment off the street. It was as though we had always lived there. And though the crowds could be intense, it was not difficult to find the quite streets where cats and old ladies still reigned supreme over mass tourism.
We took an excursion to the famous town of Lindos on the Eastern coast of Rhodes for a day of scorched skin, floating in the turquoise waters, and beer sipping.
After waking to a minor earthquake on our last morning in Rhodes, we boarded an 18 seat plane and now we are in Santorini; an island which speaks for itself. My sister Lisa and high school friend Nick will be meeting us here shortly. It is the beginning of the end and never have I experienced such a strong sense of the word “bittersweet”. We can’t believe our lives of travel are nearing an end but wow has it been great. We can’t believe we only have 2 weeks left but… we have two weeks to spend in Greece! Life is good. No, life is great.