Thursday, November 12, 2009

Almost vegan in Mykonos/Kusadasi

The next morning, we drove from Athens to the nearby port of Piraeus, where we boarded our wee little ship, the Aegean Pearl, and set sail on a three-day island-hopping cruise of the Greek isles.

That first evening, we visited the island of Mykonos, which is largely known as "the party island." Maybe it’s because it was a gray evening with some scattered light rain, but I found it to be a very quiet, peaceful place. For dinner, I bought a vegetarian gyro (tomatoes, red onions, peppers, and lettuce, hold the tzatziki) from a crowded little order-at-the-counter place. Now, what I’m about to tell you may shock you: in Greece, gyros are topped with "chips." That’s right—all true, “authentic” Greek gyros have a big handful of french fries inside. Strange but true! It was really alien to me, but I found it to be a surprisingly tasty addition.

I wandered the ultra-narrow streets from dusk to nightfall, then enjoyed a relaxing and scenic walk back to the ship, admiring the cubic white-and-blue buildings dotting the landscape.

The next morning, we arrived at our one non-Greek stop on the cruise: TURKEY! We docked at the port city of Kusadasi, south of Istanbul.

I left the group and took an excursion by bus into the countryside and up a small mountain, to the house where the Virgin Mary supposedly died. I have a scholarly interest in such things.

After that, I visited the ancient city of Ephesus. We had all thought Pompeii was pretty cool, but it can’t even hold a candle to Ephesus. It was huge, and densely littered with ruins.

Some of them were downright majestic, such as the library...

...and the mammoth amphitheatre.

Epic! I loved it. It was thrilling to stroll the very streets on which Anthony and Cleopatra once tread.

After Ephesus, I had just enough time to do a little bit of browsing at the bazaar.

The sellers at these markets are pushy and rather in-your-face to begin with, but the Turks seemed to take a particular liking to me. I suppose a pale-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl is exotic to them in some way? I was stopped several times and told I was "beautiful," "an angel," "a Barbie," etc. Many of them also enthusiastically pointed out that my eyes resemble the Eye of Medusa, a talisman widely used in Greece and Turkey to ward off evil. It’s everywhere over there—you see it in jewelry, d├ęcor, artwork, pottery, carpets, on front doors, even embedded into sidewalks.

The bazaar was quite an experience, to say the least! I returned to the ship with apple tea and Turkish delight in tow. Turkish delight is a chewy, jelly-like candy made of starch and sugar and flavored with such things as rosewater, nuts, fruit flavors, and more. I picked up a small box of the chocolate-coconut kind, which wasn’t available to try a bite of in the shops. It was ok, but I wished I had bought the classic mixed-fruit-with-pistachio variety that I’d sampled. If you can ever get your hands on some, that’s the one I’d recommend.

I know this entry was light on food, but that will soon be made up for. More Greece is up next!

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  1. These ruins would be fascinating to see. Also like the dusk landscape at Mykonos.

  2. French fries on a gyro, that's great! I'd probably have done it sooner or later, but now I can say "It's authentic" when stared at strangely. Lovely picture of Mykonos at dusk.

  3. Very informative post. Mykonos is small island in Greece.Mykonos Island is a happening place.Enjoy the cool atmosphere on the Elia Beach. Don't forget to visit Pierro’s Bar. For more details refer Mykonos Island