Sarah Coles

Travel Blog

November 17th, 2018

ATHENS – OCTOBER 2018

Greece – the islands, the churches, Athens, the air, the little lanes creeping up the green sides of the Acropolis. ATHENS In the isle of Tinos, Bob is  feeling unwell, he thinks he may have appendicitis. (When we get home, they say it’s gallstones, but it isn’t and the whole thing fades away. I think he feels he can do more than he’s up to, he gets so excited by the thought of all these places, Delos etc). So, I say we’d better skip any idea of Andros, and get home. I buy ferry tickets to Piraeus, and from there we get a...

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November 16th, 2018

GREEK ISLAND – CYCLADES – TINOS – OCTOBER 2018

TINOS   Small ferry to another marble island, Tinos, the Lourdes of Greece. Or Knock of Ireland, or Fatima of Portugal. In 1822, time of Greek reunification, a nun Pelagia had a vision in which she saw a buried icon painted by St Luke. (Bernadette, other young women, children, it’s amazing how these visions all over the place fire up pilgrimage sites). Pelagia got everyone digging, and the was duly unearthed. A slew of miracles, particularly healing and rescuing ships at sea, was effected through its intervention. A massive church was...

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November 14th, 2018

GREEK ISLANDS – CYCLADES – DELOS – OCTOBER 2018

The sacred island of Delos, birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Centre of the world, and after wandering through the sea the island was pinned where it now is by Neptune. No one could profane it by birth or death, for which people had to go to the adjacent island of Rheneia. ‘Oh how I wish I had listened to Whitfield lecturing on the Delian league’ says Bob. (That was over sixty years ago)… Today no one is allowed to spend the night here – and the only way to visit is a day trip from Mykonos. Which we do. First time we go...

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November 14th, 2018

GREEK ISLANDS – CYCLADES – MYKONOS – OCTOBER 2018

MYKONOS Mykonos, gay capital of the Cyclades. We arrive at the New Port, and a bus takes us to the outside of the traffic free Old Port. Slowly, we walk along, stopping for a drink en route, and find the Hotel Manto, very central and earlier booked on line. Small, boutiquey, and it is fun to sit at a restaurant on the harbour front and watch the beau monde go by. On these cobbles one beauty is wearing red suede stilettos as she flaunts along her handsome lover. Another decoratively tattooed lies on the adjacent beach, near three tubby...

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November 11th, 2018

GREEK ISLANDS – CYCLADES – OCTOBER 2021 – SANTORINI AND NAXOS

SANTORINI ‘Santorini is for the hoi polloi’ says Kevin as he drives us to the airport. ‘Mykonos is for gays.’ We are late at Gatwick, our fault, and delayed even more by a jobsworth pulling out a phial of Dream Satin and admonishing me for not placing it in a plastic bag – this takes fifteen minutes, and then we rush through a chicane of unguents and perfumes and barely get to our Gate in time. Flight, oh fine now, above the clouds, pure and beautiful, and the flare of red red red as the sun goes down, soaking us in last light....

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June 5th, 2018

HADRIANS WALL, NOVEMBER AND MAY 2018

NOVEMBER 2018.  What the guide books don’t say,  the best bits dug from the Wall, like  a beautiful cameo brooch, a sculpture of Mithras slaying the bull – can you see he’s pulling the bull’s mouth open? –  as he creates the world watched by a dog, snake and scorpion, and another one of him surrounded by symbols looking almost like a risen Christ – at in the Great Northern Museum in Newcastle, where there is also a splendid long mock up of the Wall itself.  Mithras was a mysterious god from the...

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March 29th, 2018

EGYPT February 2018 – MOSQUES AND MUSEUMS, TEMPLES AND TOMBS

  COPTIC CAIRO Off to the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo, which in etchings appears a village but is now an integral part of this dry dusty flat metropolis bumped by the Turkish Citadel.   It’s in a sumptuous building costing millions, and with a very ecumenical photo of President Sisi, a mullah and an archbishop cheery together at its opening. What’s fascinating here is the link between Pharaonic past and Christian and Muslim futures, quite apart from the exquisite wood carved ceilings and jalousie windows from Coptic palaces...

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March 21st, 2018

EGYPT, FEBRUARY 2018, CAIRO AND LUXOR

CAIRO AirEgypt to Cairo – all fine except it was Muslim and dry so no chance to down the vino, dreamily floating over the clouds below. Cairo airport at 10pm, get visa, then luggage collection, except as everyone’s vast suitcase popped onto the carrousel, Bob’s did not. Other travellers dispersed, and there was just us and another man minus luggage, and a few weary officials. They were concerned, and pointed us to one desk, which said we should be at another office at the other end of this vast concourse. They searched cubby holes and...

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November 20th, 2017

GREEK ISLANDS – IKARIA, SYROS then ATHENS.

IKARIA, SYROS, ATHENS IKARIA From Chios, we board the Nissos Rhodos to Ikaria.  Smart, with two flights of escalators.   Off.  The boat trembles outside a minor port off Samos, then we go like a straining animal past sea walls to the dark flecked sea beyond. (I remember Samian ware, figured, dug out of the mud of the Medway all those years ago. It came from here …).  We arrive at the tiny port of Evadilos in Ikaria. Icarus fell into the sea at Ikaria. Ikaria is a blue zone, one of the five places in the world where people live to...

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November 11th, 2017

GREEK ISLANDS – LESBOS AND CHIOS

Lesbos and Chios   October 2017 The islands – blue and white. Blue,  the sea, the sky, the domes (one shown here in Ikaria) and doors, the window frames, the squares of sky dotting the mountainsides, hives alive with bees like squares of blue on the mountainsides. The white of the houses, the sea horses, the wide circle of silver on the sea, the Greek flag. Cobalt, indigo, navy, aquamarine. And the myths. The head of Orpheus torn by the Maenads – could they not hear his music? Was it too modern – floated across the sea to Lesbos,...

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