Sarah Coles

Travel Blog

June 5th, 2018

HADRIANS WALL, MAY 2018

We didn’t walk the full 84 miles from Wallsend to Bowness, though we met people who had, more for completion than revelling in the outskirts of Newcastle and Carlisle. Ann and I spent four days walking though the grandest scenery in Northumberland, no in England, east to west, from Robin Hood Inn at East Wallhouses, bang on the wall, to Blenkinsopp Castle Inn near Greenstead. Sometimes we felt like birds flying on air, sometimes like little figures about to be smashed down a precipice. We booked every where beforehand following Bill’s...

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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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October 23rd, 2017

Wagner’s Ring in Bayreuth

It was after seeing the Ring performed by the Met Opera in New York at the cinema in Winchester, and hearing those notes of the beginning of the world  in the Rhinegold that I thought, I must go to Bayreuth, I must hear and see it there! So, I downloaded a form from the web, and applied. Every year thereafter the Bayreuth Festspiele sent me a form, which I filled in, choosing dates for the Ring for the following year. Last October I included a pathetic note in my application, saying I was nearly eighty and did not want to die without having...

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June 22nd, 2017

North Wales in June …

So off we drove to north Wales, and after going through Llangollen on that ancient coach road to Holyhead we went through the Horseshoe Pass (why are views so uplifting, why is being reduced to an unimportant blip on the landscape so uplifting, and being reminded that one is nothing beside geological ages such a relief – maybe it’s that things just don’t matter, the earth will look after itself long term, and meanwhile I am part of it, fused into this body at the moment, but then off into molecules and atoms of everything else for...

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November 18th, 2016

3. ISTANBUL OCTOBER 2016

ISTANBUL Taxi through takes us to the Bus Station, as always outside the dusty city.  Coach takes us to Istanbul, over valleys, winding over mountains and diving under them, and we are regularly given drinks and biscuits, and have a longer stop at a large station for us to have a bite – though so many buses are there, and being nervous of missing ours, we don’t.  Decide that public lavatories with ceramic feet are preferable to ones with piss wet seats. Along this spanking new road, over a narrow bit of the Sea of Marmara, and more...

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November 18th, 2016

2. SAMOS, EPHESUS and IZMIR – OCTOBER 2016

SAMOS A ferry to Samos one morning, because it connects with a ferry to Kusadasi, Turkey.  We arrive in the port of Pythagorio, where the front is lined with nothing but restaurants, now empty.  The season is over.  Bob finds us a room overlooking the harbour, and I find how to get to Turkey: the ferry leaves from Vathy, the other side of the island. Next day, we wait at a bus stop (other people waiting – good, it means a bus will come), and take a winding bus over the hills and through orchards and vineyards and olive groves to Samos,...

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November 18th, 2016

I. RHODES and PATMOS – OCTOBER 2016

We want to visit Ephesus, ancient Greek city now part of Turkey.   But Bob has never been to Turkey, and (like scores of people) imagines Turks as intrinsically cruel.  He’s read T E Laurence and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, whippings, sodomy and all that.   So, I got a flight to Rhodes, chief of the Dodecanese Islands (Greek) which hang like a necklace round the shores of Turkey.    Dodecanese means twelve, but actually there are loads more.  Cheap flight, only thirty five pounds. The cabin bag allowance is a mere feather, five...

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