Shoemans Trail

The quest for liberation

Cape Sunion – Poseidons residence

On our last adventure on mainland we went for a day trip to the temple of Poseidon at cape Sunion a 90 min drive out of Athens.

It is said that the ancient Greek build the Parthenon (the big temple of the Acropolis in Athens) the Aphaea temple on Aegina and the one here on purpose, if you connect the 3 dots on the map you get a isosceles triangle (two sides are equal in length), the so called sacred triangle of Greece.

The temple stands pretty picturesque next to the sea and is a perfect spot for sunsets.

For more information about the cape and the temple: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sounion

And this is already the end of our adventures to the ancient world, we enjoyed it a lot, the friendliness of the people, the good food, although heavy on meat and cheese but the fruits and vegetables so tasty, yumm! Definitely we have to come again, so many more adventures are waiting for us, so many islands to explore and so much more delicious fruits and olives to enjoy 😉

Aegina – Island life

Because of the weather situation we decided on visiting a Greek island, Aegina is easily reachable by ferry in 80 minutes from Piraeus the port of Athens which is basically a town on its own and not a filthy one!

Sunny side up we sat on the deck, riding along with the wind, classic! Our first mission was getting to the Temple of Aphaea before the crowds; we succeeded and had the very well preserved and partly reconstructed ruins just for us, priceless!

The cruise along the islands coast was another highlight with spectacular drops and beautiful lookouts and plenty of curves.

We also went to Paleochora, a place where the island population retreated from pirates and in modern days, just the churches survived the weather and island conditions, some can still be visited and bare a certain charm, the air smelt of herbs, bees were humming and birds flew all around, such a sweet day in spring.

Our last mission for the sunset was to climb the highest peak of the island, Mt. Oros. Up on 500 m we had a 360° lookout over the whole island and all the way back to Athens, the Peloponnese and the surrounding islands, incredible!

The night we spend in a boutique hotel named: Aeginitiko Archontiko and I would definitely recommend everyone in visiting at least to see the 200 years old house and to meet Rena the owner, she was like a mother to us, preparing even cake and cooking homemade marmalade for breakfast!

For more information about the island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegina

The website of the hotel: http://aeginitikoarchontiko.gr

Olympia & the Ionian Sea – Home of the Olympic Games 8.2.17

Casing the sun we travelled to the western Peloponnese to see Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Lots of old stones but not that many intact structures and the old cinder track can be visited. The whole area is on flat ground and beautiful old trees flank the even older remains of the once so beautiful town. Birds twitter and the air smells like spring, warm and full of sunlight.

A short trip to the Ionian see and the empty beach was the 2nd highlight of the day, best light ever, just one hour before the sun went down, pretty picturesque!

To learn more about ancient Olympia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympia,_Greece

Corinthos, Mycenae & Nafplio – The Eastern Peloponnes

Again we were chasing the sun so after a short visit of the Acrocorinthos a not so ancient fortress and quite big, the next stop we made in ancient Mycenae. Heinrich Schliemann discovered the remains of the old Mycenae culture here in 1886 and started the excavations. The ruins are pretty old and ruined to the ground, just the impressive entrance gate and the tombs have been restored to get a glimpse of its past beauty.

More information on Mycenae: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenae

And we did see the sun came out when we arrived in Nafplio, a pretty sweet old city and great fortresses can be visited, as they are already closing at 15h in wintertime we just had a stroll through town, half of the businesses and hotels are closed, definitely the touristy season we’re travelling…

Still we had a good time and a lovely chat with a t-shirt printer and a bartender 😉

Delphi – Oracle tales

Next stop, Delphi the home of the famous oracle of ancient times, it is said that the priestess was sitting on a tripod over an opening in the rocks and inhaling the vapour from the mountain, intoxicated she made the prophecies. Not just the Greek worshippers went to the holy place; even the romans and Alexander the Great later on used the oracle to question the future.

The city also played an important role for the ancient Greek, according to the myth, Zeus let two eagles fly and the place they went down was considered to be the navel of the world, as it happened it was right here in Delphi, the naval stone still can be find within the complex.

The ancient city is beautifully perched on the mighty slopes of Mt. Parnassus. Feels pretty amazing to be here in such a place with so much history and wander along the remains of a culture that existed more than 2000 years ago, and it still reverberates!

The gymnasium and the Tholos are located a bit outside of the spiritual area of town, just a few remains can be seen and the circular temple with its 3 restored columns is standing out of all the rectangular buildings.

Further reads: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi

Meteora – Moni in the sky

Casing the sun we directly went up north from Athens, travelling with a car in Greece is comfortable as soon as you’re out of the big city. Highways have tolls and country roads have speed checks but still everyone is driving fast and a bit crazy, I was just adapting to the locals 😉

In the end of our 5 hours’ drive we already saw the otherworldly rocks the monasteries are built upon in the distance – a magic moment! Basically the spiritual places were erected in such an area to protect the monks from the Turkish enemies. Back in the days monks used ropes and nets to gain access. In modern days a comfortable road and steps hewn in the rocks give access.

Not all the monastery were open but we got a pretty nice idea of the monk’s life here while visiting the Megalou moni. The lookouts are so spectacular as are roads and trails, no handrails just steep drops, really reminds me of my home the Elbsandsteingebirge, minus the Monasteries…

For more information check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora

Athens – Home of the Acropolis

After 2 years I went again on a trip with my friend Eric, I met in Jordan and we already travelled Thailand and Cambodia together. So this time we decided on Greece.

We met in Athens and went straight to the Acropolis, literally meaning high city, to see the ancient remains of the big temple called Parthenon and all its surrounding structures, the buildings were destroyed a couple of times by different cultures but always rebuild, for more information go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acropolis_of_Athens.

The grandness of the remains as well as the lookouts from above are quite spectacular, you get a proper idea on how big Athens was and now, with all the suburbs, is growing bigger and bigger.

Ubud – Art capital and temple area

The last days I spent in Bali, but not south, this time I went further north to Ubud, the art capital of the island, a lot of painters, sculptors, wood carver and artists live close by. The whole area is surrounded by rice fields and a lot of temples can be seen. I went to the most important ones and was templed out after a long day, it was a bit touristy but not as bad as the Uluwatu temple

First I went to Tirta Empul  with it’s hot springs and dating back some 1000 years. It was too crowded with tourists but a perfect start, the next temple I visited is called Gunung Kawi, the Poet Mountain Temple, some pretty good rock carvings can be seen plus an older temple completely carved out of the rock – quite impressive! The Goa Gajah elephant cave is carved in the rock too with a nicely lit lingam and a Ganesh Statue inside. But the quietest, slightly off the beaten path was Pura Kehen with its big 11-tiered meru towering the inner courtyard.  Chapeau for all the rock carvings in the area, of course a legend tells the story that most of it has been carved out by a supernatural being called Kebo Iwa within one night…

The best experience I had at a smaller non touristy temple 2 minutes from the resort I stayed. I first discovered the place in the evening when a group of musicians was rehearsing special Balinese temple style – I never heard before, check this out: http://youtu.be/0IglFlEUc7E   The main ceremony was on the day of my departure and I managed to attend for 2 hours, men in white wearing sarong to cover the knees, a sash around their waist and a typical white hat. Women were wearing colorful dresses and carrying donations – mostly on the head – each of them very beautiful. Children accompanying their parents, behaving, everyone showing grace.  Priceless !

I also checked out the local chocolate factory Big Tree Farms, all organic with coconut sugar, no milk and a perfect tour with tastings from raw cacao beans to the final product. the tour was very informing and changed my view of chocolate!

I really liked the slow pace and restfulness of Ubud and its citizens, going around in the country side with loads of temples and rice paddies is so relaxing on its own. The only stress I had in traffic – an hour before sunset, when everyone wants to go home and the roads are jammed for 2 hours.

It’s been a sweet ride the last months I look back half sad and with pure joy, but more looking forward to returning home, meeting all my family and friends, eating the good cheese and breathing the slightly cooler air of Germany again. Indonesia you’ve been a blast!

Labuan Bajo – Last days in paradise

For my last days in paradise I didn’t plan anything I relaxed totally not doing much, just some hours exploring the area with a bike every other day or swimming. From my sweet home I had a pretty good view over the bay of Labuan Bajo, the gateway to Komodo National Park. Life could be worse…
Lots of tourists walk the main street but as soon as you get further away it gets quieter and the typical Indonesian hospitality takes over again 😉
The peninsula is the most beautiful spot around town I could find, the locals also know that and I had a couple of chats and photo sessions 😉

Komodo – Dragon tales

I went for a daytrip to Rinca island to see the Komodo dragons, I also wanted to see the flying bats in the evening and as this is not a typical tourist program I ended up chartering a boat for a day- felt good to be in control of the trip and not depending on the tour operator!
The biggest lizards on earth belong actually to the monitor lizard family and without any natural enemies on the islands in and around the national park they could get that big, as usual in the theory of island gigantism, the largest male measured 3 meters and weighting 70 kg!
The animals are only active during the cooler hours of the day, the other time they lay around pretty lazy, so it’s hard to track them down in the wild after say 10 o’clock, that’s why I only got to see them near the ranger station.
The snorkelling at Tempe island was nice, of course I’ve already seen the marine life during diving but considering it a normal snorkel session without prior experience, it was pretty sweet! The best was the beach walk though, especially along the rocks. Some goats are also living on the island and they were checking me out as I was dancing on a rock when the sun reappeared behind the clouds and kicked the rain away.
The best moment of the day was just after sunset when hundreds of thousands of flying fruit bats return to their sleeping place on Flores and leave Kalor island one after the other, a lovely spectacle. I was climbing on the roof of the boat, laying down and gazing at the sky as batmen were flying right above, whhooohooo!
On our way back I was playing with the light over the waters and plenty of fish jumping looking for the light and trying to catch it.

Komodo Nation Park is just a lovely piece of land, so many thing to do and see, I loved every bit!

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