Welcome to my travel blog! Over the next 10 weeks I will be travelling throughout Europe and will share my adventure here. The name of this blog is a Latin phrase which translates roughly to mean 'to gain, understand, perceive'. It explains perfectly what I hope to experience in this trip; a sense of understanding and appreciation for life all around the world.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Homeward Bound

Well, the time has come for me to pack everything up for the last time and head to the airport to make the long trip home.As I said earlier, I have two flights today and then tomorrow a flight back to Melbourne from Heathrow.

I said goodbye this morning to some Korean girls I made friends with and we had a photo together so they said they'd email it to me - a really nice ending to this trip for me.

I feel like I should have all sort of philosophical oberservations to make about travelling and discovering oneself - yadda yadda yadda. The description of my blog at the top of the page says how I wanted to discover and appreciate life all around the world. I certainly have had many opportunities for this along my travels, but I feel that what I have experienced and seen has only shown me that there is so, so, so much more out there!

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is I don't have to go travelling halfway accross the world to explore life more - I'm so excited about going back home and discovering more about my own country, my own culture and my own life. There's a lot there to keep me busy!

I don't think I will have a chance to get onto the internet again before I finally depart tomorrow in London so I take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who supported me in the lead up to and during this trip. Thank you for the emails, comments, facebook messages and thoughts. Thank you to those who hosted me and took me out while I was in Europe. And to you, thanks for reading! It's always a real kick for the ego to know people are reading your words :)

To everyone back home - I can't tell you how much I have missed you and am counting down the hours to when I can see you again. Woot!

Friday, February 4, 2011

That's it. When I am older, have made my millions and my kids have left home I am moving to Portugal. Or Spain. One of the two - I'm not really fussed. It's funny because people have often asked me on this trip where if I have been anywhere I would want to live. Although I have loved my time in the different countries I've been to, none have made me want to live there. But there's something about Spain and Portugal that has captured me. It could be the scenery, it could be the people, it could be the culture - or a mix of all three.

The Spanish guys I spent time with in Turkey told me it's not much fun to work in Spain or Portugal - they said the hours are long and the bosses are not fair. But they told me working all over Europe is hard - so many countries have economies that are tanking and so are looking for budget cuts and the cost of living just keeps on rising. I am not naive - I know that living in a country is a lot harder than travelling throughout it as a tourist. Hence the 'once I've made my millions' part. Then it's all swell :)

I've been thinking of home a bit the past few days - news of the weather has reached me here, even with the news being focussed on the demonstrations in Egypt. I'm really feeling for Queenslanders at the moment - it's not been a good summer for them. Then there's the bushfires down south - we really are a country of extremes.

I am sick again unfortunately - sinusitis again. I was really hoping it wouldn't happen when I have three flights in the next 2 days (one of them the 24 hour one back to Melb) but hey, that's life. Tomorrow afternoon I start the flights, first to Madrid, then to London. I spend overnight at Heathrow then fly to Melb at midday on Sunday. Therefore, I have nothing planned for today other than reading and resting - perhaps a short walk in the afternoon. I found a spy thriller in the book collection here so am enjoying that.

On Wednesday I went to the suburb of Belem - a very old suburb that has a few really beautiful sights. The main one is the Monastery of St Jerome. Walking through the cloisters I have never wanted to be a monk so much! It was probably the most serenely peaceful place I have been all trip - there's something about hearing nothing but the sound of your own footsteps as you walk through the cloisters, the sun on your face - the perfect atmosphere for prayer. The church there is also very beautiful - medieval Gothic in style.

Belem is kind of like a harbour town - makes sense in the old days because Portugal controlled the trade route between it and India for some time. There's the famous Belem Tower, which is in the water - about 10 metres from the bank. It was a scout and battle tower, as well as being a political prison, so there's quite a bit to see. It's not very big but there are about 4-5 levels of windy stairs. The views from it are magnificent - the water is so blue!

I spent most of the day in this suburb - it's about a 30 min tram ride from the centre of Lisbon where I am staying. The parks are green with beautiful monuments, the houses are beautiful, and there are yachts anchored along the piers strewn seafood restaurants, enticing smells coming from them. The weather here is perfect - I hate the heat, as some of you will know. But here the warmth comes from the sunlight and the skies are a perfect shade of blue. Therefore, while the air is fresh and cool, the sun warms your face. Perfect.

Just quickly, a word on the Portuguese language. I had thought it was similar to Spanish, but then I heard it. To me it sounds almost nothing like Spanish - its written form is close but the pronunciation is dramatically different. Portuguese sounds almost more Czech, with its 'sh' and 'j' sounds. This is very difficult to explain in text - I shall have to do a demo when I get home. Spanish also surprised me - I had not realised how to get the pronunciation right, one has to speak with a lisp. I thought 'gracias' was pronounced with the c being a soft s sound. But it's actually more like a 'th' sound. So, it's 'grathias', 'Barthelona' and sometimes even 'Madrith'. I think it depends on the dialect.

Yesterday I went somewhere that was first on my list of places to see when I originally planned this trip, over a year ago. That place is Fatima - home of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1917 to three shepherd children, Lucia, Fancisco and Jacinta, and now the place where over 4 million pilgrims go each year. It's about an hour and a half out of Lisbon by bus.

I am not going to write anything about my experience there - I feel that written words cannot even come close to capturing what it was like to be there, and my atttempts would only sound overly dramatic and pretentious. Instead I will leave you with the words of one of the shepherd children, Lucia, who outlived her cousins and was visited by Mary throughout her life. She died in 2005.
“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the
recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is,
whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of
the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations,
that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is,
that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On Monday morning, as I said, I went to the royal palace in Madrid. It's obviously very beautiful and impressive, but I forgot that Spain still has a current royal family that uses the palace (I don't know if it is for living but certainly for ceremonial things like galas etc). It reminded me that as a kid I used to say that the only royal family I would ever marry into would be the Spanish, purely because I wouldn't have to change religions. Of course, there's Monaco as well but neither Grace Kelly's genes or elegance of behaviour seem to have been picked up by her children so that's off the list.

I'm pretty sure the chances of me having a story such as Princess Mary of Denmark are very slim :) But hey, that didn't stop me from walking down the grand staircase in the palace imagining for a moment I was at a royal gala. I'm sure I'm not the only person to have done so!

The afternoon was spent in transit making my way to Portugal. Given that the flight from Madrid to Lisbon is less than an hour, it seems like such a huge effort to getting to the airport 2 hours early to check in and do all that. I forgot that the budget airline I was flying with only allows one carry-on bag. Due to the amount of things I have accumulated during the trip, I usually travel on the plane with my bag pack, a handbag and an extra bag of stuff. When I realised this rule I had to somehow fit everything into the back pack. I actually did it – one of the zip handles is now broken – the effort of pulling it closed was too much for the metal clasp. But it worked! It looked ridiculous but it worked.

I arrived in Lisbon in the early evening and felt restless so went for a walk. My hostel is centrally located so I actually got to see a fair bit of the city, albeit in the dark. However, even in the dark it was obvious that Lisbon is a beautiful city. It actually has a lot of d├ęcor and architecture that reminded me of Istanbul and I couldn't figure out why until today when I learned that until the 12th century, Lisbon was ruled by Muslims – hence the similarities between it and Turkey.

I found a nifty little cafe where all the cool kids hang out – I've never seen so many facial piercings in one room. It reminded me a lot of the cafes at my uni campus. Melbourne Uni has a lot of really grungy style students – all the musos and wannabe philosophers.

Yesterday I did a lot of walking and got lost a few times but it was good – I got to see lots of little side streets and things I wouldn't if I stayed on the main roads. The sunlight in Lisbon is amazing – for all of my trip I've had to use the night setting on my camera to take shots outdoors and this place is the first time I could take shots without it! In fact, I had to walk in the shade in the end as I could feel myself getting burnt! Mind you, I'm so pale I would burn anywhere that's got any real sunlight. Indeed, walking down the streets of Lisbon it must be so obvious to people that I'm not from around here – I'm easily the palest person in a mile radius. Not even the Irish or Scottish people I have met on this trip are as pale as me. People often don't believe that I'm from Australia because they are expecting the blonde haired, blue eyed beach-bombshell kind of look. Then they don't believe me when I say that's what my younger brother looks like.

The main thing I did today was go to the medieval castle on top of the hill overlooking the bay. It's called the Sao Jorge Castle and was originally built by Muslims in Lisbon but was expanded after the country came under the rule of Christian kings in the 12th century. The view from up here were amazing – real postcard shots.

The hostel I am staying at has a library of books people have left – I haven't read anything since I finished The Three Musketeers on the plane to Barcelona so I wanted to get something out. The choices were rather slim – a book about the Portuguese tax structure, plenty of Mills and Boon romance novels and a couple of books in other languages. However, underneath a romance novel called The Wife and the Wet-Nurse (I kid you not!) I found Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I've been wanting to read this for a while so got this one out. It's pretty bloody depressing but I finished it in 4 hours. It's good – hard going and afterwards I felt cold and hungry but it's rather haunting. It won the Pulitzer Prize in any case, so if you like post-apocalyptic-end-of-humanity literature, you'll like this. If you don't, perhaps you'll enjoy The Wife and the Wet-Nurse more ;-)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Well the Museo del Prado was absolutely fantastic – one of the best museums I've been to on this trip. Obviously I have no photos to share – they were pretty strict on that – plus there's no point. I just bought the guide book – the pics in that are excellent.

I usually have a tolerance level of about 2 ½ hours in art museums – as much as I want to stay longer I find that I just am not appreciating the art any more. But at the Prado I lasted nearly 4 hours and saw it all!

My favourite pieces by far were by Velasquez. I am relatively unfamiliar with his work – but my goodness, it is sublime. The one painting I do know is the crucifixion – we have a print of it at home and my mum painted a copy of the face. Seeing the real thing was incredible. There are a lot of paintings of this particular scene that I have viewed in the past few months and this one tops them all.

This morning I went to the Cathedral for Sunday mass, only to find it is closed due to works being done in preparation for World Youth Day later on this year. No matter, I am in Spain after all so I had my pick of other churches for mass – I went to St Francis down the road – a dome like structure decorated with frescoes on the inside.

After mass I went for a walk of discovery – it was pretty cold today – only about 2 degrees so I had to keep moving to stay warm. I walked through all the main and little streets and placas and have decided that of all the cities I've been to, Barcelona and Madrid are the most beautiful. I exclude here places like Florence because I don't classify it as a city – it's more like a town. Here are some pics of what I saw.

The (closed) Cathedral

 A park near the royal palace and Cathedral
 The main placa - I think today was the collectables market or something - everyone was out with their stamps, coins and ancient figurines.

I went through the botanical gardens, which were a little bare of leaves but still nice, and here it started raining so walked back to the hostel.

Tomorrow morning I will see the royal palace – I really like going to the palaces in the various countries I've been to. They are always beautiful and I like to imagine what intriguing conversations the walls have heard through the centuries. Then in the evening I fly to Lisbon, Portugal.

I must say my patience with hostel life is growing thin quite rapidly. Last night the lights weren't turned off in our room until after 1am and then I had 4 hours before people started getting up and packing bags and rustling papers and all that. Then some girls in the room got up at 6am and started doing their make up with the lights on, talking really loudly. There's a Brazillian girl in my room who I made friends with who had enough and finally lost it with them.

So needless to say, I really, really cannot wait to be in my own bed with no one else to break up a decent night's sleep. Only have Portugal to go now in a hostel and then that's it!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I've been pretty tired the past few days so I've a few quiet ones. Staying overnight at Barcelona airport wasn't fun - I was there too early to check in so the security people wouldn't let me past the main access point without a boarding pass, so I stayed in the main foyer area all night. The chairs here all had metal arm rests of them so it was impossible to be able to lie down straight. I tried to sleep sitting up but with all the security staff on their segways (I don't know it that's how you spell it – like Gob in Arrested Development) and the guy driving the floor polisher, it was useless. A couple of guys near me managed to get some sleep but one of them starting shouting in his sleep, which thoroughly terrified a group of Asians girls on my other side. An eventful night.

By the time I got on the plane at 7am to go to Santiago de Compostela, I was feeling pretty wired. I fell asleep on the flight but it was only just over an hour so I woke up feeling even more tired and like I was outside my own body. Me and no sleep are not a good combination!

Despite this I managed to make it to my hotel without too much difficulty an luckily my room was ready so I collapsed and managed to sleep solidly for 18 hours.

By the way, I no longer have a mobile – I accidentally left it at Barcelona airport as I was going through security. I had no credit anyway but I was left without an alarm clock, so when I had woken up after my mammoth sleep in Santiago I found a 2 dollar shop with alarm clocks. I had to act out to the guy at the counter what I wanted but he understood and showed me the wonderful collection of Hello Kitty and other Asian style animal alarm clocks he had, all saying things like “When life is smiling, happy for we be”. I now have a cute one with rabbits.

After my few days in Santiago I am so inspired to one day walk the Camino pilgrimage – one of the main routes is from France, making your way east along northern Spain until Santiago. This pilgrimage is a popular one and has been for hundreds of years since the tomb of St James the Apostle was discovered. The end of the pilgrimage is at the church of St James, where his tomb is housed.

Now I hadn't walked the Camino so I don't really know if it's cheating that I flew in from Barcelona, but I spent an afternoon at the church and paid my respects to the tomb. Directly above the tomb near the main altar is a bust of St James that the pilgrims hug when they arrive. To be honest I didn't know about this tradition but there was a priest there who showed me. I have never hugged a statue or figure of a saint before so it felt a little strange but I quite liked it.

The Cathedral
 One of the quaint little streets of Santiago.

The museum at the Cathedral was also really interesting and I also went along to a presentation about conserving the outside work of the Cathedral – all the symbolism of various statues and artwork was explained and it struck me how important Beauty is for the transcendence of the heart towards God. History books usually tell us that pictorial depictions of religion were widespread due to much of the populace being illiterate and I am sure this is one of the reasons it was popular, but I also think that our culture severely underestimates the importance of beauty. The idea behind this kind of beauty is that it encourages contemplation of the heart on the mysteries of God. For this reason I bemoan the church architecture that the 1960s produced.

A few times I saw pilgrims with their huge bags and walking sticks making their way towards the Cathedral. I witnessed one man's reaction to finally seeing it after the trials of the pilgrimage, a sight that is impossible to describe with words.

I wish I had more time in Santiago – I feel like I saw so little of it and it has so much to offer. Of course, it doesn't help that everything in Spain is closed between the hours of 1pm-4pm. They take their siestas seriously here!

Some of the parks - it's a really really beautiful town.

I'm now in Madrid – I arrived last night. Today I'm off to see the famous museum Museo el Prado!

One last thing I have to say – my bags now are fairly heavy – the big one is about 20kg and my back pack probably another 7kg. I manage well with them though and have walked up a fair few hills with them. But I cannot believe the amount of men who can't lift them!! In Turkey, when the bus driver would go to pick them up, there would be much swearing as he dragged them to the bus, being unable to lift them. The same happens when someone at the hotel goes to pick them up. I am thinking of declining any further offers to help from porters or bus drivers to save the torrent of curses that come my way:) My response? Toughen up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yesterday morning I went to Sunday mass at Santa Maria del Mar, one of the finest Gothic churches in Spain. I really like this style - it's so medieval!

Afterwards I had planned on doing some sightseeing however it seems that on  Sunday most of Barcelona shuts down! So I ended up finding a really nice bakery and getting some fig scones and then sat in a Starbucks (the only place open unfortunately) with a Chai Tea Latte listening to some cool jazz that was playing and reading. It was quite a nice way to relax for a while. Because most shops were shut, it was actually a perfect time to explore the old Gothic Quaters of Barcelona. These areas are all beautiful and as you walk through them, you can really feel the time difference between then and now. Until of course, there's a group of break dancers dancing up a storm in one of the placas and you know you're in the 21st century!

I remembered that Casa Batllo (the house designed by the famous Spanish architect Gaudi) was open every day so I walked up that way and checked it out. I honestly believe that if Gaudi had not existed, Barcelona would not be the internationally famous city it is today. That man is responsible for so much of the beauty in Barcelona, and Casa Batllo is just one part of it. The house is amazing - it was built in the early 1900s but the techniques used by him have stood the test of time and it actually appears very modern. Here are some pics of the house.

Looking out from the living area.

Up on the roof.

One of the nice things about Barcelona and coming out of the depths of winter is that the sun does not go down until 5.30pm. It's a fair cry from my days in London when the sky would start to go dark before 3pm! ANd there always seems to be music around the streets of Barcelona so it's very pleasant to walk around. It's also a really, really beautiful city. I'm surprised that it has managed to retain so much beauty given the amount of traffic and general busyness. For instance, it is as busy as Milan, but feels like it has far more of a quirky culture and less business like. I much prefer Barcelona!

Today I went to Parc Guell - monumental gardens on a high plane so it has wonderful views. This park also has a lot of architecture of Gaudi - he also lived in a house in the middle of the gardens. Today was simply a stunning day so wandering through the gardens was very pleasant. Everything feels so relaxed here so I tried to just slow things down and enjoy the atmosphere. In the kain section there were seats in the sun and a guy was playing the guitar and singing - he was very good so I basked in the sun for some time getting my doses of vitamin D and Spanish music.

At this point I have to say that after 8 weeks of being on the road I am starting to get really tired. I was feeling it a bit by the end of Italy, but Turkey really took it out of me - the days were long and jam packed so I am a little sleep deprived. I really want to have the energy to enjoy Spain - it has a wealth of history and amazing things to see and do, but I also have to take a break too. Thus the time in the sun was very lovely.

In the afternoon I walked to the main attraction of Barcelona - the Temple of the Sagrada Familia. This is the great Cathedral that was designed by Gaudi and is the only Cathedral that is being built today. Work has been going on for just over 100 years and it may take that long again for it to be finished. The Cathedral is financed solely by entrance fees and donations, so it is a constant struggle to find the funds to keep it going.

After travelling throughout Europe and seeing so many churches and buildings that are centuries old and wondering what they were like when they were built and how they were built, it was such a treat to see it happening before my eyes. For one thing, the architecture of Sagrada Familia is different to any other church in Europe - as is the style of Gaudi. He is inspired so much by nature and this comes through in all his work. But my goodness, when I walked inside and saw the design of the columns and windows, it was simply amazing. It's like you're walking into a cave of magical light and wonder. I've never experienced any thing like it in a church before - the use of light is phenomenal. So much natural light comes in - it's just beautiful. I wish the photos could capture the splendour of it.

The outside is also very detailed - 'Sagrada Familia' means Holy Family - ie, the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, so the Nativity Facade is dedicated to the stories of this family. It's really special to see.
The building of this Cathedral has been shrouded in controvery from its beginning. Even today, many people in Spain and all around the world really hate it because of either the design or because they are simply angry that a Catholic Cathedral is still being built in post-Enlightenment Europe. I'm going to go all out here and say that the importance of Sagrada Familia to Christendom in Spain and all of Europe simply cannot be underestimated. People say that Christianity is on its way out of Europe. Well, when you go to Sagrada Familia and see the work going on and how dedicated the workers are and see the wonder and appreciation on people's faces as they are inspired by the beauty of the Cathedral - hope is restored. I only wish that I were a millionaire so I could donate my money to building it. I may never see it completed in my lifetime - but I hope my grandchildren will.

Tomorrow is my last day in Barcelona - I have a flight to Santiago de Compostela on Wednesday morning but the flight was moved forward so it leaves at 7am. Because no public transport can get me to the airport by 5am to check in, I have to go there the night before and to an allnighter sleeping in the waiting areas. Ugh, to say the least. But when I get to Santiago, I think I might take a day off - feeling pretty tired!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

So here's what I've been up to the last few days.

Yesterday was my last day in Turkey - I had caught the day bus the day before to Canakkale which is on the coast near the Dardenelles. After 8 hours of windy, bumpy roads, I was very happy to arrive!

In the morning I went to the city of Troy. Now the place we went to certainly has nine levels of civilisation and its location seems to fit the description in Homer's Illiad. However, scholars have argued for years whether or not there actually was a city of Troy as such and whether the Trojan War even happened. Certainly, the legend of the Trojan War was extremely important for Hellenistic culture and the Romans also - it is constantly depicted in art and literature. But the jury is out as to whether or not the battle actually happened, and certainly whether it was over a woman. Now, these guys in Turkey have to make a buck, so all the tour guides speak about the site and the Illiad as if it is history. It's actually been really interesting going along on these tours because I'm a Classical History major at uni so I know my stuff. I learned early on though to not correct these guys when they get something wrong - they don't like it :) But come on, Alexander the Great was not alive after the times of Jesus - a high school student could tell you that!

Anyway, the trip to Troy was cool - some of the ruins of the city (whatever it was called) are over 5,000 years old. The guy who originally started looking for Troy was a German chap called Schliemann, who really was nothing more than a treasure hunter with a smattering of archaeological knowledge. This guy was obsessed with finding the treasure of Priam (Priam was the king of Troy in the Illiad when the Greeks attacked the city). Now he found some jewellery, which he smuggled outside Turkey and his wife wore them at all the parties back in Europe. But the damage that he did to the site while looking for the treasure is terrible. He destroyed buildings from over 3,000 years ago that were still intact and basically just went hacking away at the mountain. Needless to say, Schliemann is not a popular guy among archaeological circles.

There are about 9 levels of history here

Parts of the walls made about 5000 years ago - the wells and altar were made in Roman times.

At the site there is a big wooden horse that you can climb in - I got this shot. Yes, once again the guide had to get a shot.

In the afternoon, we met up with some other Australian travellers and took the ferry across the straight to see Gallipoli. Thousands of Australians go to Turkey each year to see where the Allied campaign took place along the Dardenelles. For those reading who are not Australian, the battle at Gallipoli from April to December 1915 is the most famous military battle in Australian history, and though it was an absolute military tactical failure from the get go, remains an intrinsic part of the Australian culture because of the bravery and comradery that the men showed in this horrific campaign.

We saw a fair few cemeteries and memorials and stopped at Brighton Beach, the intended landing place for the ANZAC troops, and then Anzac Cove, one mile north where they landed instead by mistake. The difference in position is starlting. The terrain at Anzac Cove is basically just a cliff, whereas Brighton Beach would have been a much easier place to gain the high ground from.

Anzac Cove

The cemeteries are well looked after and actually are very beautiful places. A lot of care goes into maintaining them. We also saw the trenches of both the ANZACs and the Turks. They were literally 8 metres away from each other. It was surreal to stand in the spot right between them. I was walking right where so many men were gunned down as they climbed over the top of the trenches.

2 separate cemeteries

A Turkish trench.

What is left of the windy ANZAC trenches.

I didn't realise this before I went to Turkey, but Mustafa Kemal (later Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic in 1923) was the military commander of the Gallipoli campaign and his leadership lead to the Turkish victory (as well as many military blunders on the Allied side). The Turks today revere Ataturk very much and see him as the father of modern Turkey. I've asked a fair few people here about him and tried to get an objective view by asking innocent questions. No one I've met has anything to say other than he was basically The Man. There is a lot of propaganda surrounding him also, so I wonder how much of an objective idea of him I have been given.  I'l have to do a bit more research there...

I left Istanbul early this morning and got to BArcelona around midday. After I had offloaded everything at the hostel I caught the train back in the centre of Barcelona, Placa de Catalunya and went exploring. The main street there, La Rambla, is full of market stalls and people selling all sorts of things, as well as many street performers, so I made my way leisurely around there. I also went to the main fresh produce market, where I had the most amazing cocnut and berry smoothie. And for 2 euros I got a massive container of fruit salad so that was my dinner this evening.

La Rambla

Inside the market hall

I haven't decided yet what I'll do tomorrow - I'll see where the wind takes me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Finally, a good internet connection! Before I post about the last 2 days, I want to share some photos of Ephesus and my time in Kusadasi.

First, a shot of the main street in Ephesus.

A fountain dedicated to Emperor Domitian.

 A close up of a temple dedicated to Fortuna - the goddess of Fortune

The Library - such an impressive building!! I managed to trip over the front steps and fall off. Sigh.

I love this shot. It was such a beautiful day!

The theater where St Paul preached (and also where Elton John and Sting, among others, have performed). I like St Paul more though.

The house where Mary allegedly spent her last days with St John.

The surroundings of the house - it was such a peaceful place.

The only column left of the 122 that made up the Temple of Artemis. It's actually made up of all the different pieces though!

The view from my hotel room in Kusadasi.

The view from the little village where my guide took me. Most of the villagers work in the fields.

Some of the pillars left of the Basilica of St John the Evangelist. This is actually the tomb of St John, though his relics have long been removed and taken to Europe.

The Basilica looks down on the mosque that was built in the 14th century when the Ottoman Empire conquered Turkey.

A shot of the tombs in the mountain side where the Christians buried their dead during the Roman persecution.

Just a little snap shot of the views in the area. To make you jealous :)

I'll post more about my time going to Troy and Gallipoli today, but tonight I have to get some rest. I have an early flight to Barcelona tomorrow!