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The Poseidon Adventure

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“Greece – Let’s join the adventure and discover mysteries of ancient times”

Samothrace

Description: Samothrace is a fairy island located in the northern Aegean Sea

Samothrace is a fairy island located in the northern Aegean Sea

Samothrace is a fairy island located in the northern Aegean Sea, where the sea is contiguous to the sky. The name of this place may impress many, because it was where Louvre found the headless marble statue of Nike – known as the winged goddess. This place is famous for its fierce waves created by the intersection of Marmara and Aegean currents, making the coastal land become dangerous. Yachts are usually required to leave off this area and tourists will be transferred to another ferry in Thracian Harbor if they want to visit the inner island.   

This is a wild island surrounded by bushy jungles which are filled with trees, streams and fountains. There are approximately 100,000 goats on the island. There are not too many tourists and they go in a small group. As soon as the ferry made a landfall, we went around visiting by bus. Sometimes, this bus left us right in the middle of the streets when it had to take care of local children going to school. During the trip, we were accompanied by a police car (maybe it is the only one on this island).

Nike

Description: Nike, known as the winged victory goddess

Nike, known as the winged victory goddess

Nike, known as the winged victory goddess, on Samothrace is an image of a marble body with a nice breast under a tight costume. This statue was discovered in 1863, when a French messenger walked on his way to Turkey found it on Fengari mountain base in a ruin where was regarded as “God’s Shrine” after a long latent religious war from the 5th century B.C. Those rites are executed at night when pilgrims do penance for their sins. When we were back to this ruined shrine, we found many traits of Christian religion although the shrine tended to honor many Gods instead of a sole God.

As usual, the French messenger packed the treasure he found and sent the statue to Paris. What is left of the statue in Samothrace is a plaster copy of it. “It was so kind of them to send us this copy” – angrily said the Greek tourist guide.

The island is dominated by Fengari Mountain: with the height of 1,611m, it is the highest mountain within Aegean area. Homer Epic said 3,000 years before, Poseidon – God of the Sea – used to sit on this mountain to observe the Trojan War. And he really had a perfect view to watch the battles because the island was not too far from Dardanelles Mountain – where the battles between of Trojan villagers and Greek took place.

We didn’t tend to understand more about Gods when visiting the islands around Greece in Turkey Bay. But the images of ancient Gods seemed to appear everywhere, making us imagine their strength and power.

Limnos

Description: Limnos, a beautiful harbor town

Limnos, a beautiful harbor town

Limnos, which is not too far from Samothrace southerly, was invaded by Turkish within more than 400 years, to 1912. 3 years later, a big harbor arose in Moudros Bay, becoming the center of Allied bas in the war of Gallipoli; this beautiful harbor town of Myrina is still separated at Byzantine Castle on the cape, dividing this town into 2 bays – Greece Bay and Turkey Bay.

Previously, Limnos used to be the mother country of Hephaestus – God of blacksmiths and volcanoes – who lived there after the anger of Zeus who made him to leave off Olympus mount. Girls living in Limnos crushed on Hephaestus, and after Aphrodite betrayed Hephaestus, they threw her statue into the sea. After that, these angry women were abandoned by men so they cut their throats. This extreme action is saved as “a Limnian deed” in Greece Mythology.

We were accompanied on the boat owned by Professor Marsh McCall – scholars at Stanford University. He explained the concepts of Greek about destiny and time to us. He had passions for Sophocles play about a talented bowman who was bitten by a snake upon his way to save Trojan War. The wound gave out such a bad smell that his comrades abandoned him to make for Trojan War. Philoctetes stayed alone in a cave. McCall and we visited caves and insisted on the fact that he lived there, overcame many challenges to re-join the army and used the bow of Heracles to kill Paris and brought Victory to the Greek. Professor McCall couldn’t keep his tears from falling when reading last 60 lines of Iliad Epic of homer about War process. After that, we honorably marched out of the Philoctetes cave.

Hephaestus

Description: Hephaestus

Hephaestus

Hephaestus, an ancient Greek playwright, once mentioned a special wine made of grapes called Kalabaki 250 years ago. This wine easily made us think of heavy wine with the odor of soil. You can find everything of ancient Greek in Limnos Archaeology Museum where there is a nice old cauldron taken in Troy.

Chios

Description: Chios Island

Chios Island

Chios, the fifth largest island of Greece, was named after a great snow storm which is relevant to Poseidon’s birthday. Homer was said to have been born here although many sources stated that he was born in other 5 locations. Tourists can watch the Turkey Bay clearly from here. Initially, Chios Island was replaced by Genoese; they built solid house systems here. After that, in 1566, the Turkish moved in and lived here until 1912. The Greek said that the Turkish killed more than 30,000 men, women and children and turned 45,000 people into slaves in 1822 when Chios took part in a civil war of Greece. A small church in the entrance of Nea Moni Monastery exhibited bones of 5,000 priests and refugees in a massacre in 1822. This wound is so deep that it has taken so much time for the citizens to recover from it.

Chios Island is an ideal place so that Greek ship owners came to live and committed a tax fraud. Ordinary people come to visit Nea Moni. Nea Moni is located in a valley among mountains of Chios. This is the central area of earthquakes and in 1881 earthquake, the vault of monastery was in buried, bringing 11th century masterpieces of mosaics with it. Since then, it has become a monument of restored art works. However, there are leaks on the walls and the vault, still. One of the most wonderful masterpieces is the gilt picture about the scene in which Jesus drowned himself into green flows of Jordan with Saints and Angels in the baptism. The symbol of the Ivy is still hung onto the altar honorably.

Nisyros

Description: Nisyros volcano

Nisyros volcano

Poseidon played an important role in forming Nisyros. The myth said that he was angrily throwing Kos Islamd into a Titan called Polyvotis and the Titan was kicked away. Polyvotis became a volcano in Nisyros. This volcano erupted in 1988 but there is lots of sulphur surrounding there. In the archeology museum in Mandraki harbor, we realized that Nisyros had dedicated 30 ships to Greek Navy in Trojan War.

The most beautiful place in Aegean is a small village in Nisyros called Nikia. The village is 400m above the sea surface and located right on the volcano crater. The entrance to the village is decorated by white horses and a small square with black and white tiles. One side of the village is the sea; another side is the ladder to green church Orthodox. The village scene is identical to a picture between 2 pubs. In each pub, under the grapevine trellis, the pub owner introduced a special drink of the island – soumada – a drink made of almonds. Outside of the second pub, there were 2 men and a priest having coffee and chatting. They spoke Greek then switched to American English. After the earthquake in 1953, there were many moving to America although not all stayed. An old lad wore a cap of New York Mets baseball team happily discussed “Maybe the team hasn’t reached their best”.

Gialos Harbor

Description: Gialos Harbor

Gialos Harbor

Gialos Harbor on Simi Island is very different from others. It is tiny with classical houses painted in white and decorated in brown and by soil. They spread over the hill and reflect themselves in the water. The house is specially designed: each has a coated wall and a vault-shaped window. A myth about Simi said: Zeus was furious when Prometheus dominated the island, so he turned Prometheus into a monkey as a punishment, and the story was spread mouth-by-mouth. The second myth said that one in thousands of Poseidon’s wives was Simi Goddess; and the island was named after her.

The 10-day trip in Aegean Sea became wonderful experiences. We called it “the mysterious call of Poseidon”. Once stepping on these islands, no one can resist their charming beauty.

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