Arranging our next travels

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It’s been quite a while since we’ve last posted anything, since we were too busy working and taking care of some other stuff. I’m also trying to deal with some final remarks regarding my thesis and that is dominating a large part of my time draining up whatever energy is left in me. However, we haven’t neglected this year’s travel planning, although we had a very slim window to determine what to do and where to go. Our choices have been made, most of our arrangements have been taken care of and we’ll disclose them over the next weeks.

Furthermore, I managed to find some time and escape to a small day-trip to nearby Albania. Catherine couldn’t make it, but I wasn’t alone on this one, since it was an organized trip by a photography club, which I have to give thanks to (the club’s facebook page if you’re interested), since they offered me the chance to visit some of the country’s most prominent landmarks. I will post the highlights of this day trip in my next post (hopefully, within a couple of days).

 

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Day one of our Desert tour- part 2, Spending the night at Dades Gorge

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After tasting a rather indifferent lunch we resumed our trip towards our next stop, while enjoying the magnificent scenery the rocky desert offers. The view compensated us for our recent unsavory experience and made me regret that I wasn’t that interested in that part of the Sahara, before this trip. The desert consists of three types of landforms, Ergs, , the typical Sand dune scenery, which are the ones we were mostly keen on visiting and Regs, where gravel is predominant and which we were crossing through at that moment on a speeding air-conditioned mini bus. The third type of desert landscape are the Hamadas, elevated masses of rock like the Atlas mountains, which could be seen far on the horizon.

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On our way out of Ait Benhaddou, we passed in front of a movie studio, which stands as a gentle reminder that many famous movie and tv stars have worked in this place but what surprised us most was the mild raindrops that serenely knocked on our bus. Could we perchance witness a rainfall on the Desert? The scenery kept me company for most of the ride as Catherine took a nap while we were traveling through the grey gravel covered terrain which altered to an orangie- reddish hue that was sprinkled with a few scarce notes of green. Some old wrecked Kasbah’s and a large traditional styled building near a small oasis were interrupting the landscape’s monotony, while an almost dry river bent seemed to make a claim that this arid scenery would not prevail over it so easily.

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Our next stop was Vallée des Roses, an area famous for its rose production as the name suggests, where an annual festival takes place sometime in May (the date depends on the collection of the roses). We only made a brief stop near the small village that lies on this valley, so we don’t really have much to say about the place (I found some info here though). We did make a stop to a small village on the following day though and I kinda feel that there’s not much difference between the two (except from the rose scented air of course). There was a small shop where we bought some water and we visited a gift shop where there was a small exhibit of instruments used for the distillation of rose oil, but we were familiar with the use of rose oil and water for cosmetics and pastries, so we were not that impressed, although the experience will probably satisfy anyone else. My guess is that the May festival must be the highlight of this area, but we were a few months late.

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In the afternoon we made a short stop to enjoy the fantastic view of Dades valley, where  a velvety green foliage shone intensely through the reddish colored rocks rewarding even the most demanding gaze. It kind of reminded us of Meteora (where we constantly concur that we should pay a visit in a few days, but we never do make the short two hour trip to show up there). This view was a great way to end a long day of sightseeing and we rushed back on our minibus for the last leg of our ride for the day. After a while we entered Dades gorge, where our hotel laid and we eagerly rushed into our room hoping that it would be comfortable enough to compensate us for the last sleepless couple of days. Thankfully, the room was great offering a sensational view of the gorge from its little balcony.

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We enjoyed a shower and relaxed on that small veranda for a while, before joining the rest of our party for dinner, which was tasty, but with very small portions (even a five year old kid wouldn’t savor its appetite on that amount of food). Nevertheless, we were tired enough and keen on resting on our room, regaining some strength for tomorrow, the dawn of the day we had been anticipating more eagerly while we were planning this trip. I never dream, but I’m certain that I dreamt of camels and dunes that same evening.

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In need of a break

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It has been a rather busy week so far, but thankfully all this hassle comes to an end today and we’ll have the chance to catch some z’s while planning ahead for our trip this summer. At least summer time already dominates our mood and since I have to work outside I get to use some great scenery as an office. I’m mostly visiting the nearby coastal towns and although they are a familiar sight for my eyes, I can never get too accustomed to the scenery’s beauty. Parga and the nearby Acheron river provide some lovely landscape that will please anyone’s eyes.

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So, after a much needed break this weekend we’ll continue posting the newest updates on our forthcoming trip, while recommencing our narrative of our Baltic adventures. I’ve been also planning a visit to the nearby Nicopolis museum and archaeological site, but so far I’ve only encountered closed doors due to a lack of funds (If you don’t allow visitors to enter how on earth do you expect to get funds anyway?). I can’t do much about the museum (hopefully I’ll visit when it’s international museum day) but I might break into the site of the ancient ruins to get some shots (Just kidding, ha, ha…wink, wink!).

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April fool’s day joke? An artist’s controversial approach to a local legend

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The one thing people often complain about the town I live in is the lack of public art and the vandalism that take place in the few works of art that ornament an otherwise empty and dull – artistically speaking, town. One of the greatest projects undertaken over the last fifty years was the building of a statue commemorating Octavian’s victory over Antony’s and Cleopatra’s joint fleet, an event which marked the beginning of a great settlement that finally gave its place after many centuries to the little town we call home.

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The Preveza eye is another controversial construction, as it was supposed to be 500 meters tall, yet the artist produced a smaller scale structure in an attempt to emphasize the embezzlement of politicians

Reknown artist Glaucus Acacius Floruber was the person that undertook the task of offering the city a statue worthy of its glorious past. Floruber’s art is controversial and the artist has often been accused of lacking ability or being provocative just for acquiring a few crumbs of temporary fame. Of course others consider him the greatest artist ever lived and often this debate ends in bloody conflicts as in the 1992 Waga Waga massacre, when the artist’s supporters attacked a group of innocent by-standers as they thought they had heard some awful remarks about the master.

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This time his artwork is a sculpture representing the city’s founding myth. Legend has it that Octavian, the first actual emperor of the Roman empire was in a very very bad place. Egyptian and rebel Roman forces were winning the sea battle of Action and the Roman wannabe emperor was already thinking of alternative plans to world domination, as stated on his memoirs, I Augustus – Ravings of an Emperor. But let’s hear it from the Emperor’s own mouth, in his much preferred third person writing:

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“As he saw his cause lost, Octavian, the Emperor to be, quickly prayed silently and modestly to Neptune. All he asked was a swift death. But, if he managed to survive he would gladly offer sacrifice to the sea-god a couple of oxen. Then he thought that oxen are expensive during such hard times and a smaller offering would be a greater and more adequate gift. So he thought of sheep. Then again. Naahh! Dogs. But why kill dogs? They are cute. Mice! No, wait it’s a sea god. I Know! Tuna, no wait, that’s it! Sardines! Two sardines! Nah! Let’s splurhe! Three as heavy as the larger I will ever see, offered to you, oh marine father”

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Even in the face of fatal adversity the tight-fisted Roman would not break his strict economic discipline that once made every southern European so great. Alas, we that inhabit these lands now spend everything in booze and women, as a wise man said. The bad thing about spending money on drinks and girls (or even men) is that your offspring might become (God forbid!) a Dutch minister of finance and Eurogroup president.

However, Neptune as the story goes was at first angered by Octavian’s stringiness. He even burst into tears and swore to every other god that he would sink the Roman fleet as deep as Atlantis. On the other hand, if the Egyptians prevailed Osiris, Isis and all these eastern circus would take advantage of the situation and everyone would offer sacrifices to them. It was then that Athena, whispered Neptune the solution out of this one. The sea-god, smiled, threw his wavy hair back and as Octavian was drowning, fighting for his life and a coin that fell off his pocket into the sea depths, three enormous sardines emerged from the dark green waters and lifted him on their backs. Then they started attacking the enemy fleet, sinking lots of ships and devouring every sailor unlucky enough to be on their way.

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Thus, Octavian became emperor and the divine sardines were always honored in the city, even to this day, as every summer the sardine celebration takes place to commemorate the beginning of an empire. Octavian kept his promise and even included Sardinerus among his names, being called Imperator Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Octavianus Sardinerus. Of course the part of the story regarding the huge sardines isn’t true and simply represents the emperor’s political adversaries intention to reprimand his stringiness.

The artist however sculpted a marble statue representing Augustus riding two sardines as he decided to marry the third one in a religious ceremony, with his wife acting as a priest. Last month he married himself to a squirrel and animal rights organizations are currently holding an investigation about the incident after the artist’s estranged daughter revealed that Fluffy the squirrel was eaten on the same day. Faultfinders, accuse the artist of lack of originality, as Tracey Emin is already married to a rock in a ceremony that took place in a French garden. The artist’s supporters complain that she didn’t wear such a beautiful wedding gown as their beloved sculptor.

Still, the townspeople paid him for three sardine statues and the mayor demands a refund. A religious conflict is on the verge of breaking up though as the Sheikh abbot of Los Sardineros, a newly sprung religious zealots movement has demanded the artists head for blasphemy against the holy sardine.

An idea about drawing a Comic

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While traveling through Poland, I had the idea of drawing a comic strip about a puppy that goes around sites we visit having some sort of adventures related to the place. Hence, Yippee, the Unhappy Puppy was born but I was always sort on time to materialize this idea. Today, I’m making a first step towards this, since I think I postponed it long enough. This is a rough sketch and I used a shot of Poznan as a background. I made use of Manga studio, which I had used for a short time many years ago, so I am currently trying to learn some stuff about handling this software. Hope we’ll see more of this puppy…

Welcome

Hi everyone. I’m so excited to finally get underway with this blog. It is something I ‘ve been planning on starting for quite some time now. Me and my girlfriend are living in a small Greek town and we enjoy traveling. We strive towards making a trip each year visiting various countries. Anyways, I intent to post as often as possible with a view to describing over the next months our travel arrangements for the next trip. Since that can get a pretty stagnant subject though, I ‘ll interpose information and pics regarding our previous journeys. We cannot splurge out on our schedule since we both get quite menial salaries, so everything has got to be on a pretty tight budget. We are dealing with it as an extra challenge and hopefully we ‘ll manage to achieve our goal for the current year. Hope you enjoy and keep us company on our next odyssey.

 

All photos and sketches are property of nomads’ rhapsody unless stated otherwise ©nomadsrhapsody.wordpress.com