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Showing posts from February, 2011

Ephesus, revisited

I tried very hard to find the old olive tree, under which I was unceremoniously dumped exactly 35 and a half years ago by my school-friends, when we visited Ephesus on our grand tour of the Antiquities. There were five of us and we had decided that after 6 years of Gymnasium, (an education heavily concentrating on the Classics) it was time to visit the sites around the Aegean Sea ourselves and see what  all the fuss was about. We had read Plato, Ovid, Homer and Caesar’s De Bello Gallico ('Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres') and knew everything about the heroes of the Trojan War.  In our sleep, we could recite the Histories of Herodotus ('so from here they went all through Milesia, 24 stations and 108 parasangs') or Homer ('Andra Moi Ennepe, Mousa', the beginning of the Odyssey). We bought ourselves a VW Van and, with typical Dutch efficiency, created a travel schedule that would have put any professional travel planner to shame. We mapped out eight weeks of…

Pyramids, Camels and Tear Gas

It’s the end of the world as we know it; the MacDonald’s across the street has been closed for four days and this is not because the Arches have fallen into a sudden bankruptcy. We find ourselves in Cairo. In our ultimate wisdom, we decide around New Year to take a break and to leave wintery Khorog behind (-15 C as we speak) for a well deserved vacation and to look for California-like conditions within reach. One of the options is Egypt, easily reachable via Istanbul, the destination of choice for Tajikistan volunteers who need to get out (for whatever reason). The plan is to do Cairo for a couple of days and then swing down to Luxor and Aswan, which are both advertising 30 + temperatures around this time of year. Recharging the batteries didn’t sound like a bad idea back then. Getting out of Khorog around this time of year (end of January) is an effort, to say the least. Flights between Khorog and Dushanbe are not operating when there are clouds in the skies and there are many this ti…