You can see a loaded ferry seemingly on a collision course with the rocks in this photo of Manarola’s harbor. What’s actually happening is people are boarding as the ferry is nosed up to the “ferry dock”. I put the ferry dock in quotes because it’s less a dock than a rocky coastline with a couple of cleats on it. The ferry noses up to it, and the crew roll out a gang plank for people to climb aboard as the boat pitches and rolls with the waves.
In my post about Delphi I mentioned that I had made a return to Greece last February to tick a couple spots off the list that I’d missed, while inter-railing across Europe, due to an extended stay in Thessaloniki. The other place that I’ve been wanting to get back to is Meteora, where monasteries perch atop rock pinnacles. They used to be cut off from civilization with no roads leading to them. The method used for entry by most was formerly a rope net basket that the monks would climb into, to be hoisted up by the monks above turning a wooden winch. Standing on the edge of these and looking down was pretty terrifying.
The drive to this spot, just outside of Cassis, was pretty difficult. The roads were really tight and I was adjusting to driving a manual transmission again for the first time in a few years. At one point, I was driving up a steep hill and a car came round the corner causing me to stall the car. The problem was I also rolled back about 2 yards. I have no idea how I avoided hitting the car behind me.
This is a calanque. It is a narrow-steep walled inlet carved into the limestone rock. When we got there, I had no idea it was going to be full of sailboats like this!
I mentioned yesterday that I finally made it to the Cinque Terre after three attempts. This photo is from another place I once planned to visit but failed. After I finished university, I did a six week European tour from Amsterdam to Athens. The plan was to stop at Delphi and Meteora towards the end of the trip as we made our way from Thessaloniki in Northern Greece to Athens in the South.
Our problem was, we had a really good night out in Thessaloniki and decided we wanted another one. As a result we cancelled our stop in Meteora to stay in Thessaloniki another night. That decision was complicated the next morning when we were summarily kicked out of our hotel, due to some boisterous behaviour, and were left to wander the city in search of accommodation.
We still planned on stopping in Delphi for a night, but following two consecutive big nights out in Thessaloniki we weren’t at our sharpest. As a result, we got off the train at the wrong stop and would have to wait hours for another one to take us back. Instead, we decided to get on the next train to Athens.
So, I failed to make it to both Delphi and Meteora on that trip and have wanted to go back. At the end of March 2016 I had an opportunity to go back to Greece but only had a few days. Still, I managed to visit both Delphi and Meteora in a whirlwind tour.
The following is a photo of the Athenian Treasury at Delphi, a monument I saw often in text books. I did my best to take a photo that’s a little more interesting than the standard straight on textbook shot.
It was a treacherous walk on a rainy afternoon to Nuoc Moc’s swimming hole, but our stomachs were full. We’d arrived at the nature walk of Nuoc Moc, between the Dark Cave and Paradise Cave, in the stunning Karst mountains of Phong Nha Ke Bang, to discover a typically gracious Vietnamese woman who offered us lunch. We agreed and were treated to a plate of steamed broken rice topped with fried chicken, tofu, delicious string beans, and a fried egg. It’s a simple meal, but after liberal application of soy sauce and chili, it was delicious.
With full stomach’s, we accepted that the light drizzle was not going to let up. We donned our rain gear, waterproofed our bags and set off to visit the Nuoc Moc swimming hole. To get there, you have to cross a number of fast flowing rivers via rickety bamboo bridges like the one you can see below. The rain made them slippery, but they seemed sturdy enough that if you wound up in the water it would be entirely due to operator error.
On the way back I asked my travel buddy to take a picture as I carried my gear across. She walked up to where I stood on the bridge to take my Iphone, photo mode ready. However, you’ll notice there’s no picture of me tentatively carrying my gear across a slippery, bamboo bridge. That’s because, when she reached me, the bridge decided to drop what felt like meters, but was probably more like inches. This warning was well heeded and, after freezing in shock briefly, we removed ourselves from the structure at great haste.
I found this picture, taken from the base of Niagara Falls on the Canada side, that I hadn’t processed before. I think I tried in the past but couldn’t get it to come together. It did take a lot of time masking in different photos and adjusting contrasts to get it looking like this. Swirling mist doesn’t make for the best shooting conditions.