I was born in 1964, Deb during the "Summer of Love" '69 - teenagers during the early 80's. I thought I missed this hippie dream life. Hitch-hiking through the hills, living on bread, tomatoes and salt, playing naked in the sea, sleeping on the beach. . . Happily, the islands of the Icarian Sea are still here, and I was wrong.
We were last seen in Winterspring, Kyrgyzstan, headed for Khorog, Tajikistan, close by the Afgan border. With hard-won Tajik visas in hand and a car booked for early morning departure from Osh, we were primed. Drug related violence in Khorog had us a little worried about our destination, but when our driver refused to cross the road blocks in the Kyrgyz village of Sary Mogul, still 50K from the border, for fear for his own safety, we were done. Once again, as has been the theme of our travels, it was time to listen to the Gods and take full advantage of our adaptability. We booked the next flight to Istanbul and switched mountains for the Sea.
We knew we'd crossed from East to West, Asia to Europe, Muslim to Christian when the swim attire changed from orange one-piece "swim burkas" complete with tie down head scarf hoods for the surf, to nothing at all. We embraced the naturalist ethic fully as we moved from Gokceada and Bozcaada in the Turkish North Aegean to the Ikarian Sea and Greece.
We hopped South from island to island, one unique paradise to the next. We swam through caves that may have held a cyclops, jumped naked from high cliffs and ate octopus on our wedding anniversary. Not much to report here. Our days were filled with swims in aquamarine sea, trail runs across the goat paths and of course tomatoes, olives and fresh feta cheese. A "vacation from our vacation" we liked to say.
Our plan was a quick return to Turkey to explore the highland mountains and make our way slowly North to the Black Sea, but we fell in love with the beauty and pace of the Greek Islands. And to be honest, we were tired of moving like sharks through our travels and needed to slow down and even stop. On tiny Lipsos Island we found our home and it there we stayed until the time warp collapsed and we zoomed- ferry, bus, ferry, train to Istanbul watching this amazing trip come to an end before our eyes.
There was time in Istanbul for one last adventure, one more miracle, one last present during the best and longest lasting birthday party ever. Those of you who've known me forever, yes that's you Woody, Creature . . . you know who you are, will understand that it was Destiny that brought Neil Young to play outside in Kükçükr Park for the last night of our travels. My My, Hey Hey.
As I type on my tiny iPad keyboard one last time here on the airplane headed home, I know that it's too soon to try put together all the pieces of this trip in my head let alone on a computer screen. One last photo speaks a thousand words.