Saturday, November 16, 2013

Contemplations: Aegean home.

Mid November, weekend trip to Turkey. Flying above the Aegean on the short flight to Istanbul (1.10 mins); you get to think about home. And the passion we should feel for being alive in this treasure-trove of unique beauty. (The red-line on the GoogleEarth shot above shows the flight-line, a simple diagnal skip over one of the world's most outstanding natural and cultural wonders).

Immediately east of Athens Airport. The city of Rafina with its small harbour and the Rafina stream river-mouth. Mount Penteli above the coastline of Eastern Attika. Rafina is where my wife grew up; and from here my family would take the ferry across to Euboea; and in this sprawling coast we spend our summers and our weekends.

North of Rafina, in the Eubean Gulf, is Marathon. Now Schinias-Marathon National Park. This is were many of us local naturalists have studied a lot of nature. It is a real getaway from the urban sprawl.
The southern Euboean Gulf and Euboea (on the Right). Paradise next to Athens. The islands are a Kayaker's dream, the waters are clear and full of life; even Seals and Dolphins swim so close to Athens.

The southern tip of Euboea, the Karystia. My country. My mother's family was from here. This is my personal paradise. Looking south over the foothills of Mount Ochi. 

The wild coastlines of Cape Kafireas on Euboea. I have walked every hill here as a youth. To the south, Andros and the Cyclades.

Eressos and Sigri in the Northeast Aegean, on Lesvos. Land of Sappho. An "otherworld" for Aegean natural history; vulcanic, elegant and Asian.

The strait between Lesvos and the Troad, Aeolian Anatolia. Land of Stratis Myribilis, Theophrastus at Assos (in Aeolia across the straits).

Mitilini and the narrow lagoon-like bay of Yera. Anatolia on the Left. Seat of the University of the Aegean. Aristotle praised the Island's lagoons and studied nature here. And so many non-muslims fled across to find refuge here from Anatolia in the 1920's.

Ayvalik (Aivali). My mother's grandfather was from here (He moved to Euboea). So many Greek people consider this a part of their heritage.  

Akcay near Ayvalik. And the Aeolian Anatolia in the background. Elias Venezis wrote about this landscape in "Land of Aeolia". Vast and mysterious but also familiar.... 

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