Saturday afternoon, the 36 day of our adventure, we took a ferry boat from Bodrum, in Turkey, to Kos, in Greece, and a night ferry to Athens. After 10 hours on the Mediterranean Sea, we arrived in Piraeus (the most important port in Greece, close to Athens) at 6:30 am. We were supposed to meet Emanuel, uncle of our friend Sarah, at 10:00 am so, we decided to kill some time visiting the Olympic Center, where the Olympic Games were hosted in 2004.
At 10:00 am, we met Emanuel and he took us to his apartment. He forgot the key at his parents house, in Marathon, and jumped the window from his neighbor apartment to find another key inside. For the first time in five weeks, we didn’t need to look for hotels, we would have an apartment just for us. We went out to visit the old city and the Acropolis, and we went back to Marathon, on the east coast, 40 km from Athens.
It was so hot, almost 40 degrees Celsius, that we decided to end our visit to Athens around 3:30 pm and take a bus to Marathon to join Emanuel and his girlfriend Poli at the Beach. It was the best decision we made in the whole trip. We had such a wonderful time there, swimming and drinking beer. We even found out Poli worked for the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games and took part at the torch relay for the Opening Ceremony. She even the original torch that she ran with, at home.
After dinner on the beach, we went to visit Emanuel’s parents. Euthymia and Nikos received us with some fruit plates from their own garden. He’s 91 years old and she’s 86, and they’ve been living on the beach for twenty years now. Late at night, we went back to Athens by car with Emanuel, tired but happy.
In Turkey, we visited some of the most beautiful places of our trip: Cappadocia, Antalya and Pamukkale. In Bodrum, on the southwest coast, though, we were disrespected for the first time in five weeks, and only because we were foreigners. We arrived in the city at 8pm of the day #35 after a trip of eight hours in a small bus, coming from Pamukkale. After finding a small apartment to stay, where we prepared a nice dinner, we decided to go out to see Bodrum’s nightlife. It was midnight and the streets were still full of families with children, couples and groups of friends. Music was everywhere. Bars and restaurants were busy, with lots of tourists from Turkey. In every corner there was a disco with loud music and people dancing or a bar with a band playing and people drinking.
What was supposed to be the craziest night of the trip ended up being the most disappointing of all so far. We were prevented from entering in almost every bar or disco we tried to join. Some would give us an excuse, like “Only with reservation” or “Only for VIP”, but most of the security staff were just saying a strict “No!”. We were not drunk or badly dressed. Later we found out they didn’t allow us to enter because we were men and foreigners. If we were girls, or if we had some girls with us, we could enter. The only place they let us enter ran out of beer. So, we decided to go back home, disappointed with the arrogance we were treated. We were supposed to stay two nights in Bodrum but, after that, we decided to leave as soon as possible. We visited the city this morning and are waiting now for the ferry boat that is taking us to Kos, in Greece. From there, we are going to Athens, capital of the country.
On our way from Yerevan, capital of Armenia, to Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, during the 28th day of our trip, we decided to stop in the small village of Alaverdi. We checked in at Iri’s Guest House, a small and charming hostel with a nice view of the river, which cut through the mountains of the region. Ms. Irina, the owner of the place, was very happy to know we were Brazilians. “You are my first guest from Brazil. I never saw any Brazilian in Alaverdi.” On the next day, during breakfast, her husband came to tell us that they’d just received a booking from another Brazilian. To help the new guest to have a happy stay there, we left two beers in the fridge with a name card from our expedition and clear instructions to Ms. Irina that “these two beers are for your new Brazilian guest.”
Today, on the 36th day, in Brodum, which is on the southwest coast of Turkey, we received a email in Portuguese from Anna Stein with the subject “Beer, if you plant, will it grow?” In this email, she tells us how lovely it was to have two cold beers waiting for her on the mountains of Armenia. “Too bad we didn’t meet, it would be nice to have talked to you guys and had got some information about visas in Central Asia. It’s hard to find Brazilians going there.” In return, Anna sent us lots of information from the countries she had recently traveled through, like Macedonia and Albania. At the end of the email, she attached a photo of herself drinking one of the cold beers.
Balloon flight in Cappadocia. Unforgettable!
Today, we rented three scooters and spent the day visiting Goreme and other villages of Cappadocia, one of the most beautiful places of Turkey, with a lot of history, caves and underground cities.
In the morning, we went swimming on the Black Sea, in Batumi, Georgia.
After lunch, we took three buses and two taxis to get to Samsun, Turkey.
We arrived in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, in the afternoon and went out to visit the city. We spend more than five hours walking and came back to the hostel to prepare the dinner.
We were the first Brazilian guests of Iri’s guest house.
In the morning, we visited the monasteries of Alaverdi.
On the last monastery we went, we found this mulberry tree and we became kids again.