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Athens Temple of the Olympian Zeus
The Temple of the Olympian Zeus, Athens, with Acropolis in the background (From left to right, Sebnem, David, Michelle, and Joanne)

 

 

Dear Friends, Fellow Authors, and Followers,

 

Sorry I have been away for a while. It wasn’t intentional. I meant to post a story before I left on holiday, but failed to do so while trying to get organized for the trip. So, here’s a true story about our adventures, meeting with fellow writers at various locations, and how this journey evolved.

David J. Meyers, from Melbourne, Australia, and I, first met at the now defunct Harper Collins writer’s website, Authonomy, in 2013. I had joined Authonomy back in 2012 and posted my manuscript The Child of Heaven which David read and edited while I read many of his books, including The Maia Calendar, Lost in Authonomy, The Gargoyle Chronicles, and To See the Sun. This was before David established himself as an historical fiction writer and his genre was more fantasy orientated. Meanwhile, that year I also met the American author, Joanne J. Kendrick who wrote paranormal fantasy and romance. I read her books, Music of Souls and Chance Inheritance, and her sequel to Music, Eternity’s Opus.

The beginning of David’s Maia Calendar takes place at the Sultanahmet Square, the Hippodrome, in the old town of Istanbul. In the summer of 2013, David and Michelle decided to visit Istanbul. At that time, I was no longer living in Istanbul, my hometown, but in Marmaris, on the Southern Aegean coast.  So, I made sure I was in Istanbul during their short stay and the virtual friendship became real when I met David and his lovely wife, Michelle, in person, at their hotel in the Sultanahmet area and we had lunch at the historical Sultanahmet Köftecisi.

Joanne had a life change a couple of years ago, and was working and living on her own. She wanted to travel to places she had never been, and had never flown across the Atlantic. I invited her to stay with me in Marmaris, and said we can also go to the Greek islands from here. Last year it didn’t happen, for one reason or another. This year in early January, Joanne asked if we could plan a trip together from Turkey to Greece. This coincided with the time I was diagnosed with hernia in my lower back and was having treatments. I thought, why not, life is too short, and perhaps, I might not be able to do this in the future. Who knows? Not that I can afford to pay anything in Euros with the state of the Turkish economy these days, but what’s money for if you can’t enjoy it in good health. I said, “Let’s do it,” and we began to plan our journey.

Meanwhile, David and Michelle were celebrating their 25th year together and he wanted to do something special for her. Once David heard our plans, he discussed it with Michelle and they decided to fly to Santorini for a romantic break before meeting us in Athens on the 21st of May. For four nights and three days we stayed in a flat with 3 bedrooms and bathrooms, in the Plaka district, which Joanne found from Airbnb.

It was the first time David, Michelle and I met Joanne in person. She turned out to be exactly as I imagined her. Then, thinking perhaps my Facebook friend, the lovely American painter and writer, Pamela Jane Rogers, who has lived in Poros for the last 30 years, could join us for lunch during our stay, I messaged her, and she kindly agreed. So we all  met for lunch in Athens, 4 writers, two from the US, one from Oz, and one from Turkey, together with Michelle Meyers and Francis Broun, a professor of History of Art from Princeton, and Pamela’s husband.

 

Athens Writers Meeting
Lunch in Athens, from left to right, Joanne, Francis, Pamela, Sebnem, David and Michelle

 

David was the tour leader in Athens as we covered all the historical sites, from Hadrians’s Library, The Athenian Agora, Roman Agora, The Temple of The Winds, The Acropolis, The Temple of the Olympian Zeus, to the Acropolis Museum. Although it was a challenging task for my back, I did manage to climb to the Acropolis, with help from my friends, while trying to cope with the treacherous spiral Greek steps and stairs, and hills that were an inescapable feature of our daily excursions.

 

Athens Hadrşan's Library
Hadrian’s Library, Athens
Athens The Athenian Agora
The Athenian Agora, Athens
Athens The Roman Agora
The Roman Agora, Athens (Sebnem, David and Joanne)
Athens The Temple of the Winds
The Temple of the Winds, Athens
Athens Acropolis
Acropolis, Athens (Joanne and Michelle)
Athens Acropolis 3
Acropolis, Athens (The statues here are reproductions. The originals are at the Acropolis Museum, as seen in the below photo)
Athens Acropolis Museum
Acropolis Museum, Athens (The original statues from the Acropolis have been restored and now kept at the museum.)
Athens Acropolis Museum 2
Joanne, David and Michelle at the Acropolis Museum, Athens
Athens Acropolis Museum 3
Acropolis Museum, Athens

 

Joanne and I parted with David and Michelle on the 25th of May. They left for Australia as we boarded a propeller plane to Kefalonia from Athens. We took a ferry to Ithaca, Penelope’s Island, where we stayed with a very good friend of mine. Our week in Ithaca was pure serenity as we marvelled at the unspoiled nature and exquisite  beauty of Ulysses’ Kingdom.  A population of 2000 and full of Greeks born is Oz with Aussie accents, who have returned home to claim their heritage from their ancestors. It seems back in the early 50’s there was a devastating earthquake in the Peloponnese Islands and most of the inhabitants of Kefalonia, Ithaca and other islands immigrated to Australia, South Africa, the UK, and the US to begin new lives.

 

Ithaca view from Exoghi
View from Exoghi, Ithaca
Ithaca view from Exoghi 2
View from Exoghi, Ithaca
Ithaca Vathy
Vathy, Ithaca
Lunch at Kioni, Ithaca with our host, Michele Neale, and Joanne.
Itaca, Vathy
Vathy, Ithaca
Ithaca, Ulysses
Ulysses Statue, Vathy, Ithaca
Ithaca, Homer
Homer Statue, Vathy, Ithaca
Ripples on Yaya Beach, Ithaca
Ferry from Ithaca to Kefalonia

After our magical stay in Ithaca, we flew to Rhodes via Kefalonia and Athens on the 2nd of June. Another 4 days of explorations on the lovely island and a ferry ride to Marmaris on the 6th of June brought me back home with Joanne. Jo stayed with me for 5 nights and 4 days and had a brief tour of  Marmaris and the surrounding villages. When she left Marmaris and flew back to the US via Dalaman and Istanbul, on the 11th of June, we had been together for 21 days.

 

Rhodes Old Town Gates
Joanne by the Fountain, Rhodes Old Town
Anthony Quinn Bay, Rhodes
Stegna Beach, Rhodes
Acropolis at Lindos, Rhodes
Waiting for Jo to climb to the top of Lindos in Rhodes before she got lost in the maze of shops on the way down.
Marmaris Marina and the Fortress
View of Marmaris from the Fortress
Frozen Lavender Lemonade, Marmaris
Piano Bar, Selimiye, Marmaris
Kızkumu, Orhaniye, Marmaris
Marmaris Bay

 

It was definitely a trip to remember, with great company and wonderful memories. I hope we’ll have the chance get together again, in the near future.

And there’s a story brewing, in my head. It starts with, “Penelope sat on the pebble beach in Ithaca and combed her hair …” and I don’t know where she’ll take me …

Sebnem xxx


Amazon Author pages:

Joanne J Kendrick

David J. Meyers

Pamela Jane Rogers

Sebnem E. Sanders





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