Travel News

Cruising Turkey's Turquoise Coast

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When Alexander the Great expanded the Macedonian Empire, the Hellenistic city states along the coast of Asia Minor-Pergamum, Ephesus, Marmaris, and Rhodes-flourished with the great expansion of trade. It is along this turquoise coast of Turkey that the next alumni cruise will venture to explore the archeological remains of ancient Greek and Roman cities.

The 12-day cruise aboard the Star Odyssey will begin on September 5 in Istanbul with an overnight stay before sailing through the narrow Dardenelles into the Aegean Sea. As well as exploring the ancient cities of Pergamum, Ephesus, Marmaris, and Rhodes, the cruise will visit the Greek islands of Skiathos, Santorini, and Mykonos. There is also an overnight stay in Thessaloniki, and the voyage will end in Athens, where again the ship will serve as hotel.

The UVic group will be hosted by Dr. Anthony Jenkins, Professor of English at UVic, and his wife, Marion, who is head of the English department at Glenlyon-Norfolk School. Anthony and Marion, who have visited Greece and Turkey 16 times, are planning a book featuring travel tips, essays on archeology, classical mythology and Mediterranean food. "Our love affair with Greece began when we were graduate students at Cambridge," says Anthony. "We've been going back ever since.

"The exotic city of Istanbul (Byzantium of old) is a wonderful place to start. We'll visit the exquisite blue mosque, explore the Sultan's fabulous Topkapi Palace, and doubtless be tempted in the Grand Bazaar before we sail out of Istanbul's bustling minaret-studded harbour.

"Next morning we'll sail past Mt. Athos and later go ashore at Thessaloniki. The museum here houses one of the world's richest treasure troves, from the tombs of the Royal House of Macedon, including the recently discovered treasures of King Philip, father of Alexander the Great. These objects are breathtaking and superbly displayed.

"Skiathos, the next port of call is a picturesque island in the northern Sporades. It offers a complete change of pace, an opportunity to browse and explore on your own and to stroll the colourful waterfront, absorbing the ambiance of the islands of Greece."

The Star Odyssey then crosses the Aegean to Asia Minor to anchor at the fishing town of Dikili for visits to the nearby ruins of ancient Pergamum. Pergamum was founded by the Greeks and was one of the largest Roman outposts on the Ionian coast of Turkey. In ancient times, the library at Pergamum was a centre of higher learning and the arts.

Next morning the ship will dock in the walled harbour of Kusadasi with its lively market. From here the UVic group will explore ancient Ephesus and walk down the marble streets (scored by chariot ruts) of this large city which is still being excavated, and stand in the theatre where the apostle Paul spoke to the Ephesians. "Each time we've been to Ephesus," says Anthony, "something new and astonishing has been discovered by the archeologists."

Marmaris, the next port of call, is set in a deep bay with fine beaches on a lovely pine-covered coast. The Star Odyssey sails on to Rhodes for an overnight stay, with time to explore the medieval city of the crusaders and take an excursion to the village of Lindos where the ruins of a temple to Athena give a splendid view of the azure Aegean. Santorini is the next port of call, with its white-washed villages perched on the edge of a towering cliff-all that remains of a vast volcano which exploded about 1500 BC and, some say, submerged the legendary Atlantis. "Here, under layers of volcanic ash, lies the ruined city of Akroteri, a sort of Grecian Pompeii," says Anthony. "Our next island, Mykonos, is everyone's idea of a Greek island with its white windmills and labyrinthine streets, lively taverns and wonderful shops."

The final port of call is Athens. Not to be missed here are the wonderful murals from Santorini's Akroteri now in the National Museum along with the treasures of Agamemnon from Mycenae.

Anthony and Marion Jenkins will present a slide show on the itinerary on April 27th. Those interested in joining the UVic group on this cruise are invited to attend this presentation. For more information, call Edith Knott in the alumni office at 721-8966.


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