Sarah Coles

Travel Blog

June 22nd, 2017

North Wales in June …

So off we drove to north Wales, and after going through Llangollen on that ancient coach road to Holyhead we went through the Horseshoe Pass (why are views so uplifting, why is being reduced to an unimportant blip on the landscape so uplifting, and being reminded that one is nothing beside geological ages such a relief – maybe it’s that things just don’t matter, the earth will look after itself long term, and meanwhile I am part of it, fused into this body at the moment, but then off into molecules and atoms of everything else for...

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November 18th, 2016

3. ISTANBUL OCTOBER 2016

ISTANBUL Taxi through takes us to the Bus Station, as always outside the dusty city.  Coach takes us to Istanbul, over valleys, winding over mountains and diving under them, and we are regularly given drinks and biscuits, and have a longer stop at a large station for us to have a bite – though so many buses are there, and being nervous of missing ours, we don’t.  Decide that public lavatories with ceramic feet are preferable to ones with piss wet seats. Along this spanking new road, over a narrow bit of the Sea of Marmara, and more...

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November 18th, 2016

2. SAMOS, EPHESUS and IZMIR – OCTOBER 2016

SAMOS A ferry to Samos one morning, because it connects with a ferry to Kusadasi, Turkey.  We arrive in the port of Pythagorio, where the front is lined with nothing but restaurants, now empty.  The season is over.  Bob finds us a room overlooking the harbour, and I find how to get to Turkey: the ferry leaves from Vathy, the other side of the island. Next day, we wait at a bus stop (other people waiting – good, it means a bus will come), and take a winding bus over the hills and through orchards and vineyards and olive groves to Samos,...

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November 18th, 2016

I. RHODES and PATMOS – OCTOBER 2016

We want to visit Ephesus, ancient Greek city now part of Turkey.   But Bob has never been to Turkey, and (like scores of people) imagines Turks as intrinsically cruel.  He’s read T E Laurence and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, whippings, sodomy and all that.   So, I got a flight to Rhodes, chief of the Dodecanese Islands (Greek) which hang like a necklace round the shores of Turkey.    Dodecanese means twelve, but actually there are loads more.  Cheap flight, only thirty five pounds. The cabin bag allowance is a mere feather, five...

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May 8th, 2016

PEDDARS WAY – APRIL 2016

PEDDARS WAY – late April 2016  DAY ONE It’s not obvious from the road, the start of the Peddars Way.   We whiz past it, then drive back and get out of the car and see the signpost – Icknield Way to south, Peddars Way north.  So cheerio to Mike (thank you Mike!) and off we set.  The Peddars Way is a Roman road, marching from the middle of Norfolk near Thetford to the edge of the Wash.  I don’t know what they called it, but by Tudor times it got its present name, presumably from the latin pedes, foot.  Ann has arranged where we...

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April 5th, 2016

3. THAILAND. Buddha

  The serenity of temples in Thailand, their sense of happiness!   Buddha is the focus, like the cross in a church.  He may be bronze and shining, green glass or jade, or brick covered with stucco, or painted gold.  He’s duplicated many times, and surrounded by  male followers.  He’s curiously androgynous.  If you look at him with his rounded visage and body, his swelling breasts and slim waist, his hair in a topknot, you can imagine him as a capable headmistress, firm but kind, sympathetic but very much in charge.  (There’s...

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April 2nd, 2016

2 THAILAND – Temples of the North

These Buddhist temples glitter like a fairground mirrors.  Gold everywhere.  They are fun – they’re holy but there’s also jolliness, unlike the basic sadness of Christianity and its churches.  The roofs of the main vihara or preaching hall are orange edged with blackest blue and yellow tiles, and they are not straightforward; they look as if a smaller temple has been built over by a later temple, and then a further temple, all overlapping like a house of cards.  This lets in the breeze but keeps out the rain?  All traditional...

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March 30th, 2016

1. THAILAND: Mooching Around

Just catch someone’s eye, even a passing motor cyclist, and they smile.  Westerners scowl.    This may be partly the weather, weeks of cold rain freezing faces into disappointment.   We fly from Heathrow.  The relief of getting in the plane and sitting down.  The man in front of me has biceps tattooed with a glaring skull.  The plane bumpily trundles along, trying to get up speed, it’s not going to make it then miraculously it rises and we are off.  By night we are flying over the snowy mountains of Asia, and at a dawn of...

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November 18th, 2015

3. GREECE 2015 – DELPHI AND ATHENS AGAIN

22 Still raining, so nice proprietor of Mythos b & b drives us to bus centre to get next bus to Delphi. Long wait, but we have our ipads. Off through the mountains, and a change of buses and a wait at Amfissa. But we arrive! Rain has stopped for a few hours. Bus snakes up from Itea on the Gulf of Corinth to Delphi, and we head straight to the Hermes hotel, where we have stayed before. Room and balcony looking down on the gulf, the mountains, distant Itea and the soft grey green of the largest olive grove in Greece. So welcoming...

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November 17th, 2015

2. GREECE 2015 – METEORA MONASTERIES

We want to get to Meteora, so, trundle along our wheelies and get bus from Verria to Larisa where we are dumped at vast grand bus depot miles out of town. Set upon by taxi driver who wants vast sum to take us to another bus depot – his acolytes who are supposed to sell bus tickets swerve glances away, just nod their heads. Then B sees a local bus, and the driver says yes, he will take us to town centre where we can get bus to Trikala, then Meteora. So B waves and missing my coffee I join him, and we are driven to the town centre. This...

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