Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Halloween 2008

"Nothing on earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night!"-Steve Almond

We had a fun Halloween. It was nice and warm (in the high50s instead of our usual freezing blizzard). Nick and Alex are too old to trick-or-treat--though I think Alex went around gathering candy. Spencer's 5th grade class had a wax museum for Halloween, and he had to pick a famous historical figure, so he picked John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin. I think he was the only kid that wasn't a hero in the wax museum. He had a mustache earlier in the day, but it was too he said he was an old-time gangster.

Here's Spencer with his friends...a motley crew.

Bekah decided to be a nerd for Halloween. She even got to wear her costume to school. She put a "kick me" sign on her back, but said she took it off at lunch after people kept taking her up on it. Isn't she just adorable? Stephanie liked her costume so much she borrowed it for her Halloween Bunco night. Jared accused her of borrowing his stuff to look nerdy. Do you see the family resemblance?

Bekah and her friends at Halloween 2008.

Since Stephanie couldn't wear Bekah's costume on Halloween, she pulled out her authentic 1960s Laugh In dress and dressed go-go style that night. Jared said he preferred the go-go girl to the nerd :) It's amazing what a new hairstlye and different clothes can do for you.

Jared ended up answering the door and eventually taking a nap after the 8pm crowd dissapated. Next year we're planning a big Halloween party!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jones Family Christmas List

Pinegars - Jeff & Vicki
Chris & Sarah  - Faraonis
Adam & Mandy - Pinegars
Jeff & Vicki - Chris & Sarah
Faraonis - Adam & Mandy

Pinegars - Faraonis
Chris & Sarah - Pinegars
Adam & Mandy-Chris & Sarah
Jeff & Vicki - Adam & Mandy
Faraonis - Jeff & Vicki

Pinegars - Chris & Sarah 
Chris & Sarah - Adam & Mandy
Adam & Mandy - Jeff & Vicki
Jeff & Vicki - Faraonis
Faraonis– Pinegars

Pinegars - Adam & Mandy
Chris - Jeff &Vicki
Adam & Mandy - Faraonis
Jeff & Vicki - Pinegars
Emily - Chris & Sarah

Our last stop - Rhodes

Our last stop-and an incredible one. Rhodes has 80,000 people-a far cry from the islands that only had a thousand. It's famous for the Colossus of Rhodes-the great statue of the Sun God Helios, which stood 107 feet tall over the harbor. It was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Rhodes has many souvenirs and shirt depicting the Colossus. Since it was built around 200 B.C. and stood only 56 years after being destroyed by an earthquake, it has made a lasting impression on the world. Even our own Statue of Liberty is designed after the Colossus and mentioned in a poem inscribed on a plaque inside the statue in New York Harbor.

Rhodes houses the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe. As we sailed into the harbor, the walls of the huge castle greeted us. The Knights of St. John built the walled city in the 1300s. It was home of the Knights Hospitaller (aka - Knights of Rhodes). They also built a palace for the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John.

The palace is absolutely amazing. It was restored in the early 1900s by Italy. We toured the palace and the courtyard inside. The mosaics were so intricate. The Knights had used the mosaics found on the Greek Islands created mostly in the 2nd and 3rd century B.C. They incorporated them into the floors of the palace. The workmanship is so beautiful.
We wall of the town is over 2 1/2 miles. When we walked inside the Old Town of Rhodes, it was one huge maze of markets that go on and on and on. Over 6,000 people live in Old Town Rhodes. We walked down the Street of Knights, one of the most important streets of the Old Town. We stayed in one of the many inns inside the wall of Old Town that date back to the Middle Ages.
We spent a lot of time wandering the streets in Old Town. There were tons of shops with all different types of touristy items and clothing. You would think we would have eaten a bunch of Baklava in Greece, but gelato was everywhere - and we enjoyed the variety of Greek flavors...especially on our waffles with chocolate syrup. Some of the vendors dressed up their goods to attract the thousands of customers wandering the streets. We really liked unique part of Greece.

Sat. Oct 18, we chartered a bus and went to Lindos. On the way we were able to see the new city of Rhodes and how the people built right over the old ruins with new apartment buildings --you could still the old ruins that were 2,200 years old below. We also saw the Temple of Apollo in Rhodes. Jared decided it would make a nice hat on my photo.

Our next stop was Anthony Quinn Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on Rhodes. It has sparkling blue water, a pebbled beach and quiet cove. It is named after the actor, Anthony Quinn, after filming The Guns of Navarone on Rhodes. Quinn also is famous for starring in Zorba the Greek. Quinn was given the beach and surrounding area with the promise he would develop it. That never happened, so the government reclaimed it and it remains small and beautiful.

In Lindos, we saw the Acropolis. It is built on the top of a large hill--like all the Acropoli. We had to walk up several stairs to get to the top. Donkey rides are very popular. Several people paid 5 euros to ride to the top. We chose to walk. The stairs were nothing after our thousands of stairs in Symi just a few days before.

The Acropolis overlooks two beautiful bays. One of which is where the apostle, Paul, landed to teach the people of Rhodes on his travels in Greece in 51 A.D. It's pretty amazing to think that as he sailed in, there was the acropolis high on the mountainside and he was going to teach the people about Christ and not worshipping other gods--when the acropolis was built to do just that. By then, the Romans were in control of the Acropolis. It wasn't until the early 1900s when major "restoration" work began by the Italians. They set out to rebuild the Acropolis, unfortunately their methods actually hurt the ruins more than helped them. It is now in a state of restoration by the Greek nation.
Here we all are at the Acropolis in front of the Doric Temple of Athena Lindia. At the base of the Acropolis is a relief of a Dorian ship cut into the rock at the foot of the steps leading up to the Acropolis. The ship bears traces of paint and was carved about 180-170 B.C. There's an inscription that describes the relief and the name of the sculptor-Pythokritos.

On our drive back from Lindos, we stopped in Filerimos. It is a beautiful forested hill about 875 feet above sea level. We stopped and walked the Via Dolorosa (or Road of Golgotha). A trail depicting Christ as he went to be crucified. At the top of the hill is a 50 ft. cross and a beautiful overlook of the towns below.

After a fabulous and exhausting 3 weeks, we headed back to our hotel and packed our bags to head back to Athens in the morning...little did we know we still had adventure waiting for us on our trips back home.

Astypalea, Kos, Nisyros & Symi

"My experience with seasickness is that at first you are afraid you will die, then after a few hours you are afraid you will not. "
--G. Yancey Mebane, M.D.

Sailing is a fun sport if you have the stomach for it. Monday - Oct 13 was another one of those long days. Two of our crew fed fish while many of us watched the horizon. A few iron stomachs actually went downstairs and slept in the galley. Thankfully, the waters calmed down around lunch and the rest of the sail was quite enjoyable. We landed at Astypalea right in time for dinner.

Astypalea is a very small island with 1200 people on it. The main tourist attraction is the castle built on the top of the hill. It was built in the 1400s by the Venetian Querini family to get away from the pirates that were inhabiting the Aegean Sea. We walked up to the beautiful castle on the hill in the dark. It was quite a walk--but beautiful. We stopped by a row of windmills, skirted our way through the small town with cobblestone alleys, and watched the old men and teenage boys fraternize together at the local taverna.

The next morning we headed off for Kos. The seas were almost like glass. Kos is considerably larger with 30,000 people. We arrived around 3pm and rented scooters once again to go see the Asclepieion (hospital) where Hippocrates was born on Kos and is thought to have received his training. Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, revolutionized ancient medicine in Greece by distinguishing it from other field, thus making medicine a profession. Hippocrates is most famous for writing the Hippocratic Oath.

We also saw the Plane Tree of Hippocrates where he taught his students medicine. The tree is only 500 years old, probably a shoot off of the original tree that would have been 2400 years old. Scaffolding is holding up the ancient tree now.

After our historical tours, we headed into Kos town, which was the biggest town we've been in since Athens. It's a harbour town with a huge fortress at the end of it. The wall around it is fascinating because it is built with leftover Greek ruins. For example, there was a block used in the wall with a carved head in it. The people who built the castle in the 1400s used anything that was lying around. We ended the night with Gyros and french fries and a hour plus scenic route home in the dark. On the way, we drove through an area that had just gotten rain. The smells of the herbs and flowers were so aromatic and incredible.

Though we had rain and wind the night before, the seas were calm and we ended up motoring with no wind to the island of Nisyros. This was a pretty interesting island because the center of it has an active volcano crater. We rented scooters again - this time only 7 Euros, then off to see the crater. It was deserted when we got there. It looked like we arrived at the moon. It's quite different than seeing a crater in the states where we would stand behind a guardrail and look down into it. We were actually able to walk down to the caldera, where the crater floor is warm (and signs say unstable ground). There were small fumaroles where puffs of steam were coming out and yellow smoke from sulfur. The place smelled horrible. There was a small ash eruption in the 1870s, and some seismic activity in the 1990s, but it did go through our heads more than a few times that this was an active volcano.

We drove around the island to an itty bitty town with narrow walkways and tons of cats. We visited a volcano museum (not the greatest) and stopped on the side of the road where there was a very small geothermal cave. It was nice and warm --and it didn't even stink. It felt great since we were a bit chilly from our scooter ride. We ended up at another castle before having dinner on our boat that night. One of the unique features we noticed on Nisyros was the terracing all over the island. It's amazing! Almost every bit of the mountainous island is terraced with rock walls. The terracing provided them flat land to farm and helped preserve every bit of water since the summers are extremely dry...but this was incredible--the man hours alone to do this.
Jared & Barry Jenkins sporting twin shorts

Our next stop - Oct 16, Symi.Today we sailed in Turkish waters on our way to Symi. Lynn said we were officially in Asian this makes it a 3 continent trip. The Turks and Greeks hate each other. Probably because they have fought over land for thousands of years. The Ottomans controlled the islands for hundreds of years until their downfall in the early 1920s--then Italy came into the picture. Most of the Greek islands were not actually Greek until after world war 2.
What a beautiful island. Probably one of our favorites. It is totally different than many of the others we have visited. It has a different look and feel. The houses were peach and yellow going up the mountainside with large stairs coming down to the harbor. Symi rivaled Santorini in a completely different way...a warm and sunny way. We walked the shops of the harbour, buying jewelry and paintings, looking at the sponges that used to contribute the wealth of the island and then decided to head up to the old town square on top of Symi...which started off with a few stairs and kept going and going and going....

Jared loved the photo ops. Everywhere we turned there was another picture waiting to be taken. The colors were so bright and vivid.
It was quite a hike to the top of the plaka. It's amazing these people still live here and walk the stairs all the time. The views were beautiful. Although this island only has about 2,600 residents, there are 12 churches and 13 chapels on this small island. We were told each family would build their own church. Just amazing. Our next stop is Rhodes--our final destination. In some ways it will be nice to know we'll never get seasick again--at least not on this trip. But the sea has it's own attraction. It draws you to it...calling for the next adventure, demanding respect, promising thrills and offering tranquility and sights yet to be explored.

"I do not wi
sh to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now." -Henry David Thoreau - from Walden