Erik@feK/mo2 January 2001 Update
Though the recent plan (out of many) was to go to Urgada, Egypt and try to catch a ride with a yacht going south, we decided that Mediterranean Europe is warm enough and took the ferry from Haifa to Athens through Limassol (Cyprus).
Here is Momo as we pack our belongings (à la Gold Rush) :
We paid a total of about $300 for a room with no window but got a free
upgrade to a room with a window because the ticket seller liked Momo.. Here are
some pictures taken as we go on board:
Along the way we made a half-day stop in Cyprus and walked around the
residential areas of Limassol, just getting a feel for the place.
Not too many passengers were on the ferry, the weather was great and we had a
Momo really liked sitting in front of the ocean by the window in our room. We
put a pillow behind her, and she would occupy herself for quite a long time.
After 3 nights and 3 days we arrived in Pireus, the port town next to Athens.
The trip was very relaxing, we could see Turkey and Rhodes on the way, and it
gave us a good recharge for the busy city.
Our first day in Athens was like all first days in new cities for us - first we go to the tourist office and get a map and then off to check out the natural food stores, vegetarian restaurants, and internet points to connect. On our way to all these, we see the city. We were happily surprised that not far from our hotel at the Plaka area was a store labeled, "Healthy Food, Vegetarian Fast Food, Books" which was half a natural food store where we could get our organic whole-wheat bread, tahini, and produce and the other half was a cafeteria which served mainly vegan food, there we could fill up on reverse-osmosis water instead of buying new bottles (reduce.. reuse.. recycle). We were surprised that the people who were eating here seemed to be all middle-aged and up working class and not young hippy kids. We were told it might be because of the mad-cow disease scare. We also ate at an all organic, slightly-upscale vegetarian restaurant which we found recommended in a few places which was good but more expensive. (Yes, as you can see I am a little obsessed with the food part of our trip.)
Other than eating in Athens we also went to the usual sites, the Acropolis and it's surrounding areas, the flea markets and food markets, but mainly just walking around. They also had an 8-floor bookstore with mainly English books - bigger than most American bookstores. There we found every travel guide written for everywhere in the world and we picked up a "Let's Go Western Europe" guide. There was even the English translation to Momo which is almost impossible to find in the US, but Athens had it...
Outside the Theater at the Acropolis:
Panorama of Athens:
Elimination Communication (for those who don't know, Momo is diaperless for 3 months already, she naturally communicates with us when she needs to eliminate. This method is called Elimination Communication, and you'll be seeing more photos like this one..)
From the Acropolis, we descended to the ruins of ancient Agora:
A night walk around Omonia Square:
Our "ecological" hotel tried to save on heating and provided 5 blankets instead:
We didn't find any eco-communities or organic farms in Greece doing our research while in Palestine, so after five days of asking around in the natural food stores, we decided to move on to Italy, where we had listings. We caught a 3-hour train that took us to the port where we caught an overnight ferry to Brindisi.
Waiting for the train:
Not too far from there we found 'Urupia' ('Uru'=gnome and Utopia). It is an
eco-commune of 12 permanent members (Germans and Italians) and there were also
13 volunteers from Germany, Portugal, Denmark, and Italy. They produce organic
wine, bread, marmalade, and other preserved vegetables. They had a gray-water
system, and use only biodegradable cleaning agents. We had a nice dinner with
all of them and then sat around the fireplace talking. They were all pleasant
people, though too many are smokers. There was also little one and a half years
old Emma who was very excited that there was another child there, and she said
"Momo" in the most adorable way. The next day OfeK worked with them
collecting firewood (downed olive branches) which they needed to make their
bread. But because we had contacted them at the last minute, they were unable to
put us up for more than one night, but sent us off telling us to come back soon,
with a few days notice.
From there we headed south to Sicily, where we stayed in the city of Palermo.
Of course on our first day we found the three things I mentioned above, had a
little trouble at the "vegetarian" restaurant after OfeK's pasta
arrived with shrimp. But we did get soy gelato down the street for dessert. The
city sponsored electric bike rentals and had methane (natural gas, almost no
polution, though not from a renewable resource..) buses. We took the bus to the
top of the mountain there and saw the famous Monreale church that all done in
gold and glass mosaic and we had a great view of the city and sea.
On the train:
View from Monreale:
We got sick of the city soon, though, and headed to the west coast to see an
old medieval town called Erice that is on top of a mountain overlooking the sea,
where the clouds were so low that we walked through the cobblestone streets and
Norman castle in a thick fog. We treated ourselves with traditional sweets made
by the monks there - they were excellent, almond marzipan-like balls in all
sorts of shapes and sizes. When we left it was getting pretty dark and rainy
looking but as our bus went down the mountain the blue sky and sun appeared
We walked all the way up with our bags to a hostel that turned out to be closed.. (though the book said open year-round) so then we went back for a hotel in Trapani:
Though OfeK wore his sleepers like always, it was very cold, but Momo sleept comfortably most of the time inside OfeK's coat:
Momo gets very excited whenever we meet an animal:
The fog and the view from the bus back to Trapani:
So.. from there we went back to Palermo and caught an overnight ferry back to
the mainland, to Naples.
The boat was 'first-class' only so us cheap people had to splurge on a 'luxury cabin,' which turned out to be absolutely no different than our cabins on the other boats. There were escalators all over the boat though. Whoopee.
In Napoli, we found a huge natural food store with a vast selection of
organic pastas and we even found a new-ageish vegan organic restaurant that had
a big selection of progressive books about vaccinations, the myth of AIDS, etc.
Momo has recently started to stand up and even with "no hands" for a
We went on a day trip to Pompeii, the ancient city that was buried in lava in
97 AD and then uncovered. It was much bigger than we expected and we even got to
see a preserved cast of one of the victims.
Momo had to pee..:
Peeing again in the Metro station..
And finally, we are now in Rome, my favorite place so far. We have happily
found a hostel that has a kitchen!! and is totally no-smoking!! We found a
couple of natural food stores and I have been joyously cooking away, though I do
have to share 3 burners with about 30 people (ALL of whom are eating white
spaghetti with plain tomato sauce). Momo is happy here. There are all sorts of
people for her to play with and there are common areas where we can put her on
the floor and she keeps herself busy looking at people's shoes. She crawls
everwhere very fast, but her favorite thing to do now is to pull herself up to a
stand on anything she can and she can even do it with one hand. (And another
update is that she has her two top teeth coming in).
A cat getting warm at the Coliseum:
Elimination Communication around Rome (Yes, we clean after ourselves.. not
like many roman dog owners):
Outside a gothic church:
The Vatican Museum:
The Sistine Chapel:
Saint Peter's Basilica:
Next we're off to visit and work at a family-organic-farm.
Till the next update..
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