Kerameikos is where to sleep with the fishes

Friends, if you don’t know this about me already, I need to share with you that I have a fascination with visiting cemeteries. They’re a bit like outdoor museums and show how the living treated their dead. Kerameikos is different from the usual cemeteries I visit since it hasn’t admitted new residents in many years. But it was no slacker: it received thousands of Athenians over the course of 1,500 years.

August 17, 2016
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No shopping at the Ancient Agora

The Ancient Agora of Athens spans a large space on the northwest slope of the Acropolis. It must have been quite the square: not only was there a marketplace here, but social gatherings, religious ceremonies, outdoor theater, and athletic competitions also happened in this location, starting from the 6th century BC. There are so many remnants of buildings here that I probably could have spent at least two hours finding all of them, but you know, limited time and all.

August 17, 2016
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Atop the Acropolis

The most visited ruin of Athens, the Acropolis was surprisingly not my favorite place to visit out of the seven ruins on the multi-site pass. But because of its historical significance, I would still recommend paying your respects if you’re in Athens.

August 17, 2016
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Athens, day 1

To fuel my upcoming adventure, I tried some goat’s milk yogurt that I picked up from a grocery store the night before and Greek coffee (€1) prepared in sand, suspiciously similar to Turkish coffee, made by hand at Mokka. The yogurt

August 17, 2016
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Trip to Athens

Before leaving Mo’s place at 07:30, I wished him the best of luck on his degree, his job, his housing, and his application to immigrate to Canada. Thanks to another great Couchsurfing host! To prevent being gouged at the Istanbul airport, I picked up a cheese and tomato sandwich (₺5) at Koleti before going to the Marmaray Metro Station.

August 16, 2016
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Cats of Istanbul

Almost immediately after I arrived in Istanbul, I noticed an innumerable quantity of stray cats lounging about in the streets, but they all seemed to be happy and healthy. A number of stories surround why the residents and government are looking out for them, including an Islamic legend about a courageous feline saving the Prophet Muhammed from a venomous snake. This story led to the saying, “If you’ve killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God.” I hope that’s not why there are so many mosques (over 3,000) in Istanbul.

August 16, 2016
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Transportation options in Istanbul

You might have been able to tell that there are many options for getting around Istanbul if you’ve been reading my previous posts. You’re absolutely right! This post briefly describes each of them.

August 16, 2016
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Visiting Hagia Sophia

One of the few tourist attractions that I felt compelled to complete a pilgrimage to in Istanbul was Hagia Sophia. Originally built in 537 AD, it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture and has had three different uses: a Greek Orthodox church, an Ottoman mosque, and a museum about itself. The evolution of its architecture to adapt to these distinct purposes intrigues its visitors, and the speed at which it was built awes even the casual passersby.

August 15, 2016
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Istanbul, day 4

For breakfast, I cooked scrambled eggs, tomato and cucumber salad, and sliced figs. Mo introduced me to a thyme spice mix with sesame seeds from Lebanon that his mom made, as well as labneh (yogurt cheese), which goes really well on bread.

August 14, 2016
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