I had been travelling solo for 3 months now, and now I am about to be traveling with Tessa for the next 2 weeks.
Building up to our meet, my imagination was running wild with what it might be like, how it will be different, how I will be, how she will be, and how we will work together; I had created, which is what I have be trying not to, an over-hyped expectation of what it is going to be like. And as per usual, it was actually nothing like it.
It was nice to have someone to talk, especially about stuff back home, and to not have to repeat the same background questions of where are you from? Where have you been? How long are you traveling for? I think that it really shows that you have a better connection when you can meet someone completely new and just talk, without the common introductions. It is actually a bit funny that telling them your name tends to be one of the last things you talk about; I have had great conversations and spent a day or two with people, without knowing there name!
Anyway, it was also nice to be able to share the decisions and planning.
Tessa flew into Istanbul, and from there we headed south to Selcuk where there are the old ruins of Ephesus; the ancient Roman trading city that was naturally buried after developing for 1000s of years. It was an interesting few days, the ruins are very beautiful and it is a definite must when traveling to Turkey. The town itself is small and didn’t have a huge amount happening in it, but that also meant that it was very quiet and casual; we were able to mosey up to the old castle, and easily organise a tour Ephesus.
After, we headed back to Istanbul for a couple of days and check out its massive amount of sights, attractions and museums. I had already roamed around the city, but reserved visiting Topkapi Palace, inside the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, and a few museums, for when we were together.
The Palace is quite extravagant, with a large collection of royal relics, weaponry and common artefacts. Personally, I don’t like queuing up to quickly pass a piece of jewellery behind glass, and I am not a massive fan or spending my whole time reading little plaques with a little bit of information and history. So, I breezed behind the masses with their faces pressed against the glassed, glancing over their shoulders, and getting a basic gist of its past, the Sultans and stories, whilst Tessa took her time to actually soak it all in. She also has a strong interest in history and such, so…
[ lost one of SD cards 😦 }
A few days past, and it was time to board our flight to Athens.
Much more European then Turkey, Greece is a wonderful, friendly, cheap and delicious country, where living of kebabs is a must. I honestly believe I had more kebabs in more 3.5 weeks of Greece then I have in my entire life!
Tessa and I only had the 2 weeks together before she was flying out. So our week in Greca was packed with a few days in Athens visiting the Acropolis, Parthenon, Acropolis museum and its other sites, then out to Delphi to marvel at the wondrous valley and interesting ruins, back to Athens for our last few days together, and a trekked down to the tip of the peninsula to see the Temple of Poseidon. In that time, we soaked in a compact verse of ancient Greece history, bought a few souvenirs and got separated at the Acropolis.
And just like that she was gone, I was back to being solo and I had several bronze figurines.
I did enjoy the time I spent with her, however if I was to be honest I began to miss traveling alone. There is a sense of such control with unmeasurable freedom that comes from traveling solo, and my style of traveling is very much my own. The first place I (and Tessa) noticed it was in Ephesus, where even though we were on a tour though the ruins, I was more happy to not learn as much but to admire its magnificence at my own pace (I rarely do tours anyway). Another thing about tours is that you end up going to buffet style restaurants for lunch and at the end of the day have to watch a very weird leather jacket focused fashion show, waste time in their store and then wander through a rug store (although the rug store was interesting as it was actually a co-op with local farmers and rug makers, and the rug were beautiful).
As the time went by, our different styles of traveling become much more evident; she was more pre-organised whilst I am a turn up and see, kind of traveller; I was also more lax about what we would do, as I had more time in the country. But it was still super fun, and really nice to spend time with a friend.