Meanderings- Delos Island, Greece

I am still feeling inspired by all the wonder from our recent vacation.  One of my  favorite things was getting close enough to gently blow the dust from an ancient sculpture and  I imagine the same dust on an artist’s hands from over 3000 years ago.     To me it is the ultimate time machine.2019-06-18_02-43-15_000Looking at the partial pieces of sculpture, I also wonder if the artists got as triggered as I do  when accidentally breaking off a key piece of work. I imagine so but couldn’t it also be the alternate explanation to the missing arms/penises/noses of ancient statues?peniHow do they KNOW it was the uptight Christians knocking off penises? Could be just an artist that can’t get the penis exactly right, or perhaps the removal of appendages is like the selfie editing of today “Eww I look awful in this lighting, take it again on my good side”.  So MAYBE even a famous sculptor such as  Alcamenes had to edit his creation like this:      hermes and Alcamenes  Hlava Herma, Alkamenés, mramor, -5. st. We took a guided tour through the ruins and I was very pleased with the tiny yet loud archaeologist guide.  It always surprises me how many rude tourists seem to be missing out on the wonder of what we are experiencing. 2019-06-18_01-54-03_000For example; a man pushed by knocking us off of the narrow path to get to, well, just ahead of all of us I guess.  G: “It’s been here thousands of years, I don’t think it’s going anywhere” 2019-06-18_02-06-15_000Rocks that were stacked using no mortar outline walls that are still standing today. Guide: “If you see cement that’s where it has been repaired.”2019-06-18_01-58-35_000Arches that are are part of a water catchment system. Take a look at the keystones at the center of the arch in the picture below. Still as solid today as when the mason placed them there. 2019-06-18_01-51-18_000While the guide weaves tales of antiquity, G & I  place our hands  on the cool marble stones.   With my back and hands against the marble and my face toward the sun  I swear I can feel the vibration of a thousand voices heard from  those who passed this very window.  2019-06-18_01-56-05_000Delos is the birthplace of Apollo who is also known as the god of light. Using the huge  local mica deposit on the island the walls sparkled in all directions.  2019-06-18_01-30-22_000It’s not hard to imagine approaching from the sea, buildings shining in the sun, a row of roaring stone lions leading the way to bustling shops and palatial structures.lionsSomeone asks the guide who these people were located in the middle of a group of houses. The answer is they don’t know. Not royalty, possibly a rich merchant’s family.  They were obviously very fashionable. greece-delos-top-attractions-house-of-cleopatraWe end up with a lot of free time after the tour and before the ferry returns. We walk the fringes of the Island where nature has reclaimed her rightful place covering man’s structures that may be lesser known or simply ignored.2019-06-18_01-12-12_000I  even found a couple of pretty little snails stuck on a wall. These Delos Island snails are super strong.  I couldn’t pick it off the wall which was probably best anyway for the snail.2019-06-18_01-41-04_000We climb as high as we can and overlook the layout of the island.intro_dilosAnd visit the temple while we were up theregreece-delos-temple-of-isisWe venture down and dip our toes in the nearby sea. The water is cool and so clear.  It’s quiet except the soft waves. This  little part of the ocean was a crossroads for trade for thousands of years. This little part of the sea was a sole source of life.   2019-06-18_03-07-56_000Together in silence the two of us enjoy the complex history of this  place. 2019-06-18_02-19-40_000and  reflect on the phenomenon when these places are abandoned and left to ruin.  2019-06-18_02-17-55_000Together we whisper to each other and express our awe of human creativity 2019-06-18_03-03-55_000and the need to write it all down.2019-06-18_02-04-58_000This simple unique rock placement of the wall below  makes me so happy.2019-06-18_02-00-33_000.jpegMosaic flooring, frescoes, sculpture & pottery have been recovered and preserved in the museum.   2019-06-18_01-16-46_0002019-06-18_02-52-14_000

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We are grateful for the opportunity to visit.

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This collection:

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The Best Museum I Had Never Heard Of.

We are staying with friends in Santa Marinella just outside Rome. Lucky for us they have a sense of adventure and love for UNESECO sites and lead us to the following adventure.

Mysterious Tarquina full of Etruscan surprises. We begin at the Necropoli. There are so many wonderfully preserved tombs here. Stunning rooms are carved into solid rock, including wide staircases descending to a small door entrance.

Part of the area dates to the 9-8th century BC. As time went on traditions changed, more and more elaborately decorated tombs appear. Many depict the Etruscan lifestyle. All are beautiful.

Above the surface there are yurt type structures. Of course over time these structures were buried beneath the earth and rediscovered by farming. Imagine the surprise of finding such treasure in your field!

After touring the Necropoli, our wonderful friends drove us to the town of Tarquina. The town retains a medieval charm. Meandering through the streets it is easy to imagine the sound of horse hooves clip-clop along the cobblestone roads.

On to the museum where the treasures are kept.

Fantastic pottery, carvings, weapons, and items used for daily life in the centuries BC are shown

This little museum rivals the more famous and a must see if you are able to break away from spectacular Rome and travel up to the area of Tarquina!

τόσο πολύ

Continue reading “The Best Museum I Had Never Heard Of.”

Shells & Mexican Politics

Once and a while we stumble on a small business & just fall in love with it.  Rocky Point Rodeo Drive has a of of shops that hold very similar tourist items. We weren’t expecting something different or new.  Creating curios from shells has been a long standing tradition even when this road was simply sand and shacks. I had my own tradition of buying one particular older woman’s shell creations but when they upgraded the road a few years ago, her store disappeared.  Now we have created a new tradition as once we met Salvador.Way at the west end of the street on the north side we found a shop owned by a delightful couple. Salvador is showing the secure backing his wife uses on her designs.Some of the shells are local, some are purchased, but all the work is hers.He explained they live behind the shop and TODAY  he was watching the shop and the kids while his wife was at a political luncheon for women.Salvador’s pride in his wife’s work & her participation in the luncheon was delightful. We  learned a lot about this couple in a short time from his story. They are part of the old traditions, and they are shaping in the future of their town.   This is such a terrific mom and pop business. Please stop in the next time you are in Rocky Point. I know  we always will.

Organ Pipe National Park – A Desert Showcase

Okay so it’s in the middle of nowhere, UNLESS you are traveling to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico).  Every single time we pass it I say “I wish we could stop”, but the lure of the Mexican sand beach & fresh ceviche keeps us on course.  We discover our friends felt the same way so we decided to stop on the way back!  The Organ Pipe National Monument is a large stand of these unique type of cactus.Similar to the saguaro this forest of organ pipes thrives in the South West corner of the Sonoran Desert. lrg_dsc05137A stop at the Visitor’s Center to check in and then off to a 2 mile loop trail for an overview.The views are incredible from the top of the loop.lrg_dsc05142From here you can see the border wall and into Mexico. You can’t miss it.
img_0527‘It’s easy to see where the cactus got it’s name.

I was surprised to see the difference in structure of the interior of the Saguaro versus the Organ Pipe.

Bonus, the Ironwood trees were in bloom creating pink patches of color.

Believe it or not this area was a large cattle ranch owned by the Gray family for a century.  The last cattle taken off the land with the death of Robert Jr. Gray in 1976.  lrg_dsc05148It seems there is a lot left to discover so we will return, camp, and explore another day.  For now we will just relish in the refreshing hike and head home.

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Close-up of the Organ Pipe Cactus
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The Hohokam did live on this land for a time and leave petroglyphs. This rock was lying near the path. Who knows if it is part of an actual petroglyph or simply a rock scribble.
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The saguaros in the area are blooming.

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Ancient Wonder Next Door

We often travel far to see an ancient site sometimes asking a local for a review only to find  that they haven’t even heard of their local attraction.  We were surprised until we realized we had done the SAME THING in our hometown.  Since our revelation we are determined to explore more sites nearby   In fact we had a lot of fun recently at the Signal Hill Petroglyphs located in the Saguaro National Park West just  few miles away.P1220906-001

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Go that way

lrg_dsc04590We took a picnic and enjoyed a few little animals and birds. Great place to enjoy a picnic lunch at the well kept covered tables.
7017086_medium_1462828617thJust to the east is an easy path leading to the petroglyphs.   lrg_dsc04599
lrg_dsc04596They are said to have been created by the Hohokam people. We stop to to imagine what the artist was trying to convey with these symbols.2017-12-31_12-41-33_000Looking over the valley from this site I can see how it would have been chosen as a beacon for travelers.lrg_dsc04594   I have to say it’s been fun discovering adventure right in our own back yard.

Treasure Hunting At The Gem Show

Each February vendors come to Tucson, AZ to exhibit gems, minerals, fossils, boulders, and natural art at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

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5 ft and above for these crystal formations!

The logistics of shipping the tremendous amount of heavy rock always amazes me. In just a few weeks tons of material arrive in Tucson.   I picture an off-balance washing machine thumping away; except its the earth wobbling from the excess weight.2018-01-27_13-01-26_504.jpeg

I have my favorite venues.  The Co-Op on Oracle Rd  always has a large petrified wood room with  different tables on display every year.  I highly recommend hugging petrified tree millions of years old whenever one gets a chance.

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Spectacular Petrified Wood Table.
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Tables are made from slabs millions of years old.

My favorite room at the Co-Op has Septarian geodes from Utah. I check their room first thing on the first day as they are very popular.

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Each Septarian Egg is unique.

The Co-Op is handicap accessible and always has fossils to see.

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We tried the new venue advertised as the “upscale” 22nd street show.  Not my type of product but found some interesting art!

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Warrior Woman made from metal and motorcycle chain hair!

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These bat coffins are quite interesting.  However pants would have been a good idea.  I was not prepared to see bat genitalia so early in the morning.

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Also proof that someone whacked that Geico lizard. Perhaps now we can stop contemplating why a Gecko selling insurance in the US has a UK accent and has access to Navy aircraft carriers.

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In the olden days (I’d say even 10 years ago) there were only a few different venues hosting exhibits. It was easy to see in a couple of days. The fame of the Tucson Gem Show spread and now there are  venues  all over town.

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The ever popular giant pink skull decor.

After the 4th or 5th venue it can feel like repetition, However, treasure may be right around the corner. 2018-01-28_14-03-55_966

I try to buy my supplies from returning vendors to show  support to them for coming back each year.  Half the fun of the treasure hunt is talking to the vendors and listen to their story.  People come from all over the world. There are so many different paths that lead to the Gem Show!

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Lights show through the mineral creating fascinating patterns on the wall.

One of the more artistic booths has unique gem inlaid pictures.  Every year they exhibit and have a darkened room where the art is illuminated from behind. Impossible to capture the beauty  in a photo.

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This pic doesn’t even come close.  Metal background, gem quality inlaid lapis, turquoise, & coral.

When I tell the exhibitor that ‘this is always one of my favorite booths”, she animatedly responds “Oh do you posses one of our pieces?”  I tell her “I wish”  as I run my hand over the cool metal and stone.2018-01-27_11-04-27_323

One of the returning booths only sells Himalayan Salt Lamps.  If you see one you want buy it because if you wait to “buy it on the way out so I can take it straight to the car” it  the treasure will be gone.

There are miles and miles of beads,

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Gems,

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Fossils,

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Who knew these fossilized poop emojis sell for $2,000?

Art,

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Collections,

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Treasure hunters bring your walking shoes!   There is no place like the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

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Replenishing my supplies:  Hopefully enough to get me through 2018.  Until the next treasure hunt at least…

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Turquoise all shapes and sizes

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Ready to go!  Excited to use some of the new product in the projects. Stay tuned to Desertwindsgallery.com

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I’itoi Cave

Since I was a young girl I heard about a mysterious sacred cave in the Baboquivari Mountains on the Tohono O’Odham Reservation southwest of Tucson, AZ.  I have always been fascinated by the sharp contrast of the Baboquivari Mountain Range against the sky.Rising high above the desert Babo Peak  has been written about for centuries as a beacon for those who travel through the valleys.  Unfamiliar with the permits required for hiking  on the reservation, and not knowing the trails, I  searched and found an archaeological tour group heading to I’itoi Cave.  I was thrilled to finally climb that famous peak. The archaeologist and guide is Al Dart from Old Pueblo Archaeology .  The tour was so well organized and we felt like we were hiking with friends. His knowledge and passion  for sharing information exceeded our expectations. Highly recommended for a first look at any area one is interested in exploring! Traveling by SUV for12 miles on an un-maintained road, our group arrived  at the Baboquivari Campground Area to find campers taking down a tee pee from the previous night’s birthday celebration.  Al was quick to point out that the tee pee is not part of the Tohono O’Odham culture but had been used for this particular ceremony and overnight stay.  He went on to describe the history of the area in great detail.   Even at this early stage of the tour we could tell this would be a wonderful experience.

The campground area is beautiful and worth exploring.    Above us and surrounding us like a giant hug stood Babo Peak. The hike to I’itoi Cave is a little over mile on a trail rated difficult.  Fortunately our guide made frequent stops along the trek  pointing out both man made  and natural wonders along the way.  He included reading excerpts of  early European explorers during our rest stops.The views are spectacular and unspoiled from this vista. What a perfect day to hike.The cave has a tiny triangular entrance behind an outcropping of rock.  It’s a wonder anyone found it at all.  It is said  I’itoi  still lives there as protector of the Tohono O’Odham people.   Iitoi is sometimes referred to as “Older Brother”.  Some traditions have him entering the cave through a labyrinth and others refer to  him as the man in the maze.

We were met by the caretaker/shaman of the Baboquivari Wilderness Area who was waiting by the entrance.   He is said to be over 60 and makes the climb three times a week.

He told us stories about I’itoi and Eagle Man who had been sent to earth by the creator. Both of them were tasked with making  people so they each set out to  make people of different colors.  Eagle Man’s people did not survive but I’itoi’s purple people were strong and became the Tohono O’Odham.

When someone asks him the best way to enter/exit the cave, he laughed and said you can go in however you want, but  “there’s only one way out, head first, like being born”.

We took turns, 6 at a time went in.   G and I waited our turn and watched as each person came out of the cave differently… and yep, we all looked just like a birth.  Everyone re-entered the world differently.  Some  needed assistance to which helpers joked about needing forceps.   Other than the occasional awkward exit from the cave, it was quiet and peaceful, everyone speaking softly.The shaman/caretaker was asked why he let non natives enter the cave.  More specifically, why he would let Catholic or Christian symbols be placed as offerings. His answer was beautiful.  He said he had thought about it many times, and had meditated about it for a long time here in the cave.  He said he believes that there is one god, different to the different cultures, but still one.  He said their story is similar to a Christian story.  They share a flood story, and I’itoi died and rose again.   As long as people are respectful, he wants to share this sacred cave with the anyone seeking it’s peace.Finally our turn came. We aren’t allowed to take pictures inside the cave and I can see why.  Whether or not one believes in I’itoi as a deity or not, there is a unique reverence entering  the darkness.  A shaft of light is just enough to see the uneven walls of the cave and shines deep toward the sloping back wall.  What lies inside are the prayers, hopes and dreams of those who had come before.   I noticed a  faint scent of incense as I knelt down to add two little purple flowers that I had brought from home. I gave them my own meaning as I placed them in the fine dust on the floor so they would  just catch the corner of the sunbeam.   My own experience was energizing kneeling there on  the soft dirt.  Following the sun I exited out the triangle hole and slid back to the real world.Refreshed we all headed down the mountain to the next stop….Petroglyphs.There is an outcropping of rock on the valley floor peppered with petroglyphsProtected by an overhang they have been here for centuries.Some of the red pictographs are dated at over 5,000 years old. The whiter carved petroglyphs more modern, around 500 years and have Hohokam influence.Some areas had holes used for grinding. A new tradition to toss coins into them as a prediction of future events.As the sun faded to a glorious Arizona sunset it was time to say goodbye.

Renewed and tired we headed back to Tucson holding the Shaman’s words in our heart, we are all one people.