Too Many Drummers.com - my music website
Journal 1 - The Land Downunder
Journal 2 - Indonesia
Journal 3 - Singapore & Malaysia
Journal 4 - Thailand 1
Journal 5 - Thailand 2
Journal 6 - Indian Ocean
Journal 7 - Red Sea
Journal 8 - Egypt
Journal 9 - Suez to Israel to Petra
Journal 10 - Turkey
Journal 11 - Greece & Italy

Journal 12 - Balearics, Gibraltar, Canaries
Journal 13 - Canaries to Cape Verde to Atlantic
Journal 14 - Barbados to Grenada
Journal 15 - Trinidad
Journal 16 - Bahamas DC-3 Plane Wreck

Journal 17 - 34 Things I've Learned in 33,000 Miles


Just put up a new video called Calamity Strikes!
Click here to watch it....

Question: What is Greece’s greatest contribution to western civilization?

a)  It’s the cradle of democracy and logic
(and deductive/inductive reasoning, which are nearly impossible to differentiate. How can something based on logic be so confusing?)
b)  The Olympic Games
c)  Antigone and Oedipus
d)  John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
e)  The gyro sandwich
f)  All of the above

If you answered “f”....I’m sorry, but you are wrong. Don’t be upset. Three weeks ago I would have agreed with you…but three weeks ago I had much less experience with gyros.

Gyros (pronounced “yee-rose”) are the Greek equivalent of Middle Eastern shawarmas and doner kebabs. Like its eastern counterparts, a gyro consists of a flat bread containing spit-roasted chicken, French fries, and sliced vegetables. The ancient wisdom of the Greeks is present in the addition of a thick yoghurt sauce. Little things can make a big difference.

Sarah and I frequently ate doner kebab sandwiches in Turkey. They were relatively cheap, authentically local, and quite filling. Unfortunately, our taste buds were usually unsatisfied with the blandness of the meat.

This has not been a problem with gyros. There is some variation in overall taste, but they are consistently yummy. Sometimes pork, sometimes chicken, but always a flavor sensation….

We're heading west at a relaxed, yet hardcore pace. Our goal is to arrive in Gibraltar by mid-October. The main challenges are the prevailing winds which seem to consistently come from whatever direction we want to go. Sometimes the wind blows hard enough to pin us down in an anchorage for days at a time. One such wind blows so regularly in this region of the world it has earned a name (the “meltemi”). Click here and enjoy a short video clip Dad and I made to demonstrate the intense nature of the meltemi.


Athens was an excellent side adventure. Mom and dad had already been, so Sarah and I set off alone to see the Acropolis and National Archeological Museum (as you’ve probably gathered by now, we’re party animals.  I’m almost embarrassed not to be doing something much less mature and far more rebellious than visiting museums and ancient monuments…I’m going to come out of this trip without any street credibility.)

Hold on a second....Wow....Mom just pointed out an article in the newspaper. Apparently Athens is so over-crowded with vehicles that between Monday and Thursday they have instated something called an odd/even rule for cars driving through the city center. This rule means that between certain hours only even-numbered license plates can drive downtown, while the next day only odd-numbered plates can, etc. The fine for breaking the rule is 166 euros (roughly 190 US dollars). OK, back to the narrative....

Our trip to the Acropolis coincided with the busy part of tourist season. Sarah and I were swallowed by the mass of humanity flowing through the site in a stream of flash bulbs and pointing fingers. Much to our surprise, most of the main buildings are covered by construction scaffolding. Apparently the Parthenon temple is in the midst of a restoration attempt to fix mistakes made when they tried to restore it 50 years ago.

From the look of things, Athenians learned a lot about crowd control from the Olympics. Even with the huge numbers of people pouring through the ruins, they managed to keep everything running smoothly. Even so, sometimes the powers that be overcompensate by making too many rules....which is how Sarah and I embarked on our unintentional rule-breaking spree.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with The Acropolis Chronicles of Random Oversecurity:

Chronicle 1: Our first clash with authority came in the Acropolis Museum, where I battled fruitlessly to stop Dad's incomprehensibly high-tech camera from flashing with every photo I took. It did not take long before I was informed repeatedly that flash photography was prohibited in the museum.

The cycle went like this: I take picture, camera flashes, I push random buttons on digital interface to try to turn it off, museum lady yells "NO FLASH!" across the room, I apologize, and thinking I have fixed the problem I take another picture, camera flashes, I push random buttons, museum lady yells, etc. Eventually (to my shame) I got in an argument with a museum guide who was very aggressive, so I took a flash picture of her and ran for it. (Incidentally, since when does flash photography hurt stone sculptures? Haven't those stones spent the last millennium in direct sunlight?)

Chronicle 2: Whistle Guards abound. These merry souls are stationed throughout tourist sites to make sure we behave ourselves. They are quick to blow their whistles and completely unafraid to scold complete strangers. Sarah and I watched a German tourist step past the barricades and climb up onto a temple floor to win the day's prize for "Most Obvious Flaunting of The Rules". He managed about three steps across the temple before a Whistle Guard noticed and tried to knock him unconscious with hypersonic sound waves from her whistle. The guy shrugged helplessly and climbed back down to face the wrath of the hyperventilating Guard.

Another incident involved a tourist who posed with some rather suggestive statues in a way which irritated a Whistle Guard. She whistled angrily for about two minutes without ever leaving her shaded lawn chair.

We only got whistled at when we trod off the approved walking path.

Chronicle 3: No Posing Rules. If I worked at the museum, I'd invent rules too. The most random of these rules are the "No Posing" zones. Every once in a while guards stop tourists from taking pictures of each other posing in front of certain statues. It was ok to take shots of the statues on their own, but not with people in them too. This seems so odd that I have to assume it is the work of random boredom. Very strange. I wouldn't even think it was true except that I saw it happen.

Thankfully, we didn't get arrested or anything. After seeing the crowds I can understand why the authorities keep tourists on a tight leash. If every person who went to the Acropolis walked wherever they wanted, there would be chaos and a lot more graffiti. Memories of the relatively relaxed atmospheres in Egypt and Petra made it difficult to adjust to the more structured touring in Greece.

It seems like I say it about every place we go, but the locals we met in Greece were super cool (barring the Whistle Guards). Like most Europeans they put me to shame by speaking Greek, English, and about 12 other languages while I depend on random hand motions once we get past "hello". Well, that's not entirely true...I speak enough arabic to be polite and enough french to be rude....but I'm still impressed when people bother to learn other languages.

Nafpoli Gelateria

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, gelato is Italian ice cream. Any ice cream is good, but high quality gelato transcends description. Gelato is sold in parlors called "Gelaterias" (usually at quite expensive prices), and the best ones make it on the premises. Sarah, Mom, and I stumbled across a Gelateria in Nafpoli, Greece that redefined "yum". I was going to describe the gelato-making process here, but I just realized I have no idea how it happens. Hang on while I ask the rest of the crew....

OK. Sarah says it has something to do with stirring fruit into milk. Dad says they steal it from Italy. Mom says she doesn't know. I say they make incredibly long ladders that reach high enough to swipe it from heaven's freezer. Mom says that could be true.


Greetings from Ithaca, the island kingdom of Odysseus! For those of you who don’t remember, Odysseus is the hero of Homer’s epic stories: the Iliad and Odyssey. (At this point I should mention that Western Classical literature was the only class I had in college where attendance was not mandatory. This, combined with the fact that the course started at 8 in the morning, means that my recollection of Homer’s epics is largely based on notes a fellow classmate was kind enough to loan me to photocopy)

I can tell you this much for sure:

1. Homer has nothing to do with the Simpsons.
(learned that one the hard way...you would think a teacher would have a better sense of humor)

2. The Iliad tells the story of the Trojan War. Odysseus left Ithaca to fight the Trojans after they kidnapped Helen of Troy. The war lasted 10 years until Odysseus (who was a general in addition to being a king) hit upon the clever idea of building a giant, hollow wooden horse on wheels, filling it with soldiers, and leaving it outside the gates of Troy. It is a bit of mystery why the Trojans pulled the strange statue inside their city walls, but they did... At nightfall the soldiers in the horse snuck out and opened the gates, letting in the rest of their army. Thus endeth the Trojan War and the Iliad.

3. The Odyssey begins where the Iliad left off. After ten years of conflict, Odysseus was itching to return home to his family and kingdom. Unfortunately his ploy with the wooden horse was a bit too clever and irritated some of the gods, who made his relatively short boat trip home very difficult. 10 more years pass before Odysseus returned to Ithaca to reclaim his kingdom.

Our own voyage has eerie parallels to the Odyssey:

1. We left the USA in 1994 aiming to circle the globe in 18 months. A car wreck in New Zealand put the circumnavigation on hold indefinitely…

2. My sister and I went to college for almost ten years.

3. I wake up every morning surrounded by empty boxes, enormous mounds of popsicle sticks, and mysterious stacks of blueprints for a large wooden statue of a badger that I apparently draw in the night...

4. After eleven years, we are on the home stretch of our odyssey..

Anyways, back to Ithaca.....

We anchored off Vathi, a charming little town lined with waterfront cafes and outdoor restaurant terraces. Like everywhere else in Greece, the town slept during the day so it could party late into the night. On our final night in Ithaca the town square was packed with hundreds of people watching a Greek soccer game on wide screen TVs. Any goal scoring or intentional fouls were met with standing ovations or roars of disapproval by the entire town. I didn't watch the match, but judging from the blaring car horns at 1 am, it was probably the local favorites.

Vulcano Island, Italy

Any island named after a volcano is guaranteed to be an awesome destination.

As you would expect, Vulcano Island features a big steaming volcano that looms over an unsuspecting town. Its presence permeates the town with a mild sulphurous stench that blends into the background after a few hours. Vulcano is a major tourist attraction. Ferries arrive and leave every fifteen minutes, loading and unloading hordes of wrinkle-nosed tourists. The island's other claim to fame beside the volcano are the mud baths. Loads of tourists pay money to strip down to their skimpiest swim suits, smear mud all over their bodies, and sit in a large thermal pool. This isn't the first time we've come across mud baths in our travels, but it is the first time I've ever been close enough to see one at work. It looked interesting, but not something I'd be willing to pay for.

Unbreakable Law of the Universe #1,442: If there is a volcano within two miles of you and it is not currently erupting with molten lava, you have no choice but to climb it.

The volcano climb was one of the highlights of the Med. A well-traveled path made for an easy trip up and the view from the top was tremendous...Clouds of noxious steam rising from the northern side of the crater gave me dramatic film footage...On the way down we took a shortcut through a scoria field using the time-honored method of "moon walking" (that's what Dad calls it when we sprint headlong down a steep slope of loose stones by leaning back and sliding down one leg at a time. It is a very fun and efficient way to go, as long as you don't fall. If you do fall it is even more efficient, but much less fun).

My best efforts to write and record on the open
seas are laid bare for your listening pleasure....

Click here - March the Unafraid (it's danceable!)
Click here
- Carousel/Move to Sever
Click here - Sarah's Song
Click here - One Less Kangaroo (just the song)
Click here - One Less Kangaroo (with explanation)
Click here - Picasso

One of the nice things about catamarans
is that we can anchor in very shallow water
and sidle right up to the beach

We do calisthenics every day on the boat
Tuesdays is synchronized swimming.
(I live for Mud Wrestling Fridays.)

These guys take their gyros seriously

Sarah continues her diligent search
for the world's best gyro

The Acropolis

The crowds are pretty intense


Creative column design

I pretended to yawn and stretch for this picture
because I wasn't sure if we were allowed
to pose with this statue.

Awesome amphora painting

Grooving in the excellent (and free!)
Museum of Traditional Musical Instruments


Fortress in Nafpoli

Thought you'd like to see the gelato again...

Mom in the Corinth Canal

View from the volcano


Moon Walking

This web site is a companion to Outback and Beyond.com.