Hey everyone! This will be another travel yarn, but the last one for a long time. Summer has taken me across Europe, to China, and then back to Europe again with the family. It’s been a pretty wild ride and a lot of fun. I kinda regret not playing more Magic in the spring, when I had the chance.

I guess that’s a lesson. Clear your schedule and go to FNM tonight, especially if you haven’t gone in a few weeks (or months, or ever). Play some games with your friend. Or dust off the old duel decks and start teaching the family cat. Hobbies are pretty important, and I think it’s easy to lose track of them if you don’t make time for them.

My past few weeks were spent on a cruise in the Aegean Sea. Island-hopping through Greece was very fun. But as a result, I’ve been out of the loop for a while. One week in, I tried to reimagine the Hipsters homepage on the back of a dinner napkin. It was a fun exercise in artistic vision, and probably just confirmed that I don’t have any.


I’m auctioning this off for charity.



I spent five minutes trying to figure out if “monasteries” was spelled correctly. Took the gamble and lost.

Meteora is a cluster of monasteries built into the cliff-sides of central Greece. They’re isolated from the Greek coasts by a several hour minibus drive through flat, fertile basins—plains that had, at some point in Earth’s history, been completed submerged. The receding ocean did a fantastic job of cutting into the rock faces, creating rippled walls and sheer drops.


A popular climbers’ destination, too.

The place also has 4.9 stars on Google reviews. That probably means something pretty important to some people. Personally, I tend to plan most of my vacations based on Tripadvisor ratings and things I read on reddit.





A face destined for Internet fame.

Like cats? Greece and Turkey have them all over. Stumble over them as you’re leaving the Grand Bazaar, probably weighed down by new tea cups and boxes of baklava. At the ruins of Ephesus, they stretch out on the white marble and bask in the Aegean sun, biding their time until night falls and their town of cats comes to life.

There are a few dogs, too. They’ve mostly claimed the Acropolis, in Athens, and tend to follow tour groups around with wagging tails and their silly dog grins.



If you look closely, you can see the many minarets that dot the city’s skyline.

Istanbul was one of main ports of my journey. The Grand Bazaar? Find fake watches, Turkish tea sets, ornamental cast-iron figurines that probably do a great job of collecting dust on a mantlepiece, and bags of colorful spices that no one ever seems to buy. Great fun, if you’re into that sort of experience.

There’s also a mosque that’s not really a mosque. The Ayasofya, church of holy wisdom or enlightenment. Some of the building’s columns were taken from the original Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, Greece. They, in turn support ornate Christian murals: Jesus, the Virgin Mary, angels, and more biblical symbolism than I could possibly begin to notice or understand. After the conquest of Constantinople-Istanbul by the Ottoman Turks, Islamic symbols were incorporated into the church’s walls, domes, and outer facade.

The effect is striking. To the left and right of happy Mary and Jesus are the ornate calligraphic scripts for Allah and Muhammad, since their pictorial representation is absolutely taboo. And the entire church/mosque is supported by the marble beams of temple Artemis. Several millennia of religious history and symbols coexisting in quiet reverence.


The amount of chandeliers in the place was actually a bit disconcerting. About one-fourth of the church was covered by scaffolding; renovation is endless.


My summer is just about over. The return to college life will probably be jarring and abrupt. But that also spells a lot more time for the important things: Magic and writing. My plan for the next few weeks? A Scrub Report with gameplay, tips, and a lot more analysis. I’m not a true beginner anymore, but Magic is an unbelievably complex game, and there’s a ways to go.


Magic: play the game, see the world.

Tony is the Hipster’s resident scrub, and Scrub Report is his attempt to chronicle Limited, Standard, and beginner-friendly gameplay. Find him at tonymei.com.

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