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July 30th 2015
Published: July 30th 2015
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Tuesday 28 July:

A very quiet day today. Heather went and bought herself some new togs and about 1030 we headed to the pool for a swim. It was nice and quiet at that time and the pool looked very clean! After lunch we watched a movie / read / did cross-stitch / rested before going for another swim around 3. It was a bit busier then.

Zachary continues to gain confidence in the water and in the big pool (140 cm depth) he happily moves around in his swim ring without us needing to be right by him. He is developing quite a strong kick and has no problem propelling himself the width of the pool. The new thing today was that I was lifting him out of the water (in his ring) and then tossing him in so he could kick his way to Heather. We started this gently but soon moved on to quite big throws! He was even brave enough to do it once without the ring so that when I tossed him (not very far) he went under the water and then Heather got him when he popped up. He went under a few times by jumping from the side too. Having the pools here has been great. We haven’t had the chance to do much swimming on this holiday so we are making the most of it. Hopefully in Athens we’ll do a one day island cruise and we can swim in the ocean too. The level of swimming skills in Turkey seems very low indeed. Nearly all the adults we see cannot swim and many use water wings and / or rings, so it is obviously not a big priority here.

As well as gaining water confidence, Zachary is getting quite handy with a fly-swatter! There are certainly enough targets here for him…

Tomorrow we will taxi to Beypazari and then catch a bus to Ankara. We will either make our way by public transport or taxi to Genclik Park which has a Luna Park (fun park) attached to it and then go back via the large ANKAMall to buy a new suitcase and maybe some presents as well as eat. Alternatively we may go further out of town to Nata Vega Outlet Mall which, as well as shops and supposedly a better foodcourt, has amusement park rides and an aquarium. We will have to suss out how to get there – hopefully the tourist info office staff at the bus station speak some English! I would also like to visit the historic Citadel but we can look at maybe doing that on Friday afternoon.

Wednesday 29 July:

Not a great night’s sleep for anyone. Heather is really struggling in the heat. The lack of air conditioning is really poor and it is one of several things we need to bring up with the Holiday Club when we return. The upshot of that is that we decided against going to Ankara. It is a long trip by the time we have gotten a taxi to Beypazari and then the bus. Plus there would be the trip back at the end of the day when we were all hot and tired. So we decided instead to have a quiet morning and then a swim. After lunch we headed in Beypazari with the plan to go to Yasayan Museum which is apparently quite good, buy a new suitcase, get a couple of gifts, and go to the park. With a bit of luck we might even find some tinned fruit so we could have pancakes for dinner. I had looked up where the museum was and drawn a map so had some confidence in being able to find it.

By the time we had walked up the hill to Reception to order the taxi (and check out the restaurant dinner – we are passing) we were already rather hot so asked the taxi driver to take us all the way to the museum. He very kindly also gave us a map of Beypazari – something the resort should have done. The museum is a “living museum”. It is a house of the late Ottoman period (1860s) that belongs to the wealthiest family in the town. Our English speaking guide showed us through the rooms on the three levels, explaining what each room is used for and the tools / appliances used. There was also an area where you could choose a fabric eg pencil case, bag, shirt and stamp a Turkish design on it. Zachary enjoyed making a couple of things here. They also had other tradition Turkish toys and games so we got some present shopping done! It was all very interesting and something a bit different.

We then made our way back through the old part of the town (stopping to get some more of the unknown purple juice) and down the main road towards the park. Heather managed to find bananas (at considerable expense) and grapes at the “supermarket” across the road, but no tinned fruit so pancakes are off. We also bought another suitcase so we can keep that one packed with things we don’t actually need. We can always check 3 cases onto flights so we will do that from now on.

Back to the resort for another swim. A local boy (maybe 13) spoke a bit of English and he played with Zachary with a while which was cool. Then dinner and bed on time for a very tired Zachary. All that swimming is taking it out of him but it is great that he has been able to get in the pool and that he loves it so much.

Good news on the cricket front – after one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of test cricket at Lord’s last week (my pessimistic English friend in Riga was on the mark!) England have bounced back and are well on top after day 1 of test 3, having bowled the arrogant Aussies out for a paltry 136 and getting quickly to 133/3 in reply. Not often I cheer for the Poms, but I am in this series!!

Bad news about the Warriors though. Another season of frustration for their long-suffering fans…

Thursday 30 July:

A hot night last night! Zachary woke up a couple of times complaining of a sore throat and he does seem to have caught a bit of a cold. No doubt all the getting in and out of water plus the actual swimming has made him tired and a bit susceptible to catching something.

I checked out our hotel for tomorrow – the Mövenpick, Ankara. We stayed at a Mövenpick in Zurich and it was excellent so that was the main reason for the choice. It is rated highly on TripAdvisor and looks to be good. It is a 10 min walk from the main bus station in Ankara and it will probably be quicker to walk than take a taxi. We can decide tomorrow though as it will be dependent on being able to get a city map and on if we can be bothered! It is right next to the Armada Mall which has a good looking food court including plenty of western options. Getting to the Citadel thus may or may not happen.

We didn’t do much this morning. No wind and the heat is really quite oppressive, and of course no air-conditioning! We decided to only have one swim today as we didn’t want to make Zachary’s cold much worse. After some fried bread for lunch Zachary and Heather went for a short swim. I wasn’t feeling too well so I didn’t go. I generally tolerate heat quite well, but I think with it not letting up at all (and having no cool place to escape to) it has gotten to me a bit. We may just end up sitting in our room tomorrow afternoon if the temperature is right! And while Athens will no doubt be hot (forecast for next week is 34 – 38 degrees) hopefully our hotel room has working air-con!

After the swim Zachary played for a bit and watched some tv / movies. For dinner we had bought a salami type sausage from the market. We weren’t sure what it was going to be and it was a bit spicy but with some pasta and cheese sauce was quite passable. Then off to bed early for Zachary who has a very runny nose and is exhausted. Heather did the final lot of laundry and started getting organised to go tomorrow. So overall a very quiet and inactive day but 38 degrees doesn't promote a lot of activity! We’ll aim for the 1030 bus from Beypazari tomorrow. That should get us to Ankara bus station 12 or a bit after and hopefully we can check in a bit early.

Great to see England making such short work of the Aussies in the third test. It should be all over by lunch on day 3 - one of the shortest test matches in history. An extraordinary turnaround.


1st August 2015

Fantastic Superman outfit Zachary :-)

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