Blogs from Central Anatolia, Turkey, Middle East - page 5

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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Konya July 13th 2013

Turkey is a land of seemingly infinite contradictions - belly dancers, muslin women fully covered in black, the Imam's call to prayer and the nonstop music videos on display at every turn, small fishing boats and enormous yachts, villas and rusted tin roofed enclaves. Traveling for us has become an adaptive experience as we integrate diverse cultures into our limited experience base, but it also transports me back in time to the familiar backyard in which I was raised with similar cascading trumpet vines and grape arbors abundant with hanging grape clusters connecting, bridging across my worlds and time. All along we knew that we wanted to visit Konya's Whirling Dervishes and the Mevlana Museum (Rumi's tomb and mosque) but to experience it in the midst of Ramadan when generous hearts and celebrations overflow enhances the ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia June 23rd 2013

There are no words to describe the view of the EARLY morning landscape from a hot air balloon over Cappadocia. I’ve never been in a hot air balloon. Seeing the crew shooting fire into the balloon was very exciting. The maneuvering of a hot air balloon is a lot like scuba. You try to stay neutral which allows you to stay idle even a foot over the ground. If you start to drop the pilot shoots more fire up and if he wants to drop down he pulls a string that opens a flap on the side of the balloon to let some air out. There were 16 people in our balloon and still there was plenty of room. You could not take a bad picture. We went into the canyons, over the pinnacles with windows ... read more
Sunrise in Cappadocia
The sea of hot air balloons
Flying low and high

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Ankara May 13th 2013

CAPPADOCIA TO ANKARA, TURKEY—Monday, May 13, 2013 Altinyazi Hotel, Avanos, Cappadocia Region At 6:15 we watched the balloons again this morning. Today they went up and most stayed very low and then came toward town and the hotel much closer than yesterday. There were about 50 in the air at one time. Valerie got better pictures this morning as it was a little clearer. We heard at breakfast that someone from another tour group staying at this hotel got hurt when a balloon hit a house. They did look low enough to do so. As we were boarding the bus a group came back toting their very muddy, grassy shoes in their hands--guess they had to get out in a muddy, wet field after their ride. (On a sad note, while in Istanbul, we learned that ... read more
1305-262 Balloons landing in Avanos--view from hotel room
1305-263 On drive to Ankara-A
1305-264 On drive to Ankara-B

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia May 12th 2013

Cappadocia, Turkey--Sunday, May 12, 2013 Happy Mother’s Day! In the town of Avanos, Cappadocia Region, Turkey Up at 6am this morning to watch about 30 of the hot air balloons out our hotel window ascend. About 10-15 of our group left the hotel at about 5am to glide by balloon over the area. The balloons have very large baskets holding 20-30 people at a time. It is rather cloudy and looks like rain with the wind blowing the balloons away from us, toward the far mountains range. Valerie took photos, but don’t know if they will be clear in this light. Got ready to leave at 9:00 this morning to give people time for eating breakfast after their balloon ride. We spent the morning driving to look at various places where different kinds of these “fairy ... read more
1305-212 Imagination Valley--Camel or 3 wisemen
1305-213 Imagination Valley--a long view
1305-214 Imagination Valley--A duck or Napolean's Hat

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia May 11th 2013

Hotel Pasa Park in Konya, Turkey As we turned out of the hotel area, we drove past a large city conference center that was hosting a multi-cultural youth event. A little further on, we saw a plot of small community gardens with little garden huts just like in Germany and Great Britain (called allotments there). There were also a lot of new apartments on the outskirts of town that Aykut said were new retirement communities. We have been impressed with all of the new developments in Turkey, and the apparent quality of the construction. Soon we were in a very fertile area with wheat, and more wheat---hard to believe that the world eats so much bread. I know they eat a lot of it here in Turkey, as baskets of bread show up at every meal, ... read more
1305-175 One of many sheep herds in this high valley
1305-176 Front entance of caravanseri
1305-177 Inside accomodations for winter

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Konya May 10th 2013

Pemukkale to Konya, Turkey--Friday, May 10, 2013 Herakles Thermal Hotel in Pemukkale Valerie and I have had this discussion, after seeing all these ancient ruins, I wish to share with you. We are not sure exactly what the problem is, but for lack of a better phrase let’s call it a “disconnect between our education and reality.” We both consider ourselves above average in our book learning, but if you had asked either one of us, where the ancient city of Troy or for that matter the Biblical Ephesus was located on the modern world map, we both would NEVER have named Turkey. Nor would we say that both the Apostles Paul and John lived and worked in Asia Minor/Turkey. This trip opened up our view of those times and places and how much people in ... read more
1305-167 It's stone not snow
1305-168 Looked like Wyoming to us
1305-169 Or maybe Utah or Nevada

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia April 30th 2013

Cappadocia I had read so much about the amazing landscape and its cave houses that we had to go here. The place did not disappoint. We took a overnight bus from Antalya. Even after asking many times that we don't want to change in Nevsehir, we got a bus that only went to Nevsehir and had to get down there, wait for at least 30min before finding another bus to go to Gerome. There we wanted to stay at Gerome campsite, but we were still quite tired from the hike, so decided to stay at Dilek which was closer to city center. There were quite a few other campers there and the owner is great and very helpful. We decided to walk through the Red and Rose Valleys in the morning to reach Cavusin and then ... read more
mini grand canyon
White and Honey valley
Blue mosque

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia April 30th 2013

April 29/30 Early start for Turkey, up at 4am to be at airport by 5! At check in, we were asked why we were going to Turkey, it took about an hour to get clearance from Condor, our budget German airline! Crazy! 12 hours to Frankfurt, including a short stop at Dominican Republic, 4 at the airport then off to Istanbul, arrived 1pm,very tired! Blu had to get a visa for Turkey, so used his Irish passport for the first time as it was 15 € not 45! Kiwis were free! Hotel near airport overnight to sleep and rest. Decided to have a nice refreshing cuppa tea in the afternoon across at a cafe near the hotel, this turned out to be interesting - we asked for tea with milk and got served black tea and ... read more
Goreme Panorama
Red and Rose Valleys from Goreme
Our cave room at Angelas

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia » Göreme April 27th 2013

Took the opportunity to walk across this unusual landscape. Rather like I remember in Star Wars movies. In fact I think part of it was filmed here. No need to wonder too long about why! The pictures speak for themselves. Most of them are from around the Rose Valley but the Fairy Chimneys (you my like to suggest they resemble something else!- this is a public blog so I'm not going to be the first to say it!) are at Pasabaglari. Got dropped by the hotel bus at the beginning, walked the 6 or 7 km, had an icre cream then chatted to the vendor who hitched me a lift with the delivery man back to town. A stunning walk for the price of a chocolate cornetto! You be the judge though! Enjoy!... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia » Göreme April 6th 2013

Hello Everyone! I am reviving my blog after my stint in India. I had pretty much given up. But lets try this again. Yesterday Mark Soileau left our group to return to Ankara. He is an American Professor married to a Kurdish woman and teaches at a university in Marden, which is on the border of Syria. He is an ordained Bektashi Alevi Baba (maybe I will explain this later) and he taught us about Haji Bektashi (a person, city, and faith) and about the Alevi. He returned to Ankara yesterday to do a ceremony with his disciple. Thus, Mark left and Wendy Wiseman came. Yesterday she gave a three hour lecture on ancient Christianity. It was AMAZING! I have learned a lot. Today she is taking us to different site visits. You know ancient 10th ... read more
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