Blogs from Turkey, Middle East - page 3


Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Konya July 31st 2015

Getting to Cappadocia The Journey Kapadokya Pretty close to the middle of Turkey About 1000Klms from either Edirne on the Bulgarian / Greek Border or Igdir on the Armenian / Iranian border. Getting there involved crossing vast plains of good agriculture, and then some pretty desolate country. Much of the vast areas of Turkey that we traversed was flat plains surrounded by barren looking mountain ranges. The flat plains and undulating parts look productively worked - mostly for wheat, sunflower and then sorghum with some large tracts irrigated for fodder crops. In July they receive no rain and its super dry and hot hot hot. In the last 200 to 300 klms we got so see a conservative side of Islamic Turkey. We had travelled down the Mediterranean coast for a bit - which is regarded ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Ankara July 30th 2015

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 ... read more
A novel use of pillows.
Superman (just like his daddy).
Warming up in the 55cm pool.

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Hisaronu July 30th 2015

Travel Companions - KC, Laurence and Jen Duration – 6 nights Movies Watched – none - slept (with my mouth wide open, according to Laurence) Sitting next to - an old dude on the way there and an old couple on the way back So, lets recap as its been a while....last trip was Zurich with my good friends Anna, Remy and Joseph. I arrived home on Wednesday and had a 15 hour turnaround before the next flight to Oludeniz, Turkey. First time in Turkey and those who know me well would probably be surprised I was making the trip there. My friend Hannah exclaimed 'Turkey! I cannot believe you are going there! You will not like the men but Oludeniz is nice'. She was right about both. So, the alarm went off at 3:30am and ... read more
Marc Spenger
St. Nicholas Island
With Kacey and Jen

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 28th 2015

I had visited the big three of Istanbul: the Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofia, and Topkapi Palace, experiences and pictures that I am still processing. But today was to be a day of smaller, quieter experiences. I walk past the Basilica Cistern everyday on my way to the tram. This morning there was hardly any line, so I decided to visit. The Basilica Cistern does not accept the Istanbul Museum Pass, nor does it take credit cards. The entrance fee is TYL 20, and if there are big cruise ships in town the lines can get very long. I was rather let down. I’m not sure what, exactly, I was expecting, but the Basilica Cistern is basically just an underground storage tank. Yes, to my eyes it is a marvel of engineering, and yes, the Medusa ... read more
Medusa head 2
vaulted ceiling
Percemli Sokuk

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Ankara » Gündoğan July 27th 2015

Saturday 25 August: No overnight / early morning shaking in Istanbul so we got up at 7 to get ready for a long travel day. After morning jobs and breakfast we wandered 100m down the road to get a taxi. The driver seemed rather uncertain as to where we were going but after showing him our bus tickets he seemed a bit more confident. I knew the general direction so it was a good sign when he headed off that way. When we saw signs for the bus station a bit later we felt a bit more positive and sure enough he dropped us off at the right spot. Istanbul’s bus station is very spread out and there a number of companies running from it. They have multiple offices and stands so we were happy to ... read more
Sunset from our balcony - that is the main recreational building in the foreground.
The evening star (Venus) from our balcony (excuse the fuzziness, I had to zoom quite a lot).
No we are not in Ohakune. Beypazari has its own carrot sculpture.

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 26th 2015

Before I came to Istanbul I practiced saying no. “No, thank you.” “No, I’m just looking.” “No, I’m not interested.”“No, it’s too expensive.” “No, stop it.” “NO!” I learned to say no in Turkish as well as English. So how come I ended up in a rug shop drinking tea? I’m an early riser, and I like to get out and about. My first full day in Istanbul I just wanted to walk around and get my bearings before it got too hot and there were too many people around. I was in Sultanahmet Square headed to the Information Center. The bad part of that is that as a single woman who was obviously a visitor, I was a target for every carpet salesman in town. And since there aren’t a lot of tourists around yet, ... read more
carpets in Grand Bazaar
more carpets in Grand Bazaar

Middle East » Turkey July 26th 2015

Aphrodisias Not so easy to find. James the GPS did not want to know about it – no matter which of the various spellings we tapped in. But driving in the general direction where we thought it might be we first saw AFRODISIAS , then something in Cyrillic script, then Aphrodite, and then Aphrodisias. We followed the signs. The site itself is not so big and doesn’t draw the tourist numbers that Efes and nearby Pamukkale draw. It is an interesting paddock full of ruins. There is a very good museum with a range of statues – often with limbs amputated and many with faces blown off ( it seems some rogues have taken a liking to shooting the faces off statues). But I do know that if there is reincarnation I don’t want to come ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu July 24th 2015

As someone who doesn’t like crowds, I clearly wasn’t thinking straight when I decided to visit Istanbul’s most popular shopping street on a holiday weekend in July when there were three cruise ships in port. It was crowded and crazy, but in a funny sort of way it served me well. The crowds forced me to look into the little alleys and passages, and there is some interesting stuff in the small byways. I only noticed the Aya Triada (Holy Trinity) church because of the cross I saw from the distance. I followed the sokak (alley) across from the French Consulate a short distance to the church. The outer door to the narthex was open, so I went in. There was a very pleasant caretaker who motioned that it was OK for me to go inside. ... read more
Aya Triada
Aya Triada
Aya Triada

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 24th 2015

Friday 24 July: A noisy night with people both in and outside of the hotel and then a very shaky start to the day as at 5:39am a magnitude 4.8 earthquake with its epicentre just across the water in Eceabat occurred. This was actually the third in an hour but was the strongest and woke Heather and I, and most of the rest of the town. It was quite shallow at about 7km so we rocked rather a lot! This is the first really significant quake that either of us have experienced. Zachary slept through it. In total there have been 22 quakes today but we have only felt that one, plus one other at just before 10am when we were in the foreign exchange office. After that excitement we didn’t really get back to sleep ... read more
At the memorial site, Anzac Cove.
The Ottoman soldiers' point of view.
One of many cemeteries in the area.

Middle East » Turkey July 24th 2015

EPHESUS or EFES for short. This place is chock a block full of history.. It existed in the bronze age. Efes is said to have been founded by female warriors known as the Amazons. Then around 1200BC it became part of the Ionian migration. It may have been a Greek “colony” then. Efes became one of the wealthiest cities of the Mediterranean. When Cyrus ( king of Persia) defeated the Lydian king around 700 BC there was a shake up in the Mediterranean region. By 500 BC, Ionian cities were rebelling against Persia and were destroyed. But Ephesus distanced itself from the other Ionians and so escaped destruction. When Alexander the Great took hold of the region in 334 BC Ephesus was able to take advantage of a period of peace and tranquillity for the next ... read more
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