George Strait in Istanbul

Ahhh.  George.

Country music doesn’t necessarily “fit” this city – but, come on – I miss it.

I’m waiting around for the crew to get ready so that we can go on our next big adventure – explore the Asian side of Istanbul.  But hey, it’s only 2:30 p.m.  I need to be patient.  After all, if you go to bed at 5:00 a.m., the mornings get lost in the fog of sleep.

So, I fired up MOG.  Found some George.  Reminds me of my sissies ♥  But Wes is tickin’ me off and moaning like a sick bovine.

I can’t call him an SOB – that’s just insulting to me.  But he’s ruining the song  – making up words “somewhere in the neon light looking for my flashlight stumbling in the darkness…”

I raised a brat.

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Fishin’

After a few low-key days of just kind of “chillin”, we decided to venture out into the City and find the aquarium that Jessica had read about.

Finding something in a city of 13 million or so people isn’t quite as easy as looking at the map and deciding which tram to get on.  It took a lot of walking, several mis-informed (or mis-interpreted) direction ideas from random individuals,  and a bit of back-tracking — but we eventually made it pretty darn close to our ultimate destination,  in an air-conditioned city bus.

It was worth the trouble.   It turns out Istanbul has a pretty awesome aquarium.

 The aquarium is beautiful and modern and brand new.  Visitors walk through it and follow an imaginary route from the Black Sea to the Pacific.  There’s even an Amazon Rainforest section as well as a pretty cool Shipwreck section.

Of course, looking at all the fish made me lonesome for Dale.  He would have loved it.  Me?

 “Ohhh, that’s pretty.”

“Oh, those are weird-looking creatures.”

“Oh, look – more fish!”

“Okay  –  that’s enough fish.”

Just kidding.  We had fun.  There were some beautiful displays.

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                                  ROCK STARS!!!!

ROCK STARS!

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Oh, boy – better quit skipping a day of posting

The whole idea of creating a blog for my trip was because I know how bad my memory is.  I thought if I don’t write about something every day, the month will fly by, I’ll be home, and I will forget lots of little details about my trip.

So, I’ve been doing pretty good – almost every day:  uploading the photos from the day  from my camera, and writing a brief summary of the day’s events.

Yesterday, I left my camera at home.

Last night when we got home about 11:00, we visited for an hour or two and then went to bed (after skyping with Henry!).

This morning I am hard-pressed to remember what we did yesterday.

And I’m sitting here thinking, “I don’t need to write about the mundane things; fixing a late breakfast, lazing around in the cool apartment because of the stifling heat beyond our windows, watching the newscast about the events happening in Gezi Park and Taksim Square, taking a long walk on the banks of the Golden Horn…”

What did we actually do?  This is Istanbul, after all!

Now, it occurs to me – maybe that is what I need to write about now!  The first 2-3 weeks here have been a whirlwind of activities – big stuff – world-famous sites and attractions, new foods, new culture, new everything.  Now, as we wind down into the last couple of weeks in Istanbul, there will be less of the exotic, more of the everyday.  That’s what I will want to remember – how the streets look, how the people live, what the smells are like –

Those are the things that I will most likely forget – the little things.  That’s what I need to be writing at the end of each day. 

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Saying goodbye

Said goodbye to my friend, Marie, today.  I pulled a “Dale” at the airport and had to walk away before I started crying.  It was so good to have her here – she is such a dear friend – and we had a fabulous time together. 

Home.  The best place to be.  Started feeling very lonesome for my hubby, my sisters, my mom and dad.  Riding the Metro back to the apartment, there was a  cute little boy in the seat facing me.  I winked at him, he smiled at me, and I started to cry.

The lady beside me said something in Turkish, then in English, “are you fine?”  I swear that Turkish people are so kind – even to strange people on the train.  I just nodded my head to her and wondered how I would explain it to her – even if I could.

By the time I got to the Metro station near the apartment, and out in the fresh air, I was feeling a little better.  

Then, a couple hours later, Wes and Jess and Caleb got home from their side trip to Goreme.  Love those kids.  Feeling much better now 🙂

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Turkish Bath – the real thing!

  Marie and I wanted to have the famous “Turkish Bath” experience while we were here.  Not the touristy, Americanized Turkish Bath – no sir-ree!  We wanted the authentic experience.  So, we sought out the “real thing” – and we  got it!

We found the perfect place.  A women’s hamman just around the corner from where we are staying.  

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The attendants running the bath didn’t speak a word of English, but we managed to get by with gestures.  They were really cute.

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In the dressing section, we were provided with a thin cotton towel to wrap in, and then we were led to a warm marble room – marble floors, marble walls, and marble water basins.  We sat back and relaxed, soaking in the heat and pouring water over ourselves.

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 Then, one at a time, we were called to the washing space.   This is where we layed down on a marble slab, and (using the loofahs that we brought) the Turkish woman scrubbed vigorously every inch of our bodies.  After that, came the sudsy massage.  My attendant had strong fingers – it almost hurt!

It was a rejuvenating experience, but now we are ready for a nap!

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It’s Picture Time!

Feeling so much better today!

My memory of our tour of the ruins of Ephesus is fading fast.  Being sick must have destroyed a few brain cells.  Thankfully, I have pictures!

In its heyday, Ephesus was one of the major cities of the Mediterranean World – with over 250,000 people.  Today it is a major tourist attraction and an  archaeological site.  The city was partially destroyed by an earthquake in the 7th century and then gradually became swamp land.   Ephesus is one of the Seven Churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelations and most likely the Gospel of John was written from here.

I took a couple of pictures of what is believed to be the House of Mary.  Our guide said that because the Apostle John was told to take care of Mary (from the cross, Jesus said to John, “behold your Mother” and to Mary, “behold your son) and John lived in Ephesus; so that’s one of many reasons for this belief.  There has been some restoration on the house.  There were so many people crowding into the small house that I didn’t go inside – and tried to get photos without a hoard of tourists:

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It is a small chapel now where people can go in, light a candle, and pray.

Our guide had a really awesome book on Ephesus – it showed pictures of the ruins we were looking at; then in an overlay, showed what the structure looked like originally.  For example, in the picture below, you can see two rows of columns framing a walkway.  This was actually a covered walkway, and there were shops and bazaars lining it.

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Yep – I know – cute hat and looking pretty homely – but, hey!  It was HOT!!

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That’s Marie in the cute hat and peach-colored top 🙂

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     And there she is again (!) sitting in the auditorium.  This area was used for town gatherings and lectures; possibly used by the Apostle Paul when he journeyed to Ephesus.  The acoustics are great!  Our guide said that sometimes there are concerts here.

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Below is the Library of Celcus.  I love this site.    It was considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Ephesus.  There are statutes in the niches of the columns, that are reproductions of the originals.  (I enlarged the photo, so the resolution isn’t that great.)

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     Today the site of the Temple of Artemis is marked by a single column constructed of dissociated fragments discovered on the site.

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Our guide was a true Historian.   On tour days, we were always treated to a delicious lunch in nice restaurants, stayed in nice hotels (when we weren’t on the bus!) and well taken-care of.

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And then, I got sick.  Two days down.  But thankfully, we were at home!

Wes, Jess, and Caleb made plans to go to Cappedocia – pictures taken from the apartment window of the three heading to the corner to catch a shuttle to the airport.  They plan to be  back on Saturday.

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So, it’s just me and Marie for a few days! We’ve got some more exploring to do!

♥♥Until next time ♥♥

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Pretty pathetic

Here we are – in Istanbul.  The capital of empires.  The cradle of civilization.  And here I am, in our 5th floor apartment, gazing out the window, watching the bustle of the Old City: people walking the sidewalks, cafe workers beckoning passerbys to eat at their restaurant, street vendors hawking the wares on the sidewalks, and  drivers going like madmen to their next destination.

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It’s not been much fun being sick the last two days!   But I suppose it’s a good thing to take a couple of days off just to rest.

Marie and I will be hitting the streets tomorrow – so, until then – “size sevgi gönderme” sending my love to Dale, my family, and my friends

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