Not gonna post


I’ll spare the details.  Got my own private nurse though.  Marie’s being a doll.  We came back from our 4-day tour  pretty tired, and she doesn’t seem to mind laying around the apartment today.

Yesterday, during our tour of Ephesus, our guide was talking about Heraclitus of Ephesus, a Greek Philosopher, as we were viewing some ruins.  He said that the well-known saying , “No man ever steps in the same river twice” is attributed to Heraclitus.

A  shorter version of that idea is commonly attributed to him:

“Everything flows.”

I kind of thought that was ironic today 🙂

Posted in Living like locals, More sight-seeing | 2 Comments

Monday morning – your Sunday night

What do the think the chances are of Dale agreeing to come to Turkey with me next year?  I am so in love with this country.  The only thing missing is Dale.

It’s almost 8:00 a.m. Monday morning in Kusadasi, Turkey; that’s 10:00 p.m. Sunday night in Lewiston.  I got almost six hours of sleep last night.  What a gift!  I am looking out at the Aegean Sea from Marie’s and my hotel room.

The view from our room’s terrace last night at sunset

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We had a nice dinner at the outdoor cafe before turning in

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Our tour van will pick us up at 8:30 a.m. and we will go through some of the ruins of the city of Ephesus, the house of Mary and other sites in the area.   Hoping to find my mama something really special from Ephesus.  By the way – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MAMA AND DAD!  

The last few days have been like a dream.  To be in this ancient place, walking down the same dusty roads that people thousands of years ago used is indescribable.

We spent the night in a “Cave” Hotel in Goreme’, Turkey.  The Cappadocia Region ( by the way, I used to pronounce this “capp-a-dosha”, but because I now pronounce all things the Turkish way, I pronounce it “capp-a-doka”) is almost fairy-tale like.  My pictures really do not do this area justice, so if you are interested in seeing more, I encourage you to search out some information on the web – you’ll get a better feel for it.

Cappedocia (capp-a-doka!) Archaeologists and geologists must go crazy in this area.  The natural landscape is so unusual – early Christians took advantage of this by building houses and churches in the rock formations – it was a place to hide from their enemies

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            Our “CAVE” hotel and the views from it

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  Everywhere we go, in little villages and large cities, men sit outside at small tables, drinking tea, watching people, smoking.  All day.  Doesn’t anybody work?  It is early morning here, so this is to give you an idea of what I mean.  (I don’t feel comfortable taking pictures of the men:  “SMILE!”  so waited for a time when they weren’t there.

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Very common site everywhere we go

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There is so much more to write about and pictures to show, but our tour bus is almost here.  I promise when we get back to Istanbul that I will do a better job.  I will close with a couple of pictures of Pamukkale – translated “Cotton Castles.”   Pure white terraces naturally formed from hot springs – the flowing water has minerals in it that form layers of rock and are bleached by the sun – another breathtaking site♥

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Oh – real quick – toured an ancient city called Hieropolis; massive ruins and graveyards

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  I can’t take the time to proof-read this so hoping it isn’t too convoluted!  Until next time:

“Tanrı sizi korusun ve harika bir gün var”♥

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A couple of days worth

I missed updating my blog last night.  Was doing something much more exciting.  Specifically, a 10-hour red-eye bus ride with Marie to the Cappadocia Region.   The Cappadocia Region is in the center of Turkey and we are doing a guided tour of Cappadocia, Pammukkale, and Ephesus.

It was cheaper to go by bus than it was to fly – and the brochure promised “luxurious buses, with air-conditioning, wi-fi, television, and reclining seats…” Marie even thinks that she read “easy to sleep on.”

It was brutal. –  but we had fun in the misery 🙂  There was television – but everything was in Turkish.   The seats were fairly big and comfortable, but didn’t recline – at least not very far.  A  few people on the bus were able to sleep at least – God bless ’em – as indicated by their snoring.

The bus had an attendant, sort of like airlines have attendants.  He was sweet and didn’t speak a word of English.  Very accommodating. In fact, he promised to serve a snack and something to drink.

An hour or so into our journey – Marie  whispered, “Karen, look, he’s putting on rubber gloves.  I think he’s going to give us a treat.”  She watched for a while and then said, “Either that or a rectal exam.”  We went into (I hope) quiet fits of hysteria.  (I think it was one of those you-had-to-be-there moments.)  Marie can get away with comments like that, because she’s an RN.

We  hiked through some incredible country.  It felt like we were back in ancient times.  The landscape is like nothing I have ever seen before.  It is truly stunning.

My snapshots didn’t turn out well, so I am including a picture from the web.  It is the view that we had today on our hike. We hiked  5 km through the Rose Valley. Limestone rocks, formed from volcanic material  have been eroded by wind and rain into pillar forms. Ancient people of the region carved  houses and churches from them.  We also toured an underground city – something you wouldn’t want to do if you are the least bit claustrobic (some of the tunnels we walked through were so small that you were crouched down very low for quite a while getting through them).  It is where Early Christians hid in fear from the Romans – I guess around 300 A.D.  (I recommend you go to this link if you’d like to read about some underground cities and churches in the Cappadocia region – below is one of their images )  This one has a much larger “opening” than the one that we toured!

We are touring the northern part of Cappadocia tomorrow.

Here’s me poking my head out of a rock-carved church:

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A few photos of the quaint little village of Goreme’ where we are staying tonight in a Cave Hotel:

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Today has been great; yesterday was great; tomorrow will be great — I’ll try to keep up with the photos and blog.  It’s always late at night when I try to post and I am usually a little tired!   Marie took a picture of me in our cave hotel trying to do my computer stuff…

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Good night.  “Sen kalbimdesin” (You are in my heart.)

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Marie’s Tour Guide

This morning, the four of us (Wes, Jess, Marie, and I)  started out together; we agreed to meet back at the apartment at 6:00 p.m, and Marie and I got off the Tram near the Grand Bazaar area.

Marie is so lucky to have me.  Because I am so experienced and well-traveled, I was the fearless leader.  We planned to visit the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Mosque,  and Basilica Cisterns – some of the most famous sites in all of Istanbul.  Marie hadn’t been to any of these sites yet.

I immediately succeeded in getting us turned around.  We walked several blocks the wrong way.  Then several more blocks another wrong way.   The good thing about being “directionally-dyslexic” is that there are fabulous, unique sites everywhere.  We came upon a cemetery of some (apparently) very important Sultans,  with burial dating back to the 1300s.  

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  And…”now this is a cool building – I wonder what it is/was?”  Only to find out that it is one of the high schools.  Notice the picture of the “Father of Turkey”:  Mustafa Ataturk (died in 1938).  The people of Turkey still revere him; pictures of him are commonly seen (as well as on all currency).  An apartment near to us has a large painting of him in their living room (I peeked when they left the door open).  He is credited with converting Turkey from a Islamic nation to a modern, secular, free nation.

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We eventually made it to the Grand Bazaar.  We wandered through the streets and stalls, picking up small gifts and souvenirs.  We had tea with a carpet salesman who insisted on showing us his shop even after we made it clear we weren’t in the market for a rug.  Because Wes and Jess have budgeted to buy a small rug, we gave him their contact information.  Took the pressure off.

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We had lunch at a Turkish cafe with an open kitchen.  The sun was getting pretty hot today, so we cooled off in the Bascilica Cisterns.  (Of course, finding the cisterns was another adventure.)

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Marie next to the upside-down/sideways Medusa

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 We found the Blue Mosque eventually.

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                             And, of course (!) I had to take a picture of the UPS Driver – this one’s for Dale and Neal!

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When we got back to the apartment, Jessie had fixed a beautiful Turkish dinner for all of us.

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      Love my kids, love my friend, love you, Dale♥

Iyi geceler (good night)

Posted in First Week in Istanbul | 1 Comment

Just another day

This morning, Marie and I took a long walk through some surrounding neighborhoods. I really love walking the narrow cobblestone streets watching the people and enjoying all of the sights and sounds and smells of the city.  I didn’t take any pictures during our walk; it didn’t feel appropriate.  The backstreet neighborhoods away from the tourist areas are the most fun, though!

We left the apartment and walked north – knowing that we would eventually come to a body of water.  “North” was uphill – a few zigs and zags – and then downhill – a few more zigs and zags.  We reached water!  In the background of the pictures, you can see the skyline of the city across the Golden Horn (a prehistoric estuary that flows into the Bosphorus).  In this area of the city is Taksim Square – an area that we are avoiding.

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 We managed to find our way back – with the help of Marie’s GPS app (!)  I guess we don’t worry too much about getting lost – because all we would have to do is find a Tram or Metro Station and head home.

When we were done, we stopped and had a cup of Turkish coffee — it’s very strong!  And certainly not served in the size of mug that I am accustomed to!

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 After napping and dinner, we (Wes, Jess, Marie, and I) took a short Tram ride and enjoyed a relaxing walk through a park near the Grand Bazaar.

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 Marie broke the buddy-system rule and went into a mosque alone.  She came strolling out a few minutes later and boy, did I nag!

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When we came home, we stopped at the market to buy ice cream and some groceries.  A pretty large racket started building outside, and we saw 100s of people coming down the street chanting  “Erogan Resign!” in Turkish.   People of all ages were participating: grandmothers, children, teenagers –  clanging on their pots and pans, smiling, and marching peacefully.

The neighborhood is quite alive at night with lots of people milling about, visiting each other, stopping for tea or meze at outdoor cafes – and when the protestors marched through the street, many bystanders clapped and smiled; some just watched; some seemed to be indifferent, pretty much ignoring what was going on – not showing any reaction – just going about their business.  I didn’t take any pictures of this because I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself.  It’s funny – I am often asked if I am German.  Not knowing which nationality is “better” I am not sure whether to say “I’m American” or “I’m German.”  I’ve been truthful so far, just because it would be my luck to say “German” and for them to speak to me in German — the only thing I would be able to say is “Gehsundeit!”

Home – emails – Marie dozed off before making it to bed.

  Good night.  I love you, Dale♥

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Posted in First Week in Istanbul | 5 Comments

June 3 in Istanbul

The protests in Taksim Square have been going on for a few days.  I am hoping that it ends soon.  I wish it were not happening, but from what I know, the protesters motives are pure and courageous and it began peacefully.

I don’t think that it’s “cool” to be in Istanbul while this is happening, but there isn’t anything that can be done about that.  It doesn’t seem to be a dangerous time for tourists or locals, in spite of what’s going on –  thankfully.    If you are interested in seeing some photos that haven’t been shown in the mainstream media, take a look at this link:

This morning, Caleb, Wesley and I trekked a few blocks with our laundry to find a place where we could have our clothes washed and dried; the proprietor of the shop spoke no English, but used his computer to translate.  Getting our clothes cleaned turned out to be such a fun experience!

The shop owner was warm and friendly and very hospitable.  After we communicated what we needed (with the help of Google Translate) he offered us tea.  Because it is gracious to accept tea when offered, we said “evet” (yes).    He got on his telephone, said a few works in Turkish, and a few minutes later another man came in with a tray of hot tea.  Such hospitality!  The last photo is Caleb and Wesley being goofy on the walk back 🙂

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   We rode the (subway) Metro for the first time today – it took us directly to Ataturk airport, where we were picking up my friend, Marie.  Because this was a “first” for us – and I thought Wes and Jess looked so cute  –  I had to snap a photo. Apparently, that was embarrassing for Wes – he turned just as I was taking a picture.

Ahhh, well – Jessie looks cute!

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   Below are a few shots of our visit to the Spice Market.  The Spice Market has been in existence since the 1600s and is a great place to while away a few hours checking out all of the local wares. Although you can’t see it very well  in the second photo, the Asian skyline of Istanbul is in the distance, across the Bosphorous Strait.  (The Spice Market is on the European side of Istanbul).   That’s the Yeni Mosque facing the entrance to the market.

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 Brianna and Shaundralyn having some fun at dinner last night:

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  So happy to have my dear friend Marie arrive safely!  We have some big plans for the next couple of weeks!

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It’s become the pattern to come back to the apartment after a full day, kick off our shoes, and get connected – checking emails, transferring photos (and uploading pictures for blogs!) Notice Caleb chillin’ beneath the  ottoman.

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The highlight of my day?  Henry skyped me ♥ (He’s sooo smart!)

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Topkapi Palace

Walking a few blocks to catch the Tram that will take us to the area of Topkapi Palace.  It is one of the “must-see” sights in Istanbul – and it is Sunday afternoon – so it will be full of tourists like us!

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Getting tokens for the Tram.

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It took us several hours to explore Topkapi Palace.  There are several courtyards, many smaller buildings, chambers where the treasures of the Sultans are kept (no cameras were allowed in those buildings).  Every single wall, corner, and detail of the buildings were exquisite (that’s the only word I can think of to describe it!)

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We didn’t sit down very often today, so finding tables to rest were a treat.

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Judy and her daughters

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We call this Kamikaze Corner – drivers are crazy here!

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Sorry for duplicate photos and / or no captions.  Trying to get the pictures uploaded tonight has been tedious – maybe the internet connection is sporadic; I’m not sure!  But my editing is taking me too long, so I am giving up!  Until tomorrow…have a nice evening♥

Posted in First Week in Istanbul, Uncategorized | 3 Comments