Thursday, August 22, 2013

Final night in Istanbul

We hadn’t yet stopped by the Blue Mosque, despite the fact that it (and the Hagia Sophia) were easily visible from our hotel window, and only about a 1 minute walk away.  Beautiful building / complex:
(Still playing with panorama photos on this X20 camera)

Inside the Blue Mosque there’s a gigantic volume of space and area for Muslims to pray in/on:
(Another panorama!)
Outside, hundreds of families are breaking the fast after the sun sets, in the large open square / hippodrome.  We were offered to join in this joyous time with totally random families throughout our time in Turkey.

Gazing north from the same spot, the Hagia Sophia is magnificent, especially when accented with the fountain!

Turkish Coffee roasting on hot coals!

Honestly, this iPad photo tourist thing is getting way out of control:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Efes Ephesus and Pamukkale Springs

(There’s no particular reason that I’m in all the photos on this post!  We didn’t take a ton of photos this day, I guess!)
Playing backgammon on a sizeable board in Efes / Ephesus
Ephesus was incredible to walk around, due to the excavations that have been done there, but by the same token, much of Turkey has this much history that simply hasn’t be excavated yet, so in that case, it’s not particularly special.  Also good to keep in mind that the city on display is only about 2000 years old (though there are more city fragments below the stuff we saw).

Pamukkale has some excellent formations from mineral springs, though you can only enter some of the man-made springs; at least they did a great job with those as well:

This is the amphitheater from Heriapolis – we loved how the stage had been rebuilt, including the finished orchestra / fighting area, the stage, backstage, and below stage, etc.  It would be amazing to see a performance at this theater currently (not sure if they do any of that)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blue Cruise in Turkey’s Med

There’s a common short-week cruise in the south of Turkey ran by a plethora of tour operators.  We cruised for 4 days on a ship with 8 passengers and 2 crew, between the cities of Demre and Fetiyeh, stopping at Kas (for a scuba dive) and a few other small towns/areas.  (Not much sailing going on around us, or I would have been sad that our sailboat wasn’t rigged.) Our home for a few days:
We cruised through islands and long peninsulas of Turkey, and through plenty of areas which had been occupied by the Hittites, Lyceans, and other groups.  Plenty of evidence of past towns, including this city, which is half sunken; the stairway here is just one example:

Beautiful forts on top of mountains!

Some more submerged town parts – this is an old mausoleum (grave).  On the far end from where the photo was taken, it was cracked, and you cold see in.  Alternatively, if you had super-strength, I guess you could simply lift the top off.DSCF4246

Hard to beat the scenery:

Our dining table on the back of the boat.  Our captain was a chef in a past life and delivered our best meals of our entire time in Turkey.  Fresh fish, lamb kofte, plenty of vegetarian options, delicious melding of flavors.

Some afternoons we were visited by the Ice Cream Boat:

Another afternoon, a boat selling prepared-on-the-spot filled pancakes ( gozleme ), with this one-woman operation (and her son for boating & drumming up business):

Plenty of time for backgammon, as well as swimming a few times a day!

Hiking up St. Nicolas island, occupied by Christians since the 6th century:

And watching the sunset from there:
One of my favorite moments from the cruise, and photos, due to the symmetry of the boats!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Evil Eye

There’s a very common symbol in Turkey called the Evil Eye.  The Evil Eye originates in Egypt, as Osiris' eye, and I’m not sure how long it has been popular in Turkey.  Made of various sizes, materials, and colors (though most commonly pocket size, glass, and blue), it has become a cultural (non-religious) symbol here in Turkey to protect against the evil eye of jealousy.

The above picture is from another personal blog; it has a good explanation as well.

It is used as a well-wish and protection for new endeavors: businesses, vehicles, marriages, etc.
A tree adorned with Evil Eyes that people have hung, possibly to protect their nearby businesses.
evil eye
A shop which sells many different types of Evil Eyes.

Here’s a great post on someone else’s personal blog about the Evil Eye:

And here’s the lengthly, multi-culture version from Wikipedia:

Sunday, August 18, 2013


MS and I visited the small town of Olympos on the southern coast of Turkey (on the Mediterranean).  It’s got a long history, including an old castle, and old Roman fort ruins, with many buildings fairly intact.

And as always, I try to imagine others who have been here!


There is a mountain near Olympos which has some naturally occurring natural gas vents, which have been burning for hundreds of years.  We made a visit, and had a great time roasting marshmallows, and trying to light any small vents which might have been extinguished:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

more Turkey happenings

I loved the old cars in Turkey, as well as the national pride (see the hood of the car in the background!)

Traditional, cheap, supermarket in Turkey, offering a huge variety of fresh cheeses and olives!  Walked out with “dinner” for a long bus ride for the two of us for about $3.

No big deal, just a tractor coming down a very old street.

Breakfast every day in Turkey was delicious – olives, cheese, eggs, toast with chocolate, cucumbers, tomatoes, and of course some sort of yogurt!

iPads are the new hot cameras.  Cases also.

Guzleme – traditional filled pancakes (potato, cheese, spinach, and possibly some sweet flavors for the tourists)

Rug salesman showing off their wares to a captive audience!

Again, not sure what to watch out for, but “Beware!”
Can anyone translate the yellow sign from Turkish for me?  I love the figure!
Dance party?
Showing the proper way to execute a U-turn (reminds me of a “Michigan Left” turn):
And sadly, I never captured a similar sign in Bali that offered “ANTIQUES, MADE TO ORDER!”

Friday, August 16, 2013

Turkey adventures continued

Here are some random pictures from Turkey that I thought were noteworthy.  First of all, the way I wish everyone would spell Cappadocia – the phonetic way: Kapadokya (and Seramik, if you happen to be a ceramic shop!):

Signs again.

We went to a cultural / Turkish dance show / dinner, in a cave of course!
There were more “traditional” dances, such as whirling dervishes (more “showy” than the religious ceremony that we attended earlier in our visit), belly dancers, and eastern/northern European influenced group dances.  Our favorite performer was just a spinning lady who had an amazing skirt that splayed out when spinning, as well as flags, etc:

Our hotel room in a cave in Cappadocia!  Highly recommended – comfortable temperature to sleep in at night, good natural ventilation shafts, all the amenities, and Turkish breakfast included, can’t go wrong!

Again – loads of flags on display around the country!