Oct 8, 2007

pcitures/no pictures and tastes of turkey

nate has pictures up from our two week turkish adventure! and he will be adding more soonly.

i, on the otherhand, have barely just loaded my snaps to my desktop, and will require more time. in the meantime, some quick and dirty highlights from our trip:

boston to london to istanbul to izmur - all by plane. we arrive tired and ready to sleep. the inn-keeper insists on turning on our tv to a turkish soap opera, and standing in our room to watch for a minute or so. our first night in turkey and we start awake to what we think are gunshots. nate thinks it could be backfires or potentially the izmirian way of providing the early-morning wake up sounding call for ramadan. sounded like gunshots to me.

izmur - we wander around the bazaar, eat mini-burgers of lamb (kofte) at a corner eatery where nobody speaks english except the recruited restauranteur from next door, and visit the aegean sea. on our way out of town towards selcuk we get taken for a ride, both literally and figuratively. nate can tell that story.

selcuk - a landlocked town next door to the ruins at efes (ephesus) where we hang out hat (nate) and head scarf (me) for a few nights. it has it's own ruins of st. john's basilica, which have been/are being restored by an evangelical group from ohio (sweet!), and also hosts the isa bey mosque, built in the 14th century. nate and i peeked inside, but didn't stay too long. we also ate at an outdoor garden restaurant within spitting distance of the ancient temple of artemis (one of those no-longer-standing wonders of the world). of course, we visited efes, too, and were suitable awed. then we ran for cover as the sun beat down too hot and the hordes of tourists made us claustrophobic. too bad we couldn't hang around until winter for the camel wrestling championships.

fethiye - hooray! we make it to the mediterranean area, also know as the turquoise coast. not as big a resort town as boddrum or alanya, it's still pretty touristy along the waterfront - jampacked with seafood-laden restaurants and moored gulets and yachts ready for hire. we gaze happily at the sea and mountains from our hotel, wander the coastline, and take a day trip to the abandoned ruins of kayakoy, a mountain-top town which was relieved of it's christian inhabitants of greek ancestry around the 20s, and replaced with muslim macedonians who decided they weren't happy with the new digs. we scrambled around for hours, and stood at the look out tower at the apex - turning left to look down at the town, and turning right to peer into the clear blue waters of the mediterreanean. dockside fethiye is also where nate and i killed a 2.5 liter bottle of orange-flavored potently-carbonated chemical sludge called fruko and had a burping contest.

antalya - to reach antalya we stoically survived a stormy night of bus travel which included 7 or 8 hours of the air filled with loud incantations, mutterings, and crazed outburts of a sadly disturbed woman who spoke in tongues and cursed everyone in sight and may have been a witch. nate tamed her and may be a shaman. he will have to tell that story, too. another seaside town, this time much bigger and grander with a much more sophisticated tourist feel. outside the old city was a bustling modern metropolis. and by modern, i mean dated to the 60s or 70s. we changes accomodations after a night of rock-hard mattresses and waterbugs sightings in the bathroom. our new mama in antalya gave us a break on a room and mother-henned us with all her might. we took a long walk to the pebble beach for some people-watching and swimming in the sea. vendors came around with corn on the cob, and a lady caused an exciting scene as she brought her horse to the water. the horse neither wanted to drink nor, apparently, swim. they left soon after all the kids fed the beast the remains of their cobs. antalya is home to hadrian's gate, and a very nice all-you-can-eat buffet at the hotel Alp Pasa. we also watched amusement park rides in action, and a potential secret-policer shakedown of a gang of teenagers in a playground - looked suspiciously like 21 jumpstreet.

goreme - away from the coast and into the heart of anatolia, we arrive early in the morning to see a sky full of hot air balloons floating lazily amonst the weather-worn rocky outcrops that resemble nothing i've ever seen before. goreme touts pension after pension of cave rooms for you to stay in. some of them even real and not from cement or concrete! we have a lovely time for three relaxing days. we scramble and hike around the hills and into caves and take a lot of pictures of spaces that look like adobe huts on acid. we meet up with ann, also from cambridge, ma. we rent mountain bikes and go for a cruise to avanos, famous for it's pottery. nate tries his hand at the pottery wheel, and we pedal our way from avanos to urgup, going through devrent valley. ann and i walk our bikes in a few tough spots. we all chat with a tour group from iran, and we all get back to goreme good and freckled. ann and i both take advantage of the hamam for a traditional turkish bath, though on different days. nate and i rent a motorbike to visit the underground city in nigde. nate and i play a few games of backgammon.

istanbul - you know, the bosphorus, the sea of marmara, the blue mosque, the aya sofia, the city walls, the grand bazaar... we also get travel tummy on our last day and have to cut some of our itinerary short. a shame, but as grandma would say, always leave something for next time. however, we did get to wander around the area between the blue mosuq and the aya sofia around sunset - festival every night with picnickers ready to end their fast as soon as the sun said goonight. vendors and people everywhere. quite nice.

istanbul to london - after getting to the airport early, we almost miss our flight. several trips to the bathroom.

6 hours in heathrow - after triangulating, we get to spend several of them over lunch with diana, which is a great bonus. get to see bathrooms here, too.

london to boston - sleeping and eating and running down the aisle to the bathroom.

ah, boston - manage to stay awake until about 11pm. good to see our own bathrooms again.

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