Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Chimera Are Real!

Did anyone else read the "Wind in The Door" by Madeleine L'Engle? The Chimera were fantastic beasts, but I always wanted to see one...

Hittite Chimera
Hittite Chimera
We spent the last week on the warm south coast with the orange and lemon trees. The apartment we rented in Kas was lovely and had a great view of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a small town and it helped to be out of the hustle of the big city.

Kas, Turkey
Kas, Turkey
From there we could make day trips to Myra (Demre), which is where St. Nicholas was Bishop and Patara, the Roman city where he was born.


St. Nicholas, Bishop of Demre
St. Nicholas
 We climbed up to a Byzantine castle located on a mountain top and admired the strategic view. And we sunned ourselves on Kaputas beach. Jeff was brave enough to get in the coolish water on the spring equinox!

Castle at Dereagzi
Strategic view from Byzantine Castle at Dereagzi.

Kaputas Beach
Kaputas Beach
 The most surprising day was taking a tram to the top of Mt. Olympos or Tehtali Dag, depending on if you are Greek or Turkish and saw the snow.

Mount Olimpos or Tehtali
View from Mount Olimpos or Tehtali
 After the tram ride, we drove down to sea level again and went looking for Chimera. The ancient sailors thought it was the fiery beast trapped under the mountain. We had a nice trail to hike, but steep, and as we came out of the forest, there were the flames coming from the ground!

Chimera at Olimpos
Chimera at Olimpos
Of course there is the sensible explanation of methane gas finding it's way to the surface. I prefer the "eternal flame" that the Greeks here used to light their torch for the Anatolian Olympic games, and the best of all, the Chimera.

Jeff's Corner: I wanted to see an R.O.U.S. !

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Driving Like Crazy in Turkey

Hello from Izmir! Finally, a computer where there is not a fee to use it. We are staying at the Hilton, which is lovely and helps the culture shock, but it is in the heart of downtown and driving here is rather difficult.

We flew into Istanbul six hours later than planned because we missed our flight in France, because they had to bus us to the other side of the terminal to get to our flight. It would have been much nicer to have walked on the connecting walkway that was indicated on the map. Apparently, it is no longer in use.
Medusa Head.  Roman cistern underground. Istanbul, Turkey
Medusa Head.  Roman cistern, underground- Istanbul, Turkey
Arriving in Istanbul at eleven p.m. was probably better than at the five p.m. rush, but after taking an hour to rent our car, we were driving around pretty tired and not understanding a thing about the road signage system....if there IS one. It took us two and a half hours before we finally found our Hilton at three thirty a.m. Nerves were a bit frayed. Instead of sight seeing the next day as planned, we slept all day. We chose to stay at Hilton because Jeff had all kinds of free points to use, but it is definitely not our style to deal with the big cities, even when we are home.
Madonna and Child, Ayasophia church- Istanbul, Turkey
Madonna and Child, mosaic.  Ayasophia church

Central Dome.  Ayasophia church, Istanbul Turkey
Central Dome. 

Beautiful Mosaic.
Beautiful Mosaic made with real gold leaf.
We took a taxi to go see the Ayasophia in town the next day. A beautiful church that had been the largest enclosed architectural space in it's day; before St. Peters in Rome was built. The mosaics of the Madonna and Child, and Christ were so delicate, I thought they were paintings. We walked around the Blue Mosque, but didn't make it inside because the long afternoon prayers were in session and we needed to get back to check out of the hotel. Quite powerful to be there with the call to prayer and the faithful going inside to worship.
Ayasophia church
Ayasophia church balcony

I will try to add pictures next time. We saw Gallipoli and Troy yesterday and Ephesus today, believe me, I have pictures!
The entrance to Troy ll city.
The entrance to Troy ll city.

Columns at Ephesus.
Columns at Ephesus.

The library at Ephesus.
The library at Ephesus.

Jeff's Corner: I will never complain about driving in New York again!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let's Talk Turkey...

We will be traveling in the western half of the country.
We will traveling in the western half of the country.
I can't believe tomorrow, Tuesday March 9th is already here. We fly to Istanbul, Turkey tomorrow for a three week vacation, i.e. see as many historic sites and try as many interesting new foods as possible.

We have been watching Rick Steves "Travels in Europe" for years and I set a goal to only take two carry-on bags. Rick has helpful packing lists on his web site, so I am putting them to use. I am hopeful, but I still haven't quite perfected it yet.

This trip, we decided to just take sketch journals instead of the whole painting studio in a bag like we did in Greece. That will definitely help in the "one less bag to worry about" category. I hope to be able to post some updates in the blog during the trip. We won't be staying in one place this time, so I will have to look for places to get on the web.

Don't worry, the earthquake this morning was not in an area we are traveling to. Until later...

Jeff's Corner: I can't get to the pistachio baklava fast enough!