During the “big” trips I keep a diary for the entire group – what we did, what we saw, the jokes, the things that went wrong, the things that went right. I refuse to pretend that everything always goes smoothly on all of my trips, but we always learn and we always have a good time. Skim through this synopsis – blemishes and all – it isn’t sanitized but I think it will give you a flavor of my trips and the wonderful people who go on them.
Beer Icky Ootch
TURKEY- your final destination
WITH YASEMIN AND MICHAEL
Sunday, May 21.
Various arrival times some of us have been here for a short time, others showing up at different times from long air journeys. To the Arcadia and at 6 we gather on the roof for a brief orientation. All present and accounted for except for three- Tom, Kathy and Sharon who are hurtling in from the airport with a illiterate cabbie. The views are superb= blue mosque, Aya Sophia and the Bosphorus. The sky is blue and it is warm. Downstairs we go and the lost sheep arrive. All is well except for three lost pieces of luggage. Cathy says that she can wear Bob’s zip off legs as a tank top. Great flexibility. And remember you can get 4 changes from one pair of underwear. Ah, but the bras only get two.
We walk toward the Blue Mosque and to Yesail Ev- the Green Door er House. Into the courtyard with perfect temperature and our first Turkish dinner together. Yummy mezelers, are the appetizers. Borek are the fried pastry things can be filled with many different things. Many order the house special – a cute little lamb skewered on a metal pole. Good though.
This convivial group bonds quickly we are going to have some fun fun fun. We walk back a slightly different way so we can see Sophia and stop at the ATM machine for some cash and then buy a little water.
BIRDS: yellow legged gull, European swift, Jackdaw, greater cormorant, rock dove.
Monday, May 22. Oh my! Early wake up. just past the first call from the minarets for prayer.
Minaret – Minare Tower near to, or built into, the structures of a mosque, which is used by the muezzin to call out, adhan (ezan), for people to come to prayers in Islam.
The earliest mosques were built without minarets, and the action of adhan could be performed in many other locations. The hadiths tell us that the Muslim community of Madina called out to prayers from the roof of the house of Muhammad, a house that doubled as a house for prayers.
After around 80 years of post-Muhammadan Islam, did the first minarets we know of, appear, in places as far between as Kairouan, Tunisia and Damascus, Syria. It is good reason to believe that the Great Mosque of Damascus, built in 705, was inspired by the churches of the city, yet the Muslim minaret served its own functions, continuing the old traditions from the house of Muhammad.
Minarets are now very much symbols of Islam, but not theologically heavy symbols. Minarets are often adorned, high, and striving to be as slim and elegant as possible. Modern minarets are often giving even more room for artistic achievements than in earlier times. The ground floor of minarets are always fitted into a square, with the minaret being everything from square to round – many are octagonal. The top ends in the house where the muezzin either is or where the loudspeakers are, covered with a pointed roof.
530 up for Breakfast and then off to the airport right on time at 7. A couple of you tried to sneak off without paying your bills but I attribute that to jetlag.Confusing but Yasemin gets us through with no problems. We have a short flight to Izmir (Smyrna) off the ground at 920 land at 1010. Get our luggage then we get on our bus. Driven by Akmed. Nice, cool, and roomy bus. We go due south from the airport driving through the very fertile land full of great crops- wheat, tomatoes in greenhouse, and grapes without seeds, figs, and olives. There is a white pelican on a patch of water. Red pine, live oaks. We are 38 north. Same latitude as SF. Maquis is the local name for what we call chaparral. We see the Aegean and turn left south and follow the coastal road. As we approach the Little Meander River, we stop because it is a wetland and YASEMIN knows we like birds. Gray heron, white egrets, European storks, black billed magpie, ruddy Sheldrake (coolest bird here), common coot, and wren singing. I catch a newly emerged dragonfly and you get a little odonata talk. We continue and bear left to our restaurant – Tusan – right outside Ephesus. It actually is a pretty good buffet. Some try Turkish coffee for the first and maybe last time. It is good with sugar Cathy says. But what isn’t, I reply?
We are off at 1 for the museum. It is so peaceful compared to the last time I was here. It was wall to wall children, very very loud and crowded. Yasemin gives us a nice talk on the boundaries and size of Turkey while we look at a map in the muze. 1500k x 850k= TEXAS (probably closer to CA). Eastern Roman Empire. Anatolia = where the sun rises. Asia Minor. I will not attempt to repeat what she said. But there was Hittite, Ionian, Lydian, Hellenistic, Roman, Christian, Ottoman things all ahappening in this part of the world for thousands of years. Alexander the Great made Greek the official tongue and that provides a good time mark.
6000 BC mother earth. This city #3 Ephesus lasted for 1300 yrs! It was the capital of Asian during the Roman times. The ancient city was an important trading center and religious city built for the cult of Cybele, the Anatolian fertility goddess. Under the influence of the Ionians Cybele became Artemis and a fabulous temple was built in her honor. When the Romans took over, Artemis became Diana and Ephesus became the provincial Roman Capital. Evolved into the Virgin Mary? The Temple of Diana is considered one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. Cybele (Kybele), Artemis, Diana and Virgin Mary. Tomb talk, King Masuues, sarcophagus. YASEMIN is whipping right through there. Queen Bee, Priapus, bull testicles blood dripping, honey bees, leopard, bull horns, fertility, got it??? Julia believes she ahs found the secret- uncircumcised penises!! Nope acorns. Insulting the oracle er consulting
Athenaios’s explanation of the founding of Ephesus is somewhat colourful. Due to the fact that the founders of Ephesus could not find a convenient location to build the city, they approached a soothsayer who told them that they should find a place that would be pointed out to them by both a fish and a boar. One day a few fishermen were frying some fish on the shore. The location was close to where the harbour of Ephesus was later to be built. One of
the fish jumped out of the frying pan and landed on the fire, which in turn sparked a fire in the nearby straw. A boar that was behind the bushes was frightened by the fire, and ran away.
People chased the boar, and on the spot where the boar was caught the temple of Athena was built and a statue of a boar was erected near Arkadiane Street. The statue survived till the 4th century A.D.
Back on the bus and drive to an overlook so we can see the three towns which have existed here for a very very very long time. Apasha ruins up on the far hill.
Ephesus is believed by many to be the Apasa (or Abasa) mentioned in Hittite sources as the capital of the kingdom of Arzawa. Mycenaean pottery has been found in excavations at the site.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Check out website http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/list.html
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Great Pyramid of Giza.
Pistachio, Spanish broom, Cytis Rock Rose. Down we go to Ephesus. Nice breeze blowing makes it not too hot. Ionic, Corinthian (Acanthus), 250 k pop.
10% excavated. There maybe another better preserved city in Turkey. We have a group photo sitting on the toilet seats. Childish infantile group and we are proud of it. Blue Rock thrush, rock nuthatch. Cathy spots a little owl which most of us see and then another one flies by. It is officially called the Little Owl and by remarkable coincidence we are looking at the library. This building is associated with Artemisia who is identified with an OWL! Whattayaknow? Marcia finds a menorah embossed in a stone left supposedly by the Jewish slaves working on the building of Ephesus. Buteo hawk flies over. Up to the theater holds 25 k. Eurasian rollers are around. Eurasian Jay flies by. But bladders are full so to the WC and out we go. To our hotel Koru Mar 20″ away by 620. Check and to our rooms with some very fine views. Jet lag is hitting hard. Dinner is outside in perfect temp, a huge buffet. House Martins and Red rumped swallows flying around. Keith and Julia go swimming in the outdoor pool – refreshing they say. Cold as S#%$#% I say. There a quite a few red smoking overweight European people at this hotel. Some Americans too.
Tuesday, 23 May.
So most of us get a pretty good night sleep and we are off at 9. Kismet our original hotel is visible just south of us. I think of our hotel as a Cruise ship crashed onshore, Bob has a new shirt on – the bags arrived! 2 down one more piece of luggage to go. Yasemin is rising to the first of many challenges she will have. Little does she know what is in store for her.
We are about 17 k from Ephesus. Yasemin gives us our first language lesson. 29 letters. You went to a bar and had a BIER. You drink too much and felt ICKY. Dirt and Besh
We drive south through AQUALAND! and olive trees and intense development in the nearby town of Kusadasi,
Word Meaning Notes
baklava Sweet made from layered pastry, syrup and pistachio nuts.
bridge from “bir uch”, one three The card game.
caftan Loose shirt. Also spelt with a K.
caviar Pickled roe of a sturgeon fish.
kebab Meat on a skewer. Different types: shish = skewer; donner = turning.
USA name for donner is “giro”.
lackey from ‘ulak’, runner, courier
Urdu camp Because it was the language of military camps. The same root as “horde”.
tulip turban Bulbous flower shaped like a turban.
yoghurt Curd made from fermented milk.
We arrive at Priene around 10 or so. Hot today, maybe 90. I show you the White mulberries, which are ripe and tasty. Live oak. There is a common small shrub called Vitex – a verbena – not in flower. Called Chaste bush because it would keep the monks from getting horny. Carob tree in the legume family with large pea pods hanging down. We all agree standing in the welcome shade of it that nothing absolutely nothing beats chocolate however.
The Greek Theophrastus recorded in 4BC that his contemporaries called the carob the Egyptian fig. Ancient Egyptians used the gummy properties of carob seed by using it as an adhesive in binding mummies and the pods and seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs. The Romans are said to have eaten the pods when green and fresh for their natural sweetness.
Many scholars believe that John the Baptist lived on carob pods as” the locust bean” in another name for carob bean pods. Another biblical reference to carob pods is also probable in the parable of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance and so became a servant, looking after the pigs. “He would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate …”- the pods would most probably have been the pods of the carob trees which would still produce crops in times of drought and famine.
Up we go at this little changed Hellenistic city. The Romans when they won and took over only altered the theater. Long centipede across the road. A harvestman. Very cool butterfly-like insect a Neuropteran on oregano flowers.
The Neuroptera are a diverse yet fascinating group of about 5 400 species of insects which seem so often to miss out on the attention they deserve. They are often easy to find and are well known as gardeners friends, I hope the brief introduction to them that you will find below will leave you a little more aware of and interested in them. They include Lacewings, Dobsonflies, Mantidflies, Alderflies, Snakeflies, Spongeflies, Antlions and Owlflies.
They are described as soft bodied insects of variable size usually with longish antennae. They have biting and chewing mouth parts both as larvae and as adults, though some of the adults do not feed. They generally have 2 pairs of wings, of which the hind pair are usually larger to some extent. The wings are normally held tent-like over their abdomen when not in flight. They have no cerci. They have ten segments to their abdomen and 5 to their tarsi. They have large compound eyes. Their legs are all similar, except in the mantispidae which have raptorial grasping forelegs. Those adults which feed do so on dead insects, nectar and other liquids. The larvae are all carnivorous. Many of the adults are relatively weak flyers and the larvae of some species attach the empty skins of their prey to backs as a disguise.
Taxonomically the Neuroptera are a diverse group and many authors split them into a number of separate orders Normally these include the Megaloptera and the ‘Planipennia’ as the Neuroptera though others will split the Raphidiidae (Snakeflies) of from the Megaloptera as a separate order as well.
Red pines with 2 cones opposite.
Yasemin giving us the lowdown on the columns style etc, Hopefully in the shade most of the time. Bob asks about the Kurds – Turkish blind spot. Long legged buzzard flying over the mountain behind. Perfect day for sitting in the shade and drinking water. We are overlooking the large Meander River valley to the south. It too silted up. We begin to see the youngest member on our trip do her walking thing, back and forth up and down, trying to use up energy so she can be on the same level as the rest of the group. Katherine actually has a hand lens. This is something that Yasemin has never seen on one of her clients. I think this pleases her. But I am afraid that Katherine asked Yasemin about a species of thistle. We cannot waste our botany capital on thistles! But I was mistaken.
On our way down we pass the smelliest arum a dark purple flower that smells like rotten flesh. It attracts flies to pollinate it. Katherine takes a big whiff and lives to regret it. We have a 40″ drive continuing south to the town of Didim where our restaurant Kamaci is. Storks are nesting on the power poles. Surprise, surprise another buffet. Two kinds of fish are cooked to order. One a bream is very good, the other is rather fishy. But what else do you expect from a fish says Keith. We see a turkey in Turkey.
Nearby is the Temple of Apollo. Now it is hot, everybody happy? A modest size ruin and it is associated with the large theater we passed earlier today in the Great Meander Valley. The oracle here was as famous as the one at Delphi. Vestal versions. Great columns too bad it is ruined.
We are off at three and get to see the octopus restaurant sign- a highlight for me.
A promised stop for birding at a little wetland. Gray herons, little grebe. Eur coot, Moorhen (gallinule), spur winged lapwing, white aka European storks, barn swallows including newly fledged young, house martin, common stilt, unided peeps, lark sp.
we drove 52 miles in 1 1/2 hrs today one way. Some of us managed a little nappy poo on the way home. Sharon and Kathleen go swimming in the Aegean Sea – YOU GO GIRLS!
We meet 715 for an official beginning and introduction to each other. It has already been going for a while now and this is a congenial group. Yasemin cannot join us because she is buying food for the boat trip.
To dinner and Marcia’s bag finally gets here. Cathy has her birthday cake on a perfect evening. Happy 60 to you. You should remember this one. Tomorrow we go to the boat and begin boat time. Hurray!!! Neil is really looking forward to sailing.
Wednesday, 24 May
We wake to another lovely morning and are off at 910. Heading south and then inland a bit to catch the main road south to Marmaris. Chalk e um = very good!!!
Apparently Greek and Turkish military planes collided yesterday while playing chicken. We stop briefly in downtown Kusadasi and see a huge cruise ship. It arrived his am and we are very happy that we avoided the crowds that will be present today at Ephesus and Apollo. Great planning on my part, ahem.
Go through Ayden a big town and around noon we stop about 10 k away from Marmaris for lunch. Hugh sycamores, cottonwoods and a nice water feature. We get a windshield wash when we leave. We have our first Turkish Pizza at Pida. Very good,
To Marmaris and onto our boat the Tanyeli which means “morning wind.” They are still busy loading the boat with our supplies and it takes a while for the ice man to cometh. But finally at nearly three we sail (er motor) out of the harbor. We cannot see Rhodes but it is about 25 miles west of here. We leave the well protected harbor and go southeast. The forests are very thick here. The sky is blue, the microwave towers ubiquitous. We are now on boat time. The right speed to move. Everyone is relaxing reading yakking. We are making pretty good time. Neil introduces the Captain to my GPS. He wants one.
We arrive at our hiking site after a 2 hr trip traveling 22.5 miles according to my gps. This sandy beach is where loggerhead and green turtles come to lay their eggs in June and July. We can see tracks on the unused beach to the north. The main beach is covered with beach paraphernalia. The Turks should totally make that beach off limits. There has been quite a bit of imbibing on the trip here. Relaxing and laughing. Who can complain? Life is good.
Ekincik is the name of the beach. Cemil, Yasemin’s husband comes to say hi from a neighboring boat. They do not conjugate. The Dayman River empties into the sea here. We leave 4 on board to do Tai Chi exercise which is lead by Katherine. I see Greg doing his form of Tai Chi, immediately lying down and power napping. He does this for 3 hours accding to his wife. Good job maybe he can teach the rest of us this ancient Chinese art.
Meanwhile we are taken by a local boat following the meandering (now you know where that word comes from) watercourse through the marshy/brackish area. Cord grass and Phragmites. Supposed to be 90 sp of birds in here. We see white wagtail, jackdaw, yellow legged gull.
Slowly puttering in we can see the ruins up on the hill. Caunos. The name of the river comes from the name of the fish traps – Dalyan. These catch mullet and sea bass and have been operating collectively for hundreds maybe thousands of years. They have to raise the trap to let our boat through. Blue crabs are here as well. Cattle grazing in the marsh. The modern town in bit and it is clear that there are many tourists that come here. Poor Turtles. We disembark and stroll along a well made cobbled trail.
Huge spiny spider, many wildflowers gracing our path. We enter the site illegally. Naughty Y . The WC is first rate worth 75 and the lady who runs it is very sweet. We get the talk and see many great things. Few tourists here and the light is perfect. The temp as well. Land tortoises and green tree frogs, huge hornets, Wild onions, Yellow flowered shrub with flat fruits is Palurus spina-christi Christ thorn Rhamacea. Beautiful flowers everywhere- large purple onions, delphiniums, etc.
We wind our way slowly up the hill and over the saddle.
We are losing light so hurry back to the boat for a short boat ride continuing up river so we can see the famous rock tombs of Caunos. Perched right off the hillside. Quite amazing. We stop at a dock to pick up supplies (fish that we will eat on the morrow and caught in the local trap). Kathleen pays some guy 30 ytl to help get her camera. DON’T TELL HER HUSBAND!!! Yasemin getting a lot done on the constantly ringing cell phone.
Back late to boat 845 and we motor a short distance to our moorage spot. Reports of little buggies at the first area, so it is good to move. We have a very late dinner 945 and officially meet the crew
Hasan the captain
Ramazon the cook
Mehmet the owner is 22
Umit the helper
Yesmine means jasmine. Appropriate for this flower lover.
We are hungry and everything tastes great. To bed we go with the portholes open it has cooled off down below. No buggies. Sunrise is 519 this time of year.
Although most of the mythology associated with Delphi is connected with Apollo, he was not its first inhabitant; this distinction belonged to either Gaia/Ge (the Earth goddess) or Themis (another primordial goddess). In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, Apollo killed a monstrous snake, the Python (that gave the god his title Pythian) and left it to rot (an etmylogical play on the Greek verb pytho, “I rot”); the early name of Delphi was supposed to be Pytho. Some have seen this as representing the displacement of the site’s earlier divine inhabitant. So too the name Delphi received an etymological explanation: Apollo appeared in the form of a dolphin (delphis is the Greek word for “dolphin”) to sailors on a Cretan ship. Leaping on board, he brought the terrified sailors to Crisa, the coastal port near Delphi, where he transformed himself into a handsome youth and appointed the sailors as priests of his temple. Some have seen in this myth of Cretan immigration a connection with Apollo’s origins in the Near East, since Crete was the main point of connection between the Levant and the Greek-speaking world. It too might explain the prominent role played by the Delphic oracle in marine expeditions, particularly when founding new colonies. Delphis is also the Greek word for “womb” (that distinguishes the dolphin as a mammal from other sea-creatures), and this is probably also connected with the ancient conception of Delphi as being the center of the world. According to other sources, Apollo had to travel to the valley of Tempe (in Thessaly) to purify himself from the blood of the slain Python, and this rite of purification was celebrated at the Pythian festival.
Thursday, 25 May.
No slumber party on deck only Kathleen. Around 5 we pull anchor and begin motoring. The captain tells us that the sails are broken- ha!! They are always broken on this !$%$%$#^% Gulets. IN fact I don’t think these guys can sail. Carolyn and I think we have greatly overslept it is 650! But up on deck there is only Keith and Tom. The seas are flat and we arrive at our cove one hour early by eight. Agaliman. One other boat when we arrive. Breakfast is good. Then it is time to swim. Temperature of the sea is around 73 very pleasant. Carolyn and Neil go for a hike up to the ruin. Neil to smoke his ceegar. ON the other side is Cleopatra’s Bath. Last time I was here I hiked over to this cove. Reading and relaxing. Our local marine biologists and avid divers Keith and Julia actually saw a bunch of marine life – more than I saw entire trip last time. At 1145 I give you a brief but hopefully informative lecture on Medi climates, sites and flora. Then another great lunch. Ramazon comes out and gives his recipes for a few goodies to us. We will remember the boat food with fondness.
We have a 1 1/2 hr. Motor to our next location. Right off Karakoy.
We head over to the shore to get our two vehicles up the hill to the village. A short drive up past barley, wheat, fields of beautiful flowers to Kayakoy, an abandoned Greek ghost town of 600 houses attesting the human tragedy of mass exodus in the 1920’s. Whoops we forgot change for the WC… We stop for Yasemin version of the Treaty of Lausanne which resulted in the population exchange.
For the 1911 Treaty of Lausanne between Italy and the Ottoman Empire, see the Italo-Turkish War.
West borders of Turkey
The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty that was signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 24, 1923 by Turkey and Entente powers that fought in the First World War and in the Turkish Independence War. It delimited the boundaries of Greece and Turkey, confirmed the Bulgaria and Turkey, Turkey ceded all its claims on Cyprus, Iraq and Syria, which Lausanne gave the initial shape, and Treaty of Angora settled the Iraq border.
It superseded the stillborn Treaty of Sèvres, which was considered “unacceptable” by the newly-founded Turkish government replacing the monarchy in Istanbul. After the expulsion of the Greek forces by the Turkish army under the command of Mustafa Kemal (later Kemal Atatürk), there was a need to extensively revise the Treaty of Sèvres. On October 20, 1922 the peace conference was reopened, and after strenuous debates, it was once again interrupted by Turkish protest on February 4, 1923. After reopening on April 23, and more protest by Kemal’s government, the treaty was signed on July 24 after eight months of arduous negotiation by allies such as US Admiral Mark L. Bristol – who served as United States High Commissioner and championed Turkish efforts.
İsmet İnönü was the lead negotiator for Turkey and Eleftherios Venizelos was his Greek counterpart. The treaty provided for the independence of the Republic of Turkey but also for the protection of the ethnic Greek minority in Turkey and the religious Muslim minority in Greece. Much of the Greek population of Turkey was exchanged with the Turkish population of Greece. The Greeks of Istanbul, Imbros and Tenedos were excluded (about 400,000 at that time), but so were the Muslim population of Western Thrace (about 25,000 at that time). The republic of Turkey also accepted the loss of Cyprus to the British Empire. The fate of the province of Mosul was left to be determined through the League of Nations.
Since signing the treaty, both Turkey and Greece have claimed that the other has violated its provisions. Greece has seen its ethnic minority population in Turkey diminish from several hundreds of thousands in 1923 to just a couple of thousand today, and claims that this was caused by the systematic enforcement of anti-minority measures.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation and many other political parties in Armenia do not accept the treaty.
I interrupt the lecture to show you ants milking aphids. One of the white flowering shrubs is a cornus- dogwood relative. Into the lower church with European rollers, English sparrows; it is much degraded. Human leg bones are stored nearby. Up through the crumbling buildings and wildflowers. Earthquake in 1957 may have caused most of the buildings to collapse. Many Oregano flowers. Goats munching on the vegetation. Madeleine and Y have had a failure to communicate and Madeleine thinks this hike is one hour and relatively easy. At the saddle we have our first quiet time. 2 tourist ladies march up the hill through us probably wondering what we are doing, a weird American sect. Y is delighted for we love looking a flowers. Pretty blue butterflies spring azures. Karst area here. Turkish flag flying high over deserted Greek village. Call to prayer is heard at the end of our quiet time. We can see our boat way down in the cove. Some of you follow the signs clearing marking the wrong trail. Whoops, easy mistake. We skirt the cliff into the shade. Madeleine being a real trooper but she must be, just a little bit cursing Y all the way. Rocky trail through horse pasture and then down to left. Meanwhile as some of us go slowly the rest of you are drinking gin and tonics. Good work Madeleine. We decide to forgo the hike on Gemler Island and instead have a gin filled good time on the boat. We are the loud ones!! I will have to remember that when I am complaining about that noisy German group somewhere sometime. Dinner is quite fun between bell ringer jokes, fillet demonstration and Julia Child imitation, I must say I did thoroughly enjoy the company of my fellow travelers.
Marcia asked for a star talk so we went to the pointy end of the boat and managed to see quite a few things. The planktos, the wanderers- Mars in Gemini, Saturn in Cancer and Jupiter in Libra. The Pointer Sisters, asterism of Ursa Major, Artic Antarctic, Keeper of the Bear – Arcturus, Vega just rising in east, wobbling spin of earth, blue hot stars, yellow stars.
Hungarian, Turkish and Finnish are related and maybe even the Havausupai Native American Indian tongue. Those Huns got around!
Finland, Hungary, Estonia and a few other European countries speak a language unrelated to those of their neighbors. Most Europeans speak an Indo-European language, many the descendants of Latin (the Romance languages), but not these. Their language comes from the Finno-Ugric group, which is believed to have started in the region of the Volga River and Ural Mountains.
The two main divisions of the Finno-Ugric group of languages are, not surprisingly, Finnish and Ugric. The Finnish speakers live between Norway and the White Sea, Finland, Estonia, and parts of Russia. The Ugric languages are Hungarian, Khanty (or Ostyak), and Mansi (or Vogul), to the east of the Urals.
There are other Finno-Ugric languages spoken within Russia. Some believe the Finno-Ugric languages share a common ancestry with Turkish and Japanese.
Friday, 26 May.
We pull anchor at 5 am and continue east and round the Seven Capes. It was the smoothest ride you can have through these waters. We anchor off Kalkans (means shield in Turkish and also the name of the turbot fish) for breakfast. The cove faces due south so a breakwater is necessary to protect the boats in Harbor. At 930 we are met by Hassan son of Mehmet and his van. WE try to leave on time but Sharon is shopping. A pattern that will repeat. But she brings valuable data back – $10 per shawl. Up through the cute houses. One of the fastest growing towns in Turkey, 400 houses built recently by the British who have come to stay. All store prices are in pounds and euros. We ascend the steep road out of town and turn north crossing over a pass and dropping down going through Yeslkoy (Green village) but we know it as the town of tomatoes greenhouses. Gypsies in Turkey pick tomatoes and make umbrellas. They are misidentified as being from Egypt but they are actually from India. Phragmites- the common reed found from below sea level to 19K’ in the Himalayas. Very productive land here and very flat.
IN 26 minutes we arrive in Xanthos, the capital of ancient Lycia, where two mass suicides against the Persians and Romans marked the fate of these people. Piled the kids, the women and some slaves and burned them all up, rather than surrender to the enemies. Fortunately some of them were out of town at the time and could repopulate the area, and then they killed themselves again later! We sit in the theater that held 5k; it had steep walls at the ground to keep the wild animals from killing the spectators. The word Orchestra is from the Greek = to dance. Males played all the female parts. Fighting was one of the ways to earn your freedom if you were a slave. Had terra cotta tickets. WE walked over to the edge to look down on the Xanthos River. This means yellow in Greek from the color of the silt laden river in the old days. As in every valley we have visited it silted up and the sea is now far away. Oldest ruin 5th century BC, even before the Hellenistic age. Big big earthquake in 142 AD caused much damage throughout the area we are visiting. Must have been a humdinger. There was apparently equality of the sexes here. We also saw inscriptions written in both Lydian and ancient Greek.
There are actually birds here- rock nuthatch feeding babies, alpine swifts, bank martins, crested larks singing their little male hearts out, northern wheatear, There is a beautiful member of the caper family flowering right out of the walls of the ruins. Photos are taken, except by poor Kathleen whose camera is now visiting places unknown to us.
We crossed the street sat under the verandah for a few minutes, it is hot. We then saw the agora made by the Roman when they took over the site. Fabulous tile work that the French are excavating. Many flowers in bloom and some of the common weeds found in Ca are here as well- thistles, milk and Italian.
We hear the sound of females singing. Must be the first day of the three day wedding party says Y .. Friday market day is happening. Julia makes a request to go and so we do. Great Idea!! I buy everyone half of a very greasy sweet doughnut. Good though. (Moose turd pie story reference).
We are getting hungry so we back track a bit and pass the road leading down to Kalkan and cross a 2800′ pass and drop down into our driver’s hometown – the village of Bezirgan. The road here is very evocative of the chaparral in southern California. Two kinds of broom are in full flower and the rocks are very white. Looking down on the valley it looks very productive with fields of sesame, wheat, barley, orchards of apples, peaches, pears, apricots. but no greenhouses and there is no irrigation. It snows in the winter here. We stop at Hussans house where his father, mother, grandmother live, His sister and her two kids boy and girl are now here as well.. 4 generations. We meet Mehmet the dad. Y has known this family for 20 yrs.
Off go our shoes into the house where Mehmet’s wife and HIS mother prepare a meal for us. The fired bread is sacborek (gozleme in the city) is made of fresh whole grain and cooked with delightful spices and second kind is made with tahini also. We sit down on the floor and eat a wondrous meal. Happy happy happy we are. There is a delicious grape condiment made by boiling the juice with white rock and we dip the second bread into. The meal is followed by moving to another room and having tea. Cologne poured on our hands and the little boy and girl are way cute. We have a q and a session with Y regarding Islam and other questions about Turkey. Fatma brings out some of her handiwork and some purchases occur.
We profusely thank our hosts and travel a short distance in the valley. Stop to look at the storage sheds which are collectively used by the town to store the harvest. These are held together without nails. Photo ops abound as donkeys and sheep and local people walk by…
We retrace our drive with one stop looking down on the beautiful village and valley below – elevation (2200′). We are dropped off in town and walk down to the boat. Through many ads for condos homes etc all quoted in sterling pounds. I think Sharon is shopping and Kathleen is on the phone.
Off we go and motor south for one hour and half to Kas for anchoring for the night. We go into a little cove around the corner from Kas where it is a little quieter. There are some mosquitoes here; it is very still and calm and warm. Bar BQ meat chewy but tasty. Hot below deck, therefore a few more deck sleepers. Tomorrow no early departure. KAS is eyebrow, the Greek Island right off the coast is Meis = eye. Good names because of the shape. These Greek Islands were also part of the treaty of Lausanne . The Greeks come over about once a week to shop.
Saturday, 27 May. After breakfast (3 different cheeses, 2 different olives, cukes, tomatoes eggs and Turkish turkey meat, toast, 3 diff jams, chai, cherry juice) we motor a bit maybe one Turkish hour to the sunken “city” of Aperlai.
In Roman times Aperlai manufactured and traded the royal purple pigment, extracted from the Murex snail. A big 142 AD quake caused this small trading post (part of the Lycium federation but with only one vote) to subside into the water. The water is 73 again. Really not too bad. Neil, Kathleen and Y go ashore to explore. Carolyn and Sharon are very very happy to be swimming in the Mediterranean. We hear the tinkling of goat bells as they browse the vegetation, eating all the endemic plants.
Keith and Julia always manage each time to see some underwater life. Must be those bifocals in their masks that we heard about. We do see some broken pieces of amphora. But no underwater Lydian 7 /11.
What do you call the @ symbol used in e-mail addresses? AMPHORA
one origin tale states that the @ symbol was used as an abbreviation for the word amphora, which was the unit of measurement used to determine the amount held by the large terra cotta jars that were used to ship grain, spices and wine. Giorgio Stabile, an Italian scholar, discovered this use of the @ symbol in a letter written in 1536 by a Florentine trader named Francesco Lapi. It seems likely that some industrious trader saw the @ symbol in a book transcribed by monks using the symbol and appropriated it for use as the amphora abbreviation. This would also explain why it became common to use the symbol in relation to quantities of something
Carolyn’s cheap mask and snorkel falls apart after 10 minutes. There are a few urchins, and turtle grass (a flowering plant related to eel grass in CA), there are a few fish but not much marine life. There are other underwater ruins around that we are not allowed to swim by because tourists were stealing Turkish treasures. All and all it is not as thrilling as the imagination but the IDEA of an underwater city is still cool.
The weather is changing; there are high clouds called Mare’s tails. This usually means a weather front is approaching in a couple of days. We shall see.
FACT: the Mediterranean (Mediterranean Sea: Expresses the Latin medius “middle,” and terra “earth,” for the sea between two continents, viz, Europe and Africa).
We stay here for another delicious lunch. And then motor about 22 miles in one hour and 40″ over to Kekova Island, you are not allowed to dive here. The Italians were stealing artifacts. The ancient city of Simena was once of two parts – an island and a coastal part of the mainland. There are alpine swifts. we can see the remnants of the sunken city. Many tour boats. Across the bay, are the submerged ruins of the residential part of Simena, caused by the downward shift of land by the terrible earthquake of the 2nd century AD. Half of the houses are submerged and staircases descend into the water. We motor over to “Kekova” which is Turkish for “plain of thyme”. A charming mix of ancient, medieval and modern history makes Kekova-Simena outpost of the Knights of St. John and now the sleepy fishing village of Kale.
Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem a religious order of hospitalers which was founded at Jerusalem in the 11th century and which, headquartered in Rome, continues its humanitarian tasks in most parts of the modern world under several slightly different names and jurisdictions. The origin of the Knights was an 11th-century hospital in Jerusalem founded by Italian merchants from Amalfi to care for sick…
We are warned the girls are going to hustle us for buying lace etc. They even row out to our boat before we even get to port and begin their hustle. Some of us stay back but most wind up through the stores and heat. We go to the top of the castle past a great necropolis. Koc the Rockefeller of the Turkey gave alot of money to restore and preserve the place and he got to build a house with a helo pad. The olive trees may be a 1000 yrs old. Great views with the Turkish flag and the little village below. Y gets on her cell phone (surprise surprise) and reports that that pesky camera of Kathleen’s is at our next hotel. We shall see.
Down we go through the gauntlet of girls with lace and back to the boat. Short motor away to a cove for rest, swimming relaxation. Laundry is done and flapping in the breeze. Some local Turkish people are having a fine time dancing on their day boat. Jet skis and the Ice Cream Man come by.
I give you a little geology lecture about Turkey at 7. Dinner at 730 and it quiets and cools down.
After breakfast we travel east to Myra. It is a busy port and a harbor boat comes out to get us and we all go in one trip to the shore. We hop on a brand new bus which has blood smeared on the front and a bloody hand print on the hood. Pagan ritual still going strong here. We go for a short ride past the filled in ancient harbor (how do you spell erosion, over cutting of trees and siltation?). We stop and do a tiny bit of bird watching. Sooty tern feeding, moorhen, yellow legged gull, great egret. Demre is the modern name for this TOMATO TOWN.
At Myra we run the gauntlet of stores once again. There are very few tourists here much to my delight. The steep cliff is pock-marked with a huge number of closely-packed all temple type rock-cut tombs. Most of them are from the 4th century BC, and many contain funeral scenes in relief, some scenes portraying the daily life of the deceased. Although most of the tombs are plain today, Charles Fellows tells that upon his discovery of the city in 1840 he found the tombs colorfully painted red, yellow and blue. The entire cliff face must have been a bright riot of color once upon a time. The Greco-Roman theatre is the largest theatre in Lycia and one of the main attractions of Myra. Holds 12k. Its double-vaulted corridors are still preserved and an inscription in a stall space reads “place of the vendor Gelasius” the location of an ancient concessions stand. It is very hot today. We stand in the shade as much as we can and listen to Y.
They got three votes here; it was therefore an important town. The Lycian trail was developed by an Englishwoman and she wrote a guide to it. Now you can hike its 480 k length. The large masks we see lying around on the ground are imitative of the ones the actors wore.
Two falcons fly by, one with a DEAD bird in its talons. The Hobby falcon is a life bird for me.
The very nice Air Conditioned bus takes us to the obligatory stop at Church of St. Nicholas. Noel Baba. The Russians are here and only a few examples of the babes are visible. I am only mildly disappointed since I have my own babe in tow. We can still see the paint on the frescoes. Nick dropped coins down the chimney of three sisters to save them for prostitution. He was jailed and now is the Patron saint of Prisoners – that is a captive congregation. http://www.phaseloop.com/foreignprisoners/exp-russian_tats.html. He is also the patron saint of Russia. Inside the church is the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas although his remains were taken to Italy during the Latin Crusades of the 11th century. It is said that upon smashing the lid of the tomb the thieves were almost overcome by the powerful smell of myrrh. Myra= Myrrh. However, the Venetians and Russians also claim to have the bones of the saint. We have some free time while Y buys some things for us. Neil tries to give the entire group hepatitis C by passing out contaminated almonds. Nice try, Doc.
Back to the bus and then to the boat. We motor back out to Kekova Island and go on the back side into a very intimate cove. A very sleek private yacht is next to us The Bolero from Istanbul. 2 1/2 million $ minimum says Neil. We have yet another tasty lunch. We especially like the yogurt dish and eat it right up. When we ask for seconds “No more” says cruel Herr Yasemin.
The rest of the afternoon is swimming, reading, resting. Carolyn and I go for a hike and discover how rugged this country really is. New respect for goats says Carolyn.
Eel seen by the SCUBA couple. OK there is some marine life. Three long legged buzzards flying around. Good time to pack those bags because tomorrow we are leaving the boat. That went fast.
DEDUCE from general principles toward conclusion “away from”
INDUCE from particulars to general conclusion. “toward”
Nice breeze blowing from the south cooling things off. Please Allah keep it blowing. Botany 101 lecture at 7 pm followed by dinner and then a special cake. OK Happy Birthday Kathy! The boat does this cake thing for the last meal and if Kathy wants to thinks it is for her then certainly Yasemin and I are not going to spoil her party. Later she will dance with a gypsy on her real birthday.
Very clear skies many stars. Pleasant temp. Scops owls calling. Bats catching insects. We can hear their high pitched sounds. C and I sleep on the deck tonight quite nice but dewy.
Monday, 29 May
Sharon and Kathleen go swimming early in the AM and something in the water causes some irritation on their skin. There is cotton from the cottonwood trees floating on the water.
Breakfast at 730 then we begin our motoring to Finicke where we disembark.
We can see the highest mountain Mt Olympus toward the south 10,500′.
Arriving at the harbor, it is a very amusing scene as we attempt to dock so we can get on the bus. Knots are tied that cannot be untied. The gangplank nearly wipes out the bus and lights on the shore. The ship moves backward, then moves forward and back, Turkish swear words are shouted. The harbor master arrives; the assist harbor master is helping? We try to stay out of the way amused and ready to vote Neil to Captain status if necessary.
Finally we thank the crew and give them their tip. They certainly made our boat trip very comfortable.
So we get on our large bus driven by Ali and go through Finicke, the town of the oranges – there are many statues of the glorious fruit in town. They celebrate their ag products here in Turkey. We have a 2 1/2 hour drive heading east toward Antalya. There are oceans of greenhouses, literally. Highway 400 (= to our highway 1) is crammed between the sea and mountains that rise immediately to great heights. Through forests of red pine, juniper, oleander, pistachio, malva, oregano, populus.
Heading toward Antalya 700k pop and many oil refineries. This town is also booming like much of the coast of Turkey that we have seen so far. High rises popping up like mushrooms.
Great beach, the Taurus (Bull) Mountains. Rely on tourism and agriculture. Home of Yasemin. Antalya – fastest growing large city in Turkey (except for Istanbul). First stop is the private hospital for Kathy and Cathy accompanied by spouses. Yasemin’s friend Julia is waiting to help with translation. They are very efficient in the hospital.
We head off to Lunch on the way to Termessos. Aksun is our restaurant amid the shady trees and more water features. Some of us are still rocking from the boat. We miss it but the lunch is excellent esp the fresh oh so fresh bread. YUMMY!
It is about 15 k from the restaurant to the park and then we wind 9 k up up up. We hear from Cathy via cell phone that she will need to stay overnight for an IV. Good that she has checked; her sodium was too low. The other Kathy is fine and got some drugs for pain. The views are great as we climb higher and higher. Arbutus, wild hollyhocks, oaks, pistachio ie turpentine tree, full flowering Spanish broom that us Californians are having a hard time accepting as native e and enjoying. Immersed in the maquis and heading toward large trees.
The road ends and we get out for our adventure. This park Yasemin visits at least once a week when she is home. She knows it very well. The ranger takes us down trail a bit to see some ruins of Pisiadns aka pirates. Unconquered by Alexander so he got pissed off and burned everything. Y’s ancestors so don’t cross her. Styrax officinalis is in full flower with pretty white blossoms hanging down with a lovely scent. Madeleine hangs back to rest. . Mt. Solymos nearby and the people who lived here called themselves SOomau.
Acer sempervirons, “English” ivy growing here is native, Aristoclholia in flower aka pipe vine. Bladder creating legume.. Large oaks and shrubby ones. Wild bay Laurus nobilis everywhere with good odor. Earthquakes ravaged the buildings and huge chunks are lying around with vines all over them. Carolyn is having a ball finding angels in the stone. Ephedra growing as an epiphyte. 2nd largest necropolis in the country is here. Walk don’t talk!!! she says. Ha we say. We are having a fine time. .Up we go following the trail to the 5 cisterns and complex water storage system. We find the orchid I talked about yesterday, the one that resembles a female wasp . Ophrys sp
Then over to the Theater. By far the best scene I have witnessed in Turkey. Very well preserved and what a view. 4k maybe could be seated. As we get up to leave Tom says we should have had our quiet time here. Not too late and we sit in silence and absorb the ancient energy of this place. Only one other tourist up here the entire time! Fantastic! Kathleen meanwhile is walking back and forth back and forth back and forth. Swing those arms girl. 3335′ up here. About a mile or so hike.. Somber tit in the bushes. Boar damage everywhere rooting up the vegetation. This ruin is one of the best preserved in Turkey; it has been protected from the archeologists.
TIM SPALDING Welcome to Termessos on the Web, my homage to the ancient city of Termessos in southern Turkey. Termessos is a sort of “Machu Picchu” of Turkey, a picturesque tumble-down ruin on the top of a mountain. Situated in a part of the country less visited by foreigners and requiring a short vertical hike, the site remains remarkably undisturbed.
Termessos in southern Turkey 16 miles/25 kilometers from Antalya.
A Short History of Termessos
Termessos (also known as Termessus) was inhabited by the Pisidians, an indigenous Anatolian nation of noted ferocity. The city first appears in history during the conquests of Alexander the Great. Alexander swept through the region but after winning a skirmish in the narrow mountain passes near the city, declined to storm it. (Guidebooks consistently portray Alexander as unable to take the city, but in fact he was merely disinclined to try.) After Alexander’s death the city saw a famous clash during the wars of Alexander’s “Successors.” One of Alexander’s generals, Alcetas, found himself trapped in the city by another of Alexander’s generals, Antigonus the “One-Eyed.” Beloved by the city’s young people, Alcetas was betrayed by its “senior citizens” and comitted suicide rather than fall into Antigonus’ hands. Mutilated and left unburied by Antigonus, Alceta’s body was retrieved by the younger generation and given a hero’s burial. The extant “lion sarcophagus” has convincingly been identified as his final resting place—among the only surviving graves of Alexander’s friends and companions.
In the Hellenistic period, Termessos gradually “Hellenized,” adapting Greek culture, language and even becoming a democracy. The impressive theatre was built during this period, no doubt serving as both entertainment venue and political meeting place. Throughout the period, Termessos was engaged in frequent warfare with its neighbors, often taking on more than one. For its help in his campaign against Selge (c. 158 BC), Attalus II of Pergamum erected the city’s elegant stoa (porch).
Termessos passed easily into Roman friendship and later empire. The city received considerable autonomy for its role against King Mithridates. It guarded its privileges jealously; remarkably, its coinage never included either image or title of the Emperors. (This is the source of the tour-guide story that Termessos was never conquered by Alexander or the Romans!) Most of the city’s buildings were erected in this period, including a temple to the Emperor Hadrian. At some point the city Christianized, and bishops from Termessos participated in the early church councils, but the city was abandoned between the 5–7 centuries. (Remoteness and earthquakes may have both played their part.) Except for the occasional nomad it lay empty after that, which explains its relatively pristine state.
We realize that it is 615 that’s time for happy hour and we have the gin and tonic on the bus. Party time. Yasemin invites us to her house which is located right at the base of this mountain. Western Taurus. We go through a small plantation of pine trees to Y ‘s. Get a little tour of her very comfortable place and then Tom and Carolyn mix those g and ts. We are having too much fun but we miss our friends back at the hotel.
To the Tayla aka Divan. right on the coast with views of the ocean and the mountains where we just were. WOW this shower really works. Great to be on the boat but this hotel is very nice as well. The contrast is good Kathy says at dinner. We find out now that their shower did not work the whole time they were on the boat. You should have told us!!
Dinner is buffet at 845 and we plot on how to get Cathy and Bob to continue the trip. Y is very competent and used to handing all sorts of problems. IT makes my job so much easier
Monday, 30 May.
Calm still water. Swimmers early in the morning. Is Sharon out there? Common swifts flying about. Y decides to stay with Bob and Cathy and rent a car to catch up with us. They are going to spring her from the hospital. Y puts me in charge and tells me the only things she thinks I can remember about Aspendos. It holds 15k in theater and was built in 2 nd century ad. This is all I need to know. And one more thing she adds – At Aspendos no more than one half hour. YES, MAAM I reply.
The leadership change goes to my head. We arrive at Aspendos which is to the north of the highway. It is the most preserved theater from the Roman PAX area in the world. Way cool. We have one half leaderless hour to wander and wonder at it. Tonight they are performing Carmen and Bolero. Taking advantage of the Roman skill at acoustics in making an Auditorium. We are very impressed and meanwhile our compatriots – the Millers and Y manage to take a taxi and catch up to us. Cathy and Bob get a quick tour of the theater and then we continue on our journey north. We are on the road to Cappadocia which will be a 7 hour trip across the Taurus Mts.
It is hot today once again. In Konya it is a bit more conservative and ladies will need to cover their heads with scarves. We guys are wearing long pants.
We continue on 400 and then turn left on 695. Now we are going to climb up into and over the Taurus Mts. The tall mountains we could see from the boat did have snow on them. There are so many wild hollyhocks. Reading is done and some napping. As we get to about 4500′ Taurus fir (Abies cilicica), the endemic fir of Turkey shows up. We hop out of the bus for a pee and flower stop. The temp is very nice. And it is great to stretch our legs. The pass is just above us at 5950’ and now we drop down on the north side. Obvious bedding planes of limestone, many firs and now the Cedars of Lebanon. This tree is widely planted as an ornamental but now only exists in the wild in high mts. It has been harvested for eons for boat, furniture and house building. Now the trees are protected in these mts. There is a large reservoir to the right out in the plain. Speaking of which … the rest of the afternoon Turkish fighter planes (USA made) are whizzing around. There is a base nearby. Many Italian cypresses are growing on the steep slopes. We turn toward Koyna and pass a large aluminum factory. Then opium poppies esp. White ones show up.
OPIUM STUFF here.
To the south very high mts still have a lot of snow on their north side. IT will not last the summer says Y.
We stop for photo ops and a very nice lady in her field working offers us some onions. We think she wants to sell them to us but she wants of give them. Very kind. Centaria and a delphinium like wildflower are abundant. IN fact there are many wildflowers growing rampant in the uncultivated places. We climb out of this valley and encounter the first of the tuff that we will see throughout the Cappadocia region. White white
Finally by 245 we arrive in Konya to our restaurant. Buyuk Basarisi. It is the former house of a rich family. Now serves traditional Konya food which means a lot of meat dishes. It is good dinning experience.
Off to the museum nearby. 72 million in Turkey 18% orthodox Muslims, the rest are moderates including our local guide.
Y was raised by a father who practiced Sufism. We get a nice talk by her before we get to the museum because it is quieter here at the restaurant.
In the middle of Konya we arrive at the Museum. Sufism banned by Ataturk. Group photo of our ladies with the scarves on their head. Probably all resembling their great grandmothers. We have an overview of the history of Rumi in the kitchen where the novices were trained. Convent. 18 days 1001 days and 18 days.
Sufism (Persian: صوفیگری Sufi gari, Arabic: تصوف, taṣawwuf) is a mystic sect of Islam. Practitioners of Sufism, known as Sufis, engage in the pursuit of a direct perception of spiritual truth or God, through mystic practices based on divine love. Sufism differs from other branches of Islam in its esoteric rather than exoteric focus.
The term Sufism can be used to describe a diverse range of beliefs and practises. Tariqas (Sufi orders) may be associated with Shi’a Islam, Sunni Islam, other currents of Islam, or a combination of multiple traditions. Sufi thought emerged from the Middle East in the eighth century, but adherents are now found around the world. In particular, Indonesia, the most populous Islamic nation in the world, was introduced to Islam through Sufism, and Sufi practises and beliefs are evident in mainstream religious life across the country.
Sufism has produced a large body of poetry in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi and which notably include the works of Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, Bulleh Shah, Amir Khusro, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast as well as numerous traditions of devotional dance, such as Sufi whirling, and music, such as Qawwali.
We all have to put condoms on our feet to not disgrace the site with the3 dirty souls of our feet. This is very similar to the Buddhist sentiments. Don’t point your feet at the Buddha.
Many people coming from everywhere to see this holy site. The sacred relict of Mohammed’s beard hair is a powerful site for many. The ancient Korans were good too. Actually the whole place was wonderful. Saw some Indonesian Muslims visiting.
Off toward Cappadocia at 515 we have 2 1/2 to 3 hours to go. This is a long day of buses but worth it. Very flat plain, b probably from all the volcanic ash. We pass dag Hassan one of the three sources of the ash. One pea stop at a road junction and then we continue. Arrive after sunset at our Cappadocia Cave Suite Hotel. We pass the Flintstone Bar that we all want to visit but never do. First is dinner. The staff is not very well trained but are trying. We go to our rooms and decide to have a later start the following day. Gee thanks Michael.
Rumi and the War
And sit down.
You are drunk,
And this is the edge of the roof.
Dropping keys by Hafiz, the Great Sufi Master
The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
Wednesday, 31 May
C and I sleep in our cave until 745. Another beautiful blue day in Turkey. Up above the hotel is a fine view with flowers and birds. We like this place and it is much better than the corporate hotel I stayed in before. This place has personality!
The name katpatuka is the Old Persian name for Cappadocia – meaning probably land of beautiful horses. We are “smack dab” in the middle of Turkey.
We give you a chance to relax after that long day drive yesterday. So we don’t get going until 930. Off to our first stop heading toward Uchisar. Our over look is the valley of the pigeons where Yasemin starts talking about the Christians that lived here for centuries and the Seljuk Turks coming in and kicking some Christian ass. She didn’t quite use those same words.
Created “columbines” for the pigeons and used the guano for fertilizer and I am sure they ate eggs and even ate a few babies. Pretty creative use of pigeons. Photo ops with bottle tree and evil eye shrub.
Tuff (from the Italian “tufo”) is a rock
tufa – a soft porous rock consisting of calcium carbonate deposited from springs rich in lime
Great formations in all directions. Some of you are glad we arrived in the dark so the surrounding landscape is a surprise in the morning light.
Over to the natural castle (Kale) at Uchisar. 3918′ and up we go for the view. One of the three volcanoes responsible for the volcanic ash that created the tuff is looming to the south- Mt. Erciyes 12851′ (pronounced Erciyes) This is where Yasemin and Cemil went on their honeymoon. “I tasted him there”. Now does that count as TMI? (too much information?) We can even see the Taurus Mts far to the south. Russian olives everywhere and these are edible and great for seed spitting contests. Katherine and Y have one and the American wins. She has so many hidden talents. We see a lot of butterflies topping on the top of the kale. Huge Lepidoptera singles scene. Cap region is about 150 by 150 by 150. We hiked from 4440 to 4591. We see the 4 Israelis that are staying at our lodge. Many pictures taken from the hilltop.
Back down to the bus and then we began our hike down through the little village of Uchisar and to the nearby town of Goreme. Black redstart, eur swifts, house martin, alpine swifts. The eroded tuff is strikingly beautiful and the wildflowers are abundant but we are not supposed to stop and talk about them now. Collect and Y will lay them out at breakfast tomorrow. Vicia, dianthus, Lombardy poplars, fruit tree, grapes, and hypericum aka st Johns wort. Down down down into the valley, searching for some shade for quiet time and we finally get some. Birds singing, creek flowing, remarkable cliffs above us and every direction we look it seems unreal and like a lunar landscape. The sky is very blue and the tuff very white. We end our quiet time with a tractor load of rock heading up stream. Back to the bus waiting with Cathy, Kathy and Madeleine at 3750′. and then lunch at the nearby town of Goreme. Sedef Restaurant. House dish is meat and veggies cooked in a clay pot that is then broken to get the food out. Tom orders extra food and then tries to get Neil to pay for it. It is 91. To the open air museum full of churches. Y gives us an overview of the region beginning 8k BC; We have brought our own resident early Christian scholar Dr. Keith Reed who has some very useful supplemental information. It is hot in the sun so we strive to go from nice cool cave room to nice cool cave room. . The frescoes in the dark church are the best preserved. Faces and eyes of religious icons have been scratched out by the Iconoclasts. Until the 1970’s the value of this place was not recognized. Helen- mother of Constantine’s dreamed that they had to go to Jerusalem and bring back the cross of Jesus and then have the bearded lady drawn of the wall (was that it?.)
Back for rest at the hotel and then we meet at 7 for our bus trip to dinner and the evening program.
We go over to Avenos and cross the Red River. This river is where the clay from that the potters of this area use. Besim Ev or Our House is our restaurant. The entrance is through the lobby of old radios and assorted collections of miscellaneous stuff. I feel like itI am walking through a Turkish garage sale of old grandpa’s stuff. We go up one floor then another and out onto the deck for a great view. The temperature is perfect we drink more fine Capp wine. Julie reads us a poem from her Rumi book. This is my take on it. You should forgive young men who masturbate because they have some feathers and a rooster – desire = pretty sure that orgasm good.
The house specialty here is some meat and veggies cooked in a clay pot. Marcia tries to say we don’t need dessert but is greatly overruled by the getting-fatter-by-the-day masses. We head over to the Caravanserai and on the way notice some Shepard’s starting to bed down with some cute members of their flock. Greg has been fascinated by these guys for days. I wonder if it has something to do with his Catholic upbringing.
To the 13th century Caravanserai with other buses and tourists. The crescent moon is growing and tonight it is next to Saturn. The scene is the Turkish Flag. Bob thought we had a private gig going, what are all these other people doing here he asks?
The Caravanserai was the rest stops for the camel caravans every 40 Kilometers, paid for by the Sultan. Good idea. You had three free days after that you gotta pay.
Caravanserai (Merchants’ Inn). The word ‘caravanserai’ is derived from the Persian “karwan,” which signifies a company, or “caravan,” of travelers in a serai (large inn). Muslim rulers often built and maintained serais on major travel routes to foster the political cohesion, trade safety, and economic growth of their kingdoms. Muslim women contributed to the rise in this particular kind of architecture. Zubayda, the wife of the great Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid (reigned 786-803 A.D.), built serais, wells, and cisterns on the pilgrim route from Baghdad to Mecca. This route became known as the Darb Zubaydah (road of Zubaydah).
It is believed that these caravanserais, also known as “khans,” were originally an enclosure protecting a well which then developed into a unique type of ‘architectural complex. The main function of a caravanserai was to receive travelers and merchandise, and therefore space within them was provided in order to store a variety of goods to be traded. These khans consist of courtyards to stable animals, rooms to lodge the travelers (“manzil” or “funduq”), and storage areas for their goods. The khans which survive today attest to the spread of civil and mercantile architecture which developed from the first centuries of Islam onward.
The show was about 50 minutes long and began at 930. No cameras. We were especially struck by the solemn tone and felt honored to be observing the sacred prayer ritual. I know it was conducted for tourists but I still felt its power. I thought our audience was very respectful. I especially enjoyed the songs in the Arabic tongue echoing through that very old building. We are only the latest people to be there and there will be many more after we are gone. We aren’t long on this planet, half way between the ground and the heavens. The whirling dervish hold one hand upward and the other downward, spinning spinning as we all rotate to our deaths.
Right afterwards we met with the sheik in a small side room and had a bit of tea. We got to ask him questions about his life and practice. It felt good to be in the presence of someone who has a deep and profound religious commitment. I do not meet many people like that in my American life. Back on the bus and we are home around 1115 to beddy bye.
Word History: The word dervish calls to mind the phrases howling dervish and whirling dervish. Certainly there are dervishes whose religious exercises include making loud howling noises or whirling rapidly so as to bring about a dizzy, mystical state. But a dervish is really the Moslem equivalent of a monk or friar, the Persian word darvêsh, the ultimate source of dervish, meaning “religious mendicant.” The word is first recorded in English in 1585.
Founded by the great philosopher and writer Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi in the 13th century, the ritual of the Mevlevi sect, known as the sema, is a serious religious ritual performed by Muslim priests in a prayer trance to Allah. Mevlevi believed that during the sema the soul was released from earthly ties, and able to freely and jubilantly commune with the divine.
During the ceremony, the dervishes remove black cloaks to reveal the tennure (white religious robes with voluminous skirts). They turn independently, shoulder to shoulder, both around their own axis and around other dervishes, representing the earth revolving on its own axis while orbiting the sun r possibly God.
The dervishes silently perform the sema, making small, controlled movements of hands, head and arms as they whirl. They are accompanied by music, often dominated by the haunting sound of the reed pipe or “ney”, as well as drums and chanting as the ritual gradually transforms itself into rapid, spinning ecstasy
In the Middle East it is believed that the dervish is in prayer and that his body becomes open to receive the energy of God. The Turkish Sultans often consulted the Dervishes in difficult times. Their spinning created a relaxing and hypnotic effect in which the Sultans could search for guidance.
Dervish is thought to be an entrance from this material world to the spiritual, heavenly world. During this solemn religious ceremony it is believed that the power of the Heavens enters into the upward extended right palm and passes through the body and leaves the lower, turned-down left palm to then enter into the Earth. The dervish does not retain the power nor is he to direct it. He accepts that he is the true instrument of God and therefore he does not question the power that comes and leaves him.
The Whirling Dervishes played a vitally important part in the evolution of Ottoman high culture. From the fourteenth to the twentieth century, their impact on classical poetry, calligraphy and the visual arts was profound. Perhaps their greatest achievement, though, was in the area of music. Since the dogmatists of Islam’s orthodoxy opposed music, claiming it was harmful to the listener and detrimental to religious life, no sacred music or mosque music evolved except for the Mevlud, a poem in praise of the Prophet, chanted on high occasions or as a requiem. Rumi and his followers integrated music into their rituals as an article of faith. In his verses, Rumi emphasized that music uplifts our spirit to realms above, and we hear the tunes of the Gates of Paradise. The meeting places of the dervishes, consequently, became academies of art, music and dance
A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.
Thursday, 1 June.
Hot air balloons rising in the distance. Yasemin has identified the wildflowers collected yesterday and laid them out on a table for us to view.
We are off at 9 after a nice show by a Hoopoe Upupa epops for some of us. Heading to the Valley of roses.. We start in the small village of Casin. We see houses carved out of the tuff that were occupied into the 1950’s until the govt moved the people out due to safety concerns. You can see right through these ruins. Now no one lives there. We all begin the hike heading UP valley. Much better from a safety standard because of the lose rocks on the trail.
At 930 we begin. Another hot day it will reach 95 in the afternoon. We hear male hoopoes calling from several of the tall tuff pinnacles, dividing up the local territory. Great spotted cuckoo flies by. Eurasian tree sparrow, lesser gray shrike. Starlings. Wonderful flowers and the road is quite level for most of our journey. The usual great flowers- Hypercium, poppies, vetch, grape, thistles, onions, poplars, Russian olives filling the air with scent, yellow linum. We get to discover the church and have our quiet time in this old holy place carved from solid rock. We go from shade to shade and then begin to climb. More flowers and the tuff is highly eroded, sky still blue, birds and bees a buzzing. We are glad to be alive. Up on the ridge line and more views and back to the bus. GOOD WORK Cathy and Kathy. By now it is noon and time for lunch in Uchisar at the Tashan Restaurant. Good buffet as usual. T shirts for sale 8 lira good price next door.
Off to the VALLEY OF THE WANGERS or White Valley. Greg fades because of the beer he had a lunch so he decided to do some more Lounge Tai Chi. But most of us hike up the road because the bus cannot make it. Little shade and hot at 95 but I say that it is worth it. It is. We get real immature around all these phalluses (note that Yasemin was no where near us). I place the rock from my men’s group in a very special WANGER. Laughter is the best medicine and we have increased our life expectancy. We see a Eurasian roller rolling and a bustard flying. Back to the bus Marcia and Neil and Yasemin catch the donkey taksi while the rest of us suffer in the heat.
Next stop is the RUG STORE – Yuksel Hali. Yasemin says that the rugs are the best – fair price no bargaining. There is always bargaining in Turkey, right Bob? Killans not that good here.
We get the hard sell by a very slick saleman. Who is very very good at what he does and enjoys it. ‘ We are shark bait and we know it. The tour and education about the process is worth it and very enlightening. Some of us even buy things, and not cheap things. Cathy gets a birthday rug! We stagger back in several bus loads to the hotel. Beaten by the sun, the heat and the rug merchants but not defeated… Julia and Keith get their rugs for 33% off original asking price.
We gather for gin and tonics in once again the perfect temperature. We are not the only guests here but it feels like it. We get our laundry bills and hit the roof!!
Friday, 2 June
Happy Birthday to Kathy and my son Hunter. Hot air balloons in the sky early. Look mighty fine maybe I will do that next year. Cathy and Bob are relaxing in their cave. Cathy’s clock says 415 and who would know in the dark and comfortable recess?
They spring into action at 806 and we leave on time at 830. To Keysari to catch our short flight to Istanbul. Y helps Bob renegotiate his rug and saves him an additional 800. Good work! Ali gets lost and we circle around looking for the airport. We give our tip to him and run the gauntlet of the crowds with Yasemin blocking for us. We take off late for our 50″ flight to Istanbul. Airbus 321 takes us over the big city to the airport south west of the old city.
Taking JFK Drive and passing ancient city walls we get to our hotel around 145. Istanbul really is one of the finest cities in the history of the world.
We make it to our cellblock in the old quarter of town (the Fours Seasons was a former prison). Rough accommodations but we think we can manage it. Hopefully all the vibes in the walls are purged. We check in and meet at 245 for an city orientation and then we are off on foot. Very convenient location. It is 93 and cooking in Istanbul. WHEW! Even the locals are complaining. Where is that Bosphorus wind??
Three minutes away is the so called Blue Mosque.
Sultranmehetmet instructed his architect to put a 7th minaret on the one in Mecca since he wanted six at his in Istanbul and you could not outdo Mecca. Small place for women at the back. Friday is the day of prayers often read from the Koran. The ladies have their scarves on in respect for this culture.
Next we walk through the ancient Hippodrome; which held 100k people we see the obelisks brought from Egypt, only a third of it up.
Then we go over to Aya Sofia. The fantastic building of Saint Sofia, the 6th-century mosque that for a thousand years was Christendom’s most important church. It is an astounding place and Y does her best to give us alot of information; we try to take it in. 3rd Sophia Church, Nika revolt of 455 AD, 2 of the columns from Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis, are here. Huge scaffolding in the middle disrupts the view. The repairs have taken longer than it took to build the entire complex!
The Church of Hagia Sophia, associated with one of the greatest creative ages of man, was also the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for more than one thousand years. Originally known as the Great Church, because of its large size in comparison with the other churches of the then Christian World, it was later given the name of Hagia Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Justinian conceived the grandiose project of rebuilding the Great Church from its foundations. Nothing like it was ever built before or after. Construction work lasted five years [532-537] and on December 27, 537, Patriarch Menas consecrated the magnificent church.
The new Hagia Sophia belongs to the transitional type of the domed Basilica. Its most remarkable feature is the huge dome supported by four massive piers, each measuring approximately 100 square, m, at the base. Four arches swing across, linked by four pendentives. The apices of the arches and the pendentives support the circular base from which rises the main dome, pierced by forty single-arched windows. Beams of light stream through the windows and illuminate the interior, decomposing the masses and creating an impression of infinite space. Twelve large windows in two rows, seven in the lower and five in the upper, pierce the tympana of the north and south arches above the arched colonnades of the aisles and galleries.
The thrust of the dome is countered by the two half-domes opening east and west, the smaller conchs of the bays at the four corners of the nave, and the massive outside buttresses to the north and south. The esonarthex and exonarthex, to the west, are both roofed by cross vaults. Two roofed cochliae [inclined ramps], north and south of the esonarthex, lead up to the galleries. The vast rectangular atrium extending west of the exonarthex had a peristyle along its four sides. At the center stood the phiale [fountain of purification] with the well known inscription that could be read from left to right and from right to left: “Cleanse our sins, not only our face”.
The church measures 77 x 79 m. and the impressive huge dome soaring 62 m. above the floor has a diameter of about 33 m. According to R. van Nice, a scholar well versed in the problems posed by the architecture of Hagia Sophia. The nave is 38.07 m. wide, more than twice the width of the aisles, which measure 18.29 m. each. The vertical planes formed between the two north and the two south piers by the arcades of the aisles and galleries and the tympana above them are aligned flush with the side of the piers facing the nave. Thus, the mass of the piers is pushed aside into the aisles and galleries. By this clever arrangement the bearing structure is hidden from the eye, creating the impression that space expands in all directions and that the dome floats in the air.
At this point we would add the following historical evidence, which we believe will be found interesting. Written sources refer to “the number of clerics appointed to the service of the most holy Great Church of Constantinople. ” The records list a total of 600 persons assigned to serve in Hagia Sophia: 80 priests, 150 deacons, 40 deaconesses, 60 subdeacons, 160 readers, 25 chanters, 75 doorkeepers. Another source reveals the extent of destruction and pillage which Constantinople suffered in the hands of the Catholic Crusaders after 1204 and the difficulties that the great church had to face from the 13th century onwards. Paspatis writes: “In 1396, during the patriarchy of Callistus II, a note was made in the second volume of patriarchal documents [Millosich-Muller] listing all the existing gold and silver sacred vessels, hieratic vestments, crosses, gospel-books and holy relics. The destitution of the celebrated church, looted by the Latin Crusaders became evident. I mention the most important objects, from which pillagers removed pearls and other ornaments of gold in later times.
The church had: nine gospel-books, two of which remained in the church for the use of the priests, while the other seven much adorned the representations of embossed gold, were kept in the Skeuophylakion; five craters …fourteen patens and chalices; six lavides [spoons]; six silver asterisks; four candelabra by the entrance; sixteen ripidia [fans]; eight crosses containing splinters of the True Cross and adorned with gold, silver and pearls; four aer [large veils]; twenty-six chalice veils and four patriarachal staffs; also a few icons, hieratic vestments and some relics of saints that had escaped the rapacious Crusaders…”
On Tuesday, May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror entered the vanquished city late in the afternoon and rode to Hagia Sophia. He was amazed at its beauty and decided to convert the Cathedral into his imperial mosque.
Nice and cool inside.
Now we have little time, quick turn around and then we head to the pier to catch our boat up the Bosphorus to our fish restaurant. But someone, who will remain nameless but she is a short and a very sweet psychiatrist, is late and we miss our boat by minutes so it is to Plan B. A private charter for 250 ytl. OK we will do it but it takes forever and we cancel and are especially relieved when we see it come under the Galeta Bridge. Kinda funky even for Turkey.
So to Plan C we walk across the Galeta Bridge to a restaurant up in the Taksim Square area. Whoops some folks don’t think they can make the walk.
So plan D we catch taxis to an area of town that specializes in fish and is a very vibrant (read LOUD!!!!) area. KumCari- the SAND Gate. It is still hot. All the taxis finally arrive and as we enter the crowded pedestrian street, Yasemin offers Carolyn some ice cream. I know what is coming and manage to photograph most of it. The famous ice cream man trick.
To Nezman restaurant which appears to be dedicated to that oh so happy man – Ataturk. His scowling face is everywhere in the restaurant. We split into two groups inside near the transvestites and outside in the cooler air. Kathy’s birthday “cake” and then private Gypsy serenade happens. She does not have to be asked twice to get up and shake her booty. Guess that back problem is cured by the champagne her hubby bought.
I call Hunter but don’t reach him. He is a big 20 today. Probably out with his girlfriend.
Back to our hotel where the Aspen Institute has organized a conference on the regional political problems. There are many congressmen and other officials here. George Miller, Ted Stevens, Richard Lugar and some others we don’t recognize. I thank George Miller on behalf of our group for all the great work he has done.
Bosphorus is the strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara; 32km (20 miles) long, 650-3300m (720-3600 yards) wide, 30-120m (100-395ft) deep.
Bosphorus comes from a Tracian word of unknown origin, interpreted in Greek as meaning “Ford of the Cow”, from the legend of Io, one of the many lovers of Zeus, who swam across the sea here as a cow chased and continuously disturbed by flies sent by Hera.
Known in Turkish as Bogazici (the Strait), it links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and, with the Dardanelles (in Canakkale), separates Europe from Asia. It is a former river valley which was drowned by the sea at the end of the Tertiary period. This is a very busy strait with many ships and oil tankers, as well as local fishing and passenger boats.
There are two suspension toll bridges on this Strait: The first one over the Bosphorus between Beylerbeyi and Ortaköy, opened in 1973, is called as Bogazici Bridge, 1074m (1175yards) long, 6 lanes, 165m (540ft) height of piers. The second one between Anadolu Hisari and Rumeli Hisari, opened in 1988, is called as Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, 1090m (1192yd) long, 8 lanes, 65m from the water.
We meet at 9 AM for our tour of the Topkapi Palace. The Cannon Gate. It has cooled off a bit and the sky is blue. The outer courtyard is open to the public without payment. We are lead slowly through some of the highlights by our competent guide Yasemin. Hundreds of swifts, magpies, English sparrows and a couple of feral parrots wheeling around. There are many children here because the often take field trips to cultural things on the weekend and get a discount. Outer courtyard and a talk about the Janissaries and choosing girls for the harem.
The standing Ottoman
The term in Turkish, yeniçeri means new troops, indicating exactly what they were in the beginning: An alternative to the old regular army.
The Janissaries became famous for their military skills, but also because they were staffed by youths conscripted from Christian
The Janissaries were subject to strict rules, limiting their freedom and demanding higher moral standards than usual in the society. In the first couple of centuries, they were forced to celibacy, but this would later change. The janissaries were not allowed to grow beard, which was the sign of a free man.
The need for the bey/sultan to form the Janissary corps, came from the fragility of an army put together by free men from many different tribes from areas often wide apart. Their allegiance were normally to their own tribal leaders, leaders that often were tempted to oppose the power of the sultan, and to find allies among the main enemies of the Ottoman empire.
At first the Janissaries were put together of war prisoners. But from 1420’s young men were taken from their homes at an early age, and contact with their old communities were cut. This system was called
But over time, the Janissaries were so successful that they grew into one of the strongest power institutions in the empire. They could exercise this strength to influence the policy and to defend their own interests. From the 17th century and on, they staged many palace coups to exercise this power. But this would eventually be the main reason for their downfall — their strength made them dangerous to the sultan, and when the final battle over power came, the Janissaries lost, and all troops were killed or banished.
Other reasons for the sultan to want to remove the Janissaries were that they had grown into a large number, up from 20,000 in 1574 to 135,000 in their last year of 1826. This was expensive, and in addition the Janissaries had found their own (unacceptable) way of financing their military activities as well as their high living standard: they performed various trades and were more an more in contact with the society. They were truly a state in the state.
Then 2nd courtyard, There is a church that was never converted to a mosque. It had no images in it because it was built by the Iconoclasts. White eunuchs taught the Janissaries kids, black eunuchs watched the harem. Kitchen which now holds porcelain. There are some magnificent Plane trees here, very old. The weapons room is cool. Matchlock and flintlock. ..Royal Treasury.. very large diamond, famous movie The Dagger of Topkapi. Emeralds and rubies just adripping in each cabinet. We have an 1130 tour of the Harem. They limit the numbers here.
The harem was defined to be the women’s quarter in a Muslim household. The Imperial harem (also known as the Seraglio harem) contained the combined households of the Valide Sultan (Queen Mother), the Sultan’s favorites (hasekis), and the rest of his concubines (women whose main function was to entertain the Sultan in the bedchamber). It also contained all the Sultanas (daughters of the Sultan) households. Many of the harem women would never see the Sultan and became the servants necessary for the daily functioning of the harem.
The reasons for harem existence can be seen from Ottoman cultural history. Ottoman tradition relied on slave concubines along with legal marriage for reproduction. Slave concubines was the taking of slave women for sexual reproduction. It served to emphasize the patriarchal nature of power (power being “hereditary” through sons only). Slave concubines, unlike wives, had no recognized lineage. Wives were feared to have vested interests in their own family’s affairs, which would interfere with their loyalty to their husband, hence, concubines were preferred, if one could afford them. This led to the evolution of slave concubines as an equal form of reproduction that did not carry the risks of marriage, mainly that of the potential betrayal of a wife. The powers of the harem women were exercised through their roles within the family. Although they had no legitimate claim to power, as their favor grew with the Sultan, they acquired titles such as “Sultan Kadin” which solidified their notion of political power and legitimacy within the royal family was reflected with titles including “Sultan”.
Great table with great view of the Bosphorus, looking over at Asia. The waiters overcharge us for our cokes. This leaves a very unpleasant taste during an otherwise good day.
We cross the street and go down into the Basilica Cistern. We lose a few of you to the hotel. This is really an extraordinary place with 130 columns 140 meters long, lost to the Islamic people for 700 yrs. Water piped from 19 k away. Medusa’s head on 2 recycled columns. You can rent this for parties. It leaks and it charming in a unique way. A very large impressive panoramic photo of Istanbul.
Next we head to the Kapali Carsi (Covered Market), a maze of 4,000 shops where more than 20,000 people work. One of the city’s two great markets, within the 5th-century walls built by Emperor Theodosius II to protect ancient Constantinople. The shops were originally segregated by product, and some of that pattern remains: a block of leather is followed by silver, giving way to gold, then glassware, pottery, crystal, ceramics. It is a bit overwhelming. Y suggests we buy nothing and just enjoy it. We visit Nick the Calligrapher and Harley Guy. His painting on leaves is rather impressive.
We remeet at 7 PM in the Blue Lounge for our closing circle and some of the most expensive g and t’s we have ever had. 24 ytl.
This is a way to finish the trip and share some of our thoughts and highlights with each other. Here are a few of the things we had to say.
Great to work with Yasemin, good weather. Cappadocia. Time spent with daughter. Ruins has a new meaning. Call to prayer was very moving. We all made the single person comfortable. Flowers were excellent. The ruins were ruined but Ephesus ended up superb. Yasemin the resourceful fixer. Lunch in the village with the multigenerational family. Getting our luggage back. First night in Istanbul. Ancient ways with hoes and donkeys vs. a modern woman on a cell phone. Reflection on cultural changes in Turkey. Caravanserai and the Silk Road. Visiting Yasemin’s house and having g and t’s. Climate. Vegetation and sense of place. The fine sailing experience. Sense of history. The meeting of east and west. First morning in Istanbul with blue mosque, crescent moon and gulls wheeling around. Floating on my back looking at the ship. Group gelled well. I liked everybody. Botany was an unexpected delight. Learned a lot. Snorkeling in the Mediterranean. Great jokes and humor and laughter. Smiles 90% of the time. Itinerary and pacing very good. Etymology added much. Sensitivity raised about the Muslim Culture. Group travel added to the total experience. Termossos was amazing and unexpected. The ruins not excavated and sense of discovery still there. Konya, the meals were a highlight and Rumi Convent. Whirling Dervishes. 8th trip with mje and every group has been great. Quiet time. Thanks mom. Camera and phone calls. City of Istanbul great. Waking up on the yacht at sunrise. Turkish kids. Diversity and beauty. Ephesus was stunning. Sensing the energy of that vibrant city. Temple of Apollo and beautiful lips. G and t’s on the boat. Laughing telling stories, boat, breeze. We are lucky!!! Good new friends. Good combo- Michael and Yasemin. Liked the interest of the group in everything. Quiet time.
So we get the bill for outrageously priced drinks and walk to our cistern restaurant right near Aya Sophia. Down we go underground. A flutist had harpist entertain us as we eat our last Turkish food for a while. Cathy is growing a bit weary of the same things. Yep. We stroll back in a lovely night, the moon half full and hanging by a minaret. Hugs and we say not Goodbye but see you later. That was a very fine trip.
Sunday, June 4.
Some stay, some leave but eventually we all return to our homes. The Buddhists say that one way to gain merit is to travel because it keeps you humble. Not sure about the humble part but it does make you appreciate the part of the world we all call home.