shevaughnofsaskatchewan

East Turkey

Have made it to eastern Turkey and am having a fantastic time in Diyarbakır seeıng its old cıty buılt out of black basalt stone – beautıful.  My host ıs spoılıng me and her englısh ıs very good whıch ıs gıvıng my head a bıt of a break. Am learnıng a bıt of Kurdısh, the people here are very generous and helpful as usual.  Hard to get sıghtseeıng done because I am always beıng ınvıted for cay (tea).

More to come later, maybe even on my return as I am at an ınternet cafe and dont have much tıme left. Fınally, I hope a certaın somebody lıves ıt up ın Toronto over the next few days but I just have to say – go Argos!

Istanbul Update

Istanbul is all I imagined and more. I’ve seen most of the major tourist sights with Aya Sofya and Rustem Pasa Mosque being my favourites. I could easily stay here on a low budget as the neighborhoods are fascinating, so many with their own personality. I’m staying at a hamam/hostel in the neighborhood of Cihangir. It is surrounded by antique stores, coffee shops, a delicious bakery with the most delicious simit (kind of like a bagel with lots of sesame seeds), fresh pomegranate juice stands, you can probably tell why I’m having a love affair with this place.
Its off to Mardin I go tomorrow, experience some Kurdish culture, visit more beautiful mosques (my admiration has not waned yet), see the old city and one of the oldest monasteries in the world, the heartland of Mesopotamia long ago!
In the meantime, enjoy these pics of Istanbul. I’m disappointed my phone didnt wirk in Safranbolu so you will have to see those pictures later.

Aya Sofya, was once an Orthodox church, then a mosque, and finally Ataturk made it a museum.

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Blue Mosque, was a tad disappointed, the colours werent as vibrant as I expected, high expectations, that’ll teach me.

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Topkapi Palace

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Sultans reading room

Janissary soldiers marching band from Ottomans, they call it Mehter

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Galata Bridge views

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Galata Tower

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And just piddling around

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Pamukkale/Cappadocia Pictures

Both Cappadocia and Pamukkale are stunning natural wonders for obvious reasons.

Pamukkale is made of limestone terraced cliffs with natural springs running down.

Cappadocia is a land made from the ash and lava of volcanoes that erupted some millions of years ago. After this, wind and rain eroded the soft parts to create what they call “fairy chimneys”.
In the 4th century, Christians began to carve cave cities out of the chimneys in order to hide from Arab raiders. These could hold up to 20,000 people with 100s of churches, houses, tunnels and up to a dozen levels.

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Pottery kebap, meat cooked in a clay pot which is broken open to eat the food.

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Turkish ravioli, tiny pasta with lots of yogurt and red pepper flakes.

In Istanbul

Arrived on the night bus thıs mornıng from Safranbolu. Have had a nap and am rested and ready to go out and see the cıty.  Sorry I don,t have any pıctures at the moment, am havıng problems wıth my phone.  So far ıts been a fantastıc adventure., ancıent ruıns, beautıful scenes of nature, cıtıes and towns wıth such dıfferent personalıtıes, and the Turkısh people are so generous and helpful, I couldn,t ask for more. Well, I could ask the weather to cooperate a bıt better here as ıts been awful at some poınts, sadly was not able to go on the balloon rıde ın Cappadocıa. But none the less, I am lovıng ıt. I hear the call to prayer or azan beıng sung by the muezzın at the moment so that means ıt,s noon – tıme to get my rear ın gear!

Selcuk/Ephesus

Just got back from Ephesus, one of the best preserved Greco-Roman ruins in the Mediterranean.
Here are some pictures, off to Pamukkale tomorrow!

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Some more from Selcuk.

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Aphrodite, Goddess of Fertility

Artemis, not Aphrodite as previously posted, Goddess of fertility.

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Public gym next to the highway.

Miscellaneous Pictorial

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Brugge accomodations

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Brugge Belfry, one of my highlights so far, how can you go wrong having a concert of bells going on

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right next to you while you look out on such a beautiful scene.

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Menin Gate in Ypres/Iepers
Memorial to Commonwealth soldiers who died in WWI and have unmarked graves.

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The Brooding Soldier. One of the memorials in Belgium to Canadian soldiers who died in WWI.

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My host Jasper’s dog, Milton.

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Brussels town square.

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Now Amsterdam.

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Cyprus Update

Who was I kidding when I said I’d give an update every city, sorry everyone, I’ve been too busy exploring.

Amsterdam was shorter than I first planned but I think I made the most of it getting to see the van gogh exhibit, Dutch Resistance Museum (lineup for Anne Frank House in pouring rain? no thank-you), and Bouwerij’t IJ (a dutch brewery, though the beer wasnt Belgian, it was so much better than Heineken, more variety, and under a windmill at that).  My hostess Talitha was lovely though our time was short, was interesting stay in her container apartment, I love the concept.

My trip from AMS to Cyprus was not without bumps but I made it and Brenton and I were able to finally meet up the next day.  Cyprus is one of mainland Europe’s vacation destinations.  Its been at least a balmy +25° since arrival, very welcome after all the rain during the first week.  The people are nice, food is pretty good such as the Haloumi (fried goat cheese), but olives nothing special. The country has many sights to see, I walked through Nicosia aka Lefkosa and saw their old 4.5 m tall stone walls built by the Venetians in the 1500s. In Larnaca I saw one of the most revered mosques, Halla Sultan Tekki, and a pristine Byzantine church filled with gold-painted elaborate figurines and tall-backed pew chairs. Overall I sadly say that Cyprus is not that picturesque, interesting history that might get overlooked, but I probably won’t be back. Sorry Cyprus.

Our €24 apartment came with a.humongous patio and the sun is shining down, went for a jog along the beach this morning as the sun rose and I saw some cruise ships coming into port.  Going to read a bit in the breeze and then we will be on our way to Turkey – finally!