Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Turkey Talk

Oh dear! It's been a very long time since I shared a travel adventure. Better cure that up, right quick, as my Gramma used to say.

Last week, the DH made reservations for our holiday getaway. For the past three years, we've gone on a cruise, but this year we are going on an escorted tour of Turkey. We have been to Turkey once before, but that was twelve years ago. We had a wonderful time and I'm really looking forward to going back! The Turks are lovely, friendly people, always willing to help even if they didn't speak English (and we definitely didn't speak more than about two words of Turkish).

On our previous visit, we were limited to the west coast of Turkey. This new trip will revisit some of our favorite places and take us farther east into Cappadocia and Ankara. We will start in Istanbul, of course, a beautiful, exotic city that I can't wait to see again! The Blue Mosque (pictured), the Grand Bizarre, and the Topkapi Palace are all fantastic sights!

We will also go back to Kusadasi, which is now a cruise ship destination, so I doubt we recognize it. Of course, the whole reason to go to Kusadasi is to visit the ruins of Ephesus, and they are spectacular! On our last visit, we had just been to Athens and seen the Acropolis, saw Ephesus, then went on to Naples and visited Pompeii. Of those three I can unequivocally say that Ephesus impressed me most!

Don't know if things have changed (HOPE NOT!) but at that time, you were allowed to walk in, around, and over the ruins of that fantastic city. I kept thinking how Antony and Cleopatra walked the same streets (or more likely were carried on elaborate litters), of how the most intelligent and sophisticated denizens of civilization lived and worked there, and naturally St. Paul's letters to the Ephesians.

One of the more memorable things that happened when we were at Ephesus involved a photo. It was quite chilly the morning we arrived via dolmus (hired van) at the ruins. I am seldom bothered by the cold, rarely wear gloves, and a hat almost never. However, on this day it was cold enough that I sported both gloves, a hat, and about three layers of both tops and bottoms under my jacket. Basically, I resembled a homeless person wearing everything I owned.

I was snapping photos of everything, including DH, when I was approached by a lovely Turkish lady with a camera. I thought she wanted me to take a picture of her and her family, but after much gesturing and halting words, I figured out she wanted to take a picture of her family with ME and DH! So DH and I sidled up to her husband, two children and mother (or possibly mother-in-law) and smiled. This was in the pre-digital days, so I don't know what the final product looked like. But somewhere in Turkey, in a family photo album is a picture of me and DH bundled like the homeless and grinning like fools. I imagine the caption underneath reads: Us with a pair of weird Americans we met in Ephesus.


terrio said...

As my real dream is to someday travel the world, it's now official. I want to be you when I grow up. LOL!

Jane said...

Hi Aunty C,
How cool. I've been seeing a lot of Turkey Tourism ads on tv. I really want to see the library at Ephesus, it must have been an amazing to see it in person. I would love to visit the Hagia Sophia.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Don't wait as long as I did. There are TONS of things to see and do right here in the good ole USA too.
Have you been to any of the Civil War battle fields? GO. NOW!

State capitals are also interesting. Since I happen to live in a state capital and worked in state gov't they were esp. interesting to me, so I've been in A LOT of them. Most of the buildings are free, open to the public and quite beautiful inside.

Your kiddo may whine coz the battle fields and capital buildings are not The Magic Kingdom, but someday she will thank you! Aunty guarantees it. ;-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Jane!
So GREAT to 'see' you, as always!

When I told people 12 yrs ago that I was going to Turkey they gave me weird looks and went, WHY? When they saw my photos and heard my stories when I got home, they didn't ask again. It is a FABULOUS place to visit!

Yes, that is a picture of the Library of Celsius on the post and it was fantastic. I probably stood there staring in awe for a half-hour.

Unfortunately, the Hagia Sophia was being refurbished and was full of scaffolding inside and out when we were there last time. I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing it all shining and beautiful this time! I will give a FULL REPORT when I get back.


terrio said...

AC - I haven't done the civil war sites but we live just outside Williamsburg so we do the Revolutionary stuff. Went to Yorktown last year and hope to get to Jamestown before long. I've lived in or near some state capitals but never gone through the buildings. Not sure why.

And I have to ask, is it safe to travel to Turkey right now?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

The Battlefield at Mannasas (between Richmond and DC) is an excellent one! There's a statue of General Stonewall Jackson ("There stands Jackson like a stone wall!") that gave me goose bumps standing next to it. There's also some interesting plaques just outside Fredericksburg (not far from DC) that commemorate the TWO battles fought there during the Civil War. Of course, Gettysburg is the mother of all Civil War battlefields, complete with costumed docents. But Chicamauga and Antitem are almost as good.

Been to Yorktown and Jamestown. Enjoyed the heck outta both. They were working on a display to Pocahantas at the latter that your kiddo will probably like.

As for Turkey being safe... I feel like it is probably as safe as anywhere in this day and age. The Turks have long been vigilant about terrorism. With their neighbors, they've had to be. Twelve years ago (LONG before 9/11) there were guards armed with sub-machine guns posted outside the airport.

But HEY! The first time I was in Ireland, and we got to the border between the North and the Republic, a guard with a sub-machine gun asked us for our passports and international driver's license. He looked all of 16, told us to 'ave a 'appy 'oliday in a thick Cockney accent!

It's all a matter of perspective...


Helen said...

Hi Cindy
I wish I could travel Hubby and I hope to travel around Australia one day and then start on the world wishful thinking.
Sounds like it is going to be a great trip I hope you get lots of pics so as we can see maybe you will find the picture of you and the Turkish family?
It is so good to have my computer back (actually a new one couldn't fix the old one) I have missed everyone.
Have Fun

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

(((HUGS))) Helen! Welcome back to cyberspace!

I was getting a bit worried since I hadn't seen you for a few days. Now the mystery is solved and hope everything is fine with you and your family.