The Black Sea, Turkey 20 – 6/2014

September 22, 2016

Our travel clock was ticking a little faster now and we headed directly to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, to “try” to get our visa for Turkmenistan. More on that joke later.

Derinkuyu Underground City, Turkey 19 – 5/2014

September 15, 2016

Derinkuyu is a large multi-level underground city with the capacity to house 20,000 people. It served as a refuge for locals during raids from foreign armies. It has at least eight levels with a depth of 85 m (280 ft.) and contained living quarters, food stores, kitchens, stables, churches, wine and oil presses, ventilation shafts, wells, and a religious school.

Cappadocia, Turkey 18 – May 2014

September 8, 2016

It was a crisp morning in Cappadocia. Like melting butter, the warm sun was just oozing across the bizarre landscape. People of Göreme discovered that soft rock could be carved into houses. How imaginative! We explored the area on foot and in a hot air balloon.

Caravanserais, Turkey 17 – 5/2014

September 2, 2016

We were now starting to feel that we were truly following the Silk Road and imagined long caravans of camels carrying furs, hides, charcoal, iron, gold, wool, jade, silk and other luxury goods traveling from Europe to China and vis versa. Some of these caravans may have been made up of hundreds of camels, “The Ships of the Desert”. Their route was determined by safe stopping points where they could replenish food, water and exchange goods. Small fortresses called caravanserais sprang up.

Konya, Turkey 16 – 5/2016

August 26, 2016

For Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the main reason to come to Konya, Turkey, is to visit the Mevlânâ Museum and to witness the famous Whirling Dervishes. So you might be wondering, what are these Whirling Dervishes all about? Read on….

Myra, Turkey 15 – 5/2014

August 15, 2016

Following our short visit to Patara, the birthplace of the man we know as Santa Claus, we couldn’t resist stopping in Myra to see the church where he spent much of his life and where he died. According to one source, the earliest substantiated records of Myra was in 168 B.C.

Kaş, Turkey 14 – 5/2014

August 8, 2016

We still had not dipped our toes in the inviting water of the Mediterranean. As we headed down the coast, any number of tempting peninsulas invited us to explore the unknown, though with our time schedule hanging over us, we headed straight for the town of Kaş. A short five-minute walk into town brought us to the little yachty harbor where we were immediately hailed over by the gregarious Ismail Inan, owner of Smiley’s, a cute little café restaurant overlooking the marina. After a complementary cup of Turkish coffee and a glass of wine and some nibbles, we knew we had found the place we had been looking for.

Patara, Turkey 13 – 5/2014

August 4, 2016

Leaving Ephesus, we headed south along the coast of the Mediterranean. We didn’t really want to rush but we could start to feel the pressure of our march route. We had to meet our guide, mandatory for crossing China, on August 28, and now here it was already the middle of May. We had a short four months to cross the next six countries. We could easily spend a year or more just seeing other parts of Turkey, but it was time to get to the water.

Ephesus 3 – Pottery, Turkey 12 – 5/2014

July 25, 2016

Even before recorded history, humans have been creating plates, pots, vases and other things from some kind of clay and decorating them for no functional reason other than their beauty. From the Danish Masters who painted the Royal Floral Danica set of dishes (hundreds of them) commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia to the famous Delft tiles from the Netherlands, the Azulejo tiles from Portugal, the Moorish tiles from Spain to the Iznik tiles we discovered in mosques in Turkey, the art of painting burnt clay left hardly a culture or country untouched. Monika is particularly entranced by this form of art because her mother, Agnes Mühlebach-Flory, was a master porcelain painter in her own rights.

Ephesus 2 – Silk Carpets, Turkey 11 – 5/2014

July 12, 2016

Once when I was visiting a small village in a remote area of Iran I remember watching a young girl, maybe she was 12 or 13, sitting on a dirt floor in a small room, nearly in the dark because there was no electricity. She was painstakingly weaving on a loom, one thread at a time, carefully tying a knot and then trimming it to the correct length.