Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shop till ya drop

I could have bought that Narzalik to ward off negative energy. It's literally on everything, from doormats and cigarette lighters, to earrings and denim. I bought the latter in the form of jeans, to ward off the shopping bug. Ok we bought a Narzalik too, which we'll hang above the front door.

Last stop Istanbul

Back in Istanbul for a few days before we head back West. The weather is pleasant. Got some rain our first night, but now the showers are sun filled. Fall colors are all about, oh and the 15 million people are still here. Portland will feel like a ghost town.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Turkish Airlines inflight cuisine

Kidney beans in olive oil, chicken sandwich, and almond cake. Hands down, best meals at 34000 ft.


Pilot of our hot air balloon, marriage officiant, translator, photographer,and a great personality to boot. Mustafa is one cool dude.

The beautiful couple

Naomi's brother, Andrew and his bride, Melanie.


From inches above ground to above the clouds, this ride had it all!

Pre wedding fun

Ever reclined on pillows and rugs outside while enjoying a belly dancing performance? This was my first time, and can you say "surreal"?!


Calling this place surreal would be an understatement. The landscape is straight out of a star wars set. Tuscan raiders wouldn't be out of place here. However, the fact is the valleys were home to thousands of Christians hiding from persecution in the 10th century. They carved out dwellings in the soft volcanic rock. The remains of these lofty spaces are still visible today.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rome has competition

We ventured out of the city and into some much older cities on Wednesday. Apparently Rome had expanded into this area many years ago and was doing quite well here judging by the extent of ruins. We visited Aspendos and Perge, just two sites among several that follow the coast up to Istanbul. Istanbul formerly known as Constantinople, the Roman capital of the East.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ambling about Antalya

Antalya has come and gone, well not quite as we're still sitting on the Tarmac. It's never a good sign when the in-flight service begins pre flight. Guess I'll write a little. Here are some facts we've learned during our stay. Rats are scarce, cats are not. 300+ days of sun ensures plenty of melatonin and solar power. Shoe shines do not cost 100 lira. The beaches are shingled. The sea is warm, turquoise, and incredibly clear. And the people? They're incredibly kind, generous, and easy on smiles. The experience has been grand and has surpassed our expectations. We're saddened to leave as we were just getting our bearings. There's so much more to uncover. We will return. Alahasmarladik Antalya!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


A tasty yogurt drink that's surprisingly refreshing. It also wards off bad breath and evil spirits.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Camel Market

This is one of two "convenience" stores that have been essential in providing us with certain basic needs. Bottled water, snacks, and ice cream bars. They have these bars that rival dove bars. Sooo good! Oh and we went to this awesome museum today with lots of old stuff. Ok, clearly not my best post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What a spread

Our hotel is located within the old castle walls of the city. Old town (Kaleici). It's a tight maze of cobblestone streets and easy to disoriented, but that's not all bad. Roman ruins, now Ottoman mosque ruins stand mere feet from our breakfast table. Look at this spread we have every morning. Takes an hour minimum to a make a dent.

Feet first

Bought some beach time today and waded into the Mediterranean. Got a little color, finished my book, and listened in to all the conversations around us. Trouble is they're all speaking German and French. We Americans are an anomaly here.

On to Antalya

There's a fairly stark contrast between Istanbul and Antalya, 20 degrees warmer and about 14 million fewer people. Istanbul is dense and that's putting it lightly. Suffice to say we're enjoying this more laid back portion of our journey. Antalya is a port city on the mediterranean, about 600k from Istanbul, perched on rocky cliffs above the turquoise sea. Aside the usual citrus and palms, there's pomegranates, banana trees, and sweet hibiscus flowers. Exotic describes this place quite well.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Feet are holding up

We went on a little self guided walking tour, but decided to deviate from our course for a bit. Why? Reconnaissance. We wanted to locate our future hotel we would be residing at on our return trip to istanbul. So an hour later after navigating the maze that is apparently the denim district and help from a kind local AND my eagle eyes, we found it. Then we embarked on another adventure. Lunch next door.

Big Blue Mosque

Naomi looking quite lovely adorned in her scarf at the Blue mosque. Always feels a little strange at first entering a house of worship as a visitor, even more so here. But surrounded by mobs of Germans, Russians, and French, that feeling passed quickly. While snapping shots, I moved further back into the outer portion of the space in hopes of securing a better vantage point of domes above when I noticed movement behind me. Women praying behind an ornate wooden screen. Rising and kneeling like their male counterparts up front. Oh right this is not just another basilica.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We have arrived

We've arrived. Check out the view from the rooftop of our hotel. We're sandwiched between the blue mosque and hagia soffia. I'm having trouble concentrating on typing as I'm suffering from major jet lag. It's 6:30 and the minaret's speakers just came to life with the call to prayer? In any case it jolted me just long enough to say goodnight.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Naomi has been doing most of the planning for this trip, and she's doing a stellar job. Take for instance this hotel she found for our last days in Turkey, in Istanbul. I think she scored here. It's in a great location, just close enough to everything, but not smack dab in the middle of it. Plus, take a look at this place. Swanky huh? I'll definitely be leaving my "I heart Turkey" t-shirt and shorts in my luggage for this leg of the trip. And not only does the hotel come highly recommended, it's not going to break our budget.
I picked up a little insurance policy. Contents: 6 pills. Hope the vial never leaves my toiletry bag.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just booked 5 days in Antalya at this little 6 bedroom pension. It's located in a sleepy portion of the old district. We're hoping it will provide a nice restful retreat after our daily outings. The location is great. Just minutes from the beach and seconds from the remains of a 16th century mosque, which is literally a stones throw away.
We may have to visit Konyaalti Beach. I mean, it is a vacation, and it's right there.