Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I decided to do just a single post for our short stop in Germany since this blog site is hard to use.
   We made it to Frankfurt without issue and took a car. Michelle didn't realize she had mistakenly canceled our reservation with Avis by luckily Europcar was loaded with vehicles. We took a brand new VW Polo which was a real joy to drive.
   Our first stop was Michelle's Ringcon 2013 convention, which is basically dealing with Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and similar type stuff. We got our hotel in a town outside Bonn called Bad Godesberg, which gave us a straight 10 min train ride to the hotel the convention was being held at. The town was lovely and we strolled around, even finding a Woolworth's store which is basically a pic n save type thing now. It is fun looking in shops when in foreign lands. Michelke and I had a good time and the next day hit the convention. Michelle had already bought tickets and we picked them up, there were tons of people in costume. Every lord of the Ring character and all kinds of other things, manly local German shows or games we were not familiar with. I am familiar with gorgeous ladies in skimpy elf get-ups so even though not much of the show interested me I was we'll entertained. Michelle was like a little girl and really enjoyed the show, buying things from vendors and meeting some of the actors in her Game of Thrones show she likes. This was important for her and I am happy she got her dream.
    We next drove to Trier along the Mosel river and were treated to quite a sight. All the trees are turning with seas of yellow, gold, oranges and reds. Each vista was like a post card and it was one of the loveliest drives I have ever taken. We finally got to Trier and our hotel room looked out at the Porta Migra, the Roman gate. What a beautiful city Trier is with rich history. We spent a couple days soaking it in, visiting the Roman amphitheater, baths and the incredible Landesmuseum which had on display a huge hoard of Roman gold aurei (Nero to Septimius Severus) weighing forty pounds! What a great museum it was and we really really really liked Trier, really.
    We then drove back along the Mosel river and found our little hotel here near the Frankfurt airport. Five nights, six days and a perfect way to end a couple months of traveling.
   We had a great trip and are ready to come home to our babies (cats) and our friends. We are rested and reinvigorated and most importantly the princess is happy. Thanks to all you one or two people who took the time to read this rambling blog. Next trip I'll find a better blog site where pics could be added easier. Take car and see you or talk to you soon!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Istanbul is one of the world's great cities, no doubt about it, European in every way. It is silly some consider Turkey part of the Middle East because the country has more in common with Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The city is vibrant and people walk everywhere. You can wander from district to district and continually be amazed by the history and culture.
    Each time we come to Istanbul we stay in Sultanahmet, where the Byzantine city was. All the famous landmarks and the Archeology museum is over here. We also went to the area around the Galatay tower with crowded streets with all kinds if shops. Michelle found a clothes store that sells the type of Turkish style clothes she likes. Everything was cheap and on sale and she had a ball. I have never scene her shop like that, but a girl needs clothes. We also visited the Pera museum which had a fantastic collection of scales and weights and some paintings, one, 'the Tortoise Trainer', especially famous. We also picked up a couple carpets and just enjoyed the place, buying bags if cat food and feeding cars everywhere. It was a super 2 1/2days in Istanbul and tomorrow morning we leave for Germany. We are flying to Frankfurt then taking a rental car to Bonn, where Michelle plans for us to attend a convention concerning Lord of the Rings and other stuff. Like Comicon if I understand it correctly. Will keep you posted.
   But that is all I have from Turkey for now, we had a super trip with nothing but great experiences!


The Troad is an interesting area to explore and I mean the Roman province of Troas. The T's don't use the term in the modern sense. We plan our trip around the in the context of how the Roman's roughly had it organized, which were basically provinces. We have combed this part of the T a few times in the past. Troy being in the northwest part. The town of Assos is in the southern portion and lies on the coast, the island of Lesbos seemingly a stone's throw away.
    We loved Assos the last time we came here and back we went, the drive into the down long and winding, with brief vistas of the Mediterranean. This time we decided to stay in the tiny harbor of Assos and what a perfect choice that turned out to be. It really is too small for cars so one has to park on the side of the windy road and walk down. This means the harbor is quiet and peaceful. Out hotel, called Assos Grand Hotel, gave us a room facing the harbor from two sides, it was really awesome and we just hung around the place enjoying the local cats and feeding the schools of fish. Our breakfast table was only inches from the water and the bread was a hit. Life slowed way down for us in this town. Eventually we did go up and visit the ruins of Assos itself, the theater a good place to spend the early evening and the acropolis and surrounding city the next afternoon. We decided to stay an extra day and just hated to leave but we had to.
   We then took of and visited a local site called Zeus Altar which was lame and we noticed there was all kinds of Local T's there and many places were closed. We finally realized it was a Turkish holiday  called Eid al Adha, which lasts four days.
    We then visited the ancient site of Antandros which offered a partially excavated villa with interesting paintings, then sped to Nicaea (Iznik). We ended up getting there past dark so we couldn't see all the original Roman walls which still surround much if the town. We did stay here in 2009 so at least saw them then. They were built in the early 4th century AD. Since we had to get up early to catch the ferry across the Bosporus at Yelova at 9:45am we had to leave at 7;30, so we saw what work they are doing to the theater and some of the walls and sped off to Yelova.
   The ferry was lightly attended and it was an easy and straightforward jump to Isranbul.
    Now taking the car back to the airport was the only loose end. When we drove off the ferry the car suddenly was having transmission issue and I was concerned it might not make it to the airport. A light came on on the dash saying the car needed service or repair. I was thinking " after 5,000+ miles you are going to give out on the final few kilometers to the airport! You're kidding right?". Well we stopped to to it off and when we started back up the issue seemed to vanish. Odd? When we turned it in the company forgot we were coming and the whole return took way too long. We had prepaid for it and the guys working for the car rental were shocked to find out this car (and us) originated in Diyarbaker! I guess our kind of traveling is not too common, but eventually they said all was well and didn't notice the few dents and such Michelle hid with mud. The car was so dirty it was hard to ascertain the color, but we were good to go. The other thing were the super hwy toll boths (all électronic) we had issues with. Supposedly we were ok to go through them but they sounded the violation noise each time we went through. We expected issues here but nothing said. We sighed with relief over that one.
  We then took a cab into Istanbul and looked forward to our last couple days in T-land.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Hello my faithful one or two readers, if you are still with me I appreciate your dedication. Let me know if anyone is actually reading this thing if you don't mind. At least I won't feel like I am always talking to myself.
   So, on Oct 10th we drove back to Seljuk, near Ephesus And Kusadasi, and stayed at our beloved Kayhan hotel. We visited Euromos again and showed up at the hotel at 11am and planned to toss our things down and head up the coast to hit some Ionian cities. The staff were happy to see us (we've stayed there many times and just 9-10 days ago, and they gave us one of the big rooms named Didyma (after the place). The room was so inviting we crashed until 2pm then decided to drive up the coast to Teos, exactly as Greg and I had done some five years ago. 
    It was a pleasant drive, weather just like LA for date, and found Teos, whose Greek coins always have a griffin. The T's have been up to no good as usual and more of the site has been excavated and better organized with pathways etc. It was a lovely hike around as we enjoyed the fall colors. The theater was a bit delapidated but the bouletarion was awesome. We had fun and the drove south and tried to find Lebedos, but the site seemed closed and there were tons of kids around the gate and we just got the heck out of there. 
   We decided to visit Claros and watched the sunset before having a nice meal at our hotel. Michelle loves this hotel and it was hard to leave the next day.
    We then drove north to Bergama, visiting the town if Alishar on the way (the town isn't really on the way) to see the ruins if Thyateura. I have like 20 coins from this city and saw some ruins existed from the Roman period. Well, what we found were a few tiny excavated areas in parks or closed off areas amidst the total hectic and chaotic modern town. It was very nerve wracking driving around. We think it was lunchtime market day or something. People just don't move out of the way. One guy I almost hit walked right in front of meas he texted. It is very hard with pedestrians here because they don't look and they barrel out in the street often texting. People are glued to their phones around here. We went through a traffic control point today where they create a traffic jam and funnel the cars into one Kane via cones. When we passed the cops one was having tea with some guy, chatting away behind his car, while the other one stared into his phone within the car, just wasting everyone's time!
   We were disappointed with Thyateira and just got the hell out of there. We then drove on to Bergama and found a comfortable hotel. We ate dinner in a restaurant that had a local business having a dinner and award ceremony. It was interesting, especially the part when we showed like desert wandering stragglers, especially me, and all the T's were dressed up nice. It was our hotel restaurant and when a group of French travelers showed up from a tour at least we didn't look so out of place.
    The next morning we visited the ancient city of Pergamon, a truly important classical city. I visited the place in 2003 with my friend Ross, (Michelle's ex-husband and still my good friend), and we had to hike a very long way up this extremely steep path to gain access to the acropolis. Well the T's went all out and completely pulled out all the stops for us this time, since they knew we were coming and they wanted to impress us. We drove to the normal parking place expecting to hike and low and behold the T'a has built a sky cable thing with little clear plastic cars hanging from a cable you sit in. These take you to the top like the thing in Palm Springs, which takes you up the mountain. We were like 200 feet up or so at the highest point and thought of our dear friend Barold Rightman, who loves things like this. We goofed around in the car and took pic of ourselves.
   Now the site was spectacular, google Pergamon to see for yourself. Not too many tour bus loads were there so we had the run of the place. There was this Jspanese guy, maybe closing in on sixty, who seemed to always wander into our group photos (where we set the timer and take pics of the two of us). Sometimes he noticed we were waiting for him but he seemingly just didn't care! I named him captain oblivious and we kept spotting him stumbling about.
   After visiting the acropolis we visited the Aesclepion, which was an ancient healing center dedicated to the god Aesclepios. It has a nice theater and we were really impressed by this place. Afterwards Michelle wanted to drive through part of the town were it is a small village kinda outside of the modern city where the ancient Roman town was. We found the lower theater and the remains of an amphitheater, which was alone and forgotten. Originally it seemed a small creek ran underneath it, the seats on the opposing banks. It was way cool and the princess was pleased. I noticed the villagers had noticed us and were preparing an assault with their bags of trinkets they always have for sale. Since I planned for this buy turning the car around before we parked it was just a simple task of driving over the first couple then speeding away. No we just declined their insistent offerings. If we capitulated every time we would have hundreds of scarves and dozens of wooden spoons! We then hit the museum which is rather underwhelming, but we did enjoy a nice lunch nearby where we were bombarded by the usual assortment if hungry cats. After sharing lunch with our feline friends we decided to head for the town of Assos as our looming date with Istanbul fast approaches. Michelle was delighted with her visit to Pergamon and I was happy because she has looked forward to it for a long time, the upper theater is just spectacular!!!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Gerga or bust!

Now there is a special site in Caria called Gerga, I wrote a few college papers on the place and have always desired to have a visit. Michelle and I tried three times to find it in the past and Greg and I also tried, all to no avail. There are no clear directions and the writer who wrote the most on Gerga, George Bean, seems to have given the wrong directions as well. If it wasn't for old images of the place we could have begun to believe the place didn't really exist but there is a sign for Gerga off the hwy so it must be there somewhere!
   Our trip this te began with some google Earth notes and maps and George Bean's directions. We tried to get a bead on the place but could not. We drove to the bridge Bean mentioned but nothing he said made sense like before so we decided beating our heads against the wall and expecting different results would be stupid. We then trashed our notes and just decided to ask every human being we could find in this rather lonely area. One guy pointed opposite of where we believed the site was and indicated we had to walk, but to where and from where? On illiterate old lady we asked clung to the car and continually declared Michelle her daughter and asked why she didn't speak Turkish. She was extremely vivacious and friendly but didn't seem to know what we were talking about when we mentioned Gerga. It took us ten minutes to extract her from the side of our car! Another guy just basically said 'forget it, you'll never find it.' Finally we stopped in front of a lonely house where a man walked with a wheelbarrow with apparently his mom. We asked him about Gerga, he pointed back the way we had come and gestured that we had to walk. We tried to find out more but we could see in his eyes the feeling that 'these two idiots don't have the slightest chance of finding the place on their own!" So he immediately dropped what he was doing and offered to lead us there. We were thrilled and he changed his shoes, grabbed some water, snacks and a hat and got in our car. We turned around and no where near where we were looking he had us stop at the side of the road, absolutely nothing around. We got out and walked down the embankment, then up and down for 4-5 kilometers, no trails just cow paths and gullies. Eventually we saw the hut-like stone structure and goodness we were there- Gerga at last! It was like a pilgrimage for us and we hugged each other with joy. Our guide, nice but very quiet, just lead us around to the various parts.
   See Gerga was either the name of the town or a local deity who was worshipped there. The name Gerga is oddly written in Greek in like 20 places, which is odd, but the style of much of the walls and such are obviously Carian. My studies have pointed to this place having aired than likely older Carian history but the structures visible belong to the 4th -3rd centuries BC to thé Roman périod. Part of a large statue, perhaps of Kybele, lay below the main terrace. It is such a remote place with a road or even a foot path leading to it. It is as if time has forgotten Gerga and it is rather sad this very curious place has been left to the elements. At least this remoteness also seems to protect the place from harm.
   We were so happy to finally find the place and this made the long hike to the car a lot better. I gave the guy 100 TL for taking us which seemed to shock him, but we truly appreciated him taking the time to lead us. He probably thought we were a comple of nuts, but who cares, we made it to Gerga!!!!
   We finally made it back to the hwy and saw that sign "Gerga16." First of all at the 16 km point you are past the closest point the road gets to Gerga (where we hiked from), second there are no further info signs or anything to aid someone turning off the hwy seeking the place or to tell them the site is 4-5 km from the road!!! Who the hell decided to put a sign there and why? What an odd thing to do and it has caused us repeated frustration but this time we prevailed! Michelle extensively documented and photographed the mileage, locale and hike so we can now go there on our own next time.
That was an awesome day!!'


We decided to spend three nights at our Szencir hotel but day by day as we added another night after the first. The owner didn't speak English and our Turkish is pretty bad. We thought we had everything settled after the first night to stay a second but she came to our car as we left in the morning (without our bags) thinking we were skipping out. A few pictionary rounds later from both sides settled it all amicably. Everyone wants the same things in life, the path just sometimes gets a bit clouded.
   Well this part if Turkey, the south west was ancient Caria in Greek and Roman times. I really like the coins from the various cities and we planned to comb a small (relatively) area contains the ancient cities if Stratonikeia, the sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, Euromos, Myus, Amyzon, Alabanda, Alinda, the sanctuary of Zeus at Labranda, Mylasa (Milas) and Herakliea ad Latmos, which is actually considered an Ionian city for some reason. Gerga gets a post all to itself. To avoid boring my one or two readers I won't go in specific details about the visits to each of these ancient places. What I will do is give a general feeling of these three days.
   We have of course been to half or more of these places and due to the ongoing trend by the T's of continuing to develop many of the ancient site a repeat visit offered new insights and things to hop around on. At Lagina the newly uncovered streets and buildings, temples were amazing, with all kinds of neat graffiti carved into the steps. We had a great time here, our third or fourth visit. At Stratonikeia the T's tied the various monuments together so the visitor can walk around and get a sense of the place. The bad thing there is the 18th - 19th century village ruins that were there were wrecked in my opinion, though they are still a big part of the place as they present it. The old remaining houses were too tidied up compared to before and the fantastic dilapidated jami (mosque) with the earthquake split walls was restored to just looking like another old mosque, one of thousands in T-Land. I was pretty bumbed about that. Add to it there are now places you can't go and more people around means although a good site to visit Stratonikeia has lost some of her old charm.
   We decided to visit Alabanda, then drive down to Alinda then over to Labranda. These mountain roads really sucked five years ago and I was a bit hesitant but Michelle thought we would be ok as the roads seemed to have been improved. Sceptical still I went along with it. We reached Alabanda around noon (after Stratonikeia) and found this great Carian city was as unexplored and developed as before. We jumped around the theater, which is in bad shape, and as we were leaving a local T who was the ticket guy found us and asked for the 6 TL entrance fee. Really! For Alabanda? Geesh! I dug around and only had 5,70 TL. He had no change. I was 30 kurush short, like 15 cents and though extremely friendly wouldn't let us slide due to HIS lack of having change. So we had to go all the way back to his place to get change. He was a by the book kind of guy with obviously nothing else to do. We did see 6 tortoise, each with a partner. Alabanda is cool in as much there is a neat area next to the road where rows of columns protrude from the ground. In situ and in excavated, the ancient streets some 6-7 feet below.
   We left and drove toward Alinda, the mountain road extremely narrow and winding with steep drop-offs, no guard rails and often cows in the road. We meandered about, had a nice picnic pb&j sandwich and then realized we were lost. See the T's will have signs, but when you take your path the road often splits without a further sign to guide you. We often have to just choose and we did, the result was a nice drive right by Alananda a second time, but just about an hour or so later.
   Michelle would not be stopped and eventually we found Alinda right where I left her three years ago. We had great light at Alinda but unfortunately it is a site that closes now. We had to be out by five and the guy waited for us when we left at 5:15. That sucks, we slept there a few years ago! The frontier is being closed down by order and little gravel-lined parking lots.
   Now we had a 30  drive back to Mila, Labranda supposedly on the way. I knew the road was bad from before, but they are working on it now and it was just awful! It was first miles of loose gravel and deep mud. I luckily let a local bus pass me so I could use his experience to guide us over the safe parts, as a bad area could sent us into a tree or over the side. At one point a huge backhoe tractor thing was digging at the road and he just backed up and invited us to drive through the mud hole he was digging in. We drove right under the huge digging claw and barely slipped through, the buses tire tracks saving the day for our tiny Opel. They would never let cars on a road like that in the US. We has to put our front license plate back on as the fre got destroyed! After the gravel and mud our bus left us and we continued, one steep switchback was so steep that first gear barely got us up as the gravel was inches deep. The back fish tailed around and such. I am telling you that road was bad! We finally hit asphalt once again and it was full of pot holes and depressions. Anyone with dentures would have had to take them out, the bumpiness and all. Add to this groups of sheep and cows in the way which slowed us down. One other annoying thing is due to the amount of beekeeping in the area our car continually had unwanted passengers. What a trip down this 'road' we had. Eventually we found Labranda, as the light waned the nice caretaker allowed us to enjoy the lovely place way after closing, understanding I guess what we must have endured getting to the place.
  On the way back to Milas, there were gravel trucks speeding down the tiny windy mountain road and after nearly having one hit us head on and scaring the bejesus out of us I flashed the high beams until the road widened and we avoided any further incident.
   The trips to the other sites were enjoyable and we love Caria a lot, Michelle naming it as her favorite part of the T.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Iasos Mylasa

On Oct 7th we awoke early at our skeet pensyion across from Iasos (the village name is long and unattainable at the moment but is started with a K) and we hiked around the promontory of Iasos and then back for breakfast. It was nice he made us a Mediterranean breakfast but I don't fancy a pile of cucumbers and tomatoes in the morning and I don't like olives. The hard boiled egg was goopy and Michelle called me 'Goldilocks' and eaty egg. I did enjoy the dish of local honey and dipping bread into it.
   This reminds me of another thing. We've coveted by car over 7000 kilometers from Diyarbakir to presently Milas and basically the T's eat the same kind of bread. White loaf, it is usually shaped the same, sometimes a bit different but it is always the same. You can find maybe a few varieties and wheat at a supermarket but in the local places only this same bread always. Don't they ever tired of it? I saw a truck delivering bread as I waited for Michelle to use the bathroom or something. A truck pulled up and when he opened the back I saw plastic crates filled with plastic bags all containing the same oval shaped loaves of white bread! Geesh! I wrote with my finger in the dirt on the back of the truck but only Michelle knows what I wrote.
   Anyway, after breakfast we re-entered Iasos and found it to be lovely as we have never been there before. We then had to go and drove back out the windy narrow road back to the hwy and then proceeded on to Herakleia ad Latmos, which can't decide if it wants to be in Caria or Ionia.
   On the narrow road into Herakleia we were blocked by a huge group of sheep, gosts and cows. the shepard tried to get the animals to move to the side but one sheep would move back into the car than the whole damn lot of them would. i was afraid of hurting one of them and the situation was rathet unerving. The situation wasnt aided by some ahole who was glued to my bumper and pissed i wasnt forcing my way through. I finally got annoyed with h and brake checked him off, which he did. when he finally passes us he shouted at me and I gave him the finger, which he didnt seem to understand. Michelle and I decided he must have been the champion at driving on roads full of animals and therefore impatient with my lack of experience. Well excuse me!!
    Aholes aside, the ancient ruins are located on a rocky landscape bordering a lake, whose current level is obviously higher than it was on antiquity. It was fun to hike around and there were cows roaming the place as well. We sat down by the lake which was nice and I skipped stones and potsherds asichelle soaked her feet. Herakleia is a nice place but it got rather hot.
   Back in the car (and cleverly dodging the ladies selling scarves etc) we cruised back down the T-Way and visited Euromos, a place anyone would love. We rolled out the pb&j sandwiches and felt all proud of ourselves until a German couple pulled in with their custom jeep with every supply imaginable. How nice it would be to be able to drive from home to T-Land. But Euromos has a wonderful temple mostly still standing built during Roman emperor Hadrian's time (AD 117-138). We walked to the theater and other parts and could see the T's had spruced up the place as they obviously expected our return and wanted the place nice and spiffy. Coins from Euromos are very rare and we have   10 or so which is a lot! It is a place you always must visit while in the big T. We would easily miss Ephesus or Pamukkale just to visit Euromos under the olive trees.
    After saying our goodbyes to Euromos (and letting the air out of those German's tires) we looked for a decent hotel in Milas, which used to be hard to do. We stopped at one place advertising three stars but we felt like we were bothering the heavy smoking concierge with our visit and instead drove back down to the Zancir hotel we spotted down the street, modest and for the working class T. We checked in and decided to stay here three nights so we could explore Caria and search for elusive Gerga. We have tried 5 times to find Gerga and Greg and I failed as well. This time we had a new plan, a new approach, it had to work, so we thought...

Back in the T

So I left off during our trip back to Samos on Oct 6th, a Sunday. Kusadasi was quite as the main harbor street was closed temp for a triathlon. We decided to sit in a Starbucks for awhile which was nice, we needed coffee anyway. Eventuallyichelle drug me out of there and we rolled our matching rust-colored suitcases a few blocks down the harbor street and to the otopark, the friendly operator waving to us and offering a car wash we respectfully declined. It was 30 TL (like $15) to leave our Opel for three days. Not bad!
   We next flew out of there and headed to the ancient city of Magnesia, which was in Ionia. I have tons of coins from here and we enjoyed the ruins as always and noted the new excavations since our last visit. We wandered around and then found the odd 'Theatron' on a nearby hill. It is sort of a theater crossed with an odeon and the princess was very happy as was I. The theater located about 1/2 km away was cleared a bit but rather unchanged since our 2009 visit. We then went back to our car and played with a friendly dog owned by the lone ticket guy we dubbed 'Magnesia dog' and left. It is weird having the road run right through the city but that is the situation at Magnesia. What a truly huge city this once was, rivaling Rphesus herself surely.
   We then drove on towards Priene, the site Michelle and became engaged at in 2005. We drove along and saw a group of stores called 'Priene Outlet' and stopped st the supermarket there for some odds and ends. I love looking in the markets and stores at all the various products and stuff which are different than our own. I like to see what different tastes people on other places have. For instance there is quite a selection of various small muffins or cakes, mostly sweet, bagged like chips that I haven't the taste for. They aren't like the muffins in the US but more of a snack food. Another thing I noticed is the lack of peanut related products. While peanuts (fistik) are available shelled and unshelled peanut butter is very hard to find and like $5 a small jar. None of the candy or anything I could find is with peanuts or peanut flavored. It is just not a popular thing here in T-Land. In their place however is the pistachio (antep fistik) or the hazelnut, with hazelnut flavored creams and spreads all popular. Candy and chocolate has either almonds, pistachios or hazelnuts in them. I have only found peanut in chocolate in tourist markets. Another food difference is that it seems the T's don't favor eating meat with cheese. Only in mixed dishes like tavas or pide (like Turkish pizza) do you see it. Never have we found it cheeseburger-like, not even on what the T's call a cheeseburger! I always remind Michelle "remember Stimpy, we must respect all cultures no matter how foreign or hideous they may seem to us."
    Anyway, Michelle always rushes me at stores and discourages me from buying too much but finally we visited the ancient city of Priene. It was my 8th visit and Michelle's 7th. This is a gorgeous place and we had a ball as always. Google Priene to see pics of the place.
   We then left and Michelle had her heart set on finding this small fishing village next to the ancient city of Iasos. So we made our way down into Caria and the turn-off was hardly noticeable. The tiny road wound around, we made wrong turns into people's dirt driveways and eventually drove over this steep mountain and eventually found this tiny village and low and behold there was Iasos, sitting atop a small promontory with still, lake-like coves on either side. Idyllic and charming we tried to follow the Loney Planet book's suggestion and drove up a horribly steep road full of potholes looking for a pair of pensyion a and finally we were too tired and losing the light so we went back to the village and stayed in the pensyion which faced the cove and the beautiful ruins.
   The place was nice and better than a regular pensyion as it possessed a bathroom and shower in the room, but lacked hot water, but Luke warm is still better than cold!!! The gentleman owner and his dad made us a nice chicken and fish dinner which turned out to be as expensive as the room but we had a nice room and full bellies for like $75. We did have a skeet (mosquito) issue so Michelle had us sleep under the net she brought.
   All in all it was a great day and everything turned out awesome!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Samos is an Island

Our ferry to Samos was fun, we sat on the back and had a lovely view. The ride is only 1.5 hours and it got cooler and cooler as we approached Pythagorion, the smaller town on Samos. It was like a postcard (well kinda sorta) and we had to go through a little customs box in the freezing wind. Luckily Michelle booked our hotel just 200 meters from the tiny dock so we were greeted by our host for three night George and had a nice meal in his restaurant. I was happy, pig at last! Since Muslims don't eat pork T-land is pig less in terms of meat. While settling into our room we suddenly heard a large thump against our door and some scratching. I opened the door to find a local feline had come calling so we let her in. She quickly became our little friend and we called her Pumpkin. Pumpkin slept in the room with us, snuggling under the blankets and we bought food for her but she favored tuna best of all. She learned quickly to wait be the tiny refrigerator door when she was hungry. Pumpkin obviously knew when that door opened magic happened and the tuna she loved appeared. We just loved that cat!
   Anyway the town had a nice little shopping area and the first day we layed low and just enjoyed not having to drive around. We also went to the museum which displayed, among other things, a hoard of Greek silver coins which contained many coins from Priene. It was a nice museum, small but quaint with a few imperial busts.
   The next day we rented a car and drove all over the place. We visited the Heraion, dedicated to Hera, a famous temple sanctuary and then a monastery and then the theater, which was extremely disappointing. We then tried to find a village Michelle wanted to see but the road in the mountains became some horribly hideous that our small tiny itty Hyndai car couldn't pass. I had to do a 175 point turn to get us going back down the hill. We then visited the larger town, Samos Town, (it has another name which eludes me), and visited the museum there which was awesome with finds from Heraion that were incredible, things we've never seen before. The princess was happy!
   On the way back to our town Pythagoreion we saw a sign, well Michelle did anyway, a small oval sign reading Animal Care Center Samos. Let me backtrack a moment. The first morning at Samis Michelle found an injured kitten. It upset us greatly and she continually returned and cared for it as she could. Upon seeing the sign she requested we seek the place out and after a windy partially unpaved road we found the care center behind the island dump, behind chain link gates with dogs everywhere. Michelle told them, all Germans and very nice, about the kitten she had named Sammy because he looks like our Sammy Bochaine at home. The agreed to take in and help the kitten and we then raced back to Pythagoreion and found the beast. The kitten purred instantly the moment he entered the car and clung to Michelle. He was dirty and exhausted and so appreciative of Michelle's warm lap. He paid no mind at all to the fact he was in a car, something we have never seen before and he purred loudly the whole time. We arrived at the care center and the kitty was now in good hands and Michelle gave them a monetary donation and we thanked them profusely, Michelke then crying nearly the whole way home. We stopped and had fun in a Greek supermarket than returned the car and enjoyed a nice meal at our restaurant. We had a great time on Samos and were so relieved the kitten was safe. Michelle learned through correspondence with Fraida at the care center the kitten had a broken leg and jaw, both healing properly. He'll be fine, maybe with a bit of a limp. Why is it people neglect the needs off animals? This is why Michelle and I only give to animal charities.
  Anyway we had to leave Samis and our cat Pumpkin but it friend Maria who runs the hotel restaurant loves cats (she has a troop of fat ones she looks after) and she promised us Pumpkin would be well and always cared for.
   The next morning we boarded our ferry and off we went back to T-Land.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In Seljuk

We made it Seljuk, which is near Ephesus, and stayed at a hotel we like called Hotel Kayhan. It is an Ottoman-style place with good food and lovely grounds. We decided to relax in the hotel for the first part of the following day, playing with their baby tortoises and enjoying ourselves. Road life can be tough and punctuating it with relaxation rounds things out. We then actually shopped in town a bit then spent the rest of the day at Ephesus, which was packed to the gills owing to not only being on the tour bus circuit but also those damn cruise ships, who pump the bodies into Kusadasi port like a factory filling cans!
  Ephesus is a cool site, but after what we've experienced and seen it really ranks pretty low on our list. I could go into it but you get the picture. At least they didn't have the cheesy gladiator show we saw last time!
   When we arrived at Jayhan hotel it was dark and Michelle found an injured kitten which instantly took the smiles off our faces. We bought her food and tried to help as we're the staff of this animal friendly hotel. While leaving Ephesus a German org was at the gates preparing to capture some of the many cats roaming the site and fix and care for them. They're called Sunnydays and they are a volunteer group I believe. Anyway Michelle told them about the kitten at the hotel and they have us a cage to bring her back on as they had agreed to take her and fix her up. We sped back to our hotel and found that the staff had already taken the kitten to a vet and were doing whatever had to be done to make the animal well. This was great so we brought the cage back to Ephesus and everyone was happy!
   The next day we stopped again at a local shop and chatted with this interesting Kurdish fellow, whose face looked like a pugilist.
   We then visited the temple of Artemis and then the museum, which was closed, then off we went toward Kusadasi and our ferry across to the Greek island of Samos. While in Kusadasi we walked around and ate lunch waiting for our 5pm ferry. The bazaars and whatnot are not to fun in this town aggressive vendors who basically all have one of ten types of shop. We were glad to get on the ferry and head off to Samos for awhile.

Pamukkale to Seljuk

Sorry this blog thing is a bit behind. I will not use it again as it is difficult to use with itermittent wifi.
   When we left Pamukkale we spent the morning enjoying the ancient city of Hierapolis, which sits right on the travertine cliffs and beyond. A nice place but thronged with tourists due to the buses that schlep them all in. The pools were filled with swimmers, many who probably haven't domed a swimsuit in decades, and the place was a general madhouse. The cost is also extraordinarily high because the place is on the tour bus circuit, like $32 to get in the site and swim, but less for us since we don't do the pools (did once or twice in the past).
   We left Pamukkale and drove to ancient Antioch on the Meander, since I have lots of coins from this place, then on to Aphrodisias.
    During our drive to Aphrodisias the sky foretold potential horrors for the foolhardy so of course Michelle and I go into the site seconds ahead of a huge storm with thunder, lightning and the whole mine yards. The place was deserted of humans, save for the souls who worked there who had retreated into some kind of shelter as Kelly and Michelle walked on in and the skies opened up.
    Now anyone who has ever been to this gorgeous ancient city will know there are only paths which wind through the site and these were now rivers and mud. The short of it is I got completely soaked and muddy, Michelle planned ahead with a rain poncho and was better off. We were pinned against walls and trapped for awhile in the theater. We then went into the museum there on site as I became cold and shivery but eventually the lights shorted out because of the water (this is the T after all) and we left. At the gate the guard told us the tractor-shuttle-thing was finished for the day but we had paid  for its service, great, a kilometer walk in the driving rain but an archaeologist leaving for the day sheparded us into his old Renault and on three cylinders he drove to our car, such a gracious and friendly young Turkish student.
   Now back at the car the lazy tractor-shuttle-thing guys felt bad and drive into the site in case there were any other survivors.
  Michelle and headed out and found a gas station where I could change clothes and we found hot water for coffee.
   We then decided to press on to Seljuk and we followed the storm west, which happened to be the first big storm of fall.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Laodikeia and Tripolis

Now on the morning of Sept 30, mom's birthday, we rose and enjoyed our breakfast. We have kind of slowed down a bit as the weariness of the road catches up with us. Also paying $9.20 on average for petrol takes the edge off any snap compulsions to drive a long distance on a hunch there will be something to see (unless of course Michelle gets a whiff there might be a seated structure!).
    We decided to visit the ancient city of Laodikeia, where continuous excavations and restoration make each visit a new experience. This was our 5th visit and the T's sure have been up to no good, opening up new streets where one can stroll along the ancient stones and various buildings have been re-assembled to one degree or another. There are two theaters and we watched some great performances put on by the local lizards. We had a great time then relaxed with a cold drink and had pb&j sandwiches at small shop by our car. There is absolutely no shade at Laodiceia, so it can be hot at times.
  We then drove to the Phrygian city of Tripolis, remembering three years ago there wasn't much to see. This time the T's were milling around and up to something which means they are excavating and probably doing like what is at Laodiceia.
   After visiting 100+ sites it has become apparent the T's are upgrading and making the sites more presentable and accessible. That's good I suppose, though the roads to some suck and it is rather insulting at times to pay an entrance fee after driving up an almost impassible road!
   Anyway, after an easy day enjoying two sites and local scenery the two of us actually went back to our room and slept three hours before rising and walking around the small lake at Pamukkale and finally finding a place to eat.
It was an enjoyable but low key day and the princess (as well as her husband) was happy!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lycia to Phrygia

Now Fethiye was the old Lycian city of Telmissos and some ruins pop up here and there, especially the theater which is lined at to by houses with narrow alleyways and stairs, like a mini Athenian Plaka but the comparison stops there. We enjoyed a nice morning walk through the old part of the town then the shops by the harbor, which were truly beautiful at night and quite inviting though the shopkeepers and restaurant people were rather aggressive. We enjoyed our walk but had to press on and left Fethiye to find the Lycian city of Tlos, which turned out to be a spectacular place to stomp around, though the theater was closed which made Michelle rather unhappy.
   Next we headed to Oinoanda, the northernmost Lycian town. We got horribly lost and turned around and when we found the place we were told we had to hike a couple miles into the place. Michelle didn't want to go and the guys there were creepy so we saved Oinoanda for next time, driving north toward Pamukkale until we found another of my fav stops, the ancient Phrygian town of Kibyra, a city I have like 20 coins from.
     We immediately noticed the T's had been up to no good, building a new road to the site where we used to just park next to the stadium. You can tell a pay site is in the future for Kibyra. Anyway the stadium was fan as always and new excavations brought to light all kinds of neat new things to look at, many right underneath where my car was parked last time! But what blew us away was an area where they cleared a Roman city street with colns and a fountain. Unbelievable in its beauty and the light was perfect for b&w film. Next the theater was charming as always and then we saw another new place, the odeon! It was extremely well preserved including the mosaic floor in front containing the entire inscription pertaining to who built it, why and exactly when because it was dated!!! Awesome is not coming close to describe it and what a fabulous place, preserved up to like 30 feet with all the seats and all the walls. Michelle's fascination for ancient seated structures was overwhelmed - not only a theater but a odeon and stadium too! The hat trick of ancient seated structures.
   We then left as the sun set and drove to Pamukkale. We missed a turn off due to construction and had to pass through the cf which is Denizli, one traffic jam was just terrible but Michelle recovered our bearings safely guided us to the Venus Hotel in Pamukkale village, where a nice hotel owner greeted us and we relaxed in our very comfortable room. What a cool day that was!!!!!!

Kas is nice but our hotel stunk

Now we stay at Kas a lot and try the various hotels on the same street as the theater, after all this was the ancient Lycian town of Antiphellos. We enjoyed a fab fish dinner, Michelle held and fed a kitten and we walked through the pretty buildings and shops.
   When we got back to our room we realized our room stank, like stale water. It also was tiny, but we kept the bathroom door shut and survived the night.
    The next morn we had coffee just after sunrise in the ancient theater and were joined by a local German Shepard i dubbed 'Theater Dog.' We then wandered a bit around the beautiful town, like it was on a Greek island, lovely,
   We then headed out to the Lycian site of Xanthos, gorgeous as always with her well preserved theater. It was photogenic and I shot some film. We then got a bit lost but found Letoon, a Lycian sanctuary with temples a short distance away. It also had the raised groundwater thing going on and was pretty to photo, with turtles and frogs in the water for Michelle to play with. A good time was had by all.
   We then drove through the beautiful rolling hills inland and tried to find the Lycian site is Sidyma. It is located in and around a village with little walkways and such. We walked around and got lost, the theater was never found as the heat made us tired. We then headed to our car, bummed hot water off a local villager and had a nice cup of joe using an ancient column as my coffee bar!
   Next we drove to the ancient Lycian town of Pinara. It was several km up this absolutely hideous road but we got there. The ruins are spread along the side of the mountain amidst the pine trees. We walked and explored and found the place truly wonderous and amazing. The theater was located down below and the vista was truly incredible! We spent hours here until we knew we had to leave to make it to Fethiye before dark. As we prepared to depart Michelle noticed a small goat which had been left behind by the herd as it moved past. It was crying and though the creature would have eventually gone home she had to intervene. Michelle first tried to tie a rope around its neck and lead it home but the goat was having none of this. Finally we walked and called for it and slowly led the beast at least halfway home until it became distracted by something tasty as ignored us. We tried.
   We then drove into Fethiye and found the harbor and our nice hotel looking over the boats etc.
Michelle noticed when I am driving in a city or chaotic mess I humm the music for the old video game Frogger, which involved getting a frog acrossed the street safely amidst all the cars. I wasn't aware I was doing this, people do the dam best things I guess.
   Our hotel was awesome and we found a gorgeous seaside restaurant and our great day of adventure was complete.

Lycia III

I must apologize for the lack of post my dear one or two readers as this blog site is just crap and I am finding it difficult to get it to work properly. In fact my last post I am about to redo is no where to be found and it is hard to type on this tiny phone keypad.
    Any way, I will pick up where I left off and attempt to enlightened you as to what transpired these past few days.
    After our charming stay in a local T-hotel we decided to try and find the Lycian city of Rhodiapolis, as I have a nice coin of  Tranquillina from this place. Well we did find it and evidently a lot of excavating has been taking place as it was a phenomenal site, well-preserved with a lovely theater and a sweeping vista of the valley below. Some of the aisles in the theater had lipn feet to either side! see facebook fir pics. Michelle was pleased and that is always a good thing.
   We left Rhodiapolis and headed west to the Lycian town of Limyra where a local guy tried to get us to pay him to watch our car. I told him I can watch it myself just fine and we walked a bit around the place. There was a part of the ruins which had been flooded by probably a rise in the water table and it produced a pretty pic. We stomped around a bit then visited the theater of course, which was in great shape. We got back to our car which was fine and left to find Arykanda, another Lycian town.
    Arykanda is located inland around 40 mild and the drive was lovely. The site is being heavily worked by the T's and we spent ours traipsing about the extremely well preserved buildings and Michelle was determined to locate the theater. She led us on a hike via a photo she took of the local map. Now I reluctantly followed but the direction didn't feel right to me. But she is the navigator so we walked and walked around the hill until she realized the theater could not be in the direction we were heading . Suddenly up the hill aways above us a small herd of antelope cautiously passed us as they worked their way up the hill. They were neat to see and the princess was happy. We then went back into the ruins and had a lovely picnic with, you guessed it, pb&j sandwiches and local apples. It was so relaxing and nice.
  A footnote here is regarding the Turkish jams, jellies and preserves. Now we have visited all the different markets and stores and it seems the T's don't make a distinction in this department. Since they don't eat pb&j sandwiches they don't realize their jams or whatever are way to runny and drip all over the place. This is an annoying thing for the pb&j connesiour and something which is frustratingly annoying when you find sticky jelly on your pants!!!
   Anyway, Arykanda us just awesome with a fantastic Thayer, odeon and partial stadium. A nice Welshman we ran into at the stadium sang their national anthem which was quite beautiful. His wife was with him and we applauded his good singing voice, especially for a guy in his seventies!
    We left Arykanda (yes I have a coin of Gordisn III from here) quite impressed and happy and headed west along the coast heading toward Kas, a town we usually stay in. We eventually saw the sign for the ancient site of Myra and contemplated coming back the next day but ultimately turned right and visited the famous Lycian site (I have 2 Greek and 4 Roman coins from this city, yay!). Michelle was not happy they charged like 15$ for us to get in and it is a small site (the area you can visit) with the famous gorgeous Lycian rock tombs on the hill above and the enormous theater. It was full of your buses and we became annoyed with the whole thing. It was our 3-4 visit here and perhaps the long day hiking in the sun did our heads in.
    Therefore we hastily departed to Kas, the beautiful Mediterranean Sea licking at her feet. I knew right where to go and we descended into the two, found out desired hotel quickly, showered and watched the sunset on the ancient theater about 100 yards down the street, a Turkish warship the only vessel in the beautiful sea before us. It was a good day.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lycian catch-up part Deux

Staying in a different hotel each night has its pluses and minuses, but I like to see what cultural things   I can. We mostly stay in 3 star hotels that locals use, not tourists, though this is not always entirely possible. The breakfast has a constant in these local digs and that is the sliced processed mystery meat. All the hotels have it (except the Russian oriented one on Alanya which among other things had bowls of eggs on offer boiled to different times, ie 3 min, 5 min etc). This mystery meat is nasty, sorry to judge, and it is stinky too. Michelle won't get ten feet from it though I might venture within one or two feet if something nearby seems worth giving a go. I am just saying...
    Anyway, lost my mind for a moment, we left our hotel and drive toward the famous Pisidian city of Termissos, a city Alexander the Great had great difficulty taking due to her position high in the mtns. We drove in and hiked up into the site, unfortunately having to get around a few bus loads of folks, many of which wearing improper shoes and stumbling about. Termissos is a fine place and this was a nice day, but I got a bit too much sun and received a headache for my thoughtlessness.
    After three plus hours we were hot and sweaty and made it back to our little Opel, the air conditioner getting a real workout. We then headed along to coast to Phaselis, the ancient city with three harbors. It was full of people and we walked the ruins then Michelle swam in the ocean a bit until she was stung by a jellyfish (she is fine, no signs of it now). We then wrote a happy birthday message to our friend Willow on the beach in rocks and left to our car. There were a lot of nice looking girls around so it was a good all around visit, ruins and girls, all I needed was coins to have a slam dunk! No Michelle is my slam dunk and my little dunk wanted to find this little hotel with cottages that I figured was located in some hideously remote and inaccessible spot but believe it or not my faithful one or two readers we actually found it! Michelle was over the moon and we were treated by a mob of chickens, a turkey or two, three dogs and a friendly and seemingly always hungry pet sheep. Our cottage was delightful and we relaxed in the lovely grounds throwing bread to the chickens ( and two Turkish turkeys) and made some strong coffee. The dinner served was delightful and Michelke had her dream hobbit cottage stay!!
     Anyway, lovely Michelle then decided to drag my tired **s out of bed at 4AM to watch the sun rise at Chimaera. We've done it before and this time no marshmallows!!! Chimaera is basically a clearing on the side of a forested mtn where natural gases have been seeping and have been burning for thousands of years. Like scattered barbecues, the flames are visible from sea and the ancients associated them with the mythological beast the Chinera, which spewed fire ong other things. There are also ruins of Ronan era structures. We had the site to ourselves and played around, even making a silly video or two we posted to Facebook.
    Afterward we drive back to our cottage, had some much needed coffee, then sadly left and drove to the ancient Lycian city of Olympos.
     Now Olympos was more awesome than I had ever thought. The ruins ate sprawling and separated by a river with ducks and the whole kick and whatnot. We wandered around and had a great time. There was a local beach too but we were probably the only ones not interested in the beach. It was hot and eventually we tired and found a nearby dig for a doner (bread wrapped meat, tomato deal we asked them to add fries to). A nice afternoon. Then we drove west to another site but decided we were tired and found this roadside hotel with nice restaurant and nearby supermarket where we can do our laundry and recharge our batteries.
   It will be another hot and dusty day in Lycia tomorrow but we must press on to Fethiye.
Until then, adiyue my one or two readers...

In Lycia playing catch-up

We are at a roadside hotel here in Komluca, a small town on the Lycian coast. Since my last post a few days have passed and I will seek to fill in the gap up to today, Sept 26.
    Our last post ended with the two of us traipsing through Lycia and basing ourselves in Egridur, on the lake if the same name.
    After our first night in the cool breezy town we rose early (being the day of our anniversary) and headed to the ancient city of Sagalassos, easily one of the most impressive sites in all of T-Land. Now we've visited this place several times and have watched the progressive of a massive restoration effort focusing on especially the Antonine nymphaeym. Well it is completed now and they have even reattached the original spring so water flows into it. They've added new trails and set out all kinds of neat things to look at. Just an awesome place to visit, really a great site.
     Next we visited the ancient city of Cremna, where I broke my cars oil pan in 2008. We had a good hike, the city well-preserved but laying all around like an enormous puzzle.
      Next we meandered about (rather lost at times) through the winding mountain roads until we found the city of Adada, wandering her ruins as evening began to fall. We than had a nice dinner in Egridur and enjoyed some dondurma (ice cream).
     The following day we left Michelle's nice hotel and headed back towards Antalya, south. At the edge of Egridur, as we were leaving we saw a sign for ancient Prostanna. I knew the ancient Pisidian city was nearby but had read it was on a military base and therefore not accessible. We decided to follow the sign and after driving way up a rocky, deteriorating road growing steeper and steeper we decided to cool it and continued another kilometer on foot. We visited with a flock of goats, many with their coats shaved into interesting patterns, odd I thought. Way up here where no one can see - people do the damnedest things!
     Any way we found what little remained of Prostanna and that is a generous comment. The view was lovely and the area is a army practice range, evidently they like goats and don't mind the occasional nut.
     After making down the mtn we drove on to the ruins of Kodrula, technically there but well... Then we were on to Timbriada, the ruins minimal but a local cave was a ball if fun. We had to wear hard hats and it was drippy and cool and Michelle was like a little girl, all happy and smiles. The cave was a sacred place to the river-god Eurymon and the Romans had built a temple-like facade at the entrance with mosaic floors and the whole mine yards. Neat.
   We decided to have pb&j sandwiches at the small park by the cave and river. We sat together at a picnic table (same side) and flipped it on it side, the two of us falling on our behinds. We had a great laugh, especially because I almost rolled over the wall and dropped ten feet into the river!
    Last was drove down to Ariassos, a nice Pisidian city I have a few coins from. We have been there before but we continued our quest for the theatre, the location of which Michelle and I are not in agreement on. Further research will settle it hopefully.
    After a nice day of ruins we drive into the town north of Antalya and visited a mall which was no different to the Northridge mall. We badly needed a real cheeseburger at found a Burger King in there. Not exactly like home but as close as I am going to get. We had fun goofing of in the mall then found a local hotel. When we went to get our luggage we found that we had lost the key for the cable bike lock which Michelle secures our bags with. We were tired and rather annoyed and drove up the street and found a fix-it shop who cut the cable. I also bumped a wall with my car and he straightened my license plate!
    We finally got our room and found it was a stinky smoking room so Michelle said no and they sought another room we could breath in and we finally were able to relax after a very long day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Into Pisidia

We had to leave Side though we didn't want to. The tiny trash can in our room was dwarfed by empty water bottles and tied bags. Why is it the Turkish hotels alway have such itty bitty waste bins? I have covered this entire country and it is the same everywhere. At least slip covered chairs seem to be more of a regional thing (I guess?),
   Driving the windy mtn roads north away from Antalya we headed toward Beyshehir. We had only visited Lyrbe near Side (another ancient city I have coins from) before headed up into the highlands where it was chilly and windy. We drove through some lovely Rocky Mountain areas looking for a few other Pusidian towns before finding a hotel along the southern shore of lake Beshehir, just west of the city bearing the same name. The hotel was also a restaurant and a friendly fellow ran it and showed us a room. It was fine and had 6 arched windows, the top of each with blue and orange glass. He ran the inn alone and we were his only guests. It was cold and windy and being right on the lake seemed to beige of an early to mid summer kind of place. The decor inside the dinning room was interesting. It was a hodgepodge of things from Japanese ump tells to Egyptian papyrus with everything in between. It was gaudy and over the top but the gentleman ran it with pride and though we could not properly exchange a single word we had a nicer all of fresh fish from the lake and a nice rest. It was nice to be cold for a change!
   The next morning we rose and had coffee then visited the Hittite water fountain at Eflatun Pinari. We always enjoy a stop here, so peaceful, the fish swimming about and the king fishers and swallows frolicking and feeding. After this place we found a shaduf up the road. We stopped and played with it. A shaduf is an old-fashioned way to draw water with a long pole, string and bucket lowered into a deep well. The topography is flat rolling hills here bereft of trees and the cold wind blew. It was fun though, the farmers in their tractors wondering what these two idiots are doing with their shaduf!
    We then headed north and spent time at the Roman city of Antioch inPisidia. It was nice then we drove west to Uluborlo where in 2008 we had an unexpected overnight stay due to a broken oil pan. Oh the memories! After this we tried to find the ancient city of Conana, of which I have a few coins, but realized it was just absorbed by the modern town of Gunen and there you have it.
    After our lovely day we found the town of Egridur on the south shore of the lake of the same name and found a hotel we had enjoyed immensely in the past. We walked around the town and had a nice meal, even grabbed a few bites of baklava from a local shop. The wind gusts at night and it is quite cold. A relaxing place to stay and why we always come back.

By the way, we didn't get that Diva Domna coin Barry, it went for 2600. What can you do?
We are back on with some wifi so let me get you all caught up on what we have been up to here in the T.
    When we last left off we were staying in our apartment in Side. We rose on Thurs and drove through a beautiful valley and mountain roads north into the Taursus mts and eventually finding our way toward a small village (can't recall name) where the ancient site of Pendelissos is located. I have a couple coins from this Pisidian town. Of course we encountered herds of goats and sheep in the road as usual.
   When we found the village there was no sign of the ancient town so we poked around but it was in the middle of no where and we couldn't even find one architectural element. The village was only a few houses and luckily one of them was called cafe Pendelissos. We stopped and basically it was a retired school teacher's house and he set up an nice area to serve food and drinks as well as a small pensyion for guests. He had all kinds of chickens, pheasants and a couple dogs running around and Michelle esp enjoyed the animals while we relaxed and had a coffee.
    After some chit chat we finally got him to draw us a map of the hike to the ancient city. See it was located on the steep slopes of the hill within the pine trees. We would have never found the place in a million years!!!! He lent us walking sticks and let us part of the way. It was 10:30 AM when we began and we were happy one of his dogs chose to accompany us when we set off alone towards the city.
    Now the hike was nice but it became rather hot and we found the city nice but not particularly well preserved. We had a lovely time in the woods but it was a pretty steep and tough go at time. Eventually we became lost and had walked and stumbled for a few miles. We became nervous regarding our wa back. The woods were cut with felled trees and we couldn't ascertain a path. We decided to go downward and it was steep and the brambles were thick. It was here in our time of need we noticed the dog was waiting for us. It was as if he beckoned us to follow and we did just that. Following our canine companion we eventually made it to the road. I was slashed from bushed and tres and Michelle had a rock which had tore through the bottom of he shoe. We were dirty, tired and soaked with sweat. We didn't know which way to go but decided to follow the dog and after about 1-2 kilometers of walking uphill we found the sign we had passed in our car for the village signaling 3 km to go! The princess was not happy with her bum shoe but doggy led us slowly back to our car by 3:30 PM.  We were annoyed and tired but that dog saved our asses! He wasn't trained either but possessed an innate intelligence which impressed us greatly. What a dog!!!!
    The gentleman wanted us to have lunch and go to another place but we were not happy with the death march he had sent us on and begged our leave and sped away towards the ancient city of Sillyon.
    Driving toward that city we got a second wind plus ate usual sandwiches so decided to hike around Sillyon, one ofy all time fav stomping ground. It was cool and windy and we saw 16 tortoises and a snake! It was nice and afterwards we went back to the apartment and crashed.
   The Friday we spent shipping at a couple small malls (I needed shorts and socks) and found a Starbucks so I could enjoy a latte!!!
We just visited the awesome ancient city of Perge which is gorgeous and an easy walk through the columns and reliefs. We found inscriptions for Trajan, Hadrian, Matidia, Marciana and Sabina!
After we hung around Side, napped and just enjoyed the environment - walking along the sea and finally had dinner at an Ottoman restaurant!
Side is a nice place to spend 4 or 5 days, a lot to do!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ok Barry,
   I have had limited wifi access and missed a few days posting. I will therefore give a briefer synapsis of the events and add color where it might be warranted (or something like that).
    I last left of at Anemurion, were we ended up crashing out for the night in an empty resort-type hotel. Well we rose rather early and had coffee watching the quiet Mediterranean then skipped over to Anemur castle, which is the largest of its ilk in the med region. It is a beast with all the trappings of a rap castle - battlements, towers, hideously narrow and winding stairways and a most full of turtles! Oh how the enemy must have Quaked in their boats when they saw the swarms of red-ears hoping for a handout! Anyway we had the castle to ourselves and we had fun exploring it and taking pictures.
      Next we headed down the hwy and grabbed a cold drink. Michelle found a bag of Burger King flavored Ruffles potato chips. Nasty! The locals have different tastes obviously.
      After this we drove north into the hills for a long time, trying to find a few ancient sites and we failed utterly and completely, though the drive was pretty if someone long and somewhat tedious. At like $8 a gallon it was costly, but we saw a part of the T we haven't seen before.
      We drove after hitting the coast again west toward Alanya and after hitting town after town without a hotel handy on the hwy we hit a town short of Alanya, starts with an M, and found the hotel Sun Fire Beach Hotel, four stars even! We were tired and the room was nice. What was funny was the fact we were basically the only non-Russian guests in the place and the buffet was down right atrocious, with chicken nuggets the only thing I are. At least the beer was fee for Michelle.
     The next morning we left our technically four star hotel (cost like $65 for the night), we doubled back to a few ancient sites on the coast, Antioch ad Cragum, Selinus and Iotape. The first had a temple to Apollo and. Bath complex amongst other things, the second was mostly crumbling ruins falling down a hill on the coast (though the aqueduct was pretty running through the local village and local T's on a balcony took pics of us taking pics of the aqueduct). The third place Iotape was draped over two small see cliffs, a beautiful place and Michelle and I found a lovely spot for pb&j sandwiches.
   Next we headed to one of my favorite sites - Syedra. Perched on the side of a hill Michelle and hiked for a couple hours and found 5 tortoises. It was my 8th visit to Syedra and the T's had built a new car park in my absence.
    In the early evening we drove to Laertes, another ancient city I have coins from. Driving up the very bad, steep and rather dangerous road we encounter a young German couple who couldn't believe a car was actually coming up the road. We asked them to hop in and they (in their own words) were shocked when they saw it was a pair of Americans and not local T's! We walked around the rather poorly preserved site which looks like a city obliterated by a catastrophe of epic proportions. I guess time would fit that description.
  We drove the German couple afterwards to their car and off we went to our apartment in Side.
We arrived dead tired to our apartment and the next day drove up through Korpulu Canyon park to the city of Selge, way up in the mountains over crazy switchbacks and even a Zriman bridge! The views are stunning enjoyed walking through the village. Many of the village homes are incorporated into an ancient structure. One side of the Roman stadium has a couple old houses set into it and all the houses (only 5 or 6 homes in this village) incorporate ancient architectural elements into their own construction.
      After being hounded by a few local women to buy handicrafts (Michelle caved) we drove back down and visited the beautiful aqueduct at Aspendos. We decided to pass on the site itself. We both have been there 4 times and the over-restored theatre was under cleaning or repair. Instead we found beautiful vantages to photo the aqueducts and any time we stopped near a house a woman came out and gave us a sprig of basil and offered (sometimes rather insistently) local handicrafts.
     We then headed back to Side, rested, then walked along the sea along the scores of shops and eateries and walked through the ancient city of Side. The sea and sunset were lovely and a good time was had by all.
   Now today we rose early and drove north into the mountains to a site called Pendilessos, which is in ancient Pisidia. Having never been there Michelle and I couldn't figure out where it was. There were only three or so houses in the tiny village and one called Pendellessos cafe,
We stopped and were treated by a nice man who talked us into sitting and having a coffee. His place was comfy with chickens and pheasants about. Michelle played with the chicks and eventually (the man, though extremely hospitable and generous had a completely different concept of time). Finally he drew us a map of where to hike, gave us walking sticks to use and sent us on our way. One of his dogs followed and Michelle, myself and Doggy trudged up the mountain as a light rain fell on and off. We eventually found what ruins there were of mostly the Roman era and beautiful iron wood trees. Though a difficult go we enjoyed the site, finding cisterns with fresh water and Michelle played with a can someone tied with rope to a branch and pulled up water. Eventually we had had enough and also missed the path down. We followed the wrong path and became a bit lost. We started going down the mountain off path and it was extremely rugged with brambles and trees, the princess was not happy. After some growing concern the dog appeared and actually led us down through the trees, beckoning us to follow, though always remaining silent. We eventually found the road and had to walk an additional 4km mostly uphill to get back! It was about 7-8 miles we went in all. The princess wasn't happy and after withstanding his pleas to take us somewhere else (after leaving us to die on the mountain!) we left, stopped for pb&j sandwiches then drove, beaten and tired, to the ancient city of Sillyon, one of my all-time favorite stomping grounds. We hiked up to the top of the plateau the city drapes around and visited the theatre (Michelle always wants to see the theatre) which was falling off the hill with vertical drops to you death on all sides but the back. It was very windy and the heat Greg and I suffered last time was tolerable. We had a splendid time and found 16 tortoises (the weather changed) and I saw a huge black snake!
     Finally exhausted we found our car, beat back the offering of tea from a rather creepy local man with a 22 rifle and drove back to our apartment in Side, deciding to add another night since we find it nice to stay and have more places we plan to see in the area.
    So it is dark now, 10:30 and some bad karaoke or something is going on in one of the apartments next door....

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I am continuing today's journey now.
On this day Sept 15 we woke early from our hotel and just left without breakfast. The owner was a creep and we left so I didn't punch him in the face!
   We got hot water from another nearby place and had coffee in the ruins of ancient Eloussia-Sebast. It was just grand and we explored the ruins further. Afterwards we checked out some of Korykos the drove up to Diocaesarea in the nearby hills. An awesome site with well-preserved monuments and a theatre. Michelle was happy! We just maendered around looking at ruins of Olba, Silifke castle and Seleucia ad Calycadnum, Selinus and a couple others. Michelle is a crack navigator and we just messed around with hot, dusty old ruins all day. We then found a hotel on the sea, had a fish dinner then checked out my new sunburn. I already have a killer farmers tan, now sun burn. The south Turkish sun is fierce! At least this hotel doesn't have slip-covered chairs. I hate slip covered chairs.

More from T-Land later.....

Let me know if anyone reads this....
Not sure if anyone is reading this but I'll keep adding to it.
We left Cappadocia and cruised south toward the city of Nigde. We have passed by this city many times in the past and decided to stop and check it out and find the museum.
We didn't find the museum but a local park with Seljuk tombs which were nice. There also was an area with gym equipment so we played around for awhile. The local T's thought we were nuts .
     Next we drove to Tyana, the ruins of the ancient town poking here and there within the modern village. There is a nice aqueduct running down the middle of the road and an excavated area. While taking pics of the excavation some local T's honked at us with a fancy horn then swung around and came to see us. There was a woman, her mother and her two daughters. They were friendly and took pics with us and gave us grapes and other fruits etc. they wanted us to go back to their home (to presumably kill and dismember us) but we respectfully declined, as we were trying to keep to a achedule having a long drive ahead of us.
     So we continued along the super hwy, triggering the toll booths like we're are violating them though we have been repeatedly told we are ok. Who knows?
     We drove back down to the southern coast and the sparkling Mediterranean and the heat and humidity. We decided to try and find the ruins of Pompeiopolis. It was scorching hot and we drove around and around and finally gave up, stopping in front of a market for a cold drink. The shop keeper told us the site was nearby so we made pb&j sandwiches and went there. The ruins consisted of a long colonnade which had been excavated, the rest of the ancient city presumably trapped under the modern town around it. Sad but a reality!
     By this time we were beyond hot and tired and we also had a good layer of road varnish. We found a nice hotel and relaxed. But we got a second wind and drove up the road to Korykos and Michelle's fav castle on the sea. We had a nice dinner and watched the sunset over the castle. One sad thing is the litter. The locals just throw there trash down and the beach was littered with debris. Sad.
     It didn't detract too much from a lovely evening and we had a nice room to go back to with a powerful air conditioner.

Yesterday's journey when I get up tomorrow!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cappadocia, such a lovely place and our first encounter with tour buses and such. Yesterday we left our rather run down hotel after some black coffee and bread. The city is no where a tourist would go and stuck out like a sore thumb. we clammered down to our dirty Opel and drove to the market called Migras, they have a good supply of things and we stocked up pn essentials. We then drove to the ancient coty of Issos where Alexander the Great and the Persian king Darius met in battle c. 332BC. It was hot and dusty and we wander alone through the scant ruins, all mostly under farmland at the moment.
     We then drove (and got lost a bit) to Karatepe, a Hititte site north of Osmaniye. It is located up in a national park with pine forests around and lakes. A lovely drive. Since the actual site is now under the lake we had to settle for a museum which is under construction. We hot to see some nice things including an important inscription in Phoenician and Luwian (one of the late Hotitte langusges) which sided translation, Phoenician being rather well lnown. We then found a pleasant shady spot and parked, making peanut butter and kelly sandwiches. Unfortunately the wheat bread we bought was so dry it seemed to crumble and blow away in the wind as we ate the sandwich. We had to choke them down.
    After this we visited Hierapolis-Kastabala, a place we've been to 4-5 times in the past. It is neat to see the progress of the excavations there, but today the T's were bustling over the site and in the afternoon 105 degree weather we didnt feel too welcome, though we strolled about anyway since the site is open to the public. I have many Greek and Roman coins from this place so this adds to the experience. After this were we hot as hell and devided to flee hot and dusty Colicia and head towards Cappadocia, Michelle doing a stellar job of guiding our way, sneaking into Lykia Hotel Kappadpkia just as the sinset, about a five hour drive, which used to be longer but they have extended the super hwy just past Nigde leaving us only 30 or so miles on the regular roads.
     We had a nice meal and went to bed. The next morning we drove around to the various open air parks and did some shopping, quite low key really. Not much in the way of local cultural stuff as it was hot and Michelle was a little slow today. After realizing I had been dragging her around we went back to our rather nice hotel and relaxed before driving around once again in the afternoon. We visited some homes built inside the fairy columns which are carved out of the tufts. Google Cappadocia to get an idea of what we experienced.
    Tomorrow we plan to visit the ancient city of Tyana then we haven't really decided yet where we'll end up, I guess time will tell.
   One thing we always find rather amusing our the hotel room rubbish bins. They are so tiny that once you toss a Pepsi can in them they are filled. We see them night after night and even for sale at the supermarket. It is as they expect no one to throw anything away. Our bin here is surrounded by water bottles. One must drink a lot in the heat.
   We hope you are all well and are having a great time. Michelle would like her dear mother to email her about our cat Sammy.

Until wherever we end up....


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Well we have come down from Mt. Nimrut and spent last night in Osmaniye. It was more congested and hectic than I remembered and we had to make a half dozen u-turns until we found a hotel we had stayed in during our 2009 sojourn. Upon parking (that was a chore) I noticed a wicked dent on the hood from a rock, glad we have full coverage!
    By the way, I dislike the car greatly. It is an Opel (I forgot the model) a small thing with transmission I still haven't completely figured out. Is it an automatic or a manual? No clutch but 1-5 gears. Very difficult in the lower gears to go so I say a few bad words now and again. By the way it is costing about 90 dollars to fill the tank.
Someone is smoking in the next room and it is coming into ours through the bath.
  To continue our tale we spent 2 nice days in Urfa visiting the various
Sites therein and around like Gobeklitepe, Harran (not so nice and 7 miles from Syria) and some other Neolithic and Hititte sites.
   We then drove to Mt. Nimrut and stopped in Adyiaman at the museum, loaded up on some junk to eat and drink and headed to Nimrut (google the place).
On the way to Nimrut we decided to stop by a few other ancient places (they have no milk in our hotel for coffee, yuk) which meant we would have to take a rather unorthodox approach to the mountain we seeking. Michelle led us up and around back and forth along windy, steep and mostly unpaved roads as we slowly made our way. We even had to ask a Shepard for directions and finally we were on a long, dusty gravel road which seemed way out of the way when suddenly we found a paved road, turned left instead of right, and found our hotel. It was a miracle but Michelle is a pretty good navigator and I was pretty proud of her on this day.
    Hotel Eufrat was the place and it was run by a sweet woman from Holland. We quickly had a coffee then drove up the mountain and raced up the long, hideous walkway pummeled by cold and wind, above the tree line until we made the western platform and got to watch the sunset. Magical!
Then we went back down and ate dinner then relaxed and chatted with another American guy and some French tourists.
We awoke at 4AM (yes I did) and drove up to the mountain again, raced, well actually stumbled, up the hideous path around to the eastern platform and watched the sunrise over the monument. Just fabulous and this is actually our second time doing this as we did it in 2010 as well. Good stuff Maynard!
Ok, we then left Euphrat hotel and eased back through Aidyiaman toward we were we are at now, Osmaniye. Along the way we visited a Roman bridge (rather sad and dilapidated but spanning a lovely part of the Euphrates river. The drive was beautiful with fields of lava flows at one point and we stopped for gas (185 Turkish lira - 90 dollars!) then went behind the station and climbed on the lava! Well I did while Michelle was using the lu.
   So this morning we sit amongst gold slip-covered chairs and a noisy town having black coffee, bread and honey (they have some way salty cheese and some kind if processed mystery meat we are steering clear of!
We are off to Issus, Hierapolis-Kastabala, Epiphaneia and Hititte Karatepe and will probably pass on Anazarbus as we have been there 4-5 times already.
Will check back soon!
Leave a comment so I know someone reads this.


Monday, September 9, 2013

In Sanliurfa and having a coffee

We have spent two wonderful days in Urfa and have visited the site of Gobeklitepe and Harran. This city is gorgeous with a park filled with sacred carp ponds and mosques etc. Also the bazaars are fab and we spent countless hours wandering the alleyways and observing blacksmiths, woodworkers and all kinds of things.
We sit at breakfast here and are getting ready to drive to Adyiaman and Nimrud to climb the mountain and watch the sunset. We did this before in 2010.
Please comment to let me know anyone is reading this and Barry email me so I have you address.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hey guys. I still can't post pics here but I just threw up half a dozen from Mardin on facebook (come on guys sign-up!).
   We drove to the ancient site/village of Hasankeyf yesterday and it was quite hot. The Tigris river runs through it and they are fighting over whether or not to dam the region for progress at the expense of a few sites, this one included. Google it for pics etc or go to my Facebook page (hint, hint).

We drove then to Mardin which sits at the top of the Mesopotamian plain, Syria being around 30 miles south. You wouldn't know anything is going on down there. We got lost in the narrow windy one-way streets znd had to hire a taxi to lead us to the hotel. Then when we found it we had to drag our bags up 40 flights (maybe 10 really) to the guesthouse. They put us in a gorgeous room with carved domed ceilings, all medieval and all then as we settled down they came and told us we were in the wrong room and then took us to the dungeon, a room dark and deep in the rock which needed dehumidifiers. Since I could speak enough Turkish it took a while before we haggled a more acceptable room, but the restaurant at top had creaking chairs which woke us up all the time. We rose early and walked the old city, beautiful! Pics on Facebook (hint,hint).

Love you all, French fries are ready at the breakfast table!


Friday, September 6, 2013

It seems I cannot post pics on this blog as the blog only supports android phones and not I- phones. I have Greg (our tech guy) on it. So I'll blog here and Facebook too. So those of you who aren't on Facebook, mom and Barry, Kathy, sign-up without giving them any info then friend me. We,ll do our. Best to support both formats but it seems pics can only go to Facebook for the moment.

Come on guys, do it for us!

Michelle says do it for Johnny!
We made it Diyabakir safely. The flight from LA to Istanbul was surprisingly enjoyable. Food was awesome! Turkish air is ok in my book (and Michelle's). Got a SIM card and we are good to go. I am trying to attach a pic from outside the hotel window.
Tomorrow we get the car and off to Mardin.

Thanks again Ray!We miss our cars already. Michelle has set pics of them on the table by the bed.

Will try and post that pic.

We are well!


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ready for launch

I am not going to bore anyone with lame comments about getting ready to leave next Thursday (Sept 5th) on our journey to Turkey (T-land, Big T, etc).
What I will say is that we will have some angry cats when we return at the end of October! They are my chief concern as we count the days down to launch.

Oh how nice it will be when my rear hits the seat of that plane!

I will to my best to add new posts and pics as we go. I expect to have a working I-phone which will be a good thing for the obvious reasons.

These blog entries will also be posted to Facebook.