Friday, September 28, 2007
We spent a nice afternoon at a beach in the national park on the Dilek Peninsula, just south of Ephesus. The water was clear, calm and a bit cold, the stones were great for skipping and the wild boar were hungry.
Here are some more photos from the beach.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
We spent an amazing afternoon walking around the ancient ruins of Ephesus. We were particularly impressed with the 25,000 amphitheater, the library and the recently excavated terrace houses which allowed us to imagine the grandeur of life in a vibrant trading center 2,000 years ago.
updated: Here's a link to more Ephesus photos.
updated: Here's a link to more Ephesus photos.
Carolyn here. We had a example of how laughter and humor transcends language barriers yesterday. We were eating pide (Turkish pizza) sitting at a small table at the edge of the cobbled stone main street. The road was bumpy and had a bit of an incline downhill away from the table. All of a sudden, well actually sort of in slow motion, my chair started to tilt into the street I tried to hold on to the table but almost pulled the little wooden table over. I had to let go and went sprawling into the street. I looked up at the stunned faces of my family and most of the market. Then everyone started to laugh. The waiter says “Mommy boom!" Luckily, I got off the ground before a picture could be taken for the blog.
Colin's 1st blog, "Mommy Boom" (see photo above): Mommy went boom! Mommy fell out of her chair. When Mommy fell, we laughed. We ate pizza. It was good.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
updated: Here are some photos of Sirince.
After a long drive down the Aegean coast, we made it to Sirince, a small village near ancient Ephesus. Here's what Carolyn had to say about our first day there:
We had a magical day. We woke early to braying donkeys across the valley. We are staying in a valley that feels, smells and looks like Casitas Pass with terraced fields of grapes, figs, pistachio and walnut trees. The air is cool and has hints of the ocean. We ate breakfast at a long wooden table on an outdoor covered stone pergola - olives cheeses, cucumber, tomatoes, lots of spreads and olive oil, we ate tons and then there were omelets! The boys ate like horses.
They can just wander the hills - we sat at the breakfast table and talked with a couple from Istanbul while the boys wandered and explored. First they came back with grapes from the vineyards that they washed and shared with us and the other couple. Then they found a small man-made pond filled with frogs and turtles. Then Colin came running up to say that Liam had fallen ALL the way in the turtle pond (sounds like Auntie Allison). Then the boys returned and Colin plopped a turtle right on the table. The other couple laughed - they didn't have children but Turkish people seem to love and tolerate children! The Turkish couple gave us lots of hints for our itinerary. We sat around a map and the woman wrote down sites to visit and places to stay. They invited us to stay with them in Istanbul or at least call if we had needed help or translation at any point. She had been born in Bulgaria and he was born in Germany, but both were Muslim and immigrated to Turkey with their families as children. They are planning a trip to NYC then Cuba for next month. We were able to help them plan their trip. First explaining there are not direct flights from the US to Cuba.
Colin gets kissed and touched everywhere we go. At dinner he said "The hard thing is that we can't talk to people. They don't understand us. When someone talks to me what do I say?" I said say merhaba (which means hello and is usually the only thing we can remember). We all laughed as we thought of all the things people could ask and then we say 'hello." Like how old are you? Hello. Would you like some tea? Hello?
In the walk in in the dark when arrived the night before, we had not noticed the marble pool tucked behind the trees. The boys spent the afternoon playing around it and swinging from hammocks hung from trees here and there. The water was freezing. They would jump in and then spent hours collecting acorns. We had the pool to ourselves until late afternoon. We are the only guests in the cottages but some people are staying in the inn below.
Before dinner we heated water for our shower. They boys were fascinated because there is just a spray nozzle and a drain in the middle of the bathroom floor. Colin asked do we just shower in the middle of the bathroom? Doug said i guess so...
For dinner we walked down the hill to the inn. The boys laughed all through dinner because the owners dog kept sneaking in the dining room and crawling up on the sofa bench next to Liam. The waitress would send the puppy outside - a little white fluffy dog - the first non-sheep dog we've seen. Finally the waitress just gave up and the puppy curled up asleep next to Liam for the rest of the meal.
We hiked back up in the moonlight to our cottage and the kids were falling down tired by then from an adventurous day exploring the valley! Doug and I only lasted 10 minutes longer than the boys!
As you all sleep, we are hanging out on the pergola. Liam is journaling - he is drawing a map of our travels using a maps from our guide books and the Lufthansa airline magazine. Doug's reading a book because I have the computer (a rare sighting but becoming more common) Colin is off to the turtle pond to look for (catch) turtles and frogs. Yesterday Liam and Colin also found a dead scorpion too, which was very exciting. We have been assured that none of the creepy crawlies are too poisonous...
Yesterday - all seemed to slow down - we are finally falling into the slower rhythms of the world around us after the hectic crazy summer of packing. As I write I can see am man and his donkey slowly winding down the hill into the valley with a load for the village, I guess.
This afternoon we are heading to Ephesus - we here the best preserved classical city in the eastern Med. The Virgin Mary's home is on the way. So we are teaching a bit about Christianity as well as ancient gods and Islam. It will be interesting to see how the boys interpret all this. Colin could care less about the history. Doug will be reading some interesting fact, Liam adds them to his journal while Coin counts ants on the ground. Colin loves the art and shapes of things. His latest "maze" in his journal looks a lot like a mosque and has details that look like arabic writing. He says his journal is only for patterns and he doesn't want any other information in it. Colin has a whole journal of what he calls "mazes" - drawings and patterns, which he started in May. They are amazing and very intricate. In all the mosques, palaces and ruins he takes pictures or has someone take pictures of patterns. He seems to have some of the artistic talents of his auntie and great-auntie, not his parents.
Our next stop was Gallipoli, the site of the failed Allied attack on Turkey in WWI. Kiwis, along with Australians, Brits and French forces tried for nine months to take the Gallipoli peninsula and the Dardanelles, but eventually were forced to retreat by determined Turkish forces. Over 100,000 perished on both sides, including so many Kiwis & Australians that the battle is commemorated by a national holiday in both countries on April 25 - ANZAC day. Here are some more photos.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
On our second day in Istanbul, we toured the Basilica Cistern, a 6th century underground water storage facility. The adults were awed by the beauty and the skill of the ancient engineers but the boys really loved the carp swimming in the dark. Then we strolled the Topkapi Palace, the residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire. The next day we took a ferry up & down the Bosphorus before strolling around our neighborhood of our hotel, the Galata district. We leave Istanbul tomorrow, so our Internet connections may become a little sporadic - but we'll be logging the stories & the photos anyway! Here are more photos from our stay in Istanbul.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Our adventure has taken us outside of the US to Istanbul. After 14 hours of rest our first night, we were well prepared to begin to see this wonderful historic and diverse city. We visited the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, otherwise known as the Blue Mosque, as well as the Hagia Sophia, a colossal 6th century church that was converted into a mosque in the 15th century and ultimately into a museum in the 20th century.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
We gathered at the SAME Cafe with many of the wonderful friends we made in Denver over the last six and a half years. The night flew by and we didn't have near enough time to say good-bye to everyone. We'll so miss our friends here but we look forward to many visits down under!
On our way back from Texas, we stopped in to visit our favorite skiing, surfing & climbing buddies, the Furmans. Jenny & Steve served up yet another great meal and the next morning we went climbing in their backyard, the Garden of the Gods.
Here are some more photos.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Carolyn & Doug got to spend a night catching up with friends in the city where they got engaged - Houston. Jessica (Carolyn's roommate from Thacher), Cinda, Jay & Damla and brother Danny ;-) (all Rice Bakerites) joined us for an excellent dinner.
Mom & Pop (aka Grams & Grandpop) have been married for 40 wonderful years. We were lucky to share their anniversary with them at the home in Georgetown, Texas. Dan, Laura, Cal & Cory made it for the celebration also. Pop cooked up a storm! Looks like my 40th year on this planet is only about nine months out...
Great-Grandpa visited Georgetown the next day. Lots of Skip-Bo card games, some spelunking and more BBQ and kept us busy and our bellies full. Liam says he has the most active great-grandpa ever!